Category Archives: Apple

Quicksilver and Google Search

The more and more I use my Mac.  I rely on Quicksilver to launch applications, run special instructions, etc.  I’m not a hardcore user of QS just yet, but I decided to spend a few minutes to see if I could automate my Google search.

My normal steps require:

  1. Open browser (or switch to it if already opened).  If the latter, I use ⌘-TAB until I highlight the browser of choice (Firefox/Safari).
  2. Open a new browser tab: ⌘-T
  3. Type “google”; the first item defaults to http://www.google.com
  4. Type my search query, press ENTER.

After following these steps I found on Google.  My steps have been reduced to a customizable global hot key…

  1. Press ⌘-2
  2. Type search text, press ENTER.

Much better, now I just have to retrain my mind and fingers.

iTunes Apple ID and MobileME

What started as a simple task, has completely gone awry.  It was a simple change…but not so simple in the eyes of a big company (Apple) and its support staff.

I started out by wanting to update my iTunes account to use my MobileMe email address.  Upon logging into my Account Settings, I attempted to update my email address.  I quickly noticed there was no longer an email address field.  Instead, reading the helpful hints in between the fields, they explained that the Apple ID and email address are now one in the same.

OK, no problem, I’ll just put my new MobileMe email address (firstname.lastname@me.com) into the AppleID field.  I clicked submit and received an error.  iTunes was telling me that my MobileMe already had an iTunes account associated with it.  What?!? Continue reading

iPython on Mac OS X

What worked for me; short and simple:

1) Install iPython

  1. sudo easy_install ipython

2) Download the file/egg for Mac OSX readline, and place in path, then edit easy_install.pth

  1. Download:  http://ipython.scipy.org/dist/readline-2.5.1-py2.5-macosx-10.5-i386.egg
  2. cp ~/Downloads/readline-2.5.1-py2.5-macosx-10.5-i386.egg .
  3. sudo vim easy-install.pth
  4. While editing the file add:   ./readline-2.5.1-py2.5-macosx-10.5-i386.egg

3) Run iPython and test.

Django 1.0 install on Mac OS X 10.5.5

I initially used this guide, but made some changes:

1) Downloaded Django-1.0.tar.gz from here.

2) Created and extracted the contents of the tar.gz:

mkdir ~/sandbox
cd ~/sandbox
tar xzf ~/Downloads/Django-1.0.tar.gz

3) Make the following soft-links:

cd /Library/Python/2.5/site-packages/
ln -s ~/sandbox/Django-1.0/django django
cd /usr/local/bin/
sudo ln -s ~/sandbox/Django-1.0/django/bin/django-admin.py django-admin.py

Apple TV – First Impression

I’ve decided for the family and I to finally take the big plunge.  I am getting rid of cable television except for the very basic local channels package.  Keeping the basic package actually gives us a discount on the Internet, which in turn pays for itself.

In preparation for the change, I picked up the Apple TV.  All three of my little girls shows may be purchased.  My son’s shows as well.  My wife isn’t going to miss any of the popular reality shows.  I will miss my favorite Discovery channel, but I am sure to find their content available.

We are doing this for several reasons.  First, last week my wife and I wanted to watch Prison Break, but the Comcast HD DVR was having issues playing back the video OR the video which was recorded was poor at the time of the recording.  Since it has been happening to several recordings across HD and SD channels, my best guess is the DVR was failing.

Second, almost half the time someone wants to either watch a movie or purchase a rental (usually when four or five kids are seated in the living room with popcorn) ON DEMAND does not work.  Or it works, but as soon as you select to rent it, up pops a message that says the service is not currently available.

And last but not least, I no longer believe in the model which TV is based on.  I would rather pay $40 for an HBO mini-series, than to pay $10 a month for a year hoping HBO comes out with the next big hit.  But its not about just paid channels like HBO.  I would rather pay for each episode of SpongeBob once than to keep paying month after month for the same content.

TV is changing.  The DVR is just a band-aid to the change.  Consumers want their media content in a form that best suits them, and be able to take it with them when they want, where they want.  Still not sure? Look at music.

I was in Bestbuy today (buying my Apple TV), when I walked with my kids past the aisles of CD’s.  I even made a comment to my children…buy the music online.  You don’t have to worry about scratches, and grabbing the music off the CD for your MP3 players.  Ever notice the CD Music section in any store seems to keep shrinking year after year in stores?

Back to Apple and its Apple TV.  I’m impressed.  In as little as 15 minutes, walking through the first steps in configuring the Apple TV, I was up and ready to go.  This little bugger is sitting in my living room right next to the Time Capsule.

I was able to sync it with my iTunes client on my desktop in my office.  I quickly set it up to like to my MobileME account to view recently taken pictures of my kids.  While watching the slideshow, background music was automatically added for a pleasing watching experience.

Next up is converting preexisting content (AVI’s) so I can watch them on Apple TV.  Apple TV and iTunes does not support the AVI file format.  (The Apple TV does have several hack available, which I may get into eventually.  iTunes can have codecs added on the Mac to play a lot more audio/video formats)

If this little device does as well as I think it will.  My wife read my mind.  We will consider a second one, up in the play room for the kids.  So they can watch a movie with friends.  The great thing is I can configure it with Parental Control locked down and choose what media content I want to even allow them to have up there!

