And we're back!

Relishing all this Leopardy goodness. This is a sock-knocker-offer. Blazingly fast (and no not just the 'snappy' placebo you get with a clean install, this is fast) and improvements pretty much everywhere you look. More in a few days after I get used to things.

It's here! It's here!

Can't talk. Wasting valuable Leopard time.


Final quick backup, then a nuke and pave, fresh install of Leopard. See you on the other side!

AoW 17: Bangs and Crashes - Go West

They're cool, they've got a great sound, they're Canadian: what more needs to be said? Actually a little bit more. I've had this album on cassette since the eighties but Chappo only recently reminded me just how great the remixes are on this record, CD, iTunes album. Listen you must, enjoy you will.



But the important news...

We ordered the rings today!


Russian wedding bands to be exact.

Though the geek in me always thinks of this after seeing them:



A state of cat-like readiness.

Called TNT late yesterday to see what was up with the delayed delivery and whether I could pick it up from them (it ended up at a depot 10 mins away from here) but no dice, no way of getting hold of Leopard before Monday unless I drove to the big smoke and fluked finding one in a brick'n'mortar store, and I'm not hanging out quite that much for it. Still, reading my usual collection of bookmarks I can't help feeling a little like Bart Simpson in that episode where he has to study, the next day is snowed in, schools closed, and all he can do is look out the window and watch all the other kids having a ball.

Yeh. Just like that. But apparently I'm not the only one, I feel your pain guys.

Well, enough. I'm turning away from the lappy and doing some Iron Chef cooking and the closest I'll come to looking at a web browser again is to check the weather radar for the storms we're expecting. Any other remotely computer-related activity will be on the gaming rig! That said, you must read Chairman Gruber's take on it over at Daring Fireball, he always just nails it.

I can wait 'til Monday... <insert facial tick here> really I can...


Getting ready for Leopard.

Okay so the cat is on its way, time to put some planning into action - hey, it'll give the TNT site a break from my continually checking where it is. Happy

Upgrading Mac OS X can be typically done one of three ways, direct update (in place upgrade), Archive and Install (backup system files, retain user documents, network settings etc.) or Erase and Install which is exactly what it says. At each major OS upgrade I've used the opportunity to clear out the cobwebs and do an erase and install. This means there are no dodgy kernel extensions, input managers and the like hanging around. Archive and install would achieve the same, but the directory and file system would still be fragmented. So, to backups.

Backup Rule 1a: you can never have too many backups.
Backup Rule 1b: never trust your data to fewer than three different sets of media.

Kathy & I typically have three or four different backup sets on the go each. Daily (different location, same disk), Weekly, external drive and an old 4Gen iPod which is then stored in a safe at an Undisclosed Location. Also, occasional DVD burns of same, and very occasional backups of big stuff like pictures, iTunes libraries to an external HD. Each backup set has at least a couple dozen instances. Retrospect makes all this so seamless you almost don't realise it's going on. All I need to remember is to plug in the external drive before starting our own version of Iron Chef on Saturdays.

Backup Rule 2: test your backups.

What point is all this backing up if you can't get anything back? Regularly test that you can actually retrieve files and folders from your backups (and that the files are readable.) Here's an interesting one; I don't know if Retrospect actually runs under Leopard [update: it does], so while it's good insurance to have (Kathy's going to hang back on 10.4 for a while) I'm going to go with a more native approach and use Mike Bombich's excellent Carbon Copy Cloner. This clever piece of work can do a full bootable clone to another hard disk, but it can also backup to a disk image which is what I'll be doing since I know Leopard will read these.

Backup Rule 3: backup your configuration as well as your data.

Network settings, keychains, what applications you have installed, da woiks. All these play a vital part in getting going after a fresh build. What's the point in having a shiny new OS if you can't get your Mac onto your airport network? And without a list of installed apps, it can take you weeks of adding "just one more thing" to get the full collection of tools back together again. Luckily one of Apple's own tools helps out with this: Apple System Profiler. This critter not only gives you a full inventory of your apps, it also notes every network detail of every network location, except passwords. Those you'll need to track yourself using either Keychain or a password manager (my tool of choice is Web Confidential. Years old, but dependable.) Use System Profiler to save a complete profile to your backup disk.

If you have an Apple ID (if you've shopped at Apple online or iTunes Music Store you have one) it's handy to note it and your password down on paper, as well as your current airport network password (if applicable.) This will help fill out a lot of account information when the install is complete (even if you don't feel like registering.)

After all this, we're about ready to go... except I checked with our mail room and TNT have been and gone so it looks like my copy of Leopard isn't going to arrive until Monday.


But hey, at least I'm ready for it. In a cat-like state of readiness, in fact.



Hot diggety!


Something wicked this way comes.

here kitty kitty...

