Installing Tiger on Monday

I’ve been running various developer builds of Tiger (from ADC) on my “secondary” machine – the desktop box that I use as “communication central”. It’s been so absolutely solid that I haven’t even had the chance to file any bugs on it!

Now that it’s been released, I’ll be installing the final build of Tiger on that box first thing on Monday, and will attempt the full XCode + WebObjects + Subversion install. If all is happy, I’ll be installing Tiger onto the laptop (my primary/development system) at first chance. That’s the only part of the install that has me concerned. If WO works, I’m laughing!

I absolutely LOVE the new Mail.app (I’m less offended by the new Mail UI than many others, apparently, and the Smart Folders do kick so much ass! I have a Smart Folder that says something like: “All messages that are flagged, and have come from anyone on the Pachyderm project in the last 2 weeks”) Spotlight is cool, and Dashboard is unbelievably useful (moreso than Konfabulator is, IMO, and I paid for that).

Initial rumours about WebObjects development on Tiger is that it basically works, but is a bit quirky. There is also an update making its way toward release (5.2.4 – a whopping .0.1 update in over a year!) which will possibly take care of those quirks.

Java 1.5 is also available for MacOSX 10.4, but I don’t care either way about that at the moment – I’m using a whole bunch of Java 1.4 stuff, and don’t really want to go chasing down minor tweaks and niggles introduced by 1.5

Emeril Recipes for your iPod

Emeril Lagasse, of painfully failed sitcom and surprisingly entertaining cooking show fame, has released a bunch of stuff to download to your iPod. These include:

  • Emeril’s Restaurant Finder – so you always know where the overpriced restaurants are
  • podMeals – weekly menus to apparently help with grocery selection
  • ReciPods & ReciPods Too: 1000 recipes from Emeril’s archives. This one is actually pretty cool.

Downloading all but the Restaurant Finder now. The last time I was in Vegas, his restaurants were so ungodly expensive I couldn’t afford to read the menu in front of the joints. The time before that, I got to spend something like $25 so Janice and I could split a piece of pecan pie, and get her a quick tour of the kitchen.

Back from the Pachyderm Dev. Pow-Wow

It was a pretty busy multi-day session, but we’ve hammered out what we need to do to get Pachyderm 2 to the place it needs to be for the NMC conference in June, and for the Big Release in October. These face-to-face developer’s meetings are always good, and are always exhausting.

Pachyderm Brain Burnout

This was an especially bipolar trip. Ups included figuring out the project stuff, spending some time with the other developers, hitting some good restaurants, and being in the green lushness of California. Downs included the damned speeding ticket, Tim getting rejected at the border, and realizing just how little time we have to do what we need to do.

I’ve posted photos from the trip, and will be updating shortly with the last of them (including one more whiteboard shot, and some hopefully cool pics of a sunset from 33,000′.

As we were landing, I could see crystals blasting by in the landing lights. We got to the ground, and it was snowing. A nice solid sheet of icy snow greeted me this morning. I miss the Bay Area already :-)

Pachyderm Server Down (temporarily, I hope)

The thoughtful and friendly folks at the U of C decided to upgrade the electrical infrastructure in the Learning Commons today. That meant that apollo.ucalgary.ca would be without power. “No problem, thanks for the notice,” I thought – assuming they’d be shutting down the server before yanking the plug.

They didn’t.

And now the server is struggling to get back up again. I’m kinda remote from the server right now, hunkered down at SSU with the rest of the Pachyderm developers. Trying to show stuff on the pachyderm instance on apollo.ucalgary.ca – can’t SSH in to reboot it from California. Can’t FTP in. Apache is up, but WebObjects is cranky. MySQL is down. Doh…

I’m really hoping someone reboots the server so we can do more work tomorrow…

So, until then, apollo.ucalgary.ca is down. And, since it’s hosting weblogs.ucalgary.ca and wiki.ucalgary.ca, they are down now, too. crap. Remind me why I left the office?

