October 2003 Archives

October 1, 2003

Flash Detection

I had 3 people ask me how to handle flash detection in their web sites today, And two were phone calls! I should start charging for phone support :-P. As much as I hate Flash, it is useful and fun. But what I really hate is when someone does not have Flash detection, or they have shoddy or malfunctioning Flash detection, that is even worse then not having it at all. I suggest using Macromedia's own Dreamweaver behavior. The Check Plugin behavior only checks if Flash is present, it does not tell what version, etc. The Flash Deployment Kit does check version numbers, as well as can handle upgrading and keeping up to date with the latest build of the Flash plugin (this can be good and bad, as I will explain later).
If you tick the Allow Auto-Update check box in the MM Flash Detection Behavior you may very well annoy the hell out of your audience. If this is checked it will always look for the latest build of which ever Version and Major Revision you choose (it basically makes the Minor Revision field a variable, always asking for the latest and greatest build). A friend of mine found this out the hard way a couple months back. Luckily I was testing the site for him, and I noticed that ever time I went to the site it told me I did not have Flash installed, even though I know I did. Turning this check box off fixed the problem. I understand why it might be important to use that feature, but people should understand what it does before they turn it on.

Layout-o-Matic & List-o-Matic

I sure love the Make Code Button. That button is more elusive then the Make Art Button. (the Make Art buttons is a discussion for another post though.) So, what am I talking about? When you can click through a couple prompts and you have code (or art) you can use. Most of the time I do not like the "Make Code" or "Make Art" buttons because the outcome usually comes short to impressing me. Not so with Layout-o-Matic and List-o-matic. Both of these tools create nice code. Layout-o-Matic even will include a version of the box model hack for you. List-o-Matic is a bit more involved, it churns out a list, but then offers up some CSS to make horizontal or vertical navigation menus out of that list. The List-o-Matic was based on the Listamatic site, which has a link to a List-o-Rama Dreamweaver extention that does what List-o-Matic does in DW. You got that? I love it when the Make Code button not only does the job, but does it well.

Connection was lost

For 2 days I could not post to my blogs :mad:. For some strange reason the Perl modules that connect to the MySQL DB were gone! They are back (reinstalled I am told) and everything is back to normal. So I am in the midst of posting stuff from the last couple days.

Fortune Cookies

What has happened to the quality of fortune cookies these days? I am not referring to the taste, I mean the fortunes that come out of these things. "You are exceptionally loyal to your family and friends." This is a fact, big shocker there, but it is by no means a fortune!

October 2, 2003

Tell ICANN what you think of VeriSign

Here is your chance, email ICANN and tell them what you think of this new SiteFinder from VeriSign. I personally think that VeriSign has had enough chances. Does anyone remember about a year ago when VeriSign sent out all those domain renewal mailings, even to people (me included) that did not use Network Solutions as their registrar? They were trying to be sneaky and convert people to their registrar. This SiteFinder crap is nuts. It needs to stop. ICANN needs to get a backbone here and pull the plug. They have the power to, AFAIK, and they should. Be sure and email secsac-comment@icann.org and tell them what you think about VeriSign and their new "feature" SiteFinder. I already have. Source: MacCentral

PocketDock, iSkin screen protector arrive

Today I got my SendStation PocketDock in the mail. This is a gotta have accessory for your 3G iPod. I pre-ordered mine too, so I got $2 off. Now I do not have to carry around a separate FireWire cable. I always have a 6 to 6 pin FireWire cable as I carry a bus powered FW HD with me. I suggest to anyone who does not want to deal with Apple's proprietary Dock port buy a PocketDock. I still do not see the reasoning for taking the FireWire port of the iPod.
Last week i finally got the screen protector part of my iSkin. Now my entire iPod is protected from scratches, even the screen. The screen protector does not obstruct the view of the iPod screen either. The iSkin is a superior case for the iPod. The case feels great too, it has grip to it. It sorta feels like the cover of an iBook, its better to hold onto then a naked iPod. Oh and I found out you can unscrew the belt clip snap too! I was wondering how to take that thing off. The zipper pouch that came with the eXo iSkin also comes in handy, it holds the FireWire power adaptor, PocketDock and my portable headphones (those ear bud ones that come with the iPod are so uncomfortable). This is a great case. My brother got one and he loves his too. Of course now all the wild colors are shipping, a month after I wanted an iSkin. Well I would rather have my iPod protected then wait for glow in the dark orange.

October 3, 2003

My Car

1. What vehicle do you drive? A 1993 Plymouth Colt Vista. It is aqua blue, that was the most popular color for that year. It gets great milage and it only has 72 thousand miles on it. 2. How long have you had it? I bought it from my aunt in 1995. 3. What is the coolest feature on your vehicle? The coolest feature by far is the fact that this car is easy to find no matter what crowded parking lot it is in. Why is this? It's not because of the color. It is because no one drives a Colt Vista. That and it just plain looks weird. 4. What is the most annoying thing about your vehicle? Parts are expensive! It has a Mitsubishi engine. I had to have the transmission worked on, and that was expensive! It is also a car for small people. Not for people that are 6'2" :-P. 5. If money were no object, what vehicle would you be driving right now? I would stay with Dodge that is for sure. I would drive a Dodge Dakota. I will probably end up getting this once this Colt Vista turns into dust. If I had money to burn? I like the look of that Dodge Razor (of course it is only a concept car).

October 5, 2003

Great eBay spoof

This is a great eBay spoof, there is even a page saying it is a joke, heh.

October 7, 2003

Every Click you take..

I have not gotten any SPAM that was this paranoid before!
You're in Serious Trouble - It's a Proven Fact! Did you know... that your computer is spying on you? Did you know for example that every click you make on Windows 98 Start Menu is logged and stored permanently on a hidden encrypted database within your own computer? Deleting "internet cache and history", will not protect you... your PC is keeping frightening records of both your online and off-line activity. Any of the Web Pages, Pictures, Movies, Videos, Sounds, E-mail and Everything Else you or anyone else have ever viewed could easily be recovered - even many years later! 73.5% of all companies admitthey record and review their employees' communications and activities on the job.How would you feel if somebody snooped this information out of your computer and made it public? Do your children or their friends use your computers? What have they downloaded and tried to delete? Act now! And stop these files coming "back from the dead" to haunt you! You deserve...a far more rewarding and safer Internet experience! Start to enjoy the benefits of a truly clean and faster "Like New" PC! Download today with no risk, guaranteed. Evidence Eliminator... can Speed-Up your PC/Internet Browser, reclaim Hard Disk space and Professionally Clean your PC in one easy mouse click! CLICK HERE FOR EVIDENCE ELIMINATOR!

October 8, 2003

As seen on Lockergnome

I just gave Chris Pirillo (Lockergnome) permission to repost my iChat Log Viewing Software piece! Rock on! Jake just told me it is posted on the Apple Core page! Thanks Chris.

October 9, 2003

I thought my eBay habits were bad

But this is ridiculous. It is amazing what people will pay for on eBay!

You credit card has been charged for $234.65

This one caught my eye today, although this time Mail did flag it as junk. I have never seen SPAM with such a subject though. At the end of the email is a form to plug in your credit card information, what morons.
Important notice We have just charged your credit card for money laundry service in amount of $234.65 (because you are either child pornography webmaster or deal with dirty money, which require us to layndry them and then send to your checking account). If you feel this transaction was made by our mistake, please press "No". If you confirm this transaction, please press "Yes" and fill in the form below.

Adobe Changes Everything

If you do not have a subscription to Macworld, be sure to check out the Adobe CS feature they have online. I am most impressed with the changes in Photoshop and Illustrator, as I don't use GoLive and only use InDesign a little. I will probably benefit most of in the new Photoshop is the text on a path, comp layers palette, and the new match color command (which is by no means new, just now much easier and brainless to accomplish). The new live histogram sounds interesting too. I know Unigraphics is going to like the changes in InDesign. Nested styles is something that is annoying not to be able to do in InDesign 2. The addition of a Story Editor a la PageMaker is a nice touch as well. The new 3D effect in Illustrator CS is a great addition. Once again Adobe has made a plugin worthless with an upgrade. Although this path is usually seen in Photoshop, now Illustrator gets the "lets add this plugin" effect. I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but Adobe, like Apple, seem to step on developers toes a lot in the upgrades of their software. From what the Macworld article had to say about GoLive CS, I am not impressed. It does not sound like much of an upgrade at all. It surely does not sound like the jumps between, say, Dreamweaver 4 and MX, and MX and MX 2004. Something to notice is that the Adobe Creative Suite is Mac OS X only. Just like Quark with XPress 6, Adobe is pushing those last OS 9 users to the point of upgrading. And all I have to say about that is: It's about time!

