Part 11 of elf's Apple PowerBook G4 Journal

NeoOffice 1.2 Released

Wed Feb 01 14:50:08 2006

NeoOffice 1.2, based on the OpenOffice 1.1.5 codebase, is now available for download; it features native Aqua menus. I'm still running 1.1, but I have downloaded the 128MB DMG for 1.2.

Firefox Released

Wed Feb 01 21:17:44 2006

New features include of

Native support for Intel Macs will come with

Googlenet is Born

Thu Feb 02 17:37:46 2006

Some pics of lamp-posts sprouting antennae in Mountain View— the possible start of the wifi mesh network planned by Google.

Steve Is God

Thu Feb 02 21:38:44 2006

The iPod is the Bible of the Information Age. Discuss.

Spotlight: Great Idea, Poor Implementation

Fri Feb 03 09:31:55 2006

The following observations about Spotlight are based on comments made by people on #macosx (they typically ask, "How do I disable Spotlight?") and from comments made on various blogs.

I love the idea of being able to locate that document I worked on briefly last week about ostrich migration patterns without having to remember what I called it (OMP.doc) or where I put it (in Documents, Drafts or Projects?). To be able to achieve this, Spotlight has to look through every document on your disk and index its contents. It is the way that Spotlight indexes the contents that bothers people— it reminds me of my young nephew's annual visits— when he first arrives, he runs through the entire house looking at what changes were made and then he runs into my room and looks through the dresser drawers to see where I've hidden the toys.

This sort of intrusive behaviour from a program is worrisome, especially if you don't know what's going on— the hard disk starts being accessed for no apparent reason and you wonder what's happening. This is especilly true whenever a removable drive is attached.

I think there is a better way, that Spotlight could index the drive— it could be a bit more relaxed about it and provide better feedback when it's indexing.

I am still running Panther and if I was running Tiger, I would likely disable Spotlight.

Behind The Scenes At The Powerbook Journal

Sat Feb 04 09:51:30 2006

Remotely editing the Journal via ftp using Carbon Emacs

Several people have inquired about the blogging software I use to write this Journal. This Journal is a plain HTML file (index.html is the main page) with a CSS stylesheet (called pb.css) and it is edited using Carbon Emacs with some simple keyboard macros. Emacs has the ability to remotely edit files using ftp, sftp or ssh (your choice); I use ftp and open the file using: "/elf@zorro:/~/powerbook/index.html".

I have 3 Emacs macros: 1) to create a New Entry for today, 2) to create an Additional Entry and 3) to insert a Thumbnail Image. To begin a new entry, I open the HTML file in Emacs, move to the bottom of the document and run the macro to create a New Entry (the style-tag is called "newday"; it has blue title with a separator line)— the macro searches backwards for the "TODAY" reference and moves it to where the cursor is, inserts a new reference, a new title and a timestamp. Here is an example of the inserted HTML template:

<a name="TODAY"></a>
<a name="ReferenceTagForEntry"></a>
<h2 class="newday">Title for Today's Entry</h2>
<p class="timestamp">Sat Feb 04 10:16:03 2006</p>
Journal text goes here.

The macro for an Additional Entry (grey title text and a timestamp) is similar to the New Entry macro; the only difference is that the class="newday" tag is omitted.

At the end of each month, I create a new HTML file: 01-journal.html, 02-journal.html, etc. and move the contents from the current index.html file into that new file. In addition, I copy the indices into the contents page and update the links from inline to the appropriate document.

17 inch iMac G5 EOL

Sat Feb 4 22:21:07 2006

Apple has end-of-lined the 17 inch iMac G5 from its online stores. I should have clued-in that something was afoot when the 17 inch iMac, displaying the video of passing pedestrians using the built-in camera, dissappeared from the window of the PCSmart store on Yonge and Richmond— it wasn't replaced with anything; there's a glaring blank spot where it originally stood. I wonder if someone bought it or it was pulled from display.

Marvels of Medicine

Healing and poisonous herbs the same soil bears,
And rose and nettle oft grow side by side.

Ars longa, vita brevis.

Mon Feb 06 12:33:13 2006

Very little amazes me anymore— the unfortunate result of having all your dreams come true and not having any more dreams. One thing that I find remarkable is the non-invasive practice of medicine (Dr. McCoy famously proclaimed that 20th century medicine was barbaric and medieval). There are drugs today that can cure nearly every ailment and soon, even death will have a cure (a topic for a future essay in my “The Digital Way” series).

I've been suffering from a cold since the middle of December; the lingering symptoms included phlegm build-up in my throat with an occasional cough and mucus build-up in my sinuses. Last week, I got a prescription of the antibiotic Zithromax; the day after taking the first dose, the cold was gone. Suitably impressed, I searched for more information about antibiotics.

Antibiotics are a class of drugs that kill infectious bacteria without harming the person. Penicillin was the first antibiotic discovered (early 1930s) and it won the discoverers, Sir Alexander Fleming, Ernst B. Chain and Sir Howard Florey, the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1945. The discovery of Cyclosporin, an antibiotic that made organ transplants possible, also has an interesting beginning:

A tradition established as part of a programme set up in 1957 to search for new antibiotic drugs from fungal metabolites was for Sandoz employees on business trips and holidays to take plastic bags with them for collecting soil samples that were catalogued and later screened. In March 1970 in the Microbiology Department at Sandoz Ltd. (Basel), a Swiss pharmaceutical company, the fungus Tolypocladium inflatum Gams was isolated by B. Thiele from two soil samples, the first from Wisconsin, USA and the second from the Hardanger Vidda in Norway. These soil samples had been collected by Sandoz employees.

—from “Origin of Drugs in Current Use: The Cyclosporin Story

I found it amazing that both Penicillin and Cyclosporin are derived from ordinary fungi. What is more amazing is that 90% of the world's fungi have yet to be identified and catalogued. So there is still hope.


Mon Feb 06 15:03:56 2006

Speaking of cures, <mgrimes>, one of the regulars on #macosx, talks about a cure for Spotlight (or Stoplight as I've begun to call it)— it's called SpotMeta.


Tue Feb 07 08:38:41 2006

A recent poll done by, asked GNU/Linux users to vote for currently unavailable application they would like to see ported; they voted for the following apps:

  1. Photoshop
  2. Autocad
  3. Dreamweaver
  4. iTunes
  5. Macromedia Studio

It seems that The Gimp is not an adequate substitute for Photoshop. Is GimpSHOP, an OS X project that attempts to make Gimp look like Photoshop by changing its menu structure and naming conventions, sufficient to appease the naysayers? I should give it a try. But I have a feeling it won't make a difference.

I started out using Gimp (and found the interface confusing and frustrating even after printing out a 200-page, freely available, manual); I only discovered Photoshop Elements when it came bundled with my Sony VAIO laptop and once I had used it, there was no turning back to Gimp which is still the best, free graphics manipulation software for Linux.

1 GB iPod Nano

Tue Feb 07 09:47:19 2006

Apple has released a 1GB iPod Nano— 240 songs, US$149; compared with the 1GB Shuffle for $99.


Tue Feb 07 12:24:47 2006

Sidenote, written by Pierre Chatel, is a drawer for storing textual notes, that hides offscreen until you need it.

Can A Computer Be Programmed to be Creative?

Wed Feb 08 12:59:32 2006

I will contend that computer programs can create. I will further contend that those who do not believe this have probably defined creativity so narrowly that humans could not be said to create.
—David Cope

David Cope, a professional composer and programmer, has recently published a book called “Computer Models of Musical Creativity” where the question of computer creativity in the area of music is explored. His aim was, "to model, using computers, the more salient features of musical creativity in order to gain a better understanding of a few of the processes that define and distinguish it from creativity in the other arts."

The scope of the book, and therefore, the music, is limited to "classical" music because the author's background is limited to composing classical music. "The programs are written in Common Lisp with many having two versions available: (1) Macintosh platform and (2) any platform that supports Common Lisp."

Sample tracks, composed by the computer in various genres, are available for download— listen and judge for yourself. At the first listen, these compostions sounded very much as they were intended to sound. But after repeated listens, the Bach "Invention" began to annoy, and the Beethoven "Sonata" sounded like a dirge. If experience does, in fact, give birth to creativity, then this attempt at modelling creativity is just the beginning of the experiment; it is the equivalent of a mother putting her child's paintings on the refrigerator door.

Environment Canada Weather Radar Widget

Wed Feb 08 14:58:18 2006

There's a Konfabulator widget for viewing the Environment Canada Weather Doppler Radar images.

Update Wed Feb 08 21:41:23 2006: The image looks really craptacular (GIF artifactts) when scaled down. I wish the image could be interactively scaled or with finer granularity. I also wish the widget would grow bigger on mouse-over.

Cool Effects

Thu Feb 09 00:00:08 2006

Tiger is capable of some cool built-in graphical effects. So I was thinking of the possible ways they could be used— how about when an application crashes? We could have the window borders catch on fire, the titlebar could melt and then the window could explode into many pieces and scratch the screen and other windows and when the smoke clears, the CrashReporter could appear.

Images In Stickies

Thu Feb 09 00:00:10 2006

You can store images in Stickies! Just drag and drop. Wow!

The Real Thing

Thu Feb 09 12:02:12 2006

Think Secret is reporting that a new iPod, the True Video iPod, will soon (in April) be released, featuring a screen that covers the entire face of the device and that the click-wheel has been replaced with a touch-sensitive screen.

Apple Movies

Fri Feb 10 18:48:43 2006

I found a collection of Apple Movies (including Pencil Test, made by Pixar entirely on a Mac II; a SNL parody of the Macintosh PostIt Note; the famous 1984 and Think Different narrated by Richard Dreyfuss) via a post on the Luxo Blog.

The Interim

Sat Feb 11 08:45:59 2006

The lull between the move from PowerPC to Intel would be a perfect time to launch a tablet Mac with an innovative touch sensitive scroll-wheel and of course, launch the touch-screen video iPod. Those two products should keeps sales going.

Upgrade To Emacs 22

Sat Feb 11 10:03:55 2006

This morning, I decided to upgrade to Emacs 22. First, I renamed ~/Applications/ to ~/Applications/ just in case. I dragged and dropped the icon from the DMB and it installed as The first thing I noticed after running it was that my windows had lost transparency— (setq mac-transparency-alpha 84) stopped working.

I visited the Emacs Wiki Carbon Emacs Page for hints and found that the suggestions for setting the opacity via the default-frame-alist did not work; using M-x mac-transparency-dialog did work but there was no way to save the settings; setting the opacity interactively via (set-frame-parameter (selected-frame) 'active-alpha 0.84) also worked.

Using Help >Carbon Emacs Package >Window Opacity followed by Help >Carbon Emacs Package >Save Settings saved a Emacs.plist file with the transparency settings and it worked upon re-start. But I prefer that all my settings be configured via my ~/.emacs file (note this is still my old file with Emacs 21 settings). (set-frame-parameter (selected-frame) 'active-alpha 0.84) works to set transparency from the .emacs

I can now drag a file from the Finder and drop it into Emacs and have it open— very nice. Also, I've enabled "Mac Key Mode" which allows me to use Cmd-C Cmd-V to copy and paste text. Having to switch between Mac and Emacs cut-and-paste key-sequences was disorienting. The site-start file also checks if the Emacs is running in a Japanese environment before enabling Japanese support; previously, it ran unconditionally, requiring me to go in and surgically remove the offending commands. Flyspell (on-the-fly spell-checking) works with the bundled aspell binary but it dies unexpectedly in IRC.

The old Emacs 21 has now been retired.

Omni Outliner Annoyance

Sun Feb 12 13:29:41 2006

Omni Outliner came bundled with my Powerbook and it is configured to edit plist files, by default. Yesterday, when I went to edit the plist file for Carbon Emacs (see above), I became annoyed with its behaviour and sent the following feedback to the developers:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Search for a term that results in a .plist file.
  3. Double-click on the plist, OmniOutliner appears with the property list items displayed, ready for editing.
  4. Change a value.
  5. Save.

A dialog appears (the filename in the titlebar has an new extension ("ooutline") appended to the original plist name) saying that it has no idea where this file is to be saved.

This is just silly. How about saving the file right back where it was opened from? Is that so difficult?

I was troubled by the software being associated with plist files but causing the extension of the plist file changing when loaded; and by not being able to save the plist file from whence it came— I expect this kind of behaviour from Windows/XP applications.

Happy Birthday, Darwin

Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so dreadful.
—Life and Letters, Charles Darwin.

Sun Feb 12 21:23:18 2006

Charles Darwin, not the other Darwin.

Happy Birthday, Lincoln

It's also Abraham Lincoln's birthday; both were born on February 12, 1809. I found the following excerpt of a letter Lincoln wrote, rather topical, given recent events:

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose— and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. If, to-day, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, "I see no probability of the British invading us" but he will say to you "be silent; I see it, if you dont."

The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons. Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.

—Abraham Lincoln, letter to William H. Herndon, February 15, 1848.


Tue Feb 14 05:59:35 2006

DTV is "Internet TV for your Mac"— an opensource platform for podcasts. It includes a TV Guide and more than 100 "channels".


Tue Feb 14 11:47:07 2006

PBFixit has been renamed iFixit as the products using the Powerbook trademark are no longer in production.

My Love

Tue Feb 14 12:41:11 2006

My love is as a fever, longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease;
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
The uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desperate now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now Reason is past care,
And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen’s are,
At random from the truth vainly express’d;
     For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,
     Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

—Sonnet CXLVII, William Shakespeare


Wed Feb 15 00:19:58 2006

If you want TeX and LaTeX (Donald Knuth's typesetting masterpiece and Leslie Lamport's improvements, respectively) on your Mac, there are four easy steps (if you know what you're doing, you're an Emacs user and have used TeX before, but you just need to install it, then, there's only one step):

Download the i-installer (a net-based installer) and choose to install TeX from the "Known Packages i-Directory".

OS 9 R.I.P.

Wed Feb 15 10:01:53 2006

When is software considered dead? If there's still one person using it, is it still alive? If the media is still readable and there is hardware (real or emulated) that can still run it, is it still alive?

Even though an ever decreasing number of people still use it daily, from Apple's viewpoint, OS 9 is dead.


Thu Feb 16 09:24:35 2006

I needed to view and modify a Powerpoint presentation yesterday and I thought, "Hey! I have Microsoft Office 2004 Test Drive installed with a 30-day evaluation period. I haven't run it yet, so I should be able to use it." I'm such a genius sometimes!

So I ran it and the EULA popped-up and I agreed, it told me it was optimizing fonts and finally a dialog appeared telling me that it had expired and would I like to buy a license now, remind me to buy a license later or cancel?


I deleted Microsoft Office 2004 Test Drive.

But not before saving the fonts, heehee.

Konfabulator API

Thu Feb 16 17:35:22 2006

If you want to write your own Konfabulator Widgets, Yahoo! has the Widget API documentation and a easy-to-follow tutorial available.

