It’s a huge honour to have had my work as a young innovator and youth tech advocate recognised at this year’s edition of the Wellingtonian of the Year awards, locally known as the Wellys, with the award of 2013 Youth Wellingtonian of the Year.
I’d like to express a huge thank you to my parents, who’ve been there for me at every step along the way, Scots College, and the Rotary Club of Wellington for their support. Wellington is a great place to be a young innovator, and I’d also like to thank everyone who makes it such great city, with so many opportunities.
I recently discovered that I have been nominated and selected as a finalist in the youth category of the Wellingtonian of the Year Awards, affectionately known locally as the “Wellys”. These awards, run by the Dominion Post newspaper, celebrate individuals who “make the greater Wellington region the exciting and vibrant city it is - the coolest little capital in the world”.
It’s a great honour to be selected as one of the four finalists in the youth category from across the region, and to be listed alongside the names of the many impressive finalists from all the categories represented.
The winners of each of the categories, and the overall winner, will be announced at an awards gala on the 22nd of November.
I’m happy about my selection as a finalist, as it should help me get my message out there – that New Zealand, and particularly Wellington, has a great future in computer programming if only we can take advantage if this opportunity. This was what I was trying to convey in my Eureka! presentation. We don’t have to stick to exporting primary products. There are lots of niche, high technology sectors in which we can excel, and Wellington already had tons of great IT-focused companies which are doing really well, such as Xero and Greenbutton, whose CEO is a finalist in the business category of the Wellys.
The challenge is to get more kids interested in programming at an early stage, and this is where I can play a role. My Eureka! presentation argued that we need to capture kids’ interest early, while they’re still dreaming of being astronauts, superheroes and fairy princesses, and show them that programmers are the wizards of the future.
Wellington companies have a role to play in this too, and it’s great to see companies like Catalyst with their Open Source Academy initiative, which brings aspiring programmers together to learn and contribute to open source projects, and which I’m hoping to attend early next year.
This morning I was interviewed by Kim Hill, winner of the International Radio Personality of the Year Award, on Radio New Zealand National’s Saturday Morning show. I spoke with her about my experience with Eureka!, app development, and the International Baccalaureate World Student Conference on the subject of ECOnomics: Creating a Sustainable Future which I recently attended in Vancouver, Canada.
Appearing on National Radio for a 15 minute interview on a show with over 200,000 listeners was certainly a rather exceptional experience, and definitely a good accomplishment to cross off my bucket list!
You can listen to a recording of the interview in the player above.
The response to the release of Quicksand has been phenomenal. Since it was launched about three months ago, Quicksand has received fantastic reviews and been picked up by some pretty high-profile sites. For new visitors, Quicksand is a free app of mine which lets you automatically sync your recently opened files with the cloud!
To start with, lets look at Quicksand’s amazing users. Quicksand rapidly spread around the internet, and got several hundred users within a week of its launch. We can now boast of around 450 users a day taking advantage of Quicksand’s great features. People use the app from all over the world, from over 70 different countries, as you can see in the overflowing chart to the right (click for a larger, interactive version).
Interestingly, Quicksand’s use picks up over the working week quite noticeably and then drops down over the weekend, which suggests that many people are using the app at work. This is a great testament to how well people trust and appreciate Quicksand.
Speaking of appreciation, Quicksand has received fantastic coverage in by the media. Mac AppStorm rated the app 9 out of 10 stars, and wrote the following:
If you work at all with cloud syncing services such as Dropbox, then Quicksand is a must-have. Quicksand is a seemingly simple app that could potentially save you a lot of time and inconvenient situations. – Mac AppStorm
Idealog, a New Zealand magazine, interviewed me about my projects, and commented that “Quicksand tackles a problem that hasn’t been addressed by Silicon Valley giants like Dropbox and Google." Other websites including MacWorld Norway and AddictiveTips also published very positive reviews. Users also responded very warmly to Quicksand, and it currently has a 5 star rating on MacUpdate.
In conclusion, I’m very happy with Quicksand’s success so far. It took a lot of work to develop, but it’s been truly fantastic to see the reaction online. I’ve got a couple more exciting new features on the way, and I look forward to continuing my journey syncing deeper into Quicksand.
Introducing Quicksand – sync your recently opened files with the cloud
It is with much pleasure that I announce the release of my new free app, Quicksand — the easiest way to sync your recently opened files with the cloud.
