Category Archives: Mac

The button

The non-profit I volunteer for got an iMac in the office. So lovely. Such clean design, spoilt only by the Post-It note someone had to put on the front of it to tell people to reach around the back to find the power button.

It just works

I was very amused over the weekend to give an MPEG2 file on a USB drive to a couple of Mac addicts and watch them try to play it on their Macbooks. They were able to get the file off the drive with no problems, but Quicktime wouldn’t recognise it.

One of them ended up resorting to VLC, and it played… badly out of sync.

heh. Yeah. “It just works.”

Mind you, MPEG2 playback in Windows Media Player is choppy on one of my PCs, so I guess I can’t crow too much.

Merry Christmas from Apple

My sister is fuming because she got an iPod Nano for Christmas, and apparently it won’t work with her 3 year old PowerPC MacBook, which runs MacOSX 10.3. Sure enough, the Nano specs say it needs 10.4.8 or higher. She’s got no real interest in paying and installing for an OS upgrade to get around the problem, so she’ll ask a friend to load her iPod for her.

Basically it means that Apple is saying you can’t have a new iPod if you run a version of OSX from before April 2005 (with the appropriate free updates).

Whereas it does run happily on Windows XP (SP2) or Windows Vista. So you need to have a version of Windows from no earlier than before October 2001 (with the appropriate free updates).

How does Apple get away with treating its customers like that?

Throwing backwards compatibility away

If I had name the biggest difference between the attitudes at Microsoft vs Apple as to how they build their operating systems, it’s that one of Microsoft’s primary concerns is backwards compatibility, whereas Apple isn’t afraid to jump off the cliff to a better place, knowing it can’t go back.

A lot of what is going on underneath the hood of Windows involves shims, workarounds, and downright kludges to allow old apps and a gazillion third-party devices to work. From a purist’s point of view, it’s got to be ugly.Ed Bott

You wouldn’t see Microsoft making a jump across processor lines like Apple did to Intel, saying a (prolonged but firm) bye-bye to anybody who bought a Mac before this year. Microsoft would get crucified for such behaviour.

But now that Microsoft has mature, stable (and free) virtualisation technology, maybe they can make a leap. What’s to stop them totally re-engineering Windows to remove all the messy stuff (some of which dates right back to the early versions of DOS) and telling anybody who wants to run an old application that they’ll have to do so on a virtual machine?

(From an idea out of a discussion with Matt.)

No more security through obscurity

Feel safe using Firefox and/or Mac OS X? Don’t. This article discusses recent research showing both are subject to a number of vulnerabilities. Not as many as poor ol’ Windows users using IE, but still enough that it’s wise to be wary.

Not to mention the issues in the various media players.

Windows on Mac

Apple launches Boot Camp, to allow Intel Macs to run Windows. There’s already some screen grabs of it running.

As one commenter said: Wow – this is GREAT! Now I can combine the overpriced hardware with the inferior software!

As Ed Bott points out running Windows through virtualisation would be even better. MS’s Virtual PC doesn’t currently run on Intel Macs, but evidently they’re working on it.

A message from Apple

Apple embeds a poem into MacOS:

Your karma check for today:
There once was a user that whined
his existing OS was so blind
he’d do better to pirate
an OS that ran great
but found his hardware declined.
Please don’t steal Mac OS!
Really, that’s way uncool.
(C) Apple Computer, Inc.

On and about Google video

Very funny: Why Macs suck (Warning, occasional coarse language)

Speaking of Google Video, they now let you download Google Video (GVP) files and the Player onto Windows or Mac, Video iPod or Sony Playstation Portable. They’ve also got a thing producing the HTML to show the video on your own web site.

Commonwealth Games patch

The Commonwealth Games are looming, as is the week’s extension of summer time in Eastern Australia.

Microsoft have issued a patch for most (but not all) versions of Windows. What they haven’t done is made it an automatic update for affected users, nor made it easy to find — it’s not shown on the Microsoft Australia home page, for instance, you have to search for it. They also haven’t provided a smooth way of reverting to “normal” summer time for next year: users have to remove the patch and manually set the timezone.

Meanwhile Apple have done… nothing. Charles Wright has tracked down how to fix it on Macs, which involves going an finding a timezone update file on an ftp server, untarring and ungzipping, running an obscure (if you’re not a Unix god) command… jeez.

Ask yourself: is the typical non-geek computer user going to seek out these solutions, and even if they find them, are they going to bother to figure it out and do it? I’m betting not. I’m betting a lot of computers will be an hour out during the week of the summer time extension.

This is very sloppy behaviour from both sides of the OS fence, and something the millions of Australian computer users won’t be too happy about in March. (Though most will have forgotten about it by late-April, no doubt.)

PS. 29/3/2006. Still getting a lot of comments here, but there is a later post on this topic here.

Macs to run Windows?

Australian Personal Computer: Will Intel-based Apple Macs be able to run Windows? Apple says they’re not doing anything to prevent it. Their Macs will use an Extensible Firmware Interface, which replaces the BIOS, and Windows Vista will support EFI.

Would be pretty cool to have the lovely Apple design for your hardware, plus the lovely Apple OS, but be able to boot into Windows when compatibility was needed.