Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Hidden features in OS X 10.3 calculator

Mac OS X Panther (10.3.2)
Hidden capabilities in the Panther Calculator

Norman Palardy

* Navigate to where the Calculator is installed (likely the Applications folder.)
* Control click the application and select 'Show Package Contents.'
* Navigate to Contents/Resources in the Calculator Contents. In this folder you will find:
* Move these to the Contents/Plugins folder

Start the calculator and behold; 2d graphing, an expression worksheet mode, and a hexadecimal calculator with boolean operations.

Still not as neat as the little known OS 9 graphic calculator, but impressive nonetheless.

Apple's quality control problems: the bright side (iBook fiasco)

The Register:Dead iBook owners take protest to MacWorld show
One of the best reasons to buy Apple products is that your fellow consumers are savvy, demanding, and vengeful. Apple has the same quality control issues that curse the entire consumer hardware/software industry, but Apple can be held accountable. (BTW, in my personal experience Microsoft's software quality control is now superb, much better than Apple's.)

There are some advantages to buying a brand, especially a brand with a demanding community. I think Porsche may have learned similar lessons in the 1980s. The article has links to the Blackcider site that's managing the potential litigation.

Apple still has many things they can do to turn this from a potential disaster into a postive for the company. They can learn from recalls in the auto industry.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Apple LaserWriter Select 360 Printer Cartridges: DEC DecLaser 3500M (LN14X-AA) -zShops: DEC DecLaser 3500M (LN14X-AA) (1 Toner Cartridge Per Case) (4,500 Page Yield)
DEC DecLaser 3500M (LN14X-AA) (1 Toner Cartridge Per Case) (4,500 Page Yield)
Price: $76.99 s&h fee $5.50
Description: DEC DecLaser 3500M (LN14X-AA) ($76.99 Each) 1 Compatible Toner Cartridge Per Case (4,500 Page Yield).

I ordered an Apple LaserWriter Select 360 printer cartridge, part number M1960G/A, from an "z-shop". The vendor I dealt with corresponded under the name "Image Enterprises". The email was all UPPER CASE and rather loosely formatted. I imagine a one person shop.

Whatever lies behind the moniker the service was very good. They were unable to locate an Apple manufactured cartridge; I wasn't surprised as I knew the last supplies were all but gone. They offered me, instead, a DECLaser cartridge.

It turns out that the DECLaser 3500 series cartridge, part number LN14X-AA, appears to be completely identical to my original Apple manufactured cartridge.

[F/U 2/10/04 -- from usenet, which is back and better than ever ...

Xerox Laserprinter 4505 = DEC DecLaser 3500M (LN14X-AA) = Apple LaserWriter Select 360 printer cartridge, part number M1960G/A ?

Hmm. That's an interesting equation for LW 360 owners. Putting that equation into Google gave me this URL:

And this list of equivalent products

Apple Select 360 - Fuji / Xerox 5/10
OEM Part Number: M1960G/A
Compatible M1960G/A Laser Cartridge Guaranteed to meet or exceed OEM standards Fits the Following Printers:
Apple LaserWriter Select 300
Apple LaserWriter Select 310
Apple LaserWriter Select 360
Apple LaserWriter Select 610
DEC DecLaser 3500m
DEC DecLaser 3500n
GCC Elite 600
GCC Elite 600et
Star Micronics LS-5
Star Micronics LS-5EX
Star Micronics LS-5TT
Xerox 4505
Xerox 4505ps
Xerox 4510
Xerox 4510ps

Looks like it was a Fuji-Xerox engine initially.

MacFixIt - iBook screen problems: Injured wires, logic board failure

MacFixIt - iBook screen problems: Injured wires, logic board failure
Superb summary of the iBook design flaws. It looks like Apple outsourced too much of the design. Some argue Apple should lose its Quality certification -- not sure what that means.

iBook design defects: how to avoid them (Macintouch)

MacInTouch Home Page
David Shanahan offered some important tips for avoiding trouble with iBooks.

I recently had the video die on my 800 MHz G3 iBook for the first time when it was almost out of warranty. It was fixed, though apparently because of the high demand for iBook logic boards it took three weeks to get it back. So far it's working fine but based on others' experience this is unlikely to last.

I started reading the Apple support forums on the subject of video failures in iBooks while I was waiting for mine to be repaired. It seems there are two basic flaws in the white (Dual USB) iBooks (both 12' and 14' models) which Apple seem to be studiously ignoring despite complaints about them being widespread for over a year now:

1. The hinge design is faulty. Backlight, video and power cables pass through the hinge from the logic board to the screen and the holes are too small for the cable assemblies resulting in stress and friction on the cables each time the screen is opened or closed. Eventually one or more of the cables either break or the insulation wears through resulting in a short and the backlight/video fails. This is often accompanied by fuzzy lines on the screen or users finding that the screen fails when tilted at certain angles and works at others. If your video works fine when you plug the iBook into an external monitor then this is most likely your problem. There are links in the Apple support forums to a site describing in detail how to disassemble your iBook and replace such broken cables, though you'd want to be pretty confident to try this as it will of couse void any warrenty you have left.

2. The video chip on the motherboard comes loose when its solder gives way leading to video failures, usually with no warning. This may be triggered by flexing of the case putting strain on the chip until it eventually comes loose (some have suggested never picking up your iBook by the left-hand side alone as this is where the video chip is). If after a video failure you plug in an external monitor and it doesn't work this is most likely your problem and you need a new logic board. Some people have tried pressing down hard on the left-hand side of the case just below the option key to the left of the track pad and managed to get video back temporarily (apparently this reseats the video chip). Others have reported some success sticking rubber bands/thin foam insulation on the underside of the shielding over the video chip to protect it from flexing/pressure from the case. Seems like the case really needs to be reinforced to stop it flexing like this and/or the location and soldering of the video chip changed.

These problems appear to be common with every model of white iBook from the original 500 MHz up to at least the 900 MHz G3s. The new G4 iBooks may have the same problem(s) but they're so new it's probably too soon to tell for sure (the hinge design has apparently not changed). [...]

P.S. I'd advise readers to avoid buying 2nd hand white iBooks - many people seem to be selling theirs after the 2nd/3rd/4th logic board replacement and buying something else (not always another Apple product of couse, which has got to hurt Apple if they continue to ignore these problems).

In short:
1. Open and close an iBook as infrequently as possible, move it with both hands. In short, treat it like it's made of glass.
2. Apple should admit the problem and provide an out-of-warrantee solution.
3. Apple is not completely censoring these discussions on the Apple support forums. Montreal HotSpots, Search Results
A pretty good list! I used to frequent some of those eateries and cafes 20 years ago. I'm amazed they're still around.

Blackcider site on Apple iBook Logic Board (motherboard) problems: Flickering screen? You're not the only one.

Apple iBook Logic Board (motherboard) problems: Flickering screen? You're not the only one.
Letter to Apple® CEO, Steve Jobs:

Dear Mr. Jobs,

You've got some serious problems with your iBook® machines...and your customer service representatives.

My iBook died after only 6 months of careful use. As it turns out my logic board failed...but you probably already knew that.

I sent my Apple iBook® in to be repaired but was told that the logic board was 'damaged' somehow and they would not replace it under my one-year manufacturer's warranty. I argued that I had never opened the case before (nor do I own the funny star-shaped tool required to open it even if I wanted to! I did open the metal plate that exposed the RAM module on the instructions of tech-support representative "CK". He told me to replace the factory installed RAM with the original RAM because the RAM might be the problem. I hope that you are not suggesting that you will not replace my defective motherboard because I followed the instructions of your tech-support staff!). I argued about it until the technical support person put me in touch with Sheila, your customer support person.

Sheila told me that she was 'not a technician' and didn't understand the 'technicalities' of the problem. Sheila also told me she was, indeed, looking at the report and that if the 'technical' people say they won't honor my one-year warranty, then that's the way it is. I told her that I was confused about the problem of the damaged logic board, again telling her that I had never opened the case, that it was only 6 months old. I asked if she could send me a copy of the report so that I could understand. At this point she laughed out loud at my request and promptly said, "no".

Is this how your Apple® customer service representatives are trained to handle distressed laughing out loud at them? I am furious over this lack of consideration and professionalism. I am furious that I owned this iBook® only 6 month before it broke due to a foreseeable, thus preventable problem. And I am furious that you won't honor your warranty and replace this defective equipment.

So. I now own a 6 month old, $1600 paperweight due to a faulty logic board. You still market this equipment and still, apparently, deny that the problem exists at all. Is it cheaper just to fix them one at a time rather than to announce a recall on the entire iBook line? Is it that an official equipment recall would cause a public relations black-eye for Apple®? Or maybe, just maybe, if people got wind of the fact that these laptops are a problem, no one would buy them, and it would affect your bottom line...then you'd have to explain yourself to your shareholders instead of just to me. I don't know the answers to these questions. I don't want to know.

Apple customers get mad, and then get even. There's been an even bigger furor about iPod battery replacements. I suspect Apple's quality control is inadequate (certainly their OS X releases have been spotty) -- but no-one's is great. I think price pressures have pushed quality down on most consumer goods, but especially laptops. I think digital cameras will start to suffer this year.

