Over the past week or so there's been a furore about location tracking in iOS. While it initially appeared to be a fresh discovery of machiavellian intrusion, the story's a bit more complicated than that.
On Thursday, Farhad Manjoo of Slate vented his spleen about those of us who use two spaces after their full stops, a.k.a. "periods". This seems to have triggered a minor kerfuffle, though not for the first time. While I disagree with a few of his points, the premise is sound. Unfortunately I, like many others, have double-spacing ingrained. This app might help.
After a couple of years of painful attempts to geotag all my photos, I've finally got something that might end up working: a small hack that grabs the current location from Google Earth and updates the selected images within Aperture (3.1). This post explains it, and how to install it.
After barely a month at Orange, I'm heading back to Three. Call me Mister Indecisive, but I'm starting to wear out the UK's number porting infrastructure. Since switching to Orange PAYG, I've had a bit of a nightmare setting up the account, and finally once set up, I'm just not happy with the quality of their network.
If you're a fan of Apple's new Ping service, then you'll be happy to see the new Ping Sidebar and Ping buttons appear when you install the new 10.0.1 update of iTunes. However, some of us think it all worked perfectly well before Apple decided to hop on the Social bandwagon.
After a couple of months with Three PAYG, I've moved to Orange PAYG.
Three was fine, with a good, cheap service. However, I wasn't totally satisfied with their data rate. Coverage was good, but data still seemed sluggish. While it was marginally better than O2, and substantially cheaper, I still feel it's not as good as it could be. There's also something substantial missing from Three's PAYG offering: free WiFi. The lack of The Cloud or BT Openwhatever on Three is particularly noticeable. While I barely used it while on O2, there are several occasions where Three's coverage let me down and one of BT's nodes mocked me mercilessly sitting there with a strong signal in my iPhone's WiFi list.
It's been almost two years since I wrote the last installment of this epic journey. I've practically ceased blogging in favour of tweeting, but I do think it's worth an update now. After two years with the iPhone 3G on O2, I'm almost certainly going to switch... but I'm not sure who to go to yet, though.
I need to slice and dice a lot of images from a number of multi-page PDF files, but I don't happen to have the right bit of ImageMagick installed on my MacBook Pro. Instead, I took the slightly longer route of writing a utility to do it.
The reason I haven't been updating this blog regularly for a long time is twofold: firstly, I haven't had anything particularly profound to say; and secondly, I've been busy working on 4D Sudoku, which has now launched.
Back in December 2006, I wrote a post about cancelling my decade-old Orange UK phone contract, in favour of Three. Now I'm off again. I finally gave into the lure of iPhone. As a Mac (power?) user for eight years, and owner (and destroyer) of many of their products, the absence of iPhone in my life is fairly conspicuous. I always swore that I wouldn't buy the iPhone 2G, though.
(NOTE: Make sure you read the comments for this post, as there's a better way to get around the 64-bit/32-bit problem without having to compile things. --Tom)
An old colleague of mine has persuaded me to release an implementation of an "inverted index"-based search library, written solely as MySQL Stored Procedures. Our combined work is now available on Google Code.
The final major thing that "I Don't Like About iTunes and iPod" has annoyed me from Day One: the monolithic bloaty binary library, and the accompanying tidy-but-inefficient XML backup. For a small library, it's no problem, but mine has major issues. Heck, and I don't even consider my ~40GB library to be particularly big!
In the process of replacing my iPod, I've noticed a couple of things "I Don't Like About iTunes and iPod". After my previous rant about iPod reliability, I'm now onto the sloppy programming behind iPod's photo functions.
Last week, I got a new iPod Video 80GB from eBay, and in the process of transferring my media a number of things caught my attention. Some of these are known about already, but they're things "I Don't Like About iTunes and iPod". I'm covering these in a few separate posts, as I've got quite a bit to say on the subject.
A couple of months ago, I spent a few weeks playing with <canvas>. The main reason was to write a game (currently on the back burner, but not "cold" as yet), and also to re-learn some simple mechanics and trigonometry I've forgotten since c.1993. I've put together a little bit of code ("testbed") which lets me put together simple interactive diagrams. Due to the lack of text support in <canvas>, unfortunately I can't label everything diligently. My old maths teacher, Mr. Slatter, would be horrified.
I finally got sick enough of GoDaddy to buy a Dreamhost account and transfer (nearly) everything over to that account. Although I've only been using it for a few hours, I know I'm going to be far happier with it... especially the Subversion support. Setting up a post-commit hook as described below has made maintenance a lot easier.
This morning I received a pre-release LG Shine KE970 courtesy of the LG Shine Blog, as a lead-in to the product launch in early February. I've spent a couple of hours using it, and I must say I'm impressed so far. I've got about five pages of notes, niggles and thoughts that I'm going to write up over the next few days. In the meantime, I took some pictures of it, my old Nokia 6280, and some fruit. Not exactly art, I'll admit.
