Bin ich jetzt schon illegal?

Zum Geburtstag habe ich eine ganz tolle CD bekommen – “le fil” von camille. Gleich in meinen Laptop geschoben, der sie gleich wieder ausgespuckt hat – ist nämlich gar keine CD, sondern “Copy Controlled”. Angeblich funktioniert’s mit MacOSX, aber nicht auf meiner Hardware. Was nun? Einfach auf alle modernen Errungenschaften (iPod, wohnungs-weites WLAN, last.fm) verzichten, was Musikgenuss angeht? Oder eine analoge Kopie aus dem alten CD-Player ziehen und wieder digitalisieren, und auf die aufwändig produzierten und teuer bezahlten kleinen Bits verzichten?

Alles gar nicht nötig. Der gute alte CD-Player hat einen optischen Digitalausgang, mein Macbook Pro einen optischen Digitaleingang, und mit einem TOSLINK-Kabel und einem Adapter auf die kleine Klinkenbuchse des MB Pro kriegt man tatsächlich auf Anhieb 16 Bits bei 44.1 kHz auf die Platte. Ob ich mir tatsächlich die Mühe mache, alles zu zerschneiden, zu taggen, zu mp3ifizieren? Weiß noch nicht. Auf jeden Fall: es geht.

Die “Copy Control” ist nichts weiter als lästig. Ich sehe nicht, wem das irgendetwas nützt.

Anonymity

Talking about anonymous abstract concepts in the “ProgLang” category, I noticed that the “axel” concept remains curiously anonymous. No reason, really, just oversight. So here’s how my MacBook sees me.

Note that some people go much further with iSight / Photo Booth…

P.S.: If your iSight stops working and goes all green, as mine did after coming back from repairs (sic), try this and then this – did it for me.

Home Computer

Back alive – after being offline for about three weeks, I’ve finally got my notebook back. I had not realized how much I depended on it until I tried living in another computer (feels like living in a Hotel, or maybe even a Backpacker’s Hostel – you don’t want to leave your stuff lying around…). If there are virtual Keychains, why not also virtual sponge bags with toothbrush etc.?

There is always some stuff that’s too personal (financially or profile-wise) to be stored on a server, then there’s stuff that has to be local so I can access it quickly, and then there’s usability, the way I’m used to work with my stuff – even if it’s the same data, it does not feel the same when used with different apps, and even if it’s the same app, it looks a bit different on a different platform and is missing my many little customizations.

Here’s my experience when temporarily switching from a Mac to a PC:

I can still access my email – it’s stored on an IMAP server, so I can theoretically access it from multiple client computers, potentially even at the same time. HOWEVER, I’m using a different mail app (Thunderbird or Outlook instead of Apple Mail), and start hitting small and inconvenient incompatibilities in their handling of deleted and marked messages. Feels just that little bit “not at home”. And of course first thing, they try to download all the mails and spill my private stuff on my company’s computer. Webmail/Googlemail is OK, but now each email account suddenly has its own UI.

I can still read my files – at least those that I copied to a FAT drive or file server in time. Accessing the HFS+ backup is more complicated and involves at least one other Mac. I’m fairly reluctant to actually work with (update) my files because I know I’ll have to sync them back some way – not necessarily trivial. Then there’s the file format – Office documents work of course, but all the personal stuff is a different bullet.

Keychain, SSH keys and Web passwords – simple truth: the more internet services you use, the more account names and passwords you have to manage. I can’t manage without an automatic helper, namely MacOSX’ Keychain application, SSH agent, and Safari’s auto-fill-in. Now unfortunately I didn’t find a port of Keychain for Windows. (To be honest, I didn’t even look) So it’s back to pen and paper, and don’t you forget to jot down one important passwort, or else you’ll need to get that other Mac and start digging in the backup again.

Browser bookmarks – I’ll definitely go get a del.ici.ous account. Tonite.

Music – the mp3 files are all there on the file server, but suddenly the infrastructure for actually listening to them is awkward (where’s my iTunes library, why is that iTunes not scrobbled?) – I default to my iPod.

iPod – is just a slave device in Apple’s view. They want me to erase it completely before attaching to a different iTunes instance. I refuse!

Photos – well I can live without my family album for a few weeks, OK. But then I want to quickly take a picture for a website, and it gets a bit peculiar again for a moment (oops, Windows does NOT understand Nikon RAW format out of the box? Seems like I need to reconfigure my camera. Now what Windows tool will let me resize that… MS Paint ?!)

Firewire Hardware – not on that Dell notebook, sorry.

USB Hardware – I wouldn’t want to mess up the dell with a load of drivers, it’s just temporary anyway, and uninstalling a hardware device driver seems to be one of the unsolved riddles of our time – so I restrict myself and wait for my Home Computer.

Any take home lessons? First: Let other people care about hardware maintenance, backups and continuous service, by moving as much data as possible out of the house. Second: Concentrate the information that makes up your private and personal environment (passwords, cryptographic keys, commercial info, customizations) and backup thoroughly and securely, preferrably so that it can easily be accessed/instantiated on a different machine. Third: Find or found a company that rents Mac laptops and pair that company up with Apple support.

Mother! My logic is failing!

After hanging in the phone loop for 20 minutes, the friendly service assistant told me my hardware problem has been reproduced and a replacement “mother logic board” has been ordered. They can’t tell when Apple will deliver, but probably not this week.

Wouldn’t it be just great if I didn’t have to poll for this kind of information, but would receive some progress email (they’ve got my email address). Or if there was an online service tracker. Or a guaranteed delivery date. Or a replacement laptop for the time being (in the end, it’ll be more than the promised 3 weeks).  Just what do they do with all the Apple Care money? Spend it on new mother logic boards?

UPDATE: They actually managed to finish the laptop by Thursday, so maybe I was a bit hard on them in this post. On the bill, they had a detailed protocol of my case, including each service unit they spent, and each “customer information” (i.e. phone inquiry from my side). If they would just make that information available on the web site, UPS style, now *that* would be service.

Customer Support How-Not-To

“Hello,

It is the problem of Parallels Desktop for Mac because our product have
no rights to reboot your Mac so just contact your Local Mac Center i
guess you have some hardware problems.

Best regards, […].”

This is an email I received from Parallels customer support upon informing them that my computer crashes and reboots when running Parallels (Apple Hardware Test says everything is OK, no other app crashes).

I am disappointed by their lack of motivation to actually make their product work. To paraphrase: “Your problem is too complex and I’m too much in a hurry so I’ll just blame some other involved party”. (the email only makes sense after inserting a “not” and some commas, so I assume it was written in a hurry – assuming that they can do better, this means that Parallels’ support is either understaffed or unmotivated).

Flickr / WordPress

Auf der Seite Mein Geflicker sind meine bei Flickr abgeladenen Fotos (permanent Beta!) ab sofort direkt unter wuenschenswert.net zu sehen. Featuring: Freunde im Stadtpark, sowie Sonne und Brecher in St.Malo.

Zur technischen Umsetzung: Für WordPress benutze ich das Plugin, das als erstes erscheint, wenn man bei google nach “WordPress Flickr” sucht: http://tantannoodles.com/toolkit/photo-album/.

Um die Fotos aus iPhoto zu Flickr zu schaffen, habe ich FlickrExport benutzt. Sehr bequem, kostet leider ab heute in 29 Tagen Geld. Merkwürdig, dass unter MacOSX jeder Kasper, der ein GUI bauen kann, meint, damit Geld verdienen zu müssen. Aber wenigstens führt das dazu, dass die GUIs nach was aussehen.

Safari Leo Bookmarklet

Das Original Bookmarklet von dict.leo.org funktionierte bei mir nicht – offenbar benutzt Safari einen anderen Weg, um die aktuelle Selektion zu erfragen. Nachdem das gefixt war, sah der Dialog-Text immernoch eigenartig aus: Die Escape-Sequenzen wurden nicht dekodiert. Grund dafür ist wohl, dass die numerischen Codes keine Unicode- sondern ISO-Latin-irgendwieviel-Codes sind, die Safari als nicht OK einstuft. Auch das lässt sich hinbekommen… und:

Hier das Safari Leo Bookmarklet!

(Benutzung: aufs Bookmarklet klicken, oder Text selektieren und dann aufs Bookmarklet klicken. Und natürlich: den Link als Bookmark in die Personal Toolbar ziehen, sonst ist es nur ein Javascriptlet).