« December 2003 | Main | February 2004 »

January 31, 2004

Schoolies go to School of Rock

Guardian Unlimited | Arts features | Under eights v middle eights

A writer from the Guardian played a number of classic rock songs (not necessarily Classic Rock songs) for a group of north London six- and seven-year-olds. Among the songs: The Who's Substitute (“He's getting things stuck in his mouth and he can't chew.”), Sex Pistols' Anarchy in the U.K. (“Who's Annie Key?”), Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit (“This would definitely win Pop Idol.”), and Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song (“This sounds like Busted.”) .

All of them must eventually be compared to Busted, who are apparently the hot British boy band at the moment.

January 31, 2004 in Seen browsing | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tip: Stay active on iChat forever

A friend is considering ditching iChat, which he (or she) likes, because he (or she) couldn't figure out a way to keep it from going idle when, in fact, he (or she) is idle.

Why is it a problem that it works as expected? Well, the friend is concerned that his (or her) manager might use his (or her) instant-messenger status to determine when he (or she) might not be working.

I tried to AppleScript a solution, but it doesn't seem to matter if you've sent a message or not, or if your status is getting updated on a regular basis. Apparently, the only thing being monitored is whether there's been a keypress or a mouse-down event in the last hour.

Low-tech solutions to the rescue! I put a measuring tape down on my keyboard (the cursor keys, to be exact), and almost 24 hours later, that IM session is still showing the green dot. Presumably, some Scotch tape could fulfill the same function invisibly.

January 31, 2004 in Apple - General, Apple - Software | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Upgrading a 400-mHz iMac DV

So, after 4 years of use and abuse by the kids, the DVD-ROM on Christy's iMac gave up the ghost.

The Mac is a 400-mHz Grape DV model, bought in February 2000, with 128 megs of RAM in the inner slot, 256 in the outer, and a 5400-rpm drive that holds 10 gigabytes.

I decided that, if I'm going to be in there anyway, I should upgrade the upper memory slot and the hard drive. I have a 512-megabyte DIMM on order from Crucial.com, which will replace the orginal 128-meg in the upper slot. I ordered the replacement DVD from Other World Computing; I saw a few advertised at a lower price, but out of stock.

I'll be picking up a standard IDE drive at Best Buy, with a gift card left over from Christmas. There's some debate about putting 7200-rpm drives in the iMac, but it's hard to find (non-notebook) 5400-rpm drives larger than about 40 gigabytes, so I'm going to give it a shot. As with my Lombard PowerBook, OS X requires a partition of less than 8 gigs to boot from with the ROMs in this iMac, so I'll be splitting the drive into 2 or more partitions. I don't think the original iMac's hardware can handle drives greater than 128 gigabytes; I'm looking for something in the 60-100 gigabyte range.

TechnoWarehouse, LLC also has a G4 upgrade for the slot-loading iMac, at about $300, but that would have blown my budget, and made me seriously consider a new eMac.

Once I've done all that, I'm going to try to migrate Christy to OS X. It's critical that you upgrade the iMac's firmware to 4.1.9 before installing OS X. A friend didn't, and wound up buying his mother a new machine.

Opening an iMac is non-trivial, but relatively straightforward. I had to remove another optical drive from an identical model when an employee at my former company inserted a business card CD into the slot (don't do this!). There are good directions available with pictures at theiMac.com. Make sure you stay clear of the CRT — I had an employee at UGA who touched the flyback transformer on an itty-bitty Mac SE screen, and didn't want to repeat the mistake; the iMac probably stores 3-4x the energy.

I'm likely to actually do the upgrade Tuesday or Wednesday night. I'll try to post some more details then. Looks like I'll be spending about $300, but I think the machine will be useful for at least another 2 years if I do so, and that's a tradeoff I'm comfortable with.

January 31, 2004 in Apple - Desktops, Apple - General, General computing | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

ecto, spawn of Kung-Log, released to the wild

Kula: ecto 1.0

I'm liking ecto significantly more than I liked Kung-Log, and find myself using it about two-thirds of the time. Now that it's out of beta, the download is a two-week trial version, and the price is set at $17.95.

Ranchero's NetNewsWire has a built-in weblog editor, but ecto has finer-grained support for comments, trackback, and notification, as well as the iTunes support that can insert your current song, as below.

Listening to: Eurotrash Girl from the album Kerosene Hat by Cracker.

January 31, 2004 in Apple - Software, MovableType, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 28, 2004

New Power Macs: Can't be long now

Factory-refurbished G5s available today; save up to $600

With Apple trying to clear out the old stock, and even the dual-2.0 machines, we must finally be getting close to the release of the 2nd-generation G5s.

To fulfill the promise from Steve Jobs that 3.0-gigahertz machines would arrive by late summer, Apple needs to stairstep a revision somewhere in-between. I was betting on yesterday, but I doubt it will be more than a week or so now. Of course, I've been wrong about these things before.

January 28, 2004 in Apple - Desktops | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Greatest crime of our generation?

How I PC'd an Apple G5

My vote goes to the guy who built this web page. Reminiscent of monkey excrement art, this guy ripped the beating heart out of a G5 (a dually, to boot), and popped in a generic Athlon.

That's the moral equivalent of getting a new Porsche, and swapping out the motor for one from an AMC Pacer.

Check out the after photo, to see why we should leave computer design to the professionals.

This is a crime of Bush v. Gore proportions. Update 1/31: The original perpetrator now claims that he did it as a joke on a Mac-using friend, when he acquired a bare G5 case. He received 1300 e-mails within a day or so of the article appearing.

January 28, 2004 in Apple - Desktops, Seen browsing | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 26, 2004

Wifi like a mofo


One of my most common work destinations now has free 802.11.


January 26, 2004 in General computing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 25, 2004

Delta gives a little R & R


A welcome change at the Atlanta airport, as Delta has initiated the “Relax and Recharge” station shown above. There are 6 duplex outlets in front of 5 or 6 barstools, with 4 rows in the install I saw (near Gate B21).

Bizzare missing feature: Any sort of networking, so I'm blogging and uploading via my cell phone, through T-Mobile's GPRS service.

January 25, 2004 in General computing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 23, 2004

Five-timer in my back yard

ajc.com | Lance Armstrong to ride in Tour de Georgia

Lance Armstrong will be racing in the Tour de Georgia this year, from April 20-25th.

The final route isn't set, but should be next week.

I don't usually double-post from the Tour weblog, but I thought this nugget qualified.

Armstrong hasn't raced in Georgia for almost 8 years.

January 23, 2004 in Atlanta, Cycling, Tour de France | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Now I'm a homosexual activist?

Wired News: Gay Marriage Poll Gets Annulled

The American Family Association launched an internet poll to find out Americans' views on gay marriage. Many, many Americans voted, almost 1 million in all. Sixty percent, or around 508,000 said they favor legalizing homosexual marriage, and almost 67,000 favored a " 'civil union' with the full benefits of marriage except for the name.' Taken together, two-thirds of respondents opposed a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage, which wasn't what the group was looking for.

How to explain the results?

"It just so happens that homosexual activist groups around the country got a hold of the poll -- it was forwarded to them -- and they decided to have a little fun, and turn their organizations around the country (onto) the poll to try to cause it to represent something other than what we wanted it to. And so far, they succeeded with that." — Buddy Smith of the AFA

I voted in the poll, and I did it because I believe the AFA's insular membership doesn't represent the world at large very well. You could, of course, argue that the internet itself doesn't, but I think it's more representative than the AFA. I'm neither homosexual, nor particularly activist, though I am an American with a Family, just no Association.

I'm pretty sure I read about the poll at Boing Boing or at cloudy, chance of sun breaks, neither of which strike me as bastions of the Gay Mafia.

Judging by the number of right-wing weblogs, you would assume that if people online were that worked up over gay marriage, they would have taken the time to vote in the poll.

January 23, 2004 in Seen browsing | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack