Archive for the 'Mac' Category

Sick iPod

Jan 19, 2006 in iPod, Mac

I’m getting concerned that my iPod might be nearing the end of its life. At the very least, strange things are happening when my iPod and PowerBook get together. Suffice it to say, this has me slightly annoyed. Suffice it to say, I’m not thrilled by this possibility. In the hope of finding help, I’m listing the symptoms here in case anybody’s got suggestions (other than “buy a new one,” of course).

  • My iPod occassionally resets, enters Disk Test Mode, or freezes when I connect it to my laptop.

  • I’ve reset the iPod to factory defaults, but iTunes occassionally stalls when copying over music (ie, it’ll be “copying” the same file for hours). Sometimes, I’m able to cancel the update and resume with the remaining songs. The last time this happened, though, iTunes was convinced I’d switched my iPod to manual sync, so it erased everything and started over when I changed the settings back to auto sync.

  • Similar to the above error, I also occasionally get a dialog that reads:

Attempting to copy to the disk “Eric’s iPod” failed. The disk could not be read from or written to.

  • My contacts no longer sync, even though said option is selected in the iPod preferences. I see the following output in the Console:

ipodsynctool[395] dealloc called with unsaved changes <isdchangeStore: 0x37fe00> AddressBookSync[396] AddressBookSync (client id: error: Exception running AddressBookSync: *** -[NSCFArray objectAtIndex:]: index (186) beyond bounds (0)

I’ve already run DiskWarrior on both the computer and the iPod. The more I see this stuff, the more I’m convinced trying to work around these errors is simply putting off the inevitable. Anybody care to convince me I’m wrong?

iTunes SAP

Oct 14, 2005 in Entertainment, Mac


Which shows are missing from the iTMS? Are you a Battlestar Galactica fan? Or perhaps you’d enjoy All My Children all the more if you could watch it on your iPod during a morning commute?

This got me thinking. Battlestar Gallactica has a podcast that’s designed to be played while watching the show. These podcasts will also be available on the upcoming Season 2.0 DVD set.

Many, if not all, TVs ship with an SAP button. The most common use I’ve seen of this function is simultaneous broadcasts of sporting events in both English and Spanish, but I know at least one network (TNT, maybe?) once broadcast the Wizard of Oz with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon as the SAP.

Why couldn’t Apple add something similar to SAP support to iTunes? The primary track would obviously be the the normal sound track. The secondary track could be the podcast, similar to how commentary tracks work on DVDs.

Obviously, this isn’t something that would be beneficial for every show (do we really need commentary on shows like Joey?), but it could provide a nice incentive for people to purchase TV shows that they’d otherwise watch for “free.”

Cocoalicious 1.0b37

Sep 17, 2005 in Mac, Programming

Buzz posted the newest version of Cocoalicious this morning, including the favicon support that I worked on earlier in the summer. I haven’t looked at the code, but from the release build posted, the favicon downloading routine seems much more efficient than my original code.

I really want to find some time to look at the changes — one of the downsides of my original technique was that it only found favicons named “favicon.ico” that were in the root level of the server. If that’s still the case, I’d be interested in trying out the WebKit-approved method for finding favicons, since that also checks the actual HTML code for a link tag pointing towards an alternate location for the favicon.

It sounds like there lots of other cool stuff in this release as well. Check out the release notes and grab the latest version.

CNet: Apple to Ditch IBM, Switch to Intel Chips

Jun 04, 2005 in Mac

Apple Computer plans to announce Monday that it’s scrapping its partnership with IBM and switching its computers to Intel’s microprocessors, CNET has learned. Apple has used IBM’s PowerPC processors since 1994, but will begin a phased transition to Intel’s chips, sources familiar with the situation said. Apple plans to move lower-end computers such as the Mac Mini to Intel chips in mid-2006 and higher-end models such as the Power Mac in mid-2007, sources said.

I’ll believe this if it’s announced on Monday.

My fear about such a move is that unless Apple sprinkles some serious pixie dust on this new architecture, certain companies that seem to begrudgingly develop Mac software might use this as an excuse to jump ship.

