New PowerBook G3

I am now the proud owner of a PowerBook. It may be an old, long in the tooth PowerBook G3, but it’s still a PowerBook dammit. There are some people who consider this model to be one of Apple’s best in terms of industrial design and usability.

The reason I’m now part of the PowerBook in-crowd is because my aunt just purchased a new iBook after she ran into some problems with this machine. The so called “Mac Genius” who waited on her at the Apple Store in Nashville told her she would need to buy a new hard drive and reinstall OS 9 to get the PowerBook running again. She didn’t feel like going through that process. I told her I could help her out with the upgrades and reinstall—she offered it to me instead.

After picking up this machine from her house last week, I powered this sucker on to see if I could diagnose the problem. It seemed to boot up fine, which led me to believe that the hard drive was intact. It was only after the Finder tried to load that this PowerBook locked up. I promptly looked the error message up in Google to see if there were any answers out on the Interweb. Lucky for me the first result that popped up offered a solution. So after about 15 minutes of work I had this laptop back up and running. Who’s the “Mac Genius” now?

After getting the PB running again, I decided to do a little research on installing Tiger and setting up wireless networking with it. It seems that these Powerbook G3’s run Tiger just fine. I did go out and buy a new 512MB ram stick from MacAuthority here in town. I knew 64MB just wasn’t going to cut it. I also found this article on “Pismos” at LowEndMac which mentioned this Belkin 802.11g wireless card as being compatible with AirPort. The only thing left is to upgrade the hard drive once I buy a new one for my Mac mini.

I’m pretty excited about this new PowerBook (well, new to me at least). I’ve never owned a laptop, let alone one that had wireless Internet access. I think this will allow me to post more to my blog now that I don’t have to tied down to my desktop. It’s also going to come in handy for traveling and to use as a portable workstation. It may not be super powerful, but it’ll be enough for what I want to get out of a portable machine.

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In All My Widescreen Glory

Desktop Screen Cap

I finally opened the wallet and grabbed one of the Dell 2005FPW flat-panel displays while they were on special this week. My wife and I have been talking about purchasing a new display ever since we bought our Mac mini in August. We’d been thinking about “rollin’ deep” with 20“ Apple Cinema Display (ACD), but we were also considering the Dell as an option. The major plus about the ACD is that it would have totally kept the Apple look and feel consistent. The only bad thing about it is the dreaded ”Apple Premium“. Was it really worth $350 more to get a display that completely matched my system?

As you can tell, I’m not so blinded by the allure of Apple. The 2005FPW is, for all intent and purposes, the same display as the ACD. I just didn’t feel like getting road hard and put up wet over it. This display rocks so far. It makes my creaky 19” CRT seem like a pile of sludge. I hadn’t realized how bad that monitor was getting. I have a feeling my wife will think the same thing once she puts some time in on the computer this weekend.

Rating so far: 8.5/10

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Entertainment Execs = Boneheads

This story in Variety really pisses me off. Do the suits/morons that work in the entertainment business have any semblance of a clue? Their panties are getting all in a bunch just because TiVo is going to offer out-of-the-box support for downloading shows to iPods and PSPs. I say right on TiVo.

There are quite a few programs out in the wild right now that will allow consumers to do just this very thing. TiVo gets my applause (Hurry up with the Mac support!) for making this easier for the non-techies out there who would love to watch Lost or Veronica Mars on their iPods while they’re on the go.

Everyday I realize that the only fair use the entertainment boneheads are interested in is what’s fair to them. Now I know why I don’t feel bad when I use BitTorrent.

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Your Friendly, Family Tech Support Guy

Being the resident “Geek” in my family, most of the tech support issues that crop up in my immediate family tend to fall on my shoulders. As you may have read in my earlier post about buying a Mac mini, I’ve moved away from the Windows platform so I don’t have to play games with my OS to keep it updated and virus/spyware/malware/RATware/crapware free. I’d rather focus on using my computer as a tool rather than fighting with it in order to get it operational.

While I’ve been able to successfully move away from the menial updating tasks in my everyday computing life, I still have to deal with my family and their desire to buy the cheapest Dell they see advertised in the paper on Sunday. I’ve already set my mom up with a good base of spyware removal and blocking tools (AdAware, Spybot and SpywareBlaster), additional firewall software (ZoneAlarm), a virus scanning and removal tool (AVG Anti-Virus) and a more secure browser platform (FireFox of course).

This seems to have kept her secure for the most part; the only real problem with this set up is keeping it up-to-date with patches and new definition files. Usually this takes me an hour or so every month since my mom has no idea how to operate any of this software effectively. The best thing about this is my mom is always nice enough to feed me every time I go over to her house to help with her routine maintenance.

I’m sure there are more “geeks” out there who are, by default, the main tech support facilitator for their families. It’s not a bad thing, but I sometimes find it hard to comprehend that my mom or dad didn’t grow up doing this and they don’t care to learn about it as much as I do. They just want it to work. From here on out, I’m recommending all of my family members buy a Mac when it comes time to upgrade. That will take the burden off me after I set them up initially.

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Update on Wireless ReplayTV Connection

In a previous entry, I talked about the frustration I had to put up with as I tried to modify a couple of Linksys WRT54G routers in order to get my two ReplayTV’s talking to each other wirelessly. I’m happy to say that all is well here in ReplayTV land. I took back both of the Linksys routers, and I purchased two Buffalo WHR-HP-G54s to take their place.

These Buffalo routers support WDS bridging right out of the box. Set up was a snap. I was up an running in less than 2 hours. I also didn’t have to deal with any command line Linux. That was too much for me. I’ll stick with the little bit I know how to do in Terminal here on Mac OS X.

If you’re looking for a way to wirelessly connect two or more ReplayTVs, then these Buffalo routers are your best bet. I purchased mine at for $49.95 a piece (right now they’re $77 each). They are easy to set up, have tons of features and the Buffalo support team is top notch. You can’t go wrong with these.

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More on NetNewsWire’s Functionality

So, I had a little downtime this afternoon at work waiting for some responses about a project. I figured now would be a good time to try and see if there are any other Applescripts out there for NetNewsWire that would allow me to email an article to someone. The only one I could find that seemed to work was Feed Mailer by LittleAppleScripts. This is a great little Applescript, but it only works with I use Entourage at work, so I wanted something that would work with it. I’m assuming that it’s impossible to implement via Applescript because you would think someone would’ve done so by now.

While I was browsing the Ranchero NNW Scripts page, I found a new listing for a and Cocoalicious tagging script. I’ve been using the older Post to script since I started reading my feeds in NNW and I thought it was OK in it’s functionality. Reading about this new script turned me on to Cocoalicious which is an excellent piece of software all Mac owners should have if they use

This new script allows you to post tagged items to by going through the Cocoalicious interface instead of popping up a browser window. It saves a few seconds this way, and it also allows you to keep your focus on reading your feeds. Now I can see something I think will be handy, post it and keep going through all of my feeds. This script will even post straight out the News Items list. Those are two huge time savers over the previous script.

I love finding more options within a piece of software I use everyday. This makes my investment in NNW worth so much more. Now, as long as this program keeps up it’s stellar track record, I won’t have to worry too much about this rumor currently making it’s way around the Mac Internets. News Gator better not screw this one up. There will be many Mac Zealots who will be royally pissed off if that happens.

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NetNewsWire & Bloglines

I’ve been using NetNewsWire for about four months now to keep track of all of my RSS feeds. Before, I was using Bloglines to keep track of my feeds at home and at work. I always knew NNW could sync up with my Bloglines account, so I thought I would give it a try this morning just to see what the results were. Unfortunately, they weren’t what I was expecting.

I guess it has to do with the Bloglines API and it’s limited functionality for adding feeds and lack of groups support. I like to have all of my feeds neatly sorted into different categories so I can decide what topic I want to read next. In order to keep my Bloglines account updated via NNW, I would have to throw all of my groups out the window. I don’t really think I could read my feeds without them at this stage in the game.

