Horribleness

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Well I’ve had a downright annoying week, so I let myself have a week off blogging duty. Last Saturday was the main culprit, I think i’ll put it in a list in order of events.

  1. It was always going to be a sucky day because it was the day we had to return from our little holiday. You know what, even though it was only devon, not the most exotic of locations and not even abroad, it barely seems a holiday if it isn’t abroad in this day and age of cheap travel. But d’ya know what it was one of the most enjoyable weeks i’ve had and its all because of Eddie. Holidays with dogs are soooo gooood! It’s worth getting a dog just to go on holiday with them. So yeah, I was quite down at having to leave.
  2. Being in the car for such a length of time isn’t much fun for a dog so we made stops at every service station on the way to give him a potty break and stretch our weary legs. At one such break I noticed something in the fur on Eddies forehead, it was sort of a faint orange small pea sized thing and when I took a closer look found it to actually be attached to him. Then I noticed it had legs! I was horrified! I didn’t know at the time but it turns out it was a tick, would you believe I’ve never seen a tick before? You don’t tend to see them in this country and what with the the heatwave at the time. I almost died though, I was shaking and all sorts was racing through my head of what diseases it might have passed to him and it was quite close to his eyes so I was all OMG what if it makes him blind?! Eddie was no use at all, he hadn’t brought it to our attention, no whimpering or anything, it could have been there for days. I cursed nature and all her evil insects.
  3. We made an early start so that we would get home in time for the england game, we only just made it, immediately having to grab a beer and jump on the sofa, no time to unpack. Oh and wasn’t I so glad to have made the effort? Yeah. Never liked rooney. Twat.
  4. I’d missed my wholesome iMac, and straight after the long long punishment. 120 minutes + penalties of slow torture I figured I’d say hello to him (lol most people call their mac’s her’s, not me I guess). I knew that during holiday apple released 10.4.7 and some other paraphernalia so the first thing I did on logging in was to check for software updates and tthere was a ton of the bleeders. They downloaded quite swiftly thanks to 10Mbit cable and installed one by one, but half way through the actual 10.4.7 (intel) update it failed, telling me its kept the update so I could try again later and would I like to restart for the others to complete. Sure I guess, and it did and it sadly passed away.

All that suckiness in one day can’t be good for ones health, surely suckiness should be spread a bit more thinly, not all thrown at you in one go. Regarding the mac thing, what happened was that it would boot to the login screen fine but afterward only part of the menu bar appeared and that was all, no dock or clock or even most of the menu. And the beach ball span indefinitely. Even the force quit menu wouldn’t appear when doing its keyboard shortcut. As luck would have it (the only luck of the day) enough of OS X was working for File Sharing to have started in the background and I was able to log in via the iBook and get my files off. It took me the rest of the day and most of the next to get all my stuff off though, I’ve just way too much stuff. And with the spare 240GB HD still out of action I haven’t got 1 big storage device to backup onto. I had to do it piecemeal style onto a spare 60GB HD (doesn’t even cover my MP3 Collection) and what’s left on the iBook, neither being quite enough and so had to resort to a load of cdr’s as well. Took freaking forever and its so messy having to do it bits like that I’m always worried I’ll have missed something.

It’s inconclusive but I’m 75% sure the update failed and fucked the os up because of my Vista misadventure, that is, having deleted the EFI partition and causing a little confusion to the partition tables. I knew it would come back to bite me, but I was hoping it would happen after my 240GB Backup HD had been fixed.

Oh yeah here’s a little warning. After erasing my drive and re-installing the OS I wasted about 6 or 7 hours because I had chosen to format the drive as case-sensitive. As seen as all Unix based OSs that I know of use a case-sensitive FS I figured it would be best and a no-brainer option. Well it turns out that Case-Sensitive was only introduced with Tiger and is incompatible with some software. Thing is most of my software worked fine, it was only after installing Adobe CS2 that problems started, none of the Adobe apps would load, they’d just bounced in the dock a split second and buggered off. I had not a single clue what was going on and it was only after trying out a million different things, reinstalling the OS another time and spending what felt like hours staring at google not getting anywhere when I discovered the Case-Sensitive FS issue.

Reinstalled yet again without caseness and everything was fine. So, thanks apple for not being arsed to put some kind of warning into the install dvd. Humph. Actually I was quite surprised to discover that OSX hadn’t been sitting on a case-sensitive FS all this time. I’d always just presumed it was, I figured only windows was crap enough not to be.

OS X love

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I am such a forgetful person, I think that’s probably the characteristic I hate the most about my brain and yet again, I had something I wanted to blog about but I haven’t a clue what the fuck it was.

Oh well, instead… I came across What Sucks About DEs, pt. II: Apple, MacOS X on OSNews yesterday, it was actually written a week or so ago but must not have caught my eye at the time. Anypoop, this article struck a chord in me because I haven’t read anything in such a long time that I disagree with more. This guy (or gal) has somehow managed to pick the things I love the most about mac os x… as his pet peeves!

