Tuesday, April 29, 2008



Today is the day I do it. 

Today is the day I go all covert, and game the iTunes library.


Because today is the day that The Greatest TV Show of All Time was put on iTunes. 

Did you try clicking on that link? If you were in the States, you would have been greeted by the sight of William Katt in a tight red outfit. 

If you, like me, are from Canada, you would have been greeted by this message: 

"Your request could not be completed.

The item you requested is not currently available in the Canadian Store, but is available in the US store. Click change store view to view this item."


Darn you, Steve Jobs, darn you CRTC. darn all of you that keeps me from being able to pay real money to watch the show. Darn you for making me have to game the system. 

What do you mean, buy the DVD? C'mon, stop undermining my arguments here. I thought you were on my side. Besides, every time I've tried to buy the DVD, it has not been in stock. 

(Truth be told, the greatest TV show of all times, Babylon 5, has been iTunes for a while. But GAH has been gnawing at the back of my skull for a couple years now, inviting me to revisit it, rewatch it. Relive it.)

Filed under the "does anyone care?" category

Microsoft has released a new version of Messenger for Mac

And in completely unrelated news, Adium pushed out update 1.2.5 today, which fixed a bunch of bugs. The blog says that's it for 1.2; get ready for series 1.3....

Daily Reading: Confessions of an Apple Specialist

Okay, the title is actually called "7 Confessions of an Apple Macintosh Specialist" but then the first thing they do is talk about the iPod, which isn't a Mac at all...Point 1 is the most interesting, though now that this is out, I suspect that will change....


We here at Macanuck are proud to bring you this breaking news, well before anyone else does: Rogers has announced it is bringing the iPhone to Canada.

Yes, we are pleased to be the ones to bring you this exclusive story; all our hard work and dedication developing contacts at the major companies has paid off. 

Of course, as I've mentioned before, while much of the population lives in urban areas, some of us live in rural areas, where Roger's network don't go. So while I am excited about this, I do not forsee an iPhone in my immediate future. Unless, you know, Apple were to announce that the rumoured 3G phone will also be CDMA. And carried by Telus. 

Thank you. You may now return to your regularly scheduled lives.

Edit: Mostly Lisa weighs in on the iPhone coming to Canada. A true patriot, that girl....

Monday, April 28, 2008

August 19 Mac Store?

Palluxo.com has been talking to the contractors over at the Mac Store under construction in Vancouver, and they say that they say that the store will be opening August 19.

If that's true, Vancouverites will have to wait over an entire quarter before the store opens. Now, I haven't been paying attention to how long other Mac stores have taken from announcement to opening, but this'll make it at least six month, which seems an awful long time to get a retail store up and running. 

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Gizmodo has pictures of an actual Psystar actually in the wild. 

So they've finally filled one order. Apparently it works, too. 

I'm still, you know, waiting around and seeing how this pans out. 

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Daily Reading: iPhone Rumour again

Today's daily reading: speculation by the Toronto Star that Rogers is planning an iPhone launch sometime in summer. 

The most telling quote: "An Apple spokesman declined to comment." Why do people even bother trying to get a comment out of Apple anymore?

Me? If it goes through, I hope it's a non-exclusive deal. We've got the spectrum auction coming to completion in the next little while, and a good chance that there will be at least some competition in the marketplace, which will mean that Roger might be a little more willing to concede some points. Or better yet, have the iPhone carried by someone who is not Rogers.

Daily Reading: Confused about Apple's recent purchase of PA Semi?

Here's one of the best written, best thought out musing on potential reasons for the purchase. Thing is, it could be all of the above, or none of the above. It doesn't give any real weight to any individual theory, but floats a handful of really interesting possibilities. And the discussions are almost as interesting as the article itself. 

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's the little things...

That make the Mac experience so enjoyable. 
But it is also the little things that really start to get under your skin after a while.

Take for instance, Safari. Safari is a big thing. But it's been doing something since updating to 3.1, possibly before that, but it's really started to get on my nerves over the last few weeks. This has been showing up a lot on message boards, and appears to be a function of a td class, but I haven't really investigated this forensically. All I know is that Safari does this, and Firefox doesn't.This is based on my experiences over at the forums at Digitalweddingforums.com which is built on a vBullitin board.If you hover over a link, it pops up in a little yellow box, alternate text. 

Here's an example from the board (dedicated to wedding photography):
If you hover over another link, that link's alt text appears:

However, Rather than opening up a thread and reading it, I like to open things up in new tabs all at once, and then go read the threads that I opened. This means I don't have to wait while the thread loads; by the time I get around to reading it, it will have loaded. As it is a photography board, there are often lots of pictures, and I live in the land of slow internet...

However, once I have opened up the first tab, the same alt text appears over top EVERY SINGLE LINK.

And it is not just threads. I can be hovering over the next page link, and the alt text will appear:
I can make it disappear by clicking anywhere that isn't a link. And, once I have done that, the alternate text for the links display properly, but it is an annoying little bug that is starting to drive me batty. And bats eat bugs. So I guess...I'm eating...this bug? Or else the metaphor very quickly breaks down at that point.

Anyone else experience this behavior in other situations? Let me know. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tip Tuesday: Going Backwards

Here's a quick little tip.

There's lots of keyboard shortcuts. I pointed out a great list of them a while back. Using Command-Tab will navigate through open applications, command-tilde (~) will cycle through open windows inside an application.

There are also many Application-specific key commands. In Pages (and most other Word Processing apps, hitting tab in a bulleted or numbered list will increase the indent level by one. Same thing with Keynote.

Today's tip is the shift key. Toss in a shift key in these, and many other navigation-style key commands, and instead of cycling forward, or instead of increasing the indent level, you will move backward, and decrease the indent level.

iPhone in Italy

The Mac sites are lighting up with the rumour that the iPhone is going to Italy. Yes, the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the country that (apocryphally) gave us Pizza.

