Linked List: July 2004

Calendarclock 1.0b1 

Very nice replacement for the system’s menu bar clock; shows an actual calendar when clicked, including events and to-dos from iCal.

(Via Antonio Cavedoni, via iChat.)

Writing Serious Perl: The Absolute Minimum You Need to Know 

Just what the title says. Concise. (Via

Adam Greenfield Skewers Technorati 

Adam Greenfield:

I’m not one to accept a free service freely offered and then quibble at its limitations. I’m a paying user of Technorati. At least, I’ve paid Technorati. I never have received the Daily Watchlist emails I paid to recieve, half a year ago now. The amount involved is trivial - $5 - but the principle of the thing is what’s getting to me. Attention to detail is critical, and if Technorati’s response is indicative of their stance way they see their audience then I’m sorry.

My Favorite Story Thus Far Regarding the Apple-vs.-RealNetworks Thing 

Ernest Miller:

If you buy anything from iTunes, you’re still locked into Apple. If you buy an iPod, you can buy from Real’s music store, but what real advantage does that provide? A DRM connoisseur might say that you will have the option of using other players in the future, but so what? Anyone who knows anything about DRM knows that you can’t trust any of these competing formats. Perhaps in a few years one might want to buy another brand of portable music player, but what happens if Real’s DRM fails in the marketplace and is squeezed out? What good did the flexibility do?

If people really care about DRM and its potential costs in the future, then they probably are avoiding DRM all together and sticking with non-DRM formats such as MP3 or Ogg Vorbis.

Codepoetry on Notepad Apps 

The author of Codepoetry downloaded and examined dozens of notepad/memo apps for Mac OS X, picked seven that are worth looking at, including a couple I’d never heard of.

Buzz Anderson: Cocoa Client 

Freeware. But why metal?


Subversion contextual menu plug-in for the Finder.

Paul Graham: ‘Great Hackers’ 

Paul Graham’s essays range from great to really great. This one is really great.

Audio Hijack Pro 2 

New version of Rogue Amoeba’s tool for recording and editing any audio source on your Mac.

iPodlounge Review of New iPods 

Jeremy Horwitz with a detailed look at what’s new with the new iPods.

Throwing Tables Out the Window 

Douglas Bowman examines the markup behind, and shows how much bandwidth they could save by switching from table-based layout to CSS-based layout.

NY Times: ‘Cellphones, Say Hello to iTunes’ 

Deal between Apple and Motorola to put music on mobile phones. ‘Get the Facts on Automator’ 

Nice overview of how to create Automator Actions for Mac OS X 10.4.

MT 3.1: What’s New 

Six Apart has published a list of the major new features in the upcoming 3.1 release of Movable Type. The big one is an option to publish live using PHP (i.e. to fry pages instead of bake them).

Jason Snell Reviews the New iPod 

Jason Snell:

Previously I used a third-generation iPod, and it’s taken some time to get used to the click wheel and (especially) the act of physically clicking on the wheel and the center button. But it’s also been a nostalgia trip, since the experience of using this new iPod is very much like the first two iPod generations. In fact, in some ways I view the third-generation iPod as an evolutionary dead-end. If you tried a second-generation iPod (a touch-wheel with the circular ring of buttons at the compass points) and then switched to a fourth-generation iPod, it would be a pretty seamless transition.

More T-shirt Porn 

Joe Chellman got his DF shirt.

Tantek Çelik on the Technorati Redesign 

Tantek Çelik left Microsoft to join Technorati; after just two weeks, debuts a very nice and much-improved redesign.

RealNetworks to Sell iPod-Compatible Songs 

Saul Hansell reports in the New York Times:

Tomorrow, without Apple’s authorization, RealNetworks will start to give away software that will allow people to buy and download songs from its online music store and then play them on Apple’s popular iPod portable devices in addition to those that use the Windows Media Player format and RealNetwork’s Helix format.

Safari Web Developer FAQ 

Safari FAQ for web developers, from Apple. (Via Simon Willison’s Blogmarks.)

Installing the W3C HTML Validator on Mac OS X 

Apple Developer Connection article explaining how to install the W3C HTML Validator on your Mac. (Via Will Parker.)

XML on the Web Has Failed 

Mark Pilgrim on the pitfalls of determining the text encoding of XML documents (like, say, RSS or Atom feeds) transmitted via HTTP.

Mailsmith 2.1.2 

As usual, with copious release notes.

Dvorak on Microsoft’s Dividend 

Is it wrong that I find myself largely in agreement with John C. Dvorak’s analysis of the Microsoft dividend?

IDC 2004 Q2 PC Market Share 

Apple ranks fifth in U.S.


Free/open source pixel-level image editor. (Via Dan Cederholm’s QuickBits.)

Dive Into Python 

Mark Pilgrim’s Python book, previously available as a free download, now available on paper.

(The Amazon description contains the following fighting words: Python is a new and innovative scripting language. It is set to replace Perl as the programming language of choice for shell scripters... — but, still, Pilgrim’s a great writer and Python’s a great language.)

Dunstan Orchard Redesigns 

Excellent and extraordinarily clever redesign, along with an overview of what’s new and why. The attention to detail is staggering. I can’t say enough good things about the design of this site.

New iPods on Cover of Newsweek 

Slimmer case with an updated scroll wheel more like the Mini’s. No technical specs, yet.

Subversion 1.1 

Release candidate for the next update to Subversion, the “compelling replacement for CVS”. I’m switching from CVS soon.

(Via Nat Irons via email.)

Tsai on PHP 5 Object References 

Michael Tsai writes about object references in the just-released PHP 5:

The bad news is that PHP 5 is in some sense less consistent than before. There are now three different kinds of assignment (copy, hardlink, and reference copy), and scalars and objects are now treated differently. The good news is that, if I understand this correctly, you can banish & from all your PHP 5 code and then use it like Java.

AdiumX Developer Interview 

DrunkenBlog interview with AdiumX lead developer Evan Schoenberg.

Hammersley: The Second Browser War 

Ben Hammersley with a crackerjack article in The Guardian covering the new fronts in the browser war. Insightful.

Interarchy 7.2 

New features (including Safari-ish bookmark bar and a neat “Auto Upload” feature) and lots of fixes.

Apple Q3 Finances 

In brief: revenue and profits are up, and the upcoming new iMac will indeed be based on the G5 processor.


Search engine for Bittorrent files.

Rosyna Analyzes You Control: Fonts 

Unsanity’s Rosyna — author of the competing utility FontCard with a brief analysis of how You Control: Fonts accomplishes its app-patching WYSIWYG font menu trickery:

Two, it still patches applications. It (the patching thing, at least) is written by the author of Ittec. Even seems to use the same patching mechanism. When first run, it installs a Scripting Addition into ~/Library/Scripting Additions/ called YouSoftware.osax. It does not tell you this and it installs the software before you even accept the EULA so even if you decline it, it is still there. This scripting addition appears to do all the patching work. Or at least loads the bundle that actually does do the patching work. Seems to do the latter. The bundles are stored at You Control

Why am I posting all of this? Their original press release said this about FontCard “..., but also they were slow and used some suspect methods to create their font menus that compromised the stability of your computer.” Suspect methods... This thing is installing a Scripting Addition without even so much as telling you something is getting installed.

Microsoft “Search Expert” Stole Code from Altavista 

CNN reports:

Laurent Chavet, 29, was arrested by FBI agents a week ago in Redmond, Washington, acting on a warrant issued in San Francisco. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of California alleges that Chavet hacked into AltaVista’s computer system to obtain software blueprints called source code and recklessly caused damage to AltaVista’s computers.

Microsoft spokeswoman Tami Begasse said Friday that Chavet, who lives in suburban Kirkland, is an employee of Microsoft.


The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, citing anonymous sources, reported for Friday editions that Chavet had been working on Microsoft’s MSN Search effort.

(Via Kottke.)

Snapz Pro X 2.0.1 

A minor revision to the essential screen capture utility for Mac OS X.

Take Control of Your Airport Network 

89-page PDF ebook by Glenn Fleishman, for the ridiculously low price of $5.


New York Times story on the typeface used for the inscription on the cornerstone at the World Trade Center site — Gotham, by Tobias Frere-Jones, he of Hoefler & Frere-Jones fame. Excellent typeface, and a good story for font nerds.

