1 October 2007

FMenu

@apple@

I know I’m late to the party for Facebook addicts (the thing is, I didn’t think there’d be any French people on there), but here goes nothing: if you want to know everything that’s happening to your account, download FMenu for OS X. Simple, light-weight, displays a notifier in the menubar that’s configurable in every way (except for the keyboard shortcuts, which don’t seem to work at all). Much more convenient than having to go to my Gmail inbox to delete the overload of notifications.

Particularly interesting when you consider that Facebook is the second best web chat I know after GayAttitude (that’s the one I developed myself), and its only drawback is that it doesn’t notify you of new messages unless you reload the page (or receive spammy — or bacny, rather — notifications in your mailbox).

How often is too often? The default interval is 6 seconds — maybe that is what I should be using to keep my MacBook’s connection alive.

 

P.S. There are 23 checkboxes on the notifications page, and no “deselect all” option. Heh.

Bon sang qu’ils me gonflent quand ils disent que le wifi gratuit est une façon de réduire la fracture numérique.

2 October

I shouldn’t have updated FontExplorer. What the fuck has happened?

5 October

@web@

IE7 no longer requires WGA validation. I can finally has transparent PNG for realz?

@music@

I’d just like to say I really like the new Zune’s home screen (it’s much more 2.0ish than the iPhone’s, isn’t it? well, okay, if I say it that way it doesn’t sound so good) and I love that it has a trackpad.

Of course, the iPod remains completely unthreatened, though. Even though it’s a little appalling that Microsoft got to wireless syncing before Apple did. (Not to mention the possibility to sync with your Windows PVR, which will be completely underused in the wild, but sounds seriously cool.)

@apple@

Daring Fireball:

There are all sorts of other devices that are, at heart, technically, computers, but which aren’t sold or promoted or marketed as such. Like say, TiVos. And iPods.

What’s different and weird and, I think, unique about the iPhone is that for a few weeks before the release of the 1.1.1 update, we got a taste of what the iPhone could be like as an open computing platform.

And that’s why the whole “uproar” over 1.1.1 will have next to zero impact on the real-world markets (or on Apple’s reputation), because it only really affects a few thousand American early adopters who were geeky enough to hack their brand new iPhone. And, by definition of being geeks, they don’t have the clout to counterbalance Apple and Steve’s charisma.

6 October

@web@

Facebook and the grownups:

As usual, the adults are missing the point: “It’s all comedy: making one another laugh matters more than providing useful updates about ourselves, which is why entirely phony profiles were all the rage before the grown-ups signed in. One friend announced her status as In a Relationship with Chinese Food, whose profile picture was a carry-out box and whose personal information personified the cuisine of China.” Now that Facebook is taking itself seriously, the site is being given a hasty intellectual makeover, retrofitted with a “social graph.”

8 October

I love that there’s a 50mm-lens epidemic this month among geek bloggers, out of nowhere.

9 October

Damn you Adobe, damn you all to hell for not letting me distort a live type layer.

@web@

Google buys Jaiku. What confuses me is that Jaiku is far from being as popular as Twitter — even if it’s more functional. There has to be some kind of bad blood between Ev Williams and Google preventing a deal.

There will be inevitable comparison’s with Google’s acquisition of Dodgeball, which largely came to nothing, but it would appear that the time for social networking and blogging via mobile has come. Google’s ability to add scale and marketing muscle to Jaiku should be putting Twitter on the back-foot right now.

10 October

@web@

From my inbox: “In order to focus on innovation instead of scaling, we have decided to close new user sign-ups for now.” This is fucking insane. Jaiku is the runner-up in its field (even though I think it’s older than Twitter); they’ve got this opportunity to get more massive buzz than they ever did, and what do they do? Close down the signup page.

Either they’re just madmen, or Google really has something huge and spectacular down the pipe. And, even then…

@apple@

The Powerbook! The Powerbook! The Powerbook’s on Fire! [via]

The funny thing is, a Mac almost killed me, and I came out of the whole experience feeling more strongly about Apple as a company.

@apple@

John Siracusa: “Why can’t I figure out how to follow someone new in Twitter?” Thank you for making me feel less alone! I think it’s amazingly moronic that the “Follow” button is in the middle of the page’s contents instead of the sidebar where it belongs, and every time I want to add someone it takes me a full minute to remember where that damn button is.

@web@

Tracking Zeitgeist: ’Overheard’ Interesting. I’m hesitating to sign up for more tweets than I already get from people I don’t really know.

Oh, wait, it wouldn’t work with Twitterific anyway.

11 October

@web@

I guess it’s never too late to find out about window.console.log().

I feel like trying Coda, but I think it’s just out of boredom.

