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Archive for the 'tech' Category


why you should switch to iTerm 2 (from Terminal)

Friday, November 5th, 2010

The iTerm 2 project has been around for a while, but it recently caught my attention again as development has become very active recently. They have fixed up the horribly convoluted profile/bookmark system that was present in iTerm, seemingly improved performance by measurable amounts, and also added a few nice features.

You can note in the above screenshot comparison ( is top, iTerm2 is bottom) that:

  • You can completely hide the scrollbar in iTerm 2 (YAY).
  • iTerm 2 shows tab activity (might be useful for some, but i’d still like a toggle).

Apart from that, they should look identical on the surface, which is a good thing. Of course, there are many hidden niceties which have made me jump boat:

  • IME (multilingual) input works correctly. On, input pending conversion (ie. japanese of romaji to hiragana/kanji) is reset every time the open terminal session does a screen redraw. This is actually the selling point for me, and I was already using iTerm (1) whenever I needed to use Japanese input.
  • Ability to set a different font for non-ascii characters.
  • Ability to disable anti-aliasing on any font.
  • ANSI colour customisation support is present without requiring SIMBL hacks.
  • Cmd-clicking URLs opens them in a browser (beats right-click, click in
  • There are many other new features such as growl notifications, aero-style blurred transparency, fullscreen mode which exist but I don’t use. You will probably want to check out the feature list.

Also the icon is pretty awesome:

There is only one minor gripe I have so far, being that you can only set one session to open at startup, but that’s not enough of an issue to hold me back from making the switch! iTerm 2 is being actively and openly developed, unlike Apple’s version (which occasionally gets an update on a new OS release), so I have hopes to see it get even better in the future :) .


gmail adds exchange (iphone push) support

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

I find it funny that every time I go to post a new blog entry, the wordpress admin site looks different.  They seem to change their design faster than I can post.

Anyway, for those who are as slow as me on the uptake, google recently announced (around 2 weeks ago) exchange protocol support for mail, adding to their existing calendar and contacts push-sync functionality.  I’m not sure if anyone else will be as ecstatic as me on hearing this, but for the benefit of the doubt I thought I should post it here.

If you already have google sync setup for contact/calendar as I did, it is as simple as flicking an iSwitch.  Otherwise, read here for full instructions.


Microsoft ships dead pixels?

Monday, March 30th, 2009

every time i see this i think i have a dead pixel.  microsoft sql management studio 2005 patched to latest service pack…


MARC-8 woes (and a c# utf8->marc8 converter)

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

I might as well not post this because the target audience has to be under 100 people worldwide (of which how many will read this post?) but just in-case, right?

If you don’t know what MARC-8 is, stop reading here.

If you never wanted to convert from UTF-8 *to* MARC-8 (why the hell would you want to anyway?), stop reading here.

If you are happy with MarcEdit’s broken MARC-8 output, stop reading here.

If you are still interested, here is a .NET port inspired by the Perl MARC::Charset package to do unidirectional conversion.  Optimised for performance with multi-thread support for multiple input files.  Benchmarks to process around 80mb/s of text with 4 threads on a q6600 equiv.  The code (that you need to call) should be easy enough to understand.  No binaries provided, just build from source.