Archive for 2003

Chris Hired

Dec 09, 2003 in Family and Friends

Yeah, yeah, so I’m a little slow. Chris Turner has rejoined the ranks of the gainfully employed, working for AMX in Texas.

Barely a week on the job and he’s already pulled an all-nighter.

Congratulations, Chris.

That Voodoo(Pad) That You Do

Dec 09, 2003 in Mac

I started playing with VoodooPad Lite on Monday and I so far I’m really impressed. I’d been looking for some sort of “knowledge tracker” system so I can get better organized at work and wasn’t having much luck.

I tried StickyBrain when Apple was giving it away to .Mac users, but it didn’t really click with me.

After that, I installed Blosxom. I would have tried Movable Type, but I was attracted to Blosxom OS X installer because I didn’t have a lot of time to muck around.

The locally hosted weblog worked for a bit, but I found that I was spending more time crafting the HTML so my notes would format correctly than I was on the actual content. Furthermore, when I installed Panther, it replaced the /Library/WebServer folder with a newer version and I never bothered to rescue my Blosxom pages from the depths of the /Previous System folder.

Finally, I stumbled upon Voodoo Pad Lite when I read about Gus Mueller’s attempt at using a “girlie” icon to shame folks into upgrading to the full version. So far, it does everything I want. I can jot down notes about different tasks, have my notes linked together, link to email threads, link to source code files, and link to pretty much anything else that strikes me as a good idea. I just invest a little up-front time to generate the links and they’re ready whenever I need them in the future.

Of course, I’ve already submitted some bug reports and feature requests for future versions of VoodooPad Lite. No, I’m not asking for features from the full version to migrate down to the Lite version, that’s really not fair. I’m requesting fixes and features that I think will help both applications and probably don’t qualify as big enough to limit to the full application. Of course, that’s just my humble opinion. In the end, it’s really up to Gus where these things fall.

By the way, the icon/shame thing isn’t working, but the feature request/guilt thing sure is. :-) Although the vast majority of the stuff in the full version doesn’t interest me (though clippings and Unix script output sound nice), I’ll probably upgrade if the features I’ve requested for Lite make their way into both apps just because I’ll feel bad having asked for all this free stuff!

2003 Eddy Winners

Dec 03, 2003 in Mac

Brent Simmons announced today that NetNewsWire won a MacWorld 2003 Eddy.

He also posted other winners, including SpamSieve. Congratulations to Michael, Brent, and all the other winner for their hard work.

mmm… Hockey Season

Nov 25, 2003 in Sports

I just flipped over to the third period of the BruinsBlues game and I realized a few things.

  • With forwards like Joe Thornton, Glen Murray, Sergei Samsonov, and Brian Rolston, this can be really fun team to watch.
  • The fast-paced game they seem to play in the Western Conference is a lot more fun to watch then the trapping style they play in the east.
  • This Bruins team would make a really good Western Conference team. I just hope this doesn’t jump up and bite them, being that they play in the Eastern Conference and all.

Unfortunately, the B’s lost 4-3 in OT. Still, it was a fun 3rd period to watch and the Bruins still pick up the point for getting to OT.

Go To Folder

Nov 25, 2003 in Mac

Whadda ya know. It turns out the file path field in the Open/Save panel isn’t missing in action. There’s just no visible way to access it.

However, it turns out Command-Shift-G will display a Go To Folder panel that behaves exactly like the dialog in the Finder, including support for auto-complete.

It looks like there are two different implementations of this panel for Carbon and Cocoa apps. For Carbon apps like BBEdit and iTunes, the panel is implemented as a modal dialog. For Cocoa apps like Safari and Super Get Info, the panel is implemented as a sheet. I don’t know why this difference exists, but the functionality appears to be the same in either case.

When you use the Go To Folder functionality in browser view, it acts like one of the icons in the sidebar — the contents of the last path component are displayed in the left-most browser column and you cannot scroll the browser to the right. Personally, I don’t like that implementation, but then again I prefer to use the list view.

Update: As Chris Hanson points out, the difference between the Go To Folder sheet and the modal dialog isn’t just a Carbon/Cocoa thing — my testing method wasn’t entirely scientific. I looked mostly at the Open dialogs in iTunes, BBEdit, Mailsmith, Super Get Info, and Safari.

These Open panels were all displayed as dialogs, which makes sense — since you’re opening a file, the dialog shouldn’t be associated with an existing window. For the Open panels, the Carbon applications displayed the Go To Folder panel as modal dialog. The Cocoa applications displayed the Go To Folder panel as a sheet.

For Save panels, things are a little different. The two Cocoa applications displayed their save panels as sheets. In these cases, the Go To Folder panel was displayed as a modal dialog. This makes sense, since a sheet should not originate from another sheet.

The three Carbon applications displayed their Save panels as modal dialogs. Like the Open panels in the same applications, the Go To Folder panel was displayed in a modal dialog.

Now, I realize my testing methods leave much to be desired. The sample size of test applications is quite small. I wasn’t able to find any Cocoa applications that displayed a Save panel as modal dialog (though I didn’t look particularly hard).

The last thing I want is to start a Cocoa-Carbon fight — as I’ve written, I think it’s a foolish argument. I’m just curious why the Open modal dialogs in the Carbon applications I tried display the Go To Folder panel as a modal dialog while the Open modal dialogs in the Cocoa application I tried display it as a sheet.

Stoking the Hot Stove

Nov 24, 2003 in Sports

Wow. Looks like Theo and company worked out a trade for Curt Schilling, pending Schilling agreeing to wave his no-trade clause. Schilling says he’ll come to Boston if he gets a contract extension. I have a feeling the Boston management knew what it was getting into when they made this deal, so I’m feeling very confident about their ability to close this deal.

In exchange, the Red Sox will send Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, Jorge De La Rosa, and Michael Goss to Arizona. I don’t know much about Goss and De La Rosa, but Fossum has been very hot-and-cold the few years he’s been in Boston and Lyon started off well last year but tailed off near the end.

Also, Lyon and De La Rosa were part of the aborted Scott Sauerbeck trade. Personally, I think packaging those two as part of deal for a pitcher like Schilling is much better than shipping them off for a situational lefty.

Theo and John Henry are heading out to Arizona tomorrow to try and hammer out a deal. They couldn’t go out tonight because Theo was taking in a Celtic’s game with Keith Foulke. Come on baby, let’s stoke the Hot Stove a little more :-)

The Farmer’s PowerBook II

Nov 24, 2003 in Mac

Got my PowerBook back from Apple… again :-). Hopefully, this will be the last time for the forseeable future that I have the need to ship off the system for repair.

So what was the damage this time around? Well, Apple replaced the latch system again — for the third time this month. I guess it was a little flaky, but it hadn’t been bothering me. Guess my standards aren’t quite as high as Apple’s.

Of course, this wasn’t the main reason I sent the laptop back for repair. My main complaint was that the PowerBook was randomly freezing to the point where I needed to power down the system and restart it. Running the Hardware Test CD showed a bad RAM chip, so we removed the offending chip and ordered a replacement. However, the problem remained and I returned the computer to the Apple Store.

The fix for the freezing ultimately turned out to be replacing the motherboard. I’m not sure if there was always a problem with the board or if something happened the last time I sent the system to Apple. In addition to replacing the board, Apple upgraded my processor from 800 MHz to 867 MHz. Since the form that accompanied my repair indicated the same processor could be used with a 667 MHz system, I assume it’s cheaper for Apple to just upgrade people when necessary as opposed to keeping around spare motherboards for every configuration.

At this point, I think the only original components left in my PowerBook are the two RAM chips and the Airport card.

I’ve been mucking around with my newly-repaired system for about 2 days now and it seems to be working fine. With luck, it’ll stay that way.

Silly Click-Through

Nov 03, 2003 in Mac

John Gruber did a wonderful job of discussing click-through in OS X back in May. For the most part things have been fairly quiet on this topic since that time. However, I recently had my own pair of click-through incidents that caused me to revisit the issue.

The first such event was when I attempted to bring iChat AV to the front by clicking on my Buddy List. Unfortunately, my well-placed click was in the middle of Lee‘s telephone button.

As soon as I released the mouse, I knew what would happen — a little window would magically appear on Lee’s computer saying first that I wanted to talk and then that I’d changed my mind. Lo and behold, when I returned to my computer a few minutes later, there was a questioning IM from Lee waiting to great me. Fortunately, Lee’s an understanding fellow and when I explained what happened, we had a bit of a laugh. Were Lee not so understanding and level-headed, though, the results could have been disastrous. I shudder to think of the ensuing conversation had I accidentally clicked the telephone button of a hypothetical neurotic girlfriend… not there’s a conversation that won’t end well.

The second annoyance, while not having quite the same relationship-destructive powers of the first, came as a bit of a surprise.

So one of the benefits of using metal windows in the Finder is that you can drag a window around by any exposed metal. While I’m not a huge fan of metal windows, I thought the extra drag space would work nicely with the ability to Command-drag windows in the background (having them remain in the background, of course). In fact, there’s a nice long swarth of metal between the Action button and the Search field in the default toolbar.

A metal toolbar containing a flexible spacer

This apparently falls into the category of things that are too good to be true. Instead of moving the window when I started to Command-drag the window from this space, though, I ended up dragging the flexible spacer out of the toolbar. I then hit Escape to cancel the drag, but this apparently confirms the removal of toolbar items instead of cancelling it.

To be fair, I should note one aspect of click-through that is fixed in Panther — if you click the close button in an inactive metal window, it no longer brings the associated application to the front. Guess we’re progressing one step at a time.

