Category Archives: 4k

Stay app – you’re hired!

4K_work_envAs follow up to my previous article, My Software Cheapskate Days Are Behind Me, I’m proud to say I just purchased the Stay app. That app is so frickin’ wicked, it rivals Tweetbot.

I recently bought a 39″ 4K display as my monitor. Whenever I would unplug my laptop and take it elsewhere, all my windows would bunch together. Then when I would reattach after returning, they would be shoved in the corner of my Seiki monitor. I had to manually drag them back into position, resize them the way I had done before, and slowly put things back into order. After doing this for the umpteenth time, I was incredibly annoyed and began to google for a solution.

Someone on Stack Overflow made reference to this app, so I checked it out. The results were amazing. The Stay app uses the Mac’s Universal Access APIs to scan for all windows and sniff out their coordinates and dimensions. It then stuffs them into a database, with a different profile for each display configuration.

Finally, you can configure it to restore window layout every time the configuration changes. This means that when you unplug the big screen, the windows will jump to your alternate layout for just the laptop. Plug it back in, and things jump back to big screen layout. And I can already sense that when I build a 3rd profile at the Nashville JUG for the overheard, Stay will save that as well so I don’t have to rearrange anymore.

Here’s the bonus. You can pick whatever shortcut you want to direct Stay to catalog the positions of all your windows, and when to restore positions. Only when I completely rearrange everything do I tap that function. Most of the time, it stays out of my way, and just does one, simple thing. Put the windows where I had them last. THAT is worth a measly $15.

My software cheapskate days are behind me

In the past eight months, I have plunked down money cash for some really handy apps. And I’m happy I did.

I used to be really stingy. I’ve slowly become aware that software devs are probably the last people to actually pay money for software. We’re always looking for freebie or open source versions. We claim it’s for security reasons. Or we want the option to file a bug report or submit a patch. But raise your hand and confess. It’s because you don’t want spend a nickel.

One point I made in last years SpringOnr talk was that software devs are cheapskates. I watched my old company penny pinch and not buy a $100,000 database of customer location data and end up burning off more than that over the life of the contract in hours working around data issues.

I began to break free when I bought Tweeetbot for my laptop and my iPhone. I think that was $25 total. Huge amount for a software dev to spend! And to think this was just to read and write tweets. Heck, it took me four months to make the choice. And I’ve been happy ever since. No more advertised tweets. I don’t care about their new look and feel.

Next? Well I had already bought Markdown Pro last summer. We were slugging out guides left and right. This tool saved me gobs of hours. And it only cost $10. I think I can find enough change in the sofa for that.

Next? I blew thirteen big ones of the Reflector app. This let me stream my iPhone to my laptop. I had tried it out for free and used it to record clips for a mobile screencast. Seeing the value for this year’s SpringOne talk, I managed to scrape together the money.

I recently got a 39″ 4K monitor. It was great except for one annoying side effect. Whenever my laptop went to sleep, all the windows would jump to the corner and shrink. I would then have to reposition hem. In about fifteen minutes of research, I discovered the Stay app. I gave it a shot. It worked beautifully. It took me no effort to beg my wife to let me spend $15 to keep it.

What is that? $68? I’m a high roller now.

39″ Seiki 4K monitor is GREAT!

4K_work_envI have been reading quite a bit about 4K monitors. I recently spotted an article that suggested that these screens are PERFECT for software developers.

I watched several videos and deduced that the screen real estate would be fantastic. The ability to see ALL your code while having sufficient browser tabs open along with Chrome’s debugging console sounded very appealing.

So I ordered one on Monday. It arrived Tuesday. I opened it this morning and bemoaned that I didn’t have a converter for HDMI…until I realized my MacBook Pro came with an HDMI port. And here I am writing my first blog article ON IT!

I have to say that the blog authors were right. It’s GREAT! Up above, you can see it next to my MacBook Pro 15″ retina. I have personal email, skype, and HipChat on my laptop, while my development environment is spread across the big screen.

4K_desktopI am working on a couple things right now. On the left, I have IntelliJ open with a demo app I’m working. I have the app running in the top, the HTML open on the left, and the javascript open on the right.

In the middle, I have a browser tab open towards the bottom, with my mobile user agent switcher activated so I can build my jQuery Mobile front end. Seeing it all in one place without jumping between screen shots is fantastic.

The TALL console window in the middle is currently running a crawler script I wrote in python. We had reports of some of our guides having broken links, I decided to crawl our website to spot any other gaps. On the right, I have script opened in TextMate, and you can see the WHOLE file with scrolling.

The takeaway is breathtaking.


I am learning how to navigate everything. I tried mirroring at first, but that doesn’t work. I want the relatively unimportant stuff not hogging screen space, so I learned how to shove that onto the laptop.

On this big screen where the refresh isn’t ideal, I kept losing the mouse. So I increased the size of arrow so I simple movement would quickly show me where it was located.

The screen refresh rate isn’t the highest, but that isn’t a real big issue for me.

Finally, I still don’t understand when and why OSX decided that Alt-Tab will pop-up on one display or the other. It seems to have a mind of its own. But I’m willing to live with that in exchange for this supreme work setup.