Notes and ToDo work better than I expected in Mail, albeit in a more subtle manner than I anticipated. Control click on the column headings to add more columns to the display. Make additional Calendars in iCal for specific projects. Use Smart Mailboxes in Mail to group specific types of Notes and ToDos. Use your imagination.
A Sydney pensioner was killed by a passer-by during a dispute over watering his lawn. Maybe some people get too public spirited about water shortages?
Lots of media reports that excess fat causes cancer, and red meat, processed meat and alcohol are also implicated. These media reports are based on this press release saying body fat is linked to six cancers, which talks about this report on food, nutrition, physical activity and the prevention of cancer. This diet and cancer report can be downloaded. There is a wonderful set of avoiding cancer recommendations in Part 3 of the report, all feel good and motherhood statements. But specific public health and personal goals and recommendations do not automatically follow from the evidence, however strong and consistent. However the recommendations are not really supported by the evidence in the meta analysis report. Read it for yourself. The authors have their own view to push, and push it they do.
Fon shares WiFi access, in return for free access via other Fon users when you travel. Users who do not want to share can purchase time on a Fon network. These fees provide the business return for Fon (the access point gets half). To my surprise, some ISPs like BT encourage Fon WiFi access, as does Neuf Cegatel in France. Fon only started in Madrid in February 2006, but it has a bunch of big investors interested. Users can personalise their Fon spots with advertising for their websites or local business, giving an incentive to do this. Fon runs a private encrypted connection for the owner, and a separate public login for outside users. It is a firmware change based on OpenWRT, so it works on many access points, such as Linksys WRT54g.
Dull video description of a meeting between Fon founder Martin Varsavsky and Steve Jobs of Apple. While Fon is a great idea as a path to widely distributed WiFi networks, I can't see why many of the phone companies are not trying to kill Fon off.
Good description of Fon and WiFi networking. This lists difficulties with hotspots. Australian ISP iiNet to do WiFi sharing with Tomizone in Australia, starting in November. Tomizone has a similar business model to Fon.
Apple introduced the canvas element from HTML5 into WebKit. It now exists in Firefox, Mozilla and Opera. It helps rich presentations in HTML.
I notice Channel Seven saying they are downloading and showing content only hours after it appears in the USA. Great to see that at least one of the TV stations has figured out one reason TV viewing is in decline. I am not sure that ensuring timely delivery will be enough, but it certainly is a good starting point.
Apple's OS X 10.5 Leopard Mail application includes stationery templates. If you understand HTML and CSS, you can edit your own stationery, and include it on your Macintosh. The stationery goes in Library - Application Support - Apple - Mail- Stationery - Apple - Contents - Resources - Stationery - Resources - Stationery or similar (check in Finder, and remember to right click packages). A tutorial on editing stationery from an existing template or more detailed description of where stationery is stored, and how to make your own package.
A few simple letterhead templates plus two more templates from TechnoSanity. For many more Equinux sell a hundred or so colourful stationery templates.
Leopard's address book is not only missing some needed features (like being able to edit the list of instant messenger addresses types) but has also removed previous features like dialling a phone number from a phone or sending an SMS via Bluetooth. I hope the Bluetooth features return, after some updates. [Update. SMS by Bluetooth appears in a context menu if you have paired a Bluetooth phone with your computer.]
Photos can be fun in Address Book. If you drag a photo into a card, in addition to the size slider, you also have an Effects Gallery swirl icon. This lets you apply six different pages of special effects to photos. Mind you, if you don't drag in a photo, the Effects Gallery can still be started, and it locks up Address Book. You can add Quartz Composer composition files into Library - Compositions or to your User - Library.
Address Book help mentions pictures can appear in address book without adding them. If you make a .tiff picture whose filename matches the contacts email address, and has a .tiff extension, and put that in Folder Library - Images - People (or if it is done on a computer you are connected to), the picture will automatically appear in Address Book, Mail and iChat. It seems that if you send emails from .Mac, a .tiff file with your photo will be sent, similar to NeXTMail.
