Archive for November 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007


Brad Miller:

Set-up was super easy for me since I was already accepting IPN notifications from PayPal on purchases. E-Junkie send out the sales info in the same format. All that it took was a slight modification to the check for valid transaction method. This also ends up being really convenient if you add other payment processors. They translate the notifications from google checkout or whoever into the same IPN like notifications. So you only have to support one system for use with multiple processors.

Yesterday, I started using E-junkie and PayPal Pro at the C-Command Store instead of PayPal Standard. I’m happy with them so far.

Update: I concur with Brad that E-junkie’s customer service is excellent.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Enter a bit of LaTeX on this site, and it’ll give you a permalink to a GIF-rendering of your equation. For example:


Leopard Tidbits

A bunch of interesting observations from Sven-S. Porst:

PIDs in X.5 don’t restart from 0 again once they reached the 215 region. Rather, PIDs go on and on and on.

And thus Apple had to use the less-than-ideal technique of using a small custom icon graphic as a custom icon for the huge folder icon.

And thus, with a few clicks in the Keyboard preferences, I had the Finder set up to invoke ‘Show Package Contents’ for a Command-Option-Shift-O.

Quay 1.0

From Rainer Brockerhoff, Quay is a utility to bring hierarchical folders (with distinct icons) to Leopard’s Dock. Each Quay Dock tile is a document for Quay’s helper app, which pops up the menu when you click on the document in the Dock. This clever, hack-free design has the downside that the Quay menus appear on mouse-up rather than mouse-down.

Update: Brockerhoff discusses Quay’s development.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Good News, Everyone

Futurama is back:

In 2005, Groening and Cohen met with Fox execs to discuss the possibility of bringing the show back for a feature-length DVD. “It was a great meeting,” Cohen says. “One of the first things we heard was that two DVDs would work better than one.” The network eventually agreed to fund four features, which would be divided into 16 episodes for syndication—nearly a full season.

David X. Cohen:

As a general rule, I hate watching TV or movies with mathematicians in it. It never rings true. They’re portrayed as magic beings. There’s an implication that a normal person can’t do math because they don’t have this magic power, which is very discouraging. You don’t have to have Math-Ray Vision.

One Laptop Per Child

Josh Jones channels Fake Steve:

So please, Mr. Negroponte, hear my plea! Give up on the laptop, and just make a Nintendo DS cartridge with your educational software on it!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I Want Control of My Data

Dave Winer:

I want Netflix and Yahoo to give me an XML version of my movie ratings, for me to decide what to do with. I've been asking for this for a couple of years, I still don't have it. This is information I created. I want to keep a copy. I want to make sure that Netflix knows about all my Yahoo ratings and vice versa. I'd like to give a copy to Facebook (assuming they agree to not disclose it) and maybe to Amazon, so they can recommend products I might want to purchase (again keeping it to themselves). I want to begin a negotiation with various vendors, where I give them something of value, and they give me back something of value.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Perform Better With Garbage Collection

Mike Ash:

It seems that Cocoa garbage collection is another easy-to-overlook example of the implicit multiprocessing support that’s being added to OS X, and it’s something to think about when considering whether to GC-enable your new Cocoa project.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Alerts and Sound Effects Channel

Pierre Igot:

For many years now, Mac OS X has had the ability to channel alerts and other sound effects through a sound output other than the default output used for sound playback in Mac OS X. The default output is selected in the “Output” tab in the “Sound” preference pane in System Preferences, whereas the output for alerts and sound effects is selected in the “Sound Effects” tab in that same preference pane.


Sadly, it now appears that Apple’s engineers have broken this in Mail 3.0 in Mac OS X Leopard (10.5). The various sound effects played by Mail when receiving or sending mail are now again played through the default output, instead of the output for sound effects and alerts.

If you’re using SpamSieve with Mail, this isn’t as much of a problem, since its notification sound (for new non-spam messages) plays over the alert channel.

Anti-Aliasing in Leopard’s Menu Bar

Sven-S. Porst:

As the variable background of the X.5 menu bar means that characters have to be drawn on a transparent background and then put on the modified desktop menu bar picture, this also means that no sub-pixel anti-aliasing is used. As a consequence you may find that certain glyphs look irregularly rendered or poorly spaced in the menu bar. All this, while the menus themselves and the selected menu items are still rendered properly.


I had to conclude that it’s likely that subpixel anti-aliasing will probably be a clever little technology that is not here to stay.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dan Weinreb’s Blog

I’m really enjoying Dan Weinreb’s new blog. So far he’s posted a report from OOPSLA 2007, a rebuttal to Richard Stallman’s account of history, an analysis of why Symbolics (the Lisp machine company he co-founded) failed, and thoughts about Microsoft and open source.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Virtual Scroll Wheel

Christopher Fahey (via John Gruber):

For scrolling through menus and adjusting volume, the iPhone’s new UI methods are, IMHO, superior to the old iPod’s wheel. But the “jog dial” is still the ideal user interface for arbitrary positioning the playhead in audio and video tracks. It’s a hardware solution that has been in professional and consumer use for decades.

And the iPhone and iPod Touch are totally capable of doing it.

Zune 2

Omar Shahine:

If there was ONE thing that I wish Microsoft could do… pay Apple whatever amount of money it takes, and license the iPod Dock Connector and Interface… I can dream can’t I?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dalvik: How Google Routed Around Sun’s IP-based Licensing Restrictions on Java ME

How nice to be able to solve a political and business problem by writing a compiler. Instead of licensing Java ME for their Android cell phone platform, Google wrote their own virtual machine called Dalvik (via John Gruber). The Android SDK includes a tool called “dx” that translates Java .class files into Dalvik .dex files. So you can use your existing Java code and tools, but the phone doesn’t actually run the Java VM. And since Dalvik is a register machine, perhaps this will invigorate the old register vs. stack debate.

Ten New Things in WebKit 3

Maciej Stachowiak:

Apple’s site can tell you a lot about the new end-user features of Safari 3. But a lot of the goodness is on the inside, in the WebKit engine that powers Safari. Here’s a list of ten of the most exciting engine enhancements since the Safari 2 version of WebKit, with lots of details and demos. These features are all included in the WebKit that comes with Safari 3 - you don’t have to download nightlies or anthing else to get them.

Lots of performance improvements.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why Apple Spaces Is Broken

Henry Story (via John Gruber):

So there is no way to switch reliably between applications open in one virtual desktop space, and so there really is no way to separate your different work related tasks currently. The way it is set up you need to have all your browsers in the same space, all your shells in the same space, etc… etc… So really these Spaces™ are not designed around a person’s work habits, but around software components.

Dave Dribin:

I believe a major part of them problem is that Apple tried to make virtual desktops accessible to the average user. However, I think no matter how much spit, polish, and animation Apple puts on Spaces, virtual desktops is a power user feature. Spaces is broken because it is designed for the wrong user.

I’ll reserve judgement until I start using Leopard full-time, but my first reaction (having used various X11 virtual desktops since the mid-90s) is that I like grouping by tasks, and I also like Spaces. Perhaps that’s because I rarely use Command-Tab.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Mysteries of iCal, Revealed!

Jens Ayton:

One of the minor yet shiny new features of Mac OS X 10.5 is that iCal’s dock icon now shows the correct date even when iCal is not running. Some assumed this to be hard-coded functionality in the dock, but a few brave souls—well, one, being me—decided to find out. The following lines in iCal’s Info.plist are a bit of a hint…

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It’s Not a Phone, It’s an Alliance

Fake Steve:

Also, whenever you see companies start talking about being “open,” it means they’re getting their ass kicked. You think Google will be forming an OpenSearch alliance any time soon, to help also-rans in search get a share of the spoils? Me neither.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

ATPM 13.11

The November issue of ATPM is out:

Drew Thaler Interview

Interesting interview from Storie di that covers at Apple, disc burning, and filesystems:

My friends and I developed the CD/DVD burning technology at a company outside of Apple, and we were acquired. It’s a little crazy to think about this, but iTunes had no support whatsoever for CD burning at the start of November 2000. The paperwork for the acquisition finished up in the middle of that month. Six frantic weeks of development later, we had integrated it into both iTunes and the Finder in Mac OS 9 in time for it to be shown at MacWorld [sic] San Francisco in January 2001. It shipped to customers later that month.