Archive for November, 2003

Like Chili

27Nov03

Back from another trip to Oslo with my class.

Met up with Forcer this time too, and while that was nice, it was a pity it only lasted for a couple hours. Oh well, another time maybe 🙂

Got some Mountain Dew from an import store. Yum, me like.

Got some DVDs that ain’t worth mentioning here, but more of interest is a CD I got: Red Hot Chili Pepper – Greatest Hits. While browsing the CDs, the first thing I saw was the new album from Britney. Cool, I thought. Until I saw a “Copy Protection”-label in the bottom-right corner. So I picked up the RHCP disc instead. Coming back home, and tearing off the price label – what did I find? Below the pricetag, a “Copy Protection”-label! Oh-No!

I remember Robbie Williams last album wouldn’t play on my flat-screen iMac, however my older tray-loading iMac played and ripped it without problems. So I though the same would be the case here. But, low and behold, my PowerBook plays and rips the RHCP CD with NO PROBLEMS AT ALL! Ah, pure AAC goodness – thank you Apple! Since a mate bought the Britney CD, I’ll rip that one too hehe.

Had I seen the “Copy Protection”-label, I probably wouldn’t have bought the CD, but now I’m glad I did. And I might even buy music in the future too, unless I see a new and improved protection scheme is put to use. Can’t wait for the iTunes Music Store to make it’s way to Europe.

 

More Bluetooth

23Nov03

Are there any solutions for the Mac that allows you to make/receive calls from your cellphone via your Mac? I know Address Book will pop up the caller id, but I would like to also use my Macs speakers/microphone.

 

Bluetooth Blues

23Nov03

Ever lost your cellphone?
Well, a girl in my dormitory did so yesterday. Not like she REALLY lost it, but she couldn’t find it. She knew pretty much for sure that it hadn’t left the building though. FIrst thought was: someone took it, and put it somewhere hard to find, just for fun. That wasn’t the case though, as we found it today, in the laundry room, under a stack of clothes. Well, when trying to find it, we did call it up, several times, wandering about in every room, even the toilet, trying to hear its quacking. Nothing, it was put on vibration only. Seeing as how it was covered in soft clothes, it’s no wonder we didn’t hear the vibration. Well, while searching though, I got an idea. An idea that wouldn’t have helped us this time, since it would require Bluetooth (this was a SonyEricsson T200).

My idea:
A piece of software on the Mac, constantly searching for available Bluetooth devices. When one was found, it would show the approx. distance from the Mac, and as we moved in on it, the distance would increase. A graphical tracking device sort of. Would this be possible? I know Salling Clickers “action when leaving Mac” has an option to set “sensitivity” – but this might not be related. Nevertheless, I thought it was a cool idea. More of a toy really, but could’ve been useful in a similar situation.

Oh, and am I the only one who has seen a major increase in email spam the last few days??

 

Enterprise

14Nov03

I’ve mentioned Steven before, and with all due respect, I’ll do it again. Seeing how his blogging is that more exciting than your average blogger – I reckon he’s got to be one heck of a cool guy irl. But, the cool thing is, that as if running Panic wasn’t enough, he also runs several awesome websites!

I’m nothing but a poor student, but my current hosting plan is $150/year. I decided it was time to do something about it. So, as some of my closer friends might already know, I’m in the process of preparing a new website at the moment. But wait, there’s more! I have so many ideas right now, that I feel confident are good ideas, that I would want to just launch. But, school is taking much much time right now, attending a boarding school does exactly that. So, right now, I will focus on launching this one site, and if it turns out ok, I might work on other projects at a later point. My current Google Ad-Sence program has turned up a mere $6, and I need $100 to get paid. Oh well, one can always hope…

In order to get this new top-secret (nazi) project out, I’m gonna need all the help my friends will offer me. So, to you: Thanks! 🙂

As for the Panther compatibility: we will update our software as necessary, however it won’t be yet…

 

Finding Neo

13Nov03

Borrowed Matrix Reloaded today, and tonight will be ripping-night 🙂 I’ve seen it a few times, and I even saw it only a week ago, but it’s a good movie!

