August 2006

I’d like to replace the factory stereo in the Jeep with a slightly nicer model. The current one has rather poor reception and the only way to get anything into it is using an FM transceiver. Unfortunately, “rather poor reception” includes the frequencies my transceiver can output.

The Jeep is not a fancy car, and it does not need a fancy stereo. In fact, since it doesn’t lock, I’d like the stereo to look like a piece of garbage that wouldn’t get you $1 at a pawn shop. Bonus points if that’s true. So far, though, I can’t find any stereo in this category with my must-have features:

  • Digital AM/FM tuner with at least a few presets
  • Auxiliary input

Other features (like a cassette) aren’t dealbreakers, but without those two things, it’s simply not worth replacing the current stereo.

There are some painfully close models out there. This one is almost perfect. The only wart: no presets. For some reason, they chose to waste space with a crappy EQ instead of including the only bit that prevents this from being a nice low-cost radio for my Jeep. Namsung Dual makes a similar unit with similar deficiencies. Why do people want an EQ on a system this low-end? Is this some kind of low-budget ricer thing? Or am I missing something?

It’s no secret that I like to dork around with Mac programming in my spare time. People often ask me what my Mac software ideas are. Here are some of the top items on my list for when I get time, in no particular order:

GeckoKit – I’d like to produce a WebKit-style interface for Mozilla’s Gecko engine. I like it much better, in general, and others would find it useful as well. I made an aborted attempt at this some time back; it’s hairy but doable. Most of the work that needs to be done has been for the Camino browser. Really, all that remains is a non-trivial packaging effort.

An email “swiss army knife” – It seems like at least a few times a year I wind up writing a script to troubleshoot email problems. It’d be relatively easy to produce a program that lets a mail admin set the parameters that I’m always scripting and give some insight into what’s going wrong with an email server.

A multi-engine generator for driving directions – The free services for getting driving directions are pretty good. The main problem is that for a particular route any one of them can be wrong. I’d very much like to have an app that submits a route to, say, MapQuest, Google, MSN, Yahoo and Rand McNally and lets me view them side-by-side to vet them against each other. This would not be a particularly difficult tool to produce, and it would probably save me several hours each year.

A mail program that doesn’t suck – Every mail program I’ve used on the Mac and on lesser machines has had problems. Some are minor and some are sever. No program totally meets my needs. Here are the features I really want:

  • Impossible to accidentally send out HTML cruft
  • Integration with OS X address book
  • Good implementations of both S/MIME and PGP
  • Ability to search on arbitrary headers and body text
  • Integration with multiple spam filters
  • Very restricted rendering of incoming HTML
  • Completely standard message stores
  • The ability to pass icalendar entries off to a calendar app
  • Reply-to-list functionality
  • Good support for multiple email accounts

Oh, and I want a nice Mac native UI as well :) . I’m so unbelievably picky about my email that I’m beginning to think that the only way I’ll be happy is if I write my own client.

A program to snipe cool woot items – Maybe I’m getting old, but I can rarely stay up until 1AM to try and get the woot BOC. I’d like a program that can recognize a BOC and snipe it for me.