actually the whole purpose of this was…

actually the whole purpose of this was…
actually the whole purpose of this was…
actually the whole purpose of this was…
actually the whole purpose of this was…

you see, I got an iPhone.

In exchange for some work. It’s only a 2G, original, 8gb, but…

The first thing I did of course was jailbreak it. And having a choice in the matter, decided on pwnage tool, mainly for the excellent command line stuff. It took all of a few minutes to work out how to do this, courtesy their unlock wizard (which I think makes a mockery of the whole ‘iPhone is a walled garden stifling the true 8-bit 1980s era of computer hackery and creativity’), and having never done this before, was quite impressed with it finishing, syncing with iTunes immediately and enjoying the pleasure of my usual SIM card shortly after.

And then into the wonderful world of iOS hackery and places I’d never heard of before. Lucky my years of schlepping around the similar fringes in Mac OS have given me some familiarity with this side of town. The biggest realisation was this is not just an iPod with a phone attached, or even a consumer media device; it’s an entire operating system and hardware, or to put it in cruder terms, it’s a computer.

It makes me want to play with the iPad also, because I think in all this – the tacit approval of the jailbreaking and hacking community by Apple, the introduction within the native operating system on a user-accessible of things which Cydia and other repositories have had for years, e.g wi-fi syncing, folders, multitasking – it is a conceptually different approach to computers and interfaces.

Or more succinctly, I can do most of what I do on my laptop now on my iPhone. A distinction between can and enjoy is necessary, and further elaborates on my desire to play with an iPad, as the smallness and slowness of the process is tiring, like going back to dial-up. I can do remote server administration with SSH, VNC, FTP, either using graphic interfaces in a variety of apps, or command line in mobile Terminal. I can pass files around and edit them using the same protocols or BlueTooth, Wi-Fi, even making a mountable USB disk. I can read all the blogs in my RSS feeds, and keep them synched with my laptop, the same for Mail, Address Book, iTunes, Calendar – all so elegantly done I don’t even consider that it is being done. Things is equally smooth

Then there’s the stuff I used to invent cludges for between my laptop and phone for when I’d be out – BVG timetables, maps of Berlin, offline route-finding, other excitement like translation dictionaries, my entire library database so now when I wander into a bookshop I know what I might want to buy, a guide to knots, an interactive star map…

The camera though is terrible. Even my old K750c with its broken camera was better. It’s actually embarrassing and Apple should have done a better job earlier because it truly does suck. SMS is also crappy with the default app – speaking of which, many of these I either replaced or hid, though I’d prefer just to delete the atrocious Stocks app, I mean really whose wanker idea was that?

But this isn’t the post on jailbreaking I kept thinking I’d write. This is more about an idea I had, a moment of “… uuhh… … awesome!!!…” when I thought, “if I do this, then that, and it should work, then I’ll be able to do that!”

So… On my iPhone I installed Veency, the VNC server, along with OpenSSH, because there’s nothing like ssh-ing into anywhere to make a smile, and finished off with ISSH. Then I wondered why things weren’t working.

I could get into my phone from my laptop using JollysFastVNC, but not the reverse. Oh, I forgot to turn on Remote Login and Management in System Preferences. So then over on my iPhone, I SSH’d into my laptop, screensharing all around…

MacBook Pro screenshares into iPhone, screensharing into MacBook Pro, screensharing into iPhone, screensharing into MacBook Pro, screensharing into iPhone, screensharing into… yes, the whole point of all this was that I can do this.

(I could have uploaded the files with AirSharing, then shifted them around my iPhone perhaps with iFile and uploaded from there via FTP with FTP On The Go just to prove it was possible, ah but… Oh and it’s a game of Buzkashi, yes, that’s a calf, ohne Kopf.) (And yes, my carrier is the Beast.)

hate/love apple

Lucky I was in London for the long weekend, and so enjoying the longest break from my laptop and the internet I’ve had in years. All the better considering it was in a shop, where I hoped it was being repaired.

By the time my last laptop, a beautiful 15″ PowerBook, had reached the end of its life, it was a decorticated zombie, battery, hard drive, DVD drive all dead, and case bearing the crumbling patina along the front edge, held together with an external portable FireWire drive that when I accidentally knocked the cable would bring everything to a graceful and irreversible crash.

As with my new MacBook Pro, it suffered from some distinct hardware issues. First, the peeling of the light case border, then the death of hard drive and the problematic Matshita Combo Drive. All variously and uncomplainingly replaced by MyMac in Melbourne for free, thanks to the joy of AppleCare.

My new laptop, after several months of far less harrowing use than that PowerBook began to exhibit odd behaviour, the trackpad and keyboard freezing, which after some messing around I realised was caused by the battery. Or rather, the topcase somehow didn’t get on well with the battery. For much of the last – more than a – year, I’ve been using it sans battery, and poking with my finger at the underside of the trackpad to bring it back to life on the occasions I did include non-mains power.

Not much of a laptop then, and despite being all over the Apple discussion boards, this finger-poking fix wasn’t ideal. I took it into one shop in Kreuzberg, and they said it would be difficult to prove I hadn’t damaged the case myself, so for a long time endured an expensive, hobbled device. Finally, as also documented numerously on the Apple boards, even the finger didn’t work.

Gravis is rather shiny and large, in Ernst-Reuter Platz, and I acquired a beautiful 500gb 2.5″ FireWire 800 drive from there for the unthinkably low price of €120 not so long ago. I’m still awestruck by the capacity and cheapness of drives now compared to eight years ago when 20gb was just beginning to pass from acceptable for a laptop. With my now completely paralysed laptop, and me feeling as though I’d had a significant portion of my identity eviscerated, I ventured there shortly before going to London, thinking at worst I could buy an external mouse and keyboard and get another couple of years out of another zombie laptop.

Not so attractive as a friend pointed out, when I keep people’s Macs running as a job, and should really be able to speak highly of them, instead of turning up with a Frankenstein.

At Gravis, they listened to my explanations, notes on the Apple boards, took my baby away for a few minutes, then came back and said I could pick it up this week. Today I did.

On why I hate/love Apple…

Yes, there is the exceptional software and hardware design, but there always seems to be issues that affect a lot of users, and having had two laptops with serious issues it is very easy for me to feel deeply frustrated with the only computer and OS I’d consider using. Really, if I had to use a PC running Windows or more likely Linux, I’d dispense with the hassle altogether and find something else to do.

As with my previous laptop, I bought AppleCare for three years, and as with that previous laptop, it paid for itself the first time I had to use it. My revitalised – and working with battery – baby has an entire new topcase, the price of which, including labour is greater than the cost of this insurance. The simplicity with which my problem was dealt with, fast, no arguing, pleasant, and most importantly, free are the reasons that even though there are problems with hardware and software (and had this one not been dealt with in such a good way, I would be far more pessimistic), I remain in love with Apple.

(Yes, there is a moral to this story, or rather a couple: Buy AppleCare, use the Apple discussion boards to diagnose your problems, and backup early and often.)

(I’ll stop now and caress my beautiful laptop for a while.)

absence

Not much blogging the last months and I feel shame. Though I have excuses.

Firstly, the intermittent trackpad/keyboard freezing problem that has gone on with my MacBook Pro since around 9 months after I bought it became irreversible. The normal fix of not triggering it by putting my battery in, and poking with my finger at the underside of the trackpad to unfreeze it after I had – all endlessly discussed and documented on Apple’s own user forums – finally failed altogether.

So my Mac, data safely backed up thanks to an emergency intervention,is in a shop hopefully getting fixed under AppleCare. I on the other hand, am writing this on a venerable 13″ PowerBook G4, running 10.5, with my home folder on my external drive. Of course this does cause myriad problems and is buggy and crashy as all fuck. Somehow it is (marginally) workable, but I feel I’ve lost half my brain and bodily functions to a stroke.

In the meantime, I’ve just got back from London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage, which I shall write about soon.

