Archive for the 'Mac' Category

Adding iTunes+ Support to TiVo

Jun 07, 2007 in Mac, Programming, TiVo

A little over two years ago, TiVo quietly enabled the ability to stream unprotected AAC to TiVos for use via the Home Media Option. I say quietly, because this feature required you to install lame and didn’t appear to be documented anywhere. At the time, I viewed this as a promising sign that TiVo was starting to make good on it’s then 2-year-old statement that they were looking to add AAC support to the HMO. However, it’s been another 2+ years since that time and not much has changed.

What has changed is that Apple unveiled iTunes+, complete with unprotected AAC files. In theory, these files should “just work” with TiVo’s existing AAC support. Of course, as is true of many things, the transition from theory to reality did not go as planned. As reported by The Apple Blog, iTunes+ still are not playable through HMO.

We come here not to bury TiVo, but to fix it.



Feb 18, 2007 in Mac, Software

Bandwagon, a service providing online backup of the music in your iTunes, is going live on February 22nd.

Bandwagon Logo

To help promote their launch, Bandwagon is offering free one-year accounts to anybody who blogs the upcoming release. What can I say, I’m a cheap date 🙂

Seriously, though, as somebody who’s shot out of bed thinking he’d lost all his iTunes purchases, this does sound useful.

Desktop Curtain

Jan 23, 2007 in Mac

Desktop Curtain, by Peter Maurer, covers your desktop with an images, giving you a clean background for taking screenshots. I would’ve found something like this useful, oh, yesterday, when I was shifting around icons trying to get a clean background capturing a window.

I know, not the most momentous of posts after a 2+ month layoff, but I was amused at the timing of learning about this app.

[via Daring Fireball]

A Compliment from MDJ

Jul 03, 2006 in Internet, Mac

Chris points out that ATPM received a plug in the MacJournals‘ 2005-2006 MDJ Power 25, under the “Unheralded” section:

Only writers from TidBITS and Macworld made the list again, blanking out the talented staffs at print publications like MacAddict and at online journals such as About This Particular Macintosh (whose editor, Michael Tsai, is also the author of DropDMG and SpamSieve, two best-of-class shareware products).

I’ve been writing for ATPM for almost 8 years now and, although my involvement has tailed off a bit over the last year-plus, it’s been a pleasure the whole time. There have been and continue to be a number of very talented people on the staff and it’s deeply gratifying to see the publication and its staffers receive the recognition.

Display Webpages in Tabs

Jun 21, 2006 in Display Webpages in Tabs, Mac, Programming, Projects

I was looking at my Projects page and realized I hadn’t added anything new for over 3 years. I also saw I had some year+ old code in my Sandbox folder that appeared ready for distribution.

In the spirit of those two things, I’m happy to actually post something new. My Display Webpages in Tabs Automator action is now available. This action is largely a drop-in replacement for Apple’s Display Webpages action. The main difference is that my action, appropraitely enough, generates new tabs for URLs instead of new windows. The other difference is that my action only returns a single document reference instead of one one reference for every created document.

You can download Display Webpages in Tabs directly or you can visit the Automator Actions page on this very site. I may get around to posting the other actions I’ve got floating around my system.

Experimenting With Light On Apple Notebook Computers

Jun 19, 2006 in Mac, Programming

John Gruber:

Amit Singh — who first published example code showing how to use unsupported APIs to use the motion sensors in Mac notebooks — now shows how to get readings from a Mac’s ambient light sensor and how to get and set the brightness of the backlit keyboards.

How long until someone writes a hack to use the keyboard backlight as a CPU monitor?

This particular Linked List entry is pointing Amit Singh’s experimentation with the Light Sensor API. The API allows access to the readings of the ambient light sensor, the LED brightness value of the backlit keyboard, and the display brightness.

Gruber’s CPU monitor could happen. Parhaps somebody could link brightness to system temperature? In either case, there should be an option to make the keyboard (and/or screen) throb the warp core on the Enterprise as CPU usage temperature increases.

