Archive for the “Geeking” Category

Roo Reynolds mentioned in his blog a few days ago about disabling Mac OS X’s always ready widget application, Dashboard. Now although Dashboard is a nice idea, I tend to use Konfabulator (which is of course now Yahoo Widgets), Roo noted that Dashboard actually ate up a lot of memory and resources, even if Dashboard itself is closed and not visible.

The solution was to follow Macworlds article on disabling the Dashboard. That procedure involved opening the Terminal application and running the following command:

defaults write mcx-disabled -boolean YES

Telling OSX you no longer wish to have Dashboard available. Since Dashboard is actually owned by the Dock you need to restart the Dock by again in Terminal typing:

killall Dock

After that, there should be no more Dashboard, or Dashboard tasks.

Given that I never ever run Dashboard, I thought I’d just check to see how much RAM Dashboard was actually gobbling up on my iMac, so I ran Activity Monitor to find out. Strangely there was nothing listed, even if I ran Dashboard itself, nothing showed up if I filter on Dash..

This got me thinking, and I came to the conclusion that Dashboard is actually part of the OS (or Dock) and it’s only the Widgets themselves that eat memory. I had months ago removed all the widgets from Dashboard (clicking the x to close them when Dashboard was up and running) effectively leaving Dashboard empty.

Adding a widget back in, resulted in the same behavior others had seen, a Dashclient application eating memory. Removing it, made all the Dashclient tasks vanish again.

So the bottom line is, simply opening dashboard and removing all widgets from the heads up display by use of the close button on the widgets, results in the same effect as detailed in the MacWorld article.

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Click To View The MacHeist Bundle Page

Ian Smith pinged most of us the other day about the fact that MacHeist are running a limited promotion of their annual Macheist Bundle. The macheist bundle is a great set of commercial applications, which can be purchased fro a fraction of the cost of buying them normally, added to which a percentage of the price goes to charity. The normal cost of the applciations is over $350, but you can get them now for the low price of $49, which for us UK residents weighs in at a stupidly cheap price.

Some of the application only kick in once a group purchase limit is reached, meaning that CSSedit, SnapZ Pro X and Pixelmator, all get unlocked once a few thousand people have purchased (and so far they have!). The included applications is really a no brainer for Mac fans;

1Password is a Password Manager that uniquely brings you both security and convenience. It is the only program that provides anti-phishing protection and goes beyond password management by adding web form filling and automatic strong password generation. All your confidential information, including passwords, identities, and credit cards, is kept in one secure place provided by Apple’s OS X Keychain.

CoverSutra is to iTunes controllers as the iPod is to music players. Sure, the fact is that all MP3 players really do the same thing… they play music. But nobody does it better than iPod. And no controller does it more beautifully, more painlessly, and more powerfully than CoverSutra. Combining an elegant interface, including a CD jewelcase with cover art right there on your desktop, with some powerful features ( integration, fully customizable keyboard shortcuts, and instant player controls), CoverSutra is worth it for the same reason the iPod is: it does the same thing all the other players do, only better.

Cha-Ching battles the claims in those ads that PCs are the realm of accounting and spreadsheets, but we know the truth: Mac users have finances to worry about, too. But we’ve got a secret weapon: Cha-Ching, an app that makes even boring stuff like checkbook balancing, budgets, bills and expenses fun and easy to use. No one would ever accuse Quicken of doing anything iTunes-style, but that’s exactly what Cha-Ching is– they’ve taken the best of OS X interfaces, and turned it into an accounting program.

Stop motion is a method of filming that involves taking snapshots of inanimate objects, and tweaking their positions in each frame, to achieve an illusion of motion when the shots are played back at speed. This is the technique used by movies such as the original King Kong, The Nightmare Before Christmas. and TV series like Robot Chicken and Moral Orel.iStopMotion is the ultimate tool for stop motion photography. Brought to you by the folks at Boinx, iStopMotion offers a powerful toolbox of features that streamlines the process of capturing and processing stop motion film. All you need is a camera, some props, and a great idea.

