RSS

Tag Archives: imac

Upgraded to Mavericks

An Apple event has come and gone