with 'apple' tag


i have been blogging at the raw materials site about the process of getting the store put together. this week is one of those where a lot of things should start to fall into place, at least planning-wise.

there are other complicating factors that are going to make the end of the month really chaotic, but i am actually perversely looking forward to it. i finally splurged on a macbook pro so that i can be more flexible about where i work from, and not have to deal with some of the hardware issues that were annoying me.

mobile not-quite-me

i like the idea of apple’s mobileme, but i wonder if it will be possible to use external addresses with it. they say: “With MobileMe Mail, you can create an email address that’s personal and easy to remember. Maybe it’s yourname@me.com or maybe it’s something clever. Whatever you think up, it will be your best email address yet.”

my best email address yet is the one that is portable to other services. my mac.com address is totally useless, since i never saw enough value to .mac and it no longer works.

expensive parts

friendly note: do not go to the apple store at the glendale galleria, at least for a month or two. between the ongoing construction in the parking structure which makes it a bear to get in and out of, and the super-small space the apple store is in while they remodel their usual location, it is not a particularly pleasant experience. luckily, they called my name about ten minutes after my appointment was scheduled. the store was jam-packed, especially for the middle of wednesday afternoon.

the genius made a quick verdict of fried logic board for the mac mini. when he looked up the price to repair it, it came up as $612. which is just barely less than a new mac mini would be. now it is up to my boss (or his boss, or his boss, or his boss, or maybe someone else) to decide if replacing the computer is an acceptable expense.

after giving me the bad news on the computer, the genius hooked up the monitor that i thought had a fried power supply, and it turns out that it works just fine. whew!

we grabbed a late lunch at the oinkster in eagle rock after leaving the apple store (and i dragged celia out of the pet store next door). their bbq pork sandwich is so tasty. and so is the ube shake.

h₂o is not your friend

actually, water is not my computer’s friend. in a spectacularly clutzy move, i managed to spill water on my desk, pretty much straight into my mac mini, and then it proceeded off the back of my desk into the power supply for my monitor. it looks like both the mac and the monitor power supply are dead.

at least the water missed my external drive. there is not really any important data on the mini itself.

i have an appointment for wednesday to see what an apple genius can do for me. besides commiserate.

mysql on mactel

it was released without any fanfare, but the most recent release of mysql 5.0, 5.0.10, is available for mac os x on x86. i believe the next version of 4.1 will also be built on that platform.

a usb/dvi kvm that does not suck

finally, i found a usb/dvi kvm switch that does not suck and is reasonably priced. the linkskey 2-port dvi usb kvm switch is $165, with all the necessary cables, and appears to work just fine with my mac mini and pc. i haven’t noticed any problem at all with the picture, and

there does seem to be some sort of problem with both the mac and pc recognizing the keyboard and mouse when they first boot up, which i’ve fixed both times it has happened by just unplugging the usb cable for that computer and plugging in back in again. another issue is that the volume buttons on my keyboard don’t appear to work, but i can certainly live with that.

the fact that this means that i can go back to playing world of warcraft on the (faster) pc is entirely coincidental.

testing non-blocking reads on mac os x

here’s a small program to test non-blocking reads that i wrote to try and diagnose a problem with mysql on mac os x. the surprising thing to me is that i have occasionally seen reads that returned with EAGAIN take about 15000 µsec. on my x86_64 linux development box, nothing ever cracks the 20 µsec reporting threshold in the code.

colloquy is a very slick open-source irc client for mac os x. after just a day of use, i think i may be ready to ditch snak.

one really slick feature is per-channel text encodings. so i can peek in the #russian channel on the internal irc server and see it in the right character set, even if i can’t read it.

safari rss is sort of nifty, and i’ve been using it for my del.icio.us inbox and sploid.

one feature i really wish it had was some sort of visual indication of which items are the new ones.

forwarding x11 connections using ssh on tiger

brandon hutchinson notes how to fix x11 forwarding errors with ssh, and this made things work better for me now that i’ve upgraded to tiger.

maciej ceglowski very efficiently takes the piss out of paul graham and his hackers and painters metaphor. yowch.