12 October

Switching to Google Apps and changing all my DNS servers while I’m at it. If I suddenly disappear from the internet, then I made a mistake.

14 October

@apple@

The online Apple Store accidentally reveals Leopard ship date — wait, what? Amazon does that kind of thing, not the freaking Apple Store!

16 October

@web@

Your iPhone will tell on you:

I have lost more than one cellphone to water damage […] Normally, though, one could take the phone into their carrier’s store and feign ignorance. […]

The iPhone, as well as the iPod touch, have a small white disk inside the headphone jack that, when in contact with water, turns color. Many high-end phones have this as well, usually under the battery or battery cover.

Oh wow, you can do several INSERTs in one query; who knew?!

29 novembre. J’arrête de fumer aujourd’hui pour économiser. (Ah, zut.) Et on ne sait pas combien coûteront les forfaits, ni leurs limites.

17 October

Lazyweb, MySQL edition

@web@

Okay, I fled SQL courses like the plague in school (if you had told me then I’d be spending all of my time writing MySQL queries… well, let’s say I wouldn’t have lived to taste Coke Zero) but I think I would still be choking on this one if I hadn’t.

So, let’s say I’ve got a table of comments; each comment is associated with a post ID, obviously. If I want to know how many comments there are per post, I can write:

SELECT POST_ID, COUNT(*) FROM COMMENTS GROUP BY POST_ID

But what if I want to know that count plus some contents from the last comment on each post? Is there a way to do that without making one query per post?

(Actually, even if I didn’t want to get COUNT(*), I still wouldn’t know how to do that in just one query.)

iTunes asks for confirmation to remove a podcast episode you’ve listened to, but not to unsubscribe from a podcast. Fucking stupid.

18 October

@apple@

Grading the New Font “Features” in OS X Leopard:

Font Auto-Activation: Automatically activate fonts as you need them. When an application requests an installed font that’s currently disabled, Leopard activates that font and keeps it active until the requesting application quits.

I’m not sure whether I didn’t know, or just forgot about it; in any case, it’s very cool. Assuming that Font Book (whose new ability to print preview lists becomes all the more interesting in this context) can handle my about 4,000 fonts.

Now that I think about it, though, it won’t work unless the applications actually ask for fonts by name — which Photoshop, for instance, won’t do if it doesn’t know the font can be auto-activated. In other words, system font activation might very well not be available in Adobe apps until CS4.

I can’t seem to make a cron job that works.

When will you remember: when you make a PHP cronjob, make sure newlines aren’t saved as CRLF! Took me four days to find the problem.

@misc@

Toshiba’s new circular LCDs. That’s awesome for future gadget design.

@apple@

Leap. Your new Finder[via], from the developers of the critically-acclaimed, but rather niche, PDF cataloging application named Yep. The beta-demo is unusable on my computer (and crashed once) but that’s because it relies on Spotlight, which is dog slow here and will hopefully improve with Leopard (and I assume they’ll also leverage Quick Look to display thumbnails faster); the interface, however, looks amazing. It doesn’t have Cover Flow, but the iPhoto-like icon view is close enough (yeah, technically, it’s probably even more functional); and what the demo video doesn’t show is that you only have to click a button to switch between search-based navigation and a regular folder hierarchy, which means you can use Leap in every context of your workflow — it would have been useless if you had to switch between Leap and the Finder (or something else) depending on how you want to browse your files.

I’ve been checking out every Finder replacement wannabe under the sun, hoping for something really good to come out, so believe me when I say: you have to check this out.

19 October

O…kay… I can hear Remote Desktop in my wi-fi router.

@web@

Apple Remote Desktop 3.2 improves “typing accented characters on European language keyboards.

Uh-huh. I used not to be able to type underscores; now the whole keyboard layout is qwerty. Unless I missed an option somewhere, I strongly recommend against upgrading for now if you actually rely on Remote Desktop. It’s fortunate that I was just planning to sell my laptop.

@music@

I haven’t read all the articles about “how even free can’t defeat BitTorrent” (I haven’t read any single one in its entirety, actually, because I don’t care so much); has anyone at all noted that, if you do intend to get the album for free, it’s much less guilt-trippy to download it from Pirate Bay than to click the “I’m a low-life cheapskate who won’t give you a cent” button on the Radiohead site? Doing that feels like demeaning yourself and insulting the band; downloading on P2P is just treating them the same way you do with everyone else. (And there’s also fewer forms to fill before you get to downloading.)

A better test would have been for Radiohead to offer the album on BitTorrent themselves, and put a Paypal donation box on their site. And I’m not blindly defending the honor of P2P users — I do think the band would have made less money that way.