The other feature I disliked is the inability to add feeds from NNW to Bloglines. I would really like to see this implemented (if possible) on the API. There are many times when I’m reading a feed and I get linked to a site that is something I would like to add to my collection of feeds. In order to do this with the NNW/Bloglines setup I’d be required to login in to my Bloglines account. Again, this type of workaround is just something so foreign to me now that I’ve been using NNW exclusively.

In all, I commend Ranchero for adding this functionality to NNW. I know they did the best they could with the Bloglines API in it’s current form. Hopefully there will be some increased functionality added to it by the good folks at Bloglines. I still use my Bloglines account when I’m on the go; I just wish I could keep my feeds updated from NNW in a more comfortable manner.

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Frustrating Weekend of Linksys Router Hacking

Recently my wife and I remodeled our upstairs to make it a master suite (pictures once we get all of our furniture situated). In the course of moving up stairs, we finally were able to install a TV back in our bedroom. Our other room downstairs didn’t have a cable television feed., My wife wants to be able to watch the shows we record on our ReplayTV on our TV upstairs. For all of you who are married, you know you have to deliver once the wife gets an idea in her head.

So I went about setting up another DVR in a normal fashion. I purchased another ReplayTV to serve the bedroom, and I also went out and bought two Linksys WRT54G wireless routers. I have heard that it’s easy to upgrade the firmware on the WRT54G, so I figured I would be up and running in no time.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The problem lies with the fact that all of the latest Linksys routers you can buy at your everyday Best Buy or CompUSA are now Version 4. It seems that very few of the third-party firmware developers support Version 4. The only 2 firmware projects that support what I needed (WDS) are HyperWRT and OpenWRT.

HyperWRT is the most similar to the stock Linksys firmware out of these two. It actually has a web based admin page which makes it very easy to configure. I had to search around for some user based scripts to save in the firmware in order to enable WDS. Unfortunately none of those seemed to operate correctly.

The other firmware, OpenWRT, is an entirely Linux command line utiity. I’ve only just dabbled with Terminal in OS X, so my Linux chops are sorely undeveloped. I have to say getting a baptism by fire in command line Linux use is not a way to spend a weekend, unless of course you like torturing yourself. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning on both Saturday and Sunday poring over OpenWRT documentation trying my damnedest to get the routers to talk to each other.

After fiddling with both routers most of the day on Sunday, I decided that I was just going to reset everything to the default settings and return the routers. I’m going to do what I should of done in the first place when I started the crazy plan, which is buy a Buffalo Airstation WBR2-54GS. It supports WDS right out the box. Sometimes I just have to know when to throw in the towel.

“You win some. You lose some. But you live, you live to fight another day.” – Mr. Jones, Friday

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Strange Things Are Afoot at the Circle K

For some reason I’m having problems logging on to a couple of different sites from home. I can’t get to or I don’t know if this is an isolated issue, or if it’s some sort Comcast related shenanigans. I could see why Comcast would want to block both of these sites. I just hope that’s not really what’s going on here. I did have a DNS problem a few months back, so maybe that’s cropped up again.

I always think the worst when I can’t get to a site. I wish there were more options for broadband access. Unfortunately there isn’t. The Supreme Court obviously didn’t think it was a good idea to deregulate the cable lines. What do they know anyway. They said it was cool for the Government to seize private property so long as someone had a better use for it.

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iPod nano

Over the last week, the iPod nano has been a gigantic topic on the Internets. I’m not going to put my 2 cents on if it’s a good move by Apple or not. All I’m going to say is that I’ve already made plans to sell my iPod mini and Shuffle in order to buy a Black nano. Those things are shit hot! It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

P.S. This is also my first post using ecto. I’m trying it out to see if it’s any better than MarsEdit. There are just some weird things MarsEdit does that I don’t like. I figured this was worth a shot.

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