Re¢ently

  1. Repairing the Glass Front Panel on an iPhone 3GS

    brian on 2010.12.04 at 04:05 pm

    You’ve dropped your beloved iPhone and smashed the front glass. There are few things more sad. This scenario played out for my wife, who had dropped hers this summer, only 9 months into her AT&T contract. Luckily the phone was still very usable; it was just not easy to see anything on the top third of the display.

    If you’ve cracked your iPhone, you may already know that your warranty does not cover accidental damage (although, you should check with your credit card company…some, especially AMEX, will pay for a replacement if you bought it with a qualified card!). You’ve probably inquired with Apple and they’ve told you they offer a “service replacement” for $200. Cheap? No.

    It is possible to repair an iPhone yourself and probably for less than $200. You can find repair kits and extensive instructions online. Let me put this out there as a (former) triple-Apple-certified technician: it is not easy to repair your iPhone. My recommendation is that you don’t try this yourself unless you’re experienced at repairing electronics with extremely small components and tight tolerances.

    Now that I have that disclaimer out there, I do have experience repairing Apple electronics. So I repaired my wife’s display using a kit and instructions from iFixit.com. It was not easy. The instructions themselves rank the repair as “Difficult”. The repair is very simple, but one step in particular is very difficult. Removing the front glass panel from the components that are glued to it is challenging. With the proper tools, it took me more than an hour.

    I’m writing this post for anyone who has also bought the iFixit iPhone 3GS Front Panel kit so if you get stuck where I got stuck, hopefully Google has lead you to this post and my commentary is helpful.
    Pulling the glass from the plastic
    Keep reading for the full details.

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    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  2. iPad: A shift

    brian on 2010.01.29 at 12:40 am

    The Apple iPad

    There’s a lot of talk every time Apple releases a new product. The vast majority of that judgement comes without ever having seen or touched the new product. Hey, I can do that too.

    I almost wasn’t going to share my thoughts after reading Jeff Croft’s blog post about the iPad this morning. But I’m hardly one to be shy.

    I think the iPad is the future of the PC. Period. Looking at the specs, it’s easy to dismiss the iPad as just an up-sized iPhone. The fact of the matter is, it basically is. So how is “now” equal to “the future”? The answer, lies in Japanese mobile phone habits.

    In Japan, a majority of people count their mobile phone as their primary computing device. Their phones are typically capable of many more things than your typical handset. Until the iPhone went on sale in Japan, non-Japanese phones sold very poorly in the that market, because they couldn’t handle the day-to-day computing that people had become accustom to. For the past ten years, the mobile web has been a part of daily life for many Japanese.

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    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  3. O'Reilly: Soothsayer or Condemner

    brian on 2009.11.18 at 12:15 am

    Tim O’Reilly is getting a lot of links to his “War For the Web” piece. For the most part it’s worth a read. However, I wonder what goes through a “guru”‘s mind sometimes when they write lofty pieces like this. Do they just run it off all in one blast, (like I will on this post) or do they let it sit a couple days, edit, rethink and then post?

    I ask because in the middle of his piece, where he names those who “threaten” the future of the open web, he goes after Apple’s App Store policy, exposé-style:

    The Apple iPhone is the hottest web access device around, and like Facebook, while it connects to the web, it plays by a different set of rules. Anyone can put up a website, or launch a new Windows or Mac OS X or Linux application, without anyone’s permission. But put an app onto the iPhone? That requires Apple’s blessing.

    There is one glaring loophole: anyone can create a web application, which any user can save as clickable application on their phone. But these web applications have limits – there are key capabilities of the phone that are not accessible to web applications. HTML 5 can introduce all the new application-like features it wants, but they will work only for web applications, and can’t access key aspects of the phone with Apple’s permission. And as we saw earlier this year with Apple’s rejection of the Google Voice application, Apple isn’t shy about blocking applications that it considers threatening to their core business, or that of their partners.

    So, because Apple limits what apps can be on the phone, they’re closing down the web? Um… wha? The iPhone is a bit more than just a web-access device, by the way.

    He says “one glaring loophole” as if Apple mistakenly forgot to lock down Safari to only approved websites. Name the last time Apple forgot to lock something down in error. The iPhone is not the web. iPhone Apps don’t alone give access to the web. The device, although popular with geeks, doesn’t have the marketshare it’s influence might lead you to believe.

    Secondly, there’s nothing in HTML5 that is available in the iPhone that Apple only allows access to by an App. No, a web app doesn’t have access to various APIs available in the iPhone, but those functions aren’t part of the (actually still incomplete) HTML5 specs. In other words, Apple hasn’t broken anything web related. In fact, they should be given credit for a) bringing HTML5 to the mobile world b) being a forebearer of HTML 5 in the first place… hello? WebKit? You know, free, open-source and the same thing Chrome and a number of mobile browsers are based on? C) bringing the real web of any kind to a phone.

    I’m all for a transparent App Store review process, and I’d love to see Google Voice natively on the iPhone. But this passage simply lacks logic. It’s more as if Mr O’Reilly needed more big names to bash in his piece.

    Posted in: Apple · Software · Technology · Web

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  4. The Big Snow Leopard Review

    brian on 2009.09.12 at 01:36 am

    Since most people who read this blog think of me as an “Apple guy” (I take offense to “fanboy”) I will provide you with my two-week review of Snow Leopard. It will be many, many words (and thus I’m not going to edit this heavily. If you catch a typo, let me know).

    Firstly, do you need to run out and buy Snow Leopard? No. There’s no rush. Should you buy it at some point? Definitely. I mean for the cost of a week of lattes you get back a bunch of space on your hard drive (reduction in print drivers and the introduced use of code compression), can use the machine almost instantly after waking it from sleep, and get useful new integration between the dock and Exposé. That’s totally worth $30.

    There’s a lot more to my review…

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    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  5. On the Acceptance of Reality

    brian on 2009.09.02 at 10:38 am

    Do you like Merlin Mann? I sure do. But something he wrote last night irks me, and I’m going to tell you about it, at length. That’s what blogs are for. I hope that you the reader can learn some valuable lessons from his recent situation.

    Let’s recap said situation. Merlin, Mac user since January 1987™, is writing a book on a deadline. He owns 5 Macs, uses things like Quicksilver, TextMate and Photoshop and considers himself to be a “power user.” I think it’s clear form those three apps that he qualifies.

    Regardless of the fact that he’s on a deadline and the fact that it’s widely known that when you install a new operating system (you know, something critical to the running the machine and all its software) there will be incompatibilities with old software, he decides to hold everything and install Mac OS X 10.6 (aka Snow Leopard) on all of his Macs. Not just one to see if it’ll work for him, he runs out and installs it on all his Macs.

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    Posted in: Apple · Software · Technology

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  6. How Many MacBooks?

    brian on 2009.04.05 at 07:07 pm

    Andy Ihnatko is a wonderfully talented tech columnist for MacWorld, the Chicago Sun-Times and others. If you only read two Mac/Tech columnists make it Ihnatko and Gruber.
    However, “How many MacBooks?” was uncharacteristic for Andy. It was an excellent troubleshooting piece wrapped in some tales of woe about machines Andy has owned over the years. This is the quote that prodded me to write this blog post:

    Apple has a reputation for screwy hardware

    Wha…?

    This is an absolutely ridiculous statement. Now, having been published in MacWorld, perhaps the epicenter of Mac fanboydom, they came out of the woodwork with their list of every Apple product they’ve ever owned and how none of them have ever needed a reboot. That is to be expected. I feel I can be a little more objective (pauses to listen for the peanut gallery snickering).

    (Read on for my objective analysis…)

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    Posted in: Apple · Hardware · Technology

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  7. Why Event Box (Cosmic Machine) lost my business: bait and switch.

    brian on 2009.04.02 at 03:18 pm

    EventBox is an innovative Mac app, made by a company called Cosmic Machine that I downloaded for free from the MacHeist website. I purchased the MacHeist bundle, but EventBox was not part of the bundle, rather a “free gift” simply for visiting the MacHeist website.

    I downloaded the app, loved that it allowed my to get my Twitter updates and my Facebook updates in one place, and allowed me to add RSS feeds so I could include feeds of Twitter searches that would notify me of my company’s name on Twitter. I also put in a feed for my Delicious Inbox so I was notified when people send me links. I loved the functionality, and told all my Twitter-loving friends.

    EventBox was certainly a flawed app. It’s interface is clunky, and in parts they’ve created custom interfaces where standard Mac UI would have been much preferred. There are awkward keyboard shortcuts (CMD+Shift+K to mark as read, when “CMD-K” a short cut known to many thousands of users as “mark as read” goes unused? No shortcuts to bring up the main window when it’s closed?) and the visual design is a bit amateur. I would not have paid list price, $15, for this app. But it was in beta still and it held a lot of potential. I would certainly invest (maybe even $15-20) in a final version if these inconsistencies were addressed. I really valued the functionality. I could put up with the clunkiness when it was free. And free for a beta is a great advertisement. I thought they were really suave for hooking up to have hundreds of thousands of Mac users seeing and possibly trying their product.

    Now, when getting a Mac app from MacHeist, you know there will be limitations.

    Read on for the full story…

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    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  8. Fixing a launchd and svnserve problem on Leopard

    jake on 2008.06.12 at 12:12 am

    It’s not too difficult to configure the basics of Subversion (Leopard includes it). But it’s not a huge leap to want the server component running perpetually in the background. That’s not as straight forward. Instructions exist but a few snags with launchctl means you cannot automate svnserve’s launch. It didn’t work on the first try for me.

    But after that hurdle an issue arose where my machine starts the service, and then restarts it, again and again. A little digging reveals the console reporting “Exited with exit code: 1” and if you look at the launchctl list the status is also set to 1. Google isn’t much help so it’s time for trial and error. After pulling a few commands from the .plist file there’s still a successful launch and the restart problem goes away.

    The following are the superfluous properties (it’s possible there are more you can remove).

    <key>Disabled</key>
    <false/>
    <key>OnDemand</key>
    <false/>
    

    Happy editing!

    Posted in: Apple · Programming

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  9. Psyched up about Monday

    brian on 2008.06.07 at 11:49 pm

    I can’t remember the last time I was excited for a Monday, especially when I first started thinking about Monday on Friday!

    I’m more excited for this WWDC that those before for a couple of reasons.

    1) Leo Laporte and Andy Ihnatko coverage at TwitLive.tv – instead of refreshing three different blogs who may or may not actually have someone inside the Steve Jobs keynote in Moscone West, I’ll be watching/listening to two experts, who are refreshing three different blogs who may or may not actually have someone inside the Steve Jobs keynote in Moscone West. Perhaps there will be guest appearances from Merlin Mann or other MacBreak Weekliers.

    2) The great unknown. I think this year’s keynote is as wide open any in recent memory. Basically, all the major rumors of the past ten years in the Apple world have been laid to rest.

    Hopefully, that means positive surprises. I think that the announcement of a 3G iPhone (or phones), .Mac makeover and a preview of where both the mobile, “Touch” OS and Mac OS are heading are likely. However, that leaves the floor open for “one more thing” that we didn’t see coming.

    I would love, given my involvement in education, to see some announcement there. I think a cheaper version of a MacBook Air would be a perfect general-use student machine, one that could go with you pretty much everywhere. Adding Firewire would make it a better match for doing student-level video (read: iMovie, video podcast complexity only—more would require a beefier machine) and the last problem would be upping the storage and dropping the price. Not education specific, but adding optional 3G connectivity would really knock it out of the ballpark. (It would be a shame to lose your one USB port to an external modem)

    I’m not holding my breath.

    What are you looking for at this year’s WWDC?

    Posted in: Apple

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  10. Safari 3.1 has new developer menu

    brian on 2008.03.18 at 06:46 pm

    If you download the latest official build of Apple’s Safari web browser, you’ll gain access to it’s new developer menu.

    Previously, you had access to a “Debug” menu, which gave you many options, mostly for WebKit.org’s use in debugging the browser. You had to set a hidden, command-line preference to access it. However, the latest build, the feature is available in the Advanced tab of the application preferences.

    Safari Preference Window

    The new Develop menu has (as far as I can tell) all the same functionality of the old Debug menu for web developers, but show much more succinctly. The big feature is the Web Inspector.

    Clicking “Develop > Show Web Inspector” brings up a an attractive window that allows you to inspect in part of the web page you’re viewing. From Safari’s Help menu:

    It lets you view and search the page’s source code, Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) information, DOM trees, visual DOM metrics, and DOM properties. The Web Inspector also contains the error console and network timeline.

    You optionally have the choice of attaching the inspector to the bottom of your browser window, like Firebug for Mozilla Firefox. The bottom left corner of the Inspector window contains a toggle button to attach/detach the Inspector.

    Safari Inspector and Rendered Page

    To use, the simplest thing to do is Right-click (or ctrl+click) the element in the web browser window that you would like to inspect. This will bring up your Inspector, with the element highlighted in the code. Additionally, Safari applies a nice dark grey-screen filter on the parts of the page you’re not inspecting. If you use the arrow keys to move up and down the code, or simply click on another code snippet in the Inspector, the highlight back on the rendered page adjusts in real time.