Awaken allows you to set any song in your iTunes library (or a playlist) as the buzzer on multiple alarms. If you’re worrying about alarms failing due to your computer falling asleep, no need to worry – Awaken supports waking your computer up from sleep to pull off its job of waking you up. Plus, you can control all of this from your bed using the Apple remote. Best of all, we’ve secured an exclusive for MacHeist customers. You’ll be the only ones with your hands on an exclusive new version of Awaken: version 4.0, which is totally rewritten, and features a new, animated UI, better iTunes support, additional full screen modes, and more.

AppZapper succeeds in transforming the mundane task of uninstalling apps into a genuinely fun experience. It’s no surprise that AppZapper quickly became one of the Mac community’s top selling apps within weeks of its release. Just drag an app into AppZapper’s window, and you’ll be immediately presented with a list of all associated files the app has scattered around your hard drive. From there, you’re just a quick zap away from a thorough purging. And to note, a major 2.0 upgrade, free for all customers, is on its way. AppZapper 2.0, which is currently under development, features a Leopard-tastic refresh of AppZapper’s looks and features. Believe it or not, AppZapper 2 actually has less buttons than version 1. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

TaskPaper is a simple to-do list application that helps you stay organized. Unlike competing applications, TaskPaper is based on plain text files which offer you paper-like simplicity and ease of use. TaskPaper makes it easy to create a list of your projects and their tasks so that you always know what needs to be done. It’s simple to reorganize the list, create new items, mark items as done, and delete items that you’re finished with. You can also assign contexts (such as “home”, “office”, or “car”) to your tasks so that you can later generate lists of all tasks assigned to a specific context.

CSSEdit provides a quick and easy way to go from code to preview, Apple Design Award for Best Developer Tool of 2007, provides Live Preview that lets you see your code at work immediately and in real-time– no uploading, no refreshing, just editor and output. And incredible tools like CodeSense (which actually learns how you write code as you write it) and Selector Builder make sure the code you create is perfectly formed and simple to put together. And after the code is created, the X-ray inspector will let you search every element and attribute, and the Milestones feature will let you track all your changes from concept to validation. If you edit CSS (or just want to start doing so), CSSEdit is a must-have piece of software.

Snapz Pro X, is designed to make it super easy for you to show what you’re doing on your Mac to someone else. Whether it’s screengrabs or all out screencasts, Snapz makes it simple, super-fast, and elegant– everything you’d expect from an award-winning and much-loved piece of Mac software. The Live Preview feature lets you edit your screenshots live and on the fly– no more opening up a grab only to find you have to take it again. And Snapz’ video capture engine is faster than any other application of its kind out there, so you can screencast every one of OS X’s beautiful graphic touches– Expose, the Genie Effect, and even DVD playback– without worrying about a low framerate. Snapz Pro X makes a perfect capture, still or video, every single time. Why settle for telling when it’s just so easy to show?

Pixelmator is a beautifully designed, easy-to-use, fast and powerful image editor for Mac OS X has everything you need to create, edit and enhance your images. Pixelmator is a layer-based image editor. You can quickly create layers from your photos, other pictures, from selections or even your iSight. Yes, Pixelmator can add a layer to your composition directly from your Mac’s little camera. Not only can you link and arrange added layers, but Pixelmator allows you to blend layers, change their opacity, create clipping masks or even add layer masks to hide some portions of layer. If your image editing experience so far has been defined by PhotoShop, we guarantee you will be blown away by Pixelmator’s speed and beautiful UI.

Speed Download is the doorman for your Mac. It stands between you and the Internet, and makes sure that everyone coming through knows exactly what they’re doing and where to go. Everything that comes in and out, whether it come to or from the browser, FTP, your iDisk, or the included encrypted P2P client is handled with speed and power and sorted by type– movies go into Front Row, music goes directly into iTunes, and everything else goes exactly where you want it, automatically. Track your history, use Smart Folders to organize your files, and take advantage of unlimited undos throughout the application and a smooth auto-resume on everything if you make any mistakes. We all know what the Internet is for: downloading, and Speed Download helps you do exactly that.

The MacHeist Bundle is something you don’t want to miss out on!!

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I just love Michelle so much… very few people would have gone to that much trouble to get me (and convince me not to buy one on a whim!) something I really wanted..

..thank you sweetheart

Happy Chirstmas


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This has to be one of the best mashups I’ve seen for a while. Gavin Brock has created a KML file that links google earth to the OS map site, basically allowing you to overlay the Ordnance Survey Maps onto your current google earth view.

Google Earth is great, and I’ve already worked out nice methods using GPSBabel+ on the mac to create routes on GoogleEarth and export them to my Garmin 60CSX handheld GPS.

During the summer when we were walking around the thames path, I traced out the route on GoogleEarth, exported it to a KML/XML file, and used GPSBabel to convert it to a format the Garmin could understand.

Recently we’ve been walking the The Test Way, A 44 mile long-distance walking route takes you from a dramatic start, high on the chalk downs at Inkpen, following much of the course of the River Test to Eling where its tidal waters flow into Southampton Water at Romsey.

Because I dont have The Test Way on OS maps, or in a form I can directly use on the Garmin, I was wondering how I could trace out the route from the description of the walks on an OS map and get the route into the GPS to follow.

A quick hunt and Gavins KML seems to be the answer. The KML itself is very easy to install, basically pull it down from his website and load it into Google Earth. Turn it on or off depending on if you need the OS view, and it will automatically update the view when GoogleEarth is idle and not zooming.

It’s obviously not a substitute for the real OS maps you’d take on a walk, but it’s a good option for helping to plan up a route for a walk, given that things like public footpaths, pubs (pubs are very important on walks!!). It does however also remind me that I probably should post up a tutorial on how to get the route off GoogleEarth and onto the Garmin, as it took me a few go’s to get it right.

I also probably should do the reverse and put the Test Way route up as KML’s or similar for other people to use if they want to do the walk (this may involve walking the first leg again to get the GPS track). Still, back on the subject of the actual OS Map/Google Earth KML integration. The really nice thing about how this works is that the OS maps show the most relevant map type for the level your currently at.

The 60 mile up view shows the miniscale view of the OS maps, as you progressively zoom into google earth, the KML network link refreshes and displays the most suitable scale of the OS map. right down the the higher views that show topography, foot paths, right of ways and the like. This higher detail view is just perfect for mapping out the paths and routes for walk.

This is a great addon for Google Earth, and I’ve had hours of geeky inspired fun zooming round the UK looking at all the OS map levels, turning them on and off and comparing them to the underlying Google Earth views.. So far it looks solid, stable, and quick..

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Needle FullAccording to the How Addicted to Apple Are You? test I was pointed at today by Luis over on twitter..

I’m 90% addicted to Apple..

Which to be honest isn’t going to be a big surprise to anyone that knows me.. It’s not earth shattering news really..

Although I guess I did feel slightly embarrassed by answering Yes to ‘do you get a warm and fuzzy feeling when you see someone in a coffee shop using a mac’ and also having to admit that I really did stick my Apple stickers (given I have many macs that came with such stickers) to stuff… a thinkpad.

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The issue of Leopards confusing, or untidy stacks has been a questions thats ranged for some time, as I pointed out over on Andy Pipers blog; The stack itself is just a mishmash of all the icons in that folder pile don top of each other, meaning that sometimes they got a bit confusing by either looking all the same (you’d have an application icon in the download and say the application stack, or it just wasn’t clear from a first look what was what.

I mentioned on Andy’s blog about trying to trick finder into showing the last icon at the front, and I’d played a bit with using touch from terminal to fix a date in the future to bring the icon to the front. However I found a great post on XD’s Blog that discusses a japanese post about tidying them up.