Free Upgrade to Adobe CS

I bought the Adobe Design Collection on September 9th. By the end of the month Adobe announced Adobe Creative Suite. I called support and sure enough I get a free upgrade! If not I was gonna do some bitching, thats for sure. I hear rumors of Adobe CS shipping in November, and I will be one of the first to get it, which just rocks. I cannot wait to see all the new improvements. Since the apps are going to be OS X only I hope they will show better performance then the current versions do. Photoshop 7 runs a bit faster in OS 9 then it does in OS X on my TiBook. I figured I would get the free upgrade to the Premium Edition, but no, I get the Standard Edition. This means I do not get Acrobat 6 Pro, but I already own that, and I do not get GoLive CS, oh darn! I am not gonna complain though, the upgrade to Standard Edition which includes Photoshop CS, InDesign CS, and Illustrator CS is $550. That is money I do not have to spend, which sure is nice :-D.

More about Eolas and Internet Exploder

Microsoft on Tuesday released what it called "modest changes" to Windows and Internet Explorer as a result of the patent suit brought against it by Eolas Technologies.
Source: C|Net But that is not enough I guess...
Eolas Technologies has filed a motion to permanently enjoin Microsoft's distribution of its Internet Explorer browser amid a flurry of court filings by both sides in the pivotal patent infringement case.
Source: C|Net I think this has all gone a bit to far, don't you? The new IE solution is pathetic, I tried it myself. Every time an object, such as Flash, loads, you get a popup dialog that you need to click OK to. Not only that but that is for EVERY Flash object on the page. Oh, and those objects are not cached at all, so if (when) you go back to a page, you need to click OK once more. The solution is obvious, don't use IE. It does not matter what the licensing fees are, Microsoft should pay them. It would be worth it for M$. I would bet they are paying more in legal fees as it is. You can read my other posts about this topic here and here. Interestingly enough Apple has a way, posted on the developer site, to use a javascript to externally load QuickTime objects. This work around could work for other plug-in based technologies as well. I cannot find the link but I will post it when I do (This was discussed on today's The Screen Savers). I think they may have been talking about this page, which is really old news, this came out because of WMP hijacking QuickTime content. Though it does get past the "new" IE dialog boxes.

October 10, 2003

Dell Digital Jukebox

It is announced, but not yet available. But doesn't the Dell DJ look like an iPod? Even the UI is close. I just love how companies takes cues from Apple, all the time. Like BuyMusic.com, and even the feature set behind Napster 2.0 (although that does have some rather glaring drawbacks).

October 12, 2003

The Internet Soapbox

Check this out (Flash). Its so funny and so true!

Buckeyes Lucky No More

First of all they deserve to loose that game for that choke! Come on this is football not the WWE! Bad sportsmanship. I was hoping that was an accident, but I saw multiple angles on SportsCenter and FOX Sports and he was choking him. Ohio State has only had one decisive win this season, and that was Washington! It is also great to see the 19 game streak go down! OSU has been lucky all season, they have played mediocre football. Michigan is not playing well this season either, so that game is really gonna be exiting this year, as appeased to last year. Oh and it is always great to see Miami beet the FSU! Go 'Canes! I would not mind seeing Miami and OSU again this bowl season, but this time hopefully the referee won't win the game for OSU.

I Give Up on SPAM

I Give Up. You cannot win. I have known this, I just chose to deal with SPAM. No longer. There is no ideal solution for an email client on Mac OS X. There is also no ideal solution for blocking SPAM. There is Entourage, This is a great application, but its also big, and slow, and a memory monger. I used to use Entourage when I first moved to OS X. There is Eudora. I was a long time Eudora user. The only email client I had used before I used Eudora was Pine, and it took me a long time to step away from pine, let me tell you. Eudora is OK. It has decent filtering, better then Entourage IMO. There is Mailsmith, from those good folks who bring up BBEdit. Mailsmith shares a lot from BBEdit, the text engine, grep, and has very nice filtering. Then there is the built in Mail. The junk mail filtering introduced in 10.2 are nice, but not wonderful. Only Mailsmith and Mail use the OS X Address Book. I thought about switching to Mailsmith from Mail, but not with the new features in 10.3 Mail. The best SPAM filtering for OS X is SpamSieve, but alas, it does not work for POP accounts in Mail. The developer's site states Mail as the problem. Even with SpamSieve installed you need to use AppleScripts to teach it if it is a good or bad email. Not elegant by any means. I would go as far as saying it is annoying. So I give up. I am going to a white list. A solid 80% of my email is SPAM. Yea, I know. Getting POPFile running on OS X is a lot of work, unfortunately. I do not feel like doing all that. For those who do not know, POPFile is by far the best filtering system to use on Windows, no matter what email client you use. Starting today I am using my Address Book as my whitelist. I can live with a false positive once in a while more then I can live with SPAM showing up in my Inbox all to often because Mail's Junk Mail Filter did not catch it. This is very easy to do. Create a new rule in Mail with "Sender is not in my Address Book" and set the action to "Move Message" to the trash. NOTE: Although it would make sense to include "Sender is not in my Previous Recipients" in this rule, that let SPAM through from people who have never ever been recipients of mine. I also do not think the "Message is addressed using my full name" is a very good option to use either. Now I do not see SPAM in my inbox, imagine that! This just means I have to add some addresses into my Address Book. There is always something, isn't there. I am more then happy to add email addresses then see SPAM in my Inbox. The only real down side to this is that people who have never emailed me before get flagged as SPAM (I use a bright yellow background). But I would much rather drag one or two emails from the Trash to my Inbox then delete 5 or more messages from my Inbox.

Subversive code could kill off software piracy

The new protection system, called Fade, is being introduced by Macrovision, a company in Santa Clara, California, that specialises in digital rights management, and the British games developer Codemasters, based in Leamington Spa. It makes unauthorised copies of games slowly degrade, so that cars no long steer, guns cannot be aimed and footballs fly away into space. But by that time the player has become addicted to the game. Source: NewScientist.com Interesting concept, I wonder if they will be able to krack this with a shift key :-P.

October 13, 2003

Talk to a Human Being

I called Lacie today to find out when the HD I ordered would ship, and the forth option was "to talk to a human being, press 4" HA HA HA. That is the first time I have heard it put that way :-P. Unfortunately the drives will not ship until mid-November :sad:.

It's Official: No Longhorn Until 2006

Microsoft execs at last have admitted publicly, at last, that Longhorn will not ship in 2005. Does it matter?
Source: Microsoft Watch Does it matter? I think it does! I do not want to wait until 2006 for an upgrade to Windows. BTW, when is XP SP2 coming anyway?

iTunes Music Store too late?

