October 2004 Archives

OS X ate up my files

October 31, 2004 11:41 PM | Comments (14)

[Update: Somehow this post has been linked on Macsurfer.com, hence the unusually large number of comments. I know I've offended some Mac lovers and I expected the Mac OS to be more intuitive than Windows in most things.

Long-time Mac users are surprised that I would have expected anything more than a replacement of files from one folder to another. After using Windows for most of my life, and using FTP programs which also add on but do not delete files, I thought it was a natural process.

Anyway, I publicised this so that other Windows users who have switched to Mac will not make the same mistake as I did.

One thing I have experimented with, is locking files and folders and enabling read-only access. When I simulate a folder replacement I am then prompted for my password. We should do this to all our important files.

Thanks to other Mac users who have sent me lots of tips on file recovery programs. I'm currently searching for my documents... ]

Windows is better at one thing than Mac - file preservation.

I lost my bank statements (PDF) on my new Mac, because the folder holding these files was overwritten by another (emptier) folder of the same name, which I was transferring from my iPod.

I was prompted that there were two identical folders, and should I 'keep' or 'stop' the action. However, since Windows has usually been smart enough NOT to erase my files during a transfer, I assumed Apple's operating system would be smart enough to do likewise. I expected it to keep existing files and add on the new files. So I proceeded with the folder replacement.

Then I realised I could have tried an 'undo' but it was too late - I had already performed too many additional actions in my Finder for its amazingly short 1-step memory to undo my mistake.

Now it's going to be so expensive - $15 per document lost for the last year. It may not be worth it. I'm also miffed that the bank cannot send me soft copies of the files I lost. It's quite demoralising.

But just in case any of you have an idea how to restore my lost PDF files, I'm leaving my Mac on for a day. The files did not appear in my Recycle Bin, so I'm feeling pretty helpless now.

Apple - your file transfers suck.

Update: I found a post that confirms my suspicions: "This behavior has never been a native thing in any Mac OS. I guess we longtime (or exclusive) Mac users just take this for granted. So if you're a switcher, this is one thing that you will have to get used to being different and find a 3rd party application to do what you want."

A third party application just to make sure the files in one folder, don't get deleted during a transfer?! Windows users who are switching to Mac OS X - beware!

Introducing the iPod Photo

October 27, 2004 10:48 PM | Comments (1)

iPod with Photos

The rumours were true. Apple has just launched the iPod Photo with a 'razor sharp LCD display'.

No doubt this new iPod interface looks rather pretty - more similar to the Mac OS X interface. But somehow I don't think this model will sell as well as its predecessors. I don't want to look at photographs from a small screen, knowing that would sap my precious iPod battery power.

The Apple website says this new iPod gives you up to 15 hours of continuous music. If you add in the slideshow, however, it goes down to 5 hours.

And so I'm sticking with VanPod, through thick and thin (though being the 3rd generation 40GB model it'll remain on the thick side), because playing music is what it does best.

Anyway, speaking of iPods. Apple just sent me a notice saying my one year iPod warranty is ending and would I like to purchase AppleCare? I'm OK with forking out S$99 for two years' coverage. I would love to hear testimonials from any readers (good and bad) about AppleCare. Above all, I'd like to find out if my iPod battery can be replaced preferably free of charge, under this warranty.

[Update 27/10/04. Just when things were going hunkydory ... My screen turned dark and I received a warning message telling me to shut down or reboot my Mac. This hasn't happened for a while, but this isn't the sort of thing that should happen at all! Worse, I can't seem to find a solution in the Help section. Anyone has any ideas what to do?]

[Update 27/10/04 part 2. It's a 'kernel panic'. That's what happens when the mice discover they've run out of grain. Just kidding. What else can I do? I mean, I've updated to the latest version of Mac OS X already. I don't understand the gibberish in my Panic log. All they can say is, it's a software issue. Bah.]

So it's almost the end of another month and yes, I'm pretty happy with my G5 PowerMac and Cinema display. On the other hand, I just had dinner with a friend who has, like, over 20 of those machines each with a 23" display in his workplace. Which goes to show that you can never get enough of a good thing!

My Mac does hang occasionally, though. When this happens, the cursor becomes a spinning pizza-disc, and no amount of force-quitting (ALT+APPLE+ESC) the Finder will help. My desktop icons all disappear. I usually shut down the computer, then start it up again.

My Apple wireless keyboard, miraculously, is holding up at 3/5 battery power. The Apple wireless mouse, however, has been sentenced to life imprisonment in a dark drawer for sucking the life out of two batteries in just as many months. Its replacement, my old Microsoft wireless optical Intellimouse Explorer, is doing well. And - I can right-click with it! [Update 17/1/06 Duh, after over a year later I discover that I can also scroll horizontally using the Intellimouse. Pretty good for a Redmont rodent :) ]

Software-wise, Logic is holding up well, although I am now careful not to open too many music programs at the same time due to some MIDI/Sound card conflict. I am contemplating upgrading to the full version of Reason after I earn more money, because it still is easier to use where dance/D&B music is concerned. Of course, what I'd hate is for Reason 3.0 to come out right after I upgrade to 2.5 - which is exactly what happened to me and Logic Pro 6 7. I expect better integration now that Emagic has been bought over by Apple.

But enough about old stuff - I have some new software installed on my Mac and they're legitimate and free!

I confess - I actually installed one (1) game on my Mac. It's called Wesnoth and it's a toned-down Warcraft, so to speak. It has Elven soldiers and the Undead, with human commanders. It runs pretty smoothly on my system. However I've only done the tutorial. You can download it here (PC and Mac).

(Yes, yes... I know I should get the Sims 2!)

Next, there's a new Bible tool for the iPod called BiblePlayer. I installed it last week after reformatting VanPod, but didn't get to blog about it until today, when its creator, Pablo, wrote in to me. Anyway the scripture text loads fine, though I haven't installed any of the MP3 readings yet. Give it a try. Oh, and if you hate people like us, at least give the poor guy a break - he's already been flamed for simply creating this tool. Anyway at the time of writing this is ranked no. 4 on Apple's iPod popular downloads list.

Man United 2, Arsenal 0

October 25, 2004 1:04 AM

Arsenal's unbeaten run has been broken by arch-nemesis Manchester United. Can't say I'm too pleased with that, although it had to come sooner or later, and quite frankly Arsenal weren't playing up to par.

I cannot imagine that their goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann, thinks he can actually replace Oliver Kahn in the German national team. He doesn't deserve it and that is an understatement. Of course where penalties are concerned, it's a guessing game, and once he leaped the wrong way, he was committed.

It was a rough match, more of a scuffle than free-flowing football which Arsenal are used to. There were some tackles on Reyes that were brutal and unpunished. But ultimately what was dreadful was Sol Campbell's tripping of Wayne Rooney in the penalty box. Subsequent tacklings by Arsenal were mostly clumsy and late, no thanks to the rain.

And as for the second goal, which was a brilliant 1-2 between the young hopes of England - Alan Smith and Wayne Rooney - Arsenal were defenceless. The defence was practically nonexistent - chasing behind the Man United attack. Perhaps Sol was still smarting over his blunder and wanted to play safe. Well, he can smart some more, since he needs more of that.

The Manchester United defence, however, was immaculate (and this is coming from an Arsenal supporter). Rio Ferdinand was good as usual. He is still much better than any of the other England defenders. Once Thierry Henry and other attacking players like Reyes and Bergkamp were shackled, it was only a matter of time before the superior Manchester United passing resulted in a goal. Sure, Arsenal had some good runs too - with shots on goal, above the goal... and too many passes that ended up nowhere.

In the end Arsenal were up against van Nistel-Roon-aldo. The only good thing is, they still have a good lead in the Premiership. The bad thing is, do you remember the last time Arsenal lost to Rooney's old team, Everton? Arsenal eventually lost the title that season, too.

May the best team win the title this year - whoever it may be.

The Visit of the Tai-Tai

October 22, 2004 11:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (1)

I had the privilege of catching the opening night of Ivan Heng's adaptation of Friedrich Durrenmatt's play, The Visit of the Tai-Tai.

