« December 2004 | Main | February 2005 »

January 30, 2005

Updated: Fix Firefox Keybindings on OS X (Now with Trophy Mount)

Weird. A post having to do with software and stuff. Gross. Let's get it over with:

If you have Firefox 1.0, and if you're running it on a Mac, and if you're pining for the standard keyboard shortcuts you might be used to from every Cocoa app under the sun (and Emacs), and if you haven't already found one of several other pages that explain how to do this, you might want to download platformHTMLBindings.xml.zip from here, and drop it into your Firefox app bundle:

  1. Right-click Firefox and select "Show Package Contents"
  2. Visit MacOS/res/builtin
  3. plop the unzipped platformHTMLBindings.xml in the builtin directory.

Alternately, visit the page on Mozillazine with the correct keybindings to add and then download a diff file that didn't seem to work but did, at least, point out where to stick the proper <handler event> directives, and use it to apply the changes you need. But my file really ought to work without doing that.

"But Michael," say Ed, Gretchin, and eleventy-thousand other people I've been gushing about OmniWeb 5 to these past few months, "you've been gushing to me about OmniWeb 5 these past few months! What happened?"

And about all I have to say about that is that while OmniWeb 5 is a wondrous tool that makes browsing a pleasure, the latest betas have been a nightmare of memory leaks, sudden spurts of CPU-hogging insanity that make me sorry I even use a computer, and sluggishness. When it comes out of beta, I'll be recouping my investment, hopefully.

Until then, I'm adrift in a sea of adequate to excellent browsers, and I haven't given Firefox a fair shake owing to its previous inability to act like a real Mac app. Now it kind of does act that way a little more, and more of my coworkers are beginning to use it (even the people from down the organizational hall at ClickZ seem to have noticed it), and it has all those nifty extensions. So I'm going to give it a spin.

Update: On second thought, this little hack might be introducing other weirdnesses in places like the search bar.

Cue Ed:

"Mike, it's comin' right for ya!"


Updated in Safari

Second Update, 1/30/05: Well, cool. A fellow by the name of Mark Eichin wrote to tell me he put together a Python script that handles this task with a little more flair (and extensibility). fixfirefoxbindings.py will process the problematic platformHTMLbindings.xml file and use a more human-readable list of bindings to give Firefox on OS X proper Emacs-like keybindings. Make sure to read the script before trying to use it.

Posted by mph at 1:34 PM

January 11, 2005

Updated: voodoo2palm 1.0.1

Update: Ugh. A stupid bug probably broke the script for a lot of people. It ought to be fixed now. You can download voodoo2palm 1.0.1 from its homepage. Alternately, issue "mkdir ~/.plucker" from the terminal. That's what I get for defensive programming.

I just bundled up what I'm calling voodoo2palm 1.0. It gets to be called "1.0" because I doubt I'll be doing anything more to it, preferring instead to wait for someone to write the actual VoodooPad plugin that makes voodoo2palm look like the simple, fussy kludge that it is.

It's been updated to work with VoodooPad 2, which went through a slight change in its Applescript dictionary that broke scripts using the VoodooPad 1.x dictionary, otherwise it does exactly what it used to do.

And what, exactly, did it used to do? Why, the same thing it does now: It makes your VoodooPad pads available for reading on your Palm device, with their internal links intact.

voodoo2palm is a droplet. You can drag a VoodooPad .vpad document on to it (or use the proxy icon: that little icon in the titlebar of a document window, see the figure below) and it exports the document to HTML, then uses Plucker (included) to wrap the exported document up as a Palm-readable .pdb file.

The voodoo2palm zip file includes everything you need:

Worth mentioning up front: Plucker doesn't understand VoodooPad's (the Mac's, really) bullet characters, so if you're using those, you'll get what looks like some line noise. If you're willing to pay some dough, I recommend iSilo as the tool for doing the conversion to Palm-readable text. The entry that got me started working on voodoo2palm has some notes on other ways to get a voodoopad onto a Palm, including how to do it with iSilo.

Also worth mentioning up front is Gus's generosity in letting me use a derivative of the VoodooPad logo for this little project.

Posted by mph at 12:01 AM

January 8, 2005

Dear Diary: Connectedness, Housekeeping, Categories, Blogcation

Weekends are great. Al and I take turns sleeping in (she sleeps in on Saturday, I on Sunday) and waking up with Ben, who's usually up around 6:30 or 7 (though that gets later and later as he becomes more able to get himself around and gets more tired doing it).

This particular Saturday morning, I finally got around to rearranging some of my 'net inputs and straightening up some papers that had been piling up. After an unhappy flirtation with client-side mail filtering, I'm back to using procmail to pre-sort most of my mail, which makes a lot more sense for someone who deals with multiple mail clients. That's my quarterly tech confession, I guess: client-side filtering isn't, you know, for wimps or anything, but I'd rather deal with the "inconvenience" of writing a procmail recipe than figuring out a way to make a bunch of clients think the same way about incoming mail.

There's still some stuff to do in the way of writing scripts to manage mail archiving, backups I've been neglecting since the file server in the house threw a hard drive, and general "make my digital life hold together" stuff that always seems to slip over time.

When we got rid of the satellite dish, I was hoping it would mean a return to better evening routines than we'd fallen into. I held on to our Netflix subscription in the hopes that we'd get back into watching more movies. So far, so good. Al likes it that way, too. We spent at least one year averaging about 1.3 movies a night, and that was cool. We've still got a few things left that the TiVo captured, but I haven't gotten around to reconnecting an antenna to the television, so no broadcast t.v. yet.

Disconnecting comments and trackbacks has proved to be a relief, too: A few trackback spams came through, but it was an immediate relief to know that the redesigned pages wouldn't show them, and it reminded me that MT's templates include RDF data with pointers to trackback information, so I went back in and removed that as well.