    Sadly, for now, it appears that you cannot live edit, as you can in Firebug. If I can find a way to do this, I’ll update this blog entry.

    Posted in: Apple · Standards · Web

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  11. Unfit to use Air

    brian on 2008.03.11 at 12:31 pm

    Steven Levy is not to be trusted with your technology.

    As humiliating as it sounds, let me repeat: the MacBook Air is so thin that it got tossed out with the newspapers.

    MacBook Air

    Yup. Technology journalist whose work is read world-wide is unfit to use a MacBook Air. Let’s hope he never gives a bath to a baby.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  12. New iPod or Better Playlists?

    brian on 2008.02.03 at 10:22 pm

    I received an email from a good friend down in Brooklyn a couple days ago. She asked for some advice regarding her iPod that I think may be useful for others in her situation. In short, thanks to her love of podcasts she had filled her iPod mini to capacity. She was writing to ask for advice on purchasing a new one. I offered this advice first, so that she might be able to better decide if a new one was truly needed, or whether a few small changes to her settings might serve her equally as well.

    The only thing I might mention before you run out and buy a new iPod is to consider the syncing capabilities of iTunes and playlists for your podcasts. I have had to employ this on my iPhone, since it’s only 8GB. I created a playlist in iTunes with which the iPhone syncs that’s a good sampling of my larger library. Then I left a couple gigs to play with. With that I can load on videos and podcasts.

    What I have done is chosen which podcasts I’m likely to listen to on the iPhone and I sync only those to the phone. I also limit those to only the last three unlistened episodes of each will remain on the phone when I sync next. There are lots of options on how to do this (you can say only un-listened-to podcasts get synced, or have larger or smaller numbers of podcasts that remain on your iPod after a sync (e.g. give me the most recent 5 podcasts). Once you do that, then you have a steady amount of podcast data on your iPod that doesn’t grow after every sync. Back on iTunes you can archive all the old shows, if you think you’d ever listen to them. Also, podcasts you’re not likely to listen to ‘on the go’ you can keep on your iBook. Sudden urge strikes? At any time you can grab a specific episode and drag it on to your iPod without restructuring all of your hard work!

    Once this is all set up, all you have to do is plug the iPod in, perhaps daily, and iTunes does all the hard work for you. In fact, on newer iPods, if you sync and there are partially-listened podcasts, each device (iTunes, your iPod) knows where you stopped listening and if you then continue to listen to the show on either device, it picks up right where you left off. Very cool.

    This method may make your old iPod feel new again! I’m not trying to talk anyone out of a new iPod–I certainly enjoy new toys–but this may be all that’s needed in this case. iTunes has really powerful playlist and smart playlist capabilities that are mostly unknown to the general public.

    That said, if your iPod is in the two-year-old range, then it’s battery is probably starting to decline. New iPods have better batteries and are more power efficient. Also remember, Apple Stores will give you a 10% discount on the purchase of a new iPod when you recycle your old one at the time of purchase.

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Technology

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  13. GarageBand now makes iPhone ringtones

    brian on 2007.12.14 at 10:02 pm

    Great news. The 4.1.1 update to GarageBand now allows you to save your work (40 seconds or less!) as a ringtone which GarageBand will save to your Ringtones in iTunes, from which you’ll sync next time you connect your iPhone.

    Official instructions here:

    Apple Knowledgebase: How to create custom ringtones in GarageBand 4.1.1

    Christopher Penn’s Illustrated instructions here.

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Software

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  14. Leopard Desktop Under Stress

    brian on 2007.12.03 at 12:37 am

    Instead of working on my final project for my Introduction to Instructional Design grad class, due tomorrow, I decided now would be an appropriate time to update the blog.

    This is my first post here from Leopard, and I’m happy to report things are going swimmingly. If I’m not editing podcasts with it at work, I’m writing papers and designing presentations with it from school. No issues yet, and many positives (much better network disk access, Back to My Mac, Screen Sharing, QuickLook, free upgrade to 802.11N, Safari 3, more robust Mail.app)

    I thought I’d take a picture for posterity of what my desktop looks like at full speed when I’m chugging away. I’d love to see what other people in my position were using on there Macs, so here’s my submission.

    My Leopard Desktop displaying various applications I'm using to write grad school papers

    Here’s a large image hosted at Flickr, along with a link to the Full Sized shot

    Here’s what’s going on:

    Pages.app is in the foreground, I’m assembling pieces of the project that I’ve assembled previously in TextEdit.app. Pages is simply a fine application with which to layout a large project. I’m quite fond of it.

    To the right we see Preview.app with a pair of PDFs… one is the instructions from the professor on what to write about in that section of the project, the other is a flow chart I’ve built which will be in an appendix at some point. It is a major piece of the project. The most time consuming, in fact. It was built in OmniGraffle, but I’m viewing the PDF I made to upload to WebCT.

    The whole project will be converted to a PDF tomorrow for uploading. The PDF of the flow chart will be added as one appendix, as will some Keynote slides, also converted to PDF. They comprise some sample learning material.

    Most of my classmates upload Word docs, which are a pain to review on the web. A handful of thoughtful classmates upload PDFs. Including the guy who works for Microsoft. He gets the web. No offense to them, but most of my classmates are not technical nor understand the difference. Otherwise they’re good people.

    My advice is if you have an online course, upload PDFs unless someone needs to edit your work within Microsoft Word. Otherwise, Word docs effectively break the web. PDFs cling to web legitimacy by a thread, thanks to the near ubiquitous PDF browser plugins. If you don’t have the software to convert to PDF (if you have a Mac, there’s the option to save as PDF in every print dialog), check out Google Docs, which can save any document save therein as a PDF. Free.
    PDF viewers are available on every platform, for free. Viewing a Word doc requires paying an unnecessary Microsoft tax, plus you can’t view them in most browsers.

    Happy learning.

    Posted in: Apple · Design · Software

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  15. iPhone Accessorizing

    brian on 2007.10.31 at 03:20 am

    Tonight, I headed north to the closest AppleStore to work, and picked up an Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset.

    The headset is miniscule. A little shorter than my thumb, and about a third of the circumference. It is so light as to be very losable. If it’s in your pocket, and not pressing against you, you won’t know it’s in there. The shape of the speaker is very similar to that of the iPod head phones. That’s a bad shape to me, as those headphones hurt a nub of cartilage in my ear after about 20 minutes of use.

    I mentioned this observation to the fine young salesman, who responded, “I know it looks that way, but it fits surprisingly well.” I had other plans to hack the fit (more on this later), but he encouraged me to try it stock.

    I have to say, when I got it home, I was very surprised: although it didn’t feel like much, the headset didn’t touch my ear-nub, and was surprisingly stable in my ear. I wasn’t nervous walking around with it. I am nervous my dog might swallow this thing, though… did I mention it’s tiny?

    The package includes an iPhone dock equipped with a headset slot for charging. This dock has a permanently attached cable, unlike the one that comes with the iPhone, which is removable for solo use. The headset also ships with a “travel charger cable” which is a 30pin connector with an extra wide profile that accommodates charging the headset along with the iPhone.

    I mentioned “hacking” the iPhone BT headset for fit. I have a history of hacking Apple headphones. I have an old pair of the Apple In-ear headphones. They are of marginally better audio quality when compared to the stock ‘phones, but they add to that by significantly reducing outside noise. They do this by fitting into your ear-canal like an ear plug. Their greatest attribute is their small size. The worst attribute is the grey rubber (silicone, no doubt) ear pieces (of varying sizes) that come with them. These pieces are supremely comfortable, but after five minutes, would consistently work their ways out of my ear canal, which would kill the sound, and they would flop right out of my ear.

    I knew that this was my best solution for the iPod, so I got to hacking. I needed to block out external sound because I could enjoy listening in noisy environments more (public transit, practicing the drums) while turning the volume lower since these block sound well.

    I found that’s Sony’s in-ear pieces had a different shape. Sony’s were round, while Apple’s had a slight tear-drop shape to theirs. Sony’s happened to fit the Apple ‘phones, so on they went – and have given me 3 years of trouble-free, snug fit, and low volume listening.

    This inspired me not to give up on the Apple headset. (I wanted the second dock, brain-free pairing and compatibility [works with the Mac, too!] and the minimalist, nigh invisible design.

    I found that Jabra, a bluetooth headset makers in their own right, sells a >$5 kit of headset covers that includes small, medium and large (for right and left ear) pieces that fit the contours and folds of your ear. I read a positive review, found that Radio Shack sold them, and knew I had to give it a shot. These fit great. I started jumping around and rolling my head, then headbanging Metallica-style, and the headset didn’t budge. Brilliant!

    I highly recommend these, based on the five minutes I’ve had them in my ear. Tomorrow, I plan to wear the headset on my commute both ways to see how the fit sustains over the long term.

    Lastly, tonight I also got a case to protect the iPhone. I found an Agent 18 hard shell that snaps together snuggly and is made of recycled plastic! The downside is that I didn’t realize that there was a color choice, and picked the only one on the shelf – “Natural.” It looks as if I turn off the lights, it’ll glow. What was I thinking? I found out later, online, that it comes in black as well. I’m sure I’ll be returning it now. But otherwise, seems like a solid way to add a little safety, and a touch more grip to your iPhone, without bulk or much noticeable weight.

    Agent 18 Eco iPhone Shield Case

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware

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  16. Apple News - Leopard Release

    brian on 2007.10.31 at 02:31 am

    Perhaps I should write more about Apple news here. I think now that I’ve been gone from Apple for one full year, I think the kabash on Apple-writing is finally worn off.

    Here’s some stuff that may interest you:

    Leopard – I’m getting my copy tomorrow, but likely won’t install it on my production MacBook Pro until after our conference next week concludes. Last thing I need is some rare bug taking me offline for a half a day or longer… despite how unlikely that is.

    300 New (or improved) Things

    I’m looking forward to QuickLook, Better Spotlight, no Finder network hangs (crosses fingers), Safari 3, unified window styling (goodbye brushed metal) iChatAV updates (recording, sound quality), Back to my Mac, and Screen Sharing. Being friends and family’s tech support just became a lot easier. (actually, I had set up VNC for my Dad when he got DSL, which was awesome for setting some stuff up remotely, I hope the OS version is faster)

    I’ll keep you posted. For now, you should read two things:

    Andy Ihnatko’s What’s Leopard Really Worth is an interesting take on is it worth your money to upgrade to Leopard. What if each component’s upgrade were a stand alone product? Would you buy it?

    Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: the Ars Technica review is your once-an-upgrade über review of the new operating system by John Siracusa. There is absolutely no more in depth review from just about every standpoint imaginable. If you can get through all 17 pages (some rather lengthy, see “Finder,” John’s pet project) in one sitting, I salute you. I’ve read three pages, the Intro, Conclusion and the Finder… and I’ll probably have the rest read sometime before December.

    I imagine TWiT’s MacBreak Weekly will be chocked full of Leopard news… I’ll hear it tomorrow morning on the way into work.

    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  17. GMail goes IMAP and Brian goes Mobile

    brian on 2007.10.24 at 03:16 am

    Not that this is a tech news blog, but Google is quietly rolling out IMAP support in GMail, both in regular and hosted, “Google Apps for your domain” accounts. (And if you didn’t notice, doubled your storage capacity)

    It was a race for me personally, between a mobile version being available for my Google hosted email (for briandigital.com) or IMAP. I figured if they were going to do IMAP, they would have done it by now, plus they already had a mobile friendly version of regular GMail, not to mention iPhone-specific interfaces Google Calendar and iPhone-friendly (if not exactly “specific”) for Google Reader.

    Guess I was wrong.

    I guess that also lets the lolzcats out of the bag on some personal technology news: I have an iPhone.

    Many of you out there know I was waiting or rev. 2, but I received the iPhone from (for?) work, so I’m not going to look this gift horse in the mouth (quickly looks anyway – wow! not too shabby for a gift horse!)

    I may still get iPhone rev. 2 and hand down my phone to Amanda, but that’s probably not yet in the cards. I think she may think its a little too much for her usage. If/when the $100 Palm Centro comes to AT&T, she may consider that. She was pretty impressed by it in David Pogues review. And it’s $300 cheaper, in case she drops it.

    I’m sure I’ll blog more about the iPhone in the near future, but for now two notes: it’s pretty freaking cool, and I’m no longer the object of pity from my Apple-employed friends.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  18. Three Tips for New Podcasters

    brian on 2007.09.25 at 09:46 pm

    This October will be my first anniversary in podcasting. I’ve learned a lot in that time, and still have plenty to learn I’m sure. Podcasting is still a young endeavor, but I’m happy find more and more quality podcasts daily. I’m happy to see so many new faces in the game. But, there’s a learning curve in podcasting. I offer this post as assistance to those who are just getting started. These are the things I’ve found most valuable about getting good audio fidelity, which is so important, in my opinion, to keeping listeners.

    Bonus Tip #–1 – If there’s a PodCamp near you, regardless of your experience, go to it! They’re phenomenally useful! What a great place to start.

    Bonus Tip #0 – buy a Mac. Don’t think you like Macs? Hear me out. The software the comes inside makes podcasting significantly easier. GarageBand is a great piece of entry-level software that no other piece of podcasting software matches when it comes to ease of use, and cheap power. If you use a PC, Audacity will probably be your free weapon of choice, and it’s powerful, but damn hard to use. However, Mac or PC, if you need a application to split stereo tracks into two separate files, Audacity is the only app I know which does this. Apple’s cheapest Mac is the Mac mini which is plenty powerful enough to do everything you need. As with any type of editing (video, audio, photo) more RAM is always better. An iMac or MacBook would also make awesome podcast rigs. Plug a USB mic in, like the Blue Snowball, or the dreamy Røde Podcaster, and you’re set for instant one-track recording.

    Tip #1 – learn how to speak into a microphone. Sounds stupid, but what you may not realize is that there’s technique here, that varies from mic to mic! Many microphones need to be address from only a couple inches away. Your mic should include documentation on how to “address” it, and there is a sweet spot. Also not all mics make all voices sound great. You may have to experiment. May I suggested not speaking directly into the mic, straight on, Instead, address it at a 30-45 degree angle. This is to reduce “plosives” the big bangs and pops of various consonants like “B” and “P.” If you’re blowing your air past the mic instead of directly into it, you can greatly reduce these without buying mic accessories. Oh, and don’t tap or bump the table your mic is on!

    Many more tips after the jump, read more!

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware · Media · Podcasting · Software · Technology · Web

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  19. (not) A boring rant

    brian on 2007.09.03 at 05:07 pm

    The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: A boring rant Look at the management team at NBC Universal. Look at the GE board of directors. Do these people scare the living shit out of you? They sure scare the hell out of me. They’re all buffed and polished and about a hundred and fourteen years old. They look like cadavers who’ve been done up by the world’s best funeral home makeup artist.”

    Fake Steve Jobs has really hit the nail on the head with this post. I’ve been meaning to write something about the NBC and Universal iTunes breakups since first hearing the news last week that NBC was pulling (or iTunes was ceasing sale of) NBCs television shows from iTunes.

    First of all, think it’s a coincidence that NBC and Universal (same company, essentially) both have taken big shots at iTunes recently? First Universal decides to start selling DRM-free music, like Steve Jobs had suggested, but not through Apple. Second, NBC says “let us jack up our prices or we’ll walk” when it comes to iTunes negotiations; Apple replies “don’t let the door of the world’s leading digital entertainment store hit you on the way out.”

    What’s going on here is the beginning of the end: The networks and record labels have finally begun to see the writing on the wall. They’re dinosaurs looking to the skies and wishing away that incoming meteor. But it won’t change things. They are mostly middlemen. And the middlemen in the entertainment realm are quickly being replaced by the network – the Internet. Apple’s the tip of the iceberg of said Internet. The Wal-Mart of internet digital media retail, with 70% of the market in a strangle hold (a funny comparison considering Wal-Mart is actually in the digital media retail space, as well) These distributors want to have Apple’s dominant position, so they’re trying to play hard ball. But they can’t beat Apple because they simply don’t understand internet distribution. Apple does, and they’re willing to share. The studios shouldn’t reinvent the wheel – just use Apple (and Apple’s competitors) for digital distribution, and spend your time doing whatever else you guys do.

    We’ll continue to see media distributors attempting to fight Apple, tooth and nail, because it’s the only way to stave off their irrelevancy. But any injunction they come to will only be temporary. Apple will win, and thankfully for once, consumers will win because for the first time, consumers have a say: if you don’t give us the media we want, in the way we want it, we’ll go elsewhere to get it the way we want it, when we want it, and you won’t get a dime. We have BitTorrent. iTunes is currently the only seriously good alternative to BitTorrent.

    Free advice to the middlemen: stave off your irrelevance a little longer by flexing your editorial muscle and find really good material to sell – not the mind-melting junk you’ve spit out for years. And then sell it where and when the consumer wants at a reasonable price. Apple knows what consumers want and iTunes is a grand step in the right direction. Once all DRM is dropped (the vast majority of consumers won’t need piracy if they’re given a good product at a good price) we’ll be in the promised land of digital media commerce.

    Otherwise, you’re just fast-tracking yourself to a slow and painful demise.

    You need your customers more than they need you.

    Posted in: Apple · Media · Movies · Music · Television · Web

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  20. Tivoli Internet Radio

    brian on 2007.08.14 at 02:42 am

    We’ve been considering purchasing a Tivoli Model One table radio for our kitchen for a couple months now. We often listen to NPR in the morning as we get ready and I eat breakfast in the kitchen next to an old clock radio that we keep there. Amanda will often pop it on in the afternoon when she comes home from work, while she’s going through the mail or cleaning or what have you. We’ve been thinking that it would be a nice upgrade for us.

    Tivoli's Classy Model One Table Radio

    If you’re uninitiated, the Tivoli table radio is a famous little radio in the home electronics world. It’s intentionally quirky and of unusually high quality – both marks of its creator, Henry Kloss. The model one is Tivoli’s most popular product1 and is simply a mono (one speaker) AM/FM tuner. But it’s one speaker is rich, it’s hand-made quality, hardwood body encloses one of the world’s finest analog tuning circuits (MESFET), with an weighted analog dial for precisely tuning stations.

    The product sparked a renaissance in table radios, including the Bose Wave Radio and the Boston Acoustics Receptor. (Cool note: these are all Boston area companies)

    We were just about to purchase one when they announced a new version, one that incorporates Internet Radio via WiFi!

    Read more to find out the whole scoop!

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware · Linux · Media · Music · Technology

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  21. Early Report on iWork '08

    brian on 2007.08.11 at 03:25 am

    I ordered the office a round of copies for iWork ’08, due to arrive from Amazon early next week, but I couldn’t resist downloading the 30-day free trial copy anyhow, just to play with it for a while. (It has no restrictions on usage during the period. Only downside: nearly 500MB download)

    My Intial reactions to Keynote, Pages and Numbers follows after the read more link…

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  22. Google Documents API Released

    brian on 2007.08.09 at 12:33 am

    Google Documents API Released

    This new API, which re-uses the Google Data API (GData) framework, can be used to upload documents or to grab a list of existing documents. Full text search for grabbing particular documents is supported too…

    Couple questions. One: how long until I have an app that allows me to sync to Google Docs certain docs I have in, say a specific folder? Two: considering this was publicly announced one day before iWork ’08 shipped, and said productivity suite offers support for tons of document formats, and Pages now sports a (Word-compatible) “track changes” option, why is there not an option to export/import or preferably sync with Google Docs?

    Imagine the backup options alone! Forget about the collaboration, even!

    So much potential… iWork’08 sync with Google Docs and Spreadsheets! Now!

    I’d rather do this than put Google AdSense in my iWeb pages.

    Posted in: Apple · Software · Technology

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  23. Who Should Fear Apple?

    brian on 2007.06.25 at 03:18 pm

    Riddle me this: Why is Apple’s iTunes server named “Phobos?” Phobos - a Moon of Mars - NASA

    It struck me the other day as I was working on a podcast because I was pasting in our podcast’s iTunes URL to the blog post that it didn’t say what I thought it had said. All this time I thought said “Phonos” not “Phobos.”

    Phono, Phon –
    from Greek phone ‘sound.’
    Phobos –
    named after one of the sons of the Greek war god Ares . The name means literally ‘fear.’
    (source: Oxford American Dictionaries Mac OS X application.)

    So who should fear Apple’s iTunes server?

    Should it be their competition in the music selling space? Should it be the music industry, whose business model has been turned on its head by the iTunes model? Should it be competition in the digital music player market? Should it be whomever pays Apple bandwidth bill?

    Who do you think should fear Apple’s iTunes server?

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  24. Apple Ranks #1 in Service - Again

    brian on 2007.06.20 at 10:02 pm

    Happy to say that my friends at AppleCare have been ranked number one once again. Great job guys.

    Apple's an Editor's Choice

    I’m kinda surprised to see the other ratings as high as they were.

    Posted in: Apple

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  25. WWDC 07

    brian on 2007.06.12 at 12:02 am

    Today is WWDC Keynote day, and I have a lot to say about how today seems like a disappointment at first, until you dig deeper and see exactly what kind of profound effect these seemingly small annoucements could have on a couple of industries. If you agree (or not) please leave a comment, and link up the post. This has to get out to web developers and phone developers, and fast. I can see my jet pack now…

    Please read on, I think you’ll enjoy it.

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Standards · Web

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  26. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at D Conference

    brian on 2007.05.31 at 02:08 pm

    Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at D Conference

    Bill G: “I can fly, I can fly!

    Steve J: “Oh, lord. Bill, please. You’re embarrassing me!”

    Posted in: Apple

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  27. The Cube is No Design Dud

    brian on 2007.05.30 at 11:37 am

    Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox has gotten a few links today in his call to avoiding hiring a “genius designer” instead of following a sound development strategy that involves usability methods. It’s a no brainer – besides even if you could find a genius, they are few, far between and expensive. None of that bugs me.

    This is what I want to nitpick:

    The most common example given is Steve Jobs. Granted, Jobs has been in charge of some great products. He’s also produced many duds as well, the most famous being the NeXT machine and the Mac Cube1.

    JN goes on to say SJ didn’t actually design the Cube, he had a team of brilliant designers, and he manages him. All of that is true, except in the realm we’re talking about here – design and usability – the Cube is hardly a dud.

    This “design dud” is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

    I have had the pleasure of working daily on a Cube, while at my first job at the University of Connecticut. I can attest that the Cube was a wonderful experience to use. Silent, small, beautiful. It is one of the most joyful computers I have ever used.

    Because the Cube was poorly priced and marketed does not make it a design failure. It achieved all of its design and usability goals, from a user standpoint. People still today search for them on eBay, and still upgrade and use them.

    One problem with Apple being so successful at design and usability is that they’re a constant example… except few people actually understand what’s going on at Apple, so they just cherry pick whatever’s convenient to back up whatever idea they’re trying to push. I’m not saying that’s what’s happening here… JN is responding to “what he hears,” (and I think his choice of the Cube is misguided) but it’s something that happens all over the design field.

    1 “Mac Cube” translates to the PowerMac G4 Cube.

    Posted in: Apple · Design

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  28. 90in of Al Gore

    brian on 2007.05.29 at 10:35 pm

    We could all use a little more Al. And screen space.

    3x30

    I bet Keynote looks epic on all those liquid crystals. I bet he gets a good deal on them as well. :-)

    Posted in: Apple · Politics

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  29. Apple Shaking DRM

    brian on 2007.04.03 at 12:19 am

    Today was a great day for all fans of digital music. Apple announced the loss of DRM and the doubling of the quality of the music files it sells.

    I was hoping for lossless, you know, equivalent to CDs which have been around for about 20 years now. But I’m not going to whine about it.

    But I will complain about the people who do whine.

    Cory Doctrow is always the first person to bitch about everything Apple does. He claimed Jobs cried wolf when Jobs wrote his open letter to the record industry. Now is his day to eat crow, but don’t hold your breath. That’s just not his style.

    That also brings Ryan Block, writer at a site that publishes high tech PR announcements. he thinks:

    we can’t help but feel the whole thing is gestural at best, and subterfuge at worst.

    They get what they ask for, and then state that it’s an illusion. It’s incredible that they can keep up the whiny 5-year old just as well as Cory can. The world is a marketplace, if you don’t see something you like, then don’t buy it. Vote with your wallet. It’s the only thing that counts.

    Corporations don’t listen to their customers, just their dollars. And Apple’s betting the money’s where the DRM isn’t. I agree.

    Engadget does bring up one valid point:

    you’d think Jobs would be quick to encourage Disney-owned labels, like Hollywood Records, Lyric Street Records, Mammoth Records, and Walt Disney Records, to “embrace [DRM-free] sales wholeheartedly.”

    But, like most of the curmudgeons on this topic, they ignore that corporations move slowly, and have major political in-fighting. Steve might have a hunk of Disney stock, but he can’t willy-nilly steer the company. Heck, seeing that EMI was ready before Disney, Steve very well might have seen the trip to London for the announcement as leverage for his own intra-Disney political battles…

    Let’s call this what it is: a solid first step.

    And on to a bigger question:

    Which bands are on EMI? How can I figure that out, and when can I start buying those new tracks? I have gift cards to use! Record companies don’t get this point: you’re all but invisible to consumers, and they only notice you when you do something bad… see also: Sony Rootkit.

