roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Mischief brewin'!)
Mac OS X ships with two QWERTY keyboard layouts meant for American-style keyboards: U.S. and U.S. Extended. U.S. can generate some accented and extended characters using the Option key, but is careful not to output anything not contained in the old-skool MacRoman character set; U.S. Extended can make a crazy amount of accented characters (including ō, Ǽ, and Ž), but most of them are only safe to use if you're in a Unicode document of some kind. (As in, they're usually fine, but it's going to be really confusing to you if they aren't.)

The OS also ships with a Dvorak layout (which I use) that can generate the exact same set of extended-ASCII characters as the U.S. layout. If you need any of the even-more-extended Unicode characters, though, you have to switch your keyboard and brain back into QWERTY mode, which blows.

So on the extremely off chance that you type Dvorak and occasionally find yourself needing to spell "shōnen" correctly, you are now covered, courtesy me and Ukelele.

(Confidential to [ profile] boopsce: Finite-state automatons are crazy. I was actually able to get this done using only the "Swap Key..." command, so I didn't have to mess with the actual chains of dead keys, but the amount of stuff that was possible in there blows my little mind.)
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Drag)
Might as well share this. You know how sometimes you have a good song in a crappy file for a long time and it ends up in a bunch of your playlists? And then you finally get a good version of the file and it's a huge pain in the ass to get it in all the right places? I fixed that for you.

iTunes Body-Snatcher
AppleScript for iTunes to automate the copying of playlist info to a new track. GPL. Mac-only.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Default)
Backdating to avoid boring my friends. Remember how was awesome but got abandoned and now pretty much every iteration of the developer's domain is being squatted upon? Yeah, that was irritating. Well, when inevitably stops working, go get I Love Stars, a freeware app from the Potion Factory. Works mostly the same as the old I think I like Star better? But this'll certainly do.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Glance)
Time elapsed between seeing the heads-up on Daring Fireball and slapping down my $30 upgrade fee: very freaking little. There was a time not too long ago when I couldn't believe a text editor could be worth $125 plus upgrade costs—well, it was actually $200 or so at the time, but whatever—but now I'm pretty much happy to pay Bare Bones whatever they ask. BBEdit is one of the very few programs that works the way my brain does.

Anyway, I've read the release notes and am in the process of poking at the thing. I'm still trying to decide whether I like the changes to the find dialog(s), but will raise an immediate Hell Yes for the new Projects feature, the Scratchpad, the ability to edit in disk browsers, and sub-line diffing.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (THE SHITBOX WENT TITS UP)
I still wish I knew what the hell is the matter with this MacBook, but at least the question will soon be academic—Applecare is going to just replace the whole thing. The acute failure of the sleep and Bluetooth systems came back again (after being repaired three times) and I made it clear that I needed either a new machine or some very convincing assurance that the repair people knew exactly what was causing this and how to make it stop permanently. They couldn't provide the latter, but are quite willing to provide the former. (With a fairly steep power boost, at that—it's the current equivalent of what I got in '06. Part of me feels guilty for looking forward to a 64-bit CPU and a more-than-twice-as-big HD [and—glory be!—that second Option key], but I am resolutely squelching that part. I shall consider it payment for frustrations rendered, and I didn't bloody well ask for a lemon in the first place, did I?)

The person I dealt with the time before last told me he'd dealt with similar problems in the past, and that they could be remarkably intractable. "Haunted," was how he described the afflicted systems, which seems apt and is the best answer I've gotten so far. Still, I wish I knew what the hell is the matter with this MacBook. Academic or not, it bugs me.

(Because replacing the motherboard fixes it, right? It's just that it comes back without fail inside of two months, and then gets worse as time goes on. I don't buy that I had four defective motherboards in a row, so there must be some other part—which they haven't thought to replace—that's malfunctioning in such a way as to put undue strain and wear on the motherboard. Like, using a slightly wrong voltage or occasionally sending power spikes or a short? Does this sort of thing just not occur to the repair division, or is it just more cost-effective to replace a system than to exorcise this caliber of issue?

All I know at this point is that I'm damn glad I had the 3-year coverage.)
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (I have caught many hapless creatures.)
Oh finally, PERFECT. Someone has slapped together the correct way (Mac only) to view PDFs in Firefox. (Downloading the file and opening it in Preview: incorrect. Installing Adobe's asinine plugin: incorrect. Click on the link and it just shows the damn PDF, right-click if you need anything fancy: correct. Thanks for playing, we have our winner.)

(Yes, Safari got this right years ago.)
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (THE SHITBOX WENT TITS UP)
Readers may remember that I have twice had to send in my MacBook for repair of a squirrelly hardware issue involving the sleep system. Said issue has now recurred for a third round of trouble. It's going back in for more repairs on the "loop" or "white glove" repair track.