The Farmer’s PowerBook

Nov 03, 2003 in Mac

So my PowerBook continues to rack up more frequent flyer miles than I could even dream of. For the few weeks before I dropped the ‘Book off at Apple, I’d been dealing with a broken hinge — the lower portion of the left screen hinge cover was bent. This put pressure on the bottom of the LCD, causing the plastic to crack. I knew it was time to get the thing fixed when the bottom of the LCD frame started to pull apart and a strip of foam-rubber fell onto my lap.

I dropped the PowerBook off on Saturday and got a phone call on Wednesday — the PowerBook was ready, but they were having trouble latching the screen shut and there was some “ghosting” in the lower right corner of the screen. I’d seen the ghosting before and hadn’t thought it was bad enough to warrant fixing, but the fellow who called me offered to send the ‘Book back to Apple once more to fix the two problems.

Friday night I get a call that laptop’s ready once more. Suffice it to say, I’m very impressed with the speed that my computer as shipped cross-country, fixed, and shipped back. The ghosting wasn’t fixed, but it’s still barely noticeable — unless I’m looking at a very flat, colored background, it isn’t noticeable. However, I was quite amused by the parts list the two different repairs.

Repair One:
  • Top Housing Subassembly
  • LCD Bezel
  • Keyboard
  • “SVC, ECN, TOPCASE” (No, I don’t know what this is. I thought Service, but why would that be on a parts list?)
Repair Two:
  • Top Housing Subassembly
  • LCD Bezel
  • P12 Clutch Cover
  • P25 Top Case Button Latch
  • DC Input

Yup, three top housings and three LCD bezels in just over a week. Throw in the top housing and bottom housing I had replaced last year and I think the only original pieces left of the outer casing are the two screen hinge covers. When you also consider the hard drive I had replaced last summer and it’s clear that my PowerBook is rapidly becoming the 21st century equivalent of the Farmer’s Axe — the handle’s been replaced three times and the axe head’s been replaced twice, but by golly, it’s still the same axe!

Red Sox 2003 Thoughts

Oct 19, 2003 in Sports

Alright, I originally wrote this back on October 19th and, due to a DNS error, it got posted to my old web space over at XrackHosting. Since then, the Sox let Grady go and discovered they couldn’t give away Manny Ramirez. On the blog side of things, my PowerBook got shipped back to Apple (twice), so I wasn’t doing a whole lot on the Internet when I wasn’t at work. I guess I’ve softened a bit about the Sox waving goodbye to Grady, especially if it’s true that he didn’t bother to hold a hitter’s meeting before the Oakland series and that he did not want to return if he only had a one year contract.

“Cursed” baseball team gets with 5 outs of the World Series, manager makes decision to leave stud pitcher in game when he might be tiring, team blows lead, loses game, end up missing out on World Series.

Fire Dusty Baker!

Sorry, I’ve been wanting to say that for days now.

It’s been a few days since the Red Sox 2003 season came to a screaching halt and I’ve been wanting to type up some thoughts on the year and how it ended. It’s not that I’ve been avoiding writing this, but I’ve had almost no free time since Aaron F-ing Boone sent Tim Wakefield‘s final knuckler of 2003 into the Yankee Stadium stands. I got home at 1:30 that night, crashed, went to work, then out to Troy for the weekend.

First off, to anybody who thinks the Sox should fire Grady Little, SHUT UP ALREADY. He led a record-setting Red Sox team that won more games (95) than all but 4 other team and was on the cusp of making the World Series. According to Gordon Edes, managerial guru Joe Torre said that outlasting Little’s Sox the greatest achievement of his career. So, all the Fire Grady folks want me to believe the Red Sox achievements and magical moments were in spite of Grady? Riiight.

Hey, the guys been doing this in the big leagues for 2 years. In one of the toughest baseball towns there is. I’m in favor of seeing if Grady can move beyond his Dusty Baker stage.

Second, I’d rather see the Red Sox lose an absolutely amazing game like game 7 on a walk-off homer as opposed to a fluke play, blown call, or walk-off walk. When it comes to the Red Sox and the Yankees, there’s not a whole lot my Yankee-loving college roommate and I agree about. However, when we chatted Friday morning, we both understood that we saw a baseball game for the ages. Not for something stupid like the ball going through Buckner‘s legs, but because I saw two quality baseball teams go the full 12 rounds putting everything on the line.

Somebody asked me how long I cried after game 7. I replied that I’d not shed a tear. It’s not that I didn’t care — hell, I’d grown more attached to this particular incarnation of the Red Sox than any team in recent memory — but more that I wasn’t going to let a disappointing ending spoil what’s been a great 7 month run.

I lost track of the number of times I went into work bleary-eyed because I stayed up watching a game the night before. Sometimes I greeted my coworkers with a stupid grin, other times with a “What was I thinking?!?”

I attended three games at Fenway Park, including 2 walk-off victories by the Sox.

Now, a World Series win woulda been nice (and the resulting party in the streets of Boston would resemble a Mardi Gras party organized by Caligula), but I had so much fun from April to October that I’m already looking forward to pitchers and catchers reporting in February.