Volia vs Skitch, Hammer vs Mixture, Mailchimp and CarTunes

This week on the boagworld show, A screen capture showdown, Hammer vs Mixture, email newsletters get even easier and I rant about my car stereo.

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Paul Boag
This week on the Boagworld show, a screen capture showdown, Hammer versus Mixture; email newsletters get even easier and I rant about my car stereo.

Marcus Lillington
Hello, Paul.

Paul Boag
This is the podcast. We are recording it.

Leigh Howells
I am here too…

Marcus Lillington
Leigh is here.

Leigh Howells
Hello.

Paul Boag
The little voice. At least he is sitting up to the microphone this time, unlike last time.

Leigh Howells
Was I far? Was I? I am trying to be laid back now but I have got to lean forward.

Paul Boag
You look very tense.

Leigh Howells
It doesn’t work.

Marcus Lillington
You look uncomfortable actually with your arms folded like that.

Paul Boag
So we shot things yesterday. That was fun.

Leigh Howells
We did. We did shoot things.

Marcus Lillington
Well some people shot the odd thing. Not actual live things, you understand.

Paul Boag
No, let’s tell people that we shot small Mexican children

Leigh Howells
As they were flung through the air by a catapult. Pull! Andale andale!

Marcus Lillington
We had a Christmas do yesterday, which was quite – I thought the lunch was lovely.

Paul Boag
It was all lovely.

Leigh Howells
It was a very nice lunch.

Marcus Lillington
And Leigh, you managed to blag a room.

Leigh Howells
I did, I stayed in the lovely hotel. It had heated floors in the bathroom and it had controllable volume in the bathroom for the TV; because when I first went in it was at full blast. I thought why is the bathroom so loud? I never had a bathroom with a speaker system in it. And so it was a very nice place. Oakley Hall Hotel.

Paul Boag
There you go. Near Basingstoke

Marcus Lillington
Near Basingstoke.

Leigh Howells
Recommended.

Paul Boag
It was a beautiful kind of stately home and we went clay pigeon shooting and I felt like part of the gentry.

Marcus Lillington
Did you? Did you have your tweeds on?

Paul Boag
I wish I had. I felt like I should have.

Leigh Howells
Well it was Jane Austen who wrote about it, apparently; she lived close by. It is a very historic place and it featured in one of them, Pride and Prejudice or something…

Paul Boag
Right.

Leigh Howells
Right, yeah real proper English country home.

Paul Boag
It was.

Marcus Lillington
Well it certainly was very posh, indeed.

Leigh Howells
And, Paul, you are quite good at shooting.

Paul Boag
I know, because a bit of a shock is I have never picked up a gun in my life. I hit things and everything.

Marcus Lillington
You did.

Paul Boag
I didn’t beat you mind you. I was one point away.

Marcus Lillington
You were one point away from me and we had – the guy that does our books for us won. But yeah I’ve done it loads of times before. But I’ve never claimed to be any good at it.

Leigh Howells
Our lovely MD Christian didn’t do very well. He shot a lot of air. He had calibration problems.

Paul Boag
With his eye?

Leigh Howells
He was shooting to the right every time. He was a bit embarrassed when his wife beat him but…

Marcus Lillington
By quite a long way.

Leigh Howells
An enormous way. Much, much fun was had.

Paul Boag
I did feel very macho. It’s that moment where – we weren’t allowed to take – I don’t know about you guys but we weren’t allowed to take the cartridges in and out.

Leigh Howells
No, no, no.

Paul Boag
They had to do that. But that moment of snapping it shut.

Leigh Howells
You got to snap it shut?

Paul Boag
Oh I snapped shut.

Leigh Howells
We weren’t allowed to snap it shut.

Paul Boag
I don’t think other people were but it was very satisfying.

Marcus Lillington
I did.

Paul Boag
I just got on with it.

Leigh Howells
No, we had the very officious instructor then. A live gun, here you are and handed it to you already. You weren’t allowed to do anything.

Paul Boag
Oh ours was quite laid back.

Marcus Lillington
Quite laid back, yes. He took the cartridges out. Normally when you do they pop out, because it was silenced. And you get a bit cocky with it. There is a bin next in the stand. So as you pop it you aim the cartridges to pop out into the bin.

Paul Boag
Oh that’s very cocky.

Marcus Lillington
Very cocky and then they go on the floor. Not so cool.

Paul Boag
So there we go, that was our Christmas do. Everybody I am sure was fascinated by that because that’s what you want to hear about. Listen to other people’s Christmas party.

Leigh Howells
I didn’t elaborate on my meat sweat at all afterwards.

Paul Boag
Your meat sweat?

Marcus Lillington
Did you have a meat sweat?

Leigh Howells
Yeah there was a lot of meat in that Christmas dinner.

Marcus Lillington
It wasn’t that bad.

Paul Boag
It wasn’t bad.

Marcus Lillington
I watched Man v Food last night. He eat a 72 ounce steak.

Leigh Howells
Yeah you have made me start watching that. That’s insane.

Marcus Lillington
Adam Richman, funny man.

Paul Boag
You have been to Austin, Texas for crying out loud.

Leigh Howells
But I keep being force fed Quorn and fish. So now a big pile of meat. It’s like oh my body goes into overdrive for processing real meat.

Paul Boag
So is your wife forcing you to be vegetarian then?

Leigh Howells
It’s kind of…

Paul Boag
Quorn is horrible.

Leigh Howells
It’s not – I can’t tell anymore because I have been drip fed. So it just tastes normal now. I am not being force fed. It’s just a kind of gradual thing.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah someone has made you the food. Yeah, I just kind of, I will eat it then.

Leigh Howells
Tastes all right? I don’t have to make it.

Marcus Lillington
Exactly. I didn’t have to make it. Fair enough, although I actually might draw the line at Quorn.

Paul Boag
Yes, I think I would as well.

Marcus Lillington
Hmm, little bits of cardboard.

Leigh Howells
It’s actually some kind of fungi that’s grown in a vat. Makes it even more appealing.

Paul Boag
Oh no.

Marcus Lillington
Really? It doesn’t taste good enough to be fungi. It doesn’t though. But anyway, we tried it once about 15 years ago and I’m sure it has improved since.

Leigh Howells
Yeah the fungi is much better quality now.

Marcus Lillington
It’s grit. What’s amusing me though is the fact that we can say oh we will talk about that on the podcast – on the podcast and I can’t remember any of the things we are talking about. Oh no, don’t say that because that might be good.

Leigh Howells
That might be interesting.

Paul Boag
We have managed to witter a fair amount without ever getting to any of the topics we have…

Marcus Lillington
No but it’s bothering me now, there was something good there. What was it?

Paul Boag
Shall we move on to the first section of the show?

Leigh Howells
I don’t know anything about any of the topics because you’ve dragged me on, no idea what we are going to talk about…

Paul Boag
I told you about it before we started.

Leigh Howells
Two minutes before we started.

Marcus Lillington
So let’s talk about food more.

Paul Boag
I am trying to get the podcast on track, dear listener, but I feel like I have now lost control of this show.

Marcus Lillington
Food, yeah. It’s Christmas soon, I like food.

Paul Boag
Can we please move on?

Marcus Lillington
Oh all right then. Let’s talk about something really exciting.

Voila vs Skitch

Volia Screen Capture App
If you are a blogger or a design, a screen capture tool is one of the essential apps in your arsenal, but which is the best one out there?

Paul Boag
All right. So first up we are going to look at Voila versus Skitch and in fact the whole area of screen capturing. What do you guys use, from out of interest?

