Posts tagged with Mac OS X
I’d also like to take a minute here to note that Ars Technica is the hands-down best-designed news site I’ve seen; it makes simply excellent use of color and contrast to draw the reader’s eye where it needs to go. Notice how the only part of the page with a white background is the news content, the most important content on the page. In fact it’s the only site I frequently visit, other than Penny Arcade*, where banner ads and animations aren’t distracting from the main content.
* Though that white-on-blue text is a killer on the eyes after a few minutes.
Ever since I installed Leopard on my personal laptop, I’d been having problems syncing information across my two computers (one of which still ran Tiger) using the .Mac sync feature. Keychain sync didn’t seem to be working at all, and the others were spotty.
So when I finally upgraded my work laptop to Leopard a couple of weeks ago, I thought my problems would go away. Not so much, in fact. I was still having problems, and they had actually gotten worse. My personal laptop, with a fresh install of Leopard (as opposed to my work laptop, which had just been upgraded) stopped syncing altogether; the Sync application kept crashing.
After some reading around, I deleted the sync history by removing the Local folder from
~/Library/Application Support/SyncServices, but while that helped, it still didn’t seem to solve my problem fully. Now keychain and mail account syncing was working beautifully, but Safari bookmark sync wasn’t working at all.
So when I moved earlier this year, I bought an Airport Extreme base station. And typical of my luck, Apple announced the release of Time Capsule, a wireless backup solution (and the only realistic way to use Leopard’s Time Machine backup feature with a laptop) just a few weeks afterward.
I wasn’t too exercised by it, though, because I figured that I could just hook up a USB hard drive to my Airport Extreme and do the same thing. Imagine my chagrin when I found out that Time Machine wouldn’t recognize drives connected to the Airport Extreme as valid backup locations. Pretty dumb, I thought.
Thankfully, Apple released a firmware update (7.3.1) last week that enables you to use drives connected to the Airport Extreme as Time Machine backup destinations, so after much rejoicing, I went to my local Best Buy and bought myself a 1TB My Book external hard drive; I was going to have the poor man’s version of the Time Capsule, or die trying.
Now picture the tragic scene when I plugged the hard drive in, and neither of my Leopard laptops’ Time Machine installations saw the drive, even though it was mounting properly through the Finder. After floundering around a bit and searching the internet, I found out that Time Machine requires backup drives to be formatted with the HFS+ Journaled file system, and the My Book had shipped formatted in FAT32.
OK, simple enough, I thought. I’d just use Disk Utility to reformat the drive, and I’d be good to go. But, alarmingly, the the reformat kept failing with an error, and the only format I could get the drive successfully reformatted in was FAT. On a whim, I thought I’d try to make two smaller partitions on the drive and see if that worked. It did. But that’s odd, seeing as the HFS+ spec says the maximum volume size is 2 exabytes, and even regular HFS can handle 2 terabytes. What gives?
Regardless, now I have two 500GB partitions on my wireless backup drive, which actually works out for the best, so that I have a cleaner separation of the backups of my two different computers. All’s well that ends well.
Until what, you ask?
To me and a small group of my friends, it’s 7 days until we go to Vegas to celebrate my 30th birthday. This is my personal guarantee: Vegas will never be the same.
To most everyone else, though, it’s 7 days until Apple releases the next version of Mac OS X: version 10.5, named Leopard.
I have, of course, already pre-ordered* my copy, and await it with bated breath. I plan on installing it on my personal laptop, a G4 PowerBook, but will wait until the first couple of patches come out (as, inevitably, they will) to install it on my work laptop.
* What does this mean? That I’m ordering it before I order it? This is a flagrant bastardization of the English language, much like the words “pre-board”, “pre-install”, and “pre-fetch”. Jesus.
The time that Apple officially releases Leopard, their next version of Mac OS X, is rapidly approaching—most probably within the next few weeks or months—and it’s a good time to revisit the predictions and announcements made about it at WWDC last August. Frankly, as you’ll see if you follow that link, I wasn’t too impressed with the list of new features they’re advertising, other than the Mail-iCal integration, and the new virtual desktop feature, but apparently something was held back at the initial announcement, a number of “top secret” features that would only be revealed to the public after Leopard’s launch:
Leopard, for its part, remains a work in progress. Apple seeded developers with a new build of the operating system on March 2, delivering substantial performance and stability improvements over previous builds. That most recent build, 9A377a, is also more than 200 Mbytes larger than previous releases despite the omission of any notable new features, suggesting Apple may be laying the underpinnings for the “top secret” features Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in August would be included in Leopard but have yet to appear in any form.
They haven’t revealed any new information about what the “top secret” features of the OS are going to be yet, but if these as-yet-unknown features are indeed the “big guns” a lot of rumor sites are calling them, I’d certainly be interested in finding out what they are.
So I’ve been piloting del.icio.us this week to see if we can use it at work as a common bookmark bucket, and I just found something very cool there. According to this, you can combine PDFs in Mac OS X without using (read: paying an exorbitant price for) Adobe Acrobat Distiller:
Launch Automator. Click on Finder > Get Selected Finder Items and add to the right. Add “Sort Finder Items” too. Click on PDF>Combine PDF Pages and click “Appending”. Then add “Open Finder Items”. Save it as a Plug-In called “Combine PDFs”.
After all that, select your PDFs with Contro-Click, then in your menu, you’ll see Automator>Combine PDFs. Click that and you’ll see your combined PDFs.
(sic) Neat-o mosquito.
This is the first in a series of posts talking about what I do for a living (web development, for those who don’t know) and the tools I use to help me do it. Not that any of you will particularly care, but it’s also (especially in the later posts) going to help me keep track of tips and tricks I’ve discovered along the way.
First things first: hardware. My development machine is a 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro with 2 GB of RAM. A lot of power in a small package.
Why a Mac? Because—and this is not really hardware related—it’s running, like, the best OS evar. In my mind, Mac OS X is a developer’s dream. It’s UNIX-based, so you can set it up (though not, it should be noted, easily) as a self-contained test environment, with any web server and technology you desire. What’s more, it comes installed with most of the technologies you’ll need: Apache, Java, Python, Ruby. So while you can (also not easily) set up a PC to do the same thing, having a Mac makes your job that much easier. Not to mention that its command-line interface is so much better than DOS, out of the box. Any developer using a PC with Windows will have to install cygwin out of self-preservation, just to get anything done.
Secondly, and this is again software-related, it’s to do with what browsers you program for. Now, I know that like 102.6% of internet users use Internet Explorer, but IE is notoriously lacking on web standards support. So what does a good programmer do? A good programmer programs to the standards, and makes hacks later so it’ll work in IE. That means that you program to make your site/web app work in Safari and FireFox first.
Thirdly—again, software—I’m a web developer, which means that I care about good user interface design. And some of the best, easy to use and powerful development software out there is programmed for Mac OS. More on this later.
Why a MacBook Pro specifically? Because, since as I mentioned I need to support all browsers, I can run Windows natively (instead of in emulation as I was doing with my PowerBook) so I can easily test my work in Safari, WebKit, FireFox and Internet Explorer at the same time.
in San Francisco, but I’m not going to it. I am excited, however, for the Leopard preview Steve Jobs will be giving sometime this week. To get yourself in the mood, here’s a little pre-conference prognostication by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber.
but it looks like Apple will unveil its latest version of Mac OS X, code-named Leopard, at WWDC in San Francisco next month. Exciting news, indeed. I’m sure that, in keeping with its recent tweaking of the software giant, Apple will not resist the temptation to send a few snarky (and well-deserved, in this case) comments Microsoft’s way about its utter failure to get the next (and, alas, not much improved) version of Windows released in a timely manner. (Via Slashdot—I know I’m really showing how much I’ve not been surfing in the last few months by making this comment, but I saw the new Slashdot site design today for the first time, and I heartily approve. Very nice!)