Weird problem with iCal reminders, can anybody help?

This one’s for any of my fellow Apple users out there who have a Mac running OS X 10.7.2 (the latest update of Lion), and an iPhone or iPad running iOS 5.

I’ve got an iCloud account set up to sync reminders between my devices and my computer. This is working beautifully between my iPhone and iPad, and the reminders are also showing up in iCal on my Mac. But the problem is, on the Mac, I cannot edit them. I can’t even click a reminder to mark it as done; I have to go over to one of the iThings and do it there.

Here’s a screenshot of what I see when I try to doubleclick on one of my iCloud reminders from my Mac!

This don't make no sense
This don't make no sense

userinfospazzkat, who also has his Mac laptop and his iThings updated to the same revisions that I do, has not experienced this problem. However, the main difference I’ve been able to note between his system and mine is that he has a full MobileMe account, including an email address, that he set up to talk to iCloud. I don’t have a MobileMe account; I’ve got iCloud using my Apple ID, which is my gmail address, to log in. I would like to HOPE that this shouldn’t be causing my reminders to be showing up read-only on my Macbook, but hey, I’m QA–I know how theoretical functionality doesn’t necessarily line up with what the code is doing, even after it ships.

So what say you, fellow Mac geeks? Any of you experiencing this problem? Any of you know how to solve it?

This week sucks! Have a baby lion!

Given how this week has really been full of falling sharks, I feel we should all take a step back, Internets, and take a break of Cute.

So here, I give you this adorable lion cub, for all your I R FIERCE HUNTER! I NOM J00 HED! needs.

If you’ve been having a rough week too, I invite you to post pics to cute things in the comments. Be as liberal as you like with your definition of cute!

Happy Canada Day!

To all of my Canadian friends online and off, happy Canada Day! May your fireworks be awesome and your holiday dinners be tasty.

To those of you in Newfoundland or with Newfoundland connections, I hope your Memorial Day is suitable as well.

And I’d like to dedicate this post to awesome Canadian things! Please to enthuse at me, my friends, about things or people or places or books or music which are a) awesome, and b) Canadian! Here are mine:

Music: Great Big Sea, La Bottine Souriante, Le Vent du Nord, La Volee d’Castors, Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer, Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, the Paperboys, Jeremy Fisher, the Irish Descendants, the Fables, the Punters.

Actors and Actresses: Nathan Fillion, Jewel Staite, Grace Park (played Boomer on BSG), Tricia Helfer (played Six on BSG)

Authors: Tanya Huff, Julie Czerneda

Places: Stanley Park in Vancouver

WordPress and Apache help needed!

So, my and userinfosolarbird‘s home network, now hosts a small number of WordPress blogs. Up till now I’ve been handling this by copying separate installs of WordPress around to various accounts on the system. Which of course means that for every new WordPress blog we host, that’s another mess of WordPress files to keep track of, another set of themes, another set of plugins, etc.

As you might guess, this is messy and inefficient.

There does however seem to be a solution available. WordPress 3 has now dropped, and one of the biggest features of this release is that it’s merged codebases with WordPress MU, the version used to run as many blogs as you like off of one install. Which sounds ideal for our purposes, except for a few problems.

  1. Almost all of the WordPress blogs we’re hosting have domain names associated with them, such as,,, etc.
  2. All of the blogs are in general hosted on individual accounts, and in some cases are integrated with non-blog content
  3. All of the blogs are running already on individual installs of WordPress 2.9.2, except for, onto which I did a test upgrade of WordPress 3 last night (and so far it seems to be working swimmingly)

Here’s what I would ideally like to do:

  1. Do one (new) install of WordPress 3 in a suitably central location on the system
  2. Turn on the networking function so it’s aware of all the various hosted blogs
  3. NOT have to move site-specific content out of the individual accounts that host that content
  4. Keep our various domain names working and pointing at the various blogs they’re already pointing to

Given what I’ve described of our system here, can anyone tell me if my goal is feasible? Additionally, any tips and best practices you could recommend would be lovely. Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide!

Amazon… well, Win, actually

So back in January I bought, along with several others, a Kindle edition of Ellen Klages’ The Green Glass Sea. This was as y’all may recall because I got an Amazon gift card and I wanted to spend it on something, and userinfosutures1 had highly recommended it.

Problem was, when I actually got the ebook opened up, I found that something was broken in it. The whole damn thing was in italics, which made it very hard to read. I found this quite a bit frustrating, which is the main reason I haven’t actually tried to read the book yet. (Side note: I’m aware that the technology to hack into the book and fix it probably exists, but I haven’t mustered enough give-a-damn to actually seek it out.)

Also, just to be sure, I yoinked down the sample of the same book off of Barnes and Noble’s site, thinking that I’d doublecheck to see if their version of the book was also broken. It was. So as far as I can tell, whatever’s actually wrong with the ebook was in the version issued by the publisher.

Fast forward to this weekend. I finally thought “screw it” and bought a print copy of the book, and while it’s now five months after the fact, I thought I’d also just email Amazon’s customer support and go “hey, by the way, this particular ebook is broken”. I very specifically told them that it was okay with me if they couldn’t issue me a refund, given that it was five months after my purchase (since Amazon’s official policy is to not issue refunds on Kindle books more than a week after purchase).

But! Their customer support people gave me a refund anyway, apologized for the inconvenience, and said they’d be working on fixing the broken ebook. I gotta admit, Amazon’s had its share of fail in the ebook arena, but this? This was a win. And I gotta give ’em props for it. Go Amazon. :)

The obligatory iPad reaction post

And now, for my answer to the question much of the rest of the Internet has been asking: will I buy an iPad? (y/n)

Immediate near-term answer: no.

I am of course an Apple user. Maybe not a hugely ardent Apple devotee per se, but I do quite like my MacBook and my iPhone, which still have plenty of useful lifespan left in them and which satisfy my current computing needs quite nicely. For that reason alone I’m not seeing any reason I need to get a third device.

The more pertinent question for me might be, will I buy an iPad when my current laptop eventually needs replacing?

Current answer to that, although possibly subject to change depending on how future generations of the device develop: no.

One: the size and shape of it would make me reluctant to carry it on my daily commute. While the weight is good, just 1.5 pounds, the size and shape do not convince me that I could safely carry it in my backpack. Plus, I would absolutely not put it in my backpack without a protective shell of some sort, which would add extra weight. Also, just the sheer shape of it makes me wonder whether it would fit into the size and style of backpack I carry anyway.

Two: While the lack of keyboard doesn’t bother me at all–I’m quite used at this point to the virtual keyboard on the iPhone and using one on the iPad would not be a problem–the lack of ability to multitask does. If it can’t let me run my usual suite of programs at the same time, it’s just not an effective home computing device for me.

Three: Lack of storage space local to the device is not a huge dealbreaker for me, but it is a point of concern. I’m used to syncing my iPhone with my laptop when I get home in the evening. But if the iPad were to be my home computing device, I’d clearly need some ability to sync it up with one of our household servers. Syncing my personal documents out to a third-party site such as Google Docs or MobileMe or whatever is not really a path I want to go. Those options are fine as off-site backups, but when it comes to working copies of whatever writing I’m doing, I want them local and on my house LAN.

Four: While as an ebook author I am very much interested in the iPad serving as a new way to get ebooks to people, I’d be way more interested if the iBooks store opens up to other Mac devices and ideally other platforms as well. Selling books in epub format is good. Selling them without DRM so that you could read them in whatever app on whatever device you wish would be better. Right now though the fact that the iPad has an iBooks store isn’t enough to make it nudge that Nook I’m eying out of the running for “e-reader device I’m most likely to purchase.”

Last but not least, since Sarah at Smart Bitches called Apple on this and it bears repeating: speaking as a female computer geek, I gotta say, seriously, ‘iPad’ as a name? Um, no. ;) While the issues I’ve touched on above might improve as the device develops, I’m sorry, the part of me that’s still twelve years old will be giggling over that name for some time.

