Path Finder

I was playing support for a coworker who got a shiny new MacBook Pro a couple days ago, and he highly recommended I download Path Finder as a replacement for the regular built-in Finder. 20 minutes later, I’m hooked.

If there was a standalone app that Apple should buy out and slap into the next release of OS X (R.I.P. CoverFlow, Dashboard, etc.), this is it.

HandBrake 0.9.0 Released

HandBrake IconThe HandBrake crew has released version 0.9.0 of their excellent DVD ripping software. In this release are a new GUI, much faster encoding, way more advanced options, Matroska containers, a “send to MetaX” option, and a bunch of other updates. Hit the jump for the full changelog.

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MetaX: An Even Better MP4 Metadata Editor for the Mac

I forget where I found it, but MetaX is an even better MP4 container metadata editor based on AtomicParsley. Dump some movies into it, and it’ll query Amazon for things and fill in even more than Lostify. Stuff it can grab:

  • Cover art
  • Actors
  • Directors/producers/screenwriters
  • Release date/rating
  • Batch processing

Best of all, it’s free and it moos at you upon completion.

Back to the Firefox: a half-assed not-review of Camino

After a few days of playing with Firefox’s cousin Camino, I have had to revert. 

Camino is a native OS X implementation of Mozilla’s Gecko HTML rendering engine.  Unlike Firefox, it’s written in Cocoa, which lets it integrate with various OS X services, the biggest of which is storing passwords and stuff in your login keychain.  The system-wide dictionary and other things are available as well.  Firefox has a decent password manager that can encrypt stored passwords, but I always liked the idea of jamming everything into my login keychain.  Only one file to backup and re-encrypt elsewhere.

Part of what makes Camino so speedy is its’ almost complete lack of extensions (add-ons), which make Firefox great.  There are a couple “prefpanes” that you can get for Camino, but I’m pretty sure most of these are simply frontends to about:config.

Camino has a built-in adblocker, but nothing beats Adblock Plus with the Filterset.G updater.  It’s download manager needs some tweaking, there’s no mouse gestures, and none of my usual keyboard shortcuts (aside from Cmd-L) worked.  In order to mimic some Firefox functionality I had to redefine shortcuts in the system-wide keyboard prefpane.  For example, Cmd-K puts me in the search dialog in Firefox, whereas I had to redefine this to get it to function with Camino.  Cmd- in FF lets me flip through multiple tabs, but in Camino it starts loading up bookmarks from the bookmarks toolbar.  Other little niceties like ChromaTabs, ScribeFire, Link Alert, and the BugMeNot didn’t exist due to the lack of extensions in Camino.

Overall, Camino’s a great browser with awesome OS X integration, but many aspects leave things to be desired.  I’ve been using Firefox for years becuase it’s pretty secure, fairly stable, and extending its functionality from a browser into a platform is easy.  Camino just needs a little bit of work.

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Xgrid running on AppleTV

I got Xgrid running on my AppleTV for no real reason other than to see if I could do it. I’ve documented what I did on the AwkwardTV wiki and past the jump.

Update: I found a few bugs in the startup/shutdown of the xgridagentd. All relevant changes are now on the AwkwardTV wiki.

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holy AppleTV network speedups, batman!

Once you’ve gained SSH access on your AppleTV, add the below to your /etc/sysctl.conf and reboot


[Via /dev/root]

professafresh vs. AppleTV: Round Two

I recently moved and my new setup involved running my AppleTV wirelessly instead of wired, as in my previous residence.  Everything worked ok in an offline mode.  It wouldn’t associate to my AP for some reason.

Me being an idiot, I reset the ATV to the factory defaults using the onboard recovery partition and the Menu and Minus keys while booting up.  I rebuilt my Patchstick and reloaded Perian, ATVFiles, SSH, killed Watchdog, and all that fun stuff.  Creating AFP shares on my Windows fileserver was a pain in the ass.  Cygwin’s NFS server felt and performed way too hackishly.  I looked to see if anyone had figured out a SMB/CIFS workaround and I was happily surprised with what I found

Sharity Light is an open-source userland SMB/CIFS mounter that doesn’t require any additional kernel modules/drivers, and I compiled it for Intel Mac use.  Since the AppleTV is an Intel Mac at its heart, sharity works perfectly.  Compile on my MacBook, SCP to the AppleTV, move it to /usr/sbin, and done.

Another note, once I was able to get the SSHD upgraded and enabled SSHv2, I was able to mount frontrow’s home directory via SCP on my Mac, thanks to Amit Singh’s incredibly useful MacFuse project.  No more using the old (but still excellent) Fugu for SCP.

I think I’m going try to see if I can make any progress on the $1000 bounty, but I’m sure I’ll lose interest after about five minutes of failing…

professafresh vs. AppleTV


When everyone’s favorite fruit company announced the AppleTV, not many people were too psyched about it. Maybe it was the bad timing, being given about 20 minutes in the keynote after Steve demoed the iPhone for two hours, maybe it was the assumed lack of format support, maybe it was something else.

I have all my DVDs transcoded into various formats (DivX, XviD, a couple Oggs) so once I heard the AppleTV would only support MP4/AAC, I was unhappy. I’m not about to either find all my DVDs and re-rip them into MP4, nor was I ready to transcode my existing Xvids into MP4. The AppleTV didn’t appeal to me.

Some SA Forum Goon by the name of Awkward cracked open his AppleTV, ripped out the disk, and installed Perian, the self-proclaimed “swiss-army knife for QuickTime.” It’s a QT component that adds native support for all kinds of video formats to QuickTime. Perian is to OS X as DefilerPak (nowadays ffdshow) is to Windows.

After following the work of the newly-founded AwkwardTV crew, I finally broke down and bought one yet another Apple product.

After I got the machine, I plugged it in to a monitor via a HDMI–>DVI adapter, found a flash drive, and followed the Patchstick Testing procedure from Awkward’s wiki. I was impressed how easily it worked.  My warranty is still valid, too!

Once that was done, I killed watchdog, downloaded and installed ATVFiles, and upgraded the sshd. For some reason, even though it’s the exact same sshd that’s on my MacBook, it would only let me use sshv1, which both PuTTY and MacFUSE didn’t play nice with. Perhaps it was becuase I hadn’t generated the RSA/DSA host keys, or something.

Now I’m pretty much done with any other mods and stuff, but I’ve got to figure out how to make this thing mount my Windows server full of movies. There hasn’t been much luck getting Samba running, and I’m pretty sure I can’t run an AFP server on Windows, so it looks like NFS via Windows Services for Unix is one of my last options…

Finally, a good MP4 metadata editor

I finally found a good MP4 metadata editor for the Mac called Lostify via iTunes’ built-in editor works, but it’s a pain in the ass.  I’m seriously debating purchasing an AppleTV, and this will be useful for tagging up all my TV shows and junk.

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