Today In The Geek Plane


These are notes and impressions that have been piling up of late, so I decided to bunch them together in a single post and clear my backlog a bit:

Media

  • AirVideo is great – I’d been meaning to set up something like it for a while now (I was already at the point where I was doing batch transcoding, but didn’t want to bother syncing or copying files to my iPod or my Samsung phones). All it needs as far as I’m concerned is an official Linux server, and it seems like discussing an alpha version is the most popular thread ever on their support forums (more here).
  • If you find yourself needing an Eye-Fi server (I still don’t have a card because they still don’t ship to Portugal, and their Amazon UK store seems to be mostly for show – plus it doesn’t have the model I want), you can take a look at this barebones server written in Python.

Mac

  • I think I’ve settled on GanttProject for project management, even though its GUI needs not so much of a redesign but rather some serious sandblasting to feel at least one whit native on a Mac. OmniPlan is beautiful, but I can’t commit to using it based on a somewhat short trial period (seriously, if any of my projects took only 14 days, then I’d be a very happy monkey).
  • If you have a Magic Mouse and missed MagicPrefs, go and take a look at it. I’m only using it on my mini and with a couple of gestures active, but it’s useful enough when you miss having a trackpad. If you didn’t miss it and want even more flexibility for a standard trackpad, you might want to look at BetterTouchTool – which does a whole lot more, including Windows 7 style window snapping.

iOS

  • Despite having access to iOS 4 for a while now, I still found this interesting – especially the bit regarding syncing notes, which I haven’t yet had time to fool around with (my personal phone runs version 3, and will do so until the 21st). Of course, the elephant in the room is the continued lack of any kind of task/To-Do list, even though those work just fine on iCal on the desktop.
  • I still find myself wishing the iOS version of Dropbox had a built-in text editor. It’s just silly at this point.
  • As it turns out, iSSH supports Wake on Lan, so it ousted all my previous VNC and SSH clients. Although there is as yet no official Apple Remote Desktop client for iOS devices that could take advantage of their security, image encoding and MobileMe features, this is good enough for me right now, and I often use it to whack AirTunes into submission when the Remote app and my iTunes server don’t get along (besides administrivia for this site, of course).

UNIXisms

  • I can’t seem to find a decent set of cramfs tools for OS X. This seemed promising, but won’t build under Snow Leopard and I couldn’t spare the time to remove the Linuxisms out of the source code. Anyone care to add a decent port of cramfs to MacPorts? (Homebrew, the Ruby fanboy’s darling, also doesn’t have it, just in case you’re wondering).
  • Partly due to that, I’ve been giving Ubuntu another (admittedly half-hearted) go, and 10.04 still sucks rather badly on a netbook but makes for a decent desktop setup. Firefox is showing its age, though, and the lack of a truly good e-mail client makes the whole exercise rather redundant.
  • I’ve found that MeeGo satisfies one of my basic security criteria for a netbook: home directory encryption. If they fixed their installer, I might even enjoy it someday (can’t think of a reason why they labeled it 1.0).

Miscellaneous

  • Chrome keeps growing on me (largely thanks to its extensions and to being the only WebKit browser I can use anywhere), but this news about it getting a PDF viewer makes me uneasy, even if it’s sandboxed and has (for the moment) to be explicitly enabled. Flash was bad enough, thank you.
  • Remember my mentioning my office UPS had died? Well, as it turns out APC has stellar service: I ordered replacement batteries for both my units online (the second is still running, but no point in delaying the inevitable, especially seeing as if it’s the oldest one), and I received an e-mail warning me about delivery within minutes of my wife’s SMS asking whether I’d ordered anything heavy recently. Considering the abuse I’ve put their hardware through and the smoothness of the whole ordering and delivery process, I’m all for buying more of their stuff.