February 2003 Archives



February 1, 2003

The Learning Curve

i have had my PC for a little over a week now, and have not run into any major snafus. i even managed to tinker with the Registry a little bit ;) i now see why Apple has been getting a lot of good press with their Switch campaign - they are bringing to light a lot of frustrations users have with Windows. and showing off the Apple ease of use.

Continue reading "The Learning Curve" »

Windows Explorer Part 1

i was not going into this Windows world thinking it would be as easy to use as Mac OS X, but i am a little estonished at some of the things you have to turn on, or off, to put information in front of your face.

Continue reading "Windows Explorer Part 1" »

February 2, 2003

Main page is done!

I would have added more posts this weekend, but i was busy on the main page design.

I have finally got the main page template the way i like it. i found out there is a MTInclude tag so i have made good use of that for all the static parts of the template. i put title tags on a lot of the links - so mouse over them to see my work! the site is a lot lighter load on a modem now, i am only displaying the last 8 posts on the main page. i added one of those nifty favicons to be "with it" and make the site look cool. i have added a who am i section, wich i will be working on, i plan to put up a .plan file (he he pun fun)

as a side note, even when Dreamweaver is set to NOT rewrite code, it does! i was getting all these crazy errors when recompiling the site, and i was doing everything like the docs say to do. so i ended up doing it all in BBEdit - yea i used my Mac, cuz It Doesn't Suck!

now on to the other templates, they look very much bad right now.

February 4, 2003

MS Virtual Desktop

MSVDM - thats Microsoft Virtual Desktop Manager is one kick ass Power Toy to install in XP. it is so KDE-ish. this is something i would like to see done in OS X. this is great, i have Dreamweaver in slot 1, Photoshop in slot 2 and now i dont have to minimize one to get to the other, its just a keystroke away.

i would suggest you turn off "Use Animations" this animates the 4 dekstops when you click the Preview button to see the 4 in a slit screen view. even on a ATI 9700 Pro this animation is kinda jumpy. if you turn it off the preview of all 4 show up with no slow delay because of the stupid animation.

turning off "Shared Desktops" also makes more sense than leaving that option on. with Shared Desktops off every desktop has its own seperate task bar buttons. if you leave it on and click on Photoshop for example, you will bring photoshop up on the current desktop, and it will no longer be maximized on the other virtual desktop.

with "Shared Desktops" turned off when you alt+tab through active programs, it will only show the apps in the virtual desktop you are in, not all 4 virtual desktops.

the default keyboard shortcuts to switch desktop, win+1,2,3,4 is great. i can tell i am really gonna use this MSVDM a lot now that i have it installed.

the only covet i have come accross so far is WebShots doesnt work with 4 desktop pictures, and the main Trillian also seems to show up on all 4 dekstops. oh well. i'll live.

More on Outlook XP 2/4

Why the heck are all your options a mile deep under 4 dialog boxes? here is an example for ya. i want to edit my signature. ok i had to go through the help screens to find it! you must go to Tools > Options > Mail Format tab > Signatures button. for crying out loud its a main option of the Tools menu in Entourage X for OS X!

February 5, 2003

Mac OS X Skins for XP

There are a number of skins for XP (well Windows in general) that turn the Windows UI into looking and feeling like OS X. this is WRONG! these hacks of the Aqua GUI for the most part look horrible. i have tryed most of them, and they are really bad looking. if you are going to imitate, at least do justice to the original. i have a copy of Stardock's suite of tools, maybe in my free time (read never) ill make an OS X skin for XP that actually LOOKS like OS X. then i would prolly get a phone call from Apple Legal Dept.

on this same subject about turning Windows into looking like OS X, i just want to ask why. Why turn Luna into Aqua? now if Windows had a Column view i dont think it would be so bad. but it does not. also the OS X toolbar acts in very different ways. sadly, you cannot customize the toolbar of Windows (as much) as you can in OS X.

but then imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and everyone wants to have a Dock. thats fine with me, just dont put OS X elements in Windows, it messes with your head, especially if you use both OS's daily. you want Windows to work like the Mac after a while because your Windows box LOOKS like a Mac. this comes from experience, i ended up taking the Aqua derived themes off of my Windows box because i was getting frustrated that it wouldn't act like my Mac :)

$40 for a FTP Client?

At what point does an FTP client require a $40 price tag, or a $10 upgrade fee? WS_FTP and WS_FTP Pro aparently. its a FTP client for crying out loud! it transfers files from point a to point b, that is all it does. IPSWITCH's customers must be blind to pony up $10 just for an upgrade.

FileZilla, on the other hand, is free. it has a very nice UI, lets you save bookmarks to servers. what else does a FTP client need to do? your laundry?

February 6, 2003

Path Finder for OS X

For some time now i have been working on Path Finder for Mac OS X (i work on graphics and varios UI elements). this monday, if Steve gets all the bugs fixed that he wants to, we will see the public release of Path Finder 2.1. it is a HUGE upgrade. if you wish the OS X Finder was faster, or did more, please check out the web site.

so why am i posting something about OS X here? well im not giving up the Mac OS! on monday, if it is released, i will put some screens online of the new features.

FileMaker Pro Development

For about a year now i have been working on this from-scratch invoicing and project management system for Unigraphics that ties into the University's Bursar billing system. what started out as a very small scope of functions has ballooned into a very robust system. that is why this has taken so long. both my boss and the creative director of Unigraphics have had me add more and more functionality. currently this system includes these modules, and here are some screen shots of some of them:

Main Menu
Clients
Clients Contacts
Vendors
Vendors Contacts
Employees
Past Employees
Archive
Help
Reports
Preferences
Administration
Invoice
     Search
     List View
     Media Line Items
     Production Line Items
     Ancillary Line Items

February 7, 2003

Surfin' Safari Comments


Dave Hyatt wants comments on UI improvements to Safari on his blog Surfin' Safari. i personally think he is nuts for asking for such comments fom the Safari usin' community. i was one of the first 100 to post tho :) it has grown to 679 posts and 32 trackback listings. so please go post your comments about the UI or even non-UI requests.

