Saturday, December 5, 2009

OSX 10.6: Finder FIXED! I weep with joy.

A while back I lamented how awful the 10.5 (and previous) Finders were. I complained that Apple was leaving out all sorts of long-overdue improvements and basic features that Windows had possessed for years.

Well, I just installed 10.6 yesterday, and looking through the New Features list, I'm suprised that several of my prayers have actually been answered. Not all of them, and not all are in perhaps the best way possible, but they're there. I think I need a moment alone...

Well let's go through them, shall we?

1)Restore deleted items to original folders.
Items in Trash now have a "Put Back" option, which works the same as "Restore" in Windows.

2)More reliable disk eject.

System services such as Spotlight indexing and file system events will intelligently stop their work so you can remove your drive. And improved dialogs tell you which applications are using the drive so you know what to close in order to safely disconnect your drive.

3)Change search locations.

One of those things that makes you say "Well, it's better than nothing." You can change Spotlight to have it search the currently selected folder by default. But you can't have it search by Filename by default. Say whaaaaaaa...?

4+) There's plenty more, but that's it for the Finder fixes.

Other ones are:

Quicker Time Machine backups, Faster wake/sleep, writing Chinese on the trackpad, PDF text selection that works across columns, Boot Camp support for HFS+, configurable grace period for screen locking,

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Glib Game Reviews: PSN (PS3) Downloadables

Comet Crash: Loving its mix of tower defense and real time strategy. The first TD where you can counter attack!

Flower: The only purchase I regret. The trailers make it look blissful and fluid as you hurtle through lush meadows. The real thing is nothing like that. There is no speed control, and it is very hard to turn when you're going full speed. The result is that you will often miss just one or two petals in a chain, and have to circle back for them--multiple times. This creates a lot of frustration and slows you down. Also, with each group you collect is followed by a mini-cutscene that shows that area blossoming. This occurs so often that it is disruptive. Summary: STAY AWAY. Neat concept but terrible execution that is not as relaxing as they claim.

Mushroom Wars: a unique and frenetic stategy game. A good $5-10 buy that is good to play with a few friends. Sadly lacks online multiplayer or any customization/handicap options for the local MP. It's fun, but these deficiencies will limit the long term potential.

PixelJunk Eden: Beautiful art design, simple but fun game mechanics, great music, and multiplayer co-op too! The only flaw is the life meter countdown that detracts from the designer's aim of relaxation. Still, it's a must-have if you like platformers.

Rag Doll Kung Fu - Fists of Plastic: fun and unique game. Looks fun for multiplayer, but the controls have a bit of a learning curve, so it will take some time to get friends into it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another (Somewhat) Open Letter To Sony

This was prompted by the recent PS3 Firmware 3.10 update, which unexplainably focused on Facebook integration, and promised more in the future. Please shoot me now.
... By linking your PlayStation Network account to your Facebook account, you will have the option for the PS3 to automatically update your Facebook News Feed with Trophy and PlayStation Store activity. You can then check out your updates, and those of your friends, on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media favorites through the PS3’s built-in web browser.This is just the beginning of our integration with Facebook...

Additional highlights from update 3.10 include:

  • The Photo category on the XMB has been revamped to make it easier to see more of your photos stored on the PS3.
  • The PSN Friends List has been modified based on feedback we received after update 3.00. Additionally, you can now choose a color for your PSN ID on the XMB.

(via Playstation Blog)

Dear Sony,

I appreciate the better photo layout, but the other stuff seems either minor (coloring your avatar), or misdirected (Facebook integration). So many Firmware updates… and yet few have done anything to actually improve my PS3 experience. It’s such a waste of resources when there are many more important things you could be working on in the firmware updates.

1)Instead of Playstation Home (ie Second Life Redux) how about better Friend finding for multiplayer (ie a universal way to find/join friends that doesn’t require a clunky, game-specific method such as in Rock Band 2). How about cross-game chat? Xbox360 has had that for a long time. I can't believe Facebook ranked anywhere near as high on users' want lists.

2) How about the “Memory Manager” others mentioned, so that I can selectively delete DLC and saved games?

3) And a fix so that I can organize my games into albums without typing each cAsE-SeNsiTiVe album name for EACH file? Seriously, it feels like UNIX? For a company that prides itself on shiny gadgetry, the amount of interface polish is lacking.

You might want to check your priorities. Give me some of these types of important features before worrying about how to color my avatar or clog up my already overwhelmingly bloated Facebook experience.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SFSU Welcomes GWAR

In an effort to step up the standards of it's English curriculum, San Francisco State University has made the bold move to enlist the crazed alien-metal band GWAR, which it hopes will better prepare its graduates for the 21st century workplace.

Well, not really.

Courtesy of MyLifeDump:

San Francisco State University had a graduation requirement where everyone in the undergraduate program had to take and pass JEPET (Junior English Proficiency Essay Test). If you failed, you had to take English 414 and pass it with a C or better grade in order to graduate.

JEPET was the most hated graduation requirement on campus. I took the test and passed but I am wondering if I still have to take a writing intensive course within my major to graduate according to newly implemented Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement or GWAR.

GWAR is different from JEPET because you take a writing-intensive course within your major and not a standardized test. This means one more class in addition to all the other classes required for a particular major. SFSU has begun offering GWAR courses Spring ‘09 semester but not all majors currently have the GWAR course.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Triclosan Sucks

UC Davis researchers have been conducting research into the additives triclosan and triclocarban, which are found in everything from tupperware to toothpaste. Among other things, the (very reasonable) statements they make include that washing your hands with an antibacterial soap is not significantly more effective than regular soap. Indeed, this jives with other reports I've heard that it is the act of scrubbing alone that provides most of the benefit.
It's also hard to argue with evolution: if we keep overusing it, we will just end up selecting for resistant bugs.
Go read: Safety Debate on Antibacterial Soap

Further reading
Environmental Working Group: Triclosan
Triclosan research: industry fights back
MSDS: Triclosan

or Professor Frink

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bay Area Backroads - Secluded Armpits Edition

Seal Point area
Had a fairly nice ride in San Mateo this afternoon. My friends invited me to go to a hidden, secret magical land, which turned out to be Seal Point Park and the surrounding environs (just south of Coyote Point).

However there were some weird, foul, and fowl things that came up. So, when going there


The Good:
1) Going to the top of the hill above the dog park to ring the bells that are part of the art sculpture there.
2) See the cute cats farther south

The Bad:

1) ...actually going to see the cats, it smells like ass in that part of the bay. It was also kinda sad to see so many strays. Spay and neuter your pets people!

2) Biking by the large pile of manure just sitting in the parking lot. Unless you're looking for a way to get the kids out of your hair for a while, and tell them to build sandcastles out of it.

3) Lingering over the seabird roadkill. Nasty!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Belkin Paying Folks to Post Fake Reviews on Amazon

Check out this story via The Daily Background.

Apparently Belkin's "Business Development Manager of eCommerce", Michael Bayard has been found to be paying people to post positive reviews of their products, and downplay any negative reviews. The posting states you don't even need to own it. They used Amazon's own Mechanical Turk service to post the job orders.

UPDATE: Belkin confirmed this story in their apology.
Second copy available here.