Category Archives: apple

OSX Lion Upgrade (Part 4)

Finally upgraded to OS Lion 10.7.2.  Hooray! All known issues I seen have resolved, including the random mouse pointer jumping.   Now to upgrade other machines and devices.

OSX Lion Upgrade (Part 3)

Hmmm… Mysteriously Print Preview now crashes with OSX Lion :(  It worked perfectly in the beginning.

After about an hour or so of searching/reading, I found the following forum details a related permissions problem:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3194835?start=0&tstart=0

For some reason the “root” user doesn’t have read/write permissions to the Libraries folder!  Very weird.

Looking forward to 10.7.2 to fix the remaining “niggles”.

OSX Lion Upgrade (Part 2)

Updated to 10.7.1 last night.  Unfortunately the mouse pointer acceleration issues aren’t resolved, but network connectivity seems to be way smoother (over the past week I’ve occasionally had to reboot the machine to get the network to work).

However I’m now completely “sold” on the new scrolling (reversed like the iPhone/iPad).  :P.  That and the new Mail.app are nice. Really looking forward to 10.7.2 or what ever the version is that will resolve the erratic mouse pointer acceleration.

OSX Lion Upgrade (Part 1)

Upgrading from OSX Snow Leopard to OSX Lion has so far been somewhat of a disappointment, especially when compared to previous upgrades. Actually I’m glad it only cost $29, as any more and i would have probably returned it. The upgrade process itself was fairly smooth and seamless (apart from one complete hang/lockup requiring a reboot).  It’s the post upgrade, i.e.: adoption, that’s caused the most, or be they “slight” frustrations.

A quick summary of the upgrade.
1. Upgraded Macbook 5.1 (first uni-body aluminum macbook released) from 4GB to 8GB ram.
2. Installed new Crucial M4 256GB Solid State Drive.
3. Performed Clean Install of Lion (via USB stick) – takes about 1 hr (probably would have been less if it didn’t hang half way through)
4. Install everything and migrate from old 256DB SATA drive to new install.

Elements of Frustration.
1. Random Mouse Pointer Jumping / Acceleration.
It seems OSX Lion is plagued with these problems. Don’t underestimate how annoying these are.  Seriously, your Mouse Pointer will simply disappear and randomly jump around the screen real-estate.  If you have multiple screens you’ll have to look to find it!

So far there are no fixes.  If tried everything I’ve found.   (this is on a regular Mighty Mouse).

2. Performance is Poor.
Out of the box it’s remarkably slow. Well, it appears to be remarkably slow. While there are some beautiful GUI transitions between windows, applications loading, spaces etc, these chew a lot of CPU. Basically add one second at a minimum to all window opening/application loading interactions (on my machine anyway). Luckily there are some solutions.

Open a terminal and execute these commands:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool NO
defaults write com.apple.Mail DisableReplyAnimations -bool YES

These will disable the animations for windows (which use to be an option in Snow Leopard, but is now gone).

3. Auto Repeat (when holding down a key) Doesn’t Work.
Yup. Amazing, but here’s how to turn it on (again using a terminal)

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

4. Eclipse Margin Warnings Aren’t Displayed
There is a defect in Eclipse (all versions I can tell) that prevents the compiler error/warnings some being displayed in the right-hand scroll-bar area. This is fixed by turning on the “hide scroll bar” option.

Apple > System Preferences > General > Show Scroll Bars: Select "When Scrolling" Option.

Any other option seems to break Eclipse. Trust me, without this fix you’ll be searching for compiler errors by scrolling through each document by hand (or having to click through the Errors Panel).

5. Adium crashes intermittently
Not a biggy, but Adium randomly seems to crash if you change networks.  Have you upgrade to the “beta” as all other versions are not supported on Lion.  Funny, seems like is a “beta” too :(

Bottom line: Unless you’re willing to invest some time ironing these things out, I avoid the upgrade. I’m certainly not upgrading my other Mac’s.  If I had time I’d probably roll back, but I’m determined to move forward.

On the Positive Side: There are some very nice features, like the new Mail.app which I’ve become addicted to pretty quickly.

