Hi! My name is Cédric Bozzi, I make websites and iOS apps, and this is my blog about technology (mostly a Twitter archive, really).

1 November 2005

X 10.4.3: “Improves responsiveness during Spotlight searches in the Finder.” Hell yeah.

Oh! Safari 2.0.2 doesn’t only pass the Acid2 test, it also correctly displays my blog’s nicetitles. None too soon.

IconDroplet: converts .icns files into… applications? Well, yeah, it’s a clever way to transform a .icns into a copy-paste-ready icon without processing the format itself.

3 November

No more blurry pictures: the camera that focuses everywhere at the same time. Uh, wow? Or, I’ll believe it when I see it? Because, wow.

4 November

5 November

Tab Sidebar for Firefox 1.5. Or maybe Tab Preview (which I hope will soon be copied for Safari).

6 November

8 November

Find-as-you-type for Safari: AcidSearch [via] (you have to activate and configure it in the preferences, accessible from Safari’s search box menu).

9 November

WikiNotes: an open-source VoodooPad Lite with a more Tiger-ish interface. The CamelCase algorithm isn’t working right, and I don’t know whether I want to change and trust my data to a new program, but it’s interesting.

Hack a computer using an iPod with Linux [via] — no matter how locked the computer is:

Firewire/i.Link is well known as a way for connecting video devices or external hard-disks to computers. One little known fact is that the Firewire protocol also allows to read and write physical memory on connected machines without further software support. This can be leveraged to escalate privileges or to spy on connected machines. Any kind of device connected via Firewire, be it hard-disk, camcorder or iPod could be perverted to steal data or insert backdoors into computers being attached to the device.

Basically, the only solution is to lock your computer into a safe, which is hardly convenient when you have an iMac (or a laptop). Interesting…

Oh! I just tried sending a file from Adium to a Windows MSN contact, not expecting it to work, and it did. It’s probably only ICQ transfers that don’t work, and nobody realizes because nobody uses it anymore.

12 November

AppleInsider:

Apple service providers who specialize in selling and servicing Macs have told AppleInsider that the media center iMac enclosure and internals are far less elegant than the model it replaces, requiring that technicians gain entry to the machine by removing the face of the computer (rather than the rear). Additionally, the only system component in the computer to remain user-servicable is memory.

So, okay, my iMac doesn’t have an integrated iSight, or Front Row, but it’s the final revision of a better design. I’ve come to understand that was the best possible situation when you’re dealing with Apple hardware — how long before they find a stupid design flaw crippling the new iMac?

Got to find solace where you can, when a Mac is obsolete after six months.

How to configure TextMate to send files to Transmit with a hotkey

…which is only useful, of course, if you have activated the DockSend option in your Transmit sites configuration.

TUAW: “ The action needed to move the wheel on an iPod is totally unnatural and effectively separates the joint in the thumb every time you use it.” Uh, riiiiight.

13 November

MediaCentral 0.1 [via]. A Front Row clone that’s perfectly usable at version 0.1, even though the interface is a bit slow (and less animated). Here’s to hoping they add an iTunes module soon — for now it only does videos (and TV capture boxes!).

15 November

Mac Mini Tower. Coooool. But why ruin a cool design by not putting the power LEDs in the right place?

Celtx [via]: a free, open-source screenplay editor & manager. Completely cross-platform thanks to the Mozilla XUL framework, and it stores your script in HTML format so it’s as safe as can be. Oh, and they intend to fund it through optional web services, so you’d better keep a backup of the installer for when they go bankrupt.

Form Hijacking: most PHP contact forms allow abusers to spam whomever they want however they want simply by adding a carriage return in the field designed to hold their e-mail address. Time to add strtok($email,”\r\n”) to all your scripts.

ChangeShortName: changing short user name in OS X. I wouldn’t trust a third-party utitility for that kind of thing, but if you need to change names so much that you’re willing to trust a stranger…

16 November

Rendezvous/Bonjour for Miranda: to send instant messages from a PC to a Mac (with Adium or iChat), or from PC to PC, without connecting to a remote ICQ or MSN server. Available as a Miranda plug-in or a stand-alone app (dubbed “Windows iChat”, based on Miranda, and expectedly working any need for configuration). It doesn’t seem to handle file transfers, but it’s still simpler than creating an MSN account per machine.

For now, you appear on the network with your Windows username, but the developer announces the possibility to change names for a future version (but then, he hasn’t touched it since April).

Cable ID: you can also stick labels onto your plugs, but that’s more elegant.

Microsoft buys out FolderShare (I know, I’m a bit late on that one), an automatic file synchronisation system across your computers, and makes it free, à la Google. An OS X client is even available (I’m downloading it, more about it later), though you can hardly expect that to last. Could it ever make Apple realize pettiness is out of fashion and .Mac should be free again?

The FolderShare went faster than I expected. It’s well done, the OS X version seems to work just fine (except it feels so important it displays an icon in the Dock and the menu bar). But FolderShare’s basic principle is that you can connect to foldershare.com, type in your login and password, and navigate your hard disk without any restriction, from any computer. Instead of using the client app’s configuration window to decide which folders are shared, which would be as safe as can be, you have to publish your whole disk to the internet — the only thing you can tell the client to ignore is remote Spotlight searches, but not folder browsing. So, yeah, sure, it’s https and the server refuses letters-only passwords, but that thing’s still nothing else than a huge walking security fault. Go ahead, install an antivirus and a firewall, lock your computer, and install a program that’ll share your whole hard drive to the internet.

It’s a pity, because the functionality would really be interesting. (Unlike .Mac, there’s no centralized storage — it’s all peer-to-peer transparent synchronization.)

18 November

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!

How can I decompress on OS X a .tgz I created on Linux with files having accents in their names? I get “Cannot open: Invalid argument” for each file. Help help help help!

P.S. Looks like there’s just no way to do that (or maybe using pax instead of tar, but I haven’t got it on my Knoppix live CD). So let’s try out rsync -e ssh and hope I won’t screw up the options and miss half my files.

So, for the geeks who can have an interest in those things (and are able to understand what I’ll be writing), right now I’m having a preliminary rsync from one drive to another on my server. Because my fantastic Linux fileserver, that I’ve had for a year now, freezes (completely, for real) when you use more than one PCI thing at the same time — it crashed when I used the video capture card and the hard drive (you can hardly ever use one without the other), so I put the capture card on my other PC, but the server still freezed when I used Apache a little too much. I always assumed it was because there were too many hard drives inside, but I realized this week that it’s just the fact of using a drive and the Ethernet port at the same time (yeah, that sucks, too, for a fileserver). Since my data is on SATA drives (plural because of RAID-1) and no other computer in the house has a SATA port, I’m copying 60GB of data from a SATA drive to a temporary ATA drive, which I’ll then put into another, borrowed, PC in order to finally rsyncssh my files to the Mac.

And the reason why I had initially wanted to use tar rather than rsync is that the odds of losing some files at one step or another are way too high for my taste.

Moral of the story, Serial-ATA is crap, and if you want to put your files on a RAID-1 array (for the non-geeks who skipped the last paragraph and have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s the protocol that saves your data on two or more hard drives so nothing’s lost if one drive fries), do it with SCSI or don’t do it at all.

Mmh… no, actually, I don’t see what it’s got to do with anything.

Moral of the story, rather, if you’re on a Mac and you want a fileserver, buy an Xserve RAID. There. And even if you’re not on a Mac — but you should be.

And don’t buy faulty motherboards from your stepfather’s reseller. And delete all your files so you won’t cling to them anyway. And to hell with computers anyway.

19 November

Reed Hastings: “Web 2.0 is broadband. Web 3.0 is 10 gigabits a second.” That has too be the least stupid thing you can say on this matter.

