Archive for 2006

On That Date…

Apr 11, 2006 in Internet

Dammit Chris. Meme-tagging me. Don’t worry, I will get you back.

OK. March 13th. Three Events. Two Births. One Death.



Santana and I were actually born on the same day. He’s the best left handed pitcher in baseball. Some would argue that you should drop the “left handed” part from the previous statement. I’m a grad student. Hmm.


Gonna cheat on the death section — Clarence Darrow also died on March 13, in 1938. I’m mentioning Darrow, of course, because he was the defense attorney in the Scopes Monkey Trial, which came about because of aforementioned law passed on March 13, 1925.

I think my blogcircle’s been completely consumed, at least among those who would deign to participate in a meme. Thus, I’m breaking the chain. Thank you, and goodnight.

Product Announcements and TuneCenter Pro

Apr 06, 2006 in iPod

Griffin Technology makes some great stuff, some of which I’ve used and some of which I’ve oggled over the years. That said, there’s quite often a lag between when they annoucen a product and when they ship said product — anybody remeber how much time passed between the announcement and shipment of the iTrip? I think there was like a week between the time the iTrip shipped and Apple redesigning the iPod so that it no longer worked with the iTrip.

So, Griffin just announced the TuneCenter Pro, an enhanced version of the TuneCenter that includes wireless networking. One catch — the TuneCenter hasn’t actually shipped yet. Yeah, I’m slightly amused.

The TuneCenter’s scheduled to ship in May, the TuneCenter Pro in June. Apparently, though, if you order a TuneCenter by Monday, you get a free upgrade to the TuneCenter Pro. Don’t know if this applies to previous pre-orders.

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…

Dead iPod

Mar 03, 2006 in iPod

Well, according to the folks at, my iPod is kaput. To get it back into working condition, they’d need to replace the hard drive, which would run $150 for a 20GB drive of $200 for a 40GB drive — they’ve discontinued the 30GB drive.

At that price, I decided not to bother with the repair. I wouldn’t want the 20GB drive because collection is already pushing that limit. As 40GB unit, I’d rather spend the extra $70 on a new 30GB iPod and get the video capabilities, as opposed to the extra 10GB of storage space.

Actually, I’m going to put off a replacement purchase till after April 1. I don’t make a habit of shopping via rumors, but delaying the purchase seems prudent, what with Apple’s 30th anniversary looming. It’s sort of like not buying a new computer the week before MacWorld… just in case. If a compelling new product comes out, I might think it’s worth the price premium. Or, said product might drive down the price of the existing iPods, but I wouldn’t count on it.

They offered me $20 salvage value for the iPod, but I passed. Apple offers 10% on iPod trade-ins and the fellow at the Apple Store seemed to indicate that they weren’t particularly picky about the condition of the iPod being traded — I assume the worst-case scenario for Apple is that they properly dispose of any unsalvageable iPod instead of just chucking them into the nearest landfill, but that’s just supposition on my part. In any case, $20 was a small enough value that I didn’t feel bad turning it down.

Update: Last week, called me back to say that my iPod was working fine and they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Furthermore, they had no record of our previous conversation. I was slightly concerned about both of these comments, so I requested that they retest the iPod again. I just heard back and they now agree that the hard drive is hosed. This time, they offered $35 for the iPod. When you factor in the cost of shipping, this is more than I’d get from Apple, so I took the money.

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.

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?

2006 Rose Bowl

Jan 05, 2006 in Sports

Things heard while watching the Rose Bowl with a Jets fan and another Pats fan:

Second Quarter: “I can’t believe USC is coached by Pete Carroll.”

Third Quarter: “I still can’t believe USC is coached by Pete Carroll.”

Fourth Quarter: “OK, that looked like a team coached by Pete Carroll.”

(I know, I know, 34 consecutive wins is nothing to sneeze at. But some of the stuff USC pulled at the end of the game – calling their last timeout on a PAT, Leinart running around in the pocket while the game clock expired – looked like it came straight out of the Pats game-plan at the end of the Carroll era.)