Opinion

TextMate celebrates Halloween!

A random new build (1311) downloads and installs for TextMate (using its excellent automatic update feature and it features two new things: a pumpkin icon and a spider-web background for the project window. Kinda cute.

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Ah yes, those Core 2 Duo MacBook Pros

No, actually I haven't been hiding in a cave or anything. I have indeed heard about the new MacBook Pros and I was probably expecting too much from Apple. I'm bored. They have no exciting new product I wish to purchase. And since the day the Core 2 Duo MacBook Pros were announced happened to coincide with the day I got a Pentium 4 desktop (a Gateway, no less) on which I've been able to install a perfectly functioning, 10-second booting copy of 10.4.8, I no longer felt compelled to jump at the next line of laptops Apple announced.

Anyway, that's my story. As for the MacBook Pros, I expected that after waiting for two months more than the rest of the industry in coming out with Merom-based laptops, Apple would have more to show, especially since they've adamantly been telling everyone that they will no longer save all their most exciting announcements for Macworld or WWDC. Well, guess I'll scratch that and just watch out for Macworld '07.

Although this speed bump adds a number of features that current MBP users would be very glad to have, such as FireWire 800 ports standard, an extended RAM limit (& more standard RAM), larger hard drivers and a dual-layer burning drive on the 15" models, for a person who doesn't currently own a MBP, this doesn't exactly have, shall we say, that orgasmic quality to it that a lot of Apple's new products often carry… I am not going to be drooling over MBPs. Perhaps it's been a tough three months for Apple making sure that this batch of MBPs doesn't overheat or make high-pitched noises from under the keyboard… I'll wait for the reviews to come in.

One more thing that makes me look down upon this announcement is the lack of change in the graphics subsystem. In my opinion, the 17" MacBook Pro at the least should have an ATI Radeon X1800 or the NVIDIA equivalent. Shouldn't a vendor's highest-end notebook offering have the highest-end mobility graphics card? And shouldn't the 15" model also have this high-end card as an option? Am I not making sense here? Oh Apple…

Also, I guess I'll just keep waiting for Apple to reintroduce a 12" version in its Pro Notebook line. I hear rumours of 15.4" MacBooks but, to me, that's just plain nonsense; I don't see anyone craving for a 15.4" MB and the 14" iBook never sold even nearly as well as the 12" did. I do see people craving for a MacBook with a backlit keyboard slash a MacBook Pro in the same form factor as a MacBook but maybe I'm in touch only with raving lunatics… all the smart kids want 19" MacBooks and 24" MacBook Pros.

(Oh, yes, and check out how the iSight status indicator in the new MacBook Pros has vanished.) 

Comments (3) Posted on at  

  • » Ah yes. I noticed the lack of the black indicator in the iSight section of the MBPs over at Apple's site and wondered if it had actually disappeared. I too was hoping they'd come out with a smaller version in the Pro line too.
  • » sure, a lot of other players announced core 2 duo products two months ago, but few have been able to ship them in any quantity until now. apple seem to want to avoid all kind of sales-drop by waiting until they actually can ship the products before they announce them.
    btw: that hidden indicator is so kool! i wonder if they can do the same thing with the apple and the sleep button.
  • » I don't understand

    why this computer is not "drooling" ?

    and what the fuss of os X on a dell ?

    you seem to have lose your joy in fact, when I read your last text, like you are sad :(

    Apple is not doing anything crazy like dropping everything new and powerful into the latest computer

    they _never_ did that. and they _never_ neEEEver_ did put the latest graphical system in their computer.

    I don't think they will do that before a loooong time.

    and I don't believe in rumors. why a 12" laptop or 10" subnotebook ? Apple seems happy to let others companies to occupy that segment. the 13.3" seems to be a compromise between 12 and 14.

    the 12" powerbook was not enough for final cut demonstration, logic or aperture's interface.

Random Tip: Force quit frontmost application, force quit the Dock and force logout

It happens to the best of us. The application freezes and it's full-screen or something so you can't get to the menus. Hold down Command-Shift-Option-Escape for 5 seconds to force quit the frontmost application. This is the standard Mac OS X >10.3 way.