I hope it has a wonderful time there, and sends us a postcard.

Daily Reading: More PWN2OWN News

The exploit used to own the Macbook Air at the PWN2OWN contest has now been fixed and disclosed to the public. And Macworld has a story on what exactly was the problem. Turns out the problem had been around for a year (!) and had been fixed in the software library, just hadn't made it to Safari.

Which is, as mentioned in the article, a bit of a whoops by Apple. There was discussion that the trouble lay with Webkit, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Hey all:

Real work beckons and I am going to be super-busy the next week or two. I'll post when I can, but for the two of you who check every day, I might not be updating as frequently as I might when I don't have so much on my plate.

This hopefully is the last psycho "everything and the kitchen sink due at the same time" deadline, but I've learned not to make promises, as life will find some way to conspire against me....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Daily Reading: Mac Security

Ars Technica has a nice little story about security and your mac.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Daily Reading: So long, and thanks

From waxy.org. A sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Yes, I know there was one in print. But there wasn't a sequel to the computer game.

Or was there?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008



I gave it a few days for the servers to stop getting pounded over at Adobe Media Player.

Today I went back into Adobe Media Player to watch Star Trek: TOS, All Our Yesterdays.

And a nice lady told me (literally told me) "This content is currently unavailable.

Same thing for all CBS shows.

Go to play an episode of MTV Cribs:"PLAYBACK FAILED. This media file format is invalid or not supported by Adobe Media Player."

Universal Media Group (Music Videos)? Plays. Yay. But I could watch those in YouTube. In fact, most of the rest of the shows are just internet videos that can be found elsewhere online. It looks pretty, but I am so far not very impressed. Mostly because I was looking forward to watching all those Star Trek episodes....

And the interface? Pretty but unfunctional. Want to watch an episode? Click on it. If it doesn't play, go to the downloads screen and force the episode to resume. Wait for it to finish, and when it does, it disappears, like Kaiser Soze. It could just be the Canada thing, or it could be my flaky internet, but the whole experience has been less than outstanding.

I turned on Hotspot Shield to see if that would help. No luck. The things I could get to play (Universal Music Videos, Bikini Destinations) were choppy, and didn't have any sort of caching, and play back was horrible (not everyone has great internet connections), there is nothing to distinguish a 20 second preview clip from an actual show, so you have to click on something to wait for it to start to play before you can tell if it is a show or a preview.....

Tried watching Diggnation's Live in Amsterdam fiasco, but the video had to download fully before I could watch it (yay), but after waiting for ten minutes, I went and checked the downloads page, and it had stopped downloading.


Colour me unimpressed by the whole experience. iTunes, for all it's flaws, is easy to use, intuitive, and pretty seamless. All AMP offered me was a choppy Feist video and 20 seconds of girls in bikinis.

Thanks, but no thanks. At least for now.

The last word on Psystar?

As we don't have a Macanuck army,least of all down in Florida, we rely on the Gizmodo troops to do the legwork. Of course, we don't take any credit, either, just point you over to the Giz's update.

Daily Reading: Anti-piracy in iTunes

Cnet has a story based on an interview with an NBC exec, who basically says nothing directly, but implies that iTunes isn't secure enough for his liking.
"One of the big issues for NBC is piracy. We are financially harmed every day by piracy. It results in us not being able to invest as much money in the next generation of film and TV products."

Which seems a bit silly, because no matter how good the DRM is, there is, as in audio, a rather large hole that can be driven through. In this case, it isn't even an analogue hole. All you need is screen capture software, and you can just record the video.
Here's the trouble, though. Most people who aren't going to pirate video aren't going to pirate it unless the barrier to legal entry becomes too high. Case in point. Canadians have started using HotSpot Shield to watch Hulu, even though that is currently not allowed by Hulu. Case in point. Canadians aren't able to buy movies and TV shows from the iTunes store (at least, not anything interesting....), and so they resort to...what? Handbrake? Buying iTunes gift cards from the States? Bit Torrent? None of these are allowed, but because the barrier to entry is so high, people resort to things that are not allowed in order to participate.
As soon as it becomes easier for me to buy a legit copy of Battlestar Galactica Season 4 than it is for me to download it on Bit Torrent (and I use me in the generic sense, as I don't download Bit Torrents), I will go with the former. Charge me too much to buy or rent a movie, and once again, it might just become easier for me to Bit Torrent than it is to buy.
Is everybody going to buy? No. Because the flip side of this argument is that some people like climbing walls. Some people will invest days and weeks and months into figuring out how to crack DRM and break into closed systems. They will invest hundreds of hours and even hundreds of dollars, just so they don't have to pay $1.99. Why? For the challenge. In these cases, piracy isn't damaging their sales, because these people wouldn't buy anything anyway.
The other sticking point is still pricing. That, I have no argument over. I do hope things get resolved soon, though. While Hulu is a good service, I want to buy an Apple TV, and lose my DVD player and my cable subscription. I want to spend money on your TV shows and movies, guys. Make it easy for me. Or maybe, just maybe, I'll go elsewhere.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

daily reading: Because I can't, silly.

Gizmodo asks "why aren't iTunes users jumping ship for the Amazon Music Store?"

Four words: Not Available in Canada.

Daily Reading: Undercover with Back to My Mac

I'm a big fan of the idea of Obricule's Undercover, which allows you to track down stolen computers...if they get connected to the internet.

While it makes the process simpler, it is not impossible to track a stolen mac using Back to My Mac, as this story points out.

They still haven't caught the thief, but what a great story.

Tip Tuesday: Mac OS X on non-Apple Hardware

Okay, so this whole Psystar Thing has got me in a bit of an X86 mood. I have not tried this, nor am I advising you to try it. I am merely pointing out the process by which this whole thing works.

And I'm not going to give you a walk through on how to build one of these, as it is much better detailed elsewhere.

The x86 project is based on a simple premise. Mac is now running on Intel x86 chips, which are basically the same chips they are running in Windows boxes.

How come Leopard won't run on non-Apple hardware as a general rule?

Apple has been (and you might want to be sitting down for this revelation) fairly controlling about what hardware their software can run on. If you have a Leopard install disk for an iMac and try to install it onto your Macbook, it's not going to work, because it's not the right hardware. While the disk is not tied explicitly to that one machine, it is tied to that machine's configuration. They have something called a Trusted Platform Module, a computer chip inside the Mac that prevents Leopard from installing on the wrong device. When you put in the Leopard DVD and try and install, it talks to the TPM. If it finds out that the software and the hardware don't match up, it won't install.

As non-Apple devices don't even have a TPM, there's not a chance of installing the Operating System on it.


Unless you can create a software patch that bypasses the OS's call to the TPM.

A note from the X86 project:
In building your "Hackintosh" however, you may want to keep as close to the hardware configuration of Intel-based Macs for the best compatibility. Intel Macs use (or have used) either a Core Solo, Core Duo, Core 2 Duo, or Xeon processor. For graphics cards, Intel Macs have seen Intel's GMA950; ATI's Mobility Radeon X1600, Radeon X1600, and Radeon X1900 XT; and nVidia's GeForce 7300GT, 7600GT, 8600M GT or Quadro FX4500. . . . . .

This is not the first time this has been tried. PearPC was a port of osX back in the PowerPC days, but it was slow, clunky, labourious and more work than anyone would want to do other than as Proof of Concept.

At the heart of the x86 project is the TPM bypass. There are other tweaks and hacks, and the project keeps maturing, making it easier and easier to install Leopard on non-Apple Hardware. While it is getting more stable, you are still running a Hackintosh, and things will break, sometimes catastrophically so.

Why do people want to do this? Why drop a Lamborghini's engine into a Fort Focus? I suspect it is a function of the Mac starting to attract the attention of the hacker community that once was over on the Windows side of things.

I have a friend who was a passionate hater of all the Apple. We'd get into long, long religious discussions about Mac vs Windows, and neither of us made any sort of concessions...until Leopard. Then he got interested.

He even priced out a Mac system, but the Mac Pro was too high-end, the mac mini too low end and the iMac just not customizable enough, especially what with the built-in monitor.

He wanted a Mac. A mid-range machine between the low end and the high end. Something that was customizable, but not too expensive. The Mac equivalent of the beige box.

And of course, there was nothing for him. So instead of biting the bullet and going for a Mac Pro, he decided he was just going to build a hackintosh. As a Windows hacker (in the sense of one who hacks around on Windows machines to see what it could do), he was already used to playing around and digging into the guts of a system. And he was used to reasonably priced hardware. So he had no qualms about building his own x86 system, even it it was unstable it was probably no worse than Vista....

Which raises an interesting issue for another day. How are these people going to fit into the Mac community? They come with certain expectations of how things operate, and that's not how the Mac community operates. There are some people who fit in quite nicely, and have enriched the Mac community. And then there are people....

But that, as they say, is for another day.

And now, the continuing story of a quack, whose gone to the dogs

This whole Psystar thing? Just keeps getting more and more interesting. While I am not reading too much into Apple not making any official announcement (because Apple only has about one of those a month, and they're not going to waste it on anything trivial....), it is an interesting turn of events.

Anyone out there thinking about ordering one? Anyone actually order one? Anything to report yet? Anyone at all?

They're back, baby!

Apparently, the Psystar Website was hammered into the ground by the digg effect times ten and not by Apple's crack team of lawyers. I guess everyone went to look at the ones who would stand up to Apple, or were maybe just curious as to what a $400 Box that would run Leopard would look like.

They've changed the name of the computer to Open Computer, and made a couple other changes, but they're still offering a computer that can run Leopard on it. They are not dodging the issue as one might have expected by selling a computer capable of running Leopard, but "If you purchase Leopard with your Open Computer we will not only include the actual Leopard retail package with genuine installation disc, but we also preinstall Leopard for free so you can begin to use your computer right out of the box."

There are all sorts of issues around this, not the least of which is what happens the next time Apple updates the system software. While I think the whole X86 thing is interesting, once it leaves the domain of hobbyists, I wonder what will happen. Apple has mostly ignored the X86 project, but now that someone is making a buck, they might not be so nice about it. What they may or may not be able to do is open to speculation, but it should prove to be interesting times for the next few months....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hachintosh Reselling

As you'se all might know, there are ways to port LEopard over to not-Apple hardware.

Well, some enterprising company started selling Hackintoshes.

And moments later, disappeared, probably driven into the ground by Apple.

While I like the whole Hackintosh project from a theoretical point of view, the fact remains that it does violate Leopard's terms of service and is best kept as a research project. Not as something to be sold on the open market. At least, not within continental North America....

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Macheist bundle

Got an email from the Macheist teams today:

It's been a while since we last made contact, but as usual, we are up to no good. We've been stirring things up with the MacHeist Retail Bundle - a collection of 12 top mac apps from our previous offerings, designed to appeal to all Mac users out there, and especially those who have not already heard about MacHeist.
Perhaps more importantly, we are once again donating 25% of proceeds to a group of great charities. We think the Retail Bundle could push our total donations to over a million dollars.

Even if you got the last bundle, there's enough new stuff in this one to keep people interested" DevonTHINK Personal, Write Room, iClip, Overflow...in fact, most of the apps are new.

And, for $49 again, a real steal. (The Canadian dollar is down round $0.96, so expect to be paying a bit more....)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hulu: Coming to Canada, maybe someday?

Watching TV online has a nice positive note from Hulu that I haven't seen before, that seems to show they are working on opening things up to International audiences, or which Canada is one....