AppleCare is probably a necessity, not a nicety. So when pricing Apple products, always include the AppleCare cost as part of the product price. Some credit cards will also extend warrantees on defective goods, typically for up to one year. We'll see how or if Apple responds.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Using a PC to burn a Mac Disk Image (DMG) to a CD

Whirlpool Forums - Thread: .dmg Image file:
I just burned a DMG of OS X 10.2 6C115. I used NERO to do it. I made OS X convert the DMG to a 'CDR.DMG' which is equiv to an ISO then I burned it. It even booted the Mac and installed the 6C115.

You can install the full OS x from that upgrade CD;
1.Insert your MacOS X 10.1 Update CD
2.Fire up 'Disk Copy' from /Applications/Utilities
3.Select from the Menubar 'Image | New Image from Device...'
4.Select your CD-ROM drive's contents from the resulting dialog
5.Image it as a 'DVD/CD Master' type (this will take a little while)

Modifying the CD contents
1.Control-click (or right-click) on the resulting disk image
2.See that it's mounted
3.Navigate with the Finder to System/Installation/Packages on
mounted image
4.Select the 'Essentials.pkg' file... right-clicking on it and select 'Show
Package Contents'
6.In the pop-up Finder window, navigate to Contents/Resources/
7.Drag 'CheckForOSX' to the Trash and close all these Finder windows

Burning your new Install CD
1.Go back to Disk Copy and select from
the Menubar 'Image | New Image from
2.Select the mounted volume you opened
up above and make another 'DVD/CD
Master' image
3.Now select from the Menubar 'Image |
Burn Image...'
4.Select your newly modified .dmg file
5.Burn it to CD and enjoy

This took some detective work to find. The post is actually describing a technique sometimes used to change an OS X update CD into an effective OS X new install CD -- Apple might not approve. There are legitimate uses however. I used this technique to create a 10.2.8 boot CD for my iBook. Worked great:

1. Create CD sized .DMG file using Disk Copy on OS X. (In this case I
used BootCD to create the .DMG file -- a bootable OS X 10.2.8 system
2. Put whatever you need on the .DMG file
3. Use Disk Copy convert to CD/DVD master.
4. rename the .cdr extension to .iso.
5. move to PC.
6. Open with Nero (File menu, burn image) and burn the CD.

Mike's Mac OS X Management Software and Tips: Recovering from a Blinking "?"

Mike's Mac OS X Management Software and Tips: Recovering from a Blinking ?
The simplest tip is to hold down an X on startup. I think that will boot OS X if it can be found. I wish I'd known that tip when an OS 9 boot failed, instead I booted off another CD. Mike also talks about using Open Firmware to change the blessed drive -- a maneuver strictly for the brave.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Lexar Card Readers: Firewire and more

Lexar Media
A nice set of readers, including a firewire reader that sells for $50 and is very fast.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

How to restore an iPhoto Library from and iPhoto Disc and recover from a corrupted iPhoto Database

Apple Discussion Posting

To restore a library from an iPhoto Disc open the disk in the Finder. You'll see a folder called iPhoto Library. Copy it to your drive. Rename it what you want and put it in Pictures.
Now you can use iPhoto Buddy, or iPhoto Library Manager, or iPhotos 'find library' function to open this. iPhoto will treat it as a standard library.

Here's how we're using this technique to restore a trashed iPhoto Library [1]. In this case the trashed Library shows only a single image in the Library view, but the Albums are intact.

1. Burn albums to CDs. Since the library is 1GB we'll split it between 2-3 CDs. Each will become a future new library to be managed by iPhoto Library.

2. Rebuild the library (Option-Shift click iPhoto, hold Opt-Shift until see rebuild dialog. Create new rebuilt library. This rebuilt library has a FULL library, but there are many duplicate images (with import date = time library is rebuilt) and some images have incorrect attributes (dates, names, etc). All the role information is gone of course.

3. Run the 'find unassigned' AppleScript against the rebuilt library. [2] Sort this and delete duplicates. When ready burn the 'Unassigned' album to CD

4. Using the restore technique outlined above, create hard disk based iPhoto Libraries from the CD iPhoto Library. As needed, open these and then insert the 'Unassigned' CD. Copy images to the appropriate Library.

iPhoto: A Potemkin Application?

Apple - Discussions - Restore from iPhoto Disc: Not Truly Possible?
I'd naively assumed that when one burned albums to an iPhoto Disc (CD/DVD) one could then restore the albums to iPhoto.

Today I actually tested that. I was stunned by the results, so I turned to Adam Engst's excellent book and a number of web searches. They all tended to confirm my fears.

Yes, one can drag and drop images from an iPhoto Disc into an iPhoto Library. But one can't drag and drop albums. If you drag and drop the SAME photo from two iPhoto Disc albums (one photo appearing in two albums), iPhoto stores TWO photos. The data relating a photo to an album is not transferred.

Please tell me I'm wrong. I've reviewed help files and online references and my iPhoto books. They all point in the same direction. The iPhoto help file suggests one can restore albums, but it doesn't say how. I suspect this functionality was scheduled for the release but didn't make it in.

Burning a CD from iPhoto 2 apparently does not, contrary to common perceptions allow one to restore an iPhoto Library. It's commonly known that one cannot restore roll information, but it is not widely understood that one cannot restore the relationship between a single photo and one or more albums that 'reference' the image file.

Backups of an iPhoto Library must be done using standard methods, such as Retrospect and Backup. Given the very high frequency of occult corruption of iPhoto databases, and the size of the Librarires, these are not ideal solutions.

iTunes is a very good application. I can't comment on iMovie. iPhoto 2 is infuriating. It has aspects of genius outweighed by great flaws. Database corruption is commonplace and hard to detect. Performance is laughable. (I overheard an Apple store employee trying to claim that 1000 records was a lot to handle, thankfully he was not a "genius bar" worker.) Then this -- the primary "backup" modality for iPhoto doesn't support a full restore of the work done. It's primarily a modality for sharing individual images.

Bottom line: iPhoto 1 shipped 6 months too soon, iPhoto 2 shipped 4 months too soon.

SimpleSpeaker for iPod Alarm Clock

MadsonLine Portable Power Devices
Piped music with SimpleSpeaker for iPod.
SimpleSpeaker is a very small and light stereo loudspeaker which works without batteries. It can be connected directly with the headphone jack of your iPod without using any audio cable.
The foldable design of SimpleSpeaker allows it to use the ipod both in horizontal and vertical position.
The SimpleSpeaker packs and travels easily and enables to use the iPod even as a travel alarm clock.

This sells for $10, probably cost $2 to make. Authentic Chinese packaging, I think this was made for the Chinese marketplace. Horrid tinny sound. Comes with two speakers, one would be plenty. At maximum iPod volume this unpowered speaker puts out just enough music to awaken a light to medium sleeper. It is compact, though the sound jack always protrudes.

For the price, weight, and size it's worth sticking in luggage so the iPod can be a travel alarm. There are much nicer speakers for a bit more money and heft. I think for this purpose a "Lollipop" mono speaker of a bit better quality with sound jack that rotated internally would work better and could sell for $12.

Monday, December 15, 2003

macosxhints: Eject stuck CDs using open firmware or muouse

macosxhints: Eject stuck CDs using open firmware
I had a CD get stuck in my slot-loading superdrive Aluminum Powerbook, running 10.3. The CD became unresponsive and not recognized by my computer at all! Here is the fix.

Hold Control-Command-Option-Eject Button; this will shut down your computer. Turn the power on with the power button and hold Command-Option-O-F -- this will boot you into open firmware. Now type eject cd and wait until the CD pops out. Type mac-boot and you are ready to rock!

[robg adds: As mentioned elsewhere on the site, you can also try holding the mouse button down during boot to force the system to eject any inserted CDs.] - Places to just skate through life - Places to just skate through life
NorthShore Marathon
Duluth, Minn.
Running 26.2 beautiful and mostly flat miles along the shore of Lake Superior,
"this race was selected as the top skating marathon in the USA by
With more than 4,000 participants and growing, it is the largest skating event
(scheduled for Sept. 13) in the country." Difficulty: advanced beginner and

Friday Night Skate
This is "an incredible skate through the streets of Paris — at night and with
about 12,000 of your closest skating friends. Even though 'night skates' now
take place all over the U.S. and Europe, Paris ranks as the grande dame of them
all. Escorted by police and organized by volunteers, this is a skating experience
not to be missed." Difficulty: intermediate and better.

Mineral Belt Trail
Leadville, Colo.
The MB Trail is a 12.5-mile ribbon of smooth pavement that circles Leadville,
offering views of Mount Elbert, Colorado's highest peak. "Much of the trail,
which boasts significant hills and an average altitude of over 10,000 feet,
winds through the town's historic mining district." Difficulty: advanced.

Venice Beach
Venice, Calif.
"Although it's a mecca for roller disco, hip-hop skate dancers and those wishing
to see and be seen, the roll along Venice Beach's waterfront bike path is for
everyone. While the path in Venice only runs several miles, you can continue
through other areas to make it a day of sun-drenched skating." Difficulty: advanced
beginner and better.

