December 2002

December 31, 2002

Last Post of 2002

My last day of this year includes (but is not limited to) tea to wake me up, shaving off a vacation’s worth of beard, watching the squirrel in the tree out the window, taking the BART into the City with Tabitha, eating lots of food, finally seeing The Two Towers, wandering through the cold and rainy streets of San Francisco (possibly until midnight), heading home and conking out to rest up for our big New Years Day.

See you all in the new year!

December 31, 2002

Down to the Wire

Order prints with iPhoto.

iPhoto is currently in the process of uploading the Festivus photos. Which is good because there’s only 21.5 hours left until the offer expires and I want to enjoy my New Year’s Eve. Thanks to everyone who got some prints. Between the 48 photos that were ordered and the 44 that I added and the eight cards I made we managed to take full advantage of the offer that came with my .Mac membership.

Speaking of .Mac, my sister Nani put together a little digital movie a while back on my laptop while I was home for Thanksgiving. We’ve now got it hosted on Apple’s server. You should be able to play it but I haven’t built a real page for it yet so let me know if you have any problems. You’ll need QuickTime of course.

Finally this evening I’ve made some behind the scenes changes to the weblog. Now I can use any blog software which supports the MetaWeblog API to edit this weblog. For example, I’m currently using the NetNewsWire Pro beta rather than my homegrown Blogizer which was fun to build but tended to need a lot of maintenance.

December 30, 2002

Y2K3 Minus 2

Tabitha and I will be heading back to Berkeley tomorrow afternoon to settle back into the lives we’ve been on vacation from for the past few days. I hope that anyone who’s been visiting the site while we’ve been on hiatus have been enjoying their winter activities whatever they may be. We’ll try to fall back into a more regular posting schedule once we’re back to our own desk and DSL. Until then, have a happy new year!

December 20, 2002

Moodstats For Ten

Yay! Moodstats now runs natively in Mac OS X. Downloading now, more later. [Later: It’s a little bit buggy but it works and it’s native so I’m happy. Plus, the Moodstats website got a bit of a redesign which is always nice.]

Yesterday there was a Mac OS X update (10.2.3) and today there’s a Developer Tools update (December 2002) and a preview version of the new Script Builder. Nice!

[Also: I started a new forum subject to serve as a place to talk about sketchy current events.]

December 18, 2002

The Goose Is Getting Fat

I am not the goose. I am down to the tightest notch on my belt. I would compare my current weight to my college weight but I have no figures for either and am wearing a different belt these days. It suffices to say I am slimmer. I owe this primarily to my NorCal lifestyle which involves more walking, less drive-thru, and even the occasional hike. But none of this is neither here nor there.

The iWalt.com Festivus will shortly be drawing to a close so if you’d like a free print of any of the photos in the photo section please make your selections soon. Thanks to everyone who’s placed an order so far.

We here at the ‘Walt are looking forward to a winter break which will decend upon us in two short days like so much warm glowing television, soft leather couches, and loving friends and family. If you’re in our neck of the woods, look us up.

December 15, 2002

Nemesis Is Good Star Trek

The Star Trek insignia.

Despite the many bad reviews and general “bleh” attitude toward the latest chapter in the Star Trek franchise, I found it to be a more than worthy addition to the series and hardly deserving of such low praise. Maybe the naysayers haven’t seen a Star Trek movie recently, maybe they’re expecting Shakespeare for some reason. People, it’s Star Trek. It’s supposed to be nerdy and dorky. I want them to bounce around as the bridge explodes and make cheesy jokes and be the only ship in the sector who can save Earth.

So, for what it’s worth, I liked it. Tabitha agreed it was a good Star Trek movie. It even continues the tradition of being a good “even numbered” movie after the rather forgettable Star Trek Insurrection. The fine folks at the Iconfactory agree.

December 14, 2002

Get Your Trek On

My lovely girlfriend and I are off to see Star Trek Nemesis in a few minutes. My expectations are low but I’m planning on enjoying it. As much as possible anyway. It can hardly be any worse than watching a young, horny Jedi teen make a sickeningly awkward series of passes at an equally embarassingly portrayed Nabooneese sentator. Am I right?

Yes, Tabitha finally acquiesced to my series of beggings, pleadings and sobbings and agreed to go. She’s sweet.

If there are any iWalt.com visitors who are Moby fans and dig his online journal you might be interested in our new Moby RSS feed. So far, it seems to be working.

December 12, 2002

Optimizations

Tonight, the home page builds itself about 10 times faster than it used to thanks to a smarter database query to determine whether there are unread weblog comments. This tweak should improve the load time of all the weblog pages. It took me quite a while to find the offending subroutine that was causing the sluggishness but then again I rarely do much optimizing.

I’m also very happy to note that Blogdex is finally indexing this site after much inexplicable ignorance and much whining by yours truly.

Finally, I was also excited to discover that middle-clicking links in Chimera opens the URL in a new tab. Which is quite nice. Also, the small toolbar icons were optimized to leave less vertical whitespace around them which reclaimed hundreds of precious pixels. It just gets better and better.

[Also: I can’t find a single person in Northern California who is enough of a Star Trek geek to wanna see Nemesis on opening day. Grr.]

December 11, 2002

Optout

Matt Haughey reminds us all to opt-out of SBC’s evil marketing practices.

Tabitha and I have enjoyed unprecedented crap on our current phone line. Fax calls come sometimes three times in a row in the middle of the night (“Beeep, beeep, beeep…”), phone spammers call and launch into infinitely long sales pitches in Chinese (“Ni how…”), and all manner of phone spam arrives on our answering machine (“You’ve won a contest…”, “You can remortgage your home…”, “All we need is your credit card number…”). It’s not really bad enough to warrant the hassle of changing the number and even if we did I suspect we’d still have problems. Spam sucks.

