Facebook Home - A More Realistic Mockup

Facebook Home, the replacement homescreen for your mobile phone, has just been announced. The preview looks absolutely beautiful - not something I'd use - but beautiful nonetheless.

Considering it further, my thoughts turned to my current relationship with Facebook and how I've been inching closer and closer to deleting my account. There's just so much stuff on there that doesn't interest me and, um, so much other stuff that kinda creeps me out.

Regardless, I thought it'd be funny to quickly grab a few things from the top of my own Facebook feed and slap them into a mockup (above) of how Home might look to a regular person. I dunno about you, but there ain't too many models and professional photographers hanging around when I log in*.

I've changed the names to protect the privacy of my friends. If any of you guys read this, please keep in mind that I just grabbed the first few 'normal' images I found. I hope I don't cause offence - I honestly do care about you, your cocktails and your interests - I'm just not sure I want them on the freakin' homepage of my phone.

* saying that, there are a couple - what with having art-farty friends, but compared to people talking about football / work / the weather, they don't post much.


I've started a new Flickr account, partly because of the recent Instagram debacle, partly because of their new app and partly because I'd started my old account with a username I don't much like anymore. If you have any interest in seeing what photos I take, gimmie a wee look.

A quick note on the Instagram thing - I was fairly vocal (for me at least) against their policy changes when they were first announced, not so much because I thought my crappy photos were going to end up in ads, but more as a knee-jerk reaction to another non-creepy app that I liked becoming a creepy app that I'd miss.

For now at least, I'm gonna stick with it. As I tweeted: I really like Instagram and I like Facebook (the creepiest of all creeps) too and I'll continue using both. If either makes me too uncomfortable, I'll stop.

Not a brave stance, but a stance nonetheless.

(I crosspost my Instagram photos to Flickr with a little IFTTT trickery so they've never really felt tied to any one place anyway.)

Adding Date Suffixes With TextExpander

Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know AppleScript, code, programming or anything else of the sort. I bodged this by Googling for 'AppleScript date suffix', visiting various blogs and jamming stuff together until it worked. I'm sure there's a better way (if there is, let me know).

I use TextExpander, the text expansion app, a lot. Combined with keyboard shortcuts on iOS, I don't think I've typed my full email address in years. Mostly it helps me with repetitive / easy to forget / easy to misspell stuff (watch Merlin Mann or MacSparky in action to get the idea), but I do use one or two little tricks that I've not found elsewhere.

One of these is for dates. TextExpander's date features are great - it can drop in today's date in a bunch of different formats really easily. You can also do simple maths and slightly less simple things like generating urls for sites with custom date ranges (I'll share my 'today' Analytics snippet sometime). The only problem I've found is that TextExpander doesn't have a feature for adding suffixes (y'know 'st', 'nd', 'rd' & 'th', as in '1st', '2nd', '3rd' & '4th').

This bugged me. I like to include the full date (eg. '22nd November 2012') on invoices because I do some work for US clients and marking something '02/03/12' can mean 2nd of March to me and 3rd of February to them. I've often confused myself and likely confused others.

By default, the closest TextExpander'll come is: '22 November 2012'. That's pretty good, but I wanted '22nd'. Using a little bit of AppleScript, I came up with this:

set {day:d} to (current date)
set suffix to "th"
if d is 1 then set suffix to "st"
if d is 2 then set suffix to "nd"
if d is 3 then set suffix to "rd"
if d is 21 then set suffix to "st"
if d is 22 then set suffix to "nd"
if d is 23 then set suffix to "rd"
if d is 31 then set suffix to "st"
if d is 32 then set suffix to "nd"
(d) & (suffix) as string

That'll give you '1st' on the 1st, '2nd' on the 2nd and '3rd' on the 3rd. Just make that an AppleScript snippet, then add that snippet it to the start of your existing date generator and Bob's your uncle, today's full date.

As I said, that might be sloppy code - I don't know. It's Greek to me. I just slapped away at it until it worked. It does work, though. The above screencast maybe explains things a little more clearly (or maybe it doesn't, I'm not the clearest speaker in the world). Let's date.

My Instagram Web Profile

Instagram is rolling out its web profile pages this week and mine just went live. Once they're done, everyone's public photographs will be viewable through a normal web browser. This'll make it super easy to share / follow / find people from links and blog posts (such as this).

