Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Integrating OS X with Active Directory

I was going to blog about my experiences integrating OS X 10.3 Panther with Microsoft Active Directory, however there doesn't seem much point to go into details now that Tiger is just around the corner, so I will just mention a quick overview.

Firstly, do not even bother trying if the Windows domain name is something like company.local. Mac OS X will get terribly confused as Rendezvous uses the .local suffix to represent resources on the same subnet, so it will not make DNS queries. There is apparently a workaround but it looked too scary for me.

Secondly, run "/Applications/Utilities/Directory Access" and select the "Active Directory" option. Configure your domain name and forest (the forest is the top level of a set of domains - if you have one domain only then enter it as the forest as well).

When you click Bind and supply appropriate credentials, a computer account is created in Active Directory which means that there is a trust between your computer and the active directory domain. This means that you can log onto your OS X client using your Active Directory user anem and password. Cool!

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Backup Trama Institute

I don't care if they are trying to sell me something - John Cleese is great in the Institute for Backup Trauma.

And don't forget that he says not to press the third button!

Thanks to Dan Glover for the link.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Trawling through the archives

For some reason I have been gradually reading through the blog archives of the drunkenbatman. I have got about halfway through (he has done 500 posts!), and it is really quite fascinated to see the blog change over time.

It is also interesting that I have come across a post that I remember reading at the time (about a year ago), without actually remembering what site I had read it on.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Firefox was so close!

I was so close to making Firefox my default browser in OS X, but today I found a flaw too annoying to ignore. When I right click on a link, the context menu appears on the primary display of the computer, not the second display that the firefox browser window is in.

When I get time, I will check if it is a reported bug.

Monday, March 07, 2005


Rice Bag Stitching

We eat enough rice in our household to buy it by the bag - seriously 20kg bags.

The top of the bag is stitched together in that clever manner that when using the correct technique it can just be cut on one end and pulled off. With the wrong technique you need to basically cut every second stitch.

In the past I have not paid enough attention to what I have been doing, so it is usually a hit and miss affair as to whether I impress myself with a quick opening, or whether I get myself frustrated enough to consider just hacking a whole in the side of the sack.

Well today was different. I actually check how the stitch works and am convinced I have worked out the right technique. I suppose that I will know for sure next on the next bag.

Saturday, March 05, 2005



I still love it :)

I have a 4th generation 20Gb. I bought it when they had a cash back offer when you bought a Powerbook and an iPod together. Obviously I bought the iPod because of the Powerbook, not the other way around.

I think that should make this a long term deal - though I suppose they still sell enough iPods


FileMaker Pro 7 Hassle

[Updated after I installed a browser that supported compose mode]
Many moons ago, I created an application for my parent's business. Originally it was created using some old version of FileMaker Pro (FMP) - maybe 3 or 4? - and has been upgraded a few times over the years. They had been using it with FMP5 for awhile, but decided that FMP7 would be a better host to live in the wonderful world of OS X.

The most recent upgrade was not the painless upgrade that I was used to - I had to get in and fix a bunch of things manually. At the time I was not sure if this is because my parents skipped a version of FMP, but it later become clear that it was more likely to be because version 7 appears to be a major rewrite of the platform.

As it turned out, I got most things in order relatively quickly - the only total road block was a particular report that gathered data from multiple related tables using multiple portals on a single layout. The report was an utter mess in FMP7 - I suspect that I was getting stung by a FileMaker Pro bug (specifically this bug or something similar).

The real irony is that one of the big reasons that this report was one of the big reasons that I didn't finish porting the application to 4th Dimension. FMP has always made it really easy to throw together reports that are clever about how much paper they consume.

Back to FMP7. The only workaround that I could figure out was to write four different reports, and then print them in succession as if they were one report. The downer is that a short report that may have previously only taken a page or two will now always take a minimum of four pages. This is probably what I could have done in 4D?

Now, don't get me wrong - I am happy that FileMaker made the big changes that got made in version 7. When I first developed the application (or more specifically first did some maintenance on it), I shook my fist at not being able to easily separate the application logic and the data. In my mind, this single feature alone made the whole upgrade worthwhile - it was also half the reason I considered the jump to 4D. I am also realistic enough to know that big changes increase the chance of bugs (and googling about implies that not too many others have needed the feature that I was relying on).

What actually annoyed me the most, is that I don't think that the response that I got from FileMaker Australia's support was adequate at all. Initially my parents had been dealing with support directly to get the application upgraded and they really just didn't help them at all. It was only once my googling (I decided that I can use this as a verb if I was using google.com[.au]) turned up a link to the unresolved bug that they admitted "As it is a known issue it is actively being investigated".

I asked for a recommended workaround, but gave up waiting after a month.

To top off the agro factor - when my brother rang up to get a status update, he was told "you support on this purchase has expired". Personally I think when someone has active issues open, you need to follow them through until completion. Granted after my brother hassled them a bit, they did give him license keys to down-grade to FMP6, but I had already sorted out the dodgy workaround in the meantime. A touch too little, a touch too late guys :(

Friday, March 04, 2005


What's going on here then?

Shall I create a new blog that specialises on a fantastic new niche topic or technology that isn't covered in sufficient depth? No don't think so.

Shall I create a new blog that informatively collects related information from various sources and presents it is a nicely structured manner? Not very likely.

How about I just type about the bunch of unrelated stuff that I seem to encounter every day? OK, sounds like a plan.

Does the world need anymore blogs? Hey look over there, it's Elvis!

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