Forwarding Address: OS X

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

A friend is having a problem with MPEG-2 video and Final Cut Pro. FA: OSX readers have thus far managed to answer almost every esoteric question posted here thus far so I figure this one ought'a be easy:
I'm using a Mac G5 and Final Cut Pro. I have lots of video I edit directly from the DV camera and other video that has already been saved in MPEG-2 format. When I put the clips together I want to be able to use it in MPEG-2 so it works universally on any PC.

I have been having trouble editing MPEG-2 video on this system, however. When I import it into Final Cut, there is no audio track. I assume this is because on MPEG-2 the audio is interleaved but there should still be a way to convert it. I have the "Compressor" that comes with Final Cut which seems like it should be the way to do it but it can import anything but MPEG-2.

If you have any advice I'd appreciate it. I'm sure its a simple answer.

Anyone have any ideas? Discuss

More from the Palm Files: one glitch with using iSync/iCal/Address Book as a replacement for the Palm Desktop app is that there's no Memo Pad support. On my Palm page I mention MacNoteTaker, which I only recently discovered, as a possible solution. The key is the conduit (the OS X version of the conduit is beta, BTW, but it's working fine for me) -- each handheld note becomes a text file on the desktop, and vice-versa. Simple and smart. Apple should add this capabilty to iSync posthaste.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

A few months ago, a friend came to me with a broken cd-rom drive and a new copy of Panther. It occured to me that I could install Panther onto his machine by running the installer on my machine and targeting his hard drive mounted over FireWire. Thankfully, Apple hasn't crippled their OS with DRM otherwise this might not be possible. The first installer disk accepted the firewire drive but the second didn't, I had to copy it's contents onto the target drive and finish the installation locally.

Thank you, Apple.

I bring this up because I've noticed that a couple of other OS X blogs have mentioned it recently and thought it'd be nice if I corroborated their stories.

"The Challenges of Integrating the Unix and Mac OS Environments" by Wilfredo Sanchez

Monday, February 23, 2004

I recently picked up a Palm Tungsten T, having taken a hiatus from the platform after my old m105 fell ill. One thing that I missed was reading web pages offline via AvantGo, whose official OS X conduit has yet to appear. It turns out there are several workarounds. If you are wedded to AvantGo, there's MAL Conduit or The Missing Sync.

I decided to abandon AvantGo entirely and go with the open-source Plucker. Configuration is a little click-intensive, but it all works very well, and the reader is excellent (especially with some nice fonts). If you want to read RSS feeds, there's JPluck, though I just use my own little RSS-to-HTML converter tool with the regular Plucker desktop client. Discuss

Sunday, February 15, 2004

If you're like me and you do any PHP/Perl/MySQL development on your local machine then you probably spend a lot of time looking at your Apache error logs to determine what's gone wrong with your app. I used to use tail /var/log/httpd/error_log in a Terminal window to do this because it was nice and fast. Used to, that is, until I came across GeekTool:
GeekTool is a PrefPane (System Preferences module) for Panther or Jaguar to show system logs, unix commands output, or images (i.e. from the internet) on your desktop (or even in front of all windows).
With GeekTool and Expose I have even faster access to my error log now: I use GeekTool to dump error_log to the desktop and have set the lower right corner to reveal the desktop in Expose. One-flick log viewing.

Here's how:
1. Install GeekTool
2. Create a new entry
3. Add the path to your error log (in my case: /var/log/httpd/error_log, probably yours too)
4. Set the Location to x:10, y:22

Ta daa! Discuss

Saturday, February 14, 2004

If you have one those spiffy new ATI RADEON cards, you might want to check out these screen savers from ATI, because there is nothing quite like watching something as useless as a screen saver max out a machine. But at least now you can say, "Aha! All that is now off-loaded to the video card!" Runs on the following cards:

  • RADEON 9800 Pro Mac Special Edition 256MB
  • RADEON 9800 Pro Mac Edition 128MB
  • RADEON 9800 Pro 128MB
  • RADEON 9700 Pro 128MB
  • RADEON 9600 Pro 64MB

Seems they ported all their DirectX 9 demos over to OpenGL. (via Todd @ What Do I Know - Enjoying)

iPhoto has come a long way since it debuted. So far in fact that it skipped an entire version number, 3. But I'm not here to rehash iPhoto itself, rather a couple of 3rd party enhancements that make iPhoto all that more useful.

The first is iPhotoToGallery. I'll admit that this is useful to me because I use Gallery on my web server to manage my online photos and it will only be useful to you if you do the same. That being said, it's nice that iPhoto has the ability to be extended like this. Before this plug-in I had to export the photos, then upload them, and finally do all the Gallery album configurations. Now I export directly from iPhoto to Gallery, doing all the configuration in the plug-in interface. Slick. The newest version has Keychain support and other security enhancing features.

The second unfortunately isn't out yet, but it hooks iPhoto up to Typepad using the Atom API. I don't have a Typepad account and I don't have the code, but again I feel this is a very cool way to extend iPhoto.

This by no means covers all the ways that iPhoto has been extended, just ways that caught my fancy. You can always search VersionTracker, or your favorite mac update site for iPhoto goodies.

By the way, does anybody know what the check mark keyword in iPhoto is for? It adds a little icon to the thumbnail preview and I can't find out what significance it has. Drop a note in the QuickTopic if you have any clues.

For those of you using GPGMail to sign or encrypt your mail, you might want to check which version you are using. An update (GPGMail 1.0.1 (v33)) sneaked past me late last year and it has some important fixes, like no longer leaving orphan GPGMEProxyServer processes on a quit or a crash. I can't prove it, but I think this issue was causing me a lot of problems with and since the update, all has been clear.

Then again, it could have been those darn flying elves...

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

From the Some-News-Is-Bad-News Dept.: According to, Palm (or Pa1mOne if you prefer) is dropping support for the Mac. Palm Desktop has been atrophying for long enough that many people (including me) have switched over to iCal and Address Book, but that's not enough -- unless I'm missing something, there is now no plan for a general conduit architecture that runs on the Mac and works with PalmOS 6 ("Cobalt"). iSync is dandy but it depends on the current Palm HotSync software to function. The Missing Sync is promised to work with PalmOS 6, but having to spend an extra $40 on an intrinsic function like sync is somewhat galling. Here's hoping Apple picks up the slack, or Palm changes their minds. Discuss

Friday, February 06, 2004

From the KDE 3.2 release:

  • Working in concert with Apple Computer Inc.'s Safari web browser team, KDE's web support has seen huge performance boosts as well as increased compliance with widely accepted web standards

Now while companies giving back is nothing new (Apache, Linux kernel, et cetera) it's still a good thing to see. I remember there was a lot of suspicion towards the original post about Apple diving in to the code on the khtml list. I haven't been following the developer list, but it sounds like things are going well.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I've reconstituted the OSXHack mailing list, for those of you still feeling the urge to beat your Mac (OS (X)) into submission.