Monday May 16, 2011

Bulk deleting from Previous Recipients

If you use on OS X, you're probably aware of the Previous Recipients list that you can use to autocomplete email addresses. You're probably also aware that it's a pain to edit the list, as the search box at the top only matches email addresses that begin with whatever you type, which is next to useless. Bad Apple.

A lot of us legacy Sun folks at Oracle have a lot of addresses in there that are no longer relevant, so it would be handy if there was a quick way to clear those out, right?

With a little inspiration from this discussion that Google turned up, it turned out to be a simple task, with a single SQLite command:

% sqlite3 ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook/MailRecents-v4.abcdmr

sqlite> delete from ZABCDMAILRECENT where ZEMAIL like '';

sqlite> .quit

Sorted :)

Wednesday Mar 26, 2008

Apple forbids Windows users from installing Safari for Windows


Wednesday Nov 14, 2007

Four Gigabytes, Four OSes, One Mac

Upgraded my MacBook Pro to 4Gb yesterday, and was eager to play around and see how much it would help. What better way than to fire up all my virtual machines at once and see how it performed? Here's the video... sorry it's a nasty .mov file, but in my defence, it really is encoded as a Theora movie (a plugin for which you may need to install from here, if you're watching on Mac or Windows).

I haven't tried to see if I can trick it into playing in Totem et al. yet on Solaris / Linux-- let me know if you have any joy. For the record, the OSes are OS X 10.4.11, Solaris Nevada b77, Ubuntu Gutsy, and Win XP, all running in VMware Fusion 1.1.

EDIT: Here's a more Solaris-and-Linux-friendly OGG/Theora version.

Thursday Nov 30, 2006

PowerBook woes

My 15" Powerbook G4 died in various interesting ways yesterday.

It's been making a scary buzzing noise for months, but yesterday the hard drive gave up the ghost. While doing some diagnostics in its death throes, I also noticed that I seem to be suffering from the logic board failure that causes half your memory to go AWOL. Not sure which of those was responsible for the buzzing noise (if either)-- will find out when I replace the disk in the next day or two, I guess.

Of course, Apple being Apple, they'll only admit that the logic board was faulty on a certain range of PB G4s, with serial numbers from W8503xxxxxx to W8518xxxxxx... and three guesses whose is a W8502. So no free repair for me.

I guess that leaves me three possibilities (four if you count "do nothing and hope it doesn't get any worse")... sell my 2x512Mb memory sticks and replace them with a 1xGb stick in the 'good' slot (and hope none of the more serious symptoms of the failure appear); purchase AppleCare now for €450, even though I'll only get a year out of it now rather than three, and have it repaired under that; or pay the somewhat ludicrous €690+ that my local Apple authorised repair shop quoted me. Hrmm.

Edit: D'oh, just realised you can only buy AppleCare within a year of purchase, of course. Just have to cross my fingers for a while then, I think :)

Monday Aug 07, 2006

DTrace your Macintosh

From the OSX Leopard sneak peek:

When you need a bit more help in debugging, Xcode 3.0 offers an extraordinary new program, Xray. Taking its interface cues from timeline editors such as GarageBand, now you can visualize application performance like nothing you’ve seen before. Add different instruments so you can instantly see the results of code analyzers. Truly track read/write actions, UI events, and CPU load at the same time, so you can more easily determine relationships between them. Many such Xray instruments leverage the open source DTrace, now built into Mac OS X Leopard.

Cool or what? Now, if they'll just open source their GUI so we can reciprocate by including it in OpenSolaris... :)

Wednesday Jul 26, 2006

Ee aye adio?

Congrats to the Scotland U19 fitba' team, who've reached the final of the European Championships in Poland tonight-- although they'll probably get humped in the final against Spain, having already lost 4-0 to them in the group stages. But what with that, the big team winning the Kirin Cup (against Bulgaria and Japan) in May, and our subsequent 18-place climb up the FIFA rankings, you could almost believe we might have a respectable team again soon. If nothing else, we've reached two more finals than England this year\* :)

\* Okay, I expect England have probably reached some equally-diddy finals this year, but why let research get in the way of a good story...

Sunday Feb 19, 2006

Dual-boot Power[Book|Mac] Linux + Tiger users rejoice...

Ext2 support for OSX is back :) (Bit buggy at the moment, though...)

Tuesday Jan 17, 2006

Freecom Network Drive

After a few anxious moments reading the box ("supports OSX 10.3", "must be formatted in FAT32 for Mac compatability") and some equally off-putting Tiger-non-support stories over on their support forum, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the 160Gb Freecom SL Classic Network Drive that I ordered last week actually does include a driver for OSX 10.4, and works perfectly with all three partitions that I put on it (one HFS+, one FAT32, and one UFS) when it arrived yesterday. Used SuperDuper to do my first complete backup overnight-- hope everything works as well from the Windows side, for backing up Julie's laptop.

Sadly the network driver is all funky proprietary stuff, so not much hope of getting the disk to show up remotely on a Solaris or Linux box, but hey... that's what its USB 2.0 connection is for.

Update: Ximeta have an open source NDAS driver for linux that might work with the Freecom drive for x86 Linuces (the OS X version apparently does), but no PPC version as yet :/

Friday Apr 29, 2005

Tiger so far

My experiences with Tiger so far, after a few hours' playing:

  • The installer refused to install anything at first, failing after the hard disk verification stage with the everso-helpful message "There was a problem with the installation. Please try installing again". Luckily I knew where to look for the install log when I rebooted, whereupon it claimed it had encountered the dreaded Error -9972. Not wanting to take any chances, I backed up everything and did a clean install.
  • Things do generally feel somewhat snappier, as promised.
  • Spotlight does what it says on the tin, but for me, not quite as elegantly as Quicksilver, at least as an application launcher. Biggest annoyance in that regard is that you hit the shortcut (Cmd-Space, rather that Quicksilver's Ctrl-Space, but that's fine), type the first few characters of the app you want to run, and the results come back. At this point, Quicksilver will show you the closest match and you can launch it straight away ny hitting Enter. Spotlight, however, always pre-selects "Show all matches" rather than "Top hit", so you have to arrow down to select the app or file you want to open. A tad annoying.
  • Dashboard is very pretty, but some of the widgets duplicate stuff that's already in OSX, and it would be much more convenient if the widgets could be placed on your actual desktop, rather than an Exposé-like overlay. It also takes up a space on the dock... haven't checked to see if it still runs if you remove it, yet.
  • Still no virtual desktop support-- Desktop Manager to the rescue.
  • Photoshop CS refuses to run any more, even after a complete re-install. (Update: I tried again, and now it does.)
  • Had to upgrade Desktop Manager and my Wacom tablet driver to get them to work, but now they're fine.

I haven't yet looked at Automator, the 3D video chatrooms in iChat (nobody to talk to!), the improved mail client (as I only use that for my work email, which I can't access until Cisco come out with a Tiger-compatible VPN client), or much else, really.

Update: samba also looks to be somewhat broken... I can connect to my office share using smbclient, but I can't mount it with mount_smbfs (or Connect to Server, in Finder).

Update II: Mac On Linux can't run Tiger yet.

Update III: There is a way to have dashboard widgets on your desktop

Update IV: Samba does work after all; in 10.4 it just sends passwords encrypted by default, which our office servers can't handle yet. Adding this to /etc/nsmb.conf fixes it:


Thursday Apr 28, 2005

Tiger Time

My copy of OS X Tiger has arrived, a day ahead of schedule (and 10% off, thanks to Sun's employee purchase plan)... all I can say so far is that it comes in this nice (if slightly hard-to-open) box, because I haven't decided yet whether to install it and break my ability to work at home until Cisco get their act together and release a compatible vpn client. But I think I probably will :)

Tuesday Apr 19, 2005

Should've waited for Tiger...

Hmm, updated to OSX 10.3.9 a couple of days ago, but perhaps in their pre-occupation with getting Tiger out on time, it looks like Apple forgot to test it. Applying the recommended fixes at least got Java running again for me, but Cabos still refuses to connect to any servers for me now.

Thursday Apr 14, 2005

Ubuntu to you too

Have spent a few hours over the past couple of days installing and playing with Ubuntu Linux on my Powerbook G4. I thought I was quite happy with Mandrake\^H\^H\^Hiva 10.2 (one of the few other mainstream distros that runs on a Powerbook), but I think I was wrong... with Ubuntu, the GNOME battery monitor works, my plug-in wireless card works, and my Wacom tablet works (mostly-- no pressure sensitivity). And most of all, everything feels a lot snappier, especially the indispensable MOL (which is one of the few things that's been more of a hassle to set up with Ubuntu than it was with MDK, thanks to the lack of a pre-compiled kernel module).

As with any flavour of Linux of course, there's still no hardware acceleration for the G4's ATI Radeon 9700 graphics chip (I do miss being able to play TuxRacer in its native environment, although the OSX port isn't bad), and no driver for its built-in Airport Extreme wireless card. And there probably never will be, given both manufacturers' reluctance to release any information about them whatsoever to Linux hackers. But what the heck.

Monday Feb 28, 2005

Things that changed the UI world

Jef Raskin, usability guru and Macintosh pioneer, died yesterday.

Talking of the Mac, I read an excerpt from Andy Hertzfeld's new book at the weekend that reminded me why most dialog boxes have an OK button in them.  Apparently, when usability testing the original Apple Lisa GUI, the designers had chosen the more formal Do It as the confirmation button label, but noticed that people were sometimes inexplicably clicking Cancel instead. When quizzed, one frustrated tester eventually confessed that they thought the button said Dolt, so he wouldn't click it because he wasn't a dolt...

Tuesday Feb 22, 2005


I was thinking of writing something about Sideways, which Julie and I went to see at the weekend, but Michael Jordan (no, not that one) seems to have summed it up fairly well. Rarely have so few interesting things happened in a movie between a couple of mildly amusing bits.

Also spent a bit of the weekend writing some screen-scraping scripts to automate my production of the irish Setanta listings for the indispensible Digiguide. The detailed information for each programme on Setanta's website is unfortunately contained in a Javascript popup that you can't get at with wget, so I thought I'd acquaint myself with AppleScript for this part of the task (the rest is just relatively simple sed and awk magic). Several hours of experimenting and googling later, though, I never did find a way to tell Safari to save a webpage with a particular filename in OSX 10.3.8 (and it seems I'm not the only one)-- it just doesn't seem to work as intended. I ended up doing it with UI scripting instead, which works, but isn't terribly elegant.

Tuesday Feb 01, 2005

iLife '05

Had a quick play with iLife '05 at lunchtime.  Admittedly I'd barely had time to play with iLife '04, but the new features I've noticed so far look handy enough... iMovie doesn't complain about trying to import clips that are longer than 9.5 minutes any more, and GarageBand has a built-in instrument tuner and notation feature now, amongst many other things.  (It's also supposed to support direct import of MIDI files, but as yet it's steadfastly refused to consider importing any of mine-- at least I don't seem to be alone with this problem though..


I am a Principal UX Engineer in the Systems Experience Design team, working at Oracle (via Sun Microsystems) since the turn of the century. I currently work on sysadmin user experience projects for Solaris. Formerly I worked on open source Solaris desktop projects such as GNOME, NWAM and IPS.


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