somewhat daily mutterings

/Computing/Mac OmniGraffle 3.0 Rocks!

I always liked the copy of OmniGraffle 2.x that came with my PowerMac. That is, I liked it fine, but I didn't love it. Well, today I needed to whip out some new graphics for a presentation I'm working on, so I shelled out the $79 for the OmniGraffle 3.x Pro upgrade. All I can say is wow.

They've done a lot to improve the program. I found it much easier than ever to make sweeping changes to a diagram. The program is very "active", meaning it gives feedback at all times, which is very cool. For example, if you're laying out boxes on a page, it pops up little guidelines as soon as a given box is in alignment with another box as you're dragging. Or, while you're dragging, it shows dimension lines that demonstrate whether you're centered, or equally spaced, with respect to other objects. Hard to describe, but very easy to use. Good stuff!

Physical Packaging Diagram, done with OmniGraffle 3.0 [PDF]

One disappointment is the continuing lack of high-quality stencils. While you can download "aftermarket" stencils from the extras area of the Omni Group site, it would be so much better if they'd just added the best of these to the product along with some additional, professionally designed, rather than making users bother with it. If Omni only did that, OmniGraffle would definitely be kicking some Visio butt.

Posted: Sat Oct 23 20:41:24 -0700 2004

/Computing/Mac "Datacenter" News

New Monitor

I've been having a little trouble with my 21" Sun CRT over the past few months, and this weekend I'd had enough. So, I went out and got an Apple 23" Cinema HD Display at MicroCenter. Actually, the story is longer than that. I bought a 23" first. But when I was paying, the cashier made a huge deal about the size of the monitor, and made the mistake of planting doubt: "hey, just keep in mind that if this doesn't fit in your setup, you'll have to pay a restocking fee to return it". So, within 10 minutes I'd convinced myself that I didn't actually have room on my desk for the 23". So I traded it out for a 20".

But once I got the 20" set up I realized two things: I actually had plenty of room for the 23", and I was disappointed in the overall resolution of the 20". It felt a little cramped after having run my Sun at 1600x1200 for so long. So, today I went back to MicroCenter and traded back for the 23". They were excellent about waiving the restocking fee, given that I'd just bought the monitor yesterday, and it was perfectly re-packed.

My crib, rockin the 23"

New Cube Webserver Deployed

I installed the 512M stick of memory in the Cube ('ice') this weekend, then set to work decomissioning my Sun boxes and putting the Cube in their place. It was kind of sad shutting 'buzz', my Sun Ultra 1 down. He's been running the site for years, and he was regularly up for very long, trouble-free intervals. RIP buzz, let's hope that ice works as well as you have.

Having no fan, the Cube is relatively silent (except for a bit of hard-drive noise) compared to the old Sun iron. It fits quite nicely into my "server rack". As a matter of fact, there's room for another. A cube-cluster, perhaps? :-)

The Cube, Racked-up

Posted: Mon Oct 18 06:16:02 -0700 2004

/Meta This Site Now Brought to You By OS X

I received my new (old) G4 Cube a few days ago, and after a false start with some bad memory (the seller sent me a partial refund to cover new RAM), it's up and running. To move the site from the old Sun Ultra 1 to the Cube was absolutely simple, and literally took about 10 minutes:

  • Create a "website" account on the Cube
  • Copy my latest site backup to the website account and expand it
  • Update my wiki and weblog engines' configuration files
  • Copy some Apache config from the Sun
  • put cron entries in for my semi-dynamic content (such as SpringViz Downloads)
  • Change the port mappings on my router.

I will have to take the site down for a bit when the RAM comes in, at which point I'll install the RAM and put the box into its final resting place on my "rack".

Posted: Mon Oct 11 09:33:29 -0700 2004

/Programming/Projects/Gemcast New Dependency Graph, Produced with Dot and Graphviz

You may be aware that I recently was turned on to Graphviz and the 'dot' graph representation language (see my SpringViz page). Well, tonight I turned my attention to graphing the dependencies among the Ruby modules that make up gemcast (the weblog engine that I wrote for this site).

gemcast Dependency Graph, rendered by Graphviz

For now, I'm using a simple Unix script to generate the dot file (that's the way I almost always start this sort of thing, and it literally took me about 5 minutes to put together), but I'll convert it to Ruby soon in order to add more powerful rendering. Here's the script, in case you're interested:

1 echo "digraph {"
2 echo "  node [ shape = box ]"
3 grep require *.rb | sed 's/\:/ /g;s/"//g;s/\.rb//g;s/require/->/g'
4 echo "}"

Posted: Sun Oct 03 17:10:05 -0700 2004

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