Synchronising iPhoto

As many people who know me are aware, I use Macs. I also use iPhoto, a lot! I have an iMac on my desk at home and I roam around with my Macbook Pro. Both of these have iPhoto installed and I often need to make sure both systems' iPhoto libraries are in sync. There is no free GUI tool for this (that I'm aware of at least) but that is not a show stopper. Many Mac/OSX users aren't aware of the fact OSX is a full- blown, card carrying member of the Unix(tm) family! What this means is that it has a complete command line interface that allows you to do all sorts of phunky things. In my case, I need to synchronise two iPhoto installations. However, my needs are fairly simple:

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Graduation

Well it had to happen eventually, given enough time I guess it was inevitable, but finally, I HAVE GRADUATED! Today I was honoured to be given the award of Bachelor of Computer Science, with a major in Secure Distributed Systems.

I was very privileged to have my beautiful wife, Natalie, and my parents accompany me as guests to the graduation ceremony. After the formalities, we all went home, collected my daughters and went out for dinner. A fairly low-key affair given that it is Wednesday night, but we all had a ball.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to simply drink in the occasion, reflect on the last 9+ years and share the whole experience with the people I care about the most. Working full time and raising a family certainly impacted the time it has taken to complete my degree, but I wouldn't want it any other way. If I ever have to opportunity to study full time without the stress of paying bills etc, I'm sure I will jump at it. However, until I win the lottery, I doubt I will ever know what it is like to "just study".

Thanks to all my friends who have supported me in so many ways. A special thanks to Mike, Peter dZ, Andrew, Rocci, and Bel who I met whilst studying and still have the pleasure of sharing their company. You guys have been such a huge support and inspiration (having graduated years ago!). To all the other close friends who have encouraged and challenged me to keep going and look forward to the end goal - thank you so very much.

Thank you to everyone who has made this achievement possible. For more photos from today, check out the gallery here.

Finally - automatic old message deletion in Apple Mail

For quite a while it's bugged me that there was nothing in Apple Mail that allowed you to delete messages automatically older than a certain number of days. For me this is a big problem as I subscribe to a number very high volume mail lists and having to muck around with "Smart Mailboxes" to find the old messages and then delete them manually was a royal pain. Well, I decided to get in a New Year's resolution early and put in place a more elegant solution.

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The Simple Things

Sometimes the simple things are the things that irritate you the most, or are the most poorly implemented solutions to a simple problem. Take OSX's lack of a countdown timer - for me, a major pain in the butt. However, a simple dashboard widget does a stellar job of implementing this feature in an unobtrusive, elegant way. I give you (drum roll please): 3-2-1- no, that's not the countdown for the drum roll...that's the software's name!

Simple name, simple software - GREAT result. Kudos to the devs. Punch in a time, hit the green square and return to your desktop. When the timer runs out, dashboard takes focus and sounds a little (customisable) sound. Voila.

So why the hell would someone need a countdown timer? Simple - the next time you tell your wife, "I'll be about 10 minutes" then emerge from your office, with bloodshot eyes, sore hands, a crick in your neck and a bad odour several hours later, you'll remember this article and download the freaking software! :) Or in my case, avoid the situation in first place...honest.

The Yak went SPLAT!

I was flying my freshly built Yak-54 foamie down the park, miles (ok, several hundred metres) from anything solid and upright. Not long into the flying, during a gentle left turn the ailerons stopped working - not good with about 50% deflection and full-span ailerons! Tried recovery with opposite rudder and a lot of elevator but no dice. The damned thing went into an inverted spin and didn't recover. Lucky for me, some kind farmer had left a line of star pickets with barbed wire to arrest the descent!!! Grrr. Anyone got some glue???

Scratch one marine tank :(

Right now I'm too angry to see straight! My entire stock of fish in my marine tank are dying. Let's put this in perspective: that's a breeding pair of clowns, two domino damsels, 3 blue chromis, a rainbow wrasse and a coral banded shrimp. At risk are myanemone, and beautiful crop soft corals and about 50kg of live rock. All up about $1000 dollar investment. So how did this happen? Simple. I purchased the two damsels and a coral banded shrimp from a store I don't normally buy stock from, and lo and behold, they don't protect their customers from parasites, viruses and bacterial infection which subsequently ended up in my tank!! The death toll so far (since Sunday):

  • Tuesday: the rainbow wrasse and a damsel
  • Wednesday: one clown with the other clown looking like he's circling the drain. Second damsel showing signs of distress.

Moral to the story: only buy stock from suppliers who QUARANTINE their new stock and treat them with at least some sort of copper solution prior to sale. Apparently the mob I purchased from on Sunday don't care about their stock OR their customers!! Hopefully the guy I normally purchase from, who's a top bloke and great supplier, might allow me to quarantine my corals and anemone in one of his quarantine tanks while I clean my tank up. If not, add another $150 to the potential loss :( Right now the only indications I have are some very fine white marks on the fish bodies then about 12-24 hours later, they die. Whatever is killing my fish is FAST and it isn't "ich" - despite the white spots. Ich doesn't kill this fast. My guess is some sort of virus or maybe a bacterial infection. It's too fast to be parasitic (which rules out ich).

Like I said - so angry I can hardly see straight!!

It's winter again :(

Anyone who knows me, knows I hate the cold. Let's just ponder that for a second. According to the dictionary, "hate ( verb) -to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest". Indeed, if it were possible to get hostile with cold weather and make it retreat to be replaced with resplendent, balmy, mid-thirty celsius with accompanying humidity, I'd go totally Russell Crowe on today's offering from the Bureau of Meteorology!! Alas, I cannot - weather just doesn't work that way. So I will now officially enter my annual period of sulking , until the weather decides to bless us with warmth.

I hate the cold :(

Safari 4 + OSX 10.5.7 + Growl Mail = Mail Crash ... again!

Go figure. I have two Macs; a Macbook Pro and an iMac. Both Intel CPU's, both with lots of hard drive and memory...life is good. However, I thought there was enough water under the bridge to give Safari 4 Beta a run and the reviews about speed and features over Safari 3 were extremely enticing. So given the Macbook Pro was the least critical of the two boxes, I upgraded to OSX 10.5.7 and made sure everything was peachy - it was. Next upgraded to Safari 4 Beta. Wow! It's fast, stable, has a really cool "Top Sites" tab (that comes up when I open a new tab, and many other features you can read about elsewhere.

Next was the iMac's turn.The OSX 10.5.7 upgrade went without a hitch, as did the Safari 4 install. However, unlike the Macbook, Mail on the iMac now crashes when fetching RSS feeds (I use Mail as my RSS aggregator) and the box says "Hey don't blame Apple, it was GrowlMail's fault!!"...and it is. I uninstalled the GrowlMail bundle from my ~/Library/Mail/Bundles directory, and everything is working again (except Growl notifying me of new mail). I can live with that.

So it's over to the Growl devs (who normally respond fairly quickly to this sort of thing) - FIX IT!! :-/