I feel like this blog has been a little quiet over the last couple of months, so for the loyal readers out there, here's a glimpse of what's been going on and what's coming next.

What have I been up to?

I've been focusing on Left Logic (my business) for the last couple of months, releasing two very well received applications.

HTML entities

The HTML entities lookup is both a web app and a dashboard widget that allows you to search for HTML entities by their visual likeness. So for instance, if you want to find the ë character, you search for the letter 'e', or you want to find » so you search for > or >>.

It's done really well to be picked up so far and hopefully the word will spread further. It was top for del.icio.us, was top on the popular links on (Ma.gnolia)[http://ma.gnolia], a staff pick by Apple, named at one of the top 10 widgets by engadge and dugg by Kevin Rose (though sadly not a lot of other people!).

Speech Bubbles

The speech bubbles mini projects allows you to place a speech bubble on any web site, add some text and email the link to a friend. It works using a bookmarklet and iframes on the 'public' page that creates the effects.

Here's an example speech bubble

This blog's new theme

I've been looking around to find a decent theme for some time now, and finally settled on "Illacrimo" by Design Disease. I've had to go through the theme code to make it XHTML compliant (a couple of random mistakes like missing ul tags around list elements).

I'm also working on modding the theme to allow for a wider main body. So far I've got this expand function working, but it doesn't handle the comments or the comment box yet (I've had to re-do a bunch of background images and play with the CSS on this theme to make this work). Let me know whether you think it's worth using this and expanding on it.


I've moved away from Ultimate Tag Warrior to Simply Taggging and I'm finding it much better for the latest version of WordPress. Definitely recommend it (and it imports from UTW too).

What's coming up?

Last.fm recent album artwork plugin

I've finally got around to writing the code to grab the artwork from Last.fm for the most recent track you've been listening to. I'm going to release it later this week as a WordPress plugin, equally, the code should be easily migrated to TextPattern or any other blogging software.

How to write a dashboard widget

After writing the widget for the HTML entities I realised there were a lot of bespoke ways of coding inside of Dashcode, so I've been writing my experience up and adding tips.

However, between starting the post and now, Dashcode has expired! I'm hoping that Apple will re-release it since the expiry made sense when Leopard was coming out in July, but not now that it has been delayed.

I've had a play with some of the memory debugging tools for apps, and managed to find the point in the code which performs the date comparison, but I can't work out how to patch the binary to always pass the test (or even find the source of the date to make it expire a year later). I'd be very interested if someone else out there thinks that they may be able to hack the binary to get it to work...

Code dump

I'm thinking about adding a category called 'code dump', for useful snippets of code (that go beyond the scope of a single project). It will mostly focus within JavaScript. I would make use of snipplr - but I've not had a great experience with it yet. If there's interest in this, I will add it.

My iPhone App

I've been converting my Marbles Squared to an iPhone app, starting with the initial code. I've got something working now without a decent style in place. It's playable, but there isn't a leaderboard and you can't seed games.