If you start having DNS resolution issues after upgrading to Ubuntu 12.04, you can disable dnsmasq in Network Manager by commenting out the line “dns=dnsmasq” in “/etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf”.
CouchPotato is an automatic NZB and torrent downloader. You can keep a “movies I want”-list and it will search for NZBs/torrents of these movies every X hours. Once a movie is found, it will send it to SABnzbd or download the .nzb or .torrent to a specified directory.
If your VLC (or any other video player) only shows a green screen instead of playing mkv files properly, it means that it doesn’t support the encoding format. In my case, the mkv is encoded in 10 bit H.264 which is pretty cutting edge.
If you run into this problem as well, I recommend using MPlayerX (App Store link) or Movist.
The way Google display traveling methods on Google Maps are bugging me. They display two different input methods ways for users to do the same thing, i.e choosing a different traveling method (by car, walking or by public transit).
The first method is a combo box, which requires the users to click three times to select a new traveling method (select the box, choose method and finally click on “Get Directions”). The second method is by text links, which requires only one click.
Since the latter method is more efficient, why not eliminate the combo box altogether? Google prides itself in having easy to use, simple UI (mostly) after all.
Google showed a sample Chrome extension that shows the number of unread messages in a user’s Gmail account on a toolbar (or toolstrip in Google’s jargon). Unlike other browsers, Chrome shows these toolstrips at the bottom of the browser chrome, prioritizing content over toolbars. Though uncommon, I think this is the right approach as having too many extension toolbars at the top can be annoying.
Just found out tonight that the default unarchiver utility on Mac OS X Leopard doesn’t know how to work with password protected zip files.
The Unarchiver is a free tool that allows OS X users to easily decompress password protected zip files and supports more compression formats than the default compression utility that comes bundled with OS X.
Creating a password protected zip file on OS X also requires a little bit more work (unless you don’t mind paying for a shareware program). You can either:
Run the zip program from the terminal with the encrypt flag: “zip -e example.zip example.txt”
I also found this 5 year old GUI tool “Zippist" which allows you to create passworded zip files (drop the file you want to compress into Zippist while holding the Command key)
Both tasks are pretty basic and I feel that all modern operating systems should ship with good file compression support, so this is one area where Apple can definitely improve on. I hope OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard will ship with a much more functional file compression/decompression utility but in the mean time, we will have to rely on third party applications.
Spent a little time organizing my music collection today and found this little gem called “Get Lyrical" (Mac OS X 10.5+) that can automatically add lyrics to songs in iTunes libraries. Saves me the trouble of manually inputting lyrics into iTunes.
To make web apps fully replace desktop apps, being able to quickly drag and drop files into your browser to speed up sending file attachments and perform other tasks is not just a “nice to have”, but a must.
A few ways to achieve this effect is to use a Java Applet, or using browser extensions like dragdropupload and BrowserPlus, which the user needs to download separately.
In order to speed up the adoption of web based apps, isn’t it about time that browsers ship with a feature that allows developers to implement desktop file interaction easily, without requiring users to do any additional work?
Google is already bundling Gears into Chrome to enable offline storage, and I think desktop file interaction is not much less important.
Thoughts on Using Content Scripts as Browser Extensions
More and more browser extensions today come in the form of user scripts. This trend will probably continue, as Greasemonkey style plugins become more popular. A few months ago, Google also unveiled that they plan are using content scripts to power Chromium’s extension system.
Off the top of my head, the only drawback is that content scripts cannot easily share the same (pseudo) toolbar space with other extensions, so achieving the effect below will be hard for content scripts (correct me if I’m wrong).
Unless, of course, somebody develops a standardized toolbar framework that can be used by not one, but many content scripts, enabling them to share toolbar space with other extensions.
Being paranoid about the number of browser security vulnerabilities, I don’t store my passwords on Firefox (even with the master password feature) but keep them in a separate Keepass database instead.
However, I do store the usernames for the various online services I use in Firefox so I don’t need to type out my username everytime. Since Firefox doesn’t have the option of saving just the username, I get around this by deliberately typing in the wrong password (but the username is right) everytime I login to a new service and make Firefox remember the login information.
On subsequent visits to the website, Firefox automatically fills out both the username and password fields (with the wrong password of course), so I just need to refill the password field without having to worry about typing in the username.
What would be ideal is of course having a browser that is capable to save only the username part of a login credential and automatically put the browser focus on the password field. This way I can right away type in the password without needing to touch the username field at all.
Interesting article touching on what I believe will indeed happen in the future. Even now I already communicate mostly using emails instead of SMS to other people with smartphones (easily archive-able and searchable), other people with BlackBerries use BlackBerry Messenger instead of SMS.
With the introduction of VoIP apps like Skype for iPhone, voice communications will also slowly transition to being IP based. Granted now they only allow SkypeOut calls to be made over wifi, but progress are being made.
Random Crashes Playing Video Files from NTFS Drives
I’ve been having problems with random crashes when playing video files from an NTFS formatted external hard drives using NTFS-3G.
Most video files would play just fine for about 10 minutes or so but after that the video would just stop, VLC and Finder will stop responding. After relaunching Finder, the external disk does not show up on Finder although unplugging it will cause OS X to complain that it detected a device has been forcefully removed.
The video files themselves are not corrupt, as I was able to play them without problems after copy the files over to my Mac. Also tested playing the files while still on external disk with QuickTime, same problem so it’s definitely an issue with either NTFS-3G (0.9.8) or MacFUSE (2.0.3).
If you are having the same problem, the workaround for this problem is copying the files into your Mac’s internal disk before playing the file.
VLC 0.9.9 was just released. This is an important update for Mac users as it improves video decoding on Intel based Macs, especially for those like me with a MacBook Air.
My MacBook Air always chokes on playing H.264 encoded Matroska videos with VLC 0.9.8a, consuming 100% CPU utilization (the codec VLC uses is not multi threaded apparently). I had to use Plex to play H.264 videos smoothly on MacBook Air.
But after installing VLC 0.9.9, I found out that it’s able to play H.264 encoded videos smoothly, only consuming about 65% CPU on my MacBook Air so now I can use VLC as my only video player on Mac.
Props for the VLC developers for another high quality release :). Get the latest release of VLC from here.
Flabell is still in beta but from 5 minutes of browsing through the website, it seems to be just as customizable as XSPF Jukebox, and its FAQ page also tells you how to customize the font type, which I couldn’t figure out how to do in XSPF, as I don’t know Flash.
Currently the MP3 player is available as a free download, though I’m not sure if they will begin charging for that soon so might as well grab it now if you can.
IrfanView has always been my preferred image viewer to read mangas on Windows and I have been looking for a replacement ever since switching to Mac. The Preview app which comes with Mac OS doesn’t cut it because :
Doesn’t allow full screen viewing of jpgs
Doesn’t remember the last zoom preference when moving between image files
Sequential does this and it also supports two finger multitouch gestures for zooming and three fingure gestures to move to the next/previous file on MacBook’s multitouch trackpad.