List the content of a folder in Mac OS X

April 14th, 2011 No comments

The little utility I used to “print” the content of a folder or volume into a text file (for instance to save the list of all movies in a folder) didn’t work in Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) anymore, so I looked for an other way of doing it.

While not as complete as the utility (PrintFinder, no longer available or supported) this one was self made and works 🙂

Instead of writing how it works, a quick video of creating the service is easier:

Creating a “Print to file” folder service with Automator

Categories: Tech tips Tags:

Internet bandwidth cap…

September 13th, 2010 3 comments

I just made the following quick math:

I have a 95 GB bandwidth monthly cap with my current ISP (Rogers) Internet contract (which was added over the time, along with removing other services and increasing the price…).

95 GB is a lot you might say. This cap includes both uploads and downloads.

Here are 2 things I think makes it not so big:

  • If I was to use my current “10 Mbps” connection at 100% for downloading only, I would reach this limit in just over 24 hours. That’s less than 1 hour of 100% usage per day in a month. For just downloading.
  • As I ditched the cable TV, and don’t trust Blu-Ray DRM so I won’t buy a Blu-ray reader soon, I like to get content for my HD TV from either DVD or from the Internet. High Definition movies are about 1 GB per hour. Downloading only 4 movies, 2 hours each would already use 10% of my bandwidth. Add a weekly TV series (4 episodes) for another 8Gb… and you get the picture on how we can soon reach the cap in less than a month, all perfectly legally.

This is surely something Rogers would like to prevent me from doing as they would rather have me pay for their cable or “pay-per-view” offering instead of using internet, which of course I’m not going to do

All that to say that my ISP (Rogers) is selling me a so called monthly service that I need to carefully manage if I want to be able to see the content I chose, and use it during the entire course of a month.

This is not even considering the fact that the ISP wouldn’t be able to provide this service if all their clients in a given area would start using their Internet bandwidth at 100% capacity…

Here is for instance our family usage history for the past 6 months… and I should add here that we almost never turn torrents on 🙂

This is something we can manage now, but I just wait for two things before I switch to another provider:

  • Competition readiness (for instance, Teksavvy already provides DSL in my area, but is expecting to also provide cable in a near future)
  • Receiving my first bill from Rogers with charges for additional bandwidth…

After writing this rant, I checked the current plans on Rogers, and my plan has changed to 15 Mbps download speed and 80 GB cap… so make the 24 hours 21 now… It seems that my cap to 95 GB was grandfathered, but I don’t see the speed bump either…

Categories: Humor, Tech tips Tags:

The next big thing: TV is gone

April 15th, 2010 No comments

A few months ago, we decided to get rid of cable TV at home: I believe that TV the way it exists today will disappear in a short to mid term future.

Just like film cameras, or magnetic cassettes and vinyl records, Walkmans or even paper maps have recently disappeared, replaced by digital cameras, portables media players such as iPods or GPS.

When I purchased a digital camera, an iPod or a GPS 10 to 5 years ago, my friends just thought I was a geek. Now, everyone has one of these and ask me how to save their CD’s and DVD’s on a hard drive…

My natural next step is to get rid of the cable TV, and I’ll watch it disappear around me in the next 10 years.

Here are the main drawbacks I see for cable TV:

1 – It’s expensive.

Well, let me rephrase that: it’s *very* expensive. We paid more than $100 a month for a service that was not designed for our needs. It included a rental for the High Definition (HD) PVR, and so many channels that we didn’t want but needed just to be able to see the few ones we wanted. My wife wanted to see “True Blood” in HD. But it was on HBO, and we didn’t had that one. To get HBO in HD, we had to take a “bundle” with another 5 channels we didn’t care about. That’s how the TV distribution companies work. It made this TV show cost 16$ a month. On top of that, it’s not enough for the cable TV that I pay this premium every month for 90% of channels I don’t even care about (especially when you realize that so many are just duplicates), so I’m served with advertising that I don’t really care about right in the middle of the show. Therefore, Rogers was making money both by selling me channels I didn’t care about and by getting revenue from the advertisement I don’t care about…

2 – It’s not user friendly

Some could argue with me there. Just turn it on and watch, there is nothing more simple eh? Now, with the Internet everywhere, I’m more used to: search for something I’m interested in, see my choice of content, pick and chose what I like, try and pay if I want, and do all this whenever I want or can. A video on Youtube doesn’t “air” at prime time, it’s available any time. TV on demand or pay per view movies are not that easy to see at all. So I don’t like that if I want to see my favourite show at a different day or time, and with an opportunity to skip the crappy commercials, I need to first program it, and then retrieve it, hoping I’m not going to miss the last most important 3 minutes of the show… When I buy a DVD or some content on line, it’s where I want, when I want, and it’s easier to access.

3 – It has poor choice, it’s controlled (and brainwashing)… And to add the last straw, I received a letter from Rogers telling me that they were going to increase my bill by 3% to help bring this crap to the regions of Canada where they don’t have TV… I’m going to save them the hassle, and stop paying for TV all together, and would assume that with all the money Rogers makes on my back, they can certainly afford bringing some cash cow infrastructure to these remote places without more of my help.

Now, the advantages?

