January 20, 2013

We’re all rhinestone cowboys now

Every day we use technologies, tools and processes that have been created and freely given by people we don’t even know. The web was given to us for nothing and many people continue, in that spirit, to share their knowledge online. I would like to acknowledge some of the people from whose insights and intelligence I have gained more than I deserve.

Brett Terpstra has authored more tools than I can easily experiment with. I use his Marked app to preview Markdown documents and, if you write in Markdown, you should too. And if you ever wanted a journal that wrote itself, look no further than the combination of the very nice Day One journal app and Bretts Slogger. In fact, if you spend any time tinkering with your Macintosh, you owe this man a visit.

Nathan McGinness is a better designer than me. He graciously unlocked some secrets of the Jekyll static site engine by allowing me to poke through the source of his site on Github.

Credit also to Tom Preston-Werner for creating Jekyll and to the Jekyll community for all the love and plugins.

Steve Losh is a wunderkind who can make one feel inadequate. Without his introduction to Mutt I’d still be using some new-fangled email client. And that would be no fun at all.

I found W. Caleb McDaniel while I was setting up Mutt: you can read some of his tips and tricks here. Thanks Caleb!

Mutt is an email client that runs in the terminal on OSX. Written for Unix in 1995, it crusades under the worthy banner of:

All mail clients suck. This one just sucks less.

It is an outstandingly customisable tool that puts paid applications to shame. Puts them to shame, after kicking their asses and making them look puny and horrible. You get the picture.

Timothy Long is an American designer, photographer and good-guy, to whom I am grateful for his Exegesis Framework. It was my introduction to responsive grids or, at least, the introduction that I needed. When everything else seemed overwhelmingly complex Timothy’s work was, typically, elegant and spare.

Doctors Drang and Bunsen stretch my mind in directions that it does not naturally incline. Their adventures on the command line are very instructive, if you can keep up.

My advertising claim-to-fame must be that I briefly sat beside Vinny Warren in school. He went on to create the Budweiser “Whassup” ads, I went on to tell you that I sat beside him in school. Them’s the breaks. He blogs at Escapology and I’m grateful that he does. It keeps an important part of my brain alive.

Gunnlauger SE Briem is a lettering colossus. His sites at Briem.net and Operina.com are valuable wonderlands of free resources, common sense and highly uncommon talent.

Leigh Reyes makes me jealous. I admire her penwomanship.

One Paul Irish is worth all of the politicians and bureaucrats that ever tried to manage anything to do with the internet. This is neither a wild claim nor random hyperbole. I mean it. He should be in charge. His bullet-proof syntax for the @font-face rule once saved my sanity. True story!

iCal buddy is a little diamond of a command line utility written by Ali Rantakari. Ali has also written some other very useful tools and leaves them lying around for people to pick up for nothing. Thank you Sir.

Ashley Richardson wrote a Ruby script to update my Taskpaper todo items so that I don’t have to. One less thing to do each day.

Yukihiro Matsumoto gave the world Ruby and an awful lot of people keep it alive. Without it, and its many little gems, my life would be a lot busier and far more boring. And without Sam Stephenson my Ruby life would be a touch more challenging.

Thanks to Sol Matas and Huerta Tipográfica for their Bitter font which used to be in use on this site.

Michael and Lorna Herf make the very marvellous f.lux and gave it to the world. If you work at a computer screen at night, you need this. It automatically, and gradually, adjusts the colour temperature of your screen so that it is less inclined to scorch your retinas with its blue-light intensity.