Image

mousepath

Along with upgrading my laptop to 10.6 on the weekend (I always, always do these things last at night, and know I’m going to break something and so telling myself, “Don’t do it, you’ll mess something up!”, “No, no, it’ll be alright… I’m awake this time…”) and breaking my AirPort, sundry plugins and my SQL installation, I gained 15gb of space, extra, extra fastness, (especially for opening encrypted sparse packages), a feeling of accomplishment, tiredness from staying up till 4am, and mousepath.

I also began cleaning out 8 years of bookmarks, and was rummaging through my net-art folder when I found Anatoly Zenkov’s small piece of Java code (download here). Much reminiscing on early 2000’s code-art…

So, here is around five hours of my day today, compared to some it’s quite light, mainly because I use the keyboard so much and was mostly coding.

moving…

I have spent a lazy Saturday transferring supernaut over to WordPress (more on that there). The result of that for the moment is the old Movable Type site exists at supernaut.info/index1.html and in the static archives while the new at the usual address.

This means also the RSS feed has changed, so for those of you who like feeds, I am now at: https://supernaut.info/wordpress/?feed=rss2.

I won’t be deleting the old version yet, as the new one needs a lot of construction I shall only have scant time for, but distinctly odd weirdness (like this feed showing garbled rubbish for instance) would make a good moment to email me with the offending instance.

Movable Type was good four years ago, but in the intervening time much has changed and it is too much of a hassle to work with any longer. I hope I spend the next few years enjoying WordPress as much as I have over the last while, and find maybe some new ways to blog.

from ecto 3 to wordpress 2.8

uuhhh…

When I started finding odd stuff in my Movable Type install for supernaut I knew the end was near. I’ve been putting this off for a long time, especially doing projects for others using WordPress and thinking, “uuhhh… this is so much better…”.

Something made me decide to do it today… teaching myself about .htpasswd and so on, and crappy MT plaugins, I wondered… “If I install WordPress in its own directory then link it to supernaut’s SQL database, will that work?” Immediately before trying I realised it would/wouldn’t, so set up a new database (the bit that wouldn’t) installed WordPress (would) messed around for a bit…

… dumped a file called index.php in the root directory pointing to the WordPress install…

Hell-0 )))!!!

Funnily enough, that was all. Everything seems to be here, much is broken, obviously the old theme has yet to make the jump (shall wait on that…), but words and pictures!

So then I decided to get ecto, my looooong time trusty blog client to work. Messed around, lost 1400 entries. oops…, I thought, hope they come back… Found them again. More messing around, wondered if ecto 3 would be worth a try. More of the same…

Hello blogging from ecto 3 to supernaut on WordPress 2.8. Total time it took was about an hour.

I have no idea what might not be working, but shall continue like this.

Oh! RSS feed! supernaut RSS feed.

In the meantime, I shall mangle this theme a little to see if I can at least have the existing content… umm… re-exist.

Keywords? ecto doesn’t seem to support keywords with WordPress, instead using Tags, which still work, but not as fast for me as entering a string of words. But, contra that, the 1500 tags I have I can search and so perhaps shall be a bit more economic in inventing.

Aaaaanyway, I am rather impressed how simple it was to get this far with so little work, and shall thank Berlin for that.

blog stuff

I shouldn’t be on my laptop today; I am bad. Working around 12 and sometimes up to 16 hours a day since the start of February without a day off is stupid. It’s a habit of mine and ends with me burning out and getting sick. Which I did a little over a week ago, and struggled through work last week by coming home and going to bed around 9pm. And there is always as much work as hours I will give.

So I said no computer work this weekend, and spent a beautiful, warm and sunny day in Kreuzberg yesterday cycling about, lying am Engelbecken after ballet with D (who is not Daniel, but I am always uncertain when or if to introduce someone new on my blog…), and home later at dusk, my windows open full all day and some cheese and bread and a rather irresistible Ayurvedic tea that reminds me I like mountains and cold places… sleep…

Instead, I decided over breakfast to redo my blogroll. As usual since last time some have come, some have gone, some I’ve lost interest in… Some new categories, as always imprecise needed to be made, splitting Science & Humanities into Anthropology, Astronomy, Language as well, somehow reflecting more closely my news feeds (which you can download here).