February 9, 2003

POPFile vs. SpamSieve

Both of these bayesian spam filtering packages do a great job. i use SpamSieve on my PowerBook G4, and use POPFile on my PC.

i have to say that the process of training POPFile is a lot less of a hassle than training SpamSieve. in Entourage X you have to run an AppleScript in the Scripts menu to tell SpamSieve if it is a good or spam message. you train POPFile via a web page, a much nicer way to handle this IMO. having the entire UI for POPFile web based makes editing settings a lot easier. i really like the "magnets" feature of POPFile, wich allows you to setup whitelists and blacklists in a snap. i use magnets for all the listprocs i am on, so they always go to the correct bucket.

if i were still using my PowerBook G4 for my email full time i would install POPFile on it. i think i have had POPFile installed for 3 weeks on my PC, and its just hit 90% accuracy, and i am pretty happy with that.

i think more mail applications need to incorporate bayesian filtering. Apple's Mail now has bayesian filtering, it would be nice to see others do the same.

February 10, 2003

Dude, You're getting a cell

Benjamin Curtis, the Dell Dude got arrested for marijuana charges. Now doesn't that just paint a pretty picture for Dell. the funny sayings i have heard are "Dude, you're getting a record" and "Dude, You're getting a cell"

February 11, 2003

I work with SLOW computers

I gotta say that having this new P4 rig has one down side. it not only lets me know how slow my own 500 Mhz TiBook is, but how slow the computers at work are. and i have to service and support these slow bastards at work. The BG News uses PM 7300/200's and first gen desktop G3's to layout the paper, production uses 4th and 5th gen iMacs, the other publications use 3rd gen imacs. man this sucks! these computers are so slow now that i got my new computer! im getting tired of SCSI based perifirals(sp?) too! whaa whaa whaa. ok so not every computer can be a G4 with USB or FireWire perifirals, not at the price of Apple hardware. so i understand why we have older hardware, it just is getting to be more of a chore to make them work.

February 13, 2003

w.bloggar is a great blog tool

w.bloggar is a great UI for posting to a blog, it has the text editing features that i think MT should have, like link buttons, bold, font, color, etc. etc. stuff that you would find in any forum software "new post" page. its great. and its free. thats more than i can say about NetNewsWire for Mac OS X. wich charges for its blog editing capabilities. but if you use Windows check out w.bloggar. i think the best part is i dont have to type [a href"http.... when i want to put in a link, i just click the link button.

the other thing i really like about w.bloggar is that it lets you predefine 9 custom HTML tags. such as [blockquote] that is a huge time saver! it also has a HTML menu to put in all the common tags. i cant tell you how much i enjoy the built in spell checker, hell yea!

Real One Message Center

i installed the Real One player because i wanted to watch all the Super Bowl Players (the WMP 9 ones were only clips of the full commercials, Real had them in full, dont know why you would only put up clips, but then its WiMP :P

well every so often, once a week or so i get this *great* little popup that is the Real One Message Center i find out. after looking through all the menus in Real One, i find under View i can change the Message Center options, great i think, but only for a split second. i have 3 choices: Once or more times per day, Once or twice a week, and Once or twice a month. there is no TURN THIS ANNOYING THING OFF option, MORONS!

the only way i see how to stop this nonsense is to block it at the firewall, wich is something i should not have to do. i am glad i use Zone Alarm Pro because it is very easy to block things like the RealNetworks Event Launcher and its nice it is a seperate entity from RealOne, so i can still watch remote RM content.

let me say that again this is something i should not have to do.

Standard keyboard shortcuts??

It is VERY rare that a Mac OS application does not have 100% standard keyboard shortcuts. an irritating thing I find in the world of Windows is command (control) + Q is not in a lot of apps, not even in M$ apps. wtf, over? I mean, when I want to quit (or Exit, as Windows calls it) an application, I hit command+Q - its that simple. I don't use the mouse for such tasks. i'm a keyboard shortcut lovin' geek. and NOT all Windows apps adhere to the ALT+F4. most do but some just close window by window until there is only one left, THEN it will quit. and frankly the keystroke ALT+F4 is a bit akward compaired to the relatively natural command/control+Q. yea, this is something I will just have to get used to. or I might install some macro software like QuicKeys and make a universal control+Q. although I have not been motivated myself to do that yet.

and yes i am just bitching about control+Q, the rest work fine, ,i just expected control+Q to work like it does on the Mac.

Multiple Document Interface (MDI)

What the heck are you talkin' about Ken? that would be Multiple Document Interface, or the way most applications in the Windows world operate. first some background, full text can be found on Apple's Developer Site.

From the beginning, the Apple user interface guidelines stressed the importance of using metaphors to everyday physical objects as a way of helping users understand unfamiliar software applications. As a result, most applications display each document in a separate window, which users find familiar because it mirrors their experience with paper documents. The emphasis is on the document, and the underlying software is largely invisible. The application itself does not have a window, and its presence is visible to the user only in the documents menus and menu items.

In contrast, Microsoft developed the Multiple-Document Interface (MDI) as the user interface for software applications that can manipulate multiple documents simultaneously. In this interface, the application has its own window, and its open documents may or may not be visible inside the client area of the application's window.

basically Windows apps have an encompassing parent window around all of the applications windows. Mac OS does not do this at all. an application window displays all the menu items for the entire application, and the application seems transparent, because it IS the document(s) you are working on. This MDI is one of the larges things that throws people off about Windows or Mac OS (depending on which camp you came from).

