A couple of progress updates on things I’ve written about previously.
First up, my ‘MacBook Mini’ is coming along excellently. I’ve been using it at work and to write some short stories, the battery life is brilliant and the keyboard is nearly as good as the one I use with my iMac.
I’ve got speaker/headphone switching working, by installing the Azalia Audio drivers (downloaded from here) and first using a shell script to switch sources and now using the modified version of Audieee that Stuart Shelton has made available here. I’ve still not got around to setting up key shortcuts for controlling brightness – frankly, the system defaults to a perfectly acceptable level when it’s running on battery and I don’t often bother to change it when it’s on mains power.
Bluetooth worked before I got wifi working, but now it doesn’t. I’ve not had time to look into that yet – it’s not a priority for me. The module is supported, so it should be fixable.
This last weekend Stuart Shelton posted a fantastic guide to the ‘proper’ way to install Mac OS X on the NC10, using a retail Leopard DVD. If you’re starting from scratch I’d definitely recommend doing it that way – I think I’ll be looking for a replacement (larger) hard disc and then I’ll go down that route.
All-in-all, after about a week of living with it I’m really happy.
Sort-of related, I’ve signed up for a 60 day trial of Apple’s Mobile Me service (previously known as ‘.Mac’, and as ‘iTools’ before that). The synchronisation between iMac and NC10 is awesome, and using iDisk to store my short stories means that it’s automagically kept up to date on both the iMac and NC10 – and thanks to MobileFiles I can even view (but not edit) them on my iPhone.
I always resisted .Mac because I just didn’t think it was worth the money – now I think it might be. I’ve got the best part of two months to make my mind up, though.
Next up, my plan to defeat failure – this is a bit more mixed. Virgin 1, clearly desperate to retain my eyeballs between eight and nine in the evening, have switched Star Trek Voyager for Deep Space 9, and the best part of DS9 too. As a result, we’ve reverted back to watching TV, which is disappointing.
However, thanks to the NC10 I am able to get some stuff done during that time, and while I’ve not done much on my own projects recently I have been helping my wife (who has no software development background at all – she has a degree in English literature) write a simple web app for her fanfiction story archive. With about 6-8 hours of work we’ve turned out a basic deployable application and have some sketched out ideas for what she wants to do next.
It’s been really interesting to see a complete noob develop a Rails app, albeit a simple one. It shows just how powerful Ruby and Rails are – the language ends up being meaningfully readable by someone who’s not familiar with the conventions of programming languages. While the Rails framework is undoubtably awesome and provides a huge amount of help and tools, what this has highlighted for me is just how good Ruby itself is. Once someone figures out how to replace the C/Javaish language used by Processing and Arduino with Ruby I can see Physical Computing becoming even more accessible for a greater range of artists.
But as awesome as it is helping the missus with her application, I really need to get my head down and work on some of my own ideas. What I really want right now is to have a live web application that’s really being used by actual people that I can talk about when I go to Scotland on Rails next year. (Sadly won’t be attending this year due to not being able to justify investing the attendance fee given my current level of involvement.)
So while I’ve not advanced any of my own projects, I do feel that I’ve been doing stuff and not just sitting vacantly watching TV – I’m still defeating failure, but perhaps not quite grasping success!