Michael Weber: Random Bits and Pieces

FireWire logo, slightly rubbed out

Some time ago, I upgraded to a new MacBook with Intel Core 2 Duo processor (yay 64-bitness!), and was faced with the question how to get data from the old MacBook to the new one, without having to reinstall everything.

With Linux, I have used rsync to migrate installations. In fact, my last Linux laptop (retired in 2006) was running a Debian installation that originated on a desktop around 1999, and had been moved between machines (and upgraded, of course) several times. However, since the preinstalled MacOS X on the new laptop was also newer (10.4.10, no Leopard yet), something else was called for.

Enter the Target Disk Mode (TDM) of MacOS X. I will not cover all details here, but with a FireWire cable, it enables me to hook up the new MacBook to the old one, which exposes its hard disk as external FireWire device. The installer recognizes this, and asks whether I want to copy over all data from the disk. The granularity of choice what to copy is rather coarse, but it actually worked as expected!

Well, mostly at least. A few things needed manual care taking. I will list them here as future reference for myself:

  • X.509 certificates were not copied over. Fixed by enabling the root user, logging in, and copying them into Keychain's X509Anchors.
  • Some settings were not copied over, for example, Accessability settings were disabled (which made MondoMouse not work).
  • The English-German keyboard layout was not copied over.
  • I synchronize my calendars via iCal to https WebDAV shares. For some random reason, I needed to go once with the Safari browser(!) to each of the https URL, otherwise iCal refused to synchronize them.
  • X11 and the Xcode IDE were not copied over. I reinstalled them from the new installation DVDs.
  • The /usr/local/ hierarchy was not copied at all. Curiously, /opt/local/, where MacPorts live, had been copied over automatically.
  • It seems that I must go through all of /etc/ to ensure that nothing gets forgotton, for example, the settings in /etc/hostconfig to hardwire the hostname, /etc/postfix/, etc..
  • Bluetooth pairing and pairing with the Apple Remote needs to be repeated with the new machine.
  • VPN and 802.1x settings were not copied over.
  • Fonts needed by the GIMP were not copied over, my solution was to reinstall MacGIMP.
  • With the new iPhoto '08, the Picasa iPhoto plugin did not work anymore. For a while, there was no workaround, except using the standalone uploader. However, a recent Picasa update appears to fix it.
PrintCenter Icon

Why is it that I have to know secret key combinations to set up a (network) Windows Printer on OS X without loosing my mind? Here's what you get without:

'Add Printer' Dialog

When just clicking on the More Printers... button, we get:

'More Printers...' Dialog

Now, below is the same dialog when holding the Option key (nee alt) while clicking on the More Printers... button:

'More Printers...' Dialog (Extended)

Check out the Devices dialog after selecting the newly visible Advanced choice:

Devices in 'More Printers...' Dialog (Extended)

What gives? In that dialog, I can finally enter a smb:// style device URI.

Bonus-Boggle: at least in my current hardware constellation, I need to enter the password in cleartext! Like so:


Nevermind that I get asked for the password later on in a dialog as well, but if I don't put it into the URI (which ends up in /etc/cups/printers.conf), I am not able to print!


Lisp Logo (by Conrad Barsky)

In best billc style... ;^)
I have mentioned some of my Emacs hacks for editing Common Lisp code here, here, and here (the latter of which Troels Henriksen ported to Climacs). So, I finally dusted off some more code-wrangling Emacs macros and bundled them up in the Redshank minor mode. Obligatory screencast:

Still of Redshank Screencast

The provided functionality is quite embryonic still, but I expect it to continue to grow.

For actual code motion and manipulation of Lisp code, I heavily rely on the excellent Paredit mode, with a minimal dependency on SLIME (the dependency might grow in the future, as more sophisticated refactoring likely requires cooperation from a running Lisp.)

For laughs comparison, I'd like to see the same done for unparenthesized code...
Okay, enough smugness for today. Now read the best Common Lisp Tutorial, and start hacking away!

First Reactions after Prerelease to the Raving Masses a Priviledged Audience

antifuchs | michaelw: o_O this is awesome

     jmbr | michaelw: I've just downloaded redshank. It's quite cool!

 michaelw | pkhuong: eh, okay ECONTEXT :) defclass-skeleton now
            inserts parenthesis balanced
  pkhuong | michaelw: ah good, good! I might have to try it out then
 michaelw | (bonus: customizable accessor style)
  pkhuong | so I can have foo-of instead of get-foo too? That
          | was my other objection (:

     Xach | I am eagerly awaiting the Planet Lisp link!

p.s.: In the right window of the screencast, key strokes were recorded with mwe-log-commands.

p.p.s: The screencasting itself was a major pain. In this case, I am willing to put part of the blame on my inexperience, for the rest I blame the tools I used. A somewhat more detailed account of this may appear under the Rants section.

via The Beeb:

Apparently, Russians are not panicking about Global Warming. Many even haven't heard about it.

A meteorologist in Arkhangelsk, in the north of Russia, once told me: "I know global warming is a problem, but I would welcome a bit of warmth up here. Then I could grow my own tomatoes."

We spoke as we stood on ice in the middle of the frozen Dvina river. The temperature was approaching -25C.


2007-08-25 :: /science
  Put up in a place
  where it's easy to see
  the cryptic admonishment


  When you feel how depressingly
  slowly you climb,
  it's well to remember that

  Things Take Time.
Piet Hein

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