Quick question: What is the best way to get back to posting on one’s blog after a long dry period? The answer is easy. Write a short post about an awesome piece of design, preferably a Mac app.
Now witness doing exactly that. The subject of todays post is not just any Mac app… it’s an ASCII art editor. And what an editor it is: Monodraw by Helftone is a nerd manifest – think Photoshop for ASCII art.
Plain text has been around for decades and it’s here to stay. Monodraw allows you to easily create text-based art (like diagrams, layouts, flow charts) and visually represent algorithms, data structures, binary formats and more. Because it’s all just text, it can be easily embedded almost anywhere.
The Monodraw beta is now publicly available. Go ahead download the trial and decide for yourself if it’s something for you. If your answer is “Yup. An ASCII art editor is most definitely what I dreamed of in those cold lonesome nights” then you can put your order in and get the early adopter price (which is 40% off aka $29.99).
As you can tell by now, I find the idea of a pro level ASCII art editor utterly cool. Since I first read about Milen Dzhumerov’s (@milend) and Atanas Mahony’s (@amahony) idea to build such an app, I couldn’t wait what these two guys bring to the table. The wait was worth it. Some of you might argue that $50 for this app is a steep price, but keep in mind: the market for an ASCII art editor is assumably smaller than for a Photoshop or Illustrator alternative. Feature-wise the price is also justified. In short: I hope $50 from enough people will support the development up to a version 2.0 someday.
Some of the use cases for the nerdy folks out there are outlined on the website. If you want to create a unique mind map or flow diagram, this is a strong contender. If you want to beef up the documentation for your latest command-line utility, go Monodraw and make them shine. Enough talk, more pics.
PS: Good to be back.
The iPhone is not a Mac. On my big fat desktop computer I have multiple the lovely ImageMagick to take care of all my image merging needs. If you’re desperate to script something, there’s a way to do it on iOS, too – it’s Dr. Drang’s infamous cleanbar script.
The strange thing with being a Mac guy is… sometimes I don’t want to overcomplicate the simplicity that iOS is (and should be)… (for me). In those cases I’m always glad when “there’s an app for that”.
One of those cases where I like it simple: image editing. More precisely, merging screen shots. Welcome to LongScreen.
For $0.99 you can…
- merge images horizontally or vertically,
- clean-up the mess behind you and delete the original shots,
- clean the statusbar (Hi Federico!) and…
- use the app with x-callback-url’s.
LongScreen makes use of the beauty that iOS 8 is or better - has brought to us: once you have created your newly merged screen shot, you’re only one tap away from passing it of to Transmit or Dropshare.
I haven’t tested the results in cleanbar, but when LongScreen cleans-up the statusbar there can be issues sometimes:
… like blur issues you see ↑ and ↓. It is iOS 8’s new transparency which provides a certain challenge.
The app is relatively young, so I’m sure those issues will get ironed out over time. I’d also like to see more options, c.f. creating a tile like…
1 2 1 3
3 4 2 4
… having an optional resize option or choosing to fill the transparent padding in-between the images with a color.
The last pet peeve is that there should be a tiny bit more documentiation on the existing URL scheme. So far I figured out that
longscreen:// will launch the app. Obvioulsy there’s also an auto-merge option since the developer is hinting at a parameter for the x-callback-url:
- Set url parameter count=0 will now find the latest image sequence and merge them automatically.
UPDATE: Here is the LongScreen x-callback-url API documentation along with merge and copy/save actions for Launch Center Pro.
It would be nice to a have a small website along with the documentation. For now, you can get it touch with Shing Cheong Cheung via Twitter or App.net.
In the end I’m glad that I have another useful addition to my screen shot tool-belt on iOS. I even find LongScreen this useful that I ignored my personal rule of not purchasing something from a developer who doesn’t have a website.
PS: Another minor wish of mine is that the rather odd time of “9:41” get’s exchanged with something visually more appealing like 8:00 or 12:00. UPDATE: On the other end, I get it after reading this (Thanks @michaelj).
Man, I love classic point and click adventures like no other gaming genre. It was the Monkey Island saga, Maniac Mansion and Sam’n’Max I grew up with.
Back then I teamed up with my best friend Alex and we bought the games together. We spend days if not weeks solving the trickier puzzles together. That was before the times of www.walkthrough-for-even-the-simplest-game.com. Whilst sometimes it felt a tinzy bit frustrating, this was an essential part of the game. The ultimate reward was longtime fun. Simply put: you had to suffer from time to time to enjoy a LucasArts adventure to its full extend.
Okay… strictly speaking this Kickstarter campaign isn’t by LucasArts, but Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick who are the masterminds behind Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island. But what gives? This is as good as it gets and I haven’t been this excited about a game since over decades.
As I wait for the final floppy disk to get shipped by Ron and Gary. I hold on to me beloved little LucasArts packaging collection (… Alex owns the other half… damn… I should go and check eBay).
If you don’t have your boxes anymore, here are some links to pass the time: