OS X Annoyances!

After a couple of the busiest (and most productive) weeks ever… I return with an OS X Panther rant.

1. Why do I click an plus (+) icon to shrink iTunes? I’ve been using iTunes for months now and it still gets me every once in awhile. It’s no better from the menu–it’s Window > Zoom to shrink the player.

2. Why don’t home and end keys function the same from application to application. In some they take you to the end of a line, others to the end of the document. Same with ctrl+-> (arrow) sometimes it moves you to the end of a line, others it’s to the end of a word.

3. No insert key? Did Apple decide that having a “help” key would be more useful than insert? F1 is standard for help and still works in most Mac apps… Using programs like Freemind (not to mention Word) becomes much more of a hassle without an insert key. Two help keys, no insert key. Nice.

4. Ctrl+a (select all) seems to work in property fields about half the time. It does in Dreamweaver, but not Photoshop.

5. You can’t add color labels, rename or delete files from file browse dialog boxes. Why? If I’m looking for a file, and want to make it more apparent next time around, I have open the Finder, browse to it again and and give it a color label.

6. Why’d they take away the window shade (roll up) feature from OS 9? I had to buy shareware to get that functionality back (more about that later). When I used OS 9, even though I wasn’t a big fan of the OS, that was one of the best features.


Teaching Dreamweaver

Well… that was an experience. I spent most of the evening yesterday finalizing my lesson, which was why I missed a day on the weblog for the first time in about 70 days, and finally got it to a point I felt good about.

Teaching went fairly well. I know Dreamweaver like the back of my hand, I can explain it I’d say only on an average level. Six (yes, 6) straight hours is a long time to talk about Dreamweaver. My class was beginners–I had people who ranged from hand coders wanting to move to a WYSIWYG (imagine that) to people who had never even seen html or were fairly new to computers in general. In one day we went from basic HTML concepts all the way to tables. A fairly broad range I’d say.

While my students rated me well and I feel I imparted the information in a comprehensible way, for some reason I don’t feel that good about the class. Maybe it’s all the time that went into it vs. the money coming out… maybe it’s that I wasn’t cut out to teach that type of material. I’m not sure. I’m going to stick with it, try to improve and give it some time–hopefully I’ll feel better after future classes, or if not, at least I’ll know.


Mepis Linux

It’s been a couple months since I had Linux (that’s GNU/Linux for you diehards) on the desktop and even when I did I never really used it. The time has come to do it again, this time with a real, practical purpose. I chose Mepis because it’s based on Debian which, if you’re not familiar with Linux, is a distribution (version) that makes it very easy to install new software. Mepis makes Debian easier to install and configure. It also works as a live cd (as I mentined a couple days ago).

The purpose for installing it this time is backups… lately I’ve had data-loss paranoia and Linux seems like a good way to back up both my remote server and laptop to one place. I found a tutorial I’m going to try which uses rsync.


Software Discoveries

Tonight I disovered (and in a couple of cases, rediscovered) a few interesting and useful pieces of software.

1. Synergy – This is free software that lets you use one keyboard and mouse for multiple computers and even across different operating systems. It works great! I’ve only tired it from windows to windows so far. This is a great space saver on my desk. One cool feature is that you can even copy and paste between two computers.

2. Mepis – I began using Linux on Red Hat and from there went on to try several other distributions. I’ve finally settled on one… sort of. Debian is the Linux distribution that I like the best, with only one small problem; I can’t install it. I probably could if I really wanted to learn how, but why when there’s great distributions like Mepis. Mepis not only make it easy to install, but can also be run as a live CD–you can run it on any computer without installing it. Mepis also looks great and is one of the easier-to-use Linux’s (along with another favorite of mine, the controversial Lindows (which will soon be changing names)).

3. Sepiroth – This guy is amazing. Not only has he written and released as open source the best Actionscript (for Macromedia Flash) editor around, he also has placed, as I discovered tonight, one hundred useful Flash files on his site for download. In addition to these two things, he’s put up several prototypes for flash, a great flash community and many other Flash resources. Amazing.

4. PhpGedView – I didn’t discover this tonight by any means, but there has been some major work going on in this project and the new releases are amazing. John Finlay has created software that will take a GEDCOM file (exported by most family history programs) and allow you to view and even edit the contents online. This is an excellent resource for anyone interested in Genealogy. I had the opportunity quite awhile back to contribute some of the icons this project is using.


More Art Rage Painting

I continue to be impressed with ArtRage, the free painting program from Ambient Design Ltd. This is my latest creation. It’s a Modigliani copy (this time no tracing). The original painting is appropriately titled “Girl with Brown Hair.” As you can tell… I’m not a painter, but the point is that the software is good, fun and easy to use.


Smart Sites

These are linked to everywhere already, but since I think they show a possible trend in future software/AI, here they are. Smart Sites. They aren’t amazing, but they have open ended input and try to react no matter what you type. It’s not a new concept, but with more powerful computers and people with more time, I think they’ll become more popular:

1. The Subservient Chicken – Sponsored by Burger King this is an odd chicken that does “stuff.” You can tell him to do pretty much anything.
2. Let them sing it for you – Type in the lyrics and have famous people sing it back to you.

Right now, it’s only two. I’m sure there are plenty of others, if you know of them, feel free to post them in the comments.
[update] corrected URL on the Subservient Chicken


Restarting OS X

I have a question. If OS X is Unix-like, why does it have to be restarted almost every time I do a software update?

I have a Linux server (also Unix-like) that has been up for hundreds of days at a time without having to be restarted for fairly major updates including updating PHP, Apache, mySQL, the hostname, perl and dozens of other software packages.

What is it about OS X that requires it to be restarted for updates?



Professor Vorwaller

That’s right and class is in session… well, almost. I’ve begun preparation and will soon commence teaching Dreamweaver MX 2004 classes all day, one day a week, three weeks of the month every other month.

Prepare to be illuminated as I log my first experience as an ‘official’ teacher.


Skateboards and Such

Just to prove that my my entire world is not things digital, check out the review I did of the Insect Skateboads Dragonfly on Silverfish Longboarding.


How to Lose Your Bookmarks

Looking for a quick way to lose all your Firefox bookmarks, saved passwords, history and preferences? Just download a nightly build and install it without backing everything up first. *Poof* You’re starting afresh. I did it today–I should have known better and backed up my profile folder, but now that everything’s gone, it’s actually kind of nice starting over with a clean browser. If only I could do the same with email…

On another note… are you looking for another way to disconnect yourself from the real world (see yesterday’s article)? If so, check out ArtRage. It’s a free progam for Windows that comes closer to emulating real-world painting than anything else I’ve seen. This is an image I painted of my wife, Jenny, using the trace feature–it’s only part cheating 🙂