Hi! Do you remember blogs? Well, this used to be one. Now it just serves as an archive for my multiple Twitter accounts.

1 November 2006

@apple@

iTunes 7.0.2 seems a bit less slow at playing videos — but maybe it just so happened that my computer was feeling less bloated than usual when I tried it.

However, the missing chapters button hasn’t returned yet. This is what happens when you let Windows developers design Apple apps (the lack of a specific button in less annoying on Windows, since the menu is right above the buttons).

 

@windows@

Windows Media Player 11 is out, looks cute, mimics the iTunes interface as much as it can, wants to become iPhoto as well, and… prominently integrates with Urge, that online music store that shouldn’t be compatible with the Zune — is there rivalry between the different digital audio teams at Microsoft, or is that just a parting gift to MTV, featuring Urge for a month or two before switching to the Zune Marketplace?

As you start ripping CDs into Windows Media Player 11, information is compiled through a database and waveforms are matched to identify the song.

Weird. Does Apple have a patent on ripping tracks and identifying the CD itself? Because I fail to see how computing each track’s audio fingerprint is more efficient.

 

@apple@

Implications of Adobe’s Intel-Only Soundbooth: in short, it’s quite worrisome. D’un côté, Adobe is setting a very bad precedent for other developers; on the other, I can’t help but wonder how skilled Adobe’s programmers are if it’s so hard for them to make their cross-platform app work independently of hardware architecture. I know there’s got to be some optimization for real-time processing, but I can’t believe it’s that hard.

 

@apple@

Inquisitor 3, the Safari plug-in that displays search result previews and suggestions, looks nicer and is now free — looks like the programmer relies on Yahoo and Amazon affiliations for revenue (sorry, I immediately switched it back to Google).

 

@web@

Le Monde switches from Typepad to WordPress [via]. Wow, that’s big. Not that their hosted blogs are huge, but they’re rather high-profile — plus, switching a whole blog hosting platform from one software to another is pretty spectacular.

 

@web@

Didja know that you can use Gmail as an SMTP server?

 

@misc@

What the hell was I thinking? I should have made thumbnail reflections when redesigning this blog. I totally dropped the ball on this one.

2 November

  • Of course, just when the laundromat doesn’t accept bank notes because of All Saints Day and nobody emptied the machine since last Friday, and I have three bags of laundry because it’s been piling up for a month while I waitede for money to come in, it so happens that all the neighborhood’s shops conspire to close because of All Saints Day.

3 November

@apple@

New AirPort vulnerability — for pre-2003 Macs this time.

 

@apple@

John Gruber: Why Is Adobe Soundbooth Intel-Only?

The irony here is that many of the people buying Power Mac G5s [in 2006] did so because they’re creative professionals who use Adobe software — software that doesn’t run natively on Intel hardware and isn’t going to until sometime in 2007. I.e., Adobe, more than any other software developer, is responsible for creative professionals buying late-model high-end PowerPC hardware.

As for the technical explainations, he figures there must be a bunch of Intel SSE assembly code (which would have to be ported to AltiVec) and that, yes, it makes sense because an audio app has real-time requirements, but then Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack Pro are universal, so it’s not unfeasible.

 

@windows@

Retail Vista license now allows for unlimited transfers — until it changes again next week, I suppose.

Our intention behind the original terms was genuinely geared toward combating piracy; however, it’s become clear to us that those original terms were perceived as adversely affecting an important group of customers.

Ooh, Microsoft is totally placing user convenience ahead of fighting piracy now. Like, really.

4 November

@music@

Zune and Marketplace hands-on gallery, long walkthrough video, review. I decidedly think they’re sexy. Actually, apart from the lack of a click-wheel, I really find them sexier than current iPods. Apple ought not to wait too long to introduce a full-screen iPod (and an all-you-can-eat iTunes Store subscription, too, pretty please).

Another not-published or seldom-talked-about feature is guesting. A friend can take his Zune over to your computer, set up a “guest” relationship with your Zune Marketplace software (as opposed to a regular owner relationship), and you’re free to drag songs and pictures from your library onto her device. These songs do not have the 3 play 3 day limit on them. Depending on whether you purchased or you’re leasing these songs, you can do this with either 5 or 2 Zunes, respectively.

Interesting concept. Is there a limit to the number of computers a Zune device can be guesting — i.e., to the number of friends you can freely borrow music from?

A cool feature that iTunes doesn’t have is pre-rated, or community rankings. When you buy songs from the store, you’ll notice that they already come pre-ranked on a scale of 5 blue stars. When you rank a song, it’ll rank it in orange stars.

