Posts from November, 2009

November 28th, 2009

Fruit forks on tree

I spent some holiday down time browsing gadget websites and enjoying the para-poetics; “Fruit forks on tree”, “Flower style alloy white fashion handbag table purse hanger hook“, “Bloating water crystal soil“. It’s slightly tempting to offer a prize for the best short free verse that incorporates these or similar product names, although probably mean to offer the products used by name as the prizes.

November 28th, 2009

Buy Local Cyclocross race bike

Matt Haughey attempted to spec a bike with as many domestically-sourced components as possible. The result is beautiful, although it’s also a reminder of how dependent we are on overseas manufacture, even when cost is no obstacle; no American company makes all the components necessary for the drivetrain and that’s unlikely to change. Commuter bikes, at least, can depend on American-built baskets from Wald and bags from various companies.

November 25th, 2009

Ta-da List

A free web service from 37 Signals for you to make and manage checklists. It’s personal organization stripped of complication and methodological orthodoxy.

This site has been around for a while but it never crossed my path until namedropped by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber the other day. I’m already fond of it; I can add to-do items from whatever device (computer, phone, netbook) I’m on at the time and check them off from any other. It has a custom UI for the iPhone and possibly other mobile devices. It’s unrelated to 37 Signals’ other fine products, some of which I use, aside from the one-line ads for them in the computer browser version.

It does one thing and does it well.

November 17th, 2009

Mac netbook wrap-up, cha cha cha

The rather dark grey legality and tenuous maintainability of netbook hacktintoshes aren’t things I want to blog about incessantly, but enough has happened in the two weeks since the last post to call for a sequel. For good measure, there are also some further impressions regarding the hackintoshed Dell 10v. And for reference, here’s the original Mac netbook post from November 4. For further information, many of the websites linked to in this and the previous post are excellent resources.

Read the rest of this entry »

November 14th, 2009


The Internet Archive corralled a bunch of URL shortening companies and has begun collecting and logging shortened URLs. Prominent in their absences are one of the most popular of the services, and one that’s already suffered prominent downtime,

Shortened URLs (translating, for example, a Google Maps location into a twelve-character URL) are a necessary evil in the era of message systems with short character limits, but among their many problems are two related to keeping web content usable.

The major problem is that if the URL shortening service fails or goes away (as temporarily did), every link on the web using that service is now disabled (or possibly maliciously diverted), even when the targeted web pages (for example, a Google Maps location) is still alive and healthy.

The minor problem is that more people are developing the bad habit of shortening all their links, even where it’s not necessary (for example, when the target URL’s already short or readable, or when embedding a link in conventional HTML), masking the identity of the target page and unintentionally destabilizing their own content.

A persistent archive of shortened URLs is a major first step (and a respectably massive effort), but its utility is limited unless there’s a means to recall from that archive as needed from anywhere, and that will be a hard problem to solve.

November 10th, 2009

MyDellMini: OS X 10.6.2

Following last week’s epic post about running Mac OS X on a Dell netbook, this link is obligatory now that the news has dropped. Rumors of problems with 10.6.2 were widespread while it was in beta but there no useful confirmation of the problem was possible until last night, when the public release shipped.

In a nutshell, Apple’s latest update to Mac OS X (10.6.2) disables support for the Atom CPU common in most netbooks, including the Dell Mini 10v used in my review. Whether it was a side effect in fixing an unrelated issue or because Apple is now actively trying to inhibit hackintoshing, the result is the same as far as the Mac hacking community is concerned: From here on out, every Apple OS update is going to have to be reviewed and possibly modified by the hackintosh community before it can be safe for installation on non-Apple hardware. For my thoughts on the matter, see the late addition to the long Mac netbook post.