    [Updates: 1) EMI artist listing hopefully iTunes will make finding them easier. 2) These tracks should surface on iTunes in May. ]

    Posted in: Apple · Media · Music

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  30. Apple buffs marketing savvy to a high shine.

    brian on 2007.03.11 at 11:27 pm

    Apple buffs marketing savvy to a high shine – Yahoo! News:

    “Put on a show. Tech companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Oracle and Adobe stage splashy events to unveil products, be it an operating system or software upgrade. Only Apple consistently succeeds in turning those kinds of events into headlines, because of Jobs’ endless devotion to fine-tuning. ‘Steve works harder than almost any CEO at being the master showman,’ Yoffie says.

    Most CEOs, says Charles Wolf, an analyst for Needham & Co., go on stage with an endless round of platitudes. ‘Steve leaves all the crap out of his presentation and focuses on what’s important,’ Wolf says.

    Says Markman: ‘What he does that few communicators do is leave things out. He starts with what he wants people to remember and works backward.’”

    (emphasis added)

    Work hard. Don’t BS. Good strategies, both.

    Posted in: Apple

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  31. Keychain Access: The Most Underused App on Mac OS X

    brian on 2007.03.11 at 07:29 pm

    Hey, if you have a Mac, especially with 10.4 (Tiger) you’re really missing out if you’re not using Keychain Access.

    Boring it sounds, I’m sure, but it’s terribly useful, and I’ve been using it since Tiger came out. There are a number of websites for which you would want to store your (many) usernames and (many) passwords but you don’t want these passwords stored in your browser’s autofill, and there are some situations where the web browser won’t recognize what you’re typing as a username and password and autofill isn’t even an option. For you there is Keychain Access.

    Read on for a detailed walk-through of simple, secure computing practices with Keychain Access.

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  32. Prototype within a Warehouse

    brian on 2007.03.10 at 12:25 am

    Everyone’s buzzing about this latest story about Apple Retail’s remarkably successful stores, which is on the mark. One thing that people seem to be especially noting is that Apple built a prototype store,

    One of the best pieces of advice Mickey ever gave us was to go rent a warehouse and build a prototype of a store, and not, you know, just design it, go build 20 of them, then discover it didn’t work,” says Jobs.

    This isn’t something Apple did just prior to the launch of the stores, but they’re constantly redeveloping it. I’ve been inside this “store within a warehouse” and it’s pretty impressive. It’s a honest, to-scale store within one of their non-descript buildings that’s a bit of campus.

    Posted in: Apple

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  33. DRM: the truth spoken

    brian on 2007.02.07 at 12:39 am

    Brilliant. Notice I didn’t write an exclamation mark. Because what I am about to write about isn’t ground breaking. It’s just common sense. Now, let’s get to the good stuff.

    Thoughts On Music by Steve Jobs

    …if the music companies are selling over 90 percent of their music DRM-free, what benefits do they get from selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system? There appear to be none. If anything, the technical expertise and overhead required to create, operate and update a DRM system has limited the number of participants selling DRM protected music. If such requirements were removed, the music industry might experience an influx of new companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players. This can only be seen as a positive by the music companies.

    I think a lot of people will see this as shocking. I do not. I speak from a position of knowing Apple a little better than the average folk, and for the most part the company has a strategy. “Do what’s good for the customer, it’s just good business.” The problem comes when people criticize Apple for doing something they don’t see as “good for the customer.” For example, Apple making the entire widget is good for the customer, because they can control the experience and the support on their own. There’s no one to impede or pass the buck to. But some people prefer to view this as a hinderance. That’s why markets exist. If you don’t like one option, there’s a competitor who does it better. (Except in the wireless telephony market, they all do it the same: bad.)

    One thing that has been repeatedly cited as evidence to Apple “not doing what’s good for the customer” is the usage of the FairPlay DRM by Apple. But if you read Steve’s comments, its clear that DRM was not their choice, but was the only thing that was beneficial to the consumer at the time, seeing that the consumer’s choices were narrow.

    Prior to Apple’s iTunes Store, you could buy un-DRM-ed music in a store on physical media. But after iTunes, you could buy un-DRM-ed music in a store on physical media or have the option of digital delivery of the music in a much more convenient way (in regards to the internet delivery, not needing to encode the music for your portable player, and the ability to buy individual tracks and the ability to preview every song before buying at fair prices.

    Clearly, 2 Billion songs later, iTMS + DRM was a positive choice for the consumer. It added a choice that many people chose to use. No one was forced, and they certainly are not locked in. You can burn your music to CD at any point and run off to any other musical technology ecosystem.

    But frankly, Apple’s take on DRM — the most liberal out there — is only making the best of a bad situation.

    Another realization is becoming clear, and this time, it’s the music industry who is going to have to put up with the inconvenience. They have to deal with piracy themselves, without treating the rest of us like criminals. It’s time to abolish DRM, once and for all.

    I want to download lossless digital music, at a reasonable cost, without the technology I use having to be locked down to help out the industry I’m giving money to. And I want it now.

    The only thing that stands in my way of achieving this goal, is the industry that can make it happen.

    The time is now. Let’s bury DRM.

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  34. Famous Last Words on Apple Product Releases

    brian on 2007.01.11 at 09:46 pm

    Most Dugg Comment on iPhone - click to enlarge

    Most Dugg comment on the iPhone post on Digg.

    THIS SUCKS MONKEY BUTT! This is the only reason I’d buy an iPhone. On my Palm, I have all kinds of apps, VPN client, a SSH Client for connecting to my servers, bowling, and other stuff. Not opening this up is a death sentence! – Digg Commenter

    First Slashdot Post on the Original iPod Announcement - click to enlarge

    History Lesson – First Slashdot Posting on the iPod circa 2001 by Rob Malda, creator of Slashdot.

    No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame. – Rob Malda

    Scoble's notes on AppleTV - click to enlarge

    Scoble announces AppleTV is DOA:

    Is the Apple TV only 720p HD? That really, really, really sucks. If that’s true this thing is dead on arrival. Apple, the entire industry is ahead of you if that’s true. – Robert Scoble

    Are we detecting a pattern? I thought I’d just document this for history’s sakes.

    Technorati Profile

    Posted in: Apple

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  35. iPhone.org is Apple.com

    brian on 2007.01.10 at 01:07 pm

    Here’s an observation: it’s been long known that iPhone.org was owned by Apple and redirected to Apple.com.

    iPhone.org masks Apple.com

    But now if you visit iPhone.org, it actually masks the whole URL, so you can go to any page within Apple’s site and its still “iPhone.org” like this screen shot I grabbed of http://iphone.org/airportextreme/

    If nothing else, that’s interesting.

    Posted in: Apple · Web

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  36. The News According to ABC

    brian on 2007.01.09 at 09:02 pm

    Today’s Top 3 News Stories according to ABC World News Tonight.

    An iPhone

    Clearly this is just as important.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology · Television

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  37. Unbelievable Battery

    brian on 2006.12.03 at 06:42 pm

    I love my new MacBook Pro Core 2.

    It’s battery life is particularly impressive.

    Battery Power, extraordinary.

    Posted in: Apple

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  38. iMac Heaven

    brian on 2006.11.02 at 11:24 pm

    24in. iMac

    At work, we’ve received the first of our new wave of Macs. Here’s the beauty I get the good fortune of using. Right now, I’m editing the next four SpoolCast audio podcasts on this 24in iMac. They’ll drop on BrainSparks as soon as they’re ready.

    Posted in: Apple

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  39. Use Boolean Operators in Mail.app Search

    brian on 2006.10.07 at 07:16 pm

    Macworld: Secrets: Get more from Mail

    To indicate an AND search in Mail—in other words, both search terms must be present in the message—use an ampersand (&). For example, you might type jack & jill in Mail’s Spotlight field to find messages containing both jack and jill. To specify an OR search—meaning that either, but not necessarily both, of the terms must be present—use a pipe character (|). For example, type jack | jill to find either of those names in a message. To specify a NOT search, use an exclamation point (!). For example, type jack & (jill | hill) ! water to find messages containing jack and either jill or hill but not water (see “Find It”). The parentheses group terms together so that a single AND, OR, or NOT applies to all of them. Be sure to include spaces between the terms whenever you type your search because if you don’t, the search (for example, jack|jill ) may not work.

    Awesome. I’ve wanted this for so long and it was there the whole time. I wish is was in the documentation!

    Here’s more than what’s in the article: since Mail’s Spotlight powers the Smart Mailbox functions… you can use Boolean searches to bolster the quality of your Smart Mailbox sorting! But the sad thing is that this appears not to function in the system-wide spotlight… when using the pipe operator, it pulls up documents that actually have the pipe character typed within them.

    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  40. Brian's New Job

    brian on 2006.10.06 at 01:37 pm

    Well, big news from my camp. I’m pleased to announce that I have accepted a job offer from User Interface Engineering. At UIE I look forward to working on some print design and layout, some website development, and some all-around general helping out, since they are a wonderfully small business where everyone has to help out with a little of everything. My first days with them will be helping out at their UI11 conference, which is starting this Monday 9-Oct (reception Sunday). I have no idea what I’ll be doing there, but I’ll be there! Logistics, I imagine.

    I met Jared Spool, the CEO/Founder of UIE, at PodCamp Boston 2006. I was excited to see he was on the presenter list and made sure to attend his session, which was one of the most interesting there. It’s clear why he’s such a popular speaker. Anyhow, I stalked him afterwards, and asked him “Where do you find employees?” He suggested I head over to their website, read a few things and email him with my thoughts. I did, and that’s turned out pretty well so far.

    I look forward to learning a great deal from my new co-workers. It will be great to get back to my roots of design, both digital and print. I look forward to the unknown factor as well… what else am I going to be a part of? I’m terribly excited.

    I looked at their website, and I have to say, I have no idea what they do there. -Dad

    There are downsides to the new position. One is that the office is in North Andover. OK, there’s nothing bad about that other than I have to drive from Medford to get there. Luckily it’s only about a 35 minute commute (I estimate), but I have to buy a car to get there. Now, personally, I love cars. But I’ll actually miss the public transit commute. Yes, believe it or not. I’ll also miss that I could ride my bike to work about 50% of the time. A lot. Most of my cycling was commuting. Now, I’ll have to find a new way to work that into my routine. But, now that I have my nights and weekends again, that remains a possibility. One major bonus is that my commute brings me right by the Harold Parker State Forest, which I hear is prime mountain biking terrain. I look forward to finding that out on my own. Clearly after I iron out the car, I’ll need to get a bike rack for it.

    On my other blog, I’m going to discuss the commute and the search for the new car, as well.

    Lastly, you might say What? Brian’s leaving Apple? Yes, I’m a pretty proud Apple employee. I look forward to continuing to use Apple products daily in my new job (still need to discuss this, but I have a good feeling about it). However, for the time being, I’ve mostly worked out staying on in a limited, part time role. So you’ll still be able to find me behind the Genius Bar. This is partly because I have such loyalty to my co-workers (they are truly great) and partly I have great deal of loyalty to Apple the company (they’ve earned it — I’m mostly leaving for family reasons [that is to say I need nights and weekends to see my wife and family]).

    Of course, Rain Hypertext is still alive and well.

    Posted in: Apple · Cool Info · Service Announcement · Web

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  41. iPod + Bose for Hi-Fidelity Home Listening

    brian on 2006.08.24 at 05:47 pm

    My Uncle, whose mountain house I just returned from, is a big fan of classical music and has a nice Bose Lifestyle 38 sound system with which to listen to it with. Bose Lifestyle 38 Audio SystemIt has a clever feature where you import CDs onto its internal hard disk, and it has creative ways of organizing your music. The user interface could use a little help, but the key to the system is that it keeps your music at pristine quality, instead of, say converting it to crummy MP3s. However, when it’s full, it’s full. Bose makes no expansion modules. For my uncle, it is full now, about a year after purchasing it. However, there is hope for him.

    I took the time to write up a basic backgrounder on how to use an iPod to expand his system. You might just say, “Duh, Brian. It’s so easy to just import your music and then play it through his system’s line in.” Apple iPod, Docked in a Universal Dock And you’d be right. However, if you keep with all the defaults, and simplest hook ups, it would work (and be great for most people) but an audiophile would be left dissatisfied. That’s why I wrote the following, which includes a quick background on digital compression techniques. Read on for more.

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Technology

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  42. Plus-Up your run

    brian on 2006.07.20 at 04:47 pm

    If this is a sign of gadgets to come, then I think we’ve all got some smiles ahead. Too bad I don’t run. I guess I need a nano, too. I hope they come out with one for cycling, with a special one-ear headset so I can still hear the road.

    Posted in: Apple · Sports · Technology

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  43. Sad, Rainy Day

    brian on 2006.06.07 at 07:05 pm

    I guess it’s appropriate.

    Yesterday was 06/06/06. No Satan rising, but my beloved 12” PowerBook’s harddrive did have 6.66GB of available space on it. Spooky? You bet. Especially considering it’s dead now. No joke. Despite getting a “Verified” thumbs up from SMART status, my drive cannot do a surface scan, nor an integrity check in Drive Genius. That and it keeps on hanging.