Flock 1.0 RC3

@web@

Two interesting things happened since I last really tried Flock: I seriously got into social networks (Twitter and Facebook); and the browser functionalities improved.

Let’s start with the not-so-new: the media bar has existed since the very first versions of Flock, but I didn’t know, or didn’t care, that it also handled YouTube (or maybe it didn’t then but does now), which makes it an ideal time-waster.

I’m not sure how new this is either, but it’s pretty cool: the search box displays results inline à la Inquisitor and, more importantly, lets you search your history as well — as far as I can tell it only takes titles into account, but that means you can find a page you read earlier by just remembering what it’s about or where it’s from, without having to browse through an endless list of page titles in the history menu.

Twitter and Facebook integration: the sidebars could be organized slightly better, but they’re a good start nonetheless — I particularly like that Flock auto-detects that you’re logging into the websites and just offers to remember your account information and add the toolbar. As simple as it gets.

The main problem with Flock, really, is that it uses the Firefox rendering engine, which I don’t like as much as WebKit. And the sidebars don’t really make optimal use of the screen real estate they occupy, which is pretty frustrating on the 13-inch MacBook.

I’m not sure I’m going to switch — I’m a geek, and I like more customization and functionality — but Flock actually looks to be the ideal browser for people who spend their days checking their online accounts.

@computer@

SATA HDD Stage Rack. Wow, I so want one. (Are SATA port positions strictly standardized?)

Ah, fuck Firefox’s word-wrapping not working with hyphens.

@web@

Online poker website found to be cheating. Woah, who could have imagined?

20 October

@apple@

Leopard Guided Tour. Simple, and very well done, obviously (except for the sound being slightly out of sync on my download). You won’t learn anything if you’ve played with the beta, or even just religiously followed all the reports and presentations (as you are expected to), but it’s informative and should be included in the DVD install if it isn’t. Actually, I even did learn something: Mail has “data detectors.” How Newtonian of it. (Don’t know if it hadn’t been announced or I just missed / forgot it.)

The most interesting aspect of all those guided tours Apple puts out, of course, is the clearly deliberate, consistent casting choice. I wonder how much effort it took the marketing department to convince Steve Jobs they should hire Justin Long rather than Richard Gere for the “I’m a Mac” commercials — no, he doesn’t see himself as a snotty young hipster, but as a grey-haired, calm and simple guy. Isn’t that healthy and balanced now?

 

Anyway, I hope they’ve hidden a Time Machine screensaver from the beta builds. (And they probably haven’t, because it would be confusing, from a UI point of view, to have the Time Machine backdrop play as a screensaver. Damn.)

@web@

There was a time when you were supposed to avoid using “click here” in a link or button caption, because some users were not equipped with a mouse. Now it could arguably be recommended that you do use “click here” for the most important links, because so many of your visitors are not equipped with a brain.

@apple@

WebKit Does HTML5 Client-side Database Storage [via]. HTML5 includes Google Gears functionality? Color me impressed. It’s a shame that for the next five years it’ll be much more realistic to expect the user has installed Google Gears than upgraded from Internet Explorer 6.

@web@

I’m confused by Facebook switching its user IDs to BIGINTs. Why the hell would you launch your API designed for world domination and tell developers they can use INTs for IDs?

Je suppose que la fenêtre de hotline Free s’auto-ferme pour qu’on ne puisse pas faire de copie d’écran quand on nous raccroche au nez ?

22 October

@web@

My inkblot personality test Facebook application (which does not show Britney nude) has 1,125 users, and it’s been added to the applications directory only three or four days ago.

I wish I had statistics from seven years ago showing how many months it must have taken GayAttitude to reach that number of users; gotta wonder why I’d want to bother creating entire websites anymore.

@computer@

A 12-inch Cintiq (couldn’t find it on the Wacom website, but it’s crap anyway). Cool, huh? For 1,200 euros (and roughly as many dollars, I guess). Not so cool.

What are you supposed to do with it? If you’re going to spend so much money on a tablet, you’ve got to have a pretty serious setup on your desktop; are you expected to drag your Photoshop windows from your 30-inch Cinema Display to the MacBook-sized tablet hardly has enough pixels to draw an entire webcomic? That’s just silly.

By the way, I can’t believe the 21-inch Cintiq is still 1600x1200 only. When a device already costs 3,000 euros and targets very dedicated professionals (and some geeks with a disgusting lot of disposable income), maybe you can add a couple hundred to the price tag and offer a decent resolution by today’s standards.

Is Wacom really going to the dogs, or what?

@apple@

Je viens de réaliser que, si Jobs ne se foutait pas complètement de ce qui peut arriver aux consommateurs français, il aurait profité des négociations houleuses avec Orange pour obtenir que les forfaits data soient illimités, au moins.

