Monthly Archives: May, 2005

More Tiger display hints

I wrote about the ability in the new Mac OS X to drive portrait-mode displays. Normally, on Powerbooks, this only applies to external displays. There is, however, a hidden way to rotate the internal display, which can be nice if you want to view a whole page:

Open System Preferences (it mustn’t already be running) and hold down Alt while clicking the Displays icon. You’ll then get the option to rotate the display.

Warning! This doesn’t rotate the trackpad! It can therefore be a fun challenge to manipulate the cursor after doing this. If you have a mouse, you can turn either it or the laptop through 90 degrees and everything is easy! This works quite well:

Laptop in portrait mode!

T-mobile GPRS via Motorola V3 on Mac

It took me some time to work out how to connect to my T-Mobile (UK) GPRS network using my Mac and my Motorola V3 RAZR phone, so I’ve posted this in case somebody out there is Googling for similar things!

  1. Go to Ross Barkman’s splendid page and download the ‘Scripts for Motorola GPRS phones’. Unstuff it and copy the scripts into /Library/Modem Scripts
  2. Quit Internet Connect and System Preferences if they’re running. They need to restart to pick up the new modem scripts.
  3. Look at the Readme that comes with the scripts. In particular, if you’ve used GPRS phone connections before you may be expecting to put *99# as the phone number. These scripts expect you to put the APN instead, which in my case is
  4. You may need to configure the PPP connection, for example to turn off PPP Echo packets. This sort of control is not available through Internet Connect, so go to the Network section of System Preferences, select the Bluetooth section and click Configure. Here you can set the PPP options
  5. You can also choose the Bluetooth Modem type. I used Motorola GPRS CID 1.
  6. The account name for T-mobile in the UK is ‘user’ and the password is ‘pass’. Similar information for other networks is on Ross’s page.
  7. Configurations made through System Prefs seem to update a default ‘Main Number’ configuration in Internet Connect when you click ‘Apply’. The interaction between these two is not entirely clear – I should stick to making changes in the System Prefs.

Store Wars

The Organic Trade Association has come up with some fabulous marketing… well worth watching if you know anything about Star Wars.


Rose bought some broccoli from our local supermarket. It came in a plastic bag.

On the bag, it says, “To preserve freshness, this product has been packed in a bag”.


A very cool new utility included in Tiger is Grapher, which draws lovely graphs of equations in 2d or 3d, and does a whole lot more too.

This is z = 1-sin(x)+sin(2y), but there are some much more complicated and beautiful examples in the ‘Examples’ menu:

What you can’t see here is the fact that it’s rotating gently, and you can turn it in any direction you want using the mouse…

Worth investigating.

And the Pretzel Bakers

Found this wonderful story on Tony Price’s blog:

A Nazi SS trooper accosts an old rabbi, points a gun at his head, and demands, “Tell me, who’s to blame for all the world’s troubles?”

The old rabbi knows the right answer, and trembling he admits, “The Jews.”

The SS man smiles and nods.

“And the pretzel bakers,” adds the rabbi.

“Why the pretzel bakers?” demands the Nazi.

“Why the Jews?”

The power of positive politics

It struck me today that any opposition trying to get into power has a real problem if the populace as a whole is not too dissatisfied with the status quo. Yes, well, of course, that’s obvious, but my point is a little more subtle. Not very – I’m a Bear of Very Little Brain.

The party in government just has to keep enthusing about how good everything is. They have, essentially, a positive message. The other parties have to persuade people that everything is very bad at the moment and so they must start with a negative spin which makes them less appealing. I mean, who wants to hear from people who are complaining all the time?

Mind you, this is probably balanced very neatly by the phonomenon of people wanting a change because the grass is always greener…

Not very deep really. It must be bedtime.

Au revoir, Rendezvous…

Bonjour, Bonjour!

Apple’s Rendezvous technology, largely an implementation of the Zeroconf standards, has been renamed to ‘Bonjour’ for trademark reasons.

What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Following yesterday’s not-entirely-smooth upgrade process, I now have my main machine running Tiger, and, apart from a few wrinkles, it’s great. (Here’s a very minor wrinkle for UK users: if you install the weather widget in Dashboard, it’ll cleverly select London as the location for the forecasts. Unfortunately, I think it’s selecting London, Ontario, or one of the other Londons; the forecast certainly isn’t right for us. Specify “London, United Kingdom” and it’s fine) Two and a half years ago, after installing Jaguar, I wrote that one of the good things about Apple software updates is that they generally make your machine faster, where Microsoft ones (in my now rather distant experience) tended to do the opposite. Well, the trend continues, and though there are some things that take more time in Tiger, in general the system seems noticeably snappier.

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times

The following is an account of my experiences upgrading my Powerbook to the new “Tiger” version of Mac OS X – a long spiel which is probably of very little interest to anybody not likely to be doing the same thing… and probably not of much interest to them!

This turned out to be a very long post and only suitable for those with great stamina, so I’ve moved it into the Comments. Summary for the rest of you: Buy an external firewire drive if you don’t have one, do a complete bootable backup onto it before starting. Then reboot with a system CD and use Disk Utility to verify/repair your disk. Then do the install. Then reboot with the Tiger DVD and ‘Repair permissions’. That’s my recommendation, anyway, and you can read the rest if you want to know the reasoning.

Who Should You Vote For?

Who Should You Vote For? is a site that I think all UK voters should at least try. It asks for your views on various key subjects and tells you how they match up with the views of the various parties. I was certainly surprised by the results it came up with for me, but I could see the logic behind them.

It has two major problems, from my point of view.

  • It doesn’t ask you to rate your view of the competency/reliability/desirability of the individuals involved in any given party. I think this is important.
  • It should be called ‘For whom should you vote?’ 🙂

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser