Recent Mac Software Posts



January 12, 2009

Set Default Email Account in Entourage with AppleScript

You would think that by 2008 Entourage would allow you to chose the default email account in, oh I don't know, the preferences screen. No, that is too much to ask.

Here is the solution, an AppleScript:

tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
	
	set homeAccount to IMAP account named "Meancode"
	
	set default mail account to homeAccount
	
end tell

January 26, 2008

Entourage 2008: Execute Script is Gone

When developers start taking features out of programs, it is really baffling. Microsoft does this all the time. Office 2008 no longer has support for Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) for example, leaving many people with intricate VBA-based workflows scratching their heads.

Office 2008 is a joke of an upgrade from 2004. In four full years they have not made one year of improvements. In a nutshell, that is my review of Office 2008 as an entire package.

One thing they decided was important to delete was access to the Scripts menu from the right-click menu of Entourage 2008 via the Execute Script sub-menu. I use SpamSieve, it is a great product. When you want to train a message flagged as "spam" to be "good" you right-click the offending message and go to Execute Script > SpamSieve - Train Good.

In Entourage 2008, Scripts no longer shows up in the contextual menu, why? You have to go to the actual scripts menu in the menu bar at the top of the screen. What a pain. The only way to get the Scripts functionality back is to write a Rule that performs an AppleScript, because of course you can use the right-click menu to apply a Rule.

Office came out of the oven half baked, from privelege errors to file permission errors, and many other known issues. I sure am glad I am not using 10.5 yet on my G5, because AppleScript and Automator Scripts do not work in Entourage 2008 under Leopard.

January 22, 2008

Entourage 2008: This Link Might Be a Fraud

According to Entourage 2008, every link in an email might be a fraud, it seems.

Picture%2050.png

So very annoying. Now, not every link you click on gives this dialog box, but I have found that links in HTML formatted newsletters, like the Basecamp newsletter used in this example, always provoke this dialog.

Microsoft, this is not a phishing attempt. 37 Signals is not trying to hijack my identity. They are, in fact, tracking how many click on their email newsletter. You see, I can tell the difference. If your software cannot, then this new "feature" in Entourage 2008 is worthless to me.

Now, how do I turn the damn thing off?

April 15, 2007

Adobe Creative Suites: Six Versions of CS3

At first glance, Adobe's pricing structure for Creative Suite 3 is insane. They are no longer offering two versions -- oh no -- they now have six different configurations to chose from. Creative Suite 3 comes in Design Premium and Standard, Web Premium and Standard, Production Premium, and the one box to rule them all, Master Collection.

Why would they do this? Well, for one, they bought Macromedia and are rolling out CS3 versions of (most) all of their acquired goodies. Why didn't Director get the CS3 treatment? Who knows, but Flash, Dreamweaver, Contribute and Fireworks did.

Continue reading "Adobe Creative Suites: Six Versions of CS3" »

January 20, 2006

Foxmarks for Firefox

Foxmarks is an extension for Firefox that synchronizes bookmarks across multiple machines. It uses a system similar to how .Mac and Safari work - only without that $99 a year charge. Using the Foxmarks server is free, and syncing is easy.

Considering I now dominantly use Firefox, this is one of the greatest extensions I have found for Firefox.

Pimp My Safari

Safari has its own extendibility - although it may not have the developer community behind it like Firefox has. Pimp My Safari lists all the latest Safari plugins. As the homepage suggests: Saft, PithHelmet, and SafariStand are the best plugins to get.

January 19, 2006

Free MacUpdate Paid Membership For 2006

This promotion is only good for January. You do not get ALL of the features of a paid account, but you do get most. I personally like VersionTracker but free is free.

MacUpdate, for those who do not know, "watches the latest Macintosh software updates every day, all day long, so you can keep your software up-to-date with the most current bug fixes and features." MacUpdate keeps track of Mac OS 9 and OS X software. In contrast, VersionTracker keeps track of Mac OS 9, OS X, Windows, and Palm software.

Both charge too much if you ask me.

January 14, 2006

Microsoft Axes Windows Media Player For Mac, Provides Alternative

Citing "business priorities," Microsoft will no longer develop Windows Media Player (WMP) for the Mac. This comes days after Microsoft announced continued Mac support for Office at the Macworld Keynote. That agreement only dealt with Office, giving them free reign to axe anything else. Microsoft already dropped Internet Explorer for Mac.

Continue reading "Microsoft Axes Windows Media Player For Mac, Provides Alternative" »

First Look: iWork '06

Rob Griffiths has an iWork '06 first look piece online. It looks like the new bullet feature alone is worth the cost. It has a lot of other nice new features of course.

January 11, 2006

Disable iTunes 6.0.2's MiniStore

...What it also offered, but didn't bother to disclose, was the addition of a bit of spyware to the iTunes interface. As reported on boingboing and other sites, the new iTunes mini store, which appears directly below the song list area in the main iTunes window, spies on your listening habits.
Source: Mac OS X Hints

You will also notice on Hints that Rob has been told that Apple (by Apple) is not mining any data from you. Which is good. But thanks Apple for putting that "feature" in the update note!

You disable the mini store by just collapsing it. But I find it a cool feature. Even if it has Big Brother written all over it.

December 19, 2005

Microsoft Officially Drops IE For Mac, Recommends Safari

Microsoft stated two years ago that support for Internet Explorer for Mac would end in 2005. It has finally been two years. Two very long and painful years if you ask me.

In a note posted to Microsoft's Mactopia Web site, "Microsoft will end support for Internet Explorer for Mac on December 31st, 2005, and will provide no further security or performance updates." This is already the case, but only unofficially. They will also pull downloads of IE for Mac as of January 31st, 2006.

Continue reading "Microsoft Officially Drops IE For Mac, Recommends Safari" »

November 12, 2005

Reader Response: PDFMaker

Just wanted to say thanks for the fix of the Acro PDFMaker toolbar. Holy &*#$!, that was ticking me off!

Next time I'm in town I'll buy you a beer.
Corey

I am always glad to help! And a beer is usually a good start.

October 26, 2005

No More .Mac For Me

I have been a .Mac user and supporter for years. But alas this time around I cannot justify the $99 a year price tag. This is because of a number of factors. The main problem I have is that .Mac services are duplicated in cheaper services I pay for. I have a web host, and I have grown to not use the iCal and iPhoto integration of .Mac. With the advent of bigger USB thumb drives I find I do not even use my iDisk anymore. That was the last straw.

Continue reading "No More .Mac For Me" »

October 19, 2005

Close-up on Aperture

When I heard that Apple was going to make an announcement to coincide with the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City, I expected to see an advanced version of iPhoto. What I got was something so much more exciting—a pro-level application that promises to finally make working with raw images as easy as working with JPEGs.
Source: MacWorld

If anyone can make the RAW format easy to use it is Apple. But is Aperture a Photoshop killer? Priced at $499, it could cut into Adobe's Mac sales. I wonder how Adobe will react to this one?

September 25, 2005

Double clicking/drag and drop Photoshop files opens application but not file

This is most commonly due to installing Photoshop CS before doing an archive and install of Mac OS10.3.

The easiest solution is to reinstall Photoshop CS after you have installed Mac OS10.3 or OS 10.4 Easiest way to reinstall Photoshop without disturbing the original install is to install to your desktop. after the install is done just trash the Photoshop folder on the desktop.

Source: Adobe Forums

Another mystery solved! This is such an annoying problem that I now know how to fix at work.

September 23, 2005

.Mac's best new feature

...individual .Mac accounts now offer 10GB of data transfer—up from 3GB previously. And for those who purchase an additional 1GB of storage space from Apple for $50 a year, the total bandwidth is 25GB. With these greater limits, I think few .Mac users will have problems with bandwidth from now on. And for that, I say good job.
Source: MacCentral

As if the 1 GB of combined iDisk and email storage was not enough, you now get 10 GB of bandwidth a month for your $100, not to mention all the other features you get. A lot of Mac shareware developers use .Mac to host their downloads, and it is really annoying when they have no more bandwidth left for that month.

I personally pay for .Mac for seamless sync of my PowerBook and my G5. The upgrade to 1 GB of file storage was enough of a reason for me to renew my membership this year.

September 20, 2005

PSP Video Export in Toast 7

Toast 7 is really great. It is a big improvement over Toast 6. There seems to be a bug with the PSP Video export feature in Toast 7.0.1 however. Toast crashes every time you try and export to PSP Video. I have been in contact with the Roxio technical support lead after posting and receiving feedback on the Roxio forums.

Continue reading "PSP Video Export in Toast 7" »

September 15, 2005

Hands-on with Toast 7

When it's time to burn music, photos, or movies to CDs and DVDs, many Mac users turn to Toast, which has just undergone a major overhaul from Roxio. Sure, this latest version bears some resemblance to Toast 6, but Toast 7 Titanium features some of the most substantial changes to the program in years.
Source: MacCentral

Why write a review when someone else has done it already? But Peter is right. One of the other most substantial changes is that it has a manual. Make that a printed manual. I don't remember seeing such a well put together manual (read: more then 5 pages) since Toast 3.

Continue reading "Hands-on with Toast 7" »

August 29, 2005

Toast 7 includes PSP video export; many new features

Roxio at the end of the month will release a new version of their CD and DVD burning software for the Mac — Toast 7 Titanium. While the new release looks similar to its predecessor, it features extensive changes under the hood, including support for the DivX video compression format, the ability to browse iLife content and many other changes.
Source: MacCentral

Forget iPSP - which last I checked was not that great - I will use Toast 7 for all my PSP video needs. I rely on Toast for all my other burning needs as it is. Buy.com has Toast 7 for $78.99, by the way.

It will be interesting to see how this DivX support in Toast 7 is, as he official DivX site says the latest version of the DivX codec is not compatible with QuickTime 7, and therefor OS 10.4.

I am also glad to see that Roxio added all the goodies that are in their Popcorn app to Toast 7.

Data spanning is another welcome feature. This is a big upgrade from 6.0.x, and I am really looking forward to it.

July 31, 2005

Reader Response: Killing PDFMaker

Just wanted to drop a line and give a big THANK YOU for helping me get rid of that super annoying toolbar. I owe you a beverage of your choice if you're ever in Atlanta. :)

I did notice that the file path for the .dot, .ppa, and .xla file is slightly different than what you have laid out in your article. I found the path to be Hard Drive/Applications/Microsoft Office 2004/ Office/Startup/App. No biggie, but if you're still updating the doc, I thought you might want to know. Thanks again for the help!

David

Thanks David, when I wrote this, it was for Office v. X. When I updated it for Office 2004 I guess I missed the change in the path. So thanks, I fixed the path for good now (I hope).

As you can see I have had a lot of "thank yous" on this one. From both Breaking Windows, and on Blogcritics. I even got hit by Slashdot for this post. You are very welcome, I am glad to help.

July 25, 2005

Yahoo! acquires Konfabulator

Yahoo! Inc. on Monday will announce the acquisition of Konfabulator... company executives said they would also be giving Konfabulator away for free.

Yahoo! said the reason they purchased Konfabulator was that they wanted an easy way to open up its APIs to the developer community and allow them easy access to the information on the Yahoo! Web site.

Source: Macworld News

It looks to me like Yahoo! has out googled Google. It sounds like a great idea - to be able to mine Yahoo! services with the Konfabulator GUI. Giving it away for free is a nice touch. Now I will download it for Windows and see how much that messes things up.

July 20, 2005

Reader Response: Entourage 2004 error -17099

Ken,

I found your post concerning Entourage and error 17099. I received this error last night for the first time. I teach an online course and was sending an email to a group (created a group in address book with students email addresses) and blocking their email addresses from being seen. I had done this several other times and it worked fine.

Once the progress window completed, I rec’d the error message. Thinking that it had not gone out, I left it in my Outbox to try again (every five minutes). A couple hours later I heard from one of my students – she’d rec’d the message 29 times.

All other functions in Entourage are working fine. I receive and send email with no errors. But, I just tried to send another group email and the same error occurred. I assume that the email is going through, but am vexed by the error message.

Did you learn anything else about this situation? Was your similar? What to do?

Sorry for the long email – just wanted to be thorough – not trying to bore you.

Thanks,
Jane

Thanks for the email Jane. I got that error once and once only *knocks on wood* so I still do not know what it was all about. I send emails to groups of upwards of 7,000 people using Entourage 2004, and that has never triggered the error. So I am also still looking for the answer...

July 1, 2005

PHP Studio released

Neometric Software has released PHP Studio 1.0. The software lets users write, visualized and test PHP Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) code. PHP Studio costs US$25 to register and requires Mac OS X v10.3 or later.
Source: MacCentral

I wonder how it stacks up to Zend Studio 4, which costs a lot more, but is a lot more complete.

But the $25 price tag is great for casual PHP work. If you don't use Dreamweaver, or Zend Studio, this might be something to look into.

PHP Studio has a searchable Functions Browser that is nice. The Help Browser is nothing more then a window that loads the documentation on php.net. But that is still helpful nonetheless.

June 25, 2005

Review: Virtual PC 7

I have had it with Virtual PC 7
I have been meaning to review Virtual PC 7 for some time now. So I guess you could call this a review of the latest and greatest version of Virtual PC. I must admit up front though, it is by someone who is very pissed off about wasting so much time and money on a promise.

Continue reading "Review: Virtual PC 7" »

June 24, 2005

Macworld reviews Adobe CS2

Macworld recently reviewed Adobe Photoshop (Adobe talks), Illustrator (Adobe talks), InDesign (Adobe talks), and GoLive (Adobe talks), all part of the CS2 suite. Macworld has also posted an "Adobe talks" series that goes further into the new Creative Suite, this series has a good bit of information.

Today they added a review of Adobe Bridge and a piece on Bridge and VersionCue.

May 4, 2005

What is Error -17099 in Entourage?

I am using Office 2004, Mac OS X 10.3.9.  I get the following error when sending an email:

Temporary local problem - please try later

Mail cound not be sent.

Error -17099

Database Utility tells me my database is working correctly. I did a rebuild and recieved a heck of a lot of strange email.  Headers in the body of the email, Emails from different people then stated in the From field, complete garbage, old old emails.  I do not know if this is an issue with my server or Entourage.  First, however, I would like to find out what this error -17099 is about. I get the error after restarting, and rebuilding Entourage.  It is something I have never seen before.

I am able to send using my GMail account, but nothing else in Entourage.

This problem went away a couple days ago and has never come back. Really strange. The microsoft.public.mac.office.entourage newsgroup didn't seem to know either, as I have not yet gotten a reply there.

April 30, 2005

Delicious Library gets Tiger ready; fixes bugs

There are a lot of software titles that are gearing up for Tiger (which is very worth the price tag, by the way) but none with quite the list of updates and bug fixes than Delicious Library. One of my favorite apps has been bumped to 1.5. It has a number of Tiger-centric features, and some welcome changes and bug fixes.

I really like the new way of selecting items once scanner or input. You can choose what country catalog to pull the information for. This is a great UI enhancement. The list of possible matches also does not take you to another window like in 1.1. It now displays the list of possible matches with the rest of the Enter Item options. This cuts down on mouse clicks if you have to go back or need to manually edit something. It is a small, but nice touch.

The edition of correctly sized PSP and DS game boxes is also nice.

I wish I could rearrange the shelves. I am also hoping for a nice web export that has more options then DeliciousExporter, although that does a heck of a job as it is.

