Sunday, March 30, 2008

We're going back in time.

I was, I freely admit, a latecomer to the whole OSX thing. I had built my life around OS9, and upgrading the operating system would mean also having to upgrade all the software Lots and lots of software. Most of it, at the time,, how to put this delicately. Most not eligible for software upgrade. And even if it was, I didn't have a whole lot of cash to throw at buying new versions of old apps. So I stuck with old apps for as long as I could.

In fact, it was only when 10.2 was getting long in the tooth that I finally decided to break out the OSX 10.0 disk that came with my G4 and put it on the computer. I could always launch system 9 to get back at those old apps, if I really needed them.

I quickly upgraded to 10.2, then dotthree when it came out, then dotfour, and now dotfive. Which I love.

The trouble is, while I now have updated (and legit, thank you very much) versions of Creative Suite and Lightroom and Dreamweaver and all those other apps, there are a couple that never made the leap from 9. They hit end of life, and if I want to use them, I have to go back to my old computer, and fire up system 9.

Which I haven't needed to do in...years, probably. But one of the programs stuck in 9 is a cookbook program called MasterCook. My wife, you see, used to do food services for a retreat centre, and had a fairly complete stack of recipes inputted.

She hasn't needed access to these recipes for the last few years, as she is not currently working, choosing instead to raise our two kids (and let me work three jobs to make ends meet...), but tonight, we were going out for supper at my sister's, and my wife wanted to bring along a special salad.

She could not find the recipe in her files, so sent me down to print up a copy. I sat down at the old G4 (which has currently been relegated to functioning as a file server), and clicked on MasterCook.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited for classic to start up. I never would have called booting into classic snappy, but I don't think it used to be this slow. Must be the fact that I'm running 10.4 on the computer, and 10.4s support for classic is fairly thin (and went missing completely with 10.5).

Finally it started up and I was greeted with that cheery rainbow apple logo in the top left, and all that Geneva text...

A couple weeks ago, OS X turned seven years old, but it didn't dawn on me just how far we've come until I had to go back and relive system nine in all its glory. I poked around in the software for a while, but finally had to stop. I stuck with Apple through the bad old days, but it's a bit embarrassing to look back on those days. Kinda like looking through the old high school year books. They're nice to have around for nostalgia sake, but I don't really want anyone else looking at them. I mean, were my glasses really that big? My haircut really that...bad?

I like to pretend that the mac has always been this cool, but opening up classic, I was reminded, quite acutely, how far we've come in the last few years.

Since classic is no longer supported, I finally exported the recipe files as text files. That should be the last time I need to open up classic. Now to find a suitable replacement....I'm open to suggestions.

There's a side of me that's a bit sad. It's a bit like thinking about your lost youth. But then I look at how...I'm sorry, but how ugly it, and I don't think I'll miss it. The G4 will probably not get updated to 10.5 unless I find a compelling need to use back to my mac to access files on it. Even so, I think that's it for Classic.

Farewell, I shall remember you fondly, so long as I never need to look on your face again.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Over my head I hear Xcode in the air

My experience coding ended with Apple Basic (but boy, I could make the screen fill with any text you want), so a recent episode of MacBreakTech (hello, world) completely bamboozled me. Normally, I can stick with them for most of the discussion, and parse the things I don't understand from the things I do understand.

This episode? Not a word. 

However, I just stumbled across an e-Book (a fre-eBook, even) on how to learn Xcode. It's called Become and Xcoder, and it is my entrance into the glamourous world of Xcoding. I can see it now. The groupies. The all night parties. The groupies. The reserved room at the Betty Ford clinic....

Or else I'll look at it, scratch my head, and have to pursue my dreams of the programmer's lifestyle by becoming a rock star

Is T-Mobile behind Niagara Networks


So I've mentioned before that there's rumours of T-Mobile making a bid for some of that sweet Canadian Spectrum. Trouble is, the auction rules state that the company doing the bidding has to be Canadian. 

We've also mentioned that Niagara Networks Inc. has come out of the blue to bid on a huge swatch of that spectrum.

CBC has put two and two together, and come up with a question: Is there a bigger Telecom backing Niagara? They mention both T-Mobile and AT&T as possible backers, but the official word is "No comment."

My money is on T-Mobile, just because that's the way I read the T-leaves. But I could be completely wrong. 

Any way you shake it, a new player in the Canadian market would hopefully generate a bit of competition, and rates might come down. 

The fact that both T-Mobile and AT&T have iPhone contracts in their respective countries has no bearing on my interest in this story. Honest. 

What I think'd be even more interesting would be if Apple were found to be backing a play for some spectrum. That would go a long way to helping me with my current theory that Apple doesn't really care about the Canadian Market. 

Leaving their mark

Apparently, Apple has filed for trademark for the iPhone name in Canada.

Now, one of the many hold-ups in Canada for the iPhone has been the fact that Comwave Telecom is using the iPhone name. Back in October, they filed opposition to CIPO, yet Apple has still gone ahead and filed again, though people are only noticing now that the filing was made. Here is a story from the CBC from October. 

The fact that the story is hitting the wire now doesn't mean there has been any resolution in the issue, just that someone finally noticed the Trademark application. Comwave is still using iPhone as a designation for their services, so they haven't abandoned the fight. For those of you who enjoy reading Trademark Applications, here is their filing

Expect this to take a while....