Leigh Howells
I use Jing.

Paul Boag
Jing?

Leigh Howells
Yeah, which is…

Paul Boag
Oh yes I have seen it. It’s a horrible looking, disgusting app.

Leigh Howells
It does the job really well though. I like the one-stop screen grab to URL on your clipboard, ready to paste. So I am using this for…

Paul Boag
Right.

Leigh Howells
I can just quickly grab something instantly over the link and they can see what I am looking at.

Paul Boag
One-step?

Leigh Howells
Yeah.

Paul Boag
That’s kind of quite cool.

Marcus Lillington
I wasn’t listening, sorry.

Paul Boag
Marcus, what do you use for screen capturing?

Marcus Lillington
I have got Voila, and I have never used it. I have used – what was the one I used to use?

Paul Boag
Skitch?

Marcus Lillington
No, before that. It was something that isn’t on the machine up on front of me. So I can’t remember but it will come by through but actually to be totally honest, what I tend to do is just hit Command/Control, Shift+3 and open it in Pixelmator and crop it in there…

Leigh Howells
Yeah, a lot of this stuff you want to put in a document though.

Marcus Lillington
Yes, it has to look nice.

Leigh Howells
So it’s arriving on your desktop ready to edit, that you can past into, whatever.

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Paul Boag
It does depend on use cases.

Leigh Howells
Yeah it does.

Marcus Lillington
Well I am thinking I am actually missing out an opportunity here. It will be a lot easier if I used this thing that I have got on my machine downstairs but I just don’t… So tell me what you use it for?

Paul Boag
Well it’s interesting isn’t it? There are a lot of different tools that do a lot of different things. I think the first thing to say is I am pretty sure Voila is Mac only. Let me just have a look at their website. Yes, it is a Mac only app. While Skitch, which is the other one that I want to mention is cross-platform. In fact so cross-platform that not only is it Windows and Mac, it’s also Android and iOS as well. I think it – I always used to use Skitch and I used to use Skitch religiously. It’s a great little application. Made it real easy to grab anything you want to, whether it be a whole window, the whole screen or an individual area. It is brilliant for that. You could do all of those things and then you could FTP it out wherever you wanted it or you could send it out to the Skitch site for quick sharing, a bit like Jing. Beautiful, very simple interface, works great.

Marcus Lillington
Jing is ugly though. Yes. So I was listening to what you were saying earlier. You sent me Jing things, I was like, uh-oh.

Paul Boag
I know, and I liked it.

Leigh Howells
Because it puts it in his kind of web interface. You can click and then copy that link I think but…

Marcus Lillington
Well I don’t want to.

Leigh Howells
You are not supposed to be looking at the surrounding bit, just the middle bit and that’s it.

Paul Boag
Yeah I know, but its all part of the user experience.

Leigh Howells
The experience, I know. So actually it depends on the application what you are trying to do. I use that because it’s the quickest way for me to actually get a URL of what I am looking at, to show somebody a bit. But if say you wanted to…

Paul Boag
Skitch would do that, right?

Leigh Howells
Yeah I mean perhaps they do if you explore them more. If you want a complete website, a complete page screenshot then Voila does that very well, doesn’t it?

Paul Boag
Yeah. So does Skitch

Marcus Lillington
I remembered what I used to use, Little Snapper.

Leigh Howells
Yeah.

Paul Boag
Now Little Snapper is quite an interesting one. Little Snapper, the problem I always have with Little Snapper is it was designed really for collecting things locally on your machine rather than uploading them and sharing them. And it was always a bit crackpot doing that. But it had beautiful annotation tools that created really nice kind of effects and things like that, that kind of thing. Skitch was my tool of choice for a long, long time and then Evernote bought it. And you would think me being such a ridiculously huge obsessive fan of Evernote that I would be pleased with this. But no.

Marcus Lillington
But you like to have hundreds of apps to do one job.

Paul Boag
No I don’t, that’s not true.

Marcus Lillington
Yes you do.

Leigh Howells
He does likes to have hundreds of apps.

Paul Boag
No, no, no.

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Leigh Howells
We should do a kind of mastermind test on a big range of apps and see if you know what they actually do.

Paul Boag
I could tell you very accurately what would the apps on one machine do. You can’t just pick a random app of the internet, although I probably would know how to do it.

Leigh Howells
I am looking up the list of apps that I know you bought.

Paul Boag
I bought from the app store, yeah.

Leigh Howells
Yeah.

Paul Boag
The problem with what they did with Skitch which kind of ruined it is they tied it in so closely with Evernote that now you couldn’t FTP it to anywhere other than Evernote. Don’t send it to Evernote and it all got a bit restrictive. Now they are correcting that as a problem. They have kind of recognized that that was a dumb-off thing to do. So it’s nice, it’s still a really good useful app and I use Skitch a lot. Once they allow me to FTP to my own service it will get even better because the number one use I have for these applications is grabbing stuff for blog posts.

Marcus Lillington
That’s very similar to what I want them for. But they do need to be pretty. They are not just a quick, have a look at that, oh really? Sometimes they are but usually it needs to be something that’s very well perfectly cut out and I often need to take entire website shots. And you can’t do that with…

Paul Boag
But you can do it in Skitch but Skitch’s annotation tools are not quite as pretty as some of them.

Leigh Howells
It does very pretty arrows because I am currently drawing them randomly on my screen, yeah.

Paul Boag
No, I think Skitch’s aren’t very pretty.

Leigh Howells
Those arrows are beautiful looking.

Paul Boag
No they are not. Oh, you are being sarcastic.

Leigh Howells
No.

Paul Boag
Oh you don’t really think those – you were trained as a designer.

Leigh Howells
They don’t have to be pink but the way you draw them is pretty nice.

Paul Boag
But Voila on the other hand I think – again it’s a use case thing, for quick, grab it, keep out of the way, don’t take up a lot of space I think Skitch is great. It just sits in your menu bar, it does the job, you can use the same keyboard shortcuts that you are used to Marcus from the built-in. it kind of overrides those.

Marcus Lillington
Right, okay.

Paul Boag
Yeah and adds a couple of others as well because you can capture and some other different things. And I do quite like the way that it integrates into Evernote and your sharing screen, when you share something it’s all nicely Evernote branded and it’s good, right. But if you want to do something a bit more sophisticated then check out a tool called Voila.

Marcus Lillington
I’ve got it, never opened it.

Paul Boag
Voila. Oh dear. I mean of course the other thing to say about Skitch is that it’s free, while Voila you have to pay $14.99 for, dollars that it. And Voila can do captures of a full screen, it can capture a selection, it can capture a window, a menu bar, an object; it can capture an entire web page, etc., etc. So it’s quite flexible like that. It allows you to organize things quite well. You can tag stuff and all that kind of thing but to be honest I never bother. As we were discussing in last week’s show, Pixa is the – seems to be the way to go for that kind of thing. But it has got some nice annotation tools with it.

Leigh Howells
Yeah I’m looking at those now. I’ve never actually clicked the tools and effects tabs before but there is loads of stuff.

Paul Boag
Yeah, that’s where it gets quite interesting. So you can put in things like – you could create a stamp that goes over the top of something. So if you want to watermark an image you could do that. You can blur bits out, you can erase bits, you can make call outs.

Marcus Lillington
That’s good.

Paul Boag
That are – very easy to customize and look the way you want them to look, which is great.

Marcus Lillington
I really should use this, shouldn’t I?

Paul Boag
It’s a good – it is a really good tool.

Marcus Lillington
Seeing as though I’ve got it – and it costs money.

Leigh Howells
Yeah.

Paul Boag
But where – but what I – what I particularly like is the effects.

Leigh Howells
The spotlight is good.

Paul Boag
Spotlight is a really good one. So that allows you to, say if there is one particular part of an image that you want to highlight. You can draw a box around it and it will darken everything else and blur that out slightly and just focus on the one bit that you wanted to do.

Marcus Lillington
Nice.

Paul Boag
So that’s really nice, like that a lot.

Marcus Lillington
Good for reports, that is.

Paul Boag
Absolutely. Then once you’ve done that you can – once you’ve got your image the way you wanted to, you can then mail it, you can send it to iPhoto but most importantly – so we’ve now got a massive helicopter going by

Leigh Howells
Oh, that’s a biggy by the sounds of it.

Paul Boag
That is a chunky…

Marcus Lillington
A Chinook.

Paul Boag
…a two-blade jobby. Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
Down from Odiham.

Leigh Howells
Near me.

Paul Boag
You can then publish it to whatever you want, FTP or whatever else or you could just drag it out.

Marcus Lillington
Okay.

Paul Boag
It doesn’t – there are a couple little niggles I have – oh, the one other big thing that it can do, which I forgot to mention, is it can do screen recording as well…

Marcus Lillington
Oh.

Paul Boag
…which is quite nice. So it’s like…

Leigh Howells
Screen recording?

Paul Boag
Yeah, it’s nowhere near as good as Screenflow, but it is still pretty good.

Leigh Howells
Right. Audio as well?

Paul Boag
I don’t know about that.

Leigh Howells
I can see the record button – ah, yeah.

Paul Boag
So it’s pretty good. Yeah there are a couple of little things that I don’t like as much about it. It is a bit funny. You – if say for example, I wanted to upload this image to the web via a web form rather than using FTP. So for example, I talked, didn’t I, previously on the show about how I now upload all of my blog images via WordPress so that they are crunched down and made as small as possible, do you remember we talked about that?

Marcus Lillington
I do remember you talking about that.

Paul Boag
So what you can’t – with Skitch, I can just drag the image directly out of Skitch into the web browser and it will upload it. For some reason Voila won’t let you do that. You have to first of all drag it to your desktop or somewhere on your computer and then drag it into whatever web application you want to insert it into.

Marcus Lillington
Okay.

Paul Boag
The other thing it won’t do is when it does full window screen captures, so you want to capture an application window, it insists on putting a shadow around it, right. You know the shadow that an application has, which is – which then means you have to go in and manually crop it down tight to the image while with Skitch you can turn that on or off whether you want it to capture the shadow or not. So that’s a little bit annoying. The resizing is pretty good. You can resize images quite well but again not quite as good as Skitch. So this is my problem and perhaps why it’s…

Leigh Howells
All software. I know exactly what you mean, they just don’t all do it all.

Paul Boag
No.

Leigh Howells
You want one that does everything.

Paul Boag
Yes. You want one that does everything right…

Leigh Howells
And looks perfectly – that looks great.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
Basically, I have said this once on Twitter, basically I need an army of iOS and Mac developers at my beck and call.

Leigh Howells
I want a bit of that, a bit of that, a bit of that, please. So all in one.

Paul Boag
Make it happen.

Leigh Howells
Do it.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
So these are both really good apps. Check them out but – I mean, if you’re not doing loads and loads of screen captures and you’re not particularly fussy then Skitch is a no-brainer, because it’s free. But Voila, if you’re doing lots of blog posts like I am or where you’re putting lots of images into presentations or whatever else then Voila is definitely worth a look. So check that out. In terms of Skitch’s iOS app, that’s quite interesting as well. Being able to quickly grab stuff, web pages or elements and then upload them quickly online and share them, it’s pretty useful as well. Obviously it’s a lot more limited in what it can do but that’s worth checking out as well and they have an Android version.

Leigh Howells
Oh okay. I didn’t realize it was on iOS as well. Oh, right.

Paul Boag
Oh yes and it’s got a iPad app and a iPhone app. So it really is quite flexible and varied. So that is screen capture.

Leigh Howells
There is also Jing of course.

Paul Boag
And there is Jing.

Leigh Howells
Which is ugly apparently. But it works.

Paul Boag
But you have one less click from the sounds of it. If – on Skitch – let me think about it, I’m going to actually use Skitch. Let’s see. We’ll do a comparison. So if I want to grab something on Skitch I have to go Command, Shift+4. I draw my block then that’s grabbed it to Skitch but then I have to press one extra button to then upload that.

Leigh Howells
See, look at that. How inefficient.

Paul Boag
So yours does it straight away.

Leigh Howells
Straight to the clipboard. See that’s the reason I like it, I think

Paul Boag
That is nice, I’ll give you that. Well done. Okay. Now I think that wraps up design tools for this week. Leigh has justified his existence as a human being and we shall move on.

Hammer vs Mixture

Screenshot of the Hammer App running on a mac
Hammer and Mixture both have the potential to make our lives much easier as front end coders.

Paul Boag
All right, so there has been a lot of excitement recently amongst developers. They get very over-excited do those developers – you can’t shut them up – over something called Hammerformac.com. Hammer, yes this is really, this is quite an interesting…

Marcus Lillington
Pink Floyd, “The Wall” logo.

Leigh Howells
Yes, it has, doesn’t it?

Paul Boag
Is it?

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, that is what it is.

Leigh Howells
Yeah. Slightly less kind of fascist looking though.

Marcus Lillington
Yes, yes.

Leigh Howells
It’s that 3D rendered nice looking hammers there.

Paul Boag
I – I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Marcus Lillington
Oh Paul.

Leigh Howells
Paul.

Paul Boag
Because I am ignorant. I apologize for my ignorance. So, Hammer is a web development tool. Right, imagine a scenario – let’s take the Headscape website.

Leigh Howells
Let’s imagine that scenario, can we have some kind of harp sound? A sound over….

Paul Boag
And if it was TV you it would be a wobble effect.

Leigh Howells
It would. Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
And there we are – here we are…

Leigh Howells
We’re there.

Marcus Lillington
… in your imagination.

Paul Boag
In the scenario. No this actually is a real – this is a real scenario. You know when we decided with – when we last did the Headscape site…

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Leigh Howells
What – last week, was it?

Paul Boag
One of the many times. No, it was a while ago now. I was thinking it’s time for a remodel. So, the Headscape website we – it used to be on Expression engine, was it?

Leigh Howells
Yes it was.

Paul Boag
Yeah. And it’s been on various content management systems over the years. They have always been a vague pain in the ass. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with them but none of us ever bothered to maintain them or do anything with them particularly. And they – and so I thought this time round, screw it. I’m just going to build a flat HTML site.

Leigh Howells
Yeah. I’ve been meaning to ask you, is it just flat?

Paul Boag
It’s just a flat HTML site.

Leigh Howells
Is it a Dreamweaver site?

Paul Boag
No it’s not a Dreamweaver site.

Leigh Howells
Nothing wrong with that. You know but – you know, it would have gone full circle. If it was, it would be quite cool.

Paul Boag
No, it’s not a Dreamweaver site.

Leigh Howells
What is it then?

Paul Boag
It’s just flat HTML, right. And I did it like that because it was like, oh well we all know…

Marcus Lillington
That’s for you, Paul, there you go.

Paul Boag
Okay, that’s the Pink Floyd.

Marcus Lillington
The hammer, the Pink Floyd hammer logo.

