Luke, Come To The Darkside

Ok, now I’ve done it.

I am a Mac guy. There’s no question about it. My job, my sensibilities, and the enjoyment I get from computers all points me down the road to Cupertino. Unfortunately sometimes the rest of the world decides to stand in the way of that path.

Now to be honest, I haven’t always used Macs. From the time my dad first started bringing computers home from the office when I was in grammar school—remember the Compaq luggable?—all the way through high school I used various DOS computers to do my school work. However, when I went off to college I bought my first computer and it was a Macintosh LCII. I’d used them in the computer lab in high school and they seemed so much cooler.

In college I always had a Macintosh sitting on my desk in my dorm, but I used a mixture of Macs, Windows, DOS, and Unix at my work-study job in the campus computing center. Later when I entered into the “real world” of life after college and got a job working on post-production sound for film, I found that a large percentage of Hollywood makes use of Macs.

There was a period of time when I was working that I didn’t have a lot of spare money to throw around and I’ve always enjoyed tinkering with computers, so I built my own Windows machines for a while. They were much less expensive than my beloved Macs and since Apple was caught in the doldrums of System 8, I only felt occasional pangs of abandonment guilt.

It wasn’t until a few year later when I started working for some other companies when I saw the coolness that was System 9 on Blue and White G3s and Graphite G4s that the longing became unbearable and I had to return to the fold. Step back into the warm, embracing arms of Steve Jobs’ goodness. And that’s where I’ve remained until yesterday. Actually it’s where I will remain, period. Unfortunately like I said, sometimes the rest of the world gets in the way.

I’ve started working on a project that pretty much requires me to run Windows. I fought against it as much as I could but not even my copy of Virtual PC could fill the gap of an ugly grey box sitting on floor of my apartment. So after talking it over with some people, a bit of internet research and a lot of soul-searching, I stopped by a local “build-your-computer”-type store and picked up a new motherboard, processor, some RAM and an OEM copy of Windows XP.

Last night after work I dusted off the last of my FrankenPCs, an unwieldy 500MHz Celeron running Windows 98—first edition—in the largest case you’ve ever seen, and ripped the guts out of it. By 2:30 in the morning I had an AMD Athlon XP 2800 nestled in the socket of a new ASUS motherboard, a 120GB second hard drive removed from one of my Macs reformatted (of course only after moving 80GB of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix bootleg concert FLACs to the safety of an external Firewire drive) and Windows XP installed.

I crawled into bed and lay snug while dreams of DDR RAM danced through my head. At least until 5:30 when the alarm went off so I could get a couple more hours of work in before I had to go back to the office for a temp dub. The update to SP2 went down without a hitch and I installed the 5 CDs of material that I need for the project. Unfortunately when I went to fire up the application for the first time it crapped out on me when the first of the 3D graphics were drawn on the screen.

It was a crushing blow to spend all those hours and be so close to the finish line and have my hopes dashed. Suddenly I started to remember why I enjoy Macs so much more. Of course I’ve had programs crash on me, or strange bugs have popped up that I’ve had to diagnose. But it’s been a fairly rare occurrence. Maybe I’ve had good luck or maybe I just know more about how to head off trouble from Apple’s computers, but firing up a new system in the world of Macintosh is a pleasurable experience. On the other hand, my travels in the Gatesian realms usually leave me feeling like I’ve been mugged by a street gang “saying hello” to foreigners.

Thankfully by 7:30, right around the time I was giving careful consideration to seppuku, I was forced to pull myself together and get in the shower or there was no way I was going to make it into the office at 8am. And in the hours since, I’ve had time to reflect on the joys of Windows system construction and do some research on the ASUS and NVIDIA websites. I’m crossing my fingers that it’s just an issue of old video drivers being used in Windows XP SP2. Tonight I’ll find out when I go back to fight some Redmond dragons.

Print To Postscript File And Convert To PDF

Here’s a neat little trick that you might find useful for your Classic only applications, like Tape, and printing. If you have the LaserWriter driver selected as your printer in Chooser, when you tell a document to print, you can select “File” as the destination to save a Postscript file to your hard drive.

You can double-click the file to open it with Preview. This will convert it to a PDF file that can be saved by selected “Save As” from the File menu. Not quite as simple as the “Save As PDF” button in the 10.3.x print window, but still pretty easy.

Solution For Mac IE5 CSS Problem?

Are there any CSS web designers out there who can offer a guy a bit of advice? This problem is bugging me:

My webpage in Firefox looks like this:

Firefox is correct

Which is correct. Unfortunately, IE5 for Mac looks like this:

Mac IE5 is not

This is not correct. I added the red, white and blue lines to differentiate the various divisions. White is “header”, red is “main-body”, and blue is “content”. The code right at that point looks like this:


</div> <!--End div "header"-->

<div id="main-body">

<div id="content">

For some reason, IE5 for Mac insists on putting a bit of space between the header and main-body divisions. It’s not the end of the world but it’s also not correct and I’d like to know why. I’m sure it has to do with yet another CSS bug in IE5Mac which has to be compensated for with a hack.

I would appreciate any help people can offer.


Nevermind. I fixed it. It turns out the <ul> directly above the end of the “header” division was the issue. I had defined it with an id of “text-size”. The problem was that in the CSS for “text-size” I set a top margin of 5 pixels. When I changed all margins to 0 pixels, the gap closed up:

#text-size {
    text-align: right;
    color: #ffffff;
    font: bold 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
    margin: 0px;
    padding-top: 0px;
    padding-right: 5px;
    padding-bottom: 0px;

The margins on the <ul> and <li> tags don’t seem to matter—at least in terms of the bug. It’s the margin on the id object itself which causes the problem.

Some UNIX on Mac OS X Resources

Following up on the idea of configuring Apache with virtual hosts on your own computer, you will probably need to install some extra software to more closely resemble your web host.

So after spending some time with this and my PowerBook this weekend, I have a few key Mac websites, mostly about installing various UNIX programs in OS X. (You’ll need Xcode installed for much of this.)

Marc Liyanage’s site is the place to go for updating your PHP, information on installing MySQL, and ImageMagick.

Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) has every Perl module you’d ever want or need. Mac OS X 10.3 ships with the cpan installer. Just type “sudo cpan” at your Terminal prompt and follow the initial setup procedure. After that, most modules can be installed with a simple “install module::name”. If you’re trying to install DBD::mysql because for example you’re trying to setup Movable Type with MySQL, TruerWords has the information you need. Or if you’d rather go the Mac installer route, there’s this.

Fink of course is the program that everyone talks about for installing UNIX software on your Mac. There are lots of pre-compiled binaries ready to go. It’s very easy to use. I am a bit annoyed that it puts things in /sw/bin. Call me a purest, but I like /usr/local/bin better.

Even though it offers 4000+ packages I found several that I was hoping to use that it didn’t have. Screen, jhead, and jpegtran were either not included or listed as being unstable and only available as source. That’s why after a bit a poking around I found what I think might be a better thing:

DarwinPorts seems very cool. I have not used this yet but on initial examination it passed several of my tests. Even though it only has 1700+ packages it did have the 3 that I was looking for. In most cases, the versions on DarwinPorts are newer than the version on Fink. It also looks like I can install these in /usr/local/bin. (To be fair, there’s probably a way to get Fink to install in /usr/local/bin as well.)

I’m seriously considering deleting Fink and going with DarwinPorts.

Motorola V600, Wireless Internet, Bluetooth And The Macintosh

As previously mentioned, I have a new Motorola V600 cellphone and I got it setup with all the Wireless Internet fun you could hope for from Cingular Wireless, including getting it to talk to my Mac PowerBook via Bluetooth. It was quite a struggle, let me tell you. I’m going to document the salient points here so maybe others can learn something. If you’re a Windows or Linux user, it doesn’t mean there isn’t good stuff here, it just means not all of it will be applicable. There’s probably some useful stuff here for Cingular Wireless customers with other phones too. I should mention that I’m in Los Angeles. The settings should be the same here as in other parts of the country, at least for GPRS, but who knows.

[Update: You need to have some form of Cingular’s Wireless Internet Express turned on for this method to work.]