Note: I'm not sure where these guys went to find the note. When I try, I only get linked to the FAQ, which says:
Q : Why can't I watch your videos from outside the U.S.?
For now, Hulu is a U.S. service only. That said, our intention is to make Hulu's growing content lineup available worldwide. This requires clearing the rights for each show or film in each specific geography and will take time. We're encouraged by how many content providers have already been working along these lines so that their programs can be available over the Internet to a much larger, global audience. The Hulu team is committed to making great programming available across the globe.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Power of Twitter

So, I mentioned that I was really excited to have been able to affect change on Macbreak Weekly on a discussion forum I am a part of, and I was met with either apathy or down and out hostility.

To be sure, I tried to create a character and write from that POV. Most people took it to be me. Which it was, and yes, I was jazzed to have my words appear on my favourite podcast, even if it was (sorry John, Alex) one of the least interesting ones in recent memory. But it was only a part of me, and it was a silly, risible part. I was trying to be self-deprecating, but most people thought I was just crowing about my grand achievement. And on the surface, I was. But there was an undercurrent there too. But I focussed on the surface, went are hyperbolic, and wound up confusing or antagonizing most. I am sorry for that.

My underlying reason for making that post was inspired not by how cool it was to have my words at the end of Macbreak Weekly (which is, for someone who is a fan of the show pretty cool), but because for a moment, I caught a glimpse of the power of Twitter.

Twitter.com, for those who don't know, is like Facebook Status Updates without anything else. You have a box and 140 characters. Type your 140 character or less message into the box (Hello World), and send it out to anyone who will listen.

Chances are, nobody will, unless you have friends who are on Twitter, too. They can choose to "follow you", meaning that when you send out an update: "Ooh. That one was pretty rank. Be glad you're not here.") it will show up on their home page. If you chose to follow them, what they send out will show up on your home page.

You don't need to follow just people you know. You can follow anyone else on Flickr. Folks like Barak Obama are on Flickr, as are Leo Laporte (twit.tv), John Foster (Macbreak Tech), Merlin Mann (43 Folders) Jason Calacanis (Mahalo.com), Veronica Belmont (Maha...Tekzilla.com) and anyone else you like.

But the dialogue is two ways. If, say Gruber (Daring Fireball) asks what type of rechargeable batteries work best, I can offer him my opinion by prefacing the post by @Gruber.

I know, if you don't get it, you don't get it, and it makes no sense. But here's the thing. I have seen the power, and the potential that Twitter offers. It offers us a chance, yet again, to connect.

Something like facebook was built on that promise, but is slowly starting to crumble under the weight of a billion pointless Pirates vs Ninja invitations. And people turn from communicating to simply amusing themselves (ooh. I kicked some Pirate Booty!). It's not dead, but soon it will start to fade into myspace-style irrelevance.

With Twitter, I can, for 140 characters, bend the ear of Guy Kawasaki or John C Dvorak. And what I say might not have any effect on them. But sometimes they do. And for a moment, I can connect to politicians, heroes, pundits or journalists. For a moment, we can connect, and it is those connections that we build between each other that will make this world a better place. It is a thread in the fabric of humanity that might have been before unrecognized, but now there, adds another dynamic to the tapestry of this life.

And it's a great way to waste your time when you should be doing real work instead....

The Big Juicy Twitter Guide
Me on Twitter
Twitter as Communication Platform
Conversations are shifting to Twitter (with lots of links)

Daily reading: Why Vista is better, part 2

To follow up on yesterday's conversation of why Vista was better, here's a post that seems apropos to a couple of the points made in that article.

I don't really like picking on Vista. It's like picking on Emo kids and fat guys, but I'm still a little irritated at yesterday's reading.

Tomorrow we shall have something 100% Vista Free. I promise.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oh, the Power!

Did you hear it?

At the end of the latest Macbreak Weekly. Didja hear it?

Alex started to say Another Macbreak is Broke, But John Foster told him "No, say it right."

And he said it.

He said "Break time is over."

Guess what?

I told him to say that.

Rather, John told him to say it, but I told John to get him to say it. Because, if said properly, it is so much punchier and powerful than "Another Macbreak is broke."

And I twittered John and told him that was a much better ending, and he got Alex to say it.

Hold on a second; I need to recover from the rush of power to the brain.

Okay. I'm better now.

Yes, not only am I the Greatest Living Photographer (tm), I am the power behind the throne at Macbreak Weekly.

Now if I could just appear on the actual show, my life would be complete.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Daily Reading: Five reasons why Vista is Better than OS X.

Yes, I really am reading this article. And no, not because I really believe that Vista is a better operating system.

I just wanted, you know, to mess it up a little, and you have to read what I am responding to before I can respond.

Finished? Good. Here are the arguments and counter-arguments.

Reason #1: Vista runs more software
But quantity does not equal quality. I'd rather run one piece of software that did what I want than have the option of running 1000 that don't. Yes, many of my favourite apps (Adobe) are cross platform, but the fact that they run on both is not a compelling argument. Sure, they run on vista, but they also run on Mac, and I much prefer the interface over here, thank you very much.

Just don't talk to me about games....

Reason #2: Vista is safer
Um. Okay. You're right. No, really. Just because one mac got hacked in a contest by someone who has made it his life's goal to discredit mac security, suddenly Vista is safer.

Yes, all operating systems are vulnerable. And this one gets kicked around a lot. Okay, so maybe macs are safer simply because they aren't targets. But is it safer to be in a mostly secure tank in the middle of no-man's land getting shot at from all sides, or safer to be back home in the land of the free, surrounded by your white picket fence and nary a rocket propelled virus in sight?

That's not a call to inaction by any means, and the folks at webkit have already patched the exploit (or so we can assume; AFAIK, the details of the exploit aren't public yet). But all the vulnerability reports I've read have been "this could be exploited", but strangely, never are.

