Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Earlier this spring, I picked up a used electric lawn mower. After performing marvelously for most of the summer – it died.

Batteries no longer held a charge. Dead.

Not that unusual in this household.

The batteries in the 2 Dell Mini laptops in the house also, after 2 years, can’t hold a charge. Which, if memory serves, is about when the batteries in my Apple laptops also went out. Maybe sooner.

I called up the manufacturer – who said the batteries could only be purchased through them or Home Depot. Only Home Depot.

The Home Depot down the street from me had no lawnmower batteries on the shelf. Not even for this year’s mowers. Nothing. HomeDepot.com had something they said would work – but it nothing like the dead batteries.

I called up Batteries Plus – and they were more than happy to help. It was pretty remarkable to see how effortlessly they found and installed the replacement batteries.

We finished mowing the lawn. Yet today – the new batteries were dead – despite being charged over night.

I opened up the hood to find a wire dangling disconnected.

After a quick search online – I found the wiring diagram for this specific mower and it’s now charging in the garage.

So, no, I’m not worried about HP no longer making hardware devices. The TouchPad is the best tablet I’ve worked with in 10 years. And there’s a thriving internet community around it.

Plus, at least HP is saying upfront they’re divesting themselves from hardware. Unlike many other manufacturers and retailers that just act like their products don’t exist once they leave the shelves.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Focused MacBook Air

Knowing that the hard drive in my MacBook Pro will go at moment, I picked up a MacBook Air this week (13″, 1.8GHz, 256MB, 4GB).

In the process of setting it up – I’ve decided to make this new machine a focused, minimal, work, machine. Despite Migration Assistant – I want to start some new habits, not repeat old, bad ones.

So far this means:

  • Changing ‘Desktop’ color to ‘Sold Gray Medium’ (something I’ve done since 1997)
  • Changing ‘Appearance’ from ‘Blue’ to ‘Graphite’
  • Removing everything possible from the top menu bar (so far, only Spotlight & Flux remain – they won’t be removed)
  • Leaving only the Spotlight search and ‘arrange’ icons in the Finder window toolbar
  • Removing any casual app (iMovie, FaceTime, etc) from the dock
  • Auto hiding the dock
  • Installing Flux.app (does a great job of discouraging writing too late into the night)
  • Installing Quicksilver (Macs w/o Quicksilver are unusable – try it)
  • Installing Isolator.app (on by default, hide other applications by default)
  • Installing MenuBarFilter.app to make the menu bar much less prominent.
  • Not setting up email, IM, Skype, or any sort of communications app. Nothing. This is a creation machine – not a communication machine.
  • Not migrating over bookmarks or browser histories.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Saturday, 20 August 2011

How to Automagically Sync Directories Across Multiple Macs with Git & Launchd

In an effort to minimize my downtime when the funny noises this MacBook Pro is making finally amount to something – I’ve wired up a git repository to OS X’s native launchd service. The git repository hold all of my active projects – whether development projects with their own repos, research projects, consulting project. Everything.

Right now, there’s a Mac mini holding the shared repo with a MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air pushing and pulling to it.

  1. Set up SSH keys the laptops and server (I like GitHub’s instructions)
  2. Set up the repo on the server
    mkdir active-projects.git
    cd active-projects.git
    git --bare init
  3. set up a repo on both client macs
    cd ~/Documents/Projects
    git init
    git add .
    git commit -a -m "initial commit"
  4. create the active-projects.sh backup script in your ~/Documents directory #!/bin/sh
    DATE=`date -u`
    cd /Users/YOUR-USER-NAME/Documents/Projects
    git pull origin master
    git add .
    git commit -a -m "Active Project Sync - $DATE"
    git push origin master
  5. make active-projects.sh executable chmod +x project-backup.sh
  6. Make the active-projects-backup.plist file for launchd

    < ?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    < !DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN"
    <true />
    <true />
  7. save the active-projects-backup.plist file to ~/Library/LaunchAgents and load it up launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/active-projects-backup.plist
  8. Now, whenever a change is made in your ~/Documents/Projects – it will be automatically committed to the git repo and propagated to all computers connected to that repo. Like magic.

Thanks to culturedcode’s instructions for syncing Things with git & Launchd.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

email’s inviting

Landing in my inbox this morning:

“Many people have mentioned that they didn’t receive the Evite invitation we sent, so I’m sending this follow up email…”

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

It’s been a long time since I’ve ….

  • read any William Gibson (Idoru, ATM – thx to Jim)
  • listened to Bad Religion for half the day then
  • listened to drum and bass for the rest of the day
  • done any programming that made my life easier and more confident.

Yet, for whatever reason, they all feel so perfect right now.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Monday, 15 August 2011


I’m so tired of doing this kind of thing in silos. Email is mine. Google+ is Google’s. In terms of location, I feel like I’m in a corporate setting in Google+, and I feel like I’m at home when I’m in email. The reason, aside from design differences, is that email is free-as-in-freedom. Its protocols are NEA: Nobody owns them, Everybody can use them, and Anybody can improve them. Not the case with these commercial Web dairy farms. – Doc Searls

Each day, there’s some number of Google+, Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter notifications in my email inbox. Ironic that these communications services, seemingly wanting to be as ubiquitous as email, need to use email as a primary notification service.

And the daily deal space (Groupon, Living Social, et. al.) are 95% email.

Every couple of days, I’m asked, ‘What comes after Twitter, Facebook, (etc)?’

I don’t know, I’m in email.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011