Leigh Howells
How can you have not seen The Wall? It’s epic.

Paul Boag
I have heard the music.

Leigh Howells
You’ve heard the music, you just never – you’ve just never seen the film?

Marcus Lillington
I never liked the…

Paul Boag
Is there a film?

Leigh Howells
Yeah, Gerald Scarfe animation and you know it’s very, very powerful.

Marcus Lillington
Dark. Dark.

Leigh Howells
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington
I didn’t like the album very much; the odd track but yeah the film is something else.

Paul Boag
Oh right. I forgot what I was saying. This is what happens when Marcus is on the show.

Leigh Howells
Flat HTML site.

Paul Boag
Don’t pretend you were listening.

Marcus Lillington
I wasn’t.

Paul Boag
So, we decided to build this flat HTML site, we’ve got a whole kind of company of web designers. We can write HTML, why do we need it to be a – managed by a content management system? And then I discovered the problem, after I built it.

Leigh Howells
What was the problem, Paul?

Paul Boag
Well the problem is – is that if there is – it isn’t a big problem but, for example, every page has a subscription form on it, right? Or a – sorry, a contact us form. Right?

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
So that has to be replicated across every page of the site.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
You see where this is going.

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Paul Boag
Every page of the site has a header and a footer.

Leigh Howells
But you see, if you were to use Dreamweaver you could use library items.

Paul Boag
You could use library items.

Leigh Howells
Which would have done the job perfectly well.

Paul Boag
It would have.

Leigh Howells
You’d still have a flat site, it would have just been a little bit more automated and intelligent.

Paul Boag
Yeah, absolutely. I knew you were going to say that. I mean the other option obviously is you could use PHP.

Leigh Howells
You could use PHP as well, yeah.

Paul Boag
Yeah, but there are a lot – I don’t want to code back in and turn everything into a PHP driven site and yeah, blah. So what are my options? Well Hammer actually is a really good option here. It – what it enables…

Leigh Howells
Which you found afterwards.

Paul Boag
Which I found afterwards. But it was only released afterwards, to be fair.

Leigh Howells
Okay, that’s all right then.

Paul Boag
So, basically it allows you to do a lot of the things that you would maybe traditionally do in PHP, but actually it’s kind of – it’s a compiler essentially with some extra stuff built into it. Now, it’s quite interesting, I think the main use for this kind of thing would be in prototyping. You know, if you wanted to churn out a quick HTML prototype of something, this is a really great tool for it. But you could use it on a live site as well. So, just to give you a kind of sense of what it does, it’s got HTML include. So instead of having to do a PHP include, you can just put in certain Hammer specific tags and it will then pull in the related files. So you can go – put a comment tag in, which is @include and then the name of whatever it is the HTML file you want to pull in and it pulls them in.

But it doesn’t just kind of stop there. It will also support things like Coffescript and SASS. So it will compile that. So it’s a bit like Codekit, in the fact that it’s a compiler. But it will compile HTML rather than just CSS, if that makes sense. But it also does SASS and Coffeescript. It doesn’t do LESS, which is really annoying because that’s what I use.

It does some other cool stuff in it as well. You could have variables and helpers. So you can set new variables in your template files and kind of bend the templates to your will, so to speak, that they’ll do what you want them to do. So you can add classes to your HTML. So for example, if you’ve got a menu bar, it could still be an include but you can have a select, something with a class selected so you know what the current section is etc.

Leigh Howells
Right. Yeah, good.

Paul Boag
It has got clever paths in as well. So instead of having to put in the long path of where something is, you could just drop in a @path and it will find where it is for you. And then it also does this kind of auto-refresh thing. So you can see what’s happening as you’re doing it.

Leigh Howells
I like auto-refresh.

Paul Boag
I know. It’s the same as Codekit does.

Leigh Howells
Yeah. Yeah. Oh it’s there magically. I didn’t have to do anything.

Paul Boag
Yes, absolutely. So it looks really, really interesting and then obviously at the end of it you can – one-click publish. And you can actually obviously output the code for yourself but also you can publish to their own kind of web service, which will have a kind of unique short URL that you could share with clients to get feedback and that kind of thing.

Leigh Howells
So you still end up with a flat HTML site.

Paul Boag
So you still end up with a flat…

Leigh Howells
No PHP?

Paul Boag
No, exactly. All right. So that’s the kind – now what have we got going by?

Leigh Howells
We’ve got the bin men coming past now.

Paul Boag
Bin men now.

Leigh Howells
Hello bin men.

Paul Boag
Bin men. Hello bin men.

Leigh Howells
They got out their Chinook, they got into their bin lorry and they’re driving up and down.

Paul Boag
Just to annoy us. So that’s Hammer. But I haven’t finished.

Marcus Lillington
Ooh, there’s more.

Paul Boag
It gets better. There is more. Well this – Hammer is what is available at the moment, right. And – but it is – but there is something else coming along called Mixture, right. And interestingly both applications have been produced within a few miles of one another, fairly independently I think.

Marcus Lillington
Well literally, geographically.

Paul Boag
Geographically. They both seem to be from Bathway.

Marcus Lillington
Oh right.

Paul Boag
Which is really bizarre. But Mixture isn’t yet available to the public. But I think it has the potential to be above and beyond. Kind of, it’s Hammer for the hardcore people. And I think it does a lot more than that. First thing to say about Mixture – you can check out Mixture, there will be a link in the show notes so you can go and see their site at the moment. It’s cross-platform, all right. So it’s not…

Marcus Lillington
Looking at it now.

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Leigh Howells
I’m trying to find it. What was the URL?

Paul Boag
Are you? It’s mixture.io.

Marcus Lillington
Mixture.io.

Leigh Howells
Oh right.

Marcus Lillington
IO?

Paul Boag
IO.

Marcus Lillington
What does that mean? Where is that from?

Paul Boag
Hi-ho, hi-ho…

Marcus Lillington
Sorry that’s terrible.

Paul Boag
It’s cross-platform, which is great. And – another really nice thing about it is it looks the same across all platforms, right. So it hasn’t got a Mac-y interface in one place and a Windows-y interface in another. So if you use it on one you can use it on all, it will behave exactly the same. And also you can share files between the Mac and Windows. So, for example, you can create – you as a designer on your Mac can create a lovely website that’s built for Mixture and then you pass it across to your developers that are Windows based and everything will work great. It has LESS built into it, which is great for me, yay! It has also got a bit more intelligent SASS support I think than Hammer from what I’ve seen. I’ve been playing with the demo of this and…

Leigh Howells
Okay, there is a demo available for everybody or just for special people? Yeah.

Paul Boag
No, only for special people, like me. It is getting there, it won’t be long, I don’t think, before they open it up. It’s really fast, it’s blazingly fast. It’s also got, as well a support for SASS and LESS, it has got support for Stylus, which I have no idea what that is and for Compass support as well. It has got lots of optimization. So it minifies stuff that you produce as well, which is great. They’ve got a Chrome extension for it. So this is really cool. So you can preview something in Chrome – I wish Codekit would do this, right? You know what happens when you – have you used LESS in anger?

Leigh Howells
Yeah. Well I don’t know about anger; I’m getting slightly annoyed.

Paul Boag
Yeah. LESS is slightly – well one of the things that probably slightly annoys you, right, is you go to – you view your website after it has compiled it and outputted it and an item is wrong, isn’t it? It doesn’t – it’s not been rendered as you wanted it to.

Leigh Howells
Yeah, pretty much always.