But… I'm still looking for a (standard) keyboard shortcut that force quits and relaunches the Dock because a lot of seeming Mac OS X "freezes" are a result of the Dock going bonkers. As of now, the only way to do this is to use Ambrosia Software's excellent, free and EV Nova-inspired escapepod (PowerPC-only but may work in Rosetta) which enables keyboard shortcuts for force quitting and relaunching the Dock, force quitting the frontmost application and force logging out.

Oh, yeah, and in case you were interested in running the Finder under Super User permissions, this one is for you

Comments (1) Posted on at  

  • » Apple releases MBP Core 2 duo!

Random Tip: R stands for Reveal

I really don't know how many people use this nifty keyboard shortcut, so I thought I'd mention it: in the Finder, if you press Apple-R while one or more aliases are highlighted/selected, the Finder will open the containing folders for those aliases and highlight them inside those folders. You can do the same thing for icons in the Dock by: (a) the slow method, i.e., control/right-click on a Dock item and choose "Show In Finder" (they really shouldn't capitalize the 'i' in "in") or (b) Apple-click on a Dock icon.

Also, I call the Command key Apple not because I have not been using Macs for past five years but because the Apple key is easy to recognize for anyone, even people unfamiliar with Macs, while the clover leaf symbol gives no indication whatsoever that its function might be called "Command". People don't get this information in daydreams…

The phenomenon of getting information in dreams is literally translated from a हिन्दी (Hindi) idiom which is used when talking about random pieces of information that would not be readily apparent. Such as, if I randomly asked you what my father's middle name was, you would say, "What? You think I dreamt about it or something?" 

Comments (0) Posted on at  

Danger Mouse?

This Macworld review of a new Mac mouse looks very promising. Both the price and the aesthetics seem to be right and I would probably buy one if I didn't already have a very elegant Microsoft Starck mouse sitting on my desk.

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Random Tip: Make the Dock stop dodging

Ever tried to drag a file into a folder in the Dock and the Dock just keeps trying to make space so that you can actually place the item in the Dock? I know, annoying. Well, the trick is to hold down the Command (Apple) key while dragging an item into a Dock folder; that way, the Dock stops trying to make space for the item. 

Comments (0) Posted on at  

Leopard Preview: CalDAV Preferences

I'm sure some people would be interested in seeing the CalDAV preferences in iCal 3.0. If anyone knows how to actually use CalDAV to some useful purpose as of now, let me know. 

Comments (2) Posted on at  

  • » http://trac.macosforge.org/projects/calendarserver/wiki
  • » Isn't that supposed to publish your iCal calendar on your personal server?

Leopard Preview: Expanded .Mac Syncing Options

I don't think I need to spell this one out. If you open the corresponding preference pane in Tiger, you will see the additions in Leopard. Also, it seems that System Preferences is at version 4.0 in Leopard compared to Tiger's 3.3. So, although there are no significant changes at this point, can we expect to see some? I believe so. 

Comments (2) Posted on at  

  • » Very curious to see the new iCal GUI in the recent builds...
  • » i love you
    (in a very platonic way).


    keep 'em coming.

PicLens

So I was just going through my RSS feeds and I stumbled upon a review of this great (Safari-only and still in Beta) plug-in for viewing images from a brower - PicLens. It basically allows you to view images from sites such as Google image search or flickr in beautiful full-screen glory, complete with a thumbnail navigator at the bottom and slideshow features. It integrates itself with Safari quite elegantly. If you're viewing one of the sites that it supports, a little icon appears upon moving your mouse over an image, clicking on which makes the image zoom to full screen.

Now zooming low-res images to full-screen wouldn't look so nice. Luckily for us, what makes PicLens so good is the fact that it is clever enough to load the high-resolution image that is linked on the page and not the [in most cases] low-res one displayed.


Although it currently works only with a handful of sites, those are probably the ones that you do your major image viewing on the web anyways. Even if that's not the case, you should definitely give PicLens a try.

Update: Just found out that it works with the Apple remote too! 

Comments (0) Posted on at  

The Virus on iPods

Apple's approach regarding this matter and their response is very lacking in the contrite feelings that should be present there. In fact, they seem to be taking it with an air of such profound lightness as if nothing serious has happened. Read this:
As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it.
God, the attitude! It's disgusting. Seriously, there is no excuse to there being a virus on iPods and they should definitely be more apologetic than this, at least officially! Mac OS X may not presently have any viruses in the wild, but it is definitely not invulnerable and it's time for Apple to stop being so goddamn silly in public. It's almost as if S. Jobs himself wrote that statement, asshole that he is.

