Automount network shares in Mac OS

My iTunes library and other data is stored on a Synology Diskstation 107e NAS at home. Instead of manually mounting the network share every time, I was looking for an automated solution. Thankfully I stumbled upon this neat app called Automountmaker, which allows mounting of various shares and even lets me configure a wait time before trying to establish the connection. This is especially useful since it allows the wifi to get connected. There’s even a retry feature that retries the mount process if it fails.

Now if only there was something like this for Windows.

Go with the flow

A software development process that is developer and management friendly is not too difficult to achieve if some common sense is applied. Managers need timelines and work with deadlines and progress tracking. Developers want as little cruft as possible and are loath to leave their IDE.

The first thing to understand is that every person will follow the path of least resistance. The Manager buys a fancy do-it-all project management software like MS Project expecting that it will take care of all the above issues. “It will only take a few minutes each day to fill in the hours”, he tells the developers. Unfortunately, its a few minutes too much.

For any process to succeed, it has to fit into an efficient and painless workflow. Some compromises may have to be made, but it’s better to have something basic that works 100% of the time rather than something with the features of a space shuttle that works only 10% of the time.

So what’s the solution?

I use Bugzilla for tracking all activities; not just bugs. Some scripts tie up Subversion with Bugzilla and commits are integrated with bug closes in Bugzilla. So the developer’s workflow is tightly integrated with Bugzilla –

  1. Look at pending issues, assign an issue to self
  2. Develop the solution
  3. Commit the code to the Subversion repository, which automatically fixes the bug in Bugzilla
  4. Rinse, repeat
The benefits? A list of all pending, in progress and fixed issues available at any time. Product milestones can be tracked easily. During appraisal times, developers and managers can look into Bugzilla to get all the info, since everything’s been recorded.
The missing link is a planning and time tracking system that will integrate painlessly into the above process. Since we use Eclipse, we’re looking into Mylyn to fill the gap. It integrates quite well with Bugzilla. Let’s see how it turns out.

Get smarter now

Recently I read a article regarding n-back tasks, which claim to improve fluid intelligence in adults. Not finding any resources at the time to practice such tasks, I set up a Google alert to get notified of the happenings in the n-back task world. Today it delivered good news in my inbox.

Cog logo

Cognitive fun! has released an online test that allows the test taker to practice these n-back tasks. One can go up to 7!! back in the task. I guess that should make one really really smart. First I have to get smart enough to set aside time to take these tests. 

Am I totally nuts?

So I’ve caught myself again and again firing up Safari when I’m on my Windows laptop. Now consider that I’ve been a Firefox fanboy for a long time, right from their 0.8 release. So what gives?

Turns out that I’m a bigger fan of Apple’s font rendering algorithms. As others have noted, Apple has taken great pains to implement the font rendering engine that they use on Mac OS on the windows version of Safari. Some may not like the way it looks, but I’m Lovin’ It.

Reason enough to switch to Safari

Just recently I switched to Safari full time. For those who are unaware, Safari also has a plugin system. Though not as developer-friendly as the Firefox one, there are some decent plugins around, most notably Adblock plus.

Another plugin that I can’t do without now is Inquisitor. In my opinion, it is the killer app for Safari. I simply cannot go back to Firefox leaving this little magician behind. And what a magician – just type whatever you want to search for and even before you have finished typing it will have a beautiful list of items that match what you are thinking of. Yea, thinking!

Inquisitor in action

More often than not, the first result will be the one that you are interested in. There are options to show a longer list, but quite frankly, even three is more than sufficient.

Unfortunately, all these plugins are for the Mac OS version of Safari. I have to live without these when I’m using Safari on windows.

Gestures in Safari

On Mac OS Leopard, I’ve always been impressed by the speed of Safari. It seemed like Firefox (even the new beta) was getting slower by the day. One day I decided to dedicatedly use only Safari, and even set it up as the default browser. Along with the switch began the search to find replacements for the Firefox plugins I absolutely couldn’t do without – Adblock Plus and Firegestures.

Thankfully, the Adblock Plus team released a Safari version and it works brilliantly! My search for mouse gestures support took me to a shareware app called Cocoa Suite. Unfortunately, the configuration UI had me totally confused and I left it at that.

Today I decided to get it working and realized that it was pretty simple to replicate the Firegestures functionality with Cocoa Suite.

After downloading and installing the application, relaunch Safari. Navigate to the menu option displayed below.

Cocoa Suite preferences

Click on “Preferences”. This will bring up the following window. Make sure it looks exactly the same as the one in the screenshot. What this will do is enable the same kind of gestures as is available in Firefox, using the right mouse button.

Choosing the right mouse button

Finally, configure the gestures that you require. For that, you will need to choose the “Manage Gestures” menu option in the Safari->Cocoa Suite menu item. The gestures I use are visible in the screenshot below. You can add gestures by clicking on the “Add” button and selecting which application option you want a gesture for. Clicking on the drop-down allows you to select from the different options available in the application’s menu.

Configure gestures

Once you choose the command, double-click on the gesture column to the right of the drop down. This will bring up a window in which you can perform your gesture.

To start with the gesture, you will need to press the right-mouse button (Note that the cursor changed to the Cocoa Suite icon. If it didn’t, you will need to go back to the mouse configuration mentioned in the previous steps and double-check). Keeping the right mouse button PRESSED, perform the gesture. If you are satisfied with the output, save it.

Voila! now try it out on the Safari window. You should get a dotted line when you perform a gesture, like in the screenshot below –

Gestures in action

The best part is that Cocoa Suite is not just limited to Safari, but you can configure gestures in lots of different Mac OS applications. Give it a try!