Tag Archives: Mac

Literary references to Macintosh applications

Have you ever said to yourself, “I want a native Mac OS X hex editor that can handle files of unlimited size?”

Of course you have. What you need is 0xED, and it is free:

http://www.suavetech.com/0xed/0xed.html

It is also Lion compatible, which probably means it is made of gazelles.

Sadly, NotePad Deluxe is not Lion compatible. It doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2005, which is a shame. (Yes, the copyright message in the About box is out of date.)
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NotePad Deluxe has the rare distinction of being mentioned in a best-selling work of fiction, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. One of the two main characters, Mikael Blomkvist, uses NotePad Deluxe to organize and encrypt information he is using in an investigation, and in an author’s aside, the Web site is listed, www.ibrium.se. Curious to see if this was real or a fictional invention, I typed the address into a browser and — yes, it is a real site.

But there is no evidence the site has been updated since May 22, 2005, when the most recent update of NotePad was posted. A related project by the same team, Mac OS on Linux, http://www.maconlinux.org/, shows no activity since October 9, 2007.

Back to NotePad Deluxe. The application itself runs just fine under Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Sadly, it was built with PowerPC code, and won’t work in the Intel-only world of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. No gazelle meat, apparently.

It does have some interesting features. While the layout and style are somewhat dated, you can create multiple “notebooks” with the application. As mentioned, you can encrypt a notebook (which it quite correctly calls a database), and this encryption capability plays a role in the novel. Each notebook/database can contain a large number of entries, each entry with a creation date stamp. You can style text any number of ways, and not only change the fonts and font size, but even change the baseline, in case you wanted to superscript or subscript something. Text can be colored, you can add highlight colors, text borders, and even Unix-level word services (in case you wanted to integrate the application with some of the Unix text handling utilities of Mac OS X).

But it isn’t Lion compatible, so is doomed. Fiction met reality, and fiction won. Fiction has more staying power than software, even software made from gazelles.
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Posting via MacJournal

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MacJournal is an inexpensive application that allows you to blog — or create a local journal on your Mac, or both — using a full, native Mac application. There are also iPhone and iPad versions, but we’ll ignore them and stick with…

The Mac version of MacJournal allows you to write text, incorporate graphics, sounds, links, and other things.

We’re going to start off small with some links:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=39.101672,+-76.654406

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=33.105775,+-117.313155

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=33.100213,+-116.999352

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=33.100239,+-116.999414

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=32.708186,+-117.164559

which may — or may not — be as meaningful as any other links. If this works, we may venture on to more robust fare.

Such as: useful graphs. Or at least a useful graph:

wpid-wpid-ymca-2010-07-29-22-131-2010-07-29-22-13.jpeg

It suggests a whole new kind of hobby: electronic scrapbooking.

[Added later] By the way, most of this blog was created with MacJournal and then uploaded, via MacJournal, to WordPress.

Posting via iPad

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There are few things more 21st century than blogging. And there is an app for that! Since WordPress is synonymous with blogging, the iPad and iPhone app is called: WordPress.

It is on the iTunes store, is free, and presumably was written by someone associated with WordPress. This entry was written with the app. Now to see if I can publish my entry…

And of course the application interface offers no obvious means of publishing. None. So you can write a local draft, and it is forever more just that: drafty.

The app has no on-line help, and no manual. The company behind WordPress and the app is Automattic, but the interface isn’t as automatic as you might expect. What to do?

And the answer is: research. The reviewers failed to have an answer (or even note there was a question), but the app Faq has the answer: on the “write” screen, change the Status: entry from “Local Draft” to “Published” and then Save.

Uh, OK. But could it have hurt to have a visible button or toggle?

Why Mac users should think about a Drobo

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It’s all about metadata

There are three basic NAS type devices out there:

* HP Media Server and clones: HP promoted their Media Server at Macworld as a “home file server.” This somewhat surprised me, given that it is running Windows XP Media Edition or whatever the Vista equivalent might be;
* The generic NAS stuff, produced by Iomega, Buffalo, etc. Every single one of these I’ve ever seen uses a cut-down version of Linux;
* Apple Time Capsule.

Let’s address the first two types as a lump. Windows and the Linux-based stuff share things that a Mac can read as SMB (Server Message Block) volumes. The Linux-based NAS units use open-source Samba (a pun on SMB) services, while HP Media Server uses Windows or Vista SMB services. The operating system part isn’t as important as the file system.

Now, what can you save in Windows? You can save a file, you can save the file’s “last saved” date, you can save its size. You _cannot_ save the icon directly; this is actually an abstraction through the registry. You _cannot_ save the icon color; Windows simply has never heard of this. If you want to change the icon, for example, you need to use a registry editor.

Cosmetics aside, you also don’t get much metadata.

What does a Mac save? It saves:

  • Icon. Either an application-specific icon or, if you feel like it, any old icon you want to paste over the default. No limits;
  • Icon color. Apple calls these “labels,” but whatever you call it, being able to color icons is quite useful;
  • Size. You get a rounded-up size (10.2 megabytes) and an exact size (10,701,354 bytes);
  • You get a created date;
  • You get a modified date;
  • You can tell if the file is stationary for something else;
  • You can tell if it is locked;
  • If it is a PDF, you can tell how many pages it is, the dimensions of the page, what software created it, and what version of the PDF specification was used;
  • If it is a sound file, you get the duration in hours, minutes and seconds, the number of channels, and the bit rate, and you an even play it;
  • If it is an image, you get what kind of image, dimensions of the image, device used to create the image (usually a camera), device model, color space, color profile, focal length, alpha channel, red eye, f-stop, shutter speed, and a preview of the image;
  • If it is a video file, you get the kind, dimensions, codec, duration, channels, bit rate, and a preview;
  • If any of these items happened to be saved from Apple Mail, you also get the sender name, address, subject matter, and date of the E-mail.

If you save a Mac file with all this nice, rich metadata on a NAS or Windows-based file share, most of the metadata is lost. Sometimes the file itself is lost, if the file share just doesn’t understand what the heck it is supposed to be, or if the file itself is complex (Pages pages are not pages but an entire directory bundled together, as are Keynote presentations).

A Mac OS X-based drive, or a Time Capsule, stores a staggering amount of information that simply doesn’t have an equivalent in the Windows or Linux-based NAS worlds.

What does this have to do with a Drobo? A Drobo can be formatted with a Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) volume. In other words, all this pretty metadata is preserved. Automatically.

Cool. You can even use it as a Time Machine store, if you wish.