But hey, we’ll see what happens. In general I’m in favor of shiny computing devices, so if this one finds its niche, more power to it. And I’ll be interested to see what people say once they actually get them into their hands.

Book and/or music recs needed!

Y’all on Twitter and Facebook saw this already, but for all you blog and LJ and DW folks, I got me a nice little $25 gift certificate for Amazon, and I’m looking for things to spend it on! I plan to spend its entire balance on recommendations, so if you have a specific book you think I should read or an album you think I should listen to, lay it on me.

I’ve already spent $7 of the certificate balance on Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland, thanks to a recommendation from userinfoalfvaen. userinfosutures1 has also chimed in with some lovely recommendations, all of which I have now added to my “recommended” shelf on Goodreads, but I’m looking for more contenders!

You can see my Recommended shelf here, and you can get to the rest of my Goodreads list from there, if you want to doublecheck that your recommendation isn’t already something I have. Note also that my Goodreads list is not complete, so it’s still possible that you might recommend something I already have–but don’t let that stop you. ;)

Music recs are also welcome although something available for digital download on Amazon is to be preferred, since I’ll have a better chance of getting multiple things that way! Just as a refresher, anything that fits well into the sentence “If you like Great Big Sea, you’ll also like…” would work well here. Ditto for the Irish Descendants, the Fables, the Paperboys, La Bottine Souriante, Le Vent du Nord, Altan, Solas, Anam, Julie Fowlis, and the Chieftains.

Javascript clues needed!

Hey folks, Smart Bitch Sarah, who y’all may know of as one half of the fine duo of Smart Bitches Trashy Books, has put out a call asking for assistance at Javascript. She needs code that can choose between 3-4 ads with associated URLs, for a mobile app, each time the app is refreshed.

Now, this seems like a reasonably easy Javascript problem to me, and I know how I’d go about doing it on a web page. But what I don’t know is how you’d go about integrating this into a mobile app. Anybody out there know offhand of any extant scripts that could accomplish this? Alternately, any specific tips on how to plug code I’d whip up on my own into whatever she’s already got for the app?

(Note: what I’ve described here is pretty much all I know of what Sarah needs; she’s not technically inclined, so she pretty much needs a nice simple solution for this.)

Thanks in advance for any tips, all!

LJ about to make Gender field mandatory

Just saw this on userinfocelandineb‘s journal: apparently LJ is about to make the Gender field a mandatory setting on new account creation, and word has it that you’ll have to set it to Male or Female. “Unspecified” will no longer be allowed. Details on this can be found over here.

Since I have several transgendered and genderqueer friends, I find this generally displeasing, especially when coupled with the likelihood that this’ll lead to gender-targeted ads for non-paying users of the system. As per [personal profile] synecdochic‘s post, I’ll be sending in some feedback on this to (politely) express my displeasure. I recommend any of y’all who feel likewise do the same.

ETA 12/15/09 6:24am: As has been noted elsewhere, LJ’s support team has been replying to feedback that’s gone in saying that this was apparently beta code and a screw up. I’ve gotten this same support reply, so that seems to be that. Good.

Steinbeck! Hemingway! SCUZZBOPPER!

If you happen to be like me and am crossposting these days over to LJ and LJ-related sites off of WordPress, you might want to give a look to the shiny new version of the JournalPress plugin. It just upgraded to version 0.3 and includes, finally, support for letting you choose what userpic you want when the post shows up on LJ!

This gives me a Happy, since it takes a few extra steps out of my crossposting efforts. And lets me specifically do something like oh, say, choose to show those of you who’re looking at this post on LJ or Dreamwidth the shiny new icon that userinfospazzkat made me! It’s a new version of Great Amurkian Novel, featuring Scuzzbopper, who is arguably my personal muse. I <3 Scuzzie so.

But for those who’re looking at this post via WordPress, here’s the icon itself, behind the fold!

Continue reading “Steinbeck! Hemingway! SCUZZBOPPER!”