Jul 06

MX 2004 Upgrade or Migration Problems & Fix

Just a note to myself and anyone else that gets stuck upgrading OSX, or migrates to a new mac and suddenly finds Director MX 2004 and Flash MX 2004 now failing to start up correctly, characterised by a bouncing icon but never getting to splash screen, requiring a force quit.

This worked for me: run the macromedia hotfix for this issue, repair permissions using disk utility, run hotfix again, open the apps – the 30 day trial will be reset, and you can enter serial numbers at your leisure. I believe the real issue is the hidden files Macromedia used to protect the software and manage the 30 day trial got messed up – the hotfix deletes a Macrovision directory and files related to this, so deleting that manually may have a similar effect.

That little pain in the arse took the shine off an otherwise seamless migration to a new MacBook Pro replacing a tired, battered and well used 1Ghz TiBook. Old laptop will go to a deserving retirement home, the new one is very shiny and very quick – easily the speed of my 2x2Ghz G5 tower. Nice.

Sep 05

OSX Font Management

I probably ranted about this way back, but it looks like there is a solution.

I’d like to point out that this is really only relevant to designers, people who happily have hundreds of fonts kicking around, CD’s full. Your average user will be fine with no font management, or just sucky Fontbook.

When Panther arrived, everyone had very high hopes for the new OSX Fontbook. Unfortunately it turned out to suck – really suck, so it was back to the 3rd party applications that never quite matched the elegant joy of old ATM Deluxe on OS9. I never really got on with SuitcaseX and ended up using Master Juggler for ages, although it was still sub optimal and very very slow. I had resigned myself to the situation and ignored it… until in walks Linotype’s new Font ExplorerX.

Font ExplorerX is just exiting beta, is a free download, is cross platform, and just damn works how it should. It can intercept font requests from Quark and Indesign to load up your active fonts on demand if you handle lots of documents from different designers and sources. It offers you the choice of moving or copying fonts from your file system. it has an *almost* great interface – very iTunes… indeed it even includes a Linotype Font Shop online built right in – smart. Very smart. It also seems to handle previews quickly and crash free, unlike the competition.

Best of all … it just works. Only took 5 years to get here, but I’m glad we did.

Sep 05

Some Apple Guff

Long time, no updates. As usual it’s been a combination of work and life pressures plus it is, like, summer you know? So, topically, let’s hit on some Apple guff first. I did a whole load of software updates as being at least a little wise, one never updates or upgrades a working set up mid-project and we’ve just had a few wind up nicely. I think I skipped a few interim versions, but iTunes 5 is the big one here.

New gradient UI hotness, we like, as do we like the podcasts feature now that there are some half decent ones around. Mixtapes essentially, god forbid I start listening to bedroom DJ types waffling on, christ. Can it handle .zip, .torrent or other podcast filetypes? Can it bugger. So you won’t be getting our hot new mixtape through it then – use iPodder or any RSS newsreader – still there’s always the usual download page. Go on get it, we’ll wait.

Back? Great. Now I’m not sure if my ears are deceiving me, but the sound quality sounds a bit better to me. Could be wrong. So in addition to a big-ish new iTunes we get the iPod Nano… What? It is a thing of beauty. I do declare I want one very much, tape it to the back of a RAZR and it’d still be a better phone than the horrible ROKR thing they brought out the same day. I don’t know, the fuss about this is very undeserving really – doesn’t connect to the store, doesn’t include any unique hardware synergy like a scroll-wheel or just… anything? Am I missing something? It’s just an iPod like UI (except, not) to play iTMS DRM’d tunes on a phone? Phhht, care?

Aug 05

On Start-Ups And Risk

Or why having seemingly in-market giants is no barrier to entry Great post on risk-averse VC’s – ie. they are in the wrong business and should be bankers instead.

That’s the way you do a startup, put together the bare bones of your system or some kind of tangible demo, get someone that has money that they are willing to loose, and that is also a true venture capitalist ie, someone that is not ‘risk averse’ but who likes risk, is interested in new ideas and is willing to take a bet.

Google was initially funded with $100,000 that was simply handed over to them as you would lay down money on a poker hand. That is the true spirit of risk taking.

Aug 05

Sony PSP 900

Unlike Alice, I no longer carry my P900 – too big, too many annoyances and have decided to downsize to a retro Nokia 6310.

