Trying to switch… Part Deux

Embracing Entourage

Part One

This morning, I checked to see if anyone had answered my question on the Thunderbird support forum and no dice. Frustrated, I started searching the web to see if there was a way that I could export from Entourage 2004 to a plain text mbox format. And lo and behold, I found this entry from Jim Roepcke’s blog. It turns out that Jim had the same concerns that I did and one of his readers revealed “Note that the archive format that Entourage may look proprietary, but if you delve into it (via “Show Package Contents” in the Finder), then e-mail is actually archived to mbox files inside the package.” This made up my mind for me and I gleefully decided that the Mac Business Unit at Microsoft were truly the rebels they are portrayed to be and that I would support them by using Entourage 2004. It got even easier when I found this page (see step 3) which told me how I could get the mail I imported into Thunderbird into Entourage.

Finally this is starting to feel more like a real possibility. Also, even though some of my word documents are really old the Mac version of Word seems to open them OK (it complains a lot and the formatting is a bit messed up, but I can still read them). And the Excel documents work just fine.

Now onto figuring out how to replace My Mail Manager and Access…

Trying to switch…

Trying to make the PC -> Mac switch and hitting some snags

I’m fairly platform agnostic. My first computer was a TI-99/4A, which was followed by a Mac SE, then a Powerbook 100, then a half dozen different PCs. I develop software for a living and have done so for IRIX, linux, Windows 95, 98, NT, XP, CE and now OS X too, so I know what I’m doing around computers.

I also do a lot of music and video stuff and even run a little indie label. A few years ago, I inherited a Titanium Powerbook 450 from a company I was working for that went under. It sat around my house for a while until one day when I was getting really frustrated with my main PC. I was trying to do some music editing on it and it was just not working. The audio was stuttering, it was crashing. This was an XP machine that I’d tuned for audio. I didn’t connect it to the internet, it wasn’t on a network and I almost never installed software on it. Yet one day it just stopped working right. I spent days trying to update drivers, check for IRQ conflicts, I even went out and bought a new firewire card. Nothing worked.

I spied my long ignored powerbook sitting on a table. On a whim, I hooked up my audio interface to it and installed the drivers (this was OS 9 days) and BOOM, everything worked! Most of the software I used was cross platform already, so I decided that my next computer would be a new powerbook. I decided to wait until everything I used was OS X compatible (I’d had my share of issues with OS 9). Finally, that day came and I bought the 12″ PB that I’m writing this on now. It works. Always. No problems. I run a ton of video and audio software on it, I connect it to lots of peripherals, and it never complains. I’m convinced that this is the superior platform for multimedia authoring, hands down.

I still was running a business though, and I was running that on my old Vaio P3 450 MHz laptop, but I was using that machine as little as possible. A major reason was that I used it to download my e-mail and occasionally surf the web which required me to have virus software that slows it to a crawl and makes it really painful to use.

This week, all three PCs in our house that are still plugged in stopped working. All for different reasons. I decided that I’d had it. I was tired of spending hours figuring out what was going wrong with the PCs in our house. I was going to switch off that old Vaio laptop for my old trusty Ti Powerbook. If I could do that, then I’d switch my wife too.

Now theoretically, it shouldn’t be that hard. The only software I use on my home PC is Outlook, Word, Excel, Access and My Mailing List Manager (an old postal mail list manger I use for my version of CRM). I already had a copy of Office 2004 that I’d purchased but not installed. I figured that it would take care of the e-mail, Word and Excel, which would be the majority of what I do.

Here is where it gets interesting…

This is currently no way to import Outlook PST files into Entourage. Microsoft is promising a tool, but it doesn’t exist yet. By searching the web, I found the way to do this:
1) Install Thunderbird on your PC
2) import your Outlook mail into Thunderbird
3) copy that folders that Thunderbird creates to your mac

Step 4 would be to import that mail into Netscape Mail or Apple Mail and then import that into Entourage, except right here I realized something very important: Maybe it is a bad idea to use a mail program that makes it hard to get your mail out of it. I’d learned a similar lesson months ago when I got an iPod and had to re-encode all my WMA files into MP3. So right here is when I decided that maybe I’d just use Thunderbird on the mac instead of Entourage. So step 4 for me is to use Thunderbird.

Using thunderbird would be awesome if it worked, but, for me, it just doesn’t. See my post on the thunderbird support forums if you care. So after trying to make Thunderbird download all my mail unsuccessfully for a while, I just gave up. I’d already set up entourage to pull mail from one of my accounts. I decided that if I could export the messages that I’d already downloaded into thunderbird, then I would just use Entourage (which is a pretty good mail program). Yeah, so I couldn’t. Entourage will only allow you to export mail in their own proprietary archive format. That is fucking stupid and extremely lame. That alone means that I won’t use Entourage 2004. I’d never tried the Mail program that comes with OS X. I started it up, set it up, immediately hated it and vowed to never start it again.

So now I’m stuck. There are other mail clients for OS X, of course, but they aren’t free and I don’t feel like installing each of them so that I can test them out. I’m hoping that someone will help me out with Thunderbird because I think that is the app I want use. I’m just bummed that it doesn’t work for me.

More later as I progress on my own personal switch campaign.

Tom DeLay gets caught again

I can’t believe this guy is still in a position of power!

The Raw Story has broken another amazingly shocking scandal featuring Tom DeLay. It seems that a conservative think tank has been scaring the bejeezus out of senior citizens and then taking money it has collected to pay for posh trips for Tom DeLay. This is so insanely illegal. If this guy is still involved in the government next year, we’ll know that corruption in Washington is irreversible.

Source Watch

Awesome defensive tool against government propoganda

Source Watch exists to tell you who is really behind the messages you hear over and over on the news and punditry talk shows. Definitely worth a stop by…

Weird Weird blogging law

the FEC is extending some laws to the internet and it is getting really stupid.

Article on

If this goes through, it could have an incredibly chilling effect on the new world of discourse and public participation in politics that the internet provides. It would also provide a tool for the ruling party to target on-lines sites they don’t like.

Very chilling…


An open source video editor

Via Robin Good:

Jahshaka is a pretty cool looking open source video editor. Unfortunately the mac binaries are really old compared to the windows and linux ones, so I’m not gonna install it just yet. If you’re on windows and looking for an inexpensive video editing solution, it is worth a look.

Major Seattle show!

The Degenerate Art Ensemble plays their biggest show ever on March 19th in Seattle

DEGENERATE ART ORCHESTRA – a special 45 piece orchestral event!!!!!!
Saturday March 19, 2005 8pm ONE NIGHT ONLY!!!!!
Tix: $10-$15
BY PHONE: (206)292-2787

In the first concert of its kind, Degenerate Art Ensemble has assembled a
powerful roster of some of Seattle’s most creative and innovative musical
minds to create new works for a 45 piece orchestra made up of Seattle’s
finest adventurous classical and improvising musicians. The concert will
feature 10 new orchestral works including four multi-media works; Eyvind
Kang’s new work for solo vocalist and orchestra (Jessika Kenney – trained in
the musics of Indonesia and India), Ben McAllister’s suite for orchestra and
new silent film by William Weiss, Joshua Kohl’s score to accompany a solo
dance by DAE’s own butoh visionary Haruko Nishimura (“a master” -San
Francisco Weekly) and a new interactive work that breaks down the walls
between audience, composer and orchestra by Seattle School (the makers of
Iron Composer).

One night of innovation for full orchestra by 10 of Seattle’s hottest
musical minds- 40 piece orchestra, 11 Seattle Composers, 1 Dancer, 1 silent
film, 3 guest vocalists, 1 trumpet soloist, 1 theatrical work for orchestra

Eyvind Kang (Tzadik Records) – with guest vocalist Jessika Kenny Lori
Goldston (Black Cat Orchestra, David Byrne,
Seattle School (the makers of Iron Composer) Timothy Young and Paul Moore
(Psychodelic Rock Orchestra, Very Special Forces) Joshua Kohl (Degenerate
Art Ensemble) – featuring a solo dance by Haruko Nishimura Jherek Bischoff
(Degenerate Art Ensemble/Dead Science)
– w/ guest vocalist Dawn McCarthy
Sam Mickens (Degenerate Art Ensemble/Dead Science) Ben McAllister
(Degenerate Art Ensemble/Baby) – featuring a new silent film Ian Rashkin
(Degenerate Art Ensemble/Baby) Tom Swafford (Meisce, Sound of the

‘They entranced the audience… the secret of their show is perfect drama,
gradation and splendid visuals, and a punk-symphonic-garage-big-band style.
Dynamic upheavals were turning into relaxing passages and everything was
falling into place like wheels in a postmodernist clock machine.”
-Svet Jine Huby Magazine (Prague, Czech Republic)

new works for 45 piece orchestra by:
Jherek Bischoff
Lori Goldston
Eyvind Kang
Joshua Kohl
Ben McAllister
Sam Mickens
Ian Rashkin
Seattle School
Tom Swafford
Timothy Young & Paul Moore

Saturday March 19th, 2005 8pm
Tickets $10-$15

This exciting project is being presented by Seattle Theater Group and funded
in part by the Aaron Copland Fund, 4Culture and the Seattle Office of Arts
and Cultural Affairs.


“…their art is a violently beautiful, passionate world where things
don’t have a ‘nice day’, but are either dying or coming to life, screaming
or absolutely silent.”
-The Stranger (Seattle)

“”This music & movement ensemble create work outside of all music and
dance conventions…telling a surreal story filled with sweetness, power and
The unexpected is accomplished and a mysterious mythology emerges.”
— Berliner Morgenpost, (Berlin, Germany)

“(DAE choreographer Haruko Nishimura) is able to create breathtakingly
powerful images using the sparest movement style.”
-Seattle Post Intelligencer

“(DAE) works to create and perform a living form of music… one derived
from jazz, punk, blues, post modern influences… (to) reflect what
music is in today’s society – a new, and developing thing.”
-Swing Magazine (New York)

“Lines between classical, jazz, world music, and hard rock aesthetics are
obliterated in (DAE’s) eloquently executed, high energy repertoire.”
-SF Weekly (San Francisco)

Go to /music, photos, more!

Free Frame

Finally, a video equivalent of VSTs

I’ve been on kick about this for a while. Having an open, standard, format for plug-ins has made it possible for tons and tons of DIY audio plug-ins. Now with more and more people working with video, it makes sense to finally have a standard for video effects as well. Enter the good open source developers working on Free Frame. Godspeed gentlemen and ladies!

Catching up on the politics of the week

I’ve had a busy week, so I haven’t had time to post, but here is what I’ve been thinking about…

From the Daily Kos :
More spine growth in evidence from the Democrats as they elevate the Jeff Gannon controversy.
The Germans don’t buy into Bush’s “fake” town hall meetings
The Saudis hold an “anti-terrorism” conference that blames the Jews for everything and Bush says “well done!”

From the LA Times:
The Bush administration continues to become more and more like the Stalin Administration

From the Washington Post:
More evidence that living in the US is getting ever more like living in Stalinist Russia