April 20, 2005

Analysis: Considering Adobe's future

When I got up Monday morning, turned on my computer, and saw the headline in my inbox “Adobe buys Macromedia,” I just thought, “Isn't April Fools behind us?” But a quick check of the New York Times, Adobe and Macromedia Web sites confirmed the $3.4 billion deal. If all goes according to plan, come this fall, Macromedia will be no more and Adobe will own not only its own stable of graphic design applications, but also a barrel full of complementary and competitive programs. Adobe Flash, anyone?
Source: MacCentral

More opinion on the Macromedia buyout. I agree with it, and really hope his prediction of Dreamweaver's future is true.

April 18, 2005

Adobe to buy Macromedia for $3.4 billion

Adobe Systems Inc. has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Macromedia Inc. for US$3.4 billion in stock, the company said Monday.
Source: MacCentral

And then there was one...

This is a bombshell, and is not good. Not good at all. Competition fuels creativity. Look what Adobe has forced Quark to do. If InDesign was never released, we might not be seeing Quark 6.5, much less Quark 5.0 at this point. Think of how many years Quark 3.3 and 4.0 were out. With no competition, development gets stagnant, and that is not good for the customers.

The same could be said about a lot of companies. Why the NFL wanted only one license holder is beyond me, but now we only get NFL games from EA. That is just great (sarcasm). A different market for sure, but EA holds a monopoly akin to what Adobe now has.

Continue reading "Adobe to buy Macromedia for $3.4 billion" »

Apple updates Pro video software line

Just as expected, Apple has updated its Pro video software at this year's NAB conference. Production Studio has become Final Cut Studio. Not only do we have new versions of Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Soundtrack (now Pro as well) and Motion, but Shake 4 made its debut too.

MacCentral has a write up on the new features in Final Cut Studio and Shake 4.

I guess you could say that Apple went to Vegas in style this year. But NAB has been known for the venue to show off Final Cut Pro.

All the new features seem pretty standard fare. The addition of Logic Pro features in Soundtrack Pro is an interesting choice. DVD Studio Pro's technical specifications for HD playback requires version 10.4.1 of OS X is also peculiar. This leads me to believe they are adding HD DVD playback in the first dot rev of 10.4.

April 7, 2005

HOW-TO: PSPcasting on your Mac

PSPCasting on the Windows side is fairly well documented, achieved by combining Videora and PSP Video 9 to pull down videos via BitTorrent and convert them to MP4 format for transfer to the PSP. There isn’t a single solution yet for achieving the same on the Mac side, but with some very minimal manual intervention we can automagically download and prepare a bunch of new video content for our PlayStation Portables using the ANT RSS video aggregator in combination with the PSPWare syncing application.
Source: Engadget

Engadget has full details, so check out the link.

March 30, 2005

PocketMac for PSP debuts

Right on the heels of Sony's North American release of its PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld game console, Information Appliance Associates has released PocketMac for PSP. The software enables users to synchronize music, photos and contact information between their Mac and PSP.
Source: MacCentral

Now we have iPSP, PSPWare, and PocketMac for PSP, all trading punches for Mac PSP owners. iPSP is down right unusable. PSPWare is a simple and elegant application - and works, unlike iPSP. Now PocketMac for PSP will convert your contacts into JPEG images for display on your PSP. I must investigate...

There is no demo. Forget that. It also looks as if there is no backup utility in this app. I am sticking with PSPWare.

March 26, 2005

PSP, WEP, and Apple's AirPort

Setting up a PSP with an Apple Airport is a bit different then going down to the local Grounds for Thought (simple setup). The reason is those places, coffee shops, usually do not use WEP (Wireless Encryption Protocol) and in my apartment, I do.

Continue reading "PSP, WEP, and Apple's AirPort" »

March 23, 2005

iPSP reviews look bad

I was really looking forward to using iPSP to turn my PSP into a personal multimedia gadget. Now it looks like I would be better off doing it myself. The reviews on MacUpdate sound horrible. It looks like there are other PSP related apps in the works for the Mac though.

PSPWare looks like it might be the way to go. I will check both of them out, but am already leery of iPSP.

March 22, 2005

POPFile wins Jolt Productivity Award

... POPFile won a Jolt "Productivity Award" -- so I guess we are all award winning developers now. Cool. It's not the big award of the night, as there were 3 productivity awards in each category, but I am still thrilled.
Source: Sam Schinke

That is pretty cool. I love POPFile. I could not live without it. With 125,680 emails classified, it is 99.83% accurate.

March 20, 2005

Apple updates Keynote, Pages

Apple on Thursday updated the two apps it bundles as iWork '05. The presentation software Keynote has been updated to version 2.0.1, while Pages, Apple's new word processing application Pages has been updated to version 1.0.1.

In both cases, the updates address “isolated issues that may have affected reliability for some customers,” according to Apple. The updated version of Pages also resolves an issue related to deleting complete pages.

Source: MacCentral

I find it interesting that both Apple in its release notes and MacCentral in its article did not make a big deal about the biggest addition to Pages 2.0.1. Apple added a delete pages feature to Pages!

Hello? Bueller? Bueller? Adding this feature, which should have been included out of the box in 1.0, makes Pages that much more usable. Someone forgot that feature when they were developing Pages. Its great that they added it, even if it took a couple months. Pages is much more usable now.

March 19, 2005

WMP 9 component exports content in QT-based apps

Popwire on Friday released Windows Media 9 Export Component, which exports content in Windows Media Viewer 9 format from any QuickTime-based application. Verified to work with QuickTime Pro 6.5.2, Final Cut Pro HD 4.5, iMovie 4.0.1 and Discreet Cleaner 6.0.2, the software features one-pass CBR and VBR encoding, 32 presets and automatic de-interlacing, with support for fractional frame rates and natural key frames. Pricing is US$29.95 and Mac OS X v10.3.5 and QuickTime 6.5.2 are required.
Source: MacCentral

This is good news. Don't look at your monitor like that! It is great news, it really is. When I worked at CTLT one of the things we had to deal with was Windows users who did not have QuickTime, or who preferred Windows Media. If this software was available at that time, we would have bought licenses for all our compression machines. Being able to create Windows Media versions of your content is very important to your audience, and this looks like a great app to do that.

DeliciousExporter is perfect extension to Library

Until we see Delicious Library 2.0, or 1.5, or whatever the next version is, we have to look elsewhere for the most wanted feature of this award winning piece of software.

DeliciousExporter exports your library into web pages. It is a simple point and click application. But it gives you very extensive options for templates if you explore. Oh and it is free.

Its almost a given that the next version of Delicious Library will have HTML export, but until then we have DeliciousExporter, and it does a fantastic job.

You can see my movies, music, books and games. I have to update it, as I finally scanned in my entire video game collection (I know I do not come close to you Matt, but few can).

I will probably never be able to get all my music scanned in, as I have such a large digital library. But as I have bought new albums I have added them to Library. There is a very beta program to import your iTunes Library into Delicious Library, but it does not work for me. I figure that is because of the size of my music collection. Maybe we will see iTunes integration into the next major release of Delicious Library. We can all hope.

February 18, 2005

VersionTracker takes SwapTop 1.9.2 offline

You may recall my February 12th opinions on SwapTop 2.0. It is now February 18th and VersionTracker no longer allows you to download version 1.9.2. If you go to the 1.9.2 page and click "Download Now" you are pushed to the Zonic site.

This is total bull crap if you ask me. Older versions of software should stay available. Especially if you drastically change the use and features of said application.

There still are a number of places to grab SwapTop 1.9.2, Softpedia being one of them. I am willing to bet that Zonic had VersionTracker take version 1.9.2 down. How long until they tell all the other software directory sites to do the same?

Zonic is trying to force people to pay $25 for SwapTop 2.0 which is not the same application that SwapTop 1.9.2 was. Zonic must like to tick people off. I don't know about you, but I don't like to be forced to use any software. I don't care who the developer is. Bad move Zonic. I urge you to email Zonic and tell them how you feel about this. I have already done so.

Thanks to my Dad for stumbling on this problem as he was trying to download SwapTop 1.9.2 to archive (something I suggest you do if you use SwapTop 1.9.2).

February 17, 2005

Panic's Transmit 3 adds slew of new features

Panic today announced the release of Transmit 3, a major update to its award-winning Mac OS X FTP client. Transmit 3 adds a great deal of new features--many of which MacMinute covered last month--including: column view; tabs for multiple connections; a Finder-like sidebar (including per-server folders); redesigned Favorites; search; a new preview drawer with support for more image types and thumbnail zooming; dock status; spring-loaded folders and tabs; server to server transfers; linked folder navigation; improved synchronization; and full iDisk/WebDAV support.
Source: MacMinute

They had me at tabs.

I emailed Panic about Transmit 3 not importing Fetch bookmarks, as well as a duplicate favorites feature (I have many bookmarks to the same server, but pointed to different directories) and got an email back from Cabel Sasser saying they would consider the duplicate favorite feature.

Its a shame my Fetch bookmarks were not imported. I have a ton of them.

Read the rest of that MacMinute artice for more info on the new version of Transmit. Its got an impressive list of additions. Panic is really a first rate developer. I use Unison, and used to use Audiion back when it was competing with SoundJam.

Transmit is a really great looking app. I am about to switch from Fetch. If I can get my bookmarks into Transmit I will switch. Re-entering them all would be a pain.

I have only had 10 minutes to play with Transmit 3 but wow it is nice. Its a lot nicer then Fetch 4. It also costs more. But it has a much nicer feature set, not to mention a very nice UI.

February 15, 2005

Boinx Mouseposé Review

I can't believe Boinx is giving this away for free. It is really nice to see too. Most Mac developers think their little one trick pony should cost at least $10 - this happens all to often.

Mouseposé is a free tool that, when activated, dims the screen into a silhouette allowing the user or audience to focus on the cursor easier. You can change the opacity, diameter and color of the silhouette.

Currently you can only select F-Keys as the keyboard shortcut to use. Some might say this is a limitation. Fine. Add more options to make a hot key. For me? I like the simplicity of using a F-Key to trigger Mouseposé. You can also use Speakable Items to trigger it, or use Salling Clicker. That is a lot of choices. AppleScript and Speakable Items support are nice touches.

Continue reading "Boinx Mouseposé Review" »

February 13, 2005

Delicious Library performance tip

Delicious Library has become my new favorite app, I am sure there are many others out there that feel the same way. I can't wait to see what those 'Monsters' have up their sleeves for version 2. If there is one thing that annoys me with Library 1.1, it is how slow it gets if "Sync with My iPod" is checked in Preferences. I like having my lists on my iPod, but not when I was seeing spinning beach balls of deaths every couple minutes. Just turn this option off when you are filling your Library. Turn it back on when you want to update your iPod.

Problem fixed.

February 12, 2005

SwapTop 2.0 Reinvents itself as Webshots wannabe

British developer Zonic on Friday released SwapTop 2.0, a revival of the product that the company introduced in 2001 to fill the gap left by the demise of Webshots, which provided desktop images and screensavers from its servers on a rotating basis. Webshots was a casualty of the problems at Excite@Home, which laid off many employees in mid-2001 and simply killed the service. Zonic introduced the first version of SwapTop at that time, but at the end of 2002, Webshots returned as a CNET Networks product, which prompted Zonic to convert its software into a free download and cease development.

Source: MacCentral

I really do not understand this. The last version of SwapTop before this 2.0 release was an application that connected to Webshots and allowed you use their photo galleries. I have SwapTop 1.9.2 on both my PowerBook and my G5 to handle my Webshots photos. This is because the official Webshots OS X client a) is really bad, and b) doesn't work in the latest release of 10.3.

Webshots costs me $23.88 a year. I just renewed it on the 8th. SwapTop's rival service costs $24.95. With Webshots there is a web site with a huge library of photos, not to mention member libraries, such as my Dad's photos. With SwapTop you get no web site to search through, and a very limited amount of photos. You get no preview of the images. Unless the demo of SwapTop's service is nothing like the paid membership, I do not see how this is going to fly.

SwapTop 1.9.2 is free. It trys to be shareware with a Register listing in the SwapTop menu, but it never nags you, and does not prevent you from using the thousands of Webshots photos.

I just don't get it. If you are going to compete, I would think you would have to undercut Webshots, since they clearly have many more photos, and features over SwapTop 2.0. Am I missing something here?

I see that you can no longer get the old version of SwapTop from their site, but you can get it at VersionTracker. SwapTop 1.9.2 will also be available for years from anonymous FTP pubs.

But maybe I am missing the point with Zonic's reinvention of SwapTop.

February 7, 2005

Keynote 2 Web View Problem Fixed

Its fixed, its fixed! Thanks to Arno Bosse on the Apple Discussions forums and ultimately the MacFixIt posting for the solution to this problem.

To recap: a number of people could not use the new Web View feature of Keynote 2. The simple solution is to delete com.apple.internetconfig.plist from ~/Library/Preferences. Deleting this file does not seem to have any other ill effects. Someone earlier suggested deleting a different plist file, but that did not work. This did!

I can now use the Web View feature on my G5 without switching to a "clean" user account. Thanks a bunch!

February 3, 2005

Memtest CLI for OS X

I want to thank Rob for pointing this out. You do not even have to compile it. Which is great. Memtest does a exhaustive test of your RAM. The readme says you should run it multiple times. And as it tests available RAM, I would restart first, and don't load anything. That or run it in Single User Mode, that is really the best way to run it.

February 1, 2005

A Delicious Request

The other night I was adding new games to my Delicious Library (Library) when I found a game that was indeed in the Amazon.com library, but was not showing up within Library (which uses Amazon.com). I thought it would be great if I could do a lookup in the Title field of Library of the ASIN number. This would undoubtedly pull in the correct info.

I sent out an email to the Delicious Monster folks at 8 PM. By 11 PM I got this reply:

Voila, it is so. You can type in an ISBN or UPC or ASIN into the field under Title and Creator.
It must have been a server side change because I did not have to download a new version of Library. Indeed, when I did a lookup of the game's ASIN, it pulled the data right in.

That was quick service, if you ask me. And one more reason I just love this app.

December 7, 2004

Thunderbird 1.0 takes on Entourage, Eudora

Weeks after the launch of its Firefox 1.0 Web browser, the Mozilla Foundation on Tuesday is set to release version 1.0 of its Thunderbird e-mail client.
Source: MacCentral

Special note to Windows users: Thunderbird uses the Mozilla rendering engine to display HTML e-mail messages, not Microsoft's IE engine, making it immune to IE-related bugs.

After only about 5 minutes of use, I really like Thunderbird 1.0. It has all the features I like about Entourage. It has the 3 column layout that Entourage 2004 and Outlook has, it even has the search bar at the top right. Reading RSS feeds in Thunderbird is just like reading email.

The default spam filter of Thunderbird 1.0 is a little touchy. It thought all my mailing list emails were spam. I also wish by default Thunderbird would leave the messages on the server the first time it retrieves your mail. You have to go into the account settings before you retrieve your mail and tell it to keep the mail on the server. Apple's Mail seems to be the only email client that by default leaves your mail on the server. Kudos to Apple, I wish others would realize how nice a feature this is.

December 6, 2004

ecto 2.0 for Mac OS X

Wow what a radical change! From the site:
There are a lot of changes, which I had to make if I was going to respect the suggestions made by quite a few users. I'll just list them all one by one as that may give you the best overview:
A new improved XMLRPC backend
Blog more than one entry
New interface for drafts
A rich text editing mode
One blog isn't the other
Attachments
Other small additions
So many changes to read about. Oh, and its free! Kudos Adriaan, I can't wait to dive into all the new stuff. The new window interface is extreme, but I like it. The only thing I miss is how the Custom Tags button used to act as a drop down menu.

