Cyberduck Got Shot Down

Cyberduck java runtime

Ah, my favorite FTP app: Cyberduck. Free, functional, easy on the eyes. Tonight, I’ll be tossing it into the Trash. Why? It’s a long story.

On August 8, I decided to go Google-free. That meant finding a way to replace Gmail, Google Reader, Google the search engine, FeedBurner, Analytics, Docs, etc. You can read more about it in Google, Adéu. The gist: I don’t trust Google anymore.

For Gmail I thought it would be easy. Just use Mail. The only problem was that I had deleted Mail a while back. I deleted Mail because it was big, and pooped files all over the drive. Space was precious because I went from a 500GB HDD to a 50GB SSD. So I thought, “Heck, I’ll just use Gmail using a browser.” That’s what I did, merrily, for a good long while and with less clutter on my Mac. But Google prompted me to change. And now I had to reinstall Mail.

Well that was going to be a problem. You see, Mail comes on a DVD. I had pulled out the Superdrive thinking I wouldn’t need it. I blame Apple for making me think I didn’t need an optical drive anymore. Read Silent, Cool, Green MacBook Pro if you want to find out why I really did that.

After reinstalling the Superdrive, I slid in the DVD, and installed Mail. Then Snow Leopard hissed at me saying that Mail was incompatible. Incompatible. How could that be? I googled and googled but couldn’t find an answer. The alternatives weren’t that appealing either. Sparrow looked nice but to get rid of the ads it was going to cost me US$10. I didn’t want to spend even more for MailMate ($40) or Postbox ($30). I’ve used Thunderbird and I didn’t like how it looked. Eudora looked ugly too. If I was going to spend $30 or more on an email client I might as well get a brand new operating system with a brand new Mail. So that’s what I did. Yes, I know, in “I’m not playing that game.” I wrote that I didn’t need Lion. Well, I needed Lion now and it was a better deal than almost anything else.

I quite like Lion. Surfing with Safari without scroll bars is wonderful. Two-finger scrolling is taking a while to get used to, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. I try to think of it this way: I’m moving an actual page with my two fingers. So if I want to see what’s down there, I push the page up with my fingers, like a real page.

Lion also kept all of my previous settings intact so there was very little to customize. I got rid of the wallpapers, some modem files, screensavers, etc., but no major customizations. I don’t use LaunchPad or any of the fancy multitouch gestures. Oh, there is one: three-finger up, for Mission Control. It’s pretty convenient. The only major behavioral change is the reversed scrolling.

Now, back to Cyberduck. I wanted to FTP something: PHP Markdown. At first I didn’t get Markdown: what it was good for, why John Gruber develop it. Then I went to Dingus to check it out. Bingo! With Markdown, writing posts with a non-WYSIWYG text editor becomes a lot easier. You can actually read what you write and the coding is more intuitive and efficient. Here’s what John Gruber has to say about Markdown:

Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).

I’m writing this post in Markdown after a few minutes of fiddling. The learning curve isn’t as steep as I thought it’d be. With PHP Markdown installed as a plugin, I type in Markdown using MarsEdit and WordPress parses it into HTML. How nice is that! (Update: I’ve decided to use the free and excellent TextWrangler and parse Markdown locally. I still get to write posts more naturally, but get away from depending on a WordPress plugin. Also having the smallest number of plugins does help with CPU cycle usages and the overall speed of DisplayBlog.)

But there was just one problem. Cyberducky needed a Java runtime. And as you may or may not know Lion doesn’t come with Java. Did I want to install a huge Java runtime package just to run a tiny FTP app? Nope. Did I want to spend $34 on Transmit, what many consider the best FTP client on the Mac? Too expensive. I mean an entire operating system is $30. $4 more than that for a FTP client sounds ridiculously expensive to me. At the end, I decided to run Terminal and see if I remembered the stuff I played around 20 years ago. Fortunately I did.

Long story short, Cyberduck is gone. Because of Google.

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