Part 4 of elf's Apple PowerBook G4 Journal

Apple Talks to Intel

Wed May 25 09:13:34 2005

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple "talked to Intel". Then there was speculation that Apple might be readying to announce Intel-based computers. It is inconceivable that Apple will release Intel-based computers (imagine all the software and drivers that will have to be re-written) just as it is inconceivable that apple will license OS X (cuts into sales of Apple hardware). At best, Apple might switch the wireless chipset from the current one by Broadcom to the Intel-based Centrino; earlier, Apple used the Orinoco chipset from Lucent. They may also be talking about licensing some Intel chipset for the rumoured Tablet.

Senuti: Recover Music From The iPod

Wed May 25 14:07:22 2005

If I ever get an iPod and need to retrieve the music off it, then Senuti (iTunes spelled backwords) will do it. iTunes hashes all the tracks it copies onto the iPod, to speed-up database access and so the songs/tracks are stored on the iPod in a cryptic format.

Godfather II

Wed May 25 17:38:11 2005

There are just a handful of movies where the sequel has exceeded the original in all expectations:

  1. Starwars: The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Star Trek 2:Wrath of Khan
  3. X2 (X-Men sequel)
  4. T2 (Terminator sequel)
  5. Godfather II

Coppola's Godfather, Part II was released on DVD with director's commentary, yesterday. It's 200 minutes long (400 minutes with commentary). So if the Journal is not updated in the next few days, you'll know why.

Update Thu May 26 00:38:54 2005:

As a matter of principle, there were only 2 Godfather films ever made (as there was only 1 Matrix). The superb cinematography of this film can only be appreciated by photographers. I have to re-watch this movie because I missed the action on-screen while concentrating on the lighting. I also plan on re-watching the first one as I have forgotten most of the smaller characters introduced in the first.

50 Fun Things for the iPod

Thu May 26 01:37:00 2005

An unexpected discovery of 50 Fun Things led to iPodLinux.

Register's Tiger Review

As OS X improves, it becomes harder to convince OS X users to make the jump.

Thu May 26 22:57:27 2005

The Register reviews Tiger in an article titled Mac OS X 10.4 - more bling than bang?. Note the question-mark. Is the reviewer unsure or just being kind to Apple?


<Yaroon> posted this photo of his 2-day old Powerbook keyboard. He doesn't like the vertical Return key because it is difficult to hit.

Fri May 27 00:09:02 2005

If you login with the username ">console", Aqua will exit and you will be presented with a text-only console login session. Once you exit the shell, the GUI interface will run again.

Groggy Time Update

Fri May 27 10:29:09 2005

I've noticed that it takes more than 10 seconds for the clock in the menu-bar to update after waking the laptop (it is slightly confusing to see the time the Powerbooks was last put to sleep). It is truly impressive that the laptop can wake-up and be ready in 3 seconds so why does the time take so long to update? I am considering filing a bug-report.

Replacement Battery

My replacement battery is still not here. A couple of people on #macosx, both in the UK, received theirs within 3 days of filing a claim.

Finder Custom Icon in Sidebar Bug

Fri May 27 20:18:13 2005

I found Finder bug where custom folder icons did not appear in the side-bar if the folder was customized after it was dragged into the sidebar (the custom image appeared momentarily and the was replaced by the default striped blue folder). The workaround is to create the new folder, copy it into the sidebar and only then customize the icon. Another bug-report to submit.

Disable Spotlight in Tiger

<StoneApple> what is the best way to completly disable spotlight?
<e1f> install panther
<e1f> :)
<StoneApple> lol
<StoneApple> besides that?
<RichardP_> StoneApple: turn off the mac
<StoneApple> sensible sujestions :p
<RichardP_> you cant really 'disable' spotlight, since it has hooks
            at the kernel and filesystem level. theres more to spotlight than 
            mdimport, mdfind etc

Update: Fri May 27 21:42:01 2005: David emailed me the procedure to disable Spotlight...

Edit /etc/hostconfig to have the line


Then reboot (or kill any mds or mdimport processes).

From a comment at:

And the Winner is...

Fri May 27 21:40:09 2005

Googlefight: Apple Tiger vs. Microsoft Longhorn.

