Part 19 of elf's Apple PowerBook G4 Journal
Top 10 Open Source OS X Apps
Andy Boyd listed his top 10 open source OS X applications.
Now I really have to have a look at Vienna which appears at No. 5. NetNewsWire Lite, my current feed reader, is pretty amazing, but Vienna is open source. Free applications are not always winners but open source applications are always a bonus because anyone can always add new features and fix bugs (or convince another developer to do it) without being at the mercy of the original developer.
Update Wed Oct 04 08:37:19 2006: After trying it for a few days, I deleted it.
Cocoa Widgets Are Default on the Trunk
Josh Aas is the OS X lead developer for Firefox. His Sep. 28 blog entry reads:
As of about 2 minutes ago, Cocoa widgets have been turned on by default on the trunk. There are a few regressions I'm working on fixing now, but all in all it is quite usable. I am not going to miss Carbon widgets - this is a huge step forward for Mozilla on Mac OS X. Next up - goodbye Quickdraw gfx, hello Quartz Cairo.
Apple In Greece
protest complaints equality apple greece
Greece has been a member of the EU since 1982, but Greek Apple users have been treated rather differently than other European Apple users. The We Want Apple Greece site was created to protest this treatment. One of the complaints is that you cannot get engraved iPods if you're Greek— so much for David wanting the letter 'phi' engraved on his Shuffle.
In a recent Infoworld article, An Apple for the Enterprise, Tom Yager notes,
When challenged persistently on an issue, however, Apple tends to loosen its grip. For years, for example, Apple software would only burn DVDs on Apple-branded internal drives. The software shipped with Macs was limited to burning one hour of video to a DVD. After a lot of yelling that Apple pretended not to hear, and after users hacked a couple of widely used work-arounds, Apple eventually gave in on both issues.
2006 Nobel Prize in Medicine
nobel prize medicine
The 2006 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Andrew Fire (MIT) and Craig Mello (Harvard), "for their discovery of RNA interference— gene silencing by double-stranded RNA."
2006 Nobel Prize in Physics
The 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to John Mather (GSFC) and George Smoot (UCB) "for their discovery of the black-body form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation".
Yahoo! Hackday 2006 Photos
Lots of great pictures of Hackday 2006 hosted at Yahoo's HQ in Sunnyvale.
Mostly PC laptops with the occasional Macs.
Shuffle2 Not Gapless?
Another Good Quote
Auf Wiedersehen, Vienna
software vienna rss "net news wire" nnw
Death's at the bottom of everything, Martins. Leave death to the
“The Third Man”, —Graham Greene
Vienna is the second-best RSS feed-reader for Mac OS X; the crown is still held by Net News Wire (Lite, the free version).
I deleted Vienna 2.0.4 last night because it began annoying me with weird behaviour— it stopped marking certain articles as having been read. I'm certain this is a feature that I accidently stumbled upon as there is a column marked with a bullet ,in the article pane, that I remember clicking on.
Other annoyances that I encountered when using Vienna:
- Waste of pixels— unnecessarily wide window borders, waste of whitespace in the feed listings
- inability to manually sort feeds (fixed in the new beta)
What I did like was the ability to have the 3 panes arranged side-by-side and how, when I first ran it, I was able to drag the feeds from the NNW window and drop them into Vienna (the feeds that were grouped into folders had to be transferred individually).
If NNW Lite was no longer free, I would instantly switch to Vienna and be more tolerant of the quirks. But, given that there is such a suberb alternative, I have gone back to using NNW Lite as my RSS feed reader.
Call of Duty 2 Review Part 3
software "call of duty 2" game review
It is plainly evident, when playing the final campaign in Call of Duty 2, why the game requires a minimum G5 CPU— the first mission is the D-Day assault on Point du Hoc by the U.S. Rangers. Once the cliff is scaled, the wide-open area at the top causes the game to lag excrutiatingly making game-play very difficult. Once you enter the a tunnel or bunker, however, it becomes playable.
