Scripting News for 10/27/07

Thanks Yahoo! 

The numbers are up at

Here’s why. It’s the top link on Yahoo under newspapers.

Two hops off the directory home page.

Very nice!!


PS: What’s next? Link love from the NYT itself?

Dear lord of Leopard… 

I want my white menubar back.

I think the idea of the translucent menubar is wrong.

Here’s a screen shot.

See how dark it is in the upper-right corner. You look in that corner all the time, it’s where the clock is, it’s where you see how much battery you have left, how good your wifi signal is, etc. We don’t have much room for a dashboard on these machines, but that’s where it is. If it changes appearance just because I changed the desktop image, that’s new and unexpected behavior, and it can make it hard to read for people with old eyes. And for what purpose? It makes the desktop background choice something that impacts a crucial part of the user interface.

I want an option to have a white menu bar.

1996: “I came here to get my work done.”

My Friendfeed coordinates 

It’s kind of like Facebook’s feed for people who don’t do Facebook.

It seems pretty cool.

I’m a Dog Whisperer fan 

I just started watching The Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic Channel a few weeks ago, and I’m hooked.

I really like the way the star, Cesar Millan, explains stuff. He shoots straight, with love. You can’t be politically correct and get a dog to behave.

And he never misleads the owners, they have to change in order for the dog to change.

Dogs are very simple, they can’t just be your friend. The dog’s world is hierarchic. Someone is the boss. If you’re not the boss, he or she is. Every pack has a leader.

Watching the show I wish I had a dog so I could try out his ideas.

I also wish news shows were like this, get to the real story, find a solution to the problem.

Maybe he’ll run for Governor of California. I’d vote for him. 🙂

Sue Polinsky loves the Dog Whisperer too.

My Halloween disguise… 

I have to admit I don’t like Halloween, or actually I liked it when I was a kid, a lot, and I would like it as an adult if there was no expectation that adults had to behave like kids!

Well, actually, something I don’t like about Halloween is that you have to buy candy and keep it in the house for trick or treaters, and the temptation to eat the junk is overwhelming, and it’s not good for adults to eat so much sugar. And you buy too much and you have it left over, and have to find someone to give it to.

So what’s left with Halloween? Uhhh, yeah you see there’s the problem. So what I do on this holiday is find some friends who feel the same way and go out to dinner. If anyone asks what I go as on Halloween, I say “The Invisible Man.”

My first review of Leopard 

Update: “I want my white menubar back.”

First a little background. I stopped using a Mac in 1997, as Apple was transitioning to the new operating system. I started using the Mac again as my primary OS in late 2005, a little more than two years ago. This is the first new version of the OS to come out since I switched back.

Based on a tour of the new features, pretty late at the end of a long week, it’s safe to say an OS is still just an OS, the purpose of the OS is to stay out of your way until you need it. Leopard may be prettier than the last version, I’m not sure it is or isn’t. Not sure I’ll use many of the new features. For people who hadn’t used VNC before, “screen sharing” would certainly be a big new feature if they’re working in a networked enviroment. And maybe the new backup code will fit into my routine. I have some ideas about that. (Maybe I’ll just have one computer on my LAN that is backed up and copy things there if I want them backed up.)

File sharing is more convenient in Leopard, the shared computers are listed in every Finder window, and this is good. FInding the disks that are available on each of these computers is one step easier too.

The Preferences applicaiton appears largely unchanged, except the Networking section where a lot of functionality seems to be missing. I have to look at this more closely.

The Download stack is lost on me since I don’t use Safari or Apple’s mail app. I would find it useful if Firefox had a similar feature (but they kind of do, I can direct all downloads to a specific folder).

Update: The Download stack is just a folder, you can direct Firefox to download to it. I think I saw some Apple marketing on this feature that implied that only Apple apps could use it.

All in all, changes to an OS aren’t that important. The action is in the apps, and for me, just a couple of primary ones, the web browser and my integrated writing and programming environment. It’s been quite a while since there have been meaningful improvements to either, and those improvements would end up meaning a lot more to me than improvements to the OS.

There isn’t much you can do, after the Mac has been around for 23 years, that hasn’t already been done. 🙂

Net-net, my first impression of Leopard is that it isn’t a big deal one way or the other.

Matt Neuburg takes a dim view of the changes in Leopard.

