Archive for April 2006

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

LaunchBar 4.1

LaunchBar 4.1 is now Universal and starts up much faster. Other improvements include a Calculate script that lets you quickly type a mathematical expression and have it evaluated (using Perl)—no more opening Calculator just to do simple calculations.

Why Bison is Becoming Extinct

With computers getting faster, there’s less reason to put up with LALR(1) parser generators like Bison and Yacc. John Aycock sees a shift to more powerful Earley and GLR parsers that don’t require fiddling with the grammar to reduce conflicts and left-recursion. Earley, which “just worked” when I used it about five years ago, is cubic in the worst case but has good performance for most “normal” grammars.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Good luck to John Gruber, who’s quit his job and will now try writing his site full-time. I think this will solve the catch-22 in which lots of people liked his work but were reluctant to become members because he wasn’t writing enough.

A Tour of Microsoft’s Mac Lab

David Weiss gives a photo tour of Microsoft’s testing lab:

We have lots of Apple hardware. You can see here the old colorful iMacs along with some of the old iBooks. You can also see two of our Lab Technicians working on the backup systems, but more about that later. Up until a few months ago we had every significant hardware revision Apple has ever released since the dawn of time. We even had a section of the Lab we affectionately called the “Mac Nursery” where we kept all the older Macs going. We even had an old SE/30 and IIci and super expensive Mac II all connected via PhoneNet running Spectre, just for fun. It's always super fun to boot Word 1.0 or Excel 1.0 on these old machines and see how much things have changed.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Remembering Apple

Daniel Jalkut:

A funny piece of trivia about my first job at Apple is that I was technically hired to work on PowerTalk/AOCE, a technology which had just been essentially cancelled, and the former team laid off. Apparently Apple had to keep the sources “at the ready” and have somebody prepared to do a quick bug fix if one of the important clients of the software ran into an emergency. So they gave my manager permission to hire a general integration engineer whose top priority would be maintaining PowerTalk. This didn’t exactly thrill me, but the fact is PowerTalk opened the door to my permanent employment at Apple.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Faisal Jawdat has created ProFontX, a version of ProFont that works better in Cocoa applications because it doesn’t have any ligatures. Allan Odgaard says it’s better than ProFontISOLatin1.

2006-04-16 Update: I will not be using ProFontX after all, since it turns out that its angle bracket and asterisk characters look terrible at 9pt.

Friday, April 14, 2006

KVC Injection

Fraser Speirs:

Somewhere in Aperture, it’s reading the keywords on an iPhoto image, composing a keypath from the bare string of the keyword and calling -valueForKeyPath: with that string. Further, the “@” sign has a special meaning in Key-Value Coding—it signifies an array operator—so instead of accessing the keypath “photo.keywords.Flickr,” the keypath might be “photo.keywords.@Flickr” and “@Flickr” is not a supported array or set operator in KVC.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Microserfs, Revisted

Rex Sorgatz:

After moving to Seattle a month ago to work on the campus depicted in the novel, I returned to the same book that many years ago intrigued this Midwestern twenty-something, to see how the world (and my perspective on it) has changed.

Universal MacPython

Bob Ippolito and Ronald Oussoren have completed a Universal build of Python 2.4.3. Since Python, like most open-source projects, doesn’t use Xcode this was considerably more work than clicking a checkbox. Thanks, guys.

Pystones isn’t a great benchmark, but in this case it shows that a Core Duo is about 25% faster than two G5s at the same GHz.

Monday, April 10, 2006

What Boot Camp Does Not Portend

As usual, John Gruber’s written the excellent common-sense article that’s a must-read for the confused.

Path Finder 4.1

Path Finder 4.1 is now Universal. The interface for the Go To Folder command is much improved; it’s now kind of like a context-sensitive LaunchBar. There’s also a context-sensitive Size Browser, which will replace OmniDiskSweeper for me. Unfortunately, the Columns view is still in some ways a regression from Path Finder 3.

I’ll be switching to Intel soon, with my home folder on an external drive formatted as APM so that DiskWarrior can repair it.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Python 2.5a1

There’s lots of good stuff here, including conditional expressions, with blocks, absolute imports, and commonly used modules brought into the standard library.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Boot Camp

My first impression is that this is great news. I don’t plan to boot into Windows, but if it makes it easier for people to switch to the Mac and helps Apple sell more hardware, it sounds good to me. Another way to look at it: people would have found a way anyway, so it’s better for Apple to make it work right and take the credit than to pretend it isn’t happening.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

ATPM 12.04

The April issue of ATPM is out, and this month we introduce a new site design:

Saturday, April 1, 2006

iPod Hi-Fi Socks


Apple released five colored socks for the iPod Hi-Fi. Each sock is large enough to hold the entire unit, with a pocket on the side for accessories and three slots on the inside to hold your iPod, iPod mini/nano, and iPod shuffle. They have with a pull-tie cord that doubles as a shoulder sling as well. The socks will retail for $69 for the set of five.

Amazon Reviews

Gary Robinson:

But the fact is that Amazon is now in such a dominant position that their dominance probably wouldn’t be threatened just because they lost some integrity. But, losing some integrity could increase revenues, as long as that dominant position remained. So it is arguable that their underlying financial pressures are now different than they were in earlier times, when they were still rapidly growing. And in fact, it appears that they may be responding to their new situation by having a new policy toward reviews.

Adios Avie

John Gruber:

I asked a few engineer friends at Apple whether my perception was correct — that Tevanian has had one foot out the door ever since he stepped down from day-to-day management of Apple software engineering in 2003, and that the news that he’s leaving the company completely isn’t really a big deal at all. They all agreed, more or less, that Tevanian has had both feet out the door but just hadn’t yet turned in his keys. No one I spoke to at Apple has any idea what he’s been up to the last three years.