I however transcend normality, so this MDI business isn't that of a big deal to me. there is one thing I miss about Mac OS apps, being able to move information between a number of open applications. in Windows I cannot do this because of the big gray parent application window. this posses irritation at times. so I just curse a bit and figure out a different way of moving data from one app to another.

but in general, I do like the Windows MDI. it is why I like the Dreamweaver UI so much more on Windows. because of MDI Dreamweaver (and virtually all others Windows software) is how it is. you do not see through to the desktop, which allows every bit of the monitor be filled with all the various windows, pallets etc, etc, for the app. I also enjoy the MDI in Photoshop as well. i have an uncluttered natural background in which to work on my images.

as with other Windows nuances, I have learned to live, and like the MDI document model. just like the rest of Windows, its not so painful once you learn its more positive aspects.

February 14, 2003

CocoaTech Blog goes live

Steve Gehrman, the one man machine behind Path Finder has put a blog up after i told him how kick arse Movable Type is. Check Out Steve's blog if you get a chance, and if you are a Mac OS X user, you really should give Path Finder a try. I cant say enough about it. its so much faster then the Finder in OS X. one thing people were complaining about in the 10.2.4 update is you yet cannot use Services in the Finder, well you can, and always could, use them in Path Finder.

MT 2.6 Installed

All is well, as the mt-upgrade26.cgi said to me when i ran it. so i am now running the new 2.6 version of Movable Type. upgrade was a snap. and the new features look pretty cool, ill have a look see this weekend.

I have also updated my main template. now the drop down menus for the archives include the post count per month, and per catagory. whoo hoo!

February 15, 2003

RealOne player annoyance

This is an update to one of my earlier posts.

i found a few solutions to this problem after posting to the NTFS.org Forums about my problem. some pople responded to trash Real and use a different player that will play RM content. well thats one solution. then a member told me to rename a file in an obscure folder:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB

he was correct about the folder, but not the file names. well i experimented and found that renaming realevent.exe and realsched.exe. i just made them .old files. RealOne still works, can get to remote RM content, and the Message Center is broken, AWW SHUCKS!

i also found a preference for the messages, go to Tools > Preferences > Automated Services. if you go to View > Message Center > Options > Display Preferences you cannot uncheck things, only select a different frequency for the messages. in the Automated Services section of the Preferences window you can uncheck "Periodicly check for new messages"

i personally would rather break it by renaming the .exe files to .old, as there would be no way i could get some stupid request to or from REAL. changing preferences might stop those buggers from showing up, breaking it however, is always gonna work :p

Logitech Cordless Elite Duo

Not only a cordless mouse, but a cordless mouse and keyboard combo. Wow, how sweet! I have had been using this for little less than one month, the time in which I have had my PC. I found a better price using PriceGrabber, it is $99 from Logitech, and the lowest I found it for was $62, I bought it from some no name shop and saved $20 even after shipping.

I am still using the AA batteries that came with the mouse and keyboard. I have read in a review they last about a month, so it might be time to change them soon. that's the only down side to having wireless mice is that you should probably go buy stock in Duracell or Energizer because of the amount of batteries you go through.

Continue reading "Logitech Cordless Elite Duo" »

February 16, 2003

Chapman Web Site

For the last month and a half i have been working on a redesign for the Chapman Community site. I have all the content now and am working on text changes, and adding photos. but it is in its final stages. here is the redesign. there are some issues with NN 4.7 i am getting irritated with, well there are actually a lot of things to get irritated at NN 4.7 with, but my latest is how it renders text with the style of font-size:xx-small on it. it comes out as looking like 5 pt type when in NN 6+ and IE 5+ it looks like 9 pt type. and unfortunatly i have to still take into consideration NN 4.7. it sucks cuz it means there are A LOT of things i have had to do differently in this site that has made the development LONGER. gotta love doing things the hard way. it is so much easier to code for the newer standards complient web browsers. oh well thats life.

Zip files are folders

This is such a great "feature" of XP that it treats .zip files as folder. what if I want to use a real compression app like WinZip or WinRAR or god forbid Stuffit Expander. i do think it is great that XP has built in support for .zip files, but...then whenever you search the hard drive, it searches all your zip files. what if you have a lot of large zip files? this takes a LONG time. and I know THIS machine can do a search much snappier than it is. well I found the answer to disabling this "feature" at the NTFS board, I was pointed to this site which I have been to before. I also found the same hint at TweakXP which I have found to be another cool site for squashing annoyances. now my searches are really fast, they way they should be. here is the gist of the hack:

make XP leave zip files well alone by going to the RUN command and typing
   regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll

If you change your mind later, you can put things back as they were by typing
   regsvr32 zipfldr.dll

Desktop Warning Label

You might have seen this before but i just think its pretty funny.

So why buy a Mac?

I have read many many benchmark tests between Apple, Intel, and AMD. the latest of which is in this months Maximum PC Mag. another one recently is one on digital photography which is a good read. all these benchmark tests have similar chimes. "the Mac lagged behind in the Quake III fps test compaired to the P4" well frankly 135 fps (quoting the dual G4 proc tests in Maximum PC) is enough for me, and whoopi for that 290 fps on a dual Xeon. but people don't buy a Mac for videogames. people buy PC's for video games. if you are a hard core gamer, you get a PC, as it has the most titles and you don't have to wait 6 months or more for a port to the Mac. ill say that again, people do not buy a Mac for gaming. yet no one, not one article I have read online or printed understands this.

I cannot count the amount of Windows and Linux users I have given mac advice to because they just bought an iBook, PowerBook, iMac etc, etc. why did they buy a Mac? is it because they are "cool"? could be. they bought a Mac because of the user experience. they bought it for the software, for Mac OS X. by software I do not mean the mac version of #variable# software. by software I mean iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto, iCal, iSync, Safari, Keynote, Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, etc, etc. the software that is NOT available on Windows. and my Mac OS X I mean, well Mac OS X. I think NeXT was the best company to take over Apple, and Mac OS X has sure turned a lot of PC users heads. the Switch ads actually work because they show normal (or well semi normal) people that bought a Mac for the user experience. I did not buy my PowerBook G4 for its speed. I bought it for the user experience.

the tests done my Maximum PC in this latest round of "Mac vs. PC" benchmarks show off the speed of an intel Xeon, and and AMD Athlon against a dual 1.25 Ghz G4. this Maximum PC test was the first I have read that actually addressed the bus speed. I have not seen any others that talk about the bus speed of the G4. its 167 Mhz. Intel's FSB is 533 Mhz, and AMD runs at only 266 Mhz. why don't people "get it" that that 167 Mhz pipeline isn't as big as the 533 Mhz pipeline? and that the DDR333 that Apple puts in it's boxes is a total waste because of the slower bus? yep everyone is pitting a G4 up against a P4.

people buy PCs for the speed. you buy a Mac for the user experience.

Which OS are you?

Which OS are you? From BBspot. It told me im OS X, go figure :p

February 17, 2003

Typographic Plugins Installed

Curly quotes and em dashes and elipses oh my! he he well thats what SmartyPants does for MT. it converts en dashes as well. a new MT plugin for 2.6 is Textile wich is based off Textism converts things like (c) and (r) and (tm). these all spell better looking typographic qualities and make adding block tags and special charectors a snap.

Windows versions of M$ Software

In Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, it seems if i have many browser windows open or a few browser windows open and then try to view a flash page, i get an out of memory error (in IE 5). the G4 at work has 512 MB RAM in it, and i have given IE PLENTY of RAM (i work in OS 9 at work because of FileMaker Pro, more on this when i post about FileMaker Pro) it might be 5 or 6 or 7 windows, and then i try to go somewhere else and i get an out of memory error. it doesnt matter if its OS 9 or OS X, happens no more or no less in either 9 or X. i do not get this problem in IE for Windows. i have TRYED to get this problem to show up in IE for Windows. i have loaded different flash sites, sites that have embedded QuickTime movies, embedded Java applets (after i actually installed Java, thankyouverymuch M$) still the pages load and play just fine. i can sorta blame memory management on OS 9 but not on OS X. so it is the Mac version of IE to blame. as with Mac Mozilla, Netscape, Chimera, Safari, OmniWeb (did i miss any?) dont seem to have this "not enough memory" problem. the Mac products are good, but they are not as great as the Windows versions. and i am seeing this in a totally different perspective now that i am using Windows every day, and using the Windows versions of the Mac apps i have been using for years and years. and it really is a difference. the Windows versions of M$ products are better. and why shouldn't they be right? after all Windows is made by M$ as well. its just i am now seeing how MUCH more of a difference there is between the Mac and Windows versions of M$ software. it kinda blows the entire "well the MacBU is catching up to the Windows versions" matra that all the reviews spout about. well no, not really, not when you actually use the Windows version of IE, or Office, or Outlook for a while. but everything is relative. and i am just realizing how much nicer M$ software is running on Windows than on the Mac OS.

February 18, 2003

Rainbow Folders

Holy Toledo Batman! This comes from the should-have-been-part-of-the-operating-system dept. In Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X there is this notion of Labels (well in OS X you need to have a tool to see this color metadata like Path Finder or Labels X because the friggin Finder doesn't support it. Of course this is why you get Path Finder :) at least the implementation of colored labels are in OS X. if you are unfamiliar with the concept behind Labels let me explain. In the Mac OS you can put a colored "label" on a folder, just an overlay of a color on a folder for organizational purposes. you can even use Labels in AppleScripts. Labels are heavily used in Retrospect, and other Mac applications. since I have grown up using the Mac, I have grown very accustom to using these colored folders for my daily use. Windows XP has no such function. the only color coding is of compressed and encrypted files (blue and green) and this is only the file name, not the icon. now lets look at Rainbow Folders. Special thanks to Jake (check out his blog) for bringing this utility to my attention. Rainbow Folders does not overlay a color over an icon, it does replace it. but it takes a lot more to replace an icon in Windows than it is in the Mac OS. Rainbow Folders allows you to choose the color and brightness of the folder. then it allows you to choose from XP or 98 style folder icons. this is exactly what I need. some people do not understand the coloring of folders. but those who do will understand why I am so estatic about being able to color folders in Windows. I have some suggestions for the developer that I hope he can implement. this is a utility you should download and try out even if you have never used colored folders to organize your data. it is Postcardware, hell with that I will send him money, it is more than worth it. btw, if you wonder why I plug Path Finder so much is because I am an avid user of it, and help out with the development. I don't write any code for it, although I have found Cocoa programming to be rather easy, I just supply graphics and the occasional feature suggestion. I also beta test. Path Finder 2.1 has been through its beta tests, and is finished, it has an amazing amount of new features. the most impressed thing I have found recently is it mounts Toast disc images, as well as Apple Disc Copy disk images, and does it really fast. it also unstuffs .sit files faster than Stuffit Expander. I tested this out and its faster. oh and Path Finder is about twice as fast as the Finder on both an older G3 and a brand spankin new G4. ok done with the publicity. just go download it (direct link).

