Buckling Mac Keyboard?

I love my buckling keyboards. The two I have are reproductions and key caps are made with cheap plastic instead of the hardened plastic in the original Model M but they still clicks and clacks like the original. Sure it is loud but that's part of its macho charm. Unlike today's sissy keyboards, buckling keyboards kicks and curses back when you push them around.

I wish there was one for the Mac though. The buckling spring actuator patent has expired long time ago so it could happen. I think it could be very profitable too since keyboard enthusiasts like me wouldn't mind spending a few hundred dollars for a well-crafted buckling keyboard. One can last decades if maintained properly.

WoW Days

A picture of Jonkichi (Joi Ito's avatar) I found from my WoW days. Jon often fell asleep while playing, sometimes while fighting, and sets auto-follow before logs into the ZzZ realm. The picture below was taken after we left him on a bed at Talonbranch Glade before logging. I think it looks rather artistic. ;-p


Where are you guys? Where am *I*?

Mac Font Smoothing and Large Displays

430hotFont display on MBP has a fuzzy wet-paper look which, while bearable, is not as good as ClearType. When displayed on my large screen (Dell 2407WFP) via VGA, fonts looked like the wet-paper has been dried in the sun, plain awful. Tweaking the font smoothing setting didn't help much which made me wonder if OS X Tiger is not properly optimizing subpixel rendering for Dell monitors. Display gets better using DVI but still not as good as the notebook display.
ClearType is just too good to dedicate the DVI port to MBP which means I'll have to look for a DVI port switcher or just bear the unbearable.
Update: I switched Mac to DVI and PC to VGA because I was spending more time on the Mac side. This improved Mac's display some and degraded PC display to Mac level of fuzzyness. It was then I noticed there was the AUTO-ADJUST option in 2407WFP menu. It appears in VGA mode but not in DVI mode. When I selected it, PC display in VGA mode sharpened! Fantastic.

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Falling Off Dashboard

I found none of the widgets in OS X Dashboard useful enough to keep in memory (open Applications : Utilities : Activity Monitor to see) so I looked for a gentle way to close them. Dashboard has no visible menubar and there was only the + button to add a widget so I pressed that to see. Pressing the + button puts Dashboard in customize mode and places an X button on each running widget. What a laugh. I closed the four default widgets and, after playing a bit with rest of the available widgets, pressed "Manage Widgets : More Widgets" button. Hmm. Nothing. I ran the Activity Monitor to see what's going on. Nothing. Checking the dock, Activity Monitor was hopping but no window. Launching Firefox left it in the same situation, jumping on the Dock, and no window. I restarted Finder to see if that loosens the deadlock. Nope. Now the system was hung, displaying just the desktop background. Keeping the power button down for 3-5 seconds to restart the system got me out of the jam…

Polished crap is still crap.


Invoking QuickTime Plugin Methods

Just sharing a lovely filth I found which seems to lack g-coverage. When you go beyond run-of-the-mill QuickTime plugin usecases, you'll quickly find that calling its methods like Play() will throw an exception. Apparently, whoever wrote the QuickTime plugin wrote it very strictly because, instead of just queuing up request to play when the movie is not ready to play yet (like buffering), it throws an exception. This usually happens when you embed a QuickTime plugin with autoplay off then attempt to play too early or after telling QuickTime plugin to play another movie. The trick is to call the GetPluginStatus() to make sure it's in the right state (like "Playable"). QuickTime plugin doesn't support any event either (I couldn't find any) so you'll have to use the timer event to poll. Same technique can be used to detect when the movie is finished.
I could pile on the the guy for all the crap I ran into but I won't because it must not be much fun being a Win32 engineer at Apple. Let's just say, from a developer's perspective, QuickTime should have a "don't touch me unless your poll is 12 feet long" sticker on it. In comparison, Flash is like a choirboy.
Update: Another problem with QuickTime, this time with ActiveX version of the plugin. QuickTime ActiveX plugin gets confused when it's embedded inside a floating element. Workaround is to use the Netscape plugin version, even for IE, which means you should use the tag without the wrapping <object> tag. Also, I couldn't find a reliable way to force QuickTime player to play an arbitrary movie after it has been instantiated, forcing me to reinstantiate for each movie after cleaning up to avoid resource leaks.
At this point, I am thinking about pressing the eject button on this pet project because it's starting to look like a maintenance nightmare in the making.