Posts Tagged ‘OS X’

Mac vs. PC ad nauseam

August 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Even I have my limits when it comes to arguments.

So I would like to say:
“Will everyone just pipe down!”
I don’t care which machine is more or less secure, that isn’t an issue. Security is not the issue at all; it’s relative safety.

I have used windows since 3.1 and have never contracted a virus.
I have used Macs since os 9 and have never contracted a virus.
I have owned about equal numbers of both machines.

While nothing can protect users from themselves, we often forget that
safety and security are not the same thing.

This is why this whole thread is tosh; You trying to reconcile two
different arguments without distinguishing between them.

Take a gun for example, whether used in either Japan or the US, it is
equally deadly. But statistics say that Japan is safer. Is there
something about Japan that makes guns intrinsically less deadly? No
Are US citizens better trained at handguns on average than the
Japanese? Perhaps.
Are those from the US more likely to die when hit in the head by a
bullet? Who knows.

The PC has long since left the cliques of the University Labs and “IBM
Rooms” but the Mac still has an air of the quaint, little, local hippy
community where it was fathered, a place where everyone knows each
others’ first name.

There are still vestiges of this “Mac spirit” remaining, although they
are becoming harder and harder to find.

Still, just like I leave my house door open here in Japan more often
than I would in the US or the UK, I prefer to let my kids browse on
the Mac, just to be safe.

Sure there is a risk, but then, we all know that, don’t we… because
we’re not stupid.

This is of course changing and I will miss the Mac when it goes
mainstream, when it will be just another PC, only one running OSX
instead of W7 or Linux.

We are all on the same side here we want a safe place for ourselves
and our families and businesses.

Let’s not spend this time divided and bickering like kids in the
playground saying their father is toughest. Instead, we should use the
nous we have to hunt down the ba * ds who make the malware and
educate those around us.

Safari 4 and Hotmail Problem – Can’t Open Mail

March 27, 2009 2 comments

Although you can log in to Hotmail with Safari 4, you may find that you can’t actually read messages: They won’t open when you click on them.

If this is the case, there is a simple solution.

  1. Restart Safari to clear your hotmail session.
  2. Open Safari >> Preferences menu
  3. Click on Advanced
  4. Enable the “Develop” menu by clicking the check box and close the settings box.
  5. Select Develop >> User Agent >> Opera 9.63 Mac
  6. Browse to or whatever you use.

You should now be able to access Hotmail Normally.

>> Remember to change your User Agent Back to Safari when you leave Hotmail if you are a fan of Browser statistics.

Apple Software Bugs Rise to New Heights : OS X iCal Truncating days off the end of month.

February 5, 2009 5 comments

I always thought that February was the shortest month of the year.

After all, ever since I could speak I’ve known the poem:

Thirty days has September, April, June and November.
All the rest have thirty one, except February,
which has 28 days clear and 29 days in a leap year.

If only Apple knew it, because apparently they think that January 2009 had only 24 days!



This is OS X Leopard iCal, the one which dispensed with the the side drawer in favour of a crappy pop-up box for editing calendar entries.

Here Apple are trying to work their way into the enterprise as a viable Outlook alternative with better Exchange support for etc. but I’m sorry, if this is the best they can do, I’m sticking with Outlook/Entourage.

Is there anyone else out there who’s found that their months have been truncated with the last week missing in Leopard’s joke of a calendar application?

Now I’m sorry, but this kind of quality beggars belief! Apple, WTF are you playing at? GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER.

Categories: Mac, Technology Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Is Microsoft Office 2008 for the Mac just revenge for the travesty that is Quicktime for Windows?

October 8, 2008 Leave a comment

I’ve reported here on Office:Mac 2008 being the worst version of Office ever released for any platform. It’s buggy, runs slower than the previous version runs in emulation and it still lacks database software and is also missing Visual Basic, a key feature for any serious Excel user. In a word. Office:Mac 2008 is a lemon, and I want my money back.

But if you really, no, I mean REALLY want to talk about crap software produced by a world class company for another world class company’s operating system, then let’s not beat around the bush.

Quicktime for Windows is a dog. It’s an old dog, a mangy, old, lame dog which you just can’t seem to have put down despite serious, room filling flatulence.

It’s slow, buggy and is missing lots of features that many serious media users find indispensable.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes blogging for ZD-Net has shown that Quicktime on his old 512MB RAM Mac Mini on OS X outperforms his 8GB Quad Core Vista system.

Ah, Vista, I hear you say. But before you click the reply button, he states that using VLC or a real media player blows the Mini to smithereens, so it is a Quicktime for Windows issue.

So I’d make that a 1-1 Apple-Microsoft draw.

The Microsoft Office 2008 disaster (Office:mac 2008 buggy as hell)

September 20, 2008 9 comments

What is it about Microsoft that makes them incapable of releasing software packed to the rafters with show stopping bugs?

What I mean to say is that Office 2008 is as buggy as Hell! Come on Microsoft, this is your flagship suite on the Mac, often the only exposure to your company diehard Mac users ever get. And what do you give them? Shit on a plate.

We’ve got this project on at the moment, and I’ve been trying to get it done, but Office:mac 2008 just doesn’t seem to want to let me.

Let’s start with the good stuff:

  • Excel 2008 on my Intel Mac Mini scrolls noticably faster than Office 2004 on the same machine. So although my 2.4GHz iMac 24″ is fast enough to handle the Rosetta translation from PPC to Intel without noticable performance issues, my Mac Mini clearly struggles with 2004. Exel 2008 is, once up and running, smoother on this limited machine.
  • Entourage 2008 is better than 2004. It’s faster, cleaner and stalls less often when syncing my Hotmail. Enough said. Way to go Microsoft.

OK, that’s the good stuff out of the way, now the bad stuff.

  • No Visual Basic. WTF?

Excuse me? But HTF am I supposed to run my spreadsheets without Visual Basic? Don’t give me some cock and bull story about “Applescript is the standard script on the Mac, so we changed to Applescript.”

Since when have you ever cared about standards, Microsoft?

Put VB back in and we’ll talk some more.

  • Less stable than Naomi Campbell

Excel crashed twice last night, in three hours. That’s just a joke. It would stall for a second and vanish without a trace. And not just last night, but often.

  • It’s fat, flabby and slow

Why is it that my copy of Office 2004 running in emulation on an Intel Mac is faster than Office 2008 running native (bar the aforementioned scrolling) on the same machine?

Excel 2004 takes less than 10 seconds to boot, Excel 2008 takes almost twice as long! Come on! This is not acceptable. This is native code and it’s being trounced by emulated code!

Now, it may run faster, but what am I doing that needs the speed? It’s not like I’m running any cunning VB scripts… ’cause they removed it! And who in their right mind is going to develop ultracomplex Applescript macros when Microsoft themselves said they’re going to put VB back in in the next release…

Sounds like they used the same programmers that made Vista.

  • Bugs

There are just too many. Really. I’m not going to bore you with any but these two which have cost me considerable productivity time.

I saved a file as an XLSX (Excel XML format) and was completely unable to open it in office 2004 and Office 2003 on the PC, even with the Version 11.5 update and the Compatibility pack installed! I had to connect to my iMac at home, resave the file as an Excel 97~2003 file and try again. Strange though, only a couple of files have showed this bug… But then, that’s the nature of bugs, isn’t it.

Display issues is currently a real annoyance.

Check out these screenshots:

View a sheet at 100% and all is well. 

Zoom in to 125% and everything turns into hashes.

It doesn’t matter if you expand a column out, the hashes just multiply to fill the gap!

It’s only when you SHRINK the column that the hashes disappear and text appears.

Twiddle the width of the column a little and the text comes back.

Come ON Microsoft, this is NOT production quality software.


  • There is no solution at present.

I recommend sticking with 2004, which while being a foible laden application suite is stable, predictable and reliable; three concepts I’ve started to take more seriously the older I’ve got.

I’m going to wait for a couple of service packs and try it again later. In the meantime and for the first time ever, I’ve reinstalled an earlier version of Office!

How to fix the ARD toolbar buttons/functions missing from Screen Sharing under OS X 10.5.5

September 18, 2008 1 comment

I’d like to thank a couple of my readers for telling me how to remedy the problem of the ARD Screen Sharing toolbar function hack that can no longer be applied once one upgrades to OS X 10.5.5.

The solution is glaringly obvious and I’m a bit annoyed I didn’t spot it myself.

Just use Time Machine and search for the Screen Sharing application, located in /System/Library/CoreServices/Screen and return to an older version of the app!

You gotta love Apple for handing you the solution on a plate.

Alternatively, dig out your Leopard DVD and pull it off there.

You’ll apparently get bugged by an upgrade screen.

I had read that Apple were trying to cut down on “Frankenbuilds” using software from different versions of the OS, but I guess this is still OK.

I’d like to try this, but since I have a nice, fully functional ARD 3.2 installed there’s not much point for me!

Still, I may try it one day. Let me know how you get on with these tips.

Categories: Mac, Tech Tips Tags: , , , , ,

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Sun Tzu

July 1, 2008 Leave a comment


Windows XP is no more. The 30th of June signified the last day of the general availability of Windows XP, Microsoft’s most successful operating system to date.

In all fairness, it had its turn in the limelight. Dragged kicking and screaming prematurely from beta in 2001 in response, perhaps, to the newly released Mac OS X; itself an operating system with the stability of a newborn Bambi on ice.

XP has had perhaps the longest run of any popular operating system. A decent seven years! It saw off OS X 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4 and only now, at the maturing of OS X 10.5 Leopard does XP lay down its hat.

Seeing off the nay-sayers, the staunchest Windows 2000 supporters, the 98 holdouts, the raft of driver and compatibility problems that greeted it, it became the gamer’s and business users OS of choice alike, and by default simply because there was no competition.

XP was so strong that it became in the last year, Vista’s number one rival, even as Vista’s, Jabbaesque form heaved and laboured under its own mass, to lift itself out of the morass of sluggish performance and insane user interface reworkings.

There was XP, standing strong, as if saying, “See. I’m here for you, when you need me! And you do need me!”

It was in this capacity that XP found itself the “new” people’s champion: The symbol of resistance against a cruel, uncaring, over-marketed world.

in one swift and brilliant move, It turned itself from the unwelcome yet nevertheless tolerated partner to a symbol of the underdog fighting against the new colossus: A staunch ally, unappreciated yet ever there, forcing the industry to look before they leapt onto the new OS from hell. Vista, an OS so heavy that it dragged all but the newest machines whimpering to their knees, crippling performance and destroying productivity like a heavy dose of gout.

Vista was the new enemy that turned expensive computers into gaudy playthings with all the class of Paris Hilton stepping out of a stretch limo hand-in-hand with Britney. 

XP, we’d hoped you’d last until the promise of Windows 7, but it looks like too much for Microsoft’s ego to take and so they put you down, sweet XP, like the owner of an old dog who’s grown bored of the obsequious pawing and unwanted licking of palm.

May you Rest in Peace.

Categories: Technology Tags: , , , , , ,

Potential Mac OS X future roadmap and evolution

June 25, 2008 Leave a comment


OS X architecture roadmap

You may or may not remember a time when Mac OS X was for Macintoshes (later renamed Macs) only. This is no longer the case, since recently several non Mac devices now sport versions of OS X.

Note the distinction between Mac OS X and “just” OS X without the Mac prefix.

The current state of affairs shows OS X running on three main architectures.