 

@music@

iVue transparent iPod. Interesting, but ugly.

 

@apple@

OS X proof-of-concept virus.

GotchaBox. They should make one shaped like a bicycle.

5 November

  • I’d forgotten was winter was like.

  • I’d forgotten I don’t understand how those damn heaters work, too. And I’m an engineer. Why does this freaking switch have symbols for a clock and night and day, even though that thing doesn’t know what time is it or how long it’s on?

  • Funny how the Dépôt’s clientele (that’s one of the biggest sex clubs here) has aged just as I have.

8 November

For sale, because the hard drives are dead (kids, don’t let your hard drives stay near a UPS).

And I wouldn’t mind replacing my Mac mini with an Intel one, too, to serve as an iTunes jukebox and Internet Explorer testbed.

@apple@

Infinite Loop reviews Ecamm’s driverless Mac webcam. In short: image quality is rather crappy and the ‘driverless’ claim is all but false advertising: it requires a plug-in, not a driver, see? No driver!

Damn Apple not upgrading the iSight to comply with European regulations. I don’t know what to do: buy a cheap USB webcam? buy an expensive Firewire webcam? shop for the cheapest camcorder around? forget it and save my money?

 

@apple@

I’m hesitating to drop 280 euros on a memory upgrade. Going from 1GB to 2GB ought to make my iMac lag much less when I switch to NetNewsWire or Yojimbo, right? I mean, spectacularly faster? Woulds there 280 € worth of performance increase? That’s no less than a quarter of the price of a MacBook, which would be four times as fast as my iMac despite a dire amount of RAM.

9 November

Yeah. Now, Mac mini or MacBook?

10 November

Is that really the handwriting of a major presidential candidate? It’s so scary!

K750i

Canon PowerShot G3 - 1/20sec @ f/2.0

Bienvenue à mon nouveau téléphone, qui est à l’origine de la création de ce photolog.

@phone@

I don’t understand how other manufacturers can keep on selling their crappy cellphones after they’ve had a Sony-Ericsson in their hands. See? It is possible to make user-friendly phones — all you have to do is try and use them before you ship them!

I can’t say it feels very sturdy, though. Actually, my Samsung, which has spent years in my jeans pocket and has a horribly scratched screen, feels much more solid — the Sony-Ericsson is mostly good as new, but creaks every time I press a button.

Some days I hate being a geek.

13 November

15 November

@apple@

Here’s a nice new iPhone mockup — it looks sleek, and the dialing interface is an interesting idea (although it’s not quite more efficient than a 0-9 keypad, it just looks cool).

 

@music@

Kottke complains about theme music on netcasts. I agree that “filling airtime” with music is stupid and irrelevant — I hate netcasts that play songs between segments — but a title sequence (or whatever it’s appropriately called) is absolutely needed for people listening to netcasts one after another on their iPods.

 

@web@

An unexpected surprise, listening to an old Floss Weekly episode: Slashdot’s CmdrTaco sounds very cool — surprisingly so for someone who created such an… a… you know, that thing.

 

@misc@

And either the news is still amazingly slow, or I’m really getting out of touch. Although maybe it’s just that everyone is leaving room for the big console launches, which I don’t intend to cover here (and the Zune, but I’ve written more than enough about that one already — the install is hostile and the software is buggy? what a shocker!).

  • My supermarket got the vanilla Special K, and I’m disappointed.

  • Would I really have the balls to move out of the country if Sarkozy was elected?

  • En apartédoesn’t take off and has trouble interesting more than 200,000 people; 2.5% of the viewers” (TVnews). I’m so surprised.

@apple@

New Leopard screenshots [via]: Spotlight takes a page from the Google book and integrates the calculator (I can’t wait to slow down my system with Spotlight searches every time I want to compute 2+2) and dictionary (on that one it’s kinda puzzling that it didn’t in Tiger); but I don’t even know if this batch of screenshots is legit, though, because the resolution independence demo looks like a five-minute Photoshop mockup made by a two-year-old.

 

@games@

First contact with an Xbox 360 on a generous 720p TV — and playing Gears of War, no less.

Holy crap!

16 November

@music@

The Zune Marketplace’s $15 all-you-can-eat monthly subscription does not cover the whole library — if you want the most popular songs, you apparently have to buy them in addition to your subscription.

That’s what I call a scam. And, knowing there could be such absurd demands from the music publishers (I hardly imagine Microsoft offering that idea by themselves — not that I’d put it past them, but I have even less faith in the humanity of publishers than of Microsoft), I lose any hope in ever seeing the iTunes Store implementing a monthly subscription (because, if Steve Jobs is willing to fight to keep a unique, one-size-fits-all for songs, there’s no way he’ll ever accept that — thankfully).

 

@music@

It’s just so cute.

18 November

@apple@

The latest rumor on the block (apart from the “really this time for reals the iPhone is so coming up, it looks like an iPod nano and it’s teh cool” — to which I respond, that’s the worst form factor I can think of for a mobile phone) is that Apple would be preparing an AMD-based laptop. Sure, it makes perfect sense from a technical standpoint, and everybody found it tactically surprising that Steve Jobs would emphasize their relationship with Intel so much rather than just talk about the x86 architecture, but isn’t it a bit early to change directions? Apple is still very much enjoying their honeymoon with Intel; sure, Jobs isn’t the last one to ditch a partner at the first opportunity (Hello Moto), but I still don’t see it happening that soon. If they talked so much about Intel, there must have been some sweet deals there, and they can’t have expired yet.

 

@misc@

Dear Lazyweb:
Don’t you think it would be cool if unread-mail or unread-blogs badges faded logarithmically from red to black according to the age of the last unread message?

20 November

Because I’m Bored

Courtesy of L. R., a questionnaire that I’ll leave below the cut because I can’t be bothered to translate it into English.

[continue reading]

— Hi, I’m looking for spare bed splats…

— Yeah, I’ve only got one model, but I don’t think it’ll be wide enough for what you’re looking for.

I followed him through the aisles out of sheer curiosity, curious to see what he could have misunderstood, but he did bring me to the bed slats (which were hidden between locks and hinges).

So now I’m left wondering — what do I look like I might be planning to do with bed slats?

Télé Câble Sat Hebdo :

Bought out by Microsoft Nintendo, a few years ago, the English studio Rare delivers with Viva Pinata the one game the Xbox 360 was lacking: a true family game. In Viva Pinata you will take care of your Pinatas — traditional Mexican animals made of paper that contain candy.

More than the “Microsoft Nintendo” mistake, I love the poetic concept of a traditional Mexican animal that’s made of paper. Ah, those Mexicans.

21 November

@apple@

John Siracusa mulls Leopard’s “top secret” upcoming features. I had been puzzled by the resolution-independence screenshot but hadn’t thought it through (the disadvantage of preparing my posts at 4am):

Look at how poorly those “stoplight” window widgets are integrated into the window background, for example. Does that match the high-quality that you’ve come to expect from in the Mac OS X UI? To me, that screenshot absolutely screams “temp artwork.” It looks like a bunch of filler images quickly whipped up to give developers something to test with.

Sure, it could also be that it’s only “temp artwork” because the graphics team is working on more detailed high-res representations of the current state of Aqua, and that, by itself, takes time. Seeing the latest evolutions on leaked screenshots (iCal losing brushed metal, Preview getting Mail-like capsules…) started to make me think that the interface was now about as refined as it would be. But, on the other hand, if they were indeed going to introduce a seriously altered look, and didn’t want anyone outside of Apple to know, then it would make perfect sense to ship their developer builds with these graphics.

There’s something wrong when your thought process goes from conclusion to hypothesis, but I guess that’s the way it goes when you discuss a rumor. Damn, I hate posting about those Apple rumors, but there isn’t much else these days.

 

@apple@

iPod shuffle reportedly trumps all other models. Nobody — including Apple, I’m pretty sure — expected that at all. And they only just released the ad.

Good heavens, how depressing.

22 November

@apple@

New MacBook Pro runs “much” cooler (I’m adding quotes because I have no idea how much 20°F is, and I’d rather leave the conversion as an exercise to the French reader than check for myself). Which might just as likely mean that Apple fixed their thermal paste application guidelines.

Also, there’s been dramatic discrepancies between models of the same generation before, and that test was done on one machine of each revision, so the data is quite insufficient to draw any kind of conclusion, actually.

 

@web@

The main use of FTP in this world is uploading web pages; OS X, faithful to its Unix roots, hides .htaccess files from the Finder. Why can’t I find a Mac FTP application that will automatically rename files from htaccess.txt (or something else) to .htaccess when I upload them? I’m forced to use Path Finder to manage my websites (setting the Finder to display hidden files is not an option, it makes a mess of everything, including the desktop), and I hate using Path Finder — it’s bloated and slow and annoying and not worth its price for a second.

I know I’m not the only webdesigner developing on a local hard drive and mirroring to the remote server (that’s what Transmit’s DockSend is for), so how on earth can I be the only one thinking automatic file renaming is required?

@photo@

Flickr’s Camera Finder [via] is so obvious and so awesome: Flickr leverages all the EXIF data it gathers to let you know what pictures any given camera is capable of making. Including cameraphones.

The opportunity to prove, as Monsieur Lâm just wrote yesterday: “a good photograph is 9/10th photographer.

 

@games@

Wii sensor bar appears to be just an array of infrared emitters and the Wiimote is only a light-gun that detects where those emitters are. Well, okay, it’s more complex than a light-gun and must be using the gyroscopes to detect orientation — actually, it’s quite impressive that they manage to calibrate their system in order to compute a reliable enough cursor position when the only external data the Wiimote receives is “the TV is somewhere around here, and you’re that far away.” (Distance being determined by how small the sensor bar appears on the Wiimote’s camera.)

It’s kinda disappointing that it’s so low-tech, but at least does explain why the black plastic part on top of the Wiimote is so big. Oh, and it also definitely explains how some lighting conditions could compromise Wii usage (but who places their TV with its back to the sun?).

 

@apple@

In the “I have nothing to say about it but I guess I ought to mention it” department: a malicious .dmg file can crash your Mac.

Question for Apple: How many times must [Safari’s “Open safe files after downloading” preference] be exploited before you remove it from Safari, or at least turn it off by default?

Feels like ActiveX all over again.

 

@apple@

Ad-sponsored MacBook Pro. When I saw the pictures, I couldn’t understand why brands would want to be included on such an ugly, illegible billboard — when she opens her laptop in a café, people won’t see the individual logos, but only the general affront to Jonathan Ive. Turns out the reason it works is the million-dollar-page clone: her website has a big photograph of the MBP with links over each logo.

It makes sense, but I wonder if it couldn’t be interesting for a company to subsidize a whole MacBook by themselves — make a pretty engraving or tattoo around the apple, and give it to someone contractually bound to spend some amount of time in Starbucks cafés. Just like those ad-subsidized Smart cars you can see around Paris, only cheaper and classier.

 

@apple@

23 November

  • It’s so weird watching TV episodes at the same time as everyone else in the US — or, at least, everyone who Tivos their shows. I love that the whole blogosphere and IMDb don’t know anything more than I do about Dexter (or about Heroes, but Dexter is more of a suspense thing). It’s kind of intoxicating.

  • And I find it oddly soothing to find out with my new phone that the 9-minute ‘snooze’ seems to be a universal constant.

Heroes 1.09

Cute.

I can’t help but think they didn’t have enough material to make a whole season. The beginning was cool, but now it’s beginning to get stretchy.

Dexter 1.08

I can’t bring myself too give five stars to the final revelation — because it’s too much, or because they made it happen one episode too soon maybe. It’s not too good a sign when, watching a secondary scene that lasts too long, you think “well, move along will you, I don’t care about that” and the justification arrives with the episode’s twist ending.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see whether they ultimately intend…

<SPOILERS>

…to blame the father for screwing Dexter up.

</SPOILERS>

They’re sending signals both ways so far. Or it’s just in my head.

24 November

Sony Ericsson K750i - 1/5sec @ f/2.8

  • Could there be a correlation between my hardly blogging here anymore and my hardly reading any personal blogs anymore? Of course I’m not inspired to write long-winded personal stuff here — I’m completely uninterested in everyone else’s long-winded personal posts, too!

25 November

If you’ve been to my place in the last couple of months (or maybe more, I’m not good with dates, plus you get used to everything in time) and you thought there was a weird smell in my bathroom, you’ll be glad to find out that my toilet’s disposal pipe was leaking.

Uh, no, actually, I guess you won’t be particularly happy to find that out. And neither am I, for that matter. When the plumber told his apprentice “Oh, no, don’t screw that one too tight” I just assumed he was talking about the pipe that led out of the macerator — the one that blew off two hours after they left, making a fountain out of my pee (because those things are designed to pump waste all the way from your basement to the septic tank, so you better screw the exit collars tight) — but it clearly also applied to the pipe between the toilet and macerator. So, of course, it moves a bit with time, first because the whole device’s purpose in life is to vibrate everytime it’s used, and second because they installed the damn thing as well as they could in limited space, and pipes are pulling on it in all directions.

Anyway, do you know what’s the healthiest thing to do with a screwdriver once you’ve used it to tighten your macerator’s joints? Why, cut yourself with the pointy end, of course.

Garoo, planning to sanitize the Earth one plumber at a time.

26 November

Ew.

Ew ew ewwww.

While I was closing my minifridge with my foot after I took the ham and pickles from it, getting ready to spend a good loser’s Saturday night in front of the TV, wearing a pajama top and socks, I realized that if I visualized the same scene enacted by Brenda in Six Feet Under it was sexy and classy rather than pathetic. (Well, it would ideally be a giant ice cream bucket in that scene, but I can’t bring myself to throw up my food after a binge.) But I’m not shot in 35mm. Devil in the details.

In other news, some articles in French will now appear on the English blog and vice versa, because sometimes I’m bored with translating everything. And, who knows, maybe I’ll post more this way. I vaguely kinda somehow feel like reviving this blog a little bit these days.

29 November

I can’t believe it almost took me a whole day to write the scripts to manage my photolog — which I’ll obviously hardly ever use, even though I have a decent camera phone and iPhoto’06, the combination of which makes it as easy as drag-and-dropping thumbnails and clicking “Ok.”

I’d stil need stuff to photograph.

@windows@

Microsoft justifies Vista Home’s no-virtualization policy, saying it’s just because they don’t want to incur the added support costs. I’m no conspiracy theorist, and I can believe that they just wouldn’t want to train their whole support department to cope with virtual machines.

One thing to note is that this only applies to retail and OEM licensing: copies that are downloaded via MSDN do not have this restriction.

 

@misc@

I didn’t blog when Art. Lebedev announced that the Optimus-103 keyboard will have 103 keys instead of 113 (doing away with the added context-sensitive shortcuts keys that promised to be quite useful) or that some of its keys (such as space and shift) would not sport screens at all in order to avoir manufacturing costs for custom shapes, but now for the straw that broke the camel’s back: the screens will be monochrome.

Sure, the reasoning makes sense: true enough, color isn’t required to display Photoshop icons or whatever — but, as one commenter put it, there’s nothing required about key screens at all, and the whole thing is a luxury gadget anyway, so what it needs to be is sexy.

At this rate, it better not sell for more than 60 bucks.

 

@misc@

Canon PowerShot G3 - 1/5sec @ f/2.0

30 November

Heroes 1.10

I checked episode 8, but no:

<SPOILERS>

The waitress doesn’t seem to recognize Hiro at all when he comes to the diner. That would be acceptable if you assumed that time travel creates parallel lines, and the picture of Hiro and Charlie would have “appeared” on the wall right when he teleported into the past — but then who would have given her a Japanese phrasebook for her birthday?

It’s kind of weird that they wouldn’t address the issue at all; it’s not like the whole trip to her birthday wasn’t planned from the start, and overall the writers seem to have a pretty tight story for the whole arc. Whatever the justification — I’m finding out in the forums that we might be in an alternate reality now where Charlie died of an aneurysm — nothing can satisfyingly that she initially didn’t recognize Hiro, yet had been given a Japanese phrasebook.

</SPOILERS>

Here’s hoping it’s just a bug, and not a sign of crappiness to come. The world desperately needs a paranormal show that bothers to make sense from beginning to end.

Dexter 1.09

You’re not feeling any of this, are you?

Wikipedia [via]:

Burnout is a psychological term for the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest (depersonalisation or cynicism), usually in the work context. It is also used as an English slang term to mean exhaustion. Burnout is often construed as the result of a period of expending too much effort at work while having too little recovery, but it is sometimes argued that workers with particular personality traits (especially neuroticism) are more prone to experiencing burnout.

Neuroticism is a fundamental personality trait in the study of psychology. It can be defined as an enduring tendency to experience negative emotional states. Individuals who score high on neuroticism are more likely than the average to experience such feelings as anxiety, anger, guilt, and depression (Matthews & Deary, 1998). They respond more poorly to environmental stress, and are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. They are often self-conscious and shy, and they may have trouble controlling urges and delaying gratification.

Burnout is a common syndrome in volunteer organisations, for example open-source software development teams, and suggests that the cause of burnout is long-term economic instability rather than stress. Some reports indicate that burnout is project specific, so an individual may be unable to work in one context, but fully functional in another. Anecdotal evidence suggests a treatment for burnout, based on changing the economic model governing the work in question. For example, the switch from volunteer to paid work can apparently cure burnout.

Money money money.

Match Point

I know I’m supposed to get out of this madly in love with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, but Matthew Goode has such vocal cords on him.

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