Archive for October, 2005

Adium – my new favorite Mac IM app

Monday, October 17th, 2005


Leave the mouse on a buddy for a couple of seconds
to get “buddy-tips”. (click to see bigger version)

I don’t remember how or why, but I ended up posting
my desktop
to the
Command-Shift-3 Flickr group
recently (command-shift-3 is the key combination for generating screen shots on the Mac).
I was browsing the entries and noticed people running
a
very
cool-looking
IM app.

After spending a little time tracking it down, I found out it was
Adium,
which is the other main open source IM app for the Mac that I haven’t looked at for a couple of years.
It seems that development on it has progressed much further than with
Fire,
the open source IM app I’ve been using and off-and-on contributing to over the last few years.

I have to admit that my main reason for changing over to Adium is its looks.
Right now for instance, my buddy list looks like it’s part of my desktop.
I have a lot of black in the top-left corner, and my buddy list is just grey text that sits there,
and thanks to Adium’s “keep under all windows” feature, it behaves like it’s part of the desktop, too.
As you can see below, even when another app is on top of it, moving your mouse over buddies pops up a translucent info bubble,
which moves smoothly with your mouse.
There’s about a 2 second delay before it shows up, so it’s not annoying or anything.

Adium also has many optional
plug-ins and themes
available.
I downloaded the
Simple desktop
theme for my buddy list and tweaked it a bit.
The theming seems to be flexible enough to make Adium look like any other IM system, inclugin iChat, AIM and MSN.

Now I’m off to check out some of the
sound sets
they have available.

Google Ads

Saturday, October 15th, 2005

I am playing around with Google AdSense, so you will see ads at the bottom of the sidebar to the right.
Let me know if they are annoying.
I would be very surprised if they generated any real money at all.

Let me know if you find them annoying, or are horrified at my attempt to monetize this site.

and so the world changes..

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005


Today Apple announced iTunes 6, which allows users to
purchase video content.


Music Videos + TV Shows
Shop for them 24-7. Watch them at home. Take them on the road. Buy high-quality, ad-free music videos and TV shows for just $1.99, sync them to the new iPod and go.

Browse and buy more than 2,000 music videos, plus your favorite ABC and Disney shows, including “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives.”

So, now you can buy TV shows directly over the internet with only Apple as the middleman.
No Rogers, no CRTC.

This move also allows people who until now have been downloading TV shows via BitTorrent to “go legal”,
similar to what happened with downloading mp3’s.
Published stats claim that more mp3’s are downloaded legally than not these days, so one could hope that the same trend would take hold for TV shows.
This would be after much more content was available, of course, just as was the case with music.

Update – Thu Oct 13, 4:28pm
I’ve watched the
online stream of yesterday’s presentation by Steve Jobs,
and found out a few more things, both pro and con.


Pro:

Apple introduced
Front Row,
which is Apple’s version of a Media Centre.
It comes only with the iMacs.
It has:
   (a) the best interface when starting up/shutting down..
   (b) the best remote control interface..
.. that I have seen for *any* PVR.

The remote control interface is *exactly* the same as that for the iPod.
Indeed, the control looks like an iPod shuffle!

Oh, and the new iMacs also come with a cute little photo-taking program called “Photo Booth”.
It flashes the screen white to illuminate your face when it takes the picture.
Excellent idea.
Not sure if anyone else who already has an iSight can get the software.

Con:

All the videos that you buy via iTunes (including the TV shows) are a pitiful 320×240 resolution.
What the fuck?!?
Wasn’t it Apple that was all big on “2005 is the year of HD”?
What were they thinking?
Sure, it’s okay to have iPod music videos at that resolution, but TV shows?
Give me a gaddamned break.

Sorry for the profanity, but this is a colossal screw-up.
This will not stop ONE PERSON from downloading TV shows via BitTorrent.

Most BitTorrent shows are about 350 MB for an hour, and the resolution is over 600 pixels wide.
A recent Grey’s Anatomy, for instance, is 624×352.

Better audio versions (using AC3 5.1 sound) are being posted, which generally doubles the file size, bringing a one-hour show to 700 MB or so.
Some higher-resolution content is showing up too.
Last season’s “24” was posted at 960×528 resolution, with AC3 5.1, which doubled the size.
I guess the extra resolution doesn’t cause much of a hit in file size. Hm.

Linux rpm repositories

Saturday, October 8th, 2005

I may be trying a Debian-based distro next, Ubuntu, but I ran across this repository of rpm files for Fedora Core that I thought I would share. Livna has a good set of rpm files and integrates with Fedora’s “yum”.

I just installed native ATi drivers by typing:

yes y | yum install kernel-module-fglrx-`uname -r`

Up to now I’ve always used atrpms.net,
which gives Fedora a nice Debian feel by using apt.

Free StarTrek Parody

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

Star Wreck available by Bittorrent.

Star Wreck

Internet splt in two

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

Apparently the internet is a duopoloy, and the two companies
are having a spat.
The companies are Cogent and Level 3.
Level 3 turned off its connection to Cogent, effectively causing anyone only connected to Level 3 to be unable to reach about half of the Internet.

*sigh.

Open Source apps for OS X

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

opensourcemac
is a HUGE list of Open Source applications for Mac OS X.
It’s being maintained by Dmitri Popov, who wrote
Hands on Open Source Book“,
a book about Open Source.

Strongspace – sftp hosting

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005


This is an interesting take on an old idea.
Renting out file space on a server, strictly for downlading.

Not browsing, mind you, just downloading.

Strongspace
supports just about every form of secure downloading available.
You can even use
rsync.

At first I thought there weren’t many sftp apps around,
but it turns out that
Filezilla
for Windows and
CyberDuck
for Mac OS X both support it, so that’s cool.

A luddite blog, a geeky movie

Saturday, October 1st, 2005

I read the book “Man without a country” by Vonnegut today, in about an hour. It appears to be a $32 leftist blog entry.

I saw the movie
{Proof}
today.
I’d kinda forgotten how obsessed those right-wing academians are with ownership of ideas.
It’s based on a play.
I thought it might be geeky/nerdy, but it could have been written in 1863.
Ditto for Vonnegut.

I sort of liked {Proof} despite its flaws, and the presence of a grand total of 10 people in the audience.
It was worth going to, if only to see the trailer for
Memoirs of a Geisha
— note the online trailer is the same, but it *must* be seen on a big screen to be appreciated.

There, I just saved you 50 bucks.


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