Monthly Archives: February, 2005


Transmit is a fabulous FTP client for the Mac, which also does SFTP & WebDAV. I’ve always liked it, but the new version (3) has a couple of features which are really nice if you keep on your own machine copies of files which are on a remote machine:

  • You can ‘Link Folder Navigation’ meaning that as you move through the tree of files on one machine, it automatically changes to the matching directory on the other.
  • You can set up ‘DockSend’ for your favourites. If you drag a file from somewhere within your local filesystem onto the Transmit icon in the Dock, and it recognises the local origin as being within a directory that has a copy on the server, it will connect, upload the file to the appropriate place in the remote hierarchy, and disconnect again. Too cute.

It has loads of other features too, but these are the new ones that may not be known to existing Transmit users. Highly recommended.

Avoiding the beachball while surfing…

Mac owners who use the Safari browser sometimes find that they start to get the ‘spinning beachball’ cursor fairly often, while Safari takes a short pause to contemplate life. I found a couple of hints that are supposed to fix this:

  • Under Safari Preferences…select Autofill and then turn off “other forms.”
  • Quit Safari and delete your ~/Library/Safari/Icons directory. This caches the ‘favicons’ which may be associated with each site and it can, apparently, get a bit clogged up.

I’ve just tried these, and things seem snappier, though it’s a bit early to say for certain…

Follow-up, a day later – yes, it certainly seems to have helped a lot.

Your very own Green Goddess

The ‘Green Goddess’ has been an important part of fire and rescue services in the UK for half a century. They appear on the streets when the regular Fire Services go on strike. Now you too can own one

Follow-up: Apparently The Times announced that the whole fleet was to be disbanded. That was in January 1978. But they’re still going. Which just goes to show that, arrr, they don’t make ’em like they used to…

Oil protestors meet their match

A group of Greenpeace activists tried to storm the International Petroleum Exchange in London on Wednesday and got more than they bargained for. Times report here. Now, I’m very much in favour of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and I think Kyoto is a Very Good Thing.

Some of the loony left, however, believe that when they can’t win by force of rational argument, they have a moral right to disrupt & damage things and to do so with impunity. I think it’s high time that they got a taste of their own medicine, though I fear that they won’t view their bruises in that way.

Don’t believe anything you read in the papers…

It’s quite educational, too, to read the account from the BBC of the same event and see what a very different an impression it gives you. I don’t think this is primarily because of political bias in either case. The Times, which is in danger of becoming the tabloid for the polysyllabic, paints a fairly unpleasant picture of both the traders and the protestors, gives you more gory details and portrays it as more of a battlefield. The BBC gives the impression that there was some disruption but then everybody went home for tea.

To Catch a Thief

A couple of weeks ago, a burglar broke into the flat belonging to my friend Duncan Grisby.
Sadly, burglaries are all too common in the Cambridge area, and the police are unwilling or incapable of doing anything about it. I have never, ever, heard of a burglar being caught, and certainly never heard of them being sentenced as a result.

Until now. This one hadn’t reckoned on Duncan and his software.

More information from the BBC and from Duncan’s own website.

The prices, they are a-droppin’

Amazon have this Digimate 17″ TFT Monitor for £139.99 now. Add a keyboard and mouse for £9.99 and a basic Mac mini and you can have a flat-screen Mac for under £500.

(Though in fact I’d recommend adding a bit more RAM to the Mac, and going for the slightly more pricey Apple keyboard & mouse – total cost about £580 including VAT, or about £500 without)

Reading backwards

Weblogs are almost always organised in reverse-chronological order; the most recent posts first. This gives a feeling of the most important news headlines being at the top of the page, with older stuff ‘below the fold’, and was important when most people read blogs using their web browser. It’s less vital now that so many are using RSS readers which highlight what’s new for you anyway.

Anyway, it means that there’s an increasing number of web pages that I read backwards, or at least scroll parts of them backwards in order to follow the development of an idea. Is this something we’ll all do naturally in a few years?

I’ve often thought that blogs should show the most recent days first, but should go forward chronologically within a day.

Mahatma Gandhi and Mary Poppins?

I’ve mentioned Bob Shaver’s rather nice Patent Pending site before. Sometimes you find things here which aren’t really about patents, like this


A New Scientist article about printing food…

Should I admit defeat?

John has opened a whole new frontier in the gadget war. After a recent visit to the Apple store in London, he gave me a gift of an iPod Shuffle. This means that he not only has technical superiority, but the moral high ground as well! I suspect he sleeps with a copy of The Art of War under his pillow…

iPod Shuffle

Now, when the Shuffle came out, I must confess to thinking that it was a cute toy for those who couldn’t afford a real iPod, and I didn’t feel the least bit tempted. But having owned one for a few hours, I must say that, much to my surprise, I’m entranced! It’s just beautiful. I love the fact that it feels too light to actually contain any components, let alone a battery.

I love the fact that I can slip it in a pocket and still have room for other things. I love the way it sits, apparently lifeless, on my dashboard or desk, while pumping out high-quality music into my speakers. I love the fact it’s less than half the size of the dock for my regular iPod. I love… well, you get the idea. It’s not going to replace my big iPod for car use or for taking on trips with me, but as an everyday way of carrying music around, it’s great.

Now here’s an interesting thing. A USB plug normally has 4 connections in it: power, ground and two data lines. The iPod Shuffle has some extra lines slipped in between the usual ones, and nobody seems to know quite what they are.

They may be there simply for high-speed programming during manufacture, but I rather hope they have extra functionality, such as audio out, and control signals. I’m dreaming of plugging it straight into the front of my car stereo or my home amplifier.

More Perestroika

A pronunciation guide for Cyrillic characters:

Arrows in iTunes

OK, OK, I’m a bit slow with this one…

In iTunes (unless you’ve turned them off in Preferences) there are little arrows beside the entries in the columns which take you to relevant pages in the iTunes Music Store.

Did you know that by holding down the option/alt key you could use them to jump to relevant places in your own iTunes library? Much more useful. And you can toggle this behaviour so that using your local library is the default and you need to hold down Option to go to the Music Store. Very nice.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser