Posts in Category "Mac Fanatic"

Cool Bluetooth Toy

I installed this very cool little Bluetooth utility today called BluePhoneMenu, and it works perfectly. As long as my cell phone is in range and Bluetooth is enabled, the utility reports signal strength, battery life, and shows a call log. When the phone rings, the screen flashes, and a windows pops up with the number and, if possible, the name of the caller. The app will check the Phone Book application for matches, and can even be configured to pause iTunes so you can take the call in peace. Very fun application.

Running JRun and ColdFusion with Java 1.4.2 on OS X

NOTE: The solution below is neither supported nor endorsed by Macromedia. Use at your own risk!

Most of you running JRun/CF on OS X are aware of the fact that we have been stuck with Java 1.3.1 while everyone else has gotten the benefit of newer versions of Java. For reasons unknown (at least to me), editing your jvm.config file and changing java.home to point to a newer version of Java did not work. Fortunately, there is another way. CD into JRun’s lib directory, and type the following command:

java -jar ./jrun.jar -start default

I have the process scripted. Below is the meat of my “” script:


java -jar ${JRUN_HOME}/lib/jrun.jar -start default admin \
1>$LOG_HOME/default-out.log 2>$LOG_HOME/default-err.log

Unfortunately I have found that I have to start the admin server along with the default server in order to affect the JVM’s classpath (I need to add drivers for PostgreSQL). For some reason, using the -cp flag hasn’t worked. Still looking into that.

Anyway, once again, this is not a supported configuration, and if you choose to try it, you are doing so at your own risk.

Flash and the Apple iSight

Someone asked me recently if the iSight works with Flash, and the answer is that it works great. You may have have to update your Flash setting, however. If you are finding that your iSight isn’t working with Flash, right-click on any Flash movie and choose “Settings…”, then click on the camera icon. Choose “IIDC FireWire Video” from the menu. You can also use the iSight for audio by clicking on the microphone icon and choosing “iSight”. I tested it with a Flash Communication Server application, and the it worked great. Now we just need to change the Flash camera icon from the spherical Logitech-like form factor to the slim, lithe, cylindrical look of the iSight.

Mac and iSight users, be warned. I’ve have had two OS crashes during video chatting (with Scott Fegette) using iChat AV Public Beta 1.2 v151, and two other OS crashes that I have not been able to pin on anything in particular yet. When I upgraded to Panther, I started using iChat AV (in conjunction with Proteus) and an iSight, so it’s hard to say what is causing the crashes, but I’m in the process of narrowing it down now. Any suggestions?

Network Time and OS X

I’m not sure why it is that computers are so lousy at keeping track of time, but it drives me crazy. Both my alarm clock and my watch synchronize with an atomic clock in Colorado multiple times a day to ensure they are as accurate as possible (to the naked eye, they are exactly accurate), meanwhile the clock on all my computers (including my PDAs) are free wander aimlessly. Well, no more. I discovered the other day that you can configure OS X to synchronize with a network time server by going into System Preferences -> Date & Time -> Network Time, then checking the “Use a network time server” checkbox. Now my computer and my watch are never more than one second apart (for some reason, Apple’s time server is about one second slow), and my PDA gets its time from the computer.

Now I have to find some other excuse for always being late.

Apple Introduces G4 iBooks

Right after introducing iTunes for Windows, Apple has rolled out a new line of iBooks. My very first Mac was an iBook which I loved, except for the performance. Man, was it slow. Back in those days (when OS X first came out and couldn’t even be used to burn a CD yet), the iBooks had a better form-factor than the Powerbooks. Recently, the Powerbooks have undergone a much-needed redesign, however, and are finally the perfect laptops (for Mac users, of course). The new iBooks are attractive, though, if you need something small, light, and relatively inexpensive.

OT – New Hardware From Apple

I try to keep my weblog pretty relevant, but sometimes I can’t resist the occasional off-topic post, especially when it has to do with Apple. In case you haven’t heard, Apple released a new line of PowerBooks this morning, along with new iPods (20GB and 40GB) and a new wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard and mouse.

The PowerBooks are what really caught my eye. They have finally released an updated 15″ model with all of the benefits of the new 17″ and 12″ models. 15″ PowerBook users can now get built-in Bluetooth, a backlit keyboard, FireWire 800, USB 2.0, and an improved form-factor that shifts all the ports to the side rather than the back. Of course, you can also get a 1.25GHz PowerPC chip, which is a pretty significant (and much-needed) speed boost.

I’m a 15″ fan myself. I like the 12″ model, but the resolution is only 1024×768, which is fine for traveling, but seems a little small for everyday use. The 17″ model is very impressive and would be great for everyday use, but seems a little big for traveling (you are hard-pressed to open up anything larger than a Gameboy Advance on a JetBlue flight). Anyway, they are all cool, and all tempting since I’m using an “old” 15″ PowerBook, which, until this morning, was top of the line. It’s amazing how quickly the world can change overnight.

What’s your development machine of choice?

Using ColdFusion with Java 1.4.1 on OS X

JRun and ColdFusion MX 6.1 work just fine with JRun on OS X using Java 1.3.1, which is good, since, as far as I can tell, there’s no way to get it to work with the newest installation of Java, which is Java 1.4.1 (if you know of a way, please let me know). If you are not intermingling Java and ColdFusion too much, it’s a great setup, but what do you do when you need the combination of ColdFusion MX 6.1 and Java 1.4.1 and OS X? According to Sean Corfield, the answer is Jakarta Tomcat. I installed Tomcat this morning, and so far, so good. If you need access to 1.4.1 and you are working with ColdFusion MX 6.1 on OS X, Tomcat currently appears to be your best option. Macromedia even provides a set of ColdFusion installation instructions for Tomcat.

Macromedia and Apple Team Up Over Studio MX

From Macromedia’s webliste:

“For a limited time, Macromedia is making Studio MX available to purchasers of new Apple Macintosh computers for $399 when they are purchased together at the same time. “

You can find details on Apple’s site here:

Details on Macromedia’s site here:

Story on CNET here:

Apple Releases Very Cool New iPods

Very cool. Check it out:

  • 10, 15 and 30 GB
  • New button and menu system
  • A dock for recharging, synching, and line out
  • Three games: Solitaire, Brick and Parachute
  • Text reader (one step closer to a PDA)
  • Sleep timer and alarm for falling asleep and waking up
  • Slimmer and lighter
  • New version of iTunes that lets you buy and download music

Details here:

Informal, Unscientific Poll

I would like to conduct an informal, unscientific poll to see how many people out there would be interested in deploying production systems on Macs. My informal, unscientific questions are:

  1. Who among you is currently running production systems on Macs? What kinds of Macs are you using (hardware and software)?
  2. Who would like to be using OS X in production, but can’t afford the hardware?
  3. Who would like to be using OS X in production, but can’t due to lack of software support? What software in particular?
  4. What else would you like to say for or against Macs in production?

Feel free to email me directly ( or post your comments here.