Howettblog®

Author Archive

Safari Download Manager: The End of an Era

by on Nov.01, 2015, under Mobile, Projects

This post has been a long time in coming.

As you all may have noticed by now, Safari Download Manager hasn’t been updated in some time. There is, in fact, a fairly low chance that it’ll ever be updated by Francis or myself again. By and large, we’ve parted ways with the world of consumer tweak development by getting normal jobs and working for reasonably normal companies.

SDM specifically (and tweak development on the whole) is a pretty important part of our lives. While I can’t speak for Francis, the experience I gained in working on it was instrumental in my growth as a developer. In cutting my teeth and rewriting the bad parts of the codebase I grew, and it was this that helped me secure a professional position as a software engineer. I couldn’t be happier with what I’m working on, but it and Francis’ job preclude spending a lot of time maintaining SDM.

With that in mind, we’ve made the decision to release it as an open-source project! We want people to have the opportunity to learn and grow from both our mistakes and our triumphs. With the notable exception of the branding (the delightful icon, that is), the entirety of the codebase is now under the 3-clause BSD license: you can use the code however you please so long as you retain the license/copyright attribution and do not use its name to endorse or promote any derivative software.

In the interest of transparency, I’ve undergone painstaking effort to preserve the integrity of its history—every misstep, bug, and fix should be visible in detail. While it’s a little old, it’s my hope that SDM can still shine as a beacon of best (or at least alright) practice in tweak development. Countless hours spanning many late nights over the years were dedicated to its design and development, and it’d be a shame for that all to go to waste.

There’s a lot of super-cool stuff in there:

  • SDM works fairly seamlessly on iPhoneOS 3.1 all the way through iOS 5.x. There are a couple issues with 6.x support, but it generally worked “alright” there as well.
  • Support for Safari’s BrowserPanel implementation (a carefully-choreographed dance to ensure that various UI state transitions work and don’t break user interaction.)
  • Crazy-flexible preferences with customizable contents.
  • more, of course, but it’s hard to list everything

You can find the source here.

See You Space Cowboy..

Leave a Comment : more...

Fixing Steam for Mac on a case-sensitive filesystem.

by on May.12, 2010, under Gaming, Hacking, Mac OS X

While it should not be necessary, it is possible (with a bit of symlinking) to get Steam on OS X working with a case-sensitive boot volume.

This can be done as follows: (continue reading…)

18 Comments :, , more...

On Case Sensitivity

by on May.09, 2010, under Annoyances, Gaming, Mac OS X

DUE TO A SHORTAGE OF LOWERCASE LETTERS, AND FAULTY CASE CHECKING, THE ENTIRETY OF THIS POST WILL BE WRITTEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS, JUST LIKE DOS 6.22.
DEAL WITH IT OR GO HOME.
Or, at least, that’s what you’re supposed to do when you try to use Steam (OS X), StarCraft II, or practically any Adobe product on a Mac with a case-sensitive boot volume.

Steam claiming that it requires a case-insensitive volume.

From the factory, a Mac ships with a case-insensitive filesystem. This seems to be an Apple simplification, (continue reading…)

8 Comments :, , , , , , , , , , more...

Cache or Check?

by on Sep.17, 2009, under Annoyances, Mac OS X, Mobile, Projects

On September 9th, 2009, Apple unveiled the (disappointing) updates to their iPod line, and released to the world iPhoneOS 3.1. The first, while notable, is nothing interesting in comparison to what they’ve done in the latest release of iPhoneOS.

With the latest release of their desktop operating system, OS X, Apple made great improvements to the system’s speed and application load times (supposedly, I’ve heard mixed reviews of Snow Leopard.) iPhoneOS 3.1 brings in these new enhancements, further streamlining the software on their mobile devices.

The single most impressive, noticeable change I’d like to discuss today is library caching.

(continue reading…)

4 Comments : more...

Windows 7 Beta

by on Jan.13, 2009, under Windows

I have to say, Microsoft really did a great job here. The beta version of Windows 7 (Build 7000) is far more usable at this stage than Vista ever was. All my issues (see here and here) with Vista are not present here.

Hilights

  • Wireless worked immediately; during setup, no less! (screenshot)
  • All my hardware was detected and drivers automatically downloaded from Windows Update, without my intervention. (screenshot 1: All drivers installed; screenshot 2: Installing my SATA card)
  • User Account Control is 100% less intrusive, and doesn’t hang while blanking the screen.
  • Aero is Beautiful in this release.
  • Paint got a complete overhaul (screenshot: menu) and can do something similar to Word’s AutoShapes.
  • Progress bars in the taskbar. (screenshot)
  • Calculator now has a “Programmer Mode.”
  • It’s fast, in both setup and use.

Minor Issues

  • Address bar icon in IE8 doesn’t support PNG transparency properly. (screenshot)
  • Folders no longer display the size of their contents unless the contents are selected. (screenshot 1: Windows 7; screenshot 2: Windows XP)
  • Paint uses the Ribbon Interface (not an issue, just hard to get used to). (screenshot)

While the beta expires in August of 2009, I foresee great things for Windows 7.

2 Comments more...

WordPress for a New Year

by on Jan.02, 2009, under Projects

The title says it all; This combines my love of (read: veiled interest in) talking about random things online with my love of having a new toy to play with.

Plus, Howettblog® is now completely located on the HowettNET server!