Reason #3: It's the money, stupid
Hello? We're talking OSes here, not hardware. And last I checked, here were the prices:

Mac OS X 10.5: $129 (apple.ca)
Vista Home Premium: $299 (cdw.ca)

Yup. Sure looks cheaper to me. Here's the business version:

Leopard: $129 (apple.ca)
Vista Ultimate: $505 (cdw.ca)

Heck. I'm sold. Where do I sign up?

Reason #4: The Mac is closed; Vista is open
Anyone can cobble together a Vista Machine from whatever parts. Sure. And if those parts are crap? I'd rather pay a little more for quality. Sure, you can get a quality Vista Machine, but then your hardware is about the same price as the Mac. So you're saying I can spend less and get crap, or spend the same amount and get...Vista? Again, thanks, but no thanks.

Reason #5: Two words -- Steve Jobs
Two words back at you. Steve Balmer.

Just a note: I didn't read [URL="http://www.tuaw.com/2008/04/09/vista-beats-os-x-really/"]this[/URL] until after I posted. It's much more lucid and well thought out, but basically follows the same arguments as I, including the same punchline. Great minds and all that rot, though I think he set himself up for that one. I bet there are as-yet-undiscovered tribes of pygmies in South America who would say the same thing if they read the article...assuming they could read English...

Daily Reading: The Mac Guru of Damascus

Wired has a great story about recovering laptops in Damascus. Undercover, eat your heart out.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Adobe TV

So. Adobe has a new media player, built on Air. They also launched Adobe TV, which features videos from my favourite photoshop nut job, Russell Brown. Seriously, you can't take this guy seriously. Yet he knows almost as much about Photoshop as Thomas Knoll does. Don't let the wild hair and overblown presentation style scare you off....

Anyway. just finished downloading the player. It has real TV episodes, too, which I may be able to watch as a Canadian. I don't know. The first five I've tried have failed. Is it my IP address, or are they just getting hammered? I'll keep playing....

The trouble is that the only "real TV" content is from CBS. Everything else is iptv or specialty channel.

And are these actual shows or just promos? Again, who knows? I can't get any of the CBS feeds to work. I'm going to write it off as everybody is hammering on the server. But if the user experience is like this in a couple of days, I am not going to be all that happy....

How shall we take this, then?

The Australian forums are buzzing that resellers have started to get the lowdown on the iPhone roll-out in that country. It's still in rumour stage right now, but it's a solid rumour.

I suspect the shape of it might be right (timing), but the details are probably pretty skewed. Like the no lock in. I mean, come on.

Anyway. If this is true, and the iPhone does go to Australia, it blows my "no iPhone in Canada because of population" theory out of the water.

Which leaves us with two options: Blame Rogers or Blame the Trademark dispute. I feel like doing the former. Not for any rational reason, but just because I can. Boo. Rogers, booooo.

Daily Reading: Net Neutrality raises its head in Canada.

This has been going on for a few weeks, but the Tyee, one of my favourite BC-centric, online news sources has an article that summarizes the whole debate nicely. For more info, you can pop over to Michael Geist's site, or neutrality.ca

Daily Reading: Bell is number one!

Of course, if you're going to be first in something, malicious activity might not be what to aim for.

In their defense, they are also the biggest internet supplier, so the figures are unsurprising. I don't even know that it's a matter of being a more obvious target in this case, but just that spam hits everyone everywhere. And bigger tubes carry more stuff, including spam.

Here's normally where one gloats and chortles about owning a mac, but I'm not going to say nothing, because spam is included in this list, and spam cross-platform. I run all my email through gmail, which weeds out about 95% of the spam, and Mail's spam filter usually catches most of the rest.

Tip Tuesday: More RSS


An informal and completely unscientific poll over at ehmac showed that I am by far in the minority when if comes to using Safari as an RSS reader.

Mail, strangely, was much preferred. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the push pull thing. We are used to our email pulling down information, while with our browsers, we have to go out and get things. To have something show up in Safari automatically just doesn't jive with our way of thinking around the way Apps work.

For me, I love the fact that feeds open up in browsers when I click on them (or rather, right click on them and open in new window), and I'm not always bouncing between two apps.

But because Mail was nearly twice as popular as Safari, I decided to give it a go.

Adding an RSS feed in safari is drag and drop easy. Adding a feed in Mail is slightly more complicated.

First you need to know where the feed is. The easiest way to locate it is in Safari. Just like using Safari as an RSS reader, click on the blue RSS icon at the end of your address bar to have the page roll over to the RSS feed. Note how the address has changed to look like this:

Copy the URL (select the URL, then click command-C), and switch over to Mail.

Under File, select "Add RSS Feed". You are given two options:Browse feeds that are already in Safari (and you'll see a list), or Specify a custom Feed URL. (You can also click the plus button at the bottom of the mail window and select add RSS feed. You can also just drag and drop the url from Safari into the box).

We're going to choose the latter, then paste the URL into the dialogue box. You can choose to show RSS feeds in inbox or keep them separate.

Besides the reasons I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons I don't like using Mail as an RSS reader is I can't read the whole article. With Safari, I can scale up and down the amount of the feed I want to get, from just the headlines, to the whole thing. With Mail, I am limited to only the part of the feed the owner of the feed has decided to pass on to me. So that means if I want to read the whole thing, I have to go back to Safari anyway.

Well, you can see where my biases lie. I am testing out Mail for RSS, though, and if I have an epiphany, I'll let you know.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Daily Reading: Kent Nichols on Internet Video

Kent, you might know, is one of the guys behind Ask A Ninja. He's not Canadian, but he is a Mac User.

He knows internet video, and considers the statement, Online Video is Dead.

Gadget envy

Okay. I've gone on at length about no iPhone in Canada. But it's good to know that Canadians aren't the only ones to suffer gadget envy. PC World has a look at 10 Cool gadgets not available in the states. Most are general gadgets, but there is a Sony Vaio that is designed to give the air a bit of a run for its money...

Daily Reading: 25 Overlooked and Underrated features in Leopard

Macworld has a nice look at some of the less well known things in Leopard. Some of these were talked about a lot when Leopard was announced, but haven't been mentioned much since (iChat theatre). Some I've used (recording in Automator is da bomb). Most I haven't played with. Many just don't mean anything to me (like .mac syncing, as I don't have a .mac account).

Still, if there's one new thing that you pick up from the article, you will know more about Leopard than you did before reading the article. And my job is done. And by my job, I mean Macworld's.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Spark it up


In case you don't listen, Amber Mac is on CBC's Spark this week, talking about a subject that is near and dear to my heart: Howcum we can watch American TV and Movies on TV and in the theatre, but not online?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Define Unlimited.

Well, in my dictionary, Unlimited means: not limited or restricted in terms of number, quantity or extent.

However, in the immortal words of on Indigo Montoyez: "I do not think that word means what Rogers thinks it means."

NEW! Adding Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing Plan* to your voice plan provides:

Unlimited on-device mobile browsing access to your favourite social communities like Facebook & MySpace, news, sports and entertainment sites all on the go for one flat monthly fee!
Access to search the mobile Internet with Yahoo! Search and Google
Access to information sites like Yahoo! Canada, Canada.com, Windows Live, The Weather Network, Lavalife Mobile and more!
Protection against high pay-per-use data charges while surfing the mobile Internet

Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing Plan
Monthly Fee Includes
$7 Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing*

So. Sounds good so far. Let's look at the exceptions.

This plan includes unlimited on-device mobile browsing only and is only available on select phones (PDAs such as Blackberry or Windows Mobile devices, PC cards and non-Rogers certified devices are not eligible).

No iPhone. Fair enough, as it isn't available in Canada.

Data usage incurred on ineligible devices or incurred while tethering (using device as wireless modem for computer) or incurred using non-Rogers (3rd party) applications downloaded to your device will be subject to pay-per-use charges of 5 cents/KB. A 3-year term service agreement is required for Rogers Vision devices.

Alright. I can't use the phone as a tethered modem. Seems a little limiting (the walls of this unlimited deal are quickly closing in), but what about the non-Rogers applications?

3rd party applications are applications like Yahoo! Go or Google Maps. These are non-Rogers applications which may be downloaded to the device and incur data charges at a rate of 5¢/KB.

Oh-kay. So what are Rogers apps anyway? Not having a Rogers phone, I'm not sure, but basically what I'm hearing is this is not unlimited. Ars Technica points out that you are limited in your unlimitedness to 2000 text messages and 1000 picture or video messages.

All this does not bode well for those fanboys chomping at the bit waiting for an iPhone to come to Canada. If this is the plan in place if the iPhone comes to Rogers, I can forsee a few $1000 bills in the first month, and a whole host of irate customers....

But price of plans, according to the analysts, has always been one of the big sticking points for Apple. While it is good to see Rogers moving in the right direction, I doubt it is far enough.

Daily Reading: Next letter will be delivered by Guido...

Okay, I don't normally pay much attention to what happens in Redmond, but this letter from Steve Balmer seems to be a bit of a veiled threat, dontchathink?

Daily Reading: Life with the Air

Are you still eyeing up an Air, but aren't sure whether it is the computer for you? Chris Ulrich over at the Unofficial Apple Weblog has now been eating and sleeping his Air for the last few months (I said sleeping, not sleeping with), and has some thoughts on the matter. Not enough to sway me (though that's a wallet issue, not a want issue), but might help you with your decision.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday

My dad always gets annoyed, cuz I always call him on mothers day to wish him happy fathers day. Truth is, I'm bad with dates. So when I noticed it was Apple's 32 birthday, I just let it slip by.

Happy Belated Birthday, Apple.

Daily Reading: Gruber goes for a ride on the Firefox...

Decides to go on Safari instead. Read why.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

It is official....

Apple is indeed number one.

We're number one!?


I'm not one to indulge in speculation and rumour myself (pfft.), but I'm always willing to pass on notes from people who do. In this case, Ars Technica, who claim to have come into possession of secret Apple insider memos that show that Apple is now the number one music retailer in the states.

I'm wondering if this is like the Canadian Dollar's climb to parity and above, where much of that was driven by emotion, and now that it is #1, it will slowly sink back down. Probably not. Market forces that govern the two are completely different.

Still, I worry that Apple is a victim of its own success. Already, we have the issue of Amazon, where music companies are selling 256 kbps, drm free songs through Amazon, while not allowing Apple to sell similar quality music. Will the record companies and movie companies keep dragging their feet when it comes to Apple, hoping that someone will innovate and be a competitor?

As long as Apple at least maintains the appearance of looking out for the consumer (ie, me), I will continue to buy my music from iTunes. And that has nothing to do with the fact that the Amazon music store still isn't available in Canada. Honest.

Daily Reading: Does Apple Hate Canada?

I am aware of this, and am going to comment (I'm gonna go all Gruber on the Globe & Mail ,itsa gonna be fun). Right now I am dad, and have sleeping baby in ams, which makes it tough to type. Back later.

Okay, I'm back.

The article currently under discussion is this one over at the Globe and Mail.

The opening paragraph sums up the argument, like any good inverted pyramid should. Here are the greivances:

"its products cost more here than they do south of the border despite near parity in the currencies, new services often arrive long after they're launched in the U.S., and then there's the conspicuous absence of the company's iPhone."

We'll get to that in a moment, but first, let's look at this line: "So does Apple hate Canada? It's a question that draws a mixed response from observers — and silence from the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters."

