The Mac Pro’s Future

November 8th, 2011

The market for powerful computers, like the Mac Pro is now, isn’t going away any time soon, but the question is whether Apple will leave that market behind (for others to take). I don’t believe that’s what we’re seeing, although that also wouldn’t surprise me.

I believe that in the same way the iPad will increasingly replace our MacBooks, the MacBook Pro and iMac are replacing our Mac Pros. The more portable, less expensive computers are stepping up to the demands traditionally made of their big brothers.

Apple’s position and direction

November 4th, 2011

Things have been looking rocky for Apple’s most powerful computers ever since Steve Jobs likened traditional computers to trucks.

When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. … PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people. … I think that we’re embarked on that. Is the next step the iPad? Who knows? Will it happen next year or five years from now or seven years from now? Who knows? But I think we’re headed in that direction.

What’s happening to the Mac Pro?

November 4th, 2011

I own a Mac Pro, and my brother has been considering getting one for HD video editing of amateur/no-budget movies. The market for the Mac Pro has been shrinking for a while with many people that would have previously chosen a Mac Pro, choosing an iMac or MacBook Pro. The recent rumours of Apple considering ending the product line has given me pause to consider what the future might be for computer users with high needs.

I’ve written a series of articles exploring the future of the Mac Pro. I’ve split it to consider the wider context separately from Apple and the Mac Pro itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Cross-browser transparent backgrounds

September 30th, 2011

I had some trouble getting transparent backgrounds to work in ‘all’ browsers, so here’s how I accomplished it. Read the rest of this entry »

Using AJAX with WordPress

September 28th, 2011

There’s already lots of places to learn about AJAX, and probably lots of plugins for WordPress to enable AJAXy features. I’ve been working on adding some AJAX to‘s home page, to pull in summaries and links for different movies without interrupting the showreel video. I did it by customising the site’s template. The least documented part of the puzzle was getting plain HTML snippets and post lists from WordPress. Read the rest of this entry »


May 23rd, 2011

I’m trying out MarsEdit, after seeing Shawn Blanc’s post ‘An Ode to Software’.

Read the rest of this entry »

Simpler comments system

August 20th, 2010

I was watching the most recent TWIT special, which is a collection of young adults talking about entrepreneurship. Most of them entrepreneurs themselves. It was a good, inspiring watch, so check it out at

One of the young entrepreneurs is Joey Primiani, and he’s made a simpler commenting system, that I’m trying out on my blog.

I was using Disqus, but it adds a big blob of busy-ness at the bottom of each post, so I wasn’t too keen on it. Joey’s comment system is clean and simple, but only ties in to twitter. You put your twitter name in, and your comment. It pulls all your details, including your avatar, from Twitter.

Making vi more colourful on the mac

February 19th, 2010

I don’t know why, but vi on the mac doesn’t highlight syntax by default. Searching Google was particularly hard to find the answer, so I’m adding it here (particularly for when I forget how I did it.)

An aside: apparently vi actually just redirects to vim in Snow Leopard.

This site has lots of useful configuration options to consider to make vim more useful. Read the rest of this entry »

Screen sharing over the internet, through SSH

February 6th, 2010

I’ve been using SSH to play with my home Mac for a while, but now figured out how to get VNC working through the VNC access.

For clarity, the home Mac is called Coruscant.

I had to set up screen sharing on Coruscant locally. I tried to enable it throught the command line SSH access, but didn’t get very far. Locally, you use the Sharing Preference pane. (I think) It’s important to enable the VNC password for non-mac systems to be able to connect.

Now, I left home and went to visit family. The first step to connect is to open a tunnel from a port on the local machine, through SSH to port 5900 on Coruscant.

The following command does it.

ssh -C -L 59001: user@coruscant external ip

-C enable compression, which can help performance over the slow Internet.

-L 59001: configures the tunnel – 59001: is the local port and address to connect with. 5900 is the port on Coruscant to connect with.

user@coruscant external ip is the normal SSH connect to use. I have dyndns set up so I use that address to resolve to the external IP address of Coruscant.

Next, just go to vnc:// in safari, and screen sharing opens and connects (after prompting for authentication)

It’s pretty much the same to connect from a non-mac system (at least the numbers are)


Caching content for iPhone webapp

January 29th, 2010

This post is still in progress; I haven’t gotten caching to work well yet. Loading...Every time I load my iPhone webapp I have to wait for it to download ~100 images and buttons. I’ll be closing and opening this app lots, so I’m trying to turn local caching on for all these images.

This article has gotten me started.

First of all I generated a cache.manifest file. Ideally, I want to cache anything within specific folders (images folders) but I couldn’t see anything that lets you use wildcards in the manifest. I’ll come back to trying this once I get a basic cache working, so for the time being I used a string of UNIX commands to generated a list of the files in my image directories, and stick it in my base manifest file. Read the rest of this entry »