Based on my experience, and on my conversations with the product specialists over at AppleCare, I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone purchase a first generation -- i.e. "Core Duo" (not to be confused with "Core 2 Duo") -- Macbook in any condition. This issue has happened to more computers than just mine, and if it happens to your machine, it cannot be reasonably coped with unless the unit is still under full AppleCare coverage. And even with "free" repair service, the cost in time, effort, and aggravation is substantial. Purchasing one of these MacBooks used would be hardware roulette, and should only be attempted if you're being offered a really good deal. As in, good enough that you'll have got your money's worth within a few months.

EDIT: But I should point out that the people I've dealt with at AppleCare have been pretty cool. I generally loathe dealing with tech support, but the AC folk are mostly not clueless.

Dump post

Mar. 12th, 2008 09:54 pm
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Default)

Four things, and I post.


Anyone else notice those new "Expand" links in the comment threads? Best new LJ feature ever.


My computer has again developed insomnia. We've already been through this! It was totally fixed! Why is it broken again? Pain in the ass!

Time to back up and call AppleCare again. arrrrrrrggggghhhh.

Under There

Boxer-briefs. Someone explain these to me.

If one has an underwear model's abs, hips, ass, thighs, and package, then yes: boxer-briefs are the most aesthetically pleasing underwear for men. This is the undeniable truth. Until the wearer runs, walks, twitches, or scratches himself, at which point the legs roll into these sort of unappealing donut shapes and the garment rides up and smooshes one's balls.

Boxer-briefs: The underwear for physically perfect men who never move. Get yours today!


...we are Devo. )

roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Default) is dead; long live Too bad "Star" is an incredibly hard string to search for. Also too bad the URL everything seems to think it lives at got taken over by squatters. Also too bad that the real root of the developer's site has absolutely no link trail to the Star section. Anyway, it's a good app! Wonder how long for the world this one is.

You can ignore this; I just needed to jot it down where I'll know where to find it later.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Mischief brewin'!)
Friends, I have read deeply of the secret lore and acquired eldritch powers.

You know those 4 GB of printer drivers that Mac OS X likes to install? You know how some people like to reclaim some of that space and have to delete all those files manually, but it's not really complete since some of them install kernel extensions and stuff and it's hard to track all those down?

sudo pkgutil --verbose --unlink
sudo pkgutil --verbose --forget

Cleans them perfectly, and clears the receipt so you won't have any trouble re-installing from the DVD if you ever need them. This only works on Leopard, and only if the drivers you're deleting aren't un-upgraded holdovers from Tiger. (In which case, you could use the Optional Installs on the DVD to upgrade them, then unlink and forget.)

You can use pkgutil --packages to see all the receipts that pkgutil knows about. If I'm remembering right, the only ones really worth deleting are Epson (a gig and a half on its own), Xerox, Lexmark, HP, Canon, and Brother; the rest take up a piddly amount of space and might as well be left alone unless you're on a real tear.


Jan. 15th, 2008 11:57 am
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Drag)
Wow, most of those predictions were right! Impressive!

So, the MacBook Air! Pretty hot. Myself, I'm wondering what you can boot the thing from if you run into trouble with your internal HD. That's just because I'm a nerd, though. ) Anyway, it is highly desirable and is going to sell shitloads. It's pretty clearly meant for people with more than one computer, though, so I'm not nearly as covetous as I might otherwise be; the regular MacBook model is still the best match for what I want from a notebook. (Yes, Crow, I still love you.)
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Mischief brewin'!)
Okay, so: Apple's PowerPC notebooks -- and the 2006 through late 2007 models of their Intel ones -- have this fucking ridiculous "enter" key right beside the arrow keys. So far, I have found exactly one use case for it: if you press it while a track is highlighted in iTunes, you can rename the track without having to wait half a second between clicks. Honestly, that is all that the damn thing does -- the rest of the time, it's just a gratuitous extra return key. I think it's supposed to be there as a complement to the hidden embedded 10-key numerical pad that no one uses.

As of the late-late 2007/early 2008 MacBook models, Apple has acknowledged that the enter key is stupid and that it should obviously be an option key. (Presumably a consequence of recognizing that no one used that numeric keypad, either.) In the meantime, a whole pile of solutions for reassigning that key have sprung up.

Anyway, since getting my first iBook I've gone through three of said solutions, and I'm on my fourth one today. If you, too, have been left hanging on account of fkeys not being updated for 10.5 yet and DoubleCommand malfunctioning horribly after the recent MacBook keyboard update, this PSA is for you: Go download KeyRemap4MacBook and follow the instructions. It's no DoubleCommand, but it totally works.

PS, Leopard is mostly sweet. I'm still shaking out wrinkles and system updates, but I like it.

Dive, dive

Jan. 13th, 2008 09:42 pm
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Wardings)
Installing Leopard! Wish me luck!

(...archive and install? Can't decide. Guess I'll try the normal way first, then restore from Muninn and try again if everything goes to hell.)

