Posted by sh1mmer on Nov 7, 2007 in Mac
For a while I’d been using Amazon S3 with Jungle Disk as a backup solution of sorts. However Amazon changed the pricing model a bit a while back, and Jungle Disk doesn’t really play nicely with rsync based solutions like iBackup.app.
My friend Sutha told me about Mozy. It is a really nice solution for backup. I like the Mac client which has some of the features of iBackup.app but is way less complex. It has Growl integration and a menubar icon, etc, the usual stuff. What is cool is that you can get 2GB of free storage by signing up via https://mozy.com/registration/free?code=C88WPG. If you add my referral code C88WPG at the end of the sign up you get another free 256mb of space, and so do I.
I haven’t run out of space yet but if you do you can upgrade to unlimited storage for $4.95 a month. Oh and the whole thing is encrypted so it’s nice and secure.
mac, osx, mozy, backup, s3, jungledisk, ibackup
Posted by sh1mmer on Aug 14, 2007 in Mac
43Folders has a great guest post about how to protect your iGTD trusted system. One of the running jokes about GTDers is that you can fuck with them by messing with their trusted system.
Where did this task for ‘give Tom £10′ come from? Oh well it must be true… That kind of thing.
I think the more I come to rely on GTD the more I need to be careful. Even losing 1 days GTD would have me in a hell of a mess. I’m going to look at hourly syncs with some off site location. Once I get iGTD to sync with my phone that will also make a massive difference.
Posted by sh1mmer on Jun 11, 2007 in Mac
, Symbian S60
Some of the features of Leopard look cool. However, having just digested a skin-full of WWDC posts I’m just kinda
meh. While there is some interesting stuff mentioned on Lifehacker, The Unofficial Apple Weblog and others, I still find one thing more exciting than anything. A new version of Quicksilver. That’s right a 3rd party app. I’m sure I’ll love Leopard once I use it, but Quicksilver is the one thing that stands out in my mind as something I crave and update to.
It’s interesting that there is now a new version of Safari. It works on Windows and Macs. I’m just going to stick with Webkit nightlys thanks. It’s also amusing that the iPhone API is nothing more than Safari. I now have a Python interface to my GPS on my Nokia. I don’t give a crap about web apps when I could be building things on this platform to go with my 5 megapixel camera and my 3.5G data connectivity. I still prefer my N95.
Update: Best commentary on Safari on Windows yet, my friend Pete the artist –
I’m, like, all confused. It’s like finding my ladyboy lover in bed with a giraffe.
Productivity, apple, quicksilver, webkit, iphone, nokia, n95, s60, pys60, symbian, safari
Posted by sh1mmer on May 27, 2007 in Mac
After the talk I gave this week one of my colleagues, Norm recommended ThisService. Similar to Platypus ThisService lets you make services out of scripts. The Daring Fireball blog has a good example of ThisService in action to do Google lucky searches.
Services combined with Menu-master to assign shortcuts are pretty awesome. Although you can also a lot with Quicksilver triggers using proxy objects such as
Quicksilver, AppleScript, Mac, ThisService, Platypus
Posted by sh1mmer on May 26, 2007 in Mac
This is a Keynote talk I did at work as a fill-in for our Lightning Talk series. Marco asked me to publish it. It’s reasonably sparse but all these apps were chosen because I think they are useful in some meaningful way. They aren’t in any particular order and this is certainly not an exhaustive list of useful applications (I have 320+ apps installed, this is just 10).
Ukelele is an application that allows you to edit keyboard layouts. For example, I replaced the
§ key with
# on my keyboard because I find opt+3 to be a hassle when I’m coding. Ukelele is free.
Menu-master is a preference pane. It allows you to add or delete keyboard shortcuts from menus. It’s a must have piece of software for me. It costs $10 but it’s very much worth it. Since it’s part of the unsanity framework it may or may not work in Leopard.
Nocturne is the new application from Quicksilver developer alcor. It allows you to change contrast options on your screen. I use it when I’m on the tube to keep my flagging battery alive with a very dim screen. Unlike other things which are just wrappers for ctl+opt+cmd+8 Nocturne adds features like tint and shadow removal to stop the glowing effect. Nocturne is free.
AppFresh is an application that scans your applications folder and finds updates for you. It will download the updates into a folder of your choosing (I don’t recommend Desktop if you have more than a couple of apps) but it doesn’t automagically install updates yet. AppFresh is free.