    Luckily, unlike most of the computing populace, I had good backups. Not everything, so I could have lost some sutff… but I was able to pull off several more small (but not critical) things via the lovely FireWire Target Disk Mode. I wasn’t able to fully clone the drive in CCC, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Besides, after I replace the drive (one’s on order) I wouldn’t want to put it back together exactly the same way it was before… I would have the opportunity to leave out a lot of junk. Nice clean install of 10.4. Of course, having the clone would have been nice since I could have imported all the user data via the Mirgration Assistant, which is a phenomenal tool. Nicely, I have one month of AppleCare left, so that hard drive is free, baby!

    So, fittingly, starting last night and probably through till Saturday, it will be raining here. Ugh.

    Was this a sign? Is it time for a new MacBook? Absolutely, but this wasn’t the catalyst. It has everything to do with Amanda needing a new computer… the indigo iBook she has is over 6 years old. What a trooper!

    Related: it’s nice to blog back here again. I’ve posted a few personal-type blog entries over at “WordPress.com“http://noreaster.wordpress.com/ while we develop a homegrown personal section here at Re¢ently. (mini review: snazzy, but lacks Textile, so that’s a big bummer for me) Soon, I’ll have more technical stuff to talk about here since I’m finally done getting married. Oh, BTW, I got married. :-)

    Posted in: Apple

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  44. Get a Mac.

    brian on 2006.05.02 at 04:14 pm

    Images of the actors in the ads for the Get a Mac campaign

    See the new ads.

    Posted in: Apple

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  45. Apple Offers Free Computer Take-Back Program

    brian on 2006.04.21 at 03:19 pm

    Apple Offers Free Computer Take-Back Program

    Apple® today announced an expansion of its successful recycling program, offering free computer take-back and recycling with the purchase of a new Macintosh® system beginning in June. US customers who buy a new Mac® through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com) or Apple’s retail stores will receive free shipping and environmentally friendly disposal of their old computer as part of the Apple Recycling program.

    Posted in: Apple · Science

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  46. He said it.

    brian on 2005.12.24 at 01:33 am

    These two blog entries make me nearly tear my hair out.

    {Minor update: I agree with Kottke, there is still good in him…}

    Winer: The user interface on iTunes is awful. It’s the worst piece of crap I’ve ever used…I buy the CDs and scan em in… [explains he lost some music] What did I do wrong? I swear, I have no idea, and I’m a professional software designer. What about the poor schnook who is just a user?

    Take a quick look at his blog, then look around the web for screen shots of Frontier or his OPML… and he thinks iTunes has bad interface? I’d say their interfaces are from the stone age, but that would be an insult to the tools developed then. But wait it gets better…

    What’s better than iTunes/iPod? Why, his Archos.

    Winer: Let’s say I bought an audiobook, it comes on eight CDs, I rip it into eight folders, write a script to name the files 001.mp3, 002.mp3, 003.mp3, etc. From there, if I copy the files to the Archos, it does the right thing when I start playing the first file, it goes to the second, then to the third.

    But the iPod can’t be made to care what the filename is, so it plays them in the order of the ID3 info, which is almost completely random because the ripper has no idea that the eight CDs are actually one big document… So the Archos wins (emph. mine)

    Oh. My. God. I cannot barely refrain from profanity. This expert in software development thinks writing a goddamn script is easier than using iTunes? Are you f*n kidding me? OMFG. It’s simple. You rip it in iTunes, Select all the tracks your ripped, you click Get Info, you give them all the same title (album name) and author (artist). Then close the window, deselect all, then click Get Info on each and make a track number. 1, 2, 3. Move the music to your iPod. Now simply select the album on the iPod and press play… it magically plays in track order. Call it a miracle.

    But, no the Archos is better. That’s why the sweet, seventy year old grandmother today I spoke with today came in with her Archos explaining she takes that ten pound brick with her every where. And when she’s home she listens to it in her Archos speaker system. Yup, that’s right. Oh wait, that was an iPod. The same one “professional software designer” Dave Winer cannot operate. But forgive her. She may have been sweet, but she’s just “poor schnook who is just a user”

    Minor update #2: I might have gone off the deep end in retrospect, but, damn that was cathartic.

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware · Software · Technology

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  47. Recommended

    brian on 2005.11.06 at 12:01 pm

    How to connect to your Mac securely from anywhere.

    A great how-to video from Mark Pilgrim who is all-too unheard of these days… I could do with a lot more of these.

    Posted in: Apple

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  48. iTunes 5 and iPod nano

    brian on 2005.09.08 at 11:28 pm

    First, I like the new iTunes 5 interface a lot. The smooth aluminum grey is sharp, and I like the polished glass look.

    This has inspired John Gruber’s funniest post to date, The iTunes 5 Announcement From the Perspective of an Anthropomorphized Brushed Metal User Interface Theme

    Secondly, the iPod nano is hot. It’s “impossibly thin.” I can feel my wallet getting thinner, too.

    Posted in: Apple

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  49. Harry Potter and the iTunes Store

    jake on 2005.09.07 at 06:11 pm

    Today we were introduced to a few new products from Apple. They all involved audio. We have a replacement for the iPod mini, the iPod nano. We have, finally, the announcement of the iTunes Phone, which is basically a phone with the iPod shuffle capability. And lastly we have an update to iTunes itself.

    Harry Potter on iTunes Accompanying the iTunes update is a branded Harry Potter iPod and all the audio books from the iTunes store. This is where I find a fault.

    I’ve never paid much attention to audio books, if I’m interested in a book I usually just read it. I had no idea how expensive they were. I had to clean the coffee off my monitor after reading the $49.95 price for the latest installment. You can get Half-blood Prince in book form for well below that even if you pay full price. At the iTunes store you’re basically paying the same price as the CD version bought at a reduced price at Amazon. Oddly enough the tape version saves you $25 bucks at full listed price. Wouldn’t you just convert a CD copy over and drop it on your iPod?

    Just because a narrator is being paid to record the whole book is it really justified to cost so much? It’s obviously not from pressing CD’s.

    The greatest problem I find with this is that when you’re going through Apple you are not only shunned from a big discount for buying the set of audio books but you are also denied a discount when buying the set along with the iPod. Usually bundles save you money. Is anyone who already owns all the books really going to pay $548 just to listen to something they’ve already read on a branded iPod. Just give me the special iPod and I’ll go pop open my books thanks.

    Posted in: Apple · Books

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  50. AOL Radio Client for Mac in Beta

    brian on 2005.08.29 at 05:16 pm

    AOL Radio for Mac InterfaceAOL is in transition. Its traditional revenue model was being America’s largest dial-up internet service provider. That is now in decline due to the significant growth of broadband in the United States. Now, they are attempting to become a portal and content provider.

    Read more for a review of the AOL Radio for Mac (Beta) Client…

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  51. Somatic

    brian on 2005.08.17 at 09:10 pm

    Soma FM out of San Francisco is one of my favorite internet radio outfits. Secret Agent may be my all time favorite stream. They offer a ton of different types of feeds (mp3, aacPlus, 3GP, and the format which won’t be named) over their many channel selections. Additionally, I listen to Groove Salad and Indie Pop Rocks! occasionally, as well.

    I mention this because someone has produced a widget for Tiger’s Dashboard for Soma FM fans. Check it out. (via.)

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Software

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  52. The Pirates of Silicon Valley

    brian on 2005.08.17 at 08:51 pm

    Whenever people ask me about the back story of Apple, and Microsoft and how things got where they are today in the world of personal computing, I often suggest they try to find a copy of The Pirates of Silicon Valley at their local video store. It was a fairly well made-for-TV movie that aired on TNT back about six years ago.

    Now, Amazon has it on DVD. So add it to your collection. It’s never going to win any awards, but Noah Wyle (as Steven P. Jobs) and Anthony Michael Hall (as William H. Gates) are entertaining while teaching a good-enough history of the personal computing revolution.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  53. Get Your Own iBook

    brian on 2005.08.16 at 09:55 pm

    If you didn’t hear about this this weekend, apparently people are willing to urinate on themselves and beat others with folding chairs in order to get an four-year-old used iBook from the Henrico Country, VA School System.

    In more peaceful news, I helped my future sister-in-law and two dear friends into new iBooks this weekend. Both seem very happy with them as well.

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware

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  54. iPod vs the World

    brian on 2005.07.03 at 04:08 am

    As a follow up to Jake’s post about the Zen Micro I’d like to point our readers to this story by my favorite technology pundit, John Gruber, entitled “Shuffling” If you want to cut to the chase, skip down to the paragraphs that start with the heading “Simplification.”

    I imagine the engineers at Creative banging their heads against whiteboards listing all the features they offer that Apple doesn’t, while Apple’s market share continues to rise. It’s a cop-out to chalk this up to “marketing”, however.

    This is the major reason behind the iPod’s success: not because it has a lot of buttons, but because it only has a few, and they feel good when you press them.

    It’s not the feature set, or the wiz-bang. It’s the experience, it’s the whole, not the parts.

    (Sorry, couldn’t leave this alone ;-)

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Technology

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  55. Live 8 Lives on via iTunes

    brian on 2005.07.03 at 03:45 am

    Only an hour or so into today’s mammoth Live 8 concert, iTunes was posting the Live 8 concert footage, ready for purchase, track by track with all proceeds going towards the Live 8 causes. [ITMS]

    Excellent.

    This is absolutely incredible. The DVD will be out in November but the songs are ready to download within hours of their performance. Does anyone doubt this is the future of music distribution?

    Anyone else think maybe AOL should have harnessed their Apple + iTunes connections and perhaps but Apple in charge of all the digital media for today’s event? But I digress…

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Politics

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  56. Jobsian Commencement Speech

    brian on 2005.06.18 at 09:03 pm

    You may have read bits and pieces of Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford University, but if you haven’t seen the full text, you really should. It’s much more interesting and inspiring than the soundbites reported by the media.

    Full-Text Transcript of Steve Jobs’ Speech at the 2005 Commencement of Stanford University, delivered on June 12, 2005.

    Posted in: Apple · Cool Info

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  57. Summer Mac Projects

    brian on 2005.06.12 at 06:15 pm

    It’s summer time and that means summer projects! So grab your favorite Mac and head over to this swell collection of Mac OS X how-to’s for cool things to do on your Mac when the the sun is out and you should really be outside enjoying it.

    Or I suppose you could take your PowerBook outside with you… may I suggest a sun umbrella and or Universal Access’ Switch to Black on White mode for outdoor viewing.

    Posted in: Apple · Software · Technology · Web

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  58. Dashboard Tray Shortcut Found!

    brian on 2005.05.03 at 02:17 pm

    For all of you who have made the jump to Tiger, here’s the epiphany I had today: there is a keyboard shortcut to open the Dashboard Widget Tray when dashboard is envoked: it is Cmd-= (semantically it’s cmd-+ but that’d actually be cmd-shift-+, right?) Additionally, it toggles the tray: you can both open and close it with the same combo.

    Rejoice!

    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  59. DMB finally on iTunes

    brian on 2005.04.25 at 12:34 pm

    'American Baby' Cover ArtThe Dave Matthews Band has finally made it on to the iTunes Music Store. Their pre-release single, “American Baby” off of their upcoming studio release “Stand Up” is now available for download.

    Excellent.

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  60. Why Shuffle When you can Saunter?

    brian on 2005.04.23 at 02:34 am

    Reading Matt’s post on why he sometimes prefers his iPod Shuffle to his original style iPod made me wonder to myself, “Self, why do you use the Shuffle sometimes, and the regular iPod other times?”

    The answer I decided laid in usage patterns. I use the Shuffle in two distinct situations. One, when I run up the street for a bottle of lemonade or a burrito grande. I throw it in my pocket. Instead of deciding what to listen to, I embrace uncertainty.

    Two, on the train. I hop the T and I like the Shuffle in my front pants pocket. Should I be lucky enough to have a seat, should I want to change tracks or the volume, it’s easy. Despite a lack of visual interface, the Shuffle sports a cognitive–tactile interface. Here’s my home grown manual:

    Find the big circle: Play/Pause. Next track? Push to the left of big circle (assumes your headphone jack is pointing up in your pocket: orientation is key). More volume? Press above big circle… and so on. I don’t use the hold function (which deactivates the buttons, enabled by holding the play/pause for 3 seconds and confirmed by a orange LED flash) because since acquiring said Shuffle, I’ve mistakenly hit the buttons only once.

    Go forth and enjoy. Give Chance a Chance.

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  61. New Safari 1.3

    brian on 2005.04.16 at 12:46 pm

    *Outstanding.* Dave Hyatt write on his weblog about the release of of Safari 1.3 along with Mac OS X 10.3.9 update. There are "thousands" of engine updates.

    Those of you running Panther can now update to 10.3.9. This update includes Safari 1.3 and new versions of WebKit, WebCore, and JavaScriptCore that contain thousands of improvements we've made to the engine since Safari 1.2.

