Monthly Archives: April 2008
When using Leopard, I find that certain things make more sense compared to Tiger. Stacks is a welcomed feature. Although it is easily emulated on Tiger, Stacks keeps the desktop clean. The translucent menu bar has drawn many criticism, but the translucent effect can be turned off now with the latest update. Many don’t like the 3D dock either, but I prefer the dock to be on the side so it’s a non-issue. I still think Windows’ Start menu is quicker to start apps, rather than starting Finder (kinda like using Windows Explorer to find and start your Apps). In general, the aesthetics are great and nicer compared to Tiger. Small things like rounded menu edges and higher resolution/better contrasted icons are pleasing to the eyes.
A new feature in Finder that I find very handy is that now Finder can list all networked computers on the sidebar. Definitely provides easier access compared to Tiger’s Finder. This also works great with my Windows Home Server unit as all the shared folders are automatically listed. Tiger’s Finder feels like a big hassle now. Network drives connectivity are maintained, even after putting my Mac to sleep. However, Leopard still doesn’t mount networked drives automatically unless you specifically assign them as a start-up item. I missed Windows’ ability to just map a networked drive into a drive letter.
Frontrow now uses Apple TV’s interface. Although it looks better, it only shows thumbnails of videos. Frontrow in Tiger will show a preview of the videos. The same alias trick can still be used to allow Frontrow to read files from any other locations in addition to the local media folders. Works great streaming videos from my Windows Home Server. Also since my HP WHS unit has iTunes server capability, music streaming via Frontrow has never been easier.
All this network capabilities are great, but it makes me wonder about security. Well, guess what, the firewall is NOT enabled by default in Leopard. Although there is probably a very low chance of attacks on Macs, not enabling firewall by default is not nice, considering XP SP2 has its firewall enabled by default. Also, Leopard’s firewall has a quite confusing interface. There’s only 3 options, allowing all incoming connection, blocking everything except essential services, or application firewall. Do a search on Google and there is a lot of controversies and discussions about Leopard’s different approach of firewall. Well, choosing the second option made all my networked shares disappear in Finder. Picking the 3rd one made them appear again. We’ll see how effective/intrusive this is on a daily basis.
I used a trial for .Mac to transfer my email, address book and calendar from my Macbook, and it works flawlessly. Still not sure if it is worth the subscription fee though.
Overall experience of Leopard seems very smooth. Performance seems to be very snappy, even on my old Core Duo Mac mini with only Intel’s GMA950. In fact, IMO MacOS seems to be the only OS where the general GUI experience doesn’t fell to be slowed down by the stupid integrated graphic. I have a WinXP PC with the same GMA950 integrated graphics, and I felt performance issues with the regular GUI response compared to a PC with a dedicated graphic card. It doesn’t help that most PCs with integrated graphic have low end processors too. Maybe it’s the dual core.
I have not tried Time Machine. Have to buy an external drive first. 🙂
Leopard is a nice aesthetic upgrade from Tiger. Although it draws many criticism, there are just many small pleasant things that contribute to the better overall experience. Tiger is still a fine and solid OS, but Leopard will give you a smoother Mac experience, even on the same hardware.
Well, as expected from the store being down last night, Apple refreshed the iMac lineup. So what’s new? A lot of people in forums are scrutinizing the specs, and almost everybody is quite amazed. Why? The specs of the new iMac leads to Intel’s upcoming montevina chipset/platform. So what’s the big deal? Well, Intel has not released it yet. Montevina is supposed to come out officially around June. I guess Apple is intel’s special partner deeply in bed. 🙂
Not only that, almost all the Penryn processors that the new iMac use are not out yet either. The only one that is officially out is the 3.06GHz, which is Core 2 Extreme X9100. The 2.4GHz is supposedly Core 2 Duo SP9400, and the 2.8GHz is Core 2 Duo T9600, both are not supposed to be out till May 08. I couldn’t find any reference for the 2.66GHz chip in wikipedia, so Intel has not even announced that one.
So here we go again, Apple getting chips early from Intel. Awesome! Other than that, 2GB RAM becomes standard except for the cheapest model (C’mon Apple, what’s wrong with making 2GB standard on everything?). The highest end 24″ model gets nVidia Geforce 8800GS. Not too shabby, but the other models are still stuck with ATI’s 2xxx GPUs, not even upgraded to ATI’s 3xxx lineup.
Other disappointment, no quad core. I know that iMacs use mobile CPUs, but still I want my quad-core, considering many windows desktops are now quad-core and they’re cheap. Intel’s mobile quad-core chip is supposed to come out in September 08.
I guess the Mac mini is the step child now, still holding a combo drive. No refresh for the mini. I’m tempted for the 3.06GHz iMac, but I don’t think I have the desktop space for a 24″. 😦
My Leopard Mac is up and running. Installing the OS was probably the easiest and smoothest OS install I’ve ever experienced. I chose a clean install. During the start of the installation, the program did a forced self-check integrity of the DVD, similar to Ubuntu’s CD test but not optional. It takes quite a while since I have a notebook DVD drive. After that, the setup is straight forward and easily understandable.
The nice thing about MacOS installs is no drivers installs! Yup, since Apple controlled the specs of most Macs, pretty much all the drivers are included in the OS. So no need to hunt down drivers, F6 installs, etc etc. Once the OS install finished, the system rebooted, and voila, the sleek welcome video started. The next step was to simply run software update and install all the patches and updates.
I notice a funny behavior of Apple’s patches. The first run of software update only contained updates to 10.5.2 and few other patches. After installing all of them and rebooted, a second run of software update revealed a whole different set of patches, incremental. A bit different than windows where Microsoft pretty much put out almost all the hundreds of patches on a first run of Windows Update.
More impressions next.
I’ve been trying linux for quite sometime (Redhat, Linspire, Suse, etc), but was never impressed nor into it due to various problems/reasons. From hardware issues (the first linux distro I tried couldn’t even detect my PS/2 mouse, I had to use a serial port mouse!), non-user friendly interface, lack of software without compiling it myself, etc etc. More recently I’ve been trying various versions of Ubuntu (5.1, 6.06, 6.1), and although I’ve been successful on the installation, anything from there left me unimpressed. I do see improvements in hardware support (I have a USB Wifi adapter which the manufacture was bought by somebody else and thus driver support for windows is gone, yet it works flawlessly with Ubuntu), software catalog/installation (no longer having to figure out .tar/compiling), and general aesthetics. Beryl (a 3D desktop manager) was awesome, but was unstable and not included by default. Here’s a short video demo. It puts Vista to shame.
But in the end, I returned to Windows due to lack of usable apps that I want, “slow” UI, confusing errors, needing command line to do something trivial, etc.
Hardy Heron was released no too long ago. I decided to give it a go one more time. First installation run already gave me issues, spitting I/O errors and simply stopped at a command line. I was like WTF? Did CD verification test and it’s fine. Remember, Ubuntu is trying to target new linux users/beginners, and simply quitting the OS installation into a command prompt is not attractive at all. I rebooted and re-ran the install. It went further, the live desktop got loaded, but then the installation was stopped due to some error. Again, WTF? At least it returned me to the live desktop. Re-ran the install the 3rd time, and it finally installed all the way through. The nice thing about the recent Ubuntu releases is that Compiz is turned on by default. The UI seemed more snappier than the past versions due to having some acceleration. First thing Ubuntu detected my ATI video card and requested a proprietary driver install. This is VERY useful. In the past, you pretty much had to hunt the drivers yourself in order to get some acceleration. Alas, I have a dual monitor setup, and there doesn’t seem any way to do this in Hardy Heron other than the default clone. Searching online, pretty much people are just spitting command lines. This is another problem with the linux community. A newbie asked a question on how to do x, next thing you know all the expert are spitting command lines. C’mon, what’s the point of GUI if people had to do command lines? I finally found out the ATI catalyst app, hidden in the “other” section in the Apps catalog. Well, trying to change any setting will screw up both displays. That’s it. Doing dual-monitor setup is a no brainer ever since win98. Why is it so hard in Ubuntu? I gave up. Leopard, here I come. 🙂
Of course, that doesn’t mean the latest Ubuntu is bad. For somebody on a single monitor setup, the installation of Hardy Heron is the most straight forward so far (discounting the I/O errors). Ability to automatically download proprietary drivers and having Compiz turned on by default are great. Out of the box, it is fine for internet browsing/email. Still, Ubuntu still has a long way to go compared to Mac OS and Windows. Thing is, I don’t think the geek community want Linux to be easy-to-use, shown by the fact that they toss command lines left and right to anybody that ask questions.
Oh well, next is the sweet and smooth Leopard.
Yeah, awesome! Scandal is a new indy Japanese bandol from Osaka. Heard of Zone or Boystyle? Similar idea. They did a live concert at Sakura-con 2008. Their first single “Space Ranger” was on sale, but the main song shown on the anime MV before the concert was their 2nd single “Koi Moyo,” which are not available in the US, until now, thanks to iTunes. Search for “Koi Moyo” to find it right away. Searching for Scandal will give you other results. Alas, it’s not iTunes Plus, meaning it’s 128kbps DRMed AAC, but 99cent is definitely better than trying to import the CD from Japan. I’m glad that more and more Japanese music are available via iTunes.
A new J-dorama, based on the manga by Yuu Watase. Alas, the characters are not high schoolers, but turned into working adults in the dorama. The manga is cuter. Still, it’s fun seeing a manga turned into a live-action dorama. Oh, and Kamen Rider Kabuto is here too. LOL. Tendou Souji (Mizushima Hiro)becomes Asamoto Soshi.
A clip from Kamen Rider Kabuto, where his hair is still “in order.”
As for fansub of Zettai Kareshi, get it from SARS fansub.
Well, first impression is that page load seems faster than Firefox 2. Alas, the google browser sync and screen-grab extensions both don’t work. 😦 Oh well, at least now I can use Firefox again instead of having 100% CPU freezes.
OK, I’m getting tired of Firefox 2. I’ve been using Firefox since it was Firebird. I love the extensions, especially adblock. So what’s the problem? I don’t know whether it is due to the latest version of Firefox 2 or Adobe’s latest flash plugin, but my Firefox has been unusable on random occasions by taking up 100% of the CPU. It’s been happening in the past, although not as often as recently, and updating to the latest version (18.104.22.168) and installing the latest Adobe’s flash plugin don’t seem to help. No, I’m not browsing in 7 tabs, this happened randomly when I’m using 1 or 2 tabs only. Usually it happens when there’s a flash plugin involved (eg. Youtube). Thing is, most of the time it’s fine, but I’m getting tired of these random 100% CPU glitches. Even worse, if there’s a script from a website that is not responding, Firefox seemed stuck trying to load that site, taking 100% CPU/freezing up. For example, I have a twitter update on my blog. Twitter is down, and now Firefox freezes up everytime I’m trying to access my blog, taking 100% CPU. To add insult to the injury, Firefox 2 easily gobbled up more than 100MB of my RAM, even when I have no tabs opened. In fact, I’m using IE7 now to post this.
Although IMO IE7 is a bit faster than Firefox 2, I love adblock extension too much to give up Firefox. Downloading Firefox 3 beta now.