Paul Boag
Yeah, pretty much always. So you right click on that item, you view the – sorry you inspect the element and you get all of the CSS out of it, correct? Where is that in the LESS file? Because the CSS that it’s returning is the compiled version.

Leigh Howells
Compiled version, yeah.

Paul Boag
So then you have to kind of go back and search through your LESS file or your SASS file or whatever else and find the right place.

Leigh Howells
Work out how it’s generated, yeah.

Paul Boag
This has a Chrome extension that does that for you.

Leigh Howells
So it does what – so it gives you…

Paul Boag
It will tell you where in the original file it is rather than where it is in the compiled file.

Leigh Howells
Oh, okay. Yeah, so it’s obvious now that I need that but I didn’t know I needed it until you just explained the thing I’d been doing without realizing I’m doing it.

Paul Boag
Yeah. Exactly, yeah. Hammer seems to be a lot more static while Mixture seems much more dynamic in some of the cut – stuff you can do. They’ve got this very sophisticated layout template and include thing. They’ve got their own kind of – this is another aspect that I really like about Mixture and the way they’re going. They’re almost going – they will probably hate me for describing it like this, but they’re almost going like Dribble for coders, right? So you can upload the stuff that you’ve produced to their own website, to the Mixture website, and you’ll have a username and log in and all of that kind of stuff but you can create a profile for yourself.

Leigh Howells
Okay. Yeah.

Paul Boag
Right. And you can share stuff, if you choose to make it public you can choose to do that, or you could keep it password protected so only your clients can see it. But it means that in effect you can kind of show off the work you do to other people if you want to and the code that you’re producing.

Leigh Howells
Oh, okay.

Paul Boag
So it almost ends up – your profile almost ends up like a working portfolio of the stuff that you’re producing. So it’s more of a community I think than Hammer is, which you may or may not need.

You could also download, obviously, the static HTML so you could go off with that do stuff with it, fairly obviously. But also it starts – when you start a Mixture project you can start a project from scratch with a whole load of different boiler plates. As you know everybody has these kind of starting points, don’t they?

Leigh Howells
Yeah, yeah

Paul Boag
And there are a lot of kind of well-known official ones like HTML boilerplate or whatever. Well they’re not official but widely adopted.

Leigh Howells
Yes.

Paul Boag
But also a lot of people create their own. Well Mixture will allow you to start with any of those HTML boiler plates or start with one of your if you want.

Here is another thing that Mixture has got, which Hammer hasn’t. It’s got a to-do list in it, right. So what you can do is as you’re going through your – and I did this – when I was doing the Boagworld site, right, as I was building up the templates for that, I wouldn’t – because I hadn’t produced the final WordPress site, as I was doing the templates I’d leave hrefs blank because I knew had to fill them in later once I knew what the final URL was going to be, right.

Leigh Howells
Right, yes, yeah.

Paul Boag
What inevitably happens?

Leigh Howells
Yeah, you forget all about it.

Paul Boag
You forget all about it, you put the site live and there is a lot of links that don’t work.

Leigh Howells
Ooh, it’s not working.

Paul Boag
In this, you can drop a comment in, right, saying remember to put in the link here and in the kind of Mixture panel, it comes up with all those to dos and you can click on one and it’ll jump to the right file in the right place.

Leigh Howells
That’s good, yeah. That’s a neat idea.

Paul Boag
Brilliant little idea, loved that. They can do all kinds of – you can – it validates your code if you want it to do that. It can do all kinds of clever stuff where if you’ve got multiple JavaScript includes, it can pull those together into a single JavaScript file instead of having multiple ones, which is better for performance. Do the same with CSS as well. And it will minimize your images. So it – Mixture is like Hammer on steroids.

Leigh Howells
Oh right. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, sounds really good.

Paul Boag
It does sound really good. If I’m honest, the down side of it is it’s got so much power and so much functionality it feels a bit intimidating.

Leigh Howells
Yeah. Is there is a lot of – do you have to set up a lot to get all this working or does it just do it.

Paul Boag
Well it just – yes it does just do it but you – there is still a lot to learn, if that makes sense.

Leigh Howells
You have to know what it’s done I suppose.

Paul Boag
Well you also – a lot of those things require an action on your part. So for example, if you want to start doing variables and templates and layouts and all that kind of stuff, you need to go and set it, you know, you need to build it with that stuff in mind so it’s like learning a whole ‘nother syntax.

Leigh Howells
You have to read the documentation through.

Paul Boag
You have to – that’s the problem. That’s the problem; you have to read the manual.

Leigh Howells
You have to read it.

Paul Boag
But – I know the feeling. But I think very quickly people will start to find the edges of Hammer and the limitations of what it’ll do and I feel like Mixture is the next step on from that. You know, as I look at the HeadScape site, would I do it with Hammer or would I do with Mixture, I’m really not sure. I think if you’ve got to get up and running very, very quickly I think Hammer is the way to go. If you want power and flexibility and all of those extras, then Mixture is the way to go. It’s the old story, it’s not ever black and white with these things, is there – is it?

Leigh Howells
At least the documentation actually looks very nice and there is tutorials; just looking at the Mixture side.

Paul Boag
Yes, I mean they really have made an effort to get you through this.

Leigh Howells
Yes.

Paul Boag
At the moment some of the stuff is – there is a configuration file, a JSON configuration file. That instantly sounds really intimidating. But I am assured that that’s going to be become a GUI, there’s going to be a GUI element that updates that for you, for thickies like me. So I had quite a long chat with the people behind it and I’m quite excited by it, I think it has got a lot of potential. But truth is, it’s not out yet, Hammer is, so.

Leigh Howells
I’m going to sign up for the preview right now.

Paul Boag
Are you?

Leigh Howells
Yeah.

Paul Boag
There you go.

Leigh Howells
I’m going to be special too.

Paul Boag
You can be special too. So go check out both Hammer and Codekit. If you’re – obviously if you’re a Windows developer then you’ll – not Codekit, Hammer or Mixture. If you’re a Windows developer it will have to be Mixture, if you’re a Mac developer you’ve got the choice, because you’re special. And yeah, compare and contrast and play to your heart’s content. So there we go. Let’s move on.

Yes, so I noticed you hardly said anything in that last section. I didn’t feel like we had your full attention.

Marcus Lillington
I was nodding off. No, I was looking around the Internet, is that okay?

Paul Boag
Yeah, fine.

Leigh Howells
I like that Internet thing, there’s a lot to look at, isn’t there? There’s loads of stuff.

Marcus Lillington
There is. You can keep going.

Leigh Howells
Yeah, around…

Paul Boag
It’s too much to look at. It goes on forever. You can lose days of your life.

Leigh Howells
It’s going to catch on, definitely.

The Mailchimp WYSIWYG editor

Screesnhot of the Mailchimp WYSWIG editor
The Mailchimp WYSIWYG editor makes it easy for anybody to create stunning email newsletters that work seamlessly across a huge range of email clients, including mobile.

Marcus Lillington
So, MailChimp, we’ve already looked at MailChimp.

Paul Boag
Yes, we have already looked…

Marcus Lillington
Why are we looking at MailChimp again?

Leigh Howells
Is this a new angle?

Paul Boag
Well okay, I did toy – there was something else I could have done instead but I’m just so excited by this that I wanted to become back to it, right. Because…

Marcus Lillington
So excited.

Paul Boag
All right, that might have been an exaggeration but I now have to do – every flipping week I have to send out a newsletter, right?

Leigh Howells
Yes.