I said in the entry before last that I wasn't making any resolutions this year, but it occurred to me that I have been acting with a little more resolve, all the same.

Killing the dish was a pretty big deal. Not resurrecting the downed server was a pretty big deal. Today I dropped my MSN and Yahoo! IM accounts off of Adium and went around the site scrubbing my e-mail address from a few places and replacing it with a valid one I can use to filter unsolicited mail from legit stuff. Not spam, so much, as "contacts currently unknown to me." Keep whatever you have in your address book for me. The new address is for random passers-by.

On the meatspace-facing side, I've gone after some things that have been crowding my mind lately, too, but I won't go into them.

It's all about two things, though: time and connectedness. I want more of the former and less (or better, anyhow) of the latter. One way to get those things is to scale way back on everything, and see what I feel compelled to do after freeing myself from the things that I think of as optional.

None of it is particularly dramatic, and isn't meant that way. But if I'm anything, it's a dabbler. I get ideas in my head about things that would be cool to try, and I start doing them, then I get bored, then I quit doing them, and they sit around undone and unfinished and they make me feel cramped and weighted down. So the best thing to do is set them aside for a while, see what seems like it's really worth doing, and gradually disappear the rest.


And all that goes toward announcing that the "mph" half of "mph & pk" up there in the banner is going to take a vacation from the blog (and the blogmarks, and mp3friday, and whatever else is running here on the site that I've forgotten about). I'm not going to take anything down or whatever, because Puddingtime! and the linklog are, at least, joint efforts, and if I were to be taken out by a bus I would hope that pk would make brief note of that and wait a respectable period before changing the banner to something like:

all pudding, all the time from mph & pk

But I'm taking some time off from thinking about it all and messing with it so I can get a better idea of what I want to do with my time. The idea was tumbling around in my head for a while, but it took someone stopping by and reminding me that we can always choose to just stop something we're doing for things to gel. Thanks to him for that.

So that's about that. I'm going to get on with my weekend now.

Posted by mph at 3:38 PM

January 3, 2005

Comments Going Dark

The last time I wrote about comment spam in depth, I was pretty depressed and angry about it. It's been almost exactly six months, and not a lot has changed:

I've held on with comments for some time now, mainly because I really like hearing from most of the people who comment on Puddingtime!, especially the ones who don't write that often. But it's sort of past the tipping point now: not enough will to deal with it, even with generally solid tools; and a general drift lately toward paying attention to other parts of my life when I've got a spare moment.

I'm mildly vulnerable to abuse on this score, which is why I'm taking the time to write about why I'm shutting comments & trackback down.

It's about the spam, it's not about fear of dissent or confrontation. It's also about getting a chunk of my time back, freeing up a little mental space, and having one less thing to worry about (like whether sociopaths have trashed a page or two when I'm away for the weekend).

So thanks to everyone who has taken the time to contribute something here. Please don't be strangers to my inbox. Blogging is about keeping in touch, in some ways, so if you read something here that moves you to write, please do. I'm pretty sure I speak for Puddingtime! collaborator pk when I say that, too.

Posted by mph at 3:33 PM

January 2, 2005


Here it is January 2nd and I've got no resolution to show for it. If I had one, I suppose it would have something to do with those two in the picture, but 2005 just doesn't feel like a resolution year to me.

For one, some of the stuff that ordinarily falls under the province of "resolutions" is pretty much under way already. I guess I could make some "in anticipation of the completion of early resolutions" resolution, but that just seems like it's complicating things.

For two, "eh."

Or "meh."

Either way... 2005 just doesn't feel like a year to make a resolution.

ben_al_swing.jpgOne good "new leaf" thing we did was kill DirecTV after about 14 months of service. We got it when it became hard for Al to get around during her pregnancy, and we figured it'd be useful for the essentially homebound life of new parents. But in the past few months, having the dish has made less and less sense. I don't want to spend time dwelling on how crappy a lot of the stuff on t.v. is, and I'm not going to try to pretend that I have no use for television in general. But there are other things I'd rather be doing during the useful hours of consciousness we have left after Ben's down for the night.

Not in the "new leaf" category, but more in the "new things that are happening" category is pretty much Ben, who went from laying on his belly and flapping his arms or rolling to get places to crawling, standing, and scooting around by holding on to furniture in the space of the past several weeks. He's got one consistent sound ("da") and a collection of several others ("ba," "ma," "ga," "doy," "dar,") and a general shriek of delight, plus a trill.

We finished baby-proofing his room last week (which mostly entailed consolidating things with cords to a socket covered by drawers and moving any soap, ointment, etc. into the closet) and I installed some new full-spectrum bulbs in the ceiling fixture, so in the early evenings his room is pretty much where things happen in our house. I bring him home from daycare, grab a book, and he crawls around far from the CD player, bookshelves, and fireplace. Sometimes he gets tired of playing with his stuff, and we sit quietly. He becomes very, very still when we whisper in his ear.

So that's about it. I haven't had a massive blogging urge in the past several weeks, and surprised myself by not doing much in the way of keeping things up around here during last week's vacation. Maybe I'm losing interest. I was considering some resolution to do with further curtailing of my online life after I had an early December depressive fit over feeling over-connected, but that seemed silly. I don't trust anything I feel in December ever, unless it's optimism.

And to wrap up, I guess there's the reason I even started typing this evening: I uploaded some new photos to the Ben gallery and wrapped up the August-December gallery. In about three weeks, it'll be time to compile all the shots from June forward into a new iteration of the Ben Gallery DVD and send that out to the grandparents.

Posted by mph at 10:44 PM