Quicksand lives quietly in your Mac’s menubar. Whenever you open or edit a file, Quicksand automatically copies it to a special folder synced with your favourite cloud storage solution (all Mac cloud storage solutions, including Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft SkyDrive, are supported).
With traditional cloud storage solutions, only files within a special folder were synced, and you had to plan in advance to make sure that you had the files you needed. Quicksand makes this all so much easier, because you don’t have to think about what you sync with the cloud — Quicksand takes care of it all for you by automatically syncing your 50 most recently opened files.
Because Quicksand syncs with the cloud storage solution you already use, you get to take advantage of the full power of the cloud, with amazingly useful features like undelete and revision history.
To learn more about Quicksand, watch the video below, then visit the Quicksand page to download the app and revolutionise the way that you interact with the cloud.
I’ve been working really hard over the past few months on an exciting new app for Macs. I feel it’s coming close to being ready for public use, but I want to make sure that it’s as perfect as it can be before I release it.
To do this, I need some beta testers. I’ve already got some, but I would like more! If you are interested in getting your hands on some pre-release software, reporting bugs, and eventually getting the app for free, please send me a message mentioning which version of Mac OS X you are running.
Edit: Thanks to everyone who replied. I’ve got enough beta testers for now, and I’ll be sure to let you know if I need any more!
Today MacDropAny passed an amazing milestone: a grand total of 160,000 folders synced to the cloud. Since MacDropAny was released in February 2011, it’s been used by thousands of people in over 80 countries.
People love MacDropAny because it just works. It’s by far the most simple way to sync any folder on your Mac with a number of great cloud syncing services, allowing you to gain access to your important files from wherever you are.
Recently, with the release of version 2, more sync services were added so that MacDropAny now supports syncing with Dropbox, Box.com, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and iClouDrive. To support MacDropAny’s international user base, version 2 added support for French, Dutch, Spanish and German, making it even easier for people all over the world to use.
Here are some interesting statistics about MacDropAny:
Over 160,000 folders have been synced with the cloud.
Approximately 70% of MacDropAny’s users can use the app in their native language.
The largest user group is from the United States (18% of users), followed by Germany (10%), Spain (8%), and France (7%).
A folder is synced using MacDropAny, on average, once every 5 minutes.
None of this would have been possible without the amazing support of MacDropAny’s users and the amazing people who donate to help support continued development. MacDropAny is free, and this is only possible because of users’ kind generosity. I’d like to thank everyone who has donated, tweeted, blogged, helped with bug testing and translated for me – without you guys, MacDropAny wouldn’t be nearly as good as it is today.
MacDropAny is constantly evolving (and hopefully improving too!). If you’ve got a suggestion for a new feature, a new service to sync folders with, or just want to say hello, please feel free to send me a message.
Thanks, Sebastian Hallum Clarke (MacDropAny’s 15 year old developer)
I’m happy to announce that iClouDrive, my free app which lets you sync folders between your Macs using your iCloud account, has just been updated to v1.14 with translations into both Spanish (thanks to Fernando Sánchez!) and French.
This means that many more people will be able to use iClouDrive in their native language. If you’d like to help with translating one of my apps into your language, please contact me!
MacDropAny now in French, Dutch, German & Spanish!
I’m very happy to report that with the release of MacDropAny v2.03 last night, MacDropAny is now available in a total of four languages; French, Dutch, German and (of course) English.
I’d like to extend a big thank you to the great translators, Leander Stellemans for Dutch and Thomas Schulze for German, who have helped me to bring MacDropAny to the native languages of many more users. Someone has kindly offered to translate MacDropAny into Spanish, and I expect to have this included in an update soon.
If you speak another language, and would be willing to spend about 15 minutes translating some MacDropAny into your native language, please get in touch. At the moment, I’m especially keen to get an Italian translation, but all languages will be happily accepted.
Update (23 Nov 2012): Thanks to Fernando Sánchez, MacDropAny v2.05 is now available in Spanish! You can get the latest version here.
Version 2.01 of MacDropAny, the easiest way to sync any folder on your computer with the cloud, was released today. This update adds a Dutch localization (thanks to Leander Stellemans!) and also fixes a bug which caused a fatal error message to appear if a duplicate folder was about to be made.
You can get the latest update on the MacDropAny page.
I’m very happy to announce to you today the release of MacDropAny version 2.0! This release is a major step for MacDropAny, and app which has served users over 145,000 times since its release in February 2011.