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Dressing it up

ImHi did need a redesign big time, what with people visiting regularly and Karan writing excellent posts. I took on the task of doing it and have tried giving it a refined look yet keeping things the way they were. Hopefully its not too bad. 

Comments (3) Posted on at  

  • » Bravo Rungta! I love this new template.
  • » Not bad at all.
  • » it's rather nice, i think.....but i don't really like the post-footer font (the monospace one)...otherwise looks wonderful!!

Disco

OK, I saw this movie and I was like "Fucking A…"


Honestly, these guys really seem to be making the most kick-ass Mac OS X software there is. And then I also read this further description:
So yeah, we’ve gone from flashing screens to creating a pixel perfect fluid dynamic model of smoke. You can adjust the colors on the fly as well as a few other geeky options. When you blow into the microphone, the smoke gusts, and as you can see, you can run your mouse through it to create wind. We’ll be including presets for Fire, Goo, Purple Haze, and Icy Mist for you to play with.

Up until this point we’ve shown you how we can make disc burning fluid, workflow based, and manageable. I think you’ll agree that we just showed you that we can make it fun. And really, what else are you going to do while you’re burning a disc?
And all I can say is "Fuck, that's the only thing that's gonna burn my discs from now on." (or, well, from next week on) 

Comments (5) Posted on at  

  • » All I can say is none of the progress bars or readouts are labeled, I have no idea what it's doing, and it's a lot of eye candy that does nothing to make the program more functional or easy to use.

    In other words, all flash and completely unusable. JUST what we need more of...
  • » Now do you understand why burn/re-import is the way to go for stripping iTunes DRM?

    Hijack don't have no smoke.
  • » i love the motion sensor thingy; when th ecomputer is mobile (and therefore unsuitable for burning discs on) the windows i shaking with the movement.
  • » To the first poster:

    I'm going out on a limb and saying that they're burning to disc, it's 77% completed. It has 16 seconds left to completion and it has been burning for 57 seconds

    This dialog displays all the information you need in a fun, unique way. I don't see any ambiguities or misinformation
  • » The smoke is cool but the rest is not a great design. So much of it just sits there and does nothing. The progress bar is so tiny, and that's the most important part.

Disable Caching in Safari

I tried disabling caching in Safari (because my Internet connection works faster than getting stuff out of the cache on my computer) but to no avail. I tried using Safari Enhancer to disable caching but the it used to automatically turn back on after a while. However, I was recently reading a macosxhints.com hint on disabling Dashboard caching to speed things up and it simply involved locking the DashboardClient cache folder. So, I said to myself, "Why can't this work for Safari too?"

Apparently, it can. All you need to do is go to the Library > Caches folder in your home folder. Go inside the Safari sub-folder and trash everything. Then do a Get Info on the Safari folder and check the "Locked" checkbox. You're done. Safari should no longer be able to store any cache files.

 

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Cool Down Your MacBook Pro

MacBook Pros have been generally running much hotter than they should be. It appears Apple has throttled the system fans at 1000rpm. Why? I don't know and I really can't tell whether it has some practical purpose or just Apple being eccentric. But, the fans can be commanded into going above 1000rpm using this neat, little piece of GUI software called smcFanControl. Go download it and try it out on your MacBook Pro.

This fellow who's written a review says 3000rpm is a good speed to run them at and they make no significant sound at that level.

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Automate iTunes Decryption?

Scenario: I occasionally get these "One free song" iTunes cards and I usually I have some song in mind that I want to buy off the iTunes Store but then I hate the whole authorization process because I switch computers with alarming frequency. So, I like to convert these songs to an unencrypted format like MP3. Now, Audio Hijack Pro will do that for you, except for the fact that it's manual and time-consuming and thus painful. What I'm looking for is a script or application of some sort that would take a playlist and convert them to MP3s automatically while I sleep.

So, I stumbled across this thing called Hijack Recorder which matched the description exactly. However, I am not impressed by its quality and lack of foolproofness and this is just throwing the question out there as to whether there is a better solution out there? 

