Wed, 7 Sep 2005

Powerbook HD Upgrade

— SjG @ 2:09 pm

Since I have this unreasonable need to keep all of my digital photos on the Powerbook, I’m running out of disk space. Gee, you’d think 60GB would be enough for just about anything. But with 30GB of graphics files (21GB of which is just photographs), space gets used up quickly.

The eventual plan is to use iView MediaPro2 for keeping the pictures organized, Photoshop for manipulating them in any way necessary, and come up with some bridge to Gallery2 for publishing collections on the web. We’ll see.

In any case, the problem arises of disks. The one I’m currently considering is the Seagate Momentus 5400.2. I like that Seagate still has a five year warranty. The drive’s 100GB, which would give me another 40GB. That’s about 15 overseas trips worth of pictures, or, if I’m lucky, enough to tide me over until I get my Super New Intel Mac Notebook with its 250GB hard drive in Spring of ’07.

Update: Somehow, I’d missed the ST9120821A. That’s 120GB! Wheeeeee!

Tue, 9 Aug 2005

Cool Mac OS Programs

— SjG @ 12:53 pm

Here are three really nice programs I’ve found (or rather, people have pointed out to me) for the Powerbook lately:

iScroll2: Two-Finger-Scrolling with pre-2005 PowerBooks and iBooks at RazzFazz’ Homepage. This is particularly nice, since it is highly configurable: vertical scrolling, horizontal scrolling, circular scrolling (i.e., iPod wheel scrolling), and even tap-to-click mappings. It seems to be a really well done piece of code.

MyBattery coconutBattery at This is more than just a battery monitor, since it gives some “absolute” information, such as original maximum battery capacity (in milliamp-hours) and current battery level, capacity, charge cycles, and estimated runtime. We all know deep down that our batteries are slowly decreasing in their capacity as they age. This gives a tangible figure for that degradation.

Desktop Manager. I first encountered a virtual screen program like this under HP/UX, and have used similar programs under Irix, Linux, and Windows. This is a particularly nice one, at least in terms of eye candy. Seems stable, and is great for a machine that’s used for development, web surfing, image editing, etc. to keep each activity kinda separate.

Wed, 29 Jun 2005

Organizing Digital Photography

— SjG @ 9:20 pm

Well, it’s an impossible problem. My digital cameras all have high-speed “spray-and-pray” modes, which are the only reasonable response to the challenge of taking candid pictures of children. One shoots a buffer full of pictures, and in one of them (if one’s lucky), all of the kids will have their eyes open, there will be no fingers stuck up noses, and, if one’s really lucky, there will be nice expressions on all of the visible faces.

But the downside is the proliferation of pictures. One develops a certain Tommygun mentality, and, hey, disk space is cheap. Composition’s easier in Photoshop than through the viewfinder.

In short, I have a digital picture management problem. Apple’s iPhoto is a good start, but it can’t handle the quantities of images I’m throwing at it. Recently, I’ve been using an evaluation version of iView Multimedia’s iView Pro. It seems good, with lots of options and configurability. I’d rather not spend $200, but if I can learn to use it adequately, it’d be worth it. And I certainly don’t have time to write my own (witness the moribund Samuel’s Last Attempted Gallery [SLAG] web application that’s never made it past the schema design phase).

I’ll report here eventually what I find.

Fri, 20 May 2005

Treo Sync Followup, part 2

— SjG @ 3:23 pm

Well, I can now state authoritatively that the problem was with Mac OS. I still don’t know what went wrong, or why, since I was originally able to sync a few times before it stopped working.

In any case, I upgraded the notebook to Mac OS 10.4 (“Tiger”), and lo and behold! sync worked with the cable right off the bat. And damn is the USB sync cable faster than bluetooth.

So if you’re having problems synching on a Mac, this might be a starting point for diagnosing the problem.

Tue, 18 Jan 2005

Slow POP connections

— SjG @ 12:29 pm

OK, this is an esoteric one, but I’m happy to report there is a simple solution.

We migrated Stacy over to using Thunderbird (from Outlook Express) on her Mac to cut down on the spam. In the process, we upgraded her to OS X.
Strangely, while POP connections to our local QMail server are nearly instantaneous on the Windows machines, there would be a 30-40 second delay for her. It wasn’t a Thunderbird problem — we could replicate the problem by telnetting to port 110 — and only from the Mac OS X machines.

Karl finally succeeded in diagnosing the problem. QMail uses tcpserver to wrap connections. tcpserver, in turn, checks back via ident. The Mac OS machines don’t have identd running by default. By running tcpserver with the “-R” option (disabling the ident lookup), everything works brilliantly as it should.