Saturday, July 20, 2002

$7/20/2002 03:06:58 PM

FinkCommander - a GUI for fink. I thought fink already had a GUI - dselect, right? ;)

$7/20/2002 01:25:19 PM

When a Crop Becomes King - this short opinion piece on corn dovetails w/ NYT's previous diet and beef articles.

$7/20/2002 01:17:58 PM

Jaron Lanier points out a few interesting tidbits and asks some good questsions in an article in 21C entitled A Minority within the Minority. (He was one of the futurists consulted for Minority Report)

$7/20/2002 01:09:50 PM

Going into the DOM Inspector and manually changing the form height to make the input usable in Mozilla (Blogger Pro defaults to a 13px tall textarea) loses its novelty very quickly. It'd be nice if there was a way to customize Mozilla your own custom per-site preferences in Mozilla. Just let me attach URI-based pre/post loading CSS of JavaScript and I'd be happy as a clam. If someone added an interface where people could start centralizing / swapping these customizations. Well, you'd really have something there. Just imagine the possibilities here. (No, not the cross-site scripting attacks, I'm talking about the good things, not the bad)... Hmm, the Mozilla Evangelism Sidebars do some neat things by enalbing css (user_pref("signed.applets.codebase_principal_support", true);) in the prefs.

Related tangent, people bitch about MS all the time, but they often forget that MS won huge amounts of popularity and mindshare because they were really developer friendly. Oftentimes I find myself wishing that Mozilla had documentation as complete as the DHTML Reference at MSDN.

$7/20/2002 04:55:33 AM

Photoshop filters, no waiting - I hadn't thought about it, but it does follow pretty logically. Once you can do floating point pixel shading (like the new ATI card can), you're opening up a whole new world of real time image manipulation. And not just real-time photoshop filters, but all kinds of real-time video editing features... That's really really exciting. Alas, I'm hopelessly addicted to multi-monitor, and only Matrox does this properly on a PC in Windows 2000.

$7/20/2002 04:33:47 AM

open [filename] in the terminal works on both applications and data files (launching the associated program). That's very cool. (Something that I was missing from the W2K prompt) It's sort of a weird feeling just to be constantly discovering new stuff about the basic functionality of an Operating System. I think relatively speaking, I'm still an OS X noob.

$7/20/2002 03:33:52 AM

I'm going down to San Diego (probably driving down Sunday) for OSCON and am bringing the ol' TiBook so I can get some work done and all that (if I had one wish for Mac laptops it'd be for a right click button.)

In preparation for the conference, I thought I'd try to see if I could do audio recording with this thing. There's a suprisingly decent microphone built into the left speaker, but I was hoping to get something better. Unfortunately, there's no audio in / mic input so I'd have to buy one somewhere. Griffin Technology's iMic seems like the best option, but unfortunately the site doesn't list anywhere locally where I can pick it up. I'll probably give fries a ring and see what they have before I take off I suppose.

I also started looking around for software. AudioX is a nice little free application that will record Quicktime .mov audio files, but unfortunately seems to only support recording at 16-bit 44.1KHz. That's a large bitstream. A shareware application called Audiocorder is better in this regard, it allows 11 and 22 KHz and 8 bit recording. Unfortunately, encoding is either AIFF or WAV. I believe this is due to what's built into the QT/OS X, but really you'd think there'd be an easy way to add extra filters or something. I'm sure there's some way to do it, but quite a bit of googling turned up nothing. It's actually sort of sad when comparing this to the number of audio codecs built into Windows, and how easy it is to add an ACM / DirectShow filters as extra filters. So much for Apple's vaunted ease of use.

While Audiocorder has some neat features (voice activation, a cool levels display being among them) I believe I will be going the command line route. esound was a cinch to install with fink. I downloaded a LAME binary (not before first downloading the 231MB Dev Tools package only to find the image corrupted), and was off an running. File size is about 1/4 of a 11KHz/8bit mono AIFF from Audiocorder, with better much better quality. An hour of audio is about 14MB at 32kbps (22KHz mono) which sounds great. I originally started out with a 64kbps stream, but it's really not necessary. There's no visual levels, but well worth giving up for the performance/quality (only takes about 15% cpu on this tired old G4/400). I'm wrote this into a shell script to do some neat stuff (takes the input, does some file renaming if necessary) , but the gist of it is this:

esdrec | lame -b 32 -m m -a - output.mp3

Pretty easy breezy.