December 1, 2004

BBEdit PHP Glossary 2.0: almost 6,000 entries

On Friday, BBEdit PHP Glossary 2.0 was released. This BBEdit add-on contains glossary entries for almost 6,000 PHP functions, constants, control structures and code snippets. Based on PHP 5, it also includes the functions available in versions 3 and 4. BBEdit 7.0 or higher is required to use this free software.
Source: MacCentral

Yet another reason to love BBEdit!

MacTHEMES Delicious Library voting begins

Voting has begun! Your votes will count for 50% of the entries' final scores, so check out the 55 entries, and feel free to try them out.
Source: MacTHEMES.net

My personal favorite theme is "Loft."

November 21, 2004

Free FileMaker Creative Pro Starter Kit available

Apple subsidiary FileMaker Inc. on Thursday released the FileMaker Creative Pro Starter Kit. The kit includes five databases developed to help creative professionals and managers handle jobs and billing, images and collateral, clients and vendors. The kit comes with a 30-day free trial of FileMaker Pro 7.
Source: MacCentral

You do not have to download the trial if you already own FMP. All five free databases are well done. I will have to explore them more later, but I am impressed. They are free, did I mention that?

Delicious Library Shelf Theme Contest

Delicious Monster and MacThemes.net are pleased to announce a design contest to promote Delicious Monster's debut application, Delicious Library. Artists can design and submit shelf themes from November 15th through November 22nd, replacing Library's wooden shelves with modern or quirky alternatives.
Source: MacThemes.net

The prizes are pretty nice too! MacOSXHints.com has a hint on how to change the shelves to the included metal shelves.

Display a random fortune in the login window

In the Classic days, there used to be a Mac system extension that would do this, displaying a fortune in a dialog just before the Finder loaded. It's possible to duplicate this functionality on Mac OS X with a bit of AppleScript fiddling or third-party apps -- but who needs another login item slowing things down? A better, cleaner solution -- the one thats seems "right" -- is to use the "hidden" LoginwindowText default documented in an earlier hint to display a fortune in the login window.
Source: MacOSXHints.com

Rob added a screen shot - check it out. Fortune is so much fun, I think I will set this up at work tomorrow. I have collected my own fortune quote file over the years, that will come in handy.

Optimized Firefox for the G5 and G4 7450

We all know that Firefox 1.0 is out, if you don't know already, I feel sorry for you. My grandma knows Firefox 1.0 is out. No, seriously, it was on CNN.

Now if you are one of those lucky folks to have a G5, go thank Neil Lee for compiling a G5 optimized build of 1.0. I know, I know, Firefox is already screaming fast on your G5. I know, it screams on my G5 too. Just go download it and see for yourself. It especially kicks the "normal" Firefox 1.0 when you start browsing multiple tabs at once. And who doesn't do that these days anyway?

Also, if you have a newer G4, an iBook or a PowerBook G4, check this G4 optimized build out.

The true story of audion

Is it just me? I mean, do you ever wonder about the stories behind everyday products?

What names were Procter & Gamble considering before they finally picked "Swiffer"? (Springle? Sweepolio? Dirtrocker?) What flavors of Pop-Tarts never made it out of the lab, and did any involve lychee, the devil's fruit? What magical prototype Apple products will never be seen, forever relegated to some giant, Wonka-esque industrial design factory that might exist only in my imagination? ("Oompa, loompa, diggity-dack: come take a peek at this dodecahedron-Mac!"). And honestly, what in God's name is a "Graffle"?

Source: Panic.com Via MacCentral

This truly was a great read about Audion. To be honest I never used Audion back in the OS 9 days, I used SoundJam, which became iTunes conveniently. If you are not aware, Panic has 'retired' Audion. It is interesting to note that Apple tried to offer them a job, more then once, before really taking the market share for Mac MP3 jukebox software.

Adobe announces Acrobat 7, set to ship by year end

With the shortest Acrobat product cycle in company history, Adobe Systems today announced the forthcoming release of its Acrobat 7 lineup of Portable Document Format (PDF)-oriented products. They are slated to begin shipping by the end of 2004, according to the company; Acrobat 6 shipped in mid-2003.
Source: Planet PDF

Other then the standard PR type stuff, they have a few articles on Acrobat 7, including a first look with screen shots.

November 11, 2004

Virtual PC 7 update fixes RAM issue

Microsoft today released an update to Virtual PC 7 that corrects an issue affecting users running G5 machines with more than 2GB of RAM.
Source: MacMinute

Hey, its usable now!

November 10, 2004

At the Library, be back later

Sorry, no blog today, at the Library instead.

I spent the evening scanning CDs, DVDs, books, and video games. This is a wonderful app. The iPod integration is really nice. I am very glad I bought a license. I have been wanting to do something like this for a very long time.

November 9, 2004

Delicious Library now shipping

Delicious Monster Software today began shipping Delicious Library, its new application that creates an electronic card-catalog of a users books, movies, music, and video games. Delicious Library's features include 30fps iSight barcode scanning, photorealistic digital shelves with high-resolution 3D renderings of your covers, Address Book and iCal integrated checkout to keep track of who has your media, and smart recommendations to help you find new things to add to your library. Delicious Library also offers automatic syncing with iPods, two-click purchases from Amazon.com, and a native XML file format to give advanced users direct access to all their library data.
Source: MacMinute

Oh my. This is nice. The iSight integration is just wonderful. I have only one complaint. It does not recognize the UPC codes on my video games. The site says they are working on the UPC issues. The potential looks promising. What they have delivered so far has beat my expectations though.

Be sure to download the demo, this is a very pretty looking app. It has a great UI, great iApp integration, iSight integration is genius, and the iPod support is icing.

Saft: Value Adder for Safari

Saft is a Safari plugin to add features like full-screen browsing, searchable bookmarks and history, URL shortcuts, kiosk mode and more. Saft 7.0.1 received product rating from the Macintosh experts at Macworld in the November 2004 issue of Macworld magazine: "And it's all so well-integrated that you'll soon assume that these features are just part of Safari--until you try to use someone else's Mac."
Source: Saft Web Site

Thanks to Rob for his review. I would have never downloaded this if not for his Pick of the Week.

I am sure a lot of work went into this app, Saft is worth $10 if you use Safari and want some advanced features. Most, but not all, of these features are in OmniWeb 5. Saft has some features I want to see in OmniWeb 5 though!

Check out the Saft Web site for a full list of features, its a very impressive list. Everything is so well integrated into the Safari UI. The demo is nagware, it displays a dialog on startup of Safari and then every so often. Buy a license and be happy.

November 8, 2004

Super Get Info update adds new preferences

Super Get Info 1.2.1 from Bare Bones Software is the latest version of the file and folder information utility for Mac OS X. Super Get Info offers a powerful alternative to the Mac OS X Finder's "Get Info" command. The 1.2.1 update adds new preferences for more customized control of Finder selection and panel viewing choices. This version also includes minor interface refinements and fixes for reported issues.
Source: MacMinute

Super Get Info is one of those "Best Of" utilities for OS X. In a sense, it is a shame that Bare Bones has to even make it. Mac OS X should have the Super Get Info features built in. OS X sorta does, but not quite. I bought Super Get Info when it first debut, I think at the time it cost $14, but it is worth all of the $20 they charge for it now.

The new preferences in 1.2.1 are a great addition to an already excellent application.

November 5, 2004

QuarkXPress 6.5 known issues

I give Quark some credit for posting the known issues of their new release. But I have to dock them for delaying the biggest new feature in 6.5 (Photoshop Import plug-in not) until the first quarter of 2005. Way to go Quark! I also ask you Quark, why did you have to enlist ALAP to make the plugin? Can't you make software anymore. Oh, wait. Don't answer that.

Some of the biggest problems I see in Quark 6.5 are:

Mac OS only: Attempting to open a project (located on a network volume) from the File List area (File menu or Open submenu) displays “File not found [-43].” Click OK in the alert to display the Open dialog box.

This is a major problem in Quark 4, 6, 6.1 and now we are at Quark 6.5 and still the problem exists.

More problems with fonts MacFixIt reader Tom Ernst reports continuing issues with some typefaces in the new release of QuarkXpress:

"I installed the 6.5 upgrade today and Quark still seems to suffer from not being able to recognize certain fonts that every other running application can see. Very disappointing--this bug has forced me to retreat to v4 for several jobs in the past couple months."

Source: MacFixIt

Quark is still not addressing a very old and still persistent font issue. Just another bug I cannot believe still exists in Quark 6.5. It doesn't help matters that Quark is not mentioning it as an "official" known issue. Have you tried using Zaph Dingbats in Quark lately? I guess they have not.

I would like to see some stats on the alleged mass exodus from Quark to InDesign. Is there really a large percentage of people moving to InDesign?

I know I am very glad I moved The BG News to InDesign this past summer. The students absolutely love InDesign. The administration is happy that we went to InDesign. It has been a very good thing. The sad thing is that we upgraded for Quark 6 before we woke up and jumped ship to InDesign CS. You live, you learn.

Since we do have licenses to Quark I will be installing 6.5 and await to see how this Photoshop plug-in works. Seeing that is has been developed by ASAP, a very fine plug-in developer, I imagine it will be quite good.

Quark's New Face: Talking to CEO Kamar Aulakh

It's an interesting time for Quark and its new CEO Kamar Aulakh. With QuarkXPress facing real competition for the first time in years and with rumors circulating of customer defection, the company has been working hard to polish a tarnished reputation. Aulakh gives a progress report to creativepro.com's Pamela Pfiffner.

Source: CreativePro.com

October 31, 2004

New ShapeShifer, WindowShadeX, FontCard Released

ShapeShifer 2.0, WindowShadeX 3.5 and FontCard 1.2.1 are out from Unsanity.

What is really amazing is the fact that I bought WindowShadeX and ShapeShifter in their infancy, when they cost $7, and Unsanity has not once charged for an upgrade.

WindowShadeX has grown into a mature version of the OS 9 feature "Window Shade." ShapeShifter has filled another void missing in OS X, Kaleidoscope from OS 9. Version 2.0 of ShapeShifer added a lot of new theme capabilities. My favorite themes are the ones that are dark, for those late nights that I do not want to stare at a stark white screen.

FontCard has been updated by leaps and bounds in its short history. It now works in Carbon and Cocoa apps, showing not only a WYSIWYG font menu, but also if it is TT, OT, or PS. FontCard has really sped up my time finding the font I want.

The Mac community needs more developers like Unsanity. I am glad - and shocked - that Apple has not snatched up their tools, like they have with so many others and added them to the OS. I thought after 3 years that WindowShadeX would have shown up built into Mac OS X. But no, it is still developed by a 3rd party that keeps pushing the envelope of what can be done.

October 14, 2004

BBEdit 8 is a solid upgrade

Until I read John Gruber's fairly long post about BBEdit 8, I was not convinced in the $49 to upgrade from BBEdit 7.1 to 8 was worth it. He is a good salesman though (he used to work for Bare Bones). So I downloaded the demo and tried it out. This new version rocks. It gets my vote for the $50 upgrade.

My favorite new features are not even the most powerful. I love the yellow highlight behind the current line of code/text you are working on. The new documents drawer/pull down menu is also very nice. I like having multiple windows open and not having such a cluttered workspace.

Text Factories look to be a very powerful new feature, I will have to look into them more when I have the time. There are so many other new features I like about the new version, but i will stop at those.

Be sure to download the demo. I highly recommend it. Also be sure to read John Gruber's post about BBEdit 8.

October 12, 2004

QuarkXPress 6.5 offers PSD Import, more

Quark Inc. on Tuesday introduced QuarkXPress 6.5, a new version of their flagship desktop publishing software. New features have been added including the QuarkVista image editing plug-in, native multi-layer Photoshop file import and layer editing and an upgrade to the QuarkXClusive XTensions module used for variable data publishing that's available only to Mac OS X users.

Source: MacCentral

I am mildly impressed that Quark is offering 6.5 free of charge to 6.0 owners. It is more like them to charge us another $700 for the upgrade. This means we will get it. So I will have to take it for a spin once I get it installed. Although I must say the amount of Quark jobs we get at Student Publications is very few and far between these days. Which is a good thing.

So quark can now handle PSD files! And they could not even do it themselves! They had to get the (wonderful) plugin developer A Lowly Apprentice Productions to do the work.

Lets see, InDesign has done PSD files since what, version 1? I do not know what the numbers are like, but from people I have talked to in the various print industries, Quark is looking the stronghold.

Microsoft offers Office 2004 Service Pack 1

Microsoft Corp.'s Mac Business Unit (MacBU) on Tuesday announced the availability of Office 2004 for Mac Service Pack 1, an update for the latest Macintosh release of the company's popular productivity application software suite. The service pack "addresses potential security issues and bugs that [user] feedback played an important role in identifying," according to Microsoft. What's more, the new version features support for Microsoft Error Reporting Protocol (MERP), which allows customers to send bug reports to Microsoft anonymously.

Source: MacCentral

Here is the full list of changes in Office 11.1.0 a.k.a. Office 2004. I myself notice no change, but considering the amount of bullet points on that change log, it looks like they fixed a lot.

October 10, 2004

SpamStopper is very useful utility

SpamStopper is a web designer’s utility that will help keep email address harvesting spambots from grabbing email addresses from your website(s). No, I’m not joking — this actually works!

How does it work? SpamStopper encodes the text of your email address so that it no longer looks like an email address in your HTML, which makes all the current harvesting spambots ignore it when they scan internet pages. Basically, indexing spiders look for certain email address-identifying characters, and SpamStopper makes it so that those characters aren’t displayed — it’s pretty much that simple.

Be sure and take a look at this totally free utility. Sure I have found web pages that do this, but having an application with a nice GUI is so much better. Kudos to the developer!

Release of Virtual PC 7 marred by RAM problem

Microsoft has finally released Virtual PC 7 (outside of the Office 2004 Pro package) but there is a problem. There is always a problem with MS software, isn't there? If you have more then 2 GB of RAM installed, you cannot run VPC7. MS finally confirmed this fact, and has a fix "expected within the coming weeks." I am not holding my breath.

When the G5 supports up to 8 GB of RAM, why on earth would you not test your software with a full 8 GB of RAM? Doesn't common sense tell you to test all known possible configurations, especially when the big new feature of VPC 7 is support for the G5. It just seems like a rather large thing to overlook. But thats just me, I don't work at the Mac BU.

I have 3 GB of RAM in my G5 and I am not about to take 1 GB out just to run VPC 7. I have grown very fond of having 3 GB of RAM to use, and have just a ton of applications open at once. I await this fix to the RAM problem, then MS can have my money.

October 7, 2004

The PHP Function Index for Mac OS X

The PHP Function Index for Mac OS X. Check it out! Thanks to Rob for pointing this one out to me.

October 6, 2004

OmniWeb 5.1 beta 1 & GMail

OmniWeb 5.1 beta 1 is out, so go download it. They loaded up the latest version of WebCore. So now we can't complain (as much) that OW does not work like Safari.

Oh and by the way. OW 5.1 b1 now works with GMail. So now, I am happy to say, I have no reason to use Safari.

September 19, 2004

POPFile acting weird; SpamSieve installed

I have been a long time supporter of POPFile, as it is a very good - free - software. Last week a problem began that I do not understand. All of a sudden I could not send mail when I had my incoming mail going through the POPFile proxy server. I do not understand it at all. When I switch my account settings to use my remote mail server it all works. I can send mail again. I have emailed for help, but have got no response. That is what you get for free, open source software.

I could upgrade to v0.22.0 but that would be a lot of work. So why do it?

I am evaluating SpamSieve and will pony up the $25 for this great software. I have had many of my clients buy SpamSieve for one reason: simplicity. Well that and it just works.

Since POPFile has gone awry I need some kind of SPAM filtering. SpamSieve fits that bill very well.

I am getting used to the SpamSieve interface. Right now I still prefer the web based UI of POPFile, but with time I am sure I will grow to like the SpamSieve UI. I can sure get used to classifying emails from within Entourage and not going to a web page to do that.

So far there are no false positives, but 115 false negatives. I can live with the false negatives, but I grew very used to not having to classify those. No false positives is great, and in time I will be able to just delete my "Spam" folder without having to look through it.

So after a couple days SpamSieve has performed as I figured it would. I am sure Michael Tsai would be happy. And he is someone that I know I can get ahold of if something goes awry. But that is what you get for paying for software.

StartupSound prefPane

Thanks to a hint from Rob posted on the MacCentral web site, I now have a much quieter startup sound.

Be sure to check out the StartupSound prefPane, which will allow you to control the volume of the startup sound. I have a nice set of speakers and a subwoofer and that startup chime sounds more like a "boom" with a fair amount of base. This is great until its 3 AM and I want to restart my computer.

Sure you can use the mute button, but I am too lazy to remember to do that all the time. This prefPane is a gem.

September 12, 2004

OmniWeb 5: Show Updated Bookmarks In Dock Icon

I do not want to see how many bookmarks in OW 5 are updated. I have quite a large number of RSS feeds setup in OW 5 now, and that number on the Dock Icon can get pretty big. I also do not right-click the OW 5 Dock Icon to view the RSS feeds I have setup. I sent an email to the OW list and got the answer to my question from Brendan Sweeney. So thanks Brendan.

Now I think to turn the Dock Icon feature on and off, there should be a check box in the Bookmarks section of the OW 5 preferences, but alas all we can do is open up the Terminal and type (or paste):

defaults write com.omnigroup.OmniWeb5 ShowUpdatedBookmarksInDockIcon -bool false

September 10, 2004

POPFile v0.22.0 released, major improvements abound

POPFile rocks! Now all I have to do is install this upgrade! I am not quite sure if I have all the needed perl modules for 0.22.0 but if not, its a quick download, Makefile.PL and install. I am excited in seeing the speed improvements, cleaner UI, and the support for NNTP! Once I have it installed I will have a full report on upgrading to 0.22.0 on OS X, as I have done in the past.
This version consists of a major update to v0.21.0 with many improvements and bug fixes:

1. History in database

We've finally done away with the old method of keeping the message history in a single directory full of files (which was frankly flaky and hard to maintain). Messages are now placed in subdirectories with no more than 256 per directory. History is now moved it into the database along with all the other information that POPFile uses.

This change brings two benefits: firstly it's a lot faster than previous versions because we can rely on the SQL database to do searching and sorting for us; secondly, it brings extra flexibility and we now have additional columns available in the history (we now have two time values (the date/time the message was received by POPFile and the date/time in the message header), the From, To, Cc and Subject headers and message size).

2. Switch UI to HTML templates

Back in the mists of POPFile time I grafted an HTML interface onto my little Perl script and POPFile was born. Unfortunately that HTML interface had grown into thousands of lines of ugly Perl and HTML interwined. This release completely separates out the HTML from the Perl.

This has a number of advantages: firstly, POPFile's code is easier to maintain because it's simpler; secondly, skinning POPFile can now take advantage of the full power of HTML and not just a limited set of classes and lastly it's made it easy to expand the UI, which brings us to...

Continue reading "POPFile v0.22.0 released, major improvements abound" »

September 3, 2004

You Control: iTunes puts control in OS X menu bar

You Software Inc. announced on Tuesday the availability of You Control: iTunes, a free download that places iTunes controls in the Mac OS X menu bar. Without leaving the current application, you can pause, play, rewind or skip songs, as well as control iTunes' volume and even browse your entire music library by album, artist or genre. Each time a new song plays, You Control: iTunes also pops up a window that displays the artist and song name and the album artwork, if it's in the library. Source: MacCentral. Rob tells me that Butler does this, but not as nice that is for sure. I highly recommend this little iTunes gizmo. And not just because it is free, but because it is very well done. Of course now I need to go add album art to my music library :)

Virtual PC 7 released to manufacturing

Microsoft Corp.'s Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) has announced the release of Virtual PC for Mac Version 7 to manufacturing. As has been previously noted, the company plans for Virtual PC 7 to reach store shelves in October. Additionally, the company has released Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Professional Edition to manufacturing -- it bundles Virtual PC 7 as well. Source: MacCentral Yay! I cannot wait to emulate Windows XP on my G5 and see just how slow it performs!

August 29, 2004

Adobe Acrobat PDFMaker Toolbar in Office

If you use Office v. X or Office 2004 for Mac OS X, you are familiar with the Adobe Acrobat PDFMaker Toolbar. And as a Mac OS X user you are well aware that you can PDF in any application without the help of a stupid toolbar.

Continue reading "Adobe Acrobat PDFMaker Toolbar in Office" »

August 12, 2004

OmniWeb 5.0 now available

Following months of beta testing, the Omni Group today announced the availability of OmniWeb 5.0, a major update to its Mac OS X Web browser. The new version can be immediately downloaded from the company's Web site, and soon will be available in most retail software outlets. Highlighted new features include a tab drawer, saved browsing sessions, greatly enhanced bookmarks, page marking, improved search shortcuts, site-specific preferences, and more. OmniWeb 5.0 sells for US$29.95, while upgrades from previous versions are $9.95. A 30-day trial version is also available... Source: MacMinute The final is here! The final is here! I have been using the beta for a while now. The OmniWeb (OW) 5 final is much faster to start up and shut down, which was my only complaint about OW 5 beta. OW 5 is based on WebCore which runs a heck of a lot faster then the home grown engine OW 4 had. OmniGroup has assembled a large number of impressive features above and beyond what Safari can do. I have been a happy OW customer for some time now. Be sure and check OW 5 out! OmniWeb 5 top 8 features (as mentioned on the web site) Powerful Graphic Tabs Workspaces Ad Blocking Saved Browsing Sessions [Powerful] Bookmarks RSS News Feeds Site Preferences Search Shortcuts I would have to agree with those 8 being the top features. I will gladly pay the $9.95 upgrade fee to support such great, hard working folks! Keep up the good work OmniGroup! And no, I do not work for OmniGroup, I am just a long time satisfied customer.

August 10, 2004

Roxio sells software division, focuses on Napster

Roxio said Monday that it will sell its consumer software division for $80 million and focus wholly on its Napster digital music business in the future... Source: C|Net News.com From Adaptec to their spinoff Roxio to Sonic, Toast has seen its share of change. Toast is by far the best disc burning software on the Mac, I sure hope that Sonic doesn't screw it up. An interesting fact is this: Sonic has no Macintosh consumer products. They have no Mac OS X software. Now they have Toast, a consumer piece of software for OS X.

July 23, 2004

Microsoft: Virtual PC 7 coming this October

Microsoft Corp. on Thursday indicated that Virtual PC for Mac Version 7 will likely be released in October, though the schedule is entirely dependent on Microsoft's efforts to ship a new service pack for its Windows XP operating system. This is the first clarification the company has provided about Virtual PC 7's release schedule since confirming in May that its release would be delayed. Virtual PC enables Mac users to run various versions of Windows software applications and operating systems by emulating the characteristics of an actual hardware PC on their Macintosh. Previously sold by Connectix Corp., Virtual PC was acquired by Microsoft in February, 2003.... Source: MacCentral I will hopefully have my G5 by October :P It is supposed to ship by 7/30 and I cannot wait. I see across the Internet this news has gotten some bad publicity. I for one applaud the MacBU for waiting until after SP2 of XP. I just hope SP2 comes out on time (whatever date that is now) or we will be waiting and waiting for VPC 7 to ship. Can you imagine installing VPC and right when you launch Windows XP for the first time being told you have to download the XXX MB download of SP2? No thank you! I will wait until SP2 is pre-installed for me. I am a Mac user after all, I like my software to be user friendly.

July 17, 2004

Suitcase XI does not like InDesign CS

I do not know if this problem effects the Windows versions of this software, I hope it doesn't because this is a not-so-fun problem. Without getting into the font management app war, my favorite font management app is Suitcase. We have Suitcase XI (11) and it is updated to 11.0.2, the latest version at this writing. We are running InDesign CS 3.0.1 at this time. The short and (not so) sweet of it: Suitcase XI causes InDesign CS crash when you create a new document. The long version: If the Suitcase auto-activation plugin is active in InDesign, InDesign will crash when you create a new document. Now if you start a document from a template or open an existing InDesign or Quark file, then InDesign will not crash. The easy fix is to take that auto-activation plugin out of the InDesign plugin folder. That is not the solution however. I do not know what the solution is right now. Since we have an investment in both InDesign and Suitcase my next step will be to call Extensis. I have read enough online to understand that it is a Suitcase problem. I for one never liked relying on font management software to turn on fonts I need for a project, but it is a really nice feature.

July 8, 2004

The Best of BitTorrent

Kevin Rose has a nice roundup of BitTorrent sites as well as clients. His favorite client, as mine, is azureus. Source: kevin rose dot com

June 22, 2004

Apple Remote Desktop 2 adds 50 features

Apple Computer Inc. announced on Monday Apple Remote Desktop 2, its software solution to assist Mac system administrators and computer managers with asset management, software distribution and help desk support. According to Apple, the new release features "dramatic improvements" in performance as well as 50 new features to help manage Macs running Mac OS X... "This is the product you need if you're responsible for managing a group of Macintosh systems," Tom Goguen, Apple's director for Server and Storage Software Product Marketing, told MacCentral. "We are building tools to make it much more cost effective for people to deploy our systems in their environment."... Source: MacCentral I can't wait to use this new version of Apple Remote Desktop (ARD). I used Apple Network Assistant (ANAT) for years under OS 9 and was very happy Apple decided to bring it to OS X as ARD. The new features sound great! Especially the remote shell scripts. ARD is one of those applications that makes my life a little easier at Student Publications.

June 10, 2004

Mac OS X Spoken Interface Preview

The Mac OS X spoken interface provides an additional way to use your Macintosh computer that does not require using a mouse or seeing the screen. In addition to speaking the contents of documents, the spoken interface speaks a description of all the activities taking place on the computer, such as which applications are running, how many windows are open, and much more. You can also control your computer using only the keyboard. This preview release of the spoken interface provides you with an opportunity to explore this technology before it is built into the Mac OS X operating system. After installing the software, you'll be able to learn about and explore the features of the spoken interface before its general release. Please note that the software contained in this preview is not feature complete and some features may not work as expected. While Apple has worked hard to make this preview release reliable you should only install the spoken interface software on a Mac that is not critical to your work and regularly back up your important files and information.
When Apple first unveiled this in March I signed up for the preview release. I will install this on an iMac at work to see how this all works. Having more audible cues would be great, especially if I can add those cues to AppleScripts.

June 2, 2004

FileMaker Pro, Developer 7v2 update now available

FileMaker Inc. has released an update to its flagship application, FileMaker Pro, that brings the database creation tool to version 7v2. The free update includes changes to font smoothing, field validation, merge fields, import and more. The change also applies to FileMaker Developer, and you can download the updaters for both from the FileMaker Web site. Source: MacCentral

May 31, 2004

Request a Return Receipt

These instructions are written for Entourage, but they would work for any email client that does not have the feature built into the GUI. I never knew it was that easy!

May 23, 2004

Pogue looks at Office 2004 for Macintosh

In his "State of the Art" column for The New York Times, David Pogue looks at Microsoft Office 2004, which was officially released for the Macintosh yesterday. Pogue sums up his article by saying, "...Microsoft's Mac team appears to be reaching the same point of feature saturation as its Windows counterpart. Once a program does everything anybody could ever ask of it, adding more features is just icing on the icing." Source: The New York Times

May 22, 2004

Your buddy list is full (Updated)

aim_error.gif
Today I started adding real names to AIM user names, mainly because its getting to the point where I cannot remember the IRL counterparts to those on my Buddy List. Address Book really makes this easy, it sure is a nice feature. I really do not understand this error I got: Could not add name to your buddy list. Your buddy list is full. I was going to associate a name in my Address Book to his listing in iChat. When I clicked "OK" to confirm the name change in iChat, I got this above error message. That user name fell off my iChat list, so I opened up another AIM clone. He was in fact still in my buddy list. The next time I opened iChat his name was back. So my Buddy List is apparently not full. Has anyone else seen this error? UPDATED I got this same iChat error when adding a NEW name to my Buddy List. In the example above I was just editing an existing name. So I tried adding this new name to my buddy list in Adium, and I got a similar, but much more informative, error message. It seems I do in fact have too many people on my Buddy List. I have 99 contacts in my Buddy List. I did not know there was such a threshold. But wait...there's more! I have collected over the years 3 AIM accounts. I have my old old old one, I have one I use for business work, and I have my mac.com AIM name. So with the help of an IM clone that allows me multiple logins, such as Trillian or Adium, I am set. But whats with the 99 buddy limit? Why should I have to prune? I know people that have more buddies in their list then me, so I do not understand this limit. Is it just for the clones (iChat, Adium, Fire, etc, etc)? I am thinking it might be because of the clones because they use an open source library which is based on an older version of the IM protocols. Just a hunch.

May 21, 2004

Using Office 2004

For about the last two months, I've been using Mac Office 2004 on a Power Mac G5. I swapped out my fourth grader's Windows Media Center PC for an iMac so she could use the software, too. I am generally impressed with the power and performance of Mac Office 2004, which, like its predecessor, I would say offers many advantages over Office for Windows. For businesses users, I would consider the new "Compatibility Reports" feature to be one of the most important enhancements. The tool checks documents for compatibility with older Mac and Windows versions of Office. Considering that interoperability rates as one of IT decision makers top priorities, the feature could help salve concerns about Mac Office compatibility with its Windows cousin. Even without the feature, I find the new Office to produce documents that are more compatible with older Windows versions. The Compatibility Reports feature is access through a toolbar icon called "Toolbox," which also leads to "Scrapbook," "Reference Tools" and "Project Center," which are new or enhanced features. Source: Microsoft Monitor

May 20, 2004

Microsoft starts selling Office for Mac

Continue reading "Microsoft starts selling Office for Mac" »

May 2, 2004

SideTrack Update Adds Features; Better Interface

SideTrack is a replacement mouse driver for your iBook or PowerBook. The hardware used on Mac portables is the same as in PC portables, and this software takes advantage of this fact. I started using SideTrack in October 2003, and it has gone through three betas since then. This beta, beta 0.8 is a major update to this killer little utility. The main reason I use SideTrack is so I can tap and get a right-click on my trackpad. I also use it for vertical and horizontal scrolling. What is new is corner hot spots. I now have Exposé settings set to three of the corners of my trackpad. The other major update in this release is different acceleration modes for the mouse. There are three choices: MacOS X trackpad acceleration (standard) MacOS X mouse acceleration (faster) Redmond switcher acceleration (fastest) Redmond, ha ha. That doesn't mean Windows now does it? I really apreciate this new setting, and I prefer the mouse acceleration curve, or the "faster" setting. Back when I used OS 9 I would install the Kensington MouseWorks driver to accelerate the mouse in OS 9. MouseWorks in OS X does not affect the acceleration like it did in OS 9, but SideTrack does the job quite nicely. I said it before, and I will say it again, this utility will be worth paying for once it is finally released mainly for the right-click tap ability alone. It is so nice not having to use my Control key all the time. (When the heck will Apple realize that two mouse buttons need to be used in their portables?) Here are some screenshots from this release. The first time you launch SideTrack you have to calibrate your trackpad.
sidetrack_calibrate.gif
These are the four tabs. The previous release had no tabs. The options are broken up better, not to mention there are more controls in this release.
sidetrack_trackpad.gif sidetrack_scrolling.gif sidetrack_corners.gif sidetrack_advanced.gif

May 1, 2004

ecto 1.1.1 released

I haven't updated ecto in a while now, mainly because the small updates have not meant much to me. This one, however has a bunch of new features that I have not seen yet. There is a new Insert Hyperlink window, although I do not actually know when this was added. I still like the "old way" of inserting a URL, but the new way is good if you do not have the URL on the Clipboard. Changes in 1.1 & 1.1.1: - Metal texture can be set again. - Fixed a bug that could crash ecto when modifying accounts. - Preliminary support for Atom - Improved console (allows saving, clearing, emailing, and searching text). - Improved handling of sending pings. - Faster loading of iPhoto images. - del.icio.us network tasks now show in the status window. - Content of entries is now checked for invisible control characters before posting. This will prevent rare post failures. - Improved notification email process. - HTML tags are stripped from notification emails. - Windows are by default Aqua. Texture can be set via the preferences dialog. - Fixed bug where deleting a ping or email address would remove all copies of the same string. - iTunes script returns title of song currently playing if iTunes is playing radio or a stream. - Fixed broken drag and drop of text on notification email list. It now also accepts text files. The text should be a list of names and email addresses. Each name and email address should be tab-separated and it should end with a return. - Improved drag and drop. - Other fixes and improvements.

April 25, 2004

Don't Update to AirPort 3.4

Out of all the people I have talked to, only one said that the new AirPort 3.4 software did NOT degrade their signal strength. My dad installed it, and had to revert back to 3.3.1, which is not a fun thing to do. So if you have not installed version 3.4 yet, don't. If you have and want to get good signal strength back, check out xlr8yourmac's guide to restoring version 3.3.1.

April 22, 2004

Fire 1.0 Released

The Fire team is pleased to announce the availability of Fire 1.0... the culmination of 14 months of development effort. Please note that we now have a different download for 10.1 and for 10.2 and later. Please download the appropriate disk image depending on which OS you are using. A big thank you goes out to everyone involved in this release: Alan, Graham, Nick, Mark, Manuel, Alessandro, Lasse, Jan, Daisuke, and everyone who sent in fixes and reported bugs with our beta releases. Download it now! I really like Fire, and it is great to see it hit such a huge milestone in its life. Direct Connect over the AIM proticol still does not work correctly. I also notice (still in 1.0) that when some people IM me, I do not see it at all. But since I have friends and clients that use Y!, ICQ, MSN, and AIM, I could not live without Fire. It would not be fun having ALL those clients open at once. I use iChat about 20% of the time, and Fire the other 80%. The one thing that I like about Fire, other then the fact that it is a great multi-IM client, is that it starts up and connects a lot faster then iChat.

April 19, 2004

Apple Updates Pro Apps, Introduces Motion at NAB

Apple updates Final Cut Pro with HD Apple on Sunday introduced Final Cut Pro HD, a new version of its video editing software that supports the DVCPRO HD format. The new version of Final Cut Pro works using FireWire without requiring any additional hardware. Final Cut Pro HD is available as a free upgrade to registered Final Cut Pro 4 users and is available for retail purchase for US$999. Final Cut Pro HD can play back up to four streams of native DVCPRO HD video itself; adding an Xserve RAID into the mix, you can work with up to 10 streams in preview quality. "Digital Cinema Desktop" is a new feature that allows SD and HD monitoring on an Apple Cinema Display. Also included is LiveType 1.2, Compressor 1.2 and Cinema Tools. Apple introduces Motion During a Sunday press event at NAB 2004 in Las Vegas, Apple introduced Motion, a new motion graphics design package that provides animation of text, graphics and video, instant previewing of multiple filters and particle effects, and "Behaviors" -- natural movement of type and graphics with effects like gravity and wind, without depending on keyframes. Motion is available for US$299. Motion uses procedural animation to create the natural simulations Apple refers to as "Behaviors." You can define interaction between objects like attraction and repulsion, leading to the creation of complex or simple effects with relatively little work involved. Motion also sports a Keyframe Editor if you need to plot precise parameter values at specific frames. Apple announces DVD Studio Pro 3 In a special event at NAB 2004 on Sunday, Apple announced DVD Studio Pro 3, the latest major revision to the company's professional DVD authoring application for Mac OS X. New to this release are Alpha Transitions, a new Graphical View, DTS 5.1 audio support and the inclusion of Compressor 1.2, Apple's digital media encoding and compression tool. DVD Studio Pro 3 is designed to provide a professional digital video professionals with DVD layout and design capabilities. The software features more than 30 pro transitions that can be used to blend between menus, slides in slideshows and stills in tracks. The new Alpha Transitions, which use QuickTime-based movies; users can build their own Alpha Transitions using Apple's just-announced Motion or Adobe After Effects as well. Apple offers Shake 3.5 At a special event at this week's NAB 2004, Apple on Sunday introduced Shake 3.5, a new version of its compositing and special effects tool for cinema and video. The new version of Shake features new shape-based morphing and warping capabilities that rely on spline tools, improves Rendezvous networking and more. It's available now as a paid upgrade for Shake 3 users. Shake 3.5's Shake Qmaster network render manager has been improved in this version; the Rendezvous-enabled system can handle distributed rendering tasks for both Shake and Alias' Maya 3D rendering and animation software. Support for 16-bit RGB and 10-bit YUV QuickTime formats has been added also. Apple intros Xsan storage area network system At a special event at this week's NAB 2004, Apple introduced Xsan, a Storage Area Network (SAN) file system priced at US$999 per system. The new file system is aimed at users in video and other businesses looking for high-speed access to centralized, shared data where even conventional Local Area Networks (LANs) might still be too slow. Xsan is a 64-bit cluster file system designed to work with Mac OS X. It provides multiple computers with concurrent file-level read/write access to shared volumes over Fibre Channel, and it's certified to work with Apple's pro applications. Up to 64 users can simultaneously access a single storage volume using Xsan. Features include metadata controller failover, Fibre Channel multipathing, file-level locking, bandwidth reservation, and flexible volume management. Source: MacCentral
I am not going to be doing any HD cam work in the near future, but this new Motion app looks pretty cool. I have used DVD Studio Pro since version 1, and that update also looks pretty nice as well. What I was confused about when I heard about FCP HD, I thought it was going to be a (another) split of FCP. I mean we have Final Cut Express now - don't even get me started with that. FCP HD is really FCP 4.5, and it is a free upgrade too. I am glad it is free, seeing as FCP 4 just came out not too long ago. As if the Adobe and Apple relationship has been strained (C|Net News.com) in the recent past, I am sure this heats things up even more. It will be interesting to see what all Motion can do that After Effects cannot. I think Motion is an After Effects killer. It works hand in hand within a FCP and DVD SP timeline. All these Pro Apple apps (lets not forget Logic and Shake here) work hand in hand. Sure, After Effects is a tried and true post app, but Motion is integrated into the FCP workflow. Adobe killed Premiere for Mac, is this foreshadowing to things to come? I don't think After Effects will go the way of Premiere so soon, after all does Motion do 3D? Nope, but it does have a particle system, and it does work with some AE plugins, and it works with Photoshop. That is enough to use Motion most of the time. Motion is $300, After Effects is $700 or $1000 for the full application. This is why I think people will start using Motion, it costs $300, less then half the cost of the Standard version of After Effects. (After Effects 6.5, just out at NAB, does work on OS X). I used to use Premiere, it was good. I then found Media 100 and liked it, even got professional training in it. Once Final Cut Pro came out it did not take me long to realize how much better it was to M100. I am obviously not the only person to make this realization, and I am sure people will start noticing this same thing about Motion for most of their AE needs. I have not tried Motion yet, but from what I read, it looks like it does quite a bit of AE like stuff. Apple and Adobe are facing off head to head like never before.

March 30, 2004

FileMaker Developer 7

The new FileMaker is out! I got my shiny box last week, it came when I was in Detroit. I have been playing around and am about to post a First Look article. I want to go through the changes in ScriptMaker, then I will post it. So stay tuned. I am not going to be using FileMaker 7 for any of the solutions I have created for Student Publications. So why did I buy it? Because I need to be ahead of the curve. I need to know about all the changes. And eventually I will be moving the Unigraphics invoicing system, the KEY Yearbook purchasing database, etc, over to FMP 7, but not right this minute. They have changed too many variables. And since it is a new file format, we would need to upgrade to FileMaker Server 7 which comes out this summer. That being said, I could do a lot more with 7, and it is well worth the work, in my opinion, to port everything to 7. The one glaring omission I see is no "import file/table" feature in the Define Database dialog. FileMaker now acts like a SQL database, or day I say MS Access, you now have multiple tables in one file. Before v. 7 you had one table per file. FMI could have been nice and included a consolidation feature. That would have been great. Well leave it to the plugin community to fill a void. Both New Millennium and .com Solutions has tools out to help move a multi file solution into a single file, multi table solution. FM Robot from New Millennium is a table consolidation utility. It takes the Database Design Report (so you need Developer, not just Pro) and consolidates all your files into one multi table file. I might invest in this tool. New Millennium makes good software, so it looks like it would be worth it. Only the Windows version is available right now, so I think I will wait until they release a Mac version. Although I might just get the PC version to have it now, I do as much developing in FileMaker on Windows these days as I do on the Mac. What really makes sense about FM Robot is its ability to duplicate tables within a FileMaker 7 file. You can also build a "library" of "template tables" which you can transfer into any new solution. Very cool. FmPro Migrator from .com Solutions does not look like it as easy to use, as you need to install ActiveState Perl on Windows (although I have used ActiveState's Perl before and it is a breeze to setup). FmPro Migrator has a much broader scope then FM Robot though. FmPro Migrator will migrate FileMaker Pro databases to MySQL, Oracle, Access, SQL Server, Sybase and DB2. It now includes a FileMaker 3,4,5,6,7 to FileMaker 7 table consolidation feature, and Microsoft Access to FileMaker 7 migration feature. Both sites have detailed feature pages and screenshots available, so check them out. There is a demos to try as well. I can't say anything for the accuracy of either of these tools, but considering how much different FileMaker 7 is from v. 6, I can't see either tools being 100% accurate with regards to calculations, scripts, privileges, and relationships. I will have to buy one and see how it fairs. FM Robot looks like an easier to use tool, but FmPro Migrator has a much more robust feature set.

March 27, 2004

FileMaker Pro 7: Can You Say Paradigm Shift?

by William Porter wp@polytrope.com I wouldn't describe the last several versions of FileMaker Pro as ho-hum, but I wouldn't exactly call them exciting. The addition of XML support in FileMaker Pro 6 was so revolutionary an enhancement that most developers still don't know what to make of it two years later. Otherwise, version 6 felt like a maintenance release, with a few new status functions, the capability to import photos directly from a digital camera, a Find and Replace command, etc. As a result, many people who aren't already in the know will be surprised - no, scratch that - shocked to discover that the just-released FileMaker Pro 7 is dramatically, profoundly and comprehensively different from its predecessors. Different and, I hasten to say, better. What's New (FMI) Now, the difference is not primarily a matter of new or changed features, although there are more of those than I can mention here. It's more a matter of a new way of thinking. Experienced FileMaker developers learning to work in FileMaker Pro 7 may feel like Texans accustomed to attacking their food with steak knives, now forced to eat noodles with chopsticks. Chopsticks are not just a different tool for picking up food: they're designed for a different cuisine, behind which there is a different conception of what constitutes a meal. The same applies to FileMaker Pro 7. We're not just going to be building databases differently, we're going to be building fundamentally different kinds of databases. Source: TidBITS What a great analogy! This is a great review from start to conclusion. If you want to see the good and the bad of FMP 7, be sure to check this out.

March 17, 2004

ShapeShifter 1.2 is out with LOTS of changes

Just take a look at all the new changes in 1.2! Wow! It seems like it should be more then a .1 update. There is a new theme installed by default, SimpleX. Its blue, and it looks really nice. Unsanity really makes great software for OS X. By far the best new feature is the new ability for themes to skin individual applications. Before you had to use other apps to skin apps individually. I own a lot of Unsanity software though, so maybe I am just a little bias.

March 12, 2004

Kicking off the Academy Awards

Nearly 45 million viewers tuned in to the 76th Academy Awards, the biggest audience in several years, drawn in part by the return of go-to host Billy Crystal and the promise of a signature big show opening. And Crystal delivered, leading his musical monologue with a montage parody in which he is inserted — in full costume, and lack thereof — into actual scenes from nominated films. Crystal convincingly slays a giant elephant from “Lord of the Rings,” comes conspicuously between Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give” and climbs both “Cold Mountain” and the final mountain in “Rings,” complete with a relocated Kodak Theater and Hollywood sign. Director Troy Miller of LA-based Dakota Pictures shot much of the film against green screen backgrounds, using clever composites to convince the audience that Crystal was really “there.” And to convince themselves that the illusions were working, the Dakota crew used PowerBooks and a Power Mac G5 editing station running Final Cut Pro to create and view the shots on the fly, on set, as the footage was captured. Check out the process. Source: Apple Hot News Thanks to Rob for the link!

March 11, 2004

POPFile v0.21.0 Update in OS X

POPFile 0.21.0 has been released, and with very little trouble I have it up and running in Mac OS 10.3. The big change in this version is no more BerklyDB back end, POPFile now using a SQL database, and the easiest way to do this in OS X is to use SQLite. Thankfully Michael Tsai (SpamSieve author) has a built version of SQLite for Mac OS X. This means you do not have to compile and install it. The schema is available to use something like MySQL, but why bother? Next up you have some perl modules to install: These you will need to download, compile, and install. DBI needs to be installed before you can install the DBD::SQLite module. More on installing SQLite and these associated perl modules below. There are a couple really cool new features to POPFile, and in my opinion, worth the work to use them. They are:
  • The global options for Subject Modification, X-Text-Classification insertion and X-POPFile-Link insertion have been removed and replaced with individual options on a per bucket basis to give greater choice in configuring POPFile.
  • The 'unclassified' bucket is now visible in the UI so that you can see how many messages were unclassified, and configure header modification. This also means that unclassified messages are counted in the accuracy statistics; previously they were not counted which could have skewed the accuracy statistics if there were unclassified messages. -- This was something I had asked for, and I assume others did as well.
  • The history "page" bar has been simplified so that it uses a fixed amount of screen space, while making navigation easy. Filters and searches on the history are now persistent, for example you can click on the Buckets page and return to the History page without losing your filter or search settings.
  • The Buckets page has been modified to only show the 'distinct word' count per bucket and to show the total number of distinct words in the database. Previously we showed two counts with confusing titles: now we show the true number of words in the database, not the "word counts" (which was the number of times each word occurred).
  • We've recently seen spam start to use CSS to obscure messages and fool filters like POPFile; in response, this version of POPFile does analysis of CSS in HTML encoded messages. POPFile now correctly uses the SpamAssassin headers to make POPFile more efficient when used in conjunction with SpamAssassin. We now also look at TLDs (Top Level Domains) and store them as pseudowords (most useful for TLDs like .biz). -- My favorite new feature.
A couple warnings from the developer:
  • It's possible that you might see a drop in accuracy as your corpus gets trained up on the new anti-spam features. This drop in accuracy will be corrected once you've retrained POPFile a little.
  • I'm suggesting that if you have a corpus with GREATER THAN 30,000 unique words (you can figure this out from the Buckets page) please wait for v0.21.1.
I have written about POPFile on Mac OS X in the past, and if you are interested in POPFile, you should read my previous articles: Upgrading POPFile This assumes you have POPFile 0.20.0 or 0.20.1 installed in Mac OS X (10.3 recommended). If you have not installed POPFile in the past, please read the two above links. For example I am not discussing creating the StartupItem for POPFile here. You can find that information in the above links. Just a reminder: you need the Developer Tools installed to compile the perl modules. A) Download SQLite, DBI, DBD::SQLite, Digest::Base, Digest::MD5, and HTML::Tagset from the links provided above. Mount the SQLite disk image. B) Open Terminal and type this: sudo cp /Volumes/SQLite-2.8.13/sqlite /sbin/ (type admin password) C) Next you will be installing all the perl modules. These are all installed in the same manner. Remember that if you drag a folder from the finder to Terminal, it will write the path for you. So just type cd [space] and then drag the name of the folder (eg. DBD-SQLite-0.31) into the Terminal. Installing the module goes like this: In the Terminal, cd to the unpacked perl module's folder perl Makefile.PL [return] make [return] make test [return] make install [return] Now you need to install the new version of POPFile. 1) Shutdown POPFile, go to http://localhost:8080/ (or the port number you changed POPFile to) and click “Shutdown POPFile” 2) Backup your current POPFile install. This is at /Library/POPFile 3) Keep the folder /Library/POPFile/corpus handy, you will need to move this to the new version of POPFile. Also keep “popfile.cfg” which holds your settings. 4) Download the new version of POPFile, in this case, popfile-0.21.0.zip 5) Replace the /Library/POPFile folder with the newly downloaded version of POPFile. 6) Be sure to move the corpus folder over to /Library/POPFile and the popfile.cfg file, or you will have no buckets, magnets, or anything for that matter! 7) Open the Terminal and type/paste these two commands: cd /Library/StartupItems/popfile sudo ./popfile start (type admin password) 8) Depending on how big your corpus is, and how many buckets you have, it might take a minute or two to completely startup POPFile. You do not get any feedback on this in the Terminal. At first I thought I did something wrong, but just waited a couple minutes and I could finally load the POPFile web page. Now go to http://localhost:8080/ and you should see the default POPFile History page. 9) I suggest you setup your bucket preferences such as this: Subject Header Modification OFF, X-Text-Classification Header ON, X-POPFile-Link Header ON, Quarantine Message, OFF. Being able to turn these on and off on a bucket by bucket basis is a nice feature, but right now I am not using these individual preferences. The developer, John, even has a page devoted to gathering funds for a 12" PowerBook G4. He can test POPFile on Windows and Linux, but not on Mac OS X. So help him out and donate! I talked to John sometime late last year about an easier install for OS X (there is a very nice installer for Windows) but he has not had time to get to me on the subject. It sure would be nice to have the binaries for OS X all setup in a package. So why do I still use POPFile over SpamSieve? Well, I am not afraid of the command line, and I have used POPFile for a long time (I used it on my PC for sometime before installing it on my Mac). Also, not until recently did SpamSieve support the features I need for Apple Mail. SpamSieve might be easier to install then POPFile, but where is the fun in that? I have all my clients buy SpamSieve and use it. It is easy for me to install and support.

February 27, 2004

Ecto 1.0.4 is Released

- ecto can import photos from the latest iPhoto film roll (MacOS 10.3 only). - images can now be resized before uploading (MacOS 10.3 only). - By default ecto now autosaves drafts (turn it off in Advanced Preferences). - Live preview implemented (can be turned on by clicking on Preview window's Preferences toolbar icon and setting the corresponding option) (MacOS 10.3 only). - RSS, Atom, and text export implemented (control-click on selected rows in the Entries and Drafts list and choose Export Selection from the popup menu). - Settings drawer remembers position (left or right). - Saving drafts did not save trackback urls. Fixed. - Added option to warn if posting without keywords (MT/TP only). - Alerting when posting without categories, summary, and/or keywords now allow to go ahead with posting anyway. - Fixed timezone issue when applying custom date to a recent entry. - Other minor fixes. Download it now!

February 22, 2004

BBEdit 7.1

I have been a very long time BBEdit user. I have used it since about version 2.0. I have been doing OK, but not great without BBEdit 7 (or 6 for that matter). The last version I bought was 5. I have been using DW and/or SimpleText (yes it still lives, in the Developer Tools install) up untill now. I have had it tho! I broke down and got the upgreade to BBEdit 7.1. Now I work so much faster, I do not have to go to DW when I just want to edit code. The new Preview in BBEdit has got to be the best new feature! It automatically updates when the code is changed. This is the reason I own a wide screen laptop! The feature requires Safari, so I assume it uses WebKit to do the rendering in BBEdit. I chose electronic download, and was not given an option to buy a printed manual. I wonder if you get one if you were to choose the boxed version? I really liked the BBEdit 5 manual, why is it that no one sells manuals with their products anymore? Is it just me that likes to have a reference around to look at when I need info on x feature? I know I should have upgraded BBEdit long ago, it was just one of those things that I "got by" with just using DW for coding. Once again I am glad to have BBEdit. It is such an indispensable app. (This was written weeks ago, and has been in my "for blog" folder just waiting for the right time (read: any time at all) to post.

February 18, 2004

OmniWeb 5 Beta 2 Is Out

OmniWeb 5 beta 2 is now out. GO GET IT. I would have written up my own review, but I do not have the time. Suffice it to say I really like the new features. You NEED to try out this beta. I like it better then Safari. For a wonderful look at what is new in OmniWeb 5, check out John Gruber's assessment.

February 13, 2004

Quark releases QuarkXPress 6.1 Update

On Wednesday, Quark released QuarkXPress 6.1 Update, a ~75MB download. Among the changes listed as being included in the update are: Support for Mac OS X v10.3 Panther - Um...Yea. It seemed to work in Panther just fine. But we all know how buggy, or quarky, Quark is. So I am sure they smoothed out some jagged edges. It seems to run as it did before. Improved integration with Microsoft Excel - It sure is. I can confirm this. It is much nicer bringing in tabular data and working with it in Quark. Ability to select a picture then open and edit it in a preferred image editing application - This is a great feature, and something that I won't use. The way InDesign works with Illustrator and Photoshop documents is a thing of beauty, and cannot be matched. But this is better then nothing. New font mapping utility to create and manage rules to govern automatic font substitution - Anything is better the Courier New right? I don't know about you, but if I see that a font didn't load I go turn the font on. Updating went just fine. I did NOT need the installer CD, I read you did. And thank god I did not have to retype that 48 digit install code. I am running Quark License Administrator (QLA), and had no problems with the quark licenses talking to the QLA server. Quark is really turning around. They are shivering in their britches because InDesign is gaining momentum. I have actually, for the first time ever, had good to excellent tech support from Quark when I have had to call them with QLA related questions.

February 6, 2004

Safari 1.2 & Ollie's Tab

As you should know by now Safari 1.2 has been released, and it sure is a nice update. I really like the ability to finally tab into drop down menus, finally. Just in time is Ollie's Tab 3.0 for Safari 1.2. Something I was really hoping for in the new Safari release was a tab button. But when there is a hole, there is always someone to plug it. Why hasn't Apple added a tab button to Safari yet?

February 5, 2004

Ecto 1.0.2 Released

Changed:
updated Textile plugin (Brad Choate). removed default from "Delete Draft" confirmation sheet. Shortcut for "Delete" is now the delete key. Updated Japanese localization (Hiroshi Yamato). Updated French localization (Olivier Jan). Entry and draft data is written to disk before posting, to prevent accidental quitting. Main window can now be closed. %@ substitution now also occurs in closing tags (Textile compatibility). Other minor fixes.
The two changes that stand out is the edition of the %@ substitution on the closing tags, and the saving of entry data before it is posted.

February 4, 2004

I hope Backup 2.0.1 Fixes My Problem

Backup 2.0.1 provides added quality and reliability improvements to scheduled backups and is now available through Software Update in System Preferences and as a download from .Mac. All I can say is: I sure hope so! This is an error message I keep getting, every day now. It tells me that backup is running! Yea, at 5 AM I am running Backup manually. Hmmmm, I don't think so. I just love manually backing up stuff.
backup_problems.jpg

February 3, 2004

Ecto 1.0.1 Released

Changes:
Main window's title is now set to selected account and blog. Accounts- and blogs- menu would not rebuild or crash after doing an Update Cache. Fixed. Refreshing list of recent entries did not remove entries deleted via the online control panel. Fixed. Updated French localization (Olivier Jan).
You can read my first impressions of the Ecto 1.0 final version here.

February 1, 2004

Ecto is evolution done right (Updated)

I added my quibbles with this initial release of Ecto. Ecto is what Kung-Log used to be. And it is no longer in beta testing! Ecto has gone through a great private and public beta, progressing every step in the way. Not only that, but there are some great changes that just appeared here in the final release. I really liked Kung-Log, and Ecto is a huge upgrade. I love the new UI of ecto! Take a look at other screen shots at the Kula site. I still prefer ecto over NetNewsWire (NNW) and it is because of the UI. Ecto has one tabbed interface for all the main fields: body, extended body, summery, and keywords. With NNW you have to click a "More Options" button to get to more then the main body. In the beginning NNW did not have a customizable HTML menu, it does now. But in ecto you can assign keyboard shortcuts (such a nice feature). The biggest interface change in ecto is the Entries and Drafts window. In Kung-Log this was handled in a shelf, now it is a full window, allowing you to sort, search and even delete entries (as well as delete them off of the server). HTML syntax coloring has been redone completely. In Kung-Log there was only the choice to have all the HTML code in one color, now you can define colors for the tags, attributes, and brackets. This is great if you are used to using Dreamweaver and BBEdit as much as I am. There is now a robust Account Setup window, with an account setup "wizard" that is loads better then how it was handled in Kung-Log. The preview window is also grown up. It has its own toolbar and uses WebKit (Safari) to render the page. You can even set it to load the CSS from the blog, and make the font bigger or smaller - great for late night blogging! Check out the ecto site to see all the new features, and download a time limited demo. It is rare that an application goes through this much change between releases, and it is just wonderful when it happens. I do have some small complaints. Nothing is perfect after all. I have emailed the developer, Adriaan though, and these things will be changed in the next version, or are things that are being considered for a future version. In Kung-Log and in the Ecto betas the blog selecting was done with a drop down menu, so it was clear as to what blog you have selected. In the Ecto final it is now a button in the toolbar, and you get a submenu to select the active blog. I like this better, but now there is no way to know what blog is the active one. Sure you could look at the categories, but what if you are posting to the same blog from multiple users. It no longer says anywhere in the UI what the active blog is. Ecto 1.0.1 will have current account and blog name in the title bar. Another thing that was changed right before the final release was the status for "publish" and "draft" in the Entries and Drafts window. It was just text before, but now there are status is denoted by icons. I don't think the black and white icons are different enough, and I suggested different colors, such as green and red, or green and orange. I hope this is considered. Those two things are small potatoes though. My largest beef with the app is selecting a primary, and then secondary categories. This is not as important on my site, but it is very important what posting to BlogCritics. There is no way to select a primary category, and the secondary category(s). No outright way, that is. I found out how the primary category is set, and that Adriaan is looking for a better way to handle setting the primary category. To set the primary category: From the checked categories, make the primary category the selected category (i.e. select that row). Thanks for that info Adriaan! It sure is annoying to have to switch primary and secondary categories in the MT admin, and now I know. I hope a better solution is implemented soon. Another thing I wished for in the final was to see the keyboard shortcuts in the HTML button in the toolbar. You can see the user configurable keyboard shortcuts in the Edit > Insert HTML menu, but this is not where I go to insert HTML, I use the toolbar button. These keyboard shortcuts were in the Kung-Log HTML toolbar button, but they are gone in Ecto. This is something else Adriaan says he is looking into a better way. He says: "there's a bug in Panther/Jaguar that won't apply menu formatting to keyboard shortcuts. So, if I'd add a shortcut to the popup menu, it would be in 12 pt, whereas the menu item title is in 10pt. Crazy." For now you will just have to memorize your keyboard shortcuts for now, or use the Insert HTML menu. Regardless of these small issues, don't think I don't love this app. I just had another idea. On the Advanced tab you can change the creation date. I wish there was a "Now" button there to set the time to now (current time). This would be great when I want to update a post and want it to show up at the top of the page. Since I donated in the past, I got 25% off the price, $4. I don't think the $17.95 price is bad, but I would have been more inclined to buy at $13.95, (which was what I payed because of my previous donation) but thats just me. However after using this app for so long, it is worth the $18 fee. I recommend this over NNW, mainly because of the user interface changes. Of course the price of NNW is also an issue, $40. I just use the free NNW Lite, and ecto to post to blogs. Be sure to read the comments on this post over at BlogCritics.

Fire .32i Fixes Yahoo! Connection Problems

Fire continues to be my favorite multi-IM app for OS X. Friends have suggested other such apps, but I keep coming back to Fire. This latest version fixes the connection problems with YIM! Fire gets updated more often then the others I have found. If you use AIM and ICQ in OS X, my one question for you: Why open multiple IM clients? Yet, people still do it. ... and we continue to dig.

January 24, 2004

Webshots Desktop for OS X

Webshots is a great service, and has worked on the Mac for a while thanks to a great app called SwapTop. SwapTop is not a 1st party app though. It does work very well however. Webshots has finally come out with a Mac version of Webshots Desktop. It is in beta, but it is nice to see a Mac version out for the public. After installing the beta I am asked if I want to delete SwapTop. I guess I have to do that to smoothly try out this beta. My dad says this beta crashes on him. I will wait to pass judgement. It is nice to have thumbnail views within the app (something that SwapTop does not have). Well that didn't take long. Webshots crashes System Preferences when you select Webshots Slideshow in the Screen Saver prefs. It crashes it every time. I had no problems with SwapTop's slideshow screen saver. The Webshots beta does not come with release notes (such as known issues) nor does it have any kind of uninstaller. I am not impressed. It is back to SwapTop for me. Webshots is a desktop picture subscription service that was available for Windows for a while until SwapTop for OS 9 came out. Thw Windows version of Webshots Desktop is much more advanced still, allowing you to add a calendar to the desktop as well. You can download 800x600 rez images for free, but need a membership to get 1600x1200 versions. You can even upload your own desktop images to share with others. Although I think their image restrictions are a little tight (no logos or company brands). the Webshots Desktop app also allows you to organize your non webshots images, as well as use them in a screen saver, etc. I got a membership because my dad used it for a while, and they are really nice desktop images. Be sure to read the comments on this post over at BlogCritics.

January 23, 2004

OmniWeb Suggestions - Updated 01/23/04

I like Command+Up to go to the top of the page, I assign this to the button above my scroll wheel, in OmniWeb 4.5 this goes to Previous Anchor. I think it would be better served to use this shortcut to Go To Top of Page. (or allow me to change the keyboard shortcuts). I think you should take a que from Safari and make the block popups preference a checkable option in the OmniWeb menu. This makes it great to turn it off for that one or two annoying times I need it off. I think Command+O should be Open File, it is Command+Shift+O right now. I use the Open File command a lot more often then I use the Open Location command. I think there should be a setting to set the text to 100%, or original size, whichever sounds better. They mean the same thing. I would like an option in the bookmarks preferences to be able to keep the bookmarks drawer open after I double click on one of those links.

