Thursday, February 18, 2010

How to fly like an aero with Mac?

Just wanted to point out a wicked piece of software for the Mac that lets you do the "Aero Snap" feature found in Windows 7.

It's called "Cinch" and it's available from Irradiated Software (an independent software developer named Steve).

Well worth the -- appropriately priced -- 7 bucks. And I say that as a cheap bastard who'd rather buy pickled beets than buy software.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

And we're back

Sorry for the delay between posts. That's the last time I fly Air Canada anywhere.

Lots of tech to talk about since my last post. Lots. Google's new software and hardware forays, Apple's resurgence with a murderer's row of fantastic product releases -- Apple TV excepted -- and Microsoft's continuing decline into irrelevance.

Let's start with the iPad, since that's actually a fairly recent product.

I don't want one.

Sure, it's slick looking and futuristic. But I don't see a place for it in my life. I have a laptop (my 2008 MacBook Pro still going strong) that comes most places with me, but my 32 GB iPod Touch does all the really mobile stuff, with a few exceptions. There's really not a lot of room in there for a device in between, despite what Steve Jobs insists.

I have given this some thought. If I decide I need a light mobile platform, my future looks like this:
Dell 10v Mini

A Dell 10v Mini system hacked to run OS X, aka a "Hackintosh". You get all the mobility of the iPad, but with the option of running all the OS X software I've already bought (especially OmniFocus for productivity management and Scrivener for authoring), along with specifying my own ways of consuming all the media that the iPad keeps wrapped up in their own DRM (digital rights management). 

Lots of digital ink has been spilled covering Apple's decision to hold ownership of media content in their hands, rather than letting users own the media they've paid for. I'm not here to debate that, but it irks me and I'd rather go in a different direction.

It's also cheaper. The 10v is $299, plus an extra $30 for a Snow Leopard installation disk. The cheapest iPad is $499 in Canada. 

I will admit, I don't have 3G connectivity with the Dell. And it's a pound heavier. And, well, it's not nearly as sexy. But I get a camera, a bigger display, 160 GB of storage. And I can plug USB devices directly into the damn thing without an extra acce$$sory. And it's a real computer, not a glorified ebook reader.

I'm looking forward to making this happen. Just gotta root under the couch cushions for that $350. I'll let you know how things go.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Testing out ScribeFire

Let's see if having an integrated blog update function in my Firefox browser will help me write more frequent blog posts.

Friday, September 26, 2008

iTunes 8

I was just listening to some background ambient music (Groove Salad on Soma FM FTW!) and since I'm not actually typing on the computer for once, I turned on the new iTunes 8 visualizer for kicks.


Fantastic graphics. Just jaw droppingly cool. Think exploding black holes surrounded by suns and stars and cosmic plasma explosions. Yeah, and that really doesn't do it justice.

And well synced to the music. I've seen some visualizers that seem to have no relation to the music syncopations that are occurring, but this is right on the money.

Everyone is talking about the new 'Genius' functions of iTunes 8. They should be hyping this visualizer too. I just watched it for like 5 minutes with my mind just completely captivated (yeah, that sounds kinda pathetic, but I'm also sleep deprived).

UPDATE: added this graphic, which totally does not do it justice:

UPDATE 2: has posted some undocumented keyboard shortcuts that make the visualizer EVEN MORE COOL. How is that possible? Check it out:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Perseverance in IT

Here's a great story about a couple of student interns at Apple (back in the 'dark times') who took it upon themselves to complete a project and get it delivered, after it was AXED.

This, my friends, is commitment to the cause:

The Graphing Calculator Story

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Next gear: Netbook

I'm thinking about getting a netbook sometime this year, mainly for quick writing, couch-based web-surfing and for use at things like my son's soccer games. My only real requirements are: less than 2lbs, $300-ish, and a usable keyboard. I tried out the ASUS eee 701 at my local retailer and came away unimpressed by the keyboard, which kind of defeats the purpose of having this thing -- otherwise, I'd just ask for a great big touchpad and type things in that way. (Hmm.... iPod Touch, anyone?) My two frontrunners at this point are the currently unreleased Dell E:

and Lenovo S9 ideaPad:

Which one should I get? Post your thoughts or alternate suggestions in the comments

The 44th post

If I'd been paying a little more attention, this post would be much more relevant:

Check out for some great productivity tips.

(Does spending time reading about productivity mean that you're procrastinating or being productive?)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Keeping things on track - Update

I made a couple of mistakes in my cron job list that kept this from working properly. I didn't need the user component of the command, and "5 pm" is actually hour "17", so the two commands should read:

# # Move to the restrictive hosts to keep users off waste sites for the workday
0 9 * * 1-5 cp /etc/ /etc/hosts
# After 5:00 p.m., return the free "home" hosts file:
# Move the hosts file back to full access at the end of the workday
0 17 * * 1-5 cp /etc/hosts.home /etc/hosts

However, one not so nice thing about OS X's implementation of cron is that it won't work if the computer is in Sleep mode. On most Linux systems, this problem is dodged by using 'anacron' which will execute any cron jobs missed while the computer was off or asleep, but apparently OS X doesn't include anacron. The workaround is to modify the times to reflect accurately when I will have the system up and running, so now my crontab listing becomes:

# # Move to the restrictive hosts to keep users off waste sites for the workday
0 10 * * 1-5 root cp /etc/ /etc/hosts
# After 5:00 p.m., return the free "home" hosts file:
# Move the hosts file back to full access at the end of the workday
30 16 * * 1-5 root cp /etc/hosts.home /etc/hosts

I'll let you know how it pans out over the next week.