Friday, July 19, 2002

$7/19/2002 11:07:25 PM

A while back, a friend mentioned Bright Eyes to me. While I was crawling around AudioGalaxy I picked up a bunch of songs (well, pretty much everything out there, that's pretty much how I like downloading songs... and unfortunately, buying albums, or more accurately, catalogues). A few weeks back, I did end up buying a mess of Saddle Creek albums, and while I'm still digesting, there's definitely some good stuff. I've been listening to this one song for months and am still in love with it.

It's sort of strange thinking that the singer/songewriter Conor Oberst is the same age as I am. In some ways it makes me think I should be doing more with my life, but in other ways, it just reminds me what I've invested my time in. It's good to see people really doing something well though. Hmm, that ramble led nowhere. Anyway, it's pretty cool in any case. He's also in/been in: Commander Venus and Desaparecidos, both of which have some cool songs but whose albums I don't have.

$7/19/2002 04:48:37 PM

True Porn Clerk Stories - wow, really great stuff.

$7/19/2002 04:47:33 PM

The LHarc/LHA Archiver - fun nostalgia.

$7/19/2002 12:13:32 AM

Mark, if you didn't kill them, they would try to take over the world.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

$7/18/2002 01:44:52 PM

Using sed to strip apart file names:

ls -d *.foo | sed -e 's/.*/mv & &/' -e 's/foo$/bar/' | sh

See: previous time I forgot how to do this.

$7/18/2002 01:42:43 AM

I submitted that bug that CSS2 Selector bug that I mentioned yesterday to Bugzilla. While creating a test page, I discovered it only occurs in quirks mode only occurs in quirks mode and with the :hover pseudoclass apparently (see additional testing w/ :focus added). But it's still wrong, and not mentioned as something that should be handled differently according to the quirks list. Also, I submitted another bug related to the edit controls that I noticed while I was working on that, namely that the undo/redo buffers get cleared after a Javascript value change. Personally, I think this is a really big and annoying bug. A Javascript value change should be no different than any other typed change, and should definitely not be clearing the undo/redo bufers (for all the previous typed changes). IE works like you would expect it to. You can undo and changes, regardless if it were typed, or changed via JS. I'm hoping this is a simple bug to fix, like a 'oh, we just won't clear the buffer on a value change' thing, but it might be slightly more complext than that to fix...

While playing around with the undo/redo (which honestly, I hadn't really paid that much attention to. If it works properly you shouldn't have to notice it) I noticed that in some respects Mozilla is more advanced. With Mozilla, each text input has it's own independent undo buffer, which it's advantages, I suppose. IE shares the buffers. That does mean you can actually undo stuff in the order you typed, but it does jump you around. I guess it's a wash on which way is more usable. Also, IE does a character by character undo, which while taking longer, does give you some more control. Mozilla's undo removes entire blocks, each block being a contiguous change (marked off by deletions or changes in focus). Again, I'd probalby have to give some more thought about which implementation is 'better'.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

$7/17/2002 10:52:25 PM

^txt2regex$ - a Regular Expression "wizard", all written with bash2 builtins, that converts human sentences to RegExs. Similar: Regexp::English, YAPE:Regex

Another interesting tidbit from /. discussion on regular expressions.

$7/17/2002 10:39:58 PM

Apparently this guy's friends really didn't like him.

$7/17/2002 12:07:18 AM

While styling the toolbar for the text input, I found some strange behavior in Mozilla's CSS selector code. The SelectORacle parses this properly: #bar > *:hover, but Mozilla doesn't handle it. Strangely enough, if you specify the element, say, like #bar > strong:hover, it'll work.

$7/17/2002 12:01:59 AM

I've been really busy at work, so I originally missed seeing that a getSelection patch (bug 88049) had finally been checked into the latest nightlies. I've been waiting for this for over 2 years now, ever since I tried to implement the Blogger text-edit controls in an early milestone build of Mozilla (haha, I tried using window.getSelection(), silly me, why would I ever think that would return a selection?).