I'm not one to rumour monger, but...

...did you hear the latest? A 3G iPhone coming in a few months. That means another company could sell them, not ust Rogers....

Now, the existence of a 3G phone doesn't mean that it will come to Canada, but it does improve chances, just a bit....

For me, living in a place where the nearest Roger's tower is 100 km away, a 3G iPhone would be lovely....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Everybody's talking about it.

But what do I mean by it?

Do I mean Crossover Games, the new crossover app for playing windows on your mac?

Do I mean how Webkit scored a perfect 100% in the Acid Test?

Or do I mean the fact that Photoshop is now on the web?

The answer to this and many others is simply yes. 

(BTW: I've signed up for a Photoshop Express Account. Despite the fact that it is "US only" currently, all you have to do is say that you're from the US. It doesn't do anything to verify your location in the world.... However, I used my email address from my actual adobe account, and it isn't letting me log in. Hmm....)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yippee! Yahoo!

Yahoo has just released the Beta Yahoo Messenger for Mac.

It is going head to head with Skype, it appears, allowing computer to phone calling to "anywhere in the world" (No mention of if it works from anywhere in the world.) Their prices are $0.01, which is lower than Skype's $0.024. I tried a test call, and it sounds really good. Trouble is that I am at work right now, and I have a better connection than when I am at home. I might sign up to try the computer to phone service, if the test call works okay from home. 

I'd give it a whirl...if I knew anyone using Yahoo Messenger. Anybody want to give it a whirl and see how it compares to Skype? 


Tip Tuesday: Fix Firefox's default helper applications

A new feature here on Macanuck. Every Tuesday, if I remember, I will post a little tip, trick, hack or other nifty bit of wizardry to make your life easier. 

Firefox user?

Me, I bounce between Safari and Firefox, mostly because there's a couple sources I have to use for my soon-to-be day job that don't work in Safari. 

So I'm not an expert Firefox user by any means, but over at ehMac, someone mentioned they were getting annoyed that even though they had Preview set as their default PDF reader in the OS, Firefox would still open things in Adobe Reader. Short of deleting Reader, what could they do. 

The answer, is, unfortunately, a lot more complicated than it needs to be. 

If you open up Firefox and look in Firefox:Preferences:Content, you'll see a button marked "Manage" right at the bottom, under a label called "File Types" Which has the description:  "Configure how Firefox handles certain file types."

If you click on Manage, you'll find that pdf files are not in the list. And there's no way to add them from here. 

Instead, you have to go back to your browser and find a pdf (or other file type that you want to open; this trick works for any content that firefox can't handle natively; for instance, you might want .doc files to open in Pages, which rocks, instead of Word, which doesn't). 

Once you've found said file type, click on it to open it. Firefox opens up a dialogue box asking how you want to handle the file type. And here's where things get counter-intuitive. Open with Preview (default) is selected automatically, and if you go to the drop down menu, there are no other options.

Here's the trick. Select the check box at the bottom of the dialogue box that says "Do this Automatically for files like this from now on."

A note pops up telling you that you can change this in the Content section of Firefox, Preferences. Which is indeed what we shall do. 

Go back to the content section. Now PDF is in the list of Download Actions. Simply highlight PDF, click the change action button, and select the program you'd prefer to have your pdfs open with.

Easy Peasy.

Now, as soon as blogger lets me upload images, I'll add a couple screen caps to this. 

And hey, if you have any questions, things that have been pestering you about the way things work on a Mac, do post a question here, and I will see what I can do to solve your Mac or Apple Related problems.

Thanks all. 

Evil? Not hardly.

After the recent Wired Story on the inherent evilness of Apple (and by evilness, they mean "not like Google", AFAICT), you'd think that they'd be stealing candy from babies. Not offering refunds and store credits to customers hosed by the recent writer's strike. 

But, they are. And, while they took longer than they needed to to get there, the fact remains that they are doing it, showing that again, providing a great user experience is important to them. 

Now, if they'd only start selling all those TV shows on the Canadian iTunes, I'd be happy. Because while customers are important, apparently Canadian Customers aren't....

An iTunes Crash report

From John Mayer, via Gizmodo.

I don't know about you, but I do sometimes fill out snarky reports like this. A lot of times, I just ignore, but every once in a while, nothing beats a little snark in a crash report.

Patently absurd

So, it looks like Apple has finally got the patent on the iPod's click wheel. 

It's also got the patent on the flex arm for the iMac. You know, the one they stopped making four flipping years ago.

Read all about Apple's new patents at MacNN

The Elements of Photoshop

While I don't know why anyone would rather spend $99 on Photoshop Elements, rather than spending $999 on Photoshop CS3, extended, I guess it should be noted that Adobe has finally released Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac. 

And there was much rejoicing. Or not. I am a Photoshop user, but I'm wondering how this new version of Elements compares to some of the new Mac graphics programs that have come out recently, specifically, Acorn and Pixelmator, which are quite a bit cheaper. I know Elements has the Adobe name, but Pixelmator is pretty good for what it does....

Monday, March 24, 2008

It was seven years ago today...

...that OSX came out. I bought a G4 a few months later, and it came with the OSX disk, but I was used to OS9, and had no desire to switch, thank you very much, until I knew it worked. It wasn't until 10.2 was released a year and a half later that I made the switch.

And what a switch it was. The computer ran faster, it was more stable. Sure, none of my old programs would work (and I still haven't gone back to some, like Filemaker, though Bento looks tempting), but it was an amazing user experience. 

I was a little stupid back then. But then, 10.0 had a rather famous list of foibles, and that's what I saw, not the benefits. Not the things that were better. Just what was wrong. But I missed what was so right for nearly two years. 

I still have that old G4, though it runs Tiger these days. My new laptop runs Leopard, and I am quite happy with it. OSX has served me well over the last five years, and it, probably more than anything, has reinvigorated the Mac market. At least from this user's perspective. 

So raise a glass in celebration of your favourite OS's birthday. Salut.

Friday, March 21, 2008

You are, however, entitled to your own opinion...

However angry or drunken it may be....

Bad Apple. Evil, wicked, nasty Apple

Here's a post from John Lilly (CEO of Mozilla) on Apple's decision to have Safari hitch a ride on the iTunes updater, and I agree with him. If I want new software, I want to decide to install it.

Ultimately, the only thing they did wrong was turn the checkbox on by default, but it's a stupid thing to do. Sure I don't mind if you piggy back new software information on an old update and give me the option to download it if I want to, but don't give me the option to not download it if I don't want to. 

1Password update

Okay, I'm running a bit behind. I noticed this on the wire a couple days ago, but I finally installed Safari 3.1 to discover 1Password doesn't work. 

Easy enough. I just opened up 1Password, and hit check for updates, and it is downloading the update with 3.1 support even as we speak. 

We'll see if 3.1 breaks anything else....

Tip: Open up _blank tags in new tab


Let me say that again. 


The Unofficial Apple Weblog pointed me to a blog from a fellow named Dennis Stevense, where he says that not only is Safari 3.1 safer, not only is it faster, but Apple has dropped a new variable that allows you to open _blank tags in a new tab.

You know the ones; when you hover over the link, it says "open FOO in new window". And so you either wind up with a dozen windows open, or you right click and say "open link in new tab" because I don't want a frigging new window, thank you very much. 

Anyway he posted the secret sauce over on his blog. I'd share it with you, but I haven't figured out how to copy and paste into blogger yet ( I can copy, but when I paste, it doesn't show up in the story, it shows up in a box below the story. What's up with that?)

So go over there and make Safari even better. 

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Hey all.

In just a few days I've gone from nobody reading this, to one or two.

So for both of you, just know that I've got a deadline breathing down my neck, and I may not be as prolific as I have been the last few days. I'll try and still get something more up, and blogging is a great way to avoid real writing, but if I do what is good and right and honourable and get some work done, it may mean I will only surface for air when the really interesting stuff happens....

Sugar Sync

It's not a new idea, but SugarSync is one of the most elegant cloud computing interface I''ve seen. I'm going to go play with it for a while and see what I think. 

In my other life, I am a writer. Currently I have a little Automator script that emails my daily output to Gmail to back up, mostly because I am too cheap to get .mac or any other service. But I keep flirting with the idea, and perhaps this will be the service that finally wins me over. I'll try it and see. 

You can try it, too. It's a 45 day free trial for 10GB of data transfer. And if you do, tell me what you think. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gruber is such a firebrand...

Here's his thoughts on the Wired Feature on Apple...

A closer look at the iPhone video

So, a lot of the folks over at ehMac are looking at the fact that the iPhone demoed in this video has French Canadian built in as a language preference as not having much weight. They don't see it as an imminent release of the iPhone.

So I went and watched the video all the way though (rather than stopping at the point where French Canadian pops up), and noticed that not the guy who does the video goes thumbing through the Region Format Menu, which has date and time options for different countries.

Here are the countries listed, followed by whether they have the iPhone:

Zimbabwe No
UK Yes 
US Yes 
Us Virgin Islands No
South Africa No
Singapore No
Philippines No
Pakistan No
New Zealand No
Malta No
Ireland Yes
India No
Hong Kong SAR China No
Canada No
Botswana No
Belgium No
Australia No

A couple things to note:

Germany and France, both of which have the iPhone, are not on the list.

A whole whack of countries that don't have the iPhone are. 

Is this setting up for a planned roll out? Is this just a standard list of countries that the Mac supports, or is this just someone pulling our leg, yet again, with a fake video?

Well, if you open up the International Pane and select formats, you'll note that the short list of Regions is as listed above. However, if you look next to it, there is a check button that say "show all regions" that allows you to see about a billion other countries and regions. Is it in the video? Survey says, no. So, what does that mean? One option is that this is a fake, a video or a website designed to look like what it might look like. Of course, the video doesn't show the top of the screen, so there is a chance that the "show all regions" is at the top, and this really is 2.0 software.

But, again, it is the standard list from the International Preference Panel. Does the fact that Zimbabwe is listed mean that the iPhone is heading for the streets of Harare? Or is this just a standard format menu for all mac devices? Either one is acceptable, but neither one really sells me on the fact that the iPhone is coming to Canada. 

Rogers may decide to negotiate with Apple, knowing that there may be competition coming down the pipes, but I suspect they'll wait and see what happens with the spectrum auction before caving under.

Still, that would be a coup for a new cell phone provider: We're new, and we've got the iPhone, with data plans starting at a really low price. Now that's the way to enter the market with a bang....


You know, back when I started thinking about writing about Apple, it was motivated by the fact that there wasn't much out there about Apple. 

And I still remember the bad old days, and it is hard to wrap my mind around how much has changed. But when you see things like this, you know, Apple is no longer the company I remember. 

I wouldn't have it any other way. But still, it is sometimes hard to wrap my head around Apple news on CBC. 

(See, I told you I liked CBC; they're one of my main news feeds...)

Tora, tora torrent

Hey, all you Bit Torrent fans out there:

CBC is considering (according to Michael Geist) releasing Canada's Next Great Prime Minister as a bit torrent the day after it's released. 

While it would be a watershed moment (the first North American broadcaster to release a show via BitTorrent), colour me unimpressed. Canada's Next Great Prime Minister? They couldn't come up with something more...interesting to release?

I am already calling foul. "According to our research, only ten people downloaded this show, meaning that BitTorrent is not a viable means of distribution."

Well, duh, nobody downloaded the show, but nobody *watched* the show, either. 

Alright, alright. Maybe a few people are watching the show. But I suspect that the BitTorrent crowd is not their target demographic. I hope to be proved wrong, but I think it is an experiment designed to fail. Why don't they BitTorrent something that people would want to watch, Hang on. No, give me a minute, I'll come up with something. Um. Like, er...

Does CBC have anything worth going through the trouble of downloading?

(Whoops. It's now official.)

Note: I love our public broadcaster. Really I do. No, don't give me that. I didn't see you traveling 3000 km to protest the cutbacks back in the early 1990s. It's just that, for all the good it does, it still hasn't figured out Episodic TV. News? Brilliant. Comedy? Love it. Da Vinci's inquest? The exception that proves the rule. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Scoop, or wishful thinking?

The Financial Times reports that Apple is considering an unlimited music bundle.

But is that coming from Apple sources, or just the wishful thinking of every fanboy this side of Redmond? I have heard the case for an all-you-can-eat service from tonnes of sources. Heck, I've even said "wouldn't it be nice if..."

It makes sense, if done well. I don't listen to the radio, because the radio doesn't really meet my demographic, at least not after the much mourned demise of Coast FM, back when I was in Vancouver. These days, I get stuck with three channels: classic rock, modern crap and CBC. I tend to default to the CBC. 

Anyway. As a result, my musical tastes have been stagnating, because I don't want to buy stuff that I might not like, even for $0.99. My big musical discoveries lately have been Jonathan Coulton, because I can listen to it all for free at his website, and the Flaming Lips, because a friend of mine lent me their CD to listen to, and I loved the Yeah Yeah Yeah Song. (Most people got into Coulton because of Portal; I'm going to have to play Portal because of Coulton.)

But, given the option to listen to a band like Godspeed Ye Black Emperor, which I've never had a chance to listen to, but I'm pretty sure a 30 second soundbite doesn't do justice to? I think that would be amazing. 

Of course, I wonder if it would be fruitful, even so. I tend to be an active listener. I can't turn on music in the background. I need to hear it. Hear what it is doing. I go to concerts, stand just behind the mosh pit, and just watch and listen. While I love the idea, I don't know if I would love the execution, as I don't know if I'd have time to listen to enough music to make it worth my while. This is why I don't have an Audible account. Not because I don't love the idea, but because I lack the time. However, if it were bundled with the cost of the device? Hmm. If it added $50 onto the price of the device (a mid-point between the $20 Apple is rumoured to be offering and the $80 the companies are reportedly seeking), I can see a 1 GB shuffle in my future, just for this....

Anyway. My point is this: Is this just the echo chamber getting louder and louder as more and more people start saying the same thing? More importantly, is that important? Apple has shown in the past that, while they want tight control over the way things work, so they can control the user experience and make it the best it can be, they have also proven that they do listen to the public, even if they pretend they don't. 

So maybe all those voices all saying the same thing is actually getting through the closed front doors of 1 Infinite Loop. Maybe if we all keep saying it out loud, Apple will come out one day and say "hey, we had this great idea...."

So, I'm on the record. Good idea, if done right, and Apple is noted for doing things right. 

Wired on Apple

This just in my RSS feed: Wired has a whole bunch of stories on Apple. Including a head to head (literally) between Leander Kahney and Fake Steve Jobs.

Some good stuff there; go and have a read. 

Fire up Software update...

...because there is a massive security update coming down the pipes with your name on it. 

Cnet has a look at what it is all about. 

Of course, after the Lightroom fiasco, which was just a few weeks after the Quickbooks disaster (which didn't affect Canadians, as Quickbooks for Mac isn't available in CANADA. Not that I'm bitter or anything....), you might want to hold off on it for a day or two, but if you're one of those first come, first serve people, have at it. And if your computer stops working, do let me know. 

Um, go to the library and email me from there if it does totally crash your computer....

Apple will credit iTunes Season Pass Holders. Anyone care? Anyone?

And by anyone, I mean Canadians. Is there anything worth watching on iTunes Canada yet? 

Good to see that Apple is being nice about it, though....

And in the silence, stars

Arthur C. Clarke has passed away. While I mourn his passing less than Asimov's, whom I was always more attached to, he is one of the greats. Go. Read a book in rememberance. 


Early reports on Safari 3.1 say that it is blazingly fast. These are, of course, highly technical studies by trained professionals who downloaded 3.1, opened it up and went "woah."

I don't have it yet. Please stand by.

Hacked, cracked, broken and pwnd

It has been said that one of the reasons that Apple doesn't get many viri is because it just isn't popular enough to be bothered with. (There is one notable exception, the Troika Virus, which has got to be the coolest thing ever.)

However, the iPhone is stupidly popular. We've seen in hacked, jaibroken and taken over in a variety of ways. But a new exploit is out there that will exhaust Safari's memory, causing it to crash. 


Well, um. That's about it. Security experts say it *may* be possible to execute remote code, but not confirmed. 

So, hackers have managed to crash Safari? Big deal, Microsoft pages do that me all the time. 

Not that this shouldn't be dealt with; buffer overflow and out of memory exploits are gateways for crackers, and it's good it is being reported, and hopefully it get fixed. 

Speaking of crashes, Pages just crashed on me for the second time, and for the second time, I've lost a page worth of writing. Yes, I save every five or ten minutes, but it always seems to crash just before I hit save. Please, Apple, for my sanity as a writer, add an autosave feature....  I know that's only twice in a matter of months, where unnamed most-popular-word-processing-software-in-the-world would crash twice a day, but such stability leads to complacency, and then...gotcha!

Safari 3.1: same great taste, less filling.

Safari 3.1 is out. Yay.

Ooh, that's gotta hurt

I've often wondered what I would do if I were to fall holding my 6-month-old daughter. Would I fall in such a way so as to protect her, or would I cast her off to the side to save myself? 

I like to think I would do the former. But substitute my laptop for my flesh and blood, and I'm not so sure. Even if it were a brand spankin' new Air. 

However, that's what Charlie Rose did, says TechCrunch. He tripped and fell while carrying his Macbook Air, and decided it was more important to protect the computer than his face. 

Now he needs to have a little talk with David Garrett, I think....

Parlez Vous Canadian?

More in the iPhone launch is imminent, or just Apple yanking our chains?

iPhone Fan, over at points out that while viewing a video of a jailbroken phone running 1.2 (which means someone is violating their NDA...), there is a shot of the user scrolling through the international language options...and French (Canadian) is one of the options. 

Which is always a good sign. Does this mean that Rogers and Apple are near an agreement? Does this mean they're just getting things in place for the wireless spectrum auction, from which we could be getting a new wireless company or two, or...?

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Halo effect

I'm worried. 

I've been wanting an iPhone since they came out because, well, it's an iPhone. Why wouldn't I want it?

However, there's an interesting article over at MacNN that talks about the future of the iPhone in Enterprise

The story is about how some analysts say it will take off, some say it won't. There's a side of me pulling for the "it won't team". 

Not that I don't want it to, but I worry about Apple becoming too successful. I discussed it earlier today, though not very in-depth. And there's not going to be a deep, penetrating discussion here, either. But part of Apple's charm is the same charm that is attached to King's X. It's not popular, sure, but it's what all the smart kids are listening to. If King's X were to ever have a number one album, I don't know what my response would be. And I wouldn't know what to do if Apple had a 51% market share. 

I hear there's some really cool distros of Linux....

Apology Accepted, Captain Needa

So, Tom over at the Lightroom blog has sent out his apologies for the mess that was Lightroom 1.4, and apologies from the entire team. I hope he made them run one lap around the Adobe campus, being driven by a man with a wet noodle as punishment. 

Well, I only hope that if they videotaped it. And it was fun to watch. And none of the programmers collapsed from sunstroke or a heart attack. 

On second thought, the apology is more than enough.

Slow news? Not in the least

Well, I said earlier it was a slow news day. 

But slow isn't the way to describe Apple sales over the last little while. Up 60% over the last year, says Apple Insider.

If these numbers are accurate, this is the first time in a long, long time that Mac sales have been in the double digits. 

And we're approaching the optimal number quite quickly. 20% is the perfect market share for Mac. Big enough to be comfortable, small enough to keep them hungry. We most certainly don't want to see Macs in a market-leading position. Where's the underdog status? The indie chic? 

I want the Mac market just big enough so Intuit puts out a Canadian version of Quickbooks for Mac. Then I'll be happy. 

Come and join me on an easter mEgg hunt...

The hunt is on...

Not sure if there's anything really worthwhile to find, but if you like discounts and you like the oy of finding little easter eggs on web pages....

Castle Canada

Okay, so I'm just watching through some of the podcasts that I'm running behind on. One of which is Pixel Perfect, by Bert Monroy. 

Anyway. In the episode entitled "Creating a New Scene" he turns the Parliament buildings in Ottawa into a castle on a cliff. 

Not really Mac news (although he does use a Mac), but certainly Canadian, and I did laugh when I first saw him pull it up as "the Castle".