Backwards Compatibility

Sat May 28 09:51:55 2005

People "upgrading" to Tiger soon realize that they are unable to open .sit files by double-clicking on them because Stuffit Expander no longer ships with Tiger. One is obliged to download the demo/Trial Expander and install it. After installing Tiger, how does one re-install ones favourite utilities that come as .sit archives? Why would Apple break backwards compatibility like this?

Terminal URLs

Sat May 28 12:36:26 2005

In Terminal, you can Cmd-double-click on a URL and it will open in your default browser.

Memory Corruption

Since Friday I have been seeing errors popping-up in the Console. Today, it got worse— everytime a windows opened there was an error and when I opened the iPhoto Export dialog, there was a blinking button with no text (movie to come); the menumeters stopped updating and every time I went to connect the modem, the "Connecting..." message that scrolled-by in the menu-bar froze.

2005-05-28 12:01:57.161 SystemUIServer[258] Error (1000) creating CGSWindow

May 28 12:01:57 mathilde 
CGSResolveShmemReference : offset exceeds bounds

*** malloc[258]: Deallocation of a pointer not malloced: 0xbfffe7f0;
This could be a double free(), or free() called with the middle of an
allocated block; Try setting environment variable MallocHelp to see
tools to help debug

*** malloc[258]: Deallocation of a pointer not malloced: 0xbfffe960;
This could be a double free(), or free() called with the middle of an
allocated block; Try setting environment variable MallocHelp to see
tools to help debug

2005-05-28 12:19:17.080 SystemUIServer[258] *** NSTimer discarding
exception 'NSInternalInconsistencyException' (reason 'Error (1000)
creating CGSWindow') that raised during firing of timer with target
3e2200 and selector 'changeFrameSize'

May 28 12:19:17 mathilde
CGSResolveShmemReference : offset exceeds bounds

So, I logged-out and logged back in and everything seems fine.

Aside: I'm considering ordering the “Merchant of Venice” soundtrack CD with music by Jocyelyn Pook.


Perhaps some secret documents could be stored on such a RAID, and several people given a Shuffle so that only this group could meet at some other location to recover the data
—Jim Wright

Sun May 29 13:35:10 2005

<arete> returned from a trip to Japan with a Dynabook SS SX (kanji text). He's running Linux and everything but the SD card and the fingerprint reader works.

If you ever need extra storage and all you have are some USB devices, you can RAID them together; for example, a set of USB floppy drives (3.9MB of useable storage) or for about 1000x more storage some iPod Shuffles (3.85 GB of useable storage).


iComic is a program written by Steve Saxon (who hints that he works for MS), to download your favorite web comics, collect them and and browse them offline. He's working on a Dashboard widget for Tiger.

No EDU Discounts for K12 Students

Sun May 29 21:48:12 2005

When a Grade 10 student said that Apple didn't have educational discounts for high-school students (only faculty and staff) I didn't quite believe him until I checked the Apple site. Strange.

Preview Bookmarks

Mon May 30 08:27:01 2005

I would have been nice if Preview had the option of adding a bookmark to a PDF document or that it could at least remember where you left-off in a document. When I logged-out two days ago, I had to make a mental note about which page of the AppleScript manual I was at. Bookmarks would also be handy when reading PDF ebooks.

Update Fri Jul 01 02:28:21 2005: Anne Moroney emailed me to let me know that in Tiger, Preview has bookmarks.


Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me
Lamentations, 1:12

Mon May 30 10:22:45 2005

I wanted to take some photos to work today so I popped-in my "Mule" CDR (~500MB free), originally created on Windows/XP and containing about a dozen directories each populated with some images, dragged the files from iPhoto into BurnXFree and clicked "Burn CD"; burnfreex dialog appeared, "Waiting for CD to be inserted", the CD ejected; I re-inserted the CDR, clicked "Burn" in the dialog and the burn proceeded successfully. BurnXFree increased the session and decreased the free-space available in the main window. The CD mounted on the desktop, I opened the CDR in the Finder and it's empty: "0 items and 0K free".

Finder Custom Icons Gone

Hm...I just noticed that the Custom icons for the Thumbs and Applications directory are no longer visible in the sidebar. The Depot folder icon is still there. Strange.

Clone Wars

Begun the Clone Wars have

Tue May 31 09:33:34 2005

Wired is reporting that Intel is readying a Mac Mini look-alike, “While the Mac mini attracts adjectives like "sleek," "cool" and "sexy," its current lineup of Windows-based competitors could most politely be described as "compact."”

