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                    Posts with keyword: osx


                    A Virtual Printer for OS X

                    Image by Aeternitas. via Flickr A few weeks ago I discovered the CUPS-PDF package for OS X. This package installs a virtual printer in OS X that prints PDF files to a directory. Why do this when you can "Save as PDF"? Because hitting one button is easier that hitting severa and selecting a directory. For 90% of the PDF printing I do, it's exactly what I need and for the other 10% it's no more work than the standard way. When I discovered it, I tweeted something about it. Then I upgraded to Snow Leopard and it stopped
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                    Using Grep and Find

                    Image by dannyman via Flickr One of my favorite tools is "grep." That gives away the fact that I spend more time on the command line than many. One of the things I originally loved about OS X was that I could fire up a terminal and use the machine just like Unix (yeah, Linux was a new fangled thing for me). Recently I complained about always having to look up a certain switch for grep and Weldon Dodd tweeted "if you write a blog post about grep, maybe others will commit the switch to memory too, and when
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                    Safari 4 Public Beta Kills MailGrowl

                    I'm a big fan of Growl, an OS X add-on that creates a universal messaging system on the Desktop. Various plug-ins for Growl allow other applications to send messages. One is GrowlMail, a plug-in for Mail.app, that sends notifications of incoming mail. Last night I installed Safari 4 Public Beta and then Mail quit working. After a little exploration, I found this notice from Apple that "After installing Safari 4 Public Beta in Mac OS X v10.5.6, Mail may unexpectedly quit when opened if a third-party Mail plugin is installed." It specifically references GrowlMail. I removed
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                    Mounting Remote Filesystems Using SSH and Fuse

                    Paul Figgiani, the Senior Audio Engineer at IT Conversations, sent me a link to a program called ExpanDrive, that allows you to mount any remote directory to which you have SSH access on your Mac. The cost: $39. ExpanDrive is based on MacFUSE, an extension which extends OS X's native file handling capabilities to programs in user space (that is, outside of the kernel). I first heard about this when Scott and I interviewed Amit Singh on IT Conversations. Amit is probably the world's leading expert on OS X internals and the creator of MacFUSE. Because
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                    Good Advice for Switchers

                    Image by windley via Flickr Todd Ogasawara has some good advice for Mac Switchers that might keep you from lamenting your move. I switched in 2002 but had never really been a Windows user (Sun mostly) and I knew Unix cold, so switching wasn't such a big deal for me. But if you've been a long time Windows user and think a Mac might be fun, read Todd's advice first. I love number two: 2. If you do go cold turkey, don't drag your wife, girlfriend, significant other, parents, child, best friend along for the ride until you begin
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                    Moving Jobs Between Printers in OS X

                    My wife printed 6 documents to a printer that is configured on her laptop, but not available. She came to me and asked if I could help. I said she'd have to delete them from the print queue and reprint them to the right printer. "Can't you just grab them and move them to the right printer?" she asked innocently. Of course not. Or, can you? Turns out you can. I opened the other printer, highlighted the jobs, and simple drug them over. They started printing. I was pleasantly surprised. File this under "sometimes we want
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                    Skype on My Mac Book Pro is the Best Conference Phone I Have

                    Today I had to do a job interview with a candidate in Chile. He had Skype and wanted to use it. I was leery because I had four people on my end who needed to be in on the call, so USB headphones weren't going to cut it. We decided to press forward and try the call with the MBP's internal speakers and microphone. It worked beautifully! We could hear him fine and he could hear us--even with some people sitting 8-10 feet from the laptop. So much so that this evening when I was getting
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                    OS X Leopard Technical Details

                    Jordan Hubbard, Apple's Director of Engineering of Unix Technologies, spoke at LISA '08 last week. Most people are commenting on the date he gave for the release of Snow Leopard (10.6), the newest version of OS X. I have to admit, I'm ready for some stability improvements, but I was much more intrigued by the details of his talk (PDF). He spent the bulk of his talk on technical features in Leopard (10.5) that many aren't aware of. He starts with a number of security improvements in Leopard: file quarantine, sandbox, package and code signing, application
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                    Reloading OS X Using AppFresh

                    Last week I went to the Apple store and looked at the new Macbook Pro (MBP). I liked the keyboard and think the one-piece construction makes the overall design really slick. I especially like the fact that you can change out the hard drive without unbolting the case. I'm always changing out hard drives on my MBPs and after a while the cases don't quite fit together like they should. But what I really noticed was that it was fast. But my MBP should be almost as fast. I determined that I was suffering from OS rot and that
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                    Uninstalling Adobe Air on OS X

                    I was reloading my Macbook Pro tonight and something when wrong with the installation of Adobe Air. When I tried to use it, it failed. I tried to reinstall the application, but that didn't work because the installer says "This version of Adobe Air is already installed." But, of course it was corrupted. There was no uninstaller in the /Applications director like there should have been because the application wasn't really installed. Turns out you can run the installer from the command line with the -uninstall switch and it uninstalls nicely. Do this: cd /Volumes/Adobe AIR/Adobe AIR Installer.app/Contents/MacOS sudo
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                    Making Screencasts in OS X

                    I've been creating screencasts to show what Kynetx does for VCs and business development. Using screencasts is a quick, easy way to do a demo that doesn't fail and is self contained. I can email the link to a screencast to someone and they get a good idea what I want them to know. I've been using SnapZPro to record browser sessions and then using iMovie to create the actual movie. SnapZPro works great, but I'm not as impressed with iMovie. Maybe it's just me, but I find it inflexible and hard to use. If you've got suggestions on
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                    Tunneling SSH Through Screensharing in OS X

                    I overhead an exchange between two friends that I thought was interesting. One needed help from the other and asked him to SSH into a machine. The place where the second friend works blocks outgoing port 22, the port SSH lives on. Don't ask me why. The solution? Friend one does a screenshare to friend two who uses the shared machine to SSH. First time I've seen screensharing being used to tunnel SSH.
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                    Tracking Time? Try Chronosx

                    A good friend of mine, Nathan Sandland, has written a time tracking applications for the Mac called ChronosX. He says: I came up with the idea for the project when I switched from being a PC user to a Mac user last year. The one application on the PC I couldn't find a good replacement for on the Mac was my time tracking app. There are many such apps out there for OS X, but none of them was as convenient to use as the one I had on the PC. This new app solves that problem, and also
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                    Runaway Daemons in OS X

