CategoryLeopard

MacJury 807: Microsoft v. Yahoo!; Office v. Everyone Else

MacJury 807I’m back on the MacJury for the latest session, along with Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica, Scott McNulty of The Unofficial Apple Weblog and Warren Williams of the AppleWorks User Group. We had a fun discussion on two topics: Microsoft’s abandoned attempts to acquire Yahoo! and “Can we dump Microsoft Office yet?” It was a lively discussion, with different points of view on both issues, which I always think makes for a better show. One of my biggest concerns on these panels (other than sounding like an idiot), is that everyone will be in complete agreement with each other — that makes for a really boring show. Luckily, we each had some good points to debate.

If you haven’t already subscribed, the show is listed in the iTunes store, or you can just follow this link.

By the way, I’m looking for recommendations for a decent podcasting microphone — preferably a USB condenser mic. Scott and host Chuck Joiner were both using Snowballs, but I’m looking for something a little less bulky and a little more old school.

Bynkii goes stoopid-hunting

There are few things as satisfying to me as taking a really dumb argument and ripping it to shreds with logic and facts. If that stupid argument is delivered with pomposity and arrogance, it’s all the more fun.

Few people have elevated this to the level of sport as well as John C. Welch. A hunting analogy comes quickly to mind, but the more I think of it, the more I realize it’s not so much the hunter-with-rifle-tracks-deer kind of hunting as it is the lion-in-the-plains-gets-gazelle kind. It’s graceful, masterful and can sometimes make you wince at its brutality.

The clueless gazelle this time out is Matt Freestone of Windows Connected, who is clearly talking out of his nether regions in a post that creates a fiction presented as a comparative piece about the compatibility of Mac and Windows operating systems on older hardware. John breaks down his arguments and counters them with beautifully presented facts. Think of it as poetry without mercy.

The piece is worth reading just as a lesson in persuasive writing, but it’s also entertaining as hell. You can almost see Freestone’s arguments squirm under Welch’s attack. In fact, there’s really only one difference between this and a nature channel documentary: in the documentary, I sometimes feel sorry for the gazelle.

The must-read article is on bynkii.com.

What’s your verdict on the MacJury?

Back in the late-nineties, I produced what would now be called a podcast on the long-defunct “GiveMeTalk” Internet Radio Network. They were mostly 10-15 minute scripted shows, wherein I offered some analysis and commentary on the day’s news. Topics back then ranged from the introduction of candy-colored iMacs to the passing of legendary Mac journalist (when such a phrase could be used without irony) Don Crabbe.

I haven’t spent much time on-mic since then, although I’ve threatened to start up “RandomMaccess Radio” again every once in a while. This week, though, I finally return to the Internet “airwaves” as a member of the “MacJury,” Mac User Group guru and podcaster Chuck Joiner’s latest venture. The show joins his already excellent lineup of MacNotables and MacVoices. MacJury distinguishes itself by convening a panel (the jury) to talk in relative depth about two or three issues of interest to the Mac community, not to re-hash the week’s tech news.

I think this is a great strategy and fills a real void in the Mac podcast space. I like Chuck’s idea of rotating jury members, too–mixing up the panel should keep the discussion and interactions fresh. For episode two, Chuck’s panel included Steve Sande of Movable Beast, Red Sweater Software’s Daniel Jalcut, Rogue Amoeba’s Paul Kafasis and yours truly. We covered the future (and merits) of the Mac Mini, some of the possible consequences of Microsoft’s buyout of Yahoo!, and the iPhone’s dominance among mobile browsers. It was, I think, a good discussion and a fun listen (for geeks, anyway). I liked the way we interacted and had a few laughs along the way.

Panelist or not, I think it’s a good listen and a show with a lot of potential. Give it a try and let me know what you think. The show is now up and available for subscription on the iTunes Store. (Link via Chuck Joiner.)

What’s your verdict on the MacJury?

Back in the late-nineties, I produced what would now be called a podcast on the long-defunct “GiveMeTalk” Internet Radio Network. They were mostly 10-15 minute scripted shows, wherein I offered some analysis and commentary on the day’s news. Topics back then ranged from the introduction of candy-colored iMacs to the passing of legendary Mac journalist (when such a phrase could be used without irony) Don Crabbe.

I haven’t spent much time on-mic since then, although I’ve threatened to start up “RandomMaccess Radio” again every once in a while. This week, though, I finally return to the Internet “airwaves” as a member of the “MacJury,” Mac User Group guru and podcaster Chuck Joiner’s latest venture. The show joins his already excellent lineup of MacNotables and MacVoices. MacJury distinguishes itself by convening a panel (the jury) to talk in relative depth about two or three issues of interest to the Mac community, not to re-hash the week’s tech news.