Paul Boag
For ages, I copped out, didn’t I? And I sent, you know, one that went out automatically. But now I hand-write every week a newsletter that goes out. Subscribe to it by the way, it’s brilliant. Go to Boagworld.com…

Marcus Lillington
Fantastic. I get it.

Leigh Howells
You hand-write it? What, you use a pencil?

Paul Boag
Write it out – no, I mean it’s not automated.

Marcus Lillington
In fountain pen.

Paul Boag
So, go to Boagworld.com, hit subscribe, fill in your information and every week you will get a gem from me.

Leigh Howells
Oh I see, rather than just sending out like the complete…

Paul Boag
Yeah.

Leigh Howells
The script of the show.

Paul Boag
Exactly

Marcus Lillington
The script of the show and I’m thinking, why is he sending that out?

Leigh Howells
It’s 1,000 pages long, what is all this?

Paul Boag
I know, I know. It’s because I couldn’t be arsed. But one of the problems is that on HTML email templates

Leigh Howells
Yeah, pain.

Paul Boag
You just want to lose – you lose the will to live. You want it to be attractive and you want it to be nice but really do I have to do that? And you know the next thing that came along. Next thing is all of a sudden now it’s got to be responsive.

Leigh Howells
I hadn’t thought about that, yeah.

Paul Boag
I just don’t care. I don’t care that much about my readership to be bothered to do that.

Leigh Howells
Shock, horror.

Paul Boag
I know, it is shocking. So, then I discovered this is really cool new tool that MailChimp have built into their system.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah you showed me this the other day. Actually I was – I was vaguely impressed.

Leigh Howells
Vaguely. That’s a recommendation.

Paul Boag
So, it’s basically – you’ll like this, Leigh…

Leigh Howells
Yeah?

Paul Boag
It’s Dreamweaver, for email HTML newsletters.

Leigh Howells
Okay.

Paul Boag
So you can – look, look, look it’s really…

Marcus Lillington
It really does work.

Paul Boag
It’s a brilliant thing. So you can basically go in, you get your basic template that – and you can go in and set the colors and the typography and that kind of stuff. And then essentially you build up your page in a series of modules. So you say, I want a big image at the top, so you drag in an image module. Then you select the image and add that. And then you go okay, next I want two columns worth of text, so you drag in the text field and set two columns and you just fill in the gaps.

Leigh Howells
Okay.

Paul Boag
Then you say I want a divider in here so I’m going to drag in my divider line and the divider will go in and next I want to do – well I want an image but I want text next to it so I drag that module in and you just build it up like that.

Leigh Howells
That sounds Noddy and fool proof.

Paul Boag
It’s brilliant. It is so, so good.

Leigh Howells
Cool. And it’s responsive when it puts it?

Paul Boag
And it’s responsive. So when you then view it on the iPhone it takes that image which had text…

Leigh Howells
Puts it underneath

Paul Boag
…next to it and shoves it round so it’s underneath and all the rest of it.

Leigh Howells
So now you can do your newsletters in a fraction of the time.

Paul Boag
And it looks good as well; it looks really good.

Leigh Howells
Yeah, it does

Marcus Lillington
It does. I was amazed.

Leigh Howells
Vaguely amazed.

Paul Boag
So, I absolutely highly recommend it. Really there is nothing else to say on that. But we should be – I think people, especially us as kind of tech gurus, we’re a bit over email aren’t we? Do you know what I mean? It’s like, email is just a pain in the ass and we hate it.

Marcus Lillington
No, I love it.

Paul Boag
I don’t know where to go with that. Nobody ever says that.

Marcus Lillington
Email is fantastic, of course it is. This is my point, you just have to have a hundred things to do, stuff that email – email will do loads of things. It’s great.

Paul Boag
Okay. I just don’t know where to go with that. I’m not used people saying they like email.

Marcus Lillington
Why wouldn’t you? I don’t get why you wouldn’t.

Paul Boag
Because it’s annoying.

Marcus Lillington
No – it’s annoying.

Paul Boag
You just get so much of it.

Leigh Howells
I am somewhere between the two of you, I’m neither dead against email or dead for it. I’ve sort of…

Marcus Lillington
You get so – what you mean you get spam?

Leigh Howells
…it’s just a fact of life.

Paul Boag
Yeah. It has almost been killed as a mechanism for communication.

Leigh Howells
That’s because you’ve filtered everything away into little baskets so nobody bothers you. You’ve got little filter rules on everything don’t you?

Paul Boag
But that – yeah, I do. But’s that’s because I get so much spam…

Marcus Lillington
Spam crap, hassle.

Paul Boag
… and junk and hassle and – it’s just pain – it’s just pain and misery e-mail.

Leigh Howells
Perhaps that’s why you don’t like it so much.

Marcus Lillington
When I open my inbox, it’s just like – it’s almost like – it’s just like ooh, something new…

Leigh Howells
Ooh, something new.

Paul Boag
I was like that in like 1994.

Leigh Howells
Ooh, something new. And again.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah when you instantly know what’s rubbish then there’s a delete button there; boom, it’s gone.

Paul Boag
You’re instantly interrupted with a piece of junk…

Leigh Howells
I like junk.

Paul Boag
… that I don’t care about.

Leigh Howells
I like junk mail. Ooh look what’s come out.

Marcus Lillington
Some of it makes me laugh, actually

Leigh Howells
Some of it is quite funny.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah.

Paul Boag
Anyway.

Marcus Lillington
I’ve been getting spam email from a company that does industrial piping for years.

Leigh Howells
Ooh.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, I keep up – keep up with how they’re getting on and everything.

Leigh Howells
I get industrial LED lighting – lots of LED lighting.

Marcus Lillington
Well it’s – you know the big stuff that they get – you get outside Aberdeen airport for oil, you know. Like, why are they sending this to me? I’ve obviously been to Aberdeen and they’ve recognized this somewhere so I get piping, you know, big stuff piping.

Leigh Howells
I’ve just realized something. I’ve started buying LED lights for the kitchen and things…

Marcus Lillington
They’re really expensive though.

Leigh Howells
They’re not.

Marcus Lillington
Yes, they are.

Paul Boag
Not anymore. No.

Leigh Howells
No, no, no. I got four for a tenner.

Marcus Lillington
What?

Leigh Howells
Spotlights.

Marcus Lillington
Are these the ones that are the really kind of cold blue ones?

Leigh Howells
No, you can get warm ones and they’re three watts each. So that’s 12 watts for a – what is that three times four…

Marcus Lillington
That’s right, yeah.

Leigh Howells
Rather than like 200.

Paul Boag
You don’t count…

Leigh Howells
So I’ve been subliminally sold to by my LED email.

Marcus Lillington
Influenced. No, LED lights are better now. The ones in my kitchen, when they go ‘pop’, out like – whole house goes out. Or the lighting circuit every time.

Leigh Howells
What goes pop?

Marcus Lillington
I’ve got all the – not LEDS…

Leigh Howells
The halogen-ey thingeys

Paul Boag
Halogen is a nightmare.

Marcus Lillington
Eight of them in the kitchen, one goes pop- boom

Leigh Howells
Oh right, I have never had one going pop.

Paul Boag
Because my office has got three sets. Why are we talking about lights? I’ve got three sets of lights.

Leigh Howells
Spam. See this is what spam does to life.

Marcus Lillington
It’s interesting, Paul.

Leigh Howells
We’re now spamming the podcast.

Paul Boag
Shut up. Three sets of lights with four lights on each set, if that makes sense, sort of three strips. So that’s a lot of lights. And I used to through halogen like nobody’s business, put LED in there, no problem. Much more economical.

