Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sharing Files Between Windows Mobile and Mac OS X via Wi-Fi

I bought an ibook just before they started bundling bluetooth, but after they started bundling airport extreme. On Friday, my new i-mate jasjam (also called a HTC Hermes / TyTN) was delivered. It comes with Active Sync, which only works on PCs. It comes with a USB cable, but all I could do with that was charge the battery on a Mac. It has Wi-Fi and joined my home network easily, but it won't sync over wireless.

A bit of googling later, and I found out that you can share files, and get it to work as a modem with a mac - but only via bluetooth. Grr - no good for me unless I shell out for a dongle. There's also Missing Sync, an Active Sync replacement for Mac OS X, but it costs money and requires OS 10.4 (I've got 10.3 - so that would be an extra $200 on top). I thought of using FTP to transfer files, but Windows Mobile doesn't come with a FTP client. You can buy them, but I'm a skinflint.

Ah-ha, I thought, Windows Mobile probably supports SMB (the windows standard for sharing folders over a network). I know that OS X comes with samba support, and so can join in Windows network file sharing fun. Let's see if I can get that to work.

First, on your Mac, go to System Preferences. Choose "Sharing", and enable "Windows File Sharing". This starts the SMB server. OSX will tell you the share name you can use at the bottom of the screen (in my screenshot it says \\\gareth, but see later for why this doesn't work). The way sharing works in OSX, you'll only be able to read files in your Public directory, and write files in the "Public/Drop Box" directory.

Right, now on your mobile device go to File Explorer. Choose menu, then Open Path, New Path and enter \\[mac machine name]\[username]\public. The IP address version does not work in windows mobile, you have to use the machine name. For me, that was \\ibook\gareth\public, check the name at the top of the sharing window. You'll be prompted for a username, password and domain if all goes well. Enter your Mac username (the short version - not your full name) and password, and "WORKGROUP" for the domain. That should be it. You can now read all the files in the Public directory and write files to the "Drop Box" directory, via Wi-Fi and it didn't cost you a thing. Bargain.

Now, this is just file sharing - not syncing, so no automatic updates of files, copying of address books or anything like that. But this is enough for me, and I'm chuffed to have got it working.

UPDATE: In Leopard (OS X 10.5), Windows file sharing is a little dodgy. If you're using Leopard and having problems connecting to the Mac from your Windows mobile device (Login failed?), try removing the "workgroup" from the domain field on your windows mobile device. Just leave it blank. Worked for me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mickey Mouse Made Me Cry

On a whim, I ordered Howard Who? from Small Beer Press (along with Kate Wilhelm's excellent Storyteller). I'd read a couple of Howard Waldrop's stories before on the now-defunct SciFiction (the archives still work, worth a read), and was keen to read more.

The man's a fucking genius. In the last week I've read about a man searching for the last dodos; Elvis wishing he could play the clarinet like Eisenhower instead of being a Senator; fishing for Leviathan after the Great Fire of London; zen sumos throwing their opponents with the power of their minds; and what happened to Mickey, Donald, and Goofy at the end of the world. All meticulously researched, and completely believable.

Every single story is great. They're all examples of a writer getting an idea and running with it, elbowing aside worries about whether the story will find a market or any of the other crap that gets in the way. "Horror, We Got" is the perfect example. In it Israel builds a time machine, and the Jews take over the world just to spite the paranoid anti-semites. In the notes at the end of the book Waldrop recounts the first time it was read aloud at a convention:
Ed Bryant was watching. He said for the first ten minutes it was like watching the audience in Mel Brooks' The Producers watching Springtime For Hitler... Then people slowly caught on, and they ended up applauding.

Above all, they're examples of a writer having fun and enjoying what he's doing.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Miracle, originally uploaded by No Middle Name.

Where do the trolleys go?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Dragon Waiting

Did you ever read a book that you really liked, but made you feel stupid? The Dragon Waiting is one of those books.

It has a great plot, interesting characters and a very well thought out fantasy world that combines elements of real-world history with magic and vampires. No problems so far.

There were sections however, that only hint at what's going on. Conversations where one character says something vague, followed by the other character thinking things along the lines of "...he knew exactly what she meant". Well I don't, tell me! I don't have a clue, mate. I hate being made to feel stupid, or that I've missed something, mainly because it doesn't happen very often (me being super-clever, of course. Much cleverer than you, for instance. Yes, I am).

Luckily, the interwebs have found another review that comments on the same thing. Which is fine by me. As long as it's not just me feeling a bit stupid I can cope with it. Maybe, as the reviewer above states, it's one of those books you can keep reading over and over, getting more out of it each time - but that will have to wait until my sulk at feeling thick is over.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Captain Moistbeard of the Customer Liaison Unit

"Ah, sit down, Moistbeard."
"Aye, yer lordship."
"Er, yes. Just George will be fine, Moistbeard. Our company culture is one of informality. Anyway, let's get down to business. You've been with us a little over six months now, haven't you?"
"Aye, yer lord - aye."
"Company policy dictates that we have these little chats, they're called appraisals but they're more of an opportunity for us to get to know each other, decide what we can do to help you achieve your personal career goals."
"Size each other up, like Ahab and his fish."
"Yes. Ahab's in accounts, isn't he? Smashing fellow. So, let me just scan through your appraisal form and we'll take it from there. Hmm, under 'achievements' you've written 'plundered the seven floors, stirking fear into the hearts of all the desk-lubbers'. Care to elaborate?"
"Aye, sir. My crew and I have formed many a raiding party, gathering what booty we could find - staplers, photocopiers, serving wenches, dubloons."
"Dubloons are trousers, aren't they?"
"Beggin yer pardon, sir, but no. Them's pantaloons ye be thinking of."
"Yes, quite. Didn't know we had any serving wenches, either."
"Well, I was being polite there. Mildred the tea lady is a little creaky in the yardarm, but she'd have been offended if we hadn't at least tried to cart her off in captivity."
"Well, that certainly shows ingenuity and resourcefulness. You know, I could do with a stapler myself - they're jolly hard to find."
"Say no more, sir. I'll send my cabin boy over this afternoon."
"Well, thank you. I've never had much luck requisitioning one."
"No, sir. The stationery department is full of cutthroats and petty thieves, they don't follow the Law of the Sea. Luckily for us, my cutlass speaks their language. Yarr."

Monday, October 09, 2006


Reflections, originally uploaded by No Middle Name.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Horse, originally uploaded by No Middle Name.

My workplace is protected by electric cyber-horses.