Archive for May, 2005

WebObjects Pub Night @ WWDC 2005

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

WWDC is next week. That would explain my relative silence on the technical front. I have been a tad bit busy recently.

On Monday, June 6th, there will be a WebObjects Gathering at the The Chieftain Irish Pub. It will start around 7ish and go ’til whenever.

Chuck Hill has a sign-up sheet. Chuck will also be running a couple of Practical WeboBjects sessions at WWDC, too.

Update: AhA! I knew there was overlap with something on Monday. Conveniently, at the same location, too. Buzz Anderson is hosting a webloggers dinner that evening. So, it looks like a good sized chunk of the mac weblogging community will also be at the Thirsty Bear that evening.

Update #2: Well, actually, the Thirsty Bear was overwhelmed. The WebObjects community gathering has moved to The Chieftain Irish Pub. Pretty much the same distance from Moscone as the Thirsty Bear, but in the opposite direction on Howard.

Wild animals stink!

Saturday, May 28th, 2005
Elephant Seals

Roger and I road tripped over to Bean Hollow State Beach for a bit today. I clearly do not understand the tides. We were there pretty close to high tide, yet the water level was considerably lower than it was the last time we were there at low tide. I need to figure that one out.

We then happened upon Año Nuevo State Reserve and decided to check out the elephant seals. It is molting season and quite the group of juvenile seals were hanging out on the beach generally making a big ruckus. The park has a nice set of paths that lead to observation decks. On hand were knowledgeable staff to answer any questions.

It was really cool. And surprising. In particular, I have yet to see an Animal Planet or Discovery Channel special discuss exactly how bad large groups of animals smell. Wow! Smelled like a salty pig farm.

But, stench aside, it is a beautiful area. Roger found about a dozen ladybugs and a couple of wooly worms on the 1.6 mile hike to the observation area. The only danger is mounds of poison oak along parts of the path. The leaves, though, turn beautiful oranges and reds in the fall/winter.

I tagged the Año Nuevo State Reserve and the Bean Hollow State Beach photos for easy perusal.

Tides at Half Moon Bay

Saturday, May 28th, 2005

Half Moon Bay lies just north of Pescadero State Beach and Bean Hollow State Beach.

If you want to clamor around the rocks along the shore to check out the sea life, including the barnacles, you will want to go at low tide. Given that the tides vary by numerous feet along the Northern CA shore, the window of low tide tends to be pretty small.

This site provides excellent tide tables. Better yet, they offer iCal subscriptions to the various tide tables!

On 4.7 year olds & Barnacle Genitals

Friday, May 27th, 2005
Pile o' Barnacles

My 4.7 year old son has taken an interest to all things tidal. That is, he totally digs wandering over to a beach and checking out the various critters that live in the tide pools. So far, we have checked out the purple sea urchins, fed snails to big green sea anemones, scared crabs, barked at sea lions, and examined big piles of barnacles like the one pictured to the left.

Of course, this has led to further research in an effort to satiate the insatiable curiosity of our son. My wife was hanging out with Roger when he asked about various sea creatures that he had seen. Including barnacles. So, she did what has become natural in the last decade and looked up barnacles via Google.

The first article is an informative little bit of research material out of Australia. As they were reading the article, we were all quite surprised to learn that [barnacle] males having proportionately probably the largest penis in the animal kingdom.

An interesting bit of trivia, certainly. Even more interesting was the ensuing bit of conversation with 4.7 year old explaining just exactly what that means.

The things you learn on the Internets.

Update: Turned off comments for this post. Seems the stupid spambots had zeroed in on this one post as the spot to spam my comments. Spammers suck.

What is this plant?

Friday, May 20th, 2005

Can anyone identify this plant?

It is a Liquidambar Styraciflua seedling. In other words, it is the seedling of one of those really large tree that drops the “spiky balls” that are incredibly, horrendously, astoundingly painful when you are taking out the trash in bare feet at about 1am.

It is dead and gone.

Thank you to Adam Vandenberg’s ecology grad-student girlfriend. While we aren’t south of the Mason-Dixon line, that particular kind of tree (or one in the same family) is extremely common around here. We used to have one growing in front of the house, but it was removed a while ago. Apparently, one of the bloody annoying little spiky seed pods lived on.

That was fun. I will certainly keep an eye out for other random plants that need identification.

Take on me….

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

If you are running Tiger, happen to have an iSight plugged in and it hasn’t been commandeered by some other application, the QuickTime movie to the left is actually a Quartz Composer patch that stylizes video in an A-Ha! sort of way.

