Part 6 of elf's Apple PowerBook G4 Journal


Mozilla Upgrade Makes Plugins Disappear

Fri Aug 05 10:33:12 2005

After upgrading to the latest Firefox, I realized that my Flash plugins and search-engines plugins did not migrate over along with my bookmarks. That should have happened automatically and if the plugins are incompatible, Mozilla should notify me and ask to go get upgraded versions. I also notice that when some pages load the Flash plugin, Firefox complains in the system log.

iDVD is Amazing

Mon Aug 08 00:40:32 2005

Spent most of the weekend playing with iDVD to make a DVD of photos of movie clips of my niece and nephew. I can't believe how easy it is to make great looking DVDs using this program.

Splendora iPod Party

Based on this gallery, I have decided to only date women who use Macs and iPods.

Forgot Exposé Shortcut

Mon Aug 08 12:45:58 2005

I use it so infrequently that I actually forgot the keyboard-shortcut for Exposé; I had to try F11, F10, F9.

Glass Stairs in AppleStores

“The treads are surface acid-etched to provide slip and privacy protection”.

Mon Aug 08 17:31:09 2005

David sent me a link to a site about AppleStores and the engineering design that is involved when someone specifies, "a glass staircase".

Japan iTMS


Tue Aug 09 08:41:30 2005

iTunes Japan sells a million songs in 4 days. Banzai!

Lacie Data Bank

I ordered a 60GB Lacie Data Bank yesterday, so I can archive my photos, and transfer data to/from work when a 256MB CF card just won't do.


Wed Aug 10 18:44:10 2005

Ardour (still in beta) is another music editor/mixer, but unlike Audacity, it understands MIDI.

She's Alive!

Spent most of the day getting my PC at work (amelie, which seemd to re-boot every 2 weeks) re-installed from a previously saved disk-image (boot with a System Rescue CD and use partimage to restore). After the first re-install, the drive started flaking out (Windows complained of corrupted user profiles) so the drive was replaced and the second re-install (7 minutes later) was successful.

Netra 150

The rest of the day was spent disecting a donated Sun Netra 150 (circa 1997; a third-world engineering solution which had an 167MHz Ultra1, a small off-the-shelf UPS, some fans and a 15-drive bay packed into an over-sized enclosure with the remaining extra space filled with foam) so the built-in UPS which was dead, could be by-passed and the computer could get power.

The Prophecy is Fulfilled

Thu Aug 11 12:28:04 2005

MacOSX86 now boots on a generic PC; see the how-to guide for details (once it's no longer slashdotted).

Nuke Anything Plugin for Firefox

Fri Aug 12 18:14:57 2005

Installed Nuke Anything plugin for Firefox which permits the removal of annoying flash adverts and other annoying "objects" from sites being visited.

Update Sat Aug 13 20:37:18 2005: David sent along a link to another plugin called Flashblock.

Slow Burn

Sat Aug 13 20:31:47 2005

According to this Register article, there is a claim that the 8x DVD Super-Drives in fact burn at 1x because Apple has written the firmware to favour reliability over performance. There is an online petition asking Apple to re-write the firmware to support the full speed of the drive.

I would have to agree with one criticism— the the drive does take more than 3 seconds (the maximum amount of time anything should take) to mount a DVD and begin playing it (20 seconds, on average, sounds right). I cannot comment on the other complaints as I have yet to burn a DVD.

AnotherPower Failure

There was another power-failure last evening in portions of downtown Toronto requiring the server room to be shutdown.

Evolution of the GUI

Sun Aug 14 11:27:35 2005

The history and evolution of the Graphical User Interface is captured comprehensively by Toasty Tech. Glancing through the screen-shots, it is evident how ugly the early interfaces were-- they remind me of cluttered desktops in complete disarray. The first GUI that paid attention to aesthetics seems to be BeOS.

Powerbook Upgrades Rumoured

Apple Insider is reporting that 2 new models, 15 inch and 17 inch Powerbooks (with 300MHz speed improvements and higher-resolution displays) are to be announced at the Paris Apple Expo in September.

Skippy: Bargain Basement Exposé

Sun Aug 14 18:53:26 2005

I can only imagine how slow a non-MAC Exposé implementation will be without OpenGL. Skippy takes a screen-shot of each window and then renders all the screen-shots onto a window.

Tiger Security Patch Required a Patch

Thu Aug 18 09:25:57 2005

The latest security patch for Tiger broke 64bit apps like Mathematica requiring a further patch which was released a day later. Amateurs.

Wireless Bonjour

All my dreams
Pass before my eyes, a curiosity
—Dust in the Wind, Kansas

Fri Aug 19 00:03:00 2005

Is is possible for 2 Macs (which have built-in wifi) to use Bonjour/Zeroconf/Whatever to talk to teach other, share files, music, etc.? The scenario I had in mind was that if I happened to see a MacBabe on the train, I wanted to chat with her out without speaking.

The ever-helpful #macosx suggested sending a file over Bluetooth, as Wifi requires the creation of an ad-hoc Airport network and a physical request ("Hey, join my network") asking the MacBabe to join it; the voice-over-air protocol sugggestion didn't go over too well— it's the 21st century, after all.

Ignorance Is Bliss

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.
—Charles Darwin

It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile
—Sting, "An Englishman in New York"

Sat Aug 20 00:10:18 2005

Yesterday on my way home, the train stopped at Exhibition station and visitors to the opening day of the Canadian National Exhibition boarded the train. One of them sat across from me and after the doors had closed and the train began pulling out of the station, he tapped me on the knee; I looked up from my book (“O Ano da Morte do Ricardo Reis” by José Saramago, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998. A book I had begun reading when my parents brought it back from a trip to Lisbon in that same year, and continued reading periodically, thereafter. A difficult book to read because it is in the original Portuguese (which I am not accustomed to reading) and because his writing style is akin to Proust— long and winding sentences with minimal punctuation— a typical sentence is the length of an entire page.) and he asked whether the train was going to Oakville. I confirmed the direction and returned to my reading.

On my walk home from the train station, it occured to me that most logical people would confirm the destination of the train they were getting on before boarding it. And to do so after, implies a blissful ignorance hereto unimagined.

The cure for ignorance is, of course, education, awareness and feedback.

How does Apple know what its users want, or like? How do they know what works and what doesn't, what to keep and what to throw out and start again? Apple has an HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) division that does usability tests with volunteers who are asked to perform various tasks and are then observed and filmed. These movies are then analyzed, the usability tweaked and the tests are carried out again until the designers are satisfied that a particular product or interface is successful at its purpose.

Based on those usability tests, an extensive set of guidelines for designing interfaces that specify all aspects of usability in great detail— how buttons, scroll-bars, mouse-clicks and drags should behave— is then published and distributed to developers.

So with all this effort put into consistency and usability, how is it possible that OS X has flaws? The major reason is production deadlines caused by poor project management— the greatest obstacle to shipping a product without defects. It is also a great luxury to be able to ship a product which has undergone adequate testing (as a certain security patch recently demonstrated). These problems can only be resolved when the managers in charge, starting with Steve Jobs, are committed to solving them.

Hopefully, Apple also listens to critics like John Gruber who are able to provide intelligent commentary on the shortcomings of many aspects of OS X.

Disable iPhoto from Starting when a Camera is Plugged-in

Sat Aug 20 21:51:49 2005

<DrunkenDonut> Is there a way to make iPhoto *not* load, when I plug
in my camera? It's rather annoying..

<e1f`> yes, i remember seeing something somewheer 

<e1f`> "To stop iPhoto from launching
every time you plug in your camera, go to the Applications folder and
double click on the Image Capture application. This simple
application is what dictates how the computer will behave when you
plug in a supported digital camera. Just change the settings to do
something other than launch iPhoto when a camera is plugged in and
you are good to go!"

<DrunkenDonut> That is inane
<DrunkenDonut> using Image Capture to make this preference change....
<DrunkenDonut> same idea with using Safari to set prefs to Not use safari :p
<DrunkenDonut> yeah, it doesn't have it now though.. And iPhoto
doesn't have that setting, so Apple's inconsistent again.

That quote, I pasted in #macosx, is from a 2002 Mac Net Journal entry. What did we just finish discussing? Idiosyncratic user interface decisions, if I recall correctly. Think about the consequences of deleting Safari because you prefer to use Firefox and then not being able to change the default brower to Firefox because you've just deleted the only means at your disposal to do so. Amateurs.