February 19, 2003

Zip Files Hack Update

Well I find one small drawback to using the hack I posted about here. Zip files no longer have any association. I had to go to File & Folder Options and add Zip to the list, and associate it to WinRAR. just a minor thing, no biggie. Well now THAT sucks. as soon as I put the Zip file association back in, it starts searching my Zip files again, arrrrrrrrrrrrrrg. fine ill live without the damn icon. I can still right click and uncompress through WinRAR so thats OK I guess. VERY annoying feature this is.

Its all a learning experience (Updated)

UPDATED - 02-21-03 To say that the design of this site is a work in progress is an understatement. i have been quite happy in my little shell of designing sites with TABLE tags. and have never really looked at CSS-P for designing sites. not that i have really haad time to anyway, but i never put much thought into it. well then came along this kick arse CMS, or "personal publishing system" as the people who make Movable Type call it. all the default templates are done with CSS, not TABLES. well what better way to learn then with someothing you are not getting paid to do right? well im having fun, i have only worked with this for a week or so and i am getting the grasp of it. its still a bit strange not using tables. but ill get used to it. anyway i got some help from a kind soul at the MT board and he showed me what i was doing wrong with my templates. so using his pages as a guide, i decided the best thing to do was recode the templates, yep that was fun. well i learned some stuff. i got rid of a stupid loading problem in Windows IE where the page would load then only display the first half - really annoying. it does not seem to do that any more. also with the new code it loads a lot faster, its more efficient, less filling, all that good stuff. i have implimented 4 accesskeys. Access keys allow for keyboard navigation to key functions or pages of this web site. Most modern browsers support this capability. If you're using Windows, you can press ALT + an access key; for Mac OS, you can press Control + an access key. they are as follows: # Home Page # Archives Index # Contact Me (mailto) # brings focus to the search box
Its so great how things work well in NN / Moz / IE for the Mac, then you look at it on IE for Windows and things are all over the place, not where they should be. such is the limitation to non standards complient browsers (IE - for Mac and Windows). the two color top navigation bar looks great in Mozilla and Phoenix, and Mozilla and Chimera. it even works correctly in Safari on OS X. Here is Internet Exploder and here is Phoenix. I am going to assume more people are viewing this site in IE than a Moz flavor, ill take the fancy blue line div tag out :( thats they way it works with M$ software. i also have to find out why the Search box is ALL the way to the right. fun fun fun!

M$ bought Virtual PC

I'm not quite sure how i feel about this. the MacBU now controlls VPC. VPC has been out for a long time, and i have used it since version 2, its a great app to have for running Windows ocasionally. its a good thing that M$ aquired people from Connectix, because the MacBU has their hands full with their current plans (a new Ofiice, MSN for OS X, and Exchange Server support in Entourage. All i can think about is when Sony bought Virtual Game Station off of Connectix they killed it, and killed the best PlayStation emulator. i dont think M$ is going to do that, lets hope not. Full article from MacCentral.

February 21, 2003

Use MySQL and you won't get screwed

Aparently M$ licensed some patents to use in M$ SQL Server. the problem is that it did not license it for their CUSTOMERS of SQL Server. The Register has an article on it. yet another way M$ is screwing over their customers. but i think this could become a good ad campaign for MySQL or Postgre "Use MySQL and you won't get screwed"

Mumblings about PDA's

Public Displays of Affection? Naw, those usually end up with trouble :p i'm talking about the Personal Digital Assistant. I have owned a total of 3 such devices in my life. my first was a 3Com Palm III, which I sold on eBay, second was a Palm Vx which I sold to a friend, and the current model is a Palm m505 (now known as the twice-the-memory-for-the-same-price m515). my buddy Jim got a Tungsten T, ooh nice toy. I played with one at a Staples once. jog wheel, not a fan. hardware buttons are not concave like all (I think) Palms. I am used to the two stylus holes to scroll with and concave buttons to click with stylus. but the collapsible silk button/ graffiti area? yea thats sweet! I still think the Palm OS should have a little software "graffiti area" that moves up and down at the click of a button like WindowsCE (or whatever the latest flavor is called now) Tungsten T has too many things I don't like. my dad got a Toshiba e740. a little pricey and a little bulky I like it better than the Tungsten T. I do not think I would really use the wi-fi, and the integrated pocket word, excel, outlook, exploder, media player. but who knows, that could become one of those things you would start using because you had it and not because you really need it. my buddy Mike got a Toshiba e335 which is a bit thinner, scaled down version of the e740. the e335 might be my next tech toy buy. idunno. the only reason I would consider it is because I now have a PC. there is a sync'ing app for OS X for Pocket PC, but it is no were near nice to use, and the sync software for Pocket PC is really nice IMO. could it replace my m505 tho? well maybe. it does come with a leather sleeve, and it does fit in my jeans pockets though it is not near as conferable as the m505. I'll have to think about this for awhile. I don't really think I need to be carrying around two PDA's. but I am really dreaming. of all the software and games I have installed on my m505, I use the date book, the calendar, the calculator, and a cool app that stores all my passwords. that's it. I can do Word and Excel and play zillions of games on my m505, but I don't use it for that. if I was thinking when I got my m505, and if Palm had the Zire out when I was lookin for a new PDA, I would have gotten it. for what I use my m505 for I could have a $99 Zire and be done with it. if I ever have the need for Word and Excel on the go I will think about the Pocket PC rout and the Toshiba ones sure are the best looking. but until then my m505 is just great for what i do. Look at this I just found a page (on Palms web site, but still) compairing Documents to Go and Pocket Word/Excel. interesting.

