Part 12 of elf's Apple PowerBook G4 Journal

Thoughts on the iPod Hifi

Wed Mar 01 08:19:54 2006

I was trying to imagine the Hifi in my bedroom and I couldn't— I don't have the space anywhere on my table. So it would have to sit on the floor in the corner; too bad it can't be placed in a vertical orientation to save space.

I would be surprised to discover that Ive designed this monstrosity.

It's too much for a bedroom, or even a living room (I can just hear a chorus of parents yelling, "turn that down!", in homes everywhere); given the specifications, this is a Hifi that could be used to provide party music in a large dance hall or club.

Update Wed Mar 01 15:50:51 2006: Mat Peterson thinks that Apple outsourced the design of the iPod Hifi to Dell.

Bonjour Googletalk

Wed Mar 01 17:59:59 2006

Stuart Cheshire talks about Zero Configuration network with Bonjour at Google.

Dress Like Steve

Wed Mar 01 21:20:00 2006

David sent me a link to Steve's Outfit, a site dedicated to Steve Jobs' signature Apple Keynote wardrobe: black St. Croix shirt, $109; Levis 501 Stonewashed Jeans, $138; New Balance sneakers, $130. Does this mean that Steve prefers to do the keynotes Commando Style?

Googlebot Mobile?

Thu Mar 02 06:59:37 2006 - - [01/Mar/2006:02:42:52 -0500]
    "GET /~elf/powerbook/01-journal.html HTTP/1.1" 200 55171 "-" 
    "Nokia6820/2.0 (4.83) Profile/MIDP-1.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.0 
    (compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1; +"

Nokia6820? Hmmm...

iTMS Gimmick

Thu Mar 02 07:04:48 2006

"The iTunes Music Store buyer buys 25 songs in the first year, 15 in the second year, and in the third year, the battery has died, so you have to go out and buy a new iPod."

"And you paid $300 for that machine," he said, before concluding: "This is why Steve Jobs isn't in the music industry."

iTunes' long march to market share, The Register

Ars Technica Reviews Macbook Pro

Thu Mar 02 09:23:12 2006

Ars Technica reviews the Macbook Pro.

Update Thu Mar 02 13:00:14 2006: To summarize, the magnetically attached power-cord is an irritation when the Macbook was used in bed (like I do) and when pets were around; boot-up time is 2x faster than a Powerbook (but equal in time to a Dell 9100 hacked to run 10.4.4); Xbench tests show CPU is just a bit faster than a Powerbook, graphics amd memory are more than twice as fast, but Quartz is faster on the Powerbook; a 25MB QT movie encoded to iPod in 1m26s on the Macbook and 2m00s on the Powerbook.

An Evening With Woz

Thu Mar 02 12:45:16 2006

Another Google/Computer History Museum video where Woz talks about his childhood, his early motivations and his contributions to the design of the Apple I, Apple ][ and Apple ///.

Security Update 2006-001

Thu Mar 02 13:11:48 2006

Download for Panther 10.3.9 and Tiger 10.4.5.

ATI Graphic Demos and Screensavers

Fri Mar 03 14:08:05 2006

Exercise the full power of your graphics card with these demos and screensavers.

Update Sat Mar 04 09:18:37 2006: I tested the Gargoyle (stunningly garish), Lava (looks really fake and garish) and Cells screensavers. They would be usable if not for the ATI logo in the corner.

The Pope Gets an iPod

Sat Mar 04 09:22:04 2006

2 GB white (naturally) Nano with Vatican Radio programmes and music my Mozart, Chopin and Stravinsky.

The head of the Protestant Church got one, now the head of the Roman Catholic Church has one, so all we need is the Dalai Lama to get one and once the Muslims figure out who will succeed Mohammed, he can get one and then we can have world peace. All because of a little music player designed in California.

Now Running 10.3.9

Sat Mar 04 11:47:25 2006

I finally upgraded to Mac OS X 10.3.9 last night. Everything went smoothly. The update itself took aabout 5 minutes to install and optimize and then the reboot took 90s to get to the login screen. I then installed the security updates; secupd2005-5 took 4 minutes to install and 40s to reboot; secupd2005-6 took 60s with no reboot and secupd2006-1 took 5 minutes to install and 64s to reboot. I didn't need to install the JavaUpdate as NeoOffice seems to work so I assume the update is unneccessary.