At first let me just say that I couldn’t have gotten through this without the help of information from a lot of useful websites. The NSLog(); post about the V600 and iSync is chock full of good information in the comments. And in particular, Ross Barkman’s homepage has a lot of great modem scripts. He also has a ton of information about GPRS networks around the world. This MacInTouch page, this page from All The Pages Are My Days, this Unofficial Apple Weblog page, and this MacRumors forum topic all have handy info. (Notice the lack of a mention of the Cingular website.)

Actually that’s not entirely true, Cingular has—in my opinion—nothing but fluff on their regular homepage. However, if you notice down at the bottom, there’s a link for “Developers Forum”. Here’s where the strings come in. I actually only discovered it after going through several “customer service” agents on the phone.

“I’m sorry, sir, we don’t offer email on the phone you have. Only on the Blackberrys.”

“No. You’re wrong. Let me talk to someone else.”

Finally they put me on with the floor manager of customer service or something like that. He tried to tell me that if I wanted to check my email on my phone, I’d have to get information about that from my Internet Service Provider. I informed him that since I was trying to do it on his phone, he was my ISP. He wasn’t buying it though.

Finally I said, “Let’s forget the whole email thing. What if I wanted to use the phone as a Bluetooth Modem with my laptop? What settings do I need for that?”

Again we went around with it and he finally suggested I sign up as a developer—no charge—because they could probably give me all the settings I was looking for. And for once he was right.

[Update: Actually those support people were kind of correct. It’s not a question of offering, Cingular doesn’t officially support setting up email on phone. Basically it works but the tier one staff isn’t trained in how to do it, and tier two staff will try to talk you into paying extra for Data Connect services.]

This little treasure of a document I found over at their developer site. All the dial-in phone numbers, APN, Username, and Password information you could ever ask for from Cingular. Some of this information is over at Ross Barkman’s site. There basically seems to be two different APNs—WAP.CINGULAR and ISP.CINGULAR—to connect to, and a few different usernames depending on compression—WAP@CINGULARGPRS.COM, ISPDA@CINGULARGPRS.COM, and ISP@CINGULARGPRS.COM.

Here’s how I got mine to work:

Part 1 — Setting Up Email On The Motorola V600 Phone

  1. Bring up the “Messages” menu on your cellphone.
  2. Press the “Menu” button to enter “Msg Center Menu”.
  3. Select “Email Msg Setup”.
  4. Change the “ISP Settings” to this:Connection Type: GPRS
    Password: CINGULAR1
    DNS IP:

The rest of the settings, you’ll need to supply yourself. As I was informed many times by many different Cingular people, they don’t give you an email address. You can use IMAP4 or POP3 to talk to your account. Obviously you’ll need to know the Username and Password for your email account. You’ll also need what they call a “Sending Host” and a “Receiving Host”.

The “Sending Host” is the SMTP server. You’ll need access to an open one. Many SMTP servers only offer access from their own domain. Unfortunately, if you need to supply more than a standard address like “”, it won’t work with the phone. I first tried to set it up with my .Mac account, but that requires “” and the phone doesn’t like it. Actually Cingular does have an SMTP server you can use “” but be warned that it will stamp a message at the bottom of all your emails:


Photo Messaging brought to you by Cingular Wireless
You can send the sender of this email a Text Message by simply replying to this message.

The “Receiving Host” is usually called the “Mail Server” or “Incoming Mail Server” by most email software. Put the appropriate info in that field. And don’t forget to fill out the “Return Address” field with your email address. I don’t think it derives it from the other fields.

That’s it. (Actually there are other settings like whether or not to download attachments, saving copies on the server, etc. but those are up to you.) Once you have that info in, you make a new email under the “Create Message” menu, and you can check your mail under the “Email Msgs” menu. Not too hard. And you have some big benefits. You won’t be using up any of your SMS or MMS quotas, and people will see an address that they’re used to—not “”. (That address works, by the way. You can receive emails as MMS messages on your phone if people send to that address. Well it works if you replace “phonenumber” with your actual 10-digit number. Hopefully that was pretty obvious. Any mail received through that address will count against your quota as an MMS message. But it does support attachments. Plain text email can be sent to the phone through “”. This will count against your SMS quota.)

