Author Archive

Vaguely Absurd

Dec 02, 2007 in Gadgets, iPod

BestSellers.pngI was popping around Amazon this afternoon and I decided to check out the best sellers list for MP3 players. At just after 4PM, the silver 4GB Nano was the top selling device. The black 8GB Nano came in at #2. In the top ten, iPods also filled slots 4-9.1

All told, 14 of the top 25 best selling MP3 players were iPods. There are only (only?, eh) 17 iPod variants and the Product (Red) versions are only available through Apple. Plainly, the silver 160 GB Classic is not carrying its own weight. Something must be done about this. Retribution will be swift and fierce.

As of 4PM on December 2nd, 14 of the 15 current generation iPods sold on Amazon were in their top 25 best selling MP3 players, at least. The Amazon best seller list may not be the most scientific of measures but, damn, that’s vaguely absurd.

  1. Yeah, these are all affiliate links. I didn’t conceive of this post to go affiliate farming; I was actually curious about the status of the best sellers list and amused by the iPod’s complete dominance. []

Switching To Atom

Nov 18, 2007 in Site

I’ve configured Feedburner to use an Atom feed in place of the old RSS feed. With the Atom feed, I’ve found that NetNewsWire properly handles the footnote links I use in some articles (clicking on a footnote in the Atom feed scrolls to the footnote while doing the same in the RSS feed loads a new tab). I probably could’ve reconfigured the RSS feed to accomplish the same, but I took what seemed like the path of least resistance.

Let me know if anything seems horribly broken.

Dustin Pedroia: Rookie of the Year

Nov 12, 2007 in Baseball, Red Sox, Sports

From the “News that Should Surprise Nobody Outside of Tampa” department comes word that Dustin Pedroia was named 2007 AL Rookie of the Year. Pedroia took home 24 of 28 first place ballots and placed second on the remaining 4 ballots.

After a slow April, Pedroia showed why the Red Sox front office considered Mark Loretta expendable following the 2006 season. From May through the end of the season, his monthly batting average dropped below .300 only once (.299 in July). It was the month of May where Pedroia’s batting skills really shown — perhaps more impressive than .415 batting average was his bat control. During the month of May, Pedroia swung and missed at a grand total of 4 pitches.1

Not to gush excessively, but the end of his year was also quite impressive in light of the fact that he was playing with a broken hamate bone since at least September 10th.

Beyond the statistics, Pedroia quickly became one of these players who’s generally considered a pain in the ass… unless plays for your favorite team, in which case he’s a gritty ballplayer. From all appearances, his teammates and coaches at least found humor in his attitude towards the game and his play.2

In addition to winning over his teammates, Pedroia’s play and outspoken attitude (and, to some degree, his short stature) won over the fans in Boston. By the end of the year, you’d be hard pressed to find anybody wasn’t preaching patience during his April struggles.

Although the Sox were in the hunt for the World Championship, the fans still managed to get a potential glimpse of the future in September and October, with Pedroia moving down to the 2-hole and another youngster, Jacoby Ellsbury, being installed as the leadoff hitter.3 Provided that Ellsbury’s not included in a blockbuster trade this off-season (the same can also be said for Clay Buchholz — apparently, both the Twins and Marlins would be interested if the Red Sox looked to deal for Johan Santana or Miguel Cabrera, respectively), he would have to be considered one of the front-runners for the 2008 award.4 While I was in Tampa, a friend and I were discussing the possibility that we could be watching what could become the Sox 1-2 combination for the next 10 years. It was a very tantalizing possibility.

  1. Eric Van’s data goes covers from May 3rd to June 2nd. Using the publicly available play-by-play data, I was able to see that he didn’t play on the 2nd and swung the bat 5 times on the 1st, resulting in 2 foul balls, a line out, and 2 ground outs. []
  2. How do you tell the difference between a player like Pedroia and an all around schmuck? Well, if you knee your trainer in the groin, you’re probably a schmuck. []
  3. During the World Series, I was hoping Ellsbury would take home the MVP. Not that I have a problem with Mike Lowell winning the award, but I thought it would’ve been pretty cool to see somebody win World Series MVP before being eligible to win the ROY award. []
  4. Back-to-back ROY award winners would be impressive, but it wouldn’t come close to the Dodgers run in the early 90s — Dodgers’ rookies claimed the award 5 years running, from 1992-96. []

Last One to the Party

Oct 25, 2007 in Mac

Glenn Fleishman

…but they added back folder sharing, a feature never seen in Mac OS X, even though it was widely used in Mac OS X 9 [sic] and releases before that.

Combined with Data Detectors, it looks like we’ve got new leaders in the clubhouse for the coveted title of “Last Classic Mac OS Feature to Migrate.”

Anybody think of any remaining features which might make the jump in the future?

EagleFiler 1.2.6

Oct 24, 2007 in AppleScript, Mac

EagleFiler 1.2.6 has been released and it incorporates the work I’ve did on the MarsEdit capture script.1

Michael added support for setting the source URL to the post’s permalink. Among other things, this activates the Open Source URL command in the Record menu.

If you’ve got my capture script installed in EagleFiler’s Application Support folder, you won’t see this new functionality — EagleFilers gives precedence to user-installed scripts over its own bundled scripts. If you’re just using the capture script as I originally posted it, you can delete my script. You’ll gain the source URL functionality without losing anything.

If you’ve customize the capture script to better suit your workflow, you can apply Michael’s change to add support for setting the source URL. Just replace this line:

return {{|path|:tempPath, |title|:theTitle, tags:theTags, |deleteWhenDone|:true, |note|:theNote}}

with the following (sorry about the long lines):

if thePermalink is not "" then
    return {{|path|:tempPath, |title|:theTitle, tags:theTags, |deleteWhenDone|:true, |note|:theNote, |sourceURL|:thePermalink}}
    return {{|path|:tempPath, |title|:theTitle, tags:theTags, |deleteWhenDone|:true, |note|:theNote}}
end if

While checking out the change notes for the updated EagleFiler, I noticed the following line:

You can now modify capture scripts while EagleFiler is open without having to relaunch for it to notice the changes.

Thank you. Thank You! ThanksYouThankYouThankYouThankYou!

(Can you tell I hit this issue while writing the original capture script?)

Oh, did I say thank you?

I’ve been playing around with an updated capture script on my own system, but I’ve been hesitant to post it because it relies on components that are part of a stock Tiger installation. I want to check out whether the situation is any different when running Leopard. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to upgrading, though.

  1. The new all capture scripts, all the time. []

EagleFiler and MarsEdit 1.2

Oct 23, 2007 in AppleScript, Mac

If you’ve tried using using my EagleFiler Capture Script with MarsEdit 1.x, you’ve probably noticed that it doesn’t work — EagleFiler claims it doesn’t support capturing from MarsEdit.

The solution is to rename the capture script from to com.ranchero.MarsEdit.applescript. Once you do this, EagleFiler will recognize the older version of MarsEdit.

You’ll also need to comment out or delete the two lines in the script that begin with if theVersion ≥ 2. As the line implies, the functionality is only present in the newer version of MarsEdit. I had assumed that including the conditional statement would allow the script to run with older versions of MarsEdit, but it would appear that I was wrong.

Free My Phone

Oct 22, 2007 in Gadgets, iPhone

Walt Mossberg:

A shortsighted and often just plain stupid federal government has allowed itself to be bullied and fooled by a handful of big wireless phone operators for decades now. And the result has been a mobile phone system that is the direct opposite of the PC model. It severely limits consumer choice, stifles innovation, crushes entrepreneurship, and has made the U.S. the laughingstock of the mobile-technology world, just as the cellphone is morphing into a powerful hand-held computer.