More patent applications regarding a multitouch keyboard for Apple with tactile surface, credited to Wayne Westerman, ex-director of Fingerworks (bought up by Apple a few years ago). I am still hoping for a subnotebook Macintosh. Display with touch sensitive surface, used in conjunction with a Bluetooth keyboard when you need to do lots of typing. Rating - unlikely.
OECD member countries spent around US$13 billion supporting biofuel production. However this produced less than 3% of the supply of liquid transport fuel. It would be cheaper to import bioethanol from Brazil, but the USA has 25% tariffs and EU has 50% tariffs. It also looks like the net greenhouse gas emissions of conventionally farmed biofuel crops are high. European rapeseed oil emits only 13% less than normal diesel. US corn ethanol only 185 less than conventional petrol. Biofuel subsidies are just another farm subsidy. Replacing expensive fossil fuels with even more expensive biofuels will not reduce fuel prices. Biofuels can supplement fossil fuels, but not replace them - you can't produce enough. Plus food prices will rise. Great for consumers. Finally, the cost of reducing emissions by biofuels far exceeds the marginal benefit of doing so.
Karl Marx, father of communism's life and attitudes were shaped by skin disease hidradenitis suppurativa. Marx was a martyr to boils and carbuncles, which reduced his ability to work, and left him poor.
Marx's Carbuncles would be a great name for a band.
I had to upgrade to version 3.5.2 of Simon Fraser's MT Newswatcher, as 3.4 crashed repeatedly after I upgraded my Macintosh OS X to Leopard.
Read an interesting article on Data Detectors in Leopard Mail. When the mouse cursor was hovered over them, dates, addresses and phone numbers were identified by a dotted outline around them. A down arrow at the end of the outline encouraged you to click. Dates could be used to open that date in iCal, or create a new event in iCal. Phone numbers or address could be used to create a new contact in Address Book, or add to an existing contact. Alas, the Postcode of a sample address was not recognised. When the date was used to create a an iCal event, the date and time were used to set the entry. The email Subject was used as the Event title. The address was set as the location. In the Event URL field, message: was set to the email location in Mail, and marked Show in Mail in the link. Not bad at all!
I noticed Peter Borg's Smultron text editor has a new version, 3.2, for Leopard. Seems like helpful improvement, on a first glance.
You can't see anything inside a Leopard. Matt Gemmell says get rid of your code with Leopard, and lists some of the many features for programmers.
Drove Jean to Mackay in the afternoon, where we were booked into the Windmill motel near the Bruce Highway. We could not take a chance on the highway being blocked the next day. Had another good roast meal collected from the motel restaurant. Last time Jean can have a decent meal until after her hip replacement operation.
Apple once had a tablet PDA, in the Apple Newton that John Sculley pushed so hard. Some interesting technologies, but the display let it down, as did the writing input recognition, and the price was high for what you got. However I loved the use of AA rechargeable batteries, and the relatively long battery life. The print recogniser ended up in OS X Inkwell.
Apple have had patents illustrating multipoint touchscreen iPods since 2006.
I did like Chris Messina's illustration of an iPad Touch Apple tablet.
Jean had her right hip replaced in an operation this afternoon. We had to be up early, as she was not allowed to eat after 7 a.m. She also wasn't allowed a hearty breakfast. I took her to Pioneer Valley hospital around 10 a.m. Getting all set up took a few hours. This time the hospital was both busy and very full. Jean went into surgery around 1 p.m. I went back to the motel for a few hours, and was back at the hospital at 3:30. Jean didn't appear again until 6 p.m., even later than during the previous operation, however there were several people emerging from surgery, so they were busier in the recovery room.
Jean seemed in fairly good condition, apart from some sleepiness and mild confusion at times. However she was unable to eat or even drink anything. This was pretty unusual, as in 60 years of hospital visits, she had never before had a problem with anaesthetics. She was not impressed by not being able to have anything to eat. I left at about 11 p.m., and when I reached the motel, sent an email note to a list of her friends.
Files can have date: (checks lastused: and duedate:), created:, used:, lastused:, duedate: The actual date is flexible. You can also use today, tomorrow, "this week", "this month", "this year".
Alas, I can't persuade Spotlight to use most of these. Does work in Smart Folders however.