  1. “The MacOS does not exactly feel fast….” It’s quite a chunky OS so this is possibly fair, I wouldn’t say the UI itself is unresponsive though. It depends on what the guy is comparing it too, for instance ubuntu always seems zippy whatever you run it on. But with windows, if you haven’t re-installed it in the last 2 years and the start menu is full of stuff you rarely use, and the registry is full of 2 years worth of installing apps that register pointless COM controls which demand to be invoked whenever you click on something in explorer…. IT IS SLOW!
  2. “MacOS X is an inconsistent mess….” WTF, has no-one ever told this guy that variety is the spice of life? Why the fuck should every app look the same. On 64MB systems when resources were scarce there was a reason for all windows looking the same. But Apple know now that they have resources to make eye candy. People have somehow got the idea that there being varying windowing themes in OS X 10.4 is some kind of mistake… That Apple didn’t realise. IMO, what Apple should do now is make every single app look different, then people will understand. In fact it isn’t just eye candy, its useful. For instance, if you see just the small corner of a window underneath a load of others and its brushed steel, you know its finder (well OK it could be safari but you know what I’m getting at).
  3. “One of my biggest pet peeves: that annoying Google search field in Safari.” Hmm, he’s moaning here that he can’t opt out of having a google search bar. Um, why would you want to remove it?
  4. “Tiger has some serious issues with… Screen remnants.” That would be damn annoying, but I’ve never experienced it so I dun know. Maybe it happens if your system doesn’t suppose quartz extreme or something.
  5. “Macs need an indicator LED for HDD activity.” If you’re that desperate I’m sure there are apps you can download to display a HDD indicator somewhere.
  6. “Mail.app is a pointless email client, and I am flabbergasted I still use it every day. ” I think he’s miss used the word “pointless” here because he goes on to moan about it being too slow. Which is totally at odds with my own experience, even on my iBook G4 (1.33 GHz or something) it’s fast, and thats with about 4 years of accumulated emails. He’s probably too dumb to know that you’re supposed to archive older emails into other mail folders. He also mentions the lack of vertical display, which I’ve solved with the addition of a small UI addon.
  7. “Where GNOME has an evil taskbar, MacOS X has an evil dock.” This guy seems to have a problem with exaggerating. Anypoop, this may be a me thing, but in the early 90′s whilst at school I had the pleaseure of using RISC-OS which had a dock very similar to OS X. I then spent the rest of the 90′s and some of the 2000′s waiting… very patiently for another OS to do the same. MAC OS X does and I love Apple for resurrecting such a perfect idea from RISC-OS. You do not need to messily display texturally every single bloody window thats open or minimised, it’s messy, its lots of bland rectangles and text, in fact it is not very UI is it. The only problem you ever get with dock is where an app is badly designed and doesn’t offer an obvious or quick/easy way to get between its documents. Sadly some of Apple’s own apps are like that.
  8. “OSX needs a decent uninstaller, supplied with the OS” I appreciate what the guys saying but I’ve still to need such a thing. I’ve never removed an app that has dumped anything more that a couple of tiny config files in mine or the systems library. 10KB or so is hardly worth losing sleep over.
  9. “Apple needs to put more effort into backwards compatibility.” Ah, actually I agree with this one. Too many times I’ve noticed apps require you to have the latest OS X, essentially meaning that every single mac owner absolutely has to spend 100 quid every year. Hmm, actually I think I read this one wrong. Oh nevermind.

Memorise this phallic skin

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Casper the phalic ghostRe-Frederator the podcast is great, it’s an offshoot of Frederator and it shows a classic/antique cartoon every single day. The other day they presented an ancient episode of Casper, and in one scene, whilst the camera panned across a dark room of drapped belongings I spotted an object that can only be described as phallic, so suggestive does it look that I cannot imagine it being unintended. Those dirty animators.

Flare-upThe other night I was itchy intensely the entire night. It was one of my worst flare-up’s for some time and I felt absolutely terrible. When it was time to get up in the morning I just didn’t want to move, had the whole feeling clammy and yet dry, and sore and creaky. I didn’t want to move a single limb an inch. Looked so red and blotchy, I took a photo, cropped it to a tiny segment for embarrassment reasons, but suffice it to say my skin was as that photo all over my body. Thankfully, it gradually wore off throughout the day and by the next my skin wasn’t too bad. Hope the photo doesn’t put you off your food. Hmm, wonder if I can find a point where it can tile/repeat, could make a great gross out texture for a game.