Free Keynote Themes, .Mac Review

I have been meaning to review the .Mac service for a while now. I guess now is as good as any.
Apple's latest promotion for members of its .Mac subscription-based online service rewards them with US$30 off Keynote, the presentation software, as well as seven free themes from third-party designers valued at $100.
Source: MacCentral I already own Keynote, so the discount does not help me out, but I do not own any of these themes. And these themes rock! I am a long time .Mac user. I used it back when it was free and called iTools. When they moved to the $99 pay for service, I did not take the $49 previous users price. At that time I did not think it was worth $49, much less $99, as you did not get as much as you do now. Sure, the staple of a .Mac account is the iDisk and the email account, but now it is so much more, and is well worth the price tag. Fast forward to 2003 when I bought my 1 Ghz PowerBook G4. There is a $30 discount with a new Mac, and Apple now offers a slew of extras other then just the virtual disk and email. I will admit I was skeptical for a while (even after I bought .Mac), but I am now convinced that it is well worth it, on so many levels. As a member I not only get a discount on Keynote, but on Macromedia Contribute, (as well as free Contribute templates) tons (1.7 GB) of royalty free Freeplay Music, ArcSoft PhotoStudio, 25% off Panarama Maker, discount on VersionTracker Pro, Virex, and thats just the 3rd party software. Apple training on OS X, iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, and iDVD is nice. Backup 2.0 is a mature backup utility now. iSync my bookmarks, contacts, and calendars and can download all that data on another Mac. iSync is a huge, and very usefull feature of .Mac! I am now never without that information, no matter what Mac I am at. Publishing iPhoto galleries online is real sweet, as is publishing iCal calendars. If you are on the edge of getting .Mac, let me assure you, it is worth it. At first I thought otherwise as well, but I am now more then convinced that it is worth the $99 per year.

January 14, 2004

OmniWeb 5 looks like a Safari Killer

A good friend of mine, Mary Beth, asked me what my favorite browser was. She was a little shocked when I did not reply 'Safari!' My favorite browser is OmniWeb. I have been an avid user since Mac OS X Server (the first version, otherwise known as Rhapsody). I even own a license to OmniWeb 4, that is how much I like it. OmniWeb 5 is coming out, and it addresses the one thing Safari has that OmniWeb 4 does not, tabs. The latest version of OmniWeb, 4.5, uses WebCore and JavaScriptCore just like Safari does. The way tabs look in OmniWeb 5 looks really interesting, as if they decided to innovate instead of just copy. The Workspaces in OmniWeb 5 also looks like a great feature! I can hardly wait to get OmniWeb 5 because I love using OmniWeb 4.5 so much, but end up using Safari just because of the tabs - even though I can block ads in OmniWeb. OmniWeb 4.5 added support for PDF as well as Flash and Shockwave, some things that were really lacking. Of course I actually *like* not having Flash all the time. But the edition of Adobe and Macromedia technologies made OmniWeb a little less of a "fringe" OS X browser. If you have not taken a look at OmniWeb, check it out! OmniWeb 4.5 also handles CSS much better (then it used to), since it is now using WebCore. Another note: OnmiWeb 4.5 uses your Keychain, so if you added the passwords in Safari, your good to go with OmniWeb.

January 9, 2004

Kung-Log turns into ecto

The public beta of ecto is out. I have been part of the private beta test, and I really like what I see. For those not familiar, Kung-Log is, IMO, the best desktop blogging app for the Mac. You should download it, check it out, maybe even make some suggestions. This is a major overhaul to Kung-Log, adding even more useful features. Here are some of the improvements:
1. Improved account management 2. Edit window make-over. Note that the tabbed view supports drag-and-drop. To drag-and-drop text from one field to another, drag to the tab the destination text field is part of. 3. Recent entries and draft make-over. Drafts and recent entries are all in one list. This list is sortable by id, title, date, blog, and status (local draft vs remote entry). A search function is also included. To view an entry in the main window, double-click it or press the Enter key. 4. Separate status message window. Due to most processes being threaded, a single status field in the main window has made place for a list of current network and file processes. 5. Improved HTML preview, including support for Textile formatting. 6. Address Book support in email notification list. 7. Most settings are now on a per-blog basis. To save the main window's settings as default, select Draft > 'Save Settings'.ecto does not remember last used settings anymore. 8. More preferences for advanced users. See preferences dialog. 9. Syntax-coloring does not slow down typing anymore when editing long entries. 10. Improved file upload. One of the new features is that ecto now maintains a history of uploaded items for reuse.

December 13, 2003

POPFile Update in OS X

At the end of October I installed POPFile. Today I just upgraded it to v0.20.1. Just like the install of POPFile, to upgrade it is not an 'easy' thing to do. Here is how you upgrade POPFile on OS X:
Shutdown POPFile, go to http://localhost:8080/ (or the port number you changed POPFile to) and click "Shutdown POPFile" Backup your current POPFile install. This is at /Library/POPFile Keep the folder /Library/POPFile/corpus handy, you will need to move this to the new version of POPFile. Also keep "popfile.cfg" which holds your settings. Download the new version of POPFile Replace the contents of the /Library/POPFile folder with the contents of the newly downloaded version of POPFile (I trashed the contents and replaced it with the new version of POPFile). Be sure to move the corpus folder over to /Library/POPFile and the popfile.cfg file, or you will have no buckets, magnets, or anything for that matter! Open the Terminal and type/paste these two commands:
cd /Library/StartupItems/popfile sudo sudo ./popfile start
(You will have to authenticate sudo with your password)
Now go to http://localhost:8080/ and you should see the default style'd POPFile History page. I do not know how to copy over the preferences for the style, or for that matter, the configuration page. I tried copying over the "popfile.cfg" file from the old install with no luck. I am going to email the developer about this, and will post it here when I find out. UPDATE My problem was the fact that I did not restart the server after I copied over the popfile.cfg file. All is well now, I double checked it. I had to go to the Configuration page and turn OFF Subject line modification, because I do not use this, and it is ON by default. Figuring out how to copy over the configuration from the old install will fix this problem. accurate.jpgI opened up Mail, and all was well, it works, and is still classifying SPAM as good as before. This entire process did not take very long at all. It has taken me exponentially longer to write about it. POPFile does a much better job at classifying mail then Mail's Junk Mail Filter. I very rarely have to reclassify mail, and when I do I am saying it is SPAM, I am not getting false positives. I have gotten a few, that is going to happen, but it is few and very far between. I would say more then half the mail I have to "reclassify" has not been classified at all by POPFile (it does not put it into any bucket).

December 11, 2003

Mail Scripts 2.0 beta

mail_scripts.jpgI had emailed the developer of Mail Scripts (currently 1.3.7) about helping me with an AppleScript to automate the deletion of email in Mail. After a couple emails I am now helping him beta test his new versions of Mail Scripts, 2.0. Beta testing software is great, especially if it helps you do work faster. I have beta tested Path Finder for some time now, and have contributed much to its design and functionality. Path Finder is another product that helps me save time. Mail Scripts 1.3.7 are a set of AppleScript's for use with Mail and Address Book. They work pretty well. With the upcoming 2.0 scripts, they will now have a UI because the developer, Andreas Amann, has rewritten them using Panther's Xcode Tools, Interface Builder, and AppleScript. This makes these scripts into small applications, and makes them much easier to use. Click on the name to see a screen shot.
Add Addresses - You can add multile addresses to Address Book. This, like all the scripts, reads the messages that you have selected and gathers the names and email addresses from the To, From, CC, and BCC (I think) fields. Archive Messages - You can archive and export messages. Export options are to text or mbox format. You have the choice to narrow your archive/export by date, read status, and flagged status. The archived emails go into a newly created mailbox folder Archived Messages (Date Archived). This is very handy to me as I am archiving by month a lot of my mailboxes, such as my Sent box. Change SMTP Server - This is a much quicker way to change your SMTP Server then going into Preferences, although it does the same exact thing. Why would you use this? When I go down to my dad's house, I have to use the SMTP of his host to be able to send email. Remove Duplicate Messages - At first just comparing Message ID's, it now compairs the raw text of the message body as well. I found that it found a number of false positives with only the comparison of the Message ID's. You would think that every email has a unique Message ID, but in some cases, there are duplicate Message ID's that are not truly duplicate messages. Since this script compares the message body, it can take a while depending on how many messages you have. Send all Drafts - This does exactly what is says, it sends all drafts.
Mail and Address Book have large AppleScript dictionaries which allow almost every aspect of these programs to be scripted, and these small applications show the potential of exploiting these AppleScript dictionaries. Be sure to check the site for the final 2.0 version soon, and give them a try. They just might save you some time.

December 4, 2003

Suitcase/WindowShadeX incompatibility

Reader Frans van der Geest reports an incompatibility between Suitcase 11.0.2 and WindowShade X (the haxie that brings OS 9's Windowshade functionality to OS X): "I noticed that Suitcase does not start up correctly on boottime when Windowshade (the latest version from the Unsanity utility) is installed: Suitcase hangs at startup or the window does not 'auto-hide' at autostart at login. removing Windowshade solved all this"
Source: MacFixIt Bah! I am about to buy this software for myself, as well as for Student Publications. Not that it will matter for Student Publications. But I really like using WindowShadeX on my PowerBook

November 26, 2003

Safari Wish List 11/25/03

Here are the features I would like to see in an update to Safari. (Disregarding any changes I would like to see in WebCore.) This is also part two in an n part series. Please see part one for my previous wishes.
  1. Safari really likes it cache. It likes it a bit too much. You can select Empty Cache... from the Safari menu, but even doing that sometimes (a lot of times) does not work. I recommend using Safari Enhancer, it does a number of things, one of which is turn off cache entirely. You might not want to do that with a dial up connection, but who has that these days? (that was a joke) Even with cache disabled, it seems Safari still keeps cache too much. I really don't understand how it does that, with it disabled and all, but it does. Why does this cache thing bother me? Because I am a web designer. I need fresh copies of my pages. I think Safari loads pages so fast because of its affinity to cache. Let go. It will be OK!
  2. When Apple does something, they always add some twist to it to make it unique. This is by far one of the best things about Apple products. For Safari 1.0 it was the SnapBack feature. SnapBack is a very handy feature, and I use it a lot. It means I do not have to go through the History menu when all I want is the history of the current web site. SnapBack on Google results are also very cool. URL auto-complete is very handy feature. This is something that needs an Apple twist. What if when typing a URL, and it finds a site that is in your history, it automatically selects the the root domain first, and not some page that is deep in the site? I don't know about you, but I would really like that. Because I am always either arrowing to the root domain, or deleting from the URL field if the root domain is not in short reach.
  3. The Open Page With... Menu that is in the Debug Menu should not be a hidden feature. For those who do not know, the Open Page With... Menu shows all other installed web browsers. For me it is Internet Exploder, Mozilla, and Opera. This is a wonderful feature of Safari. It needs to be out in the open. I use it a lot, again, because I am a web designer. But, it is a worthwhile feature for anyone who comes across a web page that just does not work correctly in Safari.

November 9, 2003

Adobe CS Shortcomings

I recieved my copy of Adobe CS Standard this past tuesday. I payed for expedient shipping, and I sure did not get it, as I know others who got their boxes 3 to 4 business days before I got mine. I am just glad to finally have it, I am really looking forward to the new features in all the new apps (sans GoLive, I am a Dreamweaver type of person). PRINTED MANUAL? If you buy the new Adobe CS applications separately, you will get the printed manual in the box. If you get the Adobe CS Standard or Premium, you do not get printed manuals. You get a 92 page booklet that has 2 pages of "what's new" content, and a bunch of lessons such as "how to make a brochure." All I have to say is WTF? I guess Adobe thinks it would make the CS suite too expensive to include the manuals, yet they are available from the Adobe Store. This is total BS. There are reports on MacInTouch about the printed manuals. Some people called Adobe Customer Support about the lack of manuals, and they got the line that I just described. You see I like having the printed manuals. Apparently I am not the only one. Having a PDF manual is nice to be able to do a keyword search on, but for all intents and purposes, I would much rather read about things in a book, I burn out my retina enough as it is. Hey Adobe! You made a bad choice here. Why include the manuals in the single application boxes and not the entire suite? If I pay $1,229.00 for a suite of apps, I expect printed documentation, and not 2 pages of "what's new" and a stupid bunch of tutorials. I also like the tri-fold Quick Reference Card with all the tools, palette options, and keyboard shortcuts. I cannot see how printed materials are too expensive for someone like Adobe. Odd thing though, I got a different story when I called the Adobe Tech. line. I was also told the manuals ship with the single application boxes, but they were not yet available for purchase. Also they would cost $50 a piece. This is not true at all. They cost $30 a piece, and are available for purchase right now. They are also available in a Standard and Premium bundle for $49 and $59 respectively. I have half a notion to call back and hope I get a different tech. on the phone to see if I get a different answer, the correct answer. Other people have been told they can buy the manuals online, after all. I bought the books for the Adobe CS Standard, that cost $67.38 after all is said and done. Tack on another $10 if you get the Premium set, which adds the manual for GoLive CS and the Getting Started Guide for Acrobat 6. Talking about Acrobat, it has not had a printed manual, I don't think ever. I have bought Acrobat since 3.0 and it has never came with anything substantial in the printed form. And for that matter there is no manual installed in PDF form with Acrobat 6 Professional. Why not? I don't understand why Adobe does not use the Mac OS X Help architecture for its online help. Macromedia does. Many other developers do. Its nice to have everything in the Help Viewer app. Acrobat 6 help is in its own interface inside the app. Photoshop CS opens in a web page, same with Illustrator CS, and InDesign CS. I am willing to bet its the same thing for the GoLive CS help. I know from doing it myself that it takes little time to get your online help into the Help Viewer application when you already have it in HTML. This is because Help Viewer in a sense is a web browser. I do not understand why Adobe does not go the extra mile to put their online help into the Help Viewer. And then there is Acrobat, the odd ball. It has its own Help within the app. I wonder if the Adobe CS help is in the standard Windows Help UI. I have a lot of "why didn't they go the extra mile" questions for the Adobe CS suite of apps. More on that in a minute. Lets put things into perspective, and not just point the finger at Adobe. I also bought the Macromedia Studio MX 2004 suite for $1000, and all I got by means of printed documentation was the same type of 90 some pages of "what's new" and "how to" projects. Macromedia also sells the manuals in print on their site. Of course I am the type of person that buys the Macromedia API reference manuals as well, as I like writing extensions for Dreamweaver. Quark did the same thing. For Student Publications I ordered a lab pack 15 seat license of Quark 6 which came with no printed materials what so ever. I cannot find a manual for purchase on the Quark site. Quark 6 online help is in the Help Viewer, just like the Macromedia apps help files are. I am already disappointed in Adobe for not including printed manuals. This is not like them. But of course this is a growing trend that only irritates customers. I wonder why developers like Adobe, Quark, and Macromedia, etc, etc, don't seem to care. UPGRADE COST? Also, if you do the math on the upgrade you will be scratching your head. $169 a piece for the new Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign (the three apps in the Standard CS suite) is less then the upgrade cost of $550. CS INTEGRATION? These apps are supposed to be even more integrated as ever. First they need to be consistent, then they can be integrated. The new features in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator are great and in some cases numerous, but I am not going to talk about them. I think Macworld did a great job of explaining the "best of" the new features. I might highlight some of my favorite new bells and whistles, but I am not going to go in-depth on anything. Adobe claims that the new Adobe CS is integrated more then ever. There are some glaring omissions IMO to this integrated package Adobe calls Creative Suite. Lets start with the New Document dialog. Photoshop and InDesign allows you to make custom document sizes. Which is nice, now you don't have to edit a text file to make a custom entry in the Preset drop down menu. But there is no such custom preset feature in ImageReady or in Illustrator. Why not? I am not seeing integration here. The Keyboard Presets editor in Photoshop is really nice. It allows you to change keys for the menus, tools, and even the palettes. You can also save out an HTML file of the shortcuts (although it tries to open this file in InDesign CS, I do not understand that). The HTML file that is exported is nice though. This Summerize feature is not in InDesign, Illustrator, or ImageReady. Illustrator will export a very poorly formatted text file. InDesign exports a better formatted text file. ImageReady has no such Keyboard Shortcut editor. At least ImageReady still allows you to select "Use System Shortcuts" so Command + H hides ImageReady. This is more than can be said for InDesign though, the Keyboard Shortcut editor in InDesign, which does not look changed from version 2.0, does not allow you to change the 'Hide InDesign' menu command. So there is no Command + H (to hide the app) in InDesign. Photoshop has the most robust Keyboard Shortcut editor in the suite, with distinct sections for Application Menus, Palette Menus, and Tools. InDesign will let you customize all but the tools, and of course the Hide command. Illustrator allows you to change Tools and Menu command keys, but not Palette Menu keys. ImageReady lacks a customizable keyboard shortcuts editor all together. How about it Adobe? How about the same UI for keyboard shortcut customization. The HTML page exported by Photoshop CS is very nice, it is a shame that you cannot export the same looking file from the entire CS suite. On a rather comical note, be sure to check out my poll on this subject :) More is yet to come... there are more things that annoy me, but I don't have time to finish this now.

November 7, 2003

Windows Media Player 9 for OS X

I heard about this a while ago, seems like ages now, but I guess it is finally here. Windows Media Player 9 for OS X. Odd thing is there is no mention of this on any of the Mac sites such as MacCentral. It is not on the MacTopia home page either. Strange. A friend of mine confirms that it does indeed play WMP 9 files. This rocks! Now I can watch that content that sites only put up in WMP 9 format. Thanks to Eric for the link.

November 1, 2003

iChat is Annoying Me

When I quit iChat, I want to quit iChat. I do not want to be asked if I am sure (if I have an open chat window open). Even if the open chat window was with someone who is no longer online, you are still asked if you are sure you want to quit. Why, oh why, is there no preference to turn this off? If you want to send feedback to Apple on iChat, please do. If enough people complain, things usually get changed. I am back to using Fire. I only open iChat up if I want to use the A/V capabilities. I hope in a future version of iChat that there is a view chat log feature. This is something that is in Fire, and is nice to be contained inside the application. For now there are some nice alternatives for iChat, but that is not good enough for me. When I quit Fire, it quits. I like that feature.

October 30, 2003

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.

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.

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.

September 26, 2003

iChat Log Viewing Software

There are three pieces of software out to view iChat log files. Only one shines. The rest have problems. Logorrhea (great name, huh), iChatViewer, and iChatAnalyzer are the three apps looked at this comparison. iChatAnalyzer 0.2.1b VersionTracker still lists this app as beta. This app makes a line chart of your chats! Wow. What is this for? It relies on iChat to actually view the log files. The search function is slow, and when I double-click on an entry in the search results window it will NOT open the chat. This app might be better to look at once it has matured a bit. In the Read Me it does state that this is the developers first OS X app. I hope the future releases have more to offer. The two reports that can be generated are not useful, not formatted in a friendly manner, and IMO contain way to much information then I want to know. iChatViewer 0.5.1 This app is a little better. It tells the begin and end time, With this data there should be no problem adding the total chat time on the UI, because that info is not there yet. I really like the simple UI of this application. That is its best feature. It too also needs to use iChat to view the log files though. I don't really like that. Show in Finder is also a nice feature. The search also uses the same UI, opening the results in a new iChatViewer window. The only thing I would like to see in this app is inline log file viewing. That and the elapse time of the chat, in big, bold, numbers. Logorrhea 1.2.1 Now this is a polished application. The main reason I like this app over the rest is it shows the chats inline, not having to use iChat to view them. The search also highlights the search term in yellow, which is a very nice feature. Great Job! Logorrhea also can reveal a chat in the Finder. You can export chats out of Logorrhea but it seems that it exports all of them, not just the one that is selected, this a bummer. Concatenating all the chat data into one large text file does not make any sense to me. I wish it showed the begin, end, and elapsed times of the chat like iChatViewer. That would be my only suggestion for this wonderful application. Maybe in a future release. Also posted at BlogCritics. UPDATED 09/30/03 iChatBrowser 0.2 just came out, It is a work in progress as I encountered some strange behavior when trying to use the Export Chats feature. It handles inline viewing of chats as well though which I like. It does not have a find feature, but the read me indicates that that is a planned feature. This is another one to keep a lookout for in the future.

September 24, 2003

More Internet Preferences

More Internet is a System Preferences pane that uses Internet Config to allow you to choose which applications are set as helpers for internet protocols (i.e. which application will be chosen to handle which URL.) This is great because much like other parts of OS X, these things (Internet Config, for example) were easy to get to in OS 9 (Open the Internet Config application; Internet Control Panel, for example). This is a good, free, System Preference to download.

Back in Toast 4

Way back in Toast 4 when you wanted to clear the contents of the toast window, wether it was a disc image or a data CD or whatever, you could use Command+Delete (being the same keyboard shortcut to trash something in the Finder, it makes sense). In Toast 5, and now in Toast 6, you have to use Clear from the Edit menu. And the Clear command does *not* have a keyboard shortcut! Why would you take a feature out of software? Especially something as useful as Clear. Hmmm. Panther (OS 10.3) is going to have a great solution for all these little "why is there no keyboard shortcut for this" gotchas. It will be part of the Keyboard preference. I could wait until then or I could get QuicKeys X2. I own QuicKeys 5 for OS 9, and do miss it. I might upgrade. QuicKeys X (the initial OS X release) and QuicKeys X.5 was not that exiting. This could go into another rant, once I need to dedicate to Mac OS X... QuicKeys X2 still does not have all the features QuicKeys 5 for OS 9 did. Do you see where this is headed? Mac OS X *still* does not have all the features that OS 9 did. Labels anyone?

September 19, 2003

Add a Tab button to Safari

It seems a bit odd that Apple could not come up with this on there own! I have been cursing Safari for not having a button to create a new tab. I mean that is sort of innovating isn't it (sorry, couldn't resist). Enter Ollie's Tab 2.0 which I found on a short excursion over at VersionTracker. Download it! Install it! What a difference a tab button makes to the user experience! Thanks Ollie.

September 11, 2003

SPAM in ICQ; Fire Problem

The only reason I still use ICQ is for a small number of people I know that will not use AIM. Unfortunatly this group of people are either work related, or people that I do not get to see in the physical form any more. So I continue to use ICQ. I use Fire (best IM client for OS X, btw) for all my IM stuff. Unless I wish to use my iSight for Audio or Video chat. The only problem I have with Fire is that if you get an IM from someone who is not on your list (and I always have security on in ICQ so I have to accept an IM from anyone not on my list) the sheet that asks if you want to accept the IM covers up the approval text that is sent. I should really email the developer about this. Oh hell I will just email him the link to this post :-P. ICQ is the only IM network that has SPAM on it. I am talking about those random IM's that solicit you for stuff you don't want. It seems very random but I am sure it very easy to do. Since ICQ names are based on numbers, all a programmer worth his salt would have to do is setup a relay system for the ICQ network, which is open source by now (that is how there are so many multi-IM clients) and just plug in a bunch of numbers and they are sure to hit some poor sap ICQ user. These are the type of "people" you do not want to authorize to accept an IM from. And I don't dare not authorize it because it might be someone I know or that needs some help, something work related. This is a software issue with Fire that should really be fixed, because it is an otherwise very fine application. Of course now M$ is making it mandatory to use the official updated MSN Messenger. I get messages every time I log in with Trillian or Fire from MSN telling me I need to upgrade. I don't think so. I will stop using your crap excuse for an IM network. The same sentiment goes for Yahoo! Because! they! are! now! sending! out! the! same! type! of! message! Well screw the users of Y! and MSN - If they want to get in touch with me they will use a real IM protocol. And who is to say that AIM and ICQ are not the same thing. They are now compatible, I am sure they will be one in the same sometime down the road. That is great. One. One IM protocol. One standard (plus Microsoft of course)

August 25, 2003

Wide Screen NetNewsWire

Eric showed me this web page today, detailing how to make NetNewsWire into a 3 column window. This is wonderful for a wide screen monitor, such as my TiBook. I find this layout is much better even on a good ole 4:3 monitor as well. It does require the Developer Tools as it is a small change using Interface Builder. But then the Dev Tools are free Check it out. And Thanks Eric. I will never look at NetNewsWire the same way again :-D. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

June 18, 2003

Exploror 5 for the Mac dead

I know this is not breaking news as I did not post this last friday when this broke but it is big news. MS has stopped development of IE for the Mac. They are releasing a security and performance update and that is it, no future development. Also see Apple response to MS dropping Exploder, a, I mean Explorer. It sounds like MS is giving in to Apple and Safari (in the MacCentral article). But I do not think that it is Safari that MS is giving in to. I could be wrong here but I think there are more geko based web browsers (Netscape, Mozilla, Cameno) being used then Safari by OS X users. Lets face in tabbed browsing has hit the mainstream now that Safari has them and even non geeks are learning how nice they are to use. MS would have to put in much time to add features to IE such as tabbed browsing, and a password manager/forms autofill feature to name just a couple. IE has forms autofill but its not that great. Once again Apple has taken something a bit too "geeky" and made it the defacto standard, tabbed browsing. Since Safari is still labeled a "beta" product there are a lot of users who will not touch it. I know this because I have supported enough end users over the years to see this first hand. Some people are afraid of beta software. But with Apple pushing Safari so much people are gonna download it and go "holy cow" when they realize how much faster it is compaired to IE. Of course when people tell me this I ask them if they have ever heard of OmniWeb or Cameno or Mozilla. Of course they havent because those are geeky web browsers. If you look at a comparison chart of the technologies that IE 5 for Mac supports, and compare that to Mozilla and Safari you would be very amazed as to what IE is limited too, and the kinds of holes that exist in the IE engine. But this really does not matter because people will still be using IE 5 for OS X a year from now because they don't like to change. Just like the many administrative offices at BGSU are still using Netscape 4.7. I think the MacBU at MS is much better served not developing IE though. I am glad they have stopped. Not because I hate IE for Mac, I do, especially from a web developer standpoint, but because I think they can use those developer resources on other projects. Lets not forget that MS now owns Virtual PC. I for one cannot wait to see a faster Virtual PC running on my OS X box.

June 17, 2003

Kung-Log is the best yet

Kung-Log is the best desktop blogging app out yet. It surpasses w.bloggar for the simple reason that it uses the built in Mac OS X spell checking. w.bloggar does have a spell checker, although I have found it to be very bad. w.bloggar is much more of a robust WYSIWYG editor. The options available are nice for sure, but I do not need all that when posting to a blog. The customizable HTML menu in Kung-Log is very nice, even allowing you to assign keyboard shortcuts. Where the customizable HTML tags feature takes a really nice turn is the ability to insert things from the clipboard. So all you do is have a URL copied, then select the text you want the link wrapped around. Once you select URL from the HTML drop down box that link is made from your clipboard. This is VERY NICE. It saves the paste step altogether. Since I have the Textile plugin installed it shows up in the Text Format popup in the Settings pane. This is another reason I like Kung-Log over w.bloggar or NetNewsWire. I can choose between using MT's text formatting or not. Kung-Log can grab info from iTunes. Thats a novelty, but cool none the less. I am listening to this right now: The Last DJ from the album "The Last DJ" by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers The way Kung-Log handles the way you handle linking things in your entry is unique and I think is the best feature it has. The preview window does a great job. Being able to select installed Text Formatting plugins is nice. And the very customizable HTML tags drop down menu is very cool. Kung-Log takes advantage of the great spell checking in Mac OS X, and this is a huge help for someone who cannot spell that well. These features all add up to the reason I will now be doing all my blog posting on my TiBook. I just figured out that I can select multiple categories for a post. Nice touch. Editing a previous post works well. I found problems in editing posts in NNW. I am very impressed with this software. The full version of NNW costs $40, this is donationware. I will donate for sure! Kung-Log has a feature for uploading files. I will have to play around with this and see how it works. I will use MT to do this as it has a template setup for this, and the server makes the thumbnails automatically. Just to see if it works I have used the built in image upload and thumbnail creation ability in Kung-Log. I am not sure if it using the Perl module to do the thumbnail or not but it works.

May 27, 2003

NetNewsWire 1.0.2

NetNewsWire (NNW) Lite is a great app for grabbing RSS feeds in OS X. I still prefer MacReporter but that is because it has been out longer and I am just used to using it. The full version of NNW adds the ability to blog from your desktop. There are 10 different blogging apps you can choose from, and it also has an "Other" choice as I am sure that any XML-RPC compatible blog system would work with NNW. Movable Type is listed, obviously since most geeks prefer it. The features are not as plentiful as the free w.bloggar tool for Windows that I use. But since I am on my TiBook every now and again it is nice to blog from my OS X desktop as well as my XP desktop. Even though NNW is not as much of a WYSIWYG editor that w.bloggar is, it does the job very well. NNW offers a Bold, Italics, and Link buttons. There is also a Custom Tags popup menu that allows me to add the things like the smilies I have and other code like CSS styles or whatever. I do not like the fact that when you insert a link that there is not an "open in new browser window" check box or something. I think I will email the developer about that. So I have to code the target="_blank" which is better then coding the entire A HREF tag. WYSIWYG editors have made /me lazy, what can i say. I also like that you get more options specific to MT such as Extended Entry, Excerpt, URLs to Ping, Allow Comments, Convert Line Breaks, and Allow Trackback Pings. This is something I wish to see in w.bloggar. It seems that NNW saves things you are typing. This is very nice. I 'accidently' quit NNW. When I opened it back up there was a draft in the Drafts folder. Nice! Also the last 10 posts are readily available to be edited. It loads them into the editing window faster then w.bloggar does. That is nice too. Since OS X has system level spell checking you can use that in NNW. This is excellent! I really wish Windows has system level spell checking because the spell checker in w.bloggar is not that great. The only glaring thing I have found out is if you repost something (edit a post) it will collapse all your paragraphs (does not convert line breaks, sets it to "No" not "Default"). I don't know why this is. Also since I use Textile as my text formatting option (a MT specific addon) I wish that were an option other then just Yes or No. It is not designed to read in those options though so I do not think this would be something easy to implement. Another small issue is the preview window. It does not seem to convert line breaks into P tags. The Category popup menu is also reset to (None) so you have to again select the category. Oh well maybe these glitches will be fixed in a future release I hope so at least. This is a wonderful app for off line blogging. There are only some small annoyances. having to type target="_blank" is a pain, although I have typed that so many times its almost like me typing "Edwards" on the keyboard. There needs to be a check box for "open new browser window" in the next release. As for the odd converting of line breaks on edited posts, you have to go to the MT admin web page and change the Text Formatting field from "None" (which is what NNW sets it to for some reason on a edit) to "Convert Line Breaks", or in my case "Textile." None of these shortcomings have any weight compared to coding all the STRONG, EM, (NNW does not use B and I) A HREF and all other code. Like I said WYSIWYG editors like Dreamweaver and even code completion editors like HomeSite have made us all lazy coders - we like our WYSIWYG GUI.



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