The QC patch can be downloaded.

It is a copy of one of Sam Kass’s amazing collection of patches. I modified it such that it should display a “need video” kind of message if you are lacking an iSight or it is in use by another application.

Take on me…

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

If you are running Tiger, happen to have an iSight plugged in and it hasn’t been commandeered by some other application, the QuickTime movie to the left is actually a Quartz Composer patch that stylizes video in an A-Ha! sort of way.

The QC patch can be downloaded.

It is a copy of one of Sam Kass’s amazing collection of patches. I modified it such that it should display a “need video” kind of message if you are lacking an iSight or it is in use by another application.

PyObjC 1.3.6 is now available.

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

Update: PyObjC 1.3.5 contained a bug that prevented plug-ins from working correctly. It has been fixed in 1.3.6.

PyObjC 1.3.6 is now available for download. This release adds support for many new features in Tiger, maintains backwards compatibility with Panther/Jaguar, and fixes many important bugs.

See the NEWS file for full details.

Some highlights:

  • The Xcode templates now use py2app. This means that development builds usually take less than a few seconds for a build from clean and considerably less than a second for incremental builds. Deployment builds will automatically create drag-n-droppable products for easy distribution.
  • in and inout parameters are fully supported. This includes the ability to pass NULL to the underlying API.
  • Core Data is fully supported. This includes py2app automatically compiling Core Data models from their development form into the runtime form.
  • A decorator is provided that allows easier specification of method signatures when using Python 2.4.
        def methodWithX_andY_(self, x, y):
            return 0
  • NSData, NSDecimalNumber, and NSDate are now converted to appropriate native Python types automatically. serializePropertyList() and deserializePropertyList() can be used to convert an Obj-C property list to an NSData and back.
  • The proxy for pure Python objects acts more like a proper NSObject than before. This allows objects returned from pure Python libraries to be used from Objective-C in a more transparent fashion, including support for KVC.

Overall, this release really adds a tremendous amount of polish to PyObjC. Everything is very well tested and the behavior is just more consistent. Py2app has evolved significantly, as well, gaining Tiger specific features and many other refinements.

Great stuff. A huge thank you to Ronald and Bob. PyObjC is a production quality development tool that is truly a joy to work on and use.

A Study in Almost

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

Global Concious released an almost really cool Dashboard widget called Site U.P.. After pasting in an URL, it looks up the site on BugMeNot and displays a username/password.

As seen in the screenshot, it is quite the simple little widget with a refined look that fits in nicely in a screen full of Dashboard widgets. The focus on simplicity is welcome. It really doesn’t need bookmarks or any kind of a history; copy URL, go to dashboard, paste, (((fill in the blank))).

The only problem is that the widget is effectively unusable. The (((fill in the blank))) is a bit painful right now.

As demonstrated in the screenshot, the widget is just too damned small. All but the simplest of username/password combinations overrun the boundaries of the widget. To compound the problem, neither the username nor the password is selectable — you can’t copy/paste the username or password. Given that, without a hack or manual labor, Dashboard widgets and a Safari window are never going to be on the screen at the same time, this also means you don’t get to see the username/password as you type it into whatever was asking for it in the first place.

The widget’s charter is rock solid. The graphic presentation is quite good. It just falls apart when it comes to usability.

Update: Rock Solid if you wanted it in a Dashboard or you want it isolated from the browser. But, as both Ben and Ian point out, there is a bugmenot bookmarklet that is a hell of a lot better than any Dashboard widget could be. Not as graphically wizzy, but integrated where you want it. I wasn’t aware of said bookmarklet (I feel so oblivious).

Just drag this link — [BugMeNot!] — to your bookmarks bar.


(ow) Biked (ow) to (ow) work (ow)

Friday, May 13th, 2005

I finally got off my ass and biked to work today. It is exactly 6 miles and, of course, is pretty much totally flat.

Wow. I am in piss poor shape.

The ride was quite enjoyable except for that both my front and back tires have slow leaks. Slow enough that I didn’t notice upon leaving home but fast enough that the back tire went flat enough to throw me in the middle of an intersection. Didn’t hurt myself (fortunately, being out of shape means I go too slowly to seriously damage myself in a wreck) but I’m sure I entertained the drivers waiting at the light.

Update: OK. I now have rear panniers such that my center of gravity will be a bit lower. I also replaced both the front and rear tube. Why both tubes had such catastrophic leaks can only be credited to fatigue from disuse. I also replaced the rear tire with something a bit more pavement focused.

The goal is to actually commute by back significantly more often than not. Now there is no excuse.