Disk Inventory X
DiskInventoryX scans you hard disk drive for where you use space. It shows usage by size on a map, with colour to indicate the type of file. It’s great to finding places you aren’t using you disk well (for example bloated logs). It has some nice features like folder zooming. I just like the look of the map it make than the one Grand Perspective makes. DiskInventoryX is free.
iBackUp is a backup solution. It is really a wrapper for two solid UNIX command line apps, ditto and rsync. It allows configuration of the exact command it uses as well as scheduling options. The major selling point is application profiles, though. These are downloadable, autoupdating files that describe where an application keeps its settings and configurations to allow iBackUp to intelligently copy them. This makes iBackUp one of the best backup solutions I’ve seen. iBackup is free for personal use.
R-name is a simple app that lets you batch rename files. It has some basic regular expression support but without back references. You can select a number of files, match what you want to change, and what you want to change it to and preview the changes. A simple button click later and the file are all renamed. Not rocket science but quite convenient. R-name is free.
Spirited Away is one of my all time favourite apps. For the chronically focus impaired, like myself, it hides all applications not being used after a certain amount of time. I use 300 seconds which is 5 minutes. You can set a list of applications not affected, such as video players and the like. It was recently updated to be a universal binary. Spirited Away is free.
Platypus is an application that compiles scripts into actual applications. This is great if you wrote something neat you want to easily package and distribute. I noted some issues with it including the script distribution with each app, but I’ve been told that’s just me. Platypus is free.
Phpfi is an offline reader for the php.net PHP manual. Since it is driven by a local copy of the manual searching is a lot faster than searching php.net, obviously it also works when you aren’t connected to the internet. You can download the comments from php.net with one click on a function call. Phpfi is nag-ware, although it doesn’t nag that much (possibly not at all if you don’t download comments).
Mac, Productivity, osx, ukelele, menumaster, nocturne, appfresh, diskinventoryx, ibackup, rname, spiritedaway, platypus, phpfi
Posted by sh1mmer on May 22, 2007 in Mac
Sometimes I wonder if I’m mad to use Firefox for anything more than development.
mac, osx, firefox, memoryleak
Posted by sh1mmer on May 14, 2007 in Mac
Being the crack web developer I am, I regularly have to test in IE6 or IE7. To do this I use Parallels Desktop which runs a virtual machine on my Mac. Since you can’t reliably have both IE6 and IE7 running on one windows installation I have two, one for each. This is a pretty standard set-up for a Web Developer in the UK office at Yahoo.
However, since running another machine on your machine eats I whole load of resources I try not to keep Windows running for too long. Parallels is pretty good at helping you quickly start the OS you want from a menu, but I’m far too lazy for that. So, inspired by an article on The Unofficial Apple Weblog I made a quick solution to use Quicksilver.
This stuff is hardly tricky, it’s just knowing what you can do with Quicksilver if you configure it right.
Let’s start with Parallels itself. The actual files we need are in your Home directory
Library in a folder called
Parallels. In this folder are a number of sub-folders which contain each virtual machine.
.pvs file in each folder is the virtual machine configuration file. For my
winXP IE6 and
winXP IE7 folders both of mine were originally called
winxp.pvs. I changed this to be something more distinctive,
ie7.pvs respectively. You may need to start Parallels and open the virtual machines again by hand after renaming them.
Quicksilver has a nice way to easily access anything you want. Go to the catalogue and pane in the Quicksilver preferences (cmd+; with the Quicksilver pane open).Hit the + at the bottom of the pane to add a new item. Choose the option for
File and Folder scanner.
This should give you a new row in the custom catalogue. Select that row and press the i to get the information sidebar to appear. In source options under the path section choose
select and navigate to the
Parallels folder in the
Library in your Home directory. Open that.
Next select it to include folder contents. If you hit rescan (the looped arrow) you should now get some items listed.
Depends how you want to use your Parallels launcher will define how you set up the next options. In each VM folder in Parallels there are a number of things. The .pvs files we renamed earlier will start Parallels with a particular VM. However, there is also a
Windows Applications folder which will start coherence application (if you have it turned on). This means you can browser test really easily and start the browser you want to test with ease.
If you only want to start VMs then set the Depth to 2 and enter
.pvs into types. Rescanning your catalogue should change the number of items in it (shown by the number in blue). If you also want to include coherence applications set the depth to 3 and add
.app to types.
You can see what things Quicksilver will search from by selecting
contents which will show you the listed items for this part of the catalogue. Simply launching any of these from Quicksilver will either open the VM or Coherence application in Parallels.