This is written like it is news, but it is not. Any question asked about Apple *always* draws mixed responses from observes, and it is a rare news story indeed that ever is commented on by the notoriously tight-lipped Apple. It's like saying that a Balmer commented on a story about Microsoft. Of course he did. He's Balmer. You can't shut him up. Jobs, on the other hand, has a cone of silence around Apple. They will talk about product releases when they are released, but in the meantime? Forget it. Rumours and innuendo, and the occasional leaked memo is all you've got to go on.

"When Apple looks out at the world, they look for the best market opportunities — and they don't see that with Canada," says Michelle Warren, an analyst with Info-Tech Research Group of London, Ont.

Which is pretty fair. Let's look at the iPhone. Where is it rolled out? In the USA (population: 304 million) Great Britain (population: 59 million), Germany (population: 82 million), France (population: 64.5 million) and Ireland (population: 6 million). With the exception of Ireland, all these markets are bigger than the Canada (pop: 33 million) by at least almost double. If you're in the business of selling phones, you gotta go where the people are.

And lets not forget there are many countries out there with populations much bigger, much, much bigger than Canada's, that also don't have the iPhone.

Does that mean we'll never get the iPhone? Far from it. It just means that, in order of priority, we're not at the top of the list. We know this, as Canadians. It bugs us, but we know it.

And we wouldn't have it any other way. We don't want to be Americans. Someone overseas confuses us for an American, we will set them straight, boy howdy. unfortunately, sometimes not being American is not without its problems, and we have to deal with no iPhone for a year. Go cry about it to your Universal Medicare.

Apple's iTunes music store was not launched in Canada until nearly four years after the store went online in the United States. And when the service began offering TV shows, negotiations with Canadian networks prevented their distribution through iTunes Canada for more than two years after they went on sale in the U.S.

"In all of these instances, there are negotiations that are going on that require delay in the rollout of hardware," says Josh Martin, a senior analyst with Yankee Group.

Which is a far cry from hating us. It's like never letting your neighbour in, then calling them up and asking why they never come visit.

Now, I'm glad that there are rules around Canadian content, and Canadian ownership, even when it backfires in my face. Yeah, I'd love an iPhone, and I have a rant scheduled for sometime in the near future about the selection at the Canadian iTunes store, but I know that Apple really wants to sell me stuff. That's why they're in business. And if other people (government, record labels, TV stations, etc.) prevent them from doing that, should I really complain?

My biggest problem with the article, though, comes at the end.

Even though their currencies are within a couple of cents of parity, Apple's products and software cost Canadian consumers anywhere from 5 per cent to nearly 40 per cent more than their American counterparts pay.

A few paragraphs later, he goes on to discuss the iTunes music store. But instead of commenting on pricing models between the two store, the author again talks about delays and lack of selection. I'm with you there, but in the interest of fairness, don't you think you should note that in 2004, when the the iTunes Music Store was launched, Canadians were paying $0.99 per song, just like Americans. Except that the Canadian Dollar was hovering around $0.84 US, meaning that Canadians were paying about $0.83USD song, or $0.16USD less.

And I've discussed the discrepancy between buying products from Apple US and Apple Canada in the past, and yes, there is a discrepancy. Sometimes, it's pretty big. But the fact remains that Apple is not the only one to do this, nor are they the most egregious offender. A quick search at Best Buy's American site and Canadian site shows the Canadian Sale price for a 42 inch Toshiba REGZA is still $200 more than the non-sale price for the same TV in the states. While there are exceptions, as a general rule Canadians pay more for consumer electronics, almost universally across the board. Heck, a new Rav 4 starts at $21,250 in the states, and $27,400. This is not something that should be shocking.

Yes, it is not something we should take lying down. And if this article causes the Apple prices to drop, I'll be happy as a clamshell (first gen bondi blue)

Does Apple hate us? Do they hate Australia? Mexico? Japan? 90% of the world? No. If they can't move as fast as we would like, I don't know it means they hate us. When the Air was announced, it was available in Canada at the same time as in the states. I really wish they'd negotiate faster to get movies and better (you heard me, better) shows on the Canadian iTunes store.

But the fact that they even bother negotiating at all, considering Roger's deathgrip on GSM, considering the many layers of copyright and legal wrangling to sell or rent movies in Canada means that they do care about us as a market.

Just, you know, not as much as we Canadians would like....

64 bits of pain?

Any Photoshop users out there will remember this like it was last year, which it was.

Back in the days of CS2, it was actually faster to run Photoshop on an old PowerPC machine than it was to run on an intel machine, because Adobe was late to the whole Intel party. Because the program was built in Carbon, they didn't have the option of clicking on that fancy button to build an app that would run natively in Cocoa on both PPC and Intel chips.

But, for CS3, they scraped and coded and pushed and prodded and beat it into shape so that Photoshop actually ran quite well on Intel Macs.

Well, yesterday, it came out via John Nack's blog that Carbon has bit them in the bottom once again, and by extension, all Photoshop users.

At last year's WWDC, says Nack, Apple announced that it was dropping it's efforts to create a 64-bit version of Carbon, which meant that Adobe had to drop plans for a 64 bit version of Photoshop for Mac, at least for CS4.

How important is 64 bit? In my life, not very. Not until I start seeing what it can do. Yes, they say it has the musclepower to open big files faster, and it will allow Photoshop to be bigger, stronger, faster. But how much bigger? How much better? How much faster? I guess we see when the next version of the software comes out what sort of gulf there is between the Windows and Mac version. Nack's blog seems to imply that it will be 8-12% faster.

I suspect in my life what it'll mean is not that I find a Windows box to use photoshop on, but at worst, I'll just skip a cycle of Photoshop. Heck, I skipped CS2, not that this'd be any different.

And, since Adobe is well aware of the problems and issues, I suspect that the Mac version will be optimized for what it can be. Will it be covered in 64 bit shiny goodness? Nope. But it will still rock.