New arrivals, many I’ve been reading for some time whom I am rather fond of (and whom are being added as I write because I keep remembering, ‘oh, I forgot blah!’)… enjoy the reading.

FLESH WORLD read while listening to sunn 0))).
guerilla semiotics, who used to be someone else and is still one of the most interesting theatre culture writers around.
My Big Backyard queer farm life in the sub-sub-tropics.
Buck Angel”s Blog! possible one of my favourites right now, for his Porno for Pyros video if nothing else.
Sugarbutch Chronicles butch trans* dyke porn-lit.
Let them eat pro-sm feminist safe spaces BDSM critical theory (for wont of a better description).
Shenzhen Noted who used to be Shenzhen Fieldnotes.
tang dynasty times, one of my utter all-round favourite blogs these days.
an imperfect pen, more China/Asia anthropology.
Paper Republic contemporary Chinese literature and translation.
Shanghai Scrap fascinating for me documenting of China’s scrap industry.
earlyTibet, almost a pair with tang dynasty times.
Hazaristan Times, one of the few Afghanistan blogs not COIN.
Cabinet of Wonders mmm blogging on the Age of Enlightenment.
Material World visual culture anthropology.
Neuroanthropology a field I seem to be reading a lot in during the last year.
HiBlog: HiRISE Team Blog from the satellite mission, beautiful.
Mars and Me a daily blog of one of the Mars rover drivers from the mission start five years ago.
Philosophy’s Other current philosophy stuff.
Feminist Philosophers a philosophy blog I’m fond of.
The Oyster’s Garter Oceanography, my new fascintation (along with volcanoes again, but have yet to find many blogs on that.)

[edit…]

Oh, and one more in a category I read a lot but never seem to mention much:

i love typography mmm… fonts and design…

cookie monster

Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend doing this. It’s old. Probably doesn’t work anymore anyway.

I don’t like cookies so much. The persistent browser types, with expiry dates of 2031 that cause a trail of my identity to be left across Google and other sites. And I don’t like how poorly Safari manages them. Even a checkbox option would be better, to keep the ones I need or don’t mind and to delete all the others instead of manually having to go through them all.

SafariPlus used to do this perfectly, from within the browser, unobtrusively. But since 10.5 and Safari 3, it hasn’t worked. So I changed to Cocoa Cookie, a separate small utility. I had to go to my Applications folder to find it, but was still quick and… then it stopped working, it would open without the window showing, caused much weirdness with Safari’s cookies since the latest version and…

uuuhhh… annoyance.

I found a Perl script a couple of days ago. I suppose it could also be done in AppleScript, and should really learn how to write in that, but it’s rather perfect. Well it runs from Terminal also, and requires some editing, but…
#!/usr/bin/perl

use strict;
use warnings;
use File::Slurp;

### Edit this to your liking (put a pipe character between two words)
my $keepCookiesWith = "gaydargirls|culturedcode|supernaut|dreamhost";

### Put your OS X short username here (there should be a directory with the same name under /Users)
my $userName = "francesdath";

### ### ### Don't edit beneath this line unless you know some Perl
my $path = "/Users/francesdath/Library/Cookies/Cookies.plist";
my @date = localtime();
my $date = sprintf("%04d%02d%02d", $date[5] + 1900, $date[4] + 1, $date[3]);
my $cookies = read_file($path);
rename ($path, $path . "." . $date);

open(WH, ">$path");
print WH <<EOF;
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/
PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<array>
EOF
while ($cookies =~ m#(\s*<dict>.+?</dict>)#gs)
{
my $cookie = $1;
if ($cookie =~ /$keepCookiesWith/)
{
print WH $cookie;
}
}
print WH <<EOF;

</array>
</plist>
EOF
close (WH);

So, copy it into your favourite text editor, save as something memorable like ‘SafariCookiecleaner.pl’ and put it somewhere out of the way but not forgettable. You can add new cookies to be saved based on any attribute that appears in the Safari cookie window. I tend to use the domain names, like ‘macosxhints’, though I have one Google cookie I like to keep, with the name ‘PREF’, so I added that also (unfortunately YouTube has one with the same name…). Set the ‘username’ to your Home Folder (probably what appears in the SideBar in the Finder), and then set ‘my $path = “”;’ to ‘/Users/yourhomefolder/Library/Cookies/Cookies.plist’ which is the path to Safari’s cookies file.

Then open Terminal, and change to the directory where you’ve put it, change the permissions to 755 and then run it (quit Safari first).

Well like this:
cd /drag/the/folder/containing/the/script/into/Terminal
chmod 755 SafariCookieCleaner.pl
./SafariCookieCleaner.pl

Open Safari, look in cookies in Preferences and the ones you like should still be there. It makes a backup of the cookies file, so at worst nothing is irreparable. And it makes you look all UNIX by opening Terminal.

Gallery

women in mac

I was watching Welcome to Macintosh a few nights ago, becoming engaged in a mindless indulgence in Apple, I do remember these old things… It was though, a very male affair. Lots of tech geek guys. There was one woman and she I do remember… or rather I remember her work… or rather when I think of Macs it’s her I’m thinking of.

When OSX 10.2 came along with the new startup screen grey on grey bitten Apple logo monotone, much discussion ensued about how to hack the boot loader and replace the apple with the old, friendly pixel art smiley computer Happy Mac. Generally a deeply unsettling process involving editing hex addresses and .raw files, run length encoding and exclamations of “holy crap” when it worked instead of trashing your entire system.

But what of Happy Mac? And Moof the Dogcow? Bomb? Sad Mac? Watch cursor and page of text and font suitcase, floppy disc and all the icons of OS9 which were OS8 and 7 and… I’d never given it too much thought, and certainly not enough to imagine they were penned by someone more-or-less computer illiterate at the time (mostly due to lack of gui interface) using graph paper and filling in the squares.

Susan Kare whom I doubt I’d heard of until a couple of weeks ago is possibly the biggest influence on my design aesthetics and responsible for my emotional love affair with the Apple interface. Strange to look at OSX 10.5, the Aqua design, and then return to OS9 or even earlier and see her hand is indelible still.

And the other, whom I am nearly certain I’d never heard of, though I recall the ripples of her decisions, at least as somewhat recent history by the time I discovered computers. She was responsible for trashing Copland, the operating system that was to replace OS7, the purchase of NeXT and their operating system to replace it with, what became OSX, and the return of Steve Jobs, who promptly ridiculed and demoted her.

Ellen Hancock, without whom I would not be using OSX. Would Apple still exist? OSX was somewhat a torment to use until 10.3, at first there wasn’t even network or printing, swarms of kernel panics, much horribleness, but within this was… mmm like seeing the future. It was a special moment when I got my first laptop, a PowerBook G4 550mHz and 256Mb of RAM (20gig harddrive!) but the only question was, “Does it have OS ten?” … “uuuhhh… yeah…”

Why did I decide to write this?

It’s Apple’s 25th anniversary, and I’ve been reading Macworld’s celebrations. Of their 20 most important people in the history of the Mac, only two are women: Sarah Kare and Ellen Hancock. And in Welcome to Macintosh Sarah was the only woman out of a cast of guys to receive any attention. But maybe it’s because the tech industry is so heavily skewed to being a guy place, or maybe Apple has been a bunch of guys. But…

When I read about the history of Mac, it’s Steve Jobs, Johnathan Ive, Stephen Wozniak, others too, even Bill Gates. Yet what I loved Mac for before OSX was Moof and Happy Mac and the interface, and what I love now is OSX, that it exists, my interaction with an operating system. I feel a little stupid somehow to say I want to write about these two people who have had a profound effect on me precisely because they are women. To do so is important so as to remember by saying, that there are women who have had such a unique extraordinary influence on Macs, on technology, on science, on culture and it’s really good to have someone to look up to.

Oh, and Sarah made the Apple Mac team Pirate Flag so of course I adore her.