EXIF/IPTC/XMP tagging of GPS coordinates, folksonomy tags, and other goodness is a nice idea, but unfortunately, iPhoto and Flickr don't play too well together. Couple this with the fact that any decent support those products now have is not included for photos already imported into them. So, here are some notes resulting from some experimentation, along with the Perl code I wrote along the way.
Everyone seems to churn out at least one "Top-n" list of the year around Christmas time, so who am I to argue? Here's my Top (insert arbitrary number) list of this year, based on things that I've enjoyed or appreciated, in no particular order. I reserve the right to add to this list as I think of stuff.
Continuing on from my previous post about leaving Orange... I got a call from Orange Customer Relations (07973100194) this morning about the PAC code I ordered on Saturday. The woman calling was very nice and polite, was calling to get me back as I am a "high valued customer". Once I explained why I was leaving, she got the point that I had made up my mind, and instead asked if I could elucidate so she could pass on my comments as constructive criticism. We had a long and pleasant chat.
I just called Orange customer relations to request my PAC code after finally deciding to move to "3" or Three as I'll call them from now. I've been a contract customer with Orange for just over ten years, and I'm just no longer feeling the love.
You may have noticed that I've changed to a different WordPress theme (again). I've been meaning to do so for a while now, especially since the site has not been working in Microsoft
Idiot ExploiterInternet Explorer.
I just got the regular monthly email from php|architect Magazine informing me that this month's issue is ready to download, and listing all the wonderful things inside. Turns out they went ahead and published the article I wrote for them a couple of months ago.
UPDATE January 2007: I got the replacement drive, and it has been working fine for a few months now. Hitachi's service was quick and painless, and while I'm still not 100% sure about the quality of Travelstar drives (since I've had them fail since the IBM days), I'm satisfied that the problem's fixed.
The Flight Tracker dashboard widget that comes with Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) seems to have a fairly major bug. However, this bug seems to be the result of something quite obscure to do with timezones, and it only seems to manifest itself in the UK during the summer.
A friend of mine is a recent newbie Mac user, after finally succumbing to the shiny white lure of the MacBook. As an expert Unix user, he was missing the old X11 colours list, because he can't have his terminal set up with a horrible shade of puce without having to work out the RGB values for it.
[... from companies I will (now) never buy from or do business with] Over the past few weeks I've been getting some missed call alerts on my mobile phone. These aren't the normal type you get when the phone actually rings: these are the text messages I get from Orange when the call is too short (this case) or my phone's off or out-of-range. The numbers: 0800 915 7111 and 0800 915 7113
I've been trying to track down a few annoying apps that start up on my iBook and can't be found in any of the usual places. I checked the normal places: the Login Items for my user, LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons, and a few other places... I forgot to check loginwindow.plist.
For various reasons, I've been a bit quiet on this blog since setting it up. The reasons:
It looks like GoDaddy might have tweaked their .htaccess / mod_rewrite support. As I wrote in an earlier post, the way GoDaddy was supporting .htaccess was causing some confusion, in that even if you uploaded a correct .htaccess file, it could take some time to register. This might have changed.
This article covers the use of the RGB subpixel antialiasing technique used in various software packages including Adobe Reader, Mac OS X's Quartz font rasterizer, XRender, Microsoft ClearType, applied to the improvement of quality of non-text images. It includes a testbed and some sample code in C and PHP.
Even though GoDaddy supports mod_rewrite, there are some definite peculiarities about their setup, with regards to .htaccess and PHP execution. Hopefully the observations I've made in this article will be of help if you're coming across the same problems I was.
The EyeTV for DTT is a tiny little box with an aerial socket and a USB socket that happily sits in the gap between the wall and my bed, with a long USB cable leading into the iBook wherever it is in the room. After buying it on eBay, I had to fork out another chunk of money for an upgrade from EyeTV 1.8 to 2.0, since all the fun stuff is in the 2.0 rewrite. Unfortunately, this turned out more expensive than it would have been to buy a new EyeTV for DTT with EyeTV 2.0 bundled.
Hello.. I'm a 31-year-old programmer and web designer, living in Portishead, near Bristol, UK. I'm currently taking some time off to recuperate after having orthopaedic surgery in April, and am keeping busy by learning programming for Mac OS X (Cocoa) and OpenGL and putting together some fun projects.
I've set up this blog as a temporary measure to put some notes about stuff I've discovered while doing some coding on my latest project, and some other scribblings that might prove interesting to some.
I haven't spent much time at all on hacking this blog together. I started off with Nucleus CMS and spent some time shredding the default skin into something usable. Then I decided to switch to WordPress, and had to do it all again. I've put together this temporary theme, which serves my purpose for the time being. However, it's still not what I want. One of these days I'll get around to redesigning it properly. In the meantime, this template's not too offensively ugly, so it'll do! Comments and feedback are welcome.