Comments (5) Posted on at  

  • » I assume you have considered the workflow of burning to cd and re-importing...
  • » speaking about workflows and such... any plans on continou your excellent exposé of a certain big cat os, now that a new version have been seeded?
  • » @Chucky: Yes, of course, I have heard of that. But that's even more time-consuming and frustrating than Audio Hijack Pro and is definitely much more lossy.
  • » "But that's even more time-consuming and frustrating than Audio Hijack Pro and is definitely much more lossy."

    It may be more time consuming, but it's not any more lossy.

    The burning to CD is just a conversion to AIFF, which is no more lossy than hijacking the sound stream. The re-importation is the same level of lossy as any compression of the sound stream to mp3 would be.

    I'm reasonably confident that you should end up with identical quality mp3's whether you burn or hijack.

    Not that any of this helps solve your problem, of course...
  • » True

How iTunes Authorization Works

Recently, I'd borrowed a computer from someone and used my iTunes Store account to play a song on it. But I forgot to deauthorize the computer before giving it back. Unfortunately, the computer also got reformatted and reimaged in the meanwhile. However, luckily, the authorization process does not depend on anything software-specific. It's like Windows Activation; they record some information specific to the hardware on the machine. This is generally a good thing because you can sometimes reformat your machine without remembering to deauthorize and this allows you to deauthorize any time as long as it's the same physical machine.

Here's a snippet from Apple's website regarding authorization:
Make sure you deauthorize your computer before you upgrade your RAM, hard disk or other system components. If you do not deauthorize your computer before you upgrade these components, one computer may use multiple authorizations. If you find you have reached 5 authorizations due to system upgrades, you can reset your authorization count by clicking Deauthorize All in the Account Information screen.
 

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Random Tip: Open Same Page


You see that little menu up there that says "Same Page"? Yeah, I noticed that a few days ago and I was really curious. You see, this is actually what Internet Explorer for Windows does by default if you hit Control-N. And I thought I'd lost this feature back in 2001 when I switched from Windows to Mac. Sometimes, you're browsing some website and you just want to branch off, especially when you're doing some research.

If you choose the "Same Page" option in the "New windows open with", what basically happens when you press Command-N is that the current page you're on opens in the new window. But that's not really rocket science… what's completely awesome about this is that it works exactly as I would have wanted it to, i.e., it keeps your browsing history from your current page so that you can use the Back button to go to previous pages. Now that is some sweet Safari rocket science.

How immensely useful is this? You'll know when you try it 

Comments (3) Posted on at  

  • » Immensely useful indeed!

    When did this feature arrive to Safari? Along with Tiger? I don't remember it being included a few months ago.
  • » what's up with the horrible system 8 theme? ;)
  • » haha, I'm still in love with the Classic theme. This is Gershwix using ShapeShifter.

Random Tip: Detach Info



This is going to be a boon for anyone using a small screen. You can basically go to iCal's Window menu and choose Detach Info to convert the Info drawer into an Info Inspector. This then allows you to make the iCal window as big as the entire screen. Especially good for those of us with full schedules. 

Comments (3) Posted on at  

  • » Another nifty feature: you can see what applications you have open by looking at the Dock.

    (Forgive the snark. i enjoy your blog immensely, but this is probably very old news to 95% of your readership.)
  • » Well I guess I'll have to chime in and say this is completely new to me. :) (and I'm a long time mac/pro user, yada yada)

    I even had to hunt around to find which menu it appears in (I first assumed it was a contextual menu, but it's iCal's Window menu if any other dimwits like me are searching...).

    I wonder what version that arrived in? Guess I don't use iCal that much.
  • » Yeah, this is new to me. But then again, I only just switch this past summer. :p

Turnkey SmackBook Implementation?

UPDATE: So, I downloaded VirtueDesktops and you know what? It has this functionality built-in. Yay! Admittedly, it's badly calibrated for my 12" PowerBook G4 but hey, at least it's there and it works!


OK, so I bet by now you've heard everything there is to know about "SmackBook", which is basically the name given to the collection of applications and scripts that allows someone with an Apple Sudden Motion Sensor-equipped laptop to switch between Virtual Desktops by smacking the computer gently (my 12" PowerBook G4 which is a July 2005 model has this).

