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Salon Switch

Posted 2005 Jan 12

There is a perfectly awful article at Salon about the Mac Mini. In fact, it was so bad, I felt compelled to email the author, Farhad Manjoo:

I usually enjoy your articles, but your article about the “Mac Mini” seemed uncharacteristically stereotypical. Complaining about the one button mouse? Read: Assuming that a Mac that costs ”$1,300 [is] essentially the same desktop Dell’s giving away for $500”? Check out: Worst of all, assuming that Mac users are (to reverse your logic) putting their “emotions” ahead of other, more rational (e.g. their wallets) considerations. I think you would find that many Mac users are highly competent, technology-focused professionals. I also hope that you would not be surprised to find that many early-adopters are Mac users. So much for the Mac “languishing in obscurity”. This is all classic stereotyping and, frankly, misinformed. I’d expect more from Salon’s Technology writers.

I blame the MacWorld Expo buzz… I’m not usually a zealot.

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Mac Mini

Posted 2005 Jan 12

Chuck Toporek has a great article about the possibilities for the Mac Mini. The two that interest me are Mac Mini as “small” server and Mac Mini in a cluster.

I think a headless, quiet Mac Mini would make a great home server. However, anything beyond that I think is going to run up against that 256MB RAM limit. I’m certainly considering replacing my noisy Gentoo box that is prone to over-heating. I already run mysql, Apache, tinyproxy and Wordpress (to name a few) on my G5. The Mac Mini seems like it was destined for this duty (or as part of a home theatre).

With regards to clustering the Mac Mini, I think that this is a fantasy, albeit an appealing one… Heck, those little boxes scream out to be stacked! However, building a cluster is as much about power and heat management as it is about software. Plus, without RAID or (as it appears) easily swappable parts, the Mac Mini just wouldn’t survive very long. In most large clusters, the server is a commodity… the Mac Mini is too sexy to be a commodity!

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Decemberists' Next Album

Posted 2005 Jan 12

A post on the Decemberists site announces the new tour, dubbed “The Advance of the Picaroons Tour 2005”, confirms the release date of “Picaresque” and provides a track listing. “The Infanta” and “The Sporting Life”, I’ve heard on a “High Dive” bootleg—both were great (surpise, surpise). I, for one, am certainly excited. Verily.

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Project Page

Posted 2005 Jan 12

I’m working on adding a projects page for my sundry software projects. Once I’m happy with the layout, I’ll add a real link from the main page. Comments on layout/organization/content welcome.

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New Apple Products

Posted 2005 Jan 11

With the Keynote buzz still in the air, here are my initial thoughts:

  1. Mac Mini: while very slick, it’s just too under-powered to be of any interest to me. Especially with only 256MB RAM. As an auxiliary Mac, I’d rather have an iMac G5.
  2. iPod Shuffle: Very cool! I think the price-point is just right at $99. Too bad it doesn’t have a screen. Even my discman has a screen…
  3. Tiger: This is definitely what I’m looking forward to the most. 10.4 is just going to be too cool. I’m anxious to play with Dashboard . And Spotlight just might make me give up “find . -exec grep”! Core Data should have some nice possibilities too.
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Posted 2005 Jan 11

If Macworld 2005 coverage is any indication… Technorati is where it’s at. Technorati was updating in near real-time. Great source of info.

So, I want to get involved. I’ve created a Technorati profile and claimed my blog! Excellent.

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Macworld Expo 2005

Posted 2005 Jan 11

Look like iWork is a go! From MacCentral’s coverage:

iWork is the successor to AppleWorks, according to Jobs. It includes Keynote 2, which uses ten new Apple-designed themes, animated text, new animated builds, presenter display (which can display notes, next slide, timers and more), interactive slideshows and self-playing keynote slideshows.

Welcome the Mac Mini. Very small (“half as high as an iPod Mini, surface of a little dish”), quiet. Firewire, USB2, analog/digital video out. Can’t wait to see that! Looks like it’s a G4, though. Avaiable January 22. $499 with 1.25 G4, 256, 40 gig, Combo. Wow! Too bad Christmas is over…

Mac Mini

iPod Shuffle 1oz., 12 hour battery, 512MB $99 or 1GB $149. Sweet!

iPod Shuffle

Looks like they’re official:

The Keynote is over. Let the Buzz begin!

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QS Beta33 and Weather Plugin

Posted 2005 Jan 11

In the continuing saga of Weather Plugin woes: The new Quicksilver beta 33 dropped API support for the messaging/action scheme the Weather Plugin uses. Needless to say, the plugin doesn’t work at all right now. I’ve been in touch with the QS developer—we should have things sorted out shortly.

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Weather Plugin Fixed

Posted 2005 Jan 10

After wrestling with dynamically loaded code all day, I have finally fixed the Weather Plugin.

Basically, the problem had something to do with the way the NOAA webservers were responding to the request to download the XML. If I used Cocoa’s built-in initWithContentsOfURL, I got back junk. Downloading by any other method was fine. So, I swapped in the multi-talented CURL wrapper, CURLHandle. However, I wanted to include this framework directly in the plugin so as to obviate the need for downloading CURLHandle separately. Needless to say, getting a framework to dynamically load inside a plugin proved to be difficult for this novice Cocoa programmer. But, with some help from the QS community and some time on CocoaDev, I was able to get it working.

The final trick was to not link against the framework, but still include it in the plugin bundle. You can downloaded the latest version here: MYWeatherPlugin-0.5.qspkg.

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Weather Plugin Problem

Posted 2005 Jan 09

There is a problem with all versions of the Weather Plugin for Quicksilver. The issue manifests itself as Quicksilver doing nothing when the Weather plugin is invoked.

The issue appears to be caused by some change on the NOAA servers. I have observed that they send junk data when the request is made my Cocoa’s NSUrl. Other UserAgents seem unaffected.

I should have a fix soon.

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