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June 30, 2006

Things about MacOS X that just piss me off

Some folks seem to have the misapprehension that I'm a purblind Mac bigot whose loyalties prevent him from seeing the truth behind how the Mac as a hardware and software platform has many, sometimes incredibly aggravating, flaws. Well, in the interest of clearing that up, here's my current list of things about OS X that, put simply, piss me off no end. I'll keep it updated.

  1. Safari: I'm typing this in a G4-optimized DeerPark build (thanks, Neil!) because Safari seems to think it's a beach ball advertisement most of the time, and I got sick of waiting for it to return control to me
  2. the Keychain: or maybe just integration with the keychain. I have two wireless networks that I use often; home and work. I've set them both in the keychain as "allow all applications to access this item", but I continue to get prompted for passwords. I have a Web site I use that has a custom cert, which I've marked as "always trust" in keychain, but Safari still prompts me whenever I hit the site. Keychain is simply broken. Just because I've locked the Keychain doesn't mean it should ignore my override settings.
  3. Virtual memory: Um, perhaps certain applications could be persuaded to give some of it back when you quit them. I'm looking at 2GB worth of swap files here, even after quitting Safari. Granted, it's been a few days since I rebooted, but I'm using a Mac, not a flippin' Windows machine.
  4. Firefox: when you select a URL from the location field in Firefox, and copy/paste it into another app, then switch back, even clicking on the page doesn't return scrolling control to the page, it just keeps pulling down the location field "matches" dropdown. You have to double-click to get scrolling via arrow keys back. Annoying.

June 8, 2006

Shiny new MacBook

As an experiment in self-flagellation, no, actually, as an experiment in running Windows and MacOS X at the same time, I just got a new (black! whoo-hoo!) MacBook for work; the plan is that when I get it running both Windows and MacOS X at the same time, I'll turn it over to our new account manager, Lee. Setting up the MacBook itself was trouble-free, though I do wish the network setup dialog, when it finds that you can't actually connect to the wireless network due to ACL restrictions, would present the Airport ID so you can actually add the MAC to the ACL, but I digress. It used to be readily accessible under the lift-up keyboard on the iBooks, but the MacBook doesn't let you do that. Anyway. Only problem during setup, easily rectified.

Installing Parallels Desktop RC2 was also easy, though I'd have saved myself a little time by reading the second email they sent, explaining how to get the trial activation key. I certainly hope that they don't intend to charge both for the key and the software; the free trial key I have expires a month from yesterday.

Setting up a new VM was easy, as per their instructions. Installing XP, however, has been difficult so far. Three blue screens in (latest: File usbccgp.sys caused an unexpected error (512) at line 5964 in d:\xpsprtm\base\boot\setup\setup.c), I'm starting to wonder if this is going to work. Oh, well, I'll keep going: it seems to get further along each time.

This time viaide.sys is "corrupt". Funny, it's on a CD-ROM. Oh, and you have to press any key to get the message that the setup failed and that you need to press another any key to restart and try it again.

Ah, good. Made it all the way to setup menu this time. Chose "unpartitioned space" (~8GB) and picked slow NTFS. Eight minutes later, I get a failure to copy "mshtml.dll". Sigh. So, I skipped it. We'll see if I can install it later, because we certainly can't live without it. And now, "msdxm.ocx" fails, along with "dxmasf.dll", "wmp.ocx", "mplayer2.inf", "atiixpaa.inf", "atiixpag.inf", etc... I'm bailing this install.

This time, NTLDR is missing, probably due to the aborted install. I fixed the boot loading sequence so it hits the CD first, but that didn't fix it the first time. Second time, I got a "press any key to boot from CD" and then "NTLDR is missing".

OK, so I pinged Matt and he suggested creating an ISO from the WinXP disk, so I did that. Had to recreate the original virtual disk I'd created, as it was corrupt, then attach the ISO file to the CD-ROM, but that seems to have worked. Let's see if it actually boots...

Ah, good. It does. Now running XP, no problems yet.

UPDATE: wish I'd had this article on whether to use BootCamp or Parallels a week ago, but it seems I made the right choice nonetheless.

Oh, and the final release version of Parallels Desktop seems to be ready. Got our activation key in email today.

June 6, 2006

Pokarekare Ana at KAI in the City

Doug shot this video of the Webstock speakers singing along to a Maori song at Kai in the City (a great Maori joint in Wellington). The guy with the guitar owns the place, and is understandably proud of what he's put together there. Really nice bunch of folks, great food, great ambience. I think I was outside at the time, arguing with a guy from Novell about why Microsoft doesn't care that Novell is supporting Linux.

We figured it out

So, we got back from New Zealand on Friday at midnight; I didn't sleep at all on the flight from Wellington to Los Angeles, so I've been absolutely beat. I got a cold, too, which always happens to me when I fly - next time I fly any real distance, I'll be the guy with the surgical mask.

Heather has figured out why we're sleeping so much: while in New Zealand, we saw literally hundreds of thousands of sheep. According to Heather, we've been sleeping off all the counting sheep we'd done in "enzed".

Some of the hundreds of pictures we took are here. More to come.

Jet lag sucks.