Open Document Format

When I send a pure text file, nobody asks “did you create that using WordPad, vim, or emacs?” When I send a bitmapped PNG file, nobody asks “did you create that using the GIMP or Paint Shop Pro?” Why? Because it doesn’t matter. Data formats that are fully open standards can be implemented and understood by all. By using them, I’m free to use whatever tool I want.
—David A. Wheeler

Fri Feb 17 08:44:01 2006

The above epigraph brilliantly and simply explains the importance of having an open standard for sharing all types of documents. Yesterday's entry about Powerpoint emphasizes the frustrations that diverse people endure when sharing documents. Yes, I could have used NeoOffice to view and edit the Powerpoint slideshow, but I could not gurantee (I was doubtful) that the fonts and the layout would export perfectly when it was played back in Powerpoint on a Windows/XP computer. Here is an excerpt:

The standardization process included the developers of many office suites or related document systems, including (in alphabetical order): Adobe (Framemaker, Distiller), Arbortext (Arbortext Enterprise Publishing System), Corel (WordPerfect), IBM (Lotus 1-2-3, Workplace), KDE (KOffice), SpeedLegal (SmartPrecedent enterprise document assembly system); both product and company later changed names to Exari and Sun Microsystems / (StarOffice/

...Another good sign is that there were users with specific issues who were involved: Boeing (complex large documents), CSW Informatics, Drake Certivo, Intel (complex large documents; they are developing sample documents as a test suite), National Archives of Australia (retrieve documents long after development), New York State Office of the Attorney General (complex large documents retrieved long after development), Novell, Society of Biblical Literature (large multilingual documents, long-term retrieval), Sony, and Stellent.

My personal favorite is the “Society of Biblical Literature”, because they’re so unexpected -- I would never have thought to invite them! Yet this group worries about dealing with large multilingual documents in any living language as well as many long-dead ones, and they worry about long-term retrieval issues in terms of millenia. The National Archives of Australia was represented, too. If their needs are met for internationalization and long-term retrieval, then my needs will be met too.

Surf With A Supermodel

Fri Feb 17 16:17:29 2006

Camino 1.0 was recently released and Mike Davidson wrote a blog comparing the browsing experience using each of Firefox, Safari and Camino to being with different types of women.

Happy Birthday, Mathilde!

Fri Feb 17 21:08:46 2006

My darling Mathilde is one year old, today.

15 in. Powerbook Phaseout Begins

Sat Feb 18 01:25:25 2006

How apropos that that Apple has chosen (according to a report on my one-year anniversary to begin the phase-out of the 15 inch Powerbook model. Those who were planning on buying one can only envy those of us who have one.

12 in. iBook?

Sat Feb 18 01:30:33 2006

I am considering a 12 inch iBook (before they are also phased out)— my requirements are something small, unobtrusive and lightweight, with a long battery life just for taking notes on the move. Definitely not getting the 12 inch Powerbook (for reasons outlined earlier); the equivalent iBook is far more cost-effective and with greater benefits: polycarbonate does not dent, better Wifi reception, and lower cost. Still thinking about it, but not seriously.

Lacie Little Big Disk

Sat Feb 18 09:58:02 2006

The Register has an indepth review of Lacie's Little Big Disk— two 2.5 in. 7200rpm drives configured as a RAID0; FW400 and 800 usage doesn't require external power; comes preformatted as HFS+ and includes the craptacular Lacie backup software. Lacie needs to work on design— it looks too industrial, I prefer sleek.

This Old Commandline

Sat Feb 18 11:30:27 2006

A few useful commands:

iMovie Updated to 5.0.2

Sat Feb 18 22:01:51 2006

Just installed the updater that I had downloaded some time ago.

Macbook Pro Pics

Sun Feb 19 09:05:05 2006

David sent along a link to photos of the packaging and contents of the new Macbook Pros that began shipping on Valentine's day.