Is the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) for Windows too late? I think it is. I think they needed to come out with it either right before BuyMusic.com launched, or right after. Now Napster 2.0 is coming, there is also MusicMatch, and Rhapsody (listen.com) that was recently bought by RealNetworks. I think this is another case where Apple is too little, too late (Apple always seems to be the first to bring new innovative ideas to the table, only to loose out to the cloners.). When BuyMusic.com came out it really made iTMS store look great, wether it liked it or not, it showed that Apple had the right idea, and BuyMusic did not. That is when Apple needed to launch. But iTMS for Windows must not have been ready at that point. There is also this thing about AAC files. The AAC file format is/will be more easy accepted by the Mac crowd then by Windows users. This is mainly due to the fact that Mac users will go along with virtually anything Apple throws at them, and accept it. If you have a Mac and you want an MP3 player, why would you buy anything else but an iPod? Windows users have had MP3 players a lot longer (it took a while to get Mac support, part of the reason for the launch of the iPod in 2001) then Mac users have. Most MP3 players support MP3 and WMA file formats. Some even now support alternative formats such as ogg. Even though a Windows user can use an iPod, there are many other products out there that are cheaper, and support WMA, which happens to be the file format of choice for many online music sites such as BuyMusic, etc. Will Apple support WMA on the iPod? I think it would be in the best interest of Apple. Unlike Mac users, Windows users are not only going to use the iTMS to get digital music, and I do not mean using p2p file sharing, I mean the other Windows music services available. After all, the iTMS has some holes in it, specific artists are not listed, so people are going to go elsewhere. If I only owned a PC, why would I get an iPod if it only supported MP3 and AAC, and did noy support WMA, the reining champion of Windows music file formats? I would get it because it is so cool, but that is beside the point here :-P. There is another argument here. The iTMS for Windows might not have WMA, but Windows users might see it as being the least restrictive of the available music sites. Every song you download has the same restrictions, (BuyMusic anyone?) Napster 2.0 (and BuyMusic,com for that matter) has buy only music, you cannot burn it. Another thing I noticed about Napster 2.0: It is an all inclusive Music Store/ Jukebox, but you cannot rip your own CDs - what a shame. I really do not think that Apple will support WMA on the iPod and use it for the Windows iTMS, but they may sell more iPods to the Windows crowd. That is the plan, isn't it? Of course there are Windows users that are able to look past the no WMA problem, as seen in the sales figures of the iPod (because we all know there are not THAT many Mac users). It doesn't seem reasonable to sell WMA file to Windows users and AAC files to Mac user on the iTMS, but Apple should think about supporting WMA on the iPod because the other Windows only music stores use WMA. Windows users would not be tied down to the iTMS. But this would not push people to the iTMS. I doubt that WMA support for the iPod will happen, but it sure would be nice. Sorta like I doubt a 1st party 2 button mouse is going to happen, but it would be nice if it did. While doing reasurch for this post I found a great discussion about this very issue over at Chaosmint (that would be an anagram for Macintosh). I have also added Chaosmint on my blogroll, check the site out, its got some good reads. I do not see the iTMS for Windows launch being as big as a lot of people think it will be. We will see, maybe it will be big. Also posted at BlogCritics.

October 14, 2003

Half Life 2 Source code released

If you don't understand read this.

A Little Perspective on $87 billion

One-Hundred-Sixty-Six Billion dollars ... this equals the total amount of money President Bush wants to spend in Iraq & Afghanistan by the beginning of October, 2004 : the $87 billion he wants, plus the $79 billion he's already spent.
Source: Crunchland Nice visual representation!

October 15, 2003

SideTrack for your Trackpad

From the developer's site:
SideTrack is a replacement driver for the trackpad (touchpad) found on Apple PowerBooks and iBooks. It brings many of the trackpad scrolling features found on Windows laptops to MacOS X. Most Windows laptops implement trackpad scrolling using drivers made by Synaptics. Although Apple PowerBooks also use Synaptics trackpads, the standard Apple driver uses none of the extended features. SideTrack supports these features: * Vertical scrolling at left or right edge of pad. * Horizontal scrolling at top or bottom edge of pad. * Map hardware button to left or right click. * Map trackpad taps to no action, left click, left click drag (with or without drag lock), or right click.
This is free while in beta, but I will gladly pay for this when it is final! I cannot stand that the Mac (desktop and laptop) comes with only one mouse button. Its worse with the laptops since you cant buy and install a 2 button trackpad :-P. When I am not at my desk, SideTrack is so nice to have. Having a right click and vertical scrolling is just so wonderful. But being able to scroll horizontally? That is just insane. Apple should have the features of this SideTrack mouse driver built into OS X. Of course I say that about a lot of shareware and freeware avaiable for both the Mac OS and Windows. But if the hardware supports it (in this case the Synaptics trackpad) then the Operating System should also support it "out of the box." In this case, it would benefit laptop users.
This reminds me of when I posted about the firmware to double the speed of the SuperDrive in the 15" PowerBook. If the hardware supports it, why in the world would you cripple it.
This is by far a must have for any Mac laptop user who is tired of using the friggin' Control key when away from the desk and a multi button mouse. SideTrack works great! Also posted at BlogCritics.

Comments on my iTMS/W Article

Other than a rabid argument between us superior Pepsi drinkers and those *cough* Coke drinkers, there are a good bunch of informational and opinionated posts about the iTunes Music Store for Windows available as well. So for the standard group of people that come here to read my stuff, check out the comments over at my BlogCritics post.

But to get to the important issue, this is my take:

Its more the taste then the amount of sugar in Coke, and Diet Coke is soo nasty. If you want a Diet the only thing that is good is Diet Dr. Pepper. But then I have always been a Dr. Pepper fan.

But between Coke and Pepsi its Pepsi for sure. Our college (BGSU) even went with Pepsi over Coke, they obviosly knew what they were talking about :-P.

October 17, 2003

New iPod and iTunes Software

We all knew that the iTMS for Windows was coming. We did not know what great new features were coming for it though. We also did not know about the new version of the iPod software (2.1).

This new iPod software fixes the one thing that annoys me the most. The backlight can now have a custom timer, set to 2, 5, 10, 20 seconds, and always on. Not only that but now when you touch any of the buttons or scroll wheel, the backlight turns on. My number one gripe about my iPod has been addressed.

Being able to sync On-The-Go playlists back to my computer is also a nice addition. The new Music Quiz game is really a joke though, I have 22 GB of MP3 and AAC files on my iPod. So it is a little hard to guess what the song is when I have that much of a selection. The iPod software update looks like this:

* Better default contrast setting
* Added Voice Memos application (Belkin Voice Recorder)
* Added digital photo storage functionality (Belkin Media Reader)
* Enhanced On-The-Go playlist functionality
* Improved playback performance
* Added Music Quiz game
* Improved backlight functionality
* Improved battery meter

What a great amount of updates to the iPod software, very unexpected.

The two new Belkin accessories sure look nice. The $99 Media Reader seems a little pricey, but it does include even the memory stick in its list of supported media. The Voice Recorder is a great idea, but I won't be getting one as my Tungsten T2 does that. Still, a great addition to what is starting to look like a "slash" gadget from Apple.

The partnerships announced today come at a great time, right before Napster 2.0 launches. AOL will promote the iTMS, Apple will promote AOL Music, Pepsi to give away 100 million free iTMS songs, and Audible.com is now part of the iTMS. I questioned if iTMS for Windows was too late, and the announcements today may have been a little late in my mind, but Apple brought out a lot of new features in what could really be called iTMS 2.0.

Here is a list of the announcements in reverse chronological order.

Apple calls it the "second generation" store while most competing online music stores do not have the features of the "first generation" iTMS. The new store doubles the music library to 400,000 tracks by the end of the month, added 200 independent labels, added audio book support thanks to a multi-year exclusive deal with Audible.com, 5,000 books available with free previews, gift certificates, an allowance feature (very nice). That is a lot of new features, and this is 6 months after the iTMS launched!

If you have an Audible.com account (like I do) you might think the iTMS prices are a little high at first glance. After checking the prices through the iTMS and just going to Audible.com, the iTMS prices are most always $1 to $2 less then at Audible.com. I however have a subscription where I get one book and one periodical per month for $15. You can get two books for $20 if you wish. If you like audio books, you would be wiser to use a subscription to Audible.com then using iTMS. But this is only if you are an avid audio book listener. The free previews of the books are a nice bonus.

I am so glad I no longer have to use WinAmp as my Windows jukebox. iTunes for Windows is wonderful. In no time I was listening to songs from my Mac's iTunes playlists thanks to the new cross platform sharing. The only problem I had with this is my PC did not recognize the audio book (.m4b) I bought from the iTMS, it did recognize the music (.m4p) I have bought from the iTMS, this I do not understand :(

I know a lot of Windows users who have been waiting for this day - not because of the iTMS, but because they know how nice iTunes is to use as a jukebox.

Also posted at BlogCritics.

Five things around my computer

Since I did not get a chance to do the Friday Five last week, you all get treated to two today (if and when they actually post the questions for last week, I cannot remember then). Aren't you so lucky. 1. Name five things in your refrigerator. 12 Pack of Killians Peach Snapple Pepto-Bismol A1 Steak Sauce AA and AAA Duracell Batteries 2. Name five things in your freezer. Chocolate Chip Mind Ice Cream Chicken Patties Hot Pockets TV Dinners (various) Venison Steaks 3. Name five things under your kitchen sink. Garbage Bags Skillets and Grill SOS Pads Dawn Power Dissolver (works very well, btw) Large Coffee Pot (when 4 cups at a time is not good enough) 4. Name five things around your computer (Home Office). FileMaker Pro and Dreamweaver books Spools of blank CD-R's (great prices) Different Colored Sharpies "Chord Bin" with you guessed it, chords, FireWire, USB, etc, etc Filing Cabinet (oh how I just love paperwork) 5. Name five things in your medicine cabinet. Stay awake pills Put me to sleep pills Aspirin Listerine Band-Aids

"I'd like to do a demo on a PC"

Yes, this is Steve Jobs. You probably will not see anything like this again.