Pennsylvania Amish Area
Lancaster, Pa.
Although it is rarely billed as such, the Amish area here is a fantastic place
to skate. "On the back roads outside Lancaster, children play near one-room
schoolhouses, farmers work in their fields and buggies set the speed standard.
Rolling hills make this suitable only for those with good braking skills." Difficulty:
intermediate and better.

Withlacoochee Trail
Inverness, Fla.
On 46 paved miles along the Withlacoochee River from Citrus Springs to Trilby,
"the trail is mostly flat and quite scenic. The cute town of Inverness splits
the trail in half, allowing for a good overnight spot or a starting point for
an out-and-back skate." Difficulty: advanced beginner and better.

Rhône River Valley
Skating in Switzerland? Some of the greatest long-distance skating paths in
the world are here. "One of nine official bike routes and three official 'skatelines,'
the Rhône River Valley skate runs on paved paths and side roads from the German-speaking
town of Brig down to the French-speaking Lake Geneva region. With views of the
Alps, the path itself is mostly flat and superb for a multi-day skate." Difficulty:
intermediate and better.

Central Park
New York
"New York's most famous skating scene takes place in its most famous park. A
6-mile loop in Central Park is closed to automobile traffic twice daily and
makes an outstanding location for a recreational roll. It is even possible to
get a free braking lesson from the Central Park Skate Patrol." Difficulty: intermediate
and better.;

Berlin Marathon
"This is the biggest inline skating marathon in the world, with 12,000 inline
skaters expected on Sept. 27. The race accompanies the Berlin Marathon, a major
event on the running circuit, Sept. 28. The course is flat and fast, and the
weekend includes a pre-race pasta dinner and a post-race party." Difficulty:
intermediate and better.

A2A Road Skate
Athens, Ga.
"The Athens-to-Atlanta Road Skate (Sept. 28) is the premier distance skating
event in the U.S. Running 87 miles along country roads, this event is not for
the inexperienced or under-trained." Difficulty: advanced intermediate and better.

USA Today has a collection of "great places" in several categories.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Children's Books on Death and Dying--Reference

Children's Books on Death and Dying--Reference
Includes Badger's Parting Gifts and other classic books on death and dying, whether the dying person be human or animal

Friday, December 12, 2003

Zip-Linq cable for Tungsten E sync AND charging: buy the Zip-Linq mini-USB mouse

rom: (John Faughnan)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot
Subject: Zip-Linq cable for Tungsten E sync AND charging: buy the Zip-Linq mini-USB mouse
Message-ID: <>

Google Groups Posting

The Zip-Linq (USB 1.1 ONLY, not high speed) cable is my favorite 2003 product. A single mini-B cable works with

- the Tungsten E
- some digital cameras
- some cell phones
- the Zip-Linq mini-USB travel mouse
- the Zip-Linq travel charger / power adaptor

If you have a Tungsten E, I'd recommend buying the Zip-Linq mini-USB mouse and getting a very portable sync cable and a very portable optical mouse for $20.

For my other postings on the fabulous Zip-Linq devices, plus URLs, see:


Since Palm doesn't provide a standard replacement or travel charger for the T|E either a Samsung phone charger [1] or the Zip-Linq charger are good alternatives.

I'm now buying devices in part based on their integration of the mini-B adapter so they work with the Zip-Linq cable family and other similar devices -- including shared power adaptors.



"The port is a standard 5 volt/1 amp port, the same one used by many
Samsung cell phones. While I'm sure the E will sell in sufficient
numbers to spawn a line of chargers of its own, for now you can pick up
chargers for the Samsung A460/A500 and use them with the E. I've got a
Belkin car charger that works great. I use the car charger whenever

This quote is in the middle of a pretty decent, comprehensive review.

meta: jfaughnan, jgfaughnan, USB, standard, device, integration, travel, compatibility, Zip-Linq, PalmOne, Tungsten E, TE, T|E, Tungsten/E, mobile, cellphone

Apple - Discussions - Changes to the iBook power supply

Apple - Discussions - Changes to the iBook power supply
I own a 1.5 yo G3 dual USB 600MHz iBook. I have recently replaced the battery (down to 40 min life) and the power supply (crummy cheap plastic sheath came off the end).

The only replacements offered are the G4 power supply and battery. A few comments

1. the new battery is much higher amperage, on a G3 it's good for about 4-5 hours depending on whether one uses wireless or note.

2. The new power supply looks very similar to the old one, but it is improved. The plugs slide on and off and fit both power supplies, but the new power supply does not come with the international plugs that I think my iBook came with. The new supplies power cord is very heavy and has a 3 pronged plug, the old power cord was delightfully light and had a 2 pronged plug. The new cord will NOT fit on the old power supply.

The new 65W power supply outputs higher current.

The old supply was 24V 1.875A.
The new supply is 24.5V 2.85A

I'm a bit surprised that the higher Amp power supply will work with my iBook, but that's what the box and web site say.

The new power supply replaced the frail tip on the old one with a sturdier looking plastic cover, and the the plastic post on the old supply is now metal.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Panther supports JPEG 2000 with iPhoto?

MacInTouch Home Page
Tom Kornack shared some notes about JPEG 2000 and Mac support for it:

Large JPEG 2000 files in 16 bit format with a specialized color profile store my photography. It's the only compressed format that doesn't throw away 4 of the 12 bit dynamic range that comes out of my camera. On this subject I have three related points:
* iPhoto: I was floored when I plopped one of these files into iPhoto on my machine running 10.3 and saw it appear flawlessly, ready for manipulation, classification, etc. This was not possible using 10.2.
* SIPS: sips is a command line program that provides access to all of OS X's image manipulation routines. It is the only command line program that I know of that can handle JPEG 2000, high bit depth images, color profiles and everything else that one could want. All the images on my web site ( - while you're there, note the drop shadow css tag in effect if you're on 10.3 in Safari) are generated using this method. I believe that this is the single most powerful yet unadvertised new feature.
* Photoshop: I was surprised that the JPEG2000 plug-in that is provided with Photoshop CS produces files that do not open correctly in Preview or Graphic Converter. To see this effect, you must save a file for which the pixel dimensions are greater than the tile size.

This is quite extraordinary. It will be interesting to see how this will work with my Canon G2. I may start shooting G2 RAW images, then importing them and using GC to convert to JPEG2000 for import into iPhoto. Of course with an iBook with limited disk pace, a G3, and USB 1.x this would be strictly for test purposes. However if Apple does put out iPhoto 2.x or 3.x in the next few months, and especially if they put out the rumored thin client slate, I may have to buy a G5 sooner than I'd expected.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Using USB charging for multiple devices: iPod, Tungsten T PDA, cellphone and Zip-Linq

From: (John Faughnan)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.mac.hardware.misc
Subject: iPod, Cell, PDA: sharing an external USB power "standard" charger
Message-ID: <>

Keyspan and Zip-Linq sell the same devices, all produced in Taiwan.

They're doing some very interesting things, leveraging USB charger standards.

Note this universal charger: [1] with a USB connector. If one bought the USB accessory cable for an iPod, I wonder if one could charge with this. Note it emulates a USB power supply, the only "standard" low voltage power source. I also travel with a cell phone and a Tungsten T. Keyspan/Zip-Linq sell USB cables that work with this charger.

So, one could travel with a single charger, a set of Zip-Linq cables, and charge a PDA, Cellphone, and iPod (though not all at once, maybe rotating them one night at a time ... a bit tricky but I think I could do it ...).

Anyone want to try it out and report back?

Come to think of it, another way to so something similar might be to buy a compact powered USB hub. That would also have only one charger, but it could have 3-4 USB connectors. Or combine a passive USB hub with this device to charge multiple things at the same time. Interesting ...

meta: jfaughnan, jgfaughnan, charger, iPod, PDA, Tungsten T, cellphone, mobile phone, cell, charger, adaptor, adapter, travel charger, lithium, battery

[1] AC Wall Plug to 5V USB Adapter
ZIP-PWR-AC / UPC# 724580610137 / MSRP $19.99

This AC power adapter allows you to easily adapt your Ziplinq retractable charging cable to work from any 110VAC outlet. Provides 150-450mA output for super fast charges, even while using your phone. This portable and lightweight adapter rapidly charges NI-Cd, Ni-Mh and Li-Lon batteries in about an hour*.

• Works with any USB charger cable
• Input: 110-240 VAC 50/60HZ (compatible for international travel)
• Output: 5 VDC + 5%
• Min: 150 mA / Max: 450 mA

Saturday, December 06, 2003

MadsonLine Portable Power Devices: iPods and Portables

MadsonLine Portable Power DevicesAnother eclectic vendor of OS X/Mac portable hardware. Well known and respected.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Other World Computing: Mac upgrades, odd hardware

Other World ComputingAn eccentric Mac vendor who's been around for 15 years. Quite a selection of useful and plain odd equipment.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Installing Panther: bug in 10.3.1 breaks .dmg file mounting on some machines?