    What you are getting is all of the new standards support, new WebKit capabilites, site compatibility fixes and performance optimizations that are also present in Safari 2.0 for Tiger. The layout engines for the two are virtually identical.

    Excellent. "Read more about the update on Dave's weblog.":http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/hyatt/archives/2005_04.html#007962 There's a lot to mention, but how about improved JavaScript, adding XSLT, and um, 35% faster page loads? Oh, and for any of your other applications that use WebKit (ala "NetNewsWire":http://ranchero.com/netnewswire et al) they get all of the benefits, too! Nice.

    Posted in: Apple · Standards · Web

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  62. Tiger Prep

    brian on 2005.04.14 at 01:54 pm

    Box of Mac OS X Get ready for the unleashing of Tiger on Friday April 29th. Check out the list of Tiger’s new features. Purr.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  63. Google X

    brian on 2005.03.16 at 03:12 am

    Rumor has it that GMail runs on XServes. Could this be further evidence?

    I preset thee Google X

    (actual story here: GoogleBlog hat tip: TUAW)

    Posted in: Apple · Design · Web

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  64. Should I Stay or…

    brian on 2005.03.15 at 12:56 pm

    A while back I posted about the history of the Graphing Calculator that resides in Apple’s operating systems.

    The story has made it into “This American Life” and you can start listening at the 26minute mark if you’d like to hear the audio version of the tale. (Real Audio) [link via DaringFireball]

    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  65. Rumor Sites under Scrutiny

    brian on 2005.03.10 at 02:13 am

    I’m trying hard to keep my opinion about this whole situation to myself, but since Chuq has come out and written a very nice blurb on the whole situation, I simply must link him here. His family’s background in journalism helps him speak with authority.

    To me, it’s sad, some of the people in the blogosphere I respect the most are getting this one quite wrong. But differences in opinion are OK.

    Posted in: Apple · Recent Events · Web

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  66. G5 No Audio Fix

    brian on 2005.02.14 at 12:05 am

    A friend of mine and I both run G5s (he a dual 2.5, me, a single 1.8) and we both run a lot of media. We both mysteriously lost all audio on our systems. We had a strong suspicion that it was a software issue. Our systems would chime at start up, so we knew the hardware was working.

    After digging through Apple’s Discussions Boards (the proper second place, after searching Apple’s Knowledge Base , to start all your diagnostic journeys) I found a hint… that there was a bug in VideoLan Client 0.8.1 causing a simliar issue on G5s

    After some digging my friend and I both found the cure in this tweak of VLC

    1) advanced options->modules->audio output->coreaudio – set to audio output value to 1. 2) Quit VLC (important). 3) Open Apple system prefs > sound > output section. 4) Physically unplug stereo line out cable from back of G5. 5) Plug stereo line out back in to G5. Note ‘Line out’ appears in device list as it is automatically detected by g5. 6) Click to select Line out with mouse. 7) Quit sys prefs and launch VLC, sound should be working now.

    Hopefully, if you’re having this glitch, this post will help the findablility of the fix. Whether this bug will be squashed by the hardy devs at VLC is in question, by the sounds of it, there are no OS X VLC devs with G5s to test it.

    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  67. New PowerBooks

    brian on 2005.01.31 at 01:35 pm

    Hi, all. You may notice that I usually don’t blog about new Apple product releases. But since Jake asked me to, I’ll point out a few less noticeable, but seriously cool, upgrades to the new line of PowerBookG4s . Everyone can see the speed bump and the price drop but here’s a few things you might miss:

    • Scrolling touchpad. No longer do you need to turn to third party software if you care to scroll using your touchpad, you can now scroll with built-in drivers.
    • New Bluetooth 2.0. Improves speeds from 1.0 to 3mbps. These G4 portables are the first computers to offer Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (enhanced data rate) in the world. Still backwards compatible with BT 1.0, of course.
    • Dual DVI technology. Some of you may know that Apple’s gargantuan 30 HD display requires two DVI connections to move all those pixels. Now Apple has graphics in a portable that can support that: standard in the 17”, optional on the 15” Stock 15”‘s and 12”‘s can use the 23”‘s as max.
    • Sudden Motion Sensing. You may have seen IBMs adds regarding dropping your co-worker’s laptop while at the lunch counter. This is still a bad idea (dropping any electronic device), but now Apple’s portable hard drives can go a little further in attempting to lock down their moving parts to “brace” for impact. Still, don’t drop your laptop.
    • Super SuperDrives: DVD-burning is now supported in the DVD+R/RW disc format as well as DVD-R/RW. And does so at 8x speed, if you have 8x discs.
    • Up to 100mb hard drives available. All drives (60, 80, 100) come as 5400rpm mechanisms. All machines have minimum 512mb of DDR RAM installed at the factory.

    Man, these make look at my 867mhz 12” and think back to when it was the top of the line…

    These are just my own observations, do please see the official Apple press release for details and check out the PowerBook on Apple’s website .

    Posted in: Apple

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  68. Mac Mini and other Apple announcements

    jake on 2005.01.11 at 07:26 pm

    Early this afternoon Apple had one of their famous conferences where they talk about the really cool stuff coming out in the near future. I still haven’t figured out why I write about this stuff more than Brian. Maybe he feels you all might think he’s biased.

    Mac Mini

    Mac Mini being heldIn this expo the biggest announcement in my book was the Mac Mini. Not only is it small but it’s almost as powerful as my Power Book. If I had a reason to buy one outside of some urge to fit in with the Mac community I’d do it. Especially since I’d have to up the power and push the cost well above it’s $499-$599 base price.

    Mac Mini backsideThe only gripe I have is the weak graphics power with no expansion. I’m not saying it has to be top of the line, but at least give us a little more RAM on those things. Well that and not including Gigabit Ethernet.

    That would really help my dream… Could someone buy a group of them, cluster them, and show pictures of them stacked up? I would absolutely love to see that.

    Technorati Mac Mini Results

    iWork

    Although I’m a fan of the software upgrade to iLife. I’m more interested to see where Apple is taking iWork

    Are they really gonna take on Office in the future? Pages looks like a nice word processor.

    The iPod shuffle looks cute. But I think if I was to buy any iPod I’d go for a full size original version.

    Update

    Go to http://www.apple.com/ipodshuffle/ and at the bottom, read footnote number two, it could save your life.

    Posted in: Apple

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  69. Holiday Update

    brian on 2004.12.28 at 03:33 pm

    Of course, posting traditionally lapses during the holidays. Mine thus far are going well, aside from having to sprint to southern New Jersey for a 24 hour visit before rushing back to work to deal with the 26th of December mobs. My back hasn’t yet recovered, and that’s partially due to the foot of snow dropped on us on the 27th.

    Recently, I’ve been playing with a few new acquisitions. I picked up an iSight camera , which I’ve temporarily deployed as a webcam in my front window. It’s running EvoCam from Amanda’s iBook, so when she returns from Connecticut after her extended stay, I imagine she’ll want to use it again. So be it noted, this link will break , rather it will still be there, but not updated as it is currently, starting by probably tomorrow. I’ll find another solution. BTW – you must refresh that image manually, since I’ve written no code for auto-refresh. It gets a new image every five minutes. They’re hardly ever anything interesting, and I apologize for the screen.

    Elsewhere, I have a new base-model G5 tower for our home server, and this is the first post from the new machine. I set it up just today, and I first wiped the drive and reinstalled the OS to make sure I have the bare minimum install (no extraneous foreign languages I’ll never use, for example) taking up the least space.

    I am currently backing up my life from my main PowerBook, via Target Disk Mode which is a fabulous invention. Recently, my PowerBook has been chirping and occasionally a clack can be heard as well. This worries me, thus, I have started the tower’s first purpose: backup vehicle. Soon, I will be adding a second SATA drive to the unit to improve upon the base storage (80GB), and some extra RAM as well. These will help me accomodate the second purpose of the tower: home media server, which will begin with hosting all of our iTunes and iPhoto needs. The third planned purpose is as in-house web server, and that’ll be the last thing I set up. I’ll likely start simple by adding controls for PHP, a little MySQL, and then probably in simple implementation of Instiki and lastly an install of TextPattern .

    More updates when time permits, but for now I’m off to work.

    Posted in: Apple · Cool Info · Hardware · Software · Technology · Web

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  70. Del.icio.us

    brian on 2004.12.22 at 01:37 am

    BTW, if you're not playing with "del.icio.us":http://del.icio.us yet, you should sign up. I think this going somewhere, although I'm not quite sure where yet.

    Somewhere similar to where "Flickr":http://www.flickr.com/ is going, I'm sure.

    And if you want an open source OS X GUI for del.icio.us, then you're looking for "Cocoalicous":http://www.scifihifi.com/cocoalicious/ , of course.

    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  71. Using PGP Encryption and Signatures with Apple's Mail

    brian on 2004.12.08 at 05:37 pm

    How to: Using GnuPG and Apple Mail for Encryption and Digital Signatures.

    Jake and I were curious to see how we could get our email more secure. He was working on getting a set up at his job for some sensitive financial information to be transmitted via the internet. I was just curious about more secure email, since I knew Mac OS X had some good security features in it.

    I had looked into this once before, and my eyes glossed over when looking it over. Jake, being more familiar with unix was not so detered, and figured it out without much fuss. Thus, once he set it up in Mozilla Thunderbird, his work email app that he uses with his company's Windows machines, he figured out how to add it to his personal PowerBook.

    Wanting to learn, I had Jake walk me through the steps of the set up. It's clear from the attempt that while its not exceedingly difficult to implement PGP on Mac, it's not going to spread like wildfire until someone improves the user experience. The following walk through will dive into the terminal briefly, and some of the GUI aspects leave much to be desired.

    Let it be noted that I am eternally grateful to those who took the time to build GUIs for OS X so that I might enter the PGP world without much fuss, and I hope my criticisms here are seen as only constructive and supportive towards their authors efforts.

    And just before we begin the installation, I just wanted to mention that some of the functionality we are about to install is already present in OS X, however, it is well hidden, designed to automatically kick in when needed. It is however, a different style of email security.

    To use the built-in encryption and digital signature abilities of Mail, you need to have a digital ID certificate of your own, stored in the keychain. However, the Mail Help is very vague on how to achieve that. Additionally, Keychain Access does not have its own help (it has a very tips thrown in to the general Mac OS X help).

    Apple's Mail Help says

    You can get someone's certificate if that person sends you a digitally signed or encrypted message, since that person's certificate is automatically included in such messages. When you receive one of these messages, Mail automatically stores this person's certificate in the keychain.

    Once you have a signing certificate for your mail account stored in your keychain, additional buttons appear in the Compose window, allowing you to digitally sign or encrypt a message.

    It does not tell us how to add our own signing certificate into the Keychain, or how to create one if we don't have one. The secret is thus: Apple's Mail and Keychain only currently work with third-party certificate authorities. The one most people talk about in these circles is thawte.com, where you must establish an identity. This third party vouches for you, that you are who you say you are.

    If you would care to use this style of security in your email, then I might direct you to two excellent tutorials,

    http://www.joar.com/certificates/

    http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2003/01/20/mail.html

    PGP works differently. It only needs two parties. For example, I know Jake in the real world, we've lived together even. So when he sends me his public key, I don't need a third party to establish who he is. If you have this level of comfort with those your are attempting to communicate with securely, then you are all set, PGP will work for you. Let's see how to get it to work for Mac OS X.

    First, go to the MacGPG website and download the latest Mac version of the application, "GNU Privacy Guard." (often shortened to GPG, just to be confusing.) When I wrote this tutorial, version 1.2.4 was current.

    http://macgpg.sourceforge.net/

    Next you'll want to be able to create your own PGP keys, so you'll need an application for that, too. Smartly enough, it's on that same page and called "GPGKeys" You can download it now, too.

    We're going to install MacGPG first. It's simple... an installer should automatically appear when its finished downloading. If it didn't automatically appear, then double click to open the GnuPG disk image (.dmg). An installer will appear. Follow the instructions. When it is finished, you will not see the finished product anywhere... its off in the BSD section of your Mac... that's OK. We're going to use other applications which will use GnuPG behind the curtains.

    (If you manually turned off the BSD part of the Mac OS X install at any point in your Mac's life, chances are this install will not work. You will need to install this portion from a Mac OS X install disc. By default, the BSD goods are installed. If none of this sounds familiar, worry not, it's likely in there.)

    Next, we'll install the application to create our key. Find "GPGKeys " (in the downloads folder, usually your Desktop) open it up. There is no active installer for this application. Drag the "GPGKeys" application to your Applications folder (or the place of your choice).

    Now, go find it, launch. GPGKeys is a GUI interface to create a PGP key, only in the most loosest of interpretations. Under the Key menu, click "generate" and you'll be brought proptly to the command line. Gasp! I don't see why this couldn't be wrapped in a GUI, but luckily, it's a pretty straight forward CLI.

    First, it'll ask what types of cipher you'd like to create. I chose the default.

    Second, key size, I again chose the defaults.

    Third, expiry... how long do you want this to work until you have to create another.

    Next, it asks for name, email, both pretty self-explanatory, and a comment, which is whatever you want it to be. Perhaps a title for your own use, so you might identify this key later.

    Next, the app will create the key, using some random text, which you'll be asked to participate in, if you wish.

    It will end by showing you a key. You won't have to copy this, because when you quit the application (which is will now ask you about) it'll show up in the GUI app, once you leave the terminal. Once you leave the terminal, if your key isn't seen in the window, refresh the window. (Window > Refresh)

    Last words about GPGKeys... if you're looking to exchange PGP-secured documents with others, you'll need their public key. This is stored as a file, and you need to store it in this GPGKeys application. When you aquire the file, you can put it here by simply choosing (File > Import)

    Next, we need to incorporate PGP into Apple's Mail.app.

    Acquire the GPGMail app from

    http://www.sente.ch/software/GPGMail/English.lproj/GPGMail.html#Installation

    I didn't see this as a qualification anywhere, but i would suggest quitting Apple's Mail during the following install, since this app will be attaching itself to it.

    This application also comes with a double-click installer. Use it.

    Now, open Apple Mail and check the Preferences, you should have a new pane called "PGP." Set the preferences you'd like to use.

    Once these are set, whenever you open a Mail composition window, you'll have a new row beneath the addressing section, which allows you check a box if you want you message signed and/or encrypted (you can sign an un-encrypted email), and pull down menus to select which keys to use in these tasks.

    Once you have this set up, and a friend who is also using a similar set up, and you have exchanged keys, then you can send, receive and read encrypted email. Enjoy.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  72. Good Stuff for your Mac

    brian on 2004.11.07 at 05:08 pm

    NewFire is a cool, lite newsfeed reader for Mac OS XNeed a simple XML/RSS news feed reader? Check out NewsFire. Very pretty. Small and light. I'm never going to leave NetNewsWire for it, but its fun for light usage. And super-pretty.

    I've been usage sideTrack to enable scrolling on my touchpad and crtl-clicking, very cool, a little jumpy, but hey, its a hack. Also note, that conceptually, since its a kernel extention, it could cause issues w/ your system, or break when system updates come. Heads up, you've been warned.

    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  73. More dotMac

    brian on 2004.09.29 at 02:18 pm

    Swinging by the dotMac website today, I noticed Apple upgraded the standard account to give you 250mb of storage to split amongst your iDisk and your Mail (with a 50mb cap on the email). Previously it was 100mb/15mb. Also, they now allow upto a 10mb attachment per email. Great. One gig is what you need? $50/year more.

    Posted in: Apple · Web

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  74. My Friends in the News

    brian on 2004.09.22 at 05:52 pm

    Hey, some of my friends are getting their 15 words of fame. Or something like that.

    It's sure nice to draw some non-iPod questions once in a while. A nice change of pace.

    Posted in: Apple

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  75. Mount iMac

    jake on 2004.09.02 at 07:24 pm

    iMac VESA mount adapterWell I am surprised that Brian hasn't said anything about the new iMac yet. I originally had to let it sink in before I made any comments. Then yesterday I realized that the functionality of the new iMac is diminshed. It may be faster, but it's tied down to that stand similar to the new displays. This was reinforced by a fellow employee who explained how his kids love moving the monitor around on their older machine almost just for fun, but also for function when showing something to mommy and daddy.

    I thought, it would be great if you could stick it on a wall, use a wireless keyboard/mouse and save even more desk space. Plus it could be a pretty hot picture frame when not in use. ;)

    What was Apple thinking?!?

    But today I discovered that, even though it adds to the price, you can get a VESA compatible mounting bracket at the Apple Store to stick the thing either on a wall or an articulating arm, also like the new Cinema Displays. Awesome! Too bad I can't just blow money on stuff like this.

    What does everyone else think of the new design?

    From: MacMinute

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware

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  76. Apple: a Bicycle for the mind.

    brian on 2004.07.31 at 12:30 am

    Via Celsius1414:

    In 1981, 'Apple had recently taken out a two page ad in Scientific American, featuring quotes from Steve Jobs about the wonders of personal computers. The ad explained how humans were not as fast runners as many other species, but a human on a bicycle beat them all. Personal computers were "bicycles for the mind."' -- from BikeBiz.co.uk

    Posted in: Apple · Sports

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  77. Sport meets Tech

    brian on 2004.07.25 at 11:23 pm

    When some of our stores are visited by celebrities, they often take pictures, and show them off to the other stores via an intranet. Whereas that's cool to see for us, our store doesn't participate. We play it cool, and try not to bother them.

    So when the world's most successful female athlete showed up the other day we kept it on the DL. She needed to find out about using her PowerBook to get on the internet for an upcoming trip to Greece. Rounded out with a couple iPod questions, and she was on her way, ready to take on the world. I skipped the congratulations on international goal 150, and my co-worker didn't make a big deal about the local professional athlete-spouse on her desktop with her. We wished her the best of luck on her trip and she was on her way.

    Our next customer asked "What was it like to talk to an Olympian?"

    Athletes, stars, Nobel prize winners, Knights of the Crown, its all just another day at the office.

    Posted in: Apple · Sports

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  78. 9/11 Hearings Free to Download at iTMS

    brian on 2004.07.19 at 11:57 am

    From MacMinute

    The iTunes Music Store (iTMS) is now offering free audio downloads of the 9-11 Commission hearings. The 9-11 Commission is an independent, bipartisan commission investigating the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 tragedy in New York.

    Hmm. It will be interesting to see if this becomes that happens with more regularity, or if it's a one time thing.

    Posted in: Apple · Politics

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  79. Pledge Drive: Daring Fireball

    brian on 2004.06.30 at 08:37 pm

    Have you pledged your support yet? Freeloader! How will NPR, PBS, or John Gruber survive if only 10% of their users pay for their content?

    I have subscribed to support Daring Fireball. I appreciate John's insight on the industry. You might see similarities between my post on Dashboard and his own. The reason to pay him is that his is a lot more complete or indepth than my own. Mine came first, though. ;-)

    I've subscribed for one other reason, to help John lead a live as I might one day wish to: self-employed. Good luck John!

    Posted in: Apple · Web

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  80. Dashboard

    brian on 2004.06.30 at 04:58 pm

    If Dashboard was influenced by Konfabulator, then Konfabulator was certainly influenced by Desktop Ornaments.

    But all great artists are at least cognizant of what work other artists are producing. So let's leave it at "everyone influences everyone." It's a free market after all. Despite "free" RSS in Safari, I will remain an ardent, paying supporter of NetNewsWire. Hopefully Brent will be inspired by the new focus on RSS by the big guys. Like his software work, he just gets it.

    The sky is not falling. However, Dave Hyatt has this to say about his role in Dashboard, it uses the "full power of WebKit behind each one... CSS2, DOM2, JS, HTML, XMLHttpRequest, Flash, Quicktime, Java, etc." Well that's a lot more than just javascript. Flash on the desktop, which is something Macromedia has been toying with for quite sometime. The breadth of what you can harness excites me.

    Posted in: Apple

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  81. BMW (Mini) and the iPod

    jake on 2004.06.22 at 01:18 pm

    Mini Cooper ConvertibleI know Brian's the Apple guy but I had to make note of this because of my affinity for Mini. BMW/Mini and Apple are releasing a method for attaching an iPod to some of BMW's cars to listen to your music collection. I have to agree with Engadget with their view of its shortcomings. Hopefully by the time I can afford one of these cars it'll have some of the problems ironed out. I'll keep my fingers crossed they take this all into account when they work on the next audio system for the vehicles.

    Maybe if Apple integrates Bluetooth into the iPod directly, instead of a third party attachment, it can be used with the future implementation of the Mini. That would be friggin' sweet.

    Posted in: Apple · Art · Music

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  82. Apple's New Stuff

    brian on 2004.06.09 at 12:38 pm

    Just in case we're the only source for your Apple & Mac news, here's what's happened so far this week:

    Monday: AirPort Express. An AirPort Extreme/WiFi/802.11g wireless router/bridge with optical-digital and analog audio out (controlled from any iTunes 4.6 library on your network) to plug in to your sound system, and USB for wireless printing. I want one. I have to wait to mid-July. Oh, and it's the size of your fist, and can hang right from the power outlet. Hot.

    Wednesday: New PowerMac G5s. All dual processors: 1.8, 2.0, 2.5 Liquid cooled. Also available in July. Lastly, according to the press release, the PowerMac G4 production will be ended. Last call for OS 9-only booting systems.

    Posted in: Apple

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  83. Pulpit Shaky

    brian on 2004.05.22 at 12:34 am

    One of my favorite tech columnist/pundits is Robert X. Cringley (pen name, apparently). However, for the first time ever this week's column I feel is really quite off base. Now being who I am, I'm not really going to get into debunking this. I'm hoping John Gruber will take care of that for me, and to a much wider audience. But I'll say a few brief things here:

    1) I really don't know anything about the news broke by the New York Times the other day, so everything else here is my personal opinion as a Mac user for many years.

    2) Read the article (above) or else the rest of this won't make sense.

    3) Why would Steve Jobs want to make these divisions so it was easier to kill off the personal computer division of Apple, his baby? That's ridiculous. When he came back to Apple in the 90s, he axed just about everything, including peripherals and non-computer stuff (like the Newton). And you think he'd drop 25 years of personal computers for the upstart iPod? I doubt it. The Mac division won't "starve and die." with even the "tiny" amount of customers they have. Remember, volume-wise, Apple is one of the top five manufacturers in the world. Apple makes and sells a lot more computers than many companies who are not considered "going out of business."

    4) "Everything's ported to Intel, and all Mac users would upgrade, versus just a few million when the OS X change happened" Um, hello? Are you nuts? Why would people give up totally useful PPC machines, just to get new Intel-based ones? If God-Forbid that would happen, I would think there would be a rush to scoop up PPC-powered Macs.

    5) "what if IBM has no interest in supplying such a chip ("Cell")... for Apple?" Why wouldn't they want as many customers for their chip as possible? IBM and Apple are very friendly. Apple is a partner in the design of the PPC, not just a buyer of an IBM made chip, like the other companies RXC mentioned. So its unlikely IBM would have any reason why they would want to turn their back on one of their best partner/ customers. Crazy. They have a $3 Billion chip fab in New York State they built to create G5 chips, and they have to pay it off, baby!

    In conclusion: wow, Robert, maybe its the South Carolina water, but, damn man, what happened? This article is subpar.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  84. Tab clean-up

    jake on 2004.05.02 at 03:28 am

  85. Posted in: Apple · Photography · Technology · Television

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  86. New iTunes

    brian on 2004.04.28 at 07:22 pm

    Hey, iTunes 4.5 has a load of new features, but the best one for me is that I can now listen to my live music without the gaps between tracks. I listen to a majority of live music, and this is a godsend. Wish I'd brought my equipment to work so I could download and update!!

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  87. Live from 1 Infinite Loop

    brian on 2004.04.19 at 02:19 pm

    I'm blogging from the lobby of the beautiful Apple Campus in Cupertino. Nothing yet to report. I'll check in later.

    Posted in: Apple

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  88. Silicon Valley Bound

    brian on 2004.04.19 at 02:18 pm

    From yesterday,
    Greetings from 31,000 feet above America's heart land. The "fly-over states" as they say, and that's true for me, at least today. I'm on my journey to the mecca of high tech, Silicon Valley. The first leg of my journey was Boston to Los Angeles. I've just completed my in flight dinner, which was better than the last time I ate on plane, but that was four years ago.

    The iPod has been an exquisite travel companion. Phish's December 29th, 2003 show from Miami is great travel music. Steve Garrity had suggested Postal Service's "Give Up" as a great choice, after his last sojourn to San Francisco. They have a particularlly fitting song called "Recycled Air." Maybe further on in my travels.

    The in-flight movie is underway, Paycheck with Boston-native Ben Affleck. Unfortunately, I'm going to have a hard time keeping the movie straight, because our row is having electrical difficulties. First, my neighbors couldn't plug in their dying ThinkPads to DC power (via cigarette-style connections on this Boeing 737), and now our headset connections are on the fritz to say that least. One channel at a time, at best, and a persistent beeping in the ear. Much like an electric metronome. Perhaps like Ben Affleck's character, they're trying to erase my memories of a bumpy six hour flight, that had electrical difficulties. Actually, I don't think I'd miss those memories much.

    The flight's gotten bumpier, so I'm guessing we've hit the Rockies. I'm also out of stuff to talk about.

    Posted in: Apple

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  89. Brian gets Promoted

    brian on 2004.04.06 at 02:19 am

    Well, hoo-ray for me. My time and hard work at Apple has earned me the title of "Mac Genius." Well, once I pass the tests, at least. I'm very happy.

