The OS Quest Trail Log #10

Obsolete/broken external links have been removed from this post.

I decided to take the plunge and dive into learning CSS. This is in the lead-up to upgrading this site to the latest WordPress, which I decided to do as part of a complete redesign of The OS Quest.

So this week I deleted all the posts on my WordPress.org hosted blog and put up a few test posts and switched it to the Sandbox them. The Sandbox theme provides no CSS (or just a basic skin). While it will take longer I decided to start with no CSS and start building from the the ground up. There’s not much out there yet and I password protected the site, but you can follow the progress on Flikr.

I also spent a lot of time over at the Internet Duct Tape website where Engtech has a wealth of great tips and information. His article on Creating a Link Post was used to create the links in the Software Updates and Links & News sections below. In addition I used the information in his article about settings up a sandbox for the sandbox theme to set up my sandbox dev environment. There’s lot’s of other good reading there, but instead of me telling you about it just head on over and subscribe to his feed.

I went on a mini-buying spree and added the following software to my collection this week. All of it revolves around video.

Quicktime Pro from Apple ($30) – When I got my first Mac everyone said this software should be the first thing to get. I survived this long but needed to edit some video quickly and this was the quickest way to do it. Worth the money for the time and aggravation saved but not exactly a researched purchase.

CSS Edit 2.5 by MacRabbit Software ($30) – Like the name says, a CSS Editor. Helpful, especially for a beginner like me. Nice to be able to make a change and see it right away in a preview. I use the Milestone feature and like the non-destructive editing. I tried Firebug but found it hard to use and quirky since I’m new to this. Trial download available.

SnapWeb by Brain Tickling Software ($18) – I use this to capture images of web pages. I tried a couple free products but they didn’t work on one of my sites, this one does. There are also free ways to do this (print to PDF is one) but these require some setup or hacking. SnapWeb just works which saves time. I was in a “time is money” frame of mind this week so I bought it. Demo available (with watermark).

Thirty dollars seems to be my pain -point for buying software. I saw the three apps above met my immediate need and I didn’t spend much time looking for alternatives before buying them. On the other hand SnapZ Pro meets my needs for creating videos but I’ve held off buying it since it’s $65.

Software Updates

Path Finder 4.8 was released by Cocoatech as a free upgrade for Path Finder 4.x users. I upgraded immediately and like it so far. Path Finder is my main GUI interface, replacing Finder on my Macs. My favorite new feature is the “per-folder” settings for the view options. They were smart and don’t save these setting to a file in the directory, they use Core Data to save the settings in a database. The UI is also more Leopard like. Click the Path Finder 4.8 at the beginning of this paragraph for the complete change log.

While I don’t use the software, the following updates caught my attention:

FoxitSoftware.com – Foxit Reader updated to 2.2.2129 – The free and fast PDF reader was updated. The anti-Adobe Acrobat Reader. Small and fast, for Windows. A good replacement for the ever more bloated Adobe Acrobat Reader.

TheDigitalStory.com – Photoshop Elements 6 Available Today, For Windows Only – Also mentions that the Mac version is expected in early 2008. By then I’ll be ensconced in Acorn.

Links & News

Apple – Mac OS X Leopard – Finally gets listed for as “Arriving in October” on the Apple website. No pre-orders through Apple yet.

Apple.com – Startup key combination from paired Bluetooth keyboard may not work on a PowerPC-based Mac – News to me that it would every work. Even on Intel Macs the BT keyboard wouldn’t take startup keys from me.

ArsTechnica – Sony BMG’s chief anti-piracy lawyer: “Copying” music you own is “stealing” – According to Sony BMG I’ve stolen almost my entire music collection by moving it from CDs to my iPod. Making “a copy” of a purchased song is just “a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy’,” she (Jennifer Pariser) said.

Blogs.Technet.Com (Windows Home Server Blog) – New and Updated Windows Home Server information – Links to some tech docs about Windows Home Server.

DiveIntoMark.org – If wishes were iPhones, then beggars would call – Commentary on iPhone brouhaha. 100% on the mark in my opinion. (As a non-iPhone owner).

Lifehacker.com – Taking Puppy Linux for a WalkPuppy Linux is a small 97.6MB OS meant to run from a bootable CD or USB drive. They give it a spin.

News.BBC.co.uk – Coppola plea after computer theft – Backup people. And if it’s the only copy you have calling it a “backup” doesn’t make it one.

OldApps.com – Old Version Downloads – Get old versions of software.

TUAW.com – notMac Challenge winner declared – The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) – Winner declared in challenge to create a free alternative to most dotMac functions.