Entries from March 2006

Texas Bound


It’s that time of year again when designers, web gurus, nerds, and other ne’er-do-wells congregate like party-hungry lamprey in Austin, Texas for another kick at the can that is South by Southwest, version 2006. I’m off bright and early tomorrow morning with my friendly travelling companion James McNally for this year’s conference cum 5-day party, and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with friends and meeting new people.

For those of you attending, see you soon! For those of you who are content to watch from the sidelines, I’ll be sure to bring you back some sunshine, BBQ meat, and stories of frivolity and derring-do. Austin-ho!

How to Run Windows on an Intel Mac with Q

Windows XP on Mac

If you’re a mac nerd (heck, if you’re a plain ol’ nerd) you’ve probably heard about the success of a couple of guys to get Windows XP installed and booting on one of the new Intel macs.

For any mac user who wants to play games (once video drivers are found) or work directly with hardware (which is often difficult or impossible under emulation), this is great news. Once a more streamlined, simple process is found I’m sure this will cause more than a few Windows users to take the plunge and switch.

But working stiffs like me need a method of quickly jumping into Windows to test something, jump back to our text editor / graphics program / whatever to make a change, jump back into Windows to test that change, and so on. Having to shut Mac OS X down and boot into Windows just to test small changes would be a huge productivity drain (not to mention a big pain in the ass).

Up until recently Virtual PC (created by Connectix and now owned by Microsoft) was the best-known and fastest solution to the dilemma of running Windows programs on a mac. It allows you to run Windows in, well, a window under Mac OS X, just like any other application. Windows runs emulated (meaning all of the Windows code is translated on-the-fly), so the speed isn’t anything to shout to the rooftops about, but it’s usable.

(An aside: Considering that Rosetta (Apple’s technology for running PPC programs on Intel Macs) is basically on-the-fly emulation that translates PPC programs into something the Intel macs can understand, I would assume it’s not so crazy that a version of Rosetta could do the same for Windows programs. While I have my doubts that Apple would add this feature to Mac OS X any time soon, wouldn’t that be an incredible way to entice Windows users to switch? Hey you, got a Windows program and want to run it on Mac SO X? Just double-click on it and bang, it will just work. Ah, we can only dream.)

Unfortunately, Virtual PC doesn’t run on the new Intel macs yet, Microsoft has stated that they plan to port it over at some point, but what to do until then?

Enter Q.

» How to Run Windows on an Intel Mac with Q continues...

G4, G5, and Intel optimized Firefox 2.0 alpha 2

mactel_firefox.pngDamn, there are a lot of nerd posts on this site these days…

Anyway, for all of you bleeding edge, early adopter, thrill-seeking nerds out there I’ve built an optimized version of the Firefox 2.0 alpha release (codenamed “Bon Echo”) for G4 and Mac Intel machines that includes aqua form widgets. A G5-optimized version is also available.

Folks, the name has “alpha” in it for a reason - if you’re not comfortable running pre-pre-release software, then stay far, far away from this build.

Check out more deets on Bon Echo, including an abbreviated what’s new and other goodies.

Updated May 15: I’ve built a brand new version of the Firefox 2.0 (“Bon Echo”) alpha, version 2.0a2. I will continue to update this post as the Mozilla group updates the official Firefox 2.0 pre-release builds.

The Mozilla links weblog (which I believe is new?) has a really good overview of what’s new in Firefox 2.0, so check it out.


No, I’m not going to build a version with Firefoxy widgets, at least not yet. This is an alpha, after all, so subsequent builds are pretty much guaranteed. Once the final Firefox 2.0 release is available, however, I will build versions with both form widgets. But for now it’s aqua or nothing.

Okay, now it’s time to go and see The National and forget that I’m a nerd for a few hours…



I just launched the first stage of a site redesign for a friend’s band that I wanted to quickly pimp. Novillero (spanish for “novice bullfighter”) hail from my hometown of Winnipeg, and I think they’re just super. They’ve got this interesting mix of pop, rock, and soul, mixed with a healthy does of energy and melodies that quickly become pleasantly embedded in one’s cerebral cortex.

If you believe that the company one keeps is an indication of worthiness, you should know that they’re signed to the same label that is home to The New Pornographers and Neko Case - Mint Records.

At any rate, I took on their site initially as a favour because I thought (and still think) that designers need to use their superskills to spread the word on interesting or cool things. In my book Novillero passes that test with flying colours. Do yourself a favour and check them out.

Help me read one novel a month

One of the decisions I made while down in Austin surrounded by lots and lots of intimidatingly smart people was: I need to read more long fiction.

Before I got involved with the dirty succubus called The Web I used to read fiction. A lot. Working full-time as a bookseller for a few years probably had plenty to do with this. I would spend hours pouring through The Quill & Quire, the New York Times Book Review, and other collections of book reviews looking for new, interesting books to read. Back then I read a new book probably every two weeks.

Now? Not so much. I read a fair bit of short fiction courtesy of McSweeney’s and other excellent anthologies, but I haven’t read a novel in quite some time. I intend to change that.

Every month, starting April 1st, I want to read a different novel.

So, what should I read? Give me some suggestions in the comments. I tend to prefer literary fiction, but I’ll try anything (except fantasy) for at least 50 to 100 pages.

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