I use Human.

Just over a week ago I dropped down a new app. Yay me. What’s so great about this imaginative tale is that this app has already had a bigger impact on my day-to-day comings and goings than any other new app I have picked up in the last 12 months.

Human's purpose is to get you on the move for at least 30 minutes each day. When I first read Human's 'mission statement' I thought Pah! easy. Oh man I was wrong, the first few days of use were like a slap in the face. I was brought up with my life revolving around rugby, training 3-4 times a week, 2 games a week and as a result was always fit and healthy. You know until I started this computer who-ha. So the realisation that I have sunk so low that I fail to move for 30 minutes a day kinda sucked.

Now, everyday - come rain or shine. I’m up, Wess is on her lead before her eyes are open and I am out the door. Human has basically made me realise how lazy my legs have been as of late and the incentive to get the pat on the back in the form of a notification that you have achieved your daily 30 is just a cherry on top of staying a little healthier.

Human is currently only available on iPhone (with some noise about Android so keep your eyes peeled). Oh, and it’s free. (Human in the app store)

I use Kippt.

Kippt is a bookmarking web app. Allowing you to “Build your online library of amazing things”.

I first signed up for Kippt a few months ago, but for one reason or another - it failed to hook me in. I signed up, looked around and left. Last week, on the back of it’s redesign and the introduction of some new kick ass features I decided to throw it a bone and give it another go. It’s awesome.

First things first, the new design rocks. It’s what caught my eye on Dribbble and led me back to have a second look. From there things just got better, I found features that are either new or I simply overlooked them the first time round.

Posting things to Kippt through the available browser extensions, bookmarklet or email is effortless. I found features that I have come to expect from such apps - add to lists, read later, add note, tagging and share options. The magic for me kicks in when you get to the social side of Kippt, follow some interesting people and discover heaps of new content. The reason I like this so much is that with the foundation of Kippt being a bookmarking tool, I feel there is a level of quality control enforced by the users. The foremost purpose of posting things to Kippt is for us to re-find later on, I see followers acting more like on lookers than an audience, resulting in your feed being populated by quality content and not like hunting junk.

One thing I hope the guys over at Kippt will introduce soon is a “Kippt It” button for websites. Their own version of the like/tweet button. I think this would bring some extra advantages that the browser extensions, bookmarklet do not. Even if it is simply marketing.

For now, great new tool - go and try it.

I use Beanstalk & Tower.

Version control is one of those things that you might think you do not need, until that day when you edit a few dozen lines of code and your site/app gets overtaken by the 400 family. So really, you need it. For me, I also wanted to have a centralized version control system - say hello to Beanstalk.

Beanstalk is a hosted version control service, like GitHub but is more focused on private hosting and comes with a few more incredible features. The feature which won be over was the deployment feature built into Beanstalk. It allows you to commit changes to your repository for all your team to see, review, comment and edit. From there you can deploy straight from Beanstalk through to your server. It’s really incredible and another line of defence against committing bad code to your live site/app.

Using git without a client means opening up terminal, while I am not totally incompetent in terminal, I much prefer using a GUI. Introducing Tower. Tower is (as they say) “The most powerful git client for Mac”, and I do not disagree. It’s really straight forward to use, allows you to manage your repositories without a second thought and to quote their marketing for a second time - it really does make some of the more complex tasks simple.

If you are just getting started or thinking about setting up version control, here are some more resources for your faces.

I use Paper.

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If you have not heard of Paper in the last 12 months, it is likely you live under a rock (clichés rule). The iPad app by the talented folks from FiftyThree has been featured everywhere, picked up the Apple design award in 2012 and received great reviews by everyone that writes reviews worth reading.

I’ve only been using Paper for roughly 6 months (give or take) but it’s pretty much become the most used app on my normal sized iPad with exception to the norms (iTunes, Videos, Safari). To say it’s totally changed the way I design would be giving it the credit actual paper (the tree sort) deserves for saving people from running out of walls to draw on. What it has done, is make the whole sketching process convenient, enjoyable and in many ways the constrained environment of the iPad has made simplifying what would be much more complex designs that much easier. Also, quickly being able to launch and start drawing random crap is a fantastic time killer when waiting.

One thing I have to note about paper is that I have never noticed a bug. Never. I’ve never had this experience in any other iOS app’s that I use so often. It truly does play testament to the code folk at FiftyThree. You all deserve a beer.

