Browsing articles from "November, 2012"

GeekTool Won’t Let Me Drag an Icon to the Desktop

By Rob Warner  //  Mac, Software  //  2 Comments

TL;DR — Turn off Path Finder desktop to use GeekTool.

I’ve been meaning to install GeekTool on my new Mac that I bought, um, over two years ago. Time flies. Anyway, I installed it from the App Store, ran it, and tried to drag an icon to my desktop as the instructions say. I kept experiencing these symptoms:

When opening GeekTool, I am welcomed to a blank Properties box with just “Geeklet Settings”. Many tutorials have told me to drag either “file” “Images or “Shel” onto the desktop. I do this and nothing happens. The little black box that appears when you click and drag bounces back up to the GeekTool 3 preference box.

The remedy most often listed was to uninstall and reinstall, but before I did that, I realized: I wasn’t actually dropping the icon on my desktop. I was dropping it on my Path Finder desktop, which I enable in Path Finder’s settings (Features > Show Path Finder desktop). That  makes a difference! I turned off the Path Finder desktop (admittedly, I don’t know what it offers, so I don’t know what I’ve lost), and BOOYAH! Dropping GeekTool icons now works.


Microsoft Doesn’t Want Me Using Windows 8

By Rob Warner  //  Software  //  No Comments

Upgrade to Windows 8 – Microsoft Windows:

Purchasing a full version of Windows 8

If you want to build your own PC and install Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro, or want an additional operating system running in either a local virtual machine or separate partition (including a Mac), you can purchase the Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro System Builder products (OEM versions). If available in your country or region, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro System Builder products can be purchased at participating stores, you’ll need to ask a sales rep for more information. This version does not include customer support.

I was idly thinking about buying Windows 8 to run in a VM on my MacBook Pro, so I could play around with it. I used to run a Windows 7 VM on my MBP, but it annoyingly kept self-reporting as not genuine and googling showed a lot of people had the same problem and the cure required more effort than I was willing to give to Windows 7. Consequently, I’ve been without any access to testing web sites on IE for a long time, which feels liberating yet irresponsible.

Chrome took me to the Microsoft online store, where I saw that I could download Windows 8 for $40, but that was the upgrade version only. I should be eligible to upgrade, as I have an NT 4.0 full version disk and an XP Home Upgrade disk and a Windows 7 Upgrade disk, but that sure created cranky installation sequences in the past that required trickery to execute (and then ultimately fell apart anyway), so I’ve no interest in a repeat run.

Now I read that Microsoft doesn’t have much interest in my type. No Windows 8 Full-Version downloads–you can only buy it from a brick-and-mortar (after asking a “sales rep”)? And I get no support, even though I’d probably pay more than an upgrader? If the DRM breaks or my VM can’t phone home to authenticate, I’m just taking it on the chin?

Well played, Microsoft–that is, if you’re intending to limit your audience. Maybe you’re more embarrassed about Windows 8 than you’re letting on.


Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore | Gadget Lab |

By Rob Warner  //  Development, Software  //  No Comments

Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore | Gadget Lab | “Think of the dilemma this way: Any password-reset system that will be acceptable to a 65-year-old user will fall in seconds to a 14-year-old hacker.”

Mat Honan nails it: the password system is irretrievably broken, and the only security any of us really have is our relative anonymity. We aren’t hacked because we don’t matter, not because our defenses are too strong. And we don’t get to decide if and when we matter enough to be hacked.

More quotes from the article:

Last spring hackers broke into the security company RSA and stole data relating to its SecurID tokens, supposedly hack-proof devices that provide secondary codes to accompany passwords. RSA never divulged just what was taken, but it’s widely believed that the hackers got enough data to duplicate the numbers the tokens generate. If they also learned the tokens’ device IDs, they’d be able to penetrate the most secure systems in corporate America.

Whoops! The apparent security that the SecurID widget thing on your keyring may not be protecting anything!

How about Gmail’s two-factor authentication? Honan tells the story of Matthew Prince:

Prince’s hackers used the SSN to add a forwarding number to his AT&T service and then made a password-reset request with Google. So when the automated call came in, it was forwarded to them. Voilà—the account was theirs. Two-factor just added a second step and a little expense.

Read the article. You’ll cringe all the way through it. Honan finishes with:

Times have changed. We’ve entrusted everything we have to a fundamentally broken system. The first step is to acknowledge that fact. The second is to fix it.


Designing by Making: your process for arranging furniture can point toward a good process for UI design

By Rob Warner  //  Development, Software  //  No Comments

Designing by Making: your process for arranging furniture can point toward a good process for UI design:

Many contemporary design process artifacts like field interviews, a wall of post-it notes, and paper prototypes reflect an increasingly antiquated premise: that building a real thing is much more expensive than producing a design. 


Much software is still designed this way, even though the economics of user interface implementation have changed radically. The effort required to create useful, functional, beautiful, reliable, and performant software application user interfaces has been dropping for years, and this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Love the furniture-moving analogy. The best designs emerge through iterations, and we must continue to shorten the time and flatten the curve required to build user interfaces to improve what we’re pushing out to users.

(Via flow|state)


Paper Passion, A Perfume That Smells Like Books For Booklovers

By Rob Warner  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Paper Passion, A Perfume That Smells Like Books For Booklovers: “Paper Passion is a perfume formulated to smell like books, meant to appeal to booklovers.”

From my niece Daisy.

I wonder if they have a Kindle version . . . .


My Phone WANTS Me to Text and Drive

By Rob Warner  //  iOS  //  3 Comments

While I was driving to work today, my pants pocket buzzed. “Incoming,” my iPhone nudged, and then awaited my response. And I knew my iPhone wasn’t going to tell me again, whatever the message, until I pulled it out of my pocket and looked at its screen. I had three choices:

  1. Pull my phone out of my pocket, look at the message, and respond.
  2. Pull my phone out of my pocket, look at the message, and then respond once I parked.
  3. Leave my phone in my pocket and wait until I parked to look at the message and respond.

Option #1 clearly holds the most danger, as the many “Don’t Text and Drive” campaigns attest. Options #2 and #3, however, require reliance on my increasingly less reliable memory to remember to respond to a buzz that had been stilled for a longer time than my short-term memory can contain. I have a hard enough time remembering my destination while driving, as my passengers will lament, and that seems a tad more important when captaining a car than remembering that my phone once upon a time wiggled. Do you see my dilemma?

As a responsible husband, father, driver, and member of society, I selected Option #3, which is clearly the safest yet just as clearly offers the greatest chance of a tardy response. I mean, if I didn’t remember to check my phone when I parked, it could be hours before I just happened to check my phone to see the neglected message. OK, so Words with Friends and Letterpress guarantee it wouldn’t be hours, but you get my point.

My phone should treat me better than that. You see, it knows that I’m in a car by the speed its GPS picks up. It knows when I’m parked by my relatively ponderous pace. It could buzz me anew once I’ve parked. In fact, it could wait to buzz me until I’ve parked. I imagine a setting that says “Ignore these type of messages while I’m driving.” True, the phone doesn’t know if I’m driving or riding, but it could ask.

When we talk about context with user experiences, we usually think about targeting ads based on location. Contextual use cases span so much more, though, especially when you’re more willing to extrapolate things like velocity. Phones can improve the user experience while making us all safer by not encouraging me to text and drive.


I'm Rob Warner, and I'm a software developer. I live in Jacksonville, Florida, and work for Availity, LLC. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Availity.