Adam Jarret

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Jonathan Coulton interviewed on Lifehacker

| Tags: joco

I knew there was a reason that I identify so much with JoCo's tunes:

Over the years I've sort of set up this system where other people can talk to a machine, and that machine will make sure that I hear about it. (laughs) That's the only way it works for me, because if I'm responsible for remembering something, it will be forgotten.

Later:

I got all deep into this latency problem that I was having, and I was looking at blogs, looking at message boards , and trying to figure out, "Maybe I need a new audio interface," or "Maybe it's this foot pedal." When I start something like that, I go down the rabbit hole, and I disappear.

I really can't recommend Best. Concert. Ever. highly enough.

Lifehacker

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Open the current working directory in Finder

| Tags: fyi

I love the Terminal. LOVE it.

However, as a programmer who has grown up in the world of GUIs, I can have a hard time visualizing things when only using the command line. For this reason I love when scripts bridge the gap between the world of Aqua and the dark underpinnings of Unix.

When my knowledge of ls and grep failed me while browsing the file system, I found myself wishing for an easy way to open the current working directory in a Finder window.

My knee-jerk reaction was to pwd, copy the resulting path and paste it into a "Go to folder" Finder dialog box.

After taking a step back, I realized the process could be as simple as:

open "$(pwd)"

That's really it. I saved this script as owd and now always have it at my fingertips.

I thought variations on this might be useful to people who are still getting their feet wet with the command line. Be careful with sudo, kids!

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Repair Mac OS X Keychain

| Tags: coda, fyi, keychain, os-x

Man, work has been crazy lately.

Sadly, there's been no time for GTweet-ing, but hopefully I can implement some planned features when my day job calms down a bit.

In the mean time I wanted to post a quick note about a fix for a problem that has been dogging my Mac: namely, that it doesn't like to remember passwords anymore.

I first noticed the problem when Coda couldn't seem to remember the FTP password to one of my sites. At first I thought it was an issue with Coda, but the problem began to show itself more frequently and across multiple applications.

I googled around a bit and found this article which recommends checking the permissions on the login.keychain file in ~/Library/Keychains.

As it turns out my permissions were out of whack, but I wasn't comfortable using the standard chown command to take ownership of the file. I have found myself locked out of my keychain once before and it is not a pleasant experience.

Thankfully, the Keychain Access application in /Applications/Utilities folder provides a Keychain First Aid function to repair potential problems, including file ownership issues.

MacFixIt has extensive instructions for keychain troubleshooting, but the following is all that was needed in my case:

  1. Launch the Keychain Access application in the /Applications/Utilities folder
  2. Go to the Keychain Access menu and select Keychain First Aid
  3. Enter your username and password
  4. Click the Repair button

After running Keychain First Aid my passwords immediately began to save properly, no restart needed.

MacFixIt

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Windows 7 RC

| Tags: windows

So I decided to install Windows 7 RC.

Loyal readers of the blog know that I am a devout Mac enthusiast (some might argue "fanboy"), but I keep a PC around for, you know, PC stuff.

They've been talking about the Windows 7 beta on Windows Weekly with Paul Thurrott for a while now, but I didn't really see the need to install the pre-release code.

For those who don't know, the "RC" stands for release candidate, which means that this version is reasonably close to done. The RC version is completely free to download, but Microsoft warns that installations will become useless in March 2010 when they will start to force-shutdown every 2 hours before expiring completely in June.

In spite of this and the disclaimer from Microsoft that this should not be used as a primary operating system, I thought I'd make the jump from XP a little early.

I must say that so far I am very impressed.

I never bothered upgrading to Windows Vista and have only played with it when attempting to fix friends' computers. I (like most people) was scared away by lots of negative press and internet scuttlebutt, so I can't really offer any insight into how much polish got Windows from Vista to 7, but overall 7 is very usable.

Impressions

  1. I have had absolutely no driver problems whatsoever. In fact, Windows 7 properly identified and found drivers for every component in my custom-built machine, except for the integrated sound card. Even the sound card worked perfectly once I manually installed a Vista version of the driver that I found online.