Tonnes of spoilers ahead. You'd probably want to lock me in the coffin instead if you read this before watching the play. So don't continue reading.


October 20, 2004 9:10 PM | Comments (4)

For the next two weeks I will be a one-woman show, doing the work of three persons and acting on behalf of the whole team. Today I finished work 2 hours later than everyone else, and I hope it doesn't get worse than this.

Anyway, I do have a few things to say about current happenings:

The new Straits Times. What do you think of it? I love the print design. I've always been a sucker for good content and layout. However I don't think the website underwent major changes. In fact I was slightly put off by having to register for news now. Jakob Nielsen once advised to delay customer registration as far as possible.

Many quality dailies worldwide allow you to access archives far back in the vaults of time without extra charge (here's another Nielsen article which concludes that retaining older content increases page views). The more well-known papers can get away with user registration (Washington Post, LA Times). One or two (NY Times, WSJ) might even get away with subscription fees in some form or other, because of the high value their services bring.

So I don't get why we have to register and still only receive the past 7 days' worth of news.

As I'm typing, CNA is announcing that an Aussie has been sentenced to hang for trafficking drugs. His last appeal relies on President Nathan. I wonder how our President feels. If he pardoned him, would that defeat the purpose of having strict drug laws, and seem an injustice to all other convicts who have been hanged? If he doesn't pardon him, would he feel guilty about it?

It is indeed a very difficult decision to make - much, much harder than our Minister of Law who rejected countless appeals from people like me, so that we could pursue law as a career in Singapore.

That Doonesbury link

October 18, 2004 8:26 PM

I decided to pop by Doonesbury.com for my fix of political cartoons, and came across this strip (14 Oct 2004) which mentioned an unimaginably long URL.

Doonesbury strip with long url

Being curious, I decided to type it out. I typed wrongly, because I got an error message. But it wasn't a normal error message as the newspaper seemed to know that many people would be looking for the Doonesbury link.

Clever error message

Anyway, I made it to the article by Rep. Doug Bereuter, who had some honest and well-thought out opinions on the Iraq war. To save you the trouble of typing out that amazingly long link, here you go.

Finally, some site updates

October 17, 2004 10:33 PM

My reading list hasn't been updated since 27 October, 2003. That's nearly a year, and it's appalling.

Even worse is my 100 things page. Well I made it to 100 finally, so there.

But please ... don't ask me about my portfolio.


October 17, 2004 4:13 PM

I'm making changes to this blog. A lot of broken links will occur. Please ignore the rest of the site for now. Thanks.

I tried to move everything to dynamic publishing but it didn't work. That htaccess file killed access to my entire site. I'm frustrated and I don't have time, ability nor a strong enough interest to pursue this any further at the moment.

What's more, by switching to dynamic mode for my archives, my original archive pages' file names were prepended with a '.static'. After restoring everything back to static mode and rebuilding the whole site, the size of my archives has doubled because I now have two of everything (something like 'pagename.php' and 'pagename.php.static').

Oh, incidentally, yesterday afternoon my iPod somehow refused to display any of my songs, albums, playlists etc at all. This was bad timing because it happened during my jazz lesson, and so my jazz teacher couldn't hear any of the music I produced, which was meant to be part of my homework. I reformatted VanPod, and loaded all the songs back into it. Thank God for Firewire.

Around the same time that VanPod misbehaved, my Nokia 6600 phone malfunctioned. After a few restarts and a re-insertion of the SIM card it seems to have gone back to normal.

My camera will apparently cost over S$200 to repair, and I will proceed with it, seeing how I paid several times that amount for it originally.


[Update: I successfully ran a script which closed all comments posted a month earlier. However my pages still gave the wrong impression that you could post comments. I did something with MTElse that was obviously wrong because the comment fields still show, and now all my pages are not XHTML compliant. I will fix it another time.]

Wonky camera

October 15, 2004 10:35 PM | Comments (3)

Warped purple picture

No, this isn't pop art. It's my Olympus camera. After serving me well for nearly one and a half years it suddenly acted up. Purplish tints and blurred streaks make my pictures look like some haunted house (that's my apartment ceiling BTW, and it's supposed to be bright white).

I don't recall doing anything to it, although I have left my camera bag in the car boot, under the hot sun. I didn't drop my camera. I just took it out of my bag one day, and suddenly it was like Purple Rain (sorry, Prince).

Time to visit the service centre...

[Update: I picked up my camera from the service centre. The repair cost me just over S$200. Some microchip needed to be replaced. Everything's fine now.]

A letter to Wolfgang

October 14, 2004 12:51 AM | Comments (1)

Dear Mozart,

If only you were born today.

You would have written far more than 41 symphonies, 27 piano concertos, 23 string quartets, 17 piano sonatas, 7 major operas and numerous other pieces.

Assuming that you'd get better health care and would probably reap the financial benefits of our copyright laws, you'd also have a swell time composing music on the computer.

You wouldn't have to jot down a single crotchet, because everything you play would be automatically converted to score. In real time.

You could replay every note you've written at the press of a button. You could change the tempo at any point in time.

You could listen to multiple instruments in unison. And, if you had a keyboard like mine, you'd fuss over whether to use the Steinway or the Bösendorfer piano today.

Also, if you should ever change your mind about the key signature, you could always get your software to do a simple transposition.

You could listen to how your masterpiece sounded like, in different room sizes.

You would have had a much easier time doing your work. But I'm sure there's a certain charm to scribbling down your ideas with quill and ink.

Regards, ...

Input required

October 7, 2004 9:32 AM | Comments (3)

Web standards buddies - Do you have any hard evidence that the failure to close HTML tags is detrimental to the wellbeing of a website? I'd hate to have the wool pulled over my company's eyes just because our vendor says 'it's OK, IE will display it anyway'.

Our website isn't XHTML compliant yet, though we are required to attain one 'A' for accessibility. My main grouse is that our new CMS rewrites the XHTML-compliant code I paste in, removing closing tags such as 'li'.

Research findings e.g. slower rendering time in web browsers, incompatibilities and all other reasons are welcome. The benefits of keeping clean code in order to facilitate migrating to XHTML in future is a little hard to explain at the moment, but I hope to further this cause in time.

Kindly post your findings and I'll log in regularly to approve them all.

The Veeps speak

October 5, 2004 11:47 PM

I can't wait for the Vice Presidential debates to take place. While Cheney is obviously more experienced in foreign policy, I think Edwards will make up for that with Southern charm.

Face it: When you have to do urgent business, would you rather have two Johns, or a Dick in a Bush?

ps. Thanks, Donald Rumsfeld.

Man U v Middlesborough

October 3, 2004 11:28 PM

In between my work and music, I finally got to watch some football tonight. Specifically, Manchester United v Middlesborough. At least I caught the first half.

Now I have nothing, absolutely nothing, against Middlesborough. I like to say they're a team that's lived up to their name, often staying somewhere in the middle of the League table (but that doesn't say much for Leeds does it). In fact I do admire Gaizka Mendieta, whom I've been watching for quite a while, before the last World Cup in fact. He hasn't disappointed in this match. His team has been defending pretty well in this match.

However, expectations at Manchester United must certainly be sky-high. They're playing on home ground, fresh from a Champions League trouncing with a Wayne Rooney hat-trick... and no goals from the Wunderkind in this match yet!

Judging from his behaviour after Man United went a goal down, where he tripped a Middlesborough player from behind, I'd say he's still a big boy but not yet a man. The black player fell to the ground, clutching his leg, and to top it off, Rooney bent over and whacked his head. Come on! The guy's already down, and it was largely your fault. Is this how you behave when your team goes a goal down? All the talent in the world can't stop you from losing your temper.

[At this point in writing, we're 77 minutes into the game. I'm watching the BBC's live text commentary. No other goals yet. Nyeah!]

In short: despite his amazing skills and tenacity, the kid has far to go. Oh, the next match I really want to catch is when Everton play Man U. Will they take sweet revenge, or will Rooney score against his old team and have Blues fans burning effigies of him?