                    This morning, my MacBook Pro was hot--the fan was running--and sluggish. A look at the activity monitor revealed that syslogd was consuming all of one CPU (apparently it's not threaded) and the other CPU was taking all the load. A reboot would have fixed it, of course, but I like to find ways to fix what's wrong without resorting to restarting the machine when I can. First thing to try: just kill the process. OS X is pretty good about recognizing when critical processes are down and restarting them. Unfortunately, simply restarting syslogd didn't solve the problem. There was
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                    Following Up on MacBook Pro Memory and Freezing

                    Almost two weeks ago, I wrote that I suspected that a memory issue was causing my MacBook Pro stability issues. I bought a new 2Gb memory stick ($70) and haven't a single problem with my MBP freezing. Maybe the old memory was bad, maybe it just wasn't working well with the MBP (memory can be finicky), or maybe it was running hot and causing a thermal problem. I don't know. But for now, replacing a single memory stick seems to have solved the problem.
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                    Belay My Last! Parallels Found Innocent!

                    Well, maybe not completely innocent. Here's the story: A little bit ago, I claimed that uninstalling Parallels from my system had solved some instability problems I was having. Not so fast. I'd gone five days when I wrote that post without seeing any evidence of the instability after removing the drivers. The next day they came back. What did change was that my erratic mouse problem went a way permanently, so I still believe that vmmain.kext was the cause of that. But it wasn't causing the freezing. As I said, that returned and kept happening. I began to suspect
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                    Is Office 2007 a Pig or What?

                    Update: Its really Office 2008... Microsoft Office 2007 on OS X is a complete pig. I was so looking forward to finally having an Intel native version of Office so I wouldn't have to put up with long start times and the SBOD (spinning beach ball of death). With Office 2007, they're worse! I've rarely been as disappointed in a software product. Office 2004 is a better Office--even in Rosetta. Heck, Office on XP running in Parallels is a better Office. I'm glad BYU has a site license because I'd be really mad if I'd actually paid for this.
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                    Parallels and OS X Instability

                    Lately, I've had a very rocky relationship with my Mac Book Pro. One of the things that attracted me to OS X was its stability. Over the past several months (before and after Leopard) my MBP has had trouble with sleeping, waking, and weird, inexplicable freezing. Often when the machine woke up, it would the screen would be black and never come back. The machine would freeze at odd times and nothing would unstick it. I couldn't even log in remotely using SSH, so it was pretty stuck. The final straw was erratic mouse behavior. The mouse seemed sluggish
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                    Complete Solution for Unmounting Time Machine Drives

                    A few weeks ago, I wrote about forcing Time Machine drives to unmount. From a comment to that post by bil_kleb, I learned about Bernhard Baehr's SleepWatcher program that provided a way to create a complete solution. Here's what I did. Download and install SleepWatcher. There are two installs that have to be done in the right order (StartupItem last). Now whenever you restart SleepWatcher will start as well. Modifiy your sudoers list. This allows umount to run as the superuser without a password (otherwise you have to type the superuser password everytime you put your Mac to sleep).
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                    More Macbook Sleep Problems?

                    I have a suspicion that the most recent OS X (10.5.2) update caused a spate of problems with MacBook Pro's refusing to wake up after sleeping. I base this on two pieces of evidence: I've experienced this after months of not having any problem at all. An earlier article I wrote on Fixing MacBook pro sleep problems is the number one hit on Google for that search right now and I'm seeing that page referenced at 3 to 4 times the rate is was a few weeks ago. Anyone else experiencing this?
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                    Inside the MacBook Air

                    Have you wondered what it takes to take a MacBook Air apart and what it looks like when you do? Look no further. Here's a step-by-step with high-res photos from iFixIt. The battery isn't trivial to replace, but it's definitely easier than replacing the hard drive on an iMac. I'd do it. Unfortunately, the 80Gb drive is the largest one that will fit. I wondered about that because often Apple's top choice is one size smaller than the current leader in terms of space. I regularly crack open my new MacBook Pros before I've even turned them on to
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                    Unmounting Time Machine Drives

                    I love Time Machine. I've been in the habit of doing full disk backups, but that won't save me from accidentally deleting a file unless I notice before the full disk backup is made. With time machine I'm protected. I still do a full disk back up from time to time so that I have something to boot from and then restore from Time Machine on if my main drive goes belly up. One thing I've noticed: most mornings when I close up my laptop and take it with me for the day, the Time Machine backup disk won't
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                    MacBook Air SSD - Uncertain Performance Gain

                    One of the things that interested me about the Mac Book Air with the solid state drive was the hope that it might give better performance than a standard HDD and even better battery life. According to this review from Ars Technica, the performance gains mixed: [T]he summary is: the SSD does worse in sequential disk tests and writing in general, but spanks the HDD in random disk tests and reading from the disk. From No spin: Ars reviews the MacBook Air with solid state driveReferenced Wed Feb 06 2008 20:58:53 GMT-0700 (MST) What does that translate into? Booting
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                    Managing Spotlight and Memory Usage

                    Over the weekend, I reloaded Leopard. If you remember, I was forced to upgrade to Leopard by a bad Tiger update a few months ago. My preferred method of upgrading is to wipe the disk, do a fresh install, and then restore my applications and personal files from backup. Due to the circumstances of the situation I was in, I didn't get to do that. I decided that the three day weekend presented the perfect opportunity. The install and restore went fine and I was soon running a squeaky fresh copy of Leopard. I'm in the habit of running
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                    Passing on the Macbook Air

                    A number of people have given various objections to the Macbook Air (MBA): small drive, no firewire, no ethernet port, and so on. I can live with all of those. I'd get one primarily for travel, so I don't mind the small drive. I've been using disks over 801.11N with my MBP for months and won't miss an ethernet or firewire port. Further, I'm intrigued by the solid state drive. So, the MBA looks like the perfect travel machine with one exception: there's no 3G card. Huh!?! Further, because there's no Express/34 slot, I can't use the card I
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                    Good News and Bad News: Office 2008

