Timid Firelog

Catapulting the propaganda since May of 2005

There have been a couple of different makes of Palm keyboards over the years as they became Palm, then PalmOne, then just Palm again. 
 
Today I examined a customer's Palm Zire71 handheld with a PalmOne Universal Wireless Keyboard, which shipped with a driver version 1.05 on the CD. The guy who looked at it before us, meaning well, went online and found a Version 2.2 driver to install. I installed it and got gibberish from the keyboard -- you press Q you get G, that kind of thing. 
 
Turns out that this 2.2 driver was developed by a company called ThinkOutside for a similar-looking but different keyboard they produced for Palm some years back. It has not been updated since 2003. 
 
If you own a Universal Wireless Keyboard from PalmOne, there is indeed an updated driver online: Version 1.08

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This is a remarkably decent way to put your photos into a slideshow that most recent DVD players can read without buying Toast. Of course, if your Mac has a SuperDrive and iLife, you can use iDVD to make a higher-quality DVD slide show in an even simpler manner. 
For the cheapos and old-schoolers out there, though, I offer these steps: 
 
1. Export your photos or albums to a QuickTime movie. 
- File > Export..., then click "QuickTimeâ?¢" tab. 
- Keep the default 640x480 resolution. Change the other stuff if you like. 
- Save the .mov file somewhere you'll remember [it defaults to your Movies folder in your home directory]. 
 
2. Download MMT-EZ from RNC's website 
- Scroll down for the download link, make sure it's MMT-EZ. 
 
3. Set up MMT-EZ 
- Open the program 
- Go to Set Default Burner menu > Scan for Drives, watch the term windows pop up and disappear. Choose your burner from the dialog and then pick whatever driver it auto-selects. 
 
4. Prepare your blank media 
- Put a blank CD in your optical drive and close it 
- When the 'name this disc or open with' dialog comes up, click "Ignore" 
 
5. Set MMT-EZ to work 
- In the main window, make sure your country's video system is checked [NTSC is the US default] and click VCD in the list of disc options [I know this works with VCD, I have had less reliable results with other formats]. 
- Click Start 
- Tell it where the .mov file that iPhoto saved is. 
- Pick a place for it to save its work files [the things it burns to the CD]. It could take up to 700MB but you can trash it when the disc is done burning. 
- See the term windows open up. 
 
6. Wait a while 
- Get a cup of coffee, maybe a doughnut, sort the sock drawer, watch a Law & Order rerun, there's always one on somewhere 
- The term windows are inscrutable and may not update for a while, but check Activity Viewer for mpeg2enc and, um, some other one -- mov2y4i or something, and you'll see they're chugging away and taking up at least half your processor. 
- If you put the disc in, clicked Ignore when I told you to, and didn't monkey with MMT-EZ's "Advanced Options," it should start burning the disc as soon as it's complete. 
 
7. Show it to Grandma 
- When it's done burning the disc [the term window will have a percentage counter once it gets to the burning step] it might eject it, or it might mount it to the desktop with a name like VIDEO_CD or MY_VCD. Eject it if you see it, and try it out in your DVD player. 
[Apple DVD player and QuickTime cannot read video CDs, but mplayer or VideoLAN can.] 

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If you're trying to get the maximum value out of some old technology, it might behoove you to upgrade the system's web browser. But I don't just mean run system updates and patch the existing Safari or IE; I mean try somethng a little different. 
 
My favorite web browsers are Camino on OSX and K-Meleon on Windows. They are nearly identical in concept: take the well-regarded Gecko rendering engine that renders pages in Mozilla and Firefox, and build it into a small, lightweight web browser designed for its own operating system, leaving the crossplatform widgets and XUL behind [and, as a consequence, usually the myriad Mozilla extensions too]. 
 
The differences can be clearly seen in the footprints and the performance -- Firefox for Windows demands a P233 and 52MB drivespace, while the similarly powerful K-Meleon takes up nearly 20MB less and is running a little slow but perfectly usable on my emergency wintel laptop [a P200 with 96MB RAM]. 
 
Camino is my browser of choice on my PowerMac G4/733 - I can have two dozen tabs open, to consult at my convenience or after my trip to Albequerque, and it doesn't slow the whole system down the way a similar number of tabs would in Safari. 
 
Both browsers support the Flashblock extension that Mozilla users have come to love; in K-Meleon it ships standard, and you can install it in Camino, or recreate its functionality with a couple of lines in a config file. However, they have not yet implemented full Mozilla extension support in Camino or K-Meleon [and they probably won't, given the lack of an XUL interface so many such extensions rely on]. K-Meleon has its own extensions, which it confusingly calls plug-ins
 
[Edits made about 8:00am Friday morning after a couple hours of sleep, primarily for grammar and sentence structure, with a little more information on Moz extensions] 

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Christopher Breen notes an issue with QuickTime 7 playing back movies that use the DivX 5 driver. 
 
I can confirm that I have no dock-playing problems using the ffusion codec. Open source saves the day again! Of course, you have to "cook" the files with DivX Doctor first to hear audio, but that's an old problem. 

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Sara seems concerned in her first entry, but I daresay she has figured out the basics of blogging. In vino veritas. 

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I have been meaning to put this on my own website for quite some time, but never got around to it. But I think this would be a good place for it. 
 
About four years ago I was still rockin' a Umax SuperMac C600 with 128MB RAM and a 40 gig Maxtor hard drive, with MacOS 8.6. This was a few months after WorldCom figured out they were WorldCom and started hacking at their workforce as though it were on fire. I'd been trying to max the C6's blazing 240MHz 603ev processor power out and I had it running 8.6 TO THE LIMIT. 
 
I don't exactly recall why, but I got sloppy and updated the HD device drivers with FWB HD ToolKit Personal Edition, which was on the Umax OS 8 install disc that came with the C6, rather than use Drive Setup. OS 8.5 and up hated -- HATED -- these drivers, and when the unit was powered on it immediately froze when trying to boot from the drive. When I would boot from other discs, like DiskWarrior, those would also freeze as soon as it tried to mount the hard drive. 
 
With nothing to lose, I was ready to try some Chaos Manor type stuff. I downloaded an ISO at a friend's house and burned a LinuxPPC install disc. When I booted from this, amazingly, I was able to mount the drive, and in perldisk, LinuxPPC's graphical partitioning utility, the "FWB Device Drivers" was plainly visible. So I formatted it, figuring that this was the cause of the problem, and at worst I would lose all of my data, which was unmountable already anyway. 
 
Then, I rebooted from my [dad's] AppleCare rescue CD, and the hard drive appeared on the desktop! I ran TechTool Pro on it, which took several hours and presented a clean bill of health. Then I used Apple Drive Setup to update the drivers. After a restart, it booted from the drive, but the Finder crashed, so I booted again from the AppleCare CD and backed everything up to another Mac [I don't remember how exactly I managed to do this, what with the C600 not having FireWire or Target mode -- maybe I put both macs on a hub and set up File Sharing]. 
 
I am certain that this is all archived somewhere, possibly on LowEndMac's SuperMacs list circa August 2001.  
 
The moral is that if all else fails, maybe haul out a Linux CD and see if you can see the drive. And don't forget to break the rules! Just, you know, don't break any rules. 

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This engine supports trackback! Nice! ...wait, what engine is this? 

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