Sunday, October 15, 2006

New Version (1.2.7) of Fetch Art Released

The changes are:

  • This version fixes a Perl error on systems that did not have the Apple development tools installed. (The message looked like, "Can't locate LWP/Simple.PM...")
  • Select All under the Edit menu now works. Also remember there is a Copy All Art to iTunes command under the Fetch Art menu.
  • The problem with the installer not placing Fetch Art in the Applications directory, or creating a script menu in iTunes for some users has been corrected.

This version is still NOT compatible with Intel Macs. To donate and help the development of an Intel Mac version, please visit my donations page

To download the latest installer:

There's actually been renewed interest in Fetch Art since the release of iTunes 7. I figured that with iTunes including an album artwork download, I would no longer be contacted by people interested in Fetch Art. However, I've been told that the iTunes art download doesn't work as well as Fetch Art for several reasons:

  • It requires an iTunes account, which not everyone has or wants.
  • According to what I've been told it only works for U.S. customers.
  • It actually isn't that great at finding artwork, leaving many popular albums without art.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Found a bug in the built in Mac OS X FTP server

So let's say you are using the FTP sharing abilities in Mac OS X to share a 5GB file.

Now, as a 5GB FTP download will likely get interrupted a few times before completion, you use the REST (restart or resume if you like) command to resume the download from where it last stopped. That will work fine if your download is less than 2GB. It appears for anything over 2GB it won't work, as the FTP server reports: "Restarting at 2147483647" no matter what. Apparently it can't go higher than 2147483647 bytes for the start of a resume download. I've done some searching and Mac OS X isn't the only FTP server to have this problem, however, many do work fine over 2GB.

If anyone is aware of a fix for this, let me know. Until then, I'll be submitting this as a bug to Apple in the next few days.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Running shell commands with Automator or AppleScript and executing with sudo privileges

Automator is very cool because it will give you a compiled app that can run AppleScript and execute the more powerful Unix shell commands as well.  Actually AppleScript gives you this ability too via the do shell script command i.e:
 do shell script "mkdir /Library/StartupItems" 

What this example shows you:
  1. How to show a dialog with AppleScript where you can ask for a hidden password that is not visible (not shown) as typed.
  2. How to run commands in a bash shell with sudo access in Automator.
  3. How to run bash shell commands in AppleScript with sudo access.

Ok, so now if you are like me, you know the power of Unix shell scripting, you also know it won't be long before you'll need sudo to run one or more commands in your script.  Now I did a quick search on the internet to just find some sample code, and in all my searching I found most people have not posted a good solution.  Most people in their sample scripts or Automator workflows resorted to storing the password in clear text within the script.  Not only is that a security risk, your script is no longer portable and has to be edited for every user.  I found responses like this basically saying it couldn't be done.

Ok, so here's what you do.  I created an Automator script, that first runs the following AppleScript (this would also work, just in plain AppleScript without Automator):

on run {input, parameters} 
    tell application "System Events"
        set the_username to do shell script "whoami"
        set the_password to "password"
        display dialog "You now need to enter the password for the currently logged in account: " & the_username & "

This account must have Administrator access to this computer." default answer "password" buttons {"OK", "Cancel"} default button "OK" with icon 2 with title "Password" with hidden answer
        set the_password to text returned of the result
    end tell
    return {the_password}
end run

Ok in the Automator script, then my next step in Run Shell Script (in bash of course).  That script looks like:

exec echo $1 | sudo -v -S; 
if [ $? -eq 1 ] then
    echo "you are not a sudoer"; else
    echo "you are a sudoer";  # replace this with your entire script.
    exec echo $1 | sudo -S ls /private/var/root/;

Now all you have to do is put your sudo needing commands inside the else fi block and you're set.  If you want to download an Automator script with this code as an example, click here.
BTW if you are running within an AppleScript app you can call sudo like this:
do shell script "sudo ls /private/var/root/" password the_password with administrator privileges  

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fetch Art Beta Testers Needed

I need a few beta testers, to test some fixes for Fetch Art.

If you've read some of the comments, many people are getting this error:
Can't locate LWP/ in @INC (@INC contains: /System/Library/Perl/5.8.6/darwin-thread-multi-2level /System/Library/Perl/5.8.6...

I haven't been able to reproduce this error on my system. In fact Fetch Art is working great on all the systems I've tested.

I need some beta testers that meet the following criteria:
1) You get the error shown above when you run Fetch Art
2) You are running a PowerPC based Mac (sorry no Intels at the moment)
3) You are running the latest Mac OS X (10.4.7) and iTunes 7
4) You are willing to have me send you via email a .zip beta version and install it.
5) You'll report back the results to me.

If you meet the above criteria and would like to help, please send email to me at here. (Privacy promise: I will not give your email out to anyone else or post it here.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fetch Art 1.2 and iTunes 7

Today apple announced iTunes 7. I'm currently at work and cannot test it with Fetch Art (although I am downloading the new version, it's going slow, the servers must be busy.) However, they claim they've added an album art download feature which may make Fetch Art obsolete.

I'll have to do some testing to see how it works (and how well it works) to see if this will signal the end of development on Fetch Art which of course will break my heart.

UPDATE: I've completed testing with iTunes 7 on several PowerPC Macs and am happy to report Fetch Art runs great on all the machines I tested on. Still working towards Intel Mac support though.

I'd love to hear you comments as well. Let me know if you think the new feature of iTunes successfully replaces Fetch Art or if there are still reasons to continue developing the application.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I Found another bug in Microsoft Office.

Found another bug in Microsoft Office for Windows. This one causes the application to crash. This simple small document (see download link below) I created with Word 2003 will crash Word 2000 when you try to open it. Word 2003 and 2000 are supposed to be file compatible but apparently they are not. I have many clients that still use Word 2000 so this is a huge problem for me.

This document doesn't contain any revision info, changes tracking, or metadata, so that can't be causing the problem. It's also just a few words of text, so no embedded images etc.

If anyone (hello Microsoft?) has a fix for this bug, please let me know.

Download test file (scanned to be virus free): .zip version 16K
.doc version 56K

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Fetch Art Manual Installation Instructions

The most common support email request I get is with help installing Fetch Art. I'm not sure why, but for some users the installer does not successfully put the files on the user's hard drive. This may be a permissions issue, or possibly a bug in the Apple Installer (the Fetch Art installer, is actually just an installation script that is used by the Apple Installer application).

Installing Fetch Art manually is very simple, and solves most reported problems except for Intel Mac users. Fetch Art doesn't work yet on Intel Macs. I'm working on it (See donation page.)

To install Fetch Art yourself, without the installer:

1) Place the Fetch Art application in your Applications directory:
[your hard drive]/Applications
You can get the Fetch Art application here.

2) Place the Fetch Art iTunes script in your iTunes script directory:
[your hard drive]/Library/iTunes/Scripts/
Note that if you haven't installed any iTunes scripts before, you may not have a Scripts directory. That shouldn't be a problem, just create one and put the Fetch Art script in it.
You can get the Fetch Art iTunes script here.

Fetch Art Uninstallation Instructions

So let's say you've installed Fetch Art and now you want to uninstall it.

It's really quite simple. You will find files installed in two locations.

The application itself should be installed at:
[your hard drive]/Applications

The script that appears in the iTunes menu bar is at:
[your hard drive]/Library/iTunes/Scripts/

If it was the only iTunes script you had, you can delete the Scripts directory and the script menu in iTunes should disappear.

Alternately you could go in the Finder, go to File->Find... and search on Fetch Art to find the locations of the files and simply delete them from the Find results window.

Monday, April 10, 2006

SourceOffSite for Mac OS X

Ok, today I did something I thought I would never be able to do.

I used SourceOffSite on my Mac to download a source tree. The makers of SourceOffSite have compiled an X-Windows version of their client application for Mac OS X.. It was a bit difficult to install, requiring, first to install Fink and download some unix packages. The detailed instructions were nicely spelled out here (props go to Lee Givens who wrote this):

Step by Step Instructions using Fink to get Needed Libraries

Amazing. It worked great!

For some background, SourceOffSite is a remote client for MS Visual SourceSafe. SourceSafe doesn't cache well and works very poorly when you are not local to the SourceSafe server. My company has purchase in addition to SourceSafe, SourceOffSite server which "mirrors" the SourceSafe repository but works with their own SourceOffSite client to improve performance when away from the local network, such as over a slower VPN connection.

There is currently no Mac OS X SourceSafe client since Metrowerks dropped support for their SourceSafe tools prior to releasing them for Mac OS X. Right now, SourceOffSite is the only way I know of to work with a SourceSafe repository natively on Mac OS X and of course, require that your company is running the SourceOffSite server product. The client is free to download as the licensing is based on the server purchase, and the 4.x client appears to work with the 3.x server.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Fetch Art 1.2 NOT Compatible with Intel Macs

Well you may have already discovered that Rosetta (a part of Mac OS X) is not working well enough to help Fetch Art work on the new Intel Macs. In an effort to solve the problem initially I used my PowerPC based Mac to create a Universal Binary version of Fetch Art. I gave this out to a few users who were having problems on the Intel based Macs. Unfortunately, it didn't solve the issue.

Right now I cannot say whether it is a problem with Fetch Art, Perl, AppleScript, or Rosetta but I can say I'll need some quality time with an Intel based Mac to debug the problems.

Currently I don't own an Intel Mac, and I wasn't planning on purchasing a new computer for a while. My finances are a bit thin to spend several hundred dollars on an unplanned purchase, so I am taking donations towards the purchase of an Intel Mac mini.

If you are interested in supporting Fetch Art, please visit my donation page, here.

Thank you.