Great Timing

Posted in General at 12 pm

There’s never a good time to upgrade your blogging software… So I’ve apparently chosen the worst time possible. However, now I can play with the podcasting options, getting things customized for the iTunes Music Store RSS feed, and try out some of the pages that I previously hacked together myself. Oh and turn on comments. Not that this thing gets enough traffic to have comments very often.

Oh yeah, the ‘post in the future’ thing works well for when I queue up a whole bunch o’ posts.

But now I’ve got to go back and redo my layout as a WordPress ‘theme’, recreate the Wiki Discussion links and get my Recnet Music list back up to date.

On the flip side I now know that there are 935 posts in this thing. So yay for that.

(Yes Jock, that post is coming too!)


Prevent .DS_Store file creation on network volumes

Posted in General at 4 pm

macosxhints – Prevent .DS_Store file creation on network volumes

To prevent .DS_Store aka (dot ds store files) creation on network volumes execute following command in a terminal:

defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true

This will not get rid of all of the ._files, but it will get rid of one of them… The one side effect is that you’ll lose any ‘Comments’ that have been added to the Mac file.


Been flirting again

Posted in General at 4 pm

In a desperate attempt to get a second keyboard for the second desk that I’m setting up in the apartment, I’ve been searching for a new keyboard that won’t hurt my wrists.

My wrists, these days, are quite sensitive to things like the lateral angle that the twist from my forearm and the amount of vertical rise or drop they have from my forearm. The pressure required to push down a key on the keyboard has to be below a certain amount or else I feel it; even the speed of deceleration that the tips of my fingers experience as the key stops is a consideration. (It seems I need airbags for my finger crashing.)

In the pursuit of finding an appropriate keyboard, I went over to the dark side: a Microsoft Natural Pro keyboard (split key layout, rising angle in the middle, etc.) It almost worked perfect for me, except that the keys were just too damn tough to press. too much force means pain in my wrist. This is always bad. (The key mechanism seems to involve little plastic/rubber volcano-shapped nubs that getting pressed in. the nubs seem to get more stiff over time.) I took it back.

So I ended up getting another Apple Extended keyboard II just like the one I already had. This one is a bit stiff still, but it should break in pretty well, once I’ve used it for a few… years. 🙂 At that point the metal scissor-style mechanisms should loosen up a bit more. Already though, I can tell it’s better than the MS keyboard.

The only other successful keyboard I’ve had has been the Logitech Comfort Pro that I tricked Brad into getting for me at work. It’s much like the MS keyboard in split/tented layout, but the key presses are real easy on the fingers. $100 a pop, but it’s been the only thing that’s let me actually get my work done at work.

Will my RSI go away? Not as long as there are computers in my life. Will I be able to keep it at bay? I think so.

Lazyweb Request: Contoured, split-layout keyboard with Bluetooth

Posted in General at 4 pm

Another lazyweb request, though this will be more of a request for search, or rattle the cage of a couple of manufacturers… (I’m looking at you Logitech)…

I just want a contoured, split-layout keyboard with Bluetooth.

Contoured – The keys rise a bit in the middle, kinda like the keys are sitting on a miniature pitcher’s mound.

Split layout – there’s some spacing and a bit of an angle between the right and left hand side of the keys to accommodate those of us with adult-sized shoulders and arms.

Bluetooth – My next machine *will* have bluetooth come hell or high water.

Nick Finck has been looking for this too. The closest I can find is the Logitech Cordless Comfort Pro… but it doesn’t have Bluetooth… so you’ve got to lug around this USB receiver… which is huge. Bah!

Lazyweb Request: Dragable colorblind filter for OS X

Posted in General at 4 pm

Okay here’s one of my latest lazyweb needs:

I’m imagining a floating window in OS X, (made with Quartz Composer?) that will be a live ‘filter’ for colorblindness on my screen. Imagine being able to drag a piece of rubberized mylar / cling wrap that changes the colors underneath it to approximate the look of what a person with one form or another of color blindness would see.

This thought brought to you via Sara Horton’s WebVisions 2005 presentation materials.



Posted in General at 8 am

Okay, so, O’Reilly publishes an article on XSSI’s (ONLamp.com: Apache’s eXtended Server Side Includes) and has a nice link to my XSSI Library with some kind words, but did it have to come this week?


13 Ways to Say Nothing

Posted in General at 9 pm

There’s some incredible research coming out of NASA these days. For instance, be sure to check out this PDF, “13 Ways to Say Nothing with Scientific Visualization” which highlights such opportunities for ChartJunk™ as item #2:

Avoid Annotation In dreary old fashioned sciences like physics and biology, investigators have been known to annotate their images with arrows pointing out features of supposed interest along with explanatory text. This promotes clarity of understanding, undermining the sense of awe and confusion the best scientific visualization engenders.

But that’s not all. Check out item 10:

Never Cite References for the Data If you cite a reference describing the data used to generate images, someone may read the paper and discover that your visualization bears no relationship to the key elements the original experiment was meant to elucidate. This will detract from your picture’s appeal and should be avoided.


Cars in Portland

Posted in General at 11 am

I had no idea…


Chip wise, productivity foolish

Posted in General at 9 pm

A friend recently wrote, “To get my toes wet I’m thinking about buying a mini first. Waste of money?”

Software wise, the stuff that runs today will run tomorrow. The stuff tomorrow will still support the chips of today and Apple will continue using the PowerPC chips for the next two years at least.

So if we conservatively estimate that the software that will start not supporting the PowerPC chips will not appear for two years after that, there are 4 years before there is even the start of some software that won’t run on the Mini. Then another couple of years before the most common apps drop support, so we’re up to 6 years. I regularly run two year old software (4 years even), and Amy’s still running Jaguar (2002, 3 years old) with no problem.

So if you’re worried that your $700 computer won’t run new software after 6 to 8 years, then by all means, wait. But if you think that by 2012 you might be in the market for a new machine, the Mini should last you just fine. 🙂

In fact, I think the Mac Mini will be the one machine that continues to sell in volume through the transition and will be the only big mover for Apple outside of the iPod for the next 18 months.


Successful projects in three acts

Posted in General at 2 pm

In order to achieve a successful project, delivered on time and on budget, three critical pieces are required from all parties involved:

1. Communication – Open communication is the most critical piece of any project. As situations, issues and unplanned needs arise we expect each team mmber to provide clear feedback and direction when necessary. If a deliverable is not going to be make a set deadline, communication of the status of the deliverable makes it easy to reschedule adjust or rescale other requirements to work within the project.

2. Understanding – Along with open communication, clarity of that communication is necessary. If there are unfamiliar terms or jargon, everyone in the project should be uninhibited in asking for clarification. Such questions can provide insight into emerging issues that may be just over the horizon and help avoid them entirely in the future. Understanding each team members’ strategies, methods, and needs gives the team a solid foundation to work from.

3. Shared Goals – When clear communication and a full understanding of each team members’ roles, needs, and issues are part of a project, it becomes possible for everyone to be on the same page—to have shared goals. Shared goals go beyond the documented requirements and the written schedule. Shared goals are the true north, the compass, the destination of success. When the whole team sees these goals, when everyone knows the direction that the team is headed, everyone can work diligently to accomplish these goals and provide their piece of the efforts that bring success to the team and the project.