Looking into my dusty crystal ball, I wonder if the supposed lag between moving low-end and high-end systems to the new architecture means that Apple anticipates it taking longer to port over higher-end, higher-performance products (cough, cough, Photoshop). Or could it be an issue the availability and cost-effectiveness of 32 bit processors and 64 bit processors?

ATPM 11.06

Jun 01, 2005 in Mac

The June issue of ATPM rolled off the press today, and this month’s issue is pretty packed.

This is the first issue since the release of Tiger, and we’ve got a pair of articles on the topic — Wes Meltzer’s trip around the web with Bloggable and Tom Bridge’s look at what’s new in OS X 10.4.

Ted Goranson takes ATPO in a different direction with an article Outlining and Styles.

From the reviews section, we have Michael Tsai’s review of the iceKey. Michael’s keyboard reviews are always spot-on, so I always consult them whenever I’m considering a new keyboard purchase.

I chipped in a pair of reviews this month — AppleScript: The Missing Manual and NetNewsWire 2.0. It’s the first time I’ve written in the last 3 months (though I had some Desktop Pictures in 11.04) and I’m hoping this is the last such lag for myself for the foreseeable future.

This is just a sampling of what’s in this month’s issue. Stop by and check out the rest of what’s available.

Autocomplete in Cocoa Applications

May 26, 2005 in Mac

The Unofficial Apple Weblog:

If you are in a Cocoa application and typing along, but you just don’t feel like typing the rest of the word you are in the middle of just hit the ‘Esc’ key. A menu with a bunch of different possible completions for the word you started are offered up to you in a nice, scrollable interface. Simply click on the one you want to go with and let the OS do the typing.

This is pretty slick — I know autocomplete was available in Xcode and Script Editor back in Panther, but finding it available system-wide (or, at least Cocoa-wide) is a pleasant surprise.

I’ve played with this for a few minutes and it seems a little smarter than just displaying a list of autocompletion options from the dictionary. If a valid autocompletion option for the selected word already exists in your document, that word appears to jump to the top of the list. The autocompletion option doesn’t even need to appear in the system dictionary — I opened up some source code in TextEdit and I could autocomplete method names.

Furthermore, it appears that if only a single autocompletion option exists, that option is automatically selected. For instance, I hit the ‘Esc’ key after typing “NSA” and “NSAppleEventDescriptor” appeared.

Autocompletion seems to be case sensitive, at least for words that don’t appear in the dictionary.

I’m working under the assumption that this feature is implemented for NSTextView fields. Hopefully, this is something that Carbon applications like BBEdit can add support for over time.

Update: I’ve hit one limitation of the autocomplete system built into Tiger (and probably Panther, as well) — it’s not multi-document aware. This is sort of a downer for coding, since I usually keep my header files and source files open at the same time and I like to use autocompletion was I’m writing method implementations after switching over from writing the declarations in the header files.

So, here’s at least one place where the combination of BBEdit and BBAutoComplete has an advantage over the system’s built-in implementation.

NetNewsWire 2.0

May 12, 2005 in Mac

After a very extended beta period (even longer than this-here weblog’s outage, but that’s another story), NetNewsWire 2.0 is finally final. Since NetNewsWire is typically one of the first three application I launch when I log in (along with Mailsmith and Safari), I’m very psyched about this announcement.

Prior to trying the first 2.0 beta release, I looked through the list of proposed features (which has since been replaced by the list of new features in the final release) and made a mental checklist of which features I thought I’d like.

Persistence seemed like it would be the biggie. In fact, permanently storing my downloaded articles was one of the main reasons I gave PulpFiction an extended trial run as my news reader of choice. NetNewsWire still doesn’t have a Save Forever option, but I’ve got currently got my Keep Items option set at 10 years.

Hmm. I should set an appointment in iCal to double-check that sometime in 2014.

Tabbed browsing caught my attention. As I’ve already indicated, NetNewsWire’s implementation of integrated web browsing was the first that I truly found useful. It’s completely changed my news reading experience. Since NetNewsWire saves your open tabs across application launches (and usually even the occasional beta crash) and main window closings, I can open a tab and come back to a day or a week later. Previously, when I had all my tabs opened in Safari, I would rush through reading the open articles for fear of accidentally losing my unread tabs.