The Great mp3 Caper

From eff.org (Flash)

October 19, 2003

Macromedia Offers Assistance for IE Changes

Macromedia has launched what they call Active Content Development Center which has a lot of information about the changes to Internet Exploder. And as much as we (myself in particular) don't like Exploder, the majority of Web users use Exploder. This new site offers a lot, including a great overview (Flash) of the changes as well as a great audio presentation (Flash).

My solution is to not use Exploder, that fixes this issue, I only with it were that simple. Macromedia offers a JavaScript solution that is fairly easy to implement. Leave it to Microsoft to make more work for web developers.

Macromedia also offers Active Content Update Utilities, in the form of a command line utility, visual update utility, and web server module (for IIS 5.5 and 6, and Apache 2). It is a shame there is no module for Apache 1.3.x but as I have read the module architecture for Apache 2 offers a lot more then that of Apache 1.3.x, so I am not surprised that this module is not available for Apache 1.3.x. (These tools are not available yet, November what they are shooting for.)

Macromedia offers these tools under an open-source license and will offer support for them.

It is really nice that Macromedia put this together.

Also posted at BlogCritics.

iTunes for Windows First Impressions & Problems

This ended up rather long. I broke it up into 3 parts for that reason. I had no problems installing iTunes on my Windows box. I had only one problem in viewing and listening to music from my Mac iTunes playlists. This has to do with audio books, both bought from iTMS and directly from Audible.com. Audible.com uses a file extension of .aa and iTMS uses a file extension of .m4b. I think that the Windows iTunes has problems with these file extensions. This does not effect me, I do not listen to audio books on my desktop or laptop. Therefor I am not really inclined to look into this issue. Being able to share all my playlists from my Mac is really nice, and did not take any effort at all. I do however have some gripes about the interface. Additionally Neil has some thoughts. I am not asked if I want a shortcut on my Desktop, in my Quick Launch Bar, or the QuickTime Player Tray Icon, All of which are installed, and all but the iTunes icon on my Quick Launch Bar were deleted or deactivated. Most well written Windows installers ask you about shortcuts on the Desktop and in the Quick Launch Bar. Despite Apple's claim that iTunes is the best application written for Windows, it is far from true, in even the most basic functionality. It would have been nice if they would have used the standard Windows UI standards. Apple harps so loud about using standard UI elements in the creation of OS X software, you would think they would do the same with their own Windows software. Some People do not like the brushed metal. In OS X this is an easy thing to change if you have Interface Builder (Developer Tools) installed. Windows users will just have to deal with it. I like the brushed metal of iTunes for Windows. I just wish the menu bar and the minimize / maximize / exit buttons would conform to the standard Windows UI. What in the world is up with the Maximize button? Any other Windows window would zoom to full screen. In iTunes it shrinks to the condensed player window. If you want to make the window larger you have to drag the lower right resize handle, something else that is not standard in Windows. You can only resize the iTunes Window by grabbing the lower right resize handle (which is a feature of the Mac OS I cannot stand after using Windows for so long). It is a standard Windows UI element that you can resize a window using any of the sides or corners of a window. Since these are standard Windows UI elements, wouldn't it be easier to implement then what Apple has done with Windows UI elements in iTunes? On the other hand, the Windows version of iTunes works just like the Mac version. Even the Maximize button, that is what it does in the Mac version.
I notice over at the Apple Discussion Boards that Windows 2000 users are having all sorts of problems with installing iTunes. Thats no fun, I read that Apple is looking into it. But that, IMO, does not mean you should troll the boards with "Apple Sucks" banter. It has already gotten rather congested. People go to those boards for technical help, they do not want to see your anti-Apple rhetoric. Another issue I see a lot of at the Apple Boards is the fact that iTunes renames and reorganizes mp3 files. Yes, this is in-fact a feature of the product. And if you ask me it is a very nice feature at that. iTunes relies strongly on ID3 tag information. If that information is not present then i strongly suggest you go to the Advanced tab of the Preferences and turn off "Keep iTunes Music folder organized." This is pretty much the main reason for the mixed reactions (C|Net). Because Windows users do not know how iTunes works they automatically think the software is bad. There is a saying in tech. support "99% of software problems happen between the chair and the keyboard." In other words, 99% User Error, 1% Software Error. If any Windows user had just asked a Mac user, who has been using iTunes for a long time, about iTunes, most Mac users (myself included) would tell you to be carefull of the fact that iTunes can/will reorganize and rename your tunes. Instead they just bash iTunes on the Discussions Boards. "Apple said if the default settings are used, iTunes is not supposed to rename or move any music files." (C|Net) This is, I think, false. In the Mac version of iTunes this option is on by default. I am pretty sure I had to turn them off when I installed iTunes for Windows as well. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to delete those preferences in Windows (I even tried System Restore) so I cannot say for sure, but I am pretty sure I had to uncheck those two check boxes. (I have my MP3 collection on a external HD and don't want my Windows install of iTunes messing with the file names or organization of the files, my Mac version of iTunes does that) My guess is that a lot of Windows users have a lot of MP3's that do not have proper ID3 tags. This could be because of illegal p2p file sharing, but is not necessarily the case. That or when you ripped your CDs you did not gather information from the CDDB. Whatever the case, not having ID3 tags is going to seriously hamper your iTunes user experience. The Browse function of iTunes relies on correct ID3 tag information. I do not know what others are used to, but wouldn't you like to automatically browse your collection by Genre, Artist, and Album, then have to manually manage all that information? For a long time I did not want iTunes to manage my MP3 collection, but this is because I had some incomplete ID3 information in my files. Since getting an iPod though I have iTunes manage my collection as your ID3 tag information needs to be immaculate to use on an iPod. Unfortunately there is no way to undo the damage done if you have iTunes manage mp3's with badly formatted ID3 tags. I did a test though. I checked both options to organize my music folder, and to import into my music Library (which to my knowledge are the default settings). Going to File > Add Folder to Library... and selecting one of my tunes folders, it copies the files to my My Music folder, and does not rename the original files. This is obviously not the scenario most if not all Windows users are taking. This is though, what I believe is the most logical way to import you tunes. So I really don't get the problems that people are having. In this experiment iTunes fixed a lot of file name problems because it used the ID3 tag information, it also put track numbers (and full song titles) in the file name. This saves a lot of time. It is a feature folks. But there will always be people that fight it for some reason. You can always turn it off. As I read on the Apple Discussion Forum, most users think this is a nifty feature once they understand it. Another misconception is how iTunes manages Soundtracks, or other collections like AM Gold's Best of the 70's, for example. Apple users of iTunes think the behavior is normal, because, well, because it is. If Compilation is checked iTunes will put all the files into a folder by album (They show up in a Compilations folder in your iTunes Music Folder. If that is not checked then yes, iTunes will make folders per artist.
I am biased, so my opinion does not really amount to much. The only other jukebox app I liked was SoundJam, and Apple bought them and incorporated some of its features to create iTunes. I think iTunes is a wonderful addition for Windows. It is a lot nicer to use then WinAmp, which I think has been the best choice for a jukebox on Windows. I can look past the non standard Windows UI elements, and I know how iTunes works, so I have no problems with importing and letting iTunes manage my collection. Like I said, I am biased. Mainly because I have used iTunes for years. What I am noticing is that once Windows users understand how iTunes works, they really start to like iTunes. This is the impression I get from posts at various discussion boards. The anti-Apple trolling needs to stop though, no one wants to read it. If you hate Apple then for crying out loud do not install iTunes and do not ask for help. Also posted at BlogCritics.

October 20, 2003

OGG Support in iTunes

iTunes doesn't support Ogg out-of-the-box, but it's really easy to add support for it, since iTunes uses Quicktime. Just go to QuickTime Components page and download either the Windows, Mac OS 9, or Mac OS X version. I have no OGG files, nor do I really have time to test this out. Neil tried this out and said it is a "less then utopian" experience.
The reality is somewhat less than utopian - while it does indeed work as advertised, be prepared for iTunes to hang for 10-15 seconds before playing each Ogg Vorbis file, during which time the program is completely unresponsive and CPU usage shoots up to 100%. You also cannot get tag data for an Ogg file while it is playing, unless you want to endure that pause.
Source: Neil's World Maybe the project will get updated, maybe Apple will add support in future versions of both iTunes and the iPod. I really doubt that, but its worth a maybe. My suggestion is to just convert your OGG library to MP3. It can't be hard to find a program that would batch convert them.