                    Gizmondo has a hands on report about Office 2008 for the Mac. The good news: it's Intel native, as you'd expect. The bad news: they've "updated" the user interface, as you'd expect. The old Office running under Rosetta is definitely a pig, but having used Office 2007 on Windows, I shudder at what's going to change in the interface. Office 2004 is by no means perfect, but it's the devil I know. Fortunately the screenshots for O'08 don't seem to be as radical a departure from the old scheme as O'07 was. I'm crossing my fingers.
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                    Family Information Center from an Old iMac

                    iMac as family information center(click to enlarge) I have an old 17 inch iMac G5 that I'm not using. After I installed Leopard on it, it just didn't cut it anymore, so it had been retired. I decided it would be fun to experiment with it as a "special purpose computer." That is, one that has limited duty. A while ago I read an article in Macworld on making a family message center from an old iMac and decided to give that a go. You can see from the picture how it turned out. I already had a VESA
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                    Taking an iMac Apart

                    I wanted a bigger hard drive in an Intel (Core Duo) 20 inch iMac than the one it had and took advantage of CompUSA's clearance sale to pick up a 750Gb drive. I'd taken the cover off of my G5 iMac plenty of times and it's dirt simple, so I thought I was in for an easy time. I was very wrong. My first clue should have been the separate RAM bay door on the bottom of the machine. No one puts a RAM bay door on a machine that's easy to crack open. Where the back simple lifts
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                    Quicklook From the Command Line

                    This Mac OS X hint shows how to use Quicklook from inside Quicksilver. I'm a big Quicksilver fan, but frankly didn't get very excited since just hitting "return" launches Preview as fast as hitting "tab->q" and then waiting for the AppleScript to run. But, along the way, part of the hint involved creating a small shell script: #!/bin/bash qlmanage -p "$@" >& /dev/null & Using the script, you can launch QuickLook from the command line. Now that's handy! qlmanage is a very chatty program that performs operations on the QuickLook cache and generators. I saved the above script as
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                    The Optical Disk is Dead

                    My recent travels had me wishing for a lighter bag--that implies a smaller laptop--or no laptop. I'm not ready for the latter, but I'd be happy to give up the optical drive on my laptop to get it. I never use it on the road. I'm willing to plug one in for the rare cases where I use it. I'm ready to jettison optical drives on all portable computers.
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                    Leopard and Mail

                    I was forced to upgrade to Leopard last week by a Tiger update gone bad. I'm not convinced I can blame Apple--I've updated my machine hundreds of times before with nary a fault and I was, without thinking about what was going on, installing a monitor and plugging and unplugging USB devices while the update was underway. I might have messed something up. In any event, I had a problem that I couldn't find enough information to fix (something to do with a file locking problem in the IPv6 code, but I couldn't figure out the file name). Reinstalling
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                    Fixing MacBook Pro Sleep Problems

                    One of the things I loved about my Powerbook was that it slept--and woke--reliably. I would go weeks without rebooting my machine and I bragged about it often to the poor saps who had to use XP on their laptops. I haven't been singing the praises of OS X stability as loudly lately because ever since I went to the Mac Book Pro (MBP), my machine has had issues with sleeping and waking to the point that it probably got rebooted once a day. Well, no more! I tried something a few weeks ago that has made my MBP
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                    Mini Mail is Very Useful

                    Getting control of email so it doesn't control you, is easier said than done. One of the problems I run into is having the email client open on my desktop all the time. When I'm coding, I frequently just close it all together. Sometimes though I want it open and want to delete things that can be deleted and reply to things that need to be to be replied to and ignore the rest. Mini Mail is an application helper for Mail.app that shows a tiny window with just enough information. The best way to describe it is to
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                    Microsoft Keeps Plugging Away

                    Microsoft release the next Zune to very little fanfare compared with what Jobs generated with even the most recent iPod refresh. For all the crap Microsoft took over the Zune ("oh look! it comes in brown!"), you have to admire the perseverance. The fact is that this is how Microsoft wins lots of battles: "release, watch, redesign, lather, repeat." Office, Outlook/Exchange, and the XBox are all examples of Microsoft powerhouses that were less than exciting in version one. Heck, can you remember Windows 1.0? What a dog. Microsoft has the affluence and smarts to have a long range attitude
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                    Think Similarly

                    This post at CrunchGear showing a 1989 Apple ad encouraging people to "think different" by challenging the status quo, followed by a video about Apple not allowing third party apps on the iPhone touched a nerve following the most recent iPhone update. The latest iPhone update is the first that's fixed anything more than security flaws. There were some minor UI changes--nice to have--and a new icon for the iTunes music store. Besides ruining the symmetry of the application list, the addition really rubbed my nose in the fact that this is a walled garden. "Hey, buy some music
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                    Finally! An InfoCard Selector for OS X

                    I posted a short piece at BTL about the Bandit project's InfoCard selector for the Mac. There have been some solutions in the past, but they were hard to install or flaky. This one is solid and the install is a breeze.
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                    Installing Tools in Fusion When They Won't Install

                    In Fusion (and other virtualization systems) you should install OS tools on the guest OS to make it behave better. This is not something specific to Fusion, this is a general fact of virtualization. Usually, clicking the "Install VMWare Tools" does the trick--especially with Windows. Sometimes, however, it doesn't do anything. On those occasions you need to take over and do it manually. Here's how. First, mount the right ISO as a CDROM image. You'll find these in /Library/Application Support/VMWare Fusion/isoimages Select the right one for your OS. You may need to manually mount the disk. Fedora, for example,
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                    Why Vista?

                    I just put an article up at Between the Lines wondering why anyone would use Vista in a virtual machine if their primary goal is to be able to run Windows applications on their Mac.
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                    A First Look at Numbers

                    I just published a first look review of Numbers, Apple's new spreadsheet, at Between the Lines. This is a cool product that points to some changes Excel has long needed. I'm not what you would call a spreadsheet power user, but I do use them a fair bit. I'm going to be using Numbers.
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                    Parallels Scares Me Sometimes

                    Tonight someone sent me an email with a spreadsheet in it. The extension was .xlsx, not something Office for the Mac understands. I clicked on it anyway to see what would happen. Here's what happened: Parallels fired up Excel in Windows in "coherence" mode so that my Windows version of Excel was running in it's own window--just like a regular application. Excel in Windows tried to open the file, but realized it was for Office 2007. Safari on Windows (apparently now my default browser) fired up and offered to download the compatibility pack. I did that and installed it,
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                    Optimizing iTunes for IT Conversations

                    A number of people use iTunes as their podcatcher--the software that automatically downloads a podcast and puts it on their iPod. If that's you, please take a minute to change your preferences so that you don't miss any IT Conversations podcasts. By default iTunes only downloads the most recent podcast from a given site each day. For most sites, which publish less than once per day, that works fine. For sites like IT Conversations, however, that means you might be missing some shows you'd rather have downloaded. I try to just publish one show per day to avoid this
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                    Safari Resetting (Crashing) on iPhone

                    Has any one else experienced Safari resetting or crashing on their iPhone. Just the last few days this has happened to me several times. I'm trying to figure out if it's a Web site I go to, how I'm using Safari (quite a few pages open at once), the network I'm on (don't think so), or something else. I hope Apple's getting the crash reports from me and others. Meanwhile, Marc Hedlund has some praise and scorn for the iPhone.
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                    Reading News on the iPhone

                    Before the iPhone was released last week, news of an RSS reader for the iPhone started showing up. If you go to http://reader.mac.com/ with a browser, you see the message "This application can only be viewed using the iPhone." Visting it with an iPhone just shows the message "type an RSS URL into your browser" or something like that. I thought "that's lame--they built a whole Web site to tell me to type a URL into by toolbar?" But when you do, the browser automatically redirects to reader.mac.com and displays the RSS as a nice iPhone formated screen. It's
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                    iPhone Matches Hype

                    David Pogue, the technology reviewer for the NY Times, has released his review of the iPhone. The conclusion: [E]ven in version 1.0, the iPhone is still the most sophisticated, outlook-changing piece of electronics to come along in years. It does so many things so well, and so pleasurably, that you tend to forgive its foibles. In other words, maybe all the iPhone hype isn't hype at all. As the ball player Dizzy Dean once said, "It ain't bragging if you done it." From The iPhone Matches Most of Its Hype - New York TimesReferenced Tue Jun 26 2007 17:45:18
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                    iPhone Service Plans

                    Apple and AT&T have released details of the iPhone service plan. Most interesting part: the phone is activated using iTunes. Looks like you'll just buy the box and take it home to activate it rather than doing it at the store. They say that customers with existing AT&T contracts will have the option of keeping their current number and upgrading the account to work with the iPhone, but I'll bet that's not true of business accounts. We'll see.
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                    First iPhone App

                    Want a glimpse of the first iPhone app in the wild? OneTrip is a shopping list application that is built with the iPhone's form factor and multi-touch screen in mind, but will run in Safari on any platform (and apparently Firefox as well). one thing I noticed when I played around with it is that there's no log in. That makes it simple, and cookies are good enough to keep your list around from visit to visit. But the power of a Web-based application lies partially in it's ubiquity. I want to be able to maintain my list on
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                    SSHFS Rocks

                    Can I just say, one more time for the record, that sshfs rocks. Mounting SSH-accessible file systems and then just using them like any other file system on your machine is ever-so convenient.
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                    Screen Contrast Display Mystery Solved!

                    Yesterday I reported on my debugging exercise to fix my washed out display. I thought it was the result of an HP Scanner install or a Photoshop CS3 upgrade. Turns out it was neither. It was me. I use an application called Quicksilver. Some people call it a launcher, but it's much more than that. In fact, it does so much and is so useful that it's hard to describe. The Quicksilver site describes it as a "unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data." If you're interested, here's a roundup of Quicksilver tutorials and
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                    Safari as a Development Platform

                    I just put a piece up at BTL with my thoughts of Apple's announcement that Safari will be the SDK for the iPhone. Bottom line: it's a sign of the times and a move in the right direction. Feel free to "vote" that the article is "worthwhile." :-)
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                    Curing Washed Out Display Problems

                    Yesterday I reported on my debugging exercise to fix my washed out display. I thought it was the result of an HP Scanner install or a Photoshop CS3 upgrade. Turns out it was neither. It was me. I use an application called Quicksilver. Some people call it a launcher, but it's much more than that. In fact, it does so much and is so useful that it's hard to describe. The Quicksilver site describes it as a "unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data." If you're interested, here's a roundup of Quicksilver tutorials and
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                    Why Does HP Software Suck Sooooo Bad?

                    I have an HP Scanjet 4670 that I've owned for 3 years now. I haven't used it for a year however, and a few months ago when I rebuilt my machine, I didn't reinstall the HP drivers on purpose. This morning I needed to make a scan. I worked for an hour to try to figure out how to make it work without installing HP drivers (it's hard to find good information on whether this is even possible) and no joy. I really didn't want to install the drivers and all the other stuff HP would force on me,
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                    Steve Gillmor on iPhonomics

                    I love talking to Steve Gillmor because he expands my world view several notches each time. I spent a whole afternoon at the Internet Identity Workshop with him and enjoyed every minute of it. He put up a post yesterday called iPhonomics that says that "[i]n a world post-iPhone where everything changes, battery life becomes the arbiter of usage." The iPhone will kill the Blackberry. Apple TV will kill the DVR. In Steve's view, the iPhone is center-stage--everything else is a peripheral to it. The secret to understanding this is to realize that more and more, text, images, audio,
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                    Schmedley

                    Paul Figgiani sent me a link to Schmedley. It's like the OS X dashboard inside the browser. The fact that you can do this kind of thing in a browser still amazes me. Update: I wrote more about Schmedley at BTL this afternoon.
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                    Fuse for OS X

                    A few months ago I posted a short article about using the SSH filesystem to mount an OS X directory from Ubuntu in Parallels. At the time, I had no idea what it was or how it worked. Yesterday, however, I recorded an interview with Amit Signh, the author of the OS X Internals book. This interview will show up on my Technometria podcast on IT Conversations next week. We got into a discussion of the MacFUSE project, which Amit runs and something clicked. FUSE is a specification for creating file systems in user space (i.e. not in the
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                    Macbook Pro Memory Woes