This week’s issue of Donald Duck features the entire Finding Nemo as an extra, and even a Nemo keyring! It’s real cute and his eyes pop out when you squeeze it! How’s that? Although after watching numerous animated movies recently, like Lilo and Stitch – I stand by my opinion that Monsters Inc. is the hands-down best animated movie. Yep, tomorrow I’m gonna borrow that one too, maybe 🙂

Not much happening really. This week we’ve been working on a musical called “Gjenforeningen” that we’ll be touring with next week. Busy times, and not much happening in the Mac world either. Oh well.

 

A new day, a new blog entry.

First off, exciting news! Today is the one day a year that time and date will match 100% – what I mean is, we have the 11 of November, and for a moment of bliss, the time is 11.11.11 – whoa, talking bout cool stuff! Just wanted to let you know, there is no other day where all numbers will match 🙂

I promised you a software recommendation today, and I will keep my promise. DVDs. Most of us have one or more, and that also applies to the students here. I borrow one, and I return it. What I want is to rip it while I have it. So there are about two useable solutions on the Mac. One is iRipDVD, the other is HandBrake. I have used iRipDVD for some time, and been in touch with the author regarding compatibility. The problem with it being it’s based on mencoder, and as such, many DVDs will not be recognized. HandBrake gives you the choice of two codecs (compressors), ffmpeg and xvid. Yesterday I tried ripping a movie using the first one, but it resulted in a file half the size I expected it to be, not recognized at all by QuickTime and problems playing even in VLC / MPlayer. So today I try xvid. It seems to take about twice the time to rip (9 hours compared to 5), but hopefully it will work, and with both compressors recognizing a disk iRipDVD didn’t.

Panther. I have used it for a day now, and I am happy to report I like it overall. Some bugs, but they might be fixed in 10.3.1 (which I haven’t installed yet since I’m ripping this DVD) – or maybe in a future update. One annoyance (might not be a bug) is that previously, if I were in an application, and the desktop was visible behind it, I could drag an icon from the Finder into this application without being switched to the Finder. This still works, but not with the large “details and icon” that appear if you select a file in column view. This used to work in Jaguar. Next out is the one major bug I have found. DOS-formatted disks crashes the Finder if you try to copy files to them. I have only tried this with my USB2-based handydrive, but the only thing I can do is copy files from it, not to it. This worked fine in Jaguar, but not in Panther. Formatting it as a HFS volume solves the problem, but that doesn’t help me much, moving files between my Mac and a PC. Also, moving files between the handydrive and the Mac is painfully slow – when it’s DOS-formatted. Formatting it as a Mac OS disk gives full speed however. Weird.

Oh, and my combodrive is fast! Reads and writes CDs at 24x, rewrites CDs at 10x and reads DVDs at 8x. Just thought I’d let you know 🙂

Now I hope to spend some of the coming days figuring out if any of my software needs to be rewritten/recompiled for Panther. Maybe starting on some new stuff too, who knows 😀

 

This is gonna turn out as a collection of thoughts and rants. Hope you don’t mind.

First off, more on my current internet connection, the mobile one. I have done some calculations, and here are the current results: using GSM I pay for the time connected, and that equals to about 10 minutes for $1. Using GPRS, I pay only for what I download. One MB is about $1. When talking on iChat I can chat for an hour for about $1-2, depending on the number of people and activity. Pretty cool! That is, for the first 0.5 MB I download every month, I pay almost $7, but once I’m above that, the price is down to $1 per MB. That taken into account, I will keep using images in my blog, but only small ones, like the one shown above, and in the last post.

When leaving home a week ago, I thought 2 USB ports would do just fine, but I now realize I have 5 devices. I’m gonna have to bring my HUB up, although it’s only USB 1. I might get a USB 2 HUB instead. Oh, and the EyeTV has trouble getting enough power from my PowerBooks “HUB” – even when it’s plugged in. Crap.

Slava posts some interesting bits on Panther (personal opinions), and I am happy to report that my copy arrived today, and is already installed. I’m waiting for 10.3.1 to cure the common problems that I have yet to discover 🙂 Let’s hope the updates are available as stand-alone files – would hate getting them through GPRS 😀 Windows File Sharing also works now, which it didn’t under 10.2.8. Namely, I could turn ON Windows File Sharing. Ticking the box in the sharing pane, would simply uncheck itself after a second. Finding the Windows machines the other way around has been flawless however.

Slava also mentions speed increase overall, and in specific applications. Namely Mail, Preview, and System Profiler. The latter which he says to be useless in Jaguar. I don’t know about you, but if there is one application in OSX that has never been zippy enough, it has to be the HelpViewer. And Sherlock, which nobody use anyway, but still. HelpViewer seems faster in Panther, I think.

I’ll give you more opinions on Panther tomorrow, along with some rants about my Powerbook hardware and a software recommendation 🙂

 

Some time ago I wrote a bit about Archos and their computer peripherals, noting the pretty good Mac support. I think I have a new recommendation: Apacer. Both my new handy-drive and a memory card reader I got at the same time, are from Apacer. They both work with the Mac without the need for any extra drivers, they look pretty good, and most important: they are cheap.

Apacer is pretty known, at least over here, so you should be able to easily get ahold of their stuff. The memory card reader supports 7 different cards, and I think it looks pretty good. The handy-drive could’ve looked better in silver, but oh well.

Talking on memory cards, there is one type I have yet to see support for in any multi-format reader: XD cards. I have seen these in Olympus cameras, but the only card readers for these type of cards have been XD-only readers. Is this some kind of cruel proprietary standard? Are there any others manufacturers who rely on XD cards?

Image above taken with my IXUS 400 (aka PowerShot S400) – speaking of which, I have seen 2 more of these so far on my school, which is nice. I’ve also seen a couple digital mirror reflex cameras. But other than this, all cameras I’ve seen are crap. I mean, what surprised me at first was that there appeared to be many more digital cameras than 35mm ones. But most people seem to have “your average 3 MP camera”. Sounds good enough, but NOT A SINGLE ONE can produce grain-free images under “above normal” lighting conditions. What’s the point in having a digital camera if the image quality can’t compare to even a disposable camera? I mean, like none of these people put the images on the web or anything like that. If that was the purpose, sure enough a crappy digicam would do.

Hmm, also my Logitech MX500 seems to “go wild” at times. Can it be my colorful mousepad with Tweety on it? I though optical mice got better at textured background the newer it was – but I know my old Logitech wasn’t like this…

Keep checking back here, for this blog is here to stay. More on this tomorrow 🙂

 

Started writing this post yesterday, and now I’m starting from scratch.

Depending on a GPRS connection makes me somewhat less wired, and blogging isn’t as sporadic as it should be. It sure is great to have a Mac here, my PowerBook. Although not having a useable internet connection is frustrating at times. I tried gaining 56k access from my dormitory, but I had two problems: I weren’t able to establish a connection, and the terminal was located some 10 meters from my room, and had a phone attached to it.

For now I can do with GPRS though. It does it for blogging, although way too costly for iChat or uploading even small pictures for my blog entries. As I might have mentioned before, we have 4 WIndows-based computers here hooked up to a single ISDN line, which are at the students (all 125 of us) disposal. Today I got my “handy drive” – USB/memory-based 128 MB plug-and-play drive. It works a charm.

Our public computers are blocked from downloading files, however due to the stupidity of Windows, I can bypass it by simply using another browser. Now of course that is another problem, because the computers are also locked from installing software. So I put a pre-installed copy of Firebird on my handy-drive – and off we go! Grabbed a update today in fact. Less than 3 megabytes were done in just over 10 minutes. Phew! So it’s not the fastest thing you ever saw, but it works, and that’s what matters.

I also saw The Matrix: Revolutions just an hour ago, and boy did I like it. Contrary to “everyone else”, I enjoyed it. The story was “ended” and it had plenty of action. I can only recommend it. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s 1 o clock – I have to go socialize.

 

Portable

04Nov03

I’m back at school, but… yes but, I’m posting this from my PowerBook. Today I hooked up to the net using both GSM and GPRS. I suppose GPRS does it for blogging, but GSM is quite expensive at roughly $1 / 5 minutes. We have a phone a bit down the hallway, and if I succeed in hooking up at 56k I might get a cable and a splitter and get wired.

Otherwise, not much is happening. I got some photo prints I ordered online a couple days ago, from my digital camera. Pretty good quality if I must say so myself. The first ten were free, so I just got ten, but I’m tempted to order more at some point.

No trouble with the Powerbook yet. Let’s just hope it cooperates with the Windows network here. I have yet to try that out. Hold on for yet more blogging and pictures IF I get the modem up and squeaking. Peace!

 

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