Friday, March 15, 2013

Living without Google Reader and Listen

Since I got my Android phone, I've been using Google Listen to listen to podcasts. I really liked this solution since adding another podcast to my collection was as simple as adding it to my 'Listen subscriptions' folder in Google Reader. All from within my browser, all at the click of a button. Awesome.

Listen may not have been the best podcast player - it didn't let you speed the playback up and didn't have a sleep timer. But it was simple and worked. Pity it was discontinued last year.

Now Reader is on its way out I've had to find a new solution to consume my podcasts. And I've found it in Pocket Casts. This does allow you to speed up playback and set a sleep timer - something particularly useful since I've found podcasts distract me so much I can fall asleep very quickly. I've imported my Reader OMPL file by doing the following:
  1. Read how to export Google Reader feeds here
  2. Now email the subscriptions.xml file to yourself
  3. Open the email on your phone and save the subscriptions.xml attachment to your phone - if you are using Gmail you might need to use something like GMail Attachment Download to save the attachment
  4. Use a file manager like ES File Explorer to move the file into the /PocketCasts/opml_import directory
  5. Go to Pocket Casts settings and select the Import & Export option, then click on the 'Import OPML file' option and let it do its stuff.
I really would like it if they had a web interface where I could add and manage subscriptions as easily as I did with Reader - hopefully they'll get there.

To get the subscribed podcasts to automatically download, I had to create a playlist, containing All Podcasts, with 'Auto Download' and 'Only on WiFi' selected.

For RSS consumption, I'm trying Feedly - so far I'm impressed by the presentation and its across all of the platforms - web, Android and IOS.

Organizing your photo collection

Know How podcast Episode 35 has some good tips on organizing your photo collection.

My problem was that I had EVERY photo I'd ever taken over the last 12 years! I've never deleted anything - or looked at them. I've backed them up on to 8 BluRay Discs so far.

So I needed a way to shrink my collection to a manageble, share-worthy collection. This isn't a one day job, more like something thats going to take months - so I wrote a program that would index my collection, identify duplicates, and let me step through the unique photos one at a time and tag the good ones - then I can export to a date based folder structure.

Now my collection is a more reasonable size, and structured well on the disk - I'm exporting it as I go, and loading it up in Picasa and sharing on Google+. BTW, if I exit the app, when I reopen it I can continue from where I left off.

I've got over 50000 photos, turns out nearly half are duplicates, but I'm over 20% of the way through my collection and my family are finally getting to see the photos!


PhotoSorter 0.4 available

PhotoSorter 0.4 is now available.

This is a small incremental release with a couple of changes:
  • 1 - Skip all untagged photos in the directory that the current photo is in enhancement
  • 2 - Choose to order photos by date, ascending or descending
  • 5 - Cache upcoming images so they can be stepped through quicker
  • 8 - Add '.thumbnails' to default excluded directories
  • 12 - Menu item to link to web site for information
  • 13 - Export photos to directory in format 'yyyy/yyyy-MM'
  • 14 - Remember the export directory
  • 15 - Show timestamp for photo
For more information, see

Let me know if you find this software useful, and discuss it on the group.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

vsConsole 2.0.6 available

I've released a small incremental improvement to vsConsole. This release 2.0.6 includes:

#1: Upgrade Grails to 2.2
#2: Fix table layout in application version listing
#3: Allow filtering on the Log Files/Agent listing
#4: Highlighting in log files - configurable keywords and colors via Admin/Log files
#5: Applications/Performance to show graphs of the time taken to poll the applications

Please note that in addition to the discussion group, you can raise bugs and feature enhancements here.

If you want to know more about vsConsole, please see

Download vsConsole.

vsConsole is a tool for developers and testers which lets you easily tail log files on remote servers, monitor the status and version of applications deployed to your environments, and stay informed with broadcast messaging.  Read more.

Friday, February 8, 2013

PhotoSorter 0.3 available

I've just uploaded PhotoSorter 0.3.

This is a small incremental release with a couple of changes:
  1. When the application starts, it will ping me with a unique installation id and the PhotoSorter version. This will let me know if this software is being used, so I know how much effort to put into it. Issue 7.
  2. Photos with a file path that contains "/Data.noindex/" will be ignored when importing, and if you already have imported them (using 0.2) they will be deleted from the index when the application starts. Issue 3.
Let me know if you find this software useful, and discuss it on the group.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sort out your digital photo collection

If you're like me, you've got several years (and gigs) of digital photos that you've been copying off your cameras, your phone, your wifes phone etc. Tonnes of photos, all unsorted, and some times copied more than once. How do you go about sorting out the good photos - the ones you want to share with your family - from the ones that just aren't worth sharing?
I had this problem - 10 years of photos I'd never looked at or sorted through. Sometimes I'd copied the same photos multiple times because I wasn't sure if I'd already got them. So I needed a convenient way of going through them - one by one, flagging the good ones, skipping the bad ones, eliminating the duplicates so I'd be able to export the ones I liked and share them with my family.
So, I've written a very simple application that only does one thing - sort the good from the bad. It does it like this:
  1. Import directories that contain your photos - these directories are recursively scanned and each photo is added to the database.
  2. Duplicate photos are identified so that you'll never see the same photo twice.
  3. Now, you can step through each photo one at a time - either adding the photo to your collection or skipping it.
  4. You can quit at any time, and come back and continue from where you left off later.
  5. If you copy more photos off a camera into one of the directories you imported, you can re-index the directories and they'll be added to the database.
  6. The original images are never altered or touched in any way.
  7. At any time, you can export the photos you've added to a directory - only files that don't exist will be exported so you can export to the same directory as you make progress through your collection
  8. Now you have a directory full of photos you like and want to share with your family or the world, or tinybeans, or facebook or picasa or flickr. Maybe you want to use those pictures as your screen saver - whatever, these are the photos you want to back up.
If you have the same problem as me, take a look and see if it helps you.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

vsConsole 2.0 is now available

vsConsole 2.0 is now available for download. This version includes a much nicer user interface thanks to MediaLoot, and adds new features for monitoring web applications and messaging.