Others available are filename: kind: (documents, image, presentation, PDF, music, mp3, Applications, events, fonts, safari (webpages), preference, contact, person, email, message). You can use author: language: wherefrom: (for Internet downloads). There are lots of image attributes. You used to have to locate these via a smart folder in Finder.
Logical operators AND OR and brackets can be used.
Jean wasn't able to keep any food down. However the even larger plus was that pain control after this operation was vastly better than on the previous operation. Jean got an anti nausea drug, and was able to eat from then on. The doctor told me that pain relief vs feeling ill was a balancing act, hard to always get it right. Jean was in very good spirits compared to the previous time, especially once she could eat.
Jean was able to get out of bed using a walking frame that afternoon, and walk in place briefly under the direction of the physiotherapist. That evening the nurses took most of the tubes off her.
The new Leopard folder icons are so subtle in their differences that I mostly can't see them. To replace Apple's folder icons, the directory to find is: /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/ and the file is called: GenericFolderIcon.icns You need to authenticate the replacement of the file, and then fix the permissions afterwards.
A detailed description of replacing folder icons comes from John Rork.
There is a new program in the developer tools called IconComposer.app which may be useful for making .icns files.
Jean decided she could use her crutches, so once the drains were out that morning, she was able to get into the shower with help from the nurses. When the physiotherapist came, she did a little walk on crutches down the hall, and up and down a stair ten times.
Jean had me help her to the bathroom for her shower, without waiting for the nurses. She was up and walking with crutches numerous times during the morning. The physiotherapist got her to go up and down the steps out the back of the hospital several times, although she used a wheelchair to get to the steps. She was up again that evening for a walk on crutches with me in the hallways.
Jean was down the end of the corridor near the entrance when I arrived before breakfast. Would that indicate she was anxious to head home? Jean says it was just a coincidence. We left the hospital around 10, and got home around midday. Jean did very well getting into and out of the car, and up the stairs to the Whitsunday Terraces apartment.
Our iiNet ADSL connection at the Whitsunday Terraces has been out of action most of the afternoon and evening. However now I am wondering whether it is the ADSL, or my WiFi connection from Leopard. It eventually came back.
Since I very much want to see a small, very portable computer (not a phone nor an iPod) I remain interested in an ultralight Macbook at Macworld. Engadget writer Ryan Block converted his Macbook Pro to solid state drive, using a new Samsung 64 GB solid state drive just announced, but not generally available. Solid state drives will add a very hefty $1000 price tag to computers.
Appleinsider claim the ultraportable Apple notebook will be a 13 inch aluminium ultraportable with solid state drive, about the same size as a standard sheet of letter paper ... but thicker! The 13 inch display is expected to use LED backlights, like the 15 inch Macbook Pro.
I think Sony managed a 10 inch ultraportable in their Vaio line including an optical drive. However just because you can find a way to cram the parts in does not always mean it is the best solution. Personally I think optical drives are nearly as dead as floppy disks, provided some machine has one somewhere on your home network for when you buy a DVD and need to install the contents. Target disk mode over Firewire works fine without a formal organised network. I haven't had a DVD in my drive since I installed Leopard. I note that Front Row now lets you view Video_TS files. If you stick a preview.jpg file in the same folder as the Video_TS file, Front Row even shows cover art.
I am assuming here that Apple will also drop the keyboard and the mouse pad. My iMac G5 hasn't got a keyboard, neither does the Mac mini. Use your Apple Bluetooth keyboard and mouse if you have lots of typing or mousing. The Apple Bluetooth keyboard is about the same length (11 inches) as the longer side of a sheet of US Letter paper. All this is also assuming a multitouch display. Lots of things would work just fine with a touch display, no keyboard at all.
Apple owned database developer FileMaker have previewed a new Leopard only personal database called Bento. Bento is a Japanese lunch box with organised sections. It is also the name of an OpenDoc Bento object, placeholders to where data is actually stored.
Unlike the professional FileMaker, Bento will be priced at US$49, and US$99 for a family pack. Bento accesses and integrates with Address Book and iCal Events and To Do tasks. The interface appears as simplified source list of Library databases on the left, each containing sections like playlists. For example, the Address Book Library would contain Collections of Records, where each Collection is an existing Address Book Group. On the right is a list of Fields. Libraries can be displayed as individual Forms, or as a Table of Records.
