Monday, May 30, 2005


WOW. I got my iPod this morning, and have spent most of the day / night listening, and configuring, and I like it.

I configured it first on a windows 2000 machine at work, installed drivers and stuff (probably didn't need to) and all was great.

Back at home it appears as a drive under windows XP, I downloaded the iPod updater and iTunes, but haven't installed either. Instead I'm relying on the default windows drivers, and Ephpod software to synchronise it. At first I thought I'd use Windows Media Player (my fav player) to synch it, and indeed, it looked like it was going to work. But I should have known better, it transferred the files to a folder called "Music" on the iPod. Fat lot of use that was.

Anyhow, Ephpod solved all the problems. All now up to date, and looking great.

Now, where are all the hacks......?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

cygwin networking commands

Just found out some nice stuff about cygwin and network shares. I like to have SSH access to my home network, and under MacOS I had no problem with this - I just log in and a couple of commands mounts any share.

Now that the Mac is to go however, this presents a different problem. I have always been a big fan of cygwin, but I have never actually set up an SSH server. This document suggests that SSH server setup should be fairly trivial, so I'll give that a try. That should give me full access to a cygwin shell remotely. From there it should be a couple of simple commands to map a network drive

net view \\\\computername

Need to do the escaped backslashes to make windows understand it. This gives a nice list of the shares available on the machine such as :

Share name Type Used as Comment

DBTestProject Disk
downloads Disk
quake2 Disk
VBCode Disk

The command completed successfully.

From there we can either do :

cd //computername/VBCode

which will allow use of that directory like a normal directory, or ifwe want it mounted :

net use i: \\\\computername\\VBCode

will mount the share to the I: drive on the local machine. Great.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Visiting Perth

Flying out tonight to visit Susan's sister and family in Perth, Scotland. Easyjet at 6pm, then hiring a car

Hope all goes well ;)

Interview (shhhh!!!)

Don't tell anyone, but I've just had an interview to work for a software company in 'derry.

It was about an hour long, and the folks seemed very friendly, and down to earth. I don't know how it went, it felt like it went well, but then so did my second year latin exam, and I got 16% in it....

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Mac Mini - Problems

Ok, so I've had the thing for a while now, by this stage I had hoped to have my PC switched off, and out of daily usage. I've even upgraded to "Tiger" to see the latest features.

Its a great little unit, and a fine operating system, but I still find that I am much more productive on an XP machine running cygwin. All the Unix command line stuff is available, plus all the great features of XP.

Anyway - for me the biggest problems (in no real order):

Remote Desktop

M$ has the market cornered on this one, their Remote Desktop is head and shoulders above any other product on the market. My PC in the Kitchen can behave exactly as if it is my office PC, with the windows button and all its shortcuts working perfectly. The sound transfer is the piece de resistance for me , all my MSN / Yahoo alerts are transferred to the client PC, even whatever music is playing, its great. The only downside is video playback doesn't really work, but we'll excuse that ;)

The Mac version of remote desktop hasn't a hope, I don't think it does sound, and there is certainly no windows client.


I have a Geovision hard disk based CCTV system in the house, and it works brilliantly. I have looked at a lot of systems, and I think the Geovision is very feature rich, and very usable. The problem - the client is ActiveX, and wont run, even on internet explorer under the Mac. There is a mjpeg client available, but you really wouldn't bother if you saw the quality.


I thought for maximum Mac acceptance I would need an apple keyboard. I have to say it is a nice keyboard, but they've forgotten some keys, and got some of the most useful ones in the wrong places. The # key is non existent, although you can access it via Alt-3 - but I am primarily a Perl programmer, and I sometimes like to insert comments in the code. Also # is a necessity in "vi". Then run up windows remote desktop client for Mac (another point for M$) and everything looks great. Try to type a \. Go on, just one \. I'm waiting....

And another thing. Page up / page down / home /end. Enough said.

Windows Media Player

I know this is somewhat controversial, but I really like Media player. I have about 12Gb of music on a centralized server (2500 songs), which I then index on the two main computers in the house. I can share playlists, and update tag information from either PC. I know iTunes is supposed to be all-singing-all-dancing but again WMP does my job very effectively. Plus it works nicely with the little remotec remote control I bought from eBay.

Networking - Network Shares And Printers

I have three XP machines in the house. The CCTV server also acts as a print server, 'cause its always on. On my other two XP machines, I didn't even have to install the printer, it was already there. To this day I have not managed to get the printer working remotely with the Mac. It works locally - i.e. plugged into the USB port, but I can't get the Mac to connect to the XP shared printer. And yes, I read all the FAQs about printers, and I think I've just got a bad one (ML1210)

The Mac also doesn't let me view all the files on a windows box at file:////windows_machine/share/folder instead you have to mount "share" as a drive. This is limiting

Thumbnails / Explorer slideshow

This bothers me. In XP I can quickly select a folder thumbnail view from any explorer window, no matter what the view, or even in a file dialog. On the Mac, this is not so simple. There are various hacks you can turn on to see thumbnailing, but its not trivial, and as far as I'm concerned not very useful.

Hold on - is it all bad?

NO! not at all. There are lots of nice things. Drag and drop is great, I love the fact that you can drag urls, or folders into the terminal etc, etc... other things:

SSH Access

I love how easy this was to set up, a checkbox, and a setting on my router, and it worked first time. Very useful too.


This is the best thing. I really make a mess with zillions of windows, and expose sorts this out for me.


The jury is still out. I haven't made up my mind, but I have to say I'm leaning back towards windows at the minute.

My first intention was to basically retire my PC, but using the Mac is like starting al over, I have to learn how to customize everything, its like learning to walk again, that may be useful, but I can already do it.

I am currently a lot more efficient on my PC than on the Mac.

Tiger Arrived

Tiger arrived, and installed, have to say anticlimax, but there you go. It works, everything as before, some new options, lots of playing to do...