October 21, 2003

I Have Been Under The Weather

Being sick sucks! :sad: Feeling like crap. Sour Through. Coughing. Raw Nose. Buying stock in Kleenex. It is all part of the fall season, isnt it? So needless to say I have not felt like posting to my blog lately. I really haven't felt like doing anything on my computer until today. I haven't worked this week, which sucks cuz that means I have not made any money this week. Tis the life of the sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head so I can't sleep geek.

October 22, 2003

Panther Shipped Today

I just got notification that Panther shipped. I pre-ordered it from the Apple Education Store ($69.99) the day it was available on the site. I was hoping that I would receive Panther on the 24th and it looks like I will. I wondered (as did others) if Apple would ship on the 24th or if they actually meant that we would get our orders. Nice. It looks like we get our orders on the 24th. I just checked and the FedEx web site says I will have it by 4:30 on the 24th ;) I can't wait to get my hands on it. I have a lot of things I have been wanting to post about but want to wait to confirm them for myself. I would like to take this moment to discuss the price of "upgrading" Mac OS X. To all those people who bitch and complain about the $129 ($69 educational) price - put a sock in it. Want some cheese for your whine? The move to Jaguar was huge, and the move to Panther is also very large. The amount of new features, not to mention the speed improvements thanks to the reworked text rendering engine (I have read reports of Panther betas running much much smoother on G3 systems then Jaguar ever did) is worth the price of the upgrade. If I did not work in Academia I would pay the $129, it just so happens that I work for a university. I just cannot get over the amount of bickering related to the price of upgrading the OS. Its ridiculous. Also posted at BlogCritics.

My PC is Dead

:sad: ... :mad: I just used my PC yesterday to burn a bunch of PDF's to disc for a friend of mine. Well today it is frozen at the screen saver. Moving the mouse and keyboard does nothing. So I restart it. That was the last thing I saw on my PC. That little Windows XP logo screen saver. Because now I get no video at all, the monitor light stays amber. It appears that the HD spins up though. I was on the phone with Alienware tech. support for at least an hour. The tech. had me take the video, sound and all ram chips out, and reseat them. Wow that was so fun! They sure pack stuff in there. Not much room to work inside these things at all (in comparison to the G3, G4, and now G5 cases/boards I have worked on). I reseated everything and still nothing. No video, just sounds like it normally does when I turn on my PC. The next step is to try with only one RAM chip. That did not do anything. Next I took ALL the RAM chips out. Now the mobo should beep telling me there is no RAM on the board. The mobo didn't do that. I was put on hold for a few seconds, and the tech. said they will have to service the machine. So I now have a FedEx postage paid label to print out. So it will not cost me anything to ship it. That's good. Fine. All I gotta say is I am glad that I moved all my essential files over to my Mac a month or so ago. I have one problem with Alienware though. They will not, not even for a fee, back up data on the HD (Alienware, like other vendors, just format the drive and reinstall the OS). And since my system will not boot up in the first place, I am going to have to take the HD out and put it in another computer. One of Panther's new features is that it will read NTFS formatted drives (it will read, not write). So I am going to have to take my PC to work with me and plug in my IDE drive into on of the Macs at work to salvage my data. I cannot remember what exactly I have on the drive that I absolutely need, but I know I have work files on the drive, and those are important. I just cannot believe that Alienware does not offer this service. I know when I sent my first TiBook into Apple I had the option to pay them to transfer the files. I know Best Buy will also perform the service. I am more then happy with Alienware tech. support, I just don't get why they will not transfer files. So we will see what is wrong with my PC. I am told it take 7 to 10 day to service a computer, then 3 days shipping, so I should have my PC back in 2 weeks. First I need to get the data off the drive though. How fun this is. I am really glad I am not doing work on my PC anymore. I just bought Max Payne 2 and did not get a chance to install it yet. Oh well. At least I am lucky enough to have 2 computers!

West Virginia rolls over Virginia Tech

Well now the Virginia Tech vs. Miami game just is not going to be as grand. West Virginia almost beat the 'Canes earlier this season, only loosing to a last minute field goal. But wow did the Mountaineers roll over Virginia Tech! VT looks like the Oakland Raiders with the amount of penalties they had. The amount of late hits was unbelievable, VT just fell apart, especially in the second half. So maybe it wont be VT and the 'Canes in a Bowl game this season? Great job Mountaineers!

October 24, 2003

Drag Racing in Downtown BG

My friend Mike, he drives to work at midnight every day to input photos from the day (we works at the city paper, Sentinel-Tribune). Tonight was a little different though, Mike was pulled over by a city cop for drag racing. Aparently Mike, with a 1987 SAAB 900, was racing a Honda Civic. They were both at a stop light on Main Street and the light went green, Mike drove on, then heard the civic squeal its tires, then heard the siren. What a crock. So now Mike has to go to court to defend himself. Poor guy.

Virus-wary? Buy a Mac

Wall Street Journal "Personal Tech" columnist (and frequent Apple booster) Walt Mossberg tells his virus-wary readers in a new column to buy a Mac if they're serious about combatting the problem. Source: MacCentral I could not agree more. A thing to note here. Its not just Mac users saying "duh!" anymore, PC users are actually taking note as well. A number of my friends over the past few years have switched from their PC to a Mac, and they are really glad they made the switch.

Panther First Impressions; 6 New Time Saving Features

Before I installed Panther I used my .Mac account to iSync all my important stuff. I really like having a .Mac account. That is a separate post in itself though (I got a .Mac account when I got my new PowerBook). I performed a archive and install of Panther. It is now up to 3 discs, plus the developer tools CD. I just performed a clean install of Jaguar a week ago so I don't even have my Palm sync'ing software installed or anything. Archive and install just means I don't have to go through the setup and account creation process. For some reason I had to reinstall Dreamweaver MX 2004. I found out in doing this about the new online licensing scheme Macromedia uses. I had to call Macromedia to be able to install DW again, and the tech. told me how to "release" the license from my computer. How fun. I will have to post about this later. None of my other software needed reinstalling. As a matter of fact all of my other software worked just great. This is more then I can say about when I first installed Jaguar. I remember a good half dozen of my apps not working and needing updates to work in Jaguar. Apple has been doing better lately about breaking applications on their dot dot releases, and it is nice to see the Panther install did not break any apps. (Dreamweaver MX 2004 works just fine after I reinstalled it.) I installed the Palm Desktop software, and the iSync Conduit, and my Tungsten T2 sync'd just fine. There is one feature of Panther you will not see on the Mac OS X page of Apple.com that I am so happy about. I would have to say it is the best new features of Panther. To appreciate this, you have to appreciate the Save dialog box in Windows. I know, this might be a stretch for some, but stay with me here. In a Windows save dialog if you want to save over a file you select the file name, and your "untitled.gif" or whatever becomes the name of the file you wish to overwrite. So far, on the Mac OS, you have to type the name, exactly, then Save and click Replace. It has always been far easier in Windows to just click the name of the file, click Save, and click Replace. This is one thing I have never understood about the Mac OS. I am glad to say that you can now do this same thing in Panther. The files are grayed out, but if you click on a file name in the Save Dialog, your "untitled" document will change to the file you want to overwrite. I cannot express how much of a time saver this is, not to have to type the name of the document I want to overwrite. This is such a time saver, especially when creating GIF or JPEG files for a web site. Now if the Finder windows could get resize handles like the Explorer in Windows. Maybe in 10.4. Beyond the other very nice features of Panther, that new Save behavior in Panther is one of my top 5 new features I see in Panther. Why? Because it is a time saver. Another top 5 feature for Panther is the new Open/Save Dialog which is thanks to the new Finder. I never quite understood why in OS 9 you had List View in the Open/Save Dialog, and when we came to OS X only Column view was available. Panther adds to the ability to use List View to also the new Places column on the left, something the Finder has needed for a while now. This is, of course, a reoccurring question of mine: Why is it that major new features in 10.1, 10.2, and now 10.3 are all features that I had grown very used to using in Mac OS 9. For Panther, we now have Labels support again (of course this meta data was always there, the OS X Finder just did not recognize it. If you used Labels X from Unsanity or the wonderful Finder replacement Path Finder from CocoaTech you could still see all your Labels and continue on with your normal Labeled world). In earlier versions of OS X, Apple made it impossible for 3rd party software to use the Command+Tab keyboard shortcut. So to get anything close to the new "Heads Up Application Switcher" in Panther, you needed to use, say, the Shift Key as well, so Shift+Command+Tab. I never understood this. But Panther does now have a very nice way to switch applications. Once again, a feature that Windows has had for eons. It is about time OS X had this. This new Application Switcher is another one of the best Panther additions because it saves time, Switching applications using the Dock (a la Jaguar) was not the best solution. Printing is much improved in Panther, even more so then the huge improvements in Jaguar. I have an HP 6127 ink jet printer. In Jaguar I could not perform all the calibration and maintenance tasks I could, in say, OS 9. Not even after installing the HP DeskJet software in Jaguar. After installing Panther, with no additional HP software, I am able to do all the maintenance tasks, settings, calibrations, etc, for my Printer. There is even a button in the Printer UI to bring up the printer's web based interface. This is very nice. Expose is also such a nice time saving feature, it is on my list of the top features of Panther. The really great thing is being able to set the fn key on the laptops to show All Windows. I don't use the fn key for anything else, so being able to set it is great (Since to use a F Key on a laptop you have to use the fn key anyways). So that turns out to be six. So my top six features of Panther are, in no particular order: Save Dialog Enhancements New Finder/New Open/Save Dialog Labels Application Switcher Printing Expose My only complaint with Panther is AppleShare. Connecting to our AppleTalk network on campus is something of a mystery to me in Panther. Our University has over 100 AppleTalk zones setup. In Panther I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get to them. I can see our root AppleTalk domains, such as bgsu.edu and cs.bgsu.edu, and SMB shares in the area, but I do not see the long list of AppleTalk zones we have on campus. If I want to get to our Student Publications server, which is physically sitting next to me right now, I cannot find it in the Network window of the Finder, even though it is the current AppleTalk zone. I have to connect to it using its DNS name or IP address. I just do not understand this at all, and am not happy with it at all. There are so many more improvements in Panther that I want to write about, but not in this article. There are enhancements all around the System Preferences, Mail is a lot nicer. I will have a forthcoming article on other improvements that I find helpful. But for now, I will dig for more new time saving features. Also posted at BlogCritics. I posted this at Macworld's Forums and got a lot of responses.

