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ICeCoffEE 1.3.3 released

Just released ICeCoffEE 1.3.3. As the 0.0.1 version number increment may indicate, there aren't any earth-shattering changes, but some useful refinements, bug fixes and minor new features. I haven't pushed the release out to MacUpdate because I need to sleep, so I'll do it in the morning.

I'm really feeling pressure to get the current stage of my research finished soon, not to mention it's actually getting rather interesting. So while I'd really like to get back to Pester, the most I'm likely to do in the near future is finish writing the man page for the release of launch 1.0.

Here's a rundown of the most interesting changes in ICeCoffEE 1.3.3:

Sven-S. Porst contributed some features I had been meaning to add myself for some time. The Services contextual submenu now follows the proper guidelines for contextual menus, in existence since Mac OS 8: inapplicable items are removed, not disabled. (The standard Cocoa NSTextView contextual menu flaunts this guideline, of course…) Submenus with a single enabled item are collapsed into their supermenus, and the Services item disappears completely if no services are available for the given context. He also added a German localization, and pointed out some issues with wording in the process. There's no better way to pinpoint where your writing is unclear at a microscopic level than for a translator to pore over its colloquialisms and idiosyncrasies.

Mac OS X 10.2's Terminal offers a lot of welcome improvements, but its drag-and-drop behavior is downright infuriating. Dragging selected text by only two pixels will duplicate it inside the window, causing chaos if I'm on IRC or using vi or some similar single-letter-sensitive app. It's akin to the accidental middle-button mouse click on X11, but even easier to accidentally trigger. ICeCoffEE 1.3.3 requires the option key be held down to duplicate text within a Terminal window, and fixes the option key's incorrect toggling behavior when dragging between Terminal windows (in violation of Apple's Aqua HIG). The only casualty is that self-drag target highlighting no longer works as well as it did, but I noted other problems with incorrect target highlighting, and most Cocoa apps don't even highlight the drag target in the first place (again, despite the HIG's admonitions to the contrary).

Some life-related comments for a change:

The weather here has been wonderful recently—almost eerily so. Tonight I and a few friends watched My Neighbor Totoro; the rain outside started and stopped exactly matching the first rainfall in the movie. I've become addicted in the past few weeks to sitting outside on the balcony in the late night or early morning, working on my PowerBook, listening to the sound of wind rustling the leaves of the trees a few feet from my balcony. I'd work outside more often if I had a faster network connection at home than my current modem—that will wait for my future roommate to move here in August.

To say my parents' recent life has been hectic is an understatement. They're finally finishing up renovations on their house in Boston, tending to their place in New Hampshire every weekend among the voracious biting insects, and have been up to their respective ears in work otherwise. My mother got back from visiting her mother in Australia a few days ago, then moves from Boston to Seattle this weekend to start a new job. She's in corporate housing for a month; once she finds a permanent place to live, I'll have to see about setting her up with a cable modem or DSL and possibly videoconferencing. I'm waking up in three hours to set up her PowerBook for a dialup connection in Washington. Then my parents leave to spend the day in New Hampshire, and return by 6 PM for my mother's cross-country flight.

(Update, 5 AM: they're not leaving after all; I can go back to sleep…)

The incredibly slow speed of Apple's 10.2 Terminal app when antialiasing is enabled has annoyed me for months. In my mail window, I've turned off line wrapping and scrollback in an attempt to speed things up – it helps, but not that much. I had assumed it was a CoreGraphics font rendering problem, but I discovered today that it's not.

An article on Apple's x11-users list mentions that you can get vanilla xterm to use FreeType, and thereby CoreGraphics font rendering under Apple X11. xterm -fa Monaco -fs 12 reacts instantly, at least in comparison with Terminal's horrendous 0.2-second response time, and looks identical save the weird X scrollbar.

From Slashdot to the New York Times in 3 days, not bad. This article briefly mentions the tests we've been doing with the MILC QCD code.

I've written a sync script for my iPod. When run, it:

  • exports Palm Desktop addresses to the iPod's Contacts folder*
  • exports Palm Desktop events to the iPod's Calendars folder*
  • copies Palm Desktop memos to the iPod's Notes folder, one folder per category
  • creates an iCalendar file containing the Palm Desktop to dos in the iPod's Calendars folder
  • synchronizes music from designated folders to same-named playlists on the iPod (I use this for copying recorded streams and radio to my iPod).

If anyone's interested, the script is available as a compiled script (source included), or view the source in a HTML rendering.

* Exports don't work properly yet because I can't get UI Scripting to properly call Palm Desktop. I've posted to applescript-users and hopefully can find a workaround.

NCSA's PS2 cluster got mentioned on Slashdot. The Pablo group, of which I'm a member, has been working on PS2 stuff for the past few months. (I'm not involved; I just hear about it at meetings.) Getting random scientific applications to run on it is not easy, between single-precision floating-point, data layout issues, constrained memory, and horrendously slow disk and network I/O. Not that we expect to get real work done on the cluster: it's primarily a proof of concept for HPC work on later generations of gaming hardware.

Pavan Tumati's pioneering work on porting computational chemistry to the PS2 is mentioned as well. As is, he's done a lot in his free time, much more than we have with an actual funded project. :-)

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