The Shining Path of Least Resistance


Archive for the ‘osx’ Category


Posted by mattray on April 17, 2009

Today’s frustration is brought to you by iCal and Zimbra. My work Zimbra account subscribes to several company-wide calendars which I have ‘view’ privileges, but not ‘write’ privileges. Attempting to write to them throws a cryptic error that can usually be undone. But somewhere along the line I had selected “Delete Events 120 Days After They Have Passed” in iCal. The company-wide calendars recently started having events older than that, and I was getting a cryptic error about ‘CalDAVDeleteEntityQueueableOperation’ in iCal. Google was of little use, neither was Apple’s support or Zimbra’s support. I stumbled into the solution by deleting away all my preferences and calendars for iCal. Moral of the story, never touch anything.

Posted in geekery, osx | 1 Comment »

Making iPhone Ringtones from MP3s

Posted by mattray on August 24, 2008

I recently made the transition from minimalist, pay-as-you-go phone user to a new iPhone. Between making lots of extra calls on my phone for work and my geek-lust for GPS in a phone it was a no-brainer. I was actually fairly happy with my old phone, a Motorola v195 that I chose specifically because it was unlocked, had bluetooth file transfers and syncing with iCal and the Mac address book. Of course the iPhone has all that, but I wasn’t able to transfer all my custom mp3 ringtones that I’d made to it. Mr. Chippy pointed me to making them in Garage Band, but this was slow and tedious. I had them already as MP3s, I just needed to batch convert them all to the proper format. Enter Max, a handy OSX audio file converter (and great CD-ripper). I configured it to output “3GP Audio (AAC)” and batch-converted my mp3 ringtones to .3gp files. Apparently if you rename these with the .m4r and drop them into iTunes, they magically become ringtones for uploading. Here’s a screenshot of the Automator bulk rename, it’s a handy trick (I’m getting lazy on the Bash scripting).

If you’re interested, here’s a tarball containing the ringtones (Autechre, Mr. Lif, Stetsasonic, Aerosmith, Slick Rick, The Price is Right, Strauss, Raising Arizona).

Posted in geekery, osx | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

OSX IRC Client Shootout

Posted by mattray on May 2, 2008

My IRC needs are quite basic, I need an OSX IRC client I can leave open all day without having it crash or consume 100% of my CPU and/or memory. I’ll be hanging out on the #zenoss channel on the servers as part of my new job. Open Source is preferred, and I’d like configurable Growl integration and detailed, searchable logging; but stability is my #1 priority. Below is my 15-minute per client IRC shootout.

The Contestants:

Colloquy 2.1:
Colloquy was the first I tried because I remembered it seemed pretty good from a few years ago, but then my company started blocking IRC and I never got around to using it again. It is GPL and configuration seemed to go fine except for the fact that everytime the window lost focus, it started bouncing on the Dock. After I fixed that annoyance, after about 10 minutes of IRC, my CPU hit 100% and Colloquy was the culprit. That could be related to this ticket, but that was a major strike against it. After switching to my new MacBook Pro, I figured the PPC bug would be gone and it would be OK, but then channels would open and stay empty, so I decided I’d had enough.

Irssix .7:
Very minimal and GPL, I got online with no fuss. No themes, just black on white and it seemed to resist my attempts at applying different fonts. No Growl or offline logging either. Never noticed CPU or memory usage. It set a very stable, no-frills baseline.

Ircle 3.1.2:
30-Day shareware, interesting project because they still support OS 9 and the 68K platform. Kinda ugly and complicated out of the box, with an annoying sound theme on by default. wasn’t on the list of 2300+ servers as far as I could tell. Configuration was also complicated, didn’t see Growl integration, but auto-logging was available (and I assume searchable outside the application). Crashed when I shut it down (report sent).

Snak 5.3.3:
30-Day shareware, but the money is donated to charity so that’s a positive. The first run started with a setup assistant, which seemed innocuous enough and it worked immediately. Themes were mostly pleasing pastels and there was a nice transparency slider. Growl integration in the action list, where you could trigger highlighting or other actions based on input was a very slick feature. Memory and CPU usage seemed minimal. Logging sent to an external file with configuration for the formatting. Everything seemed stable and straightforward, no complaints in my 15 minutes.

X-Chat Aqua .16
I used to use XChat for Linux back in the day, this is the GPL OSX Aqua update. For eye-candy it had a transparency slider and extensive color support but no themes. Logging to external files is supported. The event notifications configuration is quite nice. You can choose Growl, indicate on or bounce the Dock or a sound file for just about everything IRC related with toggling for when XChat is the foreground application. I never noticed memory or CPU usage. Apparently it hasn’t been updated in awhile, but it seems to be working just fine. Occasionally OSX’s Spaces will forget to pin it to all desktops, but that’s just an odd bug for now.

And the winner is…

X-Chat Aqua hit all the right features and seems stable enough. If it turns into a resource hog after a few days, I’d probably give Snak another look. I’m sure I probably overlooked some other IRC clients or missed out on the greatness of one of the ones I did review. Feel free to leave feedback and maybe if X-Chat stops being good enough I’ll reevaluate the competition.

PDF Scribd link.

Posted in community, osx, zenoss | Tagged: | 3 Comments »