Feb 28

Apple Mail

Apple 1 Comment »

Although I am still enjoying the MacBook Pro, that doesn’t mean that it and Mac OS X are perfect.

Today I will pick on Apple Mail.

  • Apple likes nice widescreen monitors so you would assume that Apple Mail would have support for widescreen mode (a la NewNewsWire, Outlook, etc). I want 3 vertical panes, not a horizontal split pane!
  • Labels: I don’t want to have to install MailTags to get tagging. I want it to be builtin and part of the UI
  • Let me toggle threading with a simple keystroke (without making me set one up)
  • The spam filter is poor. You need spam sieve
  • Roll up, Roll up: I want to be able to set parent folders to show me all of the mail in siblings (a la NNW). Inbox does it.

It is a nice simple client, but it lacks the advanced tools that I really want.

However, I know that Apple keeps updating its tools, so here is to v3.

Feb 27

iCal: let me produce and consume!

Apple, Tech 3 Comments »

iCal is a nice simple and clean program. However, it restricts me in a way that drives me nuts.

iCal seems to think that you can either publish a calendar for others, or subscribe to one, but not both.

This is frustrating as I have shared calendars that I really wish could be updated by multiple people. iCal doesn’t like that.

This leaves you with work arounds:

  • Just use Sunbird, as that use case works just fine
  • Have separate calendars for each person, and use the same colors so it LOOKS the same on the calendar

Come on Apple! :)

Feb 24

An afternoon at the Apple Genius Bar

Apple, Tech 11 Comments »

I had to visit the Apple Genius Bar for the first time today. The reason was that my left shift key on the MacBook Pro wasn’t working well. I was dreading having to mail in the machine, so I was worried that the guy behind the desk would be able to do jack.

After setting up a time via the “concierge” they managed to bypass me, although I was there in the store. I wasn’t allowed to sit at the bar when my name was #1 because that wasn’t done:

“Take a step away sir. We will call you later”

The experience was a little like seeing the IT guy from the british version of The Office. Man they thought they were important. Geniuses.

SIDENOTE: I still laugh at the word genius. A well known Java speaker told me that he was fantastic at Trivial Pursuit and had never lost a game of the “Genius” edition ;)

The good news was that they could take the macbook pro backstage (this was the first they had seen from the public) and were able to take apart the new keys and fix a broken bit of plastic that was causing the problems.

One of the non-geniuses had a great service ethic, and I ended up heading out with a 30″. Finally, I can power it. Finally, I have my ideal dev environment.

  • Left side of screen: development
  • Right side of screen: testing (e.g. testing in a browser, running the Swing app, whatever)


Feb 21

MacBook Pro Experience

Apple, Tech 7 Comments »

So far I have been pretty happy with the MacBook Pro. I have been waiting a long time to have an OSX laptop that matches my PC laptop speed.

It isn’t all honey though. I have run into a few issues:

  • Left shift key was a bit sticky at first (I really don’t want to have to send this back!)
  • Of course, a lot of software hasn’t been updated to Universal Binary yet. E.g. fink
  • A few strange errors. For example, when running % svn checkouts I sometimes get IO errors which is very annoying

I was expecting a few tough times, yet over time it will only get better.

I am just happy to be able to run IntelliJ IDEA with snappiness.

And iPhoto does scroll like butter.

Feb 21

Ruby on Rails on JRuby

Tech No Comments »

They are getting there. Charles Nutter and Tom Enebo are making progress getting Rails to run under JRuby.

Slowly, slowly, catch-y monkey.

Feb 18

Subscribe to Package Tracking

Tech 524 Comments »

My new Apple Mactel has shipped, a bit earlier than they thought (last time).

Now I can go to FedEx and watch the package.

Instead of hitting reload to see what is going on, they really should allow me to subscribe to track the package via RSS or email.

This is where push is a lot better than pull :)

Feb 18

Google News: Complicated algorythms, but not the simple ones

Google, Tech 2 Comments »

I have been working with a company that recently got added to Google News, which is great.

I assumed that Google would do a fantastic job and grokking the news from the site.

I was unfortunately wrong.

In time, we started to see our content appear in Google News, but the headlines were all screwed up. Elements in a rightbar on the site would show up as a headline for an article. It all seemed very random too. Very strange indeed.

We contacted the Google News team, assuming that content providers could use some kind of microformat to help the Google document parser.

We would be very willing to say:

<h1 class=”googlenews-headline header”>Headline</h1>

<h1 rel=”headline”>Headline</h1>

No such thing existed. They thought that one of the problems was that the headline had a link within it (as it acts as a permalink to itself). They assume that a headline can not also be a list, so they ignore it.

As we go back and forward on this, I then think. Wait a minute. Why are they bothering screenscraping our HTML when we have RSS feeds for everything?

Surely it would be simpler to grok our feed than scrape our HTML? *sigh*

Feb 17

My Google Maps

Google, Tech 1 Comment »

Google Maps has innovated a little after their initial release (hybrid maps, local, etc) but I have been hoping for more.

One thing that I miss from the Yahoo! side is that I can’t tell Google where I live, or other important addresses.

If I type in:

123 Main St

I want Google Maps to assume that I mean in my location, and not make me type in the city and state every time.

Is that too much to ask?

Browsers go a good job on remembering my locations, so it isn’t too bad when I have to get driving directions from home as I can type the first few keys and hunt for my address, but I want more.

Time for GreaseMonkey.

Feb 17

Jaskell: Functional programming on the JVM

Tech No Comments »

I always like to see new languages that work in the JVM as a platform.

The newest kid on the block (number 189?) is Jaskell, which is a Haskell inspired functional programming language.

So, if you like to think in high level functions, and want to build DSLs like everyone japs on about, give it a whirl.

Feb 16

True Video iPod: Entire Face Video Touchscreen

Apple, Tech 10 Comments »

There is talk of a new Video iPod that will have the touch screen from the pattents.

This is what I want for my phone.

I want an entire side of the phone to just be a touchscreen display.

I want to be able to touch a button and the screen can look like a phone, or have a keyboard, or …

This is the convergence device that I have been holding out for. Up until now I keep chosing “just a damn phone” rather than a bulky thing that I am not sure about.