EDIT: PURRS LIKE A KITTEN! Actually, Spotlight is still indexing my HD and making everything slow, and I need to do some minor cleanup like getting my second option key back. But nothing exploded, and I am a happy boy.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Poulet free)
So I use this feedreader called NetNewsWire, and it's the best thing ever. It's so great that I wound up paying for the deluxe version last year around this time, but the way I got into it was through the free "Lite" version. I've got a major soft spot for NNW Lite; it may not have had all the bells and whistles of its big brother, but it was a remarkably solid little program, and it permanently changed my web reading habits. If anyone asked me what the big deal was about RSS, I'd tell them without hesitation to go download NNW Lite.

I can't do that anymore, because NNW Lite is dead as of today. Instead, I can tell people to go download the deluxe awesome version for absolutely free.

That is what I am doing now. If you use a Mac and read stuff on the internet, you need this program.

(If you use Windows, it looks like NNW's cousin is free now, too.)
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Corvid liasons)
Luminiferous Crow back on-side. Everything working fine so far. Superdrive making robust noises rather than sickly ones.

Not gonna install Leopard yet, upon further thought. Have some web work yet to do, and don't want Apache 2 to screw over my working Gallery 2 install until I'm at a good stop spot. Speaking of which—
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (THE SHITBOX WENT TITS UP)
Update: Nope! Nope, nope, nope. Not at all. Know why I can't install Leopard? Because my optical drive is busted! It makes dying sounds, and doesn't mount media. Boo! Applecare has another box on the way to me. I am irritated. GEEZ.

I did learn something, though. If your drive isn't recognizing a disc and won't eject it when you hit the eject button, you can force an eject by going to the terminal and using the command drutil tray eject. Totally useful for getting that CD back before sending the box to the repair shop!

It occurs to me that, along with the hangover that kept me down until 10pm yesterday, this isn't the greatest collection of New Year's omens. >_>
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Default)
I have my computer back! Time to try installing Leopard on it. Wish me luck.

Hey, here's something interesting: If you rip out and replace a Mac's logic board, the unchanged system software on the HD will, once you boot it back up, decide that it is in a different machine and reset certain settings related to hardware. (All the keyboard settings, the active monitor color profile, maybe a few things I missed.) Which makes sense, but it confused me for a while, especially since all the really crazy stuff (kernel extensions, input managers) was working just fine.

Also, it looks like they silently fixed something that had been kinda bugging me—the monitor of my MacBook used to be attached slightly crooked (you could only really see it when the top was closed), but it's not anymore. Neat.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (THE SHITBOX WENT TITS UP)
My MacBook is on the fritz! I can still do stuff with it, but something is very wrong. Specifically, this. (See also here.) It was very off and on for a while, but now it seems to be pretty much continuous. So, yeah, shitty. I am in touch with the Applecare dudes and dudettes, and they will hopefully make it all better without taking my computer away for too long.

Other news is that the siblings are here, and Chris brought his ladyfriend. The family is caught up in the holiday rush. Etc, whatever, you know.

I'm just gonna stay quiet for a while; I rarely have anything useful to say during yuletide.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Ass increases with the square of T-ball.)
So if you use a Mac, you might want to be aware that there's this, uh, thing going on right now, where a bunch of independent software makers are doing one-day deals of 20% off their stuff. I'm mentioning this here because one of the deals on Monday is Flying Meat, and since they* make my favorite little app, I thought I'd send some love. If you've never tried VoodooPad, do yourself a favor and check it out; it's incredibly neat. (And hey, there's a quite capable free version if you don't want to shell out today.)

* It's actually just the one guy.
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (THE SHITBOX WENT TITS UP)
So I was trying to run some Ruby scripts from within BBEdit, and was getting nothing but guff -- it was running the wrong version of Ruby, refusing to look in my $PATH for required libraries, and barfing every time I even mentioned gems. I was having some problems in the Terminal, too, but an update/recompile of Ruby and rubygems made those go away. No such luck in BBEdit.

Eventually, I figured out that BB was basically pretending that my .profile file didn't exist... but only when using the shebang menu to run a script; shell worksheets were perfectly well-behaved.

The answer turned out to be that GUI apps get their environment variables from somewhere else entirely. I followed the instructions, making a plist with the appropriate $RUBYOPT and $PATH variables, and hey presto, victory!

(This post is dedicated to my sister, because I haven't posted anything incomprehensible and technical for, like, months, and she still gives me guff about it. I figure, if I'm gonna do the time anyhow...)

EDIT: So, you know the trick where you can add on to your path variable by saying, for example, export PATH=/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:~/bin:$PATH? Well, that doesn't work in environment.plist -- whatever system is reading the file can't expand the $PATH part of the trick, so you have to actually spell out every directory you want on your path. I discovered this when BBEdit learned about the /opt/local directories just fine, but forgot about /usr/bin.

It still knew /bin, though, which strikes me as odd -- apparently it's inheriting something from somewhere, but what it inherits is something other than the default value for $PATH. MYSTERY.

Also, remember that you have to log out and log back in for changes in environment.plist to take effect.


roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Default)
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