Canon Mini-DV Camera & Firewire Bug

I spent way more time than I should have trying to figure out why my Canon ZR800 wasn’t being seen by my Mac. I tested the Firewire cable, I rebooted, I re-installed QuickTime. The Sony PD150 worked fine, but the Canon was a no-show.

Canon ZR800

Finally I dug up this Camcorder HQ post by Doug Van Doren

Actually, there’s one HUGE caveat with that: the new Canon ZR’s 800-850 will NOT work with a Mac that has another FireWire device plugged into it. If you have an external hard drive, your iPod or anything plugged into one of the other FireWire ports on the computer and then you plug in a Canon ZR800 series camcorder and launch iMovie or FCP or FCE, it will crash and freeze the Mac OS.

This is a huge bug I recently discovered when I bought a new Canon ZR-800 and ended up crashing all three of my Macs (I tried it on them all just to make sure).

It was a nightmare. Here’s the technical article from Apple:

It does not mention the ZR800’s specifically, but trust me, it applies to them as well.

If there’s nothing else plugged into the other FireWire ports, it works fine. The only trouble with that is that most people like to use an external firewire drive to put their digitized footage on. This is a big problem if that’s what you’re trying to do.

Luckily I did not experience any real crashes, just the fact that iMovie and Final Cut sort of ‘stuck’ while the camera was turned on, and then resumed when turned off. The System Profiler also failed to show any Firewire device when the camera was on. Everything is fine when no other Firewire devices are connected, so there is a workaround… Still, it’s an annoying bug I hope can be fixed in the future.


Bucketworks Needs You!

Folks, we need to put a drop in the bucket… and no, I’m not talking about water… we got plenty of that!

Bucketworks storm damage...

During the storm, things got a little crazy (see Flickr) and there is water everywhere. It ain’t pretty. If at all possible, can you put a drop in the bucket? If you’ve ever attended a Web414 or a MilwaukeeDevHouse, it would be cool if you could chip in a few bucks to help our little clubhouse make it through this disaster. Bucketworks has been a gracious host to us, and it’s a time of need for them, so put a drop in the bucket and let’s hope it adds up enough to get everything back to normal.

Right now Bucketworks is closed. Until the damage is assessed, they can’t open again. What does that mean for the June 2008 Web414 Meeting? We’re not sure yet… we may have to move it, as well as other events scheduled there in the near future. Like I said, there’s a lot of water…

Jenn has a post on that tells more, so please go there and see what is up…

And seriously, go pitch in some money! So far it’s just Gabe and I that have done so, and that’s pretty sad. I know there are others out there who can help, even if it’s just $5 or $10.

(Update: Wow! The total is going up! Thanks people, let’s keep it going…)


Empty Pockets [video]

This is a video I made for the song Empty Pockets, which I recorded back in February 2008 for the RPM Challenge.

(Originally uploaded to



I’ve been working on a project with Rick from Feed.Us involving a twitterbot which resulted in mkefood, and now nycfood and winetweets. He’s wrapped things into this little site called where you can learn more.

Rick originally asked me about some twitter coding a while back, and I mentioned what I had done with twitter for BarCampMilwaukee2, but then I got busy and nothing happened. Finally he bugged me again and pointed me to Anatomy of a Twitter Bot by Whitney McNamara and since I’m a Perl nerd, I was in…

Sadly, it took me way too long to go through the code and change what I wanted, and when I finally did, and had it all running on my home server, I tried to move it to a GoDaddy account which was total fail for so many reasons. GoDaddy’s cheap accounts are ok for simple web sites, but not for running more complex code.

So I ended up putting on my server, where it sits for now. It’s a Perl/MySQL application, which runs via cron every X minutes. There’s a table to allow you to add more accounts so it can run multiple twitterbots (so far we’ve got mkefood, nycfood, and winetweets.) I’m not 100% sure how it will scale, and I’ve found one bug already where it dies if an account has no replies (which is fixable by sending a reply to an account, but it should be fixed in the code as well.)

Next to do… clean up the code a bit, package it up, and release it. I’ll try to do that soon. If you don’t see it in a week or so, bug me and I’ll bump it up on my to do list…