Keeping up with technology is a lot of work. Luckily, we enjoy wading through the noise just to find the gems of awesomeness sprinkled throughout. Fusion Radar is our gift to you, Current or Potential Client, so that you can enjoy all of the awesome without any of the drudgery. Unwrap it each week, and know that you’re loved by the geeks and pixel-pushers at Agency Fusion.
Hirb is a Rails gem that provides ASCII table output for console/irb formatting. In the author’s own words, Hirb is “a mini view framework for console/irb that’s easy to use, even while under its influence. Console goodies include a no-wrap table, auto-pager, tree and menu.”
We aren’t using this in production, but a few of our developers have been checking out Springloops to see if it could be useful for us. Springloops is a collaborative, hosted web development studio.
Element Finder for Sublime Text 2
When one of our developers showed Element Finder for Sublime Text 2 in our Fusion Radar meeting, we all immediately felt this was a long overdue tool. We love the ability to find in source code the HTML elements that match a specific CSS selector. Sublime Text 2 is required, of course.
If you’re into mind mapping (sometimes called thought mapping), Exobrain is a web-based tool that adds some things we haven’t yet seen in other mind mapping tools, such as color gradations to indicate how far a node is from its parent. We’ve used Omnigraffle extensively but the ability to collaborate more easily via a web tool is pretty appealing.
Creating a map from a spreadsheet is a huge pain if done manually. Batchgeo lets you upload a spreadsheet with addresses and automatically generate a Google map with pins for each address. It’s easy to see the system in action using the sample data set on their home page.
SlabText is a jQuery plugin for generating “big, bold & responsive headlines.”
We’re not sure this really saves much time over traditional methods, but if you create a lot of CSS sprites you may want to take a look at SpritePad, a drag-and-drop method of creating PNG sprite + CSS code.
Memstash is a tool to help you commit stuff to memory. It works by sending you email or SMS reminders at intervals to help you move info from your short term memory to your long term memory. Their site is a bit light on details so you pretty much have to sign up to use it to get any details beyond what’s on their home page.
Bing it On
Hmmm. Microsoft is making a play with Bing it On that users prefer Bing results to Google results. After testing this for a while and doing our best to be fair to Microsoft, our conclusion is that Bing might be competitive and provide a similar quality of results, but there isn’t much to suggest that Bing truly outperforms Google by any really meaningful measure. It feels like Microsoft is trying to persuade users to switch by saying, “See, our search results are quite similar in quality to Google’s.” That’s probably not going to compel many people to switch, in our opinion.
Zend PHP Cloud
Zend’s Developer Cloud caught the eye of one of our developers this week. It’s another attempt at providing a cloud-based development environment to speed up the development and deployment process.
Backend-as-a-service provider FatFractal is another vendor in the same space as Parse, Kinvey, Stackmob, and Applicasa. BaaS vendors like these let you develop a native app and leverage their backend platform as your data repository, API, etc.