Tungstenô T Scuba Sleeve Case

Reviewed by James Kimble a.k.a. Techisattva The texture of the Palm Tungsten T Scuba Case is smooth and consists of a metal substrate coated with a rubber on the exterior and a felt-like material on the interior. The case is sturdy, with the hinge relying on the interior and exterior materials for its range of motion. I very much like the texture of the case, it grips well without being something that would bring the pocket lining out with it when you pull it out of your jeans or coat. I'm not sure how well it will hold up to daily use, but it looks as though it will last. Time and exposure to a little of the elements will tell, of course. The case opens like a paperback with the PDA being held onto the right/bottom and the cover swinging on a hinge located along the left-front edge of the case: * The case in 'paperback' mode - notice how it covers the graffiti area Personally, I would have preferred the PDA to be mounted on the left hand side of case and hinged on the right. The combination of the lip of the case being on the right hand side and being able to securely hold the device while holding open the cover with my stylus hand just seems more comfortable. I've experimented with turning the Tungsten upside down in the case and prefer it: * The case upside down Only the case badge, overall profile of the case, and voice-memo button cut-out prevent me from doing so for regular use. This is one case where the Lefties may have the advantage. Otherwise, for the right-handed among us, holding the case by the cover supports the Tungsten well, but letting it hang out there is definitely something I am going to have to get used to. The mount for the Tungsten is essentially the same mechanism that holds on the clear plastic cover that comes with the device. It is made of slightly sturdier and thicker black plastic, and maintains a VERY good grip on the sides of the device. Access to the buttons, stylus well, IR and SD card are completely unhindered. The placement of the voice memo button cut out could be better, but it functions without significantly exposing the device or wrecking the case itself. With the Tungsten closed, the case prevents the device from Hotsyncing without first removing it, or extending the base beyond the edge of the case. Now, it would be silly to have to mount and unmount the device from the case, given that the cradle itself is quite a standard bit of hardware. But extending the base is a problem for two reasons. The first, I will admit, is sheer habit. I have grown accustomed to being able to drop my Tungsten effortlessly on the cradle with the clear cover on the face and not think twice about it. The second, however, is related to an overall problem I have with the case. My major problem and concern with the case is the lack of an easy way to reveal the graffiti pad: * The graffiti area uncovered * there is nowhere to grip the sliding mechanism There is no way, short of sliding the bottom open with both thumbs from the front or using a fingernail to pull the top edge of the base downward, to open the Tungsten while it is in the case. Given the way the open case must be held for a right-handed person to use the stylus, the thumbs option seems an exercise in asking the whole thing to be dropped on the floor. Likewise, I am quite sure using a finger nail to slide open the base isn't what the device designers had in mind. A more considerate case designer would have made the addition of a scallop on both sides of the case along the bottom edge, allowing the use of a thumb and forefinger to slide the base. Unfortunately, this seems to have been neglected. The most annoying part of the case, however, is the fact that there has been no accommodation made for the buttons / Navigator. I constantly find myself shutting off my Tungsten, because pressure on the front has pushed one (or more) of the buttons. Finally, I really wish Palm would have embossed the palm logo onto the rubber surface, rather than the current case badge / logo that they have stuck on the front. It sits up from the surface of the case far too high. It looks poorly cast, and rather plain with no blackwash / enamelling to set off the logo. and it is square, making an excellent hook for pocket string and lint. So, all and all, this case is a love-hate prospect. It seems a bit on the prototype side rather than a finished and well thought through product - and so it's up to you to decide if it is worth ticket price. Frankly, the only reason I haven't returned the case is the paucity of anything else with a similar form factor and protection for the device. The clear plastic cover protected the screen, but not the device, and I have little options until other manufacturers gear up to make something a bit more well thought out. $29.95 at the Palm Store (c) Jim Kimble and FoxPop

So it has been a month...

It has been a full month with my new PC. Well I do not need my 30 day money back guarantee from Alienware. I love this computer. it was money well spent, and i am very glad i spent it on a PC. it is soo fast. in the past month I have been able to test my computer over many different software applications and it just screams - although it should right? There are some pissed of Mac users calling me a traitor, or a switcher. how about a switch hitter? I am ambidexterities after all :p well i could care less what others think. maybe it is because i am used to using multiple operating systems, or maybe its because im a geek, but this PC is as easy to use for work and play (well better for play :) than my TiBook G4. some interface differences aside I have had no workflow problems in XP. A few thoughts after 1 month: * i only had minor problems "out of the box" * managing fonts is not a problem. i have been able to convert all the fonts i cannot find PC versions for with no problems at all. * learning about Rainbow Folders was a big help. I have my folders colored the way i am used to working now. * I have always been very pleased with the speed of web browsing on Windows, and its even faster in Phoenix than in Internet Exploder. * I very much like Dreamweaver MX on Windows XP compared to the Mac OS version. * I have yet to (knock on wood) had anything stump me so much that it prohibited me from getting work done. * I also have some good friends who answer my obscure Windows questions :p Thanks for that! * I have had no problems at all transfering files back and forth between my TiBook and my PC

February 22, 2003

Mac OS X and FAT 32 (Updated)

UPDATED - 02-23-03 From my recent experience when you copy things to a FAT 32 formatted Zip disk and then view those files you get TWO copies of every file. you get one called ._somefile.psd and somefile.psd. the one that starts with ._ is either zero K or very low kb in size compared to the "real" file. Mac OS X does not understand the NTFS format, so I have to use FAT 32 to format my zip disks so i can use them cross platform.
the ._ files do not show up until I put the Zip into the PC, but then when I put the Zip back into the Mac the ._ show up on the Mac as well. I don't understand this at all. this behaviour is very annoying. Interesting is that if I boot into OS 9 and copy files to a FAT 32 Zip disk this does not happen. I cannot attribute this ._ stuff to Windows, as when transfering files from Windows to Mac nothing like this happens. Also the files dont show up on the disk until I put the disk into the PC. they are not hidden to the Mac OS X Finder I checked that. So it seems that this is a resource fork thing. well I am glad that Mac OS X apps are doing away with resource forks. there are some good arguments for resourse forks, John Siracusa of Arstechnica has discussed Mac OS X metadata before. i do agree with it to some extent. but losing the resource fork is a good move for OS X IMO.

