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September 2002

09.30.2002

I first tried to install Bugzilla on Mac OS X, and it took a little time, just as the docs said it would, but it wasn't painful. A little time consuming, but not bad. The second install on another Mac OS X box was pretty simple, so by now I'm getting confident. That all changed after trying an install in Red Hat Linux 7.2. Sheesh, I've tried numerous times to get things working, and still no luck. I've had a few other issues with this particular server, so I'm hoping it's just that. I'll try an install on Brew and see what happens...

I can't believe I'm going to attempt this again, but I'm going to try one more time to install Linux on the old PowerBase 180. Expect a full report soon...

Well, as you all know by now RC5-64 was cracked. It only took five years. And yes, I ran the client for five years, on many computers, many platforms, for many hours... I'm glad it's over. I do wish the key had been found by a Mac ;) or at least an older, slower machine, and not a Pentium III. Anyway, I've started running SETI@Home on two machine, and I'm considering running Folding@Home as well... Distributed computing is still a very cool idea, and really, I think all of the other projects owe something to Distributed.net who really pioneered the idea and made it popular...

The number of Mozilla users doubles! I know, it's still not a lot, but hey, we're getting there...

Speaking of 'advocacy' here's something you could do... See, some people use computers that they really don't want to use, let's say that you're a diehard Mac supporter, but someone forces you to use a Windows machine. Sure, you've got Mozilla on it, but when the stats come up, that pesky 'ol Windows is still way ahead of Mac OS X... Just install the uabar and set your user agent string to something like Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-US; rv:1.2b) Gecko/20020924. Or something like that, or just make up your own... You might be forced to use Windows, but you don't have to endorse it...

09.26.2002

Has Hell frozen over? From Hemos at Slashdot: "Taco and I are both strongly considering beginning to use OSX as a primary laptops." (And by that I'm assuming he means get a PowerBook and run Mac OS X... you always have to decipher SlashTalk...)

Seriously though, Apple's Switcher ads tend to show people who aren't exactly hardcore geeks (let alone Geeks in Space) and lately we've been seeing a lot of the O'Reilly folks moving to Mac OS X (including Tim I believe) and now the Slashdot crew? Apple needs some new Switcher ads featuring the geekiest of geeks and the nerdiest of nerds. "So I got a TiBook, and now I can compile Apache while running a nightly build of Mozilla and connecting to my G4 via ssh to set up a cron job to run ditto and backup my home directory to my Darwin box..." Or something like that...

Yeah, I said Darwin, and from the Darwin FAQ: "Although the BSD licenses don't require companies to post their sources... We believe that the open source model is the most effective form of development for certain types of software"

Also from Slashdot: "I'm cooking up a CD-ROM image of excellent Win32 Open Source software..." Sounds like a good idea to me... I've mentioned open-source apps for Windows before, but as someone who isn't a Windows person, my take on things is minimal. It'll be good to see what others think are the good open-source Windows apps...

JAirlie.com has a list of Open Source Software in a Windows Environment...

Because friends shouldn't let friends use Windows...

09.25.2002

Ok, so there's PHP-Nuke, PostNuke, and Geeklog... (and others, groan!) who among you can explain the differences between them, or point me towards an explanation of such? I know they are all PHP based, and use MySQL (and possibly other dbs) and run on *nix, and possibly Windows... but what's going to make me choose one over the other? Is one easier to maintain? More secure? More open-source? More extensible? Ok, PHP people, let me know...

Yesterday I stopped by the llama farm and bought some eggs. They were not llama eggs, but chicken eggs, and they were brown and green.. yes, green just like that Green Eggs and Ham thing... I could have bought a llama though, if I had $150 bucks on me... maybe next time...

What, you mean you don't drive by a llama farm on your way home from work?

09.24.2002

Oh, they put bash in bin... /bin/bash, ok got it... Don't you hate when they take something that was complex and make it simple, in fact, so simple that you can't figure it out? I mean, don't you love when they do that?

I joined the FOAF crowd, though I don't really know who to consider my 'friends' exactly... Anyway, using your kung-foo skills of auto-discovery, I'm sure you'll find a foaf.rdf file somewhere...

09.23.2002

Gulker hits it for me, in that if you don't keep up with certain Linux distro, like Red Hat, you get lost. I did some setup about a year or so ago using Red Hat 6.x and it all made sense to me, then last year a guy I was working with installed 7.x and had all these weird issues, I tried to help him, but it was all so different than my 6.1 box. I've recently set up a 7.2 box, and am working with someone else using a 7.2 box. Sheesh, everything is different, and it's a bit of a pain. Eventually you can get everthing working (if you're lucky, or determined - or both) but it sometimes seems that you need to spend a fair amount of time figuring out the new way of doing whatever it was you used to know how to do.

As Mr. Gulker said, Linux Questions may come in useful. Though I wonder why they didn't call the site Linux Answers, oh, it's already taken...

As soon as you get that damn Linux box running, and get PHP configured properly, you can try PHP iCalendar, which works, but is still young, and will hopefully work even better in future releases... Oddly enough, even though I've downloaded iCal, I've yet to use it. I have been downloading ics files, using Mozilla's Calendar and now PHP iCalendar. Someday I'll see what all the fuss about iCal is really about.

I like pineapples...

09.19.2002

Aha, Mac OS X Hidden Files & Directories explained... those damn ._whatever files are extremely annoying, and I'm sure many a Windows admin would like to del them... (That's why I wrote removeDotUnderscore.pl. Oh, and those .DS_Store files sometimes need to be killed so I use removeDSstore.pl

Yay, Brent is shipping NetNewsWire!

NetNewsWire: More news, less junk. Faster

I got one of Joel's email updates, and it had in it this excerpt from 09.10.2002

There are very few conditions under which it is actually the right business decision to develop software for the Macintosh.

I commented on this before, but seeing just this fragment made me have these thoughts: I don't care about business decisions as much as I care about freedom and creativity, and maybe that's part of the philisophy of the Mac programmer... Hmmm, maybe Brent would have some insight on that... Come to think of it, that's most likely the philosophy of a lot of open-source programmers as well. Another thing I think is interesting is that you might be able to develop software for multiple *nix environments (including Mac OS X/Darwin) with little effort, this probably isn't accounted for when people say 'software for the Macintosh' but things, they are a changing...

I finally got around to trying the latest version of Chimera and dang, it's fast! I'll still be sticking with Mozilla myself since I need all the Mozilla goodness more than I need raw speed, but for many Mac users, I think Chimera will be a nice fit.

I hereby declare RSS to mean Ridiculously Stupid Subject and RDF to mean Ridiculously Dumb Format... Let the games begin!

XML is of course an Xtremely Mangled Language, but you knew that already...

I have been waiting literally years for this feature...

One of the new features of Mac OS X v10.2 is the ability to convert written text into an AIFF sound file.

Let's hope it does exactly what I think it does. This could open up a whole new world... web content to text to take-it-with-you audio... in an automated fashion! I can dream...

09.17.2002

Remember how USB was just sort of there, but not really being used for that much? Apple, with the release of the iMac really got things moving in the USB product space. We started seeing fruity colored USB hubs, adapters, and other devices. Nowadays USB is a common thing. Finding a computer made in the last few years without USB seems a little odd.

Apple did something similar with Firewire, and I think what probably got Firewire going, besides DV cameras was the iPod. And now that the iPod is available for Windows, well, there's more Firewire on the horizon...

