Saturday, October 31, 2009

getting familiar with a Mac keyboard

I was really afraid, it would take me a long, long time to seriously get familiar with my Mac keyboard, but finding the Keyboard Viewer and having a closer look at it wiped out all these fears.
Whatever I thought would be missing on the Mac keyboard, now I find it easily.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

creating phone book and diary entries from incoming calls on my router

If you read this title, how mad do you think I am? Honest!

Alright, "as you know" (so of course this article only applies to some sort of computer nerds), my router is a FRITZ!Box 7270, it's also the base station for my (wireless) phones, and a lot more ... -- certainly one of my most important toys or gadgets. And I have 2 of them, one for at home, one for anywhere outside, where I can only connect to the Internet through UMTS.

So alright, back to the title of this article!

  • It's nice to record your incoming and outgoing calls in your diary, right? (my diary is emacs style)
  • It's nice to get something descriptive displayed on your phone, when somebody calls, right?
  • It's nice to extend your phone book through time as easily as possible, right?

Well, my router is running Linux as its operating system kernel, and BusyBox on top of it. On each incoming phone call it runs a shell script with a few parameters, of course the caller's phone# (if available) and also the callee's phone#. (I do have more than one phone#, and why not also record the called phone#, just for the record?) It tries to associate a name with the caller's phone#, if there is a matching entry in the phone book.

Quite a while ago I started implementing such a shell script, and obviously (as it is almost an ordinary (bash) shell script), I can develop and test it on any of my computers, that can run shell scripts, like any of my openSuSE computers, any WinXP computer running cygwin, a Mac running OS X, ... . Yes, I cannot create a full blown shell script, I will not pipe a lot through one-liner perl or ruby scripts on my router, but still: it's a handy and useful, not so tiny shell script.

So far it appears to me, as if no such executable gets called on the router for outgoing calls, but I can still mimic this behaviour by calling that script on my main development box.

Having said this, my script ( fulfills all the requirements, that I listed above in that bullet list.
For incoming calls without caller id and/or without a matching entry in the phone book it creates a piece of XML text, that I can paste into my FRITZ!Box XML phone book, and where I can fill in a phone# and a name or any descriptive text, so next time, I want to dial that phone# myself, I can select it from the phone book. And maybe another time that person will call you with caller id, and then you will be able to greet that person with her/his name. Wouldn't that be nice?

The implementation of this software also got inspired by Matthias Hühne's "Dial!Fritz", that I run on my iPhone. But of course his software is far completer and nicer, and it's well integrated.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a Mac keyboard is so different from a PC keyboard

It really takes me a while to accomodate with all that. Right now I just missed arrow key "accelerators" a lot, and I thought I give a few combinations a try. Guess what! The left and the right arrow key together with the cmd key work like Pos1 and End on a PC keyboard. Try yourself, what the alt key does! Isn't that amazing?!!

the pidgin Facebook plugin

The pidgin Facebook plugin does not work properly so far. A single Facebook user actually talks to me with yet another id, every single time he sends me a message. This does not look tested well enough.
I am using pidgin 2.6.2 (libpurple 2.6.2) from fink on Mac OS X, Snow Leopard.

Update / 2010-12-28:
For quite a while Facebook chat has now been reachable through Jabber / XMPP.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the main Fink web site is down, there is an alternative though (UPDATE)

You can't reach the main Fink web site right now, but there is an alternative though.

2009-10-28: You can fink again. The main Fink web site is still not available though.

Safari AdBlocker

Do you think, I am starting a fairy tale here? No, I'm not. Look it up on Apple's list of public downloads for Mac OS X. The link there is broken (right now), but read it and bend it! It points you to, there you want to look for the Safari AdBlocker (maybe this link will still be functional). It works with Firefox AdBlock Plus filter subscritions.

Question is, how long it will take, until the iPhone's Safari can be made to block ads as well. I mean, an iPhone is an OS X derivative using Cocoa, so I wonder how hard that will be.

Well, now don't you complain here, if you find browsing without ads a poor experience!

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)

"This may well prove to be the cloud news of the week."

Monday, October 26, 2009

how to print from my Mac OS X machine through a Netgear print server

A Netgear knowledge base article named Recommended Unix printer configuration for PS110 explains, why it's good to use the LPD printing method.

Now my Mac is the UNIX-ish machine on my LAN with the richest printing capabilities:
  • It can print through a 7270 AVM FRITZ!Box (my router++) on a Samsung CLP-315 colour laser printer attached via USB.
  • It can also print through a Netgear PS110 (my print server) on a HP LJ1100A and a HP LJ4L, both pretty ancient but functional b&w laser printers, attached through parallel cables.
What is still missing in the team is my Canon PIXMA MX310, a combi device that I mostly use for batch scanning enterprise documents and for sending documents by fax. That device is attached via USB to a rather simple (and fanless) machine (a NEO) running WinXP, running through pretty all of the year.

