Archive for April, 2005

Automation

April 30, 2005

I discovered that I really like Automator. I’ve always wanted to download all the PDFs in the Hayden Pioneer Biographies collection, but all the web sucking applications I’ve tried—well—suck.

Automator made short work of the task. It’s not perfect: it stumbled hard on a bad link—just failed outright, no more processing. I wish it had some sort of basic conditional that would allow parts of the workflow to fail without stopping the entire workflow. I guess that’s probably a future release (I hope).

Still, it was neat to see how easy it was to get started and run. I know Applescript would be perfect here, but I just can’t seem to figure out the language. I’m used to C# or PHP or ColdFusion or ASP—they all spurn verbosity. Applescript revels in it and my mind is just too attuned to a different approach to syntax. Maybe it’s high time I dabbled; I think I would be much more productive if I took the plunge.

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Here Comes Tiger

April 28, 2005

Well, my copy has shipped and is currently sitting on the FedEx loading ramp at Sky Harbor having just arrived eight minutes ago. Two minutes ago, I discovered that Ars Technica’s John Siracusa has posted a 21-page review of Tiger. I’ll probably spend an hour poring over the review since Siracusa’s reviews of Mac OS X are must reads: his analysis is insightful, objective, and thorough. I can’t emphasize these adjectives enough—it’s easily the best reviews of any product I’ve come across. Over time, they provide an excellent view of Mac OS X’s development and evolution.

MacWorld‘s also got a ton of articles about Tiger and TigerWiki could prove to be a useful resource once people start receiving their copies. I can’t wait to dig into the 200 or so new features.

Also, retailer Tiger Direct has sued Apple for trademark infringement. Curiously, they didn’t complain for the year or so that Apple has announced that the new version would be called Tiger. I guess they didn’t anticipate that it would be a big deal and start affecting their search rankings, which basically cinches the conclusion that they’re idiots. Luckily, everything’s shipping so a temporary injunction (if they found a similarly idiotic judge) wouldn’t affect my Tiger weekend.

There’s been some comment from Jim Allchin to the effect that Tiger is copying Longhorn. Pish, I say. At best, they might be borrowing some vapor features that were announced and subsequently pulled in an effort to meet a fourth-quarter 2006 (WTF!) ship date. Except they’re actually implementing them and they’re shipping their “knockoff” tomorrow. The fact is that Longhorn was heralded with considerable fanfare in 2003 or 2004 (I can’t remember which at this point) and the moon was promised. Apple had released Panther (10.3) in October 2003 and had likely started compiling the planned feature set before that. It’s entirely plausible that Apple had already planned something like Spotlight since it seems like a natural move in the direction that Apple has been heading with its search tools. Beyond Spotlight, most everything new about Tiger wasn’t announced in the Longhorn hoopla.

From everything I’ve read about Spotlight, it’s much more than what Longhorn’s WinFS was supposed to be. I say supposed to be because it has been excised from the final list of features. Microsoft has said that they’ll probably put it in a future version of Windows. By that time, however, Apple will have had at least two major point releases and Spotlight will just keep improving.

Is it time to start calling Microsoft beleaguered?

[UPDATE (4/29/05 12:37PM): Tiger just arrived. Luckily, I’m on page 17 of Siracusa’s review so I’ll start installing shortly.]

[UPDATE 2: Installed. Spent the intervening time running Monolingual since I forgot to customize my install to remove all the i18n detritus. Given the number of files it had to remove (upwards of 75,000!), I’d have to say that Tiger is very cosmopolitan.]

Getting External

April 27, 2005

I was going to buy a Mac Mini with some side money I’ve made lately, but I realized that what I really wanted the Mini for was a cheap backup and DVD burning system. It’d probably make more sense to buy a big hard drive and maybe an external DVD burner in the future.

I’m looking at this FireWire LaCie 250GB. It looks nice, the price is right, and the specs aren’t half bad. Has anyone seen anything better for about the same price and about the same storage?

[UPDATE (4/29/05): I went with that LaCie drive. I’ll post if I find anything interesting about it.]

Speak Easy

April 27, 2005

The Say Command: here’s a Terminal tip that reads a text file using your default voice and outputs an AIFF file ready for conversion in iTunes to MP3. Cool!

Nearly Eleven Years

April 26, 2005

And now I do.

Apple Employee on Spotlight’s Direction

April 18, 2005

I know I said that I was going to take a hiatus, but I think that this comment and this comment on the Slashdot story about Tiger’s new features deserves the widest currency possible. The commenter, As Seen on TV, is an Apple employee that has been pretty active on Slashdot for awhile.

Those two comments describe Apple projects that exist in their R&D labs now and might make their way into future products and OS X versions. Hot damn!

[UPDATE: Found another interesting comment about a new startup method that cuts boot time by 50%.]

[UPDATE (4/27/05): Man, I can’t believe how many times a day I check this guy’s comments. It’s incredibly fascinating, like this comment on Steve Jobs’ deserved assholiness. With all the attention paid to rumors and speculation, I can’t believe that this isn’t more widely reported. I told Kottke, I told MacRumors. I don’t know who else to tell. I mean this iPhoto comment is rumor mill gold, Jerry.]

[UPDATE 2 (4/27/05): Here’s more detail about launchd, the startup method in the first update.]

[UPDATE 3 (4/27/05): Here’s a great response to why the Apple rumor mill is so damaging.]

[UPDATE (4/28/05): Here’s ASOT regarding Linux “innovation”. HINT: he hasn’t seen any.]

[UPDATE 2 (4/28/05): He’s admittedly not Steve Jobs but I can’t figure out who he could be. His knowledge is wide and fairly deep, but he’s seen demos in the R&D lab and been privy to some pretty high-level decision making. It’s fascinating.]

bblog Goes Dark

April 15, 2005

It’s been nearly a month since my last post. I’ve started and stopped perhaps half a dozen entries and thought about posting at least a dozen more. I have a lot to say, but not the will to say it. I now understand what shutters so many bloggers out there.

I’ve closed comments for all past entries and I’m going to keep them out there as a permanent archive. I’m still going to move this entire site over to TextPattern; maybe I’ll feel like blogging once that’s done. At this point, I don’t know.

I guess I can’t really say that I’m stopping blogging since Found on the Web is going gangbuster and I’m keeping a respectable pace on Five Browns. I’ve been working on a sekr1t project lately—it’s a non-profit that truly represents the culmination of my life to this point and I hope will be my life’s legacy—and I really need to devote whatever free time I would have spent blogging to it.

I’ve had 880 entries on this blog, so I can’t imagine that this is a permanent move. I appreciate everyone who has read my blog or commented—it’s been a fitful experience but I know I’ve grown as a person from it.