oh yeah, and i almost forgot john gruber’s takedown of paul graham’s late arrival to the mac.)

the belkin omniview 2-port dvi/usb kvm switch is garbage

my clever plan: ditch my imac, get a 20" apple cinema display, and use a kvm to share that between my new amd64 machine and my 12" powerbook.

first problem: my 12" powerbook doesn’t have dvi out, because i’ve got the older model with just plain-old vga out. oh well, i was looking for an excuse to buy a mac mini, anyway. (which i’ve ordered, but is currently on back-order.)

in the meantime, i got a belkin omniview dvi/usb kvm. then went back and ordered cables, because it doesn’t come with any (which is so pointless it makes my head hurt). just poking around at the box while waiting for cables, i noticed that there’s no way the connector from the monitor will actually connect to the switch: the design of the case simply doesn’t allow it. figuring this must be a common problem (since apple sells this kvm from their online store), i email belkin.

their first reply directs me to a kvm switch that i should purchase. i have to point out that is exactly the switch i have, and the one i am complaining about. i then get an email back that says i must call them. apparently the front-line email support monkeys can’t actually answer any questions.

in the meantime, the cables arrive so i decided to at least hook up the switch to share my keyboard and mouse between the imac and pc. so i hook it all up, and it doesn’t work. with the keyboard plugged into the keyboard connector, it simply does not pass anything through. i plugged it into one of the generic usb device connectors, which at least let it work, but it will not actually switch using the buttons on the front.

as you might guess, that rather defeats the purpose of a kvm switch. so forget it, i’m not fighting with it any more. i will be returning the belkin kvm switch and cables, and never buying another belkin product ever again.

but i’m still without a dvi/usb kvm solution. the gefen 2-port dvi usb switch looks like it would fit the bill perfectly, but it is $450, and i just can’t bring myself to pay nearly as much for a kvm as i’m paying for one of the computers that will be hooked up to it.

so i think i’m going to cancel my mac mini order, and just get a simple usb switch so i can share my mouse and keyboard between my imac and the pc with the new monitor. i’ll revisit it another day when there are some reasonably-priced dvi/usb switches that aren’t manufactured by the idiots at belkin.

and here’s how stupid i am: i had even read the comments to this review about how terrible the belkin kvm is before i went down this path.

as wide as a river and harder to cross

apple made just the announcement i was hoping they would, and have dropped the price of cinema displays. still pondering selling my imac and getting a 20" cinema display to hook up to my laptop and new desktop machine.

one of the reasons i want a cinema display is for the extra horizontal working space. extra vertical space doesn’t do much for me, but being able to position a couple of terminal windows side by side, or better yet, a couple of terminal windows next to a web browser or my mail client (which is really just mutt in a big terminal window), is great. i’m still playing around with different setups for having different windows for coding and testing. maybe i’ll have more to say about that when i find a setup i like.

my coworker stewart wrote about how he organizes his working bitkeeper trees, and did some analysis of how much diskspace each clone takes up. what he hasn’t stumbled upon is how you can change bitkeeper to default to always checking out read-only copies of the files instead of read-write copies (which is how the mysql trees are configured by default). in BitKeeper/etc/config, you can add a line like [jimw:]checkout:get to default to read-only files. if you look in the mysql-4.1 tree, you’ll see that serg (the lucky guy who has gotten to approve most of my bug fixes), arjen, and nick (a former coworker) have configured their default to read-only. another advantage to using get by default (instead of edit) is that bk citool is considerably faster, since it doesn’t have to check all those writable files to see if they’ve been modified.

i only fixed one bug today, but i pushed a whole bunch of my approved bug fixes into the tree.

i also spent a little time polishing the mysql bugs database a little. now that i have to use it every day, i have a more active interest in making it better. (and for all of its flaws, i still like it quite a bit. the interface is nice and lean in comparison to so many other bug databases that i’ve seen or worked with.)

john gruber writes about the flash-based ipod rumors, and brings up the problem of how you could possibly make a smaller ipod than the mini. i wonder if you could put the clickwheel on the back, and have it still be usable. it would take a little bit more effort to learn to use, but i think it would be feasible. (and is unlikely.)