Multiple types of named Fields are available, including Time, Date, Duration, Calculation, Automatic Rating, plus Address style fields. About 20 template based personal designs are available for new Libraries, or you can start with a blank, like in iWork. Works similar to iTunes, and you can have Smart Groups Collections. Table view allows a summary row, with count, sum, average, minimum and maximum. Picture Taker (as in Address Book) is available as standard. Integrates with Time Machine for backup and restore.
Initial suggestion is that Bento stores records in its own proprietary format.
Jean was walking a little around the Whitsunday Terraces apartment without crutches, especially when she thought I wouldn't notice. Pretty good.
The networking problem I had on Sunday now seems much more likely to actually be a Leopard problem. Looks to me like Leopard WiFi is broken, on some models, perhaps only with some wireless access points. When WiFi breaks on my iMac G5 ALS, it also takes out my WiFi on any other computer. Plus when WiFi is broken, I can't connect to the router via an Ethernet cable. The Ethernet cable starts working as soon as I switch the iMac WiFi off.
Fiddling with the WiFi setup, or even just turning it off and on, often gets it working briefly, but is not a long lasting solution. This is looking more and more like some sort of Leopard wireless bug.
For the moment I am using an Ethernet cable, but this isn't a solution for the Powerbook, especially when travelling.
IDC say sales of standalone PDAs have fallen by almost 40% year-on-year. This is the fifteenth quarter of sales decline in a row, with just 728,894 PDAs sold worldwide in Q3 of this year.
The PDA is dead, Jim. The mobile phone is the new PDA. However as a PDA, the phone is mostly a pathetic heap of shit.
I registered with Filemaker for a trial copy of their Bento personal database. I have a bunch of little databases on my old Psion PDA, and with that ancient gadget failing, really need to move them elsewhere. I had originally intended to just make some sort of rough Bash script front end to the regular Unix cut, join, awk style utilities I used over a decade ago. Or even look at using sqlite3, since the Macintosh comes with that. However ease of use has a lot of merit.
Bento comes with a clear and readable 100 page User Manual in PDF. Bento uses the system Address Book and iCal Events and To Do, but does not use existing Smart Groups from Address Book (you can make Smart Collections in Bento, but these will not be used by Address Book).
Apple released their Mac OS X 10.5.1 Leopard update today. Can you say premature release of code?
We drove to Mackay just prior to 8 a.m. for Jean's checkup by her surgeon. Managed to collect some lunch for Jean at Bloomsbury. At Pioneer Valley Hospital we gave the nurses a few boxes of chocolates. Jean also took care of all the bills she had received. As we thought, this time the hip replacement had gone really well. Jean is already walking without a cane (at times). Another check in a month. Back to the Whitsunday Terraces.
My Safari Dock icon under Leopard spontaneously (as far as I can tell) changed to a folder icon (actually the Download folder icon). I dragged the icon out of the Dock to make it disappear, and attempted to replace it with the real Safari clock icon. When the clock icon got to the Dock, it changed to an envelope with a sheet of paper in it. I can't even find that icon anywhere on my iMac G5 ALS. Trying this as another user produced the normal Safari clock icon. What should I try next? Trash the Safari plist? I wonder what doing that will damage.
The trick suggested in the Apple discussions was to trash the Dock plist. I haven't had to trash a plist since the bad old days of Panther Help not working.
Apple's additions to Webkit 3 eventually show up in Leopard's Safari web browser. 10 new things in Webkit 3 includes rich text editing, scalable vector graphics (SVG), XPath for XML, stylable form controls, some CSS 3 styling, including text-stroke and text-shadow, plus multiple columns, border radius, and box-shadow. I am very tempted to rewrite my fanzine pages for multiple column layouts.
Jeff Bezos and Amazon are launching a US$399 eBook called Kindle. The good points are the use of eInk for the 800 x 600 pixel 6 inch diagonal 4 grey scale display, plus a 30 hour battery life and 2 hour recharge time. Said to weigh 290 grams, and be 135 x 190 by 18 mm. It has an adjustable font size (well doh, so did my 1997 Psion PDA). Holds over 200 eBooks in its 256 MB storage, and can search books for phrase or name. Has an SD memory card slot. It has an obsolete EVDO/CDMA connection from Sprint (at least, it does in the USA). New releases and bestsellers at US$9.99. It launches with 88,000 books available. First chapter free (smart). No computer required. $0.99 a month for blog subscriptions. Annotations and bookmarks. Basic web browser in the Experimental section, and can play MP3.
