Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Computer Stuff

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I looked at a couple of computery things recently. Among them and notable are the following: For those people who like playing games there are positions open in anti-corporate techniques in online gaming attacking product placement in The Sims. They also have an amusing little flame war following the article, featuring lines as

My dad can beat up your dad.

Over at Ars Technica the ever insightful and well-writing Hannibal Stokes presents the first installment of a series on Understanding the Microprocessor.

Back in the bad old days, programmers had to enter programs directly in machine language (after having walked five miles in the snow uphill both ways).

While I had read most of the stuff in this part already, it will probably a good reference and the following parts should be very interesting. They also have a reference to a New Scientist article (which in turn references a Nature article) on how Mathematics unravels optimum way of shoe lacing. This reminds me a bit of the Tie Knot thing that was around a while ago. Who said mathematics weren't useful?

Then, I 'discovered' yet another nifty bit of software for OS X: uControl. It lets you re-assign some of the modifier keys on the keyboard and provides a non-scollwhell scrollwheel feature. Now, I don't like scrollwheels, partly for æsthetic reasons, but mostly because I think that they should allow smooth scrolling, rather than that jerky discrete scrolling I got with every single scroll wheel I've tried so far. Now, with uControl, I can press the Fn key on the Powerbook and scroll ultra-smoothly using the trackpag. Neat. It allows other modifier keys as well to activate scrolling. I wonder wheter it's possible to use the right option/command key for this.

I was also happy to see that the useful TextExtras tools have been updated and have gained a couple of new features, including a font preview drawer for the font panel and the highlighting of matching braces. TextExtras are among the most useful tools I know. They also show how cool and open minded Cocoa is - allowing it's own capabilities to be extended in such a neat and powerful way.

On screenshot of patched location sheetthe productive - well sort-of productive - side, I patched Chimera's location entry sheet a little to use autocompletion and be wider. That was achieved by rearranging the buttons. While that may neither be quite to the letter of the HI guidelines nor extremely pretty it is extremely convenient as the buttons are hardly used anyway and the sheet works much better this way for it slides open reasonably quick now due to the decreased height and the autocompletion menu appears at a reasonable place, not covering up the buttons. And the best thing is that all this could be achieved in Interface Builder in just a minute or two (plus another minute or two for figuring out how the location and width of the autocomplete popup is determined). It's so incredibly easy that even I can do it.

Finally, I saw that over at MAC OS X Hints they claim that creating a set of network settings with all networks turned off may save some energy. I'll give that one a try as my Powerbook's battery isn't quite as good as it used to be anymore.

December 5, 2002, 17:27

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