1. homescreen.me

    For the past few weeks I’ve been spending my weekends mostly working on homescreen.me – a simple web app for showing off your iOS device homescreens. Last week, it went live. This is a joint effort by myself and the folks at iXyr media who also runs Smoking Apples and Beautiful Pixels.

    At this point of time, homescreen.me is a place for you to show off your homescreens, but there are many viable features that you will see there in the near future. Think of it as a great resource for iOS wallpapers, to discover new apps on the app store, find out what apps your friends are using on their devices, a history or archive of your homescreens and lot more.

    We already have a dev blog where we have a brief on the present and future of the app. Currently, homescreen.me is invite-only but we are sending out invites as much as we can, so please request an invite at the homepage. Your suggestions and feedback would be much appreciated.

    Have a look at my homescreen for a preview: http://homescreen.me/tinu


  2. Tr.im is dead but Twitnews is still alive

    As you may have probably known that Tr.im, the URL shortener that I have been using with Twitnews – an applescript that helps to share news items from NetNewsWire to Twitter has been shut down. It is too bad that they had to take this decision for reasons I don’t understand. Anyways, if you are wondering whats next, don’t worry, there is this script by @sean808080 who has improved it to work with Bit.ly URL shortener, which is by far the de-facto standard for URL shortening on Twitter. So, you should probably use it and abandon the original script.

    I look forward to use Sean’s changes on the next updates to the script.


  3. Nifty Gem: Awesome Print

    Just discovered this pretty nifty gem that works very much like pretty_print but is awsomer. It works right out of the box as a gem in your rails console and is very handy while checking on objects.

    Here is what it simply does:

    $ ruby script/console
    Loading development environment (Rails 2.3.4)
    >> require 'ap'
    => []
    >> ap User.first
    #<user:0x10498f648> {
    :id         => 1,
    :first_name => "Tinu",
    :last_name  => "Cleatus",
    :address    => "123 ABC Rd",
    :city       => "Cochin",
    :state      => "Kerala",
    :zip_code   => "123456",
    :country    => "India"
    }
    => nil

    Basically pretty prints the object in a very clean way with pretty colors (in the Terminal).

    Moreover, it supports a lot of other custom options. Head over to the GitHub page for more info.


  4. RubyConf India 2010 Experience

    rubyconf-logo.png

    The first ever Ruby conference in India happened last weekend in Bangalore and I’m glad to have attended it. It would have been a big loss if I had not. There were a few good speakers who gave some very interesting talks and I think the whole crowd was amusing too. Every time a session ended, there were many sensible discussions that happened between the audience and the speaker. Me and my friends reached Bangalore early morning on the day of the conf and we reached very late, apparently we missed the first talk by Ola Bini. So, my day one of the conference started with Obie’s “Blood, Sweat and Rails 2010″ session. It was quite knowledgeable how Hashrocket as a company works. Some pretty good tips there on entrepreneurship and how better startups can work using the right tools.

    Next notable session was Rails vs. Django by Shreyank Gupta, pretty interesting stuff he discussed there on what and how different Django is from Rails. I’ve been eager to know about Django since I started on Rails and this quite gave me a hint. Interestingly, the final word from Shreyank was “Rails is better”. *happy me* *crowd applauses*

    We then hurried to the next hall where Matz was about to start his video conf call. As opposed to my expectations, this session turned out to be very fun and amusing. Matz spoke about the future of Ruby mainly and he also announced that Ruby 1.9.2 will be released in August and the community will start working on 2.0 after that.

    Another interesting session was about the Rhodes mobile app development framework. This was something I was looking forward to. The talk was interesting but I was disappointed that using this framework does not really produce a really “native” iPhone app. It is more like a web app that works locally on the phone and uses sqlite to store data locally. We could then use libraries like jQTouch to make it feel native. I’m yet to give this a real try though.

    Overall, RubyConf was a great success, enjoyed every minute and was great pleasure meeting a few great Rubyists and some fellow developers. I think there were a lot of developers who mostly did not work with Rails but worked with Ruby in some way, which is amazing. I see great future for Ruby in India, and look forward to more similar conferences in and around.

    Here’s what people still talk about the conf.


  5. Internet tethering and MMS on iPhone 2G

    I have been least interested in enabling tethering on my unlocked and jailbroken iPhone 2G, mainly because I felt tethering the EDGE connection to my mac would not be a good idea. But today I took the plunge and decided to give it a try. I googled for long and I could not find much help on how to enable tethering on the 2G, but rather a couple of ways to get it working on a 3G or 3GS. So this is a very simple and straightforward method to get it working on the 2G. You need a jailbroken iPhone running OS 3.1.2 with Cydia installed.

    • Fire up Cydia and add a new source – http://cydia.iphonemod.com.br/
    • Once Cydia has finished reloading, search for – iPhone 2G: Tethering, MMS, bluetooth profile
    • Install the package and reboot.

    Thats pretty much to do about it. You should have the option of ‘Internet Tethering’ under Settings > General > Network. Turn it on and connect it to your PC / Mac with the USB cable and configure it. The mac would instantly recognize it as a new Networking device called ‘iPhone USB’.

    I did not really want MMS but this fix instantly did that too. I sent an MMS to my friend (for the first time ever) and it just worked !

    If you use a 3G or 3GS, you might rather follow this.

    Thanks GadgetDNA.

    FYI my iPhone was jailbroken using blackra1n.


  6. Personal finance management

    For a very long time I have been so ignorant about my finances that after gaining some knowledge, I felt like I have been living under a rock. Yes, like any other basic knowledge you need for your day to day life, knowing how to manage your finances is equally important. Very recently did I dive into stuff like these but trust me, I’m finding it very interesting now. Finance management is something that you need to do yourself and not trusted to any other person. So, it is very important that you know what you are doing.