The article also mentions that Intel could not meet Apple's price-point with the Mini because licensing fees for Windows/XP would raise the price past $499. Hm. But what if Intel also ran an OS that did not require licensing fees?

“Deep Throat” Revealed

Wed Jun 01 00:26:26 2005

“Deep Throat”, the secret informant in the Watergate scandal revealed his identity, which was confirmed by Bob Woodward— it was W. Mark Felt, an official in the FBI. I only mention this because “All the President's Men” (1976) is one of my all-time favourite movies; “Deep Throat” was played memorably by Hal Holbrook. I can now look forward to the 2 DVD 30th anniversary special edition being released next year.


Wed Jun 01 18:45:41 2005

DoubleCommand is a GPLd program that allows remapping of certain keys. I want to be able to page-up/-down with one hand so it would be nice if there was another Fn key on the right-hand-side of the keyboard. I never got around to trying uControl. This blog mentions both uControl and DoubleCommand and notes that the latter only has one keymap, which creates problems if one uses an external keyboard with the Powerbook; however it also notes that DoubleCommand has a simpler interface.

Update Sun Jul 03 12:02:54 2005: I have installed DoubleCommand and it works beautifully. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Also trying out djoPlayer a front-end to mplayer. I found a bunch of MPEG-2 encoded cartoons at the Internet Archive that I want to play. I'm going to try re-installing both VLC and Mplayer (Beta8Release4) to try to get MPEG-2 files to play without stuttering audio.


Wed Jun 01 23:06:33 2005

I was able to watch the Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd Merrie Melodie using MplayerOSX.

Thumbnails: Thumbscrew, Pinki

Thu Jun 02 00:18:13 2005

David emailed me a link to Thumbscrew, the coolest thumbnail generator discovered to date. This is what I've been using to generate those nice "rotated-photo" thumbnails with shadows. The size of the thumbnails and the actual images can be specified as can the destination directory (I called it Thumbs). You drag the image or images and drop into the Thumbscrew window and the thumbnails and the reduced images appear in the Thumbs directory. Nice! What I haven't been able to do is to prevent the images from being rotated/skewed— the smallest rotation angle that can be chosen is 5° and I haven't figured out how to generate the accompanying HTML or XML.

Before going to bed (browsing Todd Dominey's blog), I discovered Pinki, a utility that replaces the generic thumbnail image of an image file, with one that is representative of the image file itself; and WhatSize, a graphical version of du -sk.


Fri Jun 03 12:02:40 2005

12:00  up 46 days, 14:23, 4 users, load averages: 0.69 0.91 1.01
USER     TTY      FROM              LOGIN@  IDLE WHAT
elf      console  -                Sat12   5days  -
elf      p2       -                Sun20          - w
elf      p3       -                06May05 15days -

MPlayerOSX Revisited

I watched an MPEG-4 encoded movie (180MB)of “Dressed to Kill” with Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes. The quality was poor (blocky artifacts in fast-moving scenes) compared to the MPEG-2 version of the Merrie Melodies cartoon I watched earlier; I didn't bother downloading the MPEG-2 version as it was 1.4GB and my CF-card is only 256MB in size.


Sat Jun 04 00:03:59 2005

Spent another leisurely Friday reading “Concrete Jungle” by Charles Stross, one of the many Hugo Award Nominees (noted by David). In choosing which novels to read, I used my "first paragraph rule"— if the first paragraph grabbed my attention and I want to continue reading, then it would likely be a good story.

Later, I stumbled upon Descent 2 and Fish, which I downloaded and which I will try later.

Update Sat Jun 04 12:12:55 2005: Tried "Fish", didn't really understand it and thought it would make a nicer screensaver than a game. Descent 2 is also nice but with 1990s graphics it looks outdated.

Rumour Control

Sat Jun 04 09:06:06 2005

Both Slashdot and Appleinsider are reporting that Apple will switch to Intel in 2006 according to an unconfirmed story on C|NET. It's still at a rumour stage but no denials— Apple plans to move lower-end computers such as the Mac Mini to Intel chips in 2006 and higher-end models such as the Power Mac in 2007. eWeek is reporting that the rumours are false.

Dual Core G4 Powerbook?

Sat Jun 04 11:40:39 2005

According to an article on Freescale, it is possible that a dual core G4 Powerbook (2x1.5GHz) is possible before a G5 Powerbook.