  2. Every single piece of software I installed worked without incident: iTunes, Quicktime, Safari, Firefox, Thunderbird, 7-Zip, VLC and TVersity run perfectly.

  3. It even runs Sun's VirtualBox which allowed me to virtualize Ubuntu with minimal effort.

  4. The new task bar does not display minimized windows in the way that Windows users are used to. Instead of a button representing each open window, there is an icon representing each running program. When you let the mouse hover over a program icon, large previews of the windows associated with that program are displayed. This took the most getting used to, but after a day of using it, I no longer hate it.

  5. I think this was a Vista feature, but searching for programs in the start menu is awesome. It even finds stuff like "run" or "regedit" that don't have folders in the "All Programs" section.

Gotchas

  1. Netflix streaming doesn't work. When attempting to install the "Watch Now" software, it complains that Windows Media player requires an update, but the update fails because a newer version is present (7 ships with WMP 12). I tried downgrading WMP with no luck.

  2. UAC causes my screen to flash whenever it prompts me with a security question. A little googling yielded this post describing the behavior in Vista, but it turns out that the Windows 7 UAC control panel has a slider that can be ratcheted down a notch to stop the flashing. Theoretically this makes my PC less secure, but C'est la vie.

I'll probably do another post in the future once the novelty has worn off a little bit. I'm already starting to notice some UI inconsistencies when setting up network file sharing, but on the whole I'm glad I took the plunge.

I have absolutely no plans to give up my Mac, but as a secondary computer, I'm already liking 7 better than XP. If they lower the price of Windows and/or I can get an OEM version for around $100, I'd seriously consider buying a license when 7 is officially released.

Windows 7

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Disable Desktop Cleanup Wizard

| Tags: fyi, windows-xp

As a rule, I don't like to keep anything on the desktop.

This is especially true for the Windows XP machine that I keep around to play a few games, and test web sites in IE.

Today, after over 7 years of running XP, I was presented with a "There are unused icons on your desktop" notification in the taskbar.

I remember laughing at this feature when Windows XP was announced and I couldn't believe that I had never bothered to disable the useless wizard.

The fine folks over at TACK Tech have nice step-by-step instructions for anyone who is interested.

TACK Tech

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GTweet Beta 3 Now Supports OAuth

| Tags: google-app-engine, google-reader, gtweet, oauth, projects, python, twitter, web-dev

GTweet came back to life yesterday as "Beta 2" after being ported to Python and moving to the Google App Engine.

I was very excited to get the new version out the door, but the accomplishment was tainted by slower-than-I'd-like response times when viewing the feed in Google Reader.

The development environment that I use for testing new versions of GTweet uses compiled C binaries to speed up the PyCrypto library but the live environment of Google App Engine does not.

The lag that resulted from the pure Python encryption library prompted me to implement OAuth so I could avoid dealing with Twitter account information all together.

OAuth is a different way of authenticating with Twitter. Instead of providing your Twitter user name and password to GTweet (which it then uses to access your protected feeds), OAuth allows you to grant GTweet access to your Twitter account without yielding your login credentials.

To initiate the (very quick) process, click the "Sign in to Twitter" button on GTweet.net.

Beta 2 URLs still work for now, but I'll probably remove backwards compatibility after a suitable grace period, and all new features will only be available to OAuth users. I apologize to those who have to generate yet another GTweet URL, but I promise the quicker load times and new features will make it worth it.

Some quick notes about Beta 3:

  1. The occasional problems that were cropping up with the sign-up form have gone away because there is no more sign-up form. Related: there is no more unethical treatment of elephants, either.

  2. I still have not had time to implement the link to star individual tweets, but it's forthcoming.

  3. The number of tweets pulled on each refresh is back to 20 for now (sorry, Andrew) but hopefully I can raise that limit after some more performance testing.

  4. I'm gradually becoming more comfortable with Python, but I'd still very much appreciate any comments and/or bug reports. Leave a comment here or tweet @adamjarret - thanks!

GTweet