A Gizmodo report on Kindle eBook says it had a 4 second power up, and took less than a second to change pages. It was comfortable to hold. Keyboard is very slow. Showed up as a USB drive when plugged into a computer, however you can't view a PDF of a book. How dumb is that? Seems like another potentially good idea ruined by proprietary DRM that is Defective by Design.
Sony had a simpler eBook reader, no connection to the internet, but with the eInk display. I don't think it went anywhere in the market, but I think there have been two models.
Considerably more interesting is the iRex iLiad Linux based eBook reader, which does not have DRM. iLiad also has a larger 8.1 inch 1024 x 768 display, and 16 levels of grey on its eInk. However lots of its hardware needs an update - USB 1.1?
One even more fundamental problem is that eInk still doesn't seem to be ready for prime time. No colour. Not much contrast. Too slow. Sigh, I wish the technology were just a little more advanced. Kindle seems more like kindling.
Amazon's Kindle eBook reader provoked Mark Pilgrim's The Future of Reading, a very short opinion piece on the inherent problems of Kindle (and almost all ebooks I have seen), done as a play in six acts. It is a great read.
I was delighted to discover a Gutenberg Science Fiction Bookshelf wiki, collecting links to many science fiction ebooks from Gutenberg project in the one spot. Spotted a whole bunch of old sf I hadn't read in years there.
I was also pleased to note many of these eBooks in HTML format. Doing eBooks as a web page seems to me a far better choice than any other format. In particular, a web browser can easily present your reading matter in a font size best suited to your vision, while still fitting within the confines of a possibly small display on a PDA or phone.
Now, if only eInk viewers were just a little more advanced!
The ASUS Eee PC miniature Linux sub-notebook computer will be available in Australia at general upmarket retailer Myers from 1 December for A$499. It runs a custom version of Xandros Linux. Many sub-notebook enthusiasts were awaiting this release, but doubts are now appearing.
No longer as price competitive as promised at A$499. A Windows notebook computer is available at under A$600. However warranty void stickers are reported prevent access to the RAM and mini-PCI Express slots (not a good sign). Linux enthusiasts claim the source has not actually been released, and modifications do not follow the required GPL, although this was probably accidental, and easily fixed by Asus.
The good points include 7 inch active matrix TFT 800 x 480 display at 100 dpi, and under a kilogram weight (920 grams). IIt includes a VGA output port. CPU is a 900 MHz Intel Celeron-M 353, and Intel 915GM Express chipset on a 400 MHz FSB. Video is Intel's GMA 900 sharing 224 MB of video memory. The Asus Eee PC has a small (4 GB I believe) solid state disk, with 2.9 GB for the OS, and 512 MB of RAM. Includes 802.11b/g WiFi. Battery life from the 4 cell 5200 mAh battery is variously claimed to be 2-3 hours or 5 hours. The 701 model includes a 640 x 480 web camera and microphone. Runs Open Office, Firefox, Skype, and about 40 other applications. The media player handles DivX and .avi. Boot time is claimed to be 15 seconds, with a 5 second shutdown.
Bunch of hackers say the Asus Eee PC will run Macintosh OS X Leopard, for very low values of run. Lots of stuff not working: Wi-Fi, audio, camera, mic, full-resolution, and laptop-type functionality. As one said a pirate unsupported operating system designed for proprietary hardware, on a feature reduced child's laptop, based on the say so of some anonymous blogger. I hope this clarifies your support issues.
Generation 3 iPods could store up to 1000 notes, as could all Classic iPod members. Alas, this ability seems to be lost with the iPod Nano with video, and with the iPod Touch.
Make article on iPod eBooks is a good introduction. O'Reilly Mac DevCenter cover Building Interactive iPod Experiences with Museum mode including sound and pictures. Explains how to produce iPod Notes markup in a very clear manner. The Notes only Museum mode is explained in a subsequent article, with removing iPod history is next.
