MultiControl v.0.6.2

MultiControl_062 MultiControl is by far the most popular software application I have created, as can be seen in the web traffic here on my site, and also on the download site at the University of Oslo where the app resides. This is a tiny application that passes on data from a human interface device (mouse, game controller) through either OSC or MIDI. When I first created it back in 2004, there were not so many other options. Today, however, users would typically find more features in an application like Osculator or Steim’s Junxion. Still, MultiControl is downloaded hundreds of times per month, which should indicate that some people think it is interesting and useful.

Unfortunately, I do not have much time for development these days, so I will probably never get around to implement all the cool and exciting features I once wished for in MultiControl. But since it is my most popular application, I feel bad about also abandoning the whole thing. So I will try to keep it updated for the latest operating systems.

I just made a fresh build of the application using the latest version of Max. It works fine here on my Mountain Lion system, and I would imagine that it should also work on Lion (but perhaps not previous versions). Since I have received some feedback about problems with opening zip-files, I have now created a dmg-file instead. To avoid problems with broken links in the future, I will just point to the folder in which the latest version can be found.

Have fun, and let me know if you experience any problems.

New application: “New text file”

This is quite certainly the least advanced computer software I have made publicly available (see here for others), but it may still be useful for some: a small application that will ask for a filename and create a new blank text file with that filename prepended by today’s date:

If you are interested in trying this out, here are the files:

Over the last years I have become more and more vary of the problems of complex file formats, and find myself using plain text files for most things, including to-do lists and note taking. I use nvALT for jotting down notes quickly, which will also create text files directly in my notes folder. However, often I find that it is useful to create text files in other locations as well, and instead of doing this manually with the mouse I now use my little application instead. Call me lazy, but it saves me some seconds and annoyance every time (especially figuring out today’s date each time…), and is a nice addition to the service “Add date” that I use all the time to add a file’s creation date to the filename, and which is very practical for organising, for example, all the files I get from students in chronological order. Yes, I know that it is possible to use Finder/Explorer to sort files based on their creation dates, but I am using enough servers and weird university systems to know that those creation dates are not trustworthy.

For those that are interested, here is a screenshot of the Automator workflow.

Adding date to files in folder

I haven’t really played much with Automator earlier on, but have found it to be very useful for doing small things that you would otherwise need to write a small shell script or program to do. Here is a screenshot of an Automator workflow which will add today’s date to the name of any file or folder. Very easy!

Taking notes

I used to use Journler for taking notes on my computer, and when Journler died I moved on to MacJournal. However, nowadays I constantly find myself using different computers (Mac, Windows, Linux) and various mobile devices (iOS and Android) every day, and have found it to be problematic to be locked into an OSX/iOS application for note taking/access. There are some cross-platform note-taking applications out there, most notably Evernote, which I have tried to become friends with several times, without success. My biggest problem with Evernote is that it locks you into their system, and you cannot export everything in your library in an easy way.

Inspired by a blog post by Alex Payne, I have decided to change my note taking to the simplest and probably most future proof system: plain text files in folders. All OSes that I know of can handle text files and folders without problems (at least if you are a little careful with file naming), and you can also search your files using standard built-in OS search functionality. So there is really no reason for using a dedicated application for this.

Fortunately, MacJournal let me export my entire library as separate RTF files, and I wrote a little script that added the creation date of each note to the beginning of the file name. So now I have a folder called “Notes” with all my notes from the last 7 years as separate RTF files, organized after creation date.

For new notes, however, I don’t even want to use RTF files. I have had some bad experiences with opening RTF files in different software. Since I am often moving files between MS Word, OpenOffice Writer, TextEdit, Bean, etc., there is always something being messed up (particularly bullet lists). Instead, to keep some richness in the texts, I am now writing notes using MultiMarkdown. I have been doing this for a month’s time now, and think it works great, even though it adds a little overhead in terms of the formatting. However, the freedom to easily export the files to HTML, LaTeX and RTF later on makes it less of pain overall. And storing the notes using Wuala makes it possible for me to access them on all my devices and computers.