October 25, 2003

College GameDay in Bowling Green

As Stewart Scott would say "This is huge, real huge." Many are calling this game the "most important game in Bowling Green history." It is the first time that there has been a live broadcast from Doyt Perry Field.
"The MAC has been kicking butt the last few weeks," Lion said. "We actually wanted to go to a MAC game for awhile now and with Northern Illinois and Bowling Green doing very well this year ... This was probably going to be the only opportunity for us to actually come to a MAC game. It was always kind of high on our radar screens and when all the pieces of the puzzle kind of fit into place with other teams losing and making those matchups less appealing. So it was like, 'yeah let's pull the trigger and come to Bowling Green.'"
Source: BG News I still get floored when Chris Fowler or any of the other ESPN personalities talks about the MAC and BGSU specifically. But then it has been one heck of a season for the MAC this season. We will see if BGSU can beat NIU at 4 PM, it will be on ESPN 2.

October 26, 2003

Falcons Bowl over Northern Illinois

I forgot to mention one other fact about this game. This is the first time two ranked opponents played each other in the MAC since the 1970's. Josh Harris threw for 438 yards, a Doyt Perry Stadium record, a personal record, and rushed for 89 more, not to mention running in for one touchdown. Except Harris sticks out for everyone but the Unitas Award
According to the award's press release, the finalists are picked by a "select committee of football experts from across the United States." That committee couldn't pick itself out of a mirror.
Source: ESPN.com Some stupid (N. Illinois) fans were saying the only reason that ESPN was at Doyt Perry Field was because of N. Illinois. Yea. Right. That's why every ESPN personality that talked about the game picked the Falcons to win. Oh yea, they did, 43-18. Revenge sure is sweet! Here are some links: Harris throws for carrier-high 438 yards (ESPN.com) Harris steals show on MAC's big night (ESPN.com) Falcons Are 17th in AP Poll, 20th in ESPN/USA Today Poll (BGSUFalcons.com) Bowling Green Tops Northern Illinois In MAC Showdown (BGSUFalcons.com) Game Photo Gallery (BGSUFalcons.com) GameDay Photo Gallery (BGSUFalcons.com) What a great day for BGSU Falcon history! What a great day for sports! The Marlins won the World Series!

October 27, 2003

Palm Problems in Panther

After installing Panther and restarting you will see this error message if you have Palm Desktop installed. MacFixIt has a report on this as well. You need to take Transport Monitor out of your login items. Reinstall Palm Desktop 4.1 (which may or may not work, I have found this to be rather iffy). I was about to sync my Palm fine until yesterday. Now I cannot sync at all. I have read that if I copy my support files from Jaguar it will work. I have also read that that solution has not worked for some. It is basicly a crap shoot. And there is no word from Palm as of yet. I am trying to call their tech. support but I keep getting a 15 minute wait time.

Apple Student Discount

A friend of mine, Jill, went to the Apple Store in Columbus this weekend to buy Panther. She had her Student ID card, but they would not sell her Panther at the student rate. Saying that she would have to buy it from the Online Apple Store. Does that make sense? So they will believe you if you go to the Apple Store for Education online, but they will not accept an actual Student ID in person? That is a crock.

Panther Install On Our G5

I had the exact same problems with Macromedia Studio MX 2004 on our G5 at work. This seems to be a well documented issue on Macromedia Forums as well as on MacFixIt. The way I fixed it on my PowerBook was to reinstall the entire Macromedia Suite. I will get to that later, I do not have time to do that now. Getting Quark 6 and Quark License Administrator working again was actually not that hard. And for the second time in a row I got nice tech. support from Quark! This is amazing, as even their sales staff has a history of being nasty on the phone. Yea, we finally got Quark 6 in. It only took them 3 days after I called them back. I ordered it a good 2 months ago, and wondered where the hell it was. When I called back the sales person said our order was in as a quote and not an actual purchase. Morons. I guess they do not want our money. I will never understand that company. But like I said I have gotten good tech. support the last two times I called (both related to Quark License Administrator.) Quark 6 comes with no printed manuals, just like Macromedia Studio MX 2004. What the heck is going on here? What happened to printed manuals? I'm sorry but I burn my eye balls out enough as it is, I prefer to look at a physical book when I want help with my software. After upgrading to Panther, I had to reinstall QuarkXPress Components, which resides in the "For System" folder in the Quark 6 folder. These are shared library files. Interestingly enough this is the exact same problem with Palm syncing. Quark License Administrator works in Panther no problems. I just had to re-add it to the startup items. Since it has taken Quark 2+ years to get a Mac OS X version out it is nice that it actually works in Panther.

October 28, 2003

Palm Problems in Panther, Part 2

I called Palm about this Panther Problem(tm). The tech. said they do not support Panther yet. So the wishy washy reports of people both being able to use, and not use HotSync are not even open to discussion with the Palm techs. When I started using Panther, HotSync worked. Now its a no go. I was smart enough to make a backup of my 10.2.8 drive though, thanks to Carbon Copy Cloner. I now have that running on one of my bus powered FireWire drives, and am using that to sync my Palm. For the time being I am only concerned about sync'ing my FileMaker Pro files. So this will do. Lets hope that Palm has a Panther Solution(tm) soon!

WindowShade X Panther Update; Squash the Developer

WindowShade X, by Unsanity, falls under the "and why is this not part of the OS?" discussion. But, I am very glad the folks at Unsanity took the time to develop such a nice app. It costs $10 (it was $7 when I bought it) and is worth every penny. And they have never asked for an upgrade fee. WindowShade X is by far one of the top 5 pieces of shareware on Mac OS X, IMO. It started as a simple mimic of the OS 9 Window Shade feature. It has blossomed into much then that. I was content with the simple Window Shade behavior (collapse the window into the title bar) but now you can do many more things, such as collapse a window into a thumbnail version (called Minimize-in-Place), which you can drag around the screen, for example. The best new(ish) feature in WindowShade X is being able to WindowShade a window by twice pressing the Command or Control key. I have used WindowShade X since it first was released mainly because I do not like the behavior of minimizing windows in the Dock. And to be honest I am shocked that Apple has not incorporated this feature into OS X yet, I mean they have clearly stepped on so many other shareware developer's shoes in the past. Can you say Watson? The latest instence of this happening is with LiteSwitch X, which the new Application Switcher looks like, a lot. Labels X (also by Unsanity) is no longer needed either. On this issue I am sitting on the fence. I would much rather have these types of features built into the OS then have to run 3rd party prefPane's, hacks, and apps to get the same effect. Sure, Sherlock 3 is not as fast as Watson, and does not have ALL the modules of Watson, but I do not have to pay for it. Paying for Labels X is something you should not have to do. Paying for WindowShade X is something you should not have to do. Paying for LiteSwitch X is something you should not have to do. I could go on and on here, there are other shareware apps that have been incorporated into the 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3 releases of OS X. WindowShade is still a feature not incorporated into OS X. I think it is only a matter of time. On the other side (of the fence) you have shareware developers who in many cases have far superior products. That is what makes it worth the cost, as well as the fact that it is "missing" from OS X. Much of the shareware for OS X is there because it is "missing" from the OS. I am sure that if Apple incorporated the WindowShade feature into an OS X update, it would not be as nice as WindowShade X by Unsanity. Sherlock 3 is not anywhere near as nice as Watson (yes, I am a Watson owner). Another good example, and please excuse the plug, but Path Finder is a much richer Finder experience IMO (I help with the development of Path Finder). So in that vein I do not think Apple should step on the toes of the very loyal developer community. And it looks like that happens all to often. Also posted at BlogCritics.

The Panther Roars (in Pain)

"The failure to back up my iBook before a major overhaul like Panther is a nitwit mistake, one paid for by a weekend's worth of troubleshooting -- most of it blind blundering about -- trying to fix it. Luckily, Panther was eventually installed and the files saved. And, I'm delighted to say, so far it's been worth all the pain it caused." Source: WIRED

'There' Limited Access

There has been in development for 6 years! I am pretty sure I saw it at SIGGRAPH. Check out the What is There page. Of course this means yet another way to virtually have a life (while sitting in your underwear drinking Mt. Dew) but it is a very cool concept. They even have sponsors like Nike and Levis. I had the opportunity once to create a VR world in a class here at BGSU called "Artistic Virtual Environments." That was once of the best classes I have ever taken. I remember it was the first interdisciplinary class like it here. It was a blast to make a virtual world. There is not like a CAVE by any means, but it looks to be almost as immersive as a CAVE. I guess they are going to charge more for voice capabilities, I think that is lame. I hope There gets off the ground fully soon. It looks like a lot of fun to explore. You will need a PC as I found out. They have a survey to take, and they include Mac OS in it, which makes no sense to me as they will email you and tell you your hardware does not qualify. I had to email them back and tell them what I thought about that, and that I have a PC that can handle There. So I am on a list and waiting to get another email about testing There out. I can't wait!

October 29, 2003

'Playmakers' is Entertainment

The ESPN show is great! You want to know something? Sex sells. It does not matter if it is homosexual or not. As a matter of fact, homosexuality sells a lot more then heterosexuality these days. I think we have seen this in recent history, from "Ellen" to "Queer Eye for a Strait Guy." Hey Paul Tagliabue (and the rest of the NFL) this is entertainment! Take a chill. Say this with me: This show isn't based on reality. This show isn't based on reality. I am a bit surprised that the NFL is reacting like this. Are dramas about the police always drawn in a good light? If ESPN pulls the plug on a second season on it will be because of the NFL. And if the NFL pushes for that, I think some people need to grow up and distinguish the drama from the reality. Here is a quote from Paul Tagliabue, "a gross characterization of our sport." Excuse me? Do you want to talk about character? How about Rae Carruth being convicted of murder? Now that is character, or, well, lack thereof. I thought this was a drama, is a Soap Opera for men (imagine that). So, a more accurate statement would be "a gross dramatization of our sport." That might be true, truer than one might expect. But this is TV, and like Hollywood, there are exaggerations. Lets start with the gay player, Thad, who happens to be the best player on the team. Throughout the previous episodes all the other players profess that Thad is the center to the team. But he's gay. There are some other situations that are addressed in this show. How about Demitrius Harris? He is a drug addict. He lies to the cops about a murder. How about Leon Taylor? He beats his wife! And the quarterback is a womanizer, he has the trainer take care of his girlfriend's abortion. But beating your wife and getting pulled over with cocaine and covering up for a murder are far worse then a player being gay. Or is it? I could go on to the other more fleshed out characters in this soap. There are many other situations being discussed in . But I think the gay issue is paramount, and it has been building the last 4 or so episodes to tonight's well written climax. The NFL and the AWSM (Association for Women in Sports Media) need to chill. This is a drama. It is entertainment. I also happens that they are tackling some rather real world situations. This show being on ESPN does not hurt either. I am waiting to see Boomer though. Using personalities like Jim Rome ("Rome is Burning"), Thea Andrews ("Cold Pizza") and the ESPN brand is the glue that makes this show stick. Next episode has Snoop Dogg in it. Now who is going to watch next Tuesday? I am. ESPN, just like any other broadcasting company, is out to make money. It just happens that ESPN is the one and only station that has the resources from the sports news world to make a sports drama work. Lighten up, don't get your jock straps in a bunch. is not the first show to not accurately depict sports. If it did, it would not be entertaining and it would not sell. But tell me something: Do you tune into more fictional or non fictional TV and movies? I went Googling: Popular '' hasn't won over NFL '' under fire Women's sports media group protests `' Message to the NFL: lighten up! Also posted at BlogCritics.

Is the Sun blowing up?

I don't know, but this video is pretty interesting (mpg).

Halloween Countdown

The witching week has arrived - we count down to All Hallows Eve, the night when the dead walk the earth and collect commercial confections for their efforts, with a variety of stories, reviews and reminiscences befitting the occasion. Join in the ghoulish fun, won't you? BlogCritics has a number of Halloween related posts to check out! Don't forget to vote in my poll "What is Your Favorite Scary Movie Series?" As for a Halloween post of my own? I have a rather scary amount of work to get done! :-P

AppleTalk in Panther

This is my biggest gripe about Panther. I could not browse all the AppleTalk zones on campus. Today I found the answer at MacFixIt, which is such a great site for issues like this.
MacFixIt reader Matthew Kelly points out one reason many users are unable to see AppleTalk volumes in the "Network" browser: installing Panther evidently disables AppleTalk in Directory Services. To enable AppleTalk, open the Directory Access utility (in /Applications/Utilities) and enable AppleTalk. (You should also make sure that you've enabled AppleTalk for the network port over which you access your local network.)
Shazam! It worked! Now why in the world does Panther install with AppleTalk turned off? Are they trying give us all a hint? I am sure they are. Apple does not want people using AppleTalk any more. One of the biggest changes in the jump to Mac OS X was using TCP/IP as the basis for networking, not AppleTalk. Mac OS 9 actually started doing this, but not to the extent at which OS X uses it. I would have to agree too, TCP/IP is used by the rest of the world. But to turn AppleTalk off completely in Panther? Why? Our university still uses AppleTalk, and I am sure there are a lot of other places, besides educational institutions that still use AppleTalk as well. Also posted at BlogCritics.

October 30, 2003

Today Leo Said...

"Yes, Jessica has great tips." Everyone on set starts busting into laughter. Indeed, Jessica has great "tips." Live TV is wonderful isn't it?

Panther Weblog

Check this blog out! It already has some cool tips on it. And more have been added as I type this post. I put it in my blogroll, so check back regularly.

