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March 2005
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May 2005

Call me a geek…

… but of the 200+ new features of Mac OS X Tiger that Apple has listed, the one that I noticed most was the inclusion of ksh, the Korn shell. (It’s at the bottom right of the page.) I have a lot of scripts written for ksh, and though it’s very close to sh or bash, it’s not quite the same. For a while now, I have been using a copy of ksh from AT&T’s Plan 9 distro: they had unbundled a bunch of their userland stuff. I’m glad I got it when I did because it doesn’t seem to be openly accessible, any more. However, kornshell.com, which looks to be run by David Korn, the guy who wrote the shell, has source. Oh, and it looks he’s added a new feature: ksh now has Tk bindings!

Listening to Tell Me Why from the album “A Celebration Of Blues - The Great Singers” by Duke Robillard


Goings on in Ecuador

So, my friend Mandi has been in Ecuador almost a year doing her sociology doctoral research on grassroots political movements. Well, earlier today, she sent me an article that said the Ecuadorian president had just imposed a state of emergency, dissolving the Supreme Court.

Well, I went to dinner and just came back to check the news. The emergency has been lifted. I’m not too worried about Mandi because she’s in sticks, but still…


My first useful AppleScript

Someone on the MacSIG mailing list wanted to figure out how to take the first page of a PDF file, and make a JPG thumbnail out of it.

Well, it was fairly straightforward to do the shell script due to excellent command-line graphics file manipulation tools like netpbm, psselect, and pdf2ps. Of course, I had to procrastinate my dissertation to work out how to do an AppleScript folder action so that one just drops the PDF file into that folder, and the conversion script will be run. So, here it is.

Listening to Caravan Voyager from the album “De Snaunted Haus” by Blectum from Blechdom


MacOS X vulnerability challenge ends

Amit Singh posted a challenge to MacOS X experts and other hackers to figure out how a small executable which he posted caused OS X to have a kernel panic, and also what obfuscations he used to hide how the code worked. Well, after six days and five entries, three are winners, with the first place winner finding the solution in about three days. The bug is a decade-old NeXTStep bug, and it still appears in all current versions of OS X, as well as the much looked forward to Tiger.