Catching Up

For a 3-day week, this sure was a stressful one. And it ain't finished yet.

  • If you've never heard of Fix a Troubled Mac, go there now. The 1.6.0 edition of the e-book adds backup and file sharing techniques on top of other goodness I had mentioned earlier, and is even more heartily recommended.
  • A colleague of mine popped over to London this week and brought me a copy of iLife'05. So far, iPhoto rocks, but I still have this reluctance to use it as the main photo store. I'll be looking at what it does with EXIF and IPTC tags in more detail (if it does anything at all, of course), and let you know what I think.
  • MythTV now has support for Mac OS X frontends (everything but recording) - can you say Mac mini?

Oh, and before another Portuguese site picks this up, the sentence "É tão giro ter um mini" ("It's so nice to have a mini"), which was extensively used for Morris Minor commercials here in Portugal might be back in vogue.

(Please consider Donating towards my gadget fix.)

Minor Rant on SVG

Which reminds me, only today I tried to convert an SVG diagram to something that mere mortals could view. A bit of googling led me to a nightly build of Firefox with built-in SVG support, but it was, er... flaky, to say the least, so "fixing" the problem on the client side was out of the question. And these days, you'll be hard pressed to make desktop users install the Adobe plugin (and, in corporate environments, they often can't).

For professional reasons, I happen to have Inkscape installed, so I could have used that - but what I really wanted was a command-line rasterizer (or a library that I could compile without having to install half of GTK), so I spent part of my lunch break digging around (and if you look at my and David's SVG resources, you'll see I had a lot of good starting points), and found nothing that was either finished, really portable (i.e., minimal dependencies) or easy to install.

All in all, it is absolutely ridiculous that the only thing that managed to convert the SVG properly was ImageMagick. I now have a couple of trivial Python and PHP wrappers to run SVG files through it for display in regular browsers (the main issue is picking the correct origin point for rendering), but with all the W3C hoopla, you'd expect more and better server-side solutions.

And don't even get me started on Batik - it's a bloated monstrosity that has no place on workgroup servers.

My bottom line: If SVG proponents want it to stick, they would do well to get off their backseats and make the technology available (not to mention both popular and ubiquitous), instead of nitpicking over the next standard revision - the one we have now is nowhere near usable in real life.