Hicks

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iTunes notifications over a network?

OK, this is a problem that has been puzzling us at Rissington. The four of us play music from iTunes to an office stereo, via AirTunes. Our music is all scrobbled, and lots of our apps use the Growl we’ve installed. It should, therefore, be easy to get some sort of notification of what is playing to all of us.

I know what you’re thinking, we should talk to each other, and simply ask whoever it is that’s broadcasting what you’re listening to. Well, yes, that’s what we do now, but it feels like all the pieces are there for some slick system, it just needs something to tie it together.

We’ve tried a few solutions, like applescripts to send updates to a twitter account, and the closest we’ve come to is the Network notifications in Growl, which does work. It works too well in fact, and now everyone gets notifications of files uploaded in Transmit, or new feeds in NetNewsWire.

Also, if anyone had any ideas of how to create a global ‘pause the music there’s a phone call’ button, I’m all ears! We once managed this by using Old Faithful™ as the sole music provider but that didn’t quite work out.

Can anyone can point us to an app or script or something to achieve this?

Friday Question: Useful Dashboard Widgets?

After that little rant about useless Dashboard widgets, I feel the need to redress the balance. My problem with widgets is that most seem fall into 3 categories:

  1. Searching widgets that are no more convenient than just searching in a browser (especially when most browsers have some way of adding search engines to the default google bar)
  2. Widgets that display information from other apps – viewing iCal events, or unread mail.
  3. Widgets that are just a way of viewing a single RSS feed.

Apart from the default calculator, these are the two that I’ve found worthwhile:

Capture (More than what you can do with keystrokes, it lets you choose filetypes, scale and saving destination)

Google Maps (the one widget that I’ve found to be more convenient than going to the browser)

There must be some useful widgets out there, but maybe there are some little gems that you’ve discovered? Show me your widgets!

2 OS X Questions updated

Sometimes, no end of searching can find the answers your looking for. Indulge me a while, and answer if you can!

  • Does anyone know of a way to attach a powerbook in target disk mode (assuming that Airport would be too slow) to my G5, and work from it’s home folder, instead of the one on my G5? Remote Desktop would sort of do this for me, but it seems like a expensive solution for just 2 computers. I guess I’m looking for a powerbook equivalent to the ‘Home on an iPod” idea, where my powerbook has all the files.
    Simply connecting the powerbook to my monitor isn’t that simple, as I would have to get a ADC to DVI convertor and use up the only firewire port on the powerbook. Sure, I have a Firewire hub, but there are other issues there.

FIXED : Thanks to Ole. I’ve now booted up from the powerbook, by starting it in target disk mode, and then booting the G5 with the alt key down. I choose the other machine and boom! It works a treat! I can also access any files on the G5, as well all use all the devices attached to it. This is perfect, apart from one bizarre side effect. iTunes will suddenly ask for authorization to play your iTMS music, and then when you reboot as just the powerbook, it asks you again! Therefore using up your 5 computer limit in no time. Eek!

  • Has anyone had issues using the Apple Wireless Mouse? The movement on mine is decidedly odd and jerky, even with full batteries. Is this just how they are – do people put up with this for the benefit of wireless? Or does everyone else’s move as slickly as their USB mouse?

Even as I post this, I have the nagging voice in the back of my head saying ‘Ask Shaun Inman…’.

Red Channel

Stop the red channel

When I use Photoshop, I want apple-1 to show the file at 100% (or ‘actual pixels’), just like every other adobe application I use. I don’t want to look at the red channel.

Photoshop CS has a nifty feature allowing you to customise its keyboard shortcuts, but guess which command isn’t listed?!

I beg of you, has anyone found a way around this?

Help wanted: Creating a browser theme installer

I’m in the slow process of getting my Omniweb 5 theme ready for public consumption, and it strikes me that something like an applescript would probably enable the easy install of a bunch of image files into an applications hidden resource folder. Normally you would have to ctrl click an app, choose ‘show package contents’ from the context menu, and then navigate through the hidden folders to dump replacement images. Not the hardest job in the world, but I feel it could be so much simpler.

The trouble is, I start to look at such things and whooooosh (motions a plane swooping over the head).

If anyone has the skills to pay these particular bills, advice or pointers, please drop me a line, or leave a comment here. I’d be very grateful for any help!

Actionscript recommendations?

Lets say you knew someone who could use Flash. They could use use the timeline, animate/tween etc, but really wanted to get to grips with the actionscript side. What book/site/tutorial CD would you suggest they look at? “ActionScript for Flash MX: The Definitive Guide” by Colin Moock looked like a good bet, but please leave thoughts if you have them.

Sorry, its a cheeky use of a blog, but you’re all such nice, helpful people…

Digital Camera recommendations?

I need a new camera

The time has finally come to replace the Hicks family digital camera – a toaster-sized 1mp beast that weighs a tonne and waits a fortnight inbetween photos. After trying my brother-in-law’s Canon Ixus recently, my mind was made up. The quality was incomparable.

So, before I head out, does anyone have any recommendations? I’m ideally looking for around 4 Megapixels and it must work with OS X (although I think most do anyway). Can’t decide whether I should bite the bullet and make it an SLR (such as the Canon 300D) or go compact (like the Ixus). I must find one that is has little (or no?) ‘downtime’ between photos. It will be used for anything from snaps of offspring in various pointy hats to close ups of nature.

Let me know your wisdom.