The basics are, you place semi-transparent icons into the folder that you’re putting onto the dock as a stack, in my case I have Documents, Applications, and Downloads

The resulting new and improved stacks on my system now look like this;

which looks just so much better than before, and has a nice twist that you can still see all the mishmash of icons contained in the nice little ‘drawers’

The actual physicals of how to do this are fairly simple and for the smart amongst you.. involved terminal, touch, and a bit of cut and paste..

Get the zip archive of the icons from optica optima here unzip them to someplace (thanks martin, I’ve linked to the other site that seems now to have a number of different styles), you’ll find it contains about 20 odd icons for folders like applications, accounts, downloads etc, each icon attached to a directory. Copy the correct directory into the other directory that you want to use in your dock stack.For instance if I was going to update my downloads stack, I’d copy the Downloads folder from the zipfile into my download folder in my user account.We now need to fire up Terminal and do a bit of touching here and there.. You’ll need to replace the ” Downloads “ name in the below for each of the folders you want correctly stackable in your dock, keeping in mind that the directories in the zipfile have a leading and trailing space on their name.

cd ~/Downloads

touch -mt 202001010101.01 ” Downloads “

This will change the date modified of the icon to 1st January, 2020. Now just make sure your stack is sorting by date modified (ctrl-click or right-click the stack and Sort by..) Repeat for other stacks you have and there you go, a nice and elegant solution to the stack icon issue.

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Iphone Main Img
I decided to go an have a play with an iPhone today, mainly because though all the hype and discussions, I’ve yet to find any information on exactly how fast the device is to browse over EDGE or even if the device supports GRPS, and again, how fast that is for heavy applications like GoogleMaps..

The local Carphone warehouse is never busy (and I doubt it was busy last night either with the launch), so I decided to head in and check them out. The store had a separate desk with six iPhones very securely locked to the table. They were physically working units, which was good to find (none of these dummy cases!) so I started to play..

The units were initially logged onto the carphone warehouse access point, so I had a play on the device with that to judge speeds (given I have no idea what speed their wifi was running at, or the signal strength). The performance was pretty good, as you’d expect. Googlemaps worked well, with the satellite and normal views coming up very quickly. I then tested some websites I’d expect to use should i get a device, my own blog, which came up and showed the full web view quickly. It was very odd to see, given that on most mobile devices I’m used to that cripple view that comes from browsing with your phone, not so here.. Safari showed up a lovely full preview of the site that I could then use the finger pinch to zoom in on. After a little playing I found out how to make safari’s URL bar vanish to give me a clearer view of the site. I was however very disappointed with the orientation sensing. The device should swap from portrait to landscape when your turn the device, but it seems the device must be upright for it to notice this 100%, having the device on a slight slant seemed to confuse this particular unit.

I then moved onto some other sites, mainly forum based sites that I normally browse on a daily basis, The Magic Woods for instance, the site came up very quickly and again, the view of the site was wonderful in full web view, and pinching to zoom in and out was now second nature. I also have Flickr a whirl, and was surprised to see how well it performed, any flash based stuff didn’t however, so that counts out a lot of the nice part of the site, such as the slide show, and although I didnt log in to check, the organiser, and so on. I then remembered that I was still working on the Wifi connection. So I went back into preferences and turned off wifi (noticing also the airplane mode for ipod only access).

It’s been a pondering point for a few weeks on if the device supported GRPS, a lots been said about EDGE and O2 rolling out more, you can even now get EDGE at Backerloo underground on the platform! But nothings been mentioned about the device falling back to GPRS is EDGE and Wifi isn’t available.

An iPhone running under GPRS seemed to be fairly usable. the previous websites and forums worked fine, although viewing photos in Flickr over GPRS seemed to be a lot slower understandably. I also found it difficult to access the BA online check-in service over GPRS, on wifi it seemed fine, however I’d not checked the section where you can re-choose your seats (I have a sneaking suspicion that this uses flash, and hence wont work on the iPhone). Even googlemaps on GRPS seemed usable, it certainly didn’t fire up as quickly as on Wifi, but it was still very usable. Why Apple has decided not to support flash is beyond me, with so many web 2.0 sites out there now, and with so many sites relying on some sort of flash support, it seems a bit odd..