When is this fusion out though? it would be great! 🙂


Jul 05

New Fabulous Toy

We received a nice new toy today – a Philips Streamium (god, that branding team deserve a prize huh?) SL300i. It’s quite a faceless little box that sits between your TV and your network and allows you to stream movies (and music and pictures) to the TV. The TV interface is kind of a sub-TiVo or iPod attempt at navigating directories and lists of files. It’s certainly not pretty but gets the job done I guess. Ideally I’d like to be able to hack it into something lovely. The server software for OSX is bloody rubbish though. However, after much looking around it works best with Elgato’s Eyeconnect software… and by best i mean it works – every other UPnP (for it is she) server software was *really* poor.

Hopefully, VLC will get around to being embedded in a server in a future version, ideally offering transcoding so that unsupported media formats can be turned into whatever the box is happy with. Until lazyweb provides such an item it’s all still a bit bleeding edge and definitely not ready for prime time in my opinion. But soon…

May 05

Nokia Tablet

Looks vaguely interesting, if puzzling, at a reasonable pricepoint ($350 quoted at the Register). I’m not sure how open it would be but seems cute if you had a really big house and family and weren’t wired up already at all…

…and then it hit me where I had seen a remarkably similar device literally half a decade ago. It’s the return of the bloody Audrey thing, sorry, “Internet Appliance” released by 3Com in October 2000, killed in 2001. Quite the shocker, hardware incidentally invented at my alma mater, Razorfish… brrr, sorry, flashbacks. This device basically is aiming at a third position in the modern family home – below the (one maybe two) internet connected PC and maybe above the (one each) mobile phone. Very puzzling. I think it will prove a very useful and fun geek toy but, prediction here, will die a fairly slow death at retail. If it was $100, that might change everything.

Oh, and the Hildon UI… hmmm. I did some work quite a few years ago based on Hildon and thought it was pretty ropey then. Today it looks like a) not much has changed and b) everyone else has, for the better. Not good. It is skinnable quite easily so there is hope, but the bare spec I thought was rough round the edges, and I’ve not seen anything to persuade me otherwise.

But what do I know… *cough* PSP *cough* doomed *cough*

Disclaimer: the views on Bunker do not represent the views of Neuromantics Ltd, who love Nokia very very much.

May 05

A Couple Of Apple Maneuvers

The penny in the previous post finally drops with these:
Apple in talks with Intel, WSJ claims (The Register) and Steve Jobs announces iTunes to “do” Podcasts (Engadget) tickled my imagination into action.

See, if you were to release a really cut down media tablet-PC-style client and video-on-airport-express combo you wouldn’t really need a full OS and interface to handle it. You’d probably want something akin to *ah-ha* a fixed media-centrist style interface (iTunes) on a tablet touchscreen, a multimedia framework including streaming server, and a robust unix system to run it all. Well, iTunes, Quicktime and Darwin/BSD all run on Intel already, no? Intel does cheap tablet-ideal chips with wifi already, no?

Could this + the resurfaced apple tablet rumours a week ago be the beginnings of a home media centre play by Apple? Looks like it from here. The podcasting element? That’s just positioning everything ready for the so imminent it bloody hurts explosion in IPTV about to keep all us emerging tech/media geeks extremely busy this summer.

updated: And then I read the latest Cringely. Ah-ha.

I really can’t say any more than a) Neuromantics are going to making some very nice things very soon and b) I might as well pre-beta-soft launch our work in progress news/analysis/blog thing here while I can.

May 05

iTunes Selling Pop Videos

It keeps echoing around my empty, hungover brain… selling pop videos… selling pop videos… selling pop videos… but the spark isn’t igniting.

I feel like Homer Simpson in the one about the union … lisa needs braces… dental plan… lisa needs braces… dental plan… lisa needs braces…

i’m sure it’ll come to me.

(I’ll not be installing 4.8 for a bit tho after my nightmare last time – does it still install the hated “itunes helper” anyone?)

Apr 05

Advertising vs Tech / Tech vs Design

A zinger this morning from Gaping Void:

There can be no technological solution without a cultural solution. Cultural solutions are more valuable and profitable than technological solutions. This got me thinking to a recent conversation I had with the Chief Marketing Officer of probably the most respected and “creative” ad agency on the planet. He told me:

Our best ideas no longer come from the copywriters. They’re coming from the techies.

Which is an interesting point of view considering I saw this yesterday over at O’Reilly neatly summed up as “Are designers the new heroes of the computer industry?” [via del.icio.us/blackbeltjones]

Maybe it’s just that we’re all techies now?