Monday, December 08, 2008

Ecto, meet Blogger. Now go make some beautiful newlines.

I've been using Blogger to all my post publishing needs for some years now. And since I moved my "home" into a Mac OSX system I've started using ecto to publish to them. But I've stumbled in this issue in more than one blog, so this post serves as both advice for the frustrated and to remind me in future installations (never googled your blog to see what your past thoughts were? you are missing out, then!)

Problem. I write a text, such as this one, with some paragraphs. and if I publish them as is, blogger spaces them out, inserting linefeeds (<br/> HTML tags) between them. So I desperately try to fix them in ecto. I refresh the posts list, and see the extra spaces. If I fix everything, I get the same result. If my mind wonders and I forget to fix something, and still publish it, I see not one but two extra line breaks. Wow! :)

Solution. Taken from an ecto's support forum entry the idea is to make Blogger *not* insert linefeeds in every return on the posted text. ecto does that job already, so we simply stop Blogger for doing extra work. Who knows, someday ecto will detect that automatically and won't hurt our posting confidence in the process :)

Details. Go to your Blogger dashboard, see the Settings tab, and the Formatting subtab. Set "Convert Line breaks" to "No". Save. Publish. Rejoice!

Serve your music with class. Use Bowtie!*

I recently stumbled upon TUAW's article on Bowtie. logo.png

Context: music info and control in a Mac OSX (Leopard) environment. I have until now been envying Coversutra's users, for its beautiful and useful cover art, shortcut-controls of iTunes and song submission. Well, seems like I've made my setup even better. Want to know how? Let's start by grabbing the latest version of Bowtie. Yes, it's still in beta (next beta is being worked on as I write this, according to the author it will be due in a couple of weeks). Run it. Run iTunes, and play. And that's it!

Wait... but I see an space-eater icon in my dock. Coversutra has the option to go to the menu... But Bowtie has no need for such a menu. what for? So grab your application icon, right click, show package contents, and find the Info.plist inside it. Now add a new String parameter called NSUIElement, and give it a value of 1. Presto, relaunch the app, and you have no icon at all on your dock - and the UI is still on your desktop! But wait, how do I go to the preferences? That's right, no menu is there. So just click on the UI, and press the default Preferences shortcut, "Command+", to bring up all the juicy options!

Waaait a bit more... but I don't like how this looks like! Well, two options: either make your own skin, see the downloaded package for details, of look trough some foruns for Bowtie related skins. I promise, you will be much surprised with the quality of each theme!

Hey, I'm not there yet - I used a Coversutra demo and I liked the search features... and the much much more comprehensive shortcuts to customize from! Ok, ok. I'll bet if you want to have this trouble to use freeware to suit your picky needs, you already have a launcher such as say... Quicksilver! Am I right? So you're all set. Just install the iTunes module, and skim through its settings, and triggers. Shortcuts aplenty for all of you keyboard lovers, and a bonus one - "Search iTunes". give it a handy shortcut, and it will be all you need. But if you want to look for artists, albums, or tracks, just type iTunes in Quicksilver, press right arrow and browse whatever you want, and then play it. All very very similar to what you already do with Quicksilver, which is a big plus!

Still now happy? integration is not enough? Still need that menu icon, despite useless? Still find out the window is not on the desktop when pressing F11, like Coversutra's? Found any other nasty bug? Do everyone a favor and tell the developer. Beta versions are there for you to find bugs and for developers to fix them!

*or How to kill the need for Coversutra and its paid support once and for all...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hundred Pushups

After 6 weeks, I finally managed to do one hundred pushups in a row. Not that easy, I hear you say? So go ahead, try it yourself. And then you may wish to take a look into this great program by Steve Speirs.

One Hundred Pushups is a set of guidelines to make you able to do that, without much effort, and in your own time. The only rule you have to keep in mind is to keep from cheating to yourself. Trust me. If not for anything else, it'll blow some steam away from you, make you sleep better with your body as tired as your mind!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

iPod Touch and WPS behind routers

I've recently bought a 2nd generation iPod Touch, and I'm getting used to the location finder (without GPS).

