Category Archives: Mac

Getting iTunes Genius into MPD

I just wrote my first ever AppleScript to solve a problem I’ve had for some time. As I’ve mentioned several times before, I use the MPD music player on my HTPC to play music through my amplifier while controlling playback using my laptop or mobile phone. This works like a charm and I’ve been really satisfied with this setup — until I fell in love with iTunes’ Genius function.

I use iTunes on my MacBook and mainly at work, either listening through my headphones or streaming music to the office speakers using our AirPort Extreme. As my library is rather diverse, I like to use Genius to get an ad hoc playlist of similar songs to avoid the “shuffle all, press next until a good song comes along” selection method. Needless to say, Genius has worked fabulously. However, when I come home and start playing music through MPD, I’m back to the shuffle all hell since I can’t be bothered creating playlists manually.

So this got me thinking: Is there any way I can use iTunes Genius together with MPD? The answer is yes, and the tool I used is AppleScript.

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Filed under AppleScript, Geek speak, Linux, Mac

Safari 4 – the web developer's wet dream?

My mac just upgraded Safari to version 4. Looks nice at a first glance, but what really made me go “whoaa” was the Develop menu’s User Agent submenu. Apparently you can change rendering engine to a bunch of popular browsers out there. This will surely come in handy for a web developer as myself.

safari4

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Filed under Geek speak, Mac

SSH tunnel from the command line

Every once in a while I need to set up a temporary SSH tunnel from one computer to another, possibly via a third one, and can’t be bothered with configuring any of my otherwise frequently used GUI tools ‘SSH Tunnel Manager’ for OS X or ‘SSH Tunnel’ on Win XP. Each time, however, I end up reading the man page for the ssh command or googling for ‘ssh tunnel linux’ or something similar, since I never seem to remember how to set up a simple SSH tunnel on the command line. The ssh man page is especially unhelpful:

-L [bind_address:]port:host:hostport

What? Which port goes where? And what’s the bind_address and hostport? If you read the explanation of the switch you’ll probably just become even more confused. After a few trials and errors I usually get my SSH tunnel up and running, but most of the time I’m not quite sure what I’ve really done.

So here’s a note to self on how to do this once and for all.

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Filed under Geek speak, Linux, Mac

Connect Leopard to the Internet using a Nokia phone

Despite numerous howtos and instructions on connecting a Mac to the Internet through a Nokia phone, none of them has corresponded 100% to my reality and thus I’ve always failed. However, through a bit of trial and error, I managed to find out how to connect my MacBook running Leopard to the Internet using my Nokia E66.

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Filed under Geek speak, Mac

Goodbye Amarok – welcome mpd

I just discovered the perfect solution to one of my biggest problems in recent memory, i.e. controlling playback of my music playing on my Home Entertainment Computer. It’s called mpd and I love it. I love it I love it I love it I love it. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this earlier? It lets me remote control music playback on my entertainment machine from virtually any device in my flat. Well, I don’t think there’s an mpd client for coffee brewers yet, but still.

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Filed under Geek speak, Linux, Mac, The thing they call Life

Exporting iCal events from the Library to Google Calendar

As I mentioned earlier, my MacBook broke down and went for surgery. It has now been discharged to my workplace with a clean install, but since I’m currently enjoying my last 1.5 months of vacation before I quit the job, I can’t be bothered to start using it again before I definitely have to hand it over to my successor.

The unclean exit of my Mac usage process has resulted in at least one problem so far. I was happily using iCal to schedule events and remember what has happened and what is going to happen (my calendar has always been an extension of my own memory). Before I sent my Mac away, I wasn’t so smart as to export all events into calendar-specific .ics files. On the other hand, I wasn’t even able to do so since the only backups I got was through single user mode. So I decided to export my calendar events myself and start using Google Calendar instead.

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MacBook hard drive failure

I’ve been separated from my MacBook for a week now, and I’m in pain. Ok, it’s not actually my MacBook since it’s my work computer, but I’ve grown so fond of it that it hurts to be without it. Apparently, the hard drive is broken (or at least the file system is corrupted), so it had to be handed over to the Apple authorities for surgery. They’ll probably replace the hard drive, forcing me to re-install and reconfigure the machine. This all started with an OS X upgrade from 10.5.2 to 10.5.3 which wouldn’t install properly.

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Filed under All software sucks, Geek speak, Mac