PS: I wonder if the next version of the OS will be called Leonard, to honor Leonard Rosenthal, a famous Mac developer in the 80s and 90s. 🙂

17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by jjames on October 27, 2007 at 12:18 am

    the download stack isn’t tied to any one app. you can direct firefox (or any other app) to save to there too. it’s /Users//Downloads/


  2. Posted by jjames on October 27, 2007 at 12:19 am

    wordpress didn’t like me using greater-than/less-than…

    the folder is /Users/_your_name_here_/Downloads/


  3. Posted by Ross on October 27, 2007 at 2:36 am

    Dave, I wonder – have you tried Spaces yet? Or are you a one app at a time sort of guy?


  4. Apparently the next version will be call ‘Ocelot’ – which makes me think of Monty Python’s The Life Of Brian – “Ocelot spleens!! Wolf-Nipple Chips!! Get ’em they’re hot, they’re lovely!!”



  5. Dave, dunno if you’ve ever had a dog, but my first is less than 2 years ago (and long since you were last here). Although Scoble tells me that she “smells,” without Cesar Millan’s virtual advice, I’m not sure we’d be where we are with her. She’s a puppy mill rescue (i.e. has issues, although not behavior; mostly fear), his shows have shown me how to assuage her fears through, well, strength. It’s a great show; glad you found it. (Doggie’s name is “Simcha,” and her new little rescued sister, who also does NOT smell, is “Shayna.”) Are you thinking of getting a dog or is TV enough dog-ness for you?


  6. Sue, I have had a dog, a black lab, and if I did get another dog (I dream about it) I would go for training from day one. My lab, named bonbon, was a very sweet pup, but also not very well behaved. Now, like you, after becoming a Dog Whisperer fan, I understand why. I wasn’t being a very good pack leader. 😦


  7. Me and the dog had a great routine. I’d sing and she’d dance. I’d tell stories in her name, and I swear she’d understand what I was saying and punctuate the stories with her agreement and approval. Dogs are very agreeable animals, when they feel that bond, if they don’t feel it, the rip all your good furniture to shreds and poop on the carpet.


  8. Heh…true love is when you can sing and dance and the dog doesn’t laugh at you! My first is the perfect “you can take her to work dog” and she puts up with my singing and pays attention when I talk to myself. She’s got a terrible fear of hubby; we’ve worked with it for 2 years and it’s getting just a little better, mostly through his daily walks with her (got that idea from Cesar). Simcha chats with me – at least she pays attention – and I swear she nods when I get to the conclusion of a thought. I understand more now about people’s attachments to their dogs (used to think they were silly). I’m wiser now. Got a dog pic online? (doggies:


  9. Posted by jjames on October 27, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    first of all, i bet someone will find a pref to set the amount of translucency in the menubar.

    until then, what about editing your background image to have a white strip at the top? that might work.


  10. Posted by jjames on October 27, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    it looks like you can save yourself the pain of photoshopping your desktop picture by using LeoColorBar —


  11. Dave, I’ve gone the opposite route and removed all the dashboard indicators from the menu bar to minimize distraction.


  12. Posted by Jim Reese on October 28, 2007 at 7:01 am

    Maybe this will fix your menubar for you:


  13. Posted by Dogzilla on October 28, 2007 at 8:43 am

    The Dog Whisperer:

    His techniques actually work on problem dogs. I own one. I also suggest reading his books, but I think one needs to have seen a few of his TV shows first.

    Maybe his concepts work on kids…


  14. His techniques do work on problem kids. Catch a clip of “Tsst” the South Park episode where Cartman gets “cured.”

    See the brief clip here.


  15. I love the dog whisperer. I have a dog that thrives off of training and loves to work as much as she can. She’s a Blue Merle Australian Shepherd that gt very bored…very quickly. Never get this kind of dog if you just want to throw the ball around. She gets bored of that in about 10 minutes…then just refuses to go grab it. She’ll dance around it…then sit down…wanting to do something else. She has plenty of other crazy issues that exercise has done wonders for. His techniques are so amazingly easy that I slap my head when I see people go, “Oh this is wonderful!”

    I wrote a post about it here:


  16. Posted by heavyboots on November 16, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Somebody finally figured out how to force the menu bar to be opaque!

    Launch Terminal and paste this in:
    sudo defaults write \
    /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ \
    ‘EnvironmentVariables’ -dict ‘CI_NO_BACKGROUND_IMAGE’ 1


  17. Posted by heavyboots on November 16, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Oh yes, and then reboot your Mac… 🙂


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