I'm wondering if the same thing will happen on the software side of things. Apple introduces iCal, and it doesn't easily publish data to an FTP server, but it does to a WebDAV server. Soon afterwards we start seeing tutorials all around the web on how to enable Apache to use WebDAV. This is a good thing. I feel like Apple is helping to move things forward. This is how I think Apple thinks: Apple of course wants people to use .Mac and for many users that is an option. It costs money, but for a certain group of people it's worth it. It's very easy, and if you can aford it, might be the choice for you. Apple could have made iCal publish via FTP, but that's too easy, and would probably eat into the number of people willing to pay for .Mac services. So, they implement WebDAV, which is fully open and non-proprietary, but (and as they say, it's a big but) it's not like everyone has access to a server with WebDAV enabled. So for the geeks, who do have their own server, or dare to run their own workstation over broadband as a server, and don't mind dipping into the command line, they get what they want/need, minus the nice HTML rendering of calendars that .Mac does, at a cost well below .Mac services.

This is good stuff. I think this is how Apple can walk the line between giving it all away like the open source folks, and locking you in the trunk, like Microsoft does. I hope Apple continues down this road, as it seems like a good balance between the two opposite worlds. One thing that does worry me is how Apple's OS updates may break things in the future. Jaguar supposedly breaks things, and I know that the 10.1.x updates seemed to break or fix things (depending on your hardware/software) along the way as well. If Apple gets stupid again, it could start breaking things on purpose for it's own selfish reasons. That sounds like a Microsoft tactic, but I'm sure it happens in the open-source world as well, that what some people think about Apache 2.0 adoption.

I'm on the verge of installing Jaguar. By the end of the week I should be done. I mean, after I backup everything, verify the backups worked, then load it, then fix whatever breaks...

It now looks like there are three, and maybe as many as four people at my company running Mac OS X, people are switching in droves! Well, for the industry I'm in it's not too surprising, I expect things to go slowly. Still, with the grave for Mac OS 9 dug, and Steve ready to toss the decaying body in, I wonder how the publishing industry is doing, and what's gonna happen in the next 6 months. I still have two machines at home running OS 9, one is the kids game machine, and I highly doubt they'd benefit from a unix based OS when playing Playschool Puzzles, even if the machine could run OS X. The other is the iMac, mainly used by the female for browsing and email. I see no issues in switching her over to OS X (she's already used it a bit on the PowerBook) though I do see some issues with the scanner, printer, and software routing it does...

Heard on the radio today: "Bill and Melinda Gates welcomed a new baby girl into the world, her name is Phoebe Adelle Gates... Dude! You're getting Adelle!"

So I read that Winer says how Morbus intends to kill him, so I see what Morbus says, "Some day, I hope to eat dinner with Dave Winer - perhaps I'll raise his blood pressure so high that he'll have a heart attack..." which doesn't really sound like he intends to kill him, it sounds like he would like to have dinner with Dave... moving on, we see what a dinner with Dave is like...

Anyway I... what? Oh, my boss's phone just rang and I heard screaming... where's that delete key!!!

offnews is slightly similar to an abandonded project of mine, an RSS aggregator that produces an AvantGo channel for syncing with my Palm. Here's the output. I ran into problems with parsing RSS, I'm using XML::RSS, which doesn't like bad feeds, or maybe Expat doesn't like them, I don't know... so I tried using XML::Checker to make sure things are valid in some way first, well, that sorta/kinda worked, but not as well as I hoped. (Gee, I can't want for versions 2.1, 1.1, and 3.1 of RSS so I can really make some progress!) Anyway, I'll say that I (sorta/kinda) proved a concept, and my main goal was to be able to grab lots of little things, but still be able to control (somewhat) how much content I generated, since my Palm has limited space... If anyone really wants me to work on this, let me know...

Oh, 0xDECAFBAD has a nice writeup on Montsers... not Monsters, Inc. though I believe that was released yesterday...

09.16.2002

Poor Jenny:

I seriously considered getting a Mac, but discussions with a couple of Mac fanatics convinced me that I didn't have the time or money to invest in learning a Mac, moving files, and replacing software.

