23 May
   Filed Under: Unfiled   

OK, it only affects some older Macs, but a lot of people still use iBooks. I hope they didn’t find this because I told them to put a firmware password on there ;).

Via waffle; Open Firmware Password not recognized when beginning with capital “U”. (apple.com)

I do find this incredible. I mean, I really have to think quite hard how you are going about things if you manage to create a password scheme that can produce such bugs. It’s all the more important to know that you can bypass firmware passwords by changing memory configuration – something quite effortless on most portables these days. That goes for EFI and OpenFirmware.

On an unrelated side note, RSS reader icons with jet fighters flying over kick ass.

22 May
   Filed Under: Unfiled   

Here is a little preview of the 3d functionality (read: eye candy) of Timezones 1.5, in production and slated for June. All buyers reading this know that they are eligible for the beta and will all get the basic upgrade for free. Of course, there will be extra content for the willing. Extra themes, alternate layouts…

So stay tuned, more sneak peeks soon.

Edit: Now with actual live demo.


You really, really want to use this yourself to appreciate it as much. It’s totally awesome.

21 May
   Filed Under: Personal Work   

Okay Timezones users, regular blog readers and others; I think we’re gearing up for a great 1.1 release of Timezones in a few weeks, with hopefully the Praetorian beta-ready by the time I specified in April. There were some nice words on the icon on MacThemes and Aidemac (and some hits from other customization forums – thanks for holding up the copyright policy, guys, appreciate it) so I think it can do with a few tweaks to finalize it’s appearance. It seems (hard to notice on low-contrast displays) that the shadows are slightly cut, and the perspective of the images might do better with a different distortion angle. So you can look forward to that with the other tweaks and new themes that Timezones will see.

Timezones 1.1, by the way, will feature the disk image art you’ve all missed (I was doing it erroneously so you guys missed some nice, nice graphics. Ah well, coming up later), some more solid icons, extra timezones (because, unlike many people think, there aren’t just 24 time zones) and the themes are surely something to look forward to. It’s price tag will also see an ‘update’ – we are going from three to four dollars per personalized copy.

0-themie.jpg

Regarding the website, before I am launching Main, I want to appeal to the people buying, so I got that online as a priority. Take a look at the elegant new ‘buying’ page;

0-stepreview.jpg

I look forward to releasing Cocoia Main and the work I did with various developers on icons and interfaces. My own work too, of course, and everything I wanted to share with the world for a long time. It’s going to be an exciting time.

20 May
   Filed Under: Design, Personal Work   

It’s one of those applications that you’ll always find in your dock on OS X; Preview. What does it do? Well, it gives you a way to check out a series of images and do lightweight modifications like cropping and rotating, all for low ‘cost’ (system resources). Needless to say, if it’s an app that will be around a lot, you’ll see it’s icon a lot. In Quicksilver, I see it all the time. It’s always in my dock; I thought, if you can’t live without it, then at least give it a place in your dock instead of always having it inactive on the right. Anyway, I got extremely annoyed with it’s default icon of a happy child on the beach with a sort of eyeglass. The application Mimiphoto makes it easy to put your own image below the eyeglass, so I took Magritte’s ‘Ceci N’est Pas une Pipe’, kind of turning it into a self-referencing ‘Ceci n’est pas un Preview’.

However, I didn’t like it still. First of all, it’s not clean at all, I disliked it in 32 pixels and below (icon sizes that require special care and pixel-pushing for clear images) and well, I started looking for replacements. I swear, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. I don’t like that damn loupe, eyeglass, whatever you want to call it. It’s stupid. So I made a new metaphor for previewing. Here you go, free for personal use. It’s got it’s own small webpage, a DMG download, and very clear terms stating no commercial use and attribution. If you want to be an ass and use it on your website or whatever anyway, I’ll just take the icon down. I’m that much of an asshole. Of course, you’ll also be in legal trouble.


previcon.jpg

But I trust my loyal readers to just enjoy this, adhere to my terms, and respect the extreme amount of time that went into it (this lamp doesn’t exist, I just made it up along the way) and provide feedback. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it and having it done now.

19 May
   Filed Under: Personal   

Portmap, a UNIX daemon made to supposedly make it easier for everyone to find out what ports services are listening on, seems to be dead essential in ad-hoc Ethernet-to-Ethernet networking with a static IP. I always give my home boxes IP’s in the strictly forbidden IP range 10.x.x.x (I’d be better off taking 192.168.x.x) and connect them with a CAT5E cable (for gigabit speeds or at least half of it) whenever I feel like it. I was dumbfounded to find that two Macbooks, one my own and one out of the box, will simply completely drown in an ocean of confusion when the daemon isn’t running on the serving system.

The context-sensitive autoconfigurator for network settings in OS X didn’t like it at all. I also have strict rules against named (the DNS server), bonjour (zeroconf) and I let in AFP with a temporary rule. No catch. The connecting party couldn’t find services, and the link refused to establish in most cases (i.e. jumping from self-assigned 144. addresses to my own 10.x range). I could disable the firewall. OK, still nothing. Obviously, this isn’t related to my nazi ipfw configuration. Could it be that I have stopped some services from running in the first place? Yup. I had portmap disabled. Bonjour was fired up and restricted with ipfw because Aperture throws a fit without it running (Read: it gives an error message with the rather descriptive text: “Error. 2.“.), which is a bit insane as I haven’t found it to be a nice enough app to go share my photo collection over the network with bonjour, which iPhoto does for free.

Nearing the end of this rant, it’s obvious what I am telling. Hardening always gives you trouble to get into your own computer. You know, that really the way I like it. But I don’t consider acquiring a link a real security issue, so I’ll have to fix this. Strangely, whatever security measure I took in the how-to’s I served, did not affect these problems. Rather, it was the portmap daemon that ships with OS X that seems to be much more essential to it’s networking than I thought. I’ll look into this, because portmap has it’s history, especially with RHEL. I don’t know what those guys in Cupertino were thinking when they were soldering in portmap with liquid steel, but I’d rather just run without a whole lot of services.

17 May
   Filed Under: Personal   

Yeah, I am getting truckloads of visitors. And the funny thing is, with nice webserver log analytics, you can see what kind of people. First of all, I want to say hi to that loyal NetNewsWire subscriber that downloads my feeds from the US Courts. It had me freaking out when I first found it, but when I looked into it and saw you are using NetNewsWire to read my blog, I thought that was pretty innocent. My blog’s innocent too, right?

And hello to people from the Navy, the Air Force, the Army! Always nice to see you around. And Apple, Pixar, Sony, NEC, Cisco, you guys honour me with your visits. Oh yes, if the Washington Post feels like publishing anything about me, don’t hesitate to contact me. I saw you dropping by. There are also some visitors from a certain adult site that whose name I won’t mention here (Google Hell and all).

I must say, I haven’t named the big part yet. This month, I’ve had visits of companies that honoured me a lot. I think I’ve seen a significant amount of visitors from Redmond, too. How strange! It keeps stacking up. I hope you enjoy the iPod tools. Or are you all here for the ‘Mac Hacker’ badges, perhaps? Feeling like a discount on icon design since, well, I guess, Microsoft or Apple do count as ‘developers’? Really into hardening your OS X? Whatever the reason, please read on. It’s going to be an exciting month full of rounding up school projects and releasing more of my own creations.