Archive for the 'Mac' Category

Firefox 3 vs. Safari 3

Apr 08, 2008 in Mac, Software

Daring Fireball:

And that’s just it. Firefox 3’s shortcomings as a Mac app are behavioral, too.

I’m giving Firefox for just reason that Gruber highlights later on in his piece — improved memory management. I’ve only got 1 GB of RAM on my PowerBook and my computer’s performance would noticeably drag when running Safari for extended periods. Conversely, I’ve noticed little-to-no slowdown with Firefox running.

That said, Gruber’s definitely right that Firefox isn’t a particularly good Mac app. In addition to his list of issues, there are two that I’m finding bothersome.

  • Doesn’t Respect RSS Reader Setting — Apps like Safari, NetNewsWire, and others are capable of registering as the default feed reader and Safari will happily pass feed URLs over to the selected reader. This makes it simple to subscribe to new feeds. Firefox, however, doesn’t honor this setting, instead displaying the feed contents in a new tab/window.

    Update: Turns out that while Firefox won’t respect the default system feed reader, you can configure Firefox to use NetNewsWire or your other feed reader of choice. The Applications panel in the preferences lets you (appropriately enough) configure external applications for different content types. I’d originally looked here for some sort of setting, but missed the Web Feed option among all the audio and video formats.

    Firefox Application Preferences

    Firefox doesn’t seem to auto-detect the feed readers installed on your system, but you can point it at NewNewsWire and it seems to work as expected. In addition to supporting external applications, Firefox goes one step further and allows you to specify web-based feed readers, like Google Reader or My Yahoo. So, as is often the case with Firefox, the desired functionality is present, but not necessarily Mac-like. (Thanks to John Gruber for pointing this out to me.)

  • Doesn’t Use System Keychain — Old news, I know, but I’ve been retyping a bunch of passwords lately and I’ve occasionally had trouble remembering which password is associated with which site. I have the choice between trying a number of passwords till I find the right one or firing up Keychain Access and looking for the appropriate record.

    On the plus side, the save password display in Firefox is quite nice. The display is similar to the new search bar in Safari and hangs around after the password-protected page has been loaded. If you’re not sure whether you’ve entered the right password, you can defer saving the password until after you’ve confirmed the validity of the password. Definitely an improvement of Safari’s ask, then process approach.

I’m not saying that Firefox isn’t a good web browser. However, it’s very likely that I’ll switch back to Safari once I get a computer with more resources.

Whither Cocoalicious?

Feb 15, 2008 in Mac, Programming

Buzz Andersen:

One thing I’ve been meaning to do for a very long time is talk a little bit about the state of my other popular Mac app, Cocoalicious.

I’m glad to see Buzz getting Cocoalicious up and running once more, and I’m not just saying that because I contributed to the next release.

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.

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.

Mail Headline 1.0.1

Aug 29, 2007 in Mac, Mail Headline, Projects

I’ve posted Mail Headline 1.0.1. It’s a fairly small upgrade, but if you’ve had any trouble mailing articles, you should grab this version.

If anybody has trouble with this version, let me know.

What’s New:

  • Mail Headline should no longer refuse to convert HTML that contains non-ASCII Unicode characters.
  • No longer prepend “Fwd: ” to email subject.
  • Links are included after the respective paragraphs instead of the end of the article.

As always, you can download Mail Headline directly or get more information from my AppleScript page.

Mail Headline

Aug 13, 2007 in Mac, Mail Headline, Projects

I’ve been a pretty heavy user of NetNewsWire for several years now and enjoy seeing what new features Brent Simmons adds with each new release. At some point (version 2.0, maybe?), he added the ability to email post contents. Unfortunately, this only worked with Mail. Since I primarily use Mailsmith, you might see how this could be a problem. Therefore, AppleScript to the rescue.

Mail Headline is a plain-text replacement for the Mail Contents of this News Item command that’s capable of supporting multiple email clients. The contents of the news item are processed with Aaron Swartz’ html2text and converted to Markdown-formatted text. The currently supported email clients include Mailsmith, Entourage, and Mail (if you prefer plain text over rich text for emails).

There are a few things you should know about this script.

  • You need to configure it for you email client before it will run. You do this by opening the script and uncommenting the line indicating your email client.
  • As written, it requires NetNewsWire 2.1.
  • NetNewsWire will not run the script from its Script menu. I recommend using something like the system script menu or FastScripts
  • html2text sometimes has refuses to translate pages. The two reasons I’ve seen for this are unencoded or unknown HTML entities. html2text can be updated to recognize the latter; I’m not sure what to do about the former.

You can visit the AppleScripts page for more information and to download the latest version

Update: Turns out Mail Headline supports 2.1, as well. Thanks for the info, Brent!

Why the Geeks Were Wrong About .Mac

Aug 08, 2007 in Internet, Mac

Chuq Van Rospach:

The more I think about it, the more I realize we have a great real-world example that for all we talk about long tails and courting the early adopters and the geek elite as a way to generate buzz and figure out what the Next Big Thing is, we also need to be careful about trusting the geeks TOO much, especially with consumer products.

Chuq’s post struck me as the flip side to my thoughts on MBAs and technology. Just like you can’t let the MBAs run amok designing products by feature checklists, you can’t let the geeks go crazy, either. To develop quality solutions, you need to focus on the user. This is something that both parties need to remember.

iTunes Not Finding iTunes Plus-Eligible Tracks?

Jul 30, 2007 in Mac

When iTunes Plus first debuted, I noticed a few tracks I’d purchased hadn’t shown up as eligible for an upgrade, even though I could find the same tracks in the iTunes Plus section of the store. At the time, I chalked the discrepancies up to the newness of iTunes Plus — I figured it was taking time for all the upgrades to be cataloged and that I’d eventually see the upgrades become available. After a while, I simply forgot about the songs.

I was poking around the iTunes Store the other day and I stumbled across one of the tracks that should’ve been upgradable. Figuring that this wasn’t simply a processing issue, I decided to write iTunes Store Support and find out what was happening.