Marcus Lillington
Yeah, I’ve been tempted. Then of course a bulb won’t go in the kitchen for like a year, that’s like I’m glad I didn’t spend a lot of money in LED. I get a whole extra year out of it!

Paul Boag
Then they go pop, pop, pop!

Leigh Howells
So they cost you the price in electricity over that time that you could have spent on the bulb.

Paul Boag
Yes, see.

Leigh Howells
My hotel room last time had so many light bulbs in it, it was ludicrous. It had about 20 on the ceiling with a little control panel for like percentage of dimmability.

Marcus Lillington
Oh right. There is always one though that you can’t find the off switch for.

Leigh Howells
Actually I couldn’t so – I didn’t know how to turn the lights off, I had to pull the card out of it. I couldn’t work it out.

Marcus Lillington
There you go. You said my point. Somebody else’s point actually, I saw on Twitter the other day.

Paul Boag
I am just going to go I think. I feel that this show has got out of my control.

Leigh Howells
We’re just chatting now.

Marcus Lillington
Email is wonderful. I just don’t get, that you don’t like it.

Paul Boag
Anyway. The point I was making is I think the vast majority of people still do use email a lot more than perhaps we think they do as designers and developers.

Marcus Lillington
Everybody uses email all the time.

Paul Boag
Okay, right, but there is this attitude that HTML and sort of, the email marketing amongst certain groups of designers – email marketing is a waste of time, all right. Which I’m agreeing with yes, it is wrong, there is also another attitude that HTML emails are even worse.

Marcus Lillington
Yes, that’s been around for a while.

Paul Boag
But the truth is that they get a far better conversion rate than, than you think

Marcus Lillington
True, and the one you showed me the other day. It looked really good.

Paul Boag
Yes, absolutely.

Leigh Howells
So, hurrah!

Paul Boag
So I think this is a superb tool and I think we should be using it.

Marcus Lillington
This is certainly well worth putting out on to the podcast. I can’t believe you didn’t do it earlier.

Paul Boag
And please, please can we now move on.

CarTunes

CarTunes Screenshot
CarTunes is a great mobile app for controlling music in your car without crashing. It also shows up the terrible user interface design you see in most car stereos.

Paul Boag
So I’m finishing off by me ranting about car stereos. I hate car stereos. I’ve just bought a new car stereo.

Leigh Howells
Marcus loves car stereos.

Paul Boag
They’re the worst designed things in the world.

Leigh Howells
I never use mine. My iPhone is always plugged in.

Paul Boag
Yeah, exactly right. And you control everything via the iPhone.

Leigh Howells
Yes.

Paul Boag
Right. Have you got a stereo that can control the iPhone?

Leigh Howells
No.

Paul Boag
Right.

Leigh Howells
Have you now?

Paul Boag
Yeah I have, bloody waste of time, right. I wanted to buy a new stereo because I wanted to get a stereo that had Bluetooth in it.

Leigh Howells
Right.

Paul Boag
Or a USB or both.

Leigh Howells
Yeah yeah.

Paul Boag
So I could charge my phone and listen to the music on it.

Leigh Howells
Right.

Paul Boag
So what I ended up getting is one that’ll actually allow you to control the iPhone.

Leigh Howells
What, has it got like a little 3.5 inch screen?

Paul Boag
No.

Leigh Howells
Which is touch sensitive.

Paul Boag
No, it’s just all these buttons on it.

Leigh Howells
Right, okay.

Paul Boag
But it’s the worst design and every stereo I look at is equally ridiculously bad. This is going somewhere by the way.

Marcus Lillington
I can’t attach mine to my car, I need to spend 260 pounds with Mercedes to get the Bluetooth device to use it as a phone which I assume means once I can do that I can then play it through the stereo.

Paul Boag
That’s why I decided…

Marcus Lillington
I’ve got a seven CD thing so I was playing music from this.

Paul Boag
So that’s why it just replaces stereo. I took out the default one that was in there and put the new one and I spend 200 quid, rather than 250.

Marcus Lillington
Can’t do that with Mercedes. It’s got a big TV screen in the middle of it.

Paul Boag
Well you can actually.

Marcus Lillington
Can you ?

Paul Boag
Yes. It is possible.

Leigh Howells
That’s a two-din kind of adapter-ey thing isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington
Honestly I shall go and show you.

Paul Boag
I don’t know what you mean, yes, it is possible but anyway, the point is right – so just let me describe to you my stereo for a moment, okay. So normal stereo with a series of buttons along one, two, three, four, five, six that kind of thing for the different presets, then a big knob that you can – don’t laugh at that, Leigh.

Leigh Howells
Good job there’s a spit shield here.

Paul Boag
Oh God. You are a greying middle aged man.

Leigh Howells
I am 12 inside.

Paul Boag
So there is a large button.

Marcus Lillington
Dial, a large dial.

Paul Boag
That can either be pressed in or turned, right. Now if I said to you which of the – what do you do to pause the music playing from your iPhone? Your natural reaction would be to press the big knob, yes?

Leigh Howells
My natural reaction is…

Paul Boag
No, right. So put the primary thing that you do on that user interface.

Marcus Lillington
That will just turn it off.

Paul Boag
No it doesn’t do that either.

Marcus Lillington
Okay.

Paul Boag
It initializes the menu, right. Turning it does put the volume up and down. The main thing to do is play and pause stuff and just turn the volume up and down isn’t it really. So turning the volume up and down, they’ve got right, is the dialing thing as you would expect. To play and pause you have to click on, or press, the smallest button in the world. You know the one to nine, right, yes, it’s number six.

Leigh Howells
So you have to feel which button.

Paul Boag
You have to find number six.

Marcus Lillington
All the way down.

Paul Boag
It’s not even the last one in the list right.

Marcus Lillington
Excellent.

Paul Boag
It is number six and it insanity – it’s so badly designed. So setting aside the usability issues relating to that which is a whole podcast in itself. As a result I had to come up with some way of controlling my iPhone.

Leigh Howells
With a Braille sticker above number six.

Paul Boag
Yes, something like that.

Leigh Howells
A little bump.

Marcus Lillington
That would do it

Paul Boag
It would do it! But I had to come up with some way of dealing with this problem of being able to play and pause so I started to have a look around at what mobile apps there are, right, so I’ve desk mounted my iPod.

Marcus Lillington
Right.

Paul Boag
So instead of controlling with the stereo I am going to control it with the iPod or the iPhone.

Leigh Howells
The thing you were trying to get around doing.

Paul Boag
No, I wasn’t trying to get around it. All I wanted to do is get the iPhone playing through the stereo.

Marcus Lillington
Yes, that’s what I’d like.

Leigh Howells
I’ve had a five pound FM transmitter for the last six years. It’s been absolutely perfect.

Paul Boag
Yes, I hate the FM transmitters.

Leigh Howells
Why?

Paul Boag
They never work for me.

Leigh Howells
Mine’s been perfect.

Paul Boag
Perhaps it got better, I don’t know.

Leigh Howells
And it charges.

Marcus Lillington
Well as I say I do want to – my one there is a Bluetooth adapter that fits into the bit between the front seats.

Leigh Howells
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
And you can just, if I’ve got that, turn it on, it recognizes the phone, it does all the phone things.

Paul Boag
Yes, that’s what I’ve got.

Marcus Lillington
All that kind of stuff.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
And I’m assuming, that could also let me play my music.

Paul Boag
Yes. That’s exactly what I’ve got.

