Archive for October, 2005

overheard in new york is very funny.

October 31st, 2005

Queer #1: I can’t believe he wouldn’t go out with me.
Queer #2: Well, he didn’t think you could play the bongos. And he was right.
Queer #1: I know, but it’s not like I can’t learn.
Queer #2: Oh God, you’re giving me a boner.

–Greenwich & West 12th

Overheard in New York is very funny.

geekiest alarm clock ever.

October 31st, 2005

Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to something other than morning drive-time radio and/or the incredibly annoying BEEP BEEP BEEP of your $12 alarm clock? Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to a different thing for each day of the week, and on weekends, maybe not be woken up at all? Your Mac can do all this for you, it just needs a little massaging to do so. Here’s how to set this up in a couple of easy steps, and you’ll learn some UNIX scripting and AppleScripting in the process.

  1. First, set up iTunes to have a folder called “Alarm Clock” and seven playlists inside, each named after a day of the week. It’s actually only for the sake of tidiness that the playlists are in a folder, and you can actually name the folder anything you like; the important thing here is to have a playlist for each day of the week you wish to be awakened.



    Fill up the playlists with whatever you want to be awakened to; mp3s, streaming audio, whatever. Anything you place in the playlist for that day will be played. I suggest something light, but it’s your call, man.

  2. Start up “Script Editor” in the Applescript folder of your Applications folder and paste this in:

    set day_of_week to do shell script "date +%A" as string

    tell application "iTunes"

    stop

    try

    play playlist day_of_week

    on error

    --do nothing

    end try

    end tell

    What this does is get the day of the week via the UNIX “date” command, and set to a variable called “day_of_week”. Then it tells iTunes to play a playlist with that name. Save this script as an Application (and make sure “Run Only”, “Startup Screen”, and “Stay Open” options are all unchecked). Save it as “Alarm-Clock” and save it to your /Library/Scripts folder.

  3. Now we’re going to set up the scheduling. While you could use iCal to trigger the script every morning, that would clutter up your calendar, so we’re going to use cron scripting. Download a program called “Cronnix“. Cron scripting is an industrial-strength system used on UNIX servers to automate processes that have to happen on a set schedule. Cron scripts, however, are notoriously difficult to write, so we’re going to use Cronnix — a program that allows you to visually modify the user crontab — to help us out, and specifically, we’re going to use it to activate the AppleScript you just wrote.
  4. Open up Cronnix. Click “New”. Click the “Simple” tab. Drag the sliders next to “Minute” and “Hour” to specify the time you want to wake up. Click off the boxes next to “Day” and “Month” because you’ll want the alarm script to run every day, even if you don’t want to be waken up every day. In the “command” box, paste:

    /usr/bin/open /Library/Scripts/Alarm-Clock.app

    Click “Save”.

    At this point, you’re all set; your computer will activate the script at the time you specified, it will look for a playlist named after the day of the week and play it. If it doesn’t find the playlist, or if there’s nothing in the playlist, it won’t do anything; so if you don’t have tracks in the “Saturday” or “Sunday” playlists — or if you don’t even have “Saturday” or “Sunday” playlists — you won’t hear anything at all. There are some caveats here; your computer has to be turned on, you have to be within earshot of it, and since the mechanism that triggers the alarm is in your “crontab”, you have to be logged in for this to work… so if that’s not the case for you and your mac, then this isn’t the solution for you.

  5. BONUS POINTS: Get an Airport Express and pipe iTunes’ output through your stereo. Wow, won’t your neighbors be annoyed impressed!

~jeff

birthday.

October 28th, 2005

bday

I turn 30 tomorrow. Here’s a pic of me from my birthday last year. It was a blast hanging out with my girls! Hope this year is just as great! Body shots!!

i love you and i love the scorpion 8

October 28th, 2005

Few game systems were ever able to match its incredible name.

Remember the Scorpion 8? That system was awesome. We used to play Mel Gibson’s Safari on it all the time.*

* All statements may be lies.

frost heave

October 26th, 2005

teh frost heave!!!1

Dear Ldopa,

I have a large “frost heave” lump in my driveway that scrapes the bottom of my car every time I leave my house (pictured above). My landlord doesn’t seem to want to fix it; her car has slightly greater ground clearance, so she doesn’t actually experience the problem. However, it’s causing real, actual damage to the bottom of my car and the bottom of my girlfriend’s car; how can I best get her to take this problem seriously? Or how can I fix the problem myself on the cheap?

Sincerely,

~jeff

unity

October 26th, 2005


Unity looks stunningly awesome, but has anyone used it to do anything vaguely interesting besides Gooball? I can’t get into their Dashboard widget games on my mac, the performance is teh suck.

~jeff

details on how to get front row on your macintosh

October 25th, 2005


How to Get Front Row Working on Your Mac (with a minimum of fuss and one reboot):

  1. Download the Front Row application and various other necessities. Download the “Open Front Row” script. Unzip both.
  2. Place the “BezelServices.framework” folder inside your /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks folder. You’ll have to authenticate with an admin password. You might want to back up your existing “BezelServices.framework” folder to somewhere else on your hard drive first. Or maybe not. It’s your call, man. (If you want to get the original 10.4.2 version back, download it here).
  3. Place the “Front Row.app” in your Applications folder.
  4. Go to System Preferences and then Accounts. Select your account. Set “Front Row.app” to be a login item.
  5. Place the ” Open Front Row.scpt” into the “Script” folder in the “Library” folder in your home directory. Use the “AppleScript Utility” (in the “AppleScript” folder in your Applications folder) and turn on “Show Script Menu in menu bar”.
  6. Reboot.
  7. When your machine is done rebooting, select ” Open Front Row” from the script menu on your menu bar. Enjoy!
  8. OPTIONAL: Install the Divx Fusion codec to be able to play more .avi files.

(information and software gathered from a post at TUAW).

UPDATE: the DVD playing function doesn’t work. That’s because Front Row really doesn’t actually play anything, it just acts as a front end to the applications (iPhoto, iTunes, QuickTime Player) that do. So I’m guessing that the new iMacs ship with an updated “Front Row-aware” DVD Player application. Also, it seems to bork your yellow-minimize buttons. I’m guessing Front Row is NRFPT until 10.4.3…

UPDATE 2: What do I think about Front Row? Glad you kind-of, sort-of, maybe-did but ultimately-didn’t ask.

  • Zooming into and out of the Front Row interface is capital-K Kewl, classic Apple style. Honestly, that will never get old.
  • There should be some kind of Growl-style pop-up email and IM notifier built-in, so if you get an email or IM while watching a movie, Front Row might be able to let you know, if you wanted it to.
  • Front Row sadly does not find the media on other macs via Bonjour in your local area network, which is lame; if iTunes and iPhoto can find and stream music and photos this way, Front Row should be able to as well.
  • The mirrored thumbnails are awfully nice.
  • How do I say this? Performance seems bad, as none of the data seems to be cached anywhere. Photo-viewing performance seems especially dire, but honestly, who would use this for looking at photos? There are much more efficient ways to view porn porn, I mean, CRAP.
  • Still no support for — or even acknowledgment of the existence of — TV tuners, which is just astoundingly stubborn on Apple’s part.

~jeff

a little dinner music

October 24th, 2005

rice bowl

One of the things I’ve become quite fond of lately is “dinner music”, or the putting on of a specific playlist for having dinner and a glass of wine to. Here’s a list of what albums are currently on my “dinner music” playlist:

  • Art Tatum, Complete Capitol Recordings
  • John Coltrane, Ballads
  • Josh Coltrane, Lush Life
  • Miles Davis, Round About Midnight
  • Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
  • Ray Bryant, Montreux ’77
  • Stan Getz, Autour De Minuit
  • Stan Getz & Luis Bonfa, Jazz Samaba Encore!
  • Vince Guaraldi, In Person

…and a few other tracks here and there, but those particular albums are killer all the way through. Do you have any particularly good music you use as “dinner music”?

~jeff

two movies walk into a bar…

October 24th, 2005

thumbsdown

…and one of them sucks. My wife was out of town this weekend, so I went and saw two movies in the theater all by my lonesome. Only one of them was remotely worth it.

A History of Violence
David “Balls Out Weird” Cronenberg’s new movie is fucking awful, despite having a lot in it’s favor. Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, William Hurt, an interesting premise. The basic idea is that a small town guy might just be a mobster with a hidden past that he has completely given up. Problems start from the first thirty seconds of this movie. And it goes downhill from there. Cronenberg is adept at creepy, but he is unable to leave that behind when he makes a sentimental outing. The result is a “feel good” movie that involves watching people try to breathe after they have had their face shot off/punched in/stabbed/immolated. The dialogue is awful. The acting, though noble I guess, can’t make up for it. The plot starts out badly, then takes a turn for the stunningly bad about halfway through. All in all, this movie isn’t worth the film it is printed on, and if I find someone distributing it via Bittorrent, I will personally turn them in to the RIAA for distributing such a waste of time. Don’t rent it. Don’t Netfilix it. Please god, shoot a puppy before you watch this film.

Stay
Now, I didn’t know much about this movie when I went in, and I think that is for the best. It was engaging from beginning to end. I haven’t liked Ewan McGreggor since Shallow Grave and Trainspotting, but he does a great job here. The film is reminiscent of Memento, in that you are a bit confused through the whole thing, but it is far more tantalizing than frustrating. The ending may seem like a bit of a cop-out, but I don’t know how else such a complex story could have been wrapped up. I don’t think I’ve ever actually gotten goose bumps from a scary scene in a film before. I’ll go see it again, just to wrap my head back around it.

move over safari, now there’s something beta

October 22nd, 2005


NightShift is an application that automatically downloads and installs the latest nightly build of Safari’s rendering engine (“WebKit”) on your Mac. The best part is that it leaves your existing Safari completely intact and allows you to use a “gold-plated compass” edition representing the new build of WebKit.

If you’ve been having trouble with Safari, or if you’d just like to play with the new CSS3 properties Safari will be eventually be supporting, I suggest checking it out.

~jeff

no spine zone

October 20th, 2005

nospine

welcome to the no spine zone.

human nature

October 20th, 2005


Here is a fascinating talk by Malcolm Gladwell from the 2004 Pop!Tech conference. I’ve already forced most people I know to listen to it, but if you haven’t yet, take 30 minutes out of your day and give it a listen. Gladwell is an engaging and emotional speaker; the part about Aeron chairs is certainly interesting, but I liked his explanation of how they rigged the Pepsi challenge even better.

~jeff

scientist pulls out baseball bat

October 19th, 2005

Perhaps it only appears that I broke your kneecap. Certainly, all the evidence points to the hypothesis I broke your kneecap. For example, your kneecap is broken; it appears to be a fresh wound; and I am holding a baseball bat, which is spattered with your blood.

full text.

new yorker interview with sarah silverman

October 18th, 2005

Well, Kevin, I guess the most important event of this past week was, of course, the wedding of my sister, Susan Silverman, to Yosef Abramowitz. It was a really neat wedding, too, you know, ’cause they took each other’s last names and hyphenated it. So now my sister’s name is Susan Silverman-Abramowitz. But they’re thinking of shortening it to just “Jews.”

link.

valhalla

October 18th, 2005

That’s right. Valhalla. When I go to feast in the hall with my elders, beverages will be served not from hollowed out yak horns, but from this.

Via engadget.