May 2009 - Posts
I updated the Win64 binaries of Vim at vim-win3264
from Vim 7.2.000 to 7.2.182.
I'm amazed that the original binaries were downloaded over 11,000 times
since last August.
I mentioned CrossLoop before, as a tool for remotely helping someone out.
It uses VNC to share desktops.
The last time I looked, it was Windows only.
Now there's a Mac client too.
I had to use it to help my father out in Dublin.
Somehow he had managed to delete both Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash—I haven't figured out how.
It was painful, painful, painful.
The connection was dropped repeatedly
and the link couldn't begin to keep up with the amount of graphical data being transferred.
Even though CrossLoop reduces the color depth,
actions like switching tabs in Firefox cause huge amounts of data to be sent.
I couldn't tell why the connection was being dropped.
There are so many places where things could go wrong:
my client, my connection, the CrossLoop server, his connection, his client,
some random router.
All in all, it took about 90 minutes,
but it would likely have been even longer and more confusing
without a shared desktop.
I tried Safari 4 on my MacBook back in February when it first came out in beta.
It crashed immediately, every time, so I uninstalled it.
I upgraded to OS X 10.5.7 earlier in the week and new Safari bits were available,
so it seemed like a good time to retry it.
After all, it had been faster than any other browser on my Vista box at work.
Again, it crashed immediately.
This time, however, I took a closer look at the details of the
error report that was being sent to Apple.
A little Googling suggested that the Glims plugin was at fault.
Indeed it was.
I replaced beta 8 from September 2008 with the new beta 16,
and it's working again.
Glims adds search engines, thumbnails in search results, favicons in tabs, etc.,
so it's useful.
I haven't used Safari 4 much yet on the Mac,
but it seems like an improvement.
I ported Vim to Win64 but I don't have a convenient Win64 system
to test it on.
I decided to install the Win64 build of the Windows 7 RC on VirtualBox,
which has supported 64-bit guest operating systems since version 2.0.
It worked without problems on my MacBook Pro.
I used VirtualBox's Virtual Media Manager to mount the Windows 7 ISO
and installed from that.
See also the handy guide.
(Why does Windows 7 offer a choice of upgrading from a previous
version of Windows on a virgin disk?)
After completing the installation of the operating system,
I installed the Guest Additions for mouse pointer integration
and other goodies.
As always with VirtualBox VMs on my MacBook,
I had to fix the Network settings to work over WiFi.
When the VM is turned off, go to Settings,
choose the Network tab.
Change “Attached to” from “NAT” to “Bridged Adapter”
and “Name” from “en0: Ethernet” to “en1: AirPort”.
Tip: to get a right-click without a mouse,
place two fingers on the trackpad and click the trackpad button,
I tried installing the Win64 build of Win 7 on
my Win32 Vista desktop box at work.
The host system bluescreened within seconds of starting the installer!
I filed ticket 3963.
I had inadvertently installed the Win32 build first on my work system.
That worked fine.
It also seemed to have snappy disk I/O.
When I unzipped the Win64 Vim binaries
(not having realized yet that I had the Win32 Win 7),
it was slower than unzipping in the host operating system,
but not unreasonably so.
On my MacBook, the details pane from the Win 7 zip extractor
said that it was running at a mere 260KB per second,
which is pitiful.
It certainly wasn't that slow when installing the OS
onto the virtual disk.
I blogged before that I had used Exact Audio Copy
to rip most of my CD collection to the lossless FLAC format.
I haven't ripped any more CDs since then,
as the old Windows laptop that I was using had severe problems.
We went to the Columbia City Beatwalk on Friday night.
I liked the Correo Aereo duo so much that I bought their CD.
It was time to figure out how to rip a CD to FLAC on the Mac.
I found some hints that it was possible to run Exact Audio Copy
in a virtual machine or under Wine,
but neither choice appealed to me.
One guide recommended xACT over Max on the grounds
that xACT will tell you exactly where an error occurs on a CD,
should one occur, while Max only gives a percent encoded successfully.
What you do if an error occurs was not described.
I tried xACT first.
It's a thin wrapper around various command-line utilities.
The guide details a clunky process to rip a CD to FLAC.
Then I tried Max and I was greatly impressed.
The UI is polished for an open-source app.
It rips to WAV, then encodes to multiple formats if you want.
It can also transcode over 20 audio formats.
Max is multithreaded:
it can be encoding a WAV from one track to FLAC and MP3 simultaneously,
while ripping the next track from the CD.
Exact Audio Copy rips a track to WAV, then encodes to FLAC, without overlapping.
Net result is that Max rips a CD about four times faster than EAC.
A lot has to do with the hardware.
My five-year-old Windows laptop was not high-end even when brand new.
My two-year-old Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro was top of the line.
I no longer have to run a Python script to convert all the FLACs to MP3s.
Max puts both sets of files in the same folder,
so I had to write a small script to split them into two separate trees.
Otherwise, I'm very happy with Max.