Part 40 of elf's Apple PowerBook G4 Journal

iPhone Without a Dataplan?


Sun Aug 03 23:30:10 2008

If there really is going to be such a thing, then Steve Jobs is an unquestionable genius. (I try to avoid rumours, but this one is too reasonable to not mention (and I wish I had thought of it). An iPhone without a dataplan transforms the device from a luxury, to an affordable luxury. Apple itself sells an iPhone knock-off before anyone else can. Brilliant.)

A reliable source, however, says that the Daily Mail is "rubbish", hence my hesitation about mentioning this rumoured device.

Watching Movies


Tue Aug 05 22:43:30 2008

European movies take more effort to understand more than Hollywood movies do. I recently watched the extended edition of "The Conformist" (it included interviews with the director and the cinematographer). I found that the movie deeper meanings were revealed after having watched the interviews.

People who watch Hollywood movies know that the dialog and action tell the story in a straight-forward way, whereas European movies, also use the costumes, the lighting and the camera-work and the music also tell the story. I am not accustomed to paying attention to all those aspects of a film when they are used to tell a story, so I tend to miss a lot when I watch European movies and end up hating the movie.

I have found that I have a tendency to "hate" a movie that has won a Palme d'or. I'll watch it with certain (Hollywood) expectations and then be completely dissappointed at the end (then I'll wonder if the jury was on drugs when they awarded the movie the top prize). Hollywood movies really rot one's perception of what cinema should be.

Having said that, I'm now going to watch "Raiders of the Lost Ark".

iPhone Stats


Wed Aug 06 07:20:16 2008

Various statistics about the first 1 million iPhones sold (in three days across 21 countries). The top-three are the U.S. (600,000), Japan (70,000) and Germany (69,000); not counting the U.S., third place goes to France (67,000). It is (not) surprising that Spain (55,000 and not a member of the G7) beat Canada (15,000) which had half as many sales as the U.K. I don't understand the second map (percent of contract subscriber base).

That's no Moon, That's a Battlestation

ipod iphone

Mon Aug 11 18:47:50 2008

In the past, my boss has mentioned that he sees many iPhones on the train when commuting to work every day. Today, he was on the train when a thirty-something sat across from him, wearing the signature white headphones, talking to himself and holding an iPhone.

My boss began thinking what would distinguish between an iPod Touch and the iPhone because his nephew had recently bought an iPod Touch (even though he wanted an iPhone, he already had a three-year contract with a carrier which did not carry the iPhone). He looked at the headphones and noticed that they did not have the squeeze button that stops the music and answers incoming calls. He laughed out loud when he realized what was happening. His friend, next to him, asked what was so funny and my boss pointed to the guy across from him and said, "He's talking into an 'iTouch' because his headphones don't have the squeeze thing". At which point the guy with the iPod Touch stopped talking and put it back into his pocket. My boss has a naturally loud voice, so he practically announced to the entire train car that someone was talking into their iPod.

This tops a student I once saw who had put an Apple sticker over the logo of his Dell laptop and teens who would buy the white Apple headphones for they non-iPod mp3 players.

Pulp Fiction


Tue Aug 12 09:01:20 2008

Last night, I finally managed to watch "Pulp Fiction". I posted my comments on ##cinema:

<e1f> pretty good. not bad.
<e1f> the lighting was bad is a couple of scenes
<e1f> finally get the joke in the simpsons about the back-room fetishist   [00:04]
<e1f> the non-linear nature of the plotting enhances it   [00:10]
<e1f> like 'the conformist'
<e1f> it would have been a poorer film if shown linearly
<e1f> the title-cards however, are a mystery
<e1f> used to great effect in kill bill                   [00:11]
<e1f> are the cards really needed [in pulp fiction]?

This morning, I decided to read Ebert's review. Imagine my surprise when I read, "Howard Hawks once gave his definition of a good movie: `Three good scenes. No bad scenes.'"— a much more eloquent way of saying, "pretty good. not bad."

Another surprise was that I enjoyed a movie that won a Palm D'or; perhaps because it was a Hollywood film and not an European one.

Upgrade to Leopard

Wed Aug 13 16:05:26 2008

I upgraded mathilde from OS X Panther 10.3.9 to Leopard 10.5 last weekend; it took 59 minutes from the time I inserted the DVD to the time the install completed and it was ready to reboot. I was able to login 3 minutes later. I had backed-up my account onto the external Firelight 250GB Firewire disk).

I performed an "Archive and Install", which saves the current accounts and settings (after selecting the install volume, select "Options", the check-off "Archive and Install"). I skipped the DVD check. It initially estimated 1h:48m and then revised it to 51 minutes.

All the applications in my startup folder ran when I logged-in: Quicksilver and DoubleCommand; I disabled both these applications as Spotlight now takes over Quicksilver's functionality and the System Preferences for Keyboard and Mouse (under Keyboard > Modifier Keys) allows Command, Option, etc. to be remapped (since Tiger). DoubleCommand is a prefpane, and I have to look into deleting it off the system.

The only application that didn't seem to work was Thumbscrew. I downloaded an updated version of it and it worked perfectly.

Spotlight (initially mapped to Ctrl-Space, I changed it to Alt-Space, after swapping Alt and Cmd) indexing of my HD took 46 minutes and was not noticable in terms of degraded performance.

I deleted 3GB of printer drivers from /Applications/Printers and three Japanese dictionaries from /Library/Dictionaries leaving me with 20Gb of free usable space.

I then ran all the programs, MS Word, Call of Duty, Tux Paint, etc. to verify that they all still ran. Everything was good.

One little annoyance was that mdworker periodically complained: mdworker: CFPropertyListCreateFromXMLData(): Old-style plist parser: missing semicolon in dictionary. I have the Console app configured to pop-up and display every time something is logged so this message gets tiresome. I wish there was a way to find out which plist was missing the semicolon. Update Fri Aug 15 05:05:32 2008: filed a bug-report. Update Sat Aug 16 09:49:57 2008: uploaded system log, as requested.

On Monday, I downloaded the 561MB 10.5.4 Combo Update (combines all the updates to bring 10.5.0 up to 10.5.4) and I installed it the following morning. The update required 1.7GB of space and took 12 minutes to install. The laptop rebooted twice and the second time it was "stuck" on the blue screen for about 5 minutes with no feedback. I was worried something went wrong and was making plans to take it into the Applestore. The laptop eventually booted fine and I put it to sleep by closing the lid before leaving for work.

When I returned from work the evening, the sleep-eye was pulsing but the laptop would not wakeup after opening the lid. The green light of the charger plug went off and wouldn't turn on again. I had to Press and hold the power-button to reboot it. Strange.

It remains to be seen what awaits me this evening.

After installing the update, the only thing that was re-set was my custom keybinding to swap Spaces (1x2 spaces; one for work and one for play).

Uninstall DoubleCommand


Fri Aug 15 05:03:21 2008

I found the instructions to uninstall DoubleCommand: delete the DoubleCommand folder in /Library/StartupItems; Delete the DoubleCommand preference pane in /Library/PreferencePanes; restart.

Time Machine & Quicklook


Sat Aug 16 09:51:19 2008

Before I enabled Time Machine and used my Verbatim Firelight HD I wanted to know whether Time Machine would a) be able to use a drive with files already on it, without erasing the drive. The Australian Mactalk forum has an excellent Time Machine FAQ that answered my question— yes, Time Machine creates a folder on the external drive, without touching other data already on the disk, and saves the backup files there.

I'm also thinking of buying one or two more of those 250GB Verbatim drives. My drive has worked nicely whenever I needed to mule files from my Powerbook at home to my Mini at work. I transport the drive wrapped in a sheet of bubble wrap and then enclosed in a semi-rigid plastic drive shipping container (photograph forthcoming).

I noticed that an executable shell script is not viewable with Quicklook (it just shows a static icon of a terminal screen), so I went looking for additional plugins. I found Quicklook Plugins has additional useful plugins. Will be installing the syntax hilighting plugin and the Zip-file viewer plugin.

Date Tip

Mon Aug 18 18:50:37 2008

TUAW has a awesome tip on adding the date to the menubar, next to the time. I added a bullet-symbol (dragged and dropped it from the symbol palette into the customizer) to separate the date from the time. Now I don't have to open the Calendar widget or iCal to verify today's date (my Dock is hidden and so I can't glance at the iCal icon either).


"os x" software

Thu Aug 21 06:53:00 2008

I learned a new command yesterday (to help with diagnosis of the earlier mdworker/plist bug-report): fs_usage, which displays system calls related to file system usage in real-time. I also discovered that only a single instance of the command can run and that you have to be root to run it.