                    Sunday my Macbook Pro (Core 2 Duo) downloaded a software update and wanted to reboot, so I said "OK." When it started back up, I got three beeps and then the power light flashed. Obviously it didn't boot--it had failed the power on self test with a RAM error. Not good. I tried reseating the memory, no joy. Finally, I discovered that I could put either SIMM into the top slot and it would boot, but putting anything in the bottom slot failed. So, I booted with just the 2Gb card and made a clone of the machine to
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                    Q and A With Mac Hacker

                    At last week's CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dino Dai Zovi (DDZ) successfully hacked into a 15 inch Mac Book Pro in response to a challenge to find exploits on the machine. Ryan Naraine has published a Q and A interview with DDZ. Interesting stuff.
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                    VMWare Fusion Beta 3 Released

                    I downloaded the 3rd beta release of VMWare Fusion today and spent some time playing with it. Fusion is the desktop virtualization application from VMWare for OS X. You can download it here and try it out for yourself for free, it you like. I wrote up my thoughts about VMWare Fusion and posted them at Between the Lines, if you're interested.
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                    My Backup Script on OS X

                    It's sysadmin script day on Technometria. Earlier, I posted and explained by script for cleaning up unwanted files in Linux. Later this afternoon Kelly Flanagan asked me how I did backups, so I decided to clean up my backup script and post it for all to see. First, let me explain that my goal here is to produce a copy of my files. I'm not trying to do imcrementals. This protects me from disk failure, but not my own stupidity. I used to use Synchronize! Pro for backups. It had a few really nice advantages. First if created an
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                    Cleaning Up Unwanted Files in Linux

                    One of my grad students just went to remove some unwanted, automatically created files in his directory and accidentally deleted some things he wanted. I use a script to do clean ups to prevent these kinds of silly errors (which we're all prone to). Here's the script: #!/bin/bash if [ ! -e $HOME/.rmd ] then mkdir $HOME/.rmd fi find $HOME \\( -name '.rmd' -prune \\) -o \\ \\( -name '*~' \\ -o -name ',*' \\ -o -name '#*#' \\ -o -name '*.bak'\\ -o -name '*.backup' -atime +5\\ -o -name 'core'\\ \\) \\ -print -exec mv -f {} $HOME/.rmd \\;
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                    Is This an Apple Conference?

                    This is a big hotel. There are several other conferences going on at the same time as ETech. I was in the gift shop during the break. A guy with a badge from one of the other conferences saw me standing in line, MacBook in hand, and asked me "Is that an Apple conference or something? Everyone there is using an Apple!"
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                    Novell Demos InfoCard Selector for OS X and Linux

                    I just put a story up at Between the Lines about the InfoCard selector that Novell demo'd today at Brainshare. Very cool stuff.
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                    Mounting OSX Directories in Parallels

                    I found this nifty trick for mounting OS X directories from Linux. This is handy when you're using Parallels on your machine and want to easily pass information back and forth. Parallels comes with a utility for doing this from Windows, but not Linux. The idea is to use sshfs, the SSH filesystem. I installed it easily on Ubuntu using apt-get (on Fedora, you'd use Yum) and then mounting a disk on my OS X file system is as simple as sshfs pjw@10.37.129.2:Documents "OSX Documents" "OSX Documents" is an empty directory on the Linux machine that serves as the
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                    Using VMWare Fusion: A First Look

                    Last Friday I wrote that VMWare had released the second beta of Fusion, their virtual desktop for OS X. Over the weekend I took a little time to play around with it and had a few observations. Note that this is not a formal review--don't take it as one. First, Fusion works well, as promised. No major hiccups to report. I was able to set up a Fedora Core 6 image with only a few issues. Here are some of my discoveries and impressions: Fedora isn't one of the "supported" operating systems. I mistakenly chose "Redhat Linux" thinking that
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                    VMWare Releases Beta Desktop Virtualization for OS X

                    VMWare announced the release of Beta 2 for the OS X version of VMWare Desktop, codename Fusion, today. Fusion has a Cocoa-native interface that runs Windows apps side-by-side with OS X windows. Parallels has recently released a similar feature that they call "Coherence." I make increasing use of virtualization in my everyday work. For example, I needed to give my students a consistent development environment for a large chunk of code we're working on. We just created an image and let them download the whole machine. I suspect that VMWare wouldn't be paying the Mac a lick of attention
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                    Broken Scroll Ball on Mighty Mouse

                    I know a lot of people don't like Apple's Mighty Mouse, but I actually like the thing--at least the bluetooth version. It's small, fits in my backpack and pairs with my MacBook Pro consistently (which can't be said of all the Bluetooth mice I've owned). The one I keep in my office, however had a problem: the scroll ball stopped scrolling up. Down, right and left all worked. It was annoying. I was wondering if I needed to send it in to be fixed (or simply buy a new one). I fixed it. Turns out the sensor for scrolling
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                    Expose, Dock, USB, and EyeTV Weirdness

                    Today Expose stopped working. I also noticed that the Dock magnification didn't work (I normally hide the Dock) and the submenus under the Apple in the top-left corner wouldn't open. First I restarted the Dock. No joy, so I restarted Finder. No joy, so I escalated to logging out. Still no joy, so I rebooted the computer. The problem is still there. My exocortex (Google) doesn't seem to know anything. Then doing something else, I unplugged the USB hub and viola the problem is solved. A little investigation shows that it's my EyeTV Hybrid that's causing the grief. When
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                    Cancel or Allow?

