My yesterday

Mac Stuff, Productivity No Comments

According to Slife, this is what my July 15th looked like, in terms of what apps I was using when… (click pic for a bigger version):

Slife's view of yesterday

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this.

MBP, harddrive noise, and the strangest “fix” ever

Mac Stuff 3 Comments

So last week I upgrade to a MacBook Pro. It’s a nice fast machine with all the OS Xy goodness I know and love, and a few strange quirks. First off, the sound in iChat just vanishes at times. This is moderately inconvenient but not a deal breaker by any means. More troubling were the occasional clicks and pingpong sounds coming from the harddrive. Harddrive noises tend to be on the “very bad” side of the spectrum, so I did some searching and found this post.

A comment on that post suggests that installing “Mirror”, a completely unrelated Dashboard widget, would somehow magically make the noises stop. I gave it a shot.

It worked.

My question here is: why in the world would that work? It makes absolutely no sense to me at all. Weird.

I’m still going to make daily backups, deep magic bedamned.

More on ergonomic gear

Mac Stuff, Work 4 Comments

If you have ever had pain in your mousing wrist/arm, I suggest you run (do not walk) and order yourself an Evoluent Vertical Mouse. Three buttons + scrollwheel/button + thumb button, nice and light, fast fast tracking, and fully programmable in OS X using USBOverdrive. It is so incredibly comfortable. Sadly the Canadian distributor I ordered through (ErgoCanada) erroneously sent me the black/black version rather than the super-sexy purple/black version, but I love it way too much already to bother sending it back.

I call mine FATMOUSE.

Funny video

Mac Stuff, Microsoft 2 Comments

This video is pretty amusing if you’re a Mac user and paid any attention to the latest talk about all the “new” features Windows Vista is introducing.

Seriously, Macs do all this stuff already, and more. You should try one out.

iPod Killaz

Mac Stuff No Comments

Sony has launched yet another iPod “killer”, coincident with Apple’s launch of the new, ultra-hot, iPod nano. Here’s a picture of each:

Funnily, in this New York Times article about the new Walkman, I can’t find the actual name of the unit mentioned anywhere. The word “Walkman” appears 14 times, but “iPod” is used 19 times. That’s gotta sting.

Anyhow, I want a nano. Later. I guess they’re running out already. Teehee.

Dear Lazyweb…on Photo Web software

General, Internet, Mac Stuff, Photography 2 Comments

I’m in search of software that will allow me to quickly and easily post photos — with thumbnails, thumbnail pages, captions, and ideally a user-comment facility — to the web, only hosted on a private, self-administered server. Think “flickr” or “.mac + iPhoto”, only without having to entrust your photos to someone else.

How about (this would work, too) something like Pixelpost, only with catalogue pages that will display clickable thumbnails for a whole month. Something like that would be sweet. Like candy.

I’m starting to think I might just have to suck it up and build it myself, but if you happen to know of software that does stuff like this, please post a comment here. Note 1: I have a Mac desktop and a Linux server, so whatever it is has to run on that. Thanks! Note 2: If you happen to know of a WordPress plugin that does something roughly like what I’m describing here, please post a url.

Just for fun…

General, Mac Stuff, Microsoft 4 Comments

Just for fun, I’m going to fire up the PC, finally (ho ho) update to XP SP2, and then install the new MSN Toolbar to see what tabbed browsing in IE is like. According to Asa, it’s in the range of “not so good”. We will see!

Update 1: Windows takes for-frickin’-ever to update.

Update 2: Apparently my “disk defragmenter module” has encountered a problem and has to close. I “Don’t Send” an error report. Rebooting.

Update 3: The first batch up updates didn’t include SP2. Updating again. I am wearing a dull stare.

Update 4: Rebooting again.

Update 5: Got distracted by work for a while. Checked Windows box. It came back up ok. Decided to let Windows have Automatic Updates, as I just don’t care any more. Windows told me I had no antivirus software installed, and told me to “Click this balloon to solve this problem.” I do not click. I do not believe it.

Update 6: It’s late. I’m going to bed. I’ll continue on with this tomorrow.

On Widgets

Mac Stuff 2 Comments

So, the widget world is slowly starting to produce stuff worth having. For example, I’m writing this entry (largely as a test) using the RapidMetaBlog widget. Only lets you file entries under a single category at a time, but that’s not a huge issue. Looks ok. The Preview pane is sorta cool.

In other news, I’m thinking about subscribing to flickr. You can check out my free account (with all 8 photos!) if you like. From what I’ve seen, flickr is pretty good for features, including funky stuff like an iPhoto plugin (third party), email-from-phone facilities, RSS feeds, automatic slide-show creation, etc. I’ll play with it a bit more, but I’m probably already close to my 20mb free account upload limit. Flickr is a Yahoo site. It surprises the heck out of me that there is no Google flickr-alike. Given that they host videos and basically everyone’s email at this point, I figured it would be a no-brainer.

Anyhow, that’s all for now. Time to see if I’ve set this widget up to publish properly. Note: this is certainly no replacement for ecto, so I doubt I’ll hang on to it for long.

NetNewsWire screenshot

Internet, Mac Stuff 2 Comments

I’ve been using NetNewsWire all day today, and have discovered two things about it — one good, one bad.

First, the bad: If you’re signed up to a metric crapload of feeds like I currently am and you set NNW to update automatically every 30 mins, NNW will eat your entire CPU if you let it. I’ve cranked the number of concurrent downloads it’s allowed to use to 2, which helps, but not a lot. I’ve also set it to autoupdate every 2 hours instead of every 30 mins.

I’m also paring down on the number of feeds I’m subscribed to. I currently have 1423 unread items in my feeds, and there’s just no way I can keep up on that much news. I need to finesse the list with extreme prejudice.

Now, the good: My wiki has RSS feeds for the Recent Changes and New Pages lists. I, obviously, subscribe to these. NetNewsWire displays these items beautifully and lets me view the entire diff for each change cleanly and at a glance. I love it. Here’s a screenshot, click for full size:

Sometimes software blows my mind

Internet, Mac Stuff No Comments

I’ve been a little unsatisfied with my current RSS Feed Reader of choice lately, so this morning, at boolean‘s suggestion, I downloaded a copy of NetNewsWire. It’s really everything I ever imagined of having in an RSS feed reader, and more. Seriously.

Top of the list mind-blowing features:

  • .mac synchronization ability, including subscriptions and read status. This means I don’t have to do any complicated import/export calisthenics to get my subscriptions on my desktop into my laptop, and vice-versa. If I read something on my lappy, it will remain “read” on compy after I sync.
  • Smart lists — I can create a smart list that will show me all articles, for example, that have “Mozilla” in the title from all my feeds. This is utterly brilliant.
  • One-click feed subscription when using Safari to read the web. Up in the address bar, an “RSS” button will show up if the page has an available RSS feed (this is somewhat eccentric, mind). Clicking that button brings up NetNewsWire which prompts me to accept the subscription. This is so much easier than the weirdness I had to do before. I just wish this worked with Firefox.
  • “Sites drawer” — minor feature, really, but a nice one. The NNW guys have compiled an extremely long list of categorized feeds that you can subscribe to without having to go find them yourself. I’ve now subbed to more feeds than ever before, including several of which I’d not previously been aware.

Those are the core mindblowers right there. The rest of the app is very, very nicely designed, and does everything I’ve tried to do with it (save one minor quibble which is just me being picky and annoying since it involves a feature I wouldn’t have dreamed of, never mind expected before).

If you have a Mac, particularly if you have multiple Macs and a .mac account, I strongly recommend this application. The smart lists and sync capabilities alone are worth the price of admission ($24.95 USD per license, which I will be paying shortly).

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