Leave a Comment more...

Total: ∞ packages (0 good luck, 1 mistake)

by on Nov.16, 2008, under Linux

I’d just like to put this out there for everybody…

  1. Make frequent backups. Maybe every month.
  2. Do not, under ANY circumstances, accidentally try to install Haiku to /dev/sda. Ever.

Now that the advice is out of the way, it’s story time!

Yesterday, I was trying to install Haiku to my 512MB flash drive, which, when I plugged it in, got assigned /dev/sdb. The Haiku build system was, at the time set to write to /dev/sda2 (my 3GiB Haiku partition). I deleted the “2” and went on with my business. I ran jam -q haiku-image to build it.
“Hmm, this is taking a while.”
“dd, wrote 134 MB to /dev/sda”
“/dev/sda?! WHAT?!”
“OH MY GOD!”

It wrote 134 MB of 0x00s to the beginning of my hard drive, clobbering the bootloader, partition table, and the root filesystem of my Linux installation (/dev/sda1).

It also got to the “Populating Image” step, so it was happily chugging along writing a Be File System over my entire hard drive and filling it with Haiku data.
^C!

Programs still ran, not all the files on / were lost, and I was in a state of panic.
One reboot later confirmed the obvious – no more system. Also, no more files in /. The filesystem layout was in memory, and I should have taken the time to recover some of the data before I reformatted.

fsck told me that /usr was trashed.. /usr is like “Program Files” and more for Linux… Random data written in random places on a volume is… bad 😉
/ was definitely a goner…
/home somehow survived, guaranteeing that my 8 years-worth of data would stick around for a while longer!
Fortunately, I had backups from August 15th!
Unfortunately, they were from August 15th. That means 3 months worth of upgrades to do…

Restored / and /usr, some of /var (installed package database only), and went to work upgrading.

500 compiled and installed packages later (the last of which are still going) and Jesus is… Well, for the situation, I have to say he’s done pretty darn well. Kudos, me.

Once this is all done?

BACKUP TIME!

I think I need a NOS.

Leave a Comment : more...

Election 2008

by on Nov.05, 2008, under Politics

I’m making a note here-
HUGE SUCCESS.

OBAMA 2008!

1 Comment more...

V9m Back from Repair!

by on Nov.05, 2008, under Uncategorized

Motorola RAZR2 V9m

Motorola RAZR2 V9m

My RAZR2 V9m has returned from the Motorola Repair Facility…
They sent me a completely new phone! The one I sent out was manufactured in Week 49 of 2007, and the one they sent back was manufactured in Week 39 of 2008!
It was marked as a Sprint phone but it had the US Cellular firmware on it. I flashed it over to DST and then Telus and it’s now active and completely working on my account, despite Verizon’s best efforts to keep me from it.
(Hint: *228 option 3 will activate any valid device on any account.)

The screen isn’t actually that staticy; I digitally enhanced this picture in The GIMP.

Leave a Comment : more...

Lying to the Verizon Guy

by on Oct.06, 2008, under Uncategorized

I got my new phone a couple days ago (a RAZR2 V9m)! OH MY GOD! IT’S INCREDIBLE!
It was originally a Sprint phone, but I flashed it to the Verizon software on the way to the mall.
So, we’re about to leave the mall, and I decide to try to get it activated on my account. The Verizon guy at the booth is busy, so we wait a little.
He comes around to help us; I ask, find out I need my mom’s social security number (last 4) since she owns the account technically. Okay, that’s fine. I call her, get that over with.
I hand him the phone.

VZW Guy
 
VZW Guy looks phone over and notices the battery cover.
This is a Sprint phone.
Me
The battery cover was a replacement.
VZW Guy
Ah, alright.
VZW Guy fights to get the battery out.
Where’d you get this battery?
Me
eBay.
VZW Guy
Ah. Okay. [He gets battery off] This is a Sprint phone. Says so right here.
Me
The entire body was a replacement.
VZW Guy
I’ll be surprised if this works. I’ll try it, but I’ll really be surprised.

He’s working, I make a loud comment to Heather about Verizon opening up their network to allow other carriers’ phones. He interjects: “Not yet. Next year.”

VZW Guy
It won’t work.
VZW Guy tries various numbers, to little success.
This is a Sprint phone.
Me
I know.
VZW Guy
If you told me that earlier, we could have saved some of this trouble. We can’t activate it. I suggest you sell it on eBay or something.
VZW Guy puts the phone back together, turns it on. Verizon Wireless logo pops up!
What did you do, make your own phone?!
Me
[Admitting the Obvious] I flashed it.
VZW Guy
Ah.

Fun fun, but you can’t lie to Verizon Guy! He knows all!
I can’t blame him; he’s a trained drone.

Later, I call tech support, tell a lie about the tech telling me that it could be added to their DMD (Device Management Database); they try to activate it and fail (Very nice peppy girl whose name I can’t remember; also this guy named Anton or Anthony or something similar who was completely awesome.)
He put in a ticket and they’re adding it to the database.

Major props to the VZW call center techs! Booth guy wouldn’t do that! 😛

Flashed my phone over to Generic, and will get the Verizon data in there myself. Screw using backed up data! (You need to back up the Verizon data and apply it to a flash to get everything working; texts, web, apps, etc.)

Yay!

Leave a Comment : more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Blogroll

A few highly recommended websites...