More Leisure

Downloading Solitarus Mahjong (demo) and Blue Skies Screensaver.

Update Sat Jun 04 13:20:22 2005: Tried Blue Skies and deleted it after 30s as the animation is jittery and although the clouds are realistic, the sky is coloured an unrealistic blue and the screen goes white between animations. Mahjong is very beautiful looking but I couldn't figure out a way to pause the game (tried clicking on the clock). Don't Cmd-H during play as the graphics will disappear and there is no way to restore them without a Cmd-Q.

Switch Back

Sun Jun 05 01:14:27 2005

Finished reading Charles Stross' "Concrete Jungle" earlier today— such a fun read! Just finished watching "Kill Bill 1" a few moments ago.

It occured to me that if Apple switches to Intel, there can be a marketing campaign to "Switch Back"; the only question is who will it belong to, Intel or Microsoft. On the other hand Apple did write iTunes for x86 (one small step) so I wonder how much of OS X has been written for x86 already. Heehee— I'm just kidding (it won't happen).

iTunes on my VAIO is now playing: J. S. Bach - Sonata No.1 for violin and harpsichord BWV 1014 in B minor, Allegro. Time for bed.

Sun Jun 05 09:46:22 2005

And another thing, can you still call it a Powerbook if it doesn't use a PowerPC chip?

Leftover Trash

Sun Jun 05 11:17:30 2005

OS X has an annoying habit of leaving behind .DS_Store files on every filesystem it touches. What is worse is that iPhoto leaves behind a .Trashes directory on my CF Card, thus reducing storage capacity if one forgets to clean it up. I have an alias called "cfc" to clean the CF card of these bits of detritus:

find /Volumes/NO\ Name/ -name "\.[DT]*" -exec rm -rf {} \;

It gets better...

Sun Jun 05 11:34:18 2005

"The Inquirer" is confirming the rumour.

Forbes Says: "Not Gonna Happen"

Sun Jun 05 19:07:51 2005

A report on Forbes entitled "Why Apple Won't Embrace Intel" dispels the rumours.

We will know for certain by tomorrow.

Wired Says: "Yes, It Can Happen"

If Apple has licensed QuickTransit for an Intel-powered Mac, all current applications should just work, no user or developer intervention required
—Leander Kahney, Wired

Oh yes, and Wired jumps into the fray suggesting that Apple may use Transitive's emulator in the migration.

We certainly live in interesting times.


—Vizzini,The Princess Bride

Mon Jun 06 08:35:42 2005

Jobs certainly picked a famous anniversary in history to make his famous announcement. Here is The Register's take: Apple will switch to Intel and the migration will take several years and that it has licensed the QuickTransit virtual processor technology.

It's Official— Apple Switches to Intel

...looking ahead Intel has the strongest processor roadmap by far
—Steve Jobs, WWDC 2005

Mon Jun 06 14:20:32 2005

A point-by-point transcript of the WWDC presentation and Apple's press-release.


<magick> e1f, your g4 is still kinda do you feel?

I feel fine. OS X is Unix. It remains Unix no matter what architecture you run it on. All I care about is having a computer that's easy to use and allows me to do my work. A specific architecture or brand was never a requirement for happiness.

Battery Exchange Redux

My Mom reminded me that I still hadn't received my battery (it's been 2 weeks) so I called Apple Care and was on the phone for about a half-hour while they tried to find out why my battery hadn't shipped. In they end they just created a new order and I received an email confirmation.

Continues in Battery X.


Transition Kit

Mon Jun 06 15:59:50 2005

The Developer Transition Kit for creating Universal Binaries is now available for USD$999.

Mon Jun 06 17:10:57 2005

A Quote from the Universal Binary Programming Guide:

The most typical behavior problems you'll observe when your application runs natively on a Macintosh using an Intel microprocessor are:

What If...

Tue Jun 07 08:14:49 2005

What if Intel can't deliver a 6GHz chip in 2007? Does Apple switch to another architecture?

What if no one buys the Intel Apples— the Mactels.

What's the Big Deal?

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic
—Clarke's Third Law

Tue Jun 07 12:22:56 2005

If it looks like OS X, feels like OS X, all your OS X applications install and all your OS X binaries run, isn't it OS X?

