Open brief aan Wann.es

Lieve Wann.es,

Uiteraard begrijp ik je wantrouwen ten opzichte van het nieuwe systeem, beter bekend onder de naam Mac OS X. Veranderen, zeker naar iets dat zoveel vernieuwender en zoveel meer vooruitstrevend is dan het oude vertrouwde systeem dat we al die jaren gewoon zijn, is niet altijd even gemakkelijk.

Sta me toe om je een hand te reiken en je een beetje wegwijs te maken in de onbekende wereld van de Mac. Ik ga je voorbeelden beantwoorden en je zal zien, het grootste deel van je frustratie ligt in “gewoonte” en “kennis”.

  1. Een bepaalde extensie toewijzen aan een applicatie. Rechterklik (of ctrl-klik wanneer je nog een 1-knopsmuis hebt) op een bestand en kies voor “Get Info”. Ik heb mijn Mac ingesteld in het Engels, maar dat kon even goed het Nederlands zijn of het Katalaans, want zoals je weet, Mac OS X is out-of-the-box multilingual. Je krijgt het onderstaande scherm (die ik trouwens ook heb genomen met de out-of-the-box screenshot functionaliteit). Ik heb de verschillende opties dichtgeklapt om enkel de informatie over te houden die hier van belang is.
    Selecteer een andere applicatie onder “Open with:” en klik vervolgens op de knop “Change all…” die eronder staat. Je zal zien dat vanaf dan alle bestanden van dat type (niet van die extensie want Mac OS X herkent de feitelijke bestandstypes, ongeacht welke extensie ze hebben) zullen openen met het gekozen programma.
    Assign other application to a file type
  2. Numeriek toetsenbord heeft een komma ipv een punt. Helaas zal ik hier ook op moeten antwoorden “ja dat gebruik ik niet”. Ik werk op een laptop die bovendien een querty klavier heeft. Brengt me meteen bij een tegenargument: Bij Windows heb je de keuze tussen de layouts “US” en “US International”. Bij de eerste layout kun je geen deeltekens’s, tildes, hoedjes, accentjes… leggen op de gewenste letters, dus moet je de tweede nemen. Alleen is dit zeer frustrerend bij het programmeren omdat de " pas verschijnt na tweemaal duwen. (De eerste keer is om het deelteken in ë te kunnen maken). Bij dit probleem kan ik je niet out of the box verder helpen, want ik heb geen ervaring met wat “Belgisch” layout doet bij een klavier met nummeriek toetsenbord. Ukelele (mij ook onbekend) kan je inderdaad mogelijk verder helpen.
  3. iCal doet inderdaad niet mee aan het schrijven via andere applicaties naar Google Calendar. iCal heeft daar geen andere applicaties voor nodig: die kan dat zelf. iSync kun je gebruiken om je adresboek te synchroniseren met die van GMail.
  4. Sneltoetsen door vensters bladeren, dat kan op vele verschillende manieren. In de eerste plaats is er Exposé. De defaults zijn in de loop van de tijd veranderd, dus je moet even kijken hoe de instelling op jouw systeem zijn. Hiermee kun je een overzicht van alle vensters (alle openstaande of enkel die van een bepaalde applicatie) bekijken.
    Als ik me niet vergis ben je echter op zoek naar de shortcut voor windows-tab. Wel, probeer cmd-tab eens? Er bestaat een overzicht van alle default keyboard shortcuts (waaronder enkele waarbij je inderdaad minstens 2 personen nodig hebt om ze in te duwen) maar ook hier geldt: pas ze aan hoe je zelf wil!
  5. Home en End bestaan inderdaad niet. Cmd+pijltje is the way to do it. Ze staan 10cm uit elkaar, akkoord, maar is het zo’n grote moeite om met je linkerduim (!) de cmd-toets in te duwen en de rechterwijsvinger op een pijltje te duwen? Akkoord, in sommige programma’s (ik denk aan Dreamweaver, ik denk aan applicaties die ports uit een windows omgeving zijn) moet je eerder Fn+pijltje duwen. Hier bestaat hier en daar inconsistentie maar dan is nog maar de vraag: ligt dat aan het OS of ligt het aan de applicatie. Op het werk gebruiken we FirstClass als e-mail client en de normale toetsencombinaties (tot zelfs ctrl+backspace of ctrl+b) werken niet zoals je zou verwachten.

Het is een feit dat je moet wennen. Het is een feit dat je je te complex denkpatroon moet laten varen en terug logisch intuïtief moet leren nadenken. Toegegeven, het is vooral wennen maar na een tijdje zul je merken dat je met een Mac (met keyboard shortcuts!) veel sneller kunt werken dan met het Windows systeem. Akkoord, ik voel me bijna even goed onder een Ubuntu systeem op een PC als op mijn Mac. Op een Mac kan ik echter alles doen wat ik ook op mijn Ubuntu systeem kan (met uitzondering dan van het hercompileren van de kernel) maar met mijn Ubuntu systeem kan ik niet meteen alles wat ik met mijn Mac kan realiseren.

Het is een kwestie van gewoonte. En van kennis. En openstaan voor. Maar dat geldt voor alles. Je moet niet aan iets nieuw beginnen wanneer je per definitie tegen bent. Hoe goed die nieuwigheid ook mag zijn, je zal altijd het negatieve blijven zien. Want oh ja, er zijn ook negatieve punten aan een Mac. Ik denk bijvoorbeeld aan het verplaatsen van een folder of een bestand. Kopieren kun je. Drag en Drop kun je. Maar knippen-en-plakken mag je vergeten.

Hopelijk ben ik je van dienst kunnen zijn.
Met vriendelijke groeten…

Snow Leopard sound setting

I ran into my first annoying bug in Snow Leopard today. Not a big deal, just annoying.
On reboot, I noticed that the volume was reset to 100%. First I thought I forgot to set the volume to a lower level, or I increased it and forgot to pull it down again.

But after rebooting twice on a short timespan, I was sure I decreased the sound level before reboot but it was still reset to 100%.
A quick Googling learned that there are two audio settings files in /Library/Preferences/Audio (com.apple.audio.SystemSettings.plist and com.apple.audio.DeviceSettings.plist) that should be removed. On that forum, there are comments of Snow Leopard users that say their sound settings are reset to 0% or 25% so I guess the volume level is restored to the level at which it was before upgrading to Snow Leopard. But that’s just my guess.

Reboot and the volume stays at the same level as before the reboot.

Autofill in Mail.app

When you don’t really know how to call something, it’s hard to find it. I tried “mail.app saved e-mail addresses” or “mail.app autosave e-mail address” and still Google gave not the required article. At least I thought.

An annoying thing about Mail is that it saves e-mail addresses to which you previously sent some mail to. It isn’t necessarily annoying, but it is when you can’t change the format. Jack Nickleback might be in your address book, but you might have replied to him while he’s sending with the nickname “Jacky Nickly 98347 <jacky @hotmail.com>” and you really don’t want that to appear in your “To:” field. You just want to send it to the format in which you specified his name in your address book. Simple and clean.

Now there is a feature – luckily – to change this, but I expected an option to change those saved passwords. It isn’t. You can go to Window > Previous Recipients and that’s the list of – d’uh – the e-mail addresses to which you have previously sent an e-mail. Bad thing is: it doesn’t show up the name with which they appear in your e-mail message. What you have to do, is remove the names from the list. They will still appear as you type, since they are in your address book and mail searches the Previous Recipients list and then the Address Book.

I found this in an article from someone who does read the manual, so I don’t have to, but it is on the Apple Support Website too.

Open Directory

Blogging colleagues, that’s nice. Follow their private lives or their children growing up, without even visiting them. But what happens when they try to hack their own blog together, using a lot of "cool" technologies which have more a negative than a positive influence on their productivity. We (other colleagues and I) are bashing since forever on planethofstede.be. Of course, we’re happy he finally has some kind of blog in stead of a folder containing a bunch of images, but he is still holding on to the thought that he’s a programmer and he should implement his own blog – a thought I have given up a long time ago. Using pre build software is much easier and is done by people who knows more about these things than you do.

Not only you can’t add any comments on planethofstede.be (and thus we have to use our own blogs to comment) and is the name that shows up in Google Reader <div xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml” xmlns:ns0=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml”>www.planethofstede.be</div> in stead of a human readable name, but even worse is his “photo album” that is nothing but a bunch of public accessible folders in which you have to select every photo one by one and in which you don’t have a clue what the image will look like (no thumbnails, no overview, nothing).

This phenomena has a name. Such a public accessible folder is called an Open Directory and is known on more sites than planethofstede.be. This way, there are people who have written a little javascript that allows you to open the images in such an Open Directory in a more user-friendly way. This javascript however is showing all images in full size and the images on planethofstede.be are not even scaled down, making it impossible to view the entire image at once. So I changed the script in a way that the browser will scale the image down if necessary.

Now, how can we use this script to see planethofstede.be‘s images? Quite simple. Add the script as bookmark.

  1. Copy the following script entirely:
    javascript:var%20sHTML='<html><head><title>Photoviewer</title></head>\n<body%20style="background-color:#121212;font-family:tahoma,verdana,sans-serif">\n\t<div%20align="center">\n';for(x=0;x<document.links.length;x++){link=document.links[x].href.toLowerCase();if((link.indexOf('.jpg')!=-1)||(link.indexOf('.gif')!=-1)||(link.indexOf('.png')!=-1)||(link.indexOf('.bmp')!=-1)){sHTML+='\t\t<a%20href="'+document.links[x].href+'"><img%20src="'+document.links[x].href+'"%20style="border:0px;max-width:'+(document.body.clientWidth-40)+'px;width:expression(this.width>'+(document.body.clientWidth-40)+'?'+(document.body.clientWidth-40)+':true);max-height:'+(document.body.clientHeight-40)+'px;width:expression(this.width>'+(document.body.clientHeight-40)+'?'+(document.body.clientHeight-40)+':true);"/></a><div%20style="color:#fefefe;margin-bottom:30px;">'+link.substring(link.lastIndexOf('/')+1,link.lastIndexOf('.')).replace(/-/g,'%20')+'</div>\n'}}sHTML+="\t</div>\n</body></html>";document.body.innerHTML=sHTML;
  2. Add a new bookmark (called Favorite in Internet Explorer) and use the script as "Location" or :
    1. If you’re using Firefox:
      • Click "Bookmarks" in the menu and choose "Organize Bookmarks".
      • In the window that appears there, right click on "Bookmarks Toolbar" or "Bookmarks Menu" and choose "New Bookmark".
      • As "Name", you can choose "Open Directory" and you paste the script (you just copied) in the "Location" field.
      • Save that bookmark.
    2. In Internet Explorer, it’s different because you don’t have a procedure to add a bookmark like this, but you can download this URL and copy it to your Favorites folder (On Windows XP, this is the folder C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Favorites). You can do the same for Firefox: download the url and drag it to the Bookmarks Manager.
  3. Now, go to a folder on the planethofstede.be website – which will show you an index of images – and then Click Bookmarks > Open Directory (i.e. the bookmark you just created). The javascript will be executed and you’ll see the images one above the other.
Admittedly, this procedure isn’t user-friendly at all, but I can’t add a “click here to add the bookmark” since Firefox nor Internet Explorer will allow a creation of such a bookmark. But once installed, you have a nicer way to see planethofstede.be‘s photo gallery.

Edit Thanks Nick (Mr planethofstede.be himself) to add the description functionality to the script. I took my chance to change the script a little more and add some more styling. The script now has a dark background and horizontal lines are separating the images and their descriptions from the next image.

Edit 2: As suggested, the horizontal lines are removed and I’m using a margin of 30px instead. I also noticed the portrait-shaped photo’s still needed scrolling as only the width was adapted, not the height. Now the height is modified if the image is too large to fit in the browser window. I also made the images clickable, so that you can click-to-view the original image. Right click and selecting "show image" would work too, but that implies two clicks and a mouse move – thus more effort 😉

Modify Lightroom Build-in templates

When I upload images to bermione.be (and thus not uploading them to Picasaweb), I’m using the Lightroom build-in Flash template, since that is exactly what I was looking for. Not too fancy, but not too simple either. Only minor is that I had to add my Google Analytics code every time to the generated html page. But I always forget to add it before uploading and I notice that only a day later, when the gallery was visited already and thus I loose some analytics.

Yesterday, once again, I generated a new gallery, uploaded it to the server but forgot to add the Google Analytics script. And that I noticed today so I opened the html to add the script and… was surprised the script was already there!
Then I remembered, I was once searching for a way to modify this template in order to have this Google Analytics script automatically added: I wanted to change the build-in template and insert the script so that it would be there every time I generate a new gallery.
I know I did a long research for it and finally found how to do this. But that’s a long time ago.

At this point, I started a search on the Internet to find out which file I once edited but… I couldn’t find it anymore. So I started a search locally and finally found the template.

On a Mac, the default flash template, which includes the html you have to change, is located inside the Adobe Lightroom.app. The file /Applications/Adobe Lightroom.app/
Contents/PlugIns/Web.agmodule/
Contents/Resources/galleries/default_flash.lrwebengine/index.html
is the one you want to change.

To find this file using the Finder:

  • Go to /Applications, select Adobe Lightroom.app and Action > Show Package Contents
  • Browse to Contents/PlugIns/ Select Web.agmodule and Action >Show Package Contents
  • Browse to Contents/Resources/galleries/, select default_flash_lrwebengine and Action >Show Package Contents
  • There you can see different files and folders, one amongst them is index.html and that is the file you want to change.

Open this with any text editor (but be aware that as of Leopard, TextEdit.app opens HTML in a WYSIWYG mode! I prefer Dashcode, but then you must have installed the optional Developer part of Mac OS X) and add the Google Analytics script at the bottom of the file (as described online). Save the file and generate your gallery. You’ll see that the Google Analytics code is right there!

Other templates are right there, in the Web.agmodule/Contents/Resources/galleries

Pin My Picture

Having a colleague who has bought a geotagging device, and one who is thinking about doing the same, is the best way to get interested too. Asking colleagues how they geotag their imagese, is not quite a success, since they can only tell which programs to use on a W*ndows PC. Since I don’t use crap, I have to search a way to do this on a Mac. My Equipment: an HP iPaq 2490, a tomtom bluetooth GPS receiver, Visual GPSce to record my track in NMEA data and a camera from which the clock is in sync with my PDA…

In this post, I am explaining how to record the data, I assume you have your RAW NMEA data file available.

NMEA or GPX?

Although the NMEA gps data is a standard, not all programs support that format. GPX is the format which is used by most programs and thus recommended. Now how do you convert your raw data to GPX? There is only one program I know with which you can do this, GPS Babel. This is a command line tool and thus not really user friendly for most users but luckily there are enough GUI’s written on top of this tool.

  1. GPS Visualizer, a website which supports multiple formats
  2. Houdah GPS, a Mac OS X frontend to GPS Babel.

Houdah GPS

I’m using Houdah GPS because I might not be online while I geotag my photo’s and this way, I don’t have to upload my geo data to the Internet. Using Houdah GPS is quite simple:

  1. Select your source Because I have an NMEA file available (recorded on my PDA), I select “File” as source and NMEA as format. I had to rename the extension that VisualGPSce has created: the extension is .txt but HoudahGPS only takes .nmea files but an .nmea file is nothing more than a plain text file, thus renaming the .txt to a .nmea file is sufficient.
  2. Select your data I just leave the default: Both tracks and Waypoints.
  3. Select your Destination data NMEA is the one we already have, so we don’t have to select that as destination. KML can be used in Google Earth, and as I said before: GPX is a standardized file format, so we’re going to create a GPX file. This can be used in google earth as well, by the way.
  4. Convert Now that all the preferences are set, click the Convert button in the left upper corner. A File Selection dialog will appear for a first time. Here, you have to select your .nmea file (remember, it’s just the .txt file that you have renamed). Click "Open". A second File Selection dialog will appear in which you can define the name of your gpx file. Choose a name and click "Save"

Geotag

With our gpx file ready, we now have to put the geo data in our photos. There are multiple programs available to do this.

  1. houdahGEO, from the makers of houdahGPS. This is share ware and costs $25.
  2. Photo GPS Editor, donnationware.
  3. GPS Photo Linker, freeware and my favourite.

The two last applications doesn’t seem to be maintained anymore, but they do what they have to do, so right now, I don’t pay attention to that.

GPS Photo Linker

GPS Photo Linker
In GPS Photo Linker, click the button "Load Tracks" in the left upper corner and select your GPX file. This may take some time, depending on how many data you have recorded. Next, click "Load Photos" in the upper right corner and select the photos you want to geotag. Not only JPEG is supported, but RAW images are supported as well. When all the images are loaded, go to the Batch tab in the left pane (not Standard or Manual) and click "Batch save to photos". This may take some time too, depending on how many data you have recorded an how many images you have selected.

And that’s basically it. Now your photos are geotagged and Flickr or Picasaweb pin your picture on the earth! But remember: make sure your camera and your recording device have their clocks synced, or else your images won’t be pinned correctly! With GPS Photo Linker, you can shift the time of the photos in order to have them geotagged correctly anyway.

Mac, why don’t you accept bluetooth filetransfers?

One of the things that annoyed me in Leopard, is the fact that suddenly, bluetooth transfers from mobile devices to my mac stopped being accepted. I saw the incoming bluetooth request, but the connection broke immediately, resulting in a sad “connection error” on the mobile device.

Luckily, other people know exactly what to do about that. Enabling Bluetooth Sharing, perhaps I would have done that if I searched a little further.

Oh well, my mac is accepting my files again 🙂

Deletion warning

Since no payment has been received so far, all services related to this invoice will be removed from our servers and databases within 24 hours.
If the payment already has been executed, please fax us a proof of payment at +32 70 224 305 to avoid deletion.

The line was active for only 14 days.
I called to their 24/7 support. And this time, I would wait until at least somebody picks up that phone. An 8 minute call to a 0904… number – which will cost me about a fortune – and then they said “There’s nobody to answer this phone call, please try again later”. YEAH RIGHT.
I recorded the largest part of the call, but I only started recording after more than a minute and if you want to skip the terrible quality song, skip to 06:31. There they tell me they don’t answer.

Then I called my neighbours to ask whether they payed already. They did this morning. Shit. Now I can’t do anything more but fax Dommel. Problem: I don’t have a fax. I do have a Powerbook though and although I never used it, it should be able to fax. So I went to my neighbours house, made a fax in PDF, connected my Powerbook to their phone line, set up a fax (I’ve never faxed before) and tried to sent it. I guess that worked, I saw the dialing, connection being made, sending, and closing the line, all without any error. It did took a while to send.

I sent the fax through e-mail too, not that it will ever been read.

My story:

  • January 5: request for an account. Payment done. Received mail that it could last 10 working days before the connection is active
  • January 18: second invoice. No active Internet, so no payment
  • January 23: start of an e-mail marathon: sent a mail to ask why there’s no connection yet. No answer received.
  • January 25: second mail, this time not so friendly. Was answered: no payment is needed for the time that we’re waiting for the connection
  • February 6: finally, the ADSL signal is active. Sent an e-mail to ask what to do with the invoice
  • February 8: first reminder on the invoice. Called expensive 24/7 support: nobody answered. Sent another mail, to all known e-mail addresses. No answer came
  • February 13: second payment reminder. Started to send e-mail to all known addresses to ask for an answer. Started blogging about it
  • February 18: final payment reminder. Called daytime support: it took 10 minutes to answer my phone. Got an answer with which I’m not quite happy, but I ordered my neighbours to pay anyway.
  • February 20. Deletion warning: within 24 hours, the account will be closed unless payment has been done and prove has been faxed. we don’t have a fax. Luckily, my Powerbook has one. Sent the fax as fax and as e-mail (including typos).

I’m sure they’re not going to contact me. I’m wondering whether they’re going to close the account or not.

There where I doubted once whether or not I would switch to Dommel, I now know for sure. I’M NOT.

More about Dommel…

Final reminder

As I promised, I started sending a mail every day until I got a response. Today, I got one.

Subject: final reminder: invoice #xxxxxx

Another try to call their expensive support and waiting until someone would pick up the phone…

It took them 10 minutes in which the same song kept repeating and not even a woman’s voice telling me to “hold on, your call is important to us”. Then somebody picked up the phone.

It seems the “compensation” isn’t calculated in money, they compensate it in days, so the validation of the invoice is prolonged. The validation period of the current pro-forma invoice is already longer (15th of March to 15th of April in stead of 5th) but because we had to wait one month, the next invoice has to be lengthened even more. This means, the next invoice will be valid from 5th of May until 5th of June – at least, that’s what the guy has promised me.

BUT the next invoice will already arrive 18th of March and has to be payed before 8th of April.

You see? April 8, the payment for May will have to be done.
WTF??

And what when we decide to cancel the account, will it last for one month more? I told them to send us the new invoice only on April 18, but I got the answer that this is impossible since the invoices are generated automatically. That is a story everyone likes to say: “Don’t blame me, it’s the computer”.

Well, REPROGRAM THE THING, a computer can be manipulated BY DEFINITION.

I told my neighbours to pay anyway and to see what the next month will give. I wouldn’t like to see their account being cancelled. Perhaps when we switch from invoices on a monthly base to invoices on a three monthly base, the invoices period will be reset? I don’t know. We’ll see.

If only you depend on somebody else…

More about Dommel…