The only thing I noticed after the 20 minute upgrade was that my screensaver was reset to the default Blank.

Matt Groening Ad

Sat Mar 04 21:03:02 2006

An advert for the Macintosh geared towards college students.

iDVD Tips

Sun Mar 05 12:50:51 2006

Ken Tidwell has great iDVD tips which came in handy when I needed to combine two iMovie projects onto a single DVD. When an iMovie project that has chapter markers is dropped into iDVD, two links are created on the main page— "Play Movie" and "Scene Selection". When a second iMovie project is then dropped into the iDVD project, iDVD creates a single link from the title page to a second page that has two additional links to play the second movie and view the chapters. It makes more sense to add the two new links on the title page so both movies are accessible from the title page.

I think that the problem may be that the link names of the second movie, "Play Movie" and "Scene Selection", collide with the two links already there. One of the steps in the hint is to rename the two links before dropping the second movie and then cleverly copying and pasting the two links from the new submenu back to the main page. iDVD should do this automatically, including renaming the two previous links.


Sun Mar 05 21:34:23 2006

DiskInventoryX displays disk storage graphically by showing file sizes as coloured blocks. After I ran DiskInventoryX, I discovered a directory /cores with two core files (now deleted); I've added this useful application to the Finder toolbar. I also emailed the author a suggestion about a 3D version done in OpenGL where the filesize could be represented as peaks. I just think it would be cool to fly-through the "mountains of data" on the hard-disk.

Applestore in Sherway Gardens

Mon Mar 06 21:16:36 2006

According to recent job postings it looks like the third Applestore will be opening in Sherway Gardens.

“All Marketers are Liars”

If you're going to bother doing something, is it worth talking about?
—Seth Godin

Tue Mar 07 15:01:53 2006

Why did Google beat Yahoo; why did Microsoft beat Apple; why did eBay beat Yahoo Auctions; why did the iPod beat everyone else? Google wasn't the first search engine, Microsoft wasn't the first GUI OS, eBay wasn't the first online auction site and the iPod certainly wasn't the first MP3 player. So how did they win? Watch this Google Video.

Rotate Your Powerbook

Tue Mar 07 18:36:04 2006

For those Powerbooks equipped with Sudden Motion Sensors, SMSRotateD will re-configure the orientation of the display (in 90° increments) based on the orientation of the laptop.

Leopard Finder

Wed Mar 08 14:49:29 2006

A sneak preview of the new Finder in the upcoming Leopard release of OS X is available from Apple's patent application: the Finder will have better integration with Spotlight and an improved interface to Spotlight queries; it will also have nested Smart Folders.

No Vista EFI

Fri Mar 10 08:47:09 2006

Microsoft has confirmed that the Vista OS, to be released later this year, will not support EFI booting until Vista Server Edition is released. So Apple's rumoured plans of dumping Mac OS X and switching to Vista will not happen until then (if rumours are to be believed).

“Watching the Alpha Geeks”

Fri Mar 10 18:02:24 2006

Tim O'Reilly (who uses a Mac in the video) talks about, "changing the world by capturing the knowledge of innovators", in “Watching the Alpha Geeks”. One interesting point he mentions is that he see websites as applications (,, are applications); the web browser then becomes a means to access these applications, and so is given away for free because the money is in the service that the website provides. He notes the differences between the failure of (we have all the songs) and the success of (I don't need to store all the songs; I'll let my friends store them and I can just point to them).

He also makes a note of the iLife applications not being completely thought out by Apple, in terms of integrating Rendezvous, now Bonjour, and co-operating with other copies of themselves. One of the biggest everyday complaints of iTunes, is that if you have music stored on an external drive, there is no easy way to get iTunes to play it.

His final slide was:

Digital Archives

Fri Mar 10 23:33:29 2006

I was reminded of recently asking one of my work colleagues to convert an old VHS tape to DVD, as I read Hal Stern's blog entry on digital standards:

Long-Term Data Preservation and Location. The great thing about digital documents is that as long as you have stable storage, you can make copies of them. The terrible thing about digital documents is that you end up with a lot of copies. The typical card catalog or keyword search mechanisms for locating documents is likely to give way to tagging, inverted indices, and ontologies, including things as socially simple as Location is the top half of the problem; being able to retrieve the bits from some kind of storage (tape, disk, optical) and to assemble a copy that has reasonable assurance of being accurate (from distributed partial copies, or multiple copies with multiple timestamps) is the lower half of the problem. This is the topic of many conversations with Sun employees who used to wear StorageTek badges.