Just for the completeness of the presentation: Incoming fax documents get received by that FRITZ!Box, and that lovely devices creates PDF-s from them and forwards them as e-mail attachments to one of my IMAP mail boxes out there.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

CAVEAT: the Pill and antibiotics

I happened to come across and old friend last night on Yahoo Messenger resp. pidgin, who told me, that she was justing attempting to commit suicide.

What had happened? She had an abortion last week with twins in the 3rd month. No contraception? No, really not. But the Pill and antibiotics do not go together. She didn't know that, and she got pregnant.

We chatted quite long last night. I think, she felt a little better, when we said our "Good Nights".

pipe symbol at Apple keyboard

there is that nice article on where to find the "pipe symbol" / "pipe symbol" on an Apple keyboard. of course nowadays with Snow Leopard or "just" Leopard that's all different. but it still (with a little fancy and curiousity) helped me finding out, how to get to that thing.

in short: System Preferences / Language + Text / Input Sources / Show Input menu in menu bar / Show Keyboard Viewer.
there you play a little with combinations of the shift key, the function key, and just try yourself!

alright, I actually completed this article -- at the cost of letting my SO wait for my call to the gym. sorry for that!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

how to copy an Audio-CD nowadays?

My task is to copy an Audio-CD with a language course on it.

I tried to achieve this on my new Mac Book Pro, just with the software, that comes with it. Disk Utility does not seem to support exactly this, it leaves out especially the creation of an image of a CD-ROM. I would though burn a CD-ROM from an image.

Looks like openSuSE's Brasero does not have a problem with this task.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the UNIX hostname--where can you change it on Mac OS X?

My Mac Book's current "hostname" looks really weird. I would rather like to change it.

Update 2013-06-15:
A: in Sharing you can change the computer name.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

[[RATHER OLD ARTICLE]] how to remove an app installed through "Installous"

After I had bought my iPhone (on a German "prepaid" card, so: I did pay quite some money for it, and I don't feel like I stole it, and I don't have an expensive monthly tariff on a "postpaid" card), I got somebody to jailbreak it. He installed Cydia, Installous, and "all that".

I the meantime I also installed a few apps from those repositories, but I wasn't able to remove any of them.

Now I found a setting to get apps installed through Installous to appear under my iPhone's Applications on iTunes on my PC. Looks like that is a way to also remove them.

Yes, I read there is an issue with that "AppSync". So be sure, you know, what you do, before you also simply toggle that switch. Your "other apps" might get removed by iTunes next time you sync your iPhone.

I am now stuck in a huge sync, and I will interrupt it, as my SO keeps reminding me through the phone, that we have an appointment in the gym.
At least I do know now, how to get rid of that app, that I didn't find useful. It drives me nuts, if I can't find things like that out in a rather short time.

Oh, just a short extra note, before I leave for the gym: YES, that syncing DID remove a few apps, that I didn't want to get removed. Those were those navigation apps, that the guy thought I should get installed by him for quite some bucks. Well, not to worry, I shall poke him for that soon. Offfffffff for the gym!

Developing iPhone Apps Requires Xcode on the Mac - O'Reilly Broadcast

Developing iPhone Apps Requires Xcode on the Mac - O'Reilly Broadcast

Posted using ShareThis

Could Adobe potentially harm the iPhone AppStore - InsideRIA

Could Adobe potentially harm the iPhone AppStore - InsideRIA Shared via AddThis

Friday, October 16, 2009

my Mac now connects through my UMTS USB modem

I have been using my "XS Stick W12" from for almost a year on my EeePC running WinXP and also on my FRITZ!Box 7270.
Now I can also make use of it on my Mac Book Pro. Splendid.
Looks like now sell their current model (XS Stick W14) w/o branding and SIM-lock for EUR 100. Not bad, question is, whether the 7270 supports it.

my Mac now prints on the colour laser printer attached to the FRITZ!Box router

The Samsung CLP-315 gets accessed via "HP JetDirect". Yesterday I wasn't able to set it up as network printer and let it find the driver on Samsung's CD. Today I let Samsung's printer installation routine set up a local printer (which isn't actually installed), but at least the driver got installed somewhere on OS X, and then I could assign the right driver to the network printer configuration. Now I successfully printed my 1st page on my very own Mac.
Alright, alright, I admit it: I vaguely remember already having successfully attached my ex's (i.e. "-1") Mac Mini (which isn't officially hers ...) my FRITZ!Box ..., so I knew it would work sooner or later.
Now this is really a nice CUPS printer set up underneath!!!
I wished my openSuSE-11.1 computers would accept the CLP-315 driver as well!
Until then I only create PDF-s on them and print them via Windows or OS X.

I really love this set up: the laser printer attached via USB to my 7270, acting as a network printer.

AVM's description on how to attach a printer to the 7270 through USB was actually very helpful.

24 hours with son#2 ahead starting at 15:00

Looks like a very good time from Friday afternoon ("start of Shabbat") to Saturday evening with João Gabriel. This time w/o my "significant other", as she was playing a little wild on her computer and me this morning -- needs a little time off, I guess. This way JG gets just his father's full attention, but I think, he will like this and the pizza and watching DVD-s and ... as well.

Actually  if somebody in Berlin invites us for welcoming Princess Shabbat, we will certainly go for it! Any Friday is nice, if you don't read this today.

a completer UNIX on Mac OS X

I find Mac OS X for Unix Geeks very, very helpful. I own the the Tiger paper version, and also the Leopard PDF.
(If you hold an O'Reilly account, and if you register your Leopard paper version of this book by simply entering the right ISBN und My Account, then this month the PDF upgrade costs you only $4.99. Pragmatic Progammers also ask you a question like "what's the 1st word on page 203", which  you can obviously also answer correctly, if you sit in the coffee corner of your book store with your computer on your lap. But you are an honest book owner, aren't you?)

Download fink from sourceforge! This opens a wide realm of extra UNIX utility to you. A very nice installer and repository!!

Tell fink to install emacs22-carbon for you! Yes, there is also a carbon native version of emacs. There is also an an emacs23-app (this is a carbon version!!) in the unstable area of the repository, but you don't want to start your UNIX life on OS X with unstable utilities, as I do, do you?!?

MacPorts is another nice installer and repository, that you may want to get hold on.

an X-Windows GNU emacs on Mac OS X

Is there any such beast?
The emacs, that comes with Leopard's X11 optional package, seems to be an alphanum only one.
To be continued ...

how to press an HTML accesskey in Firefox on a Mac

Well, it took me a while to finally and simply express my web-search as short as this: "mac firefox accesskey". The results aren't really of a kind, that I want to refer you to any single particular of them. And in short: on the Mac you press the ctrl key together with the particular accesskey.

I am just one of these traditional mouse haters, I know how to type with 10 fingers, and I type quite fast, and I don't want to keep moving my right hand from the keyboard to the mouse resp. touch pad and back. That's why I appreciate accesskeys. And I love using them on Linux, Windows and on Mac OS X.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

iPhone: "unlocked", "jailbreaking", Cydia, ...

What a pity, Apple attempts to make it impossible, to add whatever software the owner of an iPhone wants to add to his gadget! And they also don't allow me, to select the cheapiest carrier for phone calls and Internet traffic. I mean, I am seriously willing to pay a proper amount for that gadget, not that I am simply a thief. I do want to honour, that they provided us a very, very nice gadget.

A lot of useful information is actually descibed in the wikipedia article on the iPhone:

... "Jailbreaking" allows users to install apps not available on the App Store or modify basic functionality. SIM unlocking allows the iPhone to be used on a different carrier's network. ...

So, there are iPhones locked to the SIM-card, they were sold with, and there are ones, that are not locked to such a SIM-card. Apparently in Italy iPhones are available (October 2009), that are sold without such a SIM-lock. Obviously those pieces are also available sooner or later in Italy's neighbouring countries.
But there are also descriptions on the web, that show you, how to unlock your iPhone. Maybe those descriptions do not work for you and your current (latest) software on your iPhone.

Right now (2009-10-15) I am thinking about getting me such an Italian 3GS 36G thingie.

You do want to know about alternative installers and application repositories: read the article on Cydia, the application on wikipedia!
Afterwards you want to know, what Installous is ...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

iPhone address book Group info blanked again

I love "categorising" the contacts in my address books, in iPhone "speak": keeping them in Groups. I installed a utility, that can do that, it's called Grouper. But occasionally the all the Group details, that I entered get entirely reset. Actually the Group names still get listed, but all the Groups are left empty. I think, for the time being, I will not use that again on the iPhone.

started my first Portuguese language course

The text book Falar ... Ler ... Escrever ..., we are using, is from We are just 3 students. We met through Deutsch-Brasilianische Gesellschaft. Our lovely teacher's name is Rita. If you are also interested in learning Brazilian Portuguese in Berlin with Rita, contact me and I shall make you acquainted!