East of the Sun, West of the Moon

2010/5/5

WTF?

Filed under: News,Site,Software — Erwin @ 9:37 pm

Somehow, at some point, all of my is-here.com content disappeared. Dear Josh tried to point this out to me but he was too subtle (ahem) and I thought he was merely poking fun at the agregator I had put on the site (quite) a while ago. Nope…

Thankfully the WordPress DB was still there but the custom theme and various uploads and other mods (local plugins) are still gone. I’ll have to see if I can drag those out of a backup tonight. 🙁

Update: Most (hopefully all) images restored.

Update: I guess DH purged the content because it got hacked? I don’t remember ever being notified about them doing such a thing, unfortunately, so either they never did, or it got lost in my spam folder. Found a rogue wp-content/plugins/SK2/sk2_plugins/doc.php and several other rogue files. The words this sucks massively don’t come even close to describing how it feels to see this now. I’ve configured the WP installs on DH to be upgraded automatically from now on and will try to figure out if this was a problem with SK2, WP, or something else.

2009/8/29

Snow Leopard

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 8:38 pm

Upgraded the first machine to Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) this morning. All in all it took about an hour (first generation MacBook Pro, so newer machines will no doubt process it a bit faster). The only customization I added to the installation was to include Rosetta, just in case (it’s tiny so that’s an easy decision, anyway).

As far as I can tell I gained over 10 GB of space. Not sure how to fully explain the difference with the 6-7 GB number that has been mentioned by Apple. Could be that I had a lot of virtual memory files that got cleared up by the reboot, and of course I haven’t put the machine to sleep yet so there’s no sleep-image yet (that’s 2GB right there).

Some casualties:

  • MarcoPolo is limping along because it can’t get a list of visible WAPs anymore. No update available yet.
  • MiniBatteryLogger crashes upon launch. No update available yet.
  • One of the Dashboard widgets, AirTrafficControl, crashes. Probably for the same reason as MarcoPolo having issues. I seldom used this one anyway, so no big loss.
  • I was initially unable to mount network shares (remote server runs Debian with the Netatalk package). Apparently the upgrade caused the afp_cleartext_allow setting for com.apple.AppleShareClient to be reset to false (0). Setting it back to true allowed me to mount these network shares once again.
  • The 1Password plugin in Firefox worked. Launching the 1Password app itself prompted me to install a beta (which I haven’t done yet).

Applications that do work, as far as I can tell:

  • Firefox
  • Thunderbird
  • iTerm
  • Things
  • MarsEdit
  • NetNewsWire
  • DestroyTwitter (AIR based)
  • MoneyDance (java based)
  • Adium
  • VMware Fusion

Little change(s) that I don’t recall seeing mentioned yet:

  • The CLI tool top has two new lines for network and disk statistics. Handy! There are more changes than that. Apparently someone had a bit of fun improving/polishing this tool!

Now running the first Time Machine post-upgrade (on a network share, which is why it was important to get that to work again)… the progress bar with a slightly more detailed indication of what it is doing is certainly helpful. Time will tell if future backups will also be faster as promised, because most of the time the network (802.11g or gigabit ethernet, depending on where I am) will be the limiting factor, I’d imagine. First backup’s size is around 8.5GB, so I’m glad I’m doing this one over gigabit ethernet. 😉

2009/8/4

What were they thinking?

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 3:45 pm

86327111-C9D5-4845-B653-C451262D0653.jpgI’m annoyed and confused about NewsGator/NetNewsWire’s recent actions.

For starters, I’ve been a happy NetNewsWire user for several years. It was recommended to me when I started with OS X on a Mac Mini (the original PPC version) when it was still developed independently and had a lite and full (for pay) version. I paid for the full version.

When Brent joined forces with NewsGator, not much changed for me, I just continued to use it and enjoy occasional updates. Later on NewsGator decided to give away the clients for free and just charge for premium services, which I couldn’t exactly complain about.

Then the iPhone came along and Brent released a NNW version for it. After some trial and error I found the best way for me to use it was to sync my feed list to the NewsGator servers, let them deal with the feed-checks (except for a few local-only feeds), have some feeds only visible on the desktop version and the rest on the iPhone version, and push entries to the desktop for later reading or sharing with the clippings feature.

Along comes this blog entry: NewsGator Consumer RSS Reader Product Changes & Google Sync

They’re trying to spin this as an improvement, but so far it’s all downgrades as far as I can tell:

  • The new beta release of NNW has ads and a premium version will be created but isn’t available yet.
  • Users will have to create an account with Google Reader.
  • They are discontinuing their own sync service.
  • They are discontinuing support for syncing with mobile.me (and if you want to continue to use a version that does support that, you can never upgrade).
  • They give a deadline of one month.
  • The iPhone version doesn’t seem to be ready yet, let alone approved or available in the iTunes store.
  • The clippings feature will be discontinued because Google Reader doesn’t have something that matches it.
  • Google Reader apparently doesn’t support authenticated feeds either, which is something else I need.

What were they thinking?!

  1. The client versions are unfinished or not even available and you give us a month to switch?
  2. Have these people not dealt with software development before? Testing and bug fixing always takes longer than you want/expect.
  3. Have these people not worked with the iPhone App store before? Approval times have been unreliable/unpredictable, you can’t set such deadlines unless your app has actually already been approved.
  4. Removing one feature before the replacement (such as it is) has even been finished, polished?

Obviously they’ve been receiving a lot of similarly sounding feedback and it seems they’re scrambling to fix a few of these issues but it really feels like this was an incredibly poorly thought out rush job.

Their blog post started out with You spoke and we listened: In response to customer demand … but I certainly don’t recall ever asking for essential features to be ripped out like this. What are they not telling us?

I like NNW, and I like the openness with which Brent has been developing it but it this is really the direction that they’re going, I guess I’ll have to move on to something else.

2009/3/6

Mac Mini Migration Madness

Filed under: Family,OS X,Technology — Erwin @ 5:23 pm

Not so much madness actually because aside from one hiccup things went pretty smoothly.

First some comparisons:

Original Mini, first generation model from January 2005:

  • 512MB RAM PC-2700 DDR SDRAM
  • 40GB disk
  • 1.25 GHz PowerPC G4
  • ATI Radeon 9200 GPU with 32MB VRAM
  • Two USB ports
  • Firewire 400 port
  • 10/100 Mbit ethernet
  • 1 modem (remember those?) port
  • Hard disk and CD/DVD drive both (P)ATA

FA6AD992-6BB8-4AED-AE86-607747829C2C.jpgThen in comes the new version, released three days ago (March 3, 2009):

  • 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 320GB disk
  • 2GHz Core 2 Duo
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9400 with 256MB VRAM
  • Five USB ports
  • Firewire 800 port
  • 1 Gbit ethernet
  • Hard disk and CD/DVD drive both SATA

Hello mister Moore, nice to meet you again!

The migration was very smooth. We swapped keyboard/mouse/monitor a few times while we had both Minis running for this, which was almost the trickiest part. Unfortunately I didn’t have the right kind of firewire cable to connect the old and new machine or I would’ve used that, but fortunately OS X supports migrating machine via ethernet and wifi as well now, which only required installing a bit of software on the old one and setting up wifi on the new one (because of encryption) and then sit back and wait while a few GB of data is transferred between the two.

As far as I can tell almost all settings are included in this migration process, except for a few things (and if I notice more I’ll update this entry):

  1. The parental controls preference pane would cause system preferences to crash. I blame this on going from PPC to Intel. Nuking the contents of /Library/Application Support/Apple/ParentalControls/ and then restarting the machine appears to have taken care of that.
  2. The Sharing – Remote Login setting wasn’t included, so I had to re-enable it.
  3. I had to reenter the wifi password.

Now I wait for the kids to get home and actually put it to work with general browsing, flash games, photo booth experiments, etc. Any bets on how many days/weeks until they complain it’s too slow?