MacInTouch Home Page: "My sister just got a new iBook G4 and asked me to configure it. So the first thing I did after going though the setup stuff was to update it 10.3.1. I then tried to mount a .dmg file but it failed. Checking the boards I found this to be a known issue with no fix from Apple. One of the threads put me on the path to the solution, at least for me.
What I found from the threads is that there's a plist file that gets created the first time you mount a .dmg file. This file is called When I search for the file it was missing. That got me thinking, could this be the problem. The .dmg file won't mount because the plist is missing.
So to test my theory I reinstalled 10.3, but this time before upgrading to 10.3.1, I first mounted a .dmg file. Then I checked to make sure the file was created, which it was. Then I updated to 10.3.1, and now .dmg files mount just fine. So before upgrading to 10.3.1 make sure you have mounted at least one .dmg file so the plist is created.
It looks like I found a bug in 10.3.1 plists; if they are missing they are supposed to be recreated, like 10.3 did, but 10.3.1 failed to do so."

Cat lovers and rare beef eaters may be easy prey for automobiles ...

BBC NEWS | Health | Eat worms - feel better
One third of Britons carry the toxoplasma parasite in their brain.

Its natural home is the cat and it's spread in cats' faeces. It can be picked up by any mammal, from rats to cattle. The main way we get it is by eating undercooked meat (which is why 80% of the French are estimated to have it, with their love of rare meat).

Once we have it we have it for life, there's no way we can get rid of it.

Research shows it somehow manipulates rats' behaviour - it makes rats attracted to cats - their natural predator, so they're more likely to be eaten by a cat and the parasite can complete its life cycle.

For years scientists thought it had no effect on our behaviour, but now the parasite's changing their minds. Recent research suggests that people with toxyplasma have slower reaction times than those without and are also more than twice as likely to be involved in a traffic accident than those who aren't carrying the parasite.

The BBC news story is a tie in to a BBC broadcast. The broadcast sounds gruesome and fascinating. I've been following the UC/hookworm studies for years and I'm looking forward to the study publications. This Toxoplasma data is new to me though, and it's rather unsettling. It's not good news for people who have pet cats or who like their meat rare. Personally, I'm switching to well done, though it may be too late for me! Good news for dog loving cat hating vegetarians though ... (I think dogs don't get toxoplasma ...)

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Slashdot | Review of inMotion iPod Speakers

Slashdot | Review: inMotion iPod Speakers (updated)
The reviewer has a good point. For the price they should come with a standard iPod power adaptor and a firewire cable, and it's disappointing the speakers can't be angled. The iPod power adaptor is a marvelous travel companion, the inMotion speakers use a typical cheap wall wart.

These are popular, but if they came with an iPod power adaptor and iPod cable ... wow.

Maybe SONY will adapt their superb travel speakers in this way ...

OS X SMB networking '-36 errors' when connecting to Win2K servers

macosxhints - Avoid '-36 errors' when connecting to Win2K servers
Good discussion. I get these when my iBook goes to sleep, wakes up, and can't connect to the win2k server.

Wireless Internet access through cellular/PCS networks

Wireless Internet access through cellular/PCS networks
Rather nice and honest discussion of personal experiences with WLAN services on cell phones.

Usenet/Google Groups: "Why is Palm Desktop Mac so superior to Desktop/Windows"

Google Groups: View Thread "Why is Palm Desktop Mac so superior to Desktop/Windo..."
I'm one of a very small number of people who use Palm Desktop 4.1
(only available with T|E and T3, supports Date Book/Calendar
categories) on both Mac OS X and Windows. So I can pass on something
that may come as a bit of a surprise.

There's no comparison between the two applications, which look nothing
alike. Desktop/Mac is far superior to Desktop/Windows. One minor
example -- there's no way to export all appointments from
Desktop/Windows, in Desktop/Mac you have 3 export formats, as well as import
and "merge". On Desktop/Win you have a few paltry task filters, on
Desktop/Mac there are filters and views galore.

Turns out the Palm Desktop/Mac started life as Claris Organizer - a well regarded second generation Macintosh PIM from the 1990s. 3Com (just after US Robotics days, before Palm) bought it and created conduits for it. It's a pleasure to use compared to the clunky Windows Desktop app.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Updating an iBook to Panther -- the paranoid approach

Updating Panther with Classic
Last night I decided that prior to panther I should upgrade 9.2.1 to 9.2.2 (Panther doesn't contain Classic, you need a prior copy.) Booted Classic, ran update, got updates. Looked fine, booted up, put iBook to sleep, woke it up --- white screen. Had to restart -- got the evil folder with the question mark of doom. Booted off classic boot cd (came w/ ibook), found system folder on hard drive and switched startup disk back to os x. Restarted ok. Bad sign on several fronts. Reaffirmed my dark opinion of Apple's QA capabilities.

Now I'm leaning towards the Panther migration strategy of doom, which will also free up a GB or so of HD space. I'm guided here by a Tidbits ebook I downloaded for $5 (highly recommended), this is the kind of ultra-paranoid path the author took.

0. Do a full Backup 2.0 backup of the iBook to my server in addition to my usual Retrospect backups.
1. Put classic on a disk image (
2. Refresh my iPod, cleaning it out totally (so I've got a 30GB external drive). Move classic disk image to iPod. (Maybe try moving iMovie 2 to iPod to see if I can keep it.)
3. Do an archive and install on iBook, then move archive and home folder and applications, etc to iPod.
3. Do a complete HFS+ journaled reformat of iBook, including classic drivers, from Panther.
4. Clean install Panther on iBook then apply updates and install Retrospect client into Panther.
5. Move items back from iPod, refresh iPod and sync to restore music. Keep copy of the classic folder there for future use.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Canon i900D Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer

Steves Digicams - Canon i900D Color Bubble Jet Photo Printer
Considering the low cost of this printer, I might as well buy it when my HP depletes its next cartridge. I'll see if I can find someone to donate the HP to!

iPod: The Battery Status Indicator Is Approximate, testing battery

iPod: The Battery Status Indicator Is Approximate
Apple will service an in warrantee (1 year) iPod with poor battery performance. This tells you how to test.

Also, AppleCare for the iPod is $59 and extends the warrantee to 3 years. Since the battery will need replacing before 3 years have passed, this is a pretty good deal -- unless you lose or sell your iPod.

DVD Formats

DVD Wars: Cooling Down?
from the article and others: See

DVD Forum: (backed by Panasonic, Pioneer, Toshiba, and others): DVD-R, DVD-RW, and DVD-RAM recordable-DVD formats. Apple is in this camp.

DVD+RW Alliance (Sony, Philips, and others)


DVD-R specification: had been split into two variants—DVD-R for General and the professionally oriented DVD-R for Authoring ... most new DVD-R drives are designed to read all three types of disc

DVD-R and DVD-RW are essentially write-once and rewritable versions of mass-replicated DVD-Video discs, and both initially targeted video storage and DVD-authoring applications. Compatibility with set-top DVD players and DVD-ROM drives was essential.

DVD-RAM: designed for data-oriented tasks such as computer backup and archiving. This format works more like random-access computer media than a sequential-read DVD-Video disc. Since it requires a different-wavelength laser than other DVD formats, it's rarely supported by DVD-ROM drives or set-top players.... DVD-RAM's robust defect management and error correction features make it a popular archiving and record-keeping platform in niche markets such as libraries, movie studios, and the medical community.... (but it is becoming a niche solution?)

DVD+RW: Similar to DVD-RW, but newer DVD+RW drives may include a random-access mode (CAV) that competes with DVD-RAM.

DVD+R: newest format, 2003 debut? Writes to 8-9 GB.

Battery maintenance for your iBook

Battery maintenance for your iBook
Very useful description of a behavior I see in my old iBook battery -- an abrupt jump from 68% to 100%. Conversely, in use, it goes from about 38% to empty.

XBattery reads capacity when fully charged is 1.361Ah. A May 2003 battery had a capacity of 4.123 Ah, so this is pretty lousy.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

PowerBook and iBook: How to Calibrate a Battery for Best Performance

PowerBook and iBook: How to Calibrate a Battery for Best Performance
1. Plug the power adapter in and fully charge your computer's battery until the battery indicator lights turn off and the adapter plug ring goes from amber to green, which indicates that the battery is fully charged.
2. Disconnect the power adapter and use your iBook or PowerBook. When your battery gets low, you will see the low battery warning dialog on the screen. Continue to use your computer until it goes to sleep. At that point the battery has been sufficiently drained for calibration.
3. Connect the power adapter and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged again.

I think one has to folow a similar procedure with the iPod too. On first use Apple also recommends draining to sleep then charging to full.

When an iBook or iPod really loses its battery calibration, one may need to do a reset (standard reset on iPod, PMU reset on iBook) after plugging in the discharged device.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Burnz Features - CD burner for OS X -- looks very promising

Burnz Features: "-- Including Firewire burners. You can buy a Pioneer DVR-105 for about $150, drop it into a $60 firewire case, and have an external 'Superdrive' for your FireWire capable iMac, iBook, PowerBook or burner-deprived B&W G3 or later minitower. "

Sunday, November 09, 2003

DeLocalizer: make room for Panther

Bombich Software: DeLocalizerIt's said to free up about 1GB of room. I'll need to free some space before I try Panther (after the first set of fixes are out!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Hyatt on XUL and Mozilla

Surfin' Safari
So what is XUL anyway? It is an XML language whose tags consist of:

(1) layout primitives (tags like hbox, vbox, grid and stack)
(2) widgets (tags like menulist, menubar, toolbar, and button)
(3) commands, keyboard accelerators (tags like command and keyset)
(4) xul templates (for UI binding to back-end data, represented as RDF)

Hyatt's 1-2 page description of Mozilla's XUL implementation is by far the best concise description I've seen anywhere. He understands this material, and he can communicate it. Quite a neat little artifact that he seems to have tossed out fairly quickly.

Updating Classic with Panther install

Panther: Mac OS X 10.3: Part III: "Updating Classic

Don Hurter
With the Big Day upon us, I offer the following tip for people upgrading to 10.3 who still use Classic on an occasional basis. You can create a disk image (using Disk Copy) and install OS 9 and all support files there, including Classic apps if you so desire. This way, all your OS 9 material will be contained inside the image when you're not using it, yet fully accessible when the image is mounted. There are more instructions for how to do this on any of these pages:

I need only minimal Classic support, so I weeded the system folder down to the bare minimum by hand (why does the Apple Video extension still get installed these days?) For this I only needed a 300MB disk image, although others might choose 500MB just to be safe. I then put the image inside ~/Library/Classic Support (which is a folder I created just for this), but the image can reside anywhere. One neat trick with all this is that the disk image will mount automatically if you ever try to launch a Classic app. Another benefit with keeping the image size down is that you can burn it onto a CD for backup (although you'll need Toast if you want to make it bootable, as I did). And when you upgrade to 10.3, you only need to copy the disk image to your new installation and everything will still work fine... "

Friday, October 24, 2003

Altec Lansing inMotion Portable iPod Speakers

The Apple Store (U.S.): "This tiny, ultra-portable, battery-operated stereo system is the first powered audio system designed exclusively for the iPod. A highly efficient amplifier powers four full-range micro drivers to deliver a full spectrum of pure, distinct sound, while the revolutionary MaxxBass technology allows listeners to enjoy deep bass without lugging large speakers around. Best of all, connectivity is as easy as placing your iPod into the built-in dock or connecting it through the auxiliary port."
Em -- I want these for Christmas :-)!

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Apple - Discussions - SMB shared iTunes Lib: Dual Mac/Win Client

Editing a single SMB share iTunes repository from Mac and Windows iTunes clients.

I have iTunes 4.1 installed on a Win2K and WinXP box and on an iBook. The tunes all sit on a single SMB share. As a fairly expert OS X and Windows user who's been using iTunes for about 6 months, I feel it's blown away the entire PC music management world. Hence this question.

Has anyone tried the terrifying experiment of pointing every version of iTunes at the same iTunes library? Does the whole thing explode?

Thus far I've one machine (the iBook) that manges the main library and does the burning. I dropped the library folder on the other machines to build their view, so they each have their own repository.

For various reasons, depending on compatibiilty with the photo Vault feature of my iPod, I may switch the library management to the WinXP machine, redo my iPod with FAT32[1], and also sync my iPod there.

If I do that, I have two options for library management:

a. Point iTunes 4.1 on the other machines to the main machine and manage the respository from any machine.
b. Use Microsoft Remote Desktop from the other machines to control iTunes on the XP machine and share the library to the other machines.

Anyone experiment with option a? It seems by far the riskiest.


meta: jfaughnan, jgfaughnan, iPod, iTunes, LAN, mixed LAN, wireless LAN, shares, server, music server, 802.11b, ethernet, configuration, mixed architecture

[1] I'll put an HPFS+ image on the iPod drive for mounting on a Mac, but be able to use the iPod with a USB cable as a very large "thumb drive". An iPod that's a PC mountable USB drive, a firewire mountable HPFS share, a music box, a Photo Vault, a recording tool and a lightweight PIM is an intriguing proposition.

Friday, October 17, 2003

IPod now stores photos and sound

The Apple Store (U.S.)

Apple did a great job keeping the photo storage capabilities top secret, they've been LONG anticipated.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

The Tungsten E: Palm's latest version of the Palm V (Razor)

Palm - Support - Palm Tungsten E Handheld
My Usenet postings on the T|E

I'd been nursing a Palm Vx along for years. Finally it began an accelerated digitizer death spiral -- the usual way a Vx dies. (I think some internal epoxy gives way, it's an old manufacturing defect.) Since my OTHER Vx had recently done the same thing, I had to act fast. Fortunately I'd anticipated this, and I'd researched enough to figure I'd go for a Tungsten E.

Impressions and notes below.

0. It's a huge leap from the Vx to the T|E. In particular there have been 3 big changes, ordered here by how big an impact they've had on me:

- Palm OS 5: small impact, had to replace EasyLaunch and X-Master with non-free (but valuable) alternatives.
- Grafitti 2: medium-big impact, had to buy TealScript to recover.
- Data Model changes to base applications: BIG change, I'm still working through the implications.

1. PocketMirror Pro 3.1.5 sort of works with the new Palm apps but it doesn't support the new features (larger text limits, etc). In testing I've had an unusually large number of mini-disasters when synching to both the Palm Desktop and Outlook, however I was then using an earlier version of DateBk5 (which has since been fixed to work around bugs in the new OS and major changes to application data models). Currently, after much tweaking, I can sync Tasks (To Do) and Memos (Notes), but appointments and contacts are one way from Outlook to Palm.

The built-in Palm conduits do not support category-specific selective-synchronization -- a critical (and vastly underappreciated) requirement for synchronizing a personal PDA with a corporate Exchange server.

2. The TE is about the size of the Vx, but it's lighter and flimsier. Made in China and it feels like it. OTOH the Vx was almost $400 or 450 when it came out and the TE is $200. We'll see. It's definitely pocketable. The cover it ships with has nylon threads that make quite a mess of the front of the TE.

3. Battery life is similar to a PocketPC, nothing like the Vx of old. The screen, the CPU, the memory, even the OS all seem to contribute. I suspect that after the first year of use, as the LiOn battery ages, the T|E will discharge after about 6 hours of unconnected regular PIM type use (eg. not music, communications, networking, etc). Since a new LiOn battery costs a significant fraction of a new PIM, and the battery is not designed to be replaced, the T|E device has a maximum lifespan of about 18 months.

If you have a laptop at hand, keep the PDA plugged into a USB cable when not in use.

From Palm's point of view this corrects the biggest defect of the Vx: despite their defects they still lasted too long. No recurring revenue.

In addition to the fundamental power drains, there are software bugs and design flaws that drain the battery. Under some conditions I can't identify the TE "wakes up" from an alert then doesn't return to sleep. The front keys are not as well designed as those of the Vx or m500, besides being ergonomically less effective they are always activated when the TE is pocketed. This drains the battery and may have other obvious bad effects. You need to active the Keyguard feature. This basically disables the auto-on features of the buttons, and it even makes turning on by the power switch less effective (extra click).

Lastly the Palm doesn't come with adequate controls to manange screen brightness. Happily Dimmer works very well and is inexpensive at about $10. It helps quite a bit. Turn off beam receive as well.

Bottom line: it's wasteful and environmentally harmful, but one must be resigned to replacing this device every 12-18 months. All the more reason to spend $200 instead of $500 for the T3, which has similar problems.

4. The ROM is not upgradeable. So don't expect to put OS 6 on this device! Since the device has an effective lifespan of about 18 months (see battery, above) you should plan on switching to an OS 6 device in a year.

5. The Palm Desktop has changed quite a bit. The Mac version has a huge variety of ways to browse tasks (love it!) and the calendar has categories. The T|E calendar categories are compatible with the very latest beta version of DateBk5.

6. Migrating from an existing install takes some care. You need to go to the web site (link above) and carefully follow directions. Palm should have made this easier, but at least they're documenting problems that have been longstaniding and undocumented. (Going from a Palm to CLIE and vice-versa is twice the fun.)

7. The Tungsten E power brick is 8 oz. It's not as compact as a the Vx travel charger, but not as bad as I'd expected. The T|E does recharge, SLOWLY, via the USB sync cable. So if you have a laptop you could try plugging it into an "awake" (not sleeping) laptop overnight to charge. Be sure to disable "stay awake in cradle" and turn off the T|E when charging.

8. Why can't Palm standardize on their #$!#$! side rails. The TE won't accept the Vx or m515 covers. Is this incompetence or a desire to squeeze more money from long suffering customers? I think a mixture of both, the margin on the cases and covers is probably very large. I miss the lovely cover I had for my Vx, it was the perfect balance of pocketability, protection, convenience and usability. The TE's rail is not well designed. After only a few weeks of use the standard cover is sliding in and out of the rail.

OTOH, the TE WILL accept m5xx styli.

9. The TE will NOT work with the Palm "universal connector" (so much for their promises of eternal fealty to the connector). See #4 above. However it uses a STANDARD 5-pin mini-USB connector (same as the CLIE, but I'm not sure the slightly odd looking CLIE cable will charge the T|E), so the sync cable is cheap to replace. Not bad. I've bought several cables for $6 to $10 apiece, and I use them at work, home PC, home iBook, traveling, etc. It's great to be able to buy sync cables in bulk!

10. The infrared beaming between the Palm(tm) Tungsten(tm) T3 and the Palm(tm) VII and VIIx are not compatible. In general enough data structures on the TE have changed that beaming items to any device is somewhat problematic.

11. The bundled applications have changed quite a bit. There are relatively few in ROM applications. The CD comes with many applications from external vendors (Windows only), in many cases they replace older Palm applications. The Palm calculator and Palm Expense application have both been replaced by aftermarket items (which I like less), however they're still on the CD (X:\Palm Desktop\Device Apps Common: Calculator.prc and Expense.prc). Depending on how well your desktop installation performed (results vary) these apps may be in your desktop Add-In folder. I think there are also associated prc files for each that provide english language help files.

Older apps, especially security and encryption apps probably won't work. TealLock gave me a free upgrade! A lot of Palm software vendors are offering free or very low cost updgrades to OS 3 applications.

I had to upgrade a lot of my favorite Vx utilities. CIC's WordComplete, for example, TealLock, JFile, DiddleBug, DateBk5. Upgrade costs were minimal or absent. My version of WordComplete was OLD, for example, but CIC gave me a free upgrade. I did have to buy TealScript (Grafitti 1), TealMaster (OS 5 hack management) and TealLaunch (replacement for EasyLaunch); they set me back $45. (So the real cost of the T|E for me was closer to $260.)

12. Grafitti 2 sucks. Happily TealScript is one answer. It seems to work, but I've had to manually retrain a few problematic characters. TealScript and Jot/Grafitti 2 remind me of the true genius behind Grafitti 1. There's far more to G1 than meets the eye.

13. DateBk is my utterly critical app. Unfortunately when Palm changed the data model for the standard applications they broke a lot of aftermarket products, including DateBk. They also apparently introduced some nasty bugs. Happily CESD (DateBk's author) has worked around most of the problems in beta versions. DateBk5 fanatics should delay purchases of the T|E or T3 until a final compatible release of DateBk5 appears.

14. Mac users have a much better desktop app than windows users have. OTOH, Mac users lack the small tool for updating phone link scripts. Mac users can download phone link data from:

15. On the Mac when you add a photo it's automatically sized to the TE display and each image is about 30KB. They look decent. On a PC the entire image is stored. My images are 1.5-3MB EACH, so I'll be using the Mac to put images on my TE. I created an iPhoto album called "Palm". I move photos in and out of there, and every so often I 'select all' then drag and drop them onto the Palm image/mp3 installer droplet. Very easy.

(Yes, I know some people consider the PC approach to be preferable, but the Mac allows you to store full size photos on the Palm as well as providing the great little photo sizer.)

17. The screen is almost painfully bright. Dimmer is great (see battery life discussion, above).

18. I don't like the replacement for the up/down buttons. It looks pretty, but it's ergonomically stupid.

19. You can register Documents To Go, or you can simply install and let it get it's updates. If you register you can download the full installer for the newer version. It sounds like D2G will be one of the biggest advantages of this device; it offsets some of the things I need to replace. Get the latest version, some earlier versions causes a crash when included in the system search.

20. The TE will not sync with the standard downloadable Desktop 4.1, you need the new conduits. Both old and new conduits are installed with Desktop 4.1 on the TE and T3 CDs, you can't download this installer so don't lose the CD!

21. I experimented with associating colors with categories in the Palm Desktop. I have about 10 categories in my calendar, and midway through this process the color of the appointment text was set to the background color. In addition, I couldn't click on any appointment! It turns out nothing is "wrong", the problem is design flaw! When you bring up the categories list to assign colors to a category, you are SIMULTANEOUSLY specifiying which categories to show (ALL vs. a selected category). This mixed action mode is asking for trouble, in my case the day I looked at had no appointments in the filtered category. (The colors remain, but the text vanishes.)

Tungsten E: terrific review from an end user

Tungsten E - Jeff Kirvin
The Tungsten E comes in plastic bubble packaging like the low end Zires rather than a cardboard box. Personally, I like this, since it's easier to see the actual unit and you don't have as much to lug home. The thinner packaging is made possible in part because the Tungsten E doesn't come with a cradle, or even the connector to use with a cradle. The bottom end of the E sports a standard USB "mini-B" type connector and a round DC power port. The port is a standard 5 volt/1 amp port, the same one used by many Samsung cell phones. While I'm sure the E will sell in sufficient numbers to spawn a line of chargers of its own, for now you can pick up chargers for the Samsung A460/A500 and use them with the E. I've got a Belkin car charger that works great. I use the car charger whenever possible, but I have to say that reports of poor battery life on the E are greatly exaggerated. I wasn't too impressed myself at first, but after setting the IR keyboard driver to auto-disable after five minutes of inactivity significantly improved my battery life. I get about 5.5-6 hours now, similar to other color devices with 900mAH batteries.

Since the Tungsten E power adaptor is a monster, most people will need something better.

Monday, October 13, 2003

WiebeTECH - SATA DOCK - IDE to SATA device

WiebeTECH Micro Storage Solutions - SATADOCK

"Provides support for ATA-5 drives, allowing capacities to 120GB. Designed for easy drive attachment and removal. 1.5 Ghz transfer rate - really zippy! Uses the Silicon Image SATA bridge. May be used with Apple's new G5 computer's motherboard Serial ATA ports. (Perfect for transferring old IDE drives to your new computer!!) May be used with Serial ATA port equipped PCs. Available with or without +12V/2A adapter."
This company has a lot of neat devices. Handy way to add a new IDE drive without dealing with IDE bus limitations to a mb w/ onboard SATA.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Canopus Analog to Digital Converter


Seems higher quality than most of the competition. Firewire!

ALL-IN-WONDER 9600 PRO: analog video digitizing


The 9600 and 9800 sound interesting. Cost is about $250 for the 9600. Might be a good fit for my Intel P4 mb, it comes with onboard video that's one can disable and replace with a new video card.

If this has good reviews I might start doing home video sooner than anticipated. They bundle the Pinnacle software, which has a pretty reasonable rep.

One Intel doc hints that I could use XPs dual monitor support with this card and the built-in Intel graphics. That would justify a new flat panel monitor! Could get costly ...

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Apple AirPort Weblog: A great AirPort Extreme reference

Apple AirPort Weblog

This is a great site. Here I learned about the "Broadcom firmware and hardware that drives Apple's own Extreme cards."

iPod 1.1: How to Scroll to Any Point in a Song

iPod 1.1: How to Scroll to Any Point in a Song: "1. From the Now Playing screen, press the Select button (in the center of iPod). A diamond symbol indicates the point in the song that is selected.

2. Use the scroll wheel to go to any point in the song. The diamond symbol moves as you scroll, and the elapsed time and time remaining indicators change.

3. The song continues playing from the point where you stopped scrolling. You may also press the Select button to continue playing."

Using XP Automatated System Restore (ASR) to restore backups from network?"

Google Groups: View Thread "Use ASR to restore backups from network?"
ASR backup sets are to be stored on tape devices, removable media, or a
fixed drive that will be available at restore time. Storing an ASR backup
set on a network share is not supported by Microsoft... is possible...Go through the ASR process...the restore process
should hang at the point when NTBackup is called to start restoring data
back to your system. At this point, you will need to a map a drive to the
share and point ntbackup at this share. If you are needing to load drivers
at this point for a may be at a dead end...

See also Microsoft's article on how to restore. I'm going to test this one out ...

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Win2K Resource Kit Downloads

Free Tool DownloadsMany of these Win2K Resource Kit apps work in XP as well -- use at your own risk.

Another independent email service ...

FastMail: Fast free or paid IMAP webmail with SMTP, POP & IMAP accessI've seen some recommendations for this. Might be worth a look. Not sure what the .fm domain means. I think an email service based in a country or region with severe anti-spam laws might be interesting.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Palm/Palm Pilot: Updates on Chapura and Sync Exchange/Outlook

Palm/Palm Pilot: Personal Experiences and Tips

Latest tips on ongoing desperate attempts to get Outlook and Exchange and Palm to be nice in their treacherous 3 way synchronization dance.

1. Prior to a Chapura/Palm sync, hit F9 key to force a synchronization between Exchange and Outlook.
2. Set up Chapura to slow sync (sync at multiple machines - even if you don't).
3. Set conflict resolution so Outlook wins (don't duplicate).
4. Backup Outlook data to unsynched folders in case all data gets trashed or duplicated during a sync process.
5. Outlook XP (2002) has a different approach to synchronization, make sure all the chapura folders are included in the All Folder (F9) synchronization group.
6. May be safer to leave Outlook/Exchange connection state at "Automatic" rather than manual!
7. When sync problems occur, after cleaning up Outlook set next sync to overwrite the Palm completely.
8. If Exchange/Outlook sync problems occur, turn off offline use, delete the OST folder (in user/local data ...), turn on offline use again. Get synchronization working from Exchange to Outlook (check sync status for each Outlook folder using the sync tab, # items on server should match # on client) then set Palm sync to overwrite Palm data from Outlook.
9. Keep all clocks synchronized and correct, (really Chapura should set the clock on the Palm). Don't change timezone settings when traveling.

It's just coincidental that Outlook/Exchange seem to play poorly with Palm ... I'm sure ...

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

HotSpots for 802.11b access in Nashville, TN, a directory of public hot spots for finding Wi-Fi wireless Internet access network nodes

Bean Central West End Ave, Nashville, TN, 37203 Independent
2817 West End Ave
Nashville, TN 37203-1453
free 802.11b, near Centennial Park, far end of Vandy from the Courtyard Marriott

Bongo Java 2007 Belmont Blvd, Nashville, TN, 37212

Bongo Java Roasting Company 107 S. 11th St., Nashville, TN, 37206 independent

Plus a few more, but these sound interesting.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Windows XP shutdown from Remote Desktop

Microsoft TechNet
You can't (actually you can, but that's another story!) shutdown Windows XP from the GUI when logged in via remote desktop. Here's how to shutdown and restart.
Allows you to shut down or restart a local or remote computer. Used without parameters, shutdown will logoff the current user.

shutdown [{-l|-s|-r|-a}] [-f] [-m [\\ComputerName]] [-t xx] [-c 'message'] [-d[u][p]:xx:yy]

Parameters (selected)

Shuts down the local computer.
Reboots after shutdown.
Forces running applications to close.
-t xx
Sets the timer for system shutdown in xx seconds. The default is 20 seconds.
-c 'message'
Specifies a message to be displayed in the Message area of the System Shutdown window. You can use a maximum of 127 characters. You must enclose the message in quotation marks.
Displays help at the command prompt.

See also:

Enabling logon via RD in XP

PS. Remote Desktop Client for OS X can't handle the new XP "welcome screen", need to uncheck that from user logon options if you want to be able to connect after a reboot.

More tips on iBook batteries, and Lithium batteries in general

UPDATE 10/5/03: I think OS X 10.2.8 has improved the readout on the battery. Also the first thing I tried (see "First" below) seems to have worked. I only get about 1.5 hours from the battery, but it no longer dies with "30 minutes left". I think the estimate of power remaining is more accurate. The battery is clearly hurting and will need to be replaced ...
Six Log: iBook Battery Issues
First, with the machine open and running (running off the battery), leave it until the battery has reached 0%, and it forces itself into sleep.

Now, with the machine in forced sleep, close the lid, and attach the power. Leave for a few hours (make _really_ sure it's fully charged, by leaving it longer than normal).

Open the lid, and off you go!
You'll need to do this 1 or 2 times a month, after you've had the machine for 8 months or so, you'll need to increased that to 3 or 4.
But don't worry - you can continue to use the machine until you have to close the lid and leave it to recharge.
Already, after doing this 3 times, the battery has gone from 1hr 50 minutes after a full recharge, to a grand 3hrs 11 minutes!

I could explain the technical reasons; but bascially the Lithium Ion batteries that Apple uses, are super-advanced. The benefit is the longer life, and greater storage; but the downfall is the neccesity to 'refresh' the battery a few times a month.

I think battery problems with the iBook are a mixture of hardware/software problems and inherent issues with Lithium batteries. The iBook is probably about as bad as most computer/battery combinations. See also my earlier posts (one and two)

The above sounds only partly true, I had to follow a similar procedure with a Palm m515 that had a non-responding battery. The fix was somewhat similar, but first I had to drain the m515 LiIon batter, then reset the power management unit, then recharge.

I think what I'll try is:

1. Run the system until it powers off (battery 0%).
2. Follow Apple's PMU reset instructions (pull battery, reset button, insert power cord, etc).
3. Charge overnight

Second (if #1 fails)
1. Run the system until it powers off (battery 0%).
2. Follow the OpenFirmware reset directions per other posts.
3. Charge overnight

1. Go to Apple Store with iBook and receipt, see if I can get a return or a credit on a new battery..

1. See if my credit card extended warrantee will help!

PS. I did some experimenting with OS 9. Battery handling much better there! The lifespan is reduced, but the meter smoothly declines to 0%. I'm going to try charging it while it runs OS 9 overnight.

Apple Discussions has a pretty active and irate discussion on these issues. It does seem that a lot of iBook batteries go bad at about 18 months age ... same age as mine ...

Another ext firewire enclosure -- bus powered.

FireWire 1394a 1394b hardware - FireWire Depot: "2.5' PDS2GO FireWire enclosure"
These are catching on. Cheap enclosures for small ide drives, use for backup and moving data between locations. The next step up from a USB "thumb drive".

Windows XP Backup and Recovery Console

Back Up and Recover Your Information

I'm still fighting with Retrospect and getting increasingly disgusted. Considering using Apple Backup 2.0 to backup the iBook to the LAN, then using XP backup to backup everything, including backup the Apple LAN store offsite every 1-2 weeks.

This article reminds me that I need to install the Recovery Console on XP -- I've done this before for win2k.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

OS X 10.2.x and battery problems

Laptop Batteries: "I was having the same problem mentioned where my iBook would go from a 90% charge to nothing very quickly and what I did was turn off the battery status monitor in the menu bar. My battery has been fine ever since. I have not tried turning that status indicator back on since. I imagine the code that causes this error may be in the menu bar widget code. Just a thought."
See discussions at:


I'm seeing a similar thing, battery gets to 30% then dies without warning. I've seen a few mentions implicating bad bugs in the menu bar status indicator.

I've also seen mention of improvements with booting to OS 9 then charging there. I'm going to try removing the battery status indicator from the menu bar. (I've already tried Apple's tip to reset the PMU.)

OS X Power Management: Using PMSET

macosxhints - Get the most from X!: "Authored by: serres on Sun, Nov 17 '02 at 03:04AM

pmset - modify power management settings

since 10.1.4 (?) we have a command line utility called 'pmset', see

% man pmset

with it you can modify the relevant power manager related settings available in mac os x (i looked at the source intensively). it even has some commented out stuff for future use like the 'wake from sleep at some date' setting we had in mac os 9. for some non-understandable reason these are not implemented in the mac os x power manager library :(

you should also use this utility to modifiy the PowerManagement.xml file.

i think what's *very* important to save battery power is to enable the 'Reduce Processor speed' setting."
pmset must be run as root. If you type pmset alone you get a helpful example.

Locking Windows XP

Different Ways to Lock Windows XP

Parents with kids need a way to lock the PC -- stat. This page says how to do it in XP, it was easier in NT and 2000!

NAV subscriptions: moving between machines

If you move to a new machine, you lose your NAV subscription. The only way I know to move it with the machine is based on the following. I've not verified it yet.

First uninstall NAV/NORTON PRODUCT and then delete this file: 'Catalog.LiveSubscribe' It can be found in one of the folders below.

For Win 9x/Me go to this folder:
C:\WINDOWS\All Users\Application Data\Symantec\LiveSubscribe

For Win Xp/2k users, go to this folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Symantec\LiveSubscribe

Now re-boot and re-install your NORTON PRODUCT, that's it... your LiveUpdate subscription is back up and running for another year!'"

Thursday, September 18, 2003

RagTime Publishing software for OS X

RagTime GmbH, Home of RagTime

So, instead of a word processor maybe I should go all the way to a German cross-platform desktop publishing tool?

Friday, September 12, 2003

DVD drives used by Aple in their machines

MacInTouch Home Page: Apple/Macintosh news, information and analysis

Purchased an eMac from a CompUSA in West Des Moines, Iowa. two weeks ago during a financing special. Checked the demo eMac's system profiler to make sure it had a (4x) superdrive, thought it came back as a Pioneer A105 mechanism.

Well, to my suprise when I got home with the 1GHz eMac I purchased, the system profiler came back with a SONY DVD RW DW-U10A mechanism. (device serial EA41CD16 and device revision A13d)

Looked up this drive on the Sony website and it shows that it is a DVD-/+R -/+RW 4x mechanism.?

Tried a DVD+R and it recognized the disc, but as CD-R disk. DVD-R's worked fine.

New Windows box: notes with post-assembly comments

Update: 9/03

Assembly and delivery went very smoothly. Everything came sooner than expected. The Antec case is truly amazing, lots of very fine engineering touches and exceptionally good documentation. The Intel MB is ok, but the documentation had a few errors and was internally inconsistent in a few areas. More significantly, Intel's web site and the newer docs say the mb has 1GB/sec ethernet on board. It doesn't on my version, evidently that's a later rev. Intel updates it's mbs but keeps the same identifiers. Annoying.

There were a few other minor surprises:

1. I initially installed Windows 2000. Until I disabled hyperthreading in the bios the machine could lockup in testing. This is a known problem, hyperthreading is not supported under Win2K.

2. After I upgraded the mb BIOS to the latest version, it didn't recognize my mouse and kb under win2k! I went into the BIOS and set it allow the OS to do PnP management. The problem resolved, but recurred when I switched to another IBM keyboard. Finally I switched to a more modern Micron kb (with a Windows key). I think support for the old IBM kbs is pretty marginal

3. The mb doesn't hook up to the case speaker, it has a small on board speaker for error beeps.

4. The Antec's front firewire cable is designed to attach to a motherboard post-style firewire connector. The Orange Micro card has a standard internal firewire connector. I ordered a $6 replacement cable ($7 shipping) from Antec, it replaces the original firewire cable. You have to remove the front of the cable -- watch the location of the white wire and keep it the same after the switch!

5. Intel's documentation is all over the place about which connector is for the a sound card audio and which for a CD audio. I think the black one is for the CD.

Our medium term plan is to have a single always-on XP Pro machine that will also be the home server -- for now. We have an older Win2K machine, a games-only non-networked Win98r2 machine, an iBook (my primary machine) and expect to add a G5 next year.

My system
All purchased from, except the DRAM from I have keyboards, mice, floppies, etc. Total cost about $850 when shipping is included.

