WaitState

Will technology ever catch up?

Archive for September, 2006

Photo: Noisy Miner

Posted by cascadehush on September 29, 2006

My first photo post, so this is just a quick test. I currently have this as my background image.

I took this recently at Gatton, Queensland, Australia.

Posted in Rant | Leave a Comment »

Quotable: What’s a home page anyway?

Posted by cascadehush on September 28, 2006

DesertStandard:

people never did get what the home page was about

I couldn’t agree more.

But more importantly, managing a website is difficult. Creating a blog is easy. That’s the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.

Home pages were almost always a mess, or else they were static and pointless. And once you got to a dozen pages or so, a pain to organize and keep consistent. Do you edit existing pages? Do you delete old material?

The invention of the blog solves all these problems.

And Flickr and the like help too. Many a time the only thing interesting on a persons home page was some photos.

So a blog helps you manage your ideas and a photo sharing sites organise your photos and you can link between the two and tag everything for easy organisation.

Posted in Rant | 2 Comments »

ecto bookmarklet

Posted by cascadehush on September 28, 2006

I’ve been using ecto for this blog for a few days, and it just occurred to me that there may be a bookmarklet which would help send urls from firefox to the ecto editing window. And so there is.

ecto bookmarklet:

After installing the bookmarklet, you can create weblog entries from any webpage you are visiting. When viewing a page that you want to write about, select some text you want to quote, and then choose or click the “ectoize” item from the browser’s menu or toolbar.

This bookmarklet creates a new entry each time. What I’d really like is another bookmarklet which will send the quotes to a single window. In the mean-time, if I want this functionality, I can use Deepest Sender.

Posted in Firefox Extensions, OSX, Software, Windows XP | Leave a Comment »

XP: Stop Piracy with a License Key Lottery

Posted by cascadehush on September 28, 2006

Here’s an idea, Mr Gates. You can use this one for free.

Instead of smacking legitimate users with hair-brained activation schemes, why not make owning a Windows license fun. Run a lottery every week, with the winning License Key getting a $10,000 prize. (I’m talking cash here). It would raise awareness of the Windows Key; people would begin to see it as something more than just a sticker on the box.

It’s called thinking outside the square.

Posted in Rant, Windows XP | Leave a Comment »

OSX: Get your hands on Mail 3.0 now

Posted by cascadehush on September 28, 2006

Hawk Wings » Blog Archive » Get your hands on Mail 3.0 now:

You don’t have to wait until next year to get your hands on the new features in Mail 3.0. The third-party apps and plugins that may have inspired the new features are available now.

About a week ago I would have been really excited about this, but I’m finally over my ’email as GTD platform’ fantasies. Nevertheless, it’s a nice page for anyone who wants the features of Mail 3.0 now.

It also proves, once again, how grassroots developers are solving real-life problems for real-life people in simple, practical ways only to have their ideas ripped off by large corporations who put them forward as innovations.

And it also demonstrates how the best applications are simple but extendable. This is why Winamp was so fantastic until it became bloatware crippled by DRM. It’s why Firefox is not just the best web browser, but probably the greatest application of our time.

Posted in GTD, OSX, Rant, Software | Leave a Comment »

XP: Clever little VLC

Posted by cascadehush on September 27, 2006

One of the annoying things about the current generation of graphics cards is that they only have one overlay surface. What this means is that if you have more than one video window open, only one of them is being optimally displayed by the graphics card. In some cases, it can actually mean that some apps won’t load if another is open. Try to record a TV show whilst watching a DVD and you might see this behavior. Most TV tuner software will steal the overlay surface, even if you only want the app running in the background. For this very reason I have a separate PC purely to run my TV tuner.

I hope this situation will change one day, but I don’t hold my breath. I’ve not ever heard anyone mention it, anywhere, ever. I am reminded of the time when soundcards would only play sound from one application at a time (about a decade ago) and if one application tried to access the soundcard whilst another was using it, you would get a popup box complaining to you.

But now here is a cleaver thing. I just noticed that if you are running a video in an instance of VLC (this is on a Windows XP PC) that is not using the overlay surface, and you close another instance of VLC that was using it, then the first instance of VLC immediately starts using the overlay surface.

Fantastic.

You can observe this behavior most easily if you have the overlay surface set to display on a specific screen of a multi-screen setup.

I’d appreciate any feedback about this type of behavior with other applications, or any gripes you might have about how overlay surfaces work and any work-arounds or tricks.

I am using a nVidia FX5200 based card. Not fancy, but it’s a nice fanless card which runs 2 monitors and a TV and is excellent for video playback.

Posted in Rant, Software, Windows XP | Leave a Comment »

OSX: Google plus Safari WTF!!!!!!!

Posted by cascadehush on September 25, 2006

This is what is wrong with technology. One day it works and the next day it doesn’t. No wonder the average computer user barely manages to hold on.

Yesterday I could drag links out of a Google search and dump them straight into a draft blog post in ecto. Standard procedure in a modern OS like OSX. Today it no longer works. I can drag and drop other links, even links on the Google site EXCEPT SEARCH RESULTS.

I had the perfect system for almost 24 hours. The beauty of dragging links out of Safari is that it keeps the original link text and the underlying URL, so you don’t just end up with the URL text, you get a nice pretty link ready made with no work required to fit it into the text.