Check it out at It's not one of his best results, because he is doing it in five minutes, but he is one of the best photoshop artists out there. 

All Quiet on the Northern Front

Not much happening today. People are still fighting about the iPhone SDK (good, bad, bad, good!), and apple has upgraded the Airport Express to handle 802.11n, but not a lot else happening. 

Yup, pretty quiet today. 

Too quiet.

Oh, shut up. 

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lightroom Issues

I'm a huge fan of Adobe Lightroom, but I haven't been updating with each new release, because they've mostly addressed issues that I don't care about (new camera support, mostly, and some tweaks and bumps).

So I remain unaffected by the recent update that is causing the problems, but if you are, here is a note for you, straight from the horse's mouth. 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Phone issues

So, more news round the Canadian cell phone industry:

The government is auctioning off spectrum for cell phone providers. And, they are holding 40% of that in reserve, not allowing Telus, Rogers or Bell to bid on it. That opens things up to new cell phone providers. 

I've already mentioned rumours of T-Mobile, but here's some recent news.

A backgrounder on the auction. 

Quebecor Inc says it is making a bid to be a fifth national carrier

Of course, the most exciting part of this, from an Apple POV, is that there is an emphasis of GSM in this auction. I haven't found the official form yet, but it sounds like preference will be given to, or applicants must use, GSM. Which means that the iPhone may not be that far behind 

Except, of course, for me. Still. And forever. Until I move. 

For something that purports to be quick, that sure took a while...

There's been a bit of a bruhaha around Macheist and Speed Download, but it *may* be coming to an end. 

Speed Download 4 was bundled with Macheist, but, like, two days after Macheist ended, the company upgraded to Speed Download 5. 

If you (meaning I) had bought Speed Download directly from the company, it would have been a free upgrade. But since it came bundled with Macheist, it was not, even though it was supposedly a full license. 

Me? I got the email and ignored it. I had just got Speed Download, and had used it maybe once. I wanted to explore what it could do before spending money on an update. And it felt a bit cynical, to release a major whole number upgrade so soon after Macheist. I know that this is the way things go in technology, but it felt more calculated than the iPhone price drop.

Anyway. I wasn't that concerned, and I kinda ignored the whole thing, but apparently it blew up into a big mess for the company, who actually responded to the criticisms in an effort to explain what they were doing. Even John Casasanta, Macheist director, felt the need to comment

Anyway. Today, TUAWS announced that there was a resolution, or at least a potential resolution, to the whole thing. Speed Download 5 is available for Macheisters to download, for free, for the next two weeks or so. 

I've been using Speed Download for the last couple of months, and I'm still not convinced it is something to spend money on, as I am not the sort to sit there and agonize over how slow something is downloading; rather, I click on a link, and let it download in the background, and when it's done, it's done. I like the way SD notifies me through Growl when it is done, rather than having to go look a la Safari. 

But that's just me, and that's just the way I roll. The trouble with a program like SD is that if it is working properly, it is all but invisible, handling the back end of downloads, probably more effectively than Safari, but as I say, I don't download enough that I notice the difference. And if connections are being dropped and picked up automatically, again, it is a background process for me, and I don't notice. 

However, the new interface looks sweet, and I'm a sucker for a sexy interface. So, I downloaded the new one. (Which took a surprisingly long time using speed download. I know. I watched it. But maybe it just felt long because I was watching it. I don't know. And that's the problem with speed download. It's tough to prove that it is faster situationally, even if it is actually faster, empirically.)

It has built in FTP, but looking at it for a grand total of five seconds, I'm not sure I'm wild about the interface. But I'll play with it, and see what I think. And I may report back here. 

Friday, March 14, 2008

You are outa there

While the iPhone SDK was downloaded about a million times (or about a tenth of that, depending on if you are looking for accuracy or purple), it was only stage one in being able to develop programs for the iPhone and get them accepted into Apple's so-new-as-to-not-yet-exist app store

No, in order to sell your wares (fish'eads; fish'eads, get 'em while they're 'ot!), you needed to pay $99 to become part of the developer program. 

Turns out, says the Unofficial Apple Weblog, that would-be developers are starting to get rejection letters. Thanks, but no thanks, we don't want your stinking money. And it's not just the 13-year-old boys who are getting the letters, either. Nope, even real, honest-to-goodness companies are getting rejected, too, though nobody is quite sure why, yet. 

Canadians will be glad to note that they can't participate in this, either. Not just because the iPhone isn't available in Canada, but because all developers outside the US are being rejected. 

Boy, gives you the warm fuzzies and makes you glad to be Canadian, don't it?

Update: Gruber doesn't think it is a rejection letter, just a poorly phrased "we're swamped."Still waiting for the official ruling....

Of course, props to TUAW for catching this one. 

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Automator in action

I've been playing around with Automator a lot more in the last few days than I normally do (meaning a bit vs never). And as I was staring at the automator icon I noticed a striking similarity between the Automator icon and the new robot from the new Wall-E trailer.

What do you mean you haven't seen the new Wall-E trailer? Go. Now.  Wait. Make sure you come back. When. You've watched. It. 

Sigh. There goes another one. Someday I'll learn to make my links open in another window. Until then....