Nice article by Walt Mossberg concerning the state of the U.S. mobile phone industry. A little over a week ago, I was having this same discussion with several of my friends. We were trying to decide just how far back the U.S. mobile market has been set by the cellular providers. I think the consensus was at least 5 years. Even if we hadn’t all considered the iPhone an innovative device, we agreed it was good to see a phone manufacturer dictate terms to one of the cellular providers.

Weekend in Tampa

Sep 25, 2007 in Baseball, My World, Red Sox, Sports

Becket WarmingLike so many others1, I ventured down to Tampa for the weekend to take see the Red Sox play at Tropicana Field. One of my old friends moved to the Tampa area a few months back and figured an end-of-year series was a good excuse to bring a bunch of friends down to Florida for a few days.

Game-wise, the trip went pretty well. We got to see the Sox victories on Friday and Saturday. Josh Beckett pitched well and Daisuke Matsuzaka seemed to pitch better than he has in the recent past. Were Javier Lopez actually an effective LOOGY, Daisuke would’ve come away with the victory. Of course, Lopez’ failure (giving up a 3-run homer to Carlos Pena) set up the Sox dramatic ninth-inning victory with homers from Jason Varitek and Julio Lugo.

Those homers, combined with the Royals knocking off the Tigers, clinched a playoff berth for Sox, making them the first team to clinch a spot. To be completely honest, I want the Sox to take the division. To be in first place since April and lose it in the last weekend of the season would basically suck. That said, winning the World Series is the main goal. I get why the Sox have been giving injured players extra time and I get why they’ve been trying to straighten out Eric Gagne, but it doesn’t make it any more bearable when they were dropping game to the Blue Jays last week. That said, winning the World Series is the most important thing. Just as winning the World Series as the wild card would wipe out any of the disappointment of losing the division, watching the Yankees win the World Series as the wild card would wipe out any appreciation of winning the division.

Post-Game CelebrationTropicana Field… Hmm… I’d watch another Red Sox game there. We’ll probably repeat this trip next September, or whenever the Sox make their final trip of the year to Tampa. I guess the best way to describe my impressions of watching a game there is this — I wouldn’t trade seats at Fenway to see the Sox play in Tampa, but I’d certainly go in addition to having seats at Fenway.

It’s not a great place to watch a ball game, but there’s other stuff to check out. I’m not usually the type of person to do these things during a ball game (I’d rather watch the game), but the whole Tampa experience has enough of a minor league feel that I somehow took the whole experience less seriously than I took the games I saw at Fenway and Camden Yards this year.

When I say “minor league,” I’m talking more about the stadium atmosphere than the actual Devil Rays. Many of the between-inning and concourse-level activities seemed more like something I’d see at a Sea Dogs game than at a Sox game.

Of all the ideas, College Nights on Friday didn’t work so well. $1 beer in the Party Deck might seem like a good idea when the stadium’s half-full, but it doesn’t work so well when the stadium’s near capacity. The guys sitting in the back of our section clearly had no interest in baseball and were only at the game to drink lots of cheap beer and try to start something with any Red Sox fan they could find. They must’ve mouthed off to every Sox fan within 5 rows of their seats. It wasn’t until the 8th inning that we saw the first sign of stadium security.

Guys, I know you don’t have a lot to do most nights, but you know you’re going to have near sell-outs for the 16-18 games when the Sox and Yankees are in town. A little show of force for those nights (particularly in the $1 beer section) might be a good idea.

Mike Greenwell at Ferg'sGames aside, the highlight of the trip might’ve been meeting Mike Greenwell and Sam Horn at Ferg’s on Saturday. Horn’s probably better known at this point, between the name connection with Sons of Sam Horn and his appearances on NESN, but meeting Greenwell was the big thing for our group of 20-something guys.

When you meet somebody you grew up watching, there’s always a possibility of a let-down. That definitely wasn’t the case with Greenwell. He hung around our table for about 10 minutes, had a drink, talked with fans, and signed autographs. He was a very down-to-earth guy. He surprised us, though, when he said that Saturday would be the first time he would see the Sox play in person since he retired after the 1996 season. He told us that Horn finally convinced him to make the 2 hour trip to Tampa to catch a game.