Update: It’s back! Something had gotten wedged on the reboot after the power cycle. Some services came up, but others simply refused. Kirk just gave the server a nudge, and all is happy again (thanks, Kirk!)

I’m really hoping the bipolar nature of this trip settles down Real Soon Now™.

Wireless at the Doubletree

Boy, howdy does the wireless suck here. I practically need rabbit ears to get enough signal to maintain a connection, then it drops after a few seconds with no warning. Was hoping to catch up on stuff that is non-port-80 (like filling up my Mail.app inbox) because guest access on the SSU wireless network is restricted to port 80.

On the upside, at least the craptacular wireless was free. I was comped because I signed up for their obsessive-user-tracking Hilton Rewards program (or whatever they call it).

Bah. Wireless barfed again… I’ve got a few blog comments and this post queued for publishing, but that will have to wait for the stable connection at SSU.

Arrived at Sonoma State University

We had 2 blemishes on our pachyderm developers pilgrimage to CDL. First, Tim was refused entry to the States, so missed his flight. He wound up catching a later flight, but will be missing some of the meeting today.

Second, after getting our rental car (a Rendezvous), and having to catch up on some time we lost waiting for Tim. I was going roughly with the flow of traffic on the 101, out of San Francisco. Things were moving along smoothly, until Officer Poncherello pulls in behind us and flashes his friendly lights.

I got my first speeding ticket. Ever. F*CK! D@MMIT!!!

That sucked the wind out of my sails Big Time. I’ve mostly pulled out of my funk, but am wondering how much the ticket is going to cost me – Ponch wouldn’t even estimate. 15MPH over the limit… What does that cost you on the 101?

OK… back to paying attention in the meeting.

Update: I just realized… When we were leaving SFO to go to the car rental place, we just caught an AirTrain – perfect timing. In my smart-ass way, I commented “I hope we didn’t just burn up our karma for the day…” – oops. Quick googling suggests the ticket is going to hit me for about $200. Holy. Crap.

Update: The development team (sans Josh, and leadership) just had a “meeting” to “discuss xml”. OK. We were playing pool in the hotel lobby/bar. And by playing pool, I mean “playing” pool, because we all suck like a Dyson. Wow, do we suck at pool. Wasn’t helped by the audience, and the guy that kicked our collective asses on the last game… Humility is a good thing. Good meeting, though! :-)

And photos from day one are now online.

On Music Sales

Over the last few years, I have bought a handful of CDs. Maybe $50 per year. I know – not much. I just opened iTunes, and selected the “Purchased Music” playlist. It’s got 100 tracks in it. That’s $100, in the few months since iTMS Canada opened on December 2, 2004. Extrapolate that to roughly $200 per year. About 4 times more than I had been spending previously.

I know I’ve been on a binge/abstain cycle with the iTMS – I go for weeks without buying anything, then I slip and buy a bunch of stuff. Lather, rinse, repeat. There must be a 12-step program for that… But I hadn’t realized just how much more content I am buying via iTMS compared to “traditional” media outlets.

And people are saying the music industry is doomed, why? Sure – it’s changing. But since when is change bad. Business models change – they’ve been changing all around us for years now, so why would the music industry be exempt? There’s even a bumper sticker for this.

Online music has lower overhead for the artists and the labels – no disks to duplicate, ship, track, market, return, etc… No shelf space to maintain – the power of the Long Tail – no minimum wage “helpful” clerks trying to schlep products while just adding to the middle-man overhead… And, apparently, I’m much more likely to buy bits vs. atoms.

Combine the iTMS with podcasting, and I have absolutely no need for “traditional” media distribution. I get exactly the content I want, without having to store a whole bunch of physical CDs (that are useless to me once they’ve been ripped to my hard drive – they get used exactly once. rather wasteful, no?).

New Camera: Fuji Finepix E510

My old clunky Olympus D-510Z is overdue for retirement. It’s only a 2 megapixel camera, and takes increasingly worse pictures. They’re fine if there’s a LOT of light, but otherwise, all bets are off.