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Sun Aug 21 15:10:18 2005

<enberg> it's still solaris though
<enberg> solaris makes kittens cry
<e1f`> those are ugly kittens, anyway
<e1f`> cute kittens use os x
<twb> Linux is like "It's not's Hurd, but at least it's free".
<twb> Solaris is "It's not Linux, but at least it's not Windows"
<e1f`> OS X is "It's not Linux or Windows"
<twb> e1f`: No, Mac OS X is "We took BSD, slapped on a proprietary,
non-standard display system and some proprietary, chromatic apps
and people still buy it!"
<twb> If Mac OS X licenses were technically worth anything, I would
*this very moment* be trying to refund mine.
<Riastradh> 'We also added interface consistency, an astounding
GUI rendering system that does not suck like the X Windows Disaster,
NetInfo, interfaces to many system configurations that were in other
Unices obscured in configuration file messes, provided an operating
system where the notion of "sound" is not a joke (*cough* Linux *cough*)...'
* Riastradh runs off to do something else before the flames begin spewing.

iTunes does CD Inserts

Mon Aug 22 00:01:51 2005

I accidently discovered that iTunes now has the ability to print CD inserts with album-art and track names. I was dreading the thought of creating an insert for a CD I am making for my Dad, containing 5 hours of Händel Concerti Grossi— about 100 tracks. I have a Unix script that has EPS templates for CD inserts (rather nice looking ones too) but the track information has to be entered via a text file and it usually takes several iterations or running the script to get the insert looking right.

Hm...the PC version of iTunes seems to be missing the Print feature (4.1.1 is rather old); I have to check if the iTunes version on mathilde is new enough. Ah, minimum requirement to print inserts is iTunes 4.6 according to this Macworld article.

Fetch Art

Fetch Art is an AppleScript iTunes plugin that fetches album artwork from the web. It seems to have poor reviews, though. David also says it's teh Sux0r.


Mac OS X's optical-disc-burning functionality has improved with every release...
—Dan Frakes at his diplomatic best

Tue Aug 23 00:00:42 2005

Yesterday, I was thinking..."wouldn't it be nice if I could add my own icons to the Finder toolbar?". Guess what? Today I read an article on Macworld, that mentions QuickErase, a utility that can live in the toolbar. Cool.

Solitaire XL Upgrade

Wed Aug 24 21:08:22 2005

I happened to be connected to the net when I ran an old version of Solitaire XL, and it notified me of an upgrade. This new version, 1.1 (1.1.5), happens to fix one of the most annoying bugs the previous version had, namely the inability to deal a single card instead of three.

The Next Big Thing

If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth--and get busy on the next great thing.
—Steve Jobs, CEO NeXT Corp., 1996

Sun Aug 28 09:11:31 2005

David recently sent me an email with a famous Jobs' quote in a 1996 Fortune interview:

"What does Steve Jobs say about the plight of the company he started and the strategy of the man who wrote its first business plan, put up the first cash, and ultimately cast him out? 'To me it's simple,' he says. 'If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth--and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.'"

David then asked, "I'm curious to know whether he's actually doing this (with the iPod, iTunes, etc.)". The short answer is "yes"; the long answer follows...

One of my favourite TV shows, shown in afternoon re-runs was The Andy Griffith Show. It featured a sheriff and the deputy of the fictional small-town of Mayberry in North Carolina and their dealings with assorted townspeople. The most technological gadget on that show was the police radio. Telephone calls were still routed by the human (and faceless) operator, Sarah (who no doubt eavesdropped on many conversations).

Six years later, the Space Race (which began with the launching of Sputnik in 1957) was already 9 years old, when the TV show Star Trek premiered. It was a show that had computers everywhere-- and small enough that people even carried them on their person. Even the ship's computer was addressed as "Computer".

Twenty-one years later in 1977, Star Wars premiered and the Apple ][ computer made its debut at the West Coast Computer Faire. In the decades that followed, computers would be The Next Big Thing.

Around 1987, there was the NeXT Computer.

Around 1997, Apple bought NeXT Computer and Steve Jobs was back.

Then the Internet was The Next Big Thing.

In, 2007, nearly every household has a computer or even two. Those households that don't have a computer, have at least one cell-phone. And those households that don't have a cell-phone depend on a computer if they've ever made a phone-call. That telephone operator from the 1960s has now been replaced by a digital switch controlled by a computer that routes your call down the corridor to the next office, down the street to your neighbour's house or across the world to a relative or friend. You don't even think of the computers on the satellite that bounces your call across the world-- they are all invisible.

In 2017, every household will have one or more computers in every room. Computers will likely exist in every object and they will be invisibe. Their ubiquity and their presence in every aspect of our lives will cause us to forget that there's a computer integrated into every object we see and touch. This is Jobs' next big thing-- the invisible computer; the iPod is an invisible computer. Its versatility is only diminished because it has to be connected to a computer to download songs. Enter the iTunes Phone or wireless iPod which will wirelessly download songs and a Mac won't be part of the equation anymore.

