Archive for August 15, 2005

Monday, August 15, 2005 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Spacewar

Scott Knaster reports that there’s now an applet version of the first video game. It runs the original source of the first version of Spacewar using a PDP-1 emulator.

DropDMG 2.7

DropDMG Icon DropDMG 2.7 adds a bunch of features that (for me, at least) were long awaited. First up, we have disc burning. As I wrote a few months ago, I now backup my files with encrypted disk images, burned to DVD. I had been using Toast for the burning part. Toast is great, but it’s not optimal for this very simple task, where I usually want to burn just one file to each disc. With DropDMG, I can initiate a burn by Shift-dragging onto DropDMG’s window. Then I insert a disc and click Burn. It automatically chooses the name of the disc, and then I can follow the progress using a small, non-modal progress window. With multiple drives, I can burn more than one disc at a time. Of course, you might also want to burn folders or the contents of disk images, and DropDMG supports those operations, too. The idea is not to duplicate Toast or the Finder’s “burn folders” but to make simple burning operations really easy. If the files that you want to burn are already grouped into a folder or disk image, all it takes is a drag and drop.

Next are improved progress windows. The progress bars when you create or convert images used to move one chunk for each step of the process. I was rather proud of the fact that DropDMG could figure out how many total steps there would be, since this depended on the input file as well as the precise combination of options chosen. But in truth, this type of progress reporting wasn’t very informative because some of the steps could take minutes (or hours, for very large images), while others took just a second or two. Thanks to Tiger and some changes in 2.7, it’s now possible for DropDMG to show smooth progress bars for the long steps. I also added cancel buttons to the progress windows. This had been on the to-do list since 1.0, but I kept postponing it because cancel buttons were tricky to implement and seldom used. By 2.7, however, DropDMG’s architecture had evolved to the point where it was possible to address each of the thorny issues with just a few well-placed lines of code. Hopefully, most people didn’t notice the lack of cancel buttons before—only a few wrote in to request them—but in the rare cases where you need them, they’re very handy, so I’m glad DropDMG has them now.

Other improvements include a pop-up menu in the status window for changing configurations, improved scriptability, and a Quit When Done option.