East of the Sun, West of the Moon

2007/5/25

Still alive

Filed under: General,OS X,Software — Erwin @ 3:52 pm

Really, I am. Just busy with other things!

Recently I’ve been working on/with:

  • Flex 2.01 / Flash 9, for work, and potentially for personal entertainment.
  • MarcoPolo, mostly for myself, to make it easier to switch from our home wireless network to the home wired network to the in-laws’ wireless network, etc.
  • Upgraded the family-tree website to 6.1.0, and immediately lost several hours tracking several branches on ancestry.com.
  • Upgraded the WordPress installs to version 2.2. This broke the accordion effect of the sidebar, but I’ll worry about that some other day.

Yesterday was the last day of school for the boys, so I’m now rediscovering my basement office where I’d spent very little time in the past couple of months. It is in desperate need of cleaning out but I guess that’ll have to wait until the weekend. 🙂

2007/4/24

Thunderbird 2.0

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 11:36 pm

Some things I’ve run into with the latest version of this software:

  • Composing a new message was Shift-Cmd-M before, it’s Cmd-N now. In itself that makes sense, except that shift-Cmd-M is now move to folder <foo> again, for conveniently moving messages to another folder, which has already led to some stray messages that I needed to refile.
  • I like the Unread Folders option, but when I use N repeatedly to go through the unread messages, it does this in an (on first glance) odd order. What happens is that I have several folders to group several mail-folders (like automated messages of various sorts, mailing lists, personal email, etc). It follows that order, but it shows the Unread Folders in alphabetical order, alphabetical as far as the subfolder-names goes, anyway. Confused? Let’s say that in the folder with automated messages I have a mail folder called CRON, and in the folder with mailing lists I have a mail folder called Babbel (which I do, actually). If there are unread messages in those two, it’ll lists them in order “Babbel, CRON” but it’ll go through them in the opposite order because that’s how they are placed in the full view.
  • The Back and Forward buttons sound like useful additions, although I haven’t had much, if any, reason to use them yet. I’m sure I will.
  • Is the “Grouped by Sort” feature new? When sorting the messages by Date and then using that (the letter ‘G’ is a shortcut for it) you get the groups “Old mail”, “Two weeks ago”, “Last week”, “Yesterday”, and “Today”, assuming you have messages in those categories. Handy!
  • The Tags need more work before I can really call them useful. Sure, it’s handy to have the 0-9 shortcuts, but you can’t change the order of your tags (it lists the built-in ones first, then the others in alphabetical order) so you can’t easily force certain shortcuts to be used for certain frequently used tags. It’s also not clear to me where these tags are stored, but as I only read email from one computer, that’s not immediately an issue for me.

So far I’m happy with the new version, though.

2007/4/8

Joost (3)

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 3:39 am

Aww, bummer. I glossed over it when I downloaded the beta, apparently, but the OS X version only works for Intel based machines, so I can’t run it on the Media Mac Mini. 🙁

2007/4/7

Joost (2)

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 9:04 pm

Allowing TCP/33333 outgoing made it run much better. Or at all, it would seem, because initially I wasn’t getting any content today. In the forums they don’t seem to have much more of an idea of what ports are really needed to make things run.

I’ve already crashed Adium a few times by switching Locations repeatedly. It would be nice if that didn’t have that kind of side-effects. Then again it would be nice if Joost wouldn’t refuse to even start when I have a proxy configured. 🙂

2007/4/6

Joost

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 3:04 am

Ah, fun, Joost‘s beta invitation arrived in my inbox today so I decided to give it a try.

The first impression is not so good. A lot of stutter, where it’s apparently not getting the feed through fast enough. This month I will have to blame that on my ISP (cable broadband) who announced there will be interruptions throughout the current month while they upgrade their network.

The program I’m looking at right now seems to have audio and video out of sync, but that may also be because of all the stutter, time will tell.

I had to turn the system proxy settings off before starting up Joost, otherwise it wouldn’t even try to connect out.