Currently, the biggest limiting factor in the cell-phone's versatility is its tiny screen. By 2027, as computer screens continue to grow in size, they begin to occupy any and every surface (curved or flat) that surrounds us-- the walls, the floors, the bed-sheet, the fridge-door, the table-tops and counter-tops, the sidewalk, the road, the parking lot, and even the unoccupied the seat across from you on the subway train.

The phone continues to grow in importance and becomes the primary tool for communication, it has a built-in projector so that the user can project anything they want to display, the person they are conversing with, their spreadsheet, their HDTV show, the movie they were watching at home, on any convenient flat surface they happen to have available. (The input-method, however, remains a mystery— even I lack the imagination to see what will replace a full-sized keyboard).

Update Sat Sep 24 09:59:03 2005: Philip Greenspun wrote a piece titled, Mobile Phone as Home Computer that explores the same idea..

Discussion continues below in the entry, “The Invisible Computer”.

Command-line Sleep

Sun Aug 28 11:06:04 2005

It's possible to make a Mac sleep via the command-line (remotely) with SleepNow (source and binary; downloaded but not investigated).

The Invisible Computer

Sun Aug 28 18:21:27 2005

David's reply to The Next Big Thing, above:

Donald Norman (ex-Apple Fellow and ex-VP of the Advanced Technology Group at Apple) wrote a book called The Invisible Computer.

Also, is there a distinction between a "computer" and a device that simply uses a programmable chip?

IMHO a computer is a general purpose machine. While just about any chip can be turned into a Turing machine with the proper software, I personally don't think of device that simply has a chip / microcontroller in it as a "computer".

It may be a bit of a semantic issue (I tend to get hung up on the use of language and words), but I think it's a distinction that should be kept in mind.

The main difference between a "computer" and a gizmo that has a whole bunch of chips in it is that computers can have many loadable programs. If a device cannot (or does not) load up different instructions for different tasks, but rather it does only one thing, it is not a computer.

While I don't think the iPod as it is currently released is a computer (it's functions are task specific), it is possible to load up (say) Linux on it, so you can turn it into a computer because it can now load up arbitrary programs. A PDA is a computer since you can load different programs on it. Most phones are not computers (they're function specific), but something like Nokia's "Series 60" phone (using the Symbian OS) is a computer to perhaps be used primarily as a phone, but you can run arbitrary programs on it (including viruses). The Nokia 6680 is a good example.

Click on the the "Spotlight" link to load up a Flash animation that shows it's more advanced capabilities (e.g., video calling between two people).

I agree that the use of chips will explode in the coming years (as the use of electricity did at the beginning of the last century), but they will be in embedded applications with specific functions. Multiple computers will be available in a house (or even on a person) that will tie together the various embedded systems.

And I thought I was being original, coining the term "invisible computer".

I prefer to have a more simplistic view of technology-- if it has a chip, it's a computer. All other things being equal, it will become cheaper to put a computer in a product than to put an assembly of various chips that implements a certain function.

Lacie Data Bank Arrives

Tue Aug 30 04:50:34 2005

The Lacie Data Bank I ordered on the 8th, will be delivered today to the OTA Computer Store and I will be dropping by to pick it up on my way to work. I just have to remember to go up University Ave. rather than my usual Yonge/Victoria/Church path.

Gruber on Google

In his latest column, Google is an Advertising Company, John Gruber expresses some skeptism about Google's present and future. I don't claim to know any better, though I feel differently than he does on some points, but after reading the recent article about Google purchasing unused fibre, I think Google has the possibility of becoming the invisible computer.

RSS Feeds

I have yet to find a good Konfabulator widget to read RSS Feeds (especially Google News feeds). All the current Widgets have ugly unreadable fonts which list the headlines vertically. What I want is something I can sretch across the bottom of my screen and have the text scroll/crawl across like ticker tape. I want to be able to specify keywords that will be hilighted whenever they appear in the headlines. But I want it done in a style that's not distracting— I want it there when I look for it but I want it to disappear into the background when I'm working on something else.


Tue Aug 30 08:47:38 2005

The Unofficial Apple Weblog. First day impressions— better than Slashdot. And nicer looking!

Lacie Data Bank Picked-up

Tue Aug 30 17:01:52 2005

It is a bit larger than I envisioned but it is definitely pocket-size— it fits quite nicely in my shirt pocket. Plugged it into amelie, my Windows/XP workstation and it was instantly recognized. I then downloaded a Merry Melody cartoon starring Bugs Bunny, Falling Hare and another cartoon starring Popeye the Sailor, Ancient Fantasy and copied them to the Lacie. Wall-time for the transfer was 221MB in 10s or approximately 20MB/s (USB 2.0 is up to 21MB/s).

