Here’s a Geektool command to show the “network distance” to a particular machine on your desktop all the time. I have the distance to my home server in the top left corner of my screen all the time. Go to the Geektool preference pane and add a new entry. Mine is called “ping home” Set the entry type to “Shell” Paste the following into the Command textbox:
PING=`ping -q -c 1 $HOST`
if [[ $? -eq 0 ]] ; then
    TIME=`echo $PING |tail -1 | cut -d/ -f 5`
    echo -n ${TIME}ms away from $HOST
    exit 0
    echo -n $HOST could not be reached
    exit 2
Change the value of HOST on the first line to the hostname of the server you want to ping. (Hint for writing your own scripts: use Option-Return to insert a newline). Switch to the “Colors and font” tab and choose something nice. I use Gill Sans, in white because my desktop backgrounds are usually dark. No frame, no shadow on the window. Switch to the “Text” tab, turn on drop shadow, select left alignment of text. On the “Icon” tab, check “Show icon”, use the default success and failure icons, and pick the left, centered icon alignment. Drag the window on your desktop to the top left and you’re done. If the network is working, you’ll get something like this: Picture 1-1 If not, you’ll get this: Picture 2-1 Update: JAW Software is hosting a more Tiger-friendly version of Geektool. The changes will hopefully make it to the official version soon.

From the BBC comes a report about various false callouts that the RSPCA have attended over the last year. My favourite was this one:
A woman rang to say the ‘beast of Bodmin’ had been asleep on her doorstep for 24 hours. It was actually a new telephone directory wrapped in black plastic.
This one was also quite amusing:
A member of the public reported a dead horse in a flooded field, which was actually a large plank of wood.

Last month I imported all of my old BMW E32 Articles to this site, but I was contacted by a reader pointing out that many of them had broken image links in them. This was due to the way I put the site together on my server before uploading it all to my web host. All of the images ended up with URLs pointing to the temporary host I set up on my server while I was configuring it. I’ve fixed them all now, as far as I can see. I’ve also set up an index page which lists all of the repair articles I wrote for my E32.

James’ friend’s cat had to be put down last week (age 12 years). James asked his mum where Buttons was now, and Heidi said he was probably in Cat Heaven. Matthew said “Can we go to Cat Devon?”.

As previously stated, at work I use a Logitech® MX™1000 mouse. (Aside: is it just me, or do you hate it when companies litter their product names with ®™ symbols? I like to stick it to them by vocalizing them. “Yeah, I really love the Logitech ar em ex tee em one-thousand, it’s great!) Anyway, Apple have just brought out a new mouse called the Mighty Mouse, and the other day (yeah, OK, the day it was announced…) I drove to the Birmingham Apple Store to try one out. They didn’t have any in stock, so I left empty handed. I’ll probably wait for the Bluetooth version now. Oh, when I said I left empty handed, I did in fact leave with an iPod Shuffle Sports Case and a copy of The Sims 2. Don’t make the same mistake I did! If you have a G4 Mac (like my 15” PowerBook), don’t buy The Sims 2. It runs like a dog on the G4. You get about 3 frames per second if there are more than about 4 Sims in your house. I bet The Sims (version 1) would run fine - I wish I’d bought that instead.