Greg moonlights…

… on a community blog that gathers state level political news from around the country, the mellifluously named “Political State Report.” Greg is covering Georgia with all the skill, thoroughness and wit that he customarily brings to the Green[e]house Effect. Suggestion to Greg: ain’t nothing wrong with reposting your stuff from Polstate over to the home blog.

Reading Polstate is like reading the political pages of every decent newspaper all over the country, only a thousand times better.

“It goes to 11&#8221: Native X11 support for Mac OS X

Call it “How to bury an important announcement, Part II.” Without any fanfare, Apple released a public beta of an X11 environment for Mac OS X. Unlike third party efforts, the X11 for Mac OS X public beta provides true Aqua window management and graphics acceleration courtesy of Quartz.

(A curious thing: the pointer to Quartz Extreme on the page points to this UK page (note the URL). A hint as to the origin of the new X11 environment?)

This is cool. I was never happy with XDarwin; I couldn’t figure out how to get it running again after upgrading to 10.2, it put crap all over my filesystem in directories that weren’t visible through the Finder, and it offered whatever window manager you wanted, as long as it was an ugly old-school non-Aqua window manager. The new release also lives happily as a little package file:

Oh yeah: for those who don’t know already, X11 is a standard GUI toolkit for Unix. A lot of graphical Unix apps, including the Gimp (a Photoshop competitor) and the original Mosaic browser, require X11 to run. With this release, Mac OS X has an even firmer claim on being able to run almost every desirable piece of Unix software.

Got your $20 check from the music industry?

SF Chronicle: CD settlement money going begging so far. According to the article, if you bought a CD, cassette tape, or vinyl record between 1995 and 2000 at a retail store, you are eligible for a piece of the settlement that BMG, EMI, Warner, Sony, and Universal paid for price fixing. Also according to the article, only about 30,000 people have filed for their share of the settlement so far. You can file a claim online at

Sadly, the maximum amount of the settlement is $20 (per person, not per CD purchased), or I’d be a rich man.

Hedging the dimensions issue

All the links for the new products announced during the keynote are now live. I started wondering about the claim that the 12″ PowerBook is the “smallest PowerBook ever.” Surely it’s not smaller than an iBook? or a Duo?

Here are the dimensions as they stack up. Steve wasn’t idly boasting, but it depends on how you cut the figures:

Dimension PowerBook Duo 210 iBook PowerBook G4 12″
Width (inches) 10.9 11.2 10.9
Depth (inches) 8.5 9.06 8.6
Thickness (inches) 1.4 1.35 1.18
Volume (cubic inches) 129.7 136.99 110.6
Weight (pounds) 4.2 4.9 4.6
Image PowerBook Duo 210 White iBook - 12 inch PowerBook G4 - 12 inch

So the new 12″ PowerBook is a little deeper and heavier than the old Duo 210, but still smaller in terms of overall volume. Quibbling aside, this is pretty cool—I never thought we’d see a machine close to the Duo’s form factor from Apple ever again.

MacWorld bloggers talk hardware

Continuing with the live blog of the live bloggers: Eric says Steve is talking hardware, including laptops: 17 inch Powerbooks, only 1 inch thick:

1440×900 resolution, 16:10 ratio. Fiber-optic backlit keyboard. 6.8 pounds. Aircraft-grade aluminum. 1 GHz G4 and FireWire 800.

Will all bloggers lust after the new AlBook like they did the TiBook? Have to wait to see the photos. If Apple succeeds in improving AirPort performance over the TiBook they might have a winner.

Dammit I posted too fast. Looks like it will incorporate AirPort Extreme: 802.11g (54 MB/sec, baby) as well as BlueTooth (Eric and Matthew).

Double dammit. New Airport Extreme base stations for $199, 802.11g, with USB print server. Oh well. The SMC works fine. <sob>

“One more thing” — Matthew: “…New 12″ Powerbook. Smallest powerbook ever. Full sized keyboard. 867 MHZ G$. Bluetooth built in. Airport Extreme ready. Cost: 1799$.”

Other coverage: Daniel Berlinger of Archipelago.

A real-time MacWorld blogger

Dave points to Matthew Langham, who is blogging the keynote real time. First big announcement: “FinalCut Express. Looks really neat (from the demo). How much will it cost? 299$ Wow!” Matthew also notes that watching Steve demo iMovie 3 (announced along with iPhoto 2) is “boring.” Sounds familiar.

Additional announcements: iLife, an integrated suite of iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes. Free; $49 with iDVD. Safari, a new Mac OS X browser, supposedly “fastest Mac browser ever,” including Google on the toolbar. Unclear whether this is the true Google toolbar or just a search box. Also unclear whether this is the long rumored Apple version of Chimera, a Cocoa browser based on the Mozilla code base. Also unclear whether Microsoft will still want to play in the Mac sandbox after this… A note: if I have to choose between speed and standards support, I’ll just use Chimera instead, which is plenty fast for me…

Other real-time bloggers: Eric, who notes the QuickTime stream isn’t great even if you can access it, and Frank.

Hmm, Matthew says Steve says they used KHTML, from the KDE library, and will donate back all the additions they make. Also to send them the URL for any page that doesn’t render correctly. Heh. Hope: that they are using this as the basis of a new Cocoa class for HTML rendering; the current one suxx0r. Glad to read in the KHTML notes that it “mostly” implements CSS and DOM.

Hmm… Keynote, a new presentation app, according to Frank. Eric: import/export PowerPoint, export QuickTime, PDF, and XML. $99.

Just a quick foolish note: here I am blogging in real time a bunch of folks blogging in real time. Dave: looks like is standing up to all the blogging traffic quite well, despite having hit a high water mark.

Helpful Quicktime streaming tip

Courtesy Indiana University:

10061 : Connection Failed Error
Some users may experience a “10061 – Connection Failed” error. This is usually due to an incorrect streaming transport setting on the player and is easy to fix.

From the desktop, double-click on the QuickTime Player icon to open the application (or from the Windows Start menu: Start/Programs/QuickTime/QuickTime Player). From the Edit menu, choose Preferences, then Streaming Transport. A QuickTime Settings window will open with two transport settings to choose from. If you are not behind a firewall, select “Use UDP, RTSP Port ID 554” (the top one), or if you are behind a firewall that does not allow port 554, select “Use HTTP, Port ID: 80.” Then close the QuickTime Settings window. If both of these settings work on your computer, UDP is the preferred setting for optimal performance.

Of course this doesn’t help my problem: “500 (Connection refused).” Looks like I won’t be watching any of the speech after all.

Keynote watch

Last year at this time I was live-blogging the MacWorld SF 2002 Apple keynote from the Apple Store in McLean, Virginia. I don’t think I’ll be repeating that feat this year; for one thing I’m working today, and for another I very much doubt I’ll actually get access to a good feed of the keynote, our company’s firewall being what it is. But I will try to make a few notes about the announcements, if only for professional reasons.