Battery X

Wed Jun 08 08:27:18 2005

The replacement battery arrived by overnight courier, soon after I left for work, yesterday. Wow— one day turn-around. The instructions to return the battery are as follows: put the old battery back in the Power book, discharge it (don't leave the Powerbook unattended), put it in the plastic bag and foam-padded box that the new battery arrived in, seal it, rip the shipping label off the box to reveal the return shipping label and call Purolator for pick-up.

Register's Tiger Review II

Pros are likely to stick to AppleScript in any case, because Automator provides no control logic.

The Register review of Tiger continues, Mac OS X 10.4 'Tiger in depth.

Case Insensitivity

He's from Barcelona
—Basil Fawlty

Wed Jun 08 09:44:30 2005

<autojack> I installed LWP on my Mac using perl -mcpan -e
shell. it installed "HEAD" in /usr/bin and since the macos filesystem
isn't case sensitive, that clobbered the real Unix head command.


Update Thu Jun 09 16:44:25 2005: This is where Pacifist comes in handy, to extract that single binary out of the entire OS distribution.


Wed Jun 08 19:23:11 2005

From The Osborne Effect:

Unlike commodity PCs, Macs retain their resale value better, and Apple owners keep their machines longer, which makes for a more enduring investment.

Casting back five years, to the summer of 2000, we see Apple was selling machines which still run Mac OS X very capably today. The dual 500Mhz PowerMacs and the 450Mhz G4 Cube all need stuffing with RAM, but thanks to the performance improvements in OS X Panther and Tiger, these five year old machines do the job.

PCs can only reasonably run the operating system they shipped with. Installing the upgrade, or the next generation OS on the original system results in very poor operation. This is great for the manufacturer because they can you then sell the next version of their chip.

This obsolescence is particularly evident with Microsoft operating systems on Intel hardware but less so with Unix based operating sytems— meaning that you could run the latest version of GNU/Linux or FreeBSD on a piece-of-crap Pentium 1 (or even a 486) with "decent" performance. GUI interaction, however will be painful.

Since OS X is based on FreeBSD, it should scale well, meaning, that in 2012 you should be able to run the latest version of Leopard on an Apple that was released in 2007. I know two people (one who is a faculty member in the CS Dept. and one user on #emacs) who are running Panther on their AlBooks quite comfortably.

The moral of the story is to always buy the biggest drive and the best video card you can afford at the time you buy the computer, because in 5 years time, those two items will become the deciding factor in the obsolescence of your computer (specifically, laptop, as these two items are difficult/impossible to upgrade).

Charge Cycles

Thu Jun 09 09:15:53 2005

I managed to discharged my old battery last night and charged the new one overnight. This morning I checked the charge cycle count (as noted previously) and it just carried off from the previous one (it's now at 22). I thought that the count would reset to zero or 1 as it's a different (and new) battery.

Update Sat Jun 11 12:31:24 2005: Cycle Count reset to 1 today.

Apple/Intel Merger

Fri Jun 10 00:06:12 2005

If you didn't believe that Apple would be switching to Intel CPU, then you're not likely to believe that Intel and Apple are planning on merging.

10.3.9 Security Update 006

Fri Jun 10 09:34:29 2005

Another security update was released for 10.3.9. Here I am still running 10.3.8.

Renaming CF Card

Fri Jun 10 10:58:43 2005

My CF-cards inserted into the PCMCIA slot (using a SanDisk adapter) mounts as "NO NAME". I was looking for information on renaming (didn't find anything, I assume it's done at format-time) and came across Rob Galbraith's CF Performance Database.

OS 9

Fri Jun 10 15:06:30 2005

An article in Macworld UK addresses the fallout of the Apple shift to an architecture that can no longer run OS 9. According to Publish magazine, there are an estimated 1.5 to 2 million users still running applications (Quark Express) on OS 9 (Jobs claimed that the 2 millionth copy of Tiger would ship some time during the WWDC week).

Memories of WWDC

Fri Jun 10 20:32:10 2005

After a few days, this is what I remember of June 6, 2005:

I also saved the log of #macosx (300K Gzip) with the reporting and the discussions about WWDC, including the real-time transcriptions of the WWDC presentations.

