Widget of the Day :: Panda Cam

I have a new favorite widget. Panda Cam is a widget from the San Diego Zoo. It is a live camera feed to the pandas, with options to switch to elephants, polar bears, and orangutans. When the pandas are around, the camera sometimes follows them. At night it is dark, and day or night, it is not very exciting if the animals aren’t around. When they are in front of the camera, it is way cool! This morning I got to watch a zoo employee change a garbage bag. Not very exciting, but about an hour later, I got to watch two pandas playing. It is an excellent diversion if you suddenly need a moment to clear your brain.

panda cam widget

Macworld 2006 :: Day 3 | The Expo

My brain is fried. Deep crispy fried. But I will do it again tomorrow and probably Friday. Macworld is a combination of my best dream and my worst nightmare. Techies and geeks everywhere. State of the art computers. Endless cool hardware and software. Some of the best product design that there is. And… Wall to wall crowds. Sounds from every direction. Colors. Lights. Stuff. People. People people people people people. And so many sounds! Everywhere. There was more good than bad by a long shot, but it drains my energy completely.

Root picked me up and we took BART into SF. A relatively quick stop at the apple store. No new macs yet. We played with iLife ’06 on a new 20″ iMac at the expo for at least an hour. I saw the future. It was the future as it looked in my past happening in the present. It was the Jetsons. Video conferencing made easy. Excellent quality even at full screen. Click on the little video icon and you are talking to someone on another continent like they were in the same room.

The new iApps are fun! Just like Steve Jobs did in the demo, me and root made a cool dvd in minutes and a web site in another few minutes, complete with blog, podcast page, rss feed, and photo gallery with a subscription link for photocasts. Click a button to see all of your media; photos, movies, audio. Drag it into your movie, dvd, web page. Type. One click publishing if you use .mac. Done. I swear that apple isn’t paying me for this. It all really IS that cool! It is creative computing for the masses. It is easy and fun. I am still not sure how some things work if you don’t have a .mac account.

So much stuff. Endless. Overwhelming. I can’t wait until tomorrow 🙂

Macworld 2006 :: Day 3 | The Morning

This morning I woke up at 5am because I was too excited to sleep. The rest of the dreamweaver power tools was better than I could have even imagined. I learned ALL of the things that I have never been able to understand about using PHP and accessing MySQL databases in dreamweaver.

Today, I will finally get to see the expo. I am still resisting the iMac, but it is not easy. I will get to play with them and the MacBooks at the expo. There are all kinds of fun things going on for the next few days. Lots of free workshops and demonstrations.

My brain keeps compiling a list of mostly ridiculous reasons why it would be good to get an iMac. There are many. There is only one reason not to, but since that reason is money, it is a hard list to balance. Thanks to the magic of credit cards, there is a pretty good chance (80%) that the iMac will win.

The list so far:

  • Larger screen – this is the main reason. While I can do almost everything I need to on my 12″ powerbook screen, there are pretty severe limitations when working with any kind of graphics program or trying to compare multiple files at once.
  • Speed/Performance – I am a computer geek and tend to overload any computer that I have. Any boost helps.
  • Games – not an actual reason, especially considering that I have an xbox with a bunch of games that are not even completed yet, but still impossible to ignore.
  • It’s Pretty – also not a reason
  • It is shiny – see above
  • Did I mention the big screen?

Steve Jobs is a marketing genius, and I am an easy target. Time to go the expo now.

Macworld 2006 :: Day 2 | Keynote

No doubt that Steve Jobs is an excellent speaker who can make people excited about something even if they don’t even want it. I have very little interest in having an ipod, but was completely captivated by the ipod video demo. Of course watching the video on a very magnified ipod on a giant screen looks much more impressive than if had been on an actual ipod. It just kept getting better after that…
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Macworld 2006 :: Day 1 | Power Tools Conference

It is only the first day, and I am already having a great time at macworld. The expo doesn’t even start until tomorrow. The keynote is tomorrow at 9.

Day 1 of the dreamweaver power tools conference was great; even better than I was expecting. Dave McFarland (the guy that wrote the ‘missing manuals’ for the last few versions of dreamweaver) was running the presentation. He is a good speaker; very knowledgeable, interesting, entertaining, and flexible.

This conference is geared towards intermediate dw users, and I was afraid the level of the first day sessions would be too basic, but for the most part, I was wrong. I even enjoyed hearing about things that I am very familiar with, like CSS.

The way Mr. McFarland explained CSS to the people who were new to it, made me excited all over again about css. It’s great! I am a web geek, and would happily praise css to anyone who will listen, but in my usual life, most people I come across do not know or care about css.

I ended up learning much more than I thought I would. I still think it may be faster and easier to hand code basic page styles than to click through the dw menus and dialog boxes, but once the stylesheet starts getting longer and more complicated, I can see where using the new CSS tools in DW8 can save gigantic amounts of time, and make things much less confusing than trying to muddle through a giant css file looking for the cause of a style over-ride problem, or even just all the CSS that is relevant to a particular element or selection.

I was going to write more, but it is already the 2nd day and I must write about the keynote now.

¡Feliz Cinco De Mayo! … and Tiger

Today is 05/05/05. Cool!

Today is also my first day w/Tiger. So far, so good. Very smooth upgrade, even though I chose the ‘erase and install’ option. I transferred my user settings and apps from my panther clone on an external firewire drive after installing. Next time, I would install the apps manually afterwards, but truth be told, I was too excited, and didn’t feel like dealing with it. I had already found tiger compatible updates for most apps before the install. Only problem was virex, which i knew wouldn’t work; and I had to get update for sidetrack. I hated not having it, even for the 1/2 hour that it was gone.

Widgets are pretty cool. I downloaded one that is a rubik’s cube for the desktop, one for easy uploads to flickr, one that makes a user defined slideshow from flickr, jiwire hotspot finder, wikipedia lookup, and a color picker. I liked the included weather, dictionary, calculator, unit converter, translator, flight tracker, and tiger tile game, but have not yet figured out how to type on the sticky note.

Spotlight rocks as hard as they promised it would, and as of now, I have retired my ever faithful copy of Quicksilver application launcher. Safari RSS reader is WAY better than anything I was expecting! I’ve still been using netnewswire for subscribed feeds, but I’m using safari for viewing feeds that i click on.

I am SO excited for automator, but haven’t had time to play yet. Also haven’t tried new mail, ical, or address book yet. I wonder if they can sway me from Entourage…
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Side Track 1.1

Side Track is a replacement driver for apple ibooks and powerbooks. It adds much needed functionality to the apple trackpad. Coming from the 5 button scrolling mouse on the pc, I was very frustrated with the trackpad on my powerbook. The worst thing was that if I set the trackpad for ‘tap to click’, and tried to type, the cursor would jump all over the place. Side Track includes a checkbox to ‘ignore trackpad while typing’.

Other things:

  • Set vertical and horizontal scrolling to edges of trackpad. You can also control the size of the area on the pad that is used for scrolling.
  • Set trackpad button to either regular click or ctrl-click (right-click)
  • Set each corner of the trackpad to a different mouse button or keystroke combination. For example: I have bottom left corner set to ctrl-click, bottom right corner set to ‘hide’, top left to ‘back’, and top right to ‘forward’. Very handy.
  • Custom settings for applications.

Requires OS X 10.2 or higher.

Shareware – 30 day free trial. $15 to register.

Some people have experienced the ‘cursor freezes on wake from sleep’ bug. So far, I’ve only had one problem. After installing 10.3.8 OS update and turning off computer, cursor was frozen when I turned it back on. I had to turn it off, and back on. Since then, all is good, but I haven’t turned my computer off again since then.

Side Track does seem buggy at times, but still worth using, even w/the bugs. Messing with the settings can help some (or make things worse!).

It may take some time to get used to using it, but if you have any frustraton at all with the regular trackpad, side track may fix things, as well as adding a bunch of other very useful features.


Smell-o-mints is a very fun, free mac program. It is a periodic table of the elements. You can click on each element in the table for more information, and if you want more in-depth info, you can click a link and go directly to that elements wikipedia page.

Macworld is over

I will miss it. A sea of ibooks, powerbooks, clamshells, and even a few pcs. Geeks everywhere. More information than it is possible to process in 5 days. Hardware, software, lots of pens. Tiny hard drives. Tiny macs. Tiny ipods. G5s everywhere. Free magazines. Even a hacky sack. I will miss it.

Still at macworld

Wil Wheaton was excellent. He told the story about his first mac, the TI he had before that, frustration w/macs and a trip to the pc dark side, a trip to linuxland, and then back to mac. He is a geek. So am I. AppleScripting the iApps was very interesting. Learned some cool stuff, but mostly about even cooler possibilities. Time to head over to “blogging and site syndication”. Seems appropriate.

Macworld 2005

I am at MacWorld, day 4. So far it has been a blast even though I am completely worn out. Been doing mostly os x and applescript stuff, w/a short break for some photoshop tips. It is great to get to learn so much.

Keynote was kind of boring. Tiger, tiger, spotlight, blah blah, ipod shuffle, mac mini. Tiger is definitely ver cool, but i’m tired of hearing about it.

The mac mini was pretty freakin’ cool too. It is a very small G4 computer that comes with no peripherals and costs $499. It’s only 6.5″ wide by 2″ tall! There was also a tiny ipod that doubles as a flash drive. It comes in 512MB and 1G models.

mini mac

Today, Wil Wheaton is speaking at 9:30, then 2 applescipt things and one on blogging and syndication. Oh yeah, and one on Panther secrets. I’m in geek heaven. I better go now before I get shut out of the presentation.