There are some neat poems as iPod notes and much else at Eric Antonow's i.am.large. Another good source of eBooks is Manybooks, as well as a wide range, it provides a nice variety of formats, including iPod Notes and custom HTML.
Nice article by Shaun Boyd on the working dead, people who accomplish nothing while at work. Some people like getting paid to do nothing. Shaun has a number of other decent articles on his blog. I hope he does manage to make some money from his writing.
Unlikely to work, despite optimistic articles like Hydrogen, the next generation, by Jessica Gorman, in the 12 October 2002 Science News.
Fortune's article A chat with Apple's iPod and iPhone marketing czar gives some nice background on Apple and its iPod and iPhone market efforts. Also interesting material on the laptop market, including Greg Joswiak's push for the popular 14 inch iBook.
Tom Yager at InfoWorld says Mac OS X Leopard a perfect 10 in a long article about nice features for application developers.
A little rant on Crave by Matt Rosoff, that the recording industry should thank Apple. Gives a history of subscription digital media failures, focusing on how the recording industry failed to allow music on MP3 players. Good analysis. However the bottom line is DRM sucks, and subscription based DRM sucks worse.
Universal's CEO Doug Morris Once Called iPod Users Thieves. Now He's Giving Songs Away says Seth Mnookin in Wired. I don't know what caused CD sales to drop each year (although trying to sell crap is probably a factor). I do know I loath the music recording industry so much now that I only buy local label CDs sold direct by the artists at local shows. Mind you, Morris did a nice line about the Shmoo. He tries to force money from music distribution, because he still thinks music distribution is a scarce commodity. It was only partly scarce when the industry made massive profits overcharging for CDs. With online distribution, nothing digital is scarce anymore. Morris thinks beating the power of Steve Jobs and iTunes Store ends the game, whereas it just ends his chance of getting much money out of online digital distribution. The cheese will be gone. File sharing and piracy come back with a real vengeance. DRM will be dead. Digital music will race to the bottom of the price range.
The record company Total Music venture is a joke. I won't rent DRM music. I won't buy DRM (unless I know I can break it). I look forward to the first bankruptcy among the big 4 music companies. Move the cost of music onto the playing device, and iPods will be even more competitive in price relative to other music players.
Adobe and Yahoo are trying dynamic advertising within PDF files, to allow publishers to get new revenue. Guess I will stop accepting PDF, just like I stopped accepting Flash.
I am so sick and tired of advertising. Time for a campaign to totally forbid all advertising in public. No billboards, nothing on the sides of buildings. Plus why is advertising tax deductible for a business?
AT&T's CEO, Randall Stephenson commented about Apple releasing a 3G iPhone in 2008. In September, Steve Jobs specifically said Apple were sticking to EDGE for the moment for battery life reasons. Well, doh, given Steve Jobs had earlier said there would be a 3G iPhone around the end of 2008, this isn't a big surprise. What commentators don't understand is why a CEO would want to say that just prior to the 2007 Xmas shopping season? That sort of comment hits the news, luddite potential customers see it, and decide to hold off buying a new phone for Xmas, because they don't realise 2008 probably means end of 2008. Would the CEO of such a large company really make that sort of mistake, unless it was a message to Apple? Speculation is AT&T is mad about the one in five iPhones that were being hacked open.
After demonstrating she could get down one flight of steps without crutches yesterday, today Jean got right down to the car park at the Whitsunday Terraces. I drove her to Centro shopping centre, where she managed to walk around for a considerable period without crutch or cane. This is only three and a half weeks after the second hip replacement. She managed to walk back up the two floors of stairs at the Whitsunday Terraces, so the whole trip was managed without cane or crutches. That was great, and a lot faster than after the first hip replacement.
BigW seem to have organised to sell DVDs over the web. Old TV series I never seemed to find in a physical BigW store, where no-one seems to know what stock might be on hand or expected. I ordered some DVDs I was missing. After Xmas I plan to order a whole heap more. Now I just need the multiple terabyte of file space so I can store them.
Around 11 a.m. it came, about 50 mm over the course of an hour. The rainy season has arrived.