Mac OS X good and bad & Braydix w/WebKit

I actually had a slightly not-unpleasant experience with Mac OS X, being used as a Unix server. Since I rail on how much I hate it as a server, I thought I would balance my own bias with a report to the contrary.

I was prepping a mini to run DJB-utilties – DNS, daemontools, Ucspi-tcp. It was not very painful to get them installed. I decided to run my stuff using launchd instead of daemontools, and that worked fine too. I tested it and killed some stuff and it came right back. Also tweaked the Postfix config to use some custom transports, and stay running – easy-peasy. No problems. Found some nice stuff on the internet about how to add users using something like dscl – and that didn’t hurt much at all. The odd piece of dated documentation here and there, but no biggee. Postfix was totally painless, just my weakness with that package that might’ve affected me if only slightly. I should note – and I bet this affects my report – that this was on a regular OS X workstation. When I used to program all day on a Mac OS X workstation which ran apache and php, I also had no problems from that setup.

And now to balance my prior balancing report – I also worked on a Mac OS X Server. And it fucking sucked. Again. Within days of my previous unhappy work with an OS X server – I think it was either Tuesday or last Tuesday – I’m working on another one that’s freaking out, and I can’t tell what’s going on, and the admin tools don’t work, and smoke is pouring out of the side of it, and gear teeth are flying out with sparks. It’s a mess. I keep wanting you to not hurt me, OS X Server, and you always do. Every time. I hate you. It’s like some horrible abusive relationship. I run away, seek counseling, go to a victim-of-abuse-by-os-x-server shelter, get my life together again, and then, months later, I think, “Hey, that OS X Server, he ain’t so bad…it was probably something I did, after all. I bet I can do better.” And then I’m making excuses about how I fell down the stairs and banged my eye into a doorknob again.

I also have redeveloped Braydix (as a necessity). Instead of building it against Firefox, I built it against WebKit, and saved literally 2 or 3 months of work. Holy shit! It’s no wonder that everyone uses WebKit as their base. My God, the difference! I also used the Qt toolkit, and was finally able to get rid of Xwindows, which I am sooooo stoked about. So the latest Braydix uses the Linux framebuffer and bops open a web browser right there. It boots up fast for me on my VirtualBox, but I sent an ISO to good ole Bryan and he wasn’t able to get it to do much without it panicking and dying. So a bit more work to do. Another thing I did was I jammed everything into the ‘initramfs’ and got rid of the whole concept of a root drive. Sooooooo freeing! And the result is a 33 MB ISO (which doesn’t yet work, but shhhhhh…). I’ve been trying to get it to run on this eeePC I have handy but so far, not quite. Just getting Grub on there was enough of a challenge. We’ll see how it goes.

Camino crash

Post started originally 2/3/07 – Okay, today I actually managed to hang and crash camino.

Total web-browser lifespan – Hrm, looks like I was using it for a week as of 1/23, so figure I was using it since 1/16 – today’s the 3rd of Feb., so – 2 weeks and change, it looks like. Not bad. If I can postpone my next crash for another 2 weeks and change, I should be doing OK.

Camino’s crashiness seems to have been caused, for the most part, by my fondness for CamiTools – the lovely little Camino extension that lets you do lots of things – of which the only important thing is the ability to use FlashBlock. Apparently CamiTools does not work so good on Intel. So keep it under advisement. I think I might even be able to blame this one big crash on CamiTools.

Gym update

I have now gone twice this week, and burned somewhere around 850 calories or so. I’m pretty happy with that number, but I am still going to try to go a third time. I am convinced that the machines I like are all calibrated differently, because this time I was sweating by the time it was done, and I didn’t even make it through my full 45 minutes (also the gym was closing, so I had to cut it short).

I have also been trying to drink more water. It’s great, except I have to friggin’ pee all the time. Plenty of advice says to drink more water, but no one says anything about the fact that you’ll be peeing every 30-40 minutes, or how to deal with it. In my industry, it’s really hard to deal with.

I read a very good article about “nutritionism” on the NY Times website. So I’m trying to eat more vegetables, reduce the meat (a little – just making it less important in my overall meal!) and most importantly, try and get rid of more of the crazy chemicals and such in my diet. Thus far, it’s not hard – it’s just inconvenient. And where I know I’m going to get bitten is that my food is going to start to go bad. I’m going to have to go to the supermarket more often – and that will be annoying.

My weight was, if I remember correctly, pre-workout: 182-1/8. No progress there. But I guess there wouldn’t be, yet, and the water consumption might be messing with those numbers.

Short Note: Camino

I used FlashBlock on my Firefox to only load Flash content on demand, and missed this feature in Camino when I found that it was bogging down on the same.

I found: CamiTools. The original author, who is brilliant but a prick, no longer offers the software for download, so the versiontracker link is the only one I found that works.

Lovely, lovely Flashblocker, you are now back. I missed you so!

Edit – doesn’t work too hot on Intel Macs! DAMMIT! IT works fine on my work Mini, my home MacBook is complaining. Argh!

Things I actually like

Well, lots of negative reviews and blather from me lately, so how about something a little more postive –

First. Camino, the browser. I have run it for a while (a week-ish?) and it has not yet crashed on me. v.1.0.3 . This is particularly good, for me. It’s not too crazily resource-intensive. It doesn’t degrade much over time. Alas, I can’t use all the great debugging extensions that Firefox can use, and that is very, very unfortunate. But I haven’t lost work – and that’s huge. As one might recall, I don’t like browsers very much. And Camino annoys me as well. But, as of late, it has annoyed me less than most of the others. I still feel that the finest web-browsing experience one can have seems to be Firefox on Windows, which is blasphemous of me to say, but I feel it’s true. But Camino is my new browser, until the Firefox people can get their collective shit together and put out a version for OS X that doesn’t suck as much as this one does.

Next up – I bought myself a copy of Star Fox for the DS as a little ‘gift’ to myself for ‘being good’ – whatever that means. Anyways, after having come off a bad spate of games I worried that this oen might be the same. But, in fact, it is not at all! It’s quite good – but I should note that I am one of the shittiest fighter pilots alive, so perhaps take my words with some salt, a little paprika, and a sprig of thyme.

There’s a “strategic” view where you use the stylus to draw the paths you want your ships to take, and can tap on areas of the screen to scan them, then when you end your turn, your units all move. It’s a great non-rectilinear take on strategic stuff, and could end up making something interesting in its own right. But as for Starfox, it makes a great way to send your different fighters off to do different tasks.

Then there’s the regular, old-school fighter-pilot-ing. Simple controls – stylus on screen. You get a nice analog response with this setup, and though it doesn’t feel completely 3-dimensionally free, it is quite good. You can cruise around a 2-D square, and you have a relatively tight timespan to do it in. But it makes a challenge, and is fun.

The plot leaves a bit to be desired, but stuff does seem to happen, and it is advancing interestingly enough.

All in all, I’m glad this one sucked less.

And, finally, gym attendance. Sucking worse than normal, now. The problem is that my time is so very very limited and the few minutes I do have to do with what I will I need to be spending productively, for whatever definition of the word ‘productively’ suits me at the time. And gym attendance is good for me and all – I don’t doubt that – but there are other things I need to be working on. The latest thing is my new authentication initiative It’s finally something for me to fiddle with that’s small enough that I really can reach my grasp all the way around it and get it to be exactly whatever I want it to be. I hope I can get it to the point where I don’t have to say, “oh, that part doesn’t work yet, coming soon” – and for the most part, it does work, and as advertised. The next issue – and the one that really killed me with NetServOS – will be getting Developers to develop for it. And of course, making it pretty. But I have plans for both of those things, for which you shall have to stay tuned…

You Fail It, Pt. 2

New Browser Of the Day: Camino. It’s actually somewhat fast, it renders things okay and works okay, and hasn’t made me very angry yet. Firefox (esp. on the Mac) had made me very angry. I even tried to downgrade to, which still caused anger.

I did not go to the gym last night. My excuse: I felt a bit ‘blue,’ so I killed Nazis instead in Call of Duty 3. Which was fine, but man that game is getting exhausting. I spent 20 minutes methodically killing Kraut after Kraut, and working my way over to a secure position. I start running out of ammo, I’m offing so many krauts. And then I die. And I do the same thing, except faster, and there are fewer krauts to kill!? What’s going on here? And it hit me: since there’s no ‘health’ meter, slow patience would _always_ win against a finite number of enemies – you can never die if you only get popped once and then go hide. So all you would have to do is be very, very patient, and you will eventually prevail. That wouldn’t be any fun.

So instead, we have an infinite number of enemies. They keep coming back, over and over and over again, spawning from some mysterious generator point, never to be stopped until you walk over some invisible line which says they should stop spawning. I found that I could kill upwards of say, 50 or so Nazis and advance, or as few as around 3 – so long as I went to the right place that the computer wants me to be in, the generator is halted.

This is, unfortunately, very very lame. Already the game runs on rails, preventing you from moving to (what I consider) are tactically more strategic approaches to the goal at hand – instead, you have to go the way the computer tells you. And your “allies” (I put that in quote because I really believe they are secretly in cahoots with the Germans) keep getting in your way, or not helping you.

But, it is pretty, and the sound is good, and the controls are interesting – I find that I rest my forearm on my knee to keep my arm from tiring out, and I can keep the Wii Remote focused on the screen OK. If I need to have a sip of my drink while I’m playing, I hook the Nunchuk cable on my right pinky, and drink with my left hand. It’s not bad.