Bremen-based chocolate manufacturers Hachez have recently launched a new line-up of their exquisite high-percentage cocoa chocolate (and you thought this post was about programming), named "Wild Cocoa" (link is in German). Here's how it looks:
Since Hachez chocolate can be safely considered to be among the top chocolates in the world and they're based in the city where I live, I thought it would be fitting if I as a Cocoa developer gave their new lineup a try.
I went to their cozy little downtown store and purchased a 100g bar of each of the flavours (45% cocoa and 70% cocoa, respectively) which cost me exactly € 6.00 - a price I'll gladly pay for great chocolate.
I tried the 45% one first and was a little disappointed by the whole milk chocolate taste. It didn't taste bad at all, but whole milk chocolate just isn't my cup of tea.
The 70% one, however, had a lot more intense cocoa flavour and matched my taste very well. Only my superior self-control and the promise of a hot meal in due time kept me from devouring it in its entirety right there, on the spot. It was mostly the self-control, really. I'd never lie to you.
All in all, the new brand is a welcome addition to Hachez' chocolate lineup. I still maintain that the name "Wild Cocoa" could have made a great Cocoa-related blog or something.
When I first read about IKImageBrowserView, I thought that it was a really neat idea. Since I wanted to play around with new Leopard technologies anyway, this gave me a great excuse to quickly hack together a new application which combines Flickr and IKImageBrowserView. The result is really damn poor, but it looks like this:
It uses ObjectiveFlickr for querying Flickr's API and currently doesn't do much more than find 25 photos that match the tags entered in the search box in the toolbar. Oh, and on a double-click it takes you to the photo's URL in your default browser.
You can download Flickr Viewer right away, but it isn't really tested and could destroy your computer and start a thermonuclear war for all I know. You've been warned.
Fixed the welcome window so it will be displayed above other windows.
Adjusted the updates to the illumination controller to reduce flicker.
Added localization for the "About Lab Tick" window.
Fixed some small localization issues.
Improved handling of sleep/wake up events.
Added a donation menu item.
Added a donation window (don't worry, it won't bother you much).
Use Lab Tick's built-in updater or grab the disk image from the Lab Tick site.
I have been accepting donations for Lab Tick for about two weeks now, and while these were two very successful weeks, I have learnt some lessons about freeware donations.
First of all, there have been a variety of issues using Dropcash. For some reason, potential contributors who were trying to donate using the Dropcash fundraiser that I had set up were presented with a German language version of PayPal if they did not have a PayPal account and an appropriate cookie. I suspect this is because my PayPal account is registered in Germany, but it would have been nice to have the option of an English language version for contributors. I didn't notice this until a few people contacted me, mentioning issues in handling the German page.
I tried to remedy the situation by switching my PayPal account's primary language to English, but it didn't help the cause. People without the appropriate cookie would still see a German donation page. Since Lab Tick users are primarily from non-German-speaking countries, I suspect that this has accounted for a bunch of lost donations.
The reason for this is probably one of the hidden form fields that PayPal uses to initiate a transaction:
This field definitely controls the language of the PayPal page that the user is being redirected to. Dropcash doesn't use this field in their POST request to the PayPal site, so I can only assume that this was the cause for the language mixup.
Another problem that I encountered was that the Dropcash campaign system insisted on users having a PayPal account. There was no way to contribute to the campaign without an account, not even if you wanted to pay by credit card. Two potential contributors mentioned this fact in an email to me last week as this was a real show-stopper for them. They simply couldn't donate, even if they wanted to. Again, I suspect more lost donations.
This has prompted me to take action and implement donation buttons like you can see them on various sites all over the web. Fortunately, PayPal made it easy for me to set this up. In their online "Integration Center", they have an assistant for donations. I could just enter some values such as the currency, the redirection URLs and the button that I was going to use and it presented me with the HTML code that I needed to add to my website. I've chosen to set up three different buttons for the three most relevant currencies (for me), which are EUR, USD and GBP. The code for the EUR implementation looks like this now:
This has resulted in a new donation page. It's too bad that the Dropcash campaign didn't work out for me, because I really think it is a great idea and a nice implementation. They just need to sort out the issues I experienced and they should be fine.
As it turns out, my idea of setting up a wish list at Amazon wasn't too successful, which is why I'm taking down the list. However, I really need to buy a new notebook for continued development of Lab Tick. I am currently using a really old PowerBook G4 for this purpose, and the machine is just not up to the task any more. It's slow, prone to failue (I have already had two hard drives die on me) and just not fun to use anymore.
Therefore, I'm counting on all those who use and enjoy Lab Tick to help me out in purchasing a new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, a regular MacBook won't cut it as it doesn't have the backlit keyboard. I have set up a campaign at Dropcash in order to reach this goal:
I greatly appreciate all the help that you guys can give me in achieving this goal. If you can't contribute, I'd really appreciate if you spread the word about the fundraiser - for example, you can digg this!
As I've written before, I am adding a small window to Lab Tick which will notify first time users about Lab Tick's menu bar icon.
I have talked to fellow Mac developers Matt Gemmell and Sophia Teutschler about the prototypes that I have posted on this very blog and Sophia suggested that I should try to mimick the shiny little gradient that is shown on alert boxes on iPhones (for example, when you receive a text message). Note: I found this image via Google image search, so it definitely cannot be considered NDA material.
What I came up with was this:
I think it does look pretty good. Sophia suggested I should make the "Welcome To Lab Tick!" greeting embossed, which I will look into tomorrow. It's getting late and I have other things to wrap up.
Thanks to Sophia there might be a little eye candy in Lab Tick after all. ;)
Update: Here's a shot with the "Welcome To Lab Tick!" greeting embossed:
In the past, I have gotten a lot of requests from people who thought that Lab Tick did not work at all. They would double-click the icon but see no result, as Lab Tick only runs in the menu bar and has neither a Dock icon nor a window that shows upon launch.
I've been wondering how I would solve this issue for a while. Should I simply display the slider menu as soon as the app launched? No, that looks weird. Should I open the preferences window? I could, but people still might not see the menu bar item. Should I display a Growl notification? Just as pointless.