POPFile Installed on OS X

I cannot express in words how happy I am. A picture is worth a thousand words right? How many words is a dynamic picture worth? Using these instructions you too can be as SPAM free as I, all while running Mac OS X. Special Thanks to Neil Lee on his help on the config.in file. Just a warning. This requires the instillation of the Developer Tools, which comes with OS X these days. The new version of POPFile uses the BerklyDB perl module, these files need to be compiled. But don't fret, this is very easy to do even if you are a nOOb at the command line. If all goes well you can just copy the commands from Neil's site and paste them into the Terminal. The end result is more then worth the hassle. Let me say that again. The end result of running POPFile on Mac OS X is more then worth the hassle of compiling some files in the command line. Why? POPFile offers a superior bayesian SPAM filtering system with "buckets" and "magnets" to provide the best SPAM filtering system known to man. Mac OS X Mail does not have bayesian filtering in it (score one for Outlook 2003, that is IF you want to pay the steep upgrade fee) and that is not good enough for me. Mac OS X Mail is pretty good after you train it for a while. But it is nowhere near as accurate as using POPFile. I have used POPFile for a full 8 months on my PC, and it got up to 99% accurate, and to the point to where there were NO false positives. SpamSieve is an option, but it does not work with Mail (It works with IMAP but not POP). You also have to use AppleScripts to identify what is SPAM and what is real mail. I used this app back when I used Entourage X. I did not like this AppleScript solution. Not one bit. SpamSlam is also a pretty good app to kill SPAM. I tried SpamSlam, it is not that bad, but the setup of this app is a lot. Both of these solutions are good. They both employ bayesian filtering. They both have nice clean instillations. They are both not worth it. Not in comparison to POPFile. No disrespect to SpamSieve or SpamSlam here. Did I mention POPFile is free, and open source (and is in very active development). Oh, you are still cringing at the command line stuff? Stop your whining and get your hands a little dirty in the Terminal. Stopping SPAM is worth it. This is the first part in a multipart series on POPFile and Mac OS X. Next I will discuss installing POPFile and setup of Mail and Entourage X to work with it. If you can't wait, follow these instructions for a very clear step by step how-to. UPDATE 11/05/03 Michael Artz has instructions for setting this up as well, but I emailed him saying they did not work, this is because the instructions were not for the new version of POPFile. Michael just emailed me saying that his instructions are updated. Although Michael claims otherwise, both sets of instructions do in fact have a downloadable StartupItem. Michael does have a full explanation about creating the StartupItem by scratch, as well as a note for Fink users. So at this point either set of instructions will get you to your end goal. When I posted this, Neil Lee's instructions were it. And to be honest I still prefer his instructions. Also posted at BlogCritics.

Adobe PDF Printer Missing in Panther

Here is another problem I did not notice at first. But when I checked, sure enough the Adobe PDF printer was gone from the list of printers. Following these steps worked, I am now able to print to the virtual printer again in Panther. Another great tip from MacFixIt. Yesterday we covered an issue where installing Panther disabled the Adobe PDF Printer virtual printer; we directed readers to an Adobe Forums thread where Adobe had made available a shell script for recreating/reinstalling Adobe PDF Printer. Reader Len Goff passed along a set of manual instructions for recreating this virtual PDF printer: 1. Launch Printer Setup Utility from the Applications/Utilities folder 2. Hold down the Option key and click the Add button in the Printer List Window 3. Select Advanced from the Printer conncetion drop down menu 4. In the Device Field, select Adobe PDF (pdf) 5. For Device Name, type Adobe PDF 6. For Device URI, type pdf://www.adobe.com 7. For Printer Model, select Adobe 8. Click OK

Microsoft Bloggers

A very long list.

Napster 2.0 Review

Here is a very exhausting and thorough review of Napster 2.0 which includes the good and the bad. Check it out.

Turn your iSight into a digital camcorder

This is pretty sweet. It works really well. iRecordNow is the software. Check it out, you can request a 1 day demo license. It uses QuickTime to compress your audio and video. I just wish for the $150 cost of the iSight you got software like this. Or that you could record your A/V conversations. Maybe in a new release of iChat? Who knows. But for now iRecordNow is pretty fun to play with. And makes good use of the somewhat expensive iSight (or any video camera for that matter). Now I can make movies of how cluttered my desk is, great! As you can see (296 kb mov), I don't care if you think I look like a nerd, I prefer geek, anyway.

Even Microsoft wants G5s - Just Don't Tell anyone

But you might get fired for letting out the secret. This poor guy has had his 15 minutes of fame though. I bet you never thought blogging would get you fired. It seems the combination of the photo of palettes of G5's on the M$ Campus and the name of what office was in which building was the breach of security protocol that got this guy canned. My opinion? Pathetic Microsoft, pathetic. I bet SixApart loved the slashdotting. (the blog is hosted on TypePad) Just take a look at the number of trackbacks and comments on his original post! Source: UtterlyBoring.com

October 31, 2003

Web patent critics spotlight old technology

Here is more info on the Eolas' patent suit against Microsoft.
The Web community is rummaging desperately through dusty technology archives, in a bid to overturn a sweeping patent verdict that could force major changes on the Internet's most popular software products. Companies and standards bodies are hoping to unearth technology that predates the patent and performs essentially the same functions--a legal concept known as "prior art."
Source: C|Net Frankly, I think this suit for Eolas is a bit of a joke. The only reason Eolas is going after this is because they can, because Microsoft is a big target. What M$ has had to do to IE 6 is pathetic, it is a major annoyance to the web browsing experience. And this time M$ is not to blame, its Eolas' falt. I understand intellectual property, but this is 2003, for how many years has the entire world used technology that is under fire here in this suit? Wouldn't you bring this up, say in 1995? I hope that some "prior art" can be found in this case.

Apple will fix security flaws in Jaguar

I saw this one coming, and so did most of the Mac community. Those columnists over at C|Net and other tech. sites that just love to pounce on a story and criticize Apple can go shove it. @ Shake found some security flaws with Jaguar, and since Apple did not immediately put out some PR about fixing it, they get nailed with "they are not updating Jaguar because they want you to spend $130 for Panther" bull shit. Know your facts. The flaws that @ Shake can only be detrimental to Jaguar if the person has physical access to the machine, that means they have to be sitting at your computer. Now if someone is sitting at your computer and doing something he should not be, that is YOUR fault not Apple's fault.
Apple Computer Inc. said in a statement given to MacCentral on Friday that the company would be fixing security flaws uncovered in Mac OS X Jaguar by Cambridge, MA-based security research firm @Stake earlier this week. Some have speculated that Apple would not update the older Jaguar operating system since the release of Mac OS X Panther on October 24, 2003, but Apple has put that speculation to rest.
Source: MacCentral It seems that C|Net has even replaced the article bad mouthing Apple with their new article about Apple patching Jaguar. Smart move C|Net, smart move.

OU hosts unmatched Halloween bash '03

Ohio might not be the Spring Break destination of choice, but we do have the best Halloween party. I am not going this year, but I have been down to Athens twice for the annual Halloween bash. The first time I went down, a friend's tires got slashed :sad:. But other then that, its a blast every year I go. By Joe Bugbee Pulse Writer They call it the largest block party in the world, and in a sense, it probably is. The annual Halloween bash at Ohio University takes up four city blocks, caters to roughly 20,000 to 30,000 dressed up college students and costs anywhere between $40,000 to $50,000 to put on. Now that's a block party. The party starts today in Athens and continues throughout the weekend, climaxed by a swarm of enthusiastic collegians, dressed up in all sorts of outfits parading on Court Street. There is food, drinking and the occasional arrest, but no doubt about it -- it is one of the most highly anticipated gatherings in Ohio. Larry Payne, the president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce said that word about the Halloween party has spread not only throughout the state but to neighboring states as well. "It's one of those things that's spreading by name," Payne said. "Students from the University of Michigan and Penn State come down, but mainly it's a statewide event." Payne said that one of the main reasons the party draws so many people from around the state is a "curiosity thing." "Some people may just come for a couple of hours to see what it is like," he said. The reason why people pass through is because of the enormity of the event. "If you're intimidated by thousands of people, you probably shouldn't come," Payne said. But what is odd about the bash is that many students from OU actually go home on a big weekend such as this one, he said. To spread things out a little more, event coordinators have set up two bandstands and are trying to designate areas strictly for food and beverages. "When thousands of people are shoulder to shoulder [it can get a little uncomfortable]," Payne said. The event unofficially starts tonight when students usually have house parties and go out to the bars. On Saturday, the town is not only filled to the brim with students from OU and other schools, but locals as well. Misti Smith, an office manager at the Chamber of Commerce said that because some of the costumes worn by partiers can be a bit risqué, families with young children should look the other way. In fact, they usually are out of the way by 11 p.m., then the students take over. " When you get a lot of drunk college students together, there are going be some different costumes," Smith said. Some of the costumes in the past, Smith said, have included kissing booths, pregnant nuns (with the "naughty" priests behind them), pimps and even mammogram machines. If these kissing booths, nuns or mammogram machines happen to get out of control, there will be plenty of police around, including forces brought in from outside Athens to settle things down. Every Halloween in Athens results in about 40 arrests, usually relating to girls lifting their tops or public urination. But, according to Payne, the friendly atmosphere outweighs some of the troublemakers. "If people come down here with that attitude [to have a good time], then the atmosphere will be very friendly," he said. © 2003 The BG News

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