Anyway. You seeing it? I do. Not 100%, but you can feel some influence rubbing off, yes? Not as obviously as Wall-E himself, and a certain numbered robot who shall remain un-numbered....

18 Absolutely Unique? What does that make the rest of you?

Okay, I know this is going to wear real thin, real fast, and in a month, I am not going to care, but this is my first time playing around with Google Anylitics. 

It tells me I had 27 vistors, but 18 absolute unique visitors. What does that make the other nine? Copycats? Hanger ons? Wannabees? Still sounding too much like the Hip? 

Edit: Ah. I see. Some of you came back. One of you even came back, like, six times. You sir (or madam, I guess) are my hero. 

Unless of course, that was me when I wasn't logged in. Hmm. Never mind. 

The good news is, you're getting a new computer. The bad news?

Well, that sucks

I hope he was backing up. Maybe using one of those fancy Time Capsules....

(Okay, so he isn't Canadian, but Canadian users should know that this is happening....)

100,000 new apps and nothing to put them on....

The big news of the last few days? 100,000 downloads of the iPhone SDK.

Now, I'm not expecting everyone who downloaded it to build an app (there's probably more than a few gawkers, just wanting to see what the fuss is about), but still, isn't this a bit ridiculous? Is this what passes for news? Last week, a whole bunch of sites were doing live updates from Apple's iPhone SDK event. LIVE UPDATES. For an SDK. 

I don't see what the big deal is. 

Of course, if the iPhone were available in Canada, I'da been hitting refresh on the Engadget's live update every couple of minutes (or Macworld's, just like Andy did...), but until the iPhone comes to Canada, AND until Rogers or T-Mobile comes to Tumbler Ridge (or more likely, until there is a CDMA version of the iPhone), this whole thing is about as meaningful as the whole Obama/Clinton thing. It has no effect on my life. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Number one with a bullet!

We're number one with a bullet!
Mr. First visitor, you'll be glad to know that...


Mr. Visitor?

He left. Mr. Visitor? Please come back. Stay a while. Maybe leave a comment.

Hello? Please? 


I have cookies....


So, with the Hulu going live today, there's going to be a whole bunch of Canuckleheads going to the site, only to get the "sorry, you're not American, so you can't watch. Pthhhbt."

Proxy servers allow you to surf anonymously, but  don't allow video, so that doesn't work. 

There is a solution, albeit not a perfect one. it's called a VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network. There are pay VPNs out there, but a popular alternative is HotSpot Shield. It's designed as a way to keep your wi-fi secure, but, because the VPN links to a US server, creative users have learned that yes, you can use it to watch video off sites like Hulu. 

Why is it not perfect? First off, this one falls into a big grey area for me. I'm not big on pirating movies or music, so I don't use bit torrent, even though that's what most people suggest. But I work fairly random hours, and I don't have a chance to watch the shows that I want to, when I want to. I used to video tape, but frankly, the quality sucks. And Tivo is too rich for my blood. In the past, I've just waited for the DVD. But just watching the show on a computer, like I would a TV?

Most people don't have such issues. But one other drawback that users will probably bump into: they've throttled back the service in the last few months, and users only have a finite amount of bandwidth. I don't know how much yet, but if you're looking for more bandwidth, there are paid services...

85% of the people live in 15% of the country* what's a boy (albeit a 6'4, slightly greying boy) who lives in the remaining 90% of the country to do? 

You see, yesterday it was rumoured that T-mobile might be entering the Canadian Telecom market. 

Which is great news for those of us who live in places like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver...

But Canada is a big place, with a population spread out thinly, like too little butter on too much bread. What about those of us who don't live in places where the rest of us live? In rural areas. In places where the local multiplex has less than one movie a week, because there is no multiplex. Or movie theatre. 

In places like, oh, say Saskatchewan, that isn't a problem; you stick a cell phone tower on top of a really tall barn, and boom, you have coverage for half the province. (Okay; I jest. You'd need at least four or five towers to cover the whole province...)

However, that doesn't work in someplace like BC. Take a place like, oh, say, Tumbler Ridge, BC, which, by some odd coincidence is where I live.  Population? South of 5000 people. It was only two years ago or so that we finally got cell phone service, by way of Telus. While we weren't the last place in the province to get cell phone access, we were pretty far down the list. And if you drive around the corner from town, reception goes from four bars to none in about four feet.

So, even if T-Mobile comes into Canada bearing their shiny new iPhones, chances are the service will be rolled out across the country very slowly. If their roll-out is anything like Rogers, I should expect to see the iPhone in Tumbler Ridge sometime by the turn of the next century...if I'm lucky. Heck, even if Rogers brings the iPhone out, I am still left out in the cold (and believe me, it can get chilly here) until we see a CDMA version. 

Come on, CDMA....

(*That number is like, totally made up. 70% of the population live in urban areas, while another 15% live in rural-urban areas, according to the Gov't website. I am way too lazy to look up the total land area that urban areas cover, but Im thinking it's less than 15%).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Blog Smell

It's just like when the iPhone was launched. But without the people.

A few days late...

...but I just started. Give me a break.

Anyway, the walls have gone up around the new Apple Store in Pacific Centre in Vancouver. ETA? Sometime around summer.

Via Macsupport.