February 23, 2003

XP Error Reporting

This is really annoying to me. Whenever Windows apps crash you get a "would you like to send an error report to M$" dialog. more times than not the application has crashed because I killed it in Task Manager (knock on wood) and I know why it crashed - I did it. this is how I fixed this. # go to the advanced tab of the System Control Panel # click the Error Reporting button at the bottom # there are a lot of configs you can choose, I just turned it off completely, leaving "but notify me when critical errors occur" checked. i must add that this is a very nice feature of XP to be able to get application spacific on error reporting.

February 24, 2003

Leo Laporte's 2003 Technology Almanac

I love TechTV and The Screen Savers is a great show for all levels of geekyness. What is even better is that Woz is a guest host from time to time. I was at my Dad's house and saw Leo Laporte's 2003 Technology Almanac sitting next to The Throne (tm) and so I started to read a few pages. Got hooked and so went out and bought it. I love byte sized stuff to read. There is a page for each day there is a main "Focus" for each day. Birthdays and other big things to note for the day fills forth of the page. then there is a Tip of the Day and Download of the Day and the rest is other info such as myths and truths to xyz or lists of top 10s and such. There are also Polls here and there. The book just has a lot of nifty technology tidbits in it. its a quick read every day, something new to read the next day. the index also is very extensive for finding "Palm" for example and it lists all the days that have anything related to a Palm. There are a lot of URLs to check out. its a great book, well worth the money IMO. For example did you know today is Steve Jobs's birthday? the book lists a Smithsonian interview that is pretty lengthy on content and material. I pretty much learn something new every day, its great!

Chapman Site Goes Live

GoLive hmmm I hate that program. anyway, the site I have been working on for a couple months went live this morning. all I need to do is get the photo gallery into the new template. that and some minor things, but all the content is there. I still need to put some photos on the pages it is still a bit text heavy. these are the next things to do. if this sounds like a grocery list, it is :) if you would like to leave me feedback on this site please do. I enjoy constructive criticism.

Was the transition easy?

Well its great to see so many new faces reading and posting comments to my blog. thanks for checking it out and please tell your friends about it. i'm writing this as much for therapy as for the knowledge of others. I am really enjoying the blog thing. a general question I have been getting is "was the transition easy?" well here we go: the transition for Aqua to Luna, or OS X's to XP's UI is pretty simple for me. i'm not a spring chick when it comes to working on a windows box. I have been breaking Windows (ha ha, now you know were the name came from - but I can usually fix what I broke) for years. For the longest time we had a Windows NT file server for our mostly Mac college newspaper. for 2 years or so I administered NT 3.5 to 4.0 on that box. we also used it as a print server. and man that NT Server had to be babied a lot. we now have an OS X Server running as the file and print server. we have gotten rid of the PCs (which were used in advertising, now they use iMacs). So I am not new to Windows, I am however new to using it on a day to day basis to get my own critical work done. I have also used Windows to great extent the years I worked at the Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology training faculty and staff how to use computers and various software. There are plenty of OS X derived skins available for Windows, and most of them suck. I have tried them, and I think it is just wrong to do that to a Windows box. it is just plain confusing. you start to want Windows to work like OS X, and that's just not gonna happen no matter how hard we all try. lets see here lemme think (brain starting to hurt) of some UI things I like and don't like about Windows

Continue reading "Was the transition easy?" »

Acrobat & Word Documents

I decided I needed a new section to put this in as it is an annoyance and a technigue. so the Web Dev category was born. Maybe I'm just picky, but i like to know what i am clicking on. if i am clicking on a link, a word document, an acrobat document, an excel spreadsheet, a zip file, etc, etc. One of my pet peeves is going to a web site and clicking on a link only to find that it is a PDF file. now i have to wait for the PDF Plugin to load into my browser. and let me tell you this is something that takes longer on a Mac then on a PC (not just a fast PC such as mine, even a pokey one). but back to my point. would i have clicked a link had i known it was a PDF? i would have thought about it first. i should not have to look at the browser's status bar to figure out what kind of document it is. also what happened to listing the file size of a document? people used to do that, i dont see this done much at all these days. not everyone has broadband. and even on broadband i like to know the file size. i have two suggestions. the first being less work. just put (PDF) or (DOC) at the end of the link, and put the file size: some huge report (PDF) 864 kb how much work is that? my next example is a little more elaborate. it uses CSS, all you need to do is add the class to the block tag, you do not want to put the class on the A tag. You need the extra line hight so the entire 16x16 icon can be seen, the text is 11 px so if you do not add the extra line hight, part of the icon will get clipped, and not show up.
.worddoc {
background-image: url(wordicon.gif);
background-repeat: no-repeat;
padding-left: 20px;
line-height: 150%;
}

resume.doc (157 kb)

.acrodoc {
background-image: url(acrobaticon.gif);
background-repeat: no-repeat;
padding-left: 20px;
line-height: 150%;
}

resume.pdf (157 kb)

Now that wasnt THAT much more work was it? and it goes a long way for presentation. I just like to know what i am downloading. if it is a PDF, most times I like to right click and download it and not have the browser plugin load it. Showing the user what they will be downloading is a good thing. text is great, but and icon is a visual sign of what they will be getting when they click that link.

