A Collection of Miscellany

After a flood of content after OpenWorld, I decided to take a brief respite here. This post is a collection of miscellany that may or may not interest you.

Among other things, I’ve been tackling the nagging wifi issue my Macbook Pro has.

On that front, I decided to call Apple Care to get their take, and I have to say Apple Care is pretty nice. The people are super friendly, patient and seem to be empathetic; they helped me for free, even though my MBP is a couple months out of warranty.

Despite my calls to Apple Care, I still had to take a trip to the Genius Bar to have my network card checked. The card was fine, leaving me with fun options like, archive and install to reset the system files and, if all else fails, do a clean install and rebuild. Not fun.

As a side note, don’t ever mess with the default permissions on your drive. It leads to bad places that require reinstalling the OS. For me, that was fine, given that archive and install was on my list of things to do next, but if you’re tempted to remove the Everyone group that has read access to your directories, don’t. I think it messes with the disk mounting, which causes a persistent gray screen on reboot and lots of happy fan activity.

Also, shout out to my pal Kelly (@verso) for all her assistance.

Speaking of Apple, if you took the security update that updates OS X Java to 1.6.0_37 and removes the Apple-provided Java browser plugin and the Java Preferences app from System Preferences, a.k.a. Java for OSX 2012-006, you can still run Java Beehive conferences via Terminal like so:

/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.6/Commands/javaws -J-d32 oraclebeehiveconference.jnlp

Making sure to point javaws to the full path where you downloaded the oraclebeehiveconference.jnlp, e.g. ~/Desktop/oraclebeehiveconference.jnlp

If you didn’t take that update and want to, you can take it and keep your Java browser plugins active via this workaround:

  • Copy /Applications/Utilities/Java Preferences
  • Go to System/Library/Java/Support in Finder
  • Ctrl-click on CoreDeploy.bundle  and choose “View Contents”
  • Double-click Contents
  • Copy JavaAppletPlugin.plugin
  • Install the update.
  • Rename your copy of the Java Preferences application back to the original and maybe keep a copy future updates
  • Go to System Preferences and click the checkbox to re-enable the applet plug-in
  • Restart your browsers.

I haven’t tried this because I didn’t see this workaround until it was too late, h/t to Mark F who shared this via our internal Apple mailing list.

If you’re interested in the Internet of Things like I am, here are some interesting links from the past few weeks for your reading pleasure:

Nest Learning Thermostat 2.0: The Old Nest, Just Better

Lockitron Project Sidesteps Kickstarter, Gets Massive Funding

GreenWave Reality ships WiFi-aware light bulbs that flick on through motion and smartphones

Meet the Arduino Due, the 32-bit board that’ll let your projects fly (really)

Rasperry Pi: Now mostly open source

Getting Started With The Raspberry Pi Is Not As Easy As Pie

If you love design, check out The Story Behind The Famous FedEx Logo, And Why It Works for a history of the logo and its famous use of negative space.

I had a request for hackathon resources come to me via email from one of the participants. I guess they enjoyed the Oracle Social Network Developer Challenge experience and want to run something similar internally to spark some creativity.

Probably the best way to learn more about hackathons is to join one, but here are some helpful links that discuss the dos and don’ts.

Hackathon Hacks for Organizers

Hackathons Aren’t Just for Hacking

Hackathon Planning In Less Than 10 Steps

Putting Plans to Work: Best Practices for Hackathon Demo Days

Paul (@ppedrazzi) shared 99 Life Hacks to make your life easier! a very extensive collection of cool tricks. Pretty sure you’ll find at least a dozen that work for you.

I’ve been wondering if anyone would find link posts useful. By link posts, I mean posts that just include interesting content I’ve found through various sources, posted with some commentary, like the 4 Short Links posts O’Reilly Radar does.

I find myself using Twitter less and less for content sharing, and oversharing on Facebook tends to get noisy.

Find the comments if you’re interested or not. I may go that route anyway to augment regular ramblings.

Speaking of content, I’m really loving Pocket, formerly know as Read it Later. Pocket’s integrations with other reading sources, like Google Reader and Chrome extension, makes it almost too easy to use the service. If I didn’t already have a concern about the viability of free services like this (see Delicious, Posterous), I’d be a lot more bullish.

I haven’t checked, but I really hope they have an export utility, in case of fire.

I’ve been grilling a lot lately, even in the cold and rainy Fall, and I recently tried an experiment, buying a whole chicken and cutting it up into parts myself. Turns out this is fairly easy and saves a lot of money. You’ll spend a lot less per pound for a whole chicken than you do for pre-cut parts, and as a bonus, you can save the inedible parts for homemade chicken stock.

It’s messy and not necessarily for the faint-hearted, but it works. Big plus if you eat a lot of chicken.

Finally, from the things-I-don’t-get department, can someone explain why Microsoft produced a commercial for IE9? They run this ad constantly during football, and every time I see one, I wonder why. The browser comes with the OS and is OS-dependent, so it’s not like choice is an issue. If they run these in Europe, I get it, but why here?

I’ll bet if someone knows what a browser is and knows that choice is an option, IE9 is already losing.

The only thing I can come up with is this is marketing money spent on cool factor. FWIW I like the ad, as well as the “real version,” I just don’t get why.

As always, the comments await.




  1. Cutting up a chicken after dissecting a rat, and realizing I was habitually noting the structural similarities, was one of things that helped me decide to do something besides medical research.

    Too much twitter: I read the fifth word of your post as “contentment.” I had to reparse as I realized you didn’t mean you were taking a respite from a repose by doing more work here.

  2. Yeah, I can see where lots of dissection would get old. I suppose you’re suggesting that chickens are large rats. Maybe, it is what is it.

    Lay off the Twitters. Those things are bad for your health.

  3. Sorry, I thought you were aware of the twitter/facebook trojan making the rounds. Someone posts a variant of “what are you doing in that video?” with a link that appears to be to facebook, but is actually a hidden link that takes you to a lookalike with an embedded video, which appears to give you a “flash needs to be updated” message, just like the ones windows users get all the time. This drops a trojan named something like ‘flaashversion…” into the start directory, as well as propagating itself to some of your friends/followers. Welcome to antisocially engineered web 2.0.

  4. Oh, I’m aware of it 🙂 Just didn’t connect the dots between comments and content. I did notice your account was compromised. I’ve seen several accounts fall victim to that. Facebook recently had a similar one. Curiosity is a great attack vector.

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