Rectangular text selections in OS X

i just found a nice OS X feature by accident. Hold down command and option (you’ll see the cursor change to a crosshair) then drag-select some text in a web textarea. It will select a rectangular area, just like a cmd-opt-4 screen grab, but for text. Not sure if this works in any other contexts.

Another neat feature I read about recently is very cute: place your mouse over a word (in pretty much any app), then hit command-control-d, and it will pop-up a neat little word definition panel.

SalesForce AppExchange launch

I went along to this big release bash for AppExchange. It’s really pretty good, looks like SalesForce should have some great success. It also made it very clear that we should really be getting some apps on it (building on Smartmessages experience) sooner rather than later, especially if you’re entertained by the the prospect of “sticking it to the man” that is Microsoft!
They put on a very good show. All the top management were approachable and helpful, as were many of the partners exhibiting there.

PowerBook 5300 batteries

I recently flogged a couple of Apple PowerBook 5300ces on eBay. Their only problem was that the batteries were dead. A replacement costs around £90, about 3x the value of the entire laptop… I had a spare battery, so I took it apart (it’s all glued, so needs a bit of force). inside are 12 NiMH solder-tagged cells all a little larger than standard AAs, a thermal cutout wired inline, and a little 2-wire serial number chip attached to a couple of the extra contacts on the casing. The battery is rated at 1900mAH, which considering the size of the cells is not great. I checked for sizing, and you can easily get two 6-AA battery holders in. Wiring up the thermal trip is easy enough, and you can leave the serial chip in place. This could get you 2500mAH (with current top-end AAs) at a fraction of the cost of a replacement while also saving quite a bit of weight. I didn’t actually do it as was selling the laptops in their battery-less state, but it was an interesting exercise nonetheless.

Safari & CSS User Interface colours

I’ve recently encountered a stylesheet that uses the CSS user Interface colours defined here:

My attention was drawn to it because it was a problem. a:hover was defined as color:HighlightText, and body had background-color:Background, the result of which was that I got white text on a white background when rolling over links. This makes it sound like these values are not set properly by Safari, or that it doesn’t match Safari’s own internal style sheet. For example if I select text on a page with neither of these styles set (i.e. black text on white), I get my system selected background colour, but the text remains black. This would indicate that Safari considers HighlightText to be black by default. But when I ask for that colour by name, I get white instead. Is this a bug?