Computer maintenance ergonomics

10/31/06 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Apple's industrial design has always impressed me. A few years ago, probably in 1997 or so, when I was fiddling around with a PPC desktop Mac, I was stunned at the way they'd designed the case so that mounting backets were balanced and would swivel; that edges were rounded; that the entire machine was made nicely accessible. At the time all the Wintel PC cases I used, regardless of cost, seemed to be roughly finished on the inside and always involved large numbers of screws and required interesting maneouvers when adding or removing hardware.

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A Very Canadian Joke

10/31/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, Canadian

Link: http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/1374.html

...although it's from an Australian. Ah, close enough.

 

Remote Desktop on the Mac

10/30/06 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Having used VNC extensively at work in the past, we've mostly migrated to using Microsoft's Remote Desktop where possible due to better performance and a far more reliable screen refresh. There's also the bit that all versions of Windows from 2000 onwards have Remote Desktop installed so that makes our lives a bit easier, but that's neither here nor there. The protocol that Remote Desktop uses between client and server is referred to as "RDP".

The problem occurs when I'm connecting remotely to work via my Mac. Microsoft, back in 2003, released a OSX version of the client. It works fine on the computers it was designed for, but as a tool on an Intel Mac it suffers badly due to the need to use Rosetta, the PPC-to-Intel converter. It runs, albeit quite slowly, and chews up a huge amount of memory. A bit of browsing around the internet turned up a Universal binary RDP client called "CoRD" or "Cocoa Remote Desktop". Only at v0.2, it's pretty functional. There are some items missing such as being able to access remote printers and cross-platform clipboard support but it's a great deal faster than the older Microsoft effort.

The good news is that the MacBU are apparently working on upgrading their version so -- with a bit of luck -- there'll be a bit of competition to see who can produce the best one. I'm looking forward to it.

 

It's not "new age", but what is it?

10/23/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music

Over the last number of years, a new stylistic movement of music has come of age. It's rock influenced, but not rock. It tends towards being instrumental, but not exclusively. It has aspects of worldbeat, but it's not part of that either. It's sometimes described as "electronica" but that's truly more of a harsher, less organic sound, albeit reliant on synthesised instruments too. It's not prog-rock but borrows elements of that too. It's not trance even though it adopts some of the beat.

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A car programme for those who don't like car programmes

10/22/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube

Link: http://www.topgear.com/

When I lived in the UK, "Top Gear" was a very traditional motoring show. They reviewed new cars, discussed their mechanical systems, looked at motorsports, and ended up being extremely boring. Take, for example, this review of the Sierra Cosworth from 1989. Dull, isn't it.

At some point in the last few years, the show got a makeover. While it's still a motoring show at its core, it's a pretty irreverent one. Wandering through the YouTube archives (it's not broadcast over here), you can find full-size remote control car racing, a comparison of a Range Rover and a Challenger 2 Tank, a game of Car Darts, the attempted destruction of a Toyota HiLux pickup, 30 mph headon collision tests of sub-100 quid cars, a used van test that included an evaluation of bank-robber getaway potential and, well, rather a lot more.

Definitely worth a look.

 

Tauren Plushie

10/19/06 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

Link: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=111304.0

For a homemade toy, this tauren shammy plushie is quite amazing. I've not been into stuffed animals for years and even I want one!

 

Work-space

10/19/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2006/10/19/desktop_accessories.html

I don't really have much to add to this entry by "Rands" except "Yup" to all points raised. If you work with computers for a living, go read.

 

The web is forever... (kinda)

10/19/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Copyright

A few years ago -- 2003 to be precise -- I wrote up an article on ripping DRM'd CDs to MP3 and stuck it on my website. I updated it a bit last year and then forgot about it. Today, the feedback mechanism on the site produced this:

Just wanted to say thank you Adam.

When you go through the trouble of spending $20 a cd to rip it for your ipod, you expect the studio would treat a customer with respect… Well they don’t. When attempting to rip Delerium Chimera, I too couldn't at first. After trying several diff ways, I finally came across your article and used the freeware Audiograbber. Works like a charm, as if the protection wasn’t even there. Next time when I see that little c in the graphic, I'll think twice about spending my $$$ on the cd...

Alrighty! Score one for the good guys.

I periodically think about pulling much of the old content down as I'm really not maintaining it, but sometimes even old information has value. Besides, it's easier to just leave it there in stasis.

 

Referrer searches

10/19/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly

The Nimblebrain blog logs referrer details, including the search string used to get here. Usually they're pretty mundane ("nimblebrain", "ritchie blog") but sometimes they're just odd. Some examples, in no particular order or importance:

alternative cheese to use if you can't get Kefalotiri
"yak roast" recipe
guzoo
THE CHINESE Mask of Hebu
jamie oliver cookware
"Ptashny"
"crib wars"
hostdime blank
russia black "pet fox"
aye song mp3 suaheli
"AUDIO RELAY" -DVD -CAR +RADIO -Lafayette

One, "dilbert kevorkian disconnect", I can actually place but I can't think what connection it has to the site. Maybe Ritchie wrote something about annoying support desks at one point. Update: Ah, he did.

 

The birth of the iPod

10/18/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.wired.com/news/columns/cultofmac/0,71956-0.html?tw=wn_index_11

Leander Kahney over at Wired News has put up a great article on the development of the iPod. What stood out at me is how much of the original design was licensed or purchased from third parties. This isn't a slam on Apple; I'm always impressed when people figure out how to use off-the-shelf components and software to produce something significantly better than their competition.

 

The Cognoscenti Attack

10/17/06 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Link: http://daringfireball.net/linked/2006/october#sun-15-bodine

Having recently moved to the Macintosh from a long sojurn on Windows after the Amiga imploded, I've been following Mac-related weblogs. Generally I find personal computer blogs a good way of tracking down tip and tricks to make the systems more comfortable to use. Daring Fireball is one of the more interesting and informative Macintosh sites.

Alas, this is where something that I've seen pop up in other fanboi discussion areas crops up. There's an assumption that since you know something, everyone else should, and any implication or demonstration to the contrary is evidence that he's just "A Lousy Person" (TM). I saw it on the Amiga on BBSes and IRC, I saw in on the PC, I see it on Linux support forums, and yup, here it is present in the Mac world too.

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Odd disclaimers

10/17/06 | by Adam | Categories: Games

Link: http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?sku_id=0665000FS10075540&catid=11124&PCName=Games%5FFuture%5FReleases%5FPC&logon=&langid=EN

While looking at upcoming game releases on the Future Shop website, I took a look at "Alan Wake" and happened to notice the disclaimer at the bottom. It reads:

*Please Note: System Requirements Not Available. Future Shop is not liable for soiled undergarments or weak knees caused by this game.

That's just a little odd.

 

Another Need For Speed

10/17/06 | by Adam | Categories: Games

Link: http://www.ea.com/nfs/carbon/us/home.jsp

Oh, look, another version of Need For Speed. Prettier graphics for sure, but I wonder if they've made the multi-player part of it worthwhile yet.

I doubt it.

 

Album cover wars

10/13/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Silly

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP83IrERdP4&eurl=

This decidedly untame animation pits record album covers against each other. Sounds wierd? Well, yes, but it's quite funny. Enjoy a new internet fad in the making!

 

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