Quicksilver, Mac, Productivity, osx, parallels, coherence, virtualmachine, tuaw, gradedbrowsersupport
Posted by sh1mmer on May 13, 2007 in Mac
Connecting to Bluetooth from Python for Series 60 Nokia phones is actually really easy. It just appears to be voodoo. It all boils down to the Mac’s ability to create arbitrary virtual serial ports and PyS60‘s ability to connect to them over bluetooth.
Make sure already paired your phone using the Bluetooth Setup Assistant. Otherwise run through the Setup Assistant and select the options appropriate to your phone. You can find it in the Bluetooth menu in the menubar. I would recommend you also favourite your phone so you don’t have to constantly authorise things.
The Bluetooth Setup Assistant automatically creates a serial port which allows your phone to talk to iSync. This is called
/dev/tty.Bluetooth-PDA-Sync. Lets connect to it; Open a new terminal window. A CLI app called Screen allows you to easily connect to the serial port.
screen /dev/tty.Bluetooth-PDA-Sync should connect you to the serial port so you can wait for a connection.
Now on your phone open Python. From the options menu choose ‘Bluetooth console’. It will prompt you to pick your laptop’s Bluetooth name. You can set it as the default host. This just makes it quicker to connect in the future. The screen on the phone should now say something like
Connection to ('00:00:00:00:00:00',3).... This means it’s connecting to the computer. If everything goes well the terminal on the computer should now show the Python shell running on the phone.
To disconnect simply type ctl+d on a new line in the terminal. This close the interactive shell and the phone should disconnect. However you will still have a
screen connection to
/dev/tty.Bluetooth-PDA-Sync. To close screen type Ctl+A, Ctl+K. This tells screen to do an action, and the action is kill. It will ask you if you want to exit, type y.
Hopefully this makes sense, if you have any problems please leave a comment and I will try to improve this guide based on peoples’ feedback. Thanks.
python, pys60, bluetooth, mac, osx, s60
Posted by sh1mmer on May 6, 2007 in Mac
At the geek dinner on Thursday we met Mike Culver from Amazon Web Services. He was talking about Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). S3 provides a very cheap, reliable storage solution. EC2 provides a way to buy computing time and scale up the amount of power within minutes by using virtual servers on a huge grid.
I’ve looked at S3 before, but not found the time to really play with it. A number of places have recommended it for backups. After Mike’s talk I figured I should get my arse in gear and give it a whirl.
Another Y! blogger, one Mr Zawondy, has A List of Amazon S3 Backup Tools, which seems really complete. I did a bit more searching and found Screencasts online tutorial which uses Jungle disk and S3 Browser. Unfortunately this is one of their paid podcasts, and I didn’t feel like hefting over $35 for a 6 month subscription.
Setting up Jungle Disk was really easy though. My only niggle is the need to keep JungleDiskMonitor.app running. It really needs to be a preference panel, with an optional menu item. I really am getting annoyed with Mac apps which are services not being pref panes. Anyway, Jungle Disk installed perfectly, took my keys and allowed me to store and retrieve data with no problems at all.
Jungle disk does has a backup option. However I really like the excellent iBackup. It’s actually a wrapper for the UNIX tools ditto and rsync. However unlike some apps (Xslimmer comes to mind) it adds significant value. Aside from adding a convenient way to manage the crontab, it also maintains profiles for the applications you have. These self-update from the internet and contain information on where all the Application preferences, etc are stored. This means unlike a lot of back-up programs you don’t have to backup all of your home directory to save information like preferences.
While a lot of people might find doing their entire home directory is ok, I prefer not to. I have a mix of work and personal information on my laptop, and I try really hard to keep them separate. I do not want Yahoo! data under a personal account of mine on an Amazon server. Hell no.
So where is all this leading me? Well Jungle Disk does a great job of wrapping communicating with S3. However, ditto or rysnc don’t like it. They don’t think that it has enough space to receive files.
There is a work-around though. You can backup to some local place and then have Jungle Disk copy that across through its backup. This has an obvious downside, you keep your data twice. If it isn’t big data it may not be an issue. The other down side is that you are running two back-up routines. If Jungle Disk had back up support you could call it from iBackup, but it doesn’t. I have mine set to run it a half hour after iBackup. I’m going to see how that goes, while I look for a better solution.
amazon, s3, ec2, mikeculver, backup, ibackup, jungledisk, mac, osx
Posted by sh1mmer on May 3, 2007 in Mac
I got Joost invites. If you want one, mail me.