It had to poke four outgoing and one incoming port in the firewall:

  • TCP/80 outgoing
  • TCP/443 outgoing
  • TCP/5223 outgoing
  • UDP/33333 outgoing
  • TCP/5223 incoming

Once it’s started I could turn the system proxy settings back on, btw, which is pretty silly but there you go.

I’ll keep running it from time to time and see if the bandwidth issues have been solved (locally or elsewhere) and then try to give a more elaborate review of the software and setup.

Login background

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 2:39 am

Handy snippet of the day, if you want to change the default Aqua Blue image that is used in OS X’s graphical login program:

 sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow DesktopPicture -string "/Library/Desktop Pictures/Nature/Stones.jpg"

And of course replace that last filename with the image of your choice.

2007/2/18

Hibernating Mini

Filed under: OS X,Technology — Erwin @ 8:25 pm

Last week I followed the instructions by Andrew Escobar on enabling hibernating on the Mini so that, in the evening, when it’s gone to sleep and just sits there until the next afternoon when the kids come home from school, I can safely turn the power strip off entirely and if there is a power glitch while it’s asleep, nothing will be lost either.

Works like a charm!

Media Mini

Filed under: OS X,Projects,Technology — Erwin @ 4:45 pm

The $19 gadget works as expected. Note to self: Do not stray from the two known-to-work resolutions (640×480 and 800×600) or you’ll have a wonderful time getting back to one of those, while the screen rolls in ways that make your head ache and spin!

I’ve got the original Mac Mini (the first one I bought, just over two years ago) hooked up and it quite happily runs iTunes (for video-casts) and MythTV’s front end software. The latter was a minor surprise for me, because I haven’t actually hooked it up to ethernet yet, so it’s doing the streaming over wireless! Obviously it’s a bit faster than the 700-800MHz Celeron machines we’re using as front ends and it’s quite tempting to replace one of them with the Mini. There are still some details to be worked out because, for one, the remote controls we have aren’t supported under OS X, and for another, MythTV loses keyboard focus from time to time which gets really old really fast.

The Mini has been told to wake up from sleep at 4pm and to go back to sleep at 6pm, giving iTunes a sufficiently large window to fetch whatever new episodes may be available (it’s been told to check hourly), so that they are there later on in the evening.

A problem is that the printer/scanner, downstairs, is no longer hooked up to any computer. I don’t really want to move it into the dining room and create more clutter there and I don’t really want to keep it inoperable for too long, so I’m checking my options:

  • Move upstairs, hook up to the (kids’) dining room computer.
  • Pick up another Airport Express from Apple and hook it up wirelessly.
  • Put Mac Mini into the living room and somehow let it take the place of the Airport Express, which can then be used for the printer?

I realize it’s a bit of a luxury problem but I’m open to suggestions. 🙂

2007/2/10

And then there were four (update)

Filed under: Family,OS X,Technology — Erwin @ 5:20 pm

I guess all I need is a $19 (plus tax and shipping) adapter piece to redirect DVI output to S-Video or component. That’s easy enough. The next gotcha is that our Mac Mini has no remote control of any sort, but that’s something to worry about another day. 🙂

2007/2/6

And then there were four

Filed under: Family,OS X,Technology — Erwin @ 4:12 pm

The ancient Vaio laptop has finally sustained too much damage and needs to be replaced, so I checked Apple’s list of refurbished MacBooks and picked out a fairly decent one with Core 2 Duo, for M. The misbehaving hard disk in her Mac Mini has been replaced with the one from the Gateway laptop I bought just over a year ago (which then proceeded to fail on me, but that would appear to have been the IDE chips that broke down, then), and the resulting machine, dubbed MiniMoo, now functions as family machine in the dining room.

Once that MacBook arrives (which should be on Friday) I’ll need to figure out a new purpose for my old Mac Mini which M is currently using (via VNC, from the family machine; Are you still with me?). My thoughts so far include it being another shared machine, or a media center type machine, but it would need some additional hardware to convert the DVI/VGA into S-Video. Any suggestions there?

Anyway, that means that in 2 years time, 4 Apple machines have taken over this home. I still have two headless Linux servers in the basement, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon, but I think I’ll postpone upgrading them for a little while, until finances have caught up with my spending, a little. 😉

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