Wessy: Update: Part 1

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Today I come bearing an update. Since the initial post giving you a quick insight into the idea behind Wessy. Much has changed, the idea has grown, support has been shown and commitments have been made.

At the heart of Wessy is the drop in centres. The centres aim to be an offensive strike on the battle against animal abandonment and miss treatment, by providing people with the necessary tools, resources and education to always be able to look after their animals. Anyone who has seen the minority report or has half a brain has to agree that the idea of prevention over punishment/treatment makes sense, yes? Good.

While I truly believe that the possible is only limited by our own beliefs, putting an end to animal cruelty any time soon is sadly at this time, naive. With that in mind the idea behind Wessy grew and the goal to build and open 2 sites in addition to the first drop in centre was introduced. The 2 additional sites will provide temporary accommodation to abandoned animals. One will be a ‘Doggery’, the other lacks a clever name for now but will be referred to as the ranch - more information to come in the future.

With that bombshell, I can no longer avoid the topic that Wessy will no longer only aim to initially serve man’s best friend. Wessy will now - from day one - aim to provide the tools, resources and education for all you cat and horse owners too. Your welcome.

Last few updates in quick fire from. All three initial Wessy sites will be located in and around Pontypridd (Wales), it’s where the idea was born, many events from here inspired it and if there was ever a place where it would be beneficial, Pontypridd is it. At this time 46% of total funding has been committed, and as I am back fully focused on Crecom, no further updates on Wessy can be expected until around March. Until then, Woof.

P.S. There will not be much activity, but Wessy.org.uk is now somewhat statically live.

Erhm..

Well this is awkward. Four days on from the launch of Tally and still no launch. Eleven days since my last post and no post. WTFIGO! Well I fell ill, ignored being unwell - played some five-a-side and picked up a possible concussion, combine that with the existing ‘unwellness’ and the outcome was I was bed bound for many a days putting us behind schedule.

You will be happy to know this has not gone unpunished, not only have I been wishing for a merciful death, I have also been getting heckled from everyone at Crecom.

So what’s the deal? Well a post will be made tomorrow over at the Crecom blog with more details. However being as I planned a post titled “I use a iPad mini” and my iPad mini has decided to break - I have decided to use this to further promote Tally with an update and a cheeky preview. The update is: Tally will be released soon but every time we set a date something goes wrong so I refuse to set another, however when we do launch I promise to post about it so much it verges on spam. You are welcome.

I have a few fun posts in mind for the next few weeks, so if you are fed up of the Tally posts and your trail of thought runs the lines of “I thought this was Alex’s blog not the Crecom blog” - I am with you and I will make it up to you with this.

7 days to Tally.

Time seems to be flying by. With only a single week until Tally is released. Things are on track and looking great. With the only downtime caused by a new years hangover (this was anticipated), it’s safe to say things are going incredibly well. Today all the focus has been on testing, optimizing and securing the communication between Tally and our payment gateway. With over complicated billing being a pet peeve of mine. This is an area we put allot of thought into and made as straight forward as possible, all the while making sure it had a safe/secure feel.

Above is the initial design presented to people who are looking to upgrade from the free account. Found within the settings environment, the off black was introduced to create a bolder “LOOK AT ME”, differing from other tabs which are primarily white.

Note: The preview was pulled from the mock up and there are several copy errors. My bad.

Happy new year.

12 days to Tally.

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Finally! After so many delays both in and out of my control. The 9th January will see the launch of Tally. It’s safe to say that myself, everyone at Crecom and all the other talented folks that have worked on Tally are fricken excited. For me, so much so that the 9th has pretty much overshadowed the holidays. I’ve spent them doodling on napkins, sketching in paper and with one eye on my inbox and another waiting for the opportunity to sneak away and jump back into Photoshop/Coda.

Now the holidays are over, the fun begins. In the next 12 days, We (crecom) will be deploying Tally, sending invites out to all our beta signups before introducing the new Tally website and opening the doors to the public. Your going to love it.

Before all that, I’ve decided over the next several days - all my posts will be delivering you lovely people some unseen preview shots of Tally, maybe a video and even the odd one or two invites before anyone else. Your welcome.

If this interests you, follow my lovely writings on Tumblr (the top right follow button) or i’ll keep you posted on Twitter.

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