  • Mac OS X 10.5 on Intel in the new range of Mac Pro, iMac, Mac Mini and MacBook computers along with a 10.4 based variant running on the Apple TV
  • Mac OS X 10.5 on PowerPC (PPC) in the old range of PowerMac, iMac and PowerBook computers.
  • Mac OS X 10.4 based (?) ARM variant in the iPod and iPhone series of handheld devices.
This means that Apple are currently supporting four distinct versions of OS X on three architectures. This is certainly possible, although recent production delays and quality issues here and there would suggest that supporting all of them is putting a strain on Apple.
Apple, I believe, are going to rectify this situation significantly in the near future and reduce the number of architectures and variants.
Power is dead, long live Power
  • First, they will most probably be dropping PPC G5 and earlier from Mac OS X as of 10.6.
This means that the main branch of their OS will be Intel only.
Speculating, then Apple TV type devices (if not the Apple TV itself) might run this new OS.
But wouldn’t this be a waste of their Power architecture knowledge?
  • Yes it would, that’s why, with their recent purchase of P.A. Semi they are going to continue OS X development for their PWRficient range of Power chips!

So how does this help them?

  • Apple have alluded to the fact that PA Semi will create system on a chip solutions for future devices. Thus, most probably iPod, iPhone and any future handheld devices will use the Power architecture. Apple TV type devices might even move to this platform, rather than staying with Intel.

The big question here is what happens to the ARM Branch?

  • Their investment in that branch is nowhere near that of their Intel and PPC incestments, so they may justify writing it off.
Thus, the future picture may look like this:
Mac OS X on Intel only
  • Desktop / Laptop and potential future mini PCs. (perhaps Apple TV like appliances).
OS X on Power (note the lack of Mac in the title)
  • iPhone, iPod, future handheld devices, future Apple TV and other appliances.

The only fuzzy area in the above picture is where do the “middle” devices (i.e. neither handheld nor portable) fit? Will they fall on the Intel side or the PWRficient SOC side? 

Either way, this is a much more streamlined future and should help focus the Mac brand and the OS X brands while helping future development and maintainability.

Categories: Mac Tags: , , ,

Welcome OS X 10.5 Leopard

October 30, 2007 Leave a comment

OK, so I’m a mug, I admit it. I installed 10.5 Leopard without even trying it out in the shop. I needed something new to put on my shiny, brand spanking, iMac that wasn’t there before and this was it. 

iMac with Leopard

At first I was brassed off at having missed the mini priced upgrade to Leopard by three days, but then I realised that I’d have to buy another copy for my other machines anyway, so I plunked for the Family Pack. 

I’ve been running it a couple of days now.


Erm. It uses a lot of memory.

Stacks, nice, but bring back the menus. Spaces… whatever. Spotlight… sweet. Eye Candy… Wasted on me. The desktop wallpaper is total crap. New grey scheme seems too corporate for me. What happened to the beautiful shiny light, white fantastic?

My iMac has a nice juicy 4GB of RAM, but looking at the memory usage chart shows that over half is in use, not for caches and buffers – as we’d expect after a few hours running that all the spare memory would be used for cache and buffering.

I mean the kernel task. RSIZE is ~230MB. That is a colossal amount of RAM to consume for a kernal!

Tiger used ~115MB which is curiously almost half of Leopard. And remember that 10.2 worked (if you can call it that) with 128MB RAM all told!

This amount of kernel bloat doesn’t bode well for the performance, and if all other things were equal, that would be true, Leopard would suck.

However, I’ve noticed that the Finder is much more responsive. Windows open more quickly than I’m used to and Spotlight is a revelation – It’s actually useful when you don’t want to have to spend 2 minutes on a search.

Now, I’m sure X-Bench under Leopard will show definite performance losses in CPU / Memory intensive stuff. That’s the way it’s got to be, but “Benchmarks do not an Experience Explain” as the old say which I’ve just made up goes.

But taking into account Finder is so often used, for example means that coding changes more than make up for the added overhead.

Only one bugbear with Leopard, and it’s a biggie.

Apps on Leopard crash a LOT more often than on Tiger.

But, that’s the bleeding-edge price to pay for being on the um, bleeding edge.

Somebody pass me the plasters.

Categories: Mac, Technology Tags: ,