VirtueDesktops

Wow, VirtueDesktops has come a long way since the last time I used it. I’ve made the switch from the older Desktop Manager, and aside from not having the desktop pager available in the menu bar I am having no trouble adjusting. Moving windows between desktops works as advertised.

mailbox2ics

We have an Exchange-like mail server at work, but it doesn’t support iCal subscriptions. Since I use a Mac, and don’t have any interest in Outlook, that makes calendar access a pain. After some poking around, I discovered that the server stores the calendar information in IMAP folders, with each event in a separate ICS file attached to a fake message. So I put together a small script read the IMAP messages and merge the ICS files into a single output file.

del.icio.us down?

I’ve never worked anywhere that could take a reasonable change window like del.icio.us apparently can. We’re in the midst of a scheduled upgrade which will take no more than a couple of hours. Come back after 2 pm (Pacific) today and you will see the del.icio.us you’ve come to know and love. For live updates, please see our blog. Bravo to their operations team for doing the work during the day instead of the middle of the night.

feed auto-discovery

I added feed auto-discovery to CastSampler.com today. It was pretty easy using the feedfinder.py module, except for one small problem. Something about the timelimit() decorator in that module causes problems with django or mod_python (probably mod_python). When timelimit() is enabled, the finder either produces no URLs at all or an exception about “unmarshalling code objects” in a “restricted execution environment.” It works great in my development environment, which does not use mod_python.

Gmail learning to recognize spam better?

I didn’t see this story in the New York Times when it came out. The title is a little misleading, though. The excitement is in the reduction of false positives, rather than false negatives: From the first quarter to the second this year, Gmail got nearly 15 times better at distinguishing legitimate commercial e-mail messages from spam…

Left-Handedness

According to the BBC: Left-handed people can think quicker when carrying out tasks such as playing computer games or playing sport, say Australian researchers. more specifically: Extreme left-handed individuals were 43 milliseconds faster at spotting matching letters across the right and left visual fields than right-handed people. It only works if you’re caffeinated, though. I should say, it only works for me that way.

Software Updates

I just updated my powerbook with Apple Security Update 2006-007 with no apparent ill effects. I found one report that mentioned having a problem that required a re-install of 10.4.8, but I have not experienced that, yet. Immediately after updating, I was offered iPod Updater version 1.2.1, which apparently has only a minor fix for a battery indicator problem I wasn’t having.

Email Archives

Speaking of email, I’ve been working on an AppleScript to organize my email boxes. I use Mail.app under OS X, so searching is easy and quick. I can use smart mailboxes as needed for subject-based organization, so I wanted to move away from my existing subject-based organization scheme (a folder for each person, job, client, etc.). But since I have about 7 years of email on my machine, I still wanted to do better than one big mailbox.

The Real Problem With Email

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the upsurge in spam, especially the increase in image spam. No one seems to have an answer. I think that is because they have not recognized the real source of the problem. The email delivery protocol SMTP was designed to deliver electronic mail in the same way that postal mail is delivered: The sender hands the mail to a service which delivers the message to the inbox of the recipient.