Unless you've been living under a rock the last week or so, you'll have noticed that Mac fans the world over - including yours truly - are beside themselves with anticipation waiting for Friday 26th. The day the big cat comes padding out of its cage: Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Some two and a half years in the making, this brings a huge number of improvements, refinements, and holy-cow-how-did-they-pull-that-off bits.

Yes, I pre-ordered (apparently pre-orders for Leopard were twice as many as for Tiger) which theoretically means it'll be delivered on the day, though living out in the (comparative) sticks it'll probably be Monday. Either way, can't wait.

P.S. The original version of the above can be had here.

[Hey, welcome MacSurfer readers!]


AoW 16: The Smiths - The Smiths


I know a few people will disagree with this choice, saying Morrissey is a pretentious twat but I think this is one of the best albums of the time (I keep using that phrase...) Johnny Marr's guitar work alone is something special, and Morrissey's distinctive vocal style together with some clever writing complete the picture. Have a listen and make up your own mind.


AoW 15: Candy-O - The Cars


Ah now we're right in 80s territory! Candy-O was actually released in 1979, but I'll always associate it with the 80s as it was an iconic album of the time.


AoW 14: The Secret Life of ... - The Veronicas


The Veronicas are two cute-as-a-button twin sisters hailing from Brisbane, Australia, but you wouldn't pick that from their very US-like sound. I mean this in the nicest possible way but it screams 90210 to me - not a bad thing. Very poppy, fresh sound and good production make this a great listen even though it's aimed at the gen Me crowd. Have a listen and you might be pleasantly surprised.


AoW Catchups.


02 8023 0000 - stop calling me!

Dear company at 02 8023 0000,

You're beginning to piss me off. Telecommunications Ombudsman/Direct Marketing Assoc./Do Not Call Register complaint kinda piss me off. Leave a message or actually talk when I answer so you can try to convince me you're not trying to sell anything, you're "only doing market research". Better yet:

Stop. Fucking. Calling. Me.


P.S. Explanation for those interested, about once a day for the last week or so this number has been calling my mobile and either hanging up when I do answer or not leaving a message when it goes to voicemail. (And before you ask, yes, pretty sure I'm current with all my bills.) Finally got jack of this the other day so decided to call back (with withheld caller ID) - got a recorded message "Thank you for calling our customer relations department. If you have been called by this number we'll call again soon. If you do not want to receive any further calls, please press 1 and leave your full name and number." No company name, nothing. Uh, so you keep calling, you hang up when I answer, you don't leave messages when I don't and I'm supposed to leave you my details? I think not. Oh and I'll bet I probably got charged a premium rate for that call... going to be eyeing the next bill for that one.

P.P.S. Why am I blogging such a trivial annoyance? So that the number 028023000, (02) 8023 0000, and any other variant I can think of gets Googled in case others are trying to figure out who this number is. Hey if you do know who it is, I'd love to hear from you.

Reading intertia.

I got caught out with reading inertia this morning while reading a Vice City walk-though.


What's reading inertia? Well it's when you're reading a text passage and you can't stop before you read a bit that you don't want to read. Here's an example: in Vice City one of the key moments in the game is when you have to off Lance Vance because he's - see? If you're still working through Vice City as I am, you read all the way to "see?" which, in the original text would have been a big plot twist. You knew a spoiler was coming, but even with the mental handbrake on, your eyes keep skidding on to the goods and a little part of your mind is doing that time-dilated "nnnnnooooooooooOOOOOOOOOO!" thing.

Yes, I know, technically most walkthroughs are just one big spoiler, but I don't know about you but generally I go to a walkthrough to get a hint on how to solve just one thing I'm stuck on. So, to people who write walkthroughs, thanks for the excellent efforts in writing them, but please learn these words: Spolier. Alert.


Zen, and the art of...

We've had some really good thumping big storms come through our way the past 4-5 days. Love it! It's also allowed me to put off washing the Jade Dragon (vehiculus motilii) for another wee while.

Now, I don't mean to sound at all ungrateful to Mother Nature/Gaia/$DEITY but couldn't ya have slanted the rain a little so the alloys got done too? They take a fricken age to clean.

Made a clean spot. Crap.

I pity people who have to clean spoked wheels! Kathy once briefly owned an MGB so can sympathise.

And yes, you just read a blog entry about cleaning car wheels. No refunds on that minute of your life you now want back, you knew the job was dangerous when you took it on.


Oh really just-

Yes, I'm sorry, dear reader, I'm once again neglecting my commitment to you. I recently read that one of the secrets to a successful blog was committing to it. And here was me thinking a good blog was letting your friends know 'holy cow I just totally nailed the get-the-counterfeit-plate-info-from-the-guy-on-the-cargo-ship mission!' thing in that level of Vice City.

Which I did last night. Yay me! Or Tommy, as the case may be. Happy

Anyways, in the meantime, once again, I offer the following.

Oh really just-

The original:

The interpretation:

Once in a while you have to stop and listen.

And if you - erm - caught something in your eye listening/watching the latter, your stock just went up a few points in my books.