Archive for October, 2007

How to set a value as “Primary” in the Mac Address Book

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Another Simple Answer to a Specific Question:

As of OS X 10.4.10, at least, the Mac Address has the concept of “Primary” email addresses, phone numbers and street addresses for each contact, but you cannot change them unless you install a plug-in.

My First Digg

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

The other day, for the first time, I felt like I had something interesting and timely to say, so I submitted the story to Digg. Yeah, it was weak, but I read Digg regularly, and was curious about what would happen. It turns out, not much: I got a few hits and a handful of people yelled at me ((Which actually sounds like the Internet in a nutshell, now that I think about it)). Fortunately, at least a few people thought it was a good idea, because I got a couple of diggs. Which is good, because I avoided that pathetic, I-dugg-myself “1 digg”… which, I now understand, is the real reason one might not want to Digg one’s own work. But I digress…

In retrospect, my title, “Buy a new Mac now to avoid having to pay for Leopard on your old Macs”, was probably my first mistake. Not only does it sound like an ad and sound like piracy, it sounds like an ad about piracy. In my own defense, though, I swear that it didn’t occur to me that I was advocating piracy; I thought I was just pointing out a good deal. But no, let’s be clear: you can only install your copy of OS X on a single computer unless you purchase the family pack.

To be fair, though, I was suggesting that people buy a new Mac, which, at the absolute minimum will run you about $600… and I was suggesting it to people who already own at least one Mac. In other words, even if you’ve already made a significant financial investment, and you make an additional financial investment, it’s still piracy; people will yell at you if you suggest it.

This is why people hate Mac users.

Buy a new Mac now to avoid having to pay for Leopard on your old Macs

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

If you’re thinking about buying a new Mac, do it now to avoid having to buy Leopard separately to upgrade your older Macs.

I just bought a new mini to replace my ailing Windows PC, and it came with a model-specific install/restore disc labeled “Mac mini: Mac OS X Install Disc”. Had I waited and bought a machine that shipped with Leopard, I wouldn’t be able to use that disc to upgrade my Quicksilver, my Powerbook, or (presumably) my old G4 mini. If I wanted to update those machines, I would be forced to spend $120 on a retail copy.

However, through December 31st Apple is offering a copy of Leopard for $10 to anyone who purchases a new Mac that comes with Tiger. If history is any indication, that disc should work for all models, and you’ll save $110.

Updated 10/21/2007: It’s been pointed out to me that, assuming that the Leopard software license matches the Tiger software license (PDF), installing this on more than one machine would be considered piracy, so I no longer officially advocate this course of action. Apologies to Apple, and to all the people who worked hard to make OS X a great operating system.

Things to Do

Friday, October 19th, 2007

My productivity dipped, not surprisingly, after a bout of food poisoning coinciding with the brief lull preceding the start of the fall television schedule prompted me to buy an Xbox 360. In an effort to get back on track, I’ve compiled a to-do list, of sorts, to jump-start my flagging… something.

Finish Video Server series.

I got off to a good start with my series of entries on ripping and encoding files for my iTunes/AppleTV video server, but I’m sort of stuck on what was to be the final entry- adding meta-data to the files to make them pretty. It comes down, in part, to not being sure how to distribute a couple of accompanying scripts. They’re too long to post as part of the entry, so they’ll need to be archived and put up for download as a tar file. The real sticking point, though, is that they need more documentation, and I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it.


Moving to was far simpler than I’d hoped, but that was only the first step. I need to reduce the complexity of the site, removing the ill-conceived user-centric directory structure for public facing content, and making everything function privately. In other words, go back to a log-in to use the tools model, and decide after the fact what is publicly accessible. The model is great for complex social-networking type sites, but since I don’t hve much interest in doing that, the complexity is making everything else three times more difficult. While I’m in there, I also need to streamline the database access and see if I can come up with a way to benchmark the capacity of the site. It would be nice to know exactly what kind of pounding the codebase could take.

Implement OpenID on

I was driving back from Sacramento one night when I had a revelation about how one might implement decentralized centralized user authentication for Websites. When I started looking around to see if anyone was doing what I was thinking about, I found that the guys at were doing almost exactly what I had thought of, though there were some issues with the implementation at the time. I carefully weighed my options, and rather than using my copious free time and obvious genius to get involved and fix the perceived problems, I think I elected to watch TV and play video games. Eventually the sxip technology morphed in OpenID, and, for the most part, it seems to work. I implemented one of the early incarnations of the library for the code, and for all I know it still works, but I’ve been less successful finding a good WordPress plugin. One guy seems pretty close, and if he hasn’t released a stable version by the time to get around to working on this, I’ll try playing around with his beta.

Unit testing and monitoring

One of my chief goals is to build a codebase I can use for rapid development of new sites. I had two sites in mind when I started, and one of them,, I already built before realizing that it wasn’t very exciting and not something I had any desire to work on long term. However, that doesn’t mean don’t want to it stay up and running. Since it’s running on the same alpha code that runs, there’s a very real chance that any changes I make on skedevel will break precautionmail, and it’s unlikely I’d notice it for weeks, since, let’s face it, precautionmail is boring, and there’s not a lot of incentive to make sure it’s working properly. Therefore, I need to implement some sort of functionality to monitor that the major functions of the site are working correctly, beyond just some sort of simple pattern matching HTTP check (though that would be a good start). Since fully testing the site involves logging in, writing a message, and verifying that it was delivered after a preset period of time, there could be some fairly major engineering involved.

Find a new WordPress theme.

When I first implemented WordPress, I liked the default theme, and I thought that most people using WordPress would change the theme- thus rendering my site, using the default, kind of original. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but I have decided that it’s always lame to use the default. Even I were the only one in world doing it, I would still be lame, because using the default is lame almost by definition.