Author Archives: Tony


Tent is a new web protocol that gives you control over what you create and write online. It has the potential to transform your online social life.

Read a brief explanation and try out their microblogging service which is a small piece of Tent.

I believe so strongly in the importance of this project that I am investing a great deal of my personal time to make it successful.

More to come.

Underflow 1.2

Underflow, the best-kept secret in Visual LANSA productivity has been updated to version 1.2.

Visual LANSA is a good IDE but it still has some wrinkles. Welcome to the iron. Underflow is the tool I created for myself to improve my VL workflow, to lower the friction of taking notes, and to make typing less of a hassle. Others have mentioned that they find it useful so maybe you will too.

For instance, when you open VL, what steps do you take? Launch VL, enter password, System Init, check the right boxes and fill in the partition text area, hit enter, wait for system init to finish, log into the IDE, wait for window to fully load, open your host monitor, and go grab a cup of coffee while it connects and propagates. Let Underflow remove tedious parts by hitting [Win][Shift]V to launch VL, enter your password, hit [Win][Shift]I for assisted system init, and go grab your cup of coffee.

There is a configuration section of the primary Underflow script (underflow.ahk) to make it your own. If you’ve updated the config (and hopefully you have), be sure to take a snapshot before replacing the script so you can reapply it.

Go grab it now and then let me know what you love and what you hate.

Here are a few more changes:

Natural scrolling is now supported and enabled by default. Natural scrolling changes the direction of the scroll wheel on your mouse. This is a natural extension of our ever-increasing mobile world. You are moving the page instead of the scroll bar.

New words that are fixed as you type: LongRange, LANSAWEB, API, and SQL.

Assisted System Init is still invoked using [Win][Shift]I. It still performs a system init and automatically turns on your host monitor but it now remembers your currently selected partition, language, and task.

Underflow now integrates with the Prowl service for sending text to your mobile device and, for those that use it, makes it super easy to create OmniFocus tasks. This requires a free Prowl account.

  • [Win]T creates an OmniFocus task using the Prowl service.
  • [Win]P sends any text to Prowl.

For those that use markdown formatting for your notes, underlined headings can be created with one keystroke.

  • .mdl creates a Markdown link from the URL on the clipboard.
  • [Win][Shift]1 (or .md= or .md1)  creates a level 1 Markdown heading based on the length of the current line.
  • [Win][Shift]2 (or .md- or .md2) creates a level 2 Markdown heading based on the length of the current line.

[Win][Shift]C launches Lansa Composer.

Reduced the time it takes to restart the host monitor using [Win][Shift]H. Unfortunately, wait states are a necessary evil when scripting an application like Visual LANSA.

Turned off forced capitalization of “lansa” to “LANSA”. It is used in too many places where we do NOT want that behavior. You can now use “llansa” and “lansaa” to produce “LANSA”.

Very scary side effect of my job | 52 Tiger

Dave Caolo putting into words something that I’ve been pondering for months now.

Every day, I scan hundreds of RSS feeds, articles, tweets, emails and blog posts. Literally hundreds. It’s a skill I’m proud to have refined, but at the same time, I’m worried that I’m losing the patience to slow down and read a long article from start to finish.

273 feeds for me.

The Good: Peers, managers, and family ask me what’s happening because I’ve got my thumb on the pulse. Each day is uniquely colored by what the world is saying.

The Bad: If the word count is more than a few hundred words, I have to decide whether to read it or not. And it’s HARD to say yes.

The Gold: My goal is to find any gold nuggets but the self-imposed filtering game is so intense that it can easily become the end instead of the means to the end. Instapaper helps tremendously in this process. Potential gold gets added to my Instapaper queue and when it’s quiet, I really read.

Quietly read.

NASA taps Apple to build next Mars lander | Scoopertino

NASA taps Apple to build next Mars lander | Scoopertino:

Faced with severe budget cutbacks, NASA has turned to Apple for help with its next Mars lander.


One Giant Leap

Kyle Baxter in the article One Giant Leap:

Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on a world outside our planet Earth, passed away today.

Let that sink in a little bit.

And yet…

Keeping Mars Time on Earth

Are you viewing the images coming back from the Curiosity rover on Mars? I am.

I found myself wanting to know UTC time (the pictures are logged in this time) along with Martian time to keep things straight in my head. The sols (Martian days) really mess with my mind.

I found this Java-based Mars clock which you might find interesting. I’ve changed the map view to Robinson and have centered the map on the MSL Curiosity site.

Europe Will Require New Vehicles to Include Autonomous Self-Braking System | Popular Science

Clay Dillow at Popular Science:

New rules coming down from the European Commission will require all commercial vehicles to be fitted with autonomous emergency braking AEB technology by November 2013, and passenger vehicles could soon follow suit.

It begins. Baby steps toward the self-driving vehicle.


Google Fiber Is The Very Best Of Google

MG Siegler on Google Fiber:

Amazing. Bravo, Google. Now please bring this everywhere in the U.S. and force the cable companies to get busy innovating or get busy dying.

Agreed. An extra helping of disruption, please!

Get Curious

Hidden in a post about fake Mars rocks going on tour is this gem:

The tour is part of a campaign called “Get Curious” that was created to honor the new Curiosity Mars rover, the main element of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, which is due to land on our neighboring world Aug. 6.

If, like me, you have a fascinationwith Mars, you might already know about this but this Get Curious site rocks! (Pun absolutely unintended). The site has a landing countdown, lots of information, and plenty of images and video. The enjoyment starts with the tethered lander hovering on the page. Next up, I am going to check out the Mars Landing 2012 e-Book from National Geographic.


The Mac App Store’s future of irrelevance –

Marco Arment:

The Mac App Store is in significant danger of becoming an irrelevant, low-traffic flea market where buyers rarely venture for serious purchases. And I bet that’s not what Apple had in mind at all.


My only reason for opening the Mac App Store is for purchasing software from Apple (Aperture rocks) and for Software Update. Utilities and productivity apps, which are my typical purchases, are the most hobbled by these restrictions from Apple so, like Marco, I’ve been purchasing them directly from the vendors.

As much as I want the low-friction features enabled by iCloud, I am not willing to put up with less awesomeness in apps.