Breakthrough Service: Apple’s Secret Weapon – O’Reilly Mac DevCenter Blog

Breakthrough Service: Apple’s Secret Weapon – O’Reilly Mac DevCenter Blog

When you read that story, all i can think of is: try this with Dell. Not only was the onsite service really good, but he get’s a replacement machine that is newer/better than the original machine?

Published in: on December 6, 2006 at 9:29 am  Leave a Comment  

The new iPod Shuffle

While I was traveling in California last week, I went by an Apple Store and picked up the new iPod Shuffle. When I do travel, i don’t take an iPod with me anymore, mainly because I already take a PSP with me (for watching movies on the plane – the screen is just far superior to the in-flight seat video, or an iPod video). But the PSP is not a good music player (bulky, bad battery time, awkward to control), so I was looking for a companion player.

The new Shuffle fits that bill nicely. You have to hold one to just understand how “small” that thing is, and still functional. Sound is good (at least I don’t hear a difference compared to my other iPod), battery lifetime is great, and the build in clip is just so convenient.

Highly recommend stocking stuffer….

Published in: on November 15, 2006 at 12:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Life with Paralells Desktop

I am using Parallels Desktop for the Mac since i got my first Intel MacBook a while ago. It is nice to be able to run some Windows app once in a while.

On my development station I really need it though. I need to develop .NET applications, and while i write most of it under OS-X using Mono and Visual SlickEdit, i still need to verify and debug it once in a while. Here is it where Parallels really helps.

I have a 2nd Harddisk in the MacPro, and on it there are 4 virtual machine images. 3 Windows XP setups, one Ubuntu 6.06. One XP setup is for applications, very basic, just the stuff i need to run once in a while, like connecting a PocketPC or other weird USB devices.

Then I have another one, which has VS 2003 installed. I use Tourtoise SVN to sync to the code repository, debug and verify that the build files all work with this target platform.

The last image is VS 2005. I never believe in successfully running VS 2005 and 2003 developement environments on the same system, so this is a perfect setup, compared to having several physical machines around.

And the performance is just fine. I reserved 2 GB of memory for Parallels, so when I startup one VM, that is the memory that get´s used up. I can run 3 VMs at once using this without noticing any real slowdown anywhere (the system has 7GB RAM total, so i could probably set 4GB aside for Parallels, but normally this is just overkill, as i run only 2 VMs at once on average).

The good thing is that i can backup the VMs easily by copying the 40GB to an external drive, and I don´t have to worry about some Windows application screwing up the installation. If i want to take that VM with me on the laptop, i just copy it over. This is soo much better than a real Windows installation.

The only real disadvantage this setup has is PatchDay!!! When this comes i need to update 3 VMs instead of one, which makes me wish that i had a software update server for Windows as well….

Published in: on October 11, 2006 at 8:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

New feature in 10.4.8: Zoom using Scrollwheel…

From DaringFireball. What a cool feature. Being able to zoom the whole screen and move around with just holding a modifier is, especially given my advanced age and my eyesight, a god send ability. Very nice.

Published in: on September 30, 2006 at 10:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Live with a new MacPro

I got my 3.0Ghz brandnew MacPro, sporting an ATI 1900XT and 5GB of RAM on Tuesday. I am not going to repeat all the great reviews, i can just confirm most of what was written. Less noise, less heat, more speed.

Reasons for disappointment:

– i used the usual firewire transfer method, which, overall, worked great. Unhappily, i installed a bunch of development software as SUDO user (like ant, to usr/local/bin), and those get, for security reasons, not transfered. So i had to manually reinstall some tools, which was annoying. I made myself happy by comparing that to the transfer agent of another OS i know…

– Parallels Workstation for the Mac, which works perfect on my MacBook and the MacBook Pro from my company, does not work yet with a MacPro over 3GB RAM, and not well with less RAM either. They state they identified the issue and are working on a patch, hope this comes soon.

Beside that, it’s all bliss. The thing is just screamingly fast, and mind you, it replaces a 2×2.7Ghz with 4GB of RAM, which was not a slow machine to start with. But working with FinalCut or Aperture is now just so snappy it’s a real pleasure…

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Published in: on September 14, 2006 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

NewsReader software for the Mac

When i first got a Mac, around 15months ago, i started out using Newfire, a beautiful, fast, and no gimmicks newsreader. I was pretty happy with it, until one day, i had a harddisk problem related to an out of control virus checker, which filled my harddrive to the last byte, and Newsfire was the only application that not only got data loss, but a complete trashing of all data related to it. Channels, account info, all gone.

So i switched. As I, by that time, had 3 Macs now, I was looking for a software with online/central synchronization, and I ended up using Shrook. I was pretty happy with it for most of the time, i liked the good widescreen support, and the sync with the server works. Mostly.

This mostly was the really annoying part about it. On my high end dual G5 machine, Shrook would routinely end up eating 127% CPU and more, and always while syncing with the server. When you quit Shrook, it can take 2-3 minutes until the application is finally done, hence this one will always stop my machine from any logout attempt.