Tue Aug 30 21:29:09 2005

Works like a charm on mathilde. Details & screen-shot below.

Dreams Can Come True

Keep dreaming.
— David, the Unbeliever

Fairytales can come true, it can happen to you
—"Young at Heart"

OS X on a Sony VAIO.

Machine Translation

We're very pleased with the results of this evaluation.
—Franz Och, very modest Google Engineer

Google scored remarkably well in the NIST 2005 Machine Translation Test.

LEGO Digital Designer

Wed Aug 31 08:30:04 2005

TUAW reports that LEGO has released a tool to design virtual LEGO models. It is also available for the Mac.

Lacie Data Bank Pictures

Wed Aug 31 12:02:28 2005

A sequence of images showing 1) a close-up of the Lacie Data Bank on
mathilde and 2) a screen-shot of it plugged into mathilde; the drive
appears as "LACIE" on the Desktop. Double-clicking on the orange icon
launches a Finder window, here navigated down to the Movies folder
which was created under Windows/XP on amelie.

Mac Version of the Gmail Notifier Released

Thu Sep 01 16:04:21 2005

Downloaded the Mac version of GMail notifier to try out. I typically kept the Gmail tab in the Firefox browser open and I periodically checked the tab-name to see if the number of messages in my INBOX had changed.

It's nice to see Mac applications being released by Google. There must be at least a few Geeks inside of Google that run OS X and who would be will to port and support some of the Windows-only applications for the Mac as a personal project.

Gmail Notifier Problem

Fri Sep 02 10:23:22 2005

I installed the Gmail notifier and everything works fine except for fetching email. I get the following errors in the console:

2005-09-02 10:13:50.560 Gmail Notifier[24011] object = (null)
2005-09-02 10:17:48.239 Gmail Notifier[24011] object = (null)
2005-09-02 10:19:48.865 Gmail Notifier[24011] object = (null)

The menubar icon changes to a red exclamation mark; the tool-tip reads "Could not fetch mail. Please try again." Everything else works fine. I sent an email off to notifier-feedback@google and I await their reply.

Thumbscrew Problems

Fri Sep 02 14:25:45 2005

When dropping a .png image (generated by ImageConverter) dragged from the Desktop onto Thumbscrew in the Dock, it pops-up a dialog with the following error and "Quit" and "Continue" buttons:

(ValueError: application:openFiles:: did not return None, expecting
void return value)

The console log has the following:

2005-09-02 14:11:35.991 Thumbscrew[22878] An exception has occured:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "PyObjCTools/AppHelper.pyc", line 237, in runEventLoop
ValueError: application:openFiles:: did not return None, expecting
void return value

The thumbnails are generated correctly, however. It's just annoying having to dismiss the dialog everytime.

Backups With SilverKeeper

A sequence of images showing 1) the relative size of the drive in my hand and
2) a screen-shot of my photo-library back-up in progress.

The approximately 5GB of photos took about 15 minutes to backup (copy and verify) using Silverkeeper which is freeware and works with any storage device that mounts on a Mac desktop.

Wireless Cameras

Another dream comes true— Nikon Coolpix P1 and P2 series of cameras are capable of transferring pictures wirelessly to a computer and to a PictBridge-enabled printer equipped with a Nikon Wireless Printer Adapter.

I love it.

Dive Into OS X FAQ

Fri Sep 02 17:27:49 2005

Some useful tidbits of info collected in one place.

Silverkeeper Interface

The Silverkeeper is fairly intuitive but it could be improved. I didn't know you could drag and drop the source and target folders until I read the docs. I would have preferred that it used an interface similar to FFMPEGX. The "Go" button is also in an awkward place— it should be at the bottom of the dialog, not at the top.

Powersleeve 15

Fri Sep 02 20:59:17 2005

I started looking for dealers that sold the Powersleeve 15 in Canada and found that Creative Technologies was a dealer that had a store in Toronto at 41 Colborne Street— right behind the King Edward Hotel! I've walked by this place (a beautiful terra-cotta stone building with intricately carved plinths) very often (I walk by the King Edward everyday) never knowing there was a computer store there; there used to be a bespoke tailor there (about 5 years ago) and the store mysteriously caught fire before the store closed.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

It is nought good a slepyng hound to wake
—"Troilus and Criseyde", Chaucer c. 1380

A poem is never finished, only abandoned
— Paul Valéry

10:02 up 138 days, 12:25, 3 users, load averages: 1.05 0.82 0.62

Sat Sep 03 09:57:31 2005

In the early Pioneering Days, having a personal home-page was the defining moment of ones presence in the World Wide Web. And ones home-page was always under construction— meaning that any typos, and unfinished thoughts were to be excused because they woould be fixed when you had some time to spare. It also implied that the reader was obliged to return sometime later to see the completed page, when the construction would be completed and the page would be unveiled in all its glory.

