Tag Archives: osx

A Week Without Apple – Day Two, A Lesson in Understanding

Now there are many things Mac OS X does better than Windows 7 and vice-versa. I’m not taking advantage of either OS and it’s features. I’m sure Windows 7 has lots more up it’s sleeve than I know about. Ditto Mac OS X – I know I don’t use all the things in Mac OS X like I should because I’m too lazy to seek it out. The aim of this experiment isn’t to choose a winner, or declare Mac OS X THE BEST OS EVAR SCREW YOU MICRO$OFT! It’s to see what Windows is, how it works, what it does and what it does differently. Everyone’s computer use is different, so you need to make up your own mind as to whether Windows 7 or Mac OS X is for you. It’s great to have competition and choice. Windows 7 is way better than I expected and very competent.


So while the HP is much cheaper, has better specs, a built in card reader, HDMI and digital TV, loads more ports and a snazzy webcam, it has some real livability faults. The LCD is rubbish and even a layman can tell it looks awful, it’s that poor. The trackpad is virtually useless with it’s total lack of glide. If the screen was slightly higher quality and the trackpad not so crappy, it would be a vastly better experience. I’m actually confused as to why HP sent me this laptop to replace the MBP. The MBP retails for $3,199 – you’d think they’d send something a bit more upmarket.

via A Week Without Apple – Day Two, A Lesson in Understanding | MacTalk Australia.

I concur wholeheartedly.

This is why I use a Mac – even though I’m more than proficient at using both either/all OSs well.

Where the rounded rectangles in OSX came from…

Bill had added new code to QuickDraw (which was still called LisaGraf at this point) to draw circles and ovals very quickly. That was a bit hard to do on the Macintosh, since the math for circles usually involved taking square roots, and the 68000 processor in the Lisa and Macintosh didn’t support floating point operations. But Bill had come up with a clever way to do the circle calculation that only used addition and subtraction, not even multiplication or division, which the 68000 could do, but was kind of slow at.

Bill’s technique used the fact the sum of a sequence of odd numbers is always the next perfect square (For example, 1 + 3 = 4, 1 + 3 + 5 = 9, 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 = 16, etc). So he could figure out when to bump the dependent coordinate value by iterating in a loop until a threshold was exceeded. This allowed QuickDraw to draw ovals very quickly.

via Folklore.org: Macintosh Stories: Round Rects Are Everywhere!.

It’s Time To Talk Up!


The fulfilment of one’s own potential.

Nope, that’s not the definition that I wanted!

How about: the act of becoming aware of one’s self.

I guess it’s my fault.

Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve been constantly talking down to people. Working in a retail environment with lots of jargon has contributed to this – usually, people don’t get what I’m talking about when I stick lots of jargon into the conversation, so as a result, I end up “dumbing things down” for them.

Now, that’s all well and good. It’s excellent that I can do that for people who maybe aren’t very familiar with computers, so they don’t understand what RAM does for them. In such cases, analogies are great. There’s this great one we use at work – it explains what the hardware of the computer (CPU, RAM, HDD, etc) does for the customer, while also comparing it to something that they already know (or can at least relate to). It’s not perfect, but it does a damn good job at explaining a complex situation to a customer.

Anyway… this constant dumbing down has seemed to affect how I talk to people who aren’t as technically savvy as I am. Instead of pointing out advanced features, I’m using the “shock and awe” technique more and more – using the simple things to make an impact. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I can’t point out those advanced features, I’m just not doing it as often as I should do.

It isn’t all bad, however. When I’m taking the training class (teaching others, not me), I merely glance over features that will confuse the hell out of people who are new to the operating system. Any mention of Spaces (virtual desktops), for example, usually elicits blank stares and entails me explaining Spaces – again, and again, and again. While keyboard shortcuts are mentioned, I usually leave it up to the user to see if they want to use them. I always give them the choice, though, as I think that keyboard shortcuts are an excellent productivity enhancer.

Now, dumbing things down for those that are technically-challenged is excellent, don’t get me wrong. It’s when I start to take the wrong attitude towards dumbing things down – being lazy and taking the easy way out.

There was one time where an upgrade path would have entailed a long and complicated discussion about RAM, CPU, Hard Drive, and all the rest of it. Now, I could clearly tell that this poor woman wasn’t up to the challenge (not knowing the details of her own computer gave it away) – and that’s exactly where I went wrong. Instead of having that long and complicated discussion, I decided to take the easy way out – and promptly recommended holding off on the upgrade until a new machine was necessary.

Of course, I later discovered her own computer was easily up to the task, and an OS upgrade was all that was necessary. I wasn’t very happy with my own performance on that occasion as you could imagine.

I’m just saying that in order for me to help you, you’ve got to help yourself. There are only so many details that we can elicit of out of you if you don’t know what kind of computer you have – sure, descriptions help, but CPU, RAM, HDD – all are basics that every computer user should know (or at least know how to find out). To this end, I’ve begun teaching the “About this Mac” menu in all my Intro to OSX classes – which will enable people to find out about their Mac should they need that kind of info.

At the end of the day, it was my stuff up. I should have asked the probing questions. I should have tried to get more details about her computer. Alas, I failed.

So gentlemen, it’s time to talk up. Don’t patronise people by assuming you know things that they don’t. Don’t talk down to them because you think you’re somehow better than them.

It’s time. Time to talk up.

Comments below.

Apple Failed To Copyright Mac OS X?

Mac clone manufacturer Psystar said that Apple’s copyright suit against it should be dismissed because Apple has never filed for copyright protection for its Mac OS X operating system with the U.S. Copyright Office, according to court papers.

via Apple Failed To Copyright Mac OS X, Psystar Claims — InformationWeek.

I really, really hope this isn’t true.

If it is, it’s probably the most epic fail in history; just imagine forgetting to copyright an OS! HAHAHA!

Now that’s worth firing someone over.

Holidays are AWESOME!

Well, it’s officially the holidays now – and if you’re wondering why I just have to post this, it’s because my holidays are all set!

I’ve got three books to finish off:

  • Dreamweaver CS3 with CSS, AJAX, and PHP
    I’m mainly reading this for the AJAX and PHP parts – while I have a working knowledge of CSS, I couldn’t write my own CSS from scratch. Not without a WYSIWYG editor, anyway.
    PHP is HUGE in the webdesign world. If I want to be serious, or at least semi-serious about Web stuff, I want to learn PHP.
    And Ajax, well, that’s just cool 😀
  • Physics of the Impossible
    This is an awesome book by one of my all-time favourite authors, Michio Kaku, the author that “built a 2.3-million-electron-volt betatron particle accelerator, which consumed 6 kilowatts of power an generated a magnetic field 20,000 times that the earth’s magnetic field.” – all while he was in high school!
    It covers everything from the technology that is impossible today, but does not break physics as we know it (such as force fields, death stars, telepathy and teleportation, antimatter), to technology that sits on the boundary of our technical knowledge today (such as a speed faster than light, time travel, and alternate universes) to things that are just plain impossible – things such as perpetual motion and precognition – things that violate known laws of physics.
    It’s a really good read – if you’re thinking about doing something in Physics, then I highly recommend that you read this book – you’re welcome to read my copy, but only when I’m finished with it 😛
  • Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X
    Regarded as “the Bible” for Cocoa programming on OSX, for OSX, Cocoa programming is a minor hobby of mine. I started it way before we started Java at school, and compared to Java for GUI stuff, it is so much easier!
    For those special few of you that have worked with a Java GUI interface, the way that I’ve been taught it just plain sucks.
    With Xcode’s Interface Builder, I don’t have to write the code for each radio button, write yet more code for where I want it to go, or even what I want to do – all this can be done using a GUI. Easy, no? Objective-C is great.
    This book is a little hard to acquire in Australia, though, so I’d be looking to your closest bookshop to see if they can order it in. Mine certianly did, and I”m so glad for it…

Yep, I’m all set. So I might have to do a little work, but I’m cool with that, I’ve got plenty of time for that kind of stuff… Take, for instance, the Steam Weekend Deal – this week, it’s 50% of all ID games, you know, like Commander Keen, Quake, Doom, etc. I bought the super pack for $35 – you can check it out here if you have Steam and are interested.

So, what are YOUR holiday plans? Shout out in comments.

Google Chrome is AWESOME!

If you don’t know what Google Chrome is, either your feed reader is broken (and you need to recompile it from scratch), or you live under a rock. Those are the options.

I’m hoping that more people will be interested in this than DosBox…

If you’re running Windows as your OS of choice, and haven’t tried out Chrome yet, I urge you to do so at google.com/chrome – hit this link.

Otherwise, if you’re running Linux or OSX as your OS of choice, read on…

I’ve found the Google Chrome – Platform Specific Build Instructions here.

Mac (I didn’t go to the trouble to go and compile it. I have no need.)

Windows (bear in mind that while they do provide binary versions of the Chrome Beta for Windows, there is no reason to stop you from download the source and compiling it yourself.)

Linux (Hardcore *nix fans will no doubt love watching the Chrome source scroll past their screen – you geeks 😛 )

Now, some extra info:

  • Google Chrome is strictly a BETA at this stage. The version number is 0.2, so make of that what you will.
  • Chrome renders webpages with the WebKit rendering engine – along with Safari. By contrast, Firefox uses the Gecko rendering engine.
  • Technically, you’re allowed to ignore the EULA if you compile the source code yourself. (via Ars Technica)
  • It’s fast. Faster than Firefox. Javascript is especially so – Lightboxes are instantaneous.

There is one feature I like particularly; the ability to give sane error messages. Take, for example, the message that you get when you type in a wrong URL into the address bar. Compare the message that you get with Chrome:

…to the one that greets you in Firefox. Which of the two would you be more likely to understand? (Granted, if you’re reading this website you can probably understand them both, but still!)

It’s the little things like that that will make the difference – everyday users are supposed to be able to USE things. Not have a masters in computer science just to operate their webbrowser. Okay, so that last commend was a little harsh – but you get the picture, usability is damned important! Chrome even provides you with a Google search (haha) to help you. I love Google. I love Chrome.

Now, if only they had a Mac version – from my initial impressions in a Windows VM, I’d easily use it over Firefox.