Category: Uncategorized

iCar – OS X Lion

Welcome to iCar OS X Lion Private Beta

Congratulations! Welcome to the test drive of iCar OS X Lion. As you know, we at Apple Automotive generally work the bugs out of our new car designs on a private track with crash-test users. But now, for the first time, we’ve decided to let you – our living, breathing public – pay to help us discover the design defects in this brand-new concept car, and help us make the iCar insanely great!

Before you begin your test drive, read this booklet to learn how Car OS X differs from the cars you’re used to (henceforth called Personal Classic cars, or PCs.

If Apple Built Cars

Parking Tips
Do not attempt to drive or park iCar OS X Lion until you are sure you can meet the minimum storage and fuel requirements. iCar OS X should be filled with 128 litres of premium Apple juice (99 Octane), but thanks to its ultra compact wheelbase, only needs 10 square metres of garage space.

( TIP: You can keep your old car in the same garage, but only if you first partition the garage using the Bunnings Temporary Wall utility. You can easily transfer all your old glovebox and boot contents using Apple Automotives $80 LightningBolt transfer kit, that allows you to attach and open your old car in target-glovebox mode.)

Inside iCar OS X Lion
You may notice that the interior of iCar OS X Lion is strikingly clean and bare. We’ve done away with confusing storage cubbies such as the glove box, cup holders, and side pockets. We have even minimised the use of window winders, and transmission shift levers. We also have a brand new steering input mechanism we call the steering touch wheel, which only slides out of the dash when you swipe four fingers across the windscreen, or press the home button on the centre console.

Whenever you’d like to store or use an object inside iCar OS X Lion (such as a map, soda can, or food wrapper), simply drag it down onto what we call iFloor . Your belongings will remain fully visible on iFloor at all times and are held in place by our brand new Carpet API.

As you put more and more items onto iFloor, previously Floored items move aside to make room. If iFloor gets very cluttered, your belongings will shrink to fit within the Floor’s space, or you can pile them on top of each other in a stack. ( TIP: If you’re having trouble identifying an individual object when your iFloor has become full, simply slide your foot through the items on the Floor. As you disperse the other items lying there, you can rotate the object in question enough to read its label, if available.)

The iCar OS X FullScreen Window-Control Scheme
When he unveiled iCar OS X Lion at the Carworld Expo in San Francisco last year, Apple Automotive’s visionary Chief Design Officer Steve Jobs described the confusion most car owners feel when confronted with the chaos of multiple open windows in older PCs. For this reason, your new iCar OS X FullScreen view lets you look out of one window at a time. All of the other un-necessary views are darkened and hidden from sight. The are still available though, and continue quietly in the background until the view is switched.
If you’ve been looking through the windshield, you can look out a side or back window simply by double-tapping on it. The windshield will disappear, and the window you rapped on will become available. ( TIP: By pressing the option pedal as you double-rap a window, you can look through more than one at a time. You can select favorite views and quickly swap between them by swiping 2 fingers sideways across the windscreen.)

Driving iCar OS X Lion
You’ll discover that iCar OS X Lion gives you an extremely smooth ride; in fact, because it’s based on a powerful BSD 64-valve engine, it features full crash protection. Even if bad paving causes another car on the road to crash, you can continue driving iCar OS X, unaffected.

Note, however, that Car OS X is crash proof only when you drive on roads that have been specially repaved without the use of Flashing lights. Over 200 municipalities worldwide have announced that they’ll optimise selected streets for Car OS X compatibility with all Flashing street components replaced with new STREET5 imbedded signs.

To install iCar OSX Lion, you will have to prepare your old iCar first, making sure it has SnowLeopard, updated with Seatbelt 10.6.6 to access the new iCar Store, where you can simply drive on in, and use your iCar account to purchase and apply the Lion update.
Expiration Date

Thank you for participating in the private test of iCar OS X Lion. Please note that iCar OS X 11 Beta6 Platinum Master expires Jul 15, 2011 – if you haven’t expired first waiting for it.

What drives illegal downloads?

I am a Wierd Al fan. I have most of his albums, and as Alpocalypse has been out for a few days, went online to find it.
From the official Weird Al site I could get the album from amazon, or iTunes, so hit the iTunes link, and prepare to download……

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Really, in this day and age? The music industry still want to shoot themselves in the foot by staging releases of an album world wide? So I should wait for it to be released here in NZ?

Yeah, right. Nothing will drive the illegal downloads faster than crap like this.

New blue iPhone Dock

Well, my old MR2 is now up for sale, as I have moved on and finally decided I had to get a car with 4 doors and can fit the kids in the back.
So I drove a nice black ford Focus, but was eventually smitten by a low K Mazda RX8.
When asked by the dealer what would cinch the deal, I said “Integrated bluetooth handsfree kit and an iPod dock would be really nice.”
So we agreed they would fit a Parrot MKi9200, and I gave them a big cheque.
Now, being a gadget geek, the Parrot really rings my bell. It completely bypasses the car stereo and just uses the cars inbuilt speakers, and a dual noise canceling mike makes the handsfree phone excellent quality. It also features an SD card slot, USB port and a 3mm aux input along with the iPod cable.
Plug in phone, pair it with Bluetooth and its up and running. It can also act as a stereo Bluetooth receiver, so you can watch something on the iPad from the back seat and send the audio to the car speakers. Brilliant. Very happy with this little add on.

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New Toy – iPad2

OK, so when it comes to gadgets, I am a magpie – ooooh, sooo shiny!