Later, we were discussing amongst ourselves where Greenwell was sitting. We figured he and Horn were probably in a luxury box or in high end seats. However, we could easily see Greenwell sitting out in the bleachers and talking NASCAR with anybody in the vicinity. He just seems like that kind of guy.

Grr… When I first posted this, I forgot to mention the one thing every Red Sox fan should make sure to check out while at Tropicana — the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame. When the Williams museum wasn’t able to sustain itself as a stand-alone entity, the Devil Rays made room for the museum within Tropicana Field. The museum features a huge collection of Williams memorabilia and displays for each of the hall’s inductees. I’ve always felt like this belonged at Fenway when the stand-alone museum was forced to close, but I appreciate the fact that the Devil Rays were willing to host the exhibits. Anybody who is a fan of baseball and baseball’s history should make the trip.

If you’ve made it this far, some photos from the trip are up at Flickr.

  1. Seriously, I think think this article is just a template; ie, insert home team name here, insert disgruntled player name here. I saw the same article when the Sox were in Baltimore. []

MarsEdit to EagleFiler

Sep 19, 2007 in AppleScript, Mac

Update (11/24/07): EagleFiler 1.2.6 now includes built-in support for capturing from MarsEdit that expands on this capture script. That capture script is located inside the EagleFiler application, in the Contents/Resources/Capture Scripts/ folder. More information is available here.

With MarsEdit 2.0‘s release, I’ve decided to re-evaluate my post management scheme. Previously, I created my posts in BBEdit, then moved them over MarsEdit via an AppleScript. I did this because I wanted to have copies of my posts archived on my hard drive and not lost whenever I refreshed my weblog in MarsEdit. A downside to this approach is that I end up underusing MarsEdit’s Draft’s functionality — I’d either keep the BBEdit window open the whole time I was working on a post or I’d save the post to my Posting directory and have to remember finish editing it at a later date.

My app tool-chain has shifted a bit over the last 3 years, so I now have a few more options at my disposal. One of those is EagleFiler. My new workflow is to compose and post in MarsEdit, then move the completed post of to Eagle Filer. To facilitate this, I’ve written an EagleFiler capture script for MarsEdit — to archive my post, I simply need to hit F1.

The script’s a bit long to include here, so I’m just going to post it for download.

Download MarsEdit Capture Script

To use this script, save it to ~/Library/Application Support/EagleFiler/Capture Scripts/, creating the last folder if necessary.

There are a few notes about what information is available for capture. First, you can’t capture a draft from the main MarsEdit window, only from the individual post window. Second, drafts which you have saved locally will have a value for date published. I believe this is the date the draft was first saved. Third, posts captured from the post window will not have a permalink value. Hopefully, future updates to MarsEdit will allow me to rectify at least a few of these.

There’s certainly room for some individualization in this script. Though I’ve stripped out the modification for public usage, my personal copy of this script adds some custom tags to each posting and sets BBEdit as the file creator. Another modification I’ve seen is adding the category information to the text of the posting. Additionally, you could add support for creating EagleFiler tags out of post keywords in addition/in place of post categories. Since WordPress doesn’t support keywords, I didn’t implement this.

If you do edit the capture script after installing it, you’ll need to restart EagleFiler so the application will see the changes.

I wrote and tested this script for use with WordPress blog. As far as other blogging packages are concerned, the script appears not to fail, though I can’t guarantee it’ll actually work.

Sure, Now You Want to Buy Them

Sep 19, 2007 in Apple, Gadgets, iPhone

As part of today’s exercise in time-killing, I visited the Apple Store to and checked out the new offerings and get my first close-up look at the iPhone. While I was taking a look at the various toys, I heard several people ask about the availability of the 4GB iPhone.

Guess that clearance pricing makes the low-end model even more popular.