    I’m a freelance developer and I was not bothered until recently I found that I could save a lot of taxes by investing a part of my earnings in a few returns based funds. This is a very great thing as you get the returns benefits as well as you save on your taxes. But how well you do that so you get the maximum returns, depends on how well you know about it or research on it. I still don’t have a clear idea about it. I really think that every college student should be taught well regarding this. In my college I remember having accounts classes which I think is crap. Not everyone needs to know accounting and stuff. But finance management is something every citizen needs to know and have good knowledge about.

    Lately, I have been reading and researching online about equities, mutual funds, insurance and I have gained considerable knowledge about them. Thanks to the internet! I have found a few well-acclaimed financial websites where I’m bound to be frequently visiting for the rest of my life. Also, a few blogs, some of them even personal ones, have turned out to be a huge help to me because of their explanation of both basic and advance stuff in lucid language. I highly recommend Personal Money which I’m very impressed of for their easy to understand explanations, reviews and advices on making efficient investments and better financial management.

    I find that a lot of my friends are still ignorant as I was about this, but I’m sure they would dive into the market paranoia very soon. I suggest you start researching today!


  7. Fraud detection with minFraud

    Recently while working on a client project, we had a requirement to enhance the existing fraud detection techniques already in place on the application. That is when, I came across Maxmind’s minFraud service which is basically a service for online fraud detection along with their already famous GeoIP service.

    Merchants can use the minFraud service to speed up manual order verification, automate order process by using our risk scores, or develop their own customized scoring system with the information that we provide.

    minFraud is a centrally hosted service where all business solutions networked with it connect to it, and the feedback and results received is apparently shared within the network. It uses Maxmind’s GeoIP service to find the user’s location through IP, and hence it helps in a great way to detect fraud. The best part is that it has a simple API where you send the customer’s details (only the non-confidential part) and you receive back a ‘risk score’ which is based out of 100. This risk score depends on various factors how minFraud detects the transaction as fraudulent. You could work up on a strategy so that if the risk score goes up a threshold, the transaction could be put on hold and manually verified.

    Trying to find more about minFraud, I luckily came across this ruby gem called maxmind which was exactly what I needed. Only little problem was that it was written to work with HTTParty. HTTParty while being a good alternative over Net::HTTP, I wanted something simpler and similar to what we already have in the existing project. Thanks to Github, forking and making changes to the existing gem was a breeze. I also added a attributes method so if you need all the attributes of the response object for convenience.

    So, if you are looking to enhance fraud detection on the transactions on your ruby app, checkout minFraud, and have a look at the original gem if you like to Httparty, or if you need a simple solution with NetHttp, have a look at my forked gem.

    To install

    gem install hackedunit-maxmind --source=http://rubygems.org

    Rubygems URL

    Ta.


  8. Twitnews update

    Sometime back I posted an applescript to tweet news items in NetNewsWire to your twitter followers and seems like many people found it useful. I’m really glad that I could find some time today to make a few updates on the script.

    New features

    • Twitnews now saves your twitter login details to the keychain itself. The old script needed you to save your twitter login credentials to the system keychain manually. Now, it checks for the twitnews key in your keychain and if it does not exist, asks you for them and creates the key for you.
    • Growl support.
    • Checks character count is within 140 characters.
    • Uses Tr.im URL shortener so that you can use Tr.im analytics feature if you use it.

    I would however like to use Usable Keychain Scripting by Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software, considering the problems faced by some users, which I blame Apple for their really bad implementation of Keychain Scripting. I tried using Daniel’s scripting definition but could not get it to work, probably it is not updated for Snow Leopard. I’m not sure about this, so if you have suggestions on how I can improve the script, please leave your comments.

    Please download it here.

    Usage

    Unzip and drop it into ~/Library/Application Support/NetNewsWire/Scripts. Now you can access the script from the scripts menu on NetNewsWire.

    If you would like to assign a keyboard shortcut to the script, check this post.

    What else ?

    The script has been tested on 10.5 and 10.6, but still if you find it buggy, please let me know in the comments. Otherwise, I hope you find it useful.

    The code is available at Github.

    UPDATE: If you’d prefer to use Bit.ly URL shortener, the script has been updated by Sean to use Bit.ly for click tracking.

    UPDATE: Tr.im has been shut down :( Please see this post for an updated script.


  9. Add more Readability to NetNewsWire

    If you are reading this post on my blog using Readability, then you are probably gonna love this. For those, who have not heard about Readability, it is a nifty little tool by Arc90, which transforms a webpage or blog post you are looking at to something very friendly to your eyes, or just increases the ‘readability’ as the name implies. From day one, I’m in love with it. If you haven’t yet, go check it out.

    Coming back to the post, I discovered this really nice tip that helps to get Readability installed on NetNewsWire (yeah, your favorite news reader), using Applescript. It is very useful because you probably read all your news subscriptions on your news reader. So here you go!

    Hint: I recommend adding a shortcut to the script once you have set it up. See this post if you’d like to know how you can do that.


  10. The Tablet

    ipad2.jpg

    While following the keynote at Engadget last Wednesday, I was sure that I’m never going to buy it. I thought to myself, that this was never going to be useful for me. But lately I’ve been thinking over it. I’m a freelancer and mostly work from home. I code for the web, read my RSS subscriptions, catchup on emails, read stuff on the internet, all on my MacBook Pro. Apparently, I spend the whole day sitting on my chair in front of my mac. So, why not just get a tablet and separate my work stuff from things I don’t really need my mac for.

    I’m starting to break-up! I might get this one when it is in India IF the price is right, which I don’t really hope is Rs.29K ($499).