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Category Archives: computers

Gmail Tap

This year’s Google April Fools’ Day joke was Gmail Tap, a Morse code interface to Gmail on mobile phones. The funniest thing about this joke is that it’s actually a feature I have wanted on cell phones. Ever since I started receiving SMS texts, I’ve been annoyed with the poor text-entry interfaces on moble phones. [...]

New open source projects

I wonder what fraction of new open source projects are created because previous projects are poorly documented. Most programs I need have already been coded, but often the documentation is missing, inaccurate, or so poorly written that the program is useless. Because of this, it is often easier for others to write their own equivalent [...]

Data Furnaces

I read an interesting conference paper proposing the concept of a Data Furnace. The idea is that instead of placing servers in large server farms that must use significant power for cooling, smaller clusters of servers can be be distributed to locations that can use the additional heat, such as homes and apartment buildings. While [...]

The Capacitor Plague strikes again

I just had another run-in with the dreaded capacitor plague. The first case was the power supply in a G5 iMac. This time it was a Samsung SyncMaster 22.5 inch Display. After two years of working well, the monitor started acting up by flickering and taking a while to turn on. Eventually, it completely stopped [...]

Customizing Safari Reader in 5.1, the solution

This is the current version of my article on altering the appearance of Safari Reader. The version for Safari 5.0 is still up, as is my original request for help with 5.1. When Safari 5.0 was released, I was excited about the new Reader feature, but had to edit a file inside the application package [...]

Customizing Safari Reader in 5.1

Summary: Solved! The solution is here. Thanks to Nikita Prokopov for telling me how to do this (see comment below). If you want to restore Safari 5.0, you can use this hint or the other method in the comments. Safari Reader is an important feature that Apple added to its Safari web browser in version [...]

BlockTarget and more on not opening new windows

One of annoyances of using the web is that many webmasters (or at least their managers) think that forcing a browser to open a new window is a good idea. As I’ve said a number of times, creating a website that automatically opens a new window is almost always a Bad Idea. To eliminate this [...]

Decimal Bytes

Aarg! The kB(d) silliness is spreading to common shell commands. I’m not in hard drive marketing, so I want to keep using the standard kilobyte, not the ~2.34% smaller new decimal kilobyte. The spread of this silliness is almost like deciding that from today on electrons have a positive charge. Sure, it would make things [...]

No Batteries Available

Summary: The Battery Connector/Sleep Sensor unit was loose and dirty. Today I fixed a MacBook Core Duo that wasn’t recognizing its battery. The battery was charged and the computer would run on battery power, but it had several problems: The battery icon on the Menu Bar had an “x” in the center. The battery status [...]

Moodle Music Video

Some COS104 students from my old Computer Science & Engineering department made a funny music video about Moodle and Blackboard: If you don’t know, Moodle and Blackboard are two of the many course management systems/‘virtual learning environments’ for posting class information online. One of the mysteries of the software industry is that Blackboard is still [...]