I saw several other features that made me think “That may prove useful.” I’ve used some of these regularly (like searching) and some not at all (like scripted feeds).

There was one feature I never thought I’d use — syncing. Why would I need to sync my NetNewsWire data? I’ve got a laptop. If I’m going some place where I’ll be getting online, I’ll bring my own computer, complete with my own copy of NetNewsWire.

Then, I finally decided to do something about my PowerBook’s inability to wake from anything longer than a half hour nap. Called Apple, shipped my only working computer cross-country once more. Prior to boxing everything up, I decided to try syncing my subscriptions, news items, and browser tabs to my .Mac account. The next day, I downloaded the newest NetNewsWire beta onto my office computer and synced that to my .Mac account. Just like that, I was back in the comfortable environment of my personal NetNewsWire setup (minus some preferences that needed tweaking and a stylesheet I didn’t bother to download). A week and a half later, my parents went on vacation, so I borrowed my mother’s iBook and synced that to my .Mac account. A week after that, I got my PowerBook back. I launched my original copy of NetNewsWire, let it download my feeds, synced it back to .Mac account, and watched as 2157 unread items was magically transformed to 317.

Two and a half weeks. Three computer. Zero missed beats. Very cool indeed.

Mac mini Cost

Jan 19, 2005 in Mac

Michael’s been doing some math about the cost of keeping your software current versus the cost of buying a Mac mini and getting the software as part of the bundle. Depending on your point of view, the Mac mini comes off as looking like a fairly attractive option, at least for Michael (see Comments).

I’ve been doing my own math and the Mac mini is looking particularly attractive – I’m thinking of picking one up for my apartment instead of refurbishing my old G3 as a backup server.

The G3 would run me probably about $100 to add the 802.11g and the Firewire/USB PCI cards I’d need to support my backup plan.

I don’t know if I’d buy iLife ’05, but lets pretend I would. The new photo editing features in iPhoto could be interesting and I’d like to play with the new iDVD as well. That’s $80 right there.

Speaking of iDVD, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a compatible DVD burner. I think the only iDVD-compatible drive you add to a PowerBook are the internal drives. OWC sells several models of SuperDrives that will replace the a PowerBook’s internal drive. The drives start at $180 and the model that seems comparable to the SuperDrive available in the Mac mini is $190. Conversely, the SuperDrive option on the Mac mini runs $100.

I’d definitely need the Airport and I’d probably get Bluetooth as well. That’s about $130. I’d also double the installed RAM to 512 MB, adding another $75.

Unless I’m doing the math wrong, that makes the marginal cost of my Mac mini $433.

I’m certainly not going to buy the first mini off the assembly line — I’ll let somebody else work out the bugs 🙂 If I’m able to hold off on buying the mini until Apple institutes an Up-To-Date program for Tiger, that saves me an additional $130, bringing the cost down to $303.

It’s certainly a little more than I’d spend to get the G3 up and running, but I’d be getting a significantly faster machine, some new capabilities, and the ability to run the latest OS on officially-supported hardware.

ATPM 11.01

Jan 02, 2005 in Mac

ATPM 11.01 was released yesterday, just in time to start the new year.

I’ve penned two pieces this month, some speculation about the partnership between Motorola and Apple and a review of UI Actions. I have to admit, it felt good to get writing again after two months of not contributing (note that I didn’t say two months of vacation, though :/)

A few other points of interest: Wes Meltzer review my weblog editor of choice, MarsEdit, Michael Tsai reviews the Kensington StudioBoard, the ever expanding art collection, and much more.

Link the Unlinkable

Dec 14, 2004 in Mac

In the latest issue of MDJ, it was noted that you can’t copy a link to the iTMSTop 100 Albums of 2004 Page.

Actually, it turns out you can’t Control-Click on the Top 100 Albums of 2004 image and select “Copy iTunes Music Store URL,” because Control-Clicking doesn’t display a contextual menu. Nor can you drag the Top 100 Albums of 2004 image to a text editor to get the URL, because the image won’t drag.

What you can do is go to the Top 100 Albums of 2004 page and drag the bread-crumb from the top of the page.

Dragging a bread-crumb from iTunes

For all I know, this could be common knowledge. However, I thought it might be useful to note for future reference.