So, I just cashed in my SDLW benefit (a University thing, where we get a small portion of our salary alotted to buying toystools to support our lifelong learning – computers, iPods and digital cameras appear to be the most popular way to do that).

I picked up a Fuji Finepix E510 – a nice compact 5 megapixel beauty, with a honking big 2″ screen (and it’s amazingly bright and clear). I like the controls, and the camera was reviewed well. Probably the best camera in the low-end price range – at least one of the best bang:buck ratios. (if I’d had more cash to allocate, I’d have sprung for the Canon Digital Rebel (or the XT), but that’s another story…)

Anyway, I look forward to taking a LOT more pictures, and am hoping they’ll turn out consistently better (at least photo-quality, if not aesthetically) than before. I’ll be taking the Fuji on the Sonoma State Pachyderm Developer’s Retreat on Monday, so there will likely be a Metric Boatload of new photos from the Bay Area uploaded over the next few days. I know it’s not going to turn me into a Kris Krug or anything, but at least I’m going to be having to throw out badly exposed/focussed photos as often…

Fuji Finepix E510

Things I like so far:

  • the screen – huge, clear and bright.
  • the controls – the dial makes it so easy to change modes. That was a huge pain on the Olympus (mitigated by its lack of meaningful modes, so I never really changed modes too often as a result anyway)
  • takes only 2 AA class batteries (or rechargeable) – the Olympus chewed through 4 at a time
  • resolution – 5 MP is nice
  • picture quality
  • flash doesn’t pop up unless you want it – it automatically popped into position on the Olympus
  • it’s inexpensive – I got it for only $299 CDN, and got a 256MB xD card for about 20 bucks after rebates. I overlooked my disgust for Future Shop to buy it there – because it was so much cheaper there, and it’s totally commodity – I just walked in and asked for the exact item that I wanted…

Things I don’t like so far:

  • it’s not a Canon Digital Rebel XT :-)
  • having to plug the camera in via USB to unload it – I have a Smart Media card reader, but that won’t work for the xD card. Meaning I have to turn the camera on to unload it. This would have been a dealbreaker with the Olympus’ appetite for batteries, but the Fuji is apparently much more thrifty. Maybe this is a non-issue. If it turns out to be a problem, I may have to spring for the PCMCIA xD card reader so I can just plug the xD card into my Powerbook… (that would be nice because I wouldn’t be limited by USB 1.0 speed while transferring images from the camera)
  • having to remember to activate the flash if needed – it’s got a handy and easy to read indicator so maybe this is a non-issue as well
  • when activating the flash, and after using the flash, it takes 2 seconds to recharge it – and it dims the LCD while it’s charging. frustrating. this may be a side-effect of the cheap/stale AA batteries that came with it. I’ll slap in some high end batteries to see if that makes a difference

podscope – Podcast Search Engine

It’s not perfect, but this is cool: podscope – podcast search engine.

It seems to do a better-than-nothing speech-to-text index of podcasts, and provides a search interface on top of that.

For instance, here’s a search on ‘learning’ – not perfect, but it provides a good starting point.

I love the functionality – takes you right to the appropriate portion of the audio file when you press the “play” widget.

I searched for some of the stuff I talked about in my last podcast, and it wasn’t found – an indication that it’s been so long since the podcast that it’s trickled off my feed. Need to find some time to do some more…

Flickr Gallery in WordPress

Update: I’m no longer using the Flickr Gallery plugin. I switched to use FAlbum, and it rocks nicely…

I just installed the Flickr Gallery plugin, which uses the Flickr API to incorporate photo albums from my Flickr account into this weblog. Small pieces, loosely joined. Rock on.

Check out the “Photos” tab on the top of the page (or, if you’re an RSSian, try this).

Have I mentioned how much I freaking love WordPress and Flickr? Hey! You got Flickr in my WordPress! You got WordPress in my Flickr!

Check out my Evan Photo Album, as displayed in WordPress. Click on images to see larger versions, etc… Just like in Flickr. It also supports displaying the Notes. Very cool.