Forwarding Address: OS X

Friday, May 31, 2002

Blowing my own horn: I've released version 0.3 of Pineapple, my rss news aggragation app for OS X. Pineapple automatically grabs headlines from web-based news sites (such as this one, for instance) and presents them in an ease-to-browse interface.

Pineapple is available for download at the Pineapple website.

You read it here first.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Two of the first things I did with my new powerbook were

A MacStumbler-like tool is just plain handy when trying to get wireless access while your laptop travels with you from work to home to friends' home. And because of some of the details of my home network (my Netgear RP114 does do TCP port forwarding, but doesn't support loopback) I need to fiddle with my host lookups a little; Dennis Cox' page was the most straightforward I found on how to "turn on" /etc/hosts.

Saturday, May 25, 2002

The upcoming O'Reilly OSX conference has issued its call for participation -- do you have an OSX tech-topic you want to speak about? I've sat on a number of O'Reilly conference "kitchen cabinets" now, reviewing the proposals that came in, and it's a huge pleasure to see the kinds of creative things people are working in the technology universe. A suggestion: Don't pitch your product; rather, propose a talk that explains your product in a context (i.e., not "Here is my thing, which does stuff," but rather, "Here is some stuff, which is important because of x, y and z. My product coincidentally does stuff." Caveat: for "stuff" do not substitute $BUZZWORD, but rather some real and meaningful aspect of $BUZZWORD, i.e., "Bioinformatics for the consumer generation of evil clones," as oppposed to "Biometrics kick ass, just ask all the empty suits at $MARKET_RESEARCH_FIRM.") Link Discuss

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Apple UK is giving owners of old Macs a chance to trade in their machines for credit against a new machine.

An excellent idea that I'd love to see in North America. I'd also like to know what Apple plans to do with the machines they receive. I'm sure there's hundreds of schools or npo's that could use some old, die-hard Macs.

(Via Slashdot)

From /., this 5MB QT clip demoing Quartz Extreme, the graphics engine on the forthcoming OS X.2 ("Jaguar"). Unbelievable performance. I can't wait -- my iBook Dual USB won't be able to take full advantage of Quartz Extreme, but frankly, any performance benefit I can squeeze out of my OS on the graphics side will be very much appreesh.

Sunday, May 19, 2002

You may not need to throw that old scanner away. VueScan knows about a zillion more scanners than what is supported natively in OSX. My Canon N650U came with amazingly poor OS 9 software that didn't even recognize it under OSX. I could use it on my Windoze box, but not my Mac. VueScan is $40, but it worked first time and I could tell before buying if it supported what I needed. One less scanner in the dumpster.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Reader Adam Rice writes in to let us know about 'vm_stat', a commandline utility that comes with Darwin to give some info about virtual memory. Thanks Adam!

Also, from ETCon yesterday I picked up a Darwin CD from the BSD Mall guys, it might give new life to this old PowerMac 7500 I have. Sure, you can build a Mac bootable Darwin CD-ROM yourself, or you can support the community a bit and buy one. It's also x86 bootable. I'll keep everybody updated.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

My apologies for the downtime these past few days. The issues have been resolved.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Apple's also posted a preliminary version of its Unix Porting Guide, which makes for some interesting reading for people transitioning from Unix (and Unix-alikes) to Mac OS X.

update: a word of caution is in order here -- this is a preliminary document, and some sections may be so preliminary as to cause more harm than good.

reader Marko Karppinen points out that a few members of the darwin-development mailing list have taken issue with sections of the document:

The document is littered with factual errors and on many occasions it states as fact the exact opposite of the truth. There errors were pointed out to Apple the day the Guide was published, but they've yet to address the deficiencies.
so, caveat emptor.

for all you leading-edge developers out there, Apple has posted a beta version of their Developer Tools for Mac OS X on the Apple Developer Connection (ADC) site. all you need is an ADC Online-level membership (which is free). the tools update features Project Builder 2.0 beta, Interface Builder 2.2.1, AppleScript Studio 1.1, and gcc3, along with improved docs and other goodies.

i can't remember if we've mentioned this one here before, but Microsoft Entourage users have a simple archiving mechanism built into their mail client: create a folder of messages to be archived and drag the folder into your target location in the Finder (or on the desktop -- whatever floats your boat) to create an MBOX file.

the archive's easily re-imported into Entourage (into a new folder) with a double-click of the document. you do lose some information, though, like links (to contacts or other messages) and the "received" date is reset to the import date (not a problem for me as i sort by "sent" date).

i suppose you could also use a Unix mail reader with your MBOX file, but you'll have to do some twiddling: the line endings are carriage returns rather than linefeeds. i converted the file with BBEdit, but there are any number of other ways to skin this cat. (via Mac OS X Hints)

Maybe this is old news but I had no idea that you can create encrypted disk images (AES-128 (Rijndael)) using Disk Copy.


Tuesday, May 07, 2002

If you're as frustrated as I am that iostat doesn't do anything and returns a non-zero error code, check out top -d

Word on the street is that iostat/vmstat/et al may still do nothing as of 10.2 (or Jaguar or whatever gets your rocks off)

Monday, May 06, 2002

Looks like this year's Apple World Wide Developer's Confernece was a doozy. Especially interesting is Jaguar/Jagwire, a service that autodetects nearby enabled machines and adds their shared files to your filesystem, so that as you wander into and out of range of your friends, you automatically see their shared directories. Also included: AOL Instant Messenger client, rack-mount servers (!), and major performance improvements (much needed, frankly) in OSX. All coming with OS X.2, coming this summer.
"You want computers to discover each other and just share stuff" said Jobs, which will bring Apple into conflict with the RIAA, but will give it a popular USP. Apple actually thought its new AIM-compatible messaging client, based off official AOL-TW, was worth higher billing: as it merited its own press release. Fine though it is, Jagwire's Rendezvous features are ground breaking for any consumer appliance, and a spur to the rest of the industry to make such obvious, end-user functionality so easy.
Link Discuss

Apple has posted a light-weight decsription of some of the features in the next version of OS X (code-named: Jaguar):

Hilights from this page:

  • ZeroConf support
  • IPv6 support
  • QuickTime 6
  • The address book looks like it might actually be useful now

Some news is trickling out of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Jose. Apple has put up a teaser page about Jaguar, aka OS X 10.2. There's also a story up at

Saturday, May 04, 2002

For old-school Mac users the process for changing file and folder icons is probably as second-nature as breathing but for new Mac users the concept can be down-right strange (as evinced by the bewildered "you can do that?!?" from my room-mate when I demonstrated the process). So, to those who don't know: yes, you can. You don't have to be stuck with the generic icons your Mac came with.

The ability to change the icons of, well, pretty much anything on your Mac that has an icon is one of the great pleasures of owning a Mac. Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Get some icons
Excellent icons abound for the Mac, the advantage of being the platform used by the best artists in the world I suppose. Download and unstuff icons from any of these places:

Icon Factory - icons at their best
Apple's Icons & Screensavers section
Icon Master
Step 2: Applying the icon
Once you've downloaded and unstuffed the icons select the icon you want to use and Get Info (Cmd-I) on the selected icon file. You'll see the Info window appear and in the upper-left corner of that window, a small representation of the icon.

Select the icon in the Info window and Copy (Cmd-C) it.

Now select the file or folder you want to apply the icon to and Get Info (Cmd-I) on it. Again you'll see the icon in the upper-left corner of that window.

Select the icon in the Info window and Paste (Cmd-V) the icon you already copied (its now stored on the clipboard) onto it.

If everything went properly you'll have copied the icon from the icon file to your file or folder. C'est tout. Discuss

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Talk about tech support! John Gruber from BareBones (the makers of BBEdit) has already posted a response to my problem in the discussion forum. In a nutshell: it's Apple's fault and I'm not alone in experiencing this. See his reply for details.

I'm having a minor problem with BBEdit: command key shortcuts no longer work in BBEdit dialog boxes. Where once Cmd-D took me to the desktop and Return or Enter fired off the default button now nothing happens. I have no idea what I've done to cause this and I'm hoping someone out there might have some ideas... anyone? If you do, please email me - its frustrating as hell to have to use the trackpad again. Discuss

(Off topic: I just installed Blosxom - elapsed time: 9 mins, 40 seconds. Sweet.)