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October 2003
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December 2003

Unsynchronized Pro

I really want to like, and use, Synchronize! Pro X but every time I try the demo (about once a year) I end up frustrated and disappointed. The documentation is scattered amongst several RTF and PDF files, the built-in Help isn't useful, and while it seemingly is able to automatically mount remote volumes, I still can't get it to do so. What a shame, an automated nightly remote backup of my PowerBook would allow me to sleep better at night.

Intaglio Rocks

Intaglio is a Mac OS X application that doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves. It's a feature-packed and well-designed 2D drawing program, similar to the venerable Claris Draw, but up-to-date and with more output options. Just the sort of thing I need for the next edition of my All-Weather Dove Cote Plans. If you any sort of precision, vector artwork, you'll definitely want to check it out too.

The soul of Wal-mart

First, a Fast Company article outlines how Wal-mart's practices are killing US manufacturing, then this weekend a woman in Florida is trampled over a DVD player sale at the store.

Wal-mart's response:

Wal-Mart officials called later Friday to ask about her sister, and the store apologized and offered to put a DVD player on hold for her.

Isn't that nice? They'll set one aside so she can come buy it later. Sheesh. I hope there's a line of blood-sucking personal injury attorneys forming outside her hospital room door, but given the size of Wal-mart, they're probably untouchable.

Customer service pet peeve #23

So it seems that when you call your local Best Buy, the call is actually intercepted by a national call center. I understand the frustration expressed in the linked post, but on the whole I like the idea. Ideally the customer service center should have been able to handle the call without ever tipping that they weren't local.

I've been known to walk away in the middle of a cash register transaction when the clerk stops ringing up my purchase in order to answer a ringing phone. A quick "please hold" is fine, but if they actually stop the process of helping me, an in-the-flesh customer standing in front of them, in order to talk to someone who might become a customer at some indeterminate point in the future, they've blown it. Priorities people! Priorities!

iTune's social impact

Wired News: ITunes Undermines Social Security

"As if it weren't hard enough to be cool already, Apple Computer has introduced a new way for people to ruin their social standing. Thanks to the ability of Apple's iTunes to share music collections over local networks, it is now possible to judge someone's taste in music -- or lack of it -- in a way that previously required a certain level of intimacy."

Automate Your Home Now!

Jim Lauderback's
recent story
about home automation provides some good advice for both old-timers and beginners.

Those who have played around with X10 in the past will do well to heed his up-to-date observations. Unlike the state of the technology in 1978, it's now easily possible to create reliable, and fun, automated home thanks to improved devices and technology. Sure, you still have to be mindful of the built-in limitations, but that's nothing to be afraid of, I promise.

Open/Save Dialog in Panther

Less than 24 hours after Ted Stevko mentioned a trick at his OS X Con preso, I've already put it to good use several times. Here it is for posterity:

In Panther, when a Save dialog is displayed, type / to display the "Go to the folder" dialog so you can type in a path.

In my notes from the talk, I have that Ted said the shortcut was Control-/, but it seems that Control really isn't necessary. YMMV.