Hey scan.co.uk is going straight to the top of my favourite online retailers. When I ordered the RAM I knew it was out of stock and didn’t mind waiting a few weeks. When I ordered they sent an email, separately to the confirmation to tell me its out of stock but that they expect a new batch to arrive on the 25th. Then they sent me an email to tell me the item has arrived and is awaiting to be despatched to me… then a few hours later an email arrived to tell me it has been despatched. It arrived on Friday! How is that for service! They tell you exactly what’s going on at every stage, plus you’d ordinarily expect to pay a premium for such a service and yet this memory was less than half the price of most places. Awesome. After installing the RAM (which is easy peesy lemon squeesy on the iMac CD) the first thing I did was check “about this mac” to see if it was running at the proper 667MHz speed, it was. Next I booted into Apple Hardware Test and did the extended system test, this Passed. Then ran MemtestOSX which this time managed to lock 1715MB for testing, I left it going and went downstairs ‘cos this is a really in depth test and takes freaking hours. I let it complete 3 test cycles and it didn’t make a single mistake. Next to check its running fast enough. Ran XBench and the memory actually scored ever so slightly faster than it did with the 1GB, this is possibly because it can take advantage of dual-channel optimisations when there are 2 sticks inside. Also, for completeness sake I rebooted into windows (boot camp stylee) and ran PCMark ’05, just as with Xbench it scored slightly more than when it was 1GB. So hey, you don’t always have to pay the extra! Now all i’m regretting is that Apple don’t allow you to buy the iMac with no memory installed, would have saved about 75 GBP per GB. Sure I could have got the iMac with 512MB, but i would have had to sell the 512, otherwise end up with a mismatched pair adding up to 1.5GB.

Switcher tips

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Toffee AppleYou wouldn’t buy a toffee apple, so why would you buy a bagel?

Here are 5, possibly obscure tips for people switching from windows to mac (I intended to do this months ago but forgot)

  1. When you drag a folder over another folder of the same name windows will essentially merge the folders, anything inside the destination folder which doesn’t match a file from the source folder will be kept as is. You’ve come to expect this as normal behaviour, it would not make sense to do it any other way. Well then, you better pay close attention when using mac os x’s finder. When you move/copy a folder on top of a folder of the same name finder will obliterate the destination and all its contents first. To put it another way, after the action is complete the destination folder will be exactly the same as the source folder. Still don’t understand? Just be careful thats all I can say. If you need to merge a folder the unix commands will do it as windows does, so open a terminal and poop “cp -rf source_folder/ destination_folder/”. When I asked Jobs why finder acted this way he belched and blew the burp smell into my face.
  2. There’s no registry database on the mac. Thank fuck for that. Instead there is ~/Library (“~” is a shortcut/alias for your own user area). This folders windows equivalent is rather like a combination of the registry database and the folder c:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data. Most applications will store their settings in a file similar to ~/Library/Preferences/com.supersoftware.teaspoon.plist The actual filename at the end there is rather like a website address only backwards. You open the plist file in an app called Property List Editor. Data files such as your address book go into ~/Library/Application Support and usually a folder named after the Application. Handy tip, if an application screws up somehow, you can usually get it back to year zero by deleting it’s plist file and its folder inside Application Support.
  3. Most mac applications are downloaded in .dmg files. These are essentially the same as an .iso file, or a cd image. Double clicking a .dmg will mount it and it will appear as a new drive, in there, the application will be the file with a cute icon. You don’t have to install mac applications, you can even run the app where ever it is. And if you like the app and want to keep it, drag it into /Applications. Or anywhere on your HD, it doesn’t actually matter. When you run the app for the first time it will create all the preference files in ~/Library that it needs to without you knowing about the fact. If you no longer want the app, just delete it. There is no uninstall/Add Remove Programs. You will still have some gumph in ~/Library but usually we’re only talking a couple of K. That Application you’ve been running is actually a bundle, or in other words a folder. The equivalent to the .exe is actually inside it, right click on an application and choose Show Package Contents and you’ll soon get the idea.
  4. Windows has quite a nice method of managing services, all listed in one place where you can stop and start them at will. On the mac services can get quite confusing. The main place where things like web servers are launched is /System/Library/StartupItems/ in there you will find such gems as apache. How it works is thusly, when the mac boots it goes through every folder inside here and runs any script it finds with the same name as the folder. To control a service find its folder inside /System/Library/StartupItems and run the script with a switch, for instance in Apache’s folder poop “./Apache start” or stop or restart. Alternatively you can use the SystemStarter utility by pooping “SystemStarter start Apache”. Oh yeah, I still haven’t a clue how these services determine whether they should start on bootup or be disabled.
  5. Windows users tend to think of the window as the app and vise versa, on the mac an Application is conceptually something slightly different. An app just is, or at a push, the entry point of an App or even its very existence is the menu bar right at the top of the screen. What this means is that closing the very last window an application has open doesn’t mean that it is no longer running. You’ve probably just closed the document. So there :-p You can probably work the rest out yourself. But, don’t go mad feeling the urge to exit every single running app you haven’t a document open in. Most when sitting around won’t have an impact on your overall system performance, and hey, they’ll already be waiting for you next time you do need them.

Do not forsake me, la la la

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Hmm, either it’s this whisky or the Apple logo on the boot screen has grown slightly since the 10.4.6 update.

I only fired ecto up to say the above about the Apple logo, what am I going to write now? Oh, I went the opera today; tosca. Now, nobody told me it was going to be performed in english. The moment the angelotti character opening his mouth and I understood the melodic chunterings I thought “oh shit”. Felt odd and slighty silly, but once it got going I got quite used to the idea and it wasn’t so bad. Actually I quite enjoyed it. Still, I don’t really think it’s necessary to translate these things, tosca’s plot isn’t exactly intricate. Also worth noting and i’d never realised this before now, Sheffields Lycium Theatre really is well suited to opera’s, I’m thinking it must have been the original intention.

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