Leopard to Snow Leopard Upgrade (almost no problems)

So I’ve finally managed to get a few seconds to upgrade my 13″ Mac Book Pro and Mac Pro to Snow Leopard.  For the most part the upgrade was a very simple process.  For the Mac Book Pro, I simply inserted the DVD (while running Leopard), clicked on Install and let it do it’s thing.  About an 40 minutes later everything was good.

The Mac Pro was a little more challenging.  I think this was mainly due to the fact that I’m running RAID 1 disks as my boot drive.  After inserting the DVD, I expected pretty much the same response as my Mac Book Pro.  Alas, it was different.  Instead of asking me if it was ok to install Snow Leopard onto my RAID array, it couldn’t find any hard drives at all (and gave no message to indicate what was happening or what to do).  The bundled instructions were unfortunately useless.

The simple solution however was to boot from the DVD :)  That is, restart the machine and hold down the “Option” key while it was booting, select the Snow Leopard DVD as the start up disk and let it do it’s work.  After this everything proceeded as per my first installation on the Mac Book Pro.

I have two general warnings about making this upgrade though;

1. If you’re a developer and use Java 1.5, don’t do this upgrade.  Java 1.5 (as far as I can tell) is not supported on Snow Leopard.  Your existing Java installation will become Java 1.6 – great if you can use that (which I can).

2. If you have some 32-bit applications (like Growl) that make use of the System Preferences (application), then you’ll be annoyed by the constant need to change into “32-bit mode” to use the applets for the said 32-bit applications.  I don’t expect it will be long before Growl is 64-bit happy, but in the mean time, be prepared for a little bit of restarting the System Preferences application.

Apart from that, Snow Leopard is sweet.

Upgraded iPhone 3G 2.0 to 3.0: It worked perfectly

Upgrading software that you use and depend on all the time, especially for your work, can be a nervous process.  Questions like; will my old data still be available?  can I rollback if it goes horribly wrong?  Upgrading a phone, is potentially worse.  Not only could data be lost, but also the ability to communicate!

Luckily it seems that Apple have this worked out.  Today I upgraded my iPhone 3G (version 2.0) to version 3.0.  It worked beautifully.

Having expected to lose everything on my phone (as the update apparently wipes it during the upgrade process), I made sure everything was backed up, even to the point of remembering which episode of House I was up too.  However I performed the upgrade (took about 30 minutes) and everything worked.  Well it has so far :)

All of the stuff I spent time backing up was still on the phone, notes, music, videos and even all of my SMS messages.

Even better, it seems a little bit faster.  It’s certainly seems faster finding the communications network when I reboot it.

Best Travel Adapter for your Mac Book Pro (Intel Core Duo)

When I received my first Mac Book Pro  (Intel Core Duo 32-bit) it came with this nice 85 watt power adapter.  Of course it was a little on the large side, but it was better than all of my previous notebook power adapters.  It was great.  I could use it in almost all countries around the world with the World Travel Adapter Kit.  Perfect.  However the biggest problem was that it often didn’t work in the air… ie: on planes.  Ok yes I have the Magsafe Airline Adapter Kit, but in a lot of cases they simply don’t work (especially in Asia Pacific) as planes have very different in-seat connections.  So you have no choice but to attempt to use the normal power adapter.

Here’s the real problem.  The old 85 watt power adapters that came with the first (and second) generation MacBook Pros will almost always blow the in-seat power fuse on most airline business class seats (I do a lot of traveling and am lucky enough on some long haul flights to travel in business).  Consequently not only are you left in a situation where you can’t really use a laptop (ok, i do carry a second battery, but that’s not enough for a 14hr flight), but you also manage to piss off an entire row of people (including the big guy sitting next to you) as each seat row is typically on the same fuse.  Of course, this is not to mention the risk of damaging the plane (let’s not go there).

So for a while I simply didn’t use my power adapter on flights. I just changed batteries and relaxed on long hauls.  However on my last trip I found a much simpler solution.  I purchased one of the new and much smaller 60 watt power adapters to see how that would go.  Contrary to what I heard and read on the Internet, these new 60 watt power adapters not only power a first generation Mac Book Pro (intel) in the air, they also charge the battery!  Happy Days!

For me this is great; a). now my main power adapter is smaller and lighter, b). I can use it on the plane (safely) and c). I no longer need to carry additional batteries.

Of course, all of this may be a mute point now as I’ve ordered a new Mac Book.

OS X Leopard: Extending Quick Look to support XML

Personally I find Apple’s Quick Look feature in Leopard is a massive time saver. The problem however is that out-of-the-box only a few file types are supported – you know the usual documents like photos, pdfs etc.  What I really wanted was the ability to take a quick look at an xml document – rather than dragging them into TextEdit.  The solution was pretty simple.

As usual Apple has done a great job of making Quick Look pluggable.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a Quick Look plugin site (called QuickLook Plugins) that has a bunch of useful extensions, including one for XML.

quicklook-xml1

 Job done.  Now I can quick view almost anything.

QCon: In Finance Exchange (free event)

Ok… I’m a little late in blogging this, but on Wednesday next week (8th of October) I’ll be speaking at QCon: In Finance eXchange on the topic of Patterns for managing order books and reference data on a global basis.  Over the past few years I’ve been involved in numerous commercial projects (predominantly with tier-1 investment banks) that face the challenge of “how to manage and keep multiple globally distributed clusters containing fragmented order books and reference data (interconnected by potentially unreliable wide-area-networks) in sync (close to real time)”. Or similarly, how to keep your Disaster Recovery site(s) in sync and potentially in active+active configuration at all times.

While most of these challenges have been solved in the past using a combination of technologies (including messaging platforms, enterprise service buses, database log shipping and Oracle Coherence), several recent implementations have solely been based on Oracle Coherence, providing a simple, elegant, high-capacity and close-to-real-time solution without the need for additional servers or infrastructure.  In the talk, I’ll cover some of these new patterns.

Even if you’re not interested in this talk, there are two things I think you’ll really like about this event; a). it’s FREE and b). the speakers are well known (perhaps not me… it’s a privilege to be invited to talk!)… but people like Rod Johnson (of Spring Source) and Eric Evans (Domain Driven Design guru) and many others will be there to share some of their insights.  

If you’re in London, work in Financial Services (I hope you’re doing ok!) and have some time free, drop by.

Apple+1. Microsoft-1.

Having just returned from a great yet way too short holiday touring the historic sites of the Normandy D-Day Landings, I decided to take a few moments to upload my photos onto my Mac Pro (using iPhoto).  Of course it was easy.  Plug Canon D400 into the USB port on the front of my Mac Pro, open iPhoto, click import, type in an event name, wait a few moments, done.  Both RAWs and JPEGs viewing nicely on my 30″ screen – just like being there. :)

Of course then my flat mate wanted a copy on his Windows XP machine.  Ok easy. Select the event “France 2008 Holiday”. Select all of the photos (Command A), then select File > Export. Select a format. “Original” would do nicely. Choose an export folder. Select Ok… done.  Copy the folder of photos to a USB stick (an easy way to move files) and hand it over to my flat mate.

Now the pain starts.  Firstly the photos are huge.  These D400′s take 10.something megapixel photos so putting them on the web or emailing each 12mb file to people, especially using Windows XP isn’t going to be easy (very easy with OS X, just choose email and the size you want!).  Secondly, how to do shrink the files down to a reasonable size so you can put them up on, say Facebook?

“Geez… I don’t know” was my response.  “You probably need to get some software to do that… try Google’s Picasa“.  Yep.  That’s what we had to do.  Downloaded Picasa (a nice piece of software), import the photo’s etc, learn how to use it, do manipulation etc.  

An hour or so later, it’s almost done.

Ok… I may be a bit harsh and Windows Vista probably does this all nicely now.  However it definitely looks like another reason why someone will “switch” to the Mac.  If they have to upgrade (read replace) their system to get Windows Vista, why not just buy something that is designed to work out-of-the-box?

Apple + 1.  Microsoft – 1.