jason thurber's blog

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Archive for October, 2003

iTunes + iPod + Smart Playlists = Goodness

with 24 comments

I can’t believe that I’ve never used the Smart Playlist feature of iTunes before today! I’ve been manually managing my iPod for a while (long story, but it starts with “So, I’ve got a 40gig laptop, 30gig iPod”… this was before the HD Upgrade) and have found some major advantages to manually managing the synch process (how do I put this delicately…. umm… when you’re manually managing the iPod you can connect your iPod to multiple computers and “synch” their music to the iPod without really registering the iPod…. yeah, that’s a fair way to put it). The downside is that I’ve ended up manually managing a lot of playlists on the iPod such as:

  • Audio Books
  • All Music
  • New Music
  • I had a whole workflow going. I’d rip a CD (that I owned, of course) to MP3 via iTunes and add it to an Unsynch’d playlist. Next time I had the iPod connected to the Powerbook I’d copy the contents of Unsynch’d to the iPod and into their appropriate playlist. Then I’d clean out the Unsynch’d playlist. That was the old was of doing things.

    Now I’ve simply cleaned up the Genre tag of my music and created Smart Playlists directly on my iPod. Some examples:

  • Audio Books – Any song with Genre = Audio Book
  • All Music – Any song with Genre not = Audio Book
  • Highest Rated – Any song with Rating > 3
  • Un-Rated – Any song with a Rating < 1
  • These are all set to update automatically, so when I am listening my way thru the Un-Rated playlist and enjoy a song I can increase it’s rating and it moves into the Highest Rated list, in real-time, with no synch! Anyway, I thought this was super cool!

    At some point I will need to move all my iPods contents to somewhere (relatively) safe. I currently have about 20gb of music, so I forsee a weekend of using some shareware iPod Manager to move the songs to disc, then burning them to DVD.

    Written by jthurber

    October 31st, 2003 at 3:03 pm

    Posted in General

    On Stem Cells and GW

    with 18 comments

    This article (from the Washington Post) is excellent. It disusses the Bush Stem Cell policy and why is not only is logically inconsistent, but a damning example of a general pattern in this Administration’s behavior.

    As an aside, I have been listening to the Audible.com version of Bushwhacked by Molly Ivins, it is one of the most upsetting things I’ve ever listened to. I strongly recommend that everyone read/listen to it!

    Written by jthurber

    October 28th, 2003 at 6:07 am

    Posted in mild-rantings

    OS X 10.3 (Panther) and Emacs 21

    with 24 comments

    After installing Panther last night Emacs 21 (the non-Teminal one) stopped working. I tried to re-install it and managed to also hose my Terminal’s Emacs. A quick Googl’in later and I found instructions on how to build an OS X version of Emacs from CVS. I followed the directions exactly and it “just worked” (it also “just took” about 40 minutes, which seemed like a really long time at 2am).

    An un-related aside: Scott is engaging in a little Real Estate style GoogleSpam. Figured I’d lend my linkal support to his experiment.

    Written by jthurber

    October 25th, 2003 at 8:50 pm

    Posted in review-lite

    Problem with Cocoa Gestures and Panther!

    without comments

    Well, I went to the Panther release event at the Palo Alto store. The line stretched around the block (compared to the iPod Gen III rollout which was much smaller). Bought Panther, narrowly avoided buying an iSight (I’m really compulsive in that store for some reason), and came home to install OS X 10.3 on the Powerbook 12.

    As usual Apple provided a seamless install (All 4 discs of it, including XCode), but I couldn’t get some of the editable areas in Safari or Mail to work (i.e. they weren’t editable, and the applications hung). I remembered that I had both SIMBL (for SAFT) and Cocoa Gestures installed (I would provide links to these, but I’m not suggesting you install them). I deleted both those InputManagers (needed to reboot in the case of SIMBL) and Mail/Safari were all better.

    Written by jthurber

    October 24th, 2003 at 9:24 pm

    Posted in review-lite

    Hanging Chads…

    without comments

    Voted this morning. Got to experience the joy of the punch-card system that caused so many problems (e.g. President Bush) in Florida. What a horrible system.

    The basic usability test of any product should consist of taking 100 random people and asking them to use it without asking questions (or spending an inordinate amount of time reading the detailed instructions) (rather like Joel’s Hallway Usability Test). By this standard the punch-card system fails miserably.

    I had to spend approximately 30 seconds puzzling over the process to make sure that I 1) Insterted the ballot the correct direction (side up and which edge in) 2) Knew what would invalidate my ballot. Now, some readers are certainly saying to themselves “what an idiot, voting with punch-cards is easy”. To you I respond; see the usability test above? From all around me I heard people asking the same questions I had. Just because it may have made sense to some (and might even have made sense to the system’s creators) doesn’t validate the system. I’m looking forward to touch-screen voting next Presidential election (even if my vote may be hijacked by crackers, or the funders of the voting system for that matter).

    Written by jthurber

    October 7th, 2003 at 8:11 am

    Posted in mild-rantings

    overflow: auto not working in IE?

    without comments

    Divs not scrollable in IE6, eh? You’re using overflow:auto? Try removing the DOCTYPE declaration from the top of your html…

    It worked for me, but your mileage may vary (and this will certainly cause all sorts of other problems I don’t know/care about).

    Written by jthurber

    October 6th, 2003 at 4:22 pm

    Posted in programming

    10/7 – Judgement Day

    without comments

    My thoughts on tomorrow’s recall –

    The best thing that could happen: Governor Schwarzenegger
    The worst thing that could (realistically) happen: Governor Bustamante
    The worst thing that can’t happen: Governor Huffington
    The wrong thing to happen (but no one (including me) would care): Governor Davis

    Only one of these results would encourage me to ever vote again… can you guess which one?

    Written by jthurber

    October 6th, 2003 at 8:40 am

    Posted in pointless


    without comments

    Some interesting (and impressive) reading from the JoinArnold website:
    Schwarzenegger Details Specifics of Environmental Action Plan… Some highlights:

  • Sign an executive order to ensure that California has a network of stations in place to allow motorists to fuel cars with hydrogen by the year 2010, with fueling stations every 20 miles on California’s major interstate highways.
  • Implement market-based means of reducing congestion on California’s highways – including such policies as congestion pricing.
  • Increase the use of solar power, with the goal of 50 percent of new homes equipped with solar photovoltaics by 2005.
  • Good Stuff!

    Written by jthurber

    October 1st, 2003 at 2:52 pm

    Posted in found-on-web