But installing (and using) it is a bitch. I mean, just check out the SmackBook Pro instructions with screenshots. I mean, geez… I just spent about 20 minutes installing the whole thing (you need Xcode for the process) and, in the end, the way to run the "system" is to first start up your Desktop Manager and then execute this Perl script that takes input from the Apple Motion Sensor and translates into Desktop Manager-speak. And ya gotta keep the Terminal window open for that (at least, as far as this solution describes).

Now I don't care if there's a nifty little trick that'll make the Perl script run without having to open Terminal, or any kind of Dock or window presence, because the process is still way too complicated for the average user. What surprises me is the fact that no enterprising developer has come up with a simple, elegant, drag-and-drop and Universal solution for using SmackBook. And if someone has, I just haven't gotten news of it.

This is really a nifty little feature that you can use on PowerBooks, iBooks, MacBooks and MacBook Pros that have shipped during the last year and a half and someone really needs to make an easy-to-use way to access it. Heck, if nothing else, it'll be one more thing you can show off to spite PC users.

 

Comments (5) Posted on at  

  • » Funny installation took so long for you. Also I don't recall having used Xcode during the process. I followed the instructions listed on this page (look for "Summary", right at the end of the post).
  • » Yeah, so the binary available on that website is actually Intel-only. Sucks to be PowerPC.
  • » Oh Ok.
  • » What is that awesome water app on the screen?
  • » No idea.

So how much does Microsoft Messenger 6 suck?


First of all, I really don't think Microsoft Messenger 6 (oh, that's a mouthful - I really did prefer "MSN Messenger") qualifies as version 6. Verison 5 was merely 4.1 and this barely qualifies at 4.2 (I'd say 4.1.1) with the number of new features it introduces. For the record, it still sucks at connectivity. I know that I'm using a pristine University network connection here with very low latency, no disconnections and extremely high bandwidth and yet Microsoft Messenger always seems to get disconnected every 5 minutes; and although it automatically reconnects to the network, it makes a system beep and displays an application-modal error message. So irritating.

And let's look at the new features in version 6:
  1. You can chat with Yahoo! Messenger buddies
  2. Add status messages
  3. You can display what is currently playing in iTunes
  4. Custom emoticons
  5. Spotlight integration
  6. Spell checking
Geez, you call that a 1.0 version change feature list? 'Cause I sure as hell don't. Numbers 2 and 3 are good, but I don't see myself salivating over them. I mean, could you get more ho-hum, Microsoft? Honestly! And considering the extremely luxurious period of time Microsoft has spent between subsequent Messenger for Mac releases, this is simply unacceptable. This is probably the equivalent to the number and importance of refinements that the Adium team does in a week.

Where's video chatting? I don't know. Where's audio chatting? I don't know. There is probably a sum total of one feature that is really nifty in Messenger for Mac and that is the ability to click on your display name and rename it instantly. For the rest, I like the user interface and general layout but gawd does this app. lack 2006-age features. Basically, although it's going up in version number, we're seeing no feature parity between the Windows and Mac versions. 

Comments (7) Posted on at  

  • » Use Skype - and get buddies to switch. There's just no comparison out there !
  • » Yes I'm sure adding support for a completely different IM protocol was really trivial to do.

    I think you'll find that it is the Yahoo! stuff that makes this worth the version number.

    On the other hand, you're about right with the difference between 4 and 5, although I might go with 4 and 4.5 as they did update the UI a fair bit.

    Mike.
  • » dude, i use it and dont get disconnected ever, using cable 1MB. you should check your connection.

    and i agree with you, 5 was a 4.5 version therefore 6 should be 5 version ( it is now UB. yahoo protocol, so thats worth it too.)

    and MacBU team said they are working on A/V chat, but is a problem of i-dont-know--for-sure thing.
  • » Hey karan, even in India I never get disconnected as often as you do.
  • » This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  • » i so agree with your review...aptly describes all my frustation on them not doing anything different with the new version....
  • » This is EXACTLY how I feel about MSN 6 for Mac. I just download it the other day and was completely disgusted by the lack of new features. Your review is so true! (Curse Mirco$oft...)

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