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Monthly Archives: February 2010

This post describes a quick way to create your own custom iPhone ringtones using iTunes on your Mac …

  • Load your soundtrack into iTunes.
  • Create a temporary playlist to work in and then copy your soundtrack into this playlist.
  • Listen to the track and figure out the in (start) and out (stop) points of the just the part you want to convert into a ringtone — make a note of those times.
  • File>Get Info on the track and switch to the Options tab. Change the Start Time and Stop Time fields to the in and out points you worked out earlier (maximum 45 seconds as a ringtone for iPhone) and then hit the Ok button. Play the track to test that you have specified the right portion. Keep testing and adjusting the Start Time and Stop Time until you have the perfect segment specified. Read More »

We’re all familiar with services which shorten URLs, right? For example this typical short URL links to this article. Some suspect that short URL’s mask links to bad sites — phishing, malware, link poisoning or worse.

So what would be the upside of masking an innocent website with a shady URL? Beats me, but here’s how you do it. Copy-paste your innocent link into a field at and see it converted into something suspicious like:–INITIATE-CREDIT-CARD-XFER–_t4y2y_the-most-dangerous-game.

Go on, I dare you to click the link!

Ummm, what twisted mind has me building an icosahedron just to figure out the coordinates to a cache? GC1M7KY Eikosi — a word which translates to twenty.

Now that I know where it is located there’s a bigger problem I can’t solve: The area is still a foot under snow from snowmageddon. I’ll just have to wait for this one to thaw out …

If you feel compelled to force quit Safari because it has apparent stopped responding — and then find that it hangs on re-launch — you may try this first: Have a little patience!

It may be busy, not hung. Launch your Activity Monitor application, select Safari and then click on the Sample Process button. A window opens and takes a sample of the app’s activity for a few seconds and presents the results. If it’s doing something, give it a few more minutes. Go make a cup of tea. By the time you get back it may have finished what it needed to do — cleaning up some big mess. Safari eventually launches, or it did in my case.

Of course if the Activity Monitor doesn’t show Safari busy doing something then giving it more time to do nothing isn’t helpful. I followed a lot of web advice, to no avail, such as …
Go>Go to folder… finding /var/folders/ and opening up all the private caches to find the folder and deleting its contents or deleting files from Users/~/Library/Safari etc.
… perhaps one of these may do it for you.

For the record: I’m on an Intel MacBook, under Mac OS X 10.6.2 using Safari 4.0.4.

Find a location on Google maps using coordinates: Typically people use Google maps by entering addresses. You can also enter coordinates. If you were trying to geocache without a GPS, for example, you could enter the coordinates given — and thereby locate the hide on a map before you even leave home. This works well in an urban setting with many landmarks — not so well out in the wild unless you’re very good at orienteering — in which case you should print both the satellite and the terrain views.

Let’s demo an example: GC1Y8D0 is one of my caches called “An American Hero” where the coordinates are given as N 40° 53.040 W 073° 25.158. Copy-paste that into and you’ll immediate know where to look for the cache. Not as much fun as approaching the hide with a GPS; certainly more efficient! Read More »

It’s rather a paradox to say this is for mature audiences only …

… when a heap of disenfranchised immaturity is required to understand its appeal: Afrikaans rap, or “zef” as it is called.

I blog about it here because it is a watershed in South African culture, for better of for worse, that can’t go unnoticed. Thanks to my brother-in-law Al for the heads up to Die Antwoord.

More at and Die Antwoord. More video Zef Side and Wat Pomp | Die Antwoord’s US debut at Coachella: A Boing Boing Video interview with Xeni.

Many of my interests are tied into one another. I enjoy primitive plants, gardening and experimenting. I’m also into urban exploring and now also geocaching — especially graveyards, ruined buildings and parks.

What I come across at many of these locations are lichens and moss. So, naturally enough, I’ve taken to collecting samples and growing them in terrariums.

This terrarium of a fern like moss, collected from Camelback Pennsylvania, came with the larvae of crane flies hidden in the substrate, one of which hatched in the bottle recently — another appears to have wiggled up near the surface and may still hatch. Read More »

A walk through Caumsett on Lloyds Neck, Long Island yielded two caches, three benchmarks and several samples of moss and lichen — not to mention an enjoyable walk on a brisk but sunny day.

GC1B07D Sticks and Stones (above) Read More »

I tried a Software Update today, found a couple of items and decided to install them — but on download I got an error message that read “none of the checked updates could be saved” and “you do not have appropriate access privileges”!

Focusing on privileges, I figured I must do a Disk Repair on my privileges. No go. What my system was trying to tell me was that folders for these updates already existed in my Library/Updates folder — and that I didn’t have permission to overwrite them. I had to go in and delete these folders manually (my index.plist didn’t have to be deleted).

When I ran the updates again it worked. Lesson learned.

South Africa’s Budget airline Kulula has just rolled out a helpful new livery: Flying 101 …

At last, given the description of “mile-high club initiation chamber”, Americans will learn what the “loo” is (click on the next picture to zoom in on the tail end) … Read More »