Money and Ego

It's not personal. It's strictly business.
Michael Corleone, The Godfather

The 6502 microprocessor, for instance, was chosen for one reason only. It was the first one to sell over the counter for $20. The 8080 cost $370 at the time, and you couldn't get it at any surplus stores
—Steve Wozniak, "Homebrew and How the Apple Came To Be"

Sat Jun 11 10:54:22 2005

On stage, Mr. Jobs noted that he had promised both a 3-gigahertz Macintosh as well as a more powerful PowerPC-based portable computer, promises that he had not been able to deliver.

In the end, Mr. Jobs was given no choice but to move his business to Intel, when I.B.M. executives said that without additional Apple investment they were unwilling to pursue the faster and lower-power chips he badly needs for his laptop business.

"Technical issues were secondary to the business issues," said an executive close to the I.B.M. side of the negotiations. Because the business was not profitable, I.B.M. "decided not to continue to go ahead with the product road map."

—John Markoff, June 11, 2005 NYT, "What's Really Behind the Apple-Intel Alliance"

Steve Jobs dropped IBM and switched to Intel not because Intel makes technologically superior chips— Intel chips are utterly craptacular (compared to AMD and PPC) — but because Jobs' Ego was bruised and it was cheaper to switch to Intel.

The Garden of Eden

In Homebrew and How the Apple Came to Be, The Woz writes about Apple's first computers. The decision to use Motorola chips was purely economic. However, being the consummate engineer, he always wanted to design a computer based on the Motorola 6800, but it was too expensive.

JWZ Buys a Mac

Oh frabjous day

Jamie Zawinski bought an iMac.

I didn't know xscreensaver was available for OS X— there is some compiler breakage at the moment. Some of the plugins are available as native Cocoa screensavers (I downloaded Noof).

The moral of the story is that if you use GNU/Linux, don't expect to plug a periphal into the computer and expect it to just work.

Cycle Count Reset To 1

Sat Jun 11 12:32:22 2005

I happened to check the Battery Charge Cycle Count today and it has reset to 1.

Increased Transparency

I have increased the window transparency of both Emacs (setq mac-transparency-alpha 84) (midnightblue background) and Terminal (~40%, black background). I have found transparent applications (especially those that occupy large screen real-estate) increasingly useful and now wish Mozilla was also transparent.

Apple Transition on the Wikipedia

An entry about the Apple Switch appears on the Wikipedia. It states that, “Apple has indicated that the new Intel PCs will not use their traditional Open Firmware.”. They will use some Intel invention called EFI. Feh.

The Gospel According to Jobs

The soul of a Mac is its operating system
— Steve Jobs

Sun Jun 12 11:39:56 2005

The old battery is packed in the original box for pre-paid shipping back to Apple.

In the simplest possible terms, what Jobs is saying, is that in the future, no matter which computer you buy, as long as it's a Mac, it will run OS X. It is likely that the parallel development of OS X for various architectures will continue (in secret, of course).

OSx86 Leaked

Mac Daily News is reporting that Mac OS X 10.4 for x86 processors is now available on Torrent sites and it includes all the iLife applications.

Update Sun Jun 12 15:28:57 2005: No one on #macosx has been able to locate a copy, so this is turning out to be some sort of hoax.

A “Discolouration”

Mon Jun 13 19:26:49 2005

The "discolouration" at the centre of the LCD.

On Saturday, I opened my laptop and noticed a "discolouration" in the center of the screen. OMG! My immediate thought was that the heat from the memory (from the underside of the Powerbook) was radiating through the keyboard and distorting the LCD material when I closed the lid to put the Powerbook to sleep. The area where the memory is installed typically gets hotter than the rest of the bottom, after prolonged use, and this area aligns perfectly with the center of the screen where I spotted the "discolouration".

I decided to take a picture of this "discolouration", to document in my Journal, and I noticed that in the camera's viewscreen, the "discoloration" looked remarkably similar to the Apple logo on the front of the lid. It was! If I put my hand to block the light from the logo, the "discoloration" went away. Phew! What a relief!

Old Battery

I took the old battery to work and called Purolator to come pick it up from the main reception desk. The courier who came to pick it up demanded that a way-bill be filled for the shipment. This was not mentioned in the documented instructions for returning the battery.


Wed Jun 15 13:33:10 2005

HastalaDS_Store is an application that injects code into the Finder that stops the Finder creating .DS_Store files. Haven't yet tried it, since my "cfc" alias that cleans-up is good enough.

