Archive for the ‘Mac OS X’ Category

DiddleBug Extractor 2.1 – Palm DiddleBug image extractor script for OS X, Windows, Linux (Replaces Didcon 2.0) Mar 18 2007

DiddleBug Extractor 2.1

DiddleBug drawing - crow

Drawing pictures on your Palm

I use an excellent free Open Source program called DiddleBug on my Palm Treo 700p for doing small black and white drawings. The latest version of DiddleBug creates 320×320 pixel size drawings. These are referred to on their site as “high-res” pictures instead of the 160×160 pixel size drawings that older versions of the software created.

Getting DiddleBug pictures off your Palm

I used to use a nice converter on my Windows laptop called WindleBug but wanted to be able to just use my Mac laptop by itself instead.

The DiddleBug FAQ mentions using a Perl script called Didcon on Windows, Linux and OS X which hadn’t been updated yet to extract the new 320×320 pixel sized images. When I ran the Didcon script for the first time, it saved out a 160×160 graphic that had weird lines running throughout it, due to the fact that it wasn’t reading out the data for a 320×320 pixel sized graphic.

After hacking at it for a little while, including researching how to correctly indicate the pixel size of an image in a Windows bitmap in the header of the file, I managed to get a working script that correctly outputs a 320×320 .bmp file.

This is the modified script, and I’m also including a second script that you can double-click in the Finder to run the extraction process.


Searchball – Google Pagerank checker for Safari Feb 2 2007

Howto check Google Pagerank using Safari:

  1. Go here Searchball – Google Pagerank checker for Safari and add the bookmarklet to your browser bookmark toolbar.
  2. Click the bookmarklet whenever you want to know the Pagerank for the site your are viewing
  3. A small window will appear telling you the Pagerank.

I just finished making some adjustments to Searchball. This is a small little service that gives you a bookmarklet that lets you check the Google Pagerank for any site simply by clicking it. This is really nice if you are using Safari or any other browser that doesn’t have a Google Toolbar or browser extension (like Firefox) that supports showing you the Pagerank of the site you’re viewing.

Check it out: Searchball – Google Pagerank checker for Safari

Auto level your audio recording with The Levelator from GigaVox Media (for podcasts) Oct 18 2006

GigaVox Media, Inc. – The Levelator

What is The Levelator?

Do you believe in magic? You will after using The Levelator to enhance your podcast. And you’ll be amazed that it’s free (for non-commercial use).

So what is The Levelator? It’s software that runs on Windows or OS X (universal binary) that adjusts the audio levels within your podcast or other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next, for example. It’s not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three. It’s much more than those tools, and it’s much simpler to use. The UI is dirt-simple: Drag-and-drop any WAV or AIFF file onto The Leveler’s application window, and a few moments later you’ll find a new version which just sounds better.

It’s a java app that auto-levels your audio, which I’ll be checking out for the Lafayette Square Christian Science Society podcast. If this works as advertised it will be a huge help and timesaver.

SketchUp Home – Google releases free 3d software for Mac and PC Sep 10 2006

I thought this might be useful for our contractor Eric since he was talking about getting a 3d drafting package of some sort. Hard to beat free to start… 🙂

3D for EveryoneDeveloped for the conceptual stages of design, SketchUp is powerful yet easy-to-learn 3D software. We think of it as the pencil of digital design. This award-winning software combines a simple, yet robust tool-set that streamlines and simplifies 3D design inside your computer. SketchUp is being used by anyone with the desire to…

Go download it now: SketchUp Home

Bandwidth speed test comparing DSL, Palm Treo 700p Sprint EVDO over USB and Bluetooth on a G4 Powerbook running OS X Tiger 10.4.7 Aug 27 2006

After upgrading to the latest version of USB Modem (Version 1.5 that now adds support for connection via Bluetooth for Treo 700p), I decided to do a speed test using my regular DSL connection and the two available connection methods for the Treo 700p – Bluetooth and USB. I’ve been using the USB modem connection method and wanted to see if there would be a noticible connection speed difference using Bluetooth instead of USB as the connection method.

These tests were run using a G4 Powerbook running OS X Tiger 10.4.7 and the Palm Treo 700p and USB Modem software version 1.5 connected to Sprint’s EVDO network in St. Louis, Missouri.

Using DSL: results

8/27/2006 11:27 PM GMT 2487 kb/s 350 kb/s 138 ms Dallas, TX ~ 550 mi

Using Treo 700p as a USB Modem: results

8/27/2006 11:52 PM GMT 1161 kb/s 95 kb/s 262 ms Dallas, TX ~ 550 mi

EVDO speeds are pretty fast, especially compared to an old-school dialup connection. About half as fast as my DSL line.

Using Treo 700p as a Bluetooth Modem: results

8/27/2006 11:55 PM GMT 478 kb/s 84 kb/s 280 ms Dallas, TX ~ 550 mi

Using Bluetooth was significantly slower than using USB cable. Nice to be able to connect without any wires though, and still basically fast enough to use. Warning: Nasty Bluetooth Reboot Required Bug When using Bluetooth as the connection method, when the connection gets disconnected or interrupted, you may get a Disconnecting... message that never stops. Apparently this is a known bug for which there is no good solution. After getting this message the only solution seems to be to reboot your computer, which pretty much stinks. This is NOT the fault of the USB Modem software, I found tons of references to this bug dating back to regular dial-up days.


You can now use Bluetooth along with USB Modem software, and it works, but the OS X bug that requires a reboot to connect again when you use Bluetooth makes it significantly less attractive to use this feature.

I plan to continue using the USB cable connection method since it is significantly faster and does not suffer from the Bluetooth bug above. It also has the bonus feature of charging the phone at the same time.

If anyone has a suggestion for a solution to the Bluetooth disconnecting message bug other than this Applescript (didn’t seem to work for me), please let me know via the comments.

Cocoa XML-RPC Client Aug 1 2006

Pretty slick tool for testing an XML-RPC server for OS X.

Cocoa XML-RPC Client

XML-RPC Client is a free Cocoa-based developer tool for Mac OS X Tiger that allows you to access and debug XML-RPC web services from the comfort of your desktop.

Fix for PHP PEAR on OS X 100% CPU problem Aug 1 2006

I was rebuilding PHP 5.1.4 for my G4 PowerBook to use with Apache 2.2.2 and MySQL 5.* when I ran into this problem using PEAR:

When I would run a command like:

pear install Log

PEAR would download the package, indicate that it was done, and then hang, consuming 100% of the CPU and never do anything more.

I finally tracked down that this seems to be a problem with PHP uncompressing the file (a .tgz). I’m not entirely sure WHY PHP is having this problem, but I did find a workaround solution:

Instead of this:

pear install Log

Run this:

pear install -Z Log

This requests just the .tar version of the file, which is larger, but doesn’t require the .tgz uncompression. Once I used that command, PEAR worked like it used to (just fine, super quick, actually works, etc…)

P.S. This is the ./configure command that I used to compile PHP:

./configure –with-apxs2=/usr/local/apache2/bin/apxs –with-mysql –with-gd –with-libjpeg=/sw –with-libtiff=/sw –with-mysql=/usr/local/mysql –with-mcrypt –enable-soap –with-curl –enable-trans-sid –enable-ftp –with-ldap –enable-exif –with-mhash –with-openssl –with-zlib –with-ttf –enable-gd-native-ttf –with-zlib-dir=/usr/local/lib/ –with-png-dir=/usr/local/lib/ –with-bz2

I’m not sure if this is an issue with how I compiled PHP, or OS X Tiger, or zlib, or what. I’m glad to have a working PEAR again though even if it isn’t quite as efficient as it would be otherwise.

How-to: Run the Mac OS 9 (Classic) version of Concord on a new Mac OS X (Intel) Macbook Jun 25 2006

The one biggest application that my mom wanted to have running on her shiny new Macbook was Concord. A program that the publisher has not updated in many years. And that, for Macintosh, assuming you already have a copy, will not run under the new OS X Intel version, since Apple really wants OS 9 (Classic) to die.

This is how I got it to run without installing Windows and the Windows version of Concord. Note that this may or may not work for you.

  1. Download the latest version of Basilisk II (Universal Binary)
  2. Download an old Macintosh ROM file. These can be tricky to find. I got the one from here. You are looking for a Quadra or Performa ROM.
  3. Download the free and legal 4.3MB Macintosh OS 7.5.3 Starter Disk from here
  4. Use Stuffit Expander to expand it. It will then have a .hfv extension. Change the extension from .hfv to .dmg. You can then open this in the Finder.
  5. Create a Mac OS Standard format disk image using Disk Utilities application. I made mine 200MB and called it Classic Drive. Save it into a location you’ll be able to find later.
  6. Copy your copy of Concord into a folder in your new disk image.
  7. Delete any old preferences and Notebooks from the copy of Concord that you will be running. (It was crashing for me before I did that).
  8. Copy the Basilisk II into your Applications folder
  9. Run the application to configure Basilisk.
  10. Select the location of the ROM file under the Memory/Misc tab, select Quadra 900 in the drop down and give it a good amount of memory (I set it to 128MB). CPU Type was set to 68040.
  11. Set Graphics/Sound Width to 800 and Height to 600
  12. Click Add… on the Volumes tab and select the Starterdisk.dmg image. Also click Add… again to add the Classic Drive image.
  13. Under JIT Compiler, click Enable JIT Compiler.
  14. Click Start
  15. You should see OS 7.5.5 start up (quickly) and the be presented with a VERY old-school Mac OS desktop. You really really want Concord, remember?
  16. Navigate to Classic Drive > Concord, then double-click on it to open. Hopefully you should see it open.
  17. Create an alias for Concord, then add it to the System Folder > Startup Items folder.
  18. Create an alias for and give it the Concord icon. Drag this alias into the Dock.
  19. Now, to run Concord, all you have to do is click once on the Dock icon for it.

This is somewhat of a “hack” in that you are emulating the old Motorola 68040 chip to run a really old program. I’m not sure how printing will work or if it will. That will have to be explored another time.

Incidentally, this loads much quicker than loading OS 9.2.2 does under Classic mode on a PowerPC Powerbook. Lots less that is being loaded, but it really feels snappy. Of course, going back to OS 7.5.5 style menus where you have to keep on clicking in order to scroll down in them is a bit of a pain.


  • Basilisk II – Motorola 68000 chip emulator – works like a champ once you figure out what all you need.
  • Sheepshaver – PowerPC emulator. I wasn’t able to get this to work since I didn’t have the OS 8.6 installer disk.
  • article about running Classic apps on Intel Macs
  • Old Computer ROMS – where I finally found a working download for an old Macintosh ROM. I owned a Quadra, so I feel pretty OK about pulling the ROM down for this purpose.

How-to: Get your Treo 700p EXIF tags to show up in Flickr Jun 2 2006

Flickr picture taken on a Treo 700p

If you use Picture Mail or Versamail to email your pictures to Flickr (using the upload via email trick) then the EXIF tags are stripped out of the jpegs that you send.

If, however, you upload your pictures using a Flickr uploading tool from your computer after syncing your Treo 700p, then the proper EXIF tags will be preserved and will be displayed by Flickr. Neat huh.

Here are the pics I’ve taken so far with my new phone:

Pictures taken with a Treo 700p

By the way, if you are using Mac OS X, the pictures are stored in ~/Pictures/Palm Photos/username/Internal/album name. I just drop them into iPhoto (not using iSync… yet) then use the Flickr Export from iPhoto to send to my Flickr account.

I really like the convenience of having a camera in my pocket at all times. The fact that I can instantly publish pictures to both Flickr and my own blog is pretty fantastic.

Gabriel’s Photoshop Actions Apr 2 2006

Download Gabriel's Photoshop Actions

These are the Photoshop actions that I like to use that I’ve built over the years to automate constantly repetitive actions in Photoshop.

Download actions: Gabriel’s Photoshop Actions


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