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I'm off to do some last-minute shopping, then the airport.

I'll be in Oslo from the 4th to the 8th, then leaving for Røst, returning to Oslo on the 12th, out to Bergen on the 13th, and back home on the 16th and 17th.

While I'm in Oslo I may have some limited Internet access, but after that, who knows. In other words, don't expect me to respond to your emails until I get back.

Long time no blog. I've been home for about a week, in a state of continual activity since last Thursday.

Thursday I did a lot of overdue computer maintenance and caught up on some research work (must…make…results…meaningful…). That night my father and I walked around Boston, something I never really got to do much of when I lived here. We went out to dinner afterward, and had a wonderful time.

Friday morning my mother arrived. I picked her up at the airport and a wrong turn caused us to get lost in Boston for a while. That afternoon I had some deadlines to meet and my father was at work, so we didn't get much done. After he came home, we went to the Cambridge Apple Store to buy two iSight cameras for my parents to use now they're on opposite coasts most of the time. The Apple Store experience was quite painless, but the surrounding mall made us both never want to go back. I'm not surprised that Apple's developing more standalone Apple Stores in large cities; Boston could certainly use one. I went out to dinner with what was supposed to be the Boston BBS group, but turned out to be only myself and another member who was in Boston for a few days. Nevertheless, I had a great time.

Saturday the three of us went to Henniker, braving the flies and doing some large-scale gardening. My mother's five-year weed-eradication plan is almost at a close, and the results are dramatic; she certainly shows far more patience and persistence than I could ever think of possessing. In the evening we went up to Waterville to sleep after some quality time shopping and eating in Concord and Tilton.

Sunday morning we cleaned the place at Waterville, I got the iSights working together (my parents love them), and we all got haircuts then drove back to Boston.

Sunday was the last day I had to spend with my mother, as well as her PowerBook. It was a lot of fun as usual to try to squeeze huge amounts of computer-fixing into a few days. I had some scrambling to do, as her mail relay (, aka is still in transit between Illinois and Virginia. FileMaker fixed, check; confusion about Word Mac vs. Windows features resolved, check; iVisit updated and iChat AV installed, check.

On Sunday afternoon, after dropping my mother off at the airport, I introduced my father to some great Mac OS X programs such as OmniGraffle and Keynote. I migrated him from Camino, Now Up-to-Date and Contact to Safari, iCal, Address Book and iSync. Camino just crashes too much for him (though it's solid for me, and still my primary Web browser; interesting how usage patterns affect browser stability!) and Now Up-to-Date and Contact have been a complete disappointment—unstable, ugly, hard to use, and with horrendous Palm sync support. iSync's Palm sync is not perfect—it's a little slow—but at least it works and has yet to lose data in our experience.

Since I've now got automated calendar sharing working from AppleScript in Palm Desktop, he can subscribe to my calendar in iCal, and I can subscribe to his (albeit not view it in Palm Desktop, which is a reasonable compromise).

Monday was another work day. That night I made some progress on getting Australian citizenship; did some preliminary packing for Norway. My father called Apple to get his PowerBook fixed, and had a rather depressing interaction with the AppleCare rep. Of the three problems with the laptop, the power and FireWire problems are readily reproducible; in fact, the power problem existed since MacHack 2001 at which I first got the machine. The third problem appeared about a week ago; the screen intermittently becomes messed up. It's easier to show than describe:

While the screen is in this state, it doesn't update and is essentially unusable. The problem's becoming more frequent of late. But Apple apparently no longer accepts photographic evidence of an intermittent problem, so our only recourse is to bring it into a dealer. On a recommendation from a BBBS member, we'll be heading to the Computer Loft tomorrow, expecting better results.

This morning my father and I awoke at 5 AM. I had a minor scare when my PowerBook refused to start up; turned it only needed a PMU reset. I had to look up how to do so: my PowerBook is one of the few models that has neither an external switch or a keyboard command. Instead, you remove the keyboard and push a button similar to the reset button on desktop Macs.

The well company was coming to Henniker at 7:30 to finish our well installation (we have running water at the barn now!); we arrived there just a bit late thanks to my PowerBook incident, but they were there a few minutes afterward. The well folks were great, very considerate and competent. About 11:30 we rented a truck into which we put 1500 feet of cedar siding for the back of the barn, and the contents of a storage garage which we moved into the barn. By the time we had returned the truck in Concord it was 8:30 PM; we were home by about 10:15. But for the shopping I'll put off until tomorrow, we got everything done today we wanted to—what a surprise! I was amazed to find that I worked for 16 hours today and I'm less tired than I am doing programming for eight; it's now almost midnight as I write this, and I'm not feeling bad at all.

Tomorrow I'll spend most of the day on research, but I've also got to go shopping for Norway. It seems likely that my friend Kriss is going to meet us in Oslo for a few days, which will absolutely rock.

As you might guess from the above, I've had little or no time for Cocoa stuff recently. I'll try to do some more ICeCoffEE work on the plane to Norway, if my battery holds out. Someone emailed me today asking if they could pay for ICeCoffEE; this hasn't been the first time, so I should really add a donate link to my software page.

