Thumbtack 2 – New UI, Spotlight Integration, and More

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I released Thumbtack in February of 2012, three years ago exactly. At the time I was trying to learn Objective-C from books and code tutorials until a friend convinced me I would learn faster if I thought of an app that I was passionate about and focused my energy on building something specific. Thumbtack was born from my own personal and simplistic use of Pinboard. Over the years I received a ton of user requests. Requests like search capabilities, AppleScript support, integration with tags, global hotkeys, and so much more.

Today I am happy to announce the release of Thumbtack 2 — a FREE update for existing customers. A completely re-written version that meets all of my user requests to date (although I have already received more haha). I had promised search for a long time and I am happy to have finally delivered it. Thumbtack 2 is everything I had hoped the first version would become and I even have a few ideas of where to go next with it. It was  a fun challenge to keep the spirit of Thumbtack and its simplicity but also pack in all of the features users wanted. I decided to release it as a free update for existing customers to thank them for supporting me from the very beginning.

Version 2 Highlights:

• Access to all bookmarks, no longer limited to most recent
• Search with advanced filters
• Post management: Add, Copy, or Delete bookmarks
• Add with Safari Extension or system-wide service
• Native integration with Spotlight
• AppleScript support for extending to third-parties
• Hover over a bookmark and hit the spacebar for a quicklook preview
• Global hotkey
• And SO MANY more user requests

Thumbtack 2 is available on the App Store

Learn more at http://thumbtackapp.com

Tweetbot Custom Media Upload to Vid.Me

I just found myself wanting to tweet a couple of videos but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it. I started with Vimeo because I love the service but I don’t use it enough to pay $60 for a pro account. Then I stumbled across a service called http://vid.me which has an amazing API for anonymous uploads which makes it absolutely PERFECT for quick video tweets. So I whipped up this PHP script that handles a video from Tweetbot and uploads it to http://vid.me

It is completely basic so it doesn’t attempt to do any file checks or error handling. Any PHP gurus out there feel free to fork it and improve the script. All you need to do to use it is upload the script to your webserver and create a ‘tmp’ directory.

Let me know what you think!

EDIT:
I added a line that takes the text from the tweet and inserts it as the video’s description on http://vid.me

BeerTab – Keep Tabs on Your Favorite Beers

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90 days ago I left my job to work full-time on iOS and Mac software. Today I am proud to share with you my first iPhone app — BeerTab. It is a unique app for beer enthusiasts to keep track of the beers they have tried.

Why a beer app?

I have found that in order for me to build an app it must meet two types of criteria. It needs to solve a problem and it needs to be something I am passionate about. BeerTab fits the bill because I love beer and it was born out of necessity. At my previous job I helped start a beer tasting club that would meet the first friday of the month in the company break-room right after work. Everyone brought 1 or 2 bottles of a beer they had never tried and then we went around the room sampling and rating the beers. We tried many different ways to keep track of all the beers we had sampled but couldn’t find anything that was both simplistic and effective. My first instinct was to buy an app on the App Store to track my beers. To my surprise I could not find one that had all the features I was looking for and that was also easy on the eyes.

So I just started building my own.

I started building an app for my friends and I, but it grew in to something that I think a lot of other people will be able to appreciate. What started as an app for rating the characteristics of a beer had quickly evolved in to a mature product with a unique rating system, a clean UI, beer-inspired themes, and a web service to dynamically generate an individual website based on the beer being shared.

I am very proud to be releasing BeerTab and I look forward to the suggestions and feedback I get from you. If you drink beer and have an iPhone then I hope you take time today to check out the app, I would greatly appreciate it.



BeerTab is available on the App Store

 

Filtering Down Text in the Terminal

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This is more of a conversation starter than a tutorial post. I often find myself using curl on API endpoints from the Terminal and then filtering down the result to just the bits I need. It is one of those common tasks that could be done a thousand different ways using one of a hundred different utilities.

Let’s say for example I query the Goo.gl URL shortener API and get this response:

{
 "kind": "urlshortener#url",
 "id": "http://goo.gl/fbsS",
 "longUrl": "http://www.google.com/"
}

Pretend all I care about is the short URL from this JSON response. My go to method for tackling this would be to use grep and sed. It is quick and simple, plus I know the syntax by heart so I could knock this out in seconds. It would look something like this:

echo $RESPONSE | grep 'id' | sed 's/\"id\"\:\ \"//' | sed 's/\",//'

This works well because the short URL is returned on its own line so grep can easily extract it. The two sed commands swoop in and clean up what is in front of the url and then what is behind it. If the URL was not on its own line I would probably use grep -o with a regex pattern to pull out the id URL portion and then use the same sed method to clean up around the result.

I am not saying this is the best method by any means. It works well for me but it is acutally quite rigid in implementation and will break as API responses change over time.

My question to you is — How would you tackle this simple task? What utilities, languages, commands, etc… would you use to take a curl response and filter it down? I am truly interested to hear from you. Respond with a blog post if you have a site or just hit me up on Twitter.

On a side note, while working on this very Goo.gl link scenario, I actually used an app called CodeRunner to experiment with different methods. It is an excellent app for quickly testing ideas. Definitely check it out.

A Premier iOS 7 Icon Set by Icons & Coffee

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The emerging icon virtuoso company, Icons & Coffee headed up by Silvia Gatta, has released yet another great icon set — this time aimed at iOS 7 developers. Although these icons could be used for a plethora of non-iOS projects, they will definitely feel right at home on the new OS. Silvia is the girlfriend of friend, Federico Viticci, so I had the pleasure of giving feedback on these icons as well as helping them test the Essence website so I know first hand the level of detail and effort they put in to this project. I am very happy to support them by buying the icon set and I hope you will find them useful as well.

 

One thing I always look for when buying an icon set is the license, so that I make sure it fits my needs. I was happy with the extremely flexible license that Icons & Coffee shipped with the Essence set.

 

Here is an excerpt:

* Attribution-free: You don’t have to credit the name of the author of Essence in your project. We, however, appreciate links and tweets about Essence. If you use the icons in a project, you can send us an email, and we’ll put a link on our website.

* You can use the Essence icon set for an unlimited number of products and/or clients.

The Essence icon set includes 300 handcrafted icons in both 1x and 2x flavors as well as Adobe PDF and AI files for additional uses. The set is available for $19.99 which is a great price for such a liberal license.

Here is a link to buy them: Essence by Icons & Coffee 

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