2009/2/20

Switching things around

Filed under: Site,Software — Erwin @ 12:39 am

In the near future (such a conveniently flexible concept) the front page of this website will point to an instance of SweetCron while the blog will probably be moved to a subfolder. SweetCron describes itself as Lifestream software, which allows me to easily gather RSS and Atom feeds from elsewhere and present them in one place. For me that means feeds from the two idle blogs I maintain, my Delicious, and Twitter accounts, and whatever else that relates to me.

Where possible I’ll keep the URLs of the blog the same as they are, so that I won’t confuse news-clients and other aggregators elsewhere (like the LJ feed).

The purpose of this exercise, if there is any, is to reassure visitors that I haven’t abandoned this site and as I move from one service to another, I can easily switch the feeds around. Anyone subscribing to the combined feed would never miss a thing but I’m not suggesting that you should! 🙂

2008/11/24

Koi Pond

Filed under: Software — Erwin @ 6:19 pm

IMG_0001.PNG
A pretty cute holiday specific theme for the Koi Pond iPhone app! I didn’t see it coming because I don’t typically check back the iTMS pages for the apps I have on the phone and then a week ago I batch-installed two dozen updates for various apps without checking what was included in them, so when I ran the app over the weekend I got a very nice surprise. 😉

2008/9/14

iTunes Genius Thoughts

Filed under: OS X — Erwin @ 3:52 pm

BA0C19B7-77DC-4D11-9AAA-6E6457CD1261.jpg
Some thoughts on the new iTunes Genius feature:

  • If there are tracks that the Genius feature is never going to select, I’d like to know.
  • I’ve got tracks that I’d like to avoid in certain company but there is no way to limit the tracks it selects from.
  • Similarly it would be nice to not select tracks I played within the last hour/day/week/month or so.
  • I’ve worked around that by creating a smart list that uses the Genius playlist and limits it, but that’s far from optimal.
  • Does it select from (music) podcasts?
  • I wouldn’t mind creating lists of more than 100, since 100 tracks is typically under 8 hours (100 tracks of 4 minutes on average gives you 6.7 hours) and being able to refresh the list in the morning and not worry about it for the rest of the day would be quite nice.
  • I don’t see any way to control it through AppleScript.
  • When you delete a track from the list you created it doesn’t automatically fill it back up to 100.
  • I can live with it if some of these things can be done through hidden preferences.

2008/6/26

Bliss

Filed under: Technology — Erwin @ 4:44 pm

2A0661C0-19F4-41D2-8109-4C7A3C47D3A5.jpgThat was so completely worth it. After nearly two years of putting up with an overly warm/hot laptop even after using the Fan Control software that lets the fans kick in faster/earlier than Apple would do by default, I gave in and bought what Belkin calls a CushTop.

During the cooler months when I wear jeans it’s less of a problem but during the warmer summer months when it makes sense to wander around the house in shorts made of thinner fabric, skin would often feel like it was sunburned. No longer!

2008/2/8

Note to self

Filed under: Humo(u)r,Software — Erwin @ 2:56 am

When upgrading the kernel to a newer or different version, be sure to also get the appropriate version of the ivtv kernel modules, otherwise MythTV will cheerfully start up and pretend nothing is wrong, but meanwhile it’ll be running with 0 capture cards and no recordings will be scheduled!

I’m glad ABC will repeat tonight’s Lost episode, otherwise I would’ve missed that and would have had to resort to bittorrents or something, and that’s just a PITA. 😉

2008/2/6

My new best friend

Filed under: Software — Erwin @ 10:05 pm

Is a Thunderbird extension called Nostalgy which gives me back a couple of things that I’d been missing ever since I switched away from Mutt, a host of keyboard shortcuts:

  • To change folder, move or copy messages, with folder name auto-completion.
  • To change focus to the folder, thread, or message panes.
  • To hide/show the folder pane.

And there is more, like user definable rulesets depending on what sub-folder is in focus and what text matches the sender, recipient or subject of the current message(s).

If you used to use pine or mutt then you will probably appreciate these features.

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