You Control:Fonts 

New $20 WYSIWYG font menu utility; supports all major professional design apps from Adobe, Macromedia, and Quark (along with others).

Wolf vs. Cats 

‘Wolf’ Rentzsch:

Call 10.2 “10.2”, not “Jaguar”. Worst case, if you must use the cat names (which Apple’s marketing encourages), dub it “10.2 Jaguar”.

Eight years from now, you’re not going to remember which cat mapped onto which release. It’s only going to get worse.

Dashboard Contest Winner 

The winners of the WWDC 2004 Dashboard Widget Contest made a Go game — a JavaScript and HTML front-end to GNU Go.

(Via Jason Snell/Macworld Editors’ Notes.)

Hyatt: Introducing the Canvas 

Dave Hyatt:

Another extension we made to HTML is a new element called the canvas. This element is essentially an image element that supports programmatic drawing. The way it works is that you can invoke a method called getContext on the canvas and then you have access to a whole range of 2d drawing calls. This element is how the hands of the Dashboard clock are drawn in HTML. The canvas fully participates in CSS styling too, so you can give it borders or background images while still painting the foreground content programmatically.

Hammersley Again: Google to RSS 

Says Ben:

Dumps the top ten search results for your query term into an RSS feed.

Ben Hammersley: XHTML Validation Via RSS 

Ben Hammersley has put together a great tool for automatically checking dynamic pages for validity:

The w3c’s XHTML validation service is tremendously useful, but it’s a pain to be continually checking it for breakages, and then working through the errors when they occur. Their user interface leaves a bit to be desired as well.

Personally, I like nice to-do lists and automatic checking of my pages. So to combine the two, I’ve made a widget to create a XHTML Validation Results RSS feed from any page.

PreFab UI Actions 

Really interesting new product from Bill Cheeseman and PreFab Software:

With UI Actions, you attach a script to a native Mac OS X application, and the script will be triggered automatically by user actions you specify, such as opening or closing a window, selecting a menu item, editing a text field and many others. An attached script can query the target application for useful information about the user action that triggered it, including a reference to the affected UI element and all of its attributes such as position, size, title, role and value. Using this information, every attached script can draw upon the full capabilities of AppleScript, including Apple’s new GUI Scripting, to amplify and enhance the power of the target application.

Currently in public beta testing.

(Via MDJ 2004.07.02.)

Again, With the Links to Dave Hyatt w/r/t Dashboard 


As for many of the animations, fades, slides, etc in the widgets themselves, they simply look so damn cool because of Safari’s rich support for CSS3 used in conjunction with DHTML. Do you know what I talked about at WWDC? Image replacement. Sliding doors. Using opacity to create fade effects. CSS3 text truncation. Web standards. All of which are being used to full effect in Dashboard widgets. Our standards support has grown so rich and our engine has become so smooth at effects that people are constantly mistaking pure JS/DHTML/CSS stuff that people are doing for something fancier. I’ve heard “That’s HTML?!” several times in the past week.

So. Fucking. Cool.

Current iMacs Discontinued; New iMacs in September 

This is the stangest hardware announcement I’ve ever seen from Apple. The old iMacs are discontinued — Apple is no longer taking orders for them. But new iMacs won’t be introduced until September. Says Apple:

We planned to have our next generation iMac ready by the time the inventory of current iMacs runs out in the next few weeks, but our planning was obviously less than perfect.

Poor score for planning; high score for honesty.

Hyatt on NSSearchField Wrapper in WebCore 

Dave Hyatt:

One of the new features added to WebCore is an HTML wrapper for the Cocoa NSSearchField, which means you will be able to use this control in your Web pages and Dashboard widgets.

Dashboard is going to be huge. Huge.

Hyatt on Dashboard 

Dave Hyatt:

Just to prove a point that there are many ways to think about this new feature, here’s another take on what Dashboard is. From a browser geek’s perspective, the Dashboard is a collection of HTML sidebar panels liberated from the browser window and placed anywhere on your screen. The “Web pages as widgets” concept is really just a logical extension of the Web sidebar panel metaphor fused with Exposé.