Digital Rights Management. I'm not a huge fan of restrictive digital rights management technology, because I believe that it basically takes away freedoms you'd have in the real world. However, it's clear that we need to deal with DRM, so we're focusing on the interoperability of various DRM technologies (through the DReaM project) such that we can stimulate practical sharing of digital content.

Open Standards. There's a two-part problem with digital documents -- first you have to be able to open the document subject to whatever DRM system protects it. You hope that in 5, 10, or 50 years, there's some software that can unzip the crypto envelope to release the document bits. Then what do you do with the bits? If they're written in a closed format for which there are no readers or writers, they might as well be scribed in Linear B on stone tablets. This is the impetus for the ODF Alliance. Open standards drive innovation and inteoperability; look at NFS or TCP/IP for existence proofs. Simon Phipps elegantly deflects the FUD from ODF. For every player who says "can't", there must be players who demonstrate "can", just as we saw with TCP/IP over the past quarter century.

The risk in not executing to all of these areas is that we'll end up with a lot of useless bits on disks or tapes, unreadable, unsearchable, and lost to anyone who might want to benefit from them. If you believe in the "participation age" (and I do), then you have to provide for participation, now and decades from now.

Penny Arcade Switch

Pride goeth before the fall.

Sat Mar 11 10:15:43 2006

In July of 2002, one of the Penny arcade cartoonists wrote a diatribe about Apple's “Switch” campaign, "They are avatars of a corporation, not some kind of social movement, inheriting at full volume the smug superiority that Windows users seek to return in kind."

In March 2006, he switched. I guess the campaign was a success, after all.

One Year With Mathilde

Sun Mar 12 10:47:08 2006

The Macintosh enabled people to have a relationship with their computer; you really love your computer when it's a Macintosh.
—“The Macintosh Marketing Story”

I have been an OS X convert for a year now and the Conversion has been an enjoyable trip with a few potholes. The trip began as a pilgrimage to a shrine where style and aesthetics are valued ideals; it changed the way I did things; it changed the way I looked at things, and gave new meaning and sigificance to them. I realized that once you make the pilgrimage and arrive at the shrine, you cannot worship another; there is no going back.

The Ideal Operating System

In 1997, Steve Jobs returned to take Apple from the brink of death to the most recognized brand in the world today, with Jonathan Ive designing the "fruity" Macs, the cubes, the Powerbooks, the iPod (of course) and the online music store. He also brought with him a new operating system— NeXT OS and re-christened it OS X. It had a solid foundation based on BSD, on which was built an unforgettable user experience. How could one resist the Ideal Operating System running on beautiful hardware?

The Ideal Operating System deftly balances the needs of both the naive novice and the cynical expert while performing its duties with no complaints. This near-impossible feat is achieved by hiding complexity behind a simple and elegant interface for the benefit of the novice, and at the same time allowing the expert to bypass the cumbersome GUI and get their work done on their own terms. OS X embodies these ideals admirably; the Mach/FreeBSD infrastructure attracts the technically literate specialist, while the shiny GUI interface attracts everyone else who appreciates ease of use.


I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,
Although thou steal thee all my poverty;
And yet, love knows, it is a greater grief
To bear love's wrong than hate's known injury.
   Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,
   Kill me with spites; yet we must not be foes.

—Sonnet XL, William Shakespeare

Eleven years after the Macintosh, Microsoft released Windows 95 (stuff just worked, kinda), the first version of Windows that came closest emulating the Mac experience (stuff just worked). Despite having to be re-started several times a day as part of the standard operating procedure, it won the Desktop Wars by proving that "good enough" was acceptable to the majority of people as long as it was also affordable. Microsoft realized that excellence only mattered to a minority of users. Apple capitalized on this sentiment by appealing to the minorities, with the “Computer for the rest of us” campaign which reminded us that there is only one Einstein; there is only one Gandhi; (there is only one Steve Jobs); there is only one of you and only one of me. Our uniquiness was the entry fee into the Cult of the Mac. Once you accept that you are not like everyone else, that you don't want to be like everyone else, you are ready for a Mac. Look at it this way: if you want to get from one place on earth to another place very far away, in the shortest possible time, you can either fly Economy Class or you can fly First Class. Both classes arrive at the destination, in the same airplane, at the same time; but each voyager experiences the journey very differently.

Road to Damascus

Pilgrimages are made to the places where...the deity had already signified it to be his pleasure to work wonders.
—Catholic Encyclopedia

While Apple prefers the agnostic term "switch", I think that "convert" is a more apt description of one who undertakes the pilgrimage. OS X is a religious experience. Switching implies a tentative decision where you may decide to give up and go back while Conversion implies burning your bridges. The Apple Gospel of nuance and subtlety (only after a year of use did I discover that Stickies could hold images) appeals to a select few (the Mac is really a computer for the rest of us); it is quite a departure from the Microsoft Mantra that is meant to appeal to the masses, by essence is required to be vulgar. Just compare the alert sounds— OS X has soothing sounds, Windows/XP has noises that disturb; OS X has shadowded windows and rounded corners; Windows/XP doesn't care because you can skin the interface and make it look like Windows95 if you so prefer. Everything about OS X (even the kernel panic message) is expressive of the operating system's inner calmness and joy.


There are two types of fools in the world— those who say, 'This is old and therefore good', and those who say, 'This is new and therefore better'.
—John Brunner

The biggest surprise you will experience when you first use a Mac, will be the keyboard's lack of dedicated "Home", "End", "Pg Up/Dn" keys and the position of the Alt key— one key away from the Space-bar. Keys normally found on a PC keyboard are missing on the Powerbook keyboard. DoubleCommand, a kernel extension for Panther, fixes these short-comings. The second surprise (a shock, even) was that CDs are created in single-session mode by default (the underlying UNIX betrays it's presence)— after writing, they are finalized, preventing additional file to be saved at a later date, even if you wrote a small file to the CD. The the final surprise, is discovering how disfunctional the Finder is (but this will hopefully be fixed in the next version of OS X).

The pleasant surprises include the iLife suite (iTunes, iMovie, iDVD and iPhoto) used to manage your music, movies and photos as you document the life of your loved ones. The programs are amazingly well thought-out programs that make it so easy to do the things you want to do. They set the standard for how programs everywhere should work.

“Think Different”

I approached the Mac with an open mind— I was prepared to “Think Different”. I found this approach to be essential in accepting the Mac and its alternative ways. I learned that if OS X does something different than what you are used to, just accept it and move on. Don't fight it; it only makes thing worse.

A year later, I have no regrets. I cannot envision ever buying another Windows computer for home (unless it's for playing games). It really surprised me that I was able radically change my philosophy at such an advanced age.

Terminal Settings

Sun Mar 12 22:17:21 2006

I disabled "Wide Glyphs for Japanese/Chinese" in via,Terminal >Windows Settings...>Display and the display of the “·” character is much better in terms of losing cursor position and emacs modeline doesn't corrupt as before.

DoubleCommand Startup

Sun Mar 12 22:20:35 2006

The default Preferences GUI for configuring startup items does not allow Doublecommand Prefpane to be added to the startup list. So instead (using a tip from #macosx) I used a Quicksilver Action to do it (Cmd-Space >DoubleCommand >TAB >Cursor-Down >Select "Open at Login"). Open Preferences and notice that Doublecommand is now added to startup items as a "Folder".

Google Design

Mon Mar 13 08:56:51 2006

You can lead a horse's ass to knowledge, but you can't make him think.
—Bob Silverman

John Gruber beat me to an analysis of Google's lack of design in their web presence (I was in the middle of preparing screenshots of Gmail, annotated with circles and arrows showing poor design). To summarize, it doesn't matter that there is little thought put into their design because their user-base, Windows users who drive Ford, GM and Chrysler cars, don't care, and wouldn't really notice the extra effort put into design. This is indeed unfortunate as it makes "the rest of us" cringe in discomfort. Yet again, Mac users suffer at the hand of the Windows users.

Is it possible to teach people good taste? Yes, but they have to be willing to learn. Is it possible to make people care about good design? Yes, but they have to be willing to care— they have to feel it's important enough to matter. Do most Windows users have good taste? No. Do most Windows users care about good design? No. Just compare Slashdot and Digg.

Java 4K Challenge

Mon Mar 13 13:35:49 2006

GetJava Download Button

Can you write a Java game that fits in 4 kilobytes of RAM? There are a lot of clever people that have done it as part of the 4K Java Challenge.

“Happy Birthday Apple” Book

Mon Mar 13 16:37:21 2006

The birthday book, containing messages from Mac fans, will be presented to Steve Jobs on the occasion of Apple's 30th birthday, on April 1.

PC Keybindings

Tue Mar 14 15:37:39 2006

In Firefox, pressing "Home" and "End" in a text-box do nothing. Perhaps the following tip by creating a keyboard definition file in ~/Library may solve that problem.

/* ~/Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict */
/* Home/End keys more like Windows */
"\UF729" = "moveToBeginningOfLine:"; /* home */
"\UF72B" = "moveToEndOfLine:"; /* end */
"$\UF729" = "moveToBeginningOfLineAndModifySelection:"; /* shift + home */
"$\UF72B" = "moveToEndOfLineAndModifySelection:"; /* shift + end */
"^\UF729" = "moveToBeginningOfDocument:"; /* control + home */
"^\UF72B" = "moveToEndOfDocument:"; /* control + end */

Update Fri Mar 17 09:00:27 2006: See also Jacob Rus' keyboard customization tutorial.

Samsung Z5 MP3 Player

Wed Mar 15 07:48:36 2006

The Register reviews the Samsung Z5 “iPod Killer”. The reviewer compliments the large screen (compared to the Nano), amazing battery life (35 hours) and the user interface (designed by Paul Mercer and his company Iventor, who also designed the iPod interface). The dissappointments include the, "slow, fiddly, and too often counter-intuitive and confusing", square click-wheel.


Wed Mar 15 08:10:29 2006

jlGUI in a Java-based MP3 player that supports Winamp skins. So now OS X users can enjoy the gaudy and garish MP3 players found on most Windows desktops.

Battery Firmware Update

Wed Mar 15 17:51:53 2006

Back in January, Apple released a firmware update for certain models of 15 in. Powerbooks and their batteries. This should have happened automatically for those (carefree) people (who trust Apple updates) running Software Update.

OS X UI Designer

Thu Mar 16 00:00:52 2006

Cordell Ratzlaff (formerly of Apple, now at Frog Design), head of the UI designer of OS X, talks about his experiences at the 2006 SxSW designer convention:

Mr. Ratzlaff recalled for the audience the moment he was called into Steve Jobs' office at Apple, following Apple's acquisition of NeXT in 1997 but prior to Mr. Jobs assuming any official role at Apple whatsoever. With a pair of his best designers by his side, Mr. Ratzlaff stood in Mr. Jobs' office as the Apple co-founder called them "a bunch of amateurs" and launched into a long criticism of the Mac OS 8 interface.

The article notes that, what is commonly known as Exposé, was also developed simultaneously and independently at Microsoft— it just so happened that Apple demo'd it first.

FontExplorerX 1.0 Released

Thu Mar 16 07:12:13 2006

Linotype's FontExplorerX 1.0 is now available for download. One reason FontExplorerX is better than Apple's Fontbook is that when you go to disable a font, it shows you all the fonts belonging to the family that are also going to be disabled; Fontbook just warns you without showing the fonts.

Second-best Apple Ad

Thu Mar 16 14:42:28 2006

If “1984” is the best (Apple) TV advertisement ever, then the “Think Different” ad is the next best (but it is my personal favourite).

Here's to the crazy ones,
the misfits, the rebels,
the troublemakers.

The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.

They're not fond of rules, and they
have no respect for the status quo.

You can quote them,
disagree with them,
glorify or villify them.

About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.

Because they change things,
they push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world are the ones who do !

Einstein, Dylan, King, Branson, Lenon (and Ono), Fuller, Edison, Ali, Turner, Callas, Gandhi, Earhart, Hitchcock, Graham, Henson (and Kermit), Wright, Picasso and you.

Windows XP on a Mac

Sat Mar 18 04:43:32 2006

Two people will share a $13,000 purse for being the first to get a Mac to boot Windows XP. The runner-up has a nice write-up about the whole thing (basically get EFI to emulate a BIOS and a bunch of stuff I don't understand). The biggest complaint about this venture was that the cash prize offered to the first person to run XP on a Mac, caused everyone working on the problem to become secretive about their methods and it thus took longer than it normally would have taken.