Mozilla Optimizations

Sun Feb 19 12:53:26 2006

I read an interesting comment in the discussion about the upcoming Mozilla 2.0 Firefox. Setting browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers down to a low number; e.g. 3 (down from 50), flushes recently visited pages and reduces the Firefox memory footprint. Trying it...

iDVD Encoding

Sun Feb 19 14:23:24 2006

I'm making a DVD of various family movie clips taken with my Canon S60 camera. I first used iMovie to join the clips using arious transitions into a single movie— each 3 minute clip of 320x200 Motion-JPEG encoded AVIs took about 5 minutes to import into iMovie in MPEG4 format. The 3.8 GB DVD will take iDVD approximately 4 hrs to encode into an image— it started at noon and at the moment it's half-way through.

The encoder is taking about 30% of CPU but the Powerbook is quite responsive; the only indication of compute activity is the CPU meter in the menubar and the rise in temperature to 56 °C.

Jet Photo

Mon Feb 20 21:30:34 2006

Jet Photo is a digital photo organizer. One interesting feature it has is that it integrates GPS information about the photo so they can be located on a geographical map— useful for travel journals, I suppose.

iPod Wireless Headphones

Tue Feb 21 11:55:08 2006

The Register has a complimentary review of Logitech's Bluetooth headphones for the iPod. The transmitter/receiver plugs into the headphone jack and takes the analog signal, digitizes it, converts it to Bluetooth packets and transmits them to the headset transmitter/receiver. One supposes that multiple headsets would be able to receive the audio from a single transmitter. The headphones can also remotely move forward and back through the playlist; the review notes that song volume cannot be controlled via the headphones.

iPods in Turin

Tue Feb 21 16:38:24 2006

The New York Times Sunday Styles section had coverage of fashion at the Olympics— did the snowboarders have to wear such bulky clothing when the figure-skaters and speed-skaters wore such form-fitting outfits? Also mentioned were the snowboarder's Burton suits, with built-in iPod controls, which the gold-medal and silver-medal winners (both from the U.S.) were outfitted with.


Wed Feb 22 00:00:14 2006

I saw an advert for Belstaff (JS, Flash; beautiful clothes, exquisite models) canvas bags in last Sunday's NY Times Magazine (the Oscar issue). The bags I really liked appear in: Accessories > Bags And Backpacks > Colonial. Belstaff seems to be an Italian company with a flagship store in London, England and fashion shows in rustic castles in Milan. But they don't have an email address!

15 inch Powerbooks EOL

Wed Feb 22 09:02:56 2006

15 inch Powerbooks are no longer available via the Applestore.

Music Phones

Thu Feb 23 08:46:00 2006

Nokia currently has only one phone the 3250 (dedicated headphone jack and memory expandable to 1GB) that can natively play AAC encoded songs (in addition to MP3). It is set to release a new phone that can also play iTunes songs, the "hefty" N91 model with dedicated music controls, with a 4GB hard-drive. It's ironic that this phone is being built with a hard-drive while most portable music players are flash based. The Nokia 3250 is a seriously ugly looking phone compared to the upcoming Sony Ericsson Walkman W950 Music Phone (which strangely doesn't include a headphone jack without an extra adaptor cable).

Update Fri Feb 24 00:31:05 2006: A response from David:

Quite a few Nokia phones can play AAC files. Go to > Compare phones. In the "Select comparison view" section check-off "Music player" and hit submit.

Just about all of the resulting phones should support AAC.

There's a bit of wonkiness I believe because even though the AAC encoding format is standardized, there's a bit of a discrepancy in the file format, so you may not be able to simply transfer the file over from a Mac to a phone.

Doing a bit more digging, it seems that the Symbian software is expecting a raw AAC file, but when iTunes encodes things there's some kind of wrapper.

I haven't figured out how to get AAC-encoded songs from my iTunes library to play on my phone. I can transfer and play MP3s no problem, but AACs (with suffix M4A) won't play. Changing the suffix to .AAC or .MP4 doesn't help either. I think the Music Player may expect raw AAC data and be confused by the MPEG-4/QuickTime/iTunes wrapper.