    At this point in my life, I never pictured myself working in a retail store. Of course, Apple broke the mold when they made the Apple Store. Too bad they couldn't find a way to allow us to work 8am-5pm, though. Upsides: a) It doesn't pay like retail. b) it's Apple. Of course, where else can you have an Apple technician look at your Mac at 9pm on a Tuesday. Or worse, a Saturday night? We're crazy enough to be "that guy."

    Anyhow, back to the fun. My training begins next week, 40 hours of study time for my three exams, which will cover "help desk basics" "desktop" and "portable" topics. Also troubleshooting theory and other topics. Really. "Troubleshooting Theory," I'm not making that up! And to be an MG, that has to sound interesting to me! (and it does)

    After studying, I have to take the tests. However, the up side to that is that I get to take them in sunny Cupertino, California, the heart of Silicon Valley. I get two weeks of training at 1 Infinite Loop, the famous Apple Campus. Hopefully, I'll post a few pics and updates from the left coast!

    Posted in: Apple

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  90. MacMinute's RSS in-feed ads

    brian on 2004.02.20 at 04:42 am

    MacMinute has begun putting advertising in their RSS feed. Previously, the feed was just the first few lines from a story. Now its a few lines, plus a complete ad, with link. I think it should be one way (blurb to pull me to the site to see ads, understandable) or the other (full post, plus ad to pay for it, understandable) but not both (blurb + ad... just not fair).

    What's your thoughts? Seen ads in your RSS feeds?

    Posted in: Apple · Web

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  91. Apple goes RSS

    brian on 2004.02.17 at 04:38 pm

    Apple now has a page with all of its RSS feeds in one place. Score.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology · Web

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  92. OmniWeb 5 beta review

    jake on 2004.02.04 at 01:51 pm

    John Gruber of Daring Fireball has a comprehensive review of the new version of OmniWeb. He points out some great new features. Along with the intersting take on "tabs" the best feature has to be workspaces.

    Thus, even if you never use multiple workspaces, you can still love the feature. If you’ve got multiple windows and dozens of tabs open, you can quit OmniWeb, and when you relaunch it, the windows and tabs will be restored, exactly how they were when you quit.

    Besides a couple extensions for Mozilla/Firebird the only other browser that does this is Opera. Something along these lines should have been priority one with tabbed interfaces.

    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  93. Smart Man Acts Stupid

    brian on 2004.02.04 at 02:47 am

    Stupid.

    How can a smart man (a Harvard Business professor) be so stupid about something (Apple) despite studying them for years? Basically in the article (which contains several inconsistances, and some down right inaccuracies) this guys says, like everyone else, that Apple is dead meat, unless it starts operating like everyone else ("like, Dell, like Microsoft, like BMW, like Gucci"). And he's been saying it for over a decade. When does history inform us our theories are wrong? The guy has the stupidity to suggest Apple adopt an Microsoft OS. That's when he conceded he really doesn't know a damn thing about technology. He also said that the iPod played proprietary files. How'd this guy sneak into Harvard, while being so ignorant of facts?

    Why does Apple have to be like other companies? Isn't it glaringly obvious by now that Apple's success is because they aren't like anyone else?

    "Apple Computer. Going Out Of Business since 1977, and Loving every minute of it!"

    Posted in: Apple

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  94. iPod Anniversary

    brian on 2003.12.01 at 11:12 am

    Two years ago Apple released its first electronic device that wasn't a personal computer in a while. The iPod aimed to combine the storage of hard drive based digital music systems, and the skip protection and diminutive size of the flash-ram based systems. Add to that phenomenal speed of music transfer and seamless integration with Apple's competent iTunes software, and you had simply the best portable digital music player on the planet.

    I'm a very difficult person to buy gifts for, but when this came out at about the same time as my birthday (and still having a college graduation gift to cash in) I knew exactly what I wanted when this was announced. It was the device I had been waiting for.

    Not everyone had the foresight to appreciated it as I did. See this blog entry with selected Slashdot comments about the iPod's release. Heehee.

    Today, the iPod is an icon of music empowerment. Every gadget geek and musician and sports star worth his or her salt has one. They've been given as gifts at the Grammys and other awards shows. The New York Times Magazine writes extended stories on the magic of its existence. Stereophile Magazine lists it as the product of the year.

    Although there's been some controversy about its internals at times (my original 5gb model is still working just fine, thank you), no one can deny that two years after its introduction, its the most popular electronic device on the market today, as well as the season's most desired gift.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  95. A Good Day

    brian on 2003.11.10 at 03:49 am

    Apologies to anyone who actually started reading our weblog, and then we disappeared on you. Jake and I have been terribly busy both with 40/week jobs and we've been working about 20 extra on the side with our little upstart studio (the key here is "upstart," which is full of optimism!). Two clients. Maybe one will pay us...

    Anyhow, today was my birthday, and my full-time employers gave me an iPod. OK, everyone else in the division got one, too, and I'd like to say that's for my birthday, as well. You're welcome. OK, and the company still owns it. But, hey, why look a gift horse in the mouth? If it can chew oats, who cares?

    Posted in: Cool Info · Apple

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  96. What is this "feel" you speak of?

    brian on 2003.10.07 at 05:35 pm

    SF Gate Columnist: "Lick Me, I'm A Macintosh." What the hell is wrong with Apple that they still give a damn about design and packaging and "feel"?"

    Right on.

    Posted in: Apple

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  97. Surprise! Monday Apple Updates!

    brian on 2003.09.08 at 12:48 pm

    In an update best described as "out of nowhere," especially noting the Apple Expo Paris coming later this month, Apple updated several products this morning.

    First new iMacs, same price points for a 15" and 17", faster specs. Now they sport 1 GHz and 1.25 GHz respecitively. The only other differences between the two models now are the optical drives (combo vs super) and the video cards.

    Secondly, perhaps more surprisingly, is a quick revamp of the iPod line. Apple swapped out the 15 and 30GB models for 20s and 40s! Prices remain the same.

    And it wasn't even a Tuesday…

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  98. Virus attack

    brian on 2003.08.20 at 01:19 am

    I got lots of virus invested emails today. Others in Boston did too. I, unsurprisingly, went unaffected, other than deleting 30some virus-laiden emails. Normally, I enjoy being in the minority, but days like these make me wish the other 95% would hop on the cluetrain.

    [note: this is basically the same as the post I made on 37SvN. After posting that, I figured it was a good thing to have here, too]

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  99. 64-bit Computing holds Great Promise

    brian on 2003.08.18 at 01:38 pm

    The New York Times has written an article describing the benefits of Apple's deployment of the 64-bit G5 Chip.

    Thirty-two bit processors are limited to a theoretical maximum of handling 4 billion bytes of RAM per task. (A byte equals eight bits.) But by the magic of exponential math, a 64-bit processor can theoretically handle 16 quintillion (or 16 billion billion) bytes of RAM. For all current practical purposes, that is an infinite amount.


    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  100. Recommended: Don't Buy Music

    brian on 2003.08.03 at 02:05 am

    Enjoyed today at work (hat tip, R021 Genii),

    Don't Buy Music

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  101. Gruber debunks Boutin

    brian on 2003.06.28 at 02:11 am

    This story touches upon two of my pet peeves: stupidity in the media, and the assertion that since some companies sell commodities, all companies should be judged as if their products are commodities.

    John Gruber is a sharp guy. Usually his insights catch my eye because I appreciate his opinions on the world of Apple. Today, he caught my eye both for that, and for ripping apart a subpart piece of "journalism,", “Flipping the Switch: Linux’s new popularity may hurt Apple more than Microsoft.”

    One of the problems with major media news organizations is their tendency to emphasize conflict above all else. This vs. that. Conflict is interesting, and ostensibly, reports of conflict increase ratings and readership.
    Sometimes conflict is real. But many times it is not, or at the very least, it is greatly exaggerated in news reports

    That's a fantastic summary of news journalism, for the most part, today.

    Posted in: Apple · Media

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  102. Ive on Design

    brian on 2003.06.25 at 11:26 pm

    Jonathan Ive is a designer to look up to. The 36-year old Brit has his head on straight, and his ego is on permanent vacation. In a recent, impromptu interview with Wired, he leaves us with wonderful insight on the new PowerMac G5. Here's one of the many gems:

    "From a designer's point of view, it's not an appearance game we're playing. It is very utilitarian. It's the use of material in a very minimalist way."

    Posted in: Design · Apple

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  103. WWDC: the day after

    brian on 2003.06.25 at 01:56 am

    Over the past day, I've had the opportunity to try some of the new technologies unveiled at the WWDC keynote.

    • Safari 1.0. This is my first blog entry from that newly 1.0 browser. It has fixed a minor bug in one of our navigation menus on the right.
    • iChat AV (beta) and iSight. Wow. These go beyond mere Instant Messaging. This is "say hi to Grama and Grandpa in Boca" tech. This is "see your kid in the middle of your Pacific Rim business trip" technology. I'm impressed with the quality, and of course, the simplicity (zero setup, worldwide). iSight is small, eminently portable (smaller than your average deodorant stick) and of great quality for the price. Saw a great many fly out the door today (to customers and employees alike) without any on public display. I look forward to using it with my and my girlfriend's family. Tomorrow brings connected demo models, hopefully.
    • PowerMac G5. Available in August, most likely. I can't wait to see one in person. Winner for best nickname as of yet:Cheese Grater
    • PowerBooks, since there are no new PowerBooks as of yet, I have invested in a 12" Combo drive model for interim, until a new 15" comes out, at which time I will reassess, and perhaps trade up. (No, we don't have a trade-up program.) For now, it's a sleek, powerfully affordable option. Hopefully, broadband will follow for us, and after that... iSight!

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  104. WWDC Keynote Today

    brian on 2003.06.23 at 12:07 pm

    Today is the day Mac fans have waited for all year. Fittingly, it's also my very first day as a full time Apple employee, albeit, I have the day off (that must be a good omen). But, like a good employee, I'll make the pilgrimage to see the WWDC Keynote today to see the unveiling of Apple's future. You can't view it live unless you're on Apple real estate, at certain university viewings, or have your own Ku- or C-Band satellite dish. We've been told for sure that today will herald the first public viewing of Panther, the next OS from Apple: 10.3. What else will told reveal? I don't know, but whatever it is, it's got to be funky.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  105. iPod sure beats Musak

    brian on 2003.06.14 at 12:41 am

    Adam Porter knows music. He's a DJ. He owns a record shop. He runs a music design service. The latter means he'll pick out music to play at your business: (restaurants, clubs, retail, etc.) which best compliments your image. Here he's innovating. For a fee, he'll layout a music design for you business and then place it on a iPod. He'll hook it to your audio system, and then refresh it monthly. Songs and arranged playlists. These businesses already pay royalties to play music in their store, which covers the use of his music. That's pretty slick.
    (via MacMinute.)

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Technology

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  106. OLED on next iPod?

    jake on 2003.06.05 at 06:17 pm

    According to Think Secret Apple is researching the use of OLED's on their next generation iPods. This will be cool application of the technology. It will also enhance the exposure of this technology. [from Gizmodo]

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  107. Jon Gruber Interview

    brian on 2003.05.30 at 03:17 pm

    Jon Gruber, Mac pundit and author of the excellent Daring Fireball weblog has been interviewed here on Waferbaby. An interesting comment when asked about "The Cult of Mac..."

    no one claims you're in a "cult" if you prefer hamburgers from friday's over those from mcdonald's, even though there are a lot more mcdonald's restaurants and their food is cheaper.

    Posted in: Apple

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  108. iTMS experience

    brian on 2003.05.23 at 07:38 am

    Apologies to any actual readers out there, I chose to be distracted on a week when the other half (of this weblog!) was in Ireland. My bad.

    So I'll tell you one thing I've done this week, bought my first two albums from the iTunes Music Store. Experience was positive. So much easier than "file-sharing networks." Cheaper, no. But as a musician I can appreciate paying for music. If you made cars, and late at night the neighborhood kids came by to "share" your work, how would you feel? That said, I value record companies slightly less than used-car salesmen.

    What'd I buy? Well, James Brown's Foundations of Funk, 1964-1969 and Audioslave's Audioslave (that is to say 'self-titled release'). Yes, I was on a personal quest to mess up iTMS's "People who bought 'x' also bought 'y'" functionality. If you missed the memo, Audioslave is Rage Against the Machine minus Zach de la Rocha and plus Soundgarden's Chris Cornell. I'll come back to add the appropriate links, but it's too early in the morning to do that right now.

    I'd rate the James Brown compilation at 4.75 stars (out of 5). It's a double disc set, 27 tracks in all, which stand out because they aren't radio cuts. They maintain all the timeless jams from the JBs' all stars like the young Maceo Parker, Pee Wee Ellis, et al. Some tracks are up to 9 minutes long, with much of the second halves consiting of James encouraging certain soloists "Blow your horn." "Give the drummer some" "Your horn is just too big!" and countless others worthy of mentioning...

    Audioslave receives a strong 4. It was a 3.5 until I gave it a better listen than just while on the noisy T.

    Posted in: Apple

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