I heard about the Apple Remote application from co-workers.  So I decided to install it on my iPhone 3G, and link it to my Apple TV.  All I have to say is WOW! It was not what I was expecting.  I was able to navigate content that my Apple TV has, pick something and play/pause it! It was not a simple replacement for up/down arrows that one might expect.

Stay tuned…I’m sure I’ll post more…

Apple iPhone Development Program

I thought I’d share some of my initial experiences with the Apple iPhone Development Program.  A lot of people are complaining about the Fucking NDA.  I don’t know if even my feedback is subject to breaking the agreement I accepted with Apple. :-/

Initially, I heard it cost $99 to register and become a iPhone developer.  This is not the entire truth.  Upon jumping on my new MacBook, I downloaded and installed XCode with the iPhone SDK.  This is completely free to do and requires nothing for you to spend.  You have access to the documentation, code samples, etc.

So here is where I thought perhaps the $99 was only when I was ready to distribute an application?!? Wrong again.  Once I had began downloading code samples, and writing some of my own.  I found the virtual iPhone to be a great tool, but not so great when you want to play with the accelerometer.  I had considered shaking my MacBook! Apple typically does think of everything. 🙂 Continue reading

Free iTune Apps reviewed

Well after spending countless hours the last couple days on iTunes being slow after backing up my iPhone.  Apple released an update to the iPhone 2.0.1.  Things were responding nicely..sync was on par, so why not check out some more free applications.  I mean … worst I can do is slow things back down again, right? 🙂

CrazyLighter – this is by far one of the most useless apps, but one I will never attend another music venue in the evening without.  And the great news? I won’t be nursing my burnt fingers the day after as the iPhone hasn’t yet burnt me or anyone else I know of!

PegJump – Cracker Barrel peg toy on table.  I will say no more…even kept the kids entertained.  For some reason they keep beating me…I don’t know why.  Maybe because my parents taught me collecting more pieces in the end shows the winner.  My kids just rolled their eyes at that one…

Compass – I can’t really test this one out, as its pitch black out at night.  Tomorrow I’ll check it out.  Maybe the developer will think of moon light on the next version. 🙂

Hangman – Good, fun game.  I’d like the keyboard to be bigger.  Drop the space between the letters and/or reuse the iPhone keyboard, no? The graphics are not bad, but upon loading the program, I thought of a stickman with attitude (Animator vs Animated).  No attitude on this one, he was already dead before I hung him. 🙂

iPhunny – catchy app name.  Very simple….amusing jokes.  Hint….to change to the next joke…swipe your finger sideways like scrolling through your pictures.  It only took a few seconds of shaking and finger swiping to move it along.

Magic8Ball – This one rocks.  Shake your iPhone (holding it firmly in your hand) and it vibrates and makes sounds…stop the shaking to get your fate…

Earth 3D – I like it…awesome looking, but was bored quickly.  It would be good for a lesson on….oh the earth is round…and we do revolve around the sun, etc.  Honestly, I’m not sure how to really use this…or come up with a reason to keep it around.

Whip – Nice!! Just like iSaber, but with the sound of a whip coming from your iPhone.  I have some useful ways to use this tomorrow…Get your room clean….hang on…oh damn dead battery…ok…just pick up your socks…please!?!

Stress Toy – uhh…not what I had in mind.  It made me more stressed out…honest!  I deleted this one immediately.

Carrie’s Dots – a connect the dots, make a box, color it in game.  I’m going to try this out with the kids tomorrow.  I remember playing this in school as a young boy….when we didn’t have computers to make games for us…. :-p  I did change the names from Carrie/Dad to You/Me.

SpeedTest – Check the download/upload speed of your connection.  Nice utility to keep around.

Save Benjis – Look up the price of just about anything to compare while standing in your favorite store.  What’s even cooler is you’ll look like you know what your doing in a place like Fry’s! Those in Walmart will probably not even have a clue.  The search gets pretty involved, letting you specify the barcode, mfg., etc.

Nearby – Show’s POI or points of interest near your position, without having to register or log into anything.  There are other application similar to this, but I like the fact I don’t have to register for yet another social site! The downside is it uses Microsoft Virtual Earth, which I find to be more clunky to use than Google Maps.  May just be this application, but zooming in/out is not as simple and downloading the new maps to redraw the screen take longer than Google’s over same connection.

TapTap – I haven’t owned any of the Guitar Hero or Band type games as of yet.  After playing this for a few minutes, I may consider it.  I mean everyone has a little bit of Rockstar in them, don’t they? 🙂

Labyrinth Lite Edition – Not bad…get the ball traveling past the holes to its goal.  Yah right…this is a fun game, but not easy…well I did better just sitting it on the flat table and watching the ball barely move around.  Some of the maps did seem glitchy…the ball would bounce off a wall hard while slowly moving along.

And….I almost forgot…

1Password – I like its concept.  I don’t know how much I trust it at the moment.  I’m not putting anything super secret in here…that goes in my safe.  But its good at keeping things semi-private, well…private!  Saves logins for you on common websites…like Taco Mac…so you can log into their WIFI.  Don and I (at work) were looking for similar app to log into our WIFI at work.  I may just have to test this out and see how it does.  I hate having to log in each time, but it would be slightly better if I didn’t have to type anything in.