I hope.

In the meantime, get ready for a couple years of name calling, flag waving, and yelling back and forth from users. Apple vs. Adobe. Mac vs PC. WoW players vs. Star Wars Galaxy fanboys....


Read all about the history of Apple and Adobe (and carbon and cocoa, and 32 bit and 64 bit) over at Ars. Gruber has his thoughts on the matter, too.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Getting on Macbreak, part Duh.


Another idea.

Since I share first names with a well known tech-savvy musician, I will just let it be known out there that "Trent is interested in appearing on Macbreak Weekly." Considering how many times NIN has been mentioned on a TWIT network podcast, I'm sure that would get someone's attention. And, since everybody knows everybody on the internet....

It worked for Eddie Murphy in The Distinguished Gentleman, why can't it work for me?

So, start spreading the word. Trent wants to appear on Macbreak Weekly.

Six degrees of separation, don't fail me now....

Change of Plans: Getting on Macbreak

It is my stated goal in my profile to get on Macbreak Weekly. I've changed plans after listening to last week's Macbreak.

As some of you may know, I am in a band. And, like Patrick Wilson, I play drums.

So here's my three step rise to podcasting stardom:

1) Become a famous musician

2) Call Leo

3) Be on Macbreak....

I am in Love

Playing around with Lightroom 2.0.

Sheer genius.

I am so in love.

Lightroom 2.0


I am so stoked. I am so hoping this isn't an April Fools joke. I am so downloading this right now.

Tip Tuesday: Safari and RSS

If you don't use RSS, you really need to. Rather than wasting your time going to your favourite sites to see if they've updated yet, RSS allows you to subscribe to the feed for your favourite sites,. When something new is added, a little number will pop up saying "there's a new article at one of your favourite sites".

It saves time, and it allows you to not miss an update at your favourite sites.

With 10.5, RSS has come to Mail.app, but with Safari 3.1, RSS is handled much more elegantly.

How to use RSS.

Easy Peasy. Open up your favourite site in Safari. If the page has an RSS feed, there will be a little blue RSS in the right hand corner of your address box.

Click on that. The page will suddenly roll over, and you'll see a white page with text and maybe some images on, but it doesn't look like the website at all. Don't worry. This is the feed, which pushes out the content of the page, not the design. You will see a shortened version of all the articles on the page, followed by a "read more." If you click on read more, or on the title of the story, you will be taken to the actual page of the actual website, where you can read the full story.

Now over on the right hand side of the page, you will see some options.

Search Articles: Allows you to search articles for key words. Like iPhone, or Classic.

Article Length: Allows you to determine how much or little of the feed you will display, ranging from just the headline to the full article.

Sort by: Allows you to determine how you sort the articles. I like to sort by New, so that new articles show up at the top.

Recent Articles: Allows you to determine how long you are going to look back for new articles, and how long they articles are going to remain in your RSS reader. I usually choose seven days.

Source: Where is this feed coming from. Clicking on the link allows you to go back to the main page for your favourite site.

Actions: Allows you to do things with the feed. Default is Mail Link to this page, which is pretty useless. Click on it to open up a mail message with a list of feeds.

Okay. But what good does this do you? You're looking at a graphically poor version of the page that you were just looking at.

Well, here's how it works. Take and drag the little grey box beside the feed URL down into your bookmark bar. Type a name for the bookmark. Now, any time your favourite site adds a new article, a number will appear in brackets beside the name you put in the bookmark bar.

But what if you're like me and have a hundred different places you have feeds from? Again. Easy enough. Simply right click in the bookmark bar and select new folder. Give the folder a name, like "feeds". Now, instead of dragging new articles down into the bar itself, drag them into the folder. This creates what is known as a feed aggregate, which is simply a collection of feeds organized into one place. To view them, you can left click or right click on the folder. I prefer to right click, as "View All RSS articles" is the first option, whereas if you left click, it is the second to last option.

If that is too course an aggregation for you, you can do what I do: I create multiple folders. News goes into one folder, photography related news into another. A third holds all my mac news, a fourth, design, a fifth personal.

Here is the actual tip, though. Open up Safari:Preferences RSS, and you can set a variety of options here. Default RSS Reader, Automatically update articles in: Check for Updates, Remove articles, and the new one: Color New Articles. This is new to Safari 3 or 3.1, and it allows you to color all the new articles since you last checked. This means that if you have a feed like digg, which has 100 new articles a day, you can see where the new ones end, and the old ones begin.

You will note that this page right here has one of those fancy RSS feed icons in the corner. Go ahead. Give it a try. And let me know how it works.

Have any questions? Suggestions for a Tuesday Tip? Leave a comment.

Well, that is a bit of a shock....

I tend to view any news that comes out on this day of duplicity, but CBC wouldn't pull anything on us, would they?

In a recent story, they dropped two bombshells:

Paul Allen is backing Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises Wireless Inc's proposal


Niagara Networks has dropped out of the race.

Niagara, if you remember, is the company that everyone suspected might be backed by AT&T or T-Mobile. They had the largest bid in, and were poised to take on the role of fourth major carrier.

What does this all mean?

It means that when bidding starts on May 27, things will be interesting, but not as interesting as it might have been. The largest bidder still left in the auction (after Rogers) is a numbered company: 1380057 Alberta Ltd., with a $400 million deposit.

The company is 100% owned by Shaw Cable, who have already warned us not to get too excited, as they might not be bidding on the spectrum to set up cellular service. Instead, they might sit on the spectrum or partner up with another company (can you say Rogers?).

Of course, they could turn around and partner with a T-Mobile, allowing the latter to do the heavy lifting of building the network, but my money is on them sitting on the bandwidth for at least a few years. Meaning that we'll see nothing happen.

There are still some major bidders in the auction (Quebecor, MTS Allstream), so here's hoping....