Thursday, November 30, 2006

iTunes Catalog


iTunes Catalog is an application that will let you manage your iTunes library.  You can get album art for tracks, and have them added to iTunes.  You can also search for lyrics, or purchase tracks from various stores.


The main feature that is really interesting is the ability to publish your library to the web.  iTunes Catalog generates some php that will generate a representation of your library.  iTunes Catalog supports publishing though Mac OS X's built-in web server, or an external host.  Here is my published catalog.


I didn't try it myself, but I think that if you host the published site on your mac, you might be able to play your whole library from anywhere you have network access to your computer.


[via The Apple Blog]

Keeping gmail and Apple Mail sent folders in sync


This page has an neat tip on how to keep the sent mailbox in sync in Gmail and in Apple mail.


With this tip, if you send a mail through the Gmail web interface, it will appear in your sent folder in Apple Mail, when you next check mail.  Built into the POP/SMTP interface, it already works the other way around.  When you send a message through Gmail's SMTP server, the message is automatically added to your sent folder.


The only addition to the script was to add the condition:


  • Account <gmail account name>


[via atmaspheric bookmarks]

Top Ten Reasons To Be Thankful For Your Spouse!


This post has 10 reasons to be thank for your spouse.  I am so grateful for my wife.  Thank you sweetheart, for everything that you do.  I love you.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Democracy 0.9.2


Version 0.9.2 of the Democracy has been released.  I have been using iTunes to download my video podcasts, but I decided try Democracy.


This application makes if very easy to subscribed to video podcasts.  There is an integrated guide of video podcasts, in a easy to navigate way . (Very similar to the iTunes podcast directory.)  Downloads can happen at a higher speed, as th video player has built-in bottorrent support.



Goombah


I saw this post that mentioned Goombah.  This is application is a "social networking" application for your music.  This app will you let you network with people with similar tates in music.


Goombah looks at the contents of your iTunes library, and generates a list of similar music, and a list of other people who use Goombah with similar tastes.  From these lists, you have the ability do purchase the tracks from iTunes.


Goobah also displays "Goobah's Free Music".  This this is a collection of free music.  Goombah uses bittorrent for the downloads, so they should be pretty fast.



Updated Google Reader


Google has released some updates to Google Reader.  The main thing that this update includes is some new options when subscribing to new feeds.  Also you can now create folders directly from "Feed actions..." menu.


Unfortunately, the two problems, that I have had aren't fixed:


  1. There are still problems unsubscribing to feeds generated by Google Reader.

  2. Emailing posts from within Google Reader loose all formatting.


[via Download Squad]

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Technorati Link Count Widget


Technorati has released a widget to show the number of incoming links to a post, on the blog post.  This is essentially  just just a link to the Technorati search page, for the post, but it also has some javascript which will dynamically update the number of incoming links.


The instructions that Technorati has to install this involve manually modifying blog templates.  To make this easier for LifeType, I created a plugin.


[via Sifry's Alerts]

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Googlepedia


I just saw this post that describes a bunch of Firefox extensions.  It mentions, and I installed Googlepedia. This is a pretty cool extension.  When you do a search in Google, it will load a relevant Wikipedia article in the background, and it will appear on the right side of the search results page.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

WidgetStation


WidgetstationThis is a cool looking alarm clock.  The WidgetStation is an alarm clock that has two lcd screens.  It can display calendars and rss feeds.  For audio, it will play internet radio stations but not AM and FM stations.


I think that this could be a great product if it had an iPod dock, where the iPod can be used as an audio or video source, where the video could be played through on the lcd screen.


[via Engadget]

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Updated sitemaps plugin


I just checked in a change to the sitemaps plugin to now create version 0.9 of the sitemaps protocol file.  Now the generated file will be compatible with Yahoo and MSN.


Unfortunately, only Google has a mechanism to send notifications of sitemap updates.  Yahoo and MSN don't have similar mechanisms.  Once I see those other search engines add similar mechanism, I will update the plugin.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

OpenDNS for dynamic ip addresses


Last week, when OpenDNS introduced OpenDNS Accounts, they added support for preferences for users with dynamic ip addresses.  This is accomplished by a dynamic dns client, that is configured with your account credentials.  When the client notices an ip address change, it will notify OpenDNS the your dns preferences will apply to the new ip address.


Now OpenDNS is looking for developers to create new dynamic dns clients that are compatible with their service.  There are two requirements:


  • SSL support for https updates

  • Allows the user to change the update url.


The other thing that I would love to see in this client is the ability to update multiple dynamic dns services.  I want to send updates to OpenDNS and DynDNS at the same time.

Tried switching to DSL


I got a call from AT&T offering a pretty good deal for 6 mbs DSL, so I decided to try them out.  We got the package a few days ago, and I installed it last night.


After I installed it, I tested the speed, and dslreports.com, and I only got about 1.4 mbs of download speed.  I then tried moving the dsl modem to the closet where the cable mode is.  I couldn't get dsl signal there at all, even though there is dial tone.


I got frustrated, and just reinstalled the cable modem.  Then out of curiosity, I ran the speed test, and these are the results that I got:




I saw these result on my laptop connected to the cable modem through 802.11g.  It is possible, that I was directly connected the results could have been better



Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Google Mail suggestion


It has been over two weeks since I switched our mail to Google Apps, and things have been working pretty well.  The only problem that we have encountered, is that more spam has been getting through.  Previously, I had SpamAssassin with bayesian filter configured to scan our mail.  With enough training, we got it working well.


One thing that I would love to see in Google Apps for your Domain, is the ability to import a SpamAssassin bayesian tokens database.  This would allow the spam filter to be tuned for a particular domain, as soon as it is switched to Google Apps.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Google Groups suggestion


just moved a mailing list that I was running on mailman over to

Google Groups.  There is one feature that I would love to see:


I would love the ability to import the archives of the mailman

mailing list, so that the members of the group only has to search in

one location to find an old post.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cool iSight trick


This page has a pretty cool iSight hack.  It displays a little window with video from your iSight camera (essentially video of you.) 


This is not really a security hole, as the video is local, and doesn't leave your computer.


[via digg]

Code Monkey Video


A while ago, I wrote about the song Code Monkey by Jonathan Coulton. A performance of this has been posted on YouTube. The next time he comes to the bay area, I hope we can go.



http://www.youtube.com/v/j4TnhemCEmc



[via Jonathan Coulton's Blog]

Thursday, November 9, 2006

wiDock


Since we have all of our music on our Mac mini, and the mini is not in a really accessible location, it is a hassle to synchronize our content to our iPods.  Right now, the Mac mini makes the volume that contains the music available through afp.  Each of our laptops mount the Mac mini drive, an the iTunes library access the content directly from the mounted volume.


WidockThe wiDock looks like something that could make this a lot easier.  In addition to being an iPod dock that has audio and video out, it also has built-in 802.11b/g and an ethernet port.  If you use the included software, you can sync iTunes with an iPod over a network.  This would allow us to keep the dock in our office, but still synchronize the iTunes library on the Mac mini in the living room.



Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Hacking Democracy


Last night, I watched Hacking Democracy.  This movie documents, in several ways, how Diebold voting machines can be "hacked" in order to change the results of an election.


I think the US government should require a open and transparent audit of all electronic voting machines.  Ideally, the software running on these machines would be required to be open source, so there would be complete transperancy to the code, but that is unlikely to happen



Tuesday, November 7, 2006

SeeThru Hard Case


15-Seethru-D6Last week, my MacBook Pro, and me, fell down the stairs.  The computer is fine (and I am as well), but It made me want to get some additional protection for the computer.  I bought the clear SeeThru Hard Case for the MacBook Pro.  This case snaps over the laptop, while still allowing you to open and close, and have access to all of the ports.


[via TUAW]

timezone offset and apache/php


I noticed a strange thing last week.  After the time change for Daylight Saving time, the internal time on this blog was off.  When I entered a new post via xmlrpc, the resulting post would appear an hour in the future.


After some investigation, I realized that the date php command was returning the local time, but with the time zone offset that corresponds to before the time change.  Once I restarted apache, the offset got reported correctly.

Privacy taken too far


My company uses Blue Shield as our health insurance provider.  I have been pretty unimpressed with them so far, especially compared to Great West, which we used at TiVo.  The latest annoyance occurred this week.


You can access both processed and pending claims on the Blue Shield web site.  I noticed that only a small subset  of our claims were appearing.  I sent them an email, and this was in their response:


We must be in compliance with privacy laws therefore you are only able to view your claims status on-line.


Each member of your family will need to register separately with a different username, password and their birthday in order to view their claim status.


So they want us to create an account for every one in the family, for privacy purpaces.  The funny thing is that when they send the paper confirmations for each claim, they are all addressed to me, and not to each individual.



Blogger archiving responsibilities


Do bloggers have a responsibility to archive the content of posts that are linked to, so when the post becomes unreachable the information is still available? 


I linked to a forum post that described how to fix a problem where your iTunes library file became locked.  I didn't post the actual steps, as I didn't get permission from the author.  Then at some point later, the thread was removed from the forums at ipodlounge.  For a while it was available in Google Cache, but then it disappeared.  Now when people find my post from search engines, they can't find the instructions.



Zero gravity water experiments


Boing Boing has a post that links to a video of an interesting experiments run by Don Pettit, on Expedition 6 to the International Space Station.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Ambient Clock


Googleclock Byambient V3-1Now this is a device that I would love on my desk at work, if it ships.  The Ambient Clock is a clock that, in addition to displaying the time, also your schedule.  The clock would retrieve your schedule from Google Calendar, though Ambient's wireless network.


The really interesting thing is how it displays your schedule.  It shows the blocks for scheduled appointment around the circumference of the clock.  In addition it displays travel time to meetings as little dots running up to the appointment block.  (The travel time is calculated using Google Maps.)


When no appointments are close the clock glows a calm blue color.  This changes to a yellow shade, within 10 minutes to the event.  When an event is in progress, the clock is in a shade of orange.



Friday, November 3, 2006

iCal - Google Calendar synchronization


Currently if you want to access a calendar with both Google Calendar and iCal, you can only share the calendar one way.  So if you want to make modifications in both places, you need to create two calendars.  One in iCal, and subscribe to it in Google Calendar.  Create other in Google Calendar and subscribe to it in iCal.


It looks like Spanning Sync will make this integration even better.  With Spanning Sync you can modify the calendars in either place, and have the changes reflected in the other.


It is not available yet, but will be entering a private beta next week, with a public beta after that.


[via TUAW]

polycarbonate wheels


Polycarbonate WheelI have seen a bunch of posts that mention the D'Vinci Forgiato Radurra wheels.  These are clear polycarbonate wheels that cost about $2000 each.  One problem, besides the gaudiness, is how these wheels will affect the cooling of brakes.  Maybe using these wheels require ceramic brakes.


[via Engadget, AutoBlog]

SiteChecker


SiteChecker is a Firefox extension that notifies you when attempt to navigate to a phishing site.  SiteChecker uses the PhishTank data file.  I know that Firefox 2.0 has phishing detection built in, but the extra check can't hurt.


Update: Here is the new location for the extension.


[via PhishTank Blog]

Google Apps thoughts


It has been a few days since I have switched most of my domains, that I actually care about receiving email for, to Google Apps for Your Domain.  I really like this service.  The setup was was very easy.  I actually like the fact that you can set up the user accounts and aliases even before you switch the mx records.  This allows you to test everything before putting in production.


In this post, I mentioned that I was only going to use fetchmail to collect the mail for my account.  I ended up using it for a few more accounts.  One of them is where I have my logs forwarded to for the servers that I maintain.  Since on want one account to check for these logs.  The other is an account that we use KidzMail for our kids to use.  KidzMail only supports unencrypted POP3 and SMTP, which is not supported by Gmail.