So I’d write a post in ecto, and see a word or phrase that should be a link. I select it, right-click, and select ‘Google Search’. Safari opens and does a search and I choose the relevant link and drag it into my post.
So now I have to open up the page and drag the link from the address bar. Oh, well, I can live with that. It still sucks.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to vent my spleen about the stupidity that often ruins otherwise great ideas. Until now I’ve not had an actual, good, proper, rant. Inconsistency can be a killer. The best technology, the mundane stuff like reticulated water, telephones and cars, is the best because most of the time they just work, and work the same way each time.

And now that I’ve had my rant, I think the solution to the problem has just occurred to me. Yesterday I was not ‘logged in’ to Google in Safari and this afternoon I logged in. That is the only thing that I know of that has changed in the mean-time.

I’ve just logged out of Google in Safari, and what do you know… it works properly the way it did before. So there you go, some practical problem solving and a rant.

Sometimes it just helps to get things off your chest.

Posted in OSX, Rant, Software, Troubleshooting | Leave a Comment »

OSX: Google plus Safari WTF!!!!!!!

Posted by cascadehush on September 25, 2006

This is what is wrong with technology. One day it works and the next day it doesn’t. No wonder the average computer user barely manages to hold on.

Yesterday I could drag links out of a Google search and dump them straight into a draft blog post in ecto. Standard procedure in a modern OS like OSX. Today it no longer works. I can drag and drop other links, even links on the Google site EXCEPT SEARCH RESULTS.

I had the perfect system for almost 24 hours. The beauty of dragging links out of Safari is that it keeps the original link text and the underlying URL, so you don’t just end up with the URL text, you get a nice pretty link ready made with no work required to fit it into the text.

So I’d write a post in ecto, and see a word or phrase that should be a link. I select it, right-click, and select ‘Google Search’. Safari opens and does a search and I choose the relevant link and drag it into my post.
So now I have to open up the page and drag the link from the address bar. Oh, well, I can live with that. It still sucks.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to vent my spleen about the stupidity that often ruins otherwise great ideas. Until now I’ve not had an actual, good, proper, rant. Inconsistency can be a killer. The best technology, the mundane stuff like reticulated water, telephones and cars, is the best because most of the time they just work, and work the same way each time.

And now that I’ve had my rant, I think the solution to the problem has just occurred to me. Yesterday I was not ‘logged in’ to Google in Safari and this afternoon I logged in. That is the only thing that I know of that has changed in the mean-time.

I’ve just logged out of Google in Safari, and what do you know… it works properly the way it did before. So there you go, some practical problem solving and a rant.

Sometimes it just helps to get things off your chest.

Posted in OSX, Rant, Software, Troubleshooting | Leave a Comment »

OSX: Sync your iPhoto library to your iPod

Posted by cascadehush on September 25, 2006

So Apple have trundled out another release of the idiosyncratic bloat-ware that is iTunes. Pardon me while I completely ignore it… oh, hang on…

You see I got the update by accident when I forgot to untick the relevant box on the Software Updates nag-bot. It would have all gone unnoticed, except that I wanted to delete the photos from my iPod to make way for some videos. There wasn’t much point wasting the space, the photo collection was a dis-organised mess of dupes.

You see, the only way to get photos onto the iPod was to point it to a directory full of photos. When I bought the iPod, silly me assumed that there would be integration with iPhoto. Nup, no-way. Idiotic Apple. So I pointed iTunes (version 6) to my iPhoto folder and it merrily went away, copying not just the proper images, but the thumbnails and the ‘undo’ copies as well. They were, after-all, image files underneath the folder I had pointed to.

Utterly useless.
(BTW, I will get to my point.)

But tonight, when I was looking, in iTunes 7, for the place to delete the photos, I found the sync photos with iPhoto page. Now I’m almost certain this feature was not there before. I went looking on Apple’s site, and on Google for some mention of this. I paged through the entire iPod + iTunes sub-site for a “what’s new” or some other mention of it. No mention at all. Not a one. Not even really any mention of storing photos on one’s iPod.

This, I think, is the only real interesting new feature for several versions. And now that my photos have finally copied across (it took about 3 hours to process and copy about 4000 5MP jpegs) I can say that it’s totally great. I can browse photos only by album, but who cares. It all syncs up, it works, no dupes. Fantastic!

(I bought this iPod specifically for storing photos, as an ‘in the field’ backup unit using the USB adapter and also to be a pocket photo album)

Posted in OSX, Photography, Rant, Software | 2 Comments »

OSX: Automator Link-Dump

Posted by cascadehush on September 25, 2006

Another link-dump. I’ve been checking out Automator recently, after a watching some MacBreak videos. Seems that to get the most out of it, your really need to check out some of the third party actions.

To this end I’ve compiled a shortlist of stuff that I think worthy of further scrutiny. Most of these are freeware.

Automator Action Pack
iPhoto Action Pack
System Action Pack
DownSizer
PAW
Combine PDFs
Backup Folder
Create Disk Image From Files
Do Specified JavaScript in Current Webpage
Cut and Paste
Automator Actions for PreFab UI Actions
Apple – Mac OS X – Tips:
Sample Manager Automator Actions
Post Text for WordPress
Automator Actions for MS Office 2004
Automator Virtual Input
Download URLs as PDFs
automator.us Downloads

Posted in Applescript, Links, OSX, Software | Leave a Comment »