I did enjoy playing this mission, despite the problems only because of the attention to detail that the creators have put all through the game. There are puddles in the trenches, and these puddles reflect the wooden beams across the top of trenches. I actually stopped and admired this effect. In a subsequent British mission, outside Caen, the atmosphere is a rainy night and the individual rain-drops make pretty splashes in the night. I was very impressed. If the game looks this good with the lowest end graphics, I cannot possibly imagine how good it looks with all the settings set to maximum.
hardware nokia concept phone aeon
The Aeon is a concept phone from Nokia where the entire face of the phone is an LCD and it can be re-configured to anything imaginable.
business google youtube
Google has bought YouTube for US$1.65B. The problem with GoogleVideo wasn't content, it was the craptacular usability of the browsing interface— the most annoying example I can think of is the the "Next Page" anchor at the top of the page was on the top-right, but the anchor at the bottom on the left-hand-side requiring the mouse-pointer to be in constant motion.
Official Google Mac Blog
mac blog google
There are a lot of people who love Macs at
Google, and we're really excited to contribute to the Mac OS X
—Rose Yao, Google Mac Blog announcement
All the Mac users at Google now have a dedicated blog. I am disappointed with their pedestrian-looking logo for the blog, though.
Below, is a typical weekend access summary for the individual parts of my journal. Part seven has consistently been accessed more than all the other parts.
00-prologue: 3 01-journal: 6 02-journal: 1 05-journal: 2 06-journal: 1 07-journal: 13 08-journal: 5 10-journal: 1 11-journal: 1 13-journal: 2 14-journal: 6 15-journal: 3 16-journal: 2 17-journal: 3 18-journal: 2 contents: 4
What is even more peculiar is that all the accesses to part seven, that are not a result of a Google search, have no referrer entry, meaning that the page is not being linked from another website on the known web. The only conclusion I can make is that the URL is being passed around in a email by a secret society comprised of a very diverse group of people, based on the domains accessing that page.
Three New Mac Ads
Three new Mac ads have been released— Counsellor, Better Results and Self Pity.
The ads are quite mediocre despite Gisele Bundchen making a brief appearance in Better Results and not being able to pronounce six English words properly. It's sad, really.
The author of the Reiser filesystem has been arrested in San Francisco on suspicion of murder after the dissappearance of his estranged wife.
We nerds are pretty easy-going, mild-mannered people so I was rather surprised at the turn of events in this case; the only other celebrity arrest that comes to mind is that of Alan Turing, during the 1950s, for "indecent behaviour".
catchup "usb key" fax reading "new yorker"
Because if there is such a thing as truth, it is as intricate and
hidden as a crown of feathers.
—Isaac Bashevis Singer
The end of another monster week; so let's begin this journal entry with a USB key shaped like a monster— <wastrel> said it best: "you'll lose the cap and be sad". I agree.
This week was mostly spent putting the finishing touches on the Xerox Docucenter that photocopies, prints, staples, three-hole-punches, scans to PDF and saves to a mounted (SMB) folder, scans a document and sends as fax, receive faxes and prints them out on the top tray on blue paper (that's what the powers that be, wanted; who are we to argue). One of the marketing features/selling points (the reason we bought it in the first place), was that it "works" with Unix.
Well, all the Xerox parts worked with Unix (and it only took a week to get working); the third-party faxing solution called Faxpress by a company called Castelle was the nightmare (took two weeks; we gave up on the Unix end and went with Windows). The worst part was being flamed by the company's VP of sales for submitting in corrections to their out-of-date user's "guide".
Anyway, welcome to 1972— it's a Xerox faxing-solution advert (1.6 MB PDF) from an early 1972 New Yorker magazine I happened to be reading by sheer coincidence.
I spent last Thanksgiving weekend watching Fawlty Towers and reading New Yorker magazines from 1972— I forget what I was initially looking up, but I came across a small item in a 1973 issue that mentioned that the Watergate break-in was on July 20, 1972 (if I remember correctly).
Some notes I made...
I recall how I, as an agnostic, took a more rationalistic view than he [Hemingway] of suicide-- as an act of freeddom. In my mind and conscience, it was a possible, permissible act of liberation from whatever humiliating bondage on earth could no longer be borne with self-respect...
—Janet Flanner, Mar 11, 1972 New Yorker
...the divided spirit of a man whose calculations often go against his inclinations.
—Pauline Kael, Mar. 18, 1972 New Yorker, "Godfather" review.
The music [J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations] is among the greatest creations of the human mind: not, as people are still half inclined to believe, simply because of its contrapunctal mastery but because of its infinite variety and expressive power, its brilliance and profundity, its audacity and serene assurance.