So when I woke up at 4:00am in Christchurch during an aftershock, I remembered it was iPad launch day in NZ, so I woke up my iphone, checked the price on line, noted that even one hour after launch the delivery time was now out to 3 weeks, then checked the bank account, and confirmed I had just enough for the 16GB wifi version and a smartcover, and hit the buy button.

Then the cover arrived a few days later and I got to play with it and imagine what the glass toy underneath was actually going to be like, and started the long wait for the iPad itself to show up, while smirikng at those waiting days in a queue to only walk away empty handed. Then, like mana form heaven, I got an email saying the iPad had shipped and UPS would have it in my hands in a few days. What! Thats almost 15 days early! And even then it turned up the day before it was expected. Go Apple on the customer satisfaction! Under-promise and over deliver.

So, is it worth it? Well so far it has helped ammuse my son over a hospital stay, kept my daughter happy for hours on end with Garage band and been a faithful bedside companion for over a week.

What I really like: Man it is fast. I mean silky smooth and almost no friction at all when using it. In one swift move it made my iPhone4 feel old and jittery. Citrix Player on the pad is simply awesome in how it handles my connection to work, and I got my timesheets in quickly and easily from bed without having to start up my much louder laptop, and waiting for it to boot etc. Movies stream seamlessly using AirVideo, and VLC player (luckily downloaded for my iphone earlier, so my iPad inherited it) plays everything that the iPod app wont, an eboks are simply drop dead beautiful. I might not be able to read a book on the beach or on a bright sunny day outside, but for me, that not really what I want to do when the weather is fine anyway 8)

Complaints: I WANT WIFI SYNCH OF MEDIA – especially podcasts already! Managing my watched list of podcasts went from simple to frustrating overnight. If I watch over an iTunes library share, it doesn’t mark it as watched, so it still synchs to my iphone when I dock it, so when I use my “Unplayed Audio Podcasts” voice command playlist when driving, or excercising, I keep getting casts I’ve already listened to, and when synched to the iPad, if the kids or the missus watches/listens it dissappears from my playlist as if by magic after I synch the pad! grrrr! Ipad needs user profiles – especially for mail and calander. It’s cool that I can synch all my mail contacts and calenders to it just like on my phone, but then I worry that my kids are going to stuff up my schedule or send an email to my boss accidentally. MyPad is a facebook app that atleast gives access to multiple profiles, but no passwords or pins to lock each one out. This is fine on my iPhone which is much more of a personal device, but the iPad is shared with the whole family. And my last gripe, the onboard speaker is really weak. During the hospital stay mentioned above, the movies we were watching was barely audible in such a large noisy space, so the larger screen inviting a coupe of the kids in the ward over to watch the movie was frustrated by only having one set of headphones, and without it was very quiet and difficult to hear.

Oh, and I need another one now, just for me 8)

Wallpaper Changer

My Desktop

My Desktop

One of the nice things about OS X and the Windows 7 desktop is that it allows you to set a whole folder of great artwork to use as  desktop wallpaper.

Under Linux, the way to do this varies with each desktop environment. KDE (at least the last versiosn I looked at) let you change the wallpaper randomly, but Gnome, going for a simpler environment doesn’t swap art out  of the box.

To fix this I use to install a small utility called wallpaper-tray. This does not seem to be available in the current repositories. But this is opensource, so someone must have made something good by now to replace it?

Yup. It’s called Desktop Drapes. To install in Ubuntu:

#sudo apt-get install drapes

Run it. Configure a folder of art to use, tag the options to run at start-up and you’re done.

Desktop Drapes Preferences

Update – 14 April 2012

Linux Mint 12 (Gnome 3 desktop environment) no longer supports wallpaper-tray. A good replacement is wallch, which can simply be installed by using the synaptic package manager. Search for it, mark it for install, then run the app once installed. Configure the folder to use for images and the wappaper changing time and click start. All done.

I am also now using a wallpaper folder synced through Dropbox. This way if I find a great image, it will get added to the wallpaper changers in all my favourite desktops

Argh!! Network Failures

Damn Router failed today. 8( First it started crashing every now and then when handing out new addresses on DHCP, or new wifi connections. Then today, it just kept crashing every 5 minutes. Grumble, grumble. After a couple of hours trying to work out what part of the network was dying, hampered by the lack of internet access every few minutes, I decided the old Linksys WRT54G had given up the ghost.
Quick trip down to Dick Smith and I have procured a new Linksys WAG160Nv2 802.11n router.
Once I connected it, ignored the setup wizard and configured it manually I was back up and running. (Note to self, keep the cable modem IP Address details in an easier to find place)
My home network is a little complicated. Because I have a media centre upstairs with no cabling to the lounge, and foil insulation in the floors that make getting wifi all through the house problem, I used to have another Linksys WAP54G acting as a repeater under the TV. This meant I couldn’t use any encryption better than WEP. If I kept the WAP asa repeater, I would be crippling future performance as I would not be able to add any -N clients. So reconfig time.
The WAP54G also supports AP Client Mode (where the AP can bridge two wired ethernet networks together, but does not serve any wifi clients itself), but for this I also need to add a switch. But now we have more ports for the old XBox and the new 360, and an increase in security to WPA2. The new AP gives a signal strong enough to use all over the house, but I did find it weak in the kitchen. I may still have to add another AP to cover all of upstairs, but maybe I’ll make that an Airport – then I’ll be able to stream music to the upstairs stereo without having to have the XBox XBMC on during parties. I’m also going to look at other options for this for now.
Damn network failures during the holidays, feels too much like work!