Apple's Developer Transition Kit

Fri Jun 17 00:02:51 2005

A bit busy with work this week so I wasn't able to update the Journal as much as I usually do. I got a link to a developer's blog with a first impression on Apple's Developer Transition Kit after a I asked whether any developer on #macosx (or #macdev) had ordered a kit. To summarize the article:


I am also linking to icculus' .plan which has his impressions on the Dev. Kit and makes for interesting reading if you like games on the Mac.

Mycroft: Firefox Search Plugins

Sat Jun 18 20:24:35 2005

I wanted to write a Firefox search plugin for the Emacswiki. I searched Google with the obvious keywords with no useful results. After I asked on #emacs, <wibble> provided me with the Mycroft Quickstart Page. <johnsu01> suggested using Mycroft search plugins are an extension of the Apple Sherlock search plugin; the major difference being that Sherlock plugins are distributed as binaries and Mycroft plugins are plain-text.

Plugins are installed in ~/Applications/

Download the plugin.

Longest Uptime Ever

20:47  up 61 days, 23:10, 4 users, load averages: 0.47 0.98 0.92
USER     TTY      FROM              LOGIN@  IDLE WHAT
elf      console  -                28May05 21days -


Sun Jun 19 11:40:34 2005

There are a few WWDC 2005 photos available at Apple.

The Royal iPod

In other news, HRH Queen Elizabeth II listens to an iPod (though her butler or footman actually loads the music).

There is No Osborne Effect

Tue Jun 21 05:40:16 2005

The Register is reporting that the Osborne Effect (company going bankrupt because it announces a future model of a product which kills sales of the current product) is a myth. According to the article, Osborne went bankrupt because of poor decision making on the part of a company VP.

Multi-session with BurnX Free

Tue Jun 21 16:25:21 2005

This morning, with a certain amount of trepidation, I added a single JPEG file to a multi-session CD, with 3 files, I had cut previously. I was surprised when two CDs appeared in the Finder. After a bit of googling, I learned that OS X mounts each session as a separate volume.

I took the CD to work and I was surprised when Windows/XP only saw the first session. I must be doing something wrong because it can't possibly be this difficult to make a CD on a Mac that is readable on both a Mac and on Windows. There must be a preference I must have missed to make it a hybrid CD.

The Future of Multi-session CDs in OS X

Wed Jun 22 09:20:23 2005

Speculation abounds that Apple will incorporate UDF packet writing in a future version of the discrecording framework, possibly in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. This would essentially enable one to use a CD-RW or DVD-RW disc like a removable hard drive, reading or writing randomly to such. The advent of high-speed disc burners, combined with caching, may also provide adequate speed for this to be practical.

From “Burning multi-session CDs in Panter”, a How-To document on doing something that shouldn't be this complicated— imagine if using floppies was this difficult.

When the MacTel boxen ship, they better have sorted this whole issue out or those people that dual-boot Windows/XP are going to be in for the surprise of their life.

After 4 months of using a Mac, I have successfully made a multi-session CD which is unreadable in Windows. This reminds me of using Linux. Windows is still king when it comes to producing multi-session CDs readable everywhere.

NeoOffice/J 1.1

Thu Jun 23 08:59:10 2005

NeoOffice/J 1.1 stable release was announced. I used the spreadsheet in the Beta version (calculated my Income Tax return) with no problems. I did notice some text-formatting problems with the Writer when editing the Hugo Nominees in preparation for converting them from HTML to PDF (requiring me to exit and re-start the Writer several times). Hopefully these problems are fixed.

“I Have a Mac” Secret Hand-shake

That the fix'd sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other's watch
—“Henry V”, act iv., chorus

Fri Jun 24 19:34:20 2005

In the last 6 months, I have seen a total of 4 Powerbooks: 15 in. at Union Station, 15 in. at the Starbucks at Yonge and King, a 15 in. 2 weeks ago on the GO train and a 12 in. on the GO train, this past Monday; the first 3 were male and the last was a female in their mid- to low-twenties. Is making eye-contact enough to say you belong?

