The Blog of Maxim Porges

Archive for October, 2007

  • Import .MOV Files in to iMovie Faster

    I’ve always suspected this, but this post confirms it: if you just open iMovie projects as packages in the Finder and drop the .MOV media files in to the Media folder, they will be instantly usable instead of having to wait hours for iMovie to import them.

    This should make the creation of CBTs with iShowU for work much easier. Here’s a nice tutorial of bringing iShowU files in to iMovie for screencasting.

    2007.10.30 / 2 responses / Category: Uncategorized

  • First Thoughts on Leopard

    Leopard arrived today in the early afternoon… so much for delivering it on Friday night. Not that I would have spent my Friday night installing an operating system, though, so I guess it’s a moot point.

    I just installed Leopard on my Quicksilver tower (933 Mhz G4 processor and 768 MB of RAM). Here are my thoughts so far.

    1) Leopard is definitely one fast cat. I can’t believe that Apple still found a way to make Leopard run on my old hardware faster than Tiger. This is probably the last OS X upgrade my Quicksilver machine will survive, and I feel like I got a whole new lease on life for it yet again (my third OS X upgrade/speed increase combination since I bought the machine 5 years ago). Apps tend to bounce a few times the first time you open them, and then they get super fast for every time you launch them thereafter. Most of my apps now launch in one bounce, which was previously unheard of on this machine. People may say Macs are too expensive, but 5 years on the same machine is a pretty decent ROI – I challenge anybody to find a 5 year old Windows box, install Vista on it, and say it’s faster as a result. I can only imagine how screaming fast Leopard will be on my MacBook Pro.

    2) I like all of the UI changes with one exception: the Stacks on your Dock are not configurable very much at all (you can choose Grid or Arc display – that’s it). The most annoying item is that you are forced to have the icon of the folder Stack in the Dock be the icon of the first item that the folder the Stack is created from contains. I use the icons as visual representations of what’s contained within them as shortcuts, so this is a little annoying. However, in the case of the Downloads folder, seeing the topmost item in the folder actually makes sense. So, I’d like to see Stack icon choice be configurable in System Preferences. The Grid view is more functional than the arc IMO, and works much better than the little pop-up list of files you used to get in Tiger.

    3) I haven’t configured a drive for Time Machine yet so I can’t comment on it, but I’m sure it will be cool. I’ll set one up when I put Leopard on my MacBook Pro.

    4) The new Finder is a huge improvement. I really like the iTunes-style interface and the much smaller/more organized icons on the left toolbar. Quick Look is also pretty nice. Cover Flow in the Finder would be better if they let you have the icons in the top and Column View in the bottom (the bottom half is set up as Detail/Folder View). I only see myself using Cover Flow view to browse documents; it’s a little clunky for applications (although the huge sexy icons look amazing in it for whatever you use it for).

    5) Front Row with the AppleTV interface is a stellar improvement, and I applaud Apple for just putting it in the OS instead of only bundling it with Macs that come with Apple Remotes. It’s also a lot more responsive and attractive in its new form (it makes the original Front Row look like a beta). I can’t wait to get this up on my old PowerBook (which acts as my media center in my living room) and see what it looks like on the 42″ Aquos (and damn, my TV is going for almost $500 less than what I paid for it a year ago…).

    6) Spaces is cool, but I’ll probably only ever use it when prepping for presentations. I can get my workspace set up for a presentation, and then go back to doing whatever I feel like in a separate space and be ready to present at a moment’s notice.

    7) Installation was painless and took a little less than an hour. The installation is a lot bigger than Tiger; I lost about 4 GBs after the install, even after I removed 1 GB of printer drivers I wouldn’t need.

    8) All the Macs in my household network showed up in the Finder without any prompting. I have seen online that this happens with Window shares, too. This is a pretty nice feature and makes it very easy to connect to whatever you want. Finder also shows you a bar at the top of a shared folder to let you know it’s shared when you’re browsing.

    9) All the apps now seem to share a more consistent look and feel for the windows, instead of the mix of brushed metal and Aqua windows before. The OS feels very integrated now as a result.

    10) All of my apps that I have tried so far still work, including HandBrake and Firefox.

    11) The packaging for Leopard is the slickest Apple has produced yet. No surprises here. I’d also like to mention that not only is the all-paper DVD enclosure environmentally friendly, it’s a hell of a lot easier to slide a DVD in to a semi-circular paper sleeve than pushing that stupid plastic button while contorting the DVD out of the slot like every other DVD case I’ve ever used makes me do.

    12) Terminal has tabs now – woot (or sudo…)!

    13) Safari 3 is definitely faster than Safari 2. Thank God they fixed the Find functionality… I could never find the search results on the page before.

    14) I’m adjusting to the new icon set for Leopard. I don’t exactly like it yet, but I get it. I was used to the old pictorial icons from every previous OS X release, but I can see why Apple got rid of them. They now look cutesy and cartoonish compared to the ones in Leopard, and the new ones fit the integrated theme of the window containers. I’m sure I won’t notice the difference after a few weeks.

    For those of you who have also taken the plunge, here’s a forum thread I found on hacking the Leopard GUI that has some interesting mods to the Dock.

    Any other Leopard users out there? Let me know what you think about it.

    2007.10.27 / no responses / Category: Uncategorized

  • Flex Builder Free for Students and Faculty

    Nice! Not only will this help Adobe rule the world, but I’m on the board at Valencia… I wonder if that will qualify? It’s always been acceptable by Apple for their educaction discount…

    2007.10.27 / no responses / Category: Uncategorized

  • Griffin Evolve

    Nice! It’s finally out. Not sure if I’m ready to drop $299 on a set of speakers I don’t realy need, but you have to admit that the wireless cube form factor is pretty sweet.

    What I’d love is if these things could do 5:1 or 7:1 just by adding additional cubes (with a special sub-cube, of course). Maybe in a future release? Probably wishful thinking…

    2007.10.25 / no responses / Category: Uncategorized

  • More on Flex Frameworks

    Droop-Nizzle has posted some well-organized thoughts on web frameworks in general, and the need (or lack thereof) for a framework in Flex.

    I mostly agree with his summary. It would be nice to have better test support in Flex (although I like mostly FlexUnit from what I have seen so far), and common app structure is always a good thing.

    However, the Ajax.request example is a bit of a moot point. Ajax is just an object somebody put in a JavaScript library, and ActionScript’s prototypes are just like JavaScript’s, so doing the same style of syntax in ActionScript is a trivial matter. Class and usage sample below.

    new RemoteCall("untitled.txt",   function():void {"Yeah It Worked: " + arguments[0].result);   },   function():void {"boo I didn't work: " + arguments[0].fault.faultString);   });

    package remoting{   import mx.rpc.http.HTTPService;   import;   import;
       public class RemoteCall   {      private var _service:HTTPService;
          public function RemoteCall(url:String, result:Function, fault:Function)      {         _service = new HTTPService();         _service.url = url;         _service.addEventListener(ResultEvent.RESULT, result);         _service.addEventListener(FaultEvent.FAULT, fault);         _service.send();      }   }}

    2007.10.24 / no responses / Category: Uncategorized

  • Meeoww!

    Just ordered Leopard. Apple says they’ll deliver it by 10/26, which sounds a hell of a lot better than standing in line at the Apple Store at 6 PM on Friday to get it. I guess we’ll wait and see if it actually makes it to my house by Saturday or not.

    I almost bought a big hard drive for Time Machine, but I already have a 250 GB USB 2.0 drive I’m using for Airport Disk that I’m not really making a lot of use out of. I figure I’ll start out with that and see how things go.

    As always, the old QuickSilver PowerMac G4 will guinea pig the installation, and assuming all goes well I’ll be throwing it on the MacBook Pro in short order so people at work can drool all over my shiny metallic keyboard while cover flowing the contents of my overloaded Desktop.

    2007.10.24 / no responses / Category: Uncategorized

  • When Best Practices Make Me Feel Stupid

    So I have been messing around with JBoss recently. As with most app servers, as soon as I get it up and running on my machine, I decide to hit it from another machine (such as my VMWare Fusion instance or my other Mac).

    On JRun, Tomcat, and every other app server I have ever run, this has been a non-issue; specify hostname and port, and Bob’s your uncle, you’re on the server. Not so with JBoss. When attempting to hit the server from another machine, I was unable to connect.

    I couldn’t find anything on Google to assist, and then finally I linked indirectly to this FAQ posting. Turns out that they upped the security in JBoss to make the server only bind itself to a particular domain, or localhost by default if no domain is specified. Apparently a lot of people put unsecured JBoss instances out on the Internet, and the JBoss team is trying to help stop this.

    So, running JBoss using -b allows unrestricted access from various machines.

    I don’t mind best practices, and I certainly should RTFM (or in this case RTFFAQ), but it wouldn’t hurt to spit this out as a hint message to the console for the uninitiated.

    2007.10.23 / no responses / Category: Uncategorized

  • Bah Humbug to Flex Frameworks

    If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I am not a fan of Flex frameworks and haven’t been for some time. The more we go down the path of ignoring frameworks in Flex and just writing sexy code that takes advantage of Flex’s powerful architecture, the more we like it. I think we’ll have a good model to share with the world before the end of the year, or at the very worst case end of Q1 2008.

    There’s a pretty good discussion on this going on Corfield’s blog, so I’ll just send you over there rather than repeat my (lengthy) comment. Hopefully Sean won’t moderate it out and it will be there by the time you follow my link.

    Damn it, now I feel like the Simon Horwith of the Flex world… next thing you know I’ll be presenting on the “no framework framework” for Flex at cf.objective()… :)

    2007.10.19 / 2 responses / Category: Uncategorized

  • Leopard. Kicks. Ass

    See the full feature list for yourself.

    I think I’m going to pre-order after my credit card statement rolls over for this month. I noticed that the Apple Store is offering 500 GB Iomega drives for $129 with Leopard while supplie last – perfect for pairing with Time Machine.

    I’m considering doing a fresh install. When I bought my MBP, I got it at the store and it came pre-installed with Tiger. However, if I had done a fresh install (as I should have when I got it home) I could have avoided the extra language and printer drivers and saved myself a few GB of space.

    Of course, fresh installs are always a pain in the ass since you have to reconfigure your system again. However, I think Time Machine might be able to help me out. In theory, I should be able to upgrade to Leopard on my current installation, set up Time Machine, have it back me up, wipe off my disk and do a fresh install, and then use Time Machine again to restore my files. If I decide to go this route I’ll certainly blog the procedure (or my complete and utter failed attempt) for your viewing pleasure.

    2007.10.16 / no responses / Category: Uncategorized

  • Where Are The Images?

    It turns out that the hosting account I used to run my old blog on was shut down. The web host made attempts to get in touch with me, but their notifications must have ended up in my spam filters. Oh well. This web site hosted all of the images and resources linked to from my blog, so for the minute, they are out of order.

    There wasn’t much on my old blog that I really needed, although since it was a bit more personal in nature, I thought I had lost the closest thing to a diary that I’ve ever had. As it turns out, my old web host was super helpful and made all my old files available to me, as well as exporting my MySQL database so I have all my data. The blog was a self-written affair that I hobbled together in PHP (something that shall never be repeated), but it was still nice to get all my stuff back and drop it on a CD for archiving.

    So, what next? Well, I’m thinking about getting a new host, and exporting my Blogger blog over to a Wordpress account. I’d really like to have more of a web site again rather than just a blog, and some of the guys at work have had luck with a particular hosting company.

    If nothing else, this will give me something to do over the weekend, although I recently bought Dawn of War and have been playing that a lot, which might impede my progress.

    Anyway, sorry about the missing images. I hope to be back up to full speed again soon.

    2007.10.16 / no responses / Category: Uncategorized