Tuesday, February 28, 2006

MoRU: extending Spotlight

Windstorm Software's MoRU is a GUI wrapper around the Spotlight search engine. Considering how crummy the Spotlight UI is, I'm surprised it's taken this long for serious alternatives to emerge.

I'll be testing this one. Launchbar's beta, btw, does provide a good simple alternative interface to Spotlight -- but it doesn't help with the crummy way Spotlight returns results.

Horrid bug with bullets in Blogger/Firefox

I'm not sure who to tag with this bug, but it's awful.

As of today, if you edit a blogger post with embedded bullets using Firefox the HTML is scrambled. The tags for an unordered list are replaced with dozens of [font] and [span] tags, which in turn produce html errors. You can't save your work until you manually clear out all the bad tags.

On the one hand I've seen enough problems with Blogger that I've come to think of it as the black sheep of the Google family, but on the other hand Firefox 1.5 has more than its share of bugs. A pox on both their houses!

Deleting files from a stolen machine

This hint is likely to get turned into a service and a series of application: How to delete your files when your laptop gets stolen - Download Squad.

You need controlled acess to a server (example, Google web page authoring environment). If your laptop is stolen you create a file. Next time the laptop starts up in a connected mode a script finds the file and deletes whatever you want.

Of course things could go wrong, so backups are indicated. This would be a good complement to an encrypted folder. (XP supports encrypted folders, but I've found their implementation to be treacherous. I prefer OS X encrypted images.)

PS. Google uses a similar technique to validate ownership of a web site.

Getting around corporate IT lockdown

The article is short but useful: Geek to Live: Survive IT lockdown - Lifehacker. The comments add value too.

Evading corporate lockdowns is not necessarily a good career move. If the lockdowns interfere with the ability to do work they are a leading indicator of the need for a career change.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Winner of greatest kludge: Microsoft Access Macros

Today I did something using Microsoft Access Macros.

Words fail me.

I thought I knew what a kludge was, but Access continues to astound me. What a rat's nest of hacks, ancestral code, forgotten functionality and undocumented features!

I got it working, but only through ESP. Hell for a programmer must be working on the codebase for Microsoft Access. (Ok, so Word is likely worse and Outlook is perhaps just as bad).

Blog Search - Advanced Options

At long last Google's Blogger has added Google-like advanced search to their blog search. Wow, that took a while.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Aperture 1.1 due in March

Aperture 1.1 is what I've been waiting for. Actually, I want Aperture 1.11, but if reports are good I'll go for 1.1 in May.

XP on MacTel: via Linux and VMware

The initial enthusiasm for booting XP on a MacTel machine has waned. The problem may be intractable without risky hardware hacks.

So attention has moved to an odd alternative: Boot Linux, then run VMWare on Linux, then XP on VMWare: Mac OS X Internals: XP (VMware) on the Intel-based Macintosh.

It sure sounds odd, but it plays to the vast strength of Linux -- the ability to port to new platforms. It's easy to imagine a stripped down distro that would package just enough Linux to support VMWare. So one would reboot a MacTel machine to Linux/VMWare/XP ...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Magical Mac stuff

I'm browsing the collection of images that I use to index our attic. (Hierarchical data structures are most easily represented using the native folder system.)

I open one in the OS X image viewer app. I rename it in the folder while it's open. The application handles it, changing the name on the fly.

Windows doesn't do that.


PS. The OS X 10.4.x TextEdit application is such a reasonable lightweight substitute for Word, that after some reflection the best way to get a decent RTF file format word processor on the G3 iBook is to buy Tiger for the iBook! (My research suggests it runs quite well on a G3 with 640MB DRAM and I get the educational price.)

Friday, February 24, 2006

The security flaw in OS X: bad

Macintouch has the first decent and clear analysis of what Apple did wrong. The way OS X "identifies" a file is a hack, a kludged compromise between Mac Classic, UNIX, BeOS, Windows, and NeXTStep. The results include some fundamental contradictions which can be easily exploited.
MacInTouch: timely news and tips about the Apple Macintosh

[MacInTouch Reader] The initial press coverage of the (misnamed) Safari/Terminal vulnerability has a number of folks barking up the wrong tree.

This vulnerability has nothing to do with Safari, other than Apple's design mistake of having Safari by default open "safe files" making the exploit far easier.

This vulnerability has nothing to do with Terminal, other than Terminal being a convenient way to run arbitrary scripts. There are other bundled apps that handle provided scripts. For example, compiled applescripts in 10.3 can be run despite being renamed as a jpg or the like via a metadata reference to Script Runner.

This vulnerability is not specific to zip files. Any archive file type that can contain metadata in an OS-X-standard way can be used. Examples are zip, tar, ...

This vulnerability is two mistakes together, involving the application and use of improper metadata.

The first mistake is in the OS routines and example code that allow writing usro or other resources which are inconsistent with a file's extension. The applications that take advantage of these routines/examples, and which can consequently be used to extract exploits, include at minimum the default BOMArchiveHelper (OS X 10.3 or newer), and StuffIt Expander 10.

The second mistake is in the OS routines that have the Finder, Mail, and likely many others displaying the file type branding (icon) based on the extension (.jpg, .mov, etc.), while then opening the file based on the non-matching type and owner in the usro metadata.

The second is more critical to fix, across the board, as malicious files can potentially be written to disk by an attacker without using traditional archivers like BOMArchiveHelper or StuffIt Expander.
I've long suspected that the kludged history of OS X would make it very vulnerable to attacks. That's why I've never boasted of the fundamental security of O X. I suspect security experts felt likewise. So why now? I wonder if this had anything to do with the hacked betas of OS X/Intel that are circulating. A whole new audience may be playing with OS X ...

It will be amusing if it turns out that the primary security feature of OS X was that malicious hackers couldn't afford the hardware to allow them to develop attacks. Now they can. If so, there will be a lot of others coming.

Apple is being characteristically silent. They've known this would happen, it's a bad sign that they haven't fixed the problem long ago ...

Update 3/6/06: Matt Neuberg has a very good summary of this problem. Fundamentally he agrees with me, but he knows more.

Griffin Technology: A fine company going down

Griffin Technologies was one of my favorite companies. Alas, they're going downhill fast.

I bought their AirClick iPod RF remote and discovered, as have others, that the range is very limited. It's less useful than an IR remote. I thought the problem might be RF interference with the home security system, but changing location didn't help. Their FAQ suggested changing the battery, but when I opened the device I found the battery was epoxied in place. I tried calling tech support, but got a message saying they were in an "all day meeting". Then I tried emailing tech support and got this message:
502 Proxy Error:

Proxy Error
The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server.
The proxy server could not handle the request GET /contact/email.php.
Reason: Could not connect to remote machine: Connection refused
This doesn't look good.

Update 9/29/06: Well, they did end up doing better. Once I got a human being on the phone they were quite happy to have me send in the unit, which they were sure was defective. I didn't want to spend too much time on this, so I just tossed in the component I was sure was broken. Wrong one! I was ok with that and forgot about it. Today, out of the blue, Griffin sent me their current AirClick. Now, it's not at all suited to what I wanted to do (control iPod output to my stereo) -- it plugs into dock connector and prevents charging, but it was quite nice of them. I'll see if I can figure out a use for it and if I can't I'll give it away. I think it's intended for an iPod in a backpack, but it's kind of a silly device.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Google Dashboard Widgets

I'll try these on OS X 10.3 using Amnesty to run the widgets ...
Google Macintosh Dashboard Widgets

... The Blogger Widget enables quick and easy posting to your blog. Checking your Gmail inbox becomes a matter of pressing F12 with the Gmail Widget. And the Search History Widget allows you find that website you saw last week while searching Google.

Google launches an AJAX web authoring and hosting application

Alas, it's toast right now:
Google Page Creator is having a little trouble right now.

This is not because of anything you did; it's just a little hiccup in our system that will hopefully go away soon. We apologize for the inconvenience, and recommend you try reloading this page.
Very interesting if it will allow me to host images, PDFs, etc. Great for small organizations. A significant problem, however, is likely to be moving data from one account to another -- something that's important for small organizations, volunteer groups, etc. Bloglines has the same problem.

I guess this is what will replace FrontPage for most users ...

Update: I got it working. Both this site and Gmail are up and down however, must be one heck of a load! You can upload files, such as PDFs, from the page manager and then link to them from the pages.

At the moment it appears to be a single user service linked to a single account. However, I found out that they've implemented page locks, which can be broken. So it's designed to be multi-user.

I wonder if they'll eventually allow site content to migrate between Gmail accounts? The URLs won't migrate, they include the account owner name. There's a 100MB site size limit at the moment.

Google is going to "own" our digital identities. This makes me wonder when the Google word processor will come out.

Norton Commander -- for OS X?

Macintouch writes:
Xfolders 1.1 is a Mac OS X file manager that displays two directories at once in side-by-side panes and provides Norton Commander-style keyboard operation as well as drag-and-drop and menu commands. Along with move/copy/delete/rename, it provides control of file and folder permissions, bookmarks and a bookmark manager for folders, Finder integration, intelligent path navigation, toolbar access to system utilities, and other features. This release adds an integrated Spotlight search, more versatile search and compare options, support for zip/unzip, faster copying, and other improvements. Xfolders is free for Mac OS X 10.4.
The author's web site has a screen shot that shows the same function keys I remember from the original Norton Commander. NC/DOS was one of the best products I've ever used on any platform -- a true classic. I used FileCommander for OS/2 for a while, it came close. This app is pretty new, so it's worth checking out the versiontracker and macupdate responses. Too bad this German company doesn't have an XP version.

I'll give it a try and update this post with what I learn.

Update 2/24/06
: I tried it and it wouldn't launch. I suspect it wants to run in admin mode; I always run in regular user mode. Deleted immediately. If an OS X application won't run in user mode then there's a very high probability that it's junk.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Amnesty fixes OS X Widgets and brings them to Panther

$20. I have to try this. OS X's Widget implementation is absurd. Who needs yet another layer besides the desktop and the application layer? This app lets widgets live in the desktop and in 10.3.x. I've got to give it a try. (Via Macintouch)
Mesa Dynamics

Amnesty Widget Browser is a utility for Mac OS X Tiger and Panther (10.3.9) that allows Dashboard widgets to have expanded capabilities as they run directly on your desktop via a convenient icon in your system menu bar.

Widgets loaded in Amnesty Widget Browser run completely outside of Apple's Dashboard environment, maintain their own preferences and feature adjustable display settings such as window level (desktop, standard or floating), opacity (transparency) and shape (now you can rotate and scale your widgets so they fit on your desktop where you want them). And to keep things nice and tidy, groups of widgets can be arranged into multiple virtual workspaces that can be called up —by menu or hot key—to your screen at any time.

Best of all, this 'independence' from Dashboard means Panther users can—for the first time—get in on Apple's widget experience, using Amnesty Widget Browser to run many third-party Dashboard widgets (a library of sample widgets is also bundled with every copy).

And Amnesty widget technology also powers our freeware Amnesty Screen Saver, which lets you get widgets all the way out of Dashboard (and into your screen saver).

So whether you're a Tiger user looking for a way to keep the Weather widget embedded in your desktop, or a Panther user who wants to try out the latest and greatest Dashboard widgets, Amnesty Widget Browser offers something for everyone. Download your copy today and take your widgets out for a spin.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

iPhoto Dumb Albums

Grrr. iPhoto "Smart Albums" are basic Boolean queries. That's all they are. Unlike iTunes, you can't create complex queries by nesting multiple Smart Albums. In other words, you can't include a 'smart album' in a query, only a regular album.

So you can't create complex Boolean queries of the form (a OR b) AND (c or d).

I so need Aperture. I'm grinding my molars down waiting for 1.11 to come out. I don't trust 1.0, since Apple's quality control budget is apparently measured in pennies.

Griffin AirClick RF iPod Remote: The 433.92MHz problem

The Griffin AirClick is supposed to control an iPod from up to 60 feet away (presumably that's with no intervening objects, no interfering signals, and a fresh battery). I'm getting a line of sight range of about 10 feet, and about 12 inches if a wooden door is in the way.

Oookaaay. Not great. Why? Griffin makes good stuff and the build quality of this device seems very good. On the other hand it's not just me. I knew from the Amazon reviews (far and away the best source of product information on the net) that other people are getting similarly awful results. The happiest users used it on a bicycle with a range of 3 feet (yes, that's a rude and dangerous way to ride). Of course I knew that beforehand, and since I paid $20 for this device (on sale since it's incompatible with newer iPods), I'm not all that annoyed.

Griffin's tech support article tells part of the story:
I am getting short range, what can I do? - Griffin Technology:

The most likely variable to cause this issue is RF interference. There are several things that can cause RF interference such as speaker systems, CRT monitors, wireless phones, or wireless networking devices [jf: anything that uses the ubiquitous 433.92MHz frequency]. If you suspect such a device is causing your issue, the following steps should help you isolate the source of the problem.

Move to another room, away from the source of the interference. Test the AirClick again by having another person hold the iPod with the AirClick connected. Slowly walk away from that person while pressing buttons on your AirClick remote. When the the iPod/AirClick stops receiving commands from the remote, have the other person signal you. Make note of the distance you have now covered. If that distance is greater than the distance you were getting with the iPod near the source of the interference, then most likely your AirClick is working correctly. If the two distances are the same, try replacing the battery inside the remote. You can open the Remote Control unit by removing the three small screws, and replace with a CR2032-type battery or equivalent.
I'll test outdoors to check the battery, but I suspect the key problem is use of the unregulated 433.92 FM range. This range is commonly used for home security systems, and we have a home security system. We also have an 802.11b LAN and a wireless phone, but I think they're well out of range. My money is on the home security system.

For now it works a bit less well than an IR remote, but it's not completely useless. Worth about what I paid.

This may explain why most vendors stick with IR remotes. We need a different RF technology for workable remote control devices. Bluetooth won't do, it's short range and penetrates poorly. Maybe ultra-wideband.

I would recommend against buying any device that relies on the 433.92 frequency -- alas, I suspect that's almost everything for now.

Update: See this.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

PatioTunes: iTunes remote control for XP, OS X and Fast User Switching

Is this the holy grail? I've tried all kinds of tricks to do remote control of iTunes. None have worked, AirTunes has been a bust for me. I've tried NetTunes, SlimServer's software, various AppleScript hacks, VNC, TuneConnect, and about half a dozen others. I've also reviewed Sailing Clicker and considered the Griffin remote.

Everything I tried foundered on the shores of Fast User Switching, performance and usability issues, or Apple's FairPlay DRM scheme. I finally realized that AppleScript wasn't going to work because Apple doesn't really support AppleScript with FUS (makes me think they're going to sunset AppleScript ...). [1]

The only thing that looked promising was running a web server using CGI Scripts. Looked like a lot of time to setup, but it sorts out the FUS issues.

Then, in a recent search, I came across Mindola Software: PatioTunes. This could be it - but testing is early. I've already found one nasty bug; the author makes the common mistake of thinking everyone runs as Admin (bad, bad, bad practice). If you install this as admin then run it from a non-admin session the internal web server files are inaccessible. Dumb. I changed permissions and will write the author.

Ok, that aside, it's impressive. It's a Java web server that communicates with iTunes, perhaps via AppleEvents. Anything that runs a browser can access it, the only glitch is some obscure browsers need a manual refresh to see new playlists. Unlike the Apache solution you don't have to hand-build playlist references, it gets the playlists itself.

Cost is $15. Well worth it if it works!

[1] I took the easy solution and bought myself a new 30G iPod. The old one is now a fixed music server, permanently plugged in. It lives by the stereo. Since it's a 3G iPod I ordered a very cheap FM remote from Griffin (all the 3G/4G peripherals are being dumped because they don't work with the video iPod or Nano).

Update 2/18: The author is now working on the permissions problem. I don't think they'd understood it before. The author was likewise rather surprised to learn that PatioTunes is compatible with Fast User Switching. I guess it was a happy side-effect of using the web server approach. I re-enabled my OS X firewall adding an entry for the PatioTunes default port.

Sync iTunes Libraries Between Two Macs

I use the "drag music file to client iTunes" method to update my wife's iTunes database when I add music to the main library. There may be another approach: ReelSmart.com: iTunes Tip #35: Sync Libraries Between Two Macs.

This method uses a shareware sync software utility.

Favorite OS X Apps: Reelmsart.com

I came across this page while deciding whether to test PatioTunes: ReelSmart.com: Top Picks. An impressive list. By their software you shall know them. I'm adding him/her to my bloglines subscription. Another value indicator: a dog's picture is used as a favicon and author profile image.

iPhoto Library Manager updated for iPhoto 6.01

Surprisingly, the recent iPhoto 6 patch also required a new version of IPLM. Turns out the old one had a nasty bug anyway ....
About iPhoto Library Manager:

Updated for compatibility with iPhoto 6.0.1
Fixed a bug where imported photo dates would be set incorrectly in iPhoto 6
Movie files are now copied properly under iPhoto 6
Fixed a problem where original photos would not be copied properly in some libraries

Friday, February 17, 2006

Using an XP laptop as an iPod charger: preventing iPod mounting

I'm not having any luck on with a Google search on this topic.

I have a new 5G video iPod. The only real advantage of this device over the 3G iPod it replaced is that it can charge off a USB port. This is big, because I don't like carrying power adapters when I travel. I have to carry a corporate laptop, it has USB but not firewire.

Fine, but the iPod is formatted using HFS+ under OS X. It syncs to OS X. If I plug it into windows box the OS mounts it as a USB drive and asks if I want to format it.

Yech. What if I clicked the wrong button?

I've partially disabled this. I went into the XP services menu and stopped and then disabled the iPod service. I then went into my XP hardware profile and with the iPod mounted I disabled hardware support in all profiles for this device.

The result is the OS still tries to mount the USB device, but stops as soon as it 'recognizes' it as an iPod. So I don't get the nasty offer to format the iPod. I still have to manually dismount the partially mounted USB device in order to be able to use it while it's connected to the USB port (though since the file system is not mounted I could probably just ignore the warning and unplug it if I just wanted to charge it).

So, not bad really. Still, it would be nice if it didn't even TRY to mount. Anyone know a workaround?

Palm Tungsten E2: wicked amazon reviews

Wow. Watching Palm die is a sick sort of entertainment -- but I can't resist.

Amazon's reviews on Palm's most important PDA product, the Tungsten E2, are wicked. It looks like the E2 has a defect with the on-off switch, shortly after the 90 day warrantee ends the switch dies. Palm had similar problems with several earlier models -- I guess they just can't figure out the on/off switch.

The Treo 650 is popular, but I can't see how it can forestall doom. They've sold the PalmOS software to a Japanese company so there's no revenue stream there.

What a train wreck.

PS. Since there's no real replacement for the dying Palm PDA (PocketPC PDAs are also on death row) I may yet buy a Tungsten E2! (4/06: I did.) I'll wait for a great offer however. I'll also use TealLaunch to turn the device off and a function button to turn it on -- so I'll completely avoid the flaky on/off switch. It might last longer if I never use it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Calvin and Hobbes Searchable Database

Credit to Pharyngula for pointing me to The Calvin and Hobbes Searchable Database.

Enter a keyword, find a cartoon. Try "bicycle" for example. Wonderful.

Good practices if enabling SSH remote login

MacInTouch: timely news and tips about the Apple Macintosh

[MacInTouch Reader 2] This is a good time to mention what I'm sure has been mentioned before - since you can't count on users *not* reusing their login creds elsewhere (or using weak passwords) - you can limit who can remotely login to your Mac with a simple addition to your sshd config. Just add:
AllowUsers dad mom
to /etc/sshd_config and then stop/start remote login using System Preferences -> Sharing.
Now only 'dad' and 'mom' can login remotely, so when daughter lets her login creds out of the bag (or you create a user/pass like 'guest/guest' or 'test/test') you're not wide open to attack.

[David Charlap] In my case, I want to allow any user to log in from my LAN or from my office computer, but I don't want to allow any account to log in from the internet. This can be done by editing /etc/hosts.allow and /etc/hosts.deny:
My /etc/hosts.deny is set up to deny everything (only allowing what hosts.allow explicitly permits). It contains:
My /etc/hosts.allow has rules that allow all services to accept connections from my LAN (192.168.1.*) and ssh logins from my office subnet. It contains:
ALL : 192.168.1.
sshd-keygen-wrapper,sshd : office IP prefix
Attempting to connect to ssh from any other location results in the Mac dropping the TCP connection before the ssh daemon even gets a chance to find out what the user ID is.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Blogbot for Outlook

Jacob Reider likes this Outlook blogging integration tool. That means it must be excellent. It's also free and it blogbot %u2122:Syncs with Bloglines!
If you have an account on Bloglines, you can sync Outlook with your feeds there.
Now you have the convenience of using Outlook at the office, and still
having access on the web via Bloglines.
The "syncs with bloglines" feature is a killer.

Friday, February 03, 2006

iPhoto 6: what a bloody mess

I was pretty confident when I installed iPhoto 6. After all, I'd verified my Libraries with iPhoto Library Manager.

Hoo boy. Was I wrong. What a bleeping mess. See [1] (below) for details, but my IPLM merged Libraries were a reall mess after updating to iPhoto 6. The unmerged Libraries were ok, but the process was odd. Two of them took only a few minutes to convert. One, about 3 times as large, seemed to hang. It let it run overnight [2], when I returned it was done. Forty images were "recovered", but in fact they were all duplicates.

Fortunately, despite my misplaced confidence, I had backups upon backups. So, I'll probably survive. I did find that when iPhoto hangs during a Library update, your best bet is to go to bed. Chances are in the morning it'll be done.

iPhoto still wreches and hangs when it comes across a corrupted JPEG. The code base for the app must be horrendous -- or the current engineers are spectacularly incompetent.

I came across some really ugly looking images, but it doesn't look like I was hit by the color space problem -- my old iPhoto 5 versions of the same images are just as ugly.

So what went wrong? I'm not sure yet. I suspect some complex interaction between the legacy of old OS X and iPhoto bugs mixed in with quirks introduced by merging my iPhoto 5 Libraries using iPhoto Library Manager. One of my many update attempts produced 620 "recovered" images, but they look like odd duplicates related to original images. I set them aside to study, but chances are I'll delete them all.

Later I did a test merge of these 3 iPhoto 6 Libraries into one new iPhoto 6 Library [2]. This time the test image was handled correctly [2], but I'm still evaluating counts of images.

More importantly, I'm done with iPhoto. I deserve Pro tools. I want to use an application that gets properly tested -- because screw-ups lead to really nasty lawyers gnawing on Apple. (I'm one of the few physicians in the world who thinks that junk dog lawyers are the best solution humans can come up with to drive quality work.)

I'm so mad I'll punish Apple by spending $250 (edu price) for Aperture -- once it gets its next point update. Oh, wait, that a minute ...

PS. I had to use Smart Folders to help with some of my analysis. That's when I realized you can't sort results based on path data, and you can't easily see the path. I'd like tp put the Spotlight engineers in the same boat as the iPhoto team, and send them all to a southern island -- something just off the Antarctic coast.

[1] IMG_0092 is the test image. Original images is 320K
Original library (iP6 - this is correct)
Ancient/Modified/2002/Roll 25: 368K
Ancient/Originals/2002/Roll 25: 320K (this is correct)
Merged library (iP6)
BadLibrary/Originals/2002/Roll 25: 368K (switch original and modified)
BadLibrary/2002/10/26/Originals (this is weird, another originals?)
Merged library, different approach (iP5)
NewMerge/2002/10/2/: 368K
NewMerge/2002/10/26/Originals: 320K (this is correct)
As above, but iP6 with 1000 "recovered" images.
NewMerge/Recovered Photos/IMG_0092.JPG: 320K
NewMerge/Originals/2002/Roll 25/IMG_0092.JPG: 368
[2] My guess is that that there's some global timeout that kicks in after an hour or two of failing to complete a task, and iPhoto skips to the next step.

[3] As per [1], but now I upgraded each of the 3 iPhoto Libraries separately to iPhoto 6. Two went very quickly, one took several hours and found 40 'recovered' images (all were unwanted duplicates). Then I merged to one new Library using IPLM. The test image was now handled correctly:
AllMerge/Originals/2002/Roll 11: 320K
AllMerge/Modified/2002/Roll 11: 368K

Thursday, February 02, 2006

NeoOffice: still not using OpenOffice file formats

[Update: this blog posting gives additional perspective.]

I'm interested NeoOffice, but it's worrisome that it still not using native OpenOffice file formats:
MacInTouch: timely news and tips about the Apple Macintosh

NeoOffice 1.2 is an open source, Mac OS X-native version of the OpenOffice.org office suite, which includes Microsoft Office-compatible word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and drawing applications. This release adds the ability to import OpenOffice.org 2.0 documents, use of Apple's Java 1.4.1 and Cocoa APIs (instead of Java 1.3.1 and Carbon), support for printing EPS images, and support for all OpenOffice.org accessibility features, among other changes. NeoOffice is free for Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4.
Since it's Cocoa, do OS X services work? I'll give it a try.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Epson has a 24 photo bulk feeder

Epson briefly sold a scanner with an integrated print feeder. The Amazon reviews were very positive, but it was discontinued. HP made a similar device, which was burned at the stake on Amazon. (HP hates their customers, and they punish them with HP's sheet feeders/shredders.)

Every so often I look to see if anyone has introduced something like this. To my surprise -- I found the Epson - Multi Photo / Business Card Feeder. It replaces the top portions of two of Epson's currently sold scanners (2480 and 2580). It's about $150 or so; oddly it's $175 on Amazon. There are no Amazon reviews of this device, in fact I couldn't find any reviews anywhere.

Is there nobody else with thousands of prints to scan? Something's funny here ...

Update: it looks a lot like the top of their limited edition scanner, the one that got great reviews.

Update 2: Hmm. False alarm. This is indeed the top of the Limited Edition scanner, but the two scanners it is said to work with have been discontinued. So this is not worth buying.

SeaMonkey for OS X: HTML editor?

SeaMonkey is the Mozilla Foundation's version of Netscape: an all in one solution. I'm quite interested in the HTML editor. There's a dearth of end-user wysiwyg html editors for OS X, and this one's free. Comments to come.