Canonical Errors

In the ID3v1 spec (see end of document), the genre “psychedelic” is misspelled as “psychadelic.” Which means it’s misspelled in the id3ren tool I recompiled for BeOS, which means that RipEnc has probably created tens of thousands of misspelled attributes on people’s BeOS systems over the years. I could have recompiled it with it spelled correctly, but didn’t want to affect compatibility with other tools on that genre. I should have done it anyway. Now the misspelling shows up in a screenshot that’s going to end up in my BeOS/OSX piece on on Monday. And I’ll look like an idiot, even though that institutionalized misspelling has been bugging me for years. I wouldn’t have thought of it except that mneptok spotted it and called me on the carpet for it.

How much of history is mistakes compounded by time and propagation?

Orphan Removal

Whew. Finally finished with orphan removal on the j-school site.

As of Nov. 13 there were:
12,260 files
998 MBs

As of now, there are:
3,798 files
113 MBs

… and without breaking any links ;). For years, the students have been able to drop pretty much anything they wanted anywhere they wanted. What a mess. The staging server I’m building will prevent that from happening again. All of this cleanup has been just a preface to the things I’m actually here to do.

I can’t recommend HTML Rename highly enough. It helped me lowercase all files and corresponding links sitewide (so the site will work when we move to Apache), and to dig up all these orphans. I ended up corresponding with the developer quite a bit, and beta testing builds after I started sending bug reports on false positives.

Tomorrow we build a new server. The current one is NT4/IIS. Looks like I talked them off of IIS, but we’re keeping Windows for ease of use. So it will be Win2K/Apache/MySQL/PHP. I guess that’s WAMP rather than LAMP ;) Once that’s up and running, I can dig in for realsies.

QuickTime and IE

So it turns out the reason my QT movie didn’t work properly under IE/Win is because MS burned Apple with the release of IE 5.5/6 by dumping the old Netscape plug-in methods. Nowadays you have to wrap your embed tag inside an object tag, and set all the parameters identically for each. Fine if you find out, but I feel sorry for all the people with legacy QT content online which suddenly no worky no more. Anyway, the trapeze page should work for everyone now. Sorry about that.

Got my UC Berkeley staff ID card today, which meant I was able to order BBEdit at an educational discount (you have to fax proof to BareBones).

OSX Guidebook

If you think you know all there is to know about using OSX, you’re probably wrong. Rob Griffith’s OSX Guidebook is out , it’s great, it’s worth the shareware fee (I helped edit it ;)

OSX Guide

Have been corresponding a lot with Rob Griffiths of We set ourselves up as sister sites (his site and He’s working feverishly on a 60-page power guide to OSX, with tons of information I never would come across just surfing around. I’ve been one of his editors, giving regular feedback on drafts as they roll in. Have learned a ton in the process. He plans to start selling it in PDF format to help support the site, which is ad-free. Should be around $4. Y’all should get a copy when it’s released, which will be soon.

This has taken me away from working on the OSX piece I’m writing for Eugenia, but it’s time well spent.

iTunes Needs Streaming

Have changed my mind about iTunes. Was using Audion, but iTunes2 fixes a lot, and I’ve gotta say – it’s playlist manager is really great. It’s as meticulous about ID3 tags as I am, and its search makes it super easy to create custom playlists like I did in BFS with queries on any criteria. Most impressive though is that you can rename files in the filesystem and the playlist references don’t break – must be something like Tracker’s node monitoring going on, sending apple events to itunes. Very nice. But OSX is seriously lacking something like Live Encoder and/or HTTPUI for BeOS. Want to listen to my home collection at work, but have 128kbps upstream. Most of my music is 160 and 192kbps, so it has to be dowsampled before broadcast. Can’t find a single tool for OSX that can downsample before broadcasting. Installed the mp3_mod apache module and it works, but it doesn’t downsample either. Would kill for a LiveEncoder plugin for itunes right now. Tried to get set up with the mpg123 | lame | icecast trio but can’t figure out how to get icecast to take stdout from lame. Anyone?

Cheap Memory as an Excuse

Imagine if memory still cost today what it cost a few years ago. Would Apple have still released such a RAM-hungry OS? At old RAM prices, only the richest owners could use OSX with reasonable performance. It’s as if Apple thought to themselves, “RAM is cheap, let’s take advantage of the situation and do all kinds of creamy stuff with it” rather than “Lean-ness is one of our goals.”


Over the past 48 hours I have fallen completely, totally, and hopelessly in love with OS X.1 and this G4. As in, so in love I can’t pull myself away until the wee hours. Everything is so tight, so well composed, so _designed_, so coherent. I’ve complained publicly about MacOS for years. But almost every single complaint I’ve had about Macs has been addressed. I think they’ve really finally nailed it with OSX. It’s so invigorating to have that excitement about computing that I originally had with BeOS again. Only this time, it doesn’t feel like a futile battle. Apple has a chance, has industry momentum that Be never had.

This whole user experience is just so sexy…

I do have some complaints, so it’s not perfect. There are things that remind you you’re still using a young OS. But overall, it’s so on the right track it’s not even funny. I can’t say I regret dabbling in Windows after leaving BeOS behind, or the three months I just put into learning Linux – they were good educational experiences. But this feels like coming home.

Migration Notes

Bringing dad over to Windows was a mixed bag. On one hand, now he’s got a world-class browser and Eudora (my beloved Eudora…). On the other hand, the machine is much slower (because Win98 ignores his second CPU and because Win isn’t as efficiently designed in general). His modem drops connections sometimes under Windows – never did in BeOS. He says it “looks ugly” (this is a person who has used only MacOS and BeOS and has never used Windows).

But the biggest headache was in trying to find usable software for his digital camera. I was so proud the day he got his camera a couple of years ago, hooked it up, found the Camera app, and started using it with no help from me. I fully expected there to be a wide range of great camera apps for Windows. But the Camedia software that came with his camera is so arcane it’s almost unusable. The Adobe software that came with only grabs one image at a time and tries so hard to be user friendly that it backfires on itself. I downloaded three shareware apps that didn’t work at all. I read countless messages from people complaining about the terrible state of Windows camera apps out there. All over a slow mountain modem connection. Wasted half of yesterday. In the end, the solution he’s going to use is that he’ll boot to BeOS, download his images, and copy them to his Windows partition from there. What a freaking joke. I hear that XP finally addresses the camera issue fully. Great, but that’s not an option.

Since I stopped using BeOS a couple of months ago, I’ve only had occassional needs to boot into it. But every time I do, I feel like I’m missing something great. The same old refrains : how can something this great, this powerful, this usable, not have taken over the market? Of course I know all the answers to that question. But it still pains me no end. BeOS is still like a great orgasm for your computer.