Sandy

I’ve been testing out Sandy for a few weeks. It’s functional, and the fact that it sends SMS alerts makes it much better than standard calendar alarms. The best use I’ve found so far is to send myself reminder emails when I’m out of the office — usually that’s when I’ll discover I need to do something, and have no pen or paper handy.

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JungleDisk

JungleDisk looks like a nice, cheap, safe way to back up non-sensitive personal data, like photos and such. I’ll poke around some more.

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Thoughts on Installing Leopard

I had two issues while installing Leopard.

The Macbook Pro’s drive was partitioned as an Apple Partition Map, legacy from the G4 Powerbook. Leopard won’t install on APM for Intel systems. I cloned the drive to an external firewire drive, then repartitioned with Disk Utility from the Leopard DVD. It installed the OS, then saw the old OS on the still-attached external drive, and copied over all my settings. Nice.

The Mac Mini was just horrible. It’s an old G4 with no DVD drive, so I had to get an external USB DVD drive. It’d read the disc, but wouldn’t boot. Turns out those old systems will only boot from firewire devices. I pulled the DVD drive apart, and the firewire drive, then connected the DVD drive unit to the firewire-to-ATA controller card. The Mini booted off the Leopard DVD, but then Leopard couldn’t see the Mini’s internal hard disk. After a reboot, it could see the hard disk, but couldn’t see the partitions. I exchanged the USB DVD drive for a firewire model, and the Leopard install worked like a champ.

Mail.app is almost viable as a T-Bird replacement, and its data detection feature is super-nice (mouse over a phone number or address to add that info to the Address Book, or mouse over a date to add an appointment to iCal).

Finder is much nicer, and I like Coverflow more than I thought I would.

I really like Quicklook, but the best thing about it so far is Screen Sharing with connected Macs. I usually use my Mini for playing music, since that’s where my RAID is connected, and my MBP for my main desktop, since it’s a lot faster. Screen Sharing gives me a really easy way to control the Mini, without having to use a KVM. Screen Sharing’s screen updates are fast and useable, and the desktop is dynamically resizeable, which is a big plus over VNC.

Overall, Leopard rocks, and I think Tiger > Leopard is a more significant update than Panther > Tiger.

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Insert Coin

There’s so much fun to be had with this small perl script, which changes the default message on certain HP printers. One listed is “INSERT COIN”, but my favorite suggestion so far has been “CONTAINMENT BREACH”.

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Killin’ Terrists

My co-worker Matt is joining the National Guard, and is going to Basic Training in a few days. We kid him that his training will consist of being handed a gun and getting sand kicked in his face, before they put him on the boat for Iraq.

Today he was complaining about writing a script to test a crash caused by fuser.

Matt: “I can’t believe I’m getting paid to write a virus payload.”
Me: “It’s the same thing as what you’ll be doing in Iraq, except instead of machines you’ll be killin’ filthy terrists.”
Matt: “…”
Me: “You definitely need to name your test system Osama. Then have your system crasher deploy into /bin/laden .”

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Xming for Windows

I just discovered Xming, which is a lightweight, free X11 server for Windows.

In short, it’s about 2MB and sucks an awful lot less than trying to install all 80GB of Cygwin when you just need an X11 session.

It works just fine with Putty, too.

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