Two Words: Chuck Norris

I don’t know much about Mike Huckabee, but this campaign ad is hilarious.

My favorite line: “There’s no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard, only another fist.” I know it’s old, but it makes me laugh every time.

QuickTime Player Annoys Me

The QuickTime player that Apple ships really, really annoys me. There are two reasons why I hate it: volume and geometry defaults. By this I mean that the player defaults to 100% volume, which is really loud, and top-left-of-window placement, with no way to set either of these in preferences. I don’t know who on the QT team at Apple thought these were good/valid defaults, but regardless of stupid defaults, I should be able to set preferences for these and have them respected. I would prefer the player to startup with a volume in the 25 – 50% range, and centered on my screen, or at least closer to the middle than the top-left. It’s absurd that these things can’t be changed by the user. I notice from Apple’s docs that if you want to embed a QT movie in a webpage you can set the volume…

I wrote an Automator script that changes the volume once the player starts, but there’s no way to set this workflow as a default. In other words, the only way I could use it was to drag a movie I wanted to watch onto the workflow’s icon, rather than just double-clicking on the movie file.

Is anyone else annoyed by this?

Security vs. Usability

This Dilbert is a perfect explanation of the moronic security policies that Chase bank has for accessing your accounts.

I should be able to access my account through their website from anywhere in the world, anytime I want. But noooooo. They use a browser cookie to make sure you’re on a machine they’ve seen before. If you use a different machine, or a different browser on the same machine, or clear out your cookies in the browser you always use, you can’t login. You get a page explaining their stupid security policy and telling you that they have to send you a new authorization code. You have to get it via email or a text message to your cell phone, both of which are not always that convenient. Or you have to actually call them and talk to a human.

I have a credit card with Chase, but my regular banking stuff is with another bank, who makes it much easier to get to my account info. I really hate having to check anything to do with my Chase account.

Monitor Log Using Console.app

When I’m working on a Linux desktop, I will frequently open a new shell window with tail -f on a log file I need to watch, such as my JBoss log. When I switched to my glorious Mac Pro I did the same thing, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted.

I discovered that you can execute Console.app from the command line, so I have created a Bash alias that I run when I need to. Here’s what I put in my ~/.alias file:

alias jbtail='/Applications/Utilities/Console.app/Contents/MacOS/Console /opt/jboss/server/default/log/server.log &'

(Make certain all of that is on one line!) Obviously you should change the path to the log to be something you want to monitor. You can change the alias name to something else if you like. After editing the file, either logout or type . ./.alias (notice the dots) and that will load up the alias. Now you can type jbtail (or whatever you chose to call it) and Console.app will open for you watching changes to that log file.

What’s really nice about this method as opposed to just using Terminal.app is that Console.app remembers things like window geometry, fonts and, most importantly, which monitor it last ran on. This is really nice for people like me who have two monitors. I always want this log to show up on my second monitor, and once I’ve placed it there, future invocations of my alias will open it right where I left it.

If you already have a .bash_profile or .profile file in your home directory, look for a line that looks like this

test -r ~/.alias && . ~/.alias

If you see that, you’re all set. If not, adding it will ensure that your aliases get loaded when you next login. You could add the alias=... line directly to .profile or .bash_profile if you like, and skip the .alias file altogether. I have several aliases and I like to keep them in their own file.

Late Night Religious Programming

This is one of my favorite videos. It’s two Australian guys making fun of late night religious programs. This is great stuff.

The bit about “the Hebrew word for ‘word’ is just too funny.” Stick around for the ending. It’s worth it.