Q Emulator

Sat Mar 18 12:24:18 2006

Q is a Cocoa port of QEMU.

Update Wed Jul 19 08:37:36 2006: new url.

Shopping for a RAM Upgrade

Sun Mar 19 20:37:39 2006

I want to upgrade mathilde to the maximum 2 GB of RAM: Double Data Rate Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module (DDR SO-DIMM) format, 1.25 inch or smaller, 1 gigabyte (GB), 200-pin, PC2700 DDR 333. I am worried that the serial number of my PB falls in the range affected by the Memory Slot Problem. There's only one way to find out if I'm affected...

Anandtech has a round-up of Mac memory manufacturers. I have found Kingston RAM at Softmagic (CA$164.82) and at CanadaRAM (CA$175).

Another Covert?

Mon Mar 20 17:56:38 2006

I held it in my hands and felt its warmth; I sensed it talking to all the other Macs in the room, even reaching out across the web. Something just felt right about it. I began to picture myself owning a Mac.
—Christopher Fahey

Christopher Fahey is a Windows user (whose web design looks like it's from a Mac user) who asks himself whether it's time to switch:

Peeking over people’s shoulders, over and over again I saw Mac applications doing stuff that I’ve never seen Windows apps do. Niche programs with inventive user interfaces and out-of-left-field feature sets. Features not just to solve problems or to fill gaps, but to enable excellence and efficiency. I started to get the feeling that by using Windows+Outlook as my cheif computing and communications platform I have been depriving myself of exposure to a variety of really interesting and inspiring applications and interface designs.

Left Headphone Channel Wonky

Mon Mar 20 22:44:24 2006

On Saturday, I noticed that the audio volume from the left channel of the headphone jack was mightly diminished. Google results.

Was it the 10.3.9 upgrade? I'm trying to remember if I used the headphones right after the upgrade or whether this was the first time? Could it be the Soundflower audio kernel extension (and 10.3.9)? I have to do some tests...

Update Sun Mar 26 12:13:48 2006: I unloaded the Soundflower kernel extension, rebooted and everything is fine.

Audion Is Now Free

Tue Mar 21 14:13:46 2006

Before iTunes, there was Audion. After a series of unfortunate events, they decided to give it away for free and pursue other endeavors.

Google Finance

Tue Mar 21 14:29:00 2006

Google Finance is pretty cool (as long as you spend more than 5 seconds staring at the main page, you won't end up looking like a complete knob). It has a scrollable stock chart with historial data, company profile, a list of the company managers and links to their biographies.


Wed Mar 22 09:00:23 2006

ourTunes is a Java application for both windows and Mac that allows you to share your MP3s with your co-workers at work, your fellow students at school or your familiy members at home; the search is limited to the local subnet. I found the FAQ quite amusing to read.

iTunes in France

Wed Mar 22 09:10:27 2006

Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort!

France passed anti-monopoly legislation (pending approval from the Senate) that requires Apple to allow users of other MP3 players to be able to download and play music from the iTunes Music Store.

iPhone Confirmed

Thu Mar 23 04:15:21 2006

The only question that remains is when the rumoured iPhone will actually ship. The confirmation comes from Benq executives who claim that some of their suppliers met with Apple to discuss manufacturing the phone. If successful, the phone will cut into sales of Motorola, who is the biggest seller in the U.S.

Where Is The Press Release?

Thu Mar 23 04:41:22 2006

Apple's response to the French legislation is being quoted as stating that it is “state-sponsored piracy”. Searching Apple's press release site reveals nothing of this document; I don't understand why it's not there.

NetNewsWire Lite

Thu Mar 23 14:46:00 2006

You're only getting NewNewsWire now? It should have been one of the first programs you should have installed.

Downloaded a copy of NetNewsWire Lite (scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to get the free, lite version of NetNewsWire, the RSS feed reader). I will be trying it out soon and reporting back. The number of subscribed feeds keep growing and it's getting tedious to check for updates in Mozilla (but not tedious enough that I would pay money for a reader).

Update: Thu Mar 23 22:39:43 2006 First impressions: very impressed; very polished interface; the variety of preferences and themes invites the user to experiment; great interface.