I should also note that there is that other APN address, ISP.CINGULAR, and a couple different usernames to go with it. Those didn’t work on my phone. Only the WAP one did. I called Cingular back after getting it to work and explained everything to them and asked if the connection would be faster if I could use the other APN. The person I talked to couldn’t really say. And frankly, I was so happy to have it working, I moved on. If anyone else knows and knows what I should say to the Cingular people, I would appreciate a comment.

[Update: I have since figured out that the ISP.CINGULAR APN address is for their Data Connect service which uses the EGPRS (EDGE) network. This has faster speeds, up to 128kbps, but only for devices that support it. Not the V600. The Data Connect plans are much more expensive than the Wireless Internet Express plans. So if your phone only supports standard GPRS you might as well stick with Wireless Internet Express.]

Part 2 — Pairing The V600 To Your Mac With Bluetooth

This one is not too difficult either but it’s easy to get it mixed up because there are two different ways to do it. The first thing you need to do is delete the pairing with the phone if one already exists. If you’ve been having trouble with it dropping the connection when you don’t want it too, this should fix it. So delete away. You can also delete the pairing on the phone side by going under “Settings” to “Connection”, selecting “Bluetooth” and going under “Device History”. Select the computer, press the “Menu” button and select “Delete”. Now you’re ready to begin.

On the Mac, bring up your System Preferences and go into the Bluetooth pane. Make sure that “Support Non-Conforming Phones” is checked in the “Settings” tab. You might also want to check “Show Bluetooth status in the menu bar”. That menu will make things easier. That’s it with the preferences. You can close up System Preferences.

Under the Bluetooth menu in the menu bar that you justed turned on, select “Set up Bluetooth Device”. (You can also run the program “Bluetooth Setup Assistant” in your Utilities folder. Same thing.) Go through this whole assistant doing whatever it asks. Before you move off the first page though, you need to make your cellphone discoverable.

Settings -> Connection -> Bluetooth -> Setup -> Find Me

Now back on the computer, run through the rest of the setup assistant. You’ll have to respond to a few things on your computer and on the phone so keep it handy. One of the last things the assistant will ask you is if you want to set up the phone for wireless internet. Go ahead and say “yes”. We’ll refine this a bit in Part 3. You’ll need those WAP settings from Part 1. Make sure you enter the APN, WAP.CINGULAR, where it asks for the “Telephone Number”. Select any modem script, you’ll change it later.

Now you’re paired. You might want to set Bluetooth to “On” on your phone. It’s in that same Setup screen that you made the phone discoverable.

So what can you do now that you’re paired?

[Update: iSync 1.5 supports the V600 but through a USB cable, not Bluetooth.]

One thing you can’t do is iSync. I know. I know. Cry your heart out. I’m sure Apple will add support at some point, but they haven’t yet. You’ll deal. Trust me. The easiest way to get your addresses into the phone is like this:

  1. Create a new group in Address Book and call it “Mobile” or “Cellphone” or whatever.
  2. Drag all the addresses on you want on your phone into it. (You can’t do much more with this group right now. It’s basically just for organization, but in the future when iSync supports the V600, you can sync the whole group.)
  3. Select the first address in your group.
  4. Under the “Card” menu select “Send This Card”.
  5. Select your cellphone from the list that pops up.
  6. Accept the vCard on your cellphone.
  7. Repeat at step 3 as necessary.

You can only do one address at a time. You can select several at once if you want but only the first one will be imported into the phone. If any of your addresses are listed as a Company with the little building icon in Address Book, they won’t go over to the phone correctly. The “Name” field on the phone only reads the “Name” field on the vCard—not the “Company” field when the “Name” field is empty. You’ll either have to enter these manually or change the way they’re named in Address Book.

Another things you can do is send files back and forth to the phone. The easiest way to do this is to select “Browse Device” from the Bluetooth menu in the menu bar. Select your phone from a list. A new “Browsing” window will pop up in which you’ll see three folders on your phone—audio, picture and video. Want to guess what goes in each? If you take any pictures with the built-in camera on the phone, you’ll find them in the “picture” folder.