My wife only argued that it was convenient for the kids to be able to see some of the kids safe channels at times. I agree with that, and told her that if there was such need, we could always get the cable back. Guess what? We are not taking it back, and our child has never asked to watch TV as she has more than enough with her DVDs or simply Internet and Youtube.

So, we figured that with $100 a month or $1200 a year, we could purchase a lot of content, DVDs or on line, with the iTune Store for instance, and play them on HD, when we want it, using the Apple TV.

For instance, we purchased the latest “Lost” season pass in HD for about $60, which is even cheaper than the DVD set. I have set up a network drive with around 700 movies and animations, all accessible from the couch on the HD TV, using the Apple TV. We buy a movie on line or some DVD’s whenever we want.

I don’t think we’ll go back now that we tasted this kind of freedom. The only last concern is that the same company owns the cable TV distribution and the Internet, and it’s not in their interest that I can replace their crappy cable TV with their Internet, so they can get more our of my pocket. So they throttle peer to peer, they add monthly bandwidth cap, and reduce their service while increasing the price of it. Well, the only thing they are really doing is slowly pushing me to another company and losing me as a customer all together!

Way to go, Rogers, and no, I won’t go to Bell either 😉

Categories: Humor Tags:

Open Source DM: Nuxeo 5.3 on Mac OS X

November 12th, 2009 1 comment

As my former colleague and still friend @CherylMcKinnon is now working with Nuxeo, I thought I’d give their latest Document Management solution a try on my Mac.

Let say that I’m a newbie at this kind of exercise, as I’m not a Linux programmer, but I’m still able to follow some instructions…

Here is what I did on my old headless Power Mac G4 MDD running Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard):

  • I picked up the JBoss based package for Mac OS X, and copied the unzipped content in:


  • I made sure that Web Sharing was turned on in “System Preferences / Sharing”, although I don’t think this is required as this only start the built in Apache server on port 80…
  • Using the terminal, in navigated to:


  • Then ran the following command to start Nuxeo DM 5.3:

./jbossctl start

  • This didn’t work: the complain was that my JAVA_HOME environment variable wasn’t set. So, I did a little bit of googling, to find where  and how this variable needed to be set, knowing that Java is also part of the Mac OS system, so nothing needed to be installed there. I therefore ran the following command which seems to work and is supposed to work for any version of Java or Mac OS X:

export JAVA_HOME=/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Home

  • Then ran the start command again, which worked just well this time. I was able to log on my new Nuxeo DM 5.3 instance locally.
  • The last bit was to make it accessible from other computers on my home network. For this, as described in the readme.html file, I edited the “bind.conf” file found under the “bin” folder of my Nuxeo folder with the following unique line (note that I removed the # used to comment a line):


  • This last change (followed by a restart of Nuxeo DM 5.3) allowed me to reach my newly installed instance from anywhere on my home network with the following url, and start discovering the features of this open source document management solution:


Categories: ECM, Tech tips Tags: , ,

BI vs Enterprise Search

October 15th, 2009 No comments

As I’ve spent more time working with ECM (Enterprise Content Management) solutions during the past months, and I still have a strong BI background, I was asked this question today:

Could you give me a quick synopsis of the major benefits one would get from a serious BI application vs a serious Enterprise Search application like Autonomy?

And here is my answer:

At first glance, these two solutions are totally different, yet from an end user standpoint they might look similar.

In a nutshell, a BI solution allows searching, digging and making sense of structured data (i.e. stored in a database of all kind: relational, multidimensional, etc…), and build reports, real time dashboards, etc.

An Enterprise Search solution allows searching and digging unstructured information (mainly text based, from various sources including managed content or external sources such as web pages or even scanned papers).

The interesting part is that a user would like to search something globally, across structured and unstructured data, as the most important part for them is what they search, not where or how it is stored. The segregation between structured and unstructured content is mostly driven by technology although the real need is for these technologies to converge.

The convergence of these two world also comes from growing links between structured and unstructured information, as a big part of what ECM and Enterprise Search solutions are doing is to “structure the unstructured” by adding structured Metadata to unstructured information.

Most of the time though, the BI applications are not yet able to leverage this Metadata, mainly because it’s written in a very proprietary way, not designed for easy reporting but rather for the ECM own performance purposes.

Crystal Reports XI and Open Text BI 8.5.1 pros and cons

April 23rd, 2009 2 comments

I’ll revise this post regularly based on my findings and experience.

Items in this list may only show my inability to perform a specific action with one solution, which at least means that there is a usability issue with it 🙂

Crystal Reports XI:

  • + Formula Editor
  • – No permanent data model: a new data model needs to be recreated each time I create a new report
  • – No ability to work on results and combine them together
  • No ability to aggregate on the server: I didn’t find for instance how to create the following statement: With the help of Paul’s comment, I was able to find how this works in Crystal: you need to turn the “Perfrom Grouping on Server”  option for both the report AND the general option. [cc lang=”sql”]select count(my_field) from my_table[/cc]

Open Text BI 8.5.1:

  • – Doesn’t support multiple outer joins with SQL ODBC connection
  • – Can’t report on a table named “users”  with SQL ODBC
  • + Can work with results and create complex “super queries”
Categories: BI thoughts, Tech tips Tags: