5 06 2007

It’s been a while since I last posted an entry here on my blog. That’s just because I’m… well, me – let me explain. You see, I get excited easily, and when I do, I tend to get engrossed with that which I am excited about and leave other things behind. But my excitement has the tendency to easily die down. When I first started this blog, I was really excited and kept posting at least two posts per day. Then I became a post per day. Then a post per week. Then a post per month. Then zero. I may not be making any sense here, but here I am, posting again and the excitement is on once more.

This may not make any sense, so I’ll just go right back at the topic: WordPressDash. WordPressDash is a Dashboard widget for the MacOSX which enables its users to quickly post articles on their wordpress blog, right from their dashboard! It’s a small application, only 84kB in size when zipped.

What’s so cool about it? Well, it’s a dashboard widget! All you need to do to write articles to your blog is to press F12 and start typing right away. No need to load your browser, and then log-in to your blog and all that. However, there are a few set-backs. As of version 0.4, the one I’m currently using, you still can’t put in any styles or any hyperlinks and images. You can assign categories to your article, but you can’t create categories.

Here’s a screenshot:WordPressDash

I guess it can be used to create quick posts which you can then later edit (if you want to insert hyperlink and styles and images) later in the day.

HowTo: Add XGL Compiz like Functions to MacOSX

7 04 2007

Xgl Compiz ScreenshotFor the Linux enthusiasts here, you guys might be familiar with XGL or Compiz composing window manager. It’s basically an eye-candy that makes use of your graphics accelerator card’s power. One of the most popular features of compiz is the ability to switch between desktops or workspaces by showing an animation of a cube rotating. It gives you the illusion that your desktop is actually a cube, with each of the faces representing a workspace.

You can actually have the same effect on a Mac. You need only to download a freeware called Desktop Manager. Although I admit that I am lying here, it doesn’t sport all the features of XGL Compiz, only the part about animating the switch on workspaces and most importantly adding workspaces to your MacOSX. I named the article as such because these are the popular functions of XGL Compiz, at least for me, and that’s what I think people will be searching for.

Here’s Desktop Manager’s description from it’s website:

Desktop Manager is a free virtual desktop manager that places an unobtrusive desktop pager in the menubar and allows fast switching of desktops either with hotkeys or by clicking in the pager. It is designed to be fast, lightweight, and Just Works. It is released under the GNU General Public License.

MacBook Random Shutdown

6 04 2007

So I got myself a new MacBook (yeah!)… well, not really new, but it still looks and feels new. My dad was able to get a new laptop from his office, so I asked for his MacBook as my graduation gift. I actually prefer this to a brand new model because now it has all the accessories like the dirt-protectors for the keyboard, and the spheres that you place under the laptop to help circulate heat.

But I noticed one extremely irritating bug though: random shutdowns – the laptop actually turns off at random times. For instance, while I was checking my mail (GMail), it just turned off. Or while I was laughing while checking out my friend’s comic blog, it just turned off. Or while I was tinkering with the desktop background and screensaver – with my WiFi turned off (thinking this was the cause of the problem), it just turned off. EVEN while I was watching TV, doing absolutely nothing on the laptop, it just turned itself off. So I’m thinking, what the hell right? What gives?

I made a quick search on google, “MacBook Random Shutdown“, and what I got was a couple of hundred thousand results, almost talking about the same problem! Apparently there’s even a website dedicated entirely to this: http://macbookrandomshutdown.com, whew, address says it all, huh? So I chose the website that’s most authoritative of them all, Apple’s own support documentation, and found out that it was actually a bug that came with older versions of the MacBook (I believe those that came with the MacOSX Tiger version 10.4.6 and below). Quoting from there:

If your MacBook shuts down randomly during use, a downloadable firmware update is now available that resolves this issue.

The MacBook SMC Firmware Update v1.1 improves the MacBook’s internal monitoring system and addresses issues with unexpected shutdowns. This update is recommended for all MacBook systems, including those that received warranty repair.

You can use the Software Update feature of System Preferences, or download the MacBook SMC Firmware Update v1.1 from Apple Software Downloads.

The problem was with the MacBook’s internal monitoring system, and all that was needed to be done was to upgrade the SMC Firmware. But to be able to update to SMC Firmware v1.1, one first needs to update their Tiger to 10.4.8 because you won’t be able to see the update on lower versions. It was that simple – or so I thought.

So I went to Apple’s website to download the 10.4.9 update, and the SMC Firmware Update. And just when I thought that I was already clear of any trouble, the stupid bug stabs me at the back while I wasn’t looking. You see, updating the OS version is a very delicate task. One is even instructed to keep the adaptor of the laptop plugged in just in case you run out of battery in the middle of the process. It’s extremely crucial not to disrupt this process. So I made sure that the AC adaptor was plugged in, but lo and behold, right smack in the middle of the update, the freakin MacBook Random Shutdown bug strikes again.

When I tried to boot the laptop back up, all I get now is a kernel panic, with a message that goes like this:
kernel panic: Unable to find driver for this platform: "ACPI"
I knew right then and there that I was in for a very long night.