Read the whole thing. While people convinced her that she didn't have the time to switch, it looks like she spent a heck of a lot of time dealing with tech support and being without a computer. She doesn't mention the cost involved in getting back up and running with Windows, but it looks like in the process she bought an upgrade to Windows and eventually a new laptop. I know switching software from Windows to Mac version (if available) is a big hassle, and can be costly. (Many of the apps I use are open-source, and available on multiple platforms, that always helps.) But in this case, a new TiBook with AppleCare might not have even been enough to save her ;)

I spent some time setting up pbox for use by the female as well as myself. I managed to completely screw up the profile I created for her in Mozilla, and had to recreate it. That added an hour to the fun. It's running at 250 mhz, and I must say I expected Mac OS X 10.1.5 to perform slowly, but it isn't too bad. It doesn't seem to much slower than my 400 mhz G4 at work, and the G4 has a bit more RAM. Some of this is probably related to the way in which I use the PowerBook. I mainly use it as a consuming device. Meaning that I'll browse the web, read mail and news, but not do any sort of real work on it. I suppose I could consider writing real work, if I was a writer, but I don't think I could use it for software development, web authoring, or graphics work. I really appreciate a desktop for those things. Still, I really do like the PowerBook. It'll be interesting to see how my usage patterns change in the future.

09.12.2002

Time it took to get WebDAV working and configured on OS X, roughly 10 minutes... Maybe that's what the 10 in OS X 10.x is for... Thanks, Mac OS X Hints!

Over at Jeremy Allaire's Radio there's talk of the 'richness' of Flash, and a small mention of XUL in Mozilla. I guess the whole reason I never got into Flash is because it's a proprietary technology controlled by a single company. Mr. Allaire is gung-ho on Flash now, but was he two or three years ago, before Allaire got swallowed by Macromedia? The funniest thing to me is the dialog (see below) I got when trying to view the site.

Flash... running... slowly... dialog box

I'm baised of course, because I'm forced to deal with Cold Fusion on a regular basis... arrgghhh.....

And with people who think Dreamweaver is a good html editor... double arrgghhh.....

I'm not sure I believe Joel's way of thinking on Mac software. I guess my problem is, what is a Mac users and what is a Windows users? See, technically I use Macs and Windows PC's (as well as Linux boxes, etc.) Do I qualify as a Windows user? I've never bought a PC with Windows installed. I've never bought any software from Microsoft. I should say that again: I've never bought any software from Microsoft. Not even Office for the Mac. Nothing. That includes the 'Microsoft tax' that's involved when you buy a new PC, where the hardware company you bought it from had to pay Microsoft. So, I've been using Windows for the past 8 or 9 years, but I most definitely am not a Windows user. I will not be buying any Windows software with my own money in the forseeable future. (The one 'hmmm' to this is the kid's games we buy on CD, sometimes they have a Windows version in addition to the Mac version, I don't know how this counts...) Yes, I have a Windows PC on my desk at work, but I would not consider myself a Windows user. So, when we say 'Windows user' are we counting people who have a Windows PC on their desk at work, but do not actually own one themselves? Technically these people are not choosing to be Windows users. I suppose you could argue that since their employer would be spending money to purchase Windows software for them, that they might count as a Windows user... I don't know.

Joe had to throw in some numbers regarding Netscape's market share (about 3.4%) as well. Again, the flaw here is that while Internet Explorer is supposedly used by (almost) everyone, how many people actually choose to use it over Netscape/Mozilla/a Gecko based browser? Fire up that brand new Windows PC and hey! There's a web browser... It's Internet Explorer! I wonder how the numbers would look if both browsers were installed, and readily available. Remind me, how has Internet Explorer improved the web browsing experince in the last 6 months? In the last year? Try looking at Mozilla today versus 6 months ago, versus 1 year ago. It's got legs... and it's running.

I managed to export the contacts from Outlook and load them into Mozilla. It's took a little more work than I wanted it to (involving a trip through Filemaker Pro) but it was relatively painless. I finally got all of the IMAP stuff working right, thanks to this page at Fastmail. I had everything working but the Subscribe stuff, now I can see all my folders. Yay...

If 37331 h4x0r5 ruled the world...

