Thursday, August 30, 2007

SIP softphones

Everyone's heard of Skype. Personally, I'm not comfortable with their terms of use. These are the same developers as Kazaa; I'd prefer to keep my day job, and that means I should steer clear of the more shady peer-to-peer.

What I prefer for software-based phones is Gizmo: it's F/OSS, it's standards-based (SIP), and it's just as pretty.

The next step is security paranoia, and that's answered with Zfone, which works with Gizmo and is quite secure.

SIP softphones are really coming of age!

filesystem tricks

So there's FUSE, MacFUSE, and MacFusion (the GUI for MacFUSE) with modules for SSH and FTP. Pretty cool! You can even read and write to NTFS (Windows) volumes. Actually, that's really good, and I should start using it more. I especially like the more interesting extensions (meaning non-traditional file systems) like GMailFS and Tagsistent.

What I'm looking at today is libferris, though. Doesn't look like it's coming to OS X ever, but it's in the same vein of using filesystems for everything because they're easy. It's the part where you could use libferris to convert from XML to a database (easily and transparently) that makes my head spin. That's some library!

Spotlight and Alepin with Highlight

So I thought I had beat the Spotlight+Alepin choices into the ground, but then I ran across Highlight. Guess what? There's another way to do it!

I ran a Spotlight search for a unique phrase, and got 6 results (none were good matches, but whatever). Then I added that phrase to a new page in an Alepin notebook. After quitting Alepin, I dropped the notebook on Highlight's "Add to Spotlight Index" panel. Guess what the same Spotlight search turned up for that phrase? Yes, the top match was the rtfd file inside Alepin!

I'll do some checking to see if any of my previous changes were necessary (probably adding Alepin to the Rich Text Importer), but Highlight is certainly the easiest way to add something to Spotlight's index!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Morning Sickness Again

I really don't do pregnant well. I feel crummy all the time (except when I just get out of bed) with morning sickness. This time it didn't start until the classic 6 week mark; before that, I kept saying, I don't feel pregnant. However, this time it's also worse. Last time, I was queasy all the time. This time I have three warring symptoms: queasy, heartburn, and sickly small doses of emesis. Ick. Many of the food-related items that ease my queasiness, namely citrus, are heartburn triggers! So not only am I dragging, not only do I feel terrible, but fixing one symptom makes another worse. The queasiness starts about 30 minutes after I wake up and lasts until after I fall asleep. The heartburn generally starts after dinner, although sometimes it starts after lunch, and lasts most of the night. The emesis usually happens when I'm brushing my teeth after breakfast, so at least I'm already in the bathroom.

So I looked for another guide to manage morning sickness this time. Possible underlying causes are dehydration or excess saliva. I can't argue with either theory since water (and other beverages) taste nasty right now. One suggestion (Book of Home Remedies, Rodale Press) is to munch on almonds. That tastes good, and might ease it a little, but it doesn't help much and it doesn't help with thirst. One thing that has helped is switching what I eat for breakfast. Recently my favorite cereal was Fiber One Honey Clusters; it's low sugar but tastes enjoyably sweet thanks to sucralose. Well, when I switched to grits with no sweetening at all, I skipped the emesis. That still leaves me with the contradictory pair of queasy and heartburn, but it's a start on relief. I wonder what the anti-morning-sickness diet looks like? Probably bland and unsweetened.

So I looked for that as well, and found a dietary suggestion for morning sickness. Following it, I asked myself which of the following flavors sounded appealing, on a +/./- scale for yes yummy / whatever / no nasty. It's not encouraging!

salty .

sour -

bitter -

sweet -

crunchy .

fizzy -

mushy .

wet .

dry .

hot .

cold .

bland .

tangy .

spicy -

fruity .

earthy -

That's right, nothing at all sounds appealing. I thought I was just too worn out to have a tasty idea, but given a list, I still can't find anything I want to eat. This is going to be tough.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Medical Geek

I think I'm a medical geek, in the enthusiast sense. Last week, I had a nurse interview me about Karston's delivery. I explained that my water broke first (this only happens about 10% of the time), but I probably should have expected it since this happens in Karston's family. My mother was one for one, my father's mother was four for seven, and Grammy (my mother-in-law) was one for two. So a quick poll indicates that that 10% does not apply to Karston's family! The nurse was interested, but had never considered that it would run in families. A couple days later, one of the clerks at the Post Office asked me what I knew about kidney stones since her son was in the hospital for that right then. Of course I rattled off oxalate and avoid spinach and chocolate ... and then I just had to ask her, why ask me? She knew I would know something about it. I did some research, and printed some information (especially this site) for her that I gave to her this week.

Those two incidents coming close together made me realize that I am a medical geek. I read the health news headlines, and filter out the drek unconsciously. And I just remember those topics for some reason. No substitute for a doctor, but I'm not in the dark either. And this has, oddly enough, nothing to do with taking classes from, and graduating from, the School of Medicine. The interesting topics that are more likely to come up in conversation generally did not come from class.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


So the cool tool of the day is WebShell (ssh for iPhone), but we couldn't get it working yesterday when we installed it.

The answer wasn't RTFM, but on the forum indirectly. Like most people, I run ssh on a non-standard port. You need to change to look like this (replacing 22 with whatever you use instead of the default port 22):

[nethope@server WebShell-0.9.5]$ grep ssh

cmd = 'ssh -p 22'

help = "set shell command (default: ssh localhost)")

The original line is just cmd = 'ssh', and that's where you make the change.