Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm Going Back There

Dreamworks Animation's Oscars, originally uploaded by smithco.

In the summer of 2007, I took a short tour of the Dreamworks Animation campus. Now, I'll be starting a job there in October.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Flickr Learned LOLspeak & OS X Screen Captures

Flickr Learned LOLspeak, originally uploaded by smithco.
Flickr greeted me with a boisterous "O HAI" this morning. I laughed out loud.

This also reminded me of a good OS X tip.  Screen captures in OS X are really easy.  ⌘-Shift-3 will drop a PNG-format image file on the desktop for each screen.  ⌘-Shift-4 will give a cross-hair selector to grab a portion of the screen: just select a region and a PNG appears on the desktop.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Google Pages is Closing; Google Sites is Open

I've been using Google Pages to host some odds and ends.  Mostly, I've only used it for static content that isn't easily stored on this Blogger site.  However, Google has decided to depricate the Pages service in favour of the Google Sites service.  Google has posted an explanation.

I'll have to move my stuff.  That's OK.  I wasn't enamoured with Google Pages, but it was as good as any place for some free webspace.  Google Sites has a better interface and is generally easier to use, though the structure of the content is far less flexible.  I prefer ease over flexibility anyways.

Over the next while, my miscellaneous stuff that was over at my Google Page will move to my Google Site.  Generally, this is a non-issue, except that my current résumé is now moved.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

iCal/GCal Integration Works Really Well

Google has finally opened up CalDAV support in Google Calendar. Simply put, this means Apple iCal and Google Calendar can sync with each other directly now. There's no more need for a third party tool like spanning sync.

So far, the syncing works really well. My Google Calendar shows up as a new calendar in iCal, and any edits and additions I make to it in iCal show up a few minutes later in Google Calendar. There are some limitations to the service, but none of them have been an issue for me in regular use.

Instructions on how to set this up can be found in the Google Calendar documentation.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Résumé and Acceleware's Demise

I've posted an updated version of résumé.

I'm on the job hunt again after getting downsized.  Acceleware, the company I was working for, has hit a financial crunch and they fired half the employees, myself included, last week.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Time Machine is Awesome and How to Reset the Administrative Password

The hard drive in my MacBook failed this weekend. I have the worst possible luck when it comes to hard drives. It's the fourth drive that's failed for me in under a year's use.

Thankfully Apple made it easy for me to back up and to restore a system. Time Machine is awesome. I plug my external hard drive in and it backs up my whole system without any hassle. But what was better is how well the restore went, well almost how well it went.

First, I had a new drive put in my MacBook. It's a good thing that hard drives are getting cheaper! And then I installed Leopard. After the base install Leopard kindly asks me if I want to restore from a Time Machine backup, and I say yes. After waiting for my data to copy over I get two surprises.

The first surprise is that my password for login does not work. That's bad; I'll explain the solution after. The second surprise is that after logging in, everything is exactly as it was before the failure. All my documents and settings have been restored. It's amazing how well that part worked.

Now the password bit. I don't know how, but the install seemed to have initialised my account with a password other than what I had set before the failure. Perhaps Time Machine doesn't store passwords? That would make sense from a security perspective, but I would think that the installer should have prompted me for a new one.

But, it turns out that an administrative password can be reset using an installer disc. Pop the disc in, reboot and hold 'c' as boots back up. This will cause it to boot from the disc instead of the hard drive. Then, when the installer pops up, there's a Utilities menu on the top bar. Under that menu is a tool to reset passwords.

After my password was reset, I'm happily again using my MacBook!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Firefox 3 With LinkedIn Plug-In is Unstable

I've been using Firefox 3 (beta 5) lately, and generally quite like it. However, I've been having stability and speed problems. Thankfully, I've finally found the culprit: the LinkedIn plug-in. After disabling that one, Firefox 3 is suddenly speedy and stable! I just hope that I'm not posting this prematurely ...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Phantom Front Row Entries

I've been finding a number of dead entries in the Podcasts menu in Front Row lately. Podcasts that I've listened to and have long since been deleted. Mysterious.

It turns out that there is an enigmatic sequence of events that cause the iTunes database to retain entries for deleted items. I never did find out what are the particular causes for this to occur. However, there is a way to fix these phantoms of podcasts past.

After a few dead ends, I found a thread on the Apple forums about this issue. No one knew why it happens, but one astute poster had a solution. Luckily, Doug has a script that searches the iTunes database and excises incorporeal entries. One run of the script neatly solved the problem. Huzzah!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Fixed My Logitech Bluetooth Mouse

I really do like my Logitech Bluetooth mouse. It's great to have a wireless mouse that does not eat up a USB port on my MacBook. Unfortunately, over the last few weeks it started performing poorly. The cursor was dragging around slowly and jumping a lot.

Crud. I figured it must be due to one of the major Leopard updates. But, no one else on the Internet seems to have a similar problem. Could it be that there's a physical fault developing in my mouse? I hope not. The M-RBB93 is a hard to find model: it's not flashy or expensive enough to warrant a shelf spot among the 27-button MS über-mice.

After a few weeks of hunting for an answer, I discovered the problem! I leaned in a bit closer to my mouse and realised that my mouse pad had a nice layer of mouse turds. There was simply enough gunk built up from the last few years to throw off the mouse's laser.

The problem was easily fixed by taking a washcloth to my mouse pad. Now, my mouse works like new again. It's nice to know that sometimes a simple solution is still the best fix.