—Desmond Shaw-Taylor, Jan. 14, 1974 New Yorker.
Mathematics is pure language— the language of science. It is unique among languages in its ability to provide precise expression for every thought or concept that can be formulated in its terms. (In a spoken language, there exist words, like "happiness", that defy definition.) It is also an art— the most intellectual and classical of the arts. And almost no one is capable of doing significant mathematics. There are no acceptably good mathematicians ...the mathematician learns early to accept no fact, to believe no statement, however apparently reasonable or obvious or trivial, until it has been proved, rigorously and totally, by a series of steps proceeding from universally accepted first principles.
—Alfred Adler, Feb. 19, 1972 New Yorker
I enjoyed reading Pauline Kael's reviews of The Godfather, Dirty Harry (she compared it to High Noon— in both movie's final scene, the protagonists throw away their badges in disgust) and the sequel Magnum Force, Diamonds are Forever, etc.
And this morning, before leaving for work, I read the most amazing (both in plot and in the telling) short story, Crown of Feathers (translated from Yiddish) in the Apr. 15, 1972 issue. I still don't know what to make of it.
hardware nano "product red" aids bono oprah
Last week, Apple released a red iPod Nano with the help of Bono and Oprah Winfrey. It is part of the (PRODUCT)RED campaign to benefit the Global Fund's campaign to fight AIDS in Africa with $10 from the sale of every red Nano being donated to the cause.
Newsweek Interviews Jobs
Steve Levy (who wrote Hackers and whose new book about the design and marketing of the iPod, The Perfect Thing will be released on Oct 24) interviews Steve Jobs in Newsweek magazine.
What was the design lesson of the iPod?
Look at the design of a lot of consumer products—they're really complicated surfaces. We tried make something much more holistic and simple.
I would have to say that somewhere in the design of iTunes 7 that lesson has been forgotten. I say this after having used the Windows/XP version of iTunes 7. It was iTunes 4 on XP that first attracted me to the Mac platform. I'm not sure that if iTunes 7 had been my first exposure I would have still made the same decision.
No Such Luck
Shuffle2 Order Cancelled
hardware sun datacenter blackbox
The next time there is a disaster in a major city you can be assured that the first operational datacenter during the rebuilding phase will have the Sun logo on the side and it will fit in a standard twenty foot long shipping container; it is called Project Blackbox.
I was surprised to see the story carried in the business sections of yesterday's The Toronto Star (with photo of the shipping container) and The Globe and Mail (with a stock photo of Jonathan Schwartz). I first read about it on several of Sun's blogs. The concept rates pretty high on both the innovation scale and the implementation scale. This being Sun, you can rest assured that it won't be a half-assed implementation— it will be engineered to perfection.
linguistics zune yiddish
In Yiddish, the name of Microsoft's yet-to-be-released MP3 player, Zune, sounds like a vulgar word.
Update Thu Oct 19 05:36:16 2006: According to an Israeli friend, if pronounced za'in, it means penis; if pronounced zi-yun, it means fornication or the act of arming yourself, depending on the context. It is also the 7th letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Apple is 4th in Domestic PC Sales
Here are the standings for U.S. PC sales along with percentage of the market share, for the last 12 months:
- Dell (32.1%)
- HP (23%)
- Gateway (6.4%)
- Apple (6.1%, 975,000 units)
- Toshiba (5.1%)
"what i did today"
Today started out quite uneventfully but by 4PM I was shaving the yak.
All that was required was to go into a new lab in another building, install a network switch, configure it and connect a Sun Ultra 5 computer to it. By 7PM, it was still not done due to the herd of yaks that wandered into the lab.
Advanced Typography With Mac OS X Tiger
I found Advanced Typography With Mac OS X Tiger as I was wandering about the Pro section of apple.com.
Office for Mac
software "microsoft office"
The University recently bought a site license of Microsoft Office and the Department received a CD of the media for Windows/XP. We then emailed Central Computing Services and asked if the Mac version was available. Yes, the site license also covers the Mac version&mdash the CD is available for pickup at any time. We found out that the Mac version of Office has been also requested by one other department (very likely by the Computer Science which has at least 2 members, who I know personally, that have Macs).
F4Q06 (Qtr End 9/30/06) Earnings Call Transcript
Regarding the performance in the stores, again, this quarter we went
over 50% new to Mac and I think customers are coming in looking at
Macs based upon just our great hardware, the stability of OSX, the
great iLife software and the great experience they're having in the
—Peter Oppenheimer, Apple CFO
The transcript of the conference call between Apple executives Peter Oppenheimer, Tim Cook, Gary Wipfler, Nancy Paxton and several stock analysts, is available online.
There were lots of interesting details like the number of Apple stores and employees working in retail and that (for the first time) over 50% of people buying Macs were new to Macs. I also found it surprising that Apple is not doing well in Japan— iPod sales are insanely great, of course, but Mac sales are poor, "... we're not pleased with our performance there [Japan] and we've got a number of activities underway to attempt to improve them". Since iTunes works so well with Windows/XP you don't really require a Mac to use an iPod. Perhaps another reason is that with the 12 in. Powerbook being end-of-lined, Apple now lacks a sub-notebook product. Japanese tend to prefer small, compact gadgets and all of Apple's current computer products are designed for American proportions. I hope that one of the "activities underway" is the design of a sub-compact Mac.
software webpage rendering
Windows Virus on the iPod
software virus ipod
Apple has a webpage, in the Support section, to handle the removal of the Windows virus (Macs users remained unaffected) that shipped with a few Video iPods. Apple fired a marketing salvo across Microsoft's bow regarding the vulnerability of Windows to viruses and Microsoft pouted. This couldn't have been better vindication of OS X's superiority despite not having been scripted by some genius in Apple marketing.
Small Number of Video iPods Shipped With Windows Virus
We recently discovered that a small number - less than 1% - of the Video iPods available for purchase after September 12, 2006, left our contract manufacturer carrying the Windows RavMonE.exe virus. This known virus affects only Windows computers, and up to date anti-virus software which is included with most Windows computers should detect and remove it. So far we have seen less than 25 reports concerning this problem. The iPod nano, iPod shuffle and Mac OS X are not affected, and all Video iPods now shipping are virus free. As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it.
software 3d surfaces
3D-XplorMath is a 3D surface renderer. Look at the gallery and be amazed. The glassy image (cover of the September Science magazine) was rendered in 3D-Xplor and then imported into Bryce and textured in glass.
Via TidBITS, a new blog I've recently started reading.
fashion gap "levi strauss & co."
During a discussion about the latest fashions on #web, I realized that since switching to the Mac, I have stopped shopping at the Levi's store and have switched to theGap. This was not a conscious decision on my part— it just happened.
fashion levis jeans redwire ipod
While checking the URL for the Levi's store I found that they now have Redwire Jeans, "styled for the iPod".
Ordered Elgato EyeTV Hybrid
Popped into the Apple store in the Eaton's Centre today to see if they had the Elgato EyeTV Hybrid (a few weeks ago, I had emailed them to inquire whether they carried this product, but I never got a response back).
They had the Elgato EyeTV, which only does analog TV, and a couple of other products made in China and Taiwan which also were analog-only. So I logged into the online Apple Store and ordered the Hybrid.
I am buying this for my brother's Macbook as he loves to watch The Simpsons and Toronto Maple Leaf hockey games.
Eaton's Centre Apple Store Staff
Update Wed Oct 25 22:06:27 2006: I forgot to mention that I asked one of the staff just inside the door at the Eaton's Apple Store whether they had the Elgato EyeTV in stock and he initially said that they no longer carried that product but that they carried other products that use the EyeTV software from Elgato. When we got to the shelf with the products, the EyeTV was there— he said something like, "Oh, I guess we do have it"— along with the other 2 products.
I'd have to say that I am somewhat dissappointed after just two interactions with the Eaton's Centre Apple Store staff (the previous one was during my first visit).
Getting a Mac Mini for Work
hardware "mac mini"
The Department will be getting a plasma screen installed in the lobby, next week. The screen we bought has an embedded Linux PC that only plays MPG1, MPG2 (VOB), MPG4 (DiVX) media files and displays JPEG images. The source media will be Powerpoint presentations and photos. My boss asked if I knew of any software that converts Powerpoint presentations to movies. I replied, "Keynote. But that only works on a Mac". So he said, "Go get me a quote for a Mac."
Update Thu Oct 26 18:00:17 2006: The Apple educational purchase procedure for institutions is a bit different than for individuals. I called the Apple Educational Store at 1-800-800-2775 to get a pricing quotation for the Mini so we could send it to our Purchasing department. I was on hold for about 5 minutes and then I spoke to Mary Jo (who, from her accent, also speaks French) who told me the pricedure: every University has one or two people who login to a website and submit "proposals" to Apple who then quotes them a price. I told my boss this and he called the Purchasing department and was told that the person who would know about this is on vacation for the next two weeks. He was given Ryerson's Apple sales representative name; he called 1-800 number and according to the voicemail, he is on vacation till the end of the month. I suggested we call Central Computing Services; they said that an individual in the Image Arts department may know about this. We proceeded to call him and he said that he could submit the proposal for us. We emailed him the following specifications for the Mac Mini:
- 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo
- 1GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x512
- 80GB Serial ATA drive
- SuperDrive 8x (DVD+R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW)
- Apple Wired Keyboard & Mighty Mouse Kits
- Mac OS X - U.S. English
- iWork '06 preinstalled
- Intel GMA 950 graphics
- Accessory kit
Apple Store Opened in Laval, Quebec
A few photos of a new Apple Store that opened in Laval, Quebec, back in September. It was quite a low-key affair as I don't even remember seeing it on TUAW.
I just tracked my EyeTV package via Purolator's website a few moments ago and saw that it had been delivered at 11 AM today.
I called home and confirmed that a package had indeed arrived.
Elgato EyeTV: The Verdict
Update Fri Oct 27 23:32:18 2006: When I asked my brother whether it worked he said, "I had more trouble fishing the video cable from the living room to the bedroom— I just installed the software, plugged it in and it worked. I was shocked how simple it was."
He was dissappointed that the TV guide didn't work in Canada, though it works in the U.S. (the first few months are free, then you have to subscribe). He hasn't tried using the Apple Remote yet; he just uses the on-screen remote to change channels. He hasn't tried recording (manual or timer)
TV scifi torchwood "doctor who"
"Torchwood" is an anagram of "Doctor Who" that was used to disguise the filming of this spinoff scifi series on BBC which premiered a few days ago. I just found out about it via the Wikipedia.
$100 Laptop Update
hardware software "$100 laptop" olpc
The kernel halfway wakes itself up 20 times a
second to see if you've plugged something into your nonexistent PS/2
—Jim Gettys on optimizing Linux
After HP bought Compaq, one of the cost-cutting measures involved the shutting down of several research labs that both HP and Compaq had. One of the labs was the Cambridge Research Lab in Massachusetts where Jim Gettys, who wrote the X Window System, worked. He is now VP of Software for the One Laptop Per Child project. In a recent interview he gives an update on the project.
In part 1 of the interview the challenge is to optimize the bloated software so it has a smaller memory footprint (it has to fit in 128MB of RAM) and redesign the hardware so it doesn't waste power as in the thrid world, electricity is not a readily available commodity.
Via Linux World article by Don Marti.
Shuffle2 Delayed Even More
hardware ipod shuffle2
Apple's tiny new iPod shuffle, introduced during the company's September 12 media event with a ship date of October, has been pushed back to the second-half of November.
software time dst
Daylight Savings Time ended at 3AM this morning for the last time in October. Beginning next year, DST will begin on the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November. Mac OS X has been updated with the new algorithms.
Apple Executive Applecare>
The last tier of Applecare was revealed in a Digg article to a Consumerist posting.
James Gosling recently shaved-off his beard to undergo surgery. A follow-up comment on his blog noted a correlation between a programming language's popularity and language author's facial hair— a language was more popular if the author had facial hair (beard or moustache) than if he didn't. If the author was a woman (author of COBOL), it was even less popular.
Just yesterday I read an interesting book review, in a 2005 New Yorker, of John Galton's biography. He invented statistical regression and correlation, and started the eugenics movement and coined the phrase "nature versus nurture".
This is an ad from the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times (an article titled "Boot Campers" was about the latest fashion in winter boots) for Oscar de la Renta's Fashion Preview of a mathematically impossible crochet dress. I would love to know how the pattern was designed and tiled to form that barely-there covering.