Marcus Lillington
So that’ll do.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Marcus Lillington
But you’re worried about how do you control what it’s playing.

Paul Boag
But how do you control what it’s playing.

Marcus Lillington
Oh right I’d be just picking up hands off the steering wheel.

Paul Boag
Well I am trying to – well to be honest that will be no more dangerous than looking down at this stereo trying to find number six…

Marcus Lillington
I can’t relate to your problem, Paul, because I’ve never had a car where I can actually do that.

Paul Boag
Right. So anyway the long and the short of it was I started looking around different applications that enable you to do it and the different user interfaces are quite interesting in terms of how different people have solved this problem and I ended up on something called car-tunes-music-player which is the iPod app that, or the iPhone app that I wanted to recommend this week.

There is much really I’ve been obviously this is – we’re not here to just review random apps, the reason I like this app is because it is so well thought through from a user interface point of view compared to my car stereo. So basically what it will enable you to do is it’s all gesture based, so you just tap the screen and it will pause it. Tap it again, and it will play it. You swipe to the left.

Leigh Howells
So this is like the Audible app.

Paul Boag
Yes.

Leigh Howells
Have you used the swipe interface and that is what I use as well.

Paul Boag
Yes, very similar.

Leigh Howells
Yes.

Paul Boag
But obviously Audible app will only play audibles.

Leigh Howells
Yes, so this is doing everything.

Paul Boag
So you swipe left and right for forward and back, you could swipe with two fingers just to go back a little bit on the track rather than back to the previous track and you can swipe up to bring up your whole play list and your menu and all of that kind of stuff which is a bit fidlier to do. So just a really well thought through and I am like why can’t car stereos be designed like this?

Marcus Lillington
They probably will be one day.

Paul Boag
Yeah I mean there were a few.

Marcus Lillington
We’ve moved on with the device flow finally.

Paul Boag
Yes, they are always like one step behind. And it shows really nice album art and it shows you how far through what you’re playing you are, the only thing I would – Oh I need to turn that on, I was going to say the only thing I’d like it to do is include a clock to tell me what the time is and I’ve just noticed this on the screen shot here.

Leigh Howells
Yeah. There’s a clock.

Paul Boag
You can have a clock.

Marcus Lillington
And surely your car tells you what the time is.

Paul Boag
It does.

Marcus Lillington
Every car has got clock in it.

Paul Boag
Yes, I know.

Marcus Lillington
Even really, really old ones.

Paul Boag
Yes, it does but it’s on the dashboard and it would be I don’t know I just prefer it. But it’s a really well designed, well thought through app and I just wish that car stereos wasn’t shit, they were more like this.

Marcus Lillington
Fair enough. Okay.

Paul Boag
So that is my “hire me” to redesign car stereos.

Leigh Howells
But then…

Paul Boag
I know nothing about product design.

Leigh Howells
But then you’d have to have like a database and music in the car and it makes more sense for all to be on this phone which you take between places anyway.

Paul Boag
Yes absolutely, I am not…

Leigh Howells
Put your phone into a dock and…

Paul Boag
I am not suggesting any of that. I am not suggesting that the, you need to create some fancy management issue, I almost think that’s the problem with car stereos. They are trying to do too much, right. All I am saying is the play button should be the biggest button on there.

Leigh Howells
Yes. Play, pause. Yes.

Paul Boag
And my steering column, I’ve got the “turn the volume up and down”, right

Marcus Lillington
Yes.

Paul Boag
And I’ve got the “move between all the various modes” but I don’t have play and pause button.

Leigh Howells
Which is the obvious thing you want the most.

Paul Boag
Yes. It’s just insanity and I am upset. So, Marcus, cheer me up by telling a joke. Have you finally run out?

Marcus Lillington
No. Can you remember the joke that I told you once about the dyslexic man who went into a bra. I’ve got another one that’s a bit like that and I don’t know whether I should tell it because it’s a bit…

Leigh Howells
Is it inappropriate?

Marcus Lillington
It’s inappropriate.

Leigh Howells
Does this show have an age rating of any kind?

Paul Boag
It’s supposed to be clean.

Leigh Howells
You said naughty words.

Paul Boag
What did I say?

Leigh Howells
I can’t say. That would be saying it again. You said testicles.

Paul Boag
Oh did I?

Marcus Lillington
It’s another dyslexic joke. And I don’t really know how much upsets you for me to say dyslexic jokes.

Paul Boag
I am not dyslexic. I am just slow.

Marcus Lillington
That’s alright then, okay.

Leigh Howells
Why did you think that Paul was dyslexic?

Marcus Lillington
Because he spells things really weirdly.

Leigh Howells
So just a dig.

Paul Boag
I am. I have never been tested for dyslexia.

Leigh Howells
But you could well be.

Marcus Lillington
And there are huge – there is a huge swathe, there is not, “you are” or “you aren’t”.

Paul Boag
It’s a spectrum.

Marcus Lillington
It’s a spectrum, that’s the word I was looking for. All right, anyways similar to the previous one and what I – this is the next one and it did make me giggle, I am sorry all of you who are dyslexic. Here we go, when I heard that they found, sorry – I’ll start again, when I heard that they found a cure.

Paul Boag
At least I can speak, yes.

Marcus Lillington
Yes, there is that, true. There is only one line.

Leigh Howells
Here we go. We’re getting ready.

Marcus Lillington
When I heard that they had found a cure for dyslexia it was like music to my arse.

Paul Boag
Nah that’s not funny. I thought the bra one was funny.

Leigh Howells
Yes, bra was quite good.

Marcus Lillington
Arse, ears. It’s still an anagram. I thought that was quite funny.

Leigh Howells
It is an anagram, isn’t it. Ears and arse. Don’t know the different between your arse and your ears.

Paul Boag
I think it demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of dyslexics, if you think that’s what they would spell because it’s not true.

Marcus Lillington
Yes, okay. Hit me with a big stick, go on I do deserve it.

Paul Boag
I am just saying you judge people on these things.

Marcus Lillington
I don’t.

Paul Boag
All you grammar Nazis out there, you judge people to have control.

Leigh Howells
You touched a nerve, Marcus, you touched a nerve.

Paul Boag
You cannot control the quality of our spelling and grammar.

Marcus Lillington
It’s supposed to cheer him up.

Leigh Howells
You have just set him off for worse.

Paul Boag
I am upset about car stereos. I am upset about this.

Leigh Howells
There is always the chicken joke from yesterday – the lunch Christmas cracker joke.

Marcus Lillington
Oh what was it?

Paul Boag
The pressure’s really on.

Leigh Howells
Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?

Paul Boag
Don’t know, which side?

Leigh Howells
The outside.

Paul Boag
See that, that is funny. That came out of a cracker.

Marcus Lillington
You’ve cheered him up.

Paul Boag
Yes, it was brilliant.

Leigh Howells
I did substitute chicken for turkey in a kind of Christmas festive feel.

Paul Boag
Ah okay.

Marcus Lillington
Well you think they would…

Leigh Howells
Yeah why would they have “chicken” in a Christmas cracker?

Paul Boag
I think we need to put everybody out their misery and finish this podcast.

Marcus Lillington
We definitely need to.

Paul Boag
We will return for our last podcast.

Marcus Lillington
Of the year.

Paul Boag
Of 2012 and in fact our last app podcast, because we will move onto a new topic next year so if you have any last minute apps you want to go on this show go to Boagworld.com/apps and make your recommendations there people! Time is running out. Speak to you again next again. Goodbye.

Leigh Howells
Goodbye

Headscape

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