Euh… “Adaptateur DVI vers Vidéo Apple” ou “Adaptateur DVI-Vidéo PAL Apple” ? S’ils ne précisent pas, pour le premier, c’est parce qu’il est français et Secam, ou américain et NTSC ?

21 November

Make Windows XP Hibernate. With all the talk about OS X’s new (G4-only, it seems) hibernation functionality, it’s time to silence my PC when I’m sleeping — and generally not using it at all. Because I’m not sure if it’s supposed to, but it keeps its fans running even when it sleeps.

22 November

Grr. Does it every time, irks me every time. It’s a goddamn Unix system, how hard could it be to offer an option to force reboot or shutdown?!

23 November

A little more information about the camera that takes a picture with all depths of field at once and lets a software program play with focus afterwards (and it’s apparently called a plenoptic camera): with a 16-megapixel sensor and 90,000 microlenses in front of it, you get a final 90,000-pixel photograph.

That kinda explains how the thing works (I guess each of 175 pixels associated to each lens records a different “vision” of the final pixel), and also why it’s not gonna be seen on the consumer or even prosumer markets for a few years. Not only is it too expensive for 90,000 pixels, it’ll also be a while before the microlenses array can be miniaturized enough to get a decent resolution.

Still, it’s a fascinating idea. And I wonder if the primary practical application shouldn’t rather be high-end video cameras: no jumping autofocus when there’s movement, you choose your subject in post-production!

@photo@

A little more information about the camera that takes a picture with all depths of field at once and lets a software program play with focus afterwards (and it’s apparently called a plenoptic camera): with a 16-megapixel sensor and 90,000 microlenses in front of it, you get a final 90,000-pixel photograph.

That kinda explains how the thing works (I guess each of 175 pixels associated to each lens records a different “vision” of the final pixel), and also why it’s not gonna be seen on the consumer or even prosumer markets for a few years. Not only is it too expensive for 90,000 pixels, it’ll also be a while before the microlenses array can be miniaturized enough to get a decent resolution.

Still, it’s a fascinating idea. And I wonder if the primary practical application shouldn’t rather be high-end video cameras: no jumping autofocus when there’s movement, you choose your subject in post-production!

 

[01/17] I hadn’t seen the videos (.wmv, if you’re on a Mac you should install Flip4Mac). Really impressive — make sure to view the two videos showing moving water.

An interesting take on the ludicrous flash-memory-based Mac rumor: sure, replacing the whole hard drive with flash memory is impossible (for a few more years), but OS X could pretty much fit in an iPod nano, so why not install just the system and most essential applications into flash memory? I wonder how much faster boot time would be.

But then, you don’t boot your Mac up too often nowadays, so the gain might not be worth the expense.

P.S. And how about embedding a couple flash memory chips into hard drives, in order to store the Spotlight / Google Desktop / whatever index? All it’d take would be Apple, Google and Microsoft agreeing on a norm to dump on drive makers. Which is, like, totally, completely possible. Right?

Instant-On Mac

@apple@

An interesting take on the ludicrous flash-memory-based Mac rumor: sure, replacing the whole hard drive with flash memory is impossible (for a few more years), but OS X could pretty much fit in an iPod nano, so why not install just the system and most essential applications into flash memory? I wonder how much faster boot time would be.

But then, you don’t boot your Mac up too often nowadays, so the gain might not be worth the expense.

 

P.S. And how about embedding a couple flash memory chips into hard drives, in order to store the Spotlight / Google Desktop / whatever index? All it’d take would be Apple, Google and Microsoft agreeing on a norm to dump on drive makers. Which is, like, totally, completely possible. Right?

24 November

People are weird. Nobody writes, or reads, email anymore, because everyone would rather use instant message networks. But the most popular IM is MSN, which is the only one (well, there’s also Google Talk now) that won’t let you send a message to an offline contact. (Yeah, I keep writing about that, it’s a pet peeve of mine.)

