Super Cool Neato Import

I just imported 399 Live Journal entries to be WordPress Posts.

What is even cooler is that I exercised some programming skills and implemented the backup button in lj-net. I checked it out from CVS on Sunday and played a little. I laughed when I discovered that the Backup option was in the menu, but there were no events for it. Then I remembered it was CVS, so people download actual releases probably did not click the button and wait for something to happen. Hopefully the button didn’t exist in the relese.

I wired up some lame test stuff on Sunday, but this evening I actually implemented the LiveJournal export xml format. This was great because WordPress already has a Live Journal import php script. I simply copied the xml backup to my WordPress host and set a define in the import script, et voila! A few years of very retarted LiveJournal posts.

I must say, beware! I followed very little (none) etiquette on the LiveJournal Posts.

Apple on Intel – No Big Deal

It has been 20 days since the start of the 2005 World Wide Developers Conference for Apple Computers. Steve Jobs confirmed what many had speculated for years. Apple’s Macintosh line of computers (their only line) would change to run on Intel chips.

There has been TONS of talk about this, what it means for Apple, what it means for Microsoft, what it means for Linux, what it means for Dell, and probably what it means for George Bush and maybe even what it means for your grandmother. It seems the smoke is clearing and the dust is settling and what is left is a huge mess of misinformation and some solid facts. I’m just going to state a few things from my point of view. Only time will tell whose thoughts and opinions turn out to be correct.

First is the notion that many power user types will want to buy an Apple computer and dual boot a Microsoft Windows operating system. This is a plausable idea at first, but lets consider some things. Apple keeps its computer easy to use. There are a number of things in the Intel move that I do not think will change. Holding down ‘C’ on bootup to boot from CD, or holding down ‘T’ to enter target disk firewire mode are two things that I think the new Intel based Macs will have. Think for a moment how these things might be accomplished on a current PC. They can’t! Well, the holding of C to boot from CD could be accomplished at a BIOS level, but today, far more technical expertise is required to force a PC to boot from CD. As for target firewire mode, I suppose the same could be done with a fancy BIOS, but nothing exists today. (I’m a firm beleive that anything is possible, it just takes some code, or the proper engineering.)

Apple currently accomplishes these types of features through the use of their Open Firmware Architecture. When a Mac boots, it has far more knowlege about the hardware on which it is booting than an Intel PC does today. Apple will use an Open Firmware to boot their Intel based Macs. The new Macs will not have a BIOS. Wikipedia gives a good background on what is a BIOS.

When a modern PC boots, it is still acting as an original IBM PC. Even Pentium CPUs boot in 16bit real mode. Apple doesn’t have to function this way. They can allow their firmware to switch into 32bit protected mode, see all of the memory in a system, utilize all the power of whatever CPU it uses.

That brings us back to the dual boot question. Even though an Intel CPU is being used, the new Mac is probably NOT going to be “PC Compatible”. Setting aside questions such as “How does a CD boot?”, “Will is use El Torrito to boot CDs?”, and “Where do drive letters fit in?”. Just the fact that there is no BIOS looking to boot a DOS operating system means that Windows XP is not going to boot on this thing. There is not need for MBR programs, DOS style Partition tables, none of that is on the new Mac. This thing is as much a Mac as a PowerMac G5 or a PowerMac G3.

The same dual boot question applies to Linux. My guess is that Linux won’t install on the thing the same way that Linux installs on a Windows Compatible Intel based computer. Lilo doesn’t fit anymore. The way a boot CD looks is no longer the same. But the Linux community reacts quickly. Linux will be running on the thing, even in a dual boot situation shortly after the release of the first machines, if not before then.

A note about 32 bit protected mode. I really don’t know much about the Intel 64bit architecture that Intel copied from AMD, but the fact that those x86_64 computers boot DOS and Windows the same way as the original IBM PC means that the argument above holds true for them. It seems that maybe they would have a 64 bit mode that would be used instead of the 32 bit protected mode previously mentioned. I don’t think the new Macs are going to use a 32 bit Intel chip. They will use the new 64 bit Intel chips.

Given the above, it should be clear why Dell shipping OSX machines is not as clear cut as some would suggest.

Somethings I’m not surprised about are the questions about VMWare and Virtual PC, and the use of Wine. Wine will now work on OSX. This is HUGE! I’m sure some performance enhancements will be needed, hopefully to remove the X Windows layer from Wine and let Wine run directly on one of Apple’s display layers. Even running Wine through Apple’s X11 implementation will allow for thousands of Windows programs to run on a Mac without emulation for the first time.

I hope to see a VMWare port to MacOSX soon. Remember that Virtual PC is a virtual machine on Windows, but on Mac, Virtual PC has always been an emulator. Microsoft would need to release a new version of Virtual PC for the new Macs. I can’t speculate on whether Microsoft will do this port quickly, slowly, or not at all. But at this point, FORGET DUAL BOOTING. All of the dual boot, machine boot argument above becomes irrelavent as soon as Windows XP is booting in a Virtual Machine. VMWare or Virtual PC, it doesn’t matter, Windows XP running as a Virtual Machine (instead of emulated) on the new Macs mean Windows applications at performance that Mac users have never seen on their Macs! Finally we can buy loaded up Powerbook Centrino’s and max out the memory and run Linux and Windows inside virtual machines. This is my dream. No more multiple computers.

This rant got a little long. I’m sure that I have more opinions and responses to the myriad of responses to this Intel based Mac announcement. Note that I have avoided use of the word “macintel” because its pointless. A Mac is a Mac.

Cruising Music

I just submitted art of the mix number 93116. I cannot wait to rock out to some good music while driving.

Some of this music is unbeleivably amazing. It sounds like there could be 2-3 guitars, but there is really only one. The talent and skill of these players is unparred.

Thunderbird Usability – almost enough to make me try evolution

This one is whiprush inspired.

I’ve been using Thunderbird primarily and continuously for 18 months and off and on since much its inception. I’ve obviously thought it great since January of 2004, since that is when I made it my primary mail application.

I’ve just run into something that it cannot do. My sister-in-law mailed me pictures of her kids and I cannot “save all attachments”. Why is there no ability to save all the attachments with one command? Worse yet, I can’t even tell there are attachments. The message is being displayed inline and the images are just inline. The only way for me to save the images are to right click each one and click “save image as…”. How does that make my life easier? Where is the inovation? How does it scale? (I know for sure that it doesn’t scale.)

I think I shall try evolution… Maybe in 18 months, I will have a status report. Stay tuned until December of 2006.

Update:

Wow, both schweeb (via IM) and whiprush (via comments) replied very quick to point out that if I switch message viewing mode to plain text (View->Message Body As->Plain Text) then I will get the attachments toolbar and I can right click a message and “Save All”.

Thanks guys.

I’m still complaining about usability, but at least what I wanted to do is possible.

Cygwin via Citrix or Terminal Server

One of the worst things about working in IT is logging into many computers. In IT, computers that aren’t 100% under your control as a programmer or administrator often don’t have the tools you are used to. Worse, often you aren’t supposed to install extra software on these computers. After all, they might be production servers!

Citrix MetaFrame and Microsoft Remote Desktop(Terminal Server) both support mounting your desktops local drives to the remote system. In my case, Citrix was doing it by default. I connect and the v: is actually the c: on my laptop. I have cygwin on my c:\cygwin directory on the laptop. The normal way the cygwin bash prompt is invoked is via the cygwin.bat script. This script makes some assumptions that aren’t true in a MetaFrame/Terminal Server environment. Invoking this script directly on the remote server won’t work, but here is a work around.

Run bash.exe directly via cmd.exe. To do this, launch cmd.exe, then run bash by calling its full path, which is now v:\cygwin\bin\bash.exe. Once you do this, you will have a bash prompt, but you will immediately notice that “nothing works”. Well, somethings do work, and with a little more configuration you will have a fully functional cygwin.

Run /cygdrive/v/cygwin/bin/mount and notice that the normal /, /usr/bin, and /usr/lib are not mounted. Mount them by running these commands:

/cygdrive/v/cygwin/bin/mount -f c:/cygwin /
/cygdrive/v/cygwin/bin/mount -f c:/cygwin/bin /usr/bin
/cygdrive/v/cygwin/bin/mount -f c:/cygwin/lib /usr/lib

Now your mount points will be set, but you will notice that your path doesn’t include the usual /usr/bin, /usr/local/bin, etc. No problem, just restart the bash shell.

exec /usr/bin/bash --login -i

Now you will notice you get your pretty prompt, and a note about /etc/passwd and /etc/group. I don’t go to the trouble of configuring the /etc/passwd and /etc/group files, so just ignore the instructions to run mkpasswd.

Next time you want to start cygwin, you won’t need to follow the mount steps, just run cmd (or start->run), and then v:\cygwin\bin\bash –login -i.

Today’s Podcasts and Opera’s biggest limitation

Well, they are podcasts, so they are when I listened to today, which are usually from the day before, a couple days before, or last week.

OMG TOO FUNNY The kid who submitted a new song for Adam Curry was hilarious. I nearly burst out in laughter while at my cube at work. Adam Curry’s Podcast XML Feed This was the 6/17/2005 episode. Also hilarious was the tap dancing news caster.

My biggest gripe with Opera is that it doesn’t support drag and drop for pretty much anything! Having used a Mac for a year and a half, I really got used to drag on drop. When I moved back to using Linux and Windows I was pleasantly surprised that most applications supported Drag and Drop in the ways that I had grown accustomed on the Mac. Opera, however, doesn’t support these things. Mainly, I wish I could drag urls and links out of the browser to other applications. Dragging a url to a text box when adding an RSS feed or torrent url just seems more natural to me than copy and paste. When I have to revert to copy and paste because Opera limits me, I get angry. I should not be limited by technology. I still use Opera. It is far faster than Firefox or Internet Explorer.

OMG 7 hr podcast: http://www.ipmradio.com/ IPM has been around for years, but 7 hrs doesn’t translate to a good podcast for me. Maybe someone out there loves a 7hr podcast, but not me.

Excellent podcast

Better than Drew and Dawn, even better than Adam Curry, with quotes like “When Susan B. Anthony look at you getting your ass pinched by the high rollers and be like ‘That is what we were fighting for! Thats it!’” It is the best generic vareity themed podcast I’ve heard in my short time listening.

Mondays.

stupid “fucking” quiz

OMG best stupid quiz in a long time:

“If we fucked would I like it?”

If we fucked… we would never stop fucking
OMG! Where the fuck have you been all my life! I want you… no I need you now! You are amazing… If we fucked, I would tie you to my bed, and make you my personal sex slave. You make me scream “Oh God”, “Oh yes harder”, and all the good fucking shit… you are probally the best sex of my fucking life.. So get out that condom, pull down your pants, and lets fuck already… I told you I am very very horny and I just found my perfect sex match! GRRRR ::jumps you::