Jef Poskanzer pays homage to the term with a photo album titled Under Construction, with the following quote:

According to AltaVista, as of August 1996 there were "about 400,000" pages containing the phrase "under construction". As of December 1996, "about 1,000,000" pages. Since then they changed how they count, but the numbers are still going up. As of February 1998, it's "about 1,299,185" pages. June 1999, "about 8,165,210". January 2001, "about 12,236,716".

According to Google, as of September 2005, there were about 37,900,000 results containing the term, "page+under+construction" (57 million for the term, "under+construction").

Today, home-pages are passé— ones presence is defined by the popularity of ones Blog; the lack of a Blog defines ones insignificance in the Web community. The Blog has become the ultimate "under construction" page— it is constantly undergoing change with multiple, daily additions requiring as many re-loads from readers impatient to read the updates. The Blog has been further supplanted with RSS Feeds reminiscent of the old ticker-tape stock-quote machines.

So, when David sent me the following email, last Thursday:

19:22 up 55 days, 21:48, 2 users, load averages: 0.48 0.34 0.38

Have you noticed that the higher your uptime is the less you want to restart your computer (for updates and such)? Why is that? Ego perhaps?

I began thinking about those people who constantly fiddle with their computer, to the point where they don't even bother putting the case back on because it's too much of a hassle to take it off the next time they need to fiddle— their computer is perpetually "under construction".

Having a lengthy uptime implies stability, a feeling of completion, of having the discipline not to keep fiddling and being satisfied with things when they work and of having the good sense to know when to walk away.

David's reply:

It also means that any security updates that require a reboot haven't been fully applied. :)

Depending on the system involved, it could also mean that you're using electricity needlessly and wasting resources. Also, until recently, turning off your system meant that the room that your computer was in would become much quieter (this is slowly changing as noise is becoming more of a factor in design).

This isn't to say that you're wrong, but just some addition points that came to my mind.

I'm still running 10.3.8; there are others still running 10.2 and even OS9.

Verify & Repair Permissions

Sat Sep 03 14:29:46 2005

Repairing permissions for ?PowerBook?
Determining correct file permissions.
User differs on ./System/Library/Extensions, should be 0, owner is 501
Group differs on ./System/Library/Extensions, should be 0, group is 20
Owner and group corrected on ./System/Library/Extensions
Permissions corrected on ./System/Library/Extensions
We are using special permissions for the file or directory
./System/Library/Filesystems/cd9660.fs/cd9660.util.  New permissions are 33261
We are using a special uid for the file or directory ./private/var/at/jobs.  New uid is 1
We are using a special uid for the file or directory ./private/var/at/spool.  New uid is 1
Permissions differ on ./private/var/log/install.log, should be -rw-r--r-- , they are -rw-r----- 
Owner and group corrected on ./private/var/log/install.log
Permissions corrected on ./private/var/log/install.log
Permissions differ on ./private/var/log/wtmp, should be -rw-r--r-- , they are -rw-r----- 
Owner and group corrected on ./private/var/log/wtmp
Permissions corrected on ./private/var/log/wtmp
Permissions differ on ., should be drwxrwxr-t , they are drwxr-xr-x 
Owner and group corrected on .
Permissions corrected on .
The privileges have been verified or repaired on the selected volume

Permissions repair complete

I don't understand this whole permission-repair ritual and why the permissions change in the first place. The reason I though of doing this was because the screen-saver poped-up when I was watching a DVD— I am a bit suspicious when strange things happen. I also had a severe NeoOffice/J Beta crash which caused the crashdump to continuously log about malloc errors to the system log, well after the application had crashed. I logged-out and logged back in. The last foreign application I installed was SilverKeeper. Suspicious.


Sat Sep 03 20:43:33 2005

Ever hear of a TiddlyWiki? Neither had I until today, on #emacs— there's a TiddlyWiki Tutorial available. It has some pretty nifty effects.