Is the whole idea of contacting someone who isn’t there right now, of leaving them a message they can check out when they can, definitively obsolete?

Did you really let the terrorists spammers win?

@computer@

People are weird. Nobody writes, or reads, email anymore, because everyone would rather use instant message networks. But the most popular IM is MSN, which is the only one (well, there’s also Google Talk now) that won’t let you send a message to an offline contact. (Yeah, I keep writing about that, it’s a pet peeve of mine.)

Is the whole idea of contacting someone who isn’t there right now, of leaving them a message they can check out when they can, definitively obsolete?

Did you really let the terrorists spammers win?

MacOS has a peculiarity quite peculiar: you often end up having to wonder which application is active. Of course, it’s so much worse when you’re a switcher, but I can’t imagine old-time Mac users wouldn’t be bugged by this once in a while. And they wanted OS X to be zen and smooth so much (well, expect for the Dock, and the colored beads, and the stripes… well, all of Aqua), they even removed the active application’s icon from the menu bar, replacing it with its name in bold letters. But reading an application’s name requires much more of a conscious effort than identifying its icon. (Before you have fun calling me lazy in the comments, try and learn a bit about ergonomics, GTD, and all that stuff.)

The ideal workaround would be a small utility displaying an icon over the desktop to say which application is active — especially since I’ve got a 20-inch iMac, so I can (and do) have a bit of my desktop always in sight. That would be so cool. And that exists: Focus does exactly what I want, with every option you can imagine, plus displaying a clock if you want. The only flaw I could find (well, I only just installed it, but how many hours do you have to test-drive that kind of thing?) is that the configuration window is a tool window, which disappears when you switch to another application, and that’s annoying when you want to test some options.

In short: you absolutely must install this. You’ll only be excused if you’re using a 12-inch iBook.

Boy, was that a long post for such a small program. But ergonomics are a serious business. Plus, I’m getting into the habit of writing long, technological posts. Because.

P.S. Ah, I found the first bug: Focus ignores Clutter. Actually, it’s not really Focus’s fault: it’s just that Clutter doesn’t become the active application when you click a CD icon. But the CD does become the active window, and will respond to upcoming keypresses. It’s happened to me a lot: hit F11 to show the desktop, double-click a Clutter CD, come back to NetNewsWire and read on, hit Cmd-W to close the tab I was reading, wonder why nothing happens, and only realize six hours later that I accidentally closed (i.e., deleted) one of my Clutter CD icons.

And that also applies to Sidenote, that OS X doesn’t consider the active application either when it’s in the front. Considering that the main point of Focus is knowing who will receive the next keypress, ignoring some programs is a bit annoying.

P.S. Fuck. The website and program haven’t been updated since 2003, and I find out on VersionTracker that an error message appears in the system console if you enable the clock: “Unfortunately, this app, or a library it uses, is using [an] obsolete function, and is thereby contributing to an overall degradation of system performance.” Damn. Fortunately, I don’t need another clock on my desktop, but still, damn. The one important problem will never be fixed.

Focus

@apple@

MacOS has a peculiarity quite peculiar: you often end up having to wonder which application is active. Of course, it’s so much worse when you’re a switcher, but I can’t imagine old-time Mac users wouldn’t be bugged by this once in a while. And they wanted OS X to be zen and smooth so much (well, expect for the Dock, and the colored beads, and the stripes… well, all of Aqua), they even removed the active application’s icon from the menu bar, replacing it with its name in bold letters. But reading an application’s name requires much more of a conscious effort than identifying its icon. (Before you have fun calling me lazy in the comments, try and learn a bit about ergonomics, GTD, and all that stuff.)

The ideal workaround would be a small utility displaying an icon over the desktop to say which application is active — especially since I’ve got a 20-inch iMac, so I can (and do) have a bit of my desktop always in sight. That would be so cool. And that exists: Focus does exactly what I want, with every option you can imagine, plus displaying a clock if you want. The only flaw I could find (well, I only just installed it, but how many hours do you have to test-drive that kind of thing?) is that the configuration window is a tool window, which disappears when you switch to another application, and that’s annoying when you want to test some options.