Looks like the prerelease Xcode is rather crash-prone and flaky. The ideas are still great, though, and I'm confident they'll have everything sorted out by the time it ships.

Tonight, after a goodbye dinner for some married graduate student friends who are heading back to Seattle after their respective degree completions, I cleaned up and sorted out photos and screenshots from MacHack. Most of the interesting images are from our trips to and from the conference, the product of several hours of boredom and cars full of gadgets. The gallery is now available for your viewing pleasure.

Fellow attendee-from-Illinois John Marriott has some comments on his first MacHack and the WWDC keynote.

Some people have pointed out I neglected to even mention this year's hack. Avi Drissman and I wrote EdgeWarp, an extension to osx2x which makes it into osx2osx and adds drag and drop between attached screen edges. We suffered from severe schedule constraints due to Avi's planning meetings—he's conference chair for next year's MacHack^H^H^H^H^H^H^HADHOC—so we didn't get as far on the hack as we wanted. It's got a way to go to be usable, so I hope someone picks up the code and makes it work better.

I just nuked some text above and had to retype it, because the final release version of Safari doesn't support even single undo in Web page edit fields. Yes, I should be using NetNewsWire to post this, but why why why why why, when you have Cocoa's fabulous NSTextView at your disposal, did the Safari folks do this?

The WWDC keynote was about what I expected, with the exception of the developer tool enhancements. Panther (Exposé! Faster threaded Mail! Better Finder and open and save dialog boxes!), Panther Server (Kerberos! Cyrus! Postfix!), and Xcode (everything!) look great. The G5 case design seems to be a step backwards in many ways—not that I'm in the market to buy one any time soon. iChat AV has half-hearted and confusing buddy group support, which I hope improves before release. We'll likely be buying a few iSight cameras before long, given my family's current geographic distribution (father in Boston, mother in Seattle, and me here in Illinois).

TN2087 has some interesting information in it, including a reference to Smeagol (the 970-compatible 10.2.x release) and a “Blah!” title that was somewhat amusing.

Lots of photos, screenshots, and discussions from MacHack are waiting to be uploaded. I'm leaving for Boston on Wednesday, not to return until mid-July, and want to make some progress on my research while I'm still here, so weblog updates may come sporadically.

Apparently I'm now syndicated at LiveJournal, through no effort of my own. (My guess is this was rugle's doing). If you're a LJ person, you may find it easier to follow my blog that way, I guess.

I've been seeing a great deal of flakiness with my desktop G4 over the past few weeks; it often crashes several times on startup, and recently coreservicesd has been acting up. Last night it decided to stop providing icons, and tonight it started using 100% CPU and locking up my Mac for a few minutes at a time. Each time the problem was solved by restarting, which was rather annoying: you shouldn't have to resort to this sort of problem resolution.

I've been working in the ACM office quite a bit recently, since it's nearly empty over the summer, and has newly installed lighting which is a lot easier on my eyes than the usual fluorescent stuff they have up in the Pablo lab. The ACM folks (primarily Ben, Chris and Don) have been working on an NFS to Kerberized AFS migration for a few weeks; it'll provide better flexibility, security, and speed than the current setup.

AFS is far from trivial to get running. We had no prior experience and four client platforms to support: OS X, Windows 2000/2003, Linux and Solaris. Several all-nighters later, we have two replacement KDCs and two AFS servers, all on obsolete machines (Sun Ultra 1s and HP Kayaks) the CS department donated to us. Linux and Windows clients are working, though Windows is running an older OpenAFS version which still needs to use Kerberos v4.

Coming back from dinner tonight, I decided to spend a few minutes trying to get OpenAFS working on OS X. Happily, a few minutes were all it took, given some instructions courtesy the University of Michigan and an aklog binary in addition to the base OpenAFS distribution. With Alexei Kosut's aklog Kerberos plugin installed, running kinit by itself is still problematic, though:

% kinit njriley
Kerberos Login:
Please enter the password for njriley\@ACM.UIUC.EDU: 
MacLeland: Couldn't get AFS tickets: Don't have Kerberos ticket-granting ticket
% aklog -d
Authenticating to cell (server
We've deduced that we need to authenticate to realm INTERNAL.ACM.UIUC.EDU.
Getting tickets: afs/\@INTERNAL.ACM.UIUC.EDU
Kerberos error code returned by get_cred: -1765328377
aklog: Couldn't get AFS tickets:
aklog: Server not found in Kerberos database while getting AFS tickets
% aklog -d -k ACM.UIUC.EDU
Authenticating to cell (server
We were told to authenticate to realm ACM.UIUC.EDU.
Getting tickets: afs/\@ACM.UIUC.EDU
About to resolve name njriley to id in cell
Id 25170
Set username to AFS ID 25170
Setting tokens. AFS ID 25170 /  @ ACM.UIUC.EDU 

This is likely just a configuration problem which will go away when we move the AFS servers out from behind the firewall. Another possibility would be to reconfigure or recompile the aklog plugin to use the appropriate Kerberos realm.

Sleep, laundry (oops, no laundry, they're behind schedule and the laundry room is still being retiled), packing, and off to MacHack. I can't wait!

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