Entries from January 2007

Optimized Firefox for G4, G5, and Intel Macs

Updated January 6: G4-optimized versions are now available! I haven’t had much time to test these, but from what I can tell they work just fine.

I had a bit of time between jousting with other frantic last-minute Christmas shoppers and relaxing with my family to build some optimized versions of the recent Firefox maintenance release, nee version

What’s new?

firefoxThe release notes on what’s new shows that this release is mainly bug fixes and security updates. If you want all of the gory details you can pop on over to the Mozilla site.

Update: Hey, it looks like this version fixes the “I hit command-w with only one tab open and the window won’t close” bug that 2.0 shipped with. Hooray! Oh, and it also looks like people just can’t be bothered to actually read this entire entry before commenting. Ah well.

New aqua form widgets and user agent tweakage

As usual there are two different versions available - one with “Firefoxy” form widgets applied, and one with the more OS X-looking aqua form widgets.

These builds are the first ones to have an overhauled version of the aqua form widgets. I’ve spent some time tweaking them to fix a bunch of the rendering and alignment issues found in earlier versions. Let me know if you notice anything looking out of place.

I have also tweaked the user agent so that these builds identify themselves as Firefox instead of BonEcho.


Updated - A newer version is now available.

(Cutting and pasting this from the last update ‘cause I’m lazy and tired of having to repeat it)

Why is the name / icon different?

I really shouldn’t have to keep repeating this, but every time I post a new Firefox release I still seem to get people annoyed / pissed off / confused as to why these builds are missing the Firefox name and icon. So here comes the strong emphasis:

The Firefox name and icon are copyrighted and cannot be used with non-official builds. These are non-official builds, so they cannot have the official branding. Pretty straight-forward. Please don’t ask me to build versions with the official branding.

Greetings to the new brunette

Winter storm in Winnipeg

I've been back from another lovely (but snowy) trip home and trying in vain to wrap my head around the concept that yet another year has already slouched its way into the history books.

2007 is officially in the house, but for me this will be the Year of Bond, where I try to live every day like 007 would. I've already quit smoking, I don't drink, and I stopped inhaling / eating / injecting / licking illegal substances years ago, so the only self-destructive thing left for me is to strut around like I'm wearing an extra hairy man-vest, insist to random women I meet that I have the sexual prowess of an engorged leprechaun, and generally act like a completely masculine, bungee-jumping, machismo-sprewing man basket.

Ahem. That's what happens when I write stream-of-consciousness after watching the preview for Casino Royale.

Actually, I've decided that this year will be the year I try to not screw shit up.

Pros of 2006

Meeting Craig, Greg, Clarke, and Mike and working on the Globe and Mail redesign; releasing Path Finder 4; King Noodle; Nikon D50; Renée in Colombia; skype; a new job; romantic reunion in Costa Rica; Monday nights at Volo; Globe nerds night at The Foggy Dew; Neko Case’s Fox Confessor Brings The Flood; the 20“ Intel iMac; SXSW 2006; ”jheeks“; ”yeti“; Oscar night at James’ & Brooke’s; Everyday Italian; Good Eats; pop77 mixes; House MD; trips back home; Kevin and Jeremy visiting Toronto; The National at the Horseshoe; Montreal in the fall; Ze Frank’s The Show; New York Sub; Stephen Colbert; John Hodgman; Califone’s Roots & Crowns; Tinto Coffee House; 30 Days; The guys and gals of 3rd year Graphic Design 2004; Café 668; September 10th; October 1st; Lollapalooza 2006 in Chicago; Yo La Tengo at The Phoenix & the best album title of 2006, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass; My Morning Jacket’s Okonokos; The Decemberists; Malajube and Final Fantasy at the Polaris prize awards show; One Degree; making new friends and hanging out with old ones; Nintendo Wii; Parallels Workstation for Mac; Daily Dose of Imagery; working across the street from St. Lawrence Market; remembering to just breathe; High Park in the fall; family; happiness; feeling cozy; being in love.

(Inspired by the estimable Gord Fynes’ personal list of pros.)

Why we moved to Toronto


For those of you still using imperial units that’s -32.8° F or -54.4° F with the windchill.

In other words, rather fricking cold.

(Just to clarify things, this was the temperature in Winnipeg, my home town. To compare, Toronto was +4°C on the same day.)

Only in Canada.

Bono is at a U2 concert in Halifax, Nova Scotia, when he asks the audience for some quiet. Then, in the silence, he starts to slowly clap his hands.

He says into the microphone, in a deep solemn voice ….

“Just for a moment, think outside yourself … outside this arena. Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies.”

A loud Newfy voice from near the front pierces the moment …

“Well, Lard tunderin jasus, ya stupid arse, stop yer fockin’ clappin’, then!”

(Thanks, Ilse!)

Roger Corman’s Bucket of Blood

I will talk to you of art
for there is nothing else to talk about
for there is nothing else…

Life is an obscure hobo, bumming a ride on the omnibus of art!
Burn gas buggies and whip your sour cream of circumstance
and hope…

I was planning to post a copy of this, but someone beat me to it. Either way, we’re all the winners here. I seriously think this is one of my top 10 best movies of all time. I don’t know if it’s the awesome script by Charles B. Griffith, the over-the-top performances by Julian Barton (poet Maxwell Brock) and the one-and-only Dick Miller (Walter Paisley), or the so-bad-it’s-like-folk-art special effects. Heck, Maxwell Brock’s opening poem (some quoted above) is worth the price of admission alone.

You just have to love a beatnik horror comedy made at the height of the beat generation. Obviously I’m not the only one out there — there’s even a wiki page for the movie, though it mostly just recounts the plot of the film. It does note that the film is now in the public domain, which I had hear but hadn’t been able to confirm until now.

Back in the nineties a big group of friends and I put on a version of this movie as a play at Winnipeg’s famous Fringe Festival and it was a huge hit. It wasn’t because we were great actors or had high production values; it was the opposite. One of the reasons this film works is because it’s so loose.

At any rate, this movie holds a warm place in my heart. Heck, this web site’s name was inspired by the movie - it was the nickname given to the apartment I lived at the time that we put on the fringe festival play. Enjoy!

(P.S. Don’t miss Bert Convy in one of his earliest roles.)

Intel Mac version of Meteorologist

May 3, 2007: I updated the download today with a fix. Weather.com changed a few things on the server and it broken updates, but it should be working now. As usual, let me know in the comments if this build isn’t (or is) working for you.

iconOne type of application that I use countless times every day is the “weather in the menubar” application. I’m not sure if my mild fascination with the weather is the product of being Canadian, or just a harmless personality quirk. It’s probably a bit of both.

There are a number of menubar weather applications available, though the ones that I’ve used the most up to now were After Ten’s WeatherMenu, Glu’s WeatherPop, and the open source Meteorologist. Each one of these has its pluses and minuses.

WeatherMenu used to work very well but tended to break any time its source (Weather.com) changed. Perhaps because of this fragility it is no longer supported and very badly broken. I don’t think it’s been updated in over a year so you can basically consider it deadware.

WeatherPop uses multiple information sources for more reliability (USA Today, AOL, wunderground, the U.S. National Weather Service) but lacks the depth of information that WeatherMenu or Meteorologist provides. It’s also not free if you want information from a city not covered by the U.S.-only National Weather Service. It’s only $8 US, however, though it doesn’t seem to get updated that often, and new features are very slow to come.

Meteorologist is free, uses Weather.com for its information source, and displays tons of information including radar images and multiple cities. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as pretty as WeatherPop and is not available as a universal binary (optimized for both Intel and PPC macs). The kicker however is that it been seemingly abandoned by its developers — a new stable version hasn’t been released in over a year.

Thank goodness for lucky breaks and search engines

Luckily because Meteorologist is open source the code is freely available. That said, it required some massaging and a couple of other elements build before it could be compiled as a Universal Binary, After much finagling, cursing, and sacrificing of virgin bloody marys I’ve managed to build an Intel-only version, which I’ve made available for download.

A few things to note:

  1. This is an Intel-only build — it will not run on PPC macs. The current version that is available from the Meteorologist web site is PPC-only and works fine, so if you’re running a G4 or G5 machine that’s where you should go.
  2. This is build from the Meteorologist 1.4.4 source, so it has the same features (and bugs) as that version.
  3. Here comes the bold text again; I am not a developer. Please don’t come asking me for support or send me feature requests or bugs. I don’t know Objective-C or cocoa from a hole in the ground so I can’t help you.
  4. I highly recommend you disable the version checking mechanism as it will constantly tell you that a new version is available. Don’t download it as it will be the PPC version of Meteorologist 1.4.4.


All of that said, here’s the download link:

» Download the Intel-only build of Meteorologist 1.4.4

Feel free to post in the comments if this works for you or not. And enjoy!

Now if only I could prod the folks at Ambrosia software to release a universal binary of Snapz Pro X

Updated Feb. 10:

How to fix City Search in Meteorologist 1.4.4

For those of you still using PPC machines, here’s how you can fix city search in the last released version of Meteorologist.

  1. Quit Meteorologist.
  2. Download this file (Right-click on the link and save to your desktop).
  3. Navigate in the Finder / Path Finder to where the Meteorologist application is. Make a copy of Meteorologist (just in case).
  4. Right-click / control-click on Meteorologist and select “Show Package Contents” from the contextual menu.
  5. A new window will open with a folder called Contents showing. Open the Contents folder, and then open the Resources folder.
  6. Drag and drop the weather.xml file you downloaded in step 1 into the Resources folder and confirm that you want to replace the existing file.
  7. Restart Meteorologist. City search should now be working.

This seems to be working for me, but as always your mileage may vary.

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