My Top 5 iPhone Apps

I've had my iPhone for almost a year and have downloaded countless apps for it since then. However, there are a few "must have" apps that I would be hard-pressed to live without.

twitterrific Twitterrific. Loads of great features, easy to use. No complaints at all. I love this app.

ESPNESPN. I can't remember if this is a downloadable app or just an iPhone-optimized website, but either way its the app I use the most, no question. If you're into sports and you don't have this on your iPhone, get it now!

ESPN ScorecenterESPN Scorecenter. What can I say? I'm a sports information junkie!

Byline Byline. Excellent app for reading RSS feeds subscribed to from your Google Reader account. Simple, but elegant.

Super Dial Super Dial. One-touch dialing for the numbers you call most.


I use every one of these apps every single day. Without them my iPhone experience would be somewhat unfulfilled.

It goes without saying (I hope) that these "can't live without 'em" apps are in addition to the ones that come with the phone, like Maps, Safari, Phone, Camera, Mail, Calendar, etc.

What about you? Any apps I should consider adding to my "must have" list? Do tell.

Foundation Fireworks

Cover of Foundation FireworksLast year I had the good fortune of writing a book called Foundation Fireworks CS4 about the graphics creation software Adobe Fireworks, a subject near and dear to my heart. The book is finally published and I'm long overdue in posting something here to promote it. Writing this book was a tremendously educational adventure for me. One thing I learned is that writing a book is a lot harder than I thought would be. I now fully appreciate the amount of effort and time required to write a book - regardless of the subject matter. I'm glad I was able to share the workload with some very talented designers and an outstanding editing team.

The other designers that contributed content were Matt Heerema, Hugh Griffith, Craig Erskine, Matthew Keefe and Grant Hinkson. These are some really talented designers and great authors. Also, the team at Friends of Ed (Apress) were great to work with - very helpful and very patient.

So who is this book for? Here's an excerpt that sums it up nicely:

Are you a designer looking for a new and quicker way to prototype and create for the Web? Or are you perhaps a web developer who finds most design tools to be overly complex for what you need to get done? In either case, productivity is key, and Fireworks is Adobe's Creative Suite web productivity tool of choice. So even if you're an experienced Fireworks pro who wants to keep up to date on the latest additions to Creative Suite 4, Foundation Fireworks CS4 will show you how to get the most out of Fireworks so that you maximize your efficiency without sacrificing any creativity or power.

You can learn more about the book from the Friends of Ed site here. And, if you're interested, you can buy the book on Amazon here.

Two Dot Five

Last week I saw some screenshots previewing the new WordPress 2.5 admin interface. As soon as I saw the screenshots, I knew I was going to like using the interface. The design and information architecture was done by the very talented Happy Cog people, so it is not surprising to know that the interface works well, is intuitive to use, looks fantastic and makes it fun to manage your blog.

Screenshot of WordPress admin interfaceWhat did surprise me, however, is how easy it was upgrade to the new version. Upon seeing the screenshots, I was immediately excited about upgrading, but figured the new version wouldn't be released for awhile. Much to my pleasant surprise, it was released over the weekend (I'm guessing). However, I remembered how installation-challenged I am when it comes to configuring software. These developer people make it sound so easy, but if you're a developer, it is easy. But not to me - usually, that is.

I know Dreamhost gets its fair share of criticism, but personally I have never had anything but a good experience with them. I really love their one-click installs - it made it really easy for someone like me to set up and configure my blog, databases, etc. I was hoping that they also had something like "one-click upgrades" but thought that would be too good to be true.

As it turns out, they do have a one-click upgrade feature for certain software. Fortunately for me, WordPress was one of the available upgrades. Maybe I'm easy to impress, but I was surprised it was as easy as clicking and following a couple of links. They even created a backup file of my blog directory for me. Much different than it was back in the old days when I set up my first blog (2003). To me that really demonstrates the power of what must be a very technically elegant codebase.

The only snag I had was that for some reason the new software version did not like the way I was calling include files in PHP. I was using <?php get_filename(); ?> to call includes. All I had to do was change that to <?php include "filename.php"; ?> and it everything worked like a charm.

The best thing about the whole process? It took less than 10 minutes, including the time it took to modify the PHP include calls.

Thank you, Dreamhost and THANK YOU, WordPress! Kudos to Jason, Jeffrey and Liz at Happy Cog, as well.