                    I have no idea what security feature in Vista this Apple ad is making fun of, but it's still hilarious. I also like seeing the IT guy tape the camera to PCs head in this one. I know IT guys who would really do it that way!
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                    Using Quicksilver

                    If you use OS X, you should also use Quicksilver. Here's a good tutorial on getting started with Quicksilver and here's one that's a little more advanced.
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                    iPhone Is an OSX Computer

                    I'm reading Jason O'Grady's live blogging of the Jobs keynote. Jobs just introduced the iPhone saying "Today, we're introducing three revolutionary products 1. widescreen iPod with touch controls 2. revoutionary mobile phone 3. breakthrough internet communication device" But it's not three products, it's one: the iPhone. It runs OS X and has a multi-touch, 160dpi wide-screen--no stylus. Jason said he was considering leaving the keynote to go buy one. Connectivity is both EDGE and Wi-Fi; it switches between them seamlessly. It features a full Safari browser and real email. Where do I get one? Update: You can't get one...until
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                    Detailed Windows Vista Review

                    Update: See my cheatsheet on Windows Vista Buying Advice for the easy answer of what you need to buy. Have you been wondering just exactly what Window's Vista is and when to upgrade? The most detailed review I've found is from Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows. Admittedly, there's a pro-windows bias here (we all have some kind of bias) and the mousemines that litter the site, waiting for you to accidentally mouse over them and launch a video are truly annoying. Still, there's plenty of good info here. Here's Paul's eight part review: Part 1: Introduction Part 2: Vista
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                    MacBook Pro Narcolepsy

                    Jon Udell is complaining about PowerBook rot. I think his TiBook issues are mostly age and to be expected. My TiBook is still going strong, but has a broken hinge. My son's using it at College. I think it's still the best piece of Apple gear I've ever owned. Newer {Power,Mac}Books have been another story for me. I'm pretty hard on them, docking and undocking multiple times per day, using them pretty much non-stop for 12-15 hours per day, lots of compute intensive activity, and so on. Still, I've not had a single one that hasn't been in the
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                    TiVo and the iPod on OS X

                    Getting video from your TiVo to a iPod isn't as hard as it used to be. This hack shows how to do it all on the Mac and have it scheduled to run automatically.
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                    Concatenating PDF

                    Today I needed to combine a PDF file for a coverpage (produced from Word) with another PDF representing the body of the document (produced from LaTeX) into a single document. Turns out OS X already has a script that does this hidden deep inside Automator. The path is very long, so I'll break it up to lead you to the file: cd /System/Library/Automator/Combine\\ PDF\\ Pages.action cd Contents/Resources ls -l join.py If you look at the Python script, you'll see some usage information at the top. I created a link to the script in by bin directory to make using
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                    EyeTV Hybrid for Macs

                    A week or so ago, I picked up one of these EyeTV hybrids, a little device that has a USB connector on one end and a cable connector on the other. Plug it into your computer, connect up the cable and you're watching TV. There's an online program guide so you can schedule recordings of upcoming shows--just like TiVo. The device works with the Apple remote that comes with the new iMacs, Minis, and MacBooks. The best part is that it can automatically takes things you record and put them on your iPod (or at least into iTunes, to
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                    LaTeXiT

                    If you've ever needed to add complex equations to a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation or a Word document, then you need to know about LaTeXiT, an OS X application that typesets LaTeX without the need to create a file and run it through LaTeX. The images it creates are draggable to other applications. Of course, you have to know LaTeX to set up the equations, but if you need to typeset math, there's no way around that in any event.
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                    Good Housekeeping On Your Mac

                    Activity monitor shows which processor apps were built for(click to enlarge) Rosetta, the OS X technology that runs code built for the G4 processor in the Intel platform is so good that you can easily be running old code, even when new code, built for the processor you're running is long out. Kelly Flanagan told me today that you can make Activity Monitor show you the "kind" of a process (select "kind" in View). I found I had half a dozen little applications and menu bar items that were running G4 code and updated them. I also found a few
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                    Starting Up svnserver With launchd

                    Last night when I messed up my account, I was trying to (re)set-up SVN on my laptop. I was following these instructions. They're pretty good, but they leave out how to actually get the launchd daemon loaded and working. I found these instructions on creating launchd daemons helpful as well as these on getting started with launchd. Here's specifically what I did after I'd created the svn.plist file: cd to /Library/LaunchDaemons Start up launchctl as root sudo launchctl Load the svn.plist file launchd% load svn.plist You can list the loaded jobs now to be sure it's there using the
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                    I'm a (Fan) Control Freak

                    Found this little app for controlling fans on the MacBook Pro. The second editions (with the Core 2 Duo) seem to run much cooler than the first editions (with the Core Duo). Still, it's fun to play with things like fan speeds. I also use CoreDuoTemp to monitor the temperature and see what's happening.
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                    Breaking Into My Mac

                    Over the weekend, I somehow unclicked the "Allow use to administer computer" box on my Mac for my own account. I was playing around with some account stuff, trying to set up a role account for SVN and didn't notice my mistake until I'd quit System Preferences. At that point, I was using an account that was a system administrator, so I couldn't correct my mistake. I had another administrator account on the computer that I'd set up some time ago when the computer was in the shop and they needed access, but I couldn't remember the password. I
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                    Logitech Panic

                    For a while, I have occasionally had my MacBook Pro panic when I unplugged the USB cable. For you non-Unix geeks, that means the machine stops--dead--and has to be rebooted. OS X hides the reason from you. Even when you restart, it simply asks if you'd like the problem reported to Apple. However, if you push the right buttons on the dialog box, you can see the dump. When I did this, I discovered that it was the Logictech Control Center that was causing the problem. LCC configures Logitech mice and keyboards. I did the usual thing and updated
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                    Building Emacs for OS X

                    I rebuilt Emacs today. I've been relying on a binary I transfered from my old machine. Rosetta is so good, you'd never know it. Boy is EMacs faster when it's built for the Intel chip. I used these instructions and they worked great. No issues at all.
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                    When You Pick Your Tools, Pick Those That Can Build Tools

                    This morning I was listening to Karl Fugel talk about tools developers need and thought about Doug Kaye. Here's why... Yesterday Doug sent out a note to a few friends asking what editor they used to writing code on OS X. I use emacs. not only do I use emacs, but I thrill to emacs for one simple reason: it's infinitely malleable. It can be made to do almost anything and has. I use it for just about everything I do. Programmers should be tool builders. If you're not building tools to make your life easier, you're wasting time.
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                    Another Batch of Mac Ads

                    Some people hate them. I happen to think they're very funny. In any event there's a new batch of Mac/PC ads out. Watch the expressions on PCs face when Gisele B√ľndchen walks out in the "Better Results" ad--he's very good.
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                    TubeSock: In Honor of YouTube

                    In honor of the acquisition of YouTube by Google (which I wrote about on Between the Lines), the app of the day is TubeSock. Tube Sock grabs YouTube video and converts it to run on your iPod or PSP. Now you can take the insanity with you where ever you are and make archives of your favorites. Enjoy...
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                    GuruLib Not Hitting on All Cylinders

                    GuruLib Screenshot(click to enlarge) I don't often put things on my blog that people send me unsolicited, but occasionally it's relevant--or just catches my interest. Not long ago, I got a note about something called GuruLib, an online system for keeping track of your books. A while back I reviewed Delicious Library, an OS X app that I use to manage my library. As you can see from this public library from the creators, GuruLib uses the same "wood grain paneling" mode as Delicious Library, but don't hold that against it--that can be turned off in both. The feature set
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                    Using Parallels to Simplify System Admin Tasks

                    One of the things I was most excited about with my MacBook Pro was the ability to run Parallels. People ask "if you like OS X so much why are you excited to be able to run other OSs?" Here's one reason. In my distributed applications class, I have my students set up and manage their own Linux server. For some of them it's the first time they've been root. They have to install jBoss, Axis, and other fun things before they can complete the assignments. As a consequence, I end up working on a Linux machine quite a
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                    Quad Core Upgrades for Apple

                    Later this year Intel will release quad core versions of it's Core 2 and Xeon processors that are pin-compatible with the current two core versions. The folks over at Anandtech dropped quad core samples into a Mac Pro and they worked just fine. I suspect that upgrading your Mac Book Pro would be dicey due to power and thermal issues, but upgrading Mac Pro towers should provide quite a boost for well-threaded applications
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                    Controlling Vonage from Your Desktop

                    This morning, while I was listening to Ajay Madhok on IT Conversations, I was thinking it would be cool if I could manage what number my Vonage number forwarded to using an API. Then I could use the presence information in my IM application to drive where that one number sent my calls. Sometimes I want them to ring through to the handset, sometimes I want them to go to my cell and often I want them to go straight to voicemail (I hate telephones). Well, Vonage doesn't have an API, but they do have a very cool RESTful
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                    New iMacs Today: Bigger and Cheaper

                    Apple rev'd the iMac today. The two big changes I see: a 24" model and they're cheaper. I'd put in a purchase request for two 20" iMacs for my lab a week ago. With the new ones, I can get the 24" model for just $100 more than my original proposal. A no brainer... Bonus: there's a new batch of ads.
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                    iPhoto Slideshows on DVDs

                    I've recently been creating some DVDs of pictures for some friends. I found a few things that others might fin helpful. First, use iPhoto to create the slideshow and then share it to iDVD, rather than creating the slideshow in iDVD itself. There are more bells and whistles in iPhoto and the results are better. This isn't hard, once you have a collection of photos, just click on the "slideshow" button at the bottom, play with the settings, and then export it to iDVD. Exporting takes a long time. Once it's in iDVD, you can choose a theme, edit
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                    WiFi With Coconut Flavor

                    I found a cool little application for seeing what WiFi hotspots are available in OSX. Of course, you can keep checking the airport menu, but that won't tell you at a glance which are open and which aren't. Coconut WiFi puts a familiar green, yellow, or red indicator bubble in the menu bar to indicate what's available. You can even see a count of open networks. Very handy.
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                    Stop Forgetting Attachments

                    Don't you hate when you send an email that should have an attachment and you forget to attach it? I've often wished my mail client could help me remember. I just found a plug-in for Apple's Mail.app mail client that does just that. This plugin from James Eagan scans outgoing email key words like "attached," "attaching," and so on and warns you if there's no attachment. Cool.
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                    More on Mobile

                    I received lots of comments on my question about what mobile device to buy. I think the conclusion I draw from them is that there's no mobile device that does it all. I'd love to mix and match features and functionality from 3 or 4 devices. Various folks wrote to tell me that they've given up on using these devices as modems for their laptops and just got an EVDO card. Bernard Goldbach wrote a blog post about his thoughts on this issue. There's a bounty of over $500 for anyone who comes up with a solution for tethering
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                    Which Mobile Device Should I Buy?

                    I haven't used an organizer like a Palm since 2002. Once I no longer had someone else keeping my schedule, it was more convenient for me to keep the schedule in iCal on my laptop. The gadget freak in me has looked at Treos and Blackberrys and thought it would be neat to have one, but I've not wanted to carry around a phone as big as a boat anchor for the limited utility I'd get from the organizer functions. Lately, however, the connectivity of these devices has led me to think I might be willing to carry one
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                    A Non-Working Automator Script for iPod Audiobooks

                    I've been working on an Automator script for converting podcasts into something that my iPod will recognize as an audiobook (and thus let me control the speed of playback). I've been using the script that Dave left in the comments to my post on speeding up podcasts as a model. So far, no luck. The script (see PDF) runs and seems to do what it's supposed to (no errors), but the M4B files it produces aren't recognized by my iPod as audiobooks. My script isn't exactly like Dave's because I've played around trying to get things to work. I'm
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                    Speeding Up Podcasts

                    As you can imagine, I listen to a lot of podcasts. I listen to everything on IT Conversations, sometimes multiple times as it comes to production, I subscribe to a few other podcasts, and I review audio for inclusion on IT Conversations. One trick that helps, particularly with reviews, is speeding up the audio. As far as I've been able to tell, there's no convenient slider bar for speeding up audio in iTunes. But, you can easily use Quicktime to get the same effect: Right-click the show in iTunes and choose "Show song file." Open the selected song file
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                    OS X Keyboard Preferences Get Lost

                    OS X keyboard preferences(click to enlarge) Why won't my Mac reliably retain modifier key changes in preferences? As shown in the screenshot, I regularly make my CapsLock key into a control key. As an emacs user, that's much better for me. I was very glad when Apple added this as part of the OS. But about one out of three times OS X loses my preference at reboot. This doesn't happen with other preferences, so why this one?
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                    My Audio Setup

                    Some people have asked me what I use to record various audio for IT Conversations. The set-up I'm using right now is the result of a lot of experimentation and a lot of help from people like Doug Kaye and Paul Figgiani. Paul's Podcast Rigs Web site is a real help to anyone getting into podcasting. Audio recording setup(click to enlarge) My current setup consists of the following: Apple MacBook Pro with 2Gb of RAM. Obviously, you could substitute some other computer. I also use a Apple 30" Cinema Display, which is clearly optional, but very nice. Mark of
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                    Changing Linux Screen Resolution In Parallels

                    I've had parallels running now for some time on my MacBook Pro and it's really nice to be able to fire up Windows or Linux when needed. I have a feeling this is going to come in real handy this fall when I'm teaching CS462 and have 40 students using Linux to do their assignment. I can keep a fresh image that's identical to the one their using and just fire it up when I need to try something out. One thing that's bothered me, however, is that Fedora didn't want to create screens bigger and 800x600. I knew
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                    Parallels and Virtualization

                    I just posted a review of my experiences with Parallels on Between the Lines. Parallels is the virtualization technology that runs on OS X. It's been in beta, but today it's available as a final release.
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                    SOA Testing Webcast

                    I'm moderating a webcast for InfoWorld on Wed. The topic is testing in an SOA environment. iTKO is the sponsor and, hence, the presenter. I'm looking forward to it--SOA testing isn't a topic that get's much play, but's its important. The Webcast is free, so if you've got time in Wed (Jun 14) at 11AMPST, tune in. An interesting sidenote: while we were doing the dress rehersal, I dsicovered that the ON24 control console doesn't support anything but IE. Argh! (This isn't true, of the audience app--it works fine cross platform.) But I just updated to my new MacBook
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                    Opening Finder Folder in iTerm

                    I saw a little script in Macworld that allows you to right click on a folder in Finder and have it open in Terminal. I often find it handy to use the command line and the Finder simultaneously, so this seemed like a handy thing to do. Note that you can always open the current directory in Finder by typing open . at the command line. The problem is that the Macworld script is set up for Terminal and I use iTerm because I like the tabs. I found this script but it required the installation of some other
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                    Firefox Upgrades Still Painful

                    I've been putting off upgrading to version 1.5 of Firefox on OSX for a while now because it's always a bigger pain than it ought to be. Last week I was forced to for reasons that I won't go into. Like past upgrades, l had to play games to get SpellBound (the spell checker plugin) to work and enable Emacs keybindings to work. At version 0.9, I could understand and put up with this, but I'm growing tired of it at version 1.5.
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                    Mail and Chax

                    This morning I ran across an iCHat utility called Chax that adds some features to iChat. One I was particularly interested in was auto-accept for chats. I get tired of having to hit "accept" whenever chats come in. This afternoon Mail started crashing. After opening it up, it would just die after a few seconds. No warning, nothing. A quick look in the console showed that a crash report was being written to ~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/Mail.crash.log. That showed the following: Binary Images Description: 0x1000 - 0x198fff com.apple.mail 2.0.5 (746) /Applications/Mail.app/Contents/MacOS/Mail 0x3f9000 - 0x3f9fff com.ksuther.chaxloader ??? (1.3) /Users/pjw/Library/InputManagers/Chax/Chax.bundle/Contents/MacOS/Chax ... So, I uninstalled
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                    Intel iMac vs. G5 iMac Boot Times

                    You Tube has a short video showing an Intel iMac and a G5 iMac booting while they sit right next to each other. The Intel G5 boots almost twice as fast. I'm anxious to get my hands on a MacBook.
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                    DarwinPorts is Hot

                    It seems like every semester something happens that causes me to do a systems scramble right before things get going. This year, we decided to move all our Web offerings in the ECLab onto our new XServe over Christmas break. It had to happen sometime and now's as good a time as any. One of the things I needed to get on to the XServe (running OS X) was netpbm. I've never used DarwinPorts before, but a google of netpbm and OS led me to it. I have to say that it totally rocks. Usually installing netpbm on a
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                    Intel QX3 Microscope and OS X

                    salt 60x I've had an old Intel Play QX3 microscope hanging around the house for a while. My oldest daughter got it for Christmas years ago, but lately it's been gathering dust. It caught my eye tonight and I decided to see if there's an OS X driver for it. I was pleasantly surprised to see there is. I couldn't get it to work at first. I had to change the resolution in the software to 320x240 before I got a picture. That's not documented anywhere. Still the Maccam software is pretty good--even controls the top and bottom lights correctly
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                    SSH Tricks

                    Linux Journal has a nice article on Eleven SSH Tricks. These, of course, work on OS X as well. If you're an OS X user, you may not be all that interested in the first one, X11 forwarding, but skip that one and read the rest. I've used SSH for years for securing remote sessions and copying operations. I've never used it for port forwarding, but I may play with that a little. BYU doesn't offer VPNs for faculty and I've never bothered to set one up myself. Port forwarding would take care of some of the little things
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                    Using VLC to Create iPod Ready Video

                    A few days ago I wrote about using VLC to turn MPEG2 video from the Tivo into something that will work on your iPod. I had some funny problems with the aspect ratio and the GUI-based approach is fine for a single video, but it's time consuming since each conversion takes near real-time (i.e. one our of video takes a little more than one hour to transcode to MPEG4). Well, there's a better way. VLC has a command line interface and it works lovely. Not only can you run the command on multiple files in batch mode, but you
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                    Video iPod and Tivo

                    Friday I picked up a new iPod (60Gb, Black). I spent the weekend figuring out how to get video onto it from my Tivo, DVDs, etc. Here's what I've discovered, so far: As I posted the other day, it's easy to download programs from your Tivo to your desktop. What isn't easy, on a Mac, is converting the shows to MPEG2 from the wrapper that Tivo puts them in. As I said in the earlier post DirectShop Dump will do that on a PC. You have to install the Tivo Desktop Connection first. I happen to have Virtual PC
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                    A Better Command Line Find

                    If you're coming to OS X from UNIX, like me, then you're probably comfortable with the command line and you probably know your way around the find command. I use it all the time for finding files. Since I upgraded to Tiger, I use Spotlight a lot more, but there are still times when I want to find things on the command line. Apple has thoughtfully provided a Spotlight enabled version of find called mdfind Using mdfind is easy: just type the command followed by whatever you'd enter in the Spotlight search box. You'll get back a list of
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                    Thin is In

                    IFlyAKite Desktop in Javascript I'm not sure what the purpose of this site is, but it's cool. If the purpose is to show just how far Javascript can be pushed to create a rich-client feel inside a browser, then I'd say they've succeeded. Apple will probably try to shut this down, but they ought to leave it up as a monument to dedication.
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