Older blog entries for fxn (starting at number 388)

2 May 2005 (updated 2 May 2005 at 08:52 UTC) »

Mac OS X 10.4, first hours

I couldn't install Tiger out of the box due to a problem in the disk, fsck reported more than 50 Overlapped extent allocation (file \d+). Lucky me, some guy documented what that means and how to fix it in single user mode. After that the installation was smooth.

There are infinite changes in Tiger, for infinite greater than 200. Some changes are cosmetic (as the merge of title and toolbars in some applications), some are major upgrades (as Xcode 2, or QuickTime 7, or Preview 3), some are important new additions (as Spotlight, or Dashboard, or Automator), and some are removals (as Stuffit). Tiger is the first Mac OS X where Java 1.5 runs, you can get it separately and it does not interfere with the installed 1.4.2.

I have to explore almost everything yet, for instance I have not touched Automator at all yet (I am very curious though about how they did approach the design of such a tool), but playing around with this new toy I noticed Safari RSS is fast, damn fast, in addition to have a cool interface to RSS feeds. The integration of Spotlight in the system is such a powerful feature that I am sure I can't foresee its secondary effects yet. One of the clear applications are smart folders (which are virtual, live folders defined by a query) in the Finder and in Mail.app, also upgraded. Mail.app by the way has been refined but has a new toolbar nobody seems to like.

I expected the result set in Spotlight searches to be more immediate than it is. Sure, they come up very quickly, but not immediately as I'd expect from an index and the demos in Apple conferences. I wondered for instance whether I could launch applications with Spotlight instead of with Quicksilver, but at least in this G4 that's not practical. Maybe that's dramatically improved in G5s.

Dashboard is an interesting addition. As people develop widgets that are helpful for me to have there, I'll see whether I integrate Dashboard in my desktop usage. I don't monitor flights so often :-), but the dictionary and the calendar are already useful for instance.

As usual John Siracusa has written a detailed review in Ars Technica.

28 Apr 2005 (updated 28 Apr 2005 at 22:55 UTC) »

Barcelona.pm Monthly Meeting

Barcelona.pm had its monthly meeting tonight. We were nine people today, and had a great time. This month I was the one to give the talk, which was a summary of the main changes since Perl 5.8.0. The presentation is in Catalan, I uploaded it in PDF format, and as an interactive QuickTime movie (1.9MB), where a few beautiful Keynote 2 transitions and animations can be seen.

Tiger Arrived Today

I have a nicely packaged black box in front of me, if everything goes fine my next entry will be written with Safari RSS :-).

Steve Ballmer Talk

I attended today the talk Steve Ballmer has given in Barcelona, in the Liceu. The public was heterogeneous, and perhaps because of that the content was, uhm, plain. Innovation is central to strategy, you must listen to your costumers, ..., that level. I didn't expect much from the talk itself, but I was curious about him and could see and hear him in live.

What's new since Perl 5.8.0

I have been working today in the presentation I'll give this week at the next Barcelona.pm meeting. The talk summarises the changes introduced since Perl 5.8.0, released back in July 2002. That comprises seven stable releases and a lot of stuff. I'll work on it until Thursday.


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Paper generator


15 Apr 2005 (updated 15 Apr 2005 at 17:50 UTC) »

This week I have had the pleasure to meet Jan Wielemaker, the author of SWI-Prolog. I've been in Madrid in a meeting of an European Project I have recently joined in which Jan has worked.

Unfortunately he has done his part already and will be no longer involved in the project :-(.

That's a nice coincidence, back in 1998 I needed to do an immersion in Prolog. I used SWI-Prolog for that and since I was working as a proof-reader by then I did a careful revision of a couple of chapters of the user manual and sent it to him. He was very grateful and the corrections were merged.

Those days I followed The Art Of Prolog (1st Edition) and Prolog Programming in Depth. In case I play with Prolog again Jan recommended to study The Craft Of Prolog.

11 Apr 2005 (updated 11 Apr 2005 at 13:20 UTC) »

Interview with Mark Jason Dominus

The Perl Review has an interview with Mark Jason Dominus about his recently published Higher-Order Perl. I am reading HOP and can't put it down.

5 Apr 2005 (updated 5 Apr 2005 at 19:33 UTC) »

The Return of Emacs

Getting the fonts right has got Emacs back to my desktop. Since I got the Mac (hey, that was October 2003, time flies!) I was using it occasionally to edit my encrypted passwords file with crypt++.el, and some editing here and there, but the font rendering made it kind of ugly and in consequence didn't fire it up often.

I was mainly flirting with SubEthaEdit, or TextMate for quick scripting, with vi in the command-line as usual. Regular programming at work, or playing around with my personal projects, went to Eclipse.

Although I don't have the same control over Eclipse than I have over Emacs (not to mention the list of available modes), and I miss a lot the smart M-q, Eclipse is an IDE I like, and its support for Java is superb. Only it eats too memory for these 512MB, so I need to keep the number of open applications small.

For Perl, Python, reStructuredText, and some other stuff my editor of choice now is Emacs again.

Talking about SubEthaEdit, I saw the other day an interesting usage: people at some Python Conference were taking notes in parallel. Cool!

By the way, with the configuration I came up with a couple of days ago most glyphs were OK, but then I noticed a few keys didn't work properly. Thanks to news:gnu.emacs I could figure out the correct value for mac-keyboard-text-encoding is kTextEncodingMacRoman.

3 Apr 2005 (updated 3 Apr 2005 at 12:40 UTC) »

Monaco in Native OS X GNU Emacs

My current preferred fixed-width font on the Mac is Monaco, but when I compiled Carbon GNU Emacs sometime ago Monaco wasn't rendered cleanly, Andale Mono was more or less OK, but not as nice as in a native editor either. In addition, I needed to create a fontset by hand to be able to enter accented characters.

I installed yesterday the last .dmg and this has dramatically improved. Monaco looks perfect now and there's no need to create the fontset, just configure the keyboard this way:

    ;; See C-h f set-language-environment RET for details.
    (set-language-environment "Latin-1")
    ;; This is a PowerBook.
    (set-keyboard-coding-system 'mac-roman)
    ;; Transform input from the keyboard into latin1.
    (setq mac-keyboard-text-encoding kTextEncodingISOLatin1)

This definitely makes Emacs a better Mac citizen.

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