Here I've quickly put together 3 sets of photos that I really love, loosely themed around animals, people and places.

Revisiting my own wee archive has been interesting - 402 photos over two years. All stuff that at some point, I reckoned was worth sharing. Some of my early uploads were pretty heavy on the filters but, on the whole, I think they hold up not too badly. Mostly.

The square format keeps Instagram photos out of my yearly montages and it's nice to now have a place I can browse through them easily. The selective nature of the app actually creates quite a tightly edited little gallery when you view it all at once.

I still use Instagram a lot, quite carefully choosing who to follow (mostly people I know) and trying to stay up to date with my timeline. Uploading is something I do only when I feel that I've got something funny or interesting to share and I loosely stick to a 1-a-day limit because, man, nobody really cares about someone else's God damn trip to the beach too much at all.

Follow me (if you like) at Instagram.com/davidgalletly.

Textexpander Search Snippets

I'm no power user, not by a long shot. Scripts, hacks, codes, plist edits and the Terminal all give me the heebies. I keep my 3D dock on the bottom and, hell, it doesn't bother me.

Despite this, I probably dabble with slightly more advanced things than the average user. I dabble with Markdown, I dabble with the occasional beta and I do know my way round a keyboard shortcut or two. I also use TextExpander. I use it loads.

In brief, TextExpander is an app that runs in the background on your computer. It allows you to set shortcuts for longer pieces of text. For example, when I type "dgw", TextExpander replaces it with "davidgalletly.com" (in my head, "dgw" means "David Galletly Website"). When I type "dgt", I get "twitter.com/davidgalletly" (David Galletly Twitter). With little effort, you can use TextExpander to remember your phone number, fix your most common typos and add today's date.

It also does much, much more, as demonstrated by MacSparky.



Reading Dr Drang's recent post on using TextExpander to search a site using Google made me say "hey, I do that... kinda".

I don't really like using Google to search anything other than, um, Google (as I say, I'm no power user). Maybe it's habit, or aesthetics, or ignorance, but I like native searches. Besides, the sites I most regularly search format their results in a more useful way than Google usually will (in particular, image resources such as Flickr & Dribbble).

The first snippet I made was for BBC News. I rarely search for news stories and, for a long time, I'd just type my query into Google and hit the 'news' tab. The results were never great. Upon visiting the BBC site and noticing that the search URL was pretty simple, I realised that dropping it into TextExpander and adding a fill-in field would be super easy, even for me. The result:

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/news/?q=%filltext:name=search query%

It worked! I assigned it the abbreviation ";news" and was good to go. All I'd need to do to search BBC News was type my shortcut, type my query, hit enter twice and kablamo, there was the page. Pretty good.

Hit enter twice, though? Tsk, that's a wee bit annoying. Kinda spoils the feeling that you're performing a magic trick. There's gotta be a way to fix that. Sure there is! TextExpander can include special keys inside a snippet (Enter / Esc / Return / Tab). With a quick update, I was good to go:

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/news/?q=%filltext:name=search query%%key:enter%

Now I just type ";newsblue tits" + enter and I've instantly searched the BBC for breaking blue tit stories. Instead of never checking the news, now it only takes me 6 keystrokes. I quickly added snippets for searching Wikipedia, Thesaurus.com, Flickr, Dribbble, Pinboard and GMail:

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?search=%filltext:name=Search query%%key:enter%

  • http://thesaurus.com/browse/%filltext:name=search query%%key:enter%

  • http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=%filltext:name=search query%%key:enter%

  • http://dribbble.com/search?q=%filltext:name=search query%%key:enter%

  • http://pinboard.in/search/?query=%filltext:name=search query%&mine=Search+Mine%key:enter%

  • https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/%filltext:name=search query%%key:enter%

So, by typing ";flicklogs" and hitting enter, I've searched Flickr for logs. Typing ";mailsatan" + enter gives me all my Satanic emails. And ";wikiwojtek", teaches me about a cigarette-smoking, beer-drinking soldier bear "Wojtek the Bear"). I recorded a wee video of my system in action:

To people who really know what they're doing, this is incredibly basic stuff. To me, though, it's really powerful. I'm gonna try Dr Drang's Google snippet on a couple of sites too but, y'know, the best thing about TextExpander is that it naturally shapes itself to how you work. Even if you're a dunce.