Mountain Standard Time

Again, here's one of those complaints that 99% of the population doesn't care about. But it affects me, and that's all that matters, right?

Here's the problem: I live in up in Northern BC, Canada. We don't have daylight savings time, in a handful of towns up here, but Mac doesn't acknowledge we exist. I've been bouncing back and forth between Calgary Time and Vancouver Time, but I'd really just like to be on our time. Back in 9, I used to be able to click the Daylight Savings Time Checkbox. But now, there's nothing I can do. Or is there? I haven't found anything to disable DST, or even create a new time zone.

However, I have a solution for you. Or rather, someone much smarter than I does. I posted this complaint at the Macworld forum, and a fellow named jaysoffian offered this as a solution:

... I did a little research and hopefully this works. The underpinning of OS X's date/time is this Unix library.

According to the Wikipedia:

Most of BC observes DST, but there is a large tract in east-central BC which does not, and it all falls in the Mountain Time Zone (most of BC is on Pacific Time). This includes Fort St. John, Charlie Lake, Taylor and Dawson Creek. The Crowsnest corridor between Creston and Yahk in the East Kootenays (southeastern BC) also keeps standard time year-round.

So I poked around in /usr/share/zoneinfo to see if any of those locations were in the OS X tz database and sure enough, Dawson Creek is. Using zdump appears to indicate the correct time:

% zdump America/Dawson_Creek America/Vancouver
America/Dawson_Creek Mon Apr 10 18:10:25 2006 MST
America/Vancouver Mon Apr 10 18:10:25 2006 PDT

So the trick now is just to teach the OS X Date and Time preference pane about this timezone. Some poking around found me the plist file that the preference pane uses (shame on Apple for not including all the zones in the underlying tz database...). So here's what you do:

Make sure the System Preferences application is not running. From the Finder, select "Go -> Go to Folder..." Paste in the following path:


Copy "all_cities_adj.plist" to your Desktop. Just to be safe, select the copy on your desktop and use "File -> Duplicate" to make a backup.

Launch TextEdit and open "all_cities_adj.plist" on your Desktop.

Scroll to the end of the file and insert the following block just before the last two lines:


<string>Dawson Creek</string>

The end of the file now looks like this:

<string>Dawson Creek</string>

Save the file. Now drag "all_cities_adj.plist" from your Desktop back into the folder we opened previously in the Finder. The Finder should prompt you to authenticate.

The ownership of all_cities_adj.plist is now not correct though. To be safe, Launch Disk Utility, select the startup volume and run "Repair Disk Permissions" to fix the ownership.

You should then be able to launch System Preferences, bring up the Time and Date preference pane, and then select Dawson Creek - Canada.

It's possible Apple will overwrite this file with the next system update, so you might want to keep a copy of your updated all_cities_adj.plist.

Of course, if you're terminal savvy, you can save a lot of these steps by just using:

% sudo vi /System/Library/PreferencePanes/DateAndTime.prefPane/Contents/Resources/\

Good luck.

Dare we dream?

Hot off the presses from the Boy Genius, a rumour that T-Mobile might be coming to Canada. 

If that were true, would they come bearing a GSM network, lower data rates, and hope above hopes, the iPhone?

Kudos to Derrick over at for noticing this first.

Two Posts in One Day? Inconceivable!

A note, though, to all my rabid fanboys and fangirls (of which there are many): I am currently working two jobs the better part of full time, and a third job part-time, meaning that my ability to post here may be limited for the next couple of months, until I ditch one job.

Once I have a bit more free time, I am going to do this thing properly, with a domain set aside and everything. At least, that's the plan. If it turns out nobody cares about Mac users in Canada (Steve? I'm talking to you here...), well, then, I am prepared to let it sink ignobly into the vat of failed blog experiments. 

From Humble Beginnings

Hello, world. Welcome to MaCanuck, where I aim to bring you all the news that's fit to print about our favourite fruit. 

The idea is to offer a uniquely Canadian viewpoint on what's happening in the Mac community, or, failing that, to just offer my own personal views. I'm a Canadian, ergo, I bring a Canadian perspective to the table. 

This is the first stage in my cunning plan for world domination, or at least to appear on Macbreak Weekly as a honest-to-gosh pundit. Yes, I know, it's blogger. But as they say, from humble beginnings....

Last night, I sat up with a handful of folks at ehMac, watching the store update for a few hours last night, waiting to see what sort of wonderful new product was going to show up this Tuesday. By one in the morning though, it was obvious that the store was offline for longer than normal (it came back up sometime after 5), so I went to bed, waiting to see what new magic goodies awaited us in the morning. 

It was observed that there is a new iPhone tab on the "Store is down" message, even though the iPhone isn't available in Canada (more on that, later). Does that mean it is coming? Or are they simply trying to tease us? It turns out it means they just don't have a Canadian-specific store is down message, and when the store came up, the tab went away.

After the store came back up (don't know when, as I was sound asleep; so sound that I slept in and got to work late), there was a flurry of speculation ("is that a new iMac?" "can't be, as it's the one I have"), but about the only thing new was a "New Badge" on the Mac Pro, although it doesn't appear to have changed since before. 

Steve Jobs is just messing with us Canadians again, I think....