26 December 2007

Das II Keyboard

I recently obtained the Das II Keyboard from ThinkGeek and now am faced with a dilemma. Which keyboard is best?

There's the pretty pretty Apple keyboard in sleek white that came with the Mac, but then there's the retro-style, über-fast typing (and clicking) Das II Keyboard.

I really like the Das keyboard, but the problem lies in the matching issue. Although the Das keyboard would make an excellent PC keyboard, bringing back memories about IBM in the early 90s. However, it just isn't that Mac-ish. The mouse doesn't match either, but I can't bring myself to go back to a normal mouse after using the excellent Mighty Mouse. I wish there were another manufacturer who could, at the very least, have a mouse with squeezable sides, and preferably, also have a 360 degree scroll button.

However, I'm still left with the dilemma. Which keyboard? I figure I'll switch them out. I'll use the Mac one for the most part, and put out the good old Das when guests come over (with greasy, sticky, keyboard-staining, unwashed hands). Thus, it will send a subtle message saying "I try to keep this computer to myself."

Further developments may or may not be written about. Have a wonderful Christmas Holiday Season Winter.

Merry Frickin' Winter.

Das II Keyboard
Merry Frickin' Winter

21 December 2007

Bluetooth Praises

When we got the MacPro, we of course got the basics and upgraded it ourselves. I did not realize how easy it would be to do the upgrades.
The most recent episode has been that of Bluetooth. We got a cell phone cable kit that had several somewhat universal cables included, along with a bonus Bluetooth adapter.
Now, I'd used this particular Bluetooth adapter before, with a PC, and had many frustrations with it. I plug it into the Mac, open System Preferences, Click on Bluetooth, and lo and behold, it says "This computer has Bluetooth Capabilities." Just like that. It worked. I was thinking it was too easy, so I opened up Palm Desktop and configured my Palm Centro for Bluetooth HotSync.
I HotSynced.
It worked.
First try.
Granted, it took a bit longer, but it worked! Easily! I love Macintosh!
File transfer also works seamlessly. Thank you Apple, Inc. I would give you cookies if you weren't a soulless corporation.

12 December 2007

Playing with Linux Flavours

My current project has been to play with Parallels and Linux. My first project was Ubuntu 7.10.

Ubuntu 7.10:
Status: Partially Successful.
Notes: Installed successfully using the alternate install disc. It seems to have issues with the graphics, and although I did find a helpful workaround, it must be applied each and every time it boots (for some reason, it doesn't save the changes...). I have successfully run it three times, but I'm too lazy to do it every time. And I'm only playing with these- with a Mac, what more could you want need? This leads me to...

Ubuntu 6.06.1:
Status: Successful.
Notes: No graphics issues. Worked seamlessly.

Debian 4.0r1
Status: Installing
Notes: I am writing this entry whilst I wait for Debian Linux to install.

Fedora 8
Satus: Downloading
Notes: Fedora 8 has a bad server- it takes an exceedingly lengthy amount of time to download.

Updates to come.

06 December 2007

NAS Connecting

I use network attached storage for all my videos, pictures, and music. Also, since ID3 tags are the norm for music identification, may of the filenames are very long and impractical. Thus, when I attempted to view some of the files, they wouldn't show up. "How odd," I would think to myself. I would boot into Windows via Parallels, and I could see the files just fine.

Then I remembered. I remembered seeing something about errors seeing files with filenames over 30 characters and/or files over 2GB. I looked it up, and found out that since Macintosh defaults to afp://, the Apple Filing Protocol, which is rather dated. The solution: use smb://, server message block. This is what Windows uses. Lo and behold, that fixed my problems.

The moral of the story: use SMB.

05 December 2007

Firmware Update

I ran some Apple updates last night. One of the updated included an update for the MacPro firmware. Thus began the fun.

It said to close all other applications and then use the "Shut Down" button in that window. It said to, after it powered down, press the power button until the service light blinked or a long chime sounded. I assumed that it meant the startup chime. I was wrong.

For all of you out there that will ever upgrade your Mac's firmware, hold the power button down. It takes about 5-10 seconds for it to happen, but the service light will blink and the long, single note chime will sound.