John C. Dvorak Blog linkage

mac pc

Thu Aug 21 15:13:55 2008

John C. Dvorak's blog is linking to an image on my blog, of a screen-capture from Seinfeld showing Elaine in Jerry's apartment and a Mac in the background. There were various suggestions from #emacs on mischievous image-replacement scenarios...hehehe... but I demurred.

The Wall Street Journal announced that Jerry Seinfeld was hired by Microsoft for an advertising campaign (by Chiat/Day) against Apple, debuting in September. A brilliant coup, I have to admit. Apple can can only retort by hiring Newman.

I only noticed the image linkage because I was tailing the acccess.log after we got our NAT became operational after a hardware failure (it actually failed twice; the second time it never came up). It was down for about a half-hour each time. I wonder if the NAT going down had something to do with the extra traffic. We still haven't done a post-mortem analysis.


Sun Aug 24 10:10:21 2008

Interesting post about a site that instructs owners on how to bypass the toner-replacement sensors on various printers. (I have a Brother HL2040 printer which prints about 10 pages a year).

Mac Tablet Patent Filings


Thu Aug 28 16:38:47 2008

Appleinsider has details of Apple's patent filings for the upcoming Mac tablet interface.

What is Rogers Afraid of?

iphone Rogers

Sat Aug 30 12:42:53 2008

Rogers has extended their limited time offer of $30 for 6GB dataplan for another month, so that buyers of the latest Blackberry will also be able to take advantage of it. They also announced that in the first four weeks following the launch of the iPhone, 95% of users used less than 10% of their dataplan capacity (i.e. less than 500MB). When the old offer expires, the $30 dataplan will buy 1GB and a new $25 dataplan will buy 500MB— for 5 more dollars a month you get a dataplan with twice the capacity. Wouldn't it be logical that if you knew your user's monthly usage would not approach your artificial limit, that instead of lowering the quote from 6GB to 1GB, you would instead, permit unlimited usage? What is Rogers afraid of?

The likeliest reason that the first users of the iPhone are being conservative of their usage is moost likely the result of not knowing how much of their data-plan they are consuming (the usage stats are buried in a menu somewhere on the iPhone) and are thus afraid of exceeding their limit. Even I didn't know how much capacity I consumed until I made a detailed calculation based on my average daily usage and extrapolated to calculate an estimated 350MB per month (without streaming Youtube videos or Gmail usage).

Rogers also said that the maximum charge for exceeding ones dataplan will be $100 per month, regardless of usage and that they will provide tools for metering usage and that a text-message will be sent to users who are nearing their monthly limit.

"The Prisoner" Remake


Sat Aug 30 18:46:01 2008

AMC is re-making "The Prisoner" as a TV miniseries. Production details are being blogged. James Caviezel plays Number Six and Ian Mckellen plays Number Two.

The Olympics

sport television

Sun Aug 31 06:32:42 2008

The 2008 Olympiad was held in Beijing. I was told the opening ceremonies were spectacular. I don't have a television so I wouldn't know. I tried watching it on the internet. The best I could do was a Youtube clip of the opening ceremonies linked from a site about typography showing that the Chinese chose Futura Bold to display the English message (I wonder if there are are there multiple foundries for Chinese fonts). I found The Big Picture's coverage give an adequate sense of the spectacle.

Canada had its usual mediocre medal performance and the CBC treated its internet viewers as second-class citizens living in late 1990s, with pathetically-sized (320x200) clips of some of the events. I received a standard, "we are sorry you are disappointed with our coverage", letter in response to my complaint.

At least I enjoyed reading Anthony Lane's Letter from Beijing where he laments, "The fact is that the Olympic Games could happen anywhere. They seem to unfold in a vast and spotless nowhere. I could have been in Melbourne, or Toronto, where at least the food would have been better—where the Chinese food would have been better."

I still cannot believe that Mel Lastman, former mayor of Toronto, actually made a bid for the Olympics to come to this city. One brief glance at the decrepit size and state of Union Station would have been enough for the IOC organizing committee to scoff at the very idea. It's a zoo when a single rush-hour train gets cancelled and the passengers have to wait for the next one, while new passengers arrive. And never mind that just getting onto the train platforms via two entrances is slow and crowded. Now just imagine the same scenario with Olympic sized crowds.

luis fernandes / G4 PowerBook Journal, Part 40 / Last Modified: Sat Sep 27 20:30:15 2008