I was also assuming this was using GPRS rather than EDGE, as my over phone, my D900i was only showing GRPS and not EDGE support in the same location, So on the whole.. the experience was pleasant, I wouldn’t say it was earth shattering, but the device is nice, but it’s still a question as to if its that nice?

The major drawbacks are O2’s tariffs and restrictions, the fair use seems to be a bit cloudy, O2’s official statement says;

Your O2 tariff for iPhone allows you unlimited use of O2 UK’s Edge / GPRS networks and The Cloud’s UK Wireless LAN network, for personal internet use, email and Visual Voicemail (VVM) on your iPhone only. All usage must be for your private, personal and non-commercial purposes.

You may not use your SIM Card in any other device, or use your SIM Card or iPhone to allow the continuous streaming of any audio / video content, enable P2P or file sharing or use them in such a way that adversely impacts the service to other O2 customers.

If O2 reasonably suspect you are not acting in accordance with this policy O2 reserves the right to impose further charges or disconnect your tariff at any time, having attempted to contact you first.

There is no incentive to upgrade for existing O2 customers (except that if you brought your phone and contract before 18th September 2007 you can swap your contract over without having to pay the remaining months of your contract (or your get out clause), although the wording was a bit confusing and used to say ‘you can swap your contract to an iPhone‘, after my long conversation with their marketing department, it seems to have now changed to ‘You can switch to an O2 tariff for iPhone without paying any remaining monthly charges on your existing contract.‘ all other existing O2 customers need to pay a £219 transfer fee!! O2 pay and Go and Simplicity customers also don’t need to pay the transfer fee.

If you exit the contract or don’t renew, your iPhone stops working full stop, you don’t just lose phone capabilities, you loose the lot. Lastly possibly the most concerning point for me is the fact that the data (wifi and GRPS/EDGE) included in your package (your unlimited usage) only extends to the UK, and given that a lot of the features on the iPhone use data (such as visual voicemail) this could cause you to rack up a tidy sum if you are abroad!! In fact even on O2’s site it states ‘You may wish to turn some of these services off before you travel, or be fully aware of the charges that you are likely to incur.’ With Apples world wide presence and the phones being so tightly linked to particular operators, it seems an oversight that Apple didn’t negotiate data to include roaming

There is also no option for free weekends, or free long weekends or anything other than the three standard packages.

Samsung announcing their new Solid State Drives in 1.8 (ipod-ish) and 2.5 (laptop) inch sizes with capacity up to 64Gb means the possibility of a 60gig iPhone might not be a far off as people think.. Turning the tables on the fact that the iPhone isn’t big enough to really hold your entire music collection..

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IMG_8708.JPGIt’s been a busy week, the brand new 24 inch iMac 2.8ghz I ordered last week actually arrived a few days early, it should have been here next wednesday, but a large brown box was waiting for me yesterday at home. I’d also got hold of a copy of Leopard through Apples up-todate program, and I was quite surprised to find that they had dropped a CPU drop-in upgrade into the iMac box, which it turns out is a full DVD that is bootable, as opposed to the upgrade only DVD you get through apple up-todate.

I’d already upgraded the G5 powerpc mac, doing an in place upgrade as opposed to a fresh install, as well as doing the same for the Mini Mac, and Macbook, but I decided to do a fresh wipe and install on the new iMac after having upgraded the new iMac with the DVD initially. The speed difference seems to be huge, and I’m not sure why, but the increase in speed between an upgraded system on the iMac and a fresh install was very much noticeable.

Although I’m now 100% intel on all macs, I was very pleased to notice that the Front Row application, for running music, DVD’s, photos and movies is now available to all macs, Intel, PPC, with or without an apple remote. The applications grown up and got itself its own little .app and icon. Apple have also decided to lift out the AppleTV backrow application and make that the standard for all systems.