However, my home router's seem to enjoy hiding the location... I've googled the issue, and I've come up with the WPS notion, and a link for a form where we can tag a given MAC address (your router's) to a easily findable (via a Google Map widget) geo location. They say I have to wait a while before that starts to work. We'll see... :)

From the Skyhook's website:

The WPS is an essential part of any complete Location System. Without this capability, the location of a mobile device cannot be accurately or reliably determined, especially in indoor or dense urban environments. As a key component of XPS, the Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) has been closely integrated with GPS and cellular positioning.

More info and the aforementioned form can be found here.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

AppleScripting Twitter in Quicksilver

Today I woke up with a strange need to show some love to my everyday helper, Quicksilver. And just as I was about to twit something, I realize that was the perfect addition I was lacking! Let's see what I've come up with.

I found out Tweet.scpt from Ted Leung, an AppleScript to send Twitts via Quicksilver. As simple as that. Drawbacks, Twitter only lets us send 140 characters long messages, and Quicksilver won't count that in the interface for us. Also, inline text writing in the default QS interface is not exactly great looking. For the UI issue all I had to do is to grab the BezelHUD skin from Julius Eckert. Just trust me on that one, see the video on his page or go ahead and install it - I'm not going back, it's awesome!

To the char count problem, I had to make some modifications to the script. In short, I opted to count the chars using

count characters of tweet

then either send the message to twitter or show a dialog warning telling you have exceeded the char limit. Pretty simple, and works almost great (bonus for finding how quicksilver could show the char count in the text-edit window!).
All the notifications use Growl. And the script looks for your Twitter account info in your Keychain, using the Usable Keychain Scripting addition, from Daniel Jalkut (another small modification from the original script, that uses the Apple's slow Keychain Scripting...). But I found out the Keychain thing was being blocked if it wasn't started yet. So I "borrowed" this loader (I can't remember where...), and call it before I try to access my password, and it works great:

on startKeychainScripting()

-- This function ensures that the Keychain is launched by a process

-- different from the one executing this script. It is only needed when using Keychain Scripting to

-- retrieve the password property of a key.

-- Quit Keychain Scripting if it's running, since opening this script may have implicitly launched it.


tell application "System Events"

set foundApp to first process whose name is "Keychain Scripting"

set pid to id of foundApp -- this will exit the try block if the process isn't running

quit foundApp -- we get here if the process is found

end tell

end try

-- get Finder to launch Keychain Scripting

tell application "Finder"

open application file ((path to home folder as string) & "Library:ScriptingAdditions:Usable Keychain Scripting") as alias

end tell

-- make sure that Keychain Scripting is up and running

repeat while true


tell application "System Events"

set foundApp to first process whose name is "Usable Keychain Scripting"

set pid to id of foundApp -- this will exit the try block if the process isn't running

end tell

exit repeat -- we get here if the process is found

end try

end repeat

end startKeychainScripting

This is also included in my script. All you have to do is to place it in ((path to home folder as string) & "Library:ScriptingAdditions:Usable Keychain Scripting") and reload Quicksilver. Try it out!

Now all I have to do is to find out why direct messages like "d username hey, what's up" don't get their destiny :( Maybe it has something to do with not liking direct messages, but my spare time is up now, I'll give this another try later on...

Last, but not least, many thanks to all authors and contributors of all software and tips I've mentioned in this post! :)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

MyToons Animation

Ahoy! This is my week-end fun post. So you find yourself bored. nothing to do. Have an HD screen ready to show beautiful things, but don't feel like national geographic, the latest movie or even a ps3 game. Just vegetate a bit more into MyToons and discover a whole world of animations waiting for you. I started peeking at the site from its early beta versions, and I must tell you both the site and its contents made a huge jump in the last year! So go ahead. Choose the "All Things HD" Channel, and browse away, or click the first and let them play. There's some really neat stuff there!

[See MyToons Animation]

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Disqus, meet my Plaxo Pulse.

Commenting just got a new level for me. I discovered Disqus has just got integrated with the post stream at Plaxo's Pulse. I just gave it a whirl, changed my two main blogger-based blogs and presto. Now you may access my pulse, see a post entry you'd like to comment on, and do so in plaxo's interface - the message will appear properly on my blog, also! Look for the highlighted message to make sure your comment get's to the proper place, in the future:

Plaxo's Pulse integration with Disqus

Friday, May 30, 2008

To key, or not to key!

When it looks like you've finally messed up your macbook pro's keys... All is not lost! a quick look into youtube reveals a great clip that teaches you how to remove the key, remove the little cap behind the key (the plastic thinguie that serves as a spring attacher), and put them back again properly. So my dot key got a bit stuck in the bottom side, and I solved it (the cap got loose on one side, I just put it back again). See for yourselves, and fear not! :)

[From YouTube - How to replace keys on an Apple MacBook Pro Keyboard]

Friday, May 09, 2008

Muxtape With Coverflow Using Fluid

[In the link] Below is a quick tutorial on harnessing the power of Fluid’s new thumbnail plugin to create a simple Muxtape application with sweet coverflow previews of the featured mixes.

[From Muxtape With Coverflow Using Fluid]
I just checked this fantastic usage for a desktop web application. First, let's say thanks to the mind behind Muxtape. For a photographer, Justin sure knows how to keep things simple enough to be just great! But if we leave the main functionality if muxtape behind, its homepage is sort of... less than useful! So enter Fluid. I know, I know, Mozilla's lab project Prism can do exactly the same and is multi-platform. But can it create a fantastic coverflow view of a set of pages thumbnails? Well, [without some not-yet-developed XUL-based add-ons, ] no. That's one more reason for me to love me having entered the Mac world! But seriously. If you don't want to try it because it's too hard, just take a look at the video screen cast in the link above, and see for yourself. It's 2 minute easy (with fluid download times included :) )
Let's all hand some kudos for Justin!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mac OS X Leopard and MySQL 5 Preference Pane

If you have to use MySQL within a Leopard, and you've tried to install the preference pane (that allows you to start and stop the daemon without typing long path names on a terminal), you may have also discovered that it can't work. But that's old news, as some nice guy fixed this, and posted a working preference pane for your downloading pleasure right here. Fetch it while it's still hot! :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

AppleScript and Asus WL500g Premium

Greetings! Today I'm sharing a small script to add to those amazing folder actions your mac supports. Let's say you have an Asus WL500g Premium wireless router. Goo choice, btw! :). Let's say you've made the jump from original firmwares to oleg's precious replacements. (Yet another great choice!). Let's also assume you've connected an USB external drive to the router, and configured it to serve torrent files it receives by sftp automatically, placing the result in a specified drive path (as explained here). Finally, and specially since you're still reading, it's fair to assume you have a Mac OS X :).

So jump in. Start Script Editor, create a file and type in the following:

on adding folder items to this_folder after receiving added_items

tell application "System Events"

set torrent_files to every file of folder (this_folder as string) whose name extension is "torrent"

set torrent_files_names to the name of every file of folder (this_folder as string) whose name extension is "torrent"

end tell

if length of torrent_files > 0 then

set theServer to "<your-server-address>"

set theUser to "<your-username>"

set theProtocol to "sftp"

set theUploadFolder to "/tmp/harddisk/torrents/source/"

with timeout of 300 seconds

tell application "Cyberduck"

set theBrowser to (make new browser)

tell (theBrowser)

set encoding to "UTF-8"

connect to theServer with protocol theProtocol as user theUser with initial folder theUploadFolder

repeat with theFile in torrent_files

upload item (theFile as alias)

end repeat


end tell


end tell

end timeout

tell application "System Events"

delete (every file of folder (this_folder as string) whose name extension is "torrent")

end tell

tell application "GrowlHelperApp"

register as application "Wl500gPremium" all notifications ["Torrent Upload"] default notifications ¬

["Torrent Upload"]

end tell

tell application "GrowlHelperApp"

repeat with i from 1 to number of items in torrent_files

set torrent to item i of torrent_files_names

notify title "Torrent " & i & " of " & (length of torrent_files) & " was sent to Asus:" description ¬

torrent icon of application "Transmission" with name ¬

"Torrent Upload" application name "Wl500gPremium"

end repeat

end tell

end if

end adding folder items to

Take a look, configure theServer, theUser and theUploadFolder, and save the script. then go to your download folder, right click it, attach a folder action and choose the script file you've just saved. Now go ahead, look for your favorite freeware torrent (like this). And have fun! Feel free to comment out any kind of notifications (I enjoy Growl very much), and to replace CyberDuck with your AppleScript-enabled sftp uploader of choice (beware of their syntactic intricacies). As a free tip, I'll tell you it's great to have firefox open up the save dialog for each torrent. You can save it to the download folder (sending it to your router no matter where you may be), or you can open it locally, with Transmission, for instance. I've benn using this almost over 6 months, and I'm loving it!


Sunday, March 30, 2008

ecto Blogging tests

Let's give this a whirl. This is an image I just pasted in my Blog entry:


So this turns out to work, just no the way I was expecting it to. It uploads the image quietly and perfectly to flickr. I guess I can live with that! However, new Blogger bloggers will be kinda frowned when they found out they also have to have a Yahoo! account just to get the images they usually store in Google's account... Oh well. Thus life goes on.By the way, these courts are from a Hotel called Alambique d'Ouro, in Fundão (Portugal). Perfect for a non-summer-placed escapade.

A test for MacJournal, part II

If you see a - Picasa-stored - image here, it means it cannot send directly to the blogger, but it ain’t useless afterall:


Edit: obviously this didn't work. But today I found out that ScribeFire is now finally able to do what I've been looking for - direct Blogger image publishing. Let's try again (hopefully there will be an image below):

Edit again - horraaay! It works! Now all I have to do is to help ecto gain a plugin to do this image uploading! I wonder where I can get information. /me creates a to-do entry to seek help in ScribeFire support sites/foruns...

Monday, March 24, 2008

DVD Flick

So I hear you just got yourself into the getadivxthengetasubtitlefilethenwanttousethelivingroomdvdplayerandwhatnow? game. So now you have to know that most operating systems out there can burn dvd's, but the conversion stuff is too kinky for them to work out of the box. I won't go into the required legalese to explain the issues at hand - google for it, if you really want. Let's skip to the interesting part. You're stuck with Windows. I pity you. But it's not a lost cause, at least for a simple task such as divx into dvd conversion. Oh, and I know there are PLENTY apps out there to do the job. But can they also do subtitles sleekly as well? I've used WinAVI Video Converter, but now there's a free (as in speech) little tool that simply works! Get the app, install it, and give it a test. for the record, I'll itemize what this does:

  1. Pick an AVI file
  2. Pick a subtitle file (srt, perhaps)
  3. Produce a nifty DVD playable with a subtitles track!
[Go to DVD Flick for more...]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How-to: Proper Gmail IMAP for iPhone & Apple Mail

There is nothing wrong with leaving your email clients as-is exactly as the Gmail Help documents instruct. Unfortunately, you will start to see a little inconsistency between your email clients and your Gmail web interface.

[From How-to: Proper Gmail IMAP for iPhone & Apple Mail]

I just found this site that helped me get the Apple Mail to handle Gmail's accounts just the way I want them to! Basically, a tip to filter out the labels in gmail - I want to make my own smart-folders and wish not to have double emails (one in "All Mails" and another in the filter(s) in question). Also, the "use this mailbox as *" tip was handy, as it gets integrated "the right way" in the Apple Mail Client. I can be so happy when I get a bit more organized, sometimes! :)