Monthly Archives: September 2013

HanDBase for iOS 7

HanDBase is what I use for keeping a log of the beers I’ve had, as well as other things in my life I want to keep track of. To reiterate, HanDBase is a true relational database for mobile devices. There’s definitely a learning curve to the app, but once you get a grip on its workings, the results can be very rewarding.

I’ve been beta testing HanDBase 4.9 for iOS 7 (and iOS 6), since iOS 7 Beta 6. The work that Dave Haupert, the developer, has done on the app is tremendous. Although HanDBase always had a learning curve, the biggest complaints I’d heard seem to be more about its aesthetics. I now consider this a moot point; HanDBase will fit in perfectly among the best iOS 7 apps. Much as iOS 7 will make your device feel like a new device, HanDBase for iOS 7 feels like a completely new app, while functionality being largely the same as long-time users depend on. Even the app icon has been updated to fit perfectly with the new stock iOS 7 icons. I could never warm up to the previous icon, being kept in a folder on my home screen, but HanDBase now sits on its own in a coveted spot of my home screen.

There are now Light and Dark themes. They both fit perfectly in the iOS 7 aesthetic. The Dark theme is what I use. I find that all of my forms, the graphical representations for the records, look better; before iOS 7, HanDBase had a largely black theme, at least in how I ran it. In fact, I think the Dark theme fits an app like this. It’s a database, after all. Everything down to the buttons are now iOS 7 text buttons. And managing its image library (huge in my case) has now been updated to be more Photos app-like, changed from the unwieldy coverflow style. Functionality is relatively simple right now, but it’s being worked in. This update to photo management makes a huge difference for me. Also huge is the search functionality. All the search options are now combined into a “super search”, where you can search all fields at once, or any one particular field, selectable from a gear icon in the search field. Last, but definitely not least, of some much appreciated new functionality is long text scrolling to a second line in the record indexes. This makes for much improved readability on a screen such as an iPhone’s.

I now consider HanDBase to be a model citizen in iOS 7, and if aesthetics were the main thing previously holding you back, it’s totally worth revisiting. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Plus, 4.9 is a free update. Although I definitely would have paid for this update, I think this was a really nice way to go. 5.0 should be a big update and I hope a paid one.

HanDBase 4.9 was submitted to the App Store but waiting for approval is now live in the App Store. Full release notes here. Screenshots below are from an iPhone 4S.


Choose DB screen Record list Record

Race database Race record

Bands I've Seen database Bands record

Standard record format

Tappd That 1.1 out

Tappd That 1.1 is out in the App Store. It’s a (real) native iOS app to check into Untappd, as well as look back on your own checked-in beers, wish list, and venues. Even offline. Besides its beautiful new native iOS 7 layout, my favorite new function is the copying of beer names and breweries to the clipboard. Perfect for entering new beers into my database, or general post-checkin queries.


IMG 4204


About Computer Mice

I’ll make this short.  I was thinking about Gabe’s post a while back about Some Mice to Consider.  My needs for mice are simple but very specific: it must feel like an extension of my hand.

For many years, the Kensington Iridio fit that bill perfectly, and Erica Sadun agreed. Yes, it was poorly-made, buggy, and many considered it really ugly, but I liked it and it fit my hand perfectly.  It also allowed me to use the excellent Kensington MouseWorks, which is unfortunately no longer developed.  That software kept me using Kensington mice.  Once MouseWorks stopped being supported, I think with Mac OS X 10.5, pleas to Kensington got one incredibly stupid answer from them (paraphrased): Kensington mice work fine with the standard Mac OS X mouse driver, so MouseWorks is no longer needed.  WHAT?!  I could think of thousands of similes here; insert your own.  In short, goodbye, Kensington.

So this freed me to find a replacement for my beloved, yet issue-ridden Iridios.  I tend to like smallish mice, but no as small as the tiny mobile/laptop mice.  I guess a medium-sized is how it’s described.  Now the perfect mouse for me is the Microsoft Mobile Mouse 4000. It totally feels like an extension of my hand, and fills a more recent requirement of mine: side-scrolling wheel.  That’s handy in so many situations that I find it annoying to use a mouse without.  And the button clicks have nice muted sound, much nicer than the Logitechs I’ve tried and used. I do feel a little weird seeing the Microsoft logo here, but like stereo equipment, you go with the best for each component. If Apple made a mouse that were actually comfortable to use, I’d use it.

And the icing on the cake: software.  Sure, pretty much any mouse will work out of the box under OS X, but I like to program my buttons and more detailed cursor behavior.  I like SteerMouse for that.  I can make my scroll wheel button paste, just like I got used to with Sun workstations, and I make that silly oddly-placed thumb button execute Enter, for once I’ve pasted something like a URL into a browser.  And the developer is very responsive.  I miss MouseWorks, but SteerMouse is a fine replacement for my needs.

This is such a nice setup that I might buy a bunch of the 4000s in case they discontinue them.  In retrospect, I should have done that with the Iridios, but the hardware was so inconsistent that no two worked alike, so I’m best off not having done that.  The 4000, in contrast, is near perfect.