09.11.2002

Mozilla as a platform? Sure... I've been pounding on Mozilla a bit this week (well, more than usual) and have had success with almost everything I tried. (Ok, I lost a few days worth of bookmarks, but that's really my fault. I think.) Anyway, Mozilla's got a Calendar, and while I haven't tested it on Mac OS X yet (still pretty beta there I guess) I've given it a shot on Windows, and it looks to be very promising. And with the timing of Apple releasing iCal there's already some talk of making them work together in various ways. Of course both Apple and the Mozilla group decided to go with the vCal format, so that makes things a bit easier...

Some people are saying this could be the beginning of Mozilla as an Outlook/Exchange killer. I'd say it's got potential. For instance, at The Company we (are forced to) use Outlook. Since I use Mac OS X, this requires me using Classic mode to use Outlook, which is a pain. I shut it down today. I won't be launching Classic or Exchange anymore unless I really have to. Using Mozilla I can take care of my email and address needs using IMAP. Once Calendar matures a bit I can also do calendaring and tasks, though I'm not too sure of integrating these with Exchange right now, it's a step in the right direction. The other plus here is that since I don't have to run Classic, my Mac seems a bit faster, gee, I wonder why Microsoft isn't really rushing an OS X native version of Outlook out the door... I'm probably lucky because I don't use a lot of the features that Outlook offers, someone who does would probably find it much harder to stop using it.

Themes are nice. You like themes? You can find Mozilla themes at MozDev or at DeskMod...

Like searching? Or should I say, want to make searching more powerful and easier? Try EasySearch and Mycroft. These are just a sample of some of the projects at MozDev. I truly consider Mozilla a success. Or should I say the Mozilla Organization, and related projects are a success? Ok, let's just say the Mozilla Platform is a success... Mozilla is much more than a web browser, and I'm glad that it is. I remember when I (like others) just wanted a good browser, and wondered why Mozilla was trying to be 10 different things all at once. Now I'm jst happy that it can be 10, or 20, things all at once.

I can't remember the last time I launched Internet Explorer, except to check functionality of some site or web app. I wouldn't use it for everyday browsing. It's always funny to hear co-workers talk about those annoying pop-up, pop-under, pop-over, and now pop-tart ads... I don't see them. I was dissapointed when I saw some one my ex-coworkers (Mac guys) using IE, I told them to use Mozilla. They did mention Chimera, I guess that'll do for now... I haven't looed at Chimera recently since Mozilla does what I need, but I the Mac-purists might like it. Of course they could always try the Pinstripe theme for Mozilla.

09.09.2002

Since I mention JOE and jEdit pretty often, I thought I should mention this O'Reilly article which tackles Java apps on OS X.

"Anthill is a bug tracking system written entirely in PHP and is intended to be a replacement for Bugzilla." Hmmm, if I waste anymore time trying to get Bugzilla working on our Red Hat server, I might have to try Anthill...

As alluded to earlier in some form or another, I am now the owner of a PowerBook, well, the transaction is still in progress, but I do have it in my possession. And it's been an interesting journey so far. It's a PowerBook G3 Wall Street, so in theory it can run OS X. So that's what I installed the first time. After I did the install I set it up at work and booted it. Hmmm, flashing question mark. Not good. Ah well, a quick re-install and we're back in business. Do some system and software updates, a few installs, and we're good... Oh, it dosn't wake from sleep? Hmmm, reset the Power Manager. Oops, back to not booting... Crud. I've already installed, updated, copied data, and now it won't boot. Argh. Dear Google, please help me. Ok, I didn't want to install OS 9, but I will. Ah, it boots! Back to OS X. (Note: strip down OS 9 install as much as possible at a later date.) I still haven't solved the no waking from sleep problem. I'm really a PowerBook newbie, as I've been a desktop guy for the last few decades... Now that I've installed the Developer Tools, this thing is ready to rock. Well, as soon as I free up some drive space ;)

Comment I found in some code today

# scary deletion section - caution!

Sadly, I'm the one who wrote the comment... Not to worry though, I'm 97% sure this is a one-off throw away script that is so specific, it won't be reused. I hope.

