Monthly Archives: August 2006

MacBookPro first impressions

Yesterday I got a MacBookPro and am only starting to use it. It’s the 15″ with a 100GB 7200 rpm drive with 2GB RAM. Sweet. The Migration Assistant was just about perfect in moving everything over. I set up a administrator account with administrator priviledges, but not the same name as the account name I want to transfer from my G4 Powerbook. (I think I’m still going to be calling the new machine a powerbook out of habit).

As you go through the migration process, you boot your old machine in target disk mode (hold down the “T” key when booting the system) and with a firewire cable connected to both machines, the data transfer begins after a few questions about what accounts and files you want to move over (just a few choices, for files mostly everything on the disk or just those related to the account you want to migrate). Then the transfer begins. I started this once and when the estimate was more than 3 hours for the transfer, I deferred until later in the evening. Sure enough, about 3 hours later (much later), it seemed to be done.

Easily enough, I just rebooted the MBP (maybe I just need a great name for the new machine – any ideas? “Bender”? too obvious?) and logged on with the account name (and password) from the G4 powerbook. Simple as that. I knew things were looking good right away as the boot screen changed color to the background I had on the G4. Everything loaded from my startup items, with one exception, Textspander (yes, I know there is a newer version out). Nice job Apple software developers.

Mail.app snapped open quickly (after being selected my old customized dock – great!), but crashed in just a few minutes when I went to clearing out my junk mailbox. (It might have something to do with getting junk mail in odd character sets I don’t have the related fonts for. Just a theory.) I started mail.app right back up and it’s still going strong now. After working around in mail, I don’t feel a neck-snapping performance improvement, this is a bit disappointing.

Next was Firefox 1.5.06 and it seems fine too, including extensions. I checked and it is a universal binary. This is disappointing in a way, because Ffox still seems slow. (Oh, if there were all the right extensions in Safari versions.)

I like the increased screen resolution and the keyboard feels fine, a little mushy but with good bounce on the keys. Also, not as noisy as the G4. The addition of a camera is nice, but I don’t think I’ll make much use of it. There is not Firewire 800 slot anymore, I would have wished that Apple would have put another USB port in its place. As has been commented on before by many others, there is no internal modem included. I hope I don’t have cause to regret that. The PC Card slot is replaced with a smaller add-on slot that has some name I won’t remember because I’ll probably never need a device for it. The new magnetic plug power supply seems fine, but the box is actually LARGER than the old one. Also, I had three G4 powerbook power supplies, now that investment is lost (except that the extension cords seem to fit with the new power supplies).

The next, system-wide step seems to be making sure I have (intel) universal binaries for all of the applications on my system. I assume all the Apple applications are ready (and they were kept from deletion when I transferred the account over from the G4 with its potentially non-universal binary app versions).

The big question: Does anyone know of a utility that could scan my disk and make a list? (even better, give me links for the apps? even better, auto-download those possible?) Comments or emails are most welcome.

The best thing I have found so far to help with this is the MacUpdate: Universal Binary (Macintosh Intel) page (with an RSS feed).

Hatch Green Chile Salsa

While not really an open-source salsa recipe (it is much too basic), this is what I made this weekend, now that Central Market has their roasted green chiles from Hatch, New Mexico in stock.

There are no exact amounts, almost everything is adjustable for your tastes and what you have available, so let’s be algebraic with ratios:

  • 2x Organic Plum Tomatoes – diced
  • Kosher Salt – 1 pinch/tomato used
  • Oregano, Cumin or fresh Basil to taste (or not)
  • 0.5x Garlic Clove – finely minced
  • Stir these first four ingredients together well and let sit while prepping the remaining ingredients

  • 0.75x Yellow Hatch Onions – diced
  • 1x Roasted Green Hatch Chiles -diced (assume 6″ long peppers with seeds removed)
  • Roasted Yellow Corn (not pictured)

And this is what you get.

Excellent with some corn tortillas.

2006 Information Architecture Institute Progress Grants

The Information Architecture Institute (IAI) will award two USD $1,000
Progress Grants for 2006. The purpose of the program is to twofold:

  1. to encourage researchers and practitioners to investigate IA-specific
    issues
  2. to publicize useful work that furthers the information architecture
    body of knowledge.

IAI Progress Grant pplications should propose work that will forward the theory and practice of information architecture. This can include original research, a synthesis
of important existing research, or the development of an innovative new
technique.

The format of the applications should be 2,000 words or fewer and must contain:

  • Description of the problem or hypothesis
  • Methodology to be used
  • Explanation of how the resulting work will forward the theory or
    practice of IA
  • Conditions under which others can use the results (e.g. Creative
    Commons license)

The grant application deadline is September 15th, 2006.

Please see 2006 IA Progress Grants information page, including information on last year’s winners.

This year, I am a member of the awards jury for the grant, for even more information, see the details for the progress grant.

Let's kill the CAPS LOCK KEY

Does anyone use the CAPS LOCK key? It does seem to be a throwback from a very different time. WHO NEEDS A CAPS LOCK KEY? INTERNET NEWBIES? YOUR FAVORITE SPAM MAIL PROVIDER? (Especially when most WYSISYG word processors like Microsoft Word have a function that easily converts text to upper case whenever you please.) This Slashdot post: War Declared on Caps Lock Key explains it all.

“I’ve launched a campaign to rid the world of the caps lock key. Sure, there are more serious problems to solve but please, think of the children! How am I going to explain to my kids why some of the most valuable keyboard real estate is squatted by a large, useless key that above all you must not press! Our campaign mission is simple: to send a message to the computer industry to force it (by any means necessary) to retire the CAPS key. It’s going to be a hard, long, and possibly very embarassing war on uppercase, but some things just need to be done. ”

Of course, there is a (Google) group called CAPSoff to discuss the woes and strategies (and some humorous nonsense) about getting rid of the keyboard’s least popular key.

Allow me to point out that I have two other keyboard pet peeves too:

  1. The num(ber) pad on the right of most full keyboards, that rarely gets used and requires a Kent Tekulve side-arm mousing style. I want those 4 inches back on my desktop!
  2. Keyboard real estate I’d like to have is a BACKSPACE key on my powerbook keyboard.

A trivia question: do you know how “upper case” got its name?

Update: Of course, there is a blog about the CAPS LOCK key fight.

BarCampTexas in Austin August 26-27, 2006

It looks like we’re having a BarCampTexas (part of something larger called BarCampEarth), Saturday August 26th to Sunday 27th at the amazing Thistle Cafe in downtown Austin.

From the BarCamp Web site:

What is BarCampTexas? Well, the organizers of BarCampAustin, BarCampDallas, and BarCampHouston have decided to join forces and create BarCampTexas! The goal is to get over 1000 campers to join together August 26th-27th. We will be updating this site often so sign up, check back, and participate!

So what is BarCamp you say? What should you expect at a BarCamp? What are the rules of BarCamp? Click and learn.

Note: BarCamp in no way resembles this, since I am able to tell you about BarCamp.

Buck Owens Birthday Bash was just that

Austin being Austin, last night the Continental Club put on its 15th annual Birthday Bash for Buck Owens, the man who made Bakersfield a destination, tried to Act Naturally, combined surf guitar with country and almost (just almost) made Hee-Haw cool. This birthday celebration (now posthumous) brings local Austin talent and those as far away from Nashville and yes – California to step on the stage and render a version or two of some of Buck and the Buckaroos’ greatest hits. As you might expect, there were some boot-tappin’, house rockin’ numbers even “Tiger by the Tail” by one of the original Buckaroos. The band featured great guitar leads, a thumping base and a steel guitar master that made everything move along smoothly.

Buck Owens Birthday Bash at the Continental Club, August 10 2006 (tiny camera phone picture)

As it has been, this event was a benefit for Center for Child Protection, who also has a Happy Birthday Buck tribute CD by many of the artists performing in the past year’s bashes. I picked one up last night and it’s great. Highly recommended.

Happy Birthday Buck CD cover

You missed it? There’s always next year.