Friday, March 17, 2006

Apple Mail and spam

I get a lot of spam. Not counting the spam that is addressed to non-existent recipients within my domain (which numbers in the order of 10 to 20,000 per day, all piped to /dev/null), I get probably 2 to 300 spams every 24 hours. For some time, Bogofilter has been working hard to keep the proportion of those spams reaching my inbox as low as possible.

Since becoming a Mac user, I've moved the bulk of my email receiving and sending from Mutt to Apple Mail. This has had two consequences: I no longer train Bogofilter anywhere near as actively as I was doing 12 months ago, and I now rely on the spam (or "Junk") filtering capabilities of Apple Mail. (I suspect I am also sending a lot more HTML mail, which does bother me.) This morning, for example, Apple Mail downloaded 77 emails from the IMAP server, and presented only 5 of them. In other words, it filtered out 72 spams that Bogofilter missed. Now, this is less an indictment of Bogofilter than it is praise for Apple Mail—since I am rarely providing Bogofilter with ongoing training, its effectiveness is just decaying over time as would be expected as spam evolves. I would estimate that I see less than five false negatives (spam in my inbox) per day, and I can't remember the last time I saw a false positive, though I don't check for those as often as I probably should. Apple Mail has good spam filtering.

Random iPod resets

I just turned on my iPod after three days of no use. It did what I'd probably call a "partial reset"—that is, it wasn't a full reset where the disk is cleared, and we start from scratch by choosing the language of operation. But I did get the white-on-black Apple logo screen for about five seconds. What does this mean? Is it normal?

Tuesday, March 7, 2006


It occurred to me this evening that I basically never shut my PowerBook down. It goes from home to work and back, changing from a WLAN to Ethernet to occasionally network-free, just sleeping during the journies. So, before I need to reboot for a software update, here's the current uptime:
> uptime
19:44 up 15 days, 43 secs, 3 users, load averages: 0.58 0.36 0.36
Sure, my FreeBSD workstation stays up for months on end, but I can't recall the last time my Windows XP box remained functional for two consecutive days, let alone fifteen.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

HDV editing: Mac vs Wintel

A few months ago, I purchased a Sony HDR-HC1 camcorder. (In case you're interested, that's a consumer-level camcorder that shoots HDV onto standard MiniDV tapes. It wasn't cheap, but at 1440 x 1080 pixels, it blows standard DV camcorders away.) Naturally, I did a pretty minimal amount of research before buying this, pretty much limited to Sony's Australian website, and some product reviews, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the 'HD' in 'iMovie HD' stands for 'edits HDV footage as shipped'. So, I was editing HDV on my PowerBook from the day I bought the camcorder.

Now, it's not as though I'm a professional film maker, but it's reasonably obvious, once you've put a few hours in, that iMovie HD is a low-end video editing application. So I figured I would fire up Premiere Pro 1.5 on a Wintel box. After patching it to 1.5.1 to enable HDV capture and editing, I started downloading some footage from tape. And that's as far as I got—a 2.5GHz Pentium 4 with 1G of RAM could not even capture the 25Mbit/s HDV stream. There were frames lost and mangled all over the place. Completely unusable.

Let me be clear: a 2.5GHz Pentium 4 is below the minimum specification recommended by Adobe for HDV editing. My question is why? My comparably modest PowerBook G4 can capture and edit HDV without breaking a sweat. What's wrong with Adobe's code such that it can't keep up?

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Microsoft iPod

This has been linked on no small number of blogs, but just in case you haven't seen it: Microsoft designs the iPod package. Personally, I'd like to see the follow-up: Microsoft designs the iPod.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Safari tooltip bug

I was reading a post by Craig Turner about a tiny but neat feature of Safari, and I was checking out the tabs in a window I had open right now. Safari certainly does seem to be picking words of interest for the tab titles, but in the process of investigating this, I discovered a tiny but amusing bug of Safari: it gets some of the tooltips just plain wrong.
There certainly is a Gmail tab open, but it's not the tab under the pointer.