I think this is a great strategy and fills a real void in the Mac podcast space. I like Chuck’s idea of rotating jury members, too–mixing up the panel should keep the discussion and interactions fresh. For episode two, Chuck’s panel included Steve Sande of Movable Beast, Red Sweater Software’s Daniel Jalcut, Rogue Amoeba’s Paul Kafasis and yours truly. We covered the future (and merits) of the Mac Mini, some of the possible consequences of Microsoft’s buyout of Yahoo!, and the iPhone’s dominance among mobile browsers. It was, I think, a good discussion and a fun listen (for geeks, anyway). I liked the way we interacted and had a few laughs along the way.

Panelist or not, I think it’s a good listen and a show with a lot of potential. Give it a try and let me know what you think. The show is now up and available for subscription on the iTunes Store. (Link via Chuck Joiner.)

My keynote wrap-up in one word: ‘eh’

I didn’t write my annual look at the state of the Mac for the upcoming year this time around mostly because it seemed what was ahead was fairly obvious, with the notable exception of what “one more thing” Steve Jobs might pull out of his hat at some point during the year. I had already called for–and been wrong about–a true “convergence” device and I would have called for it again this year (although the iPhone has some of those qualities and will probably get more.)

Movie rentals were pretty much a given, as was some kind of sub-notebook. The iPhone update had been leaked reports were spot on, right down to the cartoony jiggling of the icons to show they can be moved. I was a little surprised that the iPod touch got so many of the iPhone’s capabilities. That moment was marred, though, by the dead silence that greeted the news that adding them would cost $20. The only thing missing was the sound of crickets chirping.

The movie rentals are priced right, I think, and along with the direct Internet access make the Apple TV Take 2 much more appealing. One thing that Dave Hamilton of The Mac Observer noted, though and I agree 100% is that 24 hours is a little too short a window to start and finish a movie. He gave the example of parents who can’t really start a movie until the kids are in bed. If they start a rental at 10 and don’t finish it that night, they can’t pick it at 10 the next night–the rental period will have expired. Even 28 hours would be alright–it would allow that kind of two-night spanning and still be a reasonable tight window: start at 8 on night one, for example, and you have until midnight on night two to finish.

The MacBook Air was a real disappointment to me, though I admittedly am not Apple’s target market for a sub-notebook. I came away thinking there was a lot missing on the “but” side of the description: “It doesn’t have an optical drive but it has… it doesn’t have an Ethernet port but it has…, etc. The only thing that could have been filled in after the “buts” was “it’s thin and light.” For me, that’s not enough; for others, it may be everything: time will tell. Jobs also mentioned that the optional solid state hard drive was “pricey,” but didn’t mention how pricey: an extra $999.

I like Time Capsule, Apple’s AirPort Extreme wireless router and network attached storage device in one, and I think the price is fair. The next time I’m in the market for an 802.11N router, I’ll probably consider it, but lots of people may already have separate components to do the same thing. One thing is still unclear: does the fact that Time Machine supports the network storage within the Time Capsule mean it will support other networked drives? I asked two separate Apple “Blue Shirts” (the experts the booth staff directs you to if you have a question they can’t handle). One implied the answer was no and one implied it was yes. My guess is that neither of them is sure. I also suspect that–supported or not–it will be possible, although it may well involve a terminal command to do it.

One more note: Jim Gianopulos, the CEO of 20th Century Fox Studios, is by far the best “Guest CEO” I have seen at a Macworld keynote in recent memory, and a refreshing improvement to the stiff PR-speak of AT&T’s chief last year.

Safari, you’re dead to me now

I completely skipped running Tiger on the Macs in my office — mostly over networking issues that never seem to have been resolved. We have two newer machines (both DP G5s) that came with Tiger installed. We found some workarounds for most of the issues, especially those dealing with our company’s proxy server.

In a desperate attempt at troubleshooting one of the Tiger machines, I upgraded it to Leopard. The upgrade was painless for the most part. Lotus Notes even launched and connected perfectly — which was my biggest concern. It all gave me the courage to install Leopard on my own 10.3 machine (I don’t even remember which cat that was anymore — Jaguar?) Again, all went well, including my Lotus Notes.

Unfortunately, Safari (or anything that uses Apple’s OS-based tools) still won’t connect through the proxy server, whether it’s through the pac file or by manually entering the proxy address. What’s worse — any app that makes the attempt crashes rather unceremoniously. Luckily, FireFox uses its own scheme and works fine.

I’ll have to see if SquidMan’s been updated for Leopard yet, but I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to rely on third-party tools at this stage in the game.

[UPDATE: HR Softworks’ “Authoxy” seem to work fine. More important than getting Safari to work is the fact that it allows Apple’s Software Update mechanism to work.]

Steve Jobs does what Moriarty couldn’t: kills Sherlock

Professor Moriarty almost did it at Reichenbach Falls, but it took Steve Jobs and his Leopard to finally kill off Sherlock. Apple’s new operating system deletes the abandoned search utility during the installation process.

Sherlock was introduced with System 8.5, but has been dying a lingering death for years, as Apple replaced its functionality with Dashboard Widgets and web utilities became more ubiquitous. Most of its tools had ceased functioning already. I haven’t even launched it in years. In fact, the only way I knew it was gone is that it’s deletion left a question mark behind in my wife’s dock after I installed Leopard.

Leopard can’t see printers shared from old Macs

I keep my main home Mac in my family room, so in order to avoid (OK, reduce) computer clutter, I keep my printers in the basement. For us, it makes a lot of sense. We don’t actually print things that often, and besides the room they take up, printers are noisy — especially our black and white laser printer.

The printers are shared from an old beige G3 PowerMac tower, which doesn’t support Mac OS X past 10.2. The G3 also hosts a personal FTP and website, and has an external FireWire drive attached for backups.

This arrangement has worked great for years — the G3 is rock-solid and the monitor is usually kept off, so the whole system doesn’t draw much power.

After upgrading our main Mac (a dual-2GHz G5 PowerMac) to Leopard over the weekend, though, I was surprised to find that it could not see the shared printers, even though it could see the G3 itself just fine. I fired up an old iBook that was still running Tiger and confirmed that it could see the printers, so it definitely seemed like a Leopard issue.

Doing a lot of searching turned up some posts on Apple’s Support Discussion boards about the issue. Apparently, Leopard drops the CUPS protocol and uses only Rendezvous. The older Macs, obviously, share printers via CUPS, making them invisible to Leopard. The answer, provided by several posters, was to edit the configuration file used by Leopard’s built-in CUPS server, to look for printers using all protocols, not just Rendezvous.

It’s a pretty geeky solution, but it worked for both of my Leopard-upgraded Macs. Although it’s probably not an issue for many users, it’s impact could be pretty major for those who are affected. The way the Mac community not only found, but came up with a way to address the issue so quickly, is very impressive.

Leopard 2; Gremlins 1

On the three machines on which I’ve installed Leopard so far, two went off without a hitch: a G5 iMac and a dual G5 PowerMac. The third, a MacBook Pro — ironic perhaps, in that it was the only Intel-based machine I’ve upgraded so far — not so much.

For reasons I won’t get into, I run FileVault on the MacBook Pro. I’ve gotten to used to seeing (and for the most part ignoring) messages that tell me FileVault is taking up more space than it needs and that I can fix it. I usually ignore it because 1) Space is not really at a premium on this particular laptop; and 2) It takes way too much time to do and doesn’t seem to help for very long.

So when I got this message when my MacBook was shutting down in preparation for the Leopard install, I ignored it. It think that’s what bit me. The install itself went without a hitch, but when I tried to log back into my main account, I got a message telling me my FileVault-protected Home directory couldn’t be opened. I accepted the offer to fix it, but was greeted with an “unknown error.” My main account was hosed.

Luckily, all important data had already been backed up, and the alternate account on the machine opened just fine. I wound up deleting the original account and recreating it with the same settings. So far, everything’s working fine.

Lesson learned: If you’re offered the opportunity to “fix” FileVault before installing Leopard, take it.

Leopard 2; Gremlins 1

On the three machines on which I’ve installed Leopard so far, two went off without a hitch: a G5 iMac and a dual G5 PowerMac. The third, a MacBook Pro — ironic perhaps, in that it was the only Intel-based machine I’ve upgraded so far — not so much.

For reasons I won’t get into, I run FileVault on the MacBook Pro. I’ve gotten to used to seeing (and for the most part ignoring) messages that tell me FileVault is taking up more space than it needs and that I can fix it. I usually ignore it because 1) Space is not really at a premium on this particular laptop; and 2) It takes way too much time to do and doesn’t seem to help for very long.

So when I got this message when my MacBook was shutting down in preparation for the Leopard install, I ignored it. It think that’s what bit me. The install itself went without a hitch, but when I tried to log back into my main account, I got a message telling me my FileVault-protected Home directory couldn’t be opened. I accepted the offer to fix it, but was greeted with an “unknown error.” My main account was hosed.

Luckily, all important data had already been backed up, and the alternate account on the machine opened just fine. I wound up deleting the original account and recreating it with the same settings. So far, everything’s working fine.

Lesson learned: If you’re offered the opportunity to “fix” FileVault before installing Leopard, take it.

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