The Smell of Burning Resin

That thin blue line running vertically down the left side of my iMac screen mentioned a few weeks ago? It went away on its own. I don’t like symptoms that appear and disappear without reason or cause. Few things more mystifying than intermittent computer problems. Things should either work or not.

Two days ago I walked into the office to have nostrils greeted by a truly acrid chemical smell emanating from the top vents. The kind of smell that you just know causes cancer without even having to look it up. Shut it down, opened it up, everything looked absolutely hunky. Must be pooting forth from somewhere hidden — inside the power supply or something. Fortunately, the Apple Genius was able to duplicate the smell immediately (“I love the smell of burning resin in the morning,” he said, quoting Duvall). A capacitor frying, probably. Or something worse. Maybe I’ll get a new motherboard out of the deal. [Update: Yep, an industry-wide problem with bad caps.]

So now I’m working on a borrowed PowerBook — divorced from all my data — for the next two weeks. Which actually coincides nicely with WWDC, and is giving me a chance to check out the new Mail.app in Tiger, which has come a long way, baby. Loving it. The fact that it integrates with Spotlight while Entourage doesn’t is giving me one more reason to consider moving on from Entourage (even though I do think it’s one of the cleanest apps MS has ever produced, it’s got an IMAP bug that drives me crazy, so I’ve been using Thunderbird for IMAP for the past few weeks).

Also having a great time playing with Dashboard Widgets, and will learn how to create them myself next week. Friend Guy D2 created a Widget port of Brian Eno’s classic Oblique Strategies. My strategy for today:

Make what’s perfect more human.

Will strive to do that. Got a favorite Widget? Let me know.

2 Replies to “The Smell of Burning Resin”

  1. OK, I’ve got a few (and Steve Jobs didn’t even mention them during his keynote!)

    SlothCam, at http://www.niagara.com/~jax/GloriousSloth/slothcam.html is a great simple widget that lets you peek at a webcam from time to time. I’ve been using it to look at http://www.katkam.ca , a view south-west at the Burrard Bridge that’s updated every few minutes, since I’ll be moving near there in just a few weeks time. Of course, as is the case with all widgets, you can have several copies, and set them to different pictures on the net. It would make a great way of checking local webcams if you have them set up for security cams.

    Also for the inner geek in all of us, there’s iSlayer.net’s Systat widget, which shows CPU load, memory, hard drive usage, network traffic, etc.

    Finally, if you use iCal you must get iCal events, http://www.benkazez.com/icalevents.php which allows you to peek at upcoming entries in any or all of your iCal calendars. If iCal events included the current calendar widget’s month view for reference and let you choose another color other than that candy red, it would be darned near perfect).

    I am finding that I love widgets. Wasn’t sure I would, but I find that they are a great way of filling an empty couple of seconds when I’m waiting for something to print, load or copy. I check on stocks, local (or remote) weather, the currency exchange rate for the dollar vs. the Canadian dollar, and check out what program is the resource-hog of the day.

  2. David, iCal Events is the cat’s pajamas, thanks for that (especially exciting for someone just preparing for a switch from Entourage to Mail / iCal).

    Spent some good time getting my feet wet with widget development while at WWDC, but didn’t complete anything noteworthy (yet :). Wish I had days to play, would definitely love to get way more into them. Kind of has that same charge that PHP dev has for me – you don’t need to know all of JavaScript or PHP to get things done. Speaking of that, would love it if there was some way to get widgets to interpret PHP :)

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