Collected Essays

Fri Mar 24 09:22:30 2006

I have created an index to all my essays about technology and its impact on society.


Sat Mar 25 09:09:42 2006

Typically, Wifi networks announce their presence by broadcasting their Station ID (network name) to invite you to join. The process of discovering this Wifi networks is called wardriving. Kismac and MacStumbler are two utilites that can be used for wardriving.

A passive (hidden) network does not broadcast its SSID and thus can only be discovered by sniffing for raw wifi frames. Since Apple has not published a method to put the wifi card into promiscuous mode, it's not possible to discover passive networks using MacStumbler (and, I assume Kismac).

IGS Twisted Screensaver

Sat Mar 25 17:04:11 2006

I found a new screensaver called IGS Twisted that produces mesmerizing effects when run with easy-listening music in the background. I found the following options to be the most pleasing: short trails, occasional appearance and 50-50 transparency.

Photoshop Elements 4.0 Review

Sun Mar 26 12:05:31 2006

Macworld has a positive review of Photoshop Elements 4.0. and the PhotoBridge feature used to manage photos and images. Photoshop Elements 1.0 came bundled with my VAIO and I found it more than adequate for all my needs (photo manipulation and digital art) and it explained why I felt frustrated using GIMP.

“Twenty Things I Hate About Mac OS X”

Sun Mar 26 12:49:42 2006

Owen Linzmayer lists ten things he "hates" about OS X and then added ten more things. In the first list, I disagree with item seven, "Permission Roadblocks"; permissions are an important foundation of UNIX and are there for the user's protection and to preserve the operating system's integrity.


Tue Mar 28 15:31:28 2006

"You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear."
—Sherlock Holmes, A Scandal in Bohemia

The Power of Brands was an experiment designed to see how memorable a particular brand is by having twenty-five people draw a famous brand logo from memory. The results are quite surprising; especially for the Apple brand; I would guess that of the 25 people, only two, or at most three people, were Mac users.

iTunes In Concert

Thu Mar 30 13:23:13 2006

In 1985, when the Sony Discman made portable digital music a reality, the majority of discs available, were of classical music (Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms was the first digitally recorded rock music album). Most teens were happy with cassette Walkmans. In 2001, Apple changed portable music forever and the Walkman generation embraced the iPod. Only recently did classical musicians become aware of the untapped revenue source of selling recordings of live classical music concerts.

Last Sunday's New York Times Arts and Leisure section had an article called, “Classical, Now Without The 300-Year Delay” about orchestras (the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic) forgoing the flat fee of licensing performances to recording companies and instead embracing a royalty-based mechanism of selling their recordings on iTunes. The typical year-long delay of mastering a CD and distributing it in a traditional music store has now been compressed to a two to six-week wait for the classical music fan.

They are also realizing that digital music sales are not cutting into CD music sales. The majority of the audience for downloadable classical music sees classical as just another genre as last year's BBC experiment with free downloads of Beethoven's 9 symphonies showed. According to 2005 Nielsen SoundScan reports, 353M individual tracks were downloaded, an increase of 150% from 2004; 16 million albums were downloaded, an increase of 194%. Sales of classical CDs decreased by 15% while downloads of classical albums increased by 94%. A traditional music store sees 3% of total sales being classical music while digital music stores see 7% of classical music sales.

A digital music store also allows an entire catalog from a music publisher to be made available for download, something that is physically impossible in a music store; EMI will offer its entire collection of Maria Callas recordings. The only worries that musical publishers have is appealing to the hardcore audiophiles because the low-quality of the iTunes tracks.


Fri Mar 31 17:43:06 2006

Rasterbator is a web service that creates multi-page posters from a photo. There is also a standalone Windows program (also available for Mac and Linux). I found the raster of Mathilde from The Professional, shown on the right, in the Rasterbator gallery.


Fri Mar 31 21:52:00 2006

FSEventer is a graphical tool that tracks changes to the filesystem and displays them graphically. So, for example if you install an application from a .dmg and are curious where it installed and what files it changed, FSEventer will show you. Unfortunately for me, it's Tiger only (I assume it plugs into the Spotlight metadata).

luis fernandes / G4 PowerBook Journal, Part 12 / Last Modified: Fri Apr 07 18:05:46 2006