eBook – ePub : comments

There were some great comments by Peter before this post was taken offline. So, here they are, once again.

get your brain subscribed to

In the
to my brain’ post
I promised to blog on how-to get your own

button up and running on your homepage. It seems rather unlikely
that I’ll ever keep that promise if I don’t do it right away. So, here
we go for a quick tour :

step 1 : set up a rudimentary
: read the FoaF post if
you dont know what it’s all about. The easiest way to get a simple
FoaF-file of your own is to go to the FoaF-a-matic
and fill in the details you feel like broadcasting over the
web, crucial is your name and email information (for later use) but
clearly the more details you fill out and the more Friends you add the
more useful your file becomes. Click on the ‘foaf-me’ button and
copy the content created. Observe that there is no sign of my email
adress, it is encrypted in the _mbox_sha1sum_ data. Give this
file a name like _foaf.rdf_ or _myname.rdf_ and put it on
your webserver to make it accessible. Also copy your
_mbox_sha1sum_ info for later smushing.

step 2 : subscribe to online services and modify your
online-life accordingly
: probably you have already a few of
these accounts, but if not, take a free subscription just for fun and
(hopefully) later usage to the following sites :

  • del.icio.us a social bookmarks manager
  • citeUlike a service to
    organise your academic papers
  • connotea a reference management
    service for scientists
  • bloglines a web-based personal news
  • 43things a
    ‘What do you want to do with your life?’ service
  • audioscrobbler a database that
    tracks listening habits and does wonderful things with statistics
  • backpackit a ‘be better organized’ service (Update october 2017 : Tom Howard emails: “I thought I’d reach out because we’ve just updated our guide which reviews the best alternatives to Backpack. Here’s the link
  • flickr an online photo management and
    sharing application
  • technorati a Google-for-weblogs
  • upcoming a social event
  • webjay a playlist

So far, I’m addicted to del.icio.us and use
citeUlike but hardly any of the others (but I may come back to this
later). The great thing about these services is that you get more
value-information back if you feed more into the system. For example, if
you use del.icio.us as your ‘public’ bookmarks-file you get to
know how many other people have bookmarked the same site and you can
access their full bookmarks which often is a far more sensible way to
get at the information you are after than mindless Googling. So, whereas
I was at first a bit opposed to the exhibisionist-character of these
services (after all, anyone with web-access can have a look at
‘your’ info), I’ve learned that the ‘social’ feature of
these services can be beneficial to get the right information I want.
Hence, the hardest part is not to get an account with these services but
to adopt your surfing behavior in such a way that you maximize this
added value. And, as I mentioned before, I’m doing badly myself but hope
that things will improve…

step 3 : turn these
accounts into an OPML file
: Knowing the URL of your foaf-file
and sha1-info (step 1) and your online accounts, go to the FOAF Online Account
Description Generator
and feed it with your data. You will then get
another foaf-file back (save the source in a file such as
_accounts.rdf_ and put it on your webserver). Read the Lost Boy’s
posts Subscribe to my
and foaf:
OnlineAccount Generator
for more background info. Then, use the SubscribeToMyBrain-
to get an OPML-file out of the account.rdf file and your sha1.
Save the source as _mybrain.opml_.

step 4 :
add/delete information you want
: The above method uses generic
schemes to deduce relevant RSS-data from an account name, which works
for some services, but doesn’t for all. So, if you happen to know the
URL of RSS-feeds for one of these services, you can always add it
manually to the OPML-file (or delete data you don’t want to
publish…). My own attitude is to make all public web-data
available and to leave it to the subscriber to unsubscribe those parts
of my brain (s)he is not interested in. I know there are people whoo are
mainly interested to find out whether I put another paper online, would
tolerate some weblog-posts but have no interest in my musical tast,
whereas there are others who would like me to post more on 43things,
flickr or upcoming and don’t give a damn about my mathematics…
Apart from these online subscriptions, it is also a good idea to include
additional RSS-feeds you produce, such as those of your weblog or use my
to have your own arXiv-feeds.

step 5 : make
your ‘subscribe to my brain’-button
: Now, put the
OPML-file on your webserver, put the button

on your
homepage and link it to the file. Also, add information on your site,
similar to the one I gave in my own
subscription post
so that your readers know what to do when do want
to subscribe to (parts of) your brain. Finally, (and optionally though
I’d wellcome it) send me an email with your URL so that I can subscribe
(next time you’re in Antwerp I’ll buy you a beer) and for the first few
who do so and are working in noncommutative geometry and/or
noncommutative algebra, I’ll send a copy of a neverending book. Mind
you, this doesn’t apply to local people, I’m already subscribed to their
brain on a daily basis…

tiger tracks

I got
Tracks working under Tiger by trial and error starting with a suggestion
from Jan who found a fix here. From this I stumbled on for an hour or so on my iMac
untill near the very end I found that the tracks-page itself now
has a Tiger-section. So, let’s try to do it all over again from fresh on
my regular machine (a little iBook).

Start with
this page
and read it all the way to the comments. There is a
comment by Jamie on installing Rails and MySQL on a fresh Tiger which
looks like the thing I want followed immediately by another post by Jose
Marinez on
Installing Ruby on Rails on Tiger
which I decided to follow by the
letter (with one noticeable exception!). So first I downloaded the Rails
installer on Tiger
. Next, an install of the Standard version of
MySQL. I used version 4.0 for OS
X 10.3 !!!! NOT 4.1 !!!!
. I installed MySQL and the StartUpItem.
Next, I opened Terminal and typed the following commands

– cd
– sudo chown -R mysql data/
– sudo echo
– sudo ./bin/mysqld_safe &

and verified it by performing a
simple test

/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql test

Next, I
secured everything by having a root-password

/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysqladmin -u root password

Then I remembered that I’d better
not have to type the whole path so I did a

echo ‘export
PATH=/usr/local/mysql/bin:$PATH’ >> ~/.bash_profile

Also, I want
to admin MySQL via phpmyadmin so I
installed it. Then I enabled my webserver to use PHP using this post though I
did use vi rather than pico! Next, i did a check whether everything
worked fine by typing in safari


Followed by

sudo gem install mysql –

Now, it is time to get the Tracks-package
and to follow these instructions And, it works! Here is the proof :

balm or poison

Don’t try
to follow the previous post unless you want to end up in a neverending
(sic!) series of re-installs, unrecognized harddisks at start-up and a
few kernel-panics!

At this moment I know of NO safe way to use Carbon Copy Cloner
to make a bootable clone of my HD. Here is the only way I managed to
make a bootable copy :

– before you start, click on the
target-partition of the external HD and use _File/Get Info_ and
uncheck under _Ownership & Permissions_ the box _Ignore
ownership on this volume_
– this might be enough for you but I
had to use DiskUtility to _Erase_ the externet HD-partition.
– then follow the previous post (that is do _sudo open_ on CCC
and then proceed as usual BUT make sure in your
prefernces only the box _Make Bootable_ is checked and certainly
no syncing-options!)

A bit too drastic for me. Its a bit like
: make a DMG of your MacintoshHD and do a restore on an empty external
partition. It seems that Tiger and Panther have very different
DNA-samples bringing a lot of excellent free- and shareware developers
near a nervous breakdown. Have the Apple-people ever heard of something
like _backwards compatibility_? Anyway, I’m not going to try
making another backup again until Mike Bombich has released a
Tiger-version of CCC!

Also, don’t try to follow the suggestions
of my Tracks
. It certainly is not enough to get tracks running under Tiger
(and probably also not under Panther as at the time I did a strange mix
of following this path and doing some manual installs using the Hivelogic
. This time, I got strange errors coming from the Ruby-MySQL
dialogue. I’m not going to try installing MySQL, PHP and Tracks before
someone like Marc
tells that it is safe to use the Panther-packages under

So, for the moment I’m just going to use my minimal
system (Tiger+Xcode Tools+TeX (following the instructions from this page
)+some excellent free and shareware like DevonThink , Pod2Go
, VoodooPad , SubEthaEdit ,
QuickSilver , Transmit and NetNewsWire ) until the
experts have tamed Tiger. Meanwhile, I’ll just confine myself to the
_Dashboard-Kintergarten_ !

tiger days 1

should be really day 2 but yesterday evening I was a bit overoptimistic
and tried to get MySQL, Ruby, Rails & Tracks installed and in the
process totally wrecked my Ruby-system (and probably a few things more).
Besides, I found out that the _Carbon Copy Cloner_ work-around
doesn\’t really work (that is, one canNOT boot from the cloned copy)
etc. etc. In short, a lot of frustration. So today, I started all over
again (using the install notes below to guide me and so I could reduce
the total time to about 2 hrs). But, as this was the easy bit (still to
come : MySQL, PHP, WordPress+LatexRender, Ruby&Tracks etc.) and I
don\’t want to redo everything again when I do something horribly wrong
I changed my overall tactics. I\’ll keep identical copies on my iBook
and on my iMac and do the next batch of installs on just one machine and
check whether everything works before syncing it to the other. If
something gets messed up I resync to the state of the previous day. Just
one question left : what program to use for the backup/restore now that
CCC seems to be broken? Fortunately, there is still PsyncX which still
seems to work fine (at least today…). Below, for what it is worth,
yesterday\’s log of events :

Okay, I checked that I can still
TeX papers and connect to the printer on the iMac (after Archive/Install
to Tiger). Most other things have broken down, such as my mind on tracks
and my MySQL-database, but I\’m quite hopeful I can rebuild them all.
So, time for a drastic _Erase/Install_ on my iBook.

12:04 : One final safety check. Connect the external
HD, select the _Carbon Copy Cloned_ partition as StartUp Disk and
do a Restart to verify that it can be cloned back should everything go
terribly wrong. Seems to work nicely, so change again from StartUp disk,
restart and disconnect the external HD.

: Printed the macdevcenter install
and made a fresh pot of coffee. Took the unread part of the
newspaper with me, connected Jan\’s iPod, made it the new StartUp disk
and did another Restart.

12:24 : Selected
\’English\’ as the main language. Selected _DiskUtility_ from the
_Utilities_ menu (before you have to select a Disk destination).
Selected the HD, clicked _Erase_ and choose _Erase Free
Space_ first, then choose the SecurityOption to \’zero out data\’.
(Both steps require a lot of extra time but what is the point of doing
an Erase if you don\’t erase properly? Btw. the macdev-article does not
agree with me on this point.) Meanwhile, had some coffee and a

13:23 : Did quit DiskUtility
which brought me back to the Installer. Selected the HD and clicked on
_Options_ to select Erase&Install and clicked Continue. Then
clicked on _Custom Install_ to choose which Packages to Install.
Did choose _all_ Printer Drivers but in _Language
Translations_ only selected : French, German and Dutch. Didn\’t
select X11! Clicked : _Install_ and had yet another cup of

13:45 : Restarted! Got me into
the SetupAssistant. Didn\’t choose to transfer info from another Mac. It
selected our wireless network immediately, and asked me for my .Mac
account info. Did create my main account and finished at
13:53 Only had to stop iTunes from wanting to put
PodSoftware onto the connected iPod… Checked for SoftwareUpdate
but there was none. Am connected to internet but had to add my other
mail-account. Done and received email at 14:05 Found
our Printer but did gray out two-sided printing (have to remember later
how I did set this up…).

14:12 : Time
to add the _Xcode Tools_ : opened the folder on the iPod and
clicked on _XcodeTools.mpkg_ . Followed he default installation.
Finished and deconnected the iPod at 14:24 Took a break
to decide how to continue. (21.97Gb available) Update today : do a
custom install using also cross-development!

14:37 : Okay, first things first : get myself a
working TeX-system starting from this page
to get the latest version of TeXShop and the i-Installer and place both
in the Applications folder and in the Dock. Placed the _To Your
Library_ folder of TeXShop in my ~/Library (containing the texmf
etc. path for pdfsync). Then followed this
and the i-Installer to install the packages in the right order

  • FreeType 2
  • libwmf
  • Ghostscript
  • ImageMagick
  • FontForge
  • TeX (did a
    Full install with 2005 Devel.)

Had a brief look
through the other packages and maybe I\’ll install _Latex to RTF_
and _RTF 2 Latex_ later. Created a _DMG_ folder and put
the downloaded disk images into it. Created a_PAPERS_ folder and
transferred the last version of the paper with Stijn to check TeX but
clearly it couldn\’t find the _diagrams.sty_ file (I know I have
to quit using this, but I\’ll better get it over for backward
compatibility; put it into ~/Library/texmf/tex/latex/. Ran TeX again
without problems this time and checked the nice source-PDF syncing
(apple-click to jump). Finished : 15:37

15:56 : As long as administration sends me
_Word_ documents and expects me to read them, I have no choice
but to install _Office X_ . The upshot was that while searching
for the OfficeCD I found also the HP LaserJet 1320 CD and installed the
driver so now I can print 2-sided (using Printer Setup Utility) . Done :

16:45 : Used the
_.mac System Preference_ to get syncing started with my iDisk to
get adresses, calendars and passwords etc. on my iBook. Also filled in
the Sharing Preferences. Now that I have the passwords at hand, it is
time to get the latest versions of some of the shareware I own (and copy
their disk image to the DMG folder)

  • DevonThink
  • DenonAgent
  • Pod2Go : the site seems to be down at the
    moment but fortunately, I have a disk image of it which will have to do
    for now (note to self : check later whether the site is permanently
    dead…) Update today : it is up and running again…

and while I\’m at it I may as well get my wallet out and
purchase the full version of _Lite_ versions I like and use a lot

Fortunately, there is also a lot of excellent freeware that I
want to use

One of the following days : MySQL, PHP and perhaps Tracks but
first I desperately need to do some maths to kick off from all this