February 25, 2003

Safari has tabs!

Well i did what any Safari lovin' user would, i downloaded the leaked v. .62 that allows for tabbed browsing. yay, even less Moz usage on my TiBook. it is nice that you can force a different UA string from the debug menu, so now i can get into my bank account and credit card sites in Safari. here is a screenie for your enjoyment. yea can find the leak from a number of places, MacCentral Forums is one of them.

February 26, 2003

Thinkin about a new web host

I have for 2 or so years now used Tera-Byte for my web hosting. And I am very pleased with them. Their service is much more than I expected from a web hosting company. The price for the features is unbelievable. I get their 4U plan because I can pay monthly, but mainly because I get shell access. There are not many hosting companies that give shell access. It sure is nice when I want to ssh into the server do so something. Sometimes I want to edit a .htaccess or create a .htpasswd file. Or open up and edit a document on the server. This proves to be very handy indeed. So why am I looking for a new web host?

we always want more than we currently have. With MT you can use a perl module called Image::Magick which will resize files and make thumbnails for you. Tera-Byte tells me that I would have to upgrade my account to a dedicated server as this takes too much processing power to do. I would also like subdomains and Tera-Byte does not provide this. I am having a hell of a time finding a hosting company that can beat the price and features I have from Tera-Byte though.

So if you have a suggestion, please post it. If you have used the service before tell me why you like it. The only one I have found so far that I would consider switching to is Feature Price. I could host both my domains (both of them, and still host 2 more) there for $17 a month. They have the perl modules I want to use, and they support subdomains. They have no shell access though. Has anyone used Feature Price? my friend Brian uses Feature Price and he is fairly satisfied with it. I just got off the phone with Feature Price and they are going to offer shell access soon, although he could not give me a price. Well any other suggestions?

Stealing from Meijer

This old guy (I'd say 60'S) thought I was stealing from Meijer today. the same greater dOOd I see every week I go there. so I have a tip for you all don't for any reason (not that it gets cold in BG) wear a big heavy coat such as a Carhartt Arctic that has BIG pockets in which to put heavy gloves and a thick wool hat in. the guy had me take my hat and gloves out (as well as the other crap I put in my coat). I have been shopping at Meijer for I don't know how many years now? and I have had this coat for over a year now. the guy approached me "can I see you're receipt?" "sure thing sir" "you aren't trying to shoplift are you?" "no I am not, Scouts Honor" (I am an Eagle Scout) this other Meijer employee walks closer, looks like manager material I guess. "can I see what is in your pockets?" "sure thing!" *Ken empties pockets of hat, gloves, pack of gum, pack of kleenex(tm), web site revisions for Chapman, box of penguin mints, digital camera, glasses case, and jewelers screw drivers set* this smart ass (younger than me I think) manager asks me if I can recite the Scout Oath and Law. geez all mighty. On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong; mentally awake, and morally straight A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Freindly, Courteos, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Breave, Clean and Reverant. "You get a bonus today, here is the Outdoor Code" As an American, I will do my best to - Be clean in my outdoor manners. Be careful with fire. Be considerate in the outdoors. and Be conservation minded I mean, come on, do you know how many years of my life I have recited those? I have been an Eagle Scout since 1995 and am still active in Scouting. I eared more than 50 Merit Badges, and have been a Merit Badge counselor for SUmmer Camp and an Assistant Scoutmaster for my troop. I have also been to National Jamboree and was on staff there one year. I explain this to these two. "um, well, i'm sorry" *smart ass manager hands ken back his stuff and Ken leaves Mejer* Will I be back, heck yea I am not about to drive all the way across town to go Krogering! not when Meijer is whithin spittin' distance. I took down their names in my Palm and left. cuz I got coding to do. fun fun I love it when I can be a smart ass and be right about it.

February 27, 2003

Growing out of video games?

I'm not sure if I am growing out of video games, but I am sure I am going through a phase were I have no desire to even play them. and I am video game nut. I have subscriptions to IGN.com and Gamespot.com for gaming news, I get 3 video game/pc game magazines, and I have a ton of games. here is the run down: Playstation 2 - keyboard, arcade stick, 12 games Game Cube - wavebird, GBA connector cable, 7 games X Box - type "s" controller, 9 games Game Boy Advance - light shield, 9 color/classic games, 10 advance games PC & Mac - 16 games I just sold a bunch on eBay too. sold 17 PS2 games, 3 CG, and 5 XBox games. man thats insane. and the only thing I have played is the past month and a half is my GBA. and that was just when I got Metroid Fusion just after Christmas, I have only played it once or twice since. I don't know if I am "growing up" or what. I haven't really played games on my new PC. I have been busy, but not THAT busy. I don't know. I always seem to make time for video games, and I am not doing that any more. its just really weird! I don't know what to think of it. I guess if a month or two goes by I think ill think about getting rid of them, idunno.

Almost finished with Chapman site

I did a lot of work on the Chapman Site in the past couple days. I have started to add all the stuff for section 508 compatibilities. I also added a bunch of photos and pull quotes to the pages to break them up a bit. I a different way toI handle the Faculty section so it is not so text heavy. so they are going to go take a bunch of photos of the faculty with students, then I will be reworking that section. next on the agenda is to polish off the Photo Gallery section.

What are stop signs for again?

Why dont people stop at stop signs? I pass a few stop signs on my way to work, and I noticed today that people barely even slow down. come on people! drivers are getting lazy, and that is how accidents happen. i had the right of way at a 4 way stop on Thursten today, i got to the stop sign before the guy accross from me. yet he just slowed slightly, and turned left, right in front of me. some people!



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