You can put MP3s in the audio folder and use them as ringtones, but let me make a few suggestions. You only have 5MB total memory on the phone. That’s for the address book, MP3s and other ringtones, pictures, plus any games or other software you might have downloaded to it. Keep the MP3s small. Use an audio editor to trim your song or sound to 15 to 20 seconds. I would strongly suggest making them mono MP3s at 64kbps (or less). If you’re using iTunes to make the MP3s, select “Custom” on the Importing tab of the prefences. Set the Stereo Bit Rate to 128kbps if you want a 64kbps mono file. Make sure VBR is unchecked. And under Channels select Mono.

There are programs that can do things with the phone now that you’re paired. OnSync will sync addresses between Address Book and your phone. It didn’t work very well for me. Maybe you’ll have better luck. I found the “Send This Card” method in the Address Book did what I needed it to. GSM Remote and BluePhoneMenu will also do various things. Maybe something there catches your fancy.

Part 3 — The V600 As A Bluetooth Modem On The Mac

The moment you’ve all been waiting for… internet from anywhere with your Mac laptop. First you’ll need some new modem scripts. Download these from Ross Barkman’s homepage. Copy them into /Library/Modem Scripts.

The rest is a bunch of settings.

  1. Bring up “System Preferences” and select the “Network” pane.
  2. Select “Bluetooth” from the “Show” menu.
  3. Under the “TCP/IP” tab, make sure that Configure IPv4 is set to “Using PPP”.
  4. Under the “PPP” tab, you’ll need to use the WAP settings from Part 1. They’re probably already filled in from when you ran the Setup Assistant in Part 2. But double-check anyway:Service Provider: Cingular
    Password: CINGULAR1
    Telephone Number: WAP.CINGULAR
  5. Click the “PPP Options” button.
  6. Uncheck “Send PPP echo packets” and “Use TCP header compression”.
  7. Under the “Proxies” tab, you shouldn’t have to change anything. No proxies.
  8. Under the “Bluetooth Modem” tab, set the Modem to “Motorola GPRS CID1”. This is the one that worked for me. There are several that came with the downloaded scripts that you could try. Some people have also reported success with the “Motorola iR Timeport (7089)”
  9. Uncheck “Enable error correction and compression in modem”.
  10. Uncheck “Wait for dial tone before dialing”.
  11. Click “Apply Now” and close the System Preferences.

You should be good to go now. Make sure you don’t have a current internet connection. Turn off your Airport if you have one. Put the computer to sleep. Unplug your ethernet cable if that’s how you are online. Wake the computer back up.

You need to run Internet Connect to dial-in with a modem (Bluetooth or otherwise). You’ll find it in your Applications folder. Click on the Bluetooth tab. Select “Cingular” from the Configuration menu. Click the “Connect” button. In a moment you should be online wirelessly.

Obviously this is slower than a broadband connection, infact it’s slower than a 56K modem. It’s about the speed of a 28.8K modem. You’ll probably want to limit the amount of downloading you do. You can tell Safari to not load images by unchecking “Display images when the page opens” in the “Appearance” tab under preferences. If you’re using .Mac or another IMAP-based email account, you’ll need to select “Synchronize” under the “Mailbox” menu to keep local copies of your email for offline reading.

So there you go. Hopefully some people find this helpful. If anyone has any other comments, suggestions, tips, tricks, questions, etc. please leave a comment below.

Update: July 30, 8:15 PM —

Ok, I must be foolish or something but I was concerned. After posting this, I went around to some of the websites that I referenced to see if I could add trackbacks or comments to generate a little more traffic. (Hey, we all like to have visitors.) I noticed a comment at the Unofficial Apple Weblog page that I have listed above, that mentioned that the WAP settings I’ve used are a “pay as you go” service. That person talked to a “tier two tech” at Cingular and had things setup properly using ISP.CINGULAR. I was concerned that even though I signed up for the $20/month unlimited media package, I would get a bill for all these connections through WAP. I spent a lot more time on hold, a lot of explaining what I was trying to do to “tier one” customer service trying to get them to transfer me. They finally did.

I talked to a very, very knowledgable and nice tier two tech who told me about some of their options. It sounds like they’re only just now setting up plans to cover this whole idea of outside email through your cellphone and connecting to the internet on your laptop through your phone. The MEdia packages that they’re offering right now are just for specific cellphone-based services like shopping at the Cingular Mall and going online through the phone’s browser. The data connect plans they have right now are rather expensive for not much data. Basically she said that the WAP settings I’m using right now shouldn’t work. It’s just a bonus that they are.

“But my understanding is that it’s a ‘pay as you go’ setting. Is there a bunch of data traffic on my bill? Am I going to get billed the $20 for the ‘MEdia’ package plus extra for this WAP stuff?”

She looked at my bill. “No, none of it has shown up. Because it doesn’t work, right?”

“Oh, of course not. I am not able to connect to the internet on my laptop through my phone. Thank you so much for all your help.”

So I don’t know what the deal is. Everyone who calls up seems to get told something different. I suspect that they will finalize their policy on all of this at some point soon. And at some point my unlimited data connect service for $20 will stop working—or at least I’ll have to start paying for it.

[Update: The deal is the Wireless Internet Express versus Data Connect that I’ve mentioned in my other “Update” boxes throughout this post.]

Anyone have any different stories?

Update: July 31, 3:15PM —

Another note about things. I was prowling around in the guts of my phone (the software guts, not the hardware ones). I was looking for a way to setup web bookmarks. Let’s face it, text entry on a cellphone is not exactly all that fun. Yes, Cingular is nice enough to let you setup bookmarks on the My Wireless Window webpage that are accessible from your phone, but you have to go through a couple pages to get to them from there. Direct access for some of the key ones is preferable in my book.

I noticed that when you go into WebAccess on the V600, there’s a option called “Web Sessions”. On my phone it was set up with two items: Cingular and MMS. I edited the Cingular setup and lo and behold! It has the same settings that I used for my email and laptop, WAP.CINGULAR and all that. So it seems to me that if the default “Cingular” setup of the internet uses that, it’s very likely that they are the correct settings. And even though the nice tier two tech support woman I talked to said I shouldn’t be able to do what I was doing, I don’t think that’s the case. It seems like a proper GPRS setup to me. Not a pay per use at all—unless that’s the plan that you have. Since I’m on a $20/month unlimited use plan, I shouldn’t have to pay anything extra no matter if I’m surfing the web from my phone, sending email from my phone, or wirelessly connecting my laptop to the internet through the phone.

One advantage that the WebAccess setting had over my email is that it also had settings for CSD dialup—not just the GPRS APN. I’m assuming the advantage would be if I were not in a GPRS zone like LA, and just in a standard digital zone, I could still go online. I would have to change my email settings manually to switch it over to CSD. Those CSD settings are clearly spelled out in that PDF file I linked to above.

And of course I was able to setup my bookmark as well—the actual reason I was poking around at things. All I did was highlight the “Cingular” Web Session, press the “Menu” button, select “Copy Entry” from the menu, give it a new name, and finally go in and edit the setting, giving it the new URL I wanted it to go to. Not too hard.

Update: July 31, 4:15PM —

Ok, I swear this’ll will might be the last update. I think I’ve deciphered the whole network connection methods vs. pricing plan deal at least as far as Cingular goes.

Cingular offers three different types of internet access:

  • Wireless Internet
  • Wireless Internet Express
  • Data Connect

Wireless Internet is their term for the older CSD method of connecting. It runs at about 9kbps and you pay for the access time. Hopefully you don’t have to use this method.

Wireless Internet Express is GPRS running at up to 30kbps. This is the method that most phones now will support. This uses the WAP.CINGULAR APN. On these plans you pay for the amount of data transferred not the amount of time spent. They also offer their MEdia Works package which gives you an unlimited amount of transfers for $20/month.

Data Connect is a EGRPS network, also known as EDGE. This is that extra fast wireless that supports up to about 128kbps. It will of course run at the slower standard GPRS speed if your phone doesn’t support it. This is method uses the ISP.CINGULAR APN. The data connect packages also are billed by the amount of data transferred. Their low-end package is $20/month for 5MB all the way up to their high end of $80/month for unlimited.

Cingular only “officially” supports connecting laptops to the internet through their Data Connect program—which also means you have to be running their software which is Windows only. Yes, it supports that fast EDGE speed but only if your phone supports it. The Motorola V600 does not. So if you have convinced a Cingular tech support person to turn on Data Connect access for you and you don’t have to pay those fees for it, I congratulate you. However if you’re using a V600 phone, you’re not getting any more speed out if it than if you were using the WAP settings.

But as I’ve shown if you use the settings above, you can get still get your laptop online—though in an “unsupported” method—and do it at the rates that they offer on their Wireless Internet Express service. Basically the only advantage in going with Data Connect would be if you had a phone that supported EDGE. Phone Scoop is a good place to look for stats on phones.

Update: August 10, 3:30PM —

Apple has released iSync 1.5 which supports the V600 with a USB data cable—part number SKN6311 from Motorola. I have a post about it here.

Update: August 15, 7:15AM —

A recent reader was looking for Cingular internet settings for his V600. He had the phone with AT&T but had switched to Cingular. He thought others might find it useful so I’m adding it:

Name: Cingular
Homepage: http://device.home
Service Type1: WAP
Gateway IP1:
Port1: 9201
Service Type2: WAP
Gateway IP2:
Port2: 0
TimeOut: 10 minutes
CSD No.1: +14152441012
Password1: CINGULAR1
Speed(Bps)1: 9600
Line Type1: ISDN
CSD No.2:
User Name2:
Line Type2:
GPRS APN: wap.cingular
Password: CINGULAR1

These settings are all available in the “Device Settings” document from Cingular that I linked to near the beginning of this page. But here it’s all spelled out for people with V600s. The setup menu for other phones will probably be a bit different. The settings are the same.

BBEdit And Finding Differences Between Two Documents

Last night I decided to update the templates for my website. Movable Type basically uses webpages with custom variables to generate the pages on the website. MT3.01D was released a couple weeks ago. I upgraded the server software then but nothing else. There were several fixes to the way comments worked so I knew that I was going to have to update my templates if I wanted to use those. Plus they were supposedly truly XHTML 1.0 Transitional which the 3.0 versions were not.

I was a little nervous about it but it actually turned out to be quite easy. My templates are not much different from the ones that it ships with. Of course what tool made it so easy? BBEdit. What else? 🙂

I went through each template saving the original 3.01 version and my version as text files on my computer. Then I used BBEdit’s “Find Differences” command from the Search menu. After selecting the original and my version, the two documents where displayed side-by-side with a third window at the bottom listing the lines numbers with the differences. By clicking on the line numbers, the effected areas where highlighted in each document. With that it was quite easy to make the necessary changes.

Of course I being who I am, was not quite satisfied with that easy step. I needed to make sure that my documents were XHTML 1.0 Strict. Which took a lot of debugging and running through W3C’s page validator. That part took a bit longer. But now I am. Or at least I am with all of my recent posts. I still need to check some of the early ones. Plus it’s not necessarily that easy to check all the comment pages that can be generated—preview and error and whatnot—since they are generated on the fly. I’ll still have to look at those at some point.

BBEdit saves the day, yet again. You are using it yourself, aren’t you?

The Best $5 I’ve Spent

You know those commercials where they say, “What can you get for a buck?” and then some ex-athlete proceeds to inform the public of benefits of dialing 7 extra digits for long distance phone calls? Well I often feel like, “What can you get for 5 bucks?”

And then I found Synergy. (Ok, so it’s actually 5 euros—something like $6.32 with the exchange rate.)

You listen to iTunes while you’re working / reading / hanging out / living, right? Of course you do. We all do. That little shrunk down iTunes window is pretty handy. It’s small. Gives you the song information. Let’s you play/pause and move forward and back. Everything you need, but it still takes up space. You need to position all your applications so that you can use it. And it can easily disappear behind a window if you’re not careful.

Synergy is the perfect iTunes remote. It gives you all the same functionality and it doesn’t take up the space. The control buttons wind up in the menu bar next to things like your clock and volume control.

Synergy controls in menu bar

And the track information? It shows up as an overlay over all your windows when the song starts.

Synergy track info overlay

It includes a Pref Pane where you can set everything from the position of the overlay to hot keys for switching tracks to the look of the buttons. And a ton of other things as well.

Clean. Simple. Easy. And just 5 bucks. (Or it would be $5 if our economy wasn’t in the toilet.)

Discount On BBEdit

I have talked about how cool I think BBEdit is. Bare Bones Software, the makers of BBEdit, is offering a discount on the software from now through Thursday, July 15. It’s $150 instead of the usual $180. Plus you get a free t-shirt.