Sacha Chua

All this is part of some information organizing craze going around. The first time I heard about it was from Sacha Chua, whom I met on #emacs channel; she's from the Philippines and when I met her she was studying in Japan. She's now working on her Masters at the U of T. The entries in the last month of her blog tell of her adjusting to life in Toronto (26°C is cold enough for her, that she has to wear a sweater! So, I emailed some how-tos on dressing for winter in Canada). The October 2005 issue of the Linux Journal has her article, "Taming the TODO".

I have to go visit her one of these days.

Fun With Math: Interpolating Data

Sun Sep 04 11:49:13 2005

Growth of web-pages "under construction".

I was still thinking of the "under construction" pages discussion and I decided to graph the data-points I had. There was a large gap in the data between 2002 and 2005 so I needed to interpolate the data. After a bit of Googling, I found this tutorial on interpolating data with Matlab.

YearNo.of Pages
Aug. 1996 40,000
Dec.1996 1,000,000
Feb. 1998 1,299,185
Jun. 1999 8,165,210
2000 10,200,963*
Jan. 2001 12,236,716
2002 18,652,537*
2003 25,068,358*
2004 31,484,179*
Sep. 2005 37,900,000

*interpolated data.

Yeah, I'm seriously bored. But as long as I'm having fun, what's the harm in doing math?

Free Solitaire 3D

Sun Sep 04 17:05:26 2005

A nice looking implementation of several Solitaire games from Grass Games.

Though, I can't seem to download the DMG file after several tries.

Update Mon Sep 05 10:52:16 2005: Finally managed to get it downloaded. There is a certain ugliness to the main menu reminiscent of the Windows world. The various games and 3D lighting system are quite nicely done, though— lots of options to tweak. I think I'll just stick to Solitaire XL because it's simply just more pleasant to look at.

Epson Announces a Mini-Projector

Mon Sep 05 08:53:30 2005

At the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) 2005 in Berlin, Epson announced a prototype postcard-sized mini-projector, using an LED light source, with a footprint of 13.8 by 10.3 cm and weighing 500-grams. It's only time before it can fit into a cell-phone.

LEGO Designer

Mon Sep 05 20:31:10 2005

Installed it, ran it; it crashed on start-up; deleted it. *Sigh*

What's on Woz's iPod

Tue Sep 06 18:50:06 2005

The contents of Woz's iPod from an interview with Macsimum News:

John Prine, Kacy Crowley, Jo Dee Messina, Pat Benatar, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, the Shins, Simon & Garfunkel, Patty Loveless, Peter, Paul & Mary, R.E.M., Remy Zero, Mary Black, Leonard Cohen, Lori Carson, Lori Dena, Lucy Kaplansky, Chuck Brodsky, Dan Bern, Beth Hart, Dire Straits, Don McLean, Dream Academy, Dwight Yoakum, Frou Frou, Greg Brow, Israel Kamakawi, Big Ant & Lionel, Tom Pacheco, Anne McCue, Bruce Springsteen, Four Bitchin’ Babes, Sting, Tom Petty, Tommy Conwell & The Young Rumblers, Tom Waits, Tom Russell, Zero 7, Colin Hay, Iron and Win, Coldplay.

Out Of Stock


Wed Sep 07 12:18:07 2005

Dropped-by the store on the way to work today and they were out of stock of the PowerSleeve 15— had to listen to the sales-droid moan about difficulties of bulk-orders from the US and importing being expensive. Feh. They one PowerSleeve 17 and the a Sportfolio and a few Booq models (about 20 assorted bags in total) including the Viper padded-sleeves and the Mamba. Mostly a large space with very few things.


Wed Sep 07 16:37:10 2005

I want one.

First iPodNano Review

Thu Sep 08 00:01:04 2005

First review of the Nano at Playlist; it's a black one, too.

7 Easy Pieces

Fri Sep 09 00:30:09 2005

iPodNano dissection (in Japanese).

Apple stock actually dropped a few cents after the announcements— maybe because of the ugly phone.

Cerf's Up

Sat Sep 10 09:04:03 2005

Vint Cerf, Internet Demigod, was recently hired by Google, the Internet Pantheon. I was surprised to find that he actually has blog (but of course, it should come as no surprise; nor should his ST:TNG book-review).

Why Does Google Make Mac Users Suffer?

One of the reasons that people buy Macs is because they don't like to suffer at the hands of un-cooperative hardware and software. So why does Google not release Mac software (note that I am deliberately leaving out GNU/Linux, because I feel that it too makes users suffer)? Why do we have to suffer without the marvels that most everyone else is able to enjoy? Why are Mac users forgotten, second-class citizens in the brave new world?