MacDropAny is by far the easiest way to sync any folder on your computer with the cloud. This update packs a number of great features and improvements, including:
Added support for Box.com and iClouDrive cloud storage and syncing solutions, in addition to the already supported Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft SkyDrive.
Added French localisation.
Fixed support for the right-click menu in Finder.
Many bug fixes.
You can download the latest version from the MacDropAny page of my website.
I would also love to translate MacDropAny into more languages, especially German and Spanish. If you’d be interested in helping translate, please contact me.
It is with much excitement that I announce to you today the release of iClouDrive: the easiest way to use your otherwise unused iCloud storage space for syncing files between your Macs.
iClouDrive works like many other file syncing services. It creates a folder on your computer which is auto-magically synchronised with all of your other Macs. Apple gives all iCloud users a free 5GB portion of storage, and it is this storage that is used for syncing files
As with all of my apps, iClouDrive is free, and can be downloaded today! I hope that you find iClouDrive useful, and please feel free to contact me about any questions or comments you may have.
I’m happy to announce the release of MacDropUpdate v2.1.1. This update fixes broken functionality, and allows MacDropUpdate to once again function as the easiest way to make sure that you’re always running the latest version of Dropbox.
As always, you can download the latest version from the MacDropUpdate page on my website.
MacDropAny was originally released in February 2011 as an easy way to sync and folder on your computer with Dropbox. Since then, support has been added for Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive, and over 145,000 folders have been synced.
I’m now in the process of entirely re-writing MacDropAny to be faster, more bug-resistant, and to have more features. To this end, I’d love to hear what features you’d like to see in the next version of MacDropAny. I’m especially interested to hear if there are any other cloud services you’d like to have MacDropAny work with.
If you have any feature request, please either comment on this post, or send me a message and I’ll see what I can do.
I am often asked for instructions for how to synchronise a folder to multiple computer. This could be useful if you wanted to have your Desktop, Documents folder, or something else easily accessible on all of your Macs.
This can be done easily thanks to MacDropAny, my free app. To do this, just follow these simple instructions:
Make sure that you have a backup of your computer (or at least a backup copy of the files you are going to be tinkering with). As outlined in the Zibity Software Licence, I cannot be held responsible for any loss of data incurred as a result of using my apps.
Pause (or quit) Dropbox on all of the computers which you want to sync
On the first computer, use MacDropAny to sync your Desktop folder (or Documents, Downloads, etc.).
Repeat this previous step on all of your other computers, however you must make sure that you locate the “Dropbox copy” of the folder in the same location inside your Dropbox. For example, in the root (top) folder of your Dropbox, and you must make sure that when you are asked what you want the folder to be called, that you use the same name on all of your computers.
Unpause (or launch) Dropbox on all of your computers at the same time. Let Dropbox sync all of the changes.
If everything has worked correctly, you should now have a folder which magically keeps itself in sync.
You can do this with any folder which is on your local machine (ie not on an external drive). Additionally, it is not reccomended to sync folders with thousands of files (your Applications folder, for example), as Dropbox can sometimes throw a bit of a hissy fit when you do this.
If you find MacDropAny particularly useful, please consider making a small donation to help support future development. I’m only 15 years old, so any contribution, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated.
We all have those truly amazing friends; the people who do incredible things in a seemingly effortless way, and make out like it’s nothing special. Natalie Salomon is one of these people. She’s an amazingly talented young singer and pianist who’s been composing her own songs and putting them up on SoundCloud.
The song I’ve included in this post, “One Day”, is a love song she wrote in June of this year. Take a listen to it, and if you like what you hear, make sure you head on over to her SoundCloud page where’s she’s got an amazing collection of original songs and a couple of amazing covers.
I’m happy to announce the release of version 2.1.0 of MacDropUpdate. This update fixes a slight issue with the donation prompt, and at the request of @daskajaspamt, allows you to turn off all alerts (both Growl and dialog boxes) by running the command defaults write com.zibity.macdropupdate2 alerts no in Terminal.
You can download this version from the MacDropUpdate page of my website.
When I was living in Paris, I did some on-and-off tech help for family friends and other people in the community who wanted a friendly person to come along and deal with their computer problems. I’m happy to announce that I’ll be continuing this now that I’ve moved to New Zealand under the branding of The Eastbourne Helpdesk (Eastbourne is the area I live in).
If you would like some affordable help with your digital problems, contact me. If you’re in the Eastbourne area, I’ll be happy to come to your house and assist you on-site. If you’re somewhere else, it’s quite likely that I’d be able to help you with your problems remotely over the internet. Send me a message and we’ll see what we can do!
In a followup to my previous post on the status of my apps, I’ve had a couple of people reporting to me that MacDropAny is not running under Mountain Lion.
With Gatekeeper, you’re supposed to be able to override whatever security settings you’ve set related to opening apps downloaded from the internet by simply right-clicking on the app, and choosing “Open”. It seems that there’s a bug in Mountain Lion which means that, at least for MacDropAny and a couple of other apps (such as the Growl Uninstaller), the ability to right-click to open an app (and therefore circumvent the security settings) is isn’t working, and people are getting an error message saying:
"The operation couldn’t be completed. (OSStatus error -67049.)"
Unfortunately, only Apple will be able to fix this. Fortunately, you can get MacDropAny running by opening System Preferences, opening it’s Security and Privacy pane, and choosing to “Allow applications downloaded from anywhere”.
If you’re still having problems, please contact me through my contact page, or by commenting on this post.
Hi Everyone. I’ve been getting quite a few emails lately about my apps (or some features in my apps not working) as a result of people upgrading to Mountain Lion, so this is just a small update on the status of my projects. In general, everything is running normally, but there are a few things you should know about.
Please note that to use any of my apps, you must set your Gatekeeper settings to allow applications downloaded from anywhere to run on your Mac. For more information on how to configure Gatekeeper, see this Apple knowledge base article.
MacDropAny is still actively supported for syncing folders on your computer with Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive. MacDropAny runs on Mountain Lion for me without any troubles, with the exception that the right-click command in Finder does not seem to work properly.
MacDropUpdate is still actively supported for automatically updating Dropbox.app to the latest forum build. Please note that the Dropbox forums are (as of 11 August 2012) currently offline for maintenance, and as MacDropUpdate uses information from these forums to know when a new version is available, you will an error message will appear saying that MacDropUpdate can’t connect to the Dropbox forums. Please don’t be alarmed; this is to be expected. Once the forums come back online, MacDropUpdate should resume normal functionality. Notwithstanding the Dropbox forums being down, MacDropUpdate runs on Mountain Lion for me without any troubles.
Broomstick is still actively supported for hiding and rearranging icons in your Mac menubar. I apologise that I haven’t published any updates with new icon hiding functionality lately, but I hope to get back to this soon. Broomstick runs on Mountain Lion for me without any troubles.
All of my Alfred Extensions are still actively supported, and I have tested them all on Mountain Lion; they work without any troubles.
From the apps on my Goodies page, both MacPips and Shiboleet seem to work fine on Mountain Lion, and both are still supported.
So, to conclude, all of my apps (for the most part) are running as per normal on Mountain Lion. As I’ve just moved country, I’ve not had much time recently to work on my apps, but please rest assured that I’m still here, and I’ll try my best to fix any bugs as and when they arise.
Creating and maintaining all of these apps does take a considerable amount of my time, so if you find any of them particularly useful, please consider making a donation to help support future development.
I’ve been having lots of great requests to add more apps to Broomstick, and I’m sorry that I’ve taken a couple of weeks to get around to them - I’ve got exams on at the moment, and I just haven’t had time. Please remember though that you can get involved in the process here.
On an annoying side note, the latest update to Google Drive seems to have made it impossible for its menubar icon to be hidden by Broomstick. I’m going to take a close look at this soon. I personally hide the Google Drive icon, so it’s quite irritating for me!
Over the past two weeks, I’ve received over 500 requests for new apps to be included in Broomstick. To include an app in Broomstick, I have to download the app, launch it, open up its internal bits, and then find which of its files are the icon files it uses in the menubar. This isn’t a very hard thing to do, but it does take about 5 minutes for each app. To get through all of the existing app requests would take me about a week of solid work. This is obviously unsustainable.
To solve this problem, I’ve decided to offer you, the users of Broomstick, the opportunity to help find the icon information for apps that you and your friends want to be able to hide. This means that you can go and find the icon information for the apps that you want to be able to hide, submit this information in to me, and then I’ll throw this information into Broomstick, meaning that in the next update, you’ll be able to hide the apps you want!
A lot of exciting things have happened in the past 24 hours for Zibity. Yesterday evening, LifeHacker (a popular technology news website) posted an article about Broomstick. I’m really excited to have been featured on such a high-profile website.
Unfortunately, at 22:47 GMT yesterday, my downloads server, downloads.zibity.com, was swamped, ran out of funds, and went offline. Luckily, this website, www.zibity.com, is not hosted on the same server, so it was safe, however having my downloads server go offline meant that all of the new traffic from LifeHacker couldn’t download Broomstick.
So that was the situation that I woke up to this morning. I immediately transferred more funds over to my hosting provider, and my downloads server has been back up since 8:24 GMT.
Despite my downloads server having been offline for most of the night, over 700 new users have now installed Broomstick. I’ve also had over 200 new requests for the addition of apps to be able to be hidden. While this is fantastic an I’m very keen to expand the list of apps that can be hidden, please be patient as it will take me some time to work my way through all of these requests, in addition to juggling all of my school commitments.
Some of the comments that I’ve been receiving about Broomstick have been slightly negative, with people wondering whether Broomstick is of an appropriate quality to have been released to the public. Please remember that Broomstick is currently only beta software, and that I’m happy to receive all manner of bug reports. Please direct these bug reports to my contact form.
So, to conclude:
I’m very happy that Broomstick has been featured in LifeHacker.
I hope that having my downloads server go offline didn’t inconvenience anyone too much.
I’ve learnt a valuable lesson about being prepared for surges in traffic.
I’m currently on holiday, but once I get back I’ll work to clear the backlog of app requests
Thanks everyone for being so supportive. If you particularly like my apps, please consider making a donation to help support future development.
In the International Baccalaureate, the curriculum that my school follows, every grade 10 student must complete a personal project on a topic of their choosing. This project can be about absolutely anything. I chose to do my personal project on encryption, specifically implementing the RSA encryption system in a Mac app.
I’ve now completed this project. If you’d like to see how this project went, and download my app, head on over to my process blog: kruptos.zibity.com
Everyone likes to have money. Having money gives you the freedom to do what you want, when you want. The best way I’ve found to earn money is simply to save what you’ve got. I feel that I’ve got quite good at saving money in my 14 years. Let me share with you a few techniques that I’ve found that help me to save money.
Only have as much money on you as you need. For example, if you are going out to see a film, only take as much money with you as you know you will need to pay for the ticket. If you absolutely must, take a small amount more than you need in the off chance that you need to pay for something else, but try your best not to spend this extra money.
Wrap coins in piles of 10€ (or whatever is convenient for your currency). Personally, I wrap my money using plastic wrap. This way, whenever I want to spend money, I have to unwrap it, and this act really makes me think about whether the 10€ that I’m unwrapping could be better used in another place.
If ever you see something in a shop, and you think you might want it, stop. Ask yourself Do I really need this? What do I gain by having this thing? Is this benefit worth the price?
Then go home and sleep on it. Literally. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll probably realise that you don’t actually need a new all-in-one toaster-fridge-computer-telephone-TV. Your money will be saved for another day.
I use The Birdy to track my expenses. It’s a free web app that sends you an email once a day asking you what you spend that day. You give each item a title, and you can also add #tags to it. The Birdy then generates pretty graphs and charts for you that helps you to understand your spending habits. I highly recommend it.
These techniques help me to limit my spending. What do you do to control your spending?
Uptake of Broomstick has been going really well. Since I released it about a week ago, it’s been used by more than 150 people in at least 25 different countries. The most popular app to hide is Dropbox.
On March 21st 2012, MacDropUpdate 2 reached 400,000 uses. To this date, it’s been used in over 90 countries around the world. I’m amazed by how many people have been using MacDropUpdate to keep up to date with the most cutting edge versions of Dropbox.
In a somewhat disappointing turn of events, Dropbox has recently made a change in the way that they provide forum builds which means that they can only be updated to through the Dropbox app, and not by direct download through the forums, which means that MacDropUpdate has been temporarily broken. I expect that, once the current branch goes stable, the Dropbox team will go back to posting download links, and MacDropUpdate will become useful again.
Thanks to everyone who’s supported me through with MacDropUpdate. It’s evolved from a relatively simple app that required you to manually copy the Dropbox app to its rightful location, to a very slick app that is for all intents and purposes, invisible. None of this could have been done without the kind words of my users, donators, and the Dropbox community.