Now, here was where I was going to announce my triumphant victory. After all, it's relatively simple to code, assuming the feature is working. And to that end, I've spent a few hours over the past few days whipping it up. But that little matter about the feature actually working? Well, it doesn't really. With the current nightly builds, the ranging features die horribly when hard line-breaks are involved. Apparently, in those cases, the text nodes are represented in separate text nodes internally (this is not accessible to us mere mortal webmonkey's, however. the DOM Inspector shows the entire text as one single textarea - I even tried to work around it by working on counts from the textLength, but it's a no-go, the problem is intractable on this end). Also, even when it does work, there doesn't seem to be any way to undo once you've done the insert. That's awfully annoying. The entire selection / input / editing functionality in Mozilla seems to be pretty rickety, especially when compared to how well IE's text editing. (Should I even mention ContentEditable? Well, at least there's Xopus for that - no hope for an XBL fix for selections, that's still broken.)

Umm, hmm, I'm ranting again. Anyway, as the bug is being actively patched, maybe in a few days this will actually work properly. Until then, it still will, but only if there are no hard line breaks:

I made versions for metafilter and blogger as well. Along the way, I found a fix for blogger's wonky textare display. It renders properly when the following style code is added:

form { height:100%; padding:0; margin:0; }

I submitted that tidbit to Shellen the other night, but haven't seen the change go up yet.

Ending massive post by clearing out some random links:

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

$7/16/2002 01:03:09 AM

I have Drempels (by Ryan Geiss, of well, Geiss fame) running on my desktop at home right now, and I must say it is pretty trippy / relaxing.

$7/16/2002 12:31:19 AM

Browser Feature Detection - browser sniffing via API name detection. Detection is done by determining if a property/method is undefined or not using the typeof operand. Full details in the source. (Danny Goodman wrote an article about Object Detection a while back)

Monday, July 15, 2002

$7/15/2002 11:58:52 PM

The Mozilla Accessibility Project has oodles of links to keyboard shortcut goodness, including a neat DHTML Mozilla Keyboard Assignment Map (Gecko only). For general reference, I still mostly use Jesse's Navigator Keyboard Shortcuts reference. One thing that I noticed is that this old event test page doesn't seem to trigger properly in OS X. According to the Mozilla Keyboard Planning FAQ and Cross Reference's Macintosh Keyboard Differences section, this shouldn't be a problem, but I've given up on figuring out OS X's keyboard related funkiness.

$7/15/2002 11:08:16 PM

Yahoo ads set to get busier - I think this sort of says it all:

Yahoo said it will incorporate the technologies of Eyeblaster, EyeWonder, PointRoll and Unicast to boost the interactive advertising packages that it sells to clients. Yahoo said the deal will help it more easily sell catchier advertising campaigns.

The four companies have developed technologies that make it hard to avoid Web advertisements. Eyeblaster produces flash-animated pop-up ads; PointRoll technology expands ad banners when a mouse cursor touches it; EyeWonder lets advertisers stream video commercials onto a Web page; and Unicast creates ads that allow users to navigate within them without leaving a Web site.

Uh yeah, I'd like a second serving of the Eyeblaster please.

Sunday, July 14, 2002

$7/14/2002 10:31:54 PM

Jaguar will have Zeroconf built in. In the grand Apple 'giving a standard technology another name' tradition, they are calling it Rendezvous.

$7/14/2002 06:21:35 PM

How To Write Unmaintainable Code

$7/14/2002 05:46:53 PM

Stocks' Slide Is Playing Havoc With Older Americans' Dreams - while I do feel bad for these people, I have to ask, what is the rationale of putting your entire nest egg in equities after you've retired. Sure your broker is going to tell you to buy, that's what they get paid to do, but stocks are inherently high risk with no guarantee on the principle. I guess a lot of people lost sight of that during the boom times. If I had $2 million, I'd put them in bonds, or better yet in annuities. One of those suckers (guaranteed principle and rate of return) will still average you around 5-7%/yr. Off of $2 million principle, we're talking about a pretty damn comfortable retirement lifestyle.