Oh, by the way, I finally got this set up today. My quest for global domination has begun.

Date posted: April 30, 2007 | Filed under art/design | Comments Off on Shameless Plug.

Dining Room Light

My lovely wife found this light fixture online at Lumens, and she knew it would be perfect for our dining room. It’s a new edition of a George Nelson classic, and I think it fits the room (and the vibe of the house) perfectly.

Meanwhile, we’ve got a different light up for sale on Craigslist. Honk if you’re interested!

Date posted: April 30, 2007 | Filed under house | 2 Comments »

Gotcha! (Gotcher $1,000 too, suckers!)

Date posted: April 30, 2007 | Filed under design, shortlinks | Comments Off on InDesign CS3 Gotcha

www.whocalled.us has information on unlisted caller ID numbers, lookups, and a comments section to share information.

Date posted: April 26, 2007 | Filed under life, shortlinks | Comments Off on Who Called?

This is quick note about a conversation Jen and I had with our neighbors yesterday evening, which was still on my mind as I fell asleep last night. We live next to an ex-serviceman/retired public official and his wife, who are both intensely religious and outwardly Republican. (There are multiple anti-abortion bumper stickers on their vehicles, and they display various religious themed signs on their front lawn year-round.) Despite our differences of opinion, we get along with them very well. During our visit, the subject of Iraq came up, and their comments stopped me in my tracks: They called the war a terrible thing, compared it to Vietnam, and plainly stated that they thought our troops should come home. I felt as if someone was shuffling the tectonic plates underneath my feet as we spoke.

Memo to Mesrrs. Bush, Rove, and Cheney: Your key demographic smells the bullshit.

Date posted: April 25, 2007 | Filed under life | 3 Comments »

Lifehacker ran a fantastic tip today on sharing a keyboard and mouse among multiple computers. Synergy is cross-platform, open source software, and it took about five minutes to set up on my two Macs here, allowing me to FINALLY remove a full-size keyboard from my crowded desk. I’m now considering installing it on the Thinkpad to see if I can do away with the second mouse. (OS X download here.)

Date posted: April 25, 2007 | Filed under productivity, shortlinks | Comments Off on Keyboard and Mouse Sharing

I use an older Windows-based program called HomeSite daily to do my heavy lifting when I’m building sites, with a liberal sprinkling of Dreamweaver and some BBEdit for the things HS can’t do. When I heard that Panic, the shop behind Transmit (an excellent FTP client for OS X) just came out with Coda, billed as a new editor/ftp client/reference app all in one, I was very interested.

I’m downloading it now to give it a test spin this week-it’s always hard switching from one workflow to the next, but I like the reasoning behind creation of the app: …our web workflow was wonky. We’d have our text editor open, with Transmit open to seave files to the server. We’d be previewing in Safari, running queries in Terminal, using a CSS editor, and reading references on the web.

This sounds much like my workflow—I’ve usually got Parallels running HomeSite and Explorer in a virtual window, Safari and Firefox open for testing in OS X, Transmit to upload (HomeSite’s “built-in FTP client” is a joke) and another two or three browser tabs open for reference. (Plus Photoshop, Illustrator, and/or ImageReady.) Usually I’ll offload some of the testing and viewing duties to a secondary machine, usually the Thinkpad to my left, so that I don’t have to continually cycle through windows to see what I need. But that’s clunky, and it takes time to set up each workflow—especially when I’m cycling through multiple projects like I often do on a daily basis. One of the promises of this new app is that workflows are saved exactly as they are left, so one would be able to pick up right where one left off on a day-to-day basis. (This feature is implemented somewhat crudely by HomeSite, but not in a way I’ve been able to make useful.)

While I usually have a strong dislike for having multiple UI views in one app, I’m interested to see how Coda handles all of these functions and how Panic implemented them. I hope they have some kind of quick key for tabbing through views so that I don’t have to rely on the mouse to move around. I also hope it’s more stable than Dreamweaver, which still acts like a narcoleptic teenager.

More thoughts as they come-I’ll give it a test run tomorrow morning.

Update 4.25: I played with it for a while yesterday, and while it’s fast, and clean, it didn’t light my fire as much as I was hoping. I think this is due partially because I’m entering the middle of a project as opposed to starting a new one with it; it’s got a lot of nice features that I could use, but I’ve not had enough time to really find them all yet.

Date posted: April 23, 2007 | Filed under geek | Comments Off on Coda

Daffodil, take two

Finally, some warm weather. It’s going to be 70° this weekend, and I have work-work to do inside, when I’d rather be outside with a rake and shovel. Argghh!

Date posted: April 20, 2007 | Filed under photography | Comments Off on Daffodil

I’m beginning to see now why the $300 Powerbook was $300. When I first picked it up, the screen was fine, but I noticed some play in the hinge clutch—not anything to worry about, I figured, because Jen’s Pismo had an equal amount of play and it’s always been fine. (I also noted that the case on this G4 has been opened at least once, because there are two screws missing on the right side in the display and by the video port.)

Over the course of the last few days I’ve been getting more and more artifacting on the lower half of the screen. At first I was able to get rid of it by altering the LCD display angle, but now it’s to the point where the lower half stays black and no amount of adjustment will get rid of it.

woeful powerbook screen

Doing some sleuthing, I found some excellent sites with detailed instructions on disassembly and part swapping for everything from the display to the DC board, which makes mucking about inside the guts that much easier. (I’ve had my old Pismo down to the motherboard without directions before, and it was a dicey affair, but I did it.)

I’m assuming I’ll at least need to replace the video cable, and while I’ve got the case cracked I want to swap out the DC board to repair the damage done by the previous owner. Because the display hinge has some play in it (and I’d guess this is the root of the video problem) and because I already have to pull the display off to get to the DC board, I might as well see if I can replace the clutch hinges on both sides.

DC board, #922-6089 $69 (NOS, 30 day warranty) $99 (used, 6 month warranty)
Clutch hinges, #922-6021, 922-6022 $39 (NOS, 30 day warranty) $29 (used, 6 month warranty)
Video cable, #922-6016 $39 (NOS, 30 day warranty) $49 (used, 6 month warranty).
Case Screws $29 (used, 6 month warranty)

I figure about $200 plus an afternoon of surgery should get us a production/backup laptop in fighting shape and ready for action.

Meanwhile, my $40 Powerbook 1400 is still being flaky when it comes to wireless connectivity. I can get a couple of minutes of pure signal (or hours, on occasion) but then the connection will drop and I’m offline. Restarting, reseating the wireless card, and cursing have no effect. I even pulled an identical wireless card from my spare Base Station and tried that, but had no luck with a constant signal.

Update 4/21: I cracked the G4 case last night, and came away with mixed results. The case itself is full of dust and grit—it’s a miracle the thing hasn’t shorted out already, honestly. There are more than a few case screws missing, and the hard drive is a Samsung notebook drive, not the Apple original, confirming my suspicion that someone’s been in here before. As much as I don’t want to pull the rest of it apart, I’m going to order the DC board and replace that before I put the whole thing back together.

I cracked the upper bezel this morning, and it looks like the clutch assemblies are in fine shape, but the screws that held them to the display frame were exceptionally loose. I think I’m going to reattach the display to the case and see if the display flicker problem is gone, but I’ll still buy the monitor cable just in case.

a previous installment of Bill’s laptop barn

Date posted: April 19, 2007 | Filed under geek | Comments Off on Bill’s Laptop Barn, Part Two

The $500 LEGO Millenium Falcon. As a Star Wars geek, LEGO geek, and 36 year old American male, I don’t know whether to charge this to my credit card IMMEDIATELY or run screaming from the computer. (I don’t want to be that guy with two kids, a mortgage, and my Star Wars figures on display.) If I was 13 again, however, I’d start the daily Christmas pestering reminders right now.

Date posted: April 19, 2007 | Filed under shopping, shortlinks | Comments Off on LEGO Millenium Falcon