<e1f> when you see a stranger who is using their ibook/powerbook in
      public and you don't have yours, is there a secret handshake/nod/signal
      that tells him and you too belong to the cult?
<t0nia> show him the empty wallet
<Darien> e1f: I believe the accepted method is to tap your iPod's
         earphones then flash a Tiger DVD
<Claunia> e1f, yes, as for sure you will go to him to talk about yours
<icebalm> e1f: yeah you walk up to him and say "hey cool, I
          have a powerbook too"
<Claunia> lol
<rorx> t0nia: hahah
<StarManta> e1f: "have you ever tried adium? it's a lot cooler than
<rorx> e1f: you could put the apple sticker that came with your
       computer, on your forehead B)
<e1f> icebalm: but you have no proof of ownership-- you could 
      just be a poser
<Darien> you see a cute girl using an iBook/Powerbook
<icebalm> e1f: why would anyone do that?
<Darien> what's the best way to start a conversation?
<Claunia> e1f, the question is, who goes to street without her

Watched Howl's Moving Castle last night and it was the most amazing animated film I have ever seen. I was apprehensive and was prepared to be dissapointed (almost went to see Batman Begins) having been unimpressed with Princess Mononoke and having avoided Spirited Away after seeing the trailer.

Spent most of the day surfing, chatting and watching 4 episodes of Fawlty Towers. Time to re-watch Kenneth Branagh's Henry V; the epigraph reminds me of a very memorable Chorus played by Derek Jacobi.

Ça Va Bien?

Everything works beautifully as long as everyone is running a Mac.

Sat Jun 25 21:52:41 2005

Rendezvous was renamed Bonjour some time ago. I was visiting today and read:

The Bonjour Setup Wizard makes setting up a printer under Windows as easy as Mac OS X (we can't make it as beautiful, unfortunately).

Linux on POWER

IBM has been running an open source development contest called Linux on POWER. <Jerub> won a G5 on a related contest and he's now running OS X on it.

MacWorld Reader Survey

Tue Jun 28 07:43:29 2005

Macworld has posted a reader survey about the Mactel move: 33% indicated that they would wait to purchase a Mac while 54% said nothing has changed. 28% indicated that they are unsure whether the MacTels will be cheaper and or faster while 29% said that they would be faster and cheaper (the term "faster" is not really a good indicator of performance as applications requiring floating-point operations benefit from AltiVec optimizations and Intel chips are notorious for being poor at FP operations). 67% said that the transition will be somewhat bumpy but nothing serious while 4% said that it would be chaos.

Sun Ultra 3

Sun has announced a couple of new computers: one is the AMD Opteron-based Ultra 20 (US$895 or rent for $30/month) and the other is the Ultra 3, a SPARC-based laptop. One thing that Suns workstations share with Apple workstations is the (OpenFirmware) PROM.

iTunes 4.9 Released

iTunes 4.9 is now available for download.

The Ultimate Google

Google has launched its new mapping service that uses local search and satellite images to give users a three-dimensional view of buildings and terrain.
—“Google mapping enters the third dimension

Tue Jun 28 14:23:51 2005

Here's an email I sent to Google some time ago:

From: luis fernandes
To: suggestions at google
Subject: The Ultimate Google
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 12:49:16 -0400


Can you tell me when (+/- 10 years) Google will have functionality similar to the following:

I type in: how deep is the ocean?

Google replies: did you want to know the deepest part of the ocean or are you interested in the eponymous song?

I click: "the deepest part of the ocean"

Google replies with: a picture of the Marianas Trench in the Pacific with bathymetric data superimposed and has the option for a virtual fly-through the ocean if I have the VFT3D plugin installed.


New iPods

Wed Jun 29 08:51:57 2005

All iPods are now in color and there are 2 models available (20GB and 60GB; the 30GB pods will be sold until stock is exhausted). I noticed that the iPods come with USB 2.0 cables only. Lowest Common Denominator in the Windows world, I suppose.

Jurassic Mac

Thu Jun 30 18:19:38 2005

I just finished watching Jurassic Park yesterday and remembered that there is a very brief pan across a display on a Mac Quadra with a computer language I didn't recognize. I will have to take a photo and post it to see if anyone can recognize it. According to IMDB Trivia, "The park software is written in Pascal; a program is clearly visible in one of the monitor close-ups on the UNIX system."

Update Fri Jul 01 14:47:24 2005: Upon closer viewing, the Macs are used to show the security camera video feeds (which are in fact, video clips playing on a video player as the progress-bar is clearly visible. The screen on an SGI shows Pascal source-code and the comments indicate it to be related to code revision.

Continued in Part 5...

luis fernandes / G4 PowerBook Journal, Part 4 / Last Modified: Fri Oct 28 12:52:16 2005