The only difference I've noticed so far is that my problems with ejecting discs have stopped. That's a good thing.

02 December 2007

Hide Dock Icons

Just a quick blurb for the day. Today's is about hiding dock icons.

Everyone knows it. The programs you run whenever you're running your Mac. From iTunes to your chat client, it's those apps that you are always using but don't need to see in the dock. Well, thanks to a handy forum post I found, it's possible. I thought it might be beneficial for me to go ahead and post it here as well.

I will restate it in my own words. Basically, running Leopard, you open Finder and navigate to the Applications folder. Find the app whose icon you'd like to hide, and right click it, selecting "Show Package Contents."

Once viewing the contents, right click the one titled "Info.plist" and open it with Text Editor (or whichever text editing program you prefer). Once there, add the following section:


-NOTE: You must replace the square brackets with angled ones, HTML picks up on them and thus hides them when I try to type them-

Save the text file and close the text editing program. If the program was running at the time you edited the file, you will have to restart it for the change to take affect.

I found this a helpful little hint, and hopefully you will too. In case anyone is interested, the original forum post where I found this hint is located here.

This little trick also prevents the top toolbar from showing for the program. You have been forewarned. This prevents you from (in some programs) editing the preferences and accessing the menu. And exiting it. You have been warned.

01 December 2007

Chat Clients

I loved Google Talk. It was rather simple, but that's really what made it. Nothing went wrong. The file transferring was excellent, and it really just worked. Alas and alack, Google talk does not have a version for Macintosh! Yes, you can use it in your web browser, but that really just isn't worth it. It doesn't support any of the cool features that the chat client does, and then you have to keep a web browser open.

Thus began the search. Seeking to sever ties with Windows, I began researching what chat clients there were out there for OSX. I remembered Pidgin, a client I had for my Portable Apps program, but they didn't have an OSX version. To make a long story short, after looking into several dead ends, I came across Adium.

It looked pretty. I downloaded it. I was impressed.

It was open source. It has add-ons. They were cool. I was impressed.

It had more options. They were superb. I was impressed.

I use the feature to auto-resize the window to the number of contacts currently on, and the feature to decrease the opacity of the window so that is is clear. I have a dark background, so it's a clear window with the contact names and messages white. It's pretty cool. I've also downloaded some sound pack add-ons with Star Wars sound effects that makes it cool. Plus the dock icon is now a Darth Vader version of the logo. And the status bar icon is a guy on an elevator.

However, it can't be perfect. Although both Google Talk and Adium support file transfer, there is something that prevents them from actually performing the transfer. I don't know what it is and I hope it will be corrected, because I used that feature. and I liked it. And email clients never like my attachements (and I'm not exceeding the allowed limit or sending .exe files for anything!).

All in all, I've been, you guessed it, impressed with Adium and would recommend it to all you fellow Mac users. It supports several services, and I personally like it.


So I got an iPod about a year ago now. Black 80GB Video 5.5Gen. I'd heard many, many stories of the horrors of iTunes and the DRM it gives you. Thus, my iPod has never touched iTunes. I use Winamp, but I found a much better plugin for iPod support than that offered in Winamp. My iPod has never touched iTunes.
When we got the Mac, we were planning the whole time to use Parallels so we wouldn't have to leave anything behind. Well, I've begun to sever all my ties with Windows. There were four main things holding me back:
-Google Talk (iChat and other solutions to be written about later)
-Microsoft Office (solution to be written about later)
I know games can never be transferred to Mac (a conversation to continue at a later time), but I've found solutions for Google Talk in Audium, Microsoft Office in OpenOffice.org, but Winamp?
I've done some research out there for other media player, but honestly, none of them really looked worth it. The closest one was Songbird, but it just didn't look that tempting. Winamp has pretty resolutely stated that they will never make a version for Macintosh, so I've pretty much given up all hope of that.
As such, I've swallowed my pride and resigned myself to iTunes. I still have no plans of ever using it with my iPod, (I'm paranoid enough about the auto-detection that I only use it via BootCamp). We'll have to see how this story develops over time.