Monthly Archives: February 2009

Foxmarks: Bookmark Synchronization Heaven

Long have I searched for the magic bullet solution to my bookmark synchronization woes.  I’ve wanted a simple plugin that would synchronize my bookmarks between multiple installations of Firefox and Safari, thus making it simple to access said bookmarks from any computer, or between the two commonly used browsers on my Mac.  I’ve looked at many options, but always the solution only allows me to sync one browser or the other, leaving me looking for some secondary sync tool to get between Firefox and Safari on my Mac itself, not via network or a proper sync.

I’d almost given up on finding a solution, then, a few months ago I started using Delicious. It was cool because there were plugins for Safari, Firefox, and IE, and of course, it’s by default a web based bookmarking system. Its cool, I like it, but I just didn’t use it much. The plugins integrate it into the browser by giving you ANOTHER bookmarks menu, not by integrating with the browsers’ bookmark system.

Before ever using Safari or Delicious, my Firefox bookmark sync tool of choice was Foxmarks. It provided a web interface for remote access to my bookmarks, plus a nice sync interface for all my Firefox installations. I was randomly poking around today and discovered that Foxmarks now works with Safari and IE! I was excited and wasted no time installing Foxmarks for Safari. So far, it works great!

For the most part, it works just as you’d expect, bookmarks sync between all my Safari(Mac only, for now, I think) and Firefox(Mac, Linux, and Windows) installations without hassle. I’ve yet to try out the Internet Explorer functionality, but I’m guessing it works pretty well. I just don’t use IE enough to care.

One caveat to be aware of: both Firefox and Safari use some browser specific URL syntax to access internal functionality for recent bookmarks, etc. That stuff will only work on the browser where it was created, Safari on Safari, Firefox on Firefox, etc. For me, that’s a non issue, I rarely use those features. I have tested and confirmed that javascript bookmarklets (like for Tinyurl and Cornify) do seem to work after syncing. Those are about the only reason I use on the bookmark menubar.

Building a Hackintosh Successful Attempt #1

Since getting a Mac Book Pro for work, I’ve become quite the fan of OS X. As a unix/software guy, I really enjoy having the power of a BSD/Unix system readily available, without having to install some hack like cygwin. (I’m not knocking cygwin, it’s a really nice Windows add-on, but I prefer not to run Windows, in general.) I also like the OS X user interface, and lately, that it runs the very cool boxee media center software. So, I wanted to build a boxee box. My options were AppleTV, Mac Mini, or Hackintosh. The Mac Mini was more money than I wanted to spend for an untested solution. The AppleTV would probably be a good solution, especially now that it’s getting more testing from the boxee community, but I wasn’t sure about it. Finally, I thought that a Hackintosh would be a cool project, give me not just boxee but a full OS X system, and I could buy the parts for $235 from newegg. That’s a cheap computer, and especially a cheap Mac.

I went with an Intel D945GCLF2 motherboard. It’s a mini-ITX board with built in dual Atom 330 processors, the kind of CPU’s used in the new and inexpensive NetBook computers. It’s a very low power solution, but with the dual processors most of the research I did suggested it should do 720p HD content. It has a S/PDIF header for digital audio out, but requires an extra cable and I have yet to test it. VGA out is less preferable than DVI, but again, this is cheap, and my Samsung 46″ LCD has VGA-input, so it certainly works. Also, it’s limited to a single 2GB DIMM, so max out that RAM early. 🙂

I bought the following from newegg:

  • D945GCLF2 motherboard – $80
  • Any old PATA (SATA should work, too) DVD Burner – $25
  • 2GB Kingston 240-pin DDR2 667 SDRAM – $21
  • APEX MI-100 Black/Silver Mini-ITX Case w/ 250w PSU – $56
  • 80GB Western Digital SATA Hard Drive – $37
  • Shipping/Handling + rush processing – $15

Total cost: $234
Full disclosure: I later bought a cheap USB bluetooth dongle ($25) and Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (full retail, ouch) as that was the best wireless control solution, but any USB keyboard and mouse combo should work fine for normal usage.


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