The Unfinished Revolution

Vint Cerf's review of, The Unfinished Revolution: Human-Centered Computers and What They Can Do For Us, by Michael Dertouzos:

I read this book with great interest. Dertouzos is always worthwhile reading and this book is no exception. He gets deep into an important notion of human-centric computing and communication. Too much of today's computer and communication tools are oriented around the adaptation of people to awkward and unintuitive interfaces. Even the simplicity of the "point and click" world wide web requires a good deal of us to make easy use of the web's treasures. Dertouzos posits the value of directing much more effort on tools that are simple and intuitive to use - this suggests that the tasks these tools enable must be very well understood by the software developers. Indeed, one seeks to achieve the principle of least astonishment (my choice of emphasis, not Dertouzos' necessarily). That is to say that the software more or less does things automatically that do not surprise the users. One wants to know why an autonomous program did what it did so computer software should maintain audit trails and perhaps natural language interfaces so we can converse with them. Indeed, speech, as an interface, is growing in feasibility and will be a welcome addition to point and click, keyboard and handwritten inputs. Dertouzos makes careful use of examples to make concrete his abstract ideas and I think readers will appreciate this very much.

20-Questions Google

I would agree that the conversational computer is the future of usability. Hence my suggestion of the "20-Questions Google"— when you enter a query into Google and the results aren't what you're you're seeking, then google proceeds to ask you questions to try and find what you're searching for.

Choosing Between the Nano And The iPod

My heart has Love enough for two
—Tom Jones, "Help Yourself"

Sun Sep 11 00:00:04 2005

Men who can't decide, marry the chubby one and have the supermodel for a mistress.

Life is simpler than you think; it's people that complicate things.

Sun Galaxy Servers

Mon Sep 12 00:48:52 2005

Sun will announce a new line of servers today, based on AMD Opteron chips, which will run Windows, Linux or Solarisx86 separately or simultaneously. They will have better power-consumption and be cheaper than equivaent Dell servers. The cheapest is priced at $USD745 and range up to $12,000.

Proprietary products such as Sun's have fallen to 37.6 percent of the corporate server market, compared to 45.4 percent for the x86 Intel and A.M.D. portion of the market, according to International Data Corporation, a market research firm. By 2009, the x86 share is expected to rise to 54.1 percent, and customer revenue is expected to grow to $62.5 billion, from $53 billion last year, the research firm forecasts.

—Sep. 12, 2005 NYT, John Markoff

What I am looking forward to, though, is the Niagara line of multi-core SPARC chips. But at only 1.84 GHz clock-speeds (power dissipation is proportional to the number of cores; if one wants the power dissipation to be reduced or to stay constant as the number of cores increases, the clock speed has to be reduced) I don't expect insanely great sales— marketing is all about clock-speed, regardless of architecture.

Apple Stats

Only 4.5% of U.S. computer users work on PCs running Apple's operating system software, and the number is even lower worldwide, but Apple has a commanding 74% of the U.S. digital-music-player market--and that's a market likely to grow. A new survey of junior high, high school and college students rates the iPod No. 1 among back-to-school gadgets.

—Time Magazine, Lev Grossman

My First DVD With iDVD

Wed Sep 14 08:46:16 2005

I authored my first DVD using iDVD last night. It consisted of movies (made from 30s video clips combined with Dissolve transitions in iMovie) and slide-shows of photos (some slide-shows were accompanied by music). The DVD took exactly an hour to encode and about 10 minutes to cut (at 2x speed). I gave the DVD to my parents to play on the TV and it played fine— the video was "brighter" than that displayed on the PowerBook— it looks like the Gamma was artificially boosted.

I also noticed that slide-shows without musical accompaniment have to be advanced manually using the remote control and after the last slide plays one has to manually go to the Main Menu. One movie that I encoded, only had audio during the first 5 seconds of each segment and then was silent until the next transition to the following segment. I have to investigate that further.

The mastering process is quite CPU intensive but mathilde remained quite responsive (typing in Terminal, dialup, IRC in emacs) throughout the whole procedure. Impressive. I am comparing this to the 1.13 GHz VAIO running XP where I dare not interrupt a CD-burn for fear of making a coaster.

Nano Sales

Wed Sep 14 18:42:46 2005

It seems that sales of the iPod Nano are one-quarter of what Apple expected— only 25% of Nanos shipped have been sold.

luis fernandes / G4 PowerBook Journal, Part 6 / Last Modified: Tue Sep 27 22:32:01 2005