Installing ImageMagick on Snow Leopard (64-bit)

This blog post is only relevant if you are on Snow Leopard, have a 64-bit Intel Mac, and need to install ImageMagick.

There are many Ruby on Rails projects out there that have some form image manipulation, thus use ImageMagick for that. Up until recently it was a real pain to install, with some huge list of library dependancies that need to be downloaded, compiled and installed. The ImageMagick project is now supplying a Intel 64-bit binary, specifically for Snow Leopard user so that they don’t need to install from source.

Another nice little tips that I learned for installing gems that have native extentions, is that you can put the ARCHFLAGS environment variable into your ~/.profile so that you don’t have to manually set it (and then wonder why the gem doesn’t compile elsewhere). You need to add:

export ARCHFLAGS="-arch x86_64"

The Crap-O-Surface Detector

Even in this day and age, the roads the general public cycle on are riddled with potholes, speed humps falling over themselves, or general unevenness around man hole covers and drains. I’m fed up with having to look at the road in front of me for these bicycle damaging unevenness and potholes instead of at the surrounding traffic, which to be honest is more important.

There is already a service in the UK for reporting these defects to the local council, called FixMyStreet. There is even have an iPhone app for reporting problems while on the ground. However I felt that not enough people knew about FixMyStreet, and even fewer were reporting problems. So I decided to come up with a way to automate these reports to the local councils even further.

I believed that these uneven roads could be crowd sourced through recording a GPS track, and a storage of seismograph by using the accelerometer in the iPhone or iPod Touch. These tracks are merged together and tied to the road network automagically, now that there are enough tracks in the system, analysis is running constantly to find places where many people regularly have a high vibration, when flying over a speed hump, or just about halted as though you have hit the kerb straight on by finding a conspicuous pot hole in the middle of a bus lane, about one bus length away from a sunken drain.

Some of the crowd sourcing community have taken this a step further and provide a video stream of the whole cycle ride, which again is synced up with the GPS trace, and used as evidence of poor quality road surface. The whole sync process is done automagically after you upload. It is even more accurate if you up load a photo of the time on the GPS and the seismometer.

OpenStreetMap is now using this data to enter all the traffic calming, in a few months time the Crap-O-Surface Detector service will start automatically suggesting places where there are speed humps, and giving the appropriate, err smoothness tag* for every road.

CycleStreets have found the data to be so good, that they have decided to postpone implementing traffic lights, specific routes, fixing the OSM to Cycle Streets types, and of course hill avoidance, in favour of using the data from the Crap-O-Surface Detector service. Don’t worry, all the other items are still on the todo list.

So I’m please to announce that the Crap-O-Surface Detector is now out of the private pre-Alpha, and today entering the Beta stage in the software cycle, please head over to Crap-O-SurfaceDetector.com to see how you can participate, while watching more roadworks in the places that really, really need them. Once the roadworks are gone, you should (if the council contractor has been doing their job properly) see a marked improvement in the road surface.

Device Removal

I don’t touch anything, and my slow first generation MacBook will randomly come up with the above message. Maybe an uptime of 13 days is the cause? 
It is about time I rebooted into Kubuntu to get some updated maps on to my phone for TMJ. There has some considerable improvements in the maps in Edinburgh, and I don’t know what actually needs to be mapped when I’m out in the field.

OOO: Possible fix for the command timed out error on Leopard

UPDATE:Thanks to Eric Bachard, a fix very similar to this will be appearing in OpenOffice.org 2.4.2 due to be released at the end of October 2008.

With a change in the way that X11 works on Leopard, the X11 version of OpenOffice.org has been giving an error message on startup saying “command timed out”. With previous versions of Mac OS X, OpenOffice.org had to make sure that X11 was running first be trying to start OpenOffice.org.

The following change should work for 2.4, 2.3.1, 2.3, and possibly earlier versions. Open the file OpenOffice.org 2.4.app/Contents/Resources/Scripts/main.scpt in “Script Editor”. (You will need to control+click the application icon and choose “Show Package Contents”.)
Then replace the code block “on openSoffice(aFile)“….”end openSoffice” with the following:
on openSoffice(aFile)
 if (atLeastOSXVersion(10, 5, 0)) then  
-- if we have leopard, we don't need to manually start the X server first
  set theCmd to "sh " & (quoted form of (POSIX path of getOOProgramPath() & "soffice")) & " "
  do shell script theCmd & aFile & shellTerminator()
 else
  set theDisplay to startXServer()
  if (theDisplay is equal to "error") then
   return
  end if
  set theEnv to "DISPLAY=" & theDisplay & " ; export DISPLAY; "
  set theCmd to "sh " & (quoted form of (POSIX path of getOOProgramPath() & "soffice")) & " "
  do shell script theEnv & theCmd & aFile & shellTerminator()
  -- logEvent("open CMD: " & theEnv & theCmd & aFile)
 end if
end openSoffice

Please comment on how this works for you.

OpenOffice.org 2.4 on Mac OS X [Update: now available]

The release of OpenOffice.org 2.4 (X11 version) is a little behind the other platforms due to a lack of resources in the QA process, as many of the resources have been placed on the upcoming aqua version. It will be another few days to week before they are available on the mirrors and the Mac Port download pages will be updated at that point.

Until then the new smart download pages will continue to give the link to the 2.4.0 build which isn’t yet available.
UPDATE: OpenOffice.org X11 2.4.0 for both Mac OS X 10.4/10.5 PPC and Intel are now available from the Mac Porting Download pages.

New OpenOffice.org Aqua Development Release

Head over to the OpenOffice.org Mac Porting web site for the latest development build.

This is the most stable build of OpenOffice.org running natively on Mac OS X that I have seen. I haven’t yet had a crash with my basic usage. Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 is required.
The improvements include:
  • Printing now uses an aqua native print dialog
  • Various bugs, crashes, performance, and cosmetic improvements
  • The native file picker should work now (though there are 2 unlabeled checkboxes)
  • The QuickStarter is now supported on Mac OS X
  • Copy and Paste now works in the Hyperlink dialog
  • Icons are no longer shown in the menus by default on Mac OS X
  • Extentions can now be installed through the GUI
  • Improved scrolling when using a scroll wheel
  • Real version number is shown in the Mac OS X Finder’s Get Info Window.
  • The recent items list in the Apple menu is now populated
  • Faster loading and saving of files
  • New Start Centre
The downloads are on the extended mirror network, and BitTorrent. Please don’tdirectly link to any of the mirrors, please link to the OpenOffice.org Aqua download page instead.
OpenOffice.org 2.4 (X11), is currently in testing. OpenOffice.org 3.0 will be Aqua only.