In short: you absolutely must install this. You’ll only be excused if you’re using a 12-inch iBook.

 

Boy, was that a long post for such a small program. But ergonomics are a serious business. Plus, I’m getting into the habit of writing long, technological posts. Because.

 

P.S. Ah, I found the first bug: Focus ignores Clutter. Actually, it’s not really Focus’s fault: it’s just that Clutter doesn’t become the active application when you click a CD icon. But the CD does become the active window, and will respond to upcoming keypresses. It’s happened to me a lot: hit F11 to show the desktop, double-click a Clutter CD, come back to NetNewsWire and read on, hit Cmd-W to close the tab I was reading, wonder why nothing happens, and only realize six hours later that I accidentally closed (i.e., deleted) one of my Clutter CD icons.

And that also applies to Sidenote, that OS X doesn’t consider the active application either when it’s in the front. Considering that the main point of Focus is knowing who will receive the next keypress, ignoring some programs is a bit annoying.

 

P.S. Fuck. The website and program haven’t been updated since 2003, and I find out on VersionTracker that an error message appears in the system console if you enable the clock: “Unfortunately, this app, or a library it uses, is using [an] obsolete function, and is thereby contributing to an overall degradation of system performance.” Damn. Fortunately, I don’t need another clock on my desktop, but still, damn. The one important problem will never be fixed.

I’ve gotten so used to the LCD anti-aliasing that, when I type text into Photoshop (which does regular anti-aliasing), I find it ugly.

Which reminds me, now that I’ve bought an LCD monitor, I can enable ClearType on my PC. But maybe I won’t, so I can compare web pages with and without, on OS X and Windows.

P.S. Ah, it’s not my eyes: OS X’s anti-aliasing algorithm looks indeed way better than ClearType.

@computer@

I’ve gotten so used to the LCD anti-aliasing that, when I type text into Photoshop (which does regular anti-aliasing), I find it ugly.

Which reminds me, now that I’ve bought an LCD monitor, I can enable ClearType on my PC. But maybe I won’t, so I can compare web pages with and without, on OS X and Windows.

 

P.S. Ah, it’s not my eyes: OS X’s anti-aliasing algorithm does look way better than ClearType.

25 November

coconutIdentityCard [via]: when and where was your Mac or iPod built?

30 November

CornerClick [via]: associate one or several actions to mouse clicks (with or without modifier keys) in each screen corner. Since Tiger, Apple developers have found out about Fitts’s Law, so clicking the upper left and right corners activates the Apple menu and Spotlight, respectively, but there’s still the lower corners — and I never click the Spotlight icon, always use the keyboard shortcut.

I know Exposé can already be activated by shoving the pointer in a screen corner (incidentally, I couldn’t make Exposé work with CornerClick — might be a Panther bug), but it’s different here: I loathe “hot corners”, that are triggered as soon as the mouse arrives in a corner; here you have to click in a corner, which can’t be accidental.

Seems like it could be very useful; I’ll see how to put it to good use when I get back to my iMac.

@apple@

CornerClick [via]: associate one or several actions to mouse clicks (with or without modifier keys) in each screen corner. Since Tiger, Apple developers have found out about Fitts’s Law, so clicking the upper left and right corners activates the Apple menu and Spotlight, respectively, but there’s still the lower corners — and I never click the Spotlight icon, always use the keyboard shortcut.

I know Exposé can already be activated by shoving the pointer in a screen corner (incidentally, I couldn’t make Exposé work with CornerClick — might be a Panther bug), but it’s different here: I loathe “hot corners”, that are triggered as soon as the mouse arrives in a corner; here you have to click in a corner, which can’t be accidental.

Seems like it could be very useful; I’ll see how to put it to good use when I get back to my iMac.

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