Curieusement, je doute que ce soit le cas.

Twitter has finally fixed the way their Facebook app imports tweets. Thank you so much for placating my inner geek.

24 October

@apple@

Mac OS X Leopard 9A581’s Dock Visual Tweaks [via]. I can’t remember which developer blogger wrote a couple days ago that developers who had taken Leopard beta screenshots with the Dock on the side would have to scrap them, but it was someone I trusted to be serious, so I don’t doubt this rumor — and my take on it is: shit! I liked the shelf Dock even on the side, and I use it on the left side on my MacBook, so I’m going to be directly affected. Oh, wait, I’m selling my MacBook, so I won’t be.

Still, I don’t want the old Dock in my OS X install! Couldn’t they have fixed the transparent menu bar instead?

@web@

Google Declares Jihad On Blog Link Farms. It’s weird seeing all my blogs (and everybody else’s blogs as well) having the same PageRank as Engadget. Wonder how long it will last and/or how important PR really is anymore if fives are so easy to get.

@apple@

defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean YES [via]. Now where are (a) the reverse setting for side Docks and (b) the similar setting for opaque menu bars?

@web@

Oh for fuck’s sake now. Amazon patents mod rewrite [via].

I’m not certain (I can never make my brain process the lists of “claims” that define a patent) but it looks a lot like it’s not only affecting Mahalo, but pretty much any single wiki CMS in existence. (Which, evidently, provides ample prior art, beyond the whole obviousness factor.)

You know, some days I really can’t believe that geeks use — and recommend — Amazon so much. There’s this “vote with your wallet” thing that I can’t really condone here because I think it’s illegal in France or something, but you’ve got to wonder how we’ve all turned a blind eye on the fact that they’re most famous for patenting the use of cookies, basically.

26 October

@apple@

1Password free today [via]. If the current version is compatible with Leopard (and the version history mentions Leopard compatibility, so it should be), it’s a nice bargain. Kinda by definition it is. (I don’t think 1Password is worth buying, because the OS X keychain works well enough for most cases, but it can be useful in those few instances where you need to remember several passwords for the same domain — cough Google cough — or for online banking websites that prevent your browser from memorizing passwords.)

@music@

Zune Introduces 1-Click Podcast Subscriptions. That’s clever, because most podcast pages will now sport a tiny Zune button. Well, it would be clever if the button weren’t so lame. Geez.

@apple@

stevenf:

Just got a little freaked out when I realized that the new text-to-speech voice in Leopard was INHALING before starting a sentence.

Jesus, FontExplorer really did become unusable!

29 October

@apple@

John Siracusa’s Leopard review is a must-read, as every time, and commenting it feels like blogging about a Stevenote — short of copying everything he said, you end up with a messy post made of disjointed observations. But what else can you do?

I started off just wanting to quote a nice image about the Finder’s obnoxious “Always open as…” checkbox in the folder View Options window (which I did blog about earlier):

This avalanche of mandatory explicit action effectively represents a denial of service attack on the spatial style of file management.

 

But then how could I resist launching a rumor based on the behavior of Dock stacks?

Apple calls this view “Fan.” The curve is jaunty, but it also makes it a bit more difficult to click items high in the stack, requiring a varying amount of lateral motion rather than a straight shot upwards. Putting the “Show in Finder” icon is at the top seems particularly cruel.

Picture this: What if Steve Jobs spent the whole Leopard development cycle playing with a touch-screen Mac that’s just about to be released? The rightward arc would make so much sense that way. (If it were just designed for and influenced by the iPhone, then it would have been introduced on the iPhone first, wouldn’t it?)

 

And I hadn’t thought about that one important tip:

If you use any sort of virtualization software like VMware or Parallels, each virtual machine hard disk image is a multi-gigabyte file that changes pretty much every time you use the VM. Double ugh. […]

In the meantime, it is possible to exclude individual files from Time Machine backups by dragging them into the “Do not back up” list available in the Time Machine preference pane. That will exclude the file by path.

 

@apple@

Oh, funny that. I would have been stuck with blue screens on several of my Macs, most likely the iMac, if I had upgraded to Leopard this week-end. I must have been a bit naive for thinking removing the prefPane would be enough to uninstall Application Enhancer.

Okay, now that fate has spared me the worst (hopefully), maybe it’s time I actually manage to get that damn cat.

31 October

@web@

Google’s OpenSocial API. So I’ve got to choose between learning how to develop for Facebook, or how to develop for Orkut, LinkedIn and Friendster, huh? Yeah, I’m, like, totally undecided, you know, both sides are so totally tempting.

Well, I guess it might be true if you consider the Brazilian hunk (and bimbo) factor.

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