Saturday, April 29

iPod scripts

Well, as requested last week by a commenter visiting from Lifehacker, here are the scripts that I mentioned in a Lifehacker comment about GTD software.

I use Plaxo to keep my contacts in sync on both my Macs, and Google Calendar is my home-base for calendar information. I subscribe to my Home and Work Google calendars on both machines, as well as the US Holidays calendar from My home Mac also publishes a Birthdays calendar (taken from the birthdays of all my contacts in Address Book) to, and I subscribe to it via gCal and on my work Mac.

Now that I've explained the data in my system, here are the scripts (hopefully they're well-commented; otherwise you can leave comments here if you need more explanation):

iPod scripts

The iPod_script_office and the iPod_script_home both reference themselves in "tell" blocks (they're each saved as "iPod_script" on their respective computers, so they won't compile properly unless you've already got an iPod_script application available. Either create a dummy script app via the Script Editor, replace the "tell" block by something else temporarily, or just read the scripts in a text editor so Script Editor won't get confused.

Tuesday, April 25

Thoughts on the HTML Specification

I was looking through my bookmarks on yesterday, and I noticed a glaring inconsistency in the way my bookmarks are named. I usually post links using the bookmarklet, so (at least initially) they are given names identical to the originating page's <title> tag.

The problem here is the different ways in which different sites format their <title> tags. Lifehacker uses "<headline> - Lifehacker" (i.e. "<headline> - <source>") and Playlist uses "<source>: <headline>". CNET News formats titles as "<headline> | <source>" and the New York Times uses "<headline> - <source>" (which is the same as Lifehacker).

Each news source formats their <title>s in their own way when listing the headline and the source; in fact, Wired used to use "Wired News" as their page titles and not include the article headline at all! I suggest an easy way to standardize this by incorporating a new HTML header tag: <source></source>. This will allow the end-user to customize their format for viewing the headline and news source (we can keep the <title></title> for headlines since it's already established) so that all news they read and/or bookmark can be attributed in one common manner.

Of course browsers would need to be updated to support this, and I have no idea if the HTML spec is open for changes, but I've had this idea lately and I needed to write it down so I could get it out of my head. If you got this far, thanks for sticking with my rambling.

Microsoft Beats a Dead Horse with IE7

John Dvorak hits upon some insight in this discussion of the Internet Explorer browser. I can't really think of anything of my own to add here that he didn't already cover, so just go read the article.

Column from PC Magazine: The Great Microsoft Blunder

Thursday, April 13

Google Calendar CL2 is released!

Google Calendar (codenamed CL2) has hit public beta! This is an awesome online calendar that allows you to set up multiple calendars and subscribe to each individually with any .ics-compatible calendar client (Apple iCal, Mozilla Sunbird, etc.).

Only one problem so far: it can send SMS notifications to your cell phone to remind you of events, but Verizon is not yet supported. However, the ability to have a web-based calendar that I can get into my iPod (by subscribing to it in iCal and then pushing the subscription out via iSync) and bring with me wherever I go is HUGE!

UPDATE: one other problem: Google Calendar does not support iCal to-dos... only events.

Google Calendar

Monday, April 10

ABC starts to "get" digital delivery

In the linked article from Macworld (below), ABC's decision to stream TV shows is announced. Finally, an American network gets the concept of digital delivery and time-shifting! The BBC has been doing this for quite a while (for radio, anyway): shows on all its radio networks are available to be streamed via RealPlayer for one week after their initial broadcast.

If ABC did something like that, it would be tremendous. They can even leave the ads in; I wouldn't care. Their test plan seems to consist of making television episodes available via Flash streams during May and June of this year. No mention is made of which episodes will be available, or how long each will be accessible online, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

Shows to be aired this way will include Commander in Chief, Desperate Housewives, Lost, and the whole last season of Alias. I'll definitely check some of these out once they've been put online. However, this still puts ABC behind the times... the BBC recently started podcasting new episodes of The Now Show, with a license that allows then to be downloaded for up to seven days after the broadcast and then stored in perpetuity provided they are only used for personal entertainment.

BBC has podcasted a number of shows in the past, including Radio 4's Today program(me?), but The Now Show is the first entertainment offering they've made downloadable. The significance of this, of course, is that the show will be portable. I can listen to a downloaded MP3 via my iPod nano while working out, washing dishes, or even driving. RealAudio streams are nowhere near that flexible.

In a perfect world (at least, in my perfect world), all radio and television content would be available for download and on-demand consumption. I don't care if they contain ads, or even the time period following on-air broadcast during which downloading is permitted. As long as I have the ability to listen/watch on my own schedule rather than following the strictures of network execs who decide when programs hit the airwaves, I'll be happy.

ABC takes shows online for free, with ads - Macworld

Wednesday, April 5

Run WinXP on a Mac - no hacking required

There has recently been a hack published that allows owners of an Intel Mac to install Windows XP and dual-boot the icrosoft and Apple operating systems. This took quite a bit of know-how to set up, and the Windows software didn't have any of the correct drivers necessary to operate the Macintosh hardware at full capacity. Apple's monitors were not fully supported, and while running WinXP there was no way to even operate the Mac's internal fan (which is necessary to cool the system as it runs).

But now, Apple has released the public beta of software named (at least for the moment) "Boot Camp," which will allow Windows XP SP2 to be installed on Mac hardware running Intel processors.


Apple Unveils Software to Run Windows XP - AP

Saturday, April 1

All That Stuff to Do...

So, I recently started reading David Allen's book Getting Things Done, which is just about the most popular book in the blogosphere. I've been reading about it for at least a year, but I was hesitant to get into it. Basically, the reason I shied away was due to some misconceptions about it:

  1. I misunderstood the concept of "next actions," thinking that I would have to define every action throughout a project right at the outset. I don't claim to fully understand it yet, but the truth is that you only need to define the one thing that you have to do next, and you don't worry about the step after that until after the first action is completed.
  2. I was under the impression, based on certain reviews, that it heavily relied on Eastern mysticism. In actual fact, he just draws on aspects of Eastern thinking to clarify his ideas (at least so far).
In general, I'm very impressed with the book so far. I'll be blogging later about the process of figuring out what he means, and about the processes I'm working on in my own life to make all the "stuff" easier to deal with.

In the meantime, go read Merlin Mann's excellent blog, 43 Folders. It's chock full of great GTD tips (which I might find more meaningful after having actually read the book), and is one of the main reasons I actually decided to give the book a go.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by emailing the author (use the link above).

The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.