CPU: 170
mb: 110
case: 110
drive: 95
firewire card: 70
memory: 200
CD-R/DVD viewer: 70

ANTEC Performance PLUS Model PLUS1080AMG-with
Antec Original TRUE 430W P4 Power Supply
ATX12V Retail N82E16811129115 $105.00

Intel Pentium 4 (800 FSB) Motherboard Model
N82E16813121192 $106.00

Intel Pentium 4 / 2.4CGHz 512k socket 478 Hyper
Threading Technology 800 MHz FSB - RETAIL

Kingston 1GB DDR400 (kit of 2 x 500MB)
Model KVR400X64C3AK2/1G

Seagate 120GB 7200rpm EIDE Hard Drive
Barracuda 7200.7 ST3120022A - OEM
N82E16822148020 $95.00

Samsung CDRW/DVD Combo Drive (Beige) 8mb
Cache, Model SM-352BRNS - RETAIL BOX
N82E16827151024 $69.99

OrangeLink+ USB 2.0/FireWire PCI, 4 port USB 2.0 and 3 port IEEE 1394 addon
card Model# 70HTL00110 $70

Antec 80mm fans (two)

Some comparison/alternative systems

Bruce S's system

Case: Antec Performance Plus 1080AMG
Motherboard: MSI 865G Neo2-LS
Processor: Intel Pentium 4 / 2.4C 512k socket 478 Hyper Threading 800 MHz FSB
Memory: Kingston 1GB DDR400 (kit of 2 x 500MB) Model KVR400X64C3AK2/1G
Hard drive: Seagate 120 GB 7200rpm EIDE Barracuda 7200.7 ST3120026A - OEM
CD/DVD ROM Drive: Sony DDU1621(DD1611) 16X DVD, 40X CD-ROM -OEM
Floppy Drive: Panasonic 1.44 MB 3.5 inch Model JU-256A798P - OEM

An alternative package, from usenet w/ the 8KNXP
Kingwin KT-424 case in black
Gigabyte GA-8KNXP 800MHz FSB Motherboard
3GHz Pentium® 4 Processor with 800MHz FSB
2 gigabytes of Mushkins Black DDR400 memory
Antec True550 550 Watt ATX power supply
Seagate 160 SATA hard drive
Radeon 9800 PRO 256 meg video card
Creative Labs® Audigy 2 Platinum sound card
Sony 16X DVD

Update 5/6/09: Replaced the NIC.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

iPod troubleshooting

1, Peachpit Press - Secrets of the iPod,24330,2287051,00.html

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

HeadWize - Headphone FAQs

HeadWize - Headphone FAQs

A fascinating resource! Excellent discussion, the sort of thing that's now very hard to find via Google.

Friday, August 29, 2003

iPod and iTunes: equalizer settings

About the Equalizer

This is fairly confusing! iTunes has a global equalizer and "presets". Presets are assigned to a song through the "get info" fields. If the global equalizer is enabled it overrides the presets, if its disabled the presets work.

This makes sense. One could set the equalizer to "classical" as a default behavior, but enable the global equalizer for "small speakers" when not connected to a quality sound system.

It's not quite so logical on the iPod. Assume there's an iTunes preset already.

- If the iPod EQ setting is "Off", the iTunes preset is ignored.
- If the iPod EQ is "Flat", the iTunes preset is used. (If there isn't one, no equalization is done.)
- Any other setting: the iTunes preset is used! In other words the setting is ignored.

The last seems wrong to me. The correct behavior should be to override the iTunes preset. Otherwise, when there's an iTunes preset present, the third option is meaningless. If one hooks small speakers to the iPod, for example, one may wish to switch to a "small speaker" setting.

iPod Access: Worth testing ...

iPod Access

Mess up your iTunes library? You're stuck. No way to recover your music from the iPod without something like this.

iPod diagnostic mode

iPoding | What's that in your pocket?

Diagnostic mode -- hold the two side and center buttons down for 5+ seconds and then release.

iPod: Testing battery life

iPod: The Battery Status Indicator Is Approximate: "The iPod battery indicator shows, approximately, how much charge is left in the battery. In some cases, you may find that the battery indicator shows a charge left, but iPod stops playing because the battery is, in fact, depleted. This does not necessarily mean anything is wrong with your iPod's battery. Follow the steps in this document to determine if your iPod's battery is working correctly."

Thursday, August 28, 2003

PocketDock: iPod adapter for 6 pin firewire connector - Apple's Hardware Extensions

PocketDock: iPod adapter for 6 pin firewire connector
The tiny PocketDock lets you connect the new iPod’s docking port to a standard 6-pin FireWire cable, .. want to connect to another Mac or PC — to exchange files, or maybe just to charge the iPod’s battery...
accessories for the previous-model iPod, such as a car charger, the PocketDock will let you use them with the latest model...starts shipping September 12 for US$18.95

Apple is the master of proprietary, patented, connectors. It's the hardware equivalent of digital rights management; it provides customer lock-in. Microsoft, a software vendor, is strongly incented to "pervert" (add proprietary extensions) standard software interfaces, Apple, a hardware vendor, is strongly incented to "pervert" (add proprietary extensions) hardware interfaces.

Customers, of course, want open interfaces and open connectors -- but we're not smart enough to insist on them.

I suspect SendStation is challenging Apple to smack them down, and thus demonstrate that their customers are very much locked in. It will be interesting to see what happens!

If they get away with this, they'll sell a ton of these things. I'll buy one of course!

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

SonyStyle USA - SRS-T55 Travel Speakers (for iPod) - Text from an Amazon Review

SonyStyle USA - SRS-T55

I wrote this one for Amazon:

Music from atop the cabinet filled the (small) room. It was as loud as we would want, and the sound was remarkably clear. The slender speakers and the elegant iPod were almost invisible.

"There are times that I really feel I'm in the 21st century", Emily said, "This is one of those times."

Very impressive. The speakers are a bit bigger than I expected; I think the SONY SRS-T77 is more compact. It's the only comparable product; but it's twice the price of the SRS-T55. Mind you, these are so good I'm tempted to keep them by my iBook and buy the SRS-T77 for the office.

The speakers folded up are 2x3.5x4 inches. The battery compartment, holding 4AA batteries, makes up a fair bit of the size -- to be significantly smaller the device would probably need an internal rechargeable lithium battery and the price would be much higher.

SONY claims 24 hours of battery life at 10mW output. Maximum output is 1 W/speaker or 2W. You can buy an external SONY adaptor (ACE60HG) for about $20; I think it's a 6V/700mA adaptor. SONY of course says not to use any other adaptor, a possibly compatible RadioShack universal charger is about $16 -- not much less.

If you think you'll buy the charger, however, remember than the SRS-T77 comes with a power adaptor. Once you add in the cost of the adaptor you should consider getting the SRS-T77.

I thought that for convenience and portability I'd run off batteries, but we'll see. I may end up using them so much at home that it'll be worth buying the SONY power adaptor.

The speakers will work when powered off, but my iPod doesn't put out a strong enough signal to use for long in that mode. If you want to use your iPod as an alarm clock, and you're a light sleeper, this may come in useful however. I think leaving the speakers turned on overnight might drain the batteries. I'll experiment a bit with this.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Diskman - mount disk images


Trying to see if there's a way to mount a fat disk image stored on an HFS+ iPod under windows. I doubt it ....

Friday, August 22, 2003

Lucid-M2X: 2X DVD-R/RW w/DVD-RAM Portable FireWire MULTI Drive

Lucid-M2X: 2X DVD-R/RW w/DVD-RAM Portable FireWire MULTI Drive: "DVD-MULTI technology allows a DVD-RAM disc up to 9.4GB in capacity to be inserted into the slot-loading Lucid M2X drive and be used as a virtual hard disk at the Mac OS desktop level, with data dynamically read and saved to the disc on the fly"

Very interesting! Given how much disk space digital photos take up, this might be worth considering.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Blogger Permalinks

BLOGGER - Knowledge Base

A bit cryptic, but it may work as a hint ...

Blogger and RSS feeds

At 08:55 AM 8/21/2003 -0400, Jon Udell wrote:
> > I cited your Mar 2003 column in my blog:
> >
>Hi John,
>Does blogspot offer RSS feeds?
>- Jon

Hi Jon,

As of today, I think they might. Here's the story.

Your inquiry pushed me into doing a few things I'd wondered about. As you
might know is a hosting service that is owned by the same
group that produces works with any ftp server, but
blogspot is free and convenient.

Prior to the google acquisition, Blogger had a free product and a $35/yr
Blogger Pro product. The Pro product has the RSS feeds, it's been offline.
I was interested in it, but the Blogger documentation was a mess. I
complained via a web form and I receive a notice that I've been upgraded,
for free, to the Pro version.

Since the Pro version has not been officially relaunched it may still be in
beta test.

Since I'd already gone to this trouble, I moved my personal blog to a new
URL: I then fiddled about and ended up with
this URL for the RSS feed:

What I haven't figured out is how to give each posting a unique persistent url!


John G. Faughnan (public email address)

test posting a quick note is the URL for the RSS feed.

John G. Faughnan (public email address)

Moved my main blog

I've moved my main blog to
This blog will be for quick personal notes only.