Forwarding Address: OS X

Thursday, November 27, 2003

I rarely ever play video games, I tend to get bored by them very, very quickly, but Quinn is the exception. Quite simply the best Tetris ever.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

After many weeks in the FreeBSD wilderness, I have migrated back to OS X aboard a 12" aluminum PowerBook.

I plan on detailing my time in exile in a future post, complete with screen shots and bullet points.

Right now, I just want to note what an excellent piece of hardware this machine is compared to my previous PB, a 500MHz Titanium. That thing scratched like a CD and was as floppy as a phone book. Granted, I tend to be hard on computers, but dammit, portable computers should be designed to be ported, and not require sheepskin swaddling and leather screen-protectors and ultra high impact copolymer resin cases (as cool as those things may be, especially ultra high impact copolymer resin).

There's hardly a speck of paint on this entire computer, and in nearly three weeks of use I have yet to put a single scratch or mark on it -- whereas usually the first ding is inflicted within 24 hours. Hell, even the trackpad button is aluminum! One of the dumb flaws of the titanium was the plastic frame between the upper and lower cases. Thousands of anal-retentive Titanium PB owners shat their pants as they noticed their wrists had worn the paint down to the decidedly un-titanium black plastic underneath. On the 12" there's a small grey plastic seam around the edges of the lid and base, and I'll bet like five dollars that it is solid-color plastic all the way through.

The silver keys I'm less confident about -- time will tell. But at least they're not translucent, so I don't have to stare at the eyelashes and other detritus trapped underneath them. Maybe I wasn't sufficiently antiseptic to own a machine like the Titanium. All I know is, the 12" is tight.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

I'm trying to get PEAR installed on OS X and running into problems. Can you help?

Friday, November 21, 2003

I just noticed that Mark Liyanage has written an OS X book: "Mac OS X "Panther" Timesaving Techniques for Dummies" (Amazon). If you've got questions about Panther this might very well be worth checking out. Mark is one of those guy's who's achieved 'guru' status with OS X, consistently putting out the best LAMP and Unix app packages available.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

When I told my friend David I was upgrading to Panther, he asked "why?". Good question. Mostly, it was for the better Finder interface, but also because many people reported that 10.3 felt faster. This benchmark site confirms that 10.3 is a bit faster in most areas.

BTW, the new Finder interface (with the sidebar and Exposé) really is quite spiffy. Maybe not $129 spiffy, but much better than the Old Way. And, to my taste, better than any of the Finder-replacement applications that I had tried over the last year.

VoodooPad "is a new kind of notepad. It's like having your own personal hypertext library, where you can jot down notes, web addresses, to-do lists... Anything on your mind. VoodooPad automatically links each page together, to form a miniature world wide web, on your desktop!"

I keep forgetting to mention it but VoodooPad is a great little application. I found that it's entirely replaced my text editor as a place where I jot down ideas and design the little pieces of software that I write in my spare time.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

More Unixy goodness. First, James Stansfield wrote to point out that:
sudo apachectl configtest
The above command works wonders as well... This can be run when apache is running
Second: a friend is looking for answers to the following:
Any idea how to set permissions permanently in /dev/?

It's not a disk filesystem, so any changes you make are lost on reboot, and I want to change the perms of /dev/bpf* so I can run tcpdump as myself.

I've only found one reference, some guy on mailing list suggesting that apple's DevFS is old, and doesn't allow configuration of device permissions.

Any ideas? I can make tcpdump setuid root, but I've built 3 versions in the last 2 days, and there seems something wrong about having to do that (not the building, the setuid rooting).

Anyone? Discuss

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Ah, welcome back Forwarding Address. Sorry I've been away so long.

So, about Jenson's Cocoa license issue. It's not perfectly clear to me, but there's no license on Cocoa per se other than any Cocoa specific agreement you might assent to when agreeing to the Apple Developer Tools license (and there or may not be anything Cocoa-related in there, I haven't checked lately). Broadly, Apple can't revoke your right to use or link to Cocoa in your applications unless you violate some agreement. If the Developer Tools license agreement says nothing about your specific use of the tools and/or Cocoa, then you can't be held liable for doing something you didn't know and agree to knowing was not allowed.

Of course, IANAL, so I'm chasing this up, but I do work with a lot of intellectual property lawyers, and this is the general interpretation I get. Note that this is entirely different from agreeing to a license and then to have the licensor find you to be violating it, as was the case with Apple's iTunes SDK and iCommune a while back.

And when you totally hose your httpd.conf, this little command: httpd -t is really, really useful. Just makin' the mistakes so you don't have to ;-)

Should you need to install DBD::mysql on Panther, here's a few tips you might find helpful. First: DBD::mysql installation will likely fail if you try to do it using the CPAN installer because it won't be configured with your database settings. You'll need to manually install it. Get it from CPAN here: DBD-mysql-2.9003.

To create the Makefile you'll need to pass it your database's username and password:

perl Makefile.PL --testuser=usename --testpassword=password
Next you'll need to add the following step (thanks to Casey West):
perl -pi -e's/MACOSX/env MACOSX/' Makefile

I also had to sudo make install which makes the whole process like so:

perl Makefile.PL --testuser=username --testpassword=password
perl -pi -e's/MACOSX/env MACOSX/' Makefile
make test
sudo make install
"Good luck, you're gonna need it." - Han Solo

Monday, November 03, 2003

The founder of the GNU-Darwin project wrote an interesting editorial on Apple and open source today. I really appreciate that the GNU-Darwin project played a role in helping to make the APSL a better open source license.

In my opinion, Apple has made a lot of good progress (such as opening up Darwin, WebCore, and the Objective-C runtime under the APSL) but I do hope they'll go further and open up Cocoa under the APSL. Frequently when programming in Cocoa I remember that I have no significant rights since everything is still, as all of the Cocoa header files simply say, "Copyright 2003 Apple Computer. All Rights Reserved". I didn't use to care about that. Open source helped me realize that I can have rights, too. Apple's been gracious so far, I hope they continue to be. It's played a significant role in me buying and evangelizing Apple products.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

An oldie but a goodie: Controllings iTunes from Perl

Some software I've been meaning to talk about lately:

Poisoned -- A P2P open-source file sharing application that aggregates "FastTrack (Kazaa, iMesh, Grokster), Gnutella(LimeWire, BearShare, Shareza), OpenNap (Napster), and OpenFT". If you really feel like paying for it, they have links to the EFF among others. One thing I find interesting about this app is that everybody has the username "poisoned" so who will the RIAA sue?

LaunchBar -- surely this has been blogged before here but LaunchBar is an app switching utility that has an uncanny ability to know which app you mean. I find myself using Expose and command-tab more now but others I know swear by LaunchBar.

iSeek -- Puts a search box in your menu bar, allowing you to search Google,, and wikipedia easily.

iChatStatus -- a great, dorky little open source app that will display what music you're listening to (from iTunes) over iChat.

Mere seconds after posting that last entry I noticed that the following in httpd.conf were commented out:
LoadModule php4_module libexec/httpd/
AddModule mod_php4.c
Uncommenting those has Apache recognizing .php files and everything working nicely.

Is there a Murphy's Law-esque axiom for publicly asking a question being the surest way to stumbling across the answer yourself?

Apache/PHP help needed: I'm getting a new machine up and running and starting with Panther. Everything was going fine until I got to PHP. When I attempt to POST to PHP pages on the new machine I get the following error:
405 Method Not Allowed
The requested method POST is not allowed for the URL...
Googling this came up with dozens of questions about it, and no useful answers so... Anyone know what I need to tweak in Apache for it to permit POSTs to PHP pages? Discuss