Ed’s Weblog

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Archive for June, 2005

Tiger, Safari and X11

Posted by Ed on June 19, 2005

So I finally upgraded my OSX to 10.4, or Tiger, thanks to the Case site license. There are quite a few improvements and some very nice features. The first thing I noticed is that the whole thing feels a lot snappier than Panther did, and that alone makes it worth the upgrade. One word of caution though: X11 is not included in the default install, which I didn’t realise. When I remounted the net-install disk after doing the installation, I couldn’t modify it. So someone at the Case ITS is going to send me a stand-alone X11User package. I couldn’t find it for download anywhere on the Apple site.

The most useful new feature is Spotlight, which indexes your entire drive and lets you find more or less anything in a flash. I’ve only been using it for a couple of days, but it seems very nice. Having said that, I was using Quicksilver on Panther, and Spotlight is not yet as good as that. Quicksilver is very highly recommended if you’re still on Panther.

Another big improvement is Safari 2, and in particular its RSS capabilities. To bring the functionality up to Firefox levels though, you will have to install a couple of other apps and plugins. The first of these is delicious2safari, which will import your delicious bookmarks into Safari (not quite as nice as foxylicious though). Secondly, fiwt will give you type-ahead-find.

Finally, the new Dashboard is very cool, but the number of truly useful widgets is quite limited. There are a lot of widgets which look great but are either not useful to me, or are better suited to full apps.


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Energy Efficiency

Posted by Ed on June 2, 2005

There’s a big energy conference going on here at Case today, which I’m not attending because I didn’t register in time, with a very interesting-sounding programme covering technological and economic aspects of energy production in the 21st century. Such luminaries as the governor of Ohio, BP’s chief scientist, various government bods and a few greens will be there. They’ll be talking about hydrogen, fuel cells, renewables, nuclear, and just maybe, energy efficiency and conservation. Check out the webcast here.

Meanwhile, back in the lab, we’re pumping energy out the window so we all have to sit about in sweaters all day even though it’s 25°C outside! On the wall of my office, there’s a little dial with some numbers on it that imply that by turning the dial I can reduce the amount of energy being pumped. Not so, alas. It’s merely a placebo; one which I tried to get fixed last summer in the same situation. Maybe I’ll have more luck this year.

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