Backrow or FrontRow depending on how you want to look at it is a major change to the old Front Row version 1.x, firstly it’s completely independent of iTunes and iPhoto, there are good and bad points of this. Firstly Front Row can do more, and doesn’t need iTunes or iPhoto running. Unfortunately because of it’s independence from those applications, it means that if you’re playing music in iTunes and enter Front Row, the music stops, and visa versa. However there are major plus points on some of the functionality gained from AppleTV, namely in the ability to handle VIDEO_TS folders directly. On a DVD disc, DVD movie files are stored in the VIDEO_TS folder (which if your interested stands for Video title Set). There is also an AUDIO_TS folder, this is where DVD-Audio would be stored, but usually the folder is empty. If you want to pull your DVD off onto your mac you can normally use applications like Mac The Ripper to extract a VIDEO_TS folder of your required content (full DVD or just selected features) or just copy the entire DVD onto the mac.

I keep a number of DVD’s on my main mac using this method, and play them from the DVD player in OSX, I’d tried a number of options for being able to browse and play these from downstairs on the mini mac, and having a nice interface on the main mac for playing them. None of these really seemed to work successfully. However, on the new Front Row the movies menu allows access to a further submenu of Movies Folder, this looks at your movies folder on the source mac, any folders containing VIDEO_TS folders show up as DVD’s on which selecting them throws up the DVD menu and allows playing of the DVD as if it was inserted into the DVD drive of the machine.

If like me you don’t want to keep all your DVD’s in your movies folder you can place and alias in there to point to where your DVD’s are held. Mine contains an alias link off to my terabyte external USB drive. I thought about posting a tutorial on this, but it’s pretty straight forward, although it’s not mentioned in the Apple documentation as far as I can see about Front Rows ability to play VIDEO_TS folders directly.

Down sides with Leopard seems to be the large number of applications that seem not to behave that well with the new OS. So far a number of application I work with daily have caused issues. Adobe Photoshop CSx seems to have issues, I’ve never seen the point in giving adobe lots of money for upgrades, so I’ve been sat on Photoshop CS for a number of years, but Adobes statement on supported application under Leopard lists CS, CS2 and CS3 as being incompatible, with CS3 being your best bet. I did manage to get Photoshop CS working by installing a trial, and then removing it. I’m guessing it laid down some files over CS that got it working reasonably well.

Roxio’s titanium toast 7 was next to fail, although it started up, it refused to burn DVD’s, again the solution was fiddle a bit and downgrade from version 7.12 to 7.0.1, which allowed burning to work again. Twittr 2.25 also seems a bit unstable, with it refusing to quit on system shutdown, and crashing on OSX startup (although a relaunch of twittr works fine). My Wacom tablet needed a upgrade of the driver to a specific 10.4+ version and a few other applications just needed a refresh.

To be honest most of the work of moving to the new iMac was taken care of by the migration assistant (which for people who want to wipe and reinstall leopard works with a time machine backup) connecting the two machine via firewire and running the migration assistant successfully moved over 64gig of applications and user information straight over to the new iMac, in less than 2 hours the whole machine was re-setup just like the old machine, but with better hardware..

I’ll definitely be posting separately about the new iMac, but I have to admit I did do the standard unboxing photo’s last night

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Just around 10am this morning (or rather just after) Apple announced the release of the iPhone in the UK, ending months of intense, practically insane speculation about who what where and how it would be provided, it was confirmed that O2 was given the exclusive UK rights.

O2 and Apple will launch the device in the UK on November 9th for £269 including VAT (this is the 8gig model). Price tariffs are already up on O2’s site (which also looks like it’s buckling under the strain of 3 million mac geeks hitting it!), but basically Unlimited data comes standard, with the voice plans at £35, £45 and £55, which include 200, 600 and 1200 minutes free talk time respectively. SMS’s are included as well at 200 SMS on the cheapest plan, but 500 messages for the other two.

It’s also worth keeping in mind is that the package includes free access to The Cloud, Europe’s leading WIFI network, apples have agreed the deal to have access to over 7,500 wifi hotspots throughout the uk. When the iPhone is out of range of hotspots, it will pick up data access on the Edge network, covering any holes the cloud doesn’t cover in the uk.

Fair usage policy seems a bit confusing; Steve Jobs this morning said 1,400 web pages a day would be the limit (but thats a fair amount, but how does that equate to googlemaps etc usage as well)

Carphone Warehouse is being pulled in to beef up retail presence for O2, with 1300 retail locations, each with an expert (which has got to be a first for carphone warehouse!!) on the iPhone, but for those of use who hate CPW, you can buy the iPhone through your local O2 retail store, online store or an apple store (again online or retail)

Having also spoken to O2 today.. existing customers hopefully should be able to just add the iPhone data plan to their existing tariffs and continue as normal, (though they do seem to be swamped this morning, asking you to hit the website on the welcome phone messages rather than the service guys), no mention of the inclusion of long weekends etc… The iPhone price plans should be available to existing customers on 1st of october (I assume meaning you can have the ability to pay for a whole month before having an iPhone!!)

For other networks, O2 have also assigned over 1000 staff to manage migrations from other providers to the O2 network.. for me migration should be fairly simple already having planned early and swapping to the O2 network at the end of last year..

sadly though the 8 gig storage is woefully small for becoming an iPod replacement.. But as a internet device is does come in strong.. Safari (web), Mail, Maps, Widgets, youtube, basically running Mac OSX means that the device is a nice mac PDA and phone application. Apple say the device is true web (i.e. real internet not PDA, WML, not mobile web content) it also seems to support WEB 2.0 type applications.. although how the inbuilt camera and Flickr will work.. time will tell…

All the ads and campaigns for the iPhone have been updated with UK voiceovers, but the general USA media has remained…

good or bad… keep in mind this is probably still going to be a first generation apple product (unless a second generation comes out from the US before november), and as a geek it would be handy to have one.. it would have been nice in Ireland last week to not have to run down to the internet cafe in ballylickey to check in for our flights etc..

I think I might be buying myself a birthday present this year…

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I’ve started playing with Ecto 3 Alpha on the Mac, I’ve been looking forward to it for sometime as I love Ecto version 2 on the mac (it’s not so cool on windows though).. Generally it’s pretty good Andy Piper has a good post on it, but I’m really hoping that there is a lot more coming.. namely the right click insert image from clip board

I use this functionality all the time in ecto 2 and I cant seem to see where it is in ecto 3, sure the auto upload of images to my blog is great, as is the auto fixing of html, but unless this is coming in a later release.. or I’m meant to implement this through the Ecto 3 scripting system, then I’m currently prefering Ecto 2 still..
Don’t get me wrong, Ecto 3 does seem to be a big step for Ecto Development but I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable with the use of it at present..
Categories and Tags seem a big confusing too.. they initially are all mixed up.. both categories and tags showing in one list.. if you add a tag.. the categories vanish.. and it took me sometime to work out that the search box at the bottom of the tag/category list had an all, Tags or Category option. I prefer the tabbing of Ecto 2 in that respect..

Having explored the URL helper a bit more it seems that selecting some text, and the using the URL helper almost recreates the functionality, in that I can highlight some text and pop the URL in (or it’s picked up from the clipboard) and it will replace the text with a hyperlink… although I’m still confused how I get the same old functionality for an image that I dont want uploaded to my blog (say from flickr etc)

I am giving Ecto 3 a change though.. I’m posting this from Ecto 3 alpha 3.0a15.. I think once it gets past alpha stage it will be a nice update to Ecto, and Adriaan does a great job of maintaining what I think is the best OSX blogging client in addition to his normal day job at Technorati

p.s.  I ended up having to post this from Ecto2, for some reason ecto 3 wanted to upload the image to my blog and then crashed.. even though the entry appeared in wordpress’ dashboard, it didn’t appear in the main blog.. I had to end up editing it in Ecto2 to fix it… go figure… I’ll try again with another post..

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