Aaron (the other one) has some info on RSS 3.0 aka PTS, which looks interesting. But I, like everyone else, am wondering why he doesn't just use ultramode? Sure, Slashdot deprecated ultramode.txt, but it still seems to be in use elsewhere...

09.05.2002

JOE is the Java Outline Editor. There is a Mac OS X version, but it's almost a year old, if you want to install 1.8.9.2 on Mac OS X, see Installing JOE 1.8.9.2 on Mac OS X.

Disk images! That's what I forgot yesterday... On the Screen Savers someone wanted to know how they could copy a CD to their computer to play a game, thusly getting faster access that with the CD drive. They said, create a disk image, and mentioned some 3rd party software. Are disk images something Windows out of the box can't do? Do you really need to purchase 3rd party software to create disk images? I'm not sure how long you've been able to create disk images on the Mac for free, but it's got to be over 5 years... I remember back when NT 4.0 was in use (again, probably 5 years ago) and I asked an NT admin about using a RAM disk, and he said there were a few that he thought were ok, but the prices were pretty high. In the old Mac OS (pre Mac OS X) it was built into the system, a few clicks and you had a RAM disk. Every PowerBook user used one, and there was at least one shareware RAM disk, AppDisk that was pretty nice. Last version was from 1998, it may be older than that though... I seem to remember using a RAM disk to help speed up downloads from local BBS's back around 1994 or so...

09.04.2002

Have I pitted the Mac against Windows lately? (If I'm wrong on anything below, please let me know.) On the jEdit mailing list someone was asking about n-up printing, well the Windows users had some solutions (as did the Linux users) but as a Mac user, I can just select 'Layout' in the Print dialog for a ton of n-up printing options, no extra steps, no extra software, built into the OS for, well, as long as I can remember... You can also print to a PostScript file from any Mac app, and now with OS X you can print to a PDF from any app. It's all built into the printing architecture. I still don't know how to print to a PostScript file in Windows, or if it's even possible without installing 3rd party doo-dads.

So which would you rather have built into the OS, Internet Explorer, or a good printing architecture?

On to virus protection. On the Screen Savers they said that every Windows user should definitely update their virus software whenever an update is available. Does Windows come with some sort of anti-virus app, or do you have to purchase one? I know the Mac doesn't, but then again, I've never needed to purchase one, and I've never recommended one to anyone I've helped buy a Mac.

I had at least one more, but I forgot... Oh, well, I've done my part for today...

Oh, I'm not a gamer, so if you think Windows beats the Mac for games, well, you might be right, as I don't know...

Mike "The Be Dope Guy" has a Hiptop. The Hiptop is a cool little device you should check out. It looks neat, and if the service price was close enough to my current cell phone (and available in my area) I'd probably get one. I've seen my Palm die twice in the last week due to battery drainage, so there's my excuse for replacing it. Anyway, if you liked BeDope, try hipshake.

A day late and $129 dollars short: Here's my lame photos from the Apple Store Opening...

09.03.2002

Well, the Apple Store opening was a lot of fun, here's some photos somebody took of the event. (If you look carefully, you'll see me.) Oh, drew took some shots as well. I got to test the Genius bartenders with some questions about .DS_Store and ._. files that are so damn annoying in 10.1.5. The first 1000 people got free Apple/Mayfair t-shirts, that was very nice. In the first hour of being open they sold (at least) 3 macs, which I hoping means business will be good. I have to say, I was very hesitant in touching some of the hardware, lest the techno-lust kick in and I get obsessed with having something. I can't deny that the iPod is just an amazing piece of hardware though. It's one of those things where once you pick it up and feel it, you don't want to put it down... ahhh... I didn't bring the kids, but if I would have, I guess I'd have 3 free shirts, that's ok, one is enough.

There's been much switching around in the Computers dept. and I hope to reveal some new hardware soon. Don't worry, I didn't go nuts at the Apple Store.

 

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