[Oh! A goal by Alan Smith in the 80th minute! While watching the first half, I was wondering when they were going to put Smithy in. Smithy's gorgeous. He's going to steal the limelight from Rooney today. I so know it. BTW, you do know I'm celebrating because I'm a fan of Smithy and not Man U, do you?]

[Final time. So it's a 1-1 draw. I'm glad at least another youngster, Stewart Downing, made his mark on goal. Rooney will have other days to call his own.]

Presidential Debates (1) post mortem

October 2, 2004 11:31 PM

Support Firefox!

October 2, 2004 7:45 PM | Comments (3)

I was looking for a new mobile phone and realised that 02's my-xda.com website refused to let me in, even though I was using the latest version of Mozilla Firefox, and not Internet Explorer or Netscape.

It also refused to let me in using Safari. Fortunately, it did run on IE for Mac.

I had half a mind to write in to the webmaster, though there wasn't any contact address on the 'upgrade' page.

Then I came across this post and realised that I was not alone. In fact, there's a site for the Firefox Hall of Shame, where you can take part in some 'activism' in support of this new, superior browser.

[Update: turns out someone already has written in to 02. However they obviously haven't done anything about it for months.]

What do you think when you vote?

October 2, 2004 10:09 AM

So the CNN/Gallup, CBS and ABC polls say Kerry won the first debate (watch interactive video extracts launched from this NY Times page). Good for him, he needs every point he can get.

I wonder what is in the mind of each voting American. From the individual reactions, the staunch partisans are staying where they are. A few undecided voters have made up their mind; others still stay undecided. I read that one voter was disappointed with both of them after the debate, because they still hadn't produced a strong plan to reduce health insurance. Duh! The first debate was about foreign affairs and homeland security. Wait your turn. It's not always about you!

Which makes me curious. Do typical voters think about the Presidential candidates' policies as a whole? Or do they actually vote for the man who has said he would pay more attention to a pet cause of theirs? Would they vote against someone with a policy they find unpopular, even if his policy is intended for the good of the nation/world in the long run? I doubt so.

Considering that the president of the United States is in reality the most powerful man in the world (sorry, Kofi, but they chose you and they have lots of money and firepower and they don't care what you say), would you give the candidate's potential in the international arena, as much weight as his ability to manage domestic affairs? Or would you say, screw the world - this is my America, and I want a president who does things MY way?

It is very hard to be objective when everything around us is subjective. We are influenced largely by what the media says. Sometimes what the media says depends on who owns or controls it. Sometimes the people who claim to tell the truth, have actually doctored evidence or misrepresented some facts themselves (so I heard about Michael Moore).

Sometimes we get red herrings, or focus too much on a candidate's weak point or gaffe. Quite often, that 'weak point' is conjured up by the other's party. And naturally, at any political rally, you can bet that attitudes are going to be one-sided, with both claiming victory.

Even if you ignored what partisan bodies have to say, and looked at the facts - what each candidate stands for - who is to guarantee that every promise will be kept? Read my lips! Even if the candidate keeps his word, his word may not be final in the Senate.

Whatever the case, whatever the verdict - may God bless America.

My life update

October 1, 2004 12:31 AM

I won't be answering all emails sent to me, though I'll try my best to read them. I will not be free on Thursday evenings, every week, every year. I prefer not to meet friends on weekends, because that is precious family time.

My priorities right now:

  1. Church work - Alpha and other courses, the church website and all related matters
  2. Work that I am contractually bound to do (i.e. the work of this world). That is to say, my day job and finishing up my freelance work.
  3. Music. Setting up my system. Fixing all the danged bugs on my system. Re-producing my old songs. Joining a band (yes I just agreed to be a keyboardist).
  4. The new house, which is coming up nicely.

How's work, some of you have asked. Work is good; I thank God for my job almost every day, I thank God for my boss, I thank God for my colleagues, I thank God that He has led me out of the valley of the shadow of death and I am never looking back. I thank God that I am doing work I like. I've decided that no problem is beyond His control; no worry is so great that He cannot appease; no evil spirit is so powerful that the name of Jesus/presence of the Holy Spirit cannot overcome.

And so, I go to sleep. Goodnight.