Monday, January 13, 2003

Over the last couple of weeks, I spent a bunch of time upgrading my mom's and my sister's Macs to the latest and the greatest. Because I was going to have next to nothing for Internet bandwidth, I preloaded all the various upgraders and software packages onto my TiBook such that I could mount the TiBook on the target machine and upgrade away.

For AirPort, mounting a filesystem is trivial. Simply create a "Computer to Computer" network and connect to it from the other machine. Done deal. File sharing "just works".

For a system without an airport card, I had assumed that I could do the same with wired ethernet. Not so. Simply connecting the two machines together via a CAT-5 cable didn't work.

But there is an extremely easy workaround. If you turn on 'Internet Sharing' in the Sharing system preferences pane and check the box (if present) to share the connection with the Ethernet port. You may have to have at least one port-- dialup connection, for example-- enabled when you turn this on. Doh!

Once done, it is simply a matter of connecting the airport-less computer to the ethernet port. The 'server' will supply connectivity via DHCP and file sharing "just works".

Annoying that you can only enable sharing on ethernet if some other port seems to have a viable net connection.

Not so annoying is that many of the various 'books ship with ethernet ports that will automatically act as 'uplink' ports if you don't have a crossover cable handy.
7:45:40 PM  pontificate    

Stupid Safari trick...

Safari is, effectively, a Cocoa app. All Cocoa apps have a 'key loop'. That is, the loop of UI widgets that are visited everytime you hit the tab key (actually, it is more like the loop of UI elements visited by keyboard UI control-- fields are, by default, the most obvious ones visited by the tab key).

Conveniently, the Google search field is next in the key loop after the location field.

That is, anytime you hit in Safari, the cursor will end up in the Google search field at the top of the window. Damned handy when researching something.

BTW: You can cause any Cocoa app to visually identify the key loop by setting the 'NSShowKeyLoop' default to YES.
7:02:22 PM  pontificate    

After the news that Apple hired Dave Hyatt last year, I wasn't surprised-- I don't think anyone was-- that Apple eventually released their own web browser.

I was surprised-- like everyone else-- that it wasn't based on the Mozilla codebase. I wondered why, but now I think the answer is relatively obvious.

It is all about bloat or lack therein:

du -hs Mozilla /Applications/Internet | 
    sort -n
20M     /Applications/Internet
36M     Mozilla

4:05:11 PM  pontificate    

The Fink team has posted information on how to use Apple's X11 with Fink.

Works fine and allows Fink built X11 packages to take advantage of Apple's Quartz & Quartz Extreme accelerated X11 window manager.
3:36:44 PM  pontificate    

For me, one of the most delicious features of Safari (outside of all the obvious good stuff), is that it fully takes advantage of Cocoa's Text editing system. Things like 'Check spelling as I type' just work.

I'm sure my blog entries will be affected in a positive fashion.
12:59:09 PM  pontificate    

Catching up after vacation....

Found mod_rendezvous apache module to enable rendezvous based publishing of the available ability of the apache web server on OS X.

Very cool. Took about 2 minutes to download, install, and verify that it works.

Thought it through and decided that it is way cooler than I had initially thought.

In particular, it means that it is now possible to eliminate the need to have fixed IP addresses within a typical OS X based Web development shop (we do a lot of WebObjects development) and, therefore, can greatly reduce the administrative cost of maintaining the development environment as the individual workstations no longer have to have any local configuration information.

mod_rendezvous allows easy access to any developer's web server (as well as all the other services on the local machine via Rendezvous). Because the access is by name, Cookies should work just fine.

So, it is simply a matter of augmenting your web application -- WebObjects, PHP, CherryPy, whatever -- to be aware of the Rendezvous name of your computer when generating cookies. A trivial change, generally, and can be hardwired per developer as the name doesn't generally change.

For me, this pretty much makes the client system a throwaway item. I can boot any system off of a CD, mount a filesystem via the Finder (webdav, ftp, afp, nfs, smb, doesn't matter), and use ASR (Apple Software Restore) to blast down a new system image with all the fixins' preinstalled (dev tools, software, reference materials, configuration, etc) in less than 15 minutes.

Any machine acts up on the LAN and we are 15 to 20 minutes away from eliminating 'software' or 'configuration' as the culprit.
12:50:51 PM  pontificate