Now’s your chance to pick up a great piece of software and save a little cash.

ISO Macintosh Programmer

I’m looking to hire a good Macintosh programmer to help me develop a Carbon application that would run in both OS 9 and OS X. Interested people should send me an email by clicking the link in the sidebar. Include a resume and your desired salary. I’ll get in touch with you with all the details. You don’t have to live in Los Angeles, but I think you would have to live in the US. I don’t know how the whole international employee thing would work out. I’ll have to check on that.

Strange Things Are Afoot At The Circle K

I have a day off today. In fact I have this entire weekend off. I went from no work for 3-some-odd months to two weeks straight work including the weekend and it was a bit of a system shock. It’s nice to fart around.

Yesterday at work we were enjoying the fruits of our newly installed OS X 10.3. Doing cool things like labeling things with color. (Hey, when you’ve been using Panther for nearly a year on your home computer, trying to deal with Jaguar everyday at work is a real pain.)

We have a server in our office that holds our entire sound effects library. Any computer in our building with a username and password can get to the FX. It makes editorial much easier. We also have a drive that holds things like the digital picture files of the movie we are working on. Change notes to help conform edited material from an earlier version to the most current version of the movie.

Every editor who works with us also has a personal folder on that drive. A place to put your stuff. This makes exchanging files so much easier. Before we started using a central server 3 years ago, we had to rely on moving hard drives from computer to computer or [involuntary shudder] Jaz drives to transfer files. Now it’s a simple matter of “Hey, I put a mixdown of that line of dialogue you were looking for in your folder. You can get it whenever you want.”

So in our Panther-induced joyous mood yesterday we decided to drop Cameron’s personal folder into the Finder Sidebar—that list of drives and folder on the left side of every Finder window. That would make things really easy we reasoned. Need to get to your personal folder fast? Click on the folder in the sidebar. It seemed really cool yesterday.

Today during my day off I got a call from Cameron who decided to go into the office for a few hours to finish up on some sound design he had been working on. Anything he clicked on on his desktop caused the computer to hang—spinning beachball icon. The only way out was to Force Quit the Finder. He couldn’t open drives. He couldn’t open folders. He could run programs from the dock though.

I asked him to see if he could open a new Finder window. That didn’t work either. This time though it asked him to log into the server. He tried doing that but he got the spinning beachball again. But this gave me a clue to the problem. I suspected it had something to do with Cameron’s personal folder on the server being in the Sidebar.

Thankfully I always insist that we put the Applications folder in the Dock. By clicking and holding on it, he was able to get the list of all installed applications. After a little research on my end, this is how I had him fix the problem:

  1. Run Terminal. I keep it in the Dock so I would have been set. Cameron doesn’t but he had the Applications folder there so he could run it from that.
  2. Type cd Library/Preferences
  3. Type mv side.old
  4. Quit Terminal.
  5. Select Apple Menu -> Log Out
  6. Log back in.

All better. You can of course delete the offending plist file as well—the Finder will gladly rebuild it when you log in again. But if you had other things in there you wanted to save, it’s best to rename and fix it after you can work with your computer normally. You could also go in with a text editor and delete the lines from the plist about the remote volume.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have Terminal or the Applications folder in your Dock, but you’re on a network, you can remotely log into your computer and do the same thing. You’ll need to know the IP address of the non-functional computer. You can get it from the Network Preference Pane in System Preferences which you can get to from the Apple Menu.

Run Terminal on the other computer. Type in ssh username@ipaddress where “username” is your short name on the non-functional computer and the “ipaddress” is the address you got from the Network Preference. You’ll have to enter your password when it asks for it. If you’ve never used ssh before, it’ll ask you about adding the address or something like that. You’ll want to say “yes”. Now you’re logged into the non-fuctional computer. Do steps 1, 2, and 3 listed above. Instead of step 4, simply type exit to logoff and close the connection to the remote computer. Now you can do steps 5 and 6 on the non-functional computer.

I suspect there’s probably a way to get a folder on a remote volume to work properly in the Sidebar. Probably with a symbolic link of something. But my first mission was to get the computer working again. Thankfully I can say, mission accomplished.