Today I installed NetNewsWire, and while i do not like the display layout as much as Shrook, today i have not seen the app use more than 20% CPU, and syncing with the NetGator service is very very fast. If this plays out well across my 3 Macs, I am going to switch. I am pretty sure Shrook is at a dead end anyway – they have not had an update for a long time…

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Published in: on August 31, 2006 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

MacBook – the battery is dead…

Two Days ago, i was sitting outside, working with the MacBook. After 1 hour the battery was dead (ok, i had WoW running in the background, scanning Auctions – so i thought that drained the battery).

So, i plug the Book into the socket. Next Morning, it is still charging. To my surprise, it does not detect the installed battery. Unplug. Shutdown. Remove Battery. Do the reset dance… Put it back together. Nothing.

Spend 5 min on the NET researching it, and figured that the overall consensus is: “DEAD. Just like Plywood”. So i call Apple Tech support (not that easy to find that number, is it… ), and they go through all the hoops i just did, again. I am a good boy and do as they ask – that’s just the way support works, and you have to go with the flow if you want anything at all from them. The guy is nice, and fast, and after 20 min, he concurs: “Dead, as Plywood”. So he puts a replacement in the system.

This morning, 10:02 am. UPS rings the door. Replacement battery.

I mean, i was upset that the battery died. But these things happen. Replacing it in less than 24 hours – that’s priceless, for everything else there is….

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Published in: on July 4, 2006 at 10:08 am  Leave a Comment  

MacBook

I got a new, black MacBook a few days ago, and had time to play with it for a bit by now.

When the machine arrived, i added 2GB of RAM and exchanged the Harddrive with a 7200rpm Hitachi drive. After that, i connected my old Powerbook G4, and transfered the contents onto the MacBook, a process that went suprisingly smooth.

I don’t have any heat problems, even playing World of Warcraft for longer periods of time does not raise the temperature to more than 75 C on the CPU, which seems to be fine. The machine does not feel hot either, at least not on battery power – which is when it counts for me at least.

The speed is amazing, compared to the old G4, everything feels a lot snappier. Booting is a lot faster, but i don’ really care about that too much, as i normally never shutdown my laptop.

So far, i am very happy with the machine. Right now I am writing this entry outside, with a tree behind me in the sun. The screen is ok for that, and certainly better than the G4 screen.

Published in: on June 9, 2006 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Apple iMac’s running Windows…?

I am reading a lot about the possibility that Apple’s new Macs might be able to boot Windows XP, or Windows Vista later. Apple’s statement is that they are not doing anything to prevent this.

Somehow I just don’t get it. i don’t want to dual boot a Mac with OS X into any version of Windows. I mean, get real, if you are a Mac, and you boot Windows, you probably get a CPU cardiac attack.

Dual booting, while the bread and butter of Linux geeks, is just not practical as an everyday solution. What if you need that one windows app to run, and you are in OS X right now? Are you going to write down that information, reboot, start the windows app, type it back in and do whatever you do? Or you partition your drive in a way that you can share that data?

Hogwash. This is just stoneage computing. A cheap thrill, reboot into windows, and then, after 10min of disdain, you reboot into Mac OS X again, thinking, yes i did it. I booted Windows. Later you will wonder why, but for the moment there is this feeling of accomplishment. This is like booting Linux on your Mac. Only less secure, but prettier.

What i want is VMWare or VirtualPC to run Windows in a little window (that way you can easily hide it, when your cool friends come over) to do my accounting, .NET development etc. VirtualPC is a slow dog, barely usable these days even on the fastest Mac out there, and not just due to the emulation, but also due to the random limitation to 512MB of RAM (now, who came up with that?).

That is useful. I could stay in the secure, beautiful environment that i have come to love in the last year, and still do online banking. i can cut/copy/paste between apps and other good stuff.

But dual booting?

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Published in: on February 2, 2006 at 8:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Anti Virus Software for the Mac OS X…

Based on an article in MacWorld, i bought Intego VirusBarrier eight months ago. I was a happy camper for this time, the software worked, and no virus got on my system (big deal – there are not that many floating around). But I assume the software did it’s job.

Then, one blue moon, they released an update: VirusBarrier X4. Of, course, as a nice citizen, and a former windows user, i upgraded the software – with Virus stuff, you always want to be uptodate….

Now the trouble started. Every couple of scans, the software started to fill my boot drive, eating all the 160GB of free space, until the system shut down. I actually lost data due to this.

That bug was fixed (no help to tech support, who answered 3 weeks after my email, and 1 week after the patch for this – btw, that problem was never mentioned in the patch notes) in a patch.

But, behold, my dual power mac experienced surges of CPU usage.. One process of VirusBarrierX eats up good 170% of CPU and never, at least not in any reasonable time, let go.

So, what am i as a consumer to do? There is a 60$ upgrade, that is eating more time than it’s worth, with NO WAY IN HELL to get tech support (funny note: their tech support site states “we support you” ) in any reasonable time frame. I already wrote them 3 times with no answer worth mentioning about the former issue, is this worth it?

Google to the rescue: enter “uninstall VirusBarrier X”, find out how to do that, and pretend for the rest of your life that you spend those 60$ in a bar, it was a great night, and you just do not remember any of it….

Now i use Norton Antivirus for 2 days, and so far, my CPU is only used by things i am aware of.

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Published in: on December 7, 2005 at 10:30 am  Comments (1)