Catfood is now on Google+. Once 50 people have the Catfood Software page added to a circle I’ll host a Hangout. You can ask me anything about Catfood, request features or nag me about bugs.
Catfood.net will be dark on January 18, 2012 to protest against SOPA and PIPA. Learn more on my personal blog.
I just updated the Catfood Software web site.
There are likely to be some glitches to iron out as this has been a major overhaul. If you have any problems please let me know.
I wrote Catfood Desktate after I discovered NASA's Blue Marble images. I used a couple as desktop wallpaper and then decided that I wanted something more dynamic and the first version of Desktate was born in 2003. The name is a combination of Desktop and rotate because initially Desktate just wrapped the image so that it was always noon at the center of the screen. It isn't a brilliant name, but it stuck.
That first version got a little boring, so I updated it to calculate the distribution of sunlight and night across the surface of the earth. Later I also added cloud cover into the mix using a near realtime composite image that gets updated every three hours.
The current version of Desktate uses the monthly global images from NASA, interpolating the images to produce a daily estimate of snow and ice cover. This is pretty subtle - see a year in twelve seconds to see this feature in action. I'm working on a new video that will also show cloud cover over the course of a year.
There's now a lot that can be customized in Desktate. See the layers page to get some idea of the possibilities.
I like the fact that Desktate makes it easy for me to gauge the time for day for friends and family around the world. It's also nice to see the seasons change throughout the year.
Most Catfood Software products are the result of an itch I couldn't find a way to scratch. Sometimes I write software just to learn something new. Often I do it because there is no other product that does exactly what I need, or it's going to be faster to write it than search for it.
Catfood FTP is the very first Catfood Software product - 1.00 was released in 1998. File Transfer Protocol is a standard for moving files between computers. It's commonly used for updating websites. Back in 1998 I was working on Catfood Magazine and needed to send changes to our host at Demon Internet. This was a slow dial-up connection to a UNIX host so as well as sending the files I also needed to chmod scripts so that they had permission to run.
I couldn't find any software that really made life easier, so Catfood FTP was born. I wrote it as a command line tool that simply uploaded an entire directory structure. To help with the slow dial-up connection I added an option to only send files that have the archive bit set - this is a flag that Windows sets whenever a file is changed. Catfood FTP clears it after upload, so after uploading a site you only need to send the files that have actually changed. I also added chmod support based on extension, so you could for instance automatically set the right permissions for Perl scripts.
Over the years Catfood FTP has added support for downloading files, scripting, excluding or included specific file types and more. From version 3.00 there's also a Wizard that makes it easy to run a quick transfer or to configure a script that can be automated in a scheduled task.
I use Catfood FTP daily. It's still my tool of choice for updating websites and I also use it for automatic daily backup of several databases from my web host. The command line version is free and included in the Catfood FTP Wizard download. The Wizard is a free trial (for twenty transfers) and if you find it useful you can buy a license at the Catfood Store.
A blast from the past... The Utah Education Network links to Scratch and Sniff on the old Catfood Magazine. Unfortunately the technology won't work with LCD monitors ;)
Older Catfood news is archived here.