Of course, I could see this eating into the PowerMate‘s market. I mean, who needs a flashing knob to notify you of email when you can have a flashing keyboard?

Boot Camp

Apr 05, 2006 in Mac

Apple introduces Boot Camp Public Beta. Enables Windows XP on Intel-based Macs

Apple today introduced Boot Camp, public beta software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP. Available as a download beginning today on a trial basis for a limited time, Boot Camp allows users with a Microsoft Windows XP installation disc to install Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac, and once installation is complete, users can restart their computer to run either Mac OS X or Windows XP. Boot Camp will be a feature in “Leopard,” Apple’s next major release of Mac OS X, that will be previewed at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in August.

Cool. Anybody want to buy a year old Dell laptop?

Update: Reading about NTFS vs FAT32 made me wonder if you still need extra software to access HFS partitions from Windows. I haven’t used any of these apps in years. Are they still necessary?

For the sake of running backups, I’m wondering if it would be easier to put all important data files on the Mac partition. Likewise, can iTunes running on Windows access music libraries on HFS drives?

Nearly-Invincible PowerBook

Apr 04, 2006 in Mac

…and I thought I abused my PowerBook…

Fun With Networking KEXTs

Feb 26, 2006 in Mac

Jonathan Rentzsch:

On the mini, when Cisco falls over — and it will fall over — run sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/CiscoVPN.kext & sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/CiscoVPN.kext to get it going again. It put mine in a .command file and keep it in the Dock since I need it so often.

Yes, Cisco will “fall over.” Repeatedly, as a matter of fact. Personally, I went with an AppleScript solution to this issue instead of creating .command file. For starters, this was easier to distribute to the other Mac users in my program who were likewise cursing the Cisco VPN client, then rebooting their computers. Secondly, I added a command at the end of my script to relaunch the VPN client after reloading the kext, since this is almost always the next step in the process.

I then trigger the script through LaunchBar, though I also include a copy in my Script menu.

I briefly tried tweaking the script so it would quit the VPN client if it was running, but I could never get the correct set of AppleScript commands. Eventually, I decided I’d spend more time tweaking the script than I’d actually save by not hitting Command-Q.

Fortunately, I’ve never seen the kernel panics that Rentzsch has hit. However, I often get panics on inserting my new wireless card (a Netgear WG511T) — say, every 5th or so time (I haven’t really counted)? I emailed OrangeWare over 2 weeks ago with my specs and a copy of the crash log, but I haven’t heard anything back, which is rather disappointing.

mmm… fun with network-related kernel extensions… yay.

Yojimbo 1.0

Jan 23, 2006 in Mac

Seeing as how I’m a sucker for any Bare Bones product (what can I say, I like their work), I’ve given Yojimbo a quick look this evening.

I’ve already developed niches for VoodooPad Lite and OmniOutliner Pro in my daily documenting workflows and, so far, don’t see Yojimbo dislodging either of those tools. OmniOutliner is too good as an outliner. Likewise, VoodooPad’s wiki links are far to valuable to give up for certain tasks and, had I stayed at work, I would’ve certainly upgraded to the full version for the plugin support.

The thing that’s currently catching my attention about Yojimbo is built-in support for Web Archives and PDF Archives. My profs are currently pointing us to a lot of web site and supplying a number of PDFs, so I like the idea of having one application keep track of all my class texts. It seems more efficient than keeping everything in the Finder and jumping between Preview and Safari. Also, since GW’s new business school building apparently doesn’t offer 802.11b wireless (seems to be 802.11g-only), converting links to Web Archives when I’m at home might come in handy.

The lack of AppleScript support is truly annoying, however. When I initially fired up Yojimbo and played with the Web Archive support, my first thought was “I’m going to write a script to take the current URL from Cocoalicious and add it to Yojimbo as a Web Archive.” Yeah, so much for that thought.

(Barring AppleScript support — though I’d much rather have AppleScript support — a yojimbo: URL scheme might allow for some inter-app communications. At the very least, I could see this used to create bookmarklets for adding new items to the Yojimbo database.)

I’ll probably play with the app for a few days and see how well it fits into my workflow.