“The problem with Symbian's music player was that it did not know how to handle the wrapper Quicktime puts around Apple's AAC files. MP3s play just fine, but Apple's AAC files required another bit of software to remove the wrapper.

What happened to stuff that "just works"? Definitely not impressed.


Fri Feb 24 00:11:52 2006

Here are a couple of applications to help you remember things. The first is Webnotehappy (one in a suite of Happy apps; requires 10.4+), which allows www bookmarks to be annotated with notes. The second, which David noted, is Hallon (one in a suite of berry-named applications; requires 10.3.9+), the more powerful of the two; it allows pretty-much everything to be bookmarked: an address in Address Book, a location in the Finder, a song in iTunes, etc.

An Apple A Day

Fri Feb 24 08:39:17 2006

I was surprised to see a postcard from the Ontario Apple Growers Association, inserted into a 1kg bag of apples, for a chance to win an iPod Nano.

Google Dashboard Widgets

Fri Feb 24 08:45:59 2006


Download Statusbar

Fri Feb 24 09:28:54 2006

In a discussion about screen real estate, I mentioned that I leave the right-hand-side and bottom of my desktop uncovered so I can leave icons, the weather widget, iTunes and the Mozilla download manager visible. <DrunkenDonut> mentioned a mozilla extension called Download Statusbar which provides a more compact replacement for the download manager. Unfortunately, it requires the latest Mozilla.

One Billion Tunes

Fri Feb 24 14:49:26 2006

Alex Ostrovsky downloaded the one billionth song from iTMS and was immortalized by Apple with the creation of a Julliard scholarship in his name.

Mac Sightings

Fri Feb 24 17:19:09 2006

I was watching the "Implants" episode of Seinfeld and realized that he was a Mac user— the Mac always appeared on a table by the window, somewhere in the backround. According to the Mac Sightings site, the following products appeared on the show: a 20th Anniversary Mac, PowerMac 6100, Mac SE, DuoDock, ADB Keyboard, Apple MultiScan 15, and a MacWarehouse catalogue.

New Printer

Fri Feb 24 21:45:53 2006

I just finished installing the new laser printer my Dad picked up today— the Brother HL2040— which was on sale at OfficeDepot (did a GoogleMaps lookup for the location, last night, as it was on a part of Dundas he wasn't familiar with). Earlier in the week I had given him a copy of the CNET review and he decided it was a good deal for $99 (after a mail-in rebate).

Set-up was quite simple (far better than the Complete New Yorker setup), the driver installation menus were Flash-based (that was a first) and the manual was well written; i.e. not written by a Chinese national using Google Translate. One of the screenshots was out of date— it showed how the printer had to be manually added via Printer Setup Utility, when in fact, it happened automatically. In other words, it just worked. The only complaint about the entire installation process was having to restart the Powerbook, after the drivers were installed from the CD. The only reason I hate restarting is that I have to re-open and re-position my Terminals and open Preferences and re-run Doublecommand (which for some reason doesn't activate even thought it's supposed to).

Feb. 28th Rumour Summary

Sat Feb 25 09:14:44 2006

iPod Toons

Sat Feb 25 09:52:00 2006

Natalie Portman

Sat Feb 25 10:19:44 2006

As I got in line to pay the cashier for my Tropicana orange juice yesterday, I glanced over to the magazine rack and there was this amazingly beautiful woman staring back at me from the cover of the latest Vogue magazine.


It's Her.

The short hair (growing back from the V for Vendetta shaved head) gives her that mature, Audrey Hepburn/Winona Ryder beauty, which always works for me. *Sigh*.

According to a 2004 Cult of Mac blog entry, She autographed Eric Miller's iPod as he had nothing else readily available for her to autograph:

I had nothing else on me when I met Natalie Portman, so I asked her to sign my iPod...she thought it was really cool...but now I have to buy a new iPod.



Sun Feb 26 20:46:44 2006

Upgraded to Firefox as version 1.0.6 kept crashing when visiting Typetester. I downloaded, the Firefox DMG, opened it, dragged the Firefox icon to my Applications folder, authenticated and waited...It checked my Extensions for compatibility, updated the one that was available (Flashblock), disabled the incompatible one (Target Alert) and restarted.

Nice, very nice.

Free Up HD Space

Mon Feb 27 12:23:00 2006

Lots of tips (try not to scroll down past the article— you have been warned!) on freeing-up drive space by deleting unused language packs (Monolingual), printer drivers, applications and PDF help-manuals in languages you don't understand. Using tools like Whatsize, Disk Inventory X and OmniDiskSweeper to visualize how the disk is being used.

Nokia 7380

Mon Feb 27 18:29:09 2006

This is not your average phone. There is no keypad and at first glance, there is no screen. But all is revealed once you turn it on. Dialing and user interaction is done via a circular touch-screen.

The Macintosh Marketing Story: Fact and Fiction, 20 Years Later

Mon Feb 27 19:00:01 2006

A panel discussion organized by the Computer History Museum where, "six key members of the Macintosh launch team tell the inside stories behind one of the most insanely great product launches of all times." I was surprised to see Donald Knuth (pictured) ask a question, about an hour into the video, concerning desktop publishing and whether the source code to Bill Atkinson's MacDraw was still available.

Origami Project

Tue Feb 28 05:41:37 2006

I saw the video for Microsoft's Origami Project yesterday— it's a mini tablet. First impressions from what i can remember:

I think I'll pass. I'm sure Apple can do better.

Applestore Is Down

Tue Feb 28 12:59:44 2006

The Applestore goes offline at about 12:50 EST, 10 minutes before the "fun event".

New Products

Tue Feb 28 13:12:53 2006

Update live as reported on #macosx: new Mac mini based on Intel, single-processor and dual-processor chip versions. 2.5x - 3.2x (single), 4.8 - 5.5x (dual) faster. New version of Front Row, now for the Mini too. Mini has IR receiver on right-hand-side of disc slot. Front Row has a new feature— ability to support shared music libraries accessible through iTunes, so you can listen to the other people's music. Share music with Bonjour. Mini Duo is $799 (Core Duo - 1.67GHz, 80GB drive, SuperDrive), Solo is $599 (667MHz bus, 512MB RAM, 60GB SATA disk and DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive). Gigabit ethernet.

iPod Hi-Fi— "Home stereo. Reinvented." Comes with inserts for every iPod; two buttons— volume control. Powered by 6 D-size batteries for portability, $349.

Finished at Tue Feb 28 13:48:04 2006. Store is still down, but <grey-> <eslerj> line up with credit card in hand.

Will the next version of the Hi-Fi have a built-in LCD projector so the visualizer can be projected on a blank wall?

Tue Feb 28 13:51:52 2006: iPod HiFi pictures go on line and everyone compliments it's ugliness; it looks like a coffin for a dearly deceased pet, or a cancerous growth on the iPod's a$$. Weighs 17 lbs with batteries.

Tue Feb 28 13:57:17 2006: the new Mac Mini goes online.

Applestore Online

Tue Feb 28 14:10:35 2006

Applestore comes back online. <pdkl> buys a Mini to replace his G5, <grey-> has second thoughts due to the craptacular Intel video chipset.

“Rainbows End”

Tue Feb 28 15:52:05 2006

A review of Vernor Vinge's latest novel, “Rainbows End”. Vinge is the only SF author I buy hardcover first editions. Looking forward to the sequel to “Deepness in the Sky” which he is working on now.

A podcast interview with Vinge for those of you with the appropriate tech.

luis fernandes / G4 PowerBook Journal, Part 11 / Last Modified: Tue Mar 07 17:56:23 2006