December 10, 2002

It’s a Festivus Miracle!

Lots of photos.

iWalt.com Photos is proud to announce our holiday photo giveaway program. For an extremely limited time, we’re offering free prints of any of the photos in the photos section. That’s right, you pick ‘em, we’ll print ‘em and mail ‘em. All free. Why would we be so generous? Let’s just say we have a 100 free prints and we have to use them all by the end of the year.

Now, this wouldn’t be a true holiday giveaway if there weren’t at least one condition. Here it is: I guarantee nothing. You may or may not recieve any photos from me. But since it’s free you’re not really risking anything so give it a shot. All you have to do is log in, go to the photos section, and click “Order This Photo” under any photo to add it to your list.

Some of you might be thinking, “I don’t want your crummy photos. I want my crummy photos.” Well, that’s the beauty of the iWalt.com Photoshare system. Any member can upload groups of photos. And any of those photos can be ordered. (Er, if you’ve uploaded photos and don’t want people to order them, please email me.) Enjoy.

December 9, 2002

Bedtime Story

In the Classic Mac OS there was a great little tool in the Finder which made accessing commonly needed system preferences a cinch. It was called the Control Strip. It sat by default in the lower left hand corner of the screen and quietly performed its duties well. It could be expanded or collapsed, it could be horizontally resized or repositioned along the y axis of either side of the screen, and best of all is was extensible. Anyone could write plugins for it. And all was right with the Universe.

Then along came Mac OS X 10.0 and the Dock. The Dock wanted the bottom of the screen for itself. And the little Control Strip died a quick and silent death. The Dock thought it could handle everything the little tool could do. Why not? The Dock is part of Aqua! Nothing that looks as glitzy as anything that’s part of Aqua could be sickeningly unusable to the point of absurdity. So the Dock was given some items which handled similar functions like indicating the remaining battery power and developers began churning out more useful tools as well.

But before long it became clear that the Dock couldn’t handle all the tools it was being loaded up with. “I’m for switching between apps and windows that are currently running! All the rest of this crap doesn’t belong in me! Why does everyone hate me? I’m sorry I broke Fitts’s Law! Whaa!” So Apple killed the Dock Items and created Menu Items for OS X (10.1). Now the tools that had moved from the Control Strip to the Dock now lived on the right hand side of the menu bar. It made sense, Apple had put stuff there before. And they looked sharp with their simple black-on-white 16x16 icons.

Apple was on the right track. The items were small, they were reorderable, they could be inserted and removed with ease, and best of all, it was still extensible. If anything, Apple had made the Menu Items too well, and once again, third-party developers started making their own very useful tools to make use of the feature. But Apple felt that the space was too precious to be used by third-party schmoes so in the latest major release of the OS (10.2), they crippled the ability for anyone but them to use the Menu Item functionality.

Developers now have no way of building Control Strip Items, Dock Items, or Menu Items. But, being the inventive sort that developers tend to be, they found a way around Apple’s Eastern Bloc-style defense of the menu bar. It isn’t as slick, you can’t reorder the items or simply drag them out of the menu bar to remove them, and you have to run them like an Application to turn them on, but it works. Sort of. In a, “Why do these practically identical interface elements have such inexplicably different functionality fer crap’s sake?!” kinda way.

That’s where we are today dear readers. I, for one, can’t wait to see how Apple tries to ruin a once brilliantly simple way for developers to provide access to deeply nested preferences which require frequent reconfiguring next. Maybe in 10.3 they’ll move the Control Strip items to the middle of the menu bar. Maybe they’ll arrange them in a circle in the center of your desktop in a randomly appearing/disappearing animation which dares you to guess where they’ll pop up next. Nothing would surprise me at this point.

December 8, 2002

Five Things I Learned Today

  1. Finding parking at the Berkeley REI during the holiday shopping rush is hellish.
  2. Chipotle makes the best burritos in the Bay Area I’ve encountered thus far.
  3. It is possible to replace the lightblub outside my front door.
  4. Our big bookshelf really needed to be cleaned and organized.
  5. The last thing you want to do if you’re trying to psyche your girlfriend up to see Star Trek: Nemesis is to watch Star Trek III: The Search for Spock with her.

December 5, 2002

The Holiday Spirit

Pingthing 2

It’s officially friggin’ cold in the Bay Area so we’re winterizing iWalt.com for the holiday season. I broke out the cap and gloves for the short walk to and from the BART station today and it was a big improvement. I also dug out my one string of lights the other night and strung them around our two front windows. Now to get to that holiday shopping.

But first … there are a couple of changes in the code section tonight. I’ve been tweaking the Blogizer and Pingthing as well as cooking up some other cheesy little projects. Check out BARTastic if you’re running Mac OS X. It’s simple but it’s cool and really handy. (For me anyway.)

Also, Sam is back in China and has started up a new weblog. Check it out.

December 3, 2002

Refining the Refinements

That’s all we ever seem to do around here. Build something new, but wrong. Tear it down and build it again. And again. Goto 10.

Tonight we’ve corrected a recent change to the masthead which had left things leaning a bit to the left in some browsers. (Internet Explorer 5.5 for Windows, I’m looking at you.) Please let me know if awkwardness persists.

Some subscribers to the weblog RSS feed will be getting redirected to a slightly different (more correct) URL now. Please excuse our dust.

And for those of you who love your RSS feeds, we proudly present our latest, the weblog comments feed. Enjoy.

December 3, 2002

Up and Down

Our good friend Rob has recently jumped back into the blogosphere. The domain was in place, a host was found, Movable Type was installed and now we can all get fresh Rob served fresh to the RSS aggregator. Happiness.

Nick, on the other hand, has decided to take a break and reevalutate.

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