Category Archives: macintosh

Macintosh, Apple and OS X.

Indie Fever – a report on Macintosh independent developers

This report, titled: Indie Fever The genesis, culture and economy of a community of independent software developers on the Macintosh OS X platform by Michiel van Meeteren looks pretty interesting.

‘Indie Fever’ is the first result of a multi-year human geography research program to investigate the social and economical world of so-called ‘Indie’ developers on the Macintosh platform. ‘Indie’ is the self-chosen nickname of software developers that serve worldwide markets from the Internet, hold their artistic values in high esteem and celebrate their ability to make high quality software as small companies. Indies form a major part of the pool of developers of third party software for the iPhone that is currently available in Apple’s App Store.

It is a Bachelor’s thesis (108 pp) and covers a lot of ground, some obvious to Mac users or Mac decvlopers, but worth looking through.

Mac tip for right click

If you’re using a Macintosh MacBook Pro (and other Apple notebooks I assume), you need to know this tip:

Put two fingers on your trackpad, keep them there and click the trackpad button. This emulates a “right-click” and opens the contextual menu in most applications that have one.

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Second post with Ecto

This is my second post with Ecto, a very popular blogging tool for both Macintosh and Windows systems. So far I like the tool, but one thing is slowing me down. It either takes a very long time to upload photos, or it is trying to upload photos and there’s something wrong with Ecto, WordPress or my setup of either or both. (I don’t know if it truly takes a long time because I did a force quit to get Ecto to stop trying to upload the photos.)

Anyone know what I’m missing here? (And while I appreciate any answer that includes linking in pictures via Flickr instead, that’s not what I’m asking, but thanks.)

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MacBookPro first impressions

Yesterday I got a MacBookPro and am only starting to use it. It’s the 15″ with a 100GB 7200 rpm drive with 2GB RAM. Sweet. The Migration Assistant was just about perfect in moving everything over. I set up a administrator account with administrator priviledges, but not the same name as the account name I want to transfer from my G4 Powerbook. (I think I’m still going to be calling the new machine a powerbook out of habit).

As you go through the migration process, you boot your old machine in target disk mode (hold down the “T” key when booting the system) and with a firewire cable connected to both machines, the data transfer begins after a few questions about what accounts and files you want to move over (just a few choices, for files mostly everything on the disk or just those related to the account you want to migrate). Then the transfer begins. I started this once and when the estimate was more than 3 hours for the transfer, I deferred until later in the evening. Sure enough, about 3 hours later (much later), it seemed to be done.

Easily enough, I just rebooted the MBP (maybe I just need a great name for the new machine – any ideas? “Bender”? too obvious?) and logged on with the account name (and password) from the G4 powerbook. Simple as that. I knew things were looking good right away as the boot screen changed color to the background I had on the G4. Everything loaded from my startup items, with one exception, Textspander (yes, I know there is a newer version out). Nice job Apple software developers. snapped open quickly (after being selected my old customized dock – great!), but crashed in just a few minutes when I went to clearing out my junk mailbox. (It might have something to do with getting junk mail in odd character sets I don’t have the related fonts for. Just a theory.) I started right back up and it’s still going strong now. After working around in mail, I don’t feel a neck-snapping performance improvement, this is a bit disappointing.

Next was Firefox 1.5.06 and it seems fine too, including extensions. I checked and it is a universal binary. This is disappointing in a way, because Ffox still seems slow. (Oh, if there were all the right extensions in Safari versions.)

I like the increased screen resolution and the keyboard feels fine, a little mushy but with good bounce on the keys. Also, not as noisy as the G4. The addition of a camera is nice, but I don’t think I’ll make much use of it. There is not Firewire 800 slot anymore, I would have wished that Apple would have put another USB port in its place. As has been commented on before by many others, there is no internal modem included. I hope I don’t have cause to regret that. The PC Card slot is replaced with a smaller add-on slot that has some name I won’t remember because I’ll probably never need a device for it. The new magnetic plug power supply seems fine, but the box is actually LARGER than the old one. Also, I had three G4 powerbook power supplies, now that investment is lost (except that the extension cords seem to fit with the new power supplies).

The next, system-wide step seems to be making sure I have (intel) universal binaries for all of the applications on my system. I assume all the Apple applications are ready (and they were kept from deletion when I transferred the account over from the G4 with its potentially non-universal binary app versions).

The big question: Does anyone know of a utility that could scan my disk and make a list? (even better, give me links for the apps? even better, auto-download those possible?) Comments or emails are most welcome.

The best thing I have found so far to help with this is the MacUpdate: Universal Binary (Macintosh Intel) page (with an RSS feed).

Using the Macintosh clipboard for text without formatting

I have been a Macintosh user for almost 15 years (give or take a lapse or two) and I have never wanted to copy and then paste text from one application to another with fonts, style or other formatting information. In order to work around this “feature”, I often have to keep a text editor open just to paste the text into it and then copy and paste it in the application document I originally intended.

There has got to be a better way.

I’m sure there are all manner of utilities that will clear the text formatting or an OSX Service that will do the same. What I’m asking is for is a way to make the system default not use the formatting information when I either use the Cut, Copy or Paste from the Edit menu, or more truly, when my long-trained muscle memory uses the keyboard for such a task.

I will be wonderfully happy if someone can point me to an application that can help. Even better, if there is some system setting that I can tweak that has been hidden from me all these years.

International Verify your Backups Day 9/9

I know we already have a lot of holidays and special occasions in September but I think we need another one. Let’s make September 9th, International Verify your Backups Day. On 9/9 it seems like a good idea to make sure that at least 99% of the files you’ve been backing up can be recovered, if not why back things up?

I am certain that many of us are sporadically dutiful in using backup software, compressing a bunch of files and copying them to a CD or syncing with a backup server. All too often this labor is lost when we can’t actually recover or make sense of what we recover when we need to (and there will always be a time when you need to recover some data). Why not spend a few minutes making sure that all of that effort isn’t in vain? Try and recover some of your old files and make sure they’re file-liciously fresh and usable!

Yes, for some of you, this means that September 8th will be International Backup Day – but that’s OK, at least you’re backing up your valuable data.

How do I backup? I work on three different systems (with four different operating systems between them, sigh) and try to keep most of my working files in one main directory that’s the same on each. I routinely compress and back up this directory into one large file and make the date of the backup part of the file name (as in Then, I copy this file to another hard disk as well as burn this file to a CD, label it with a Sharpie marker and store it in my home or office (alternating between the two). I also have specific configuration files for each system I work on and I back those up too with a combination of small scripts (to run a copy, merge and compress sequence) and then either keep the backup on the particular system in a directory called “backup”, SFTP to a server or burn those to CD less frequently. I usually do not worry about backing up whole applications since in most cases it’s easier to re-installl an application than manage a huge backup file. Much less frequently, I use a full disk backup application (like Retrospect, which I really don’t care for so much) and keep the giant backup file on an external 250GB hard disk.

For other content like all my music files, I just do a full copy to an external drive (I have three external drives, all at least 250GB in size) and rotate among them.

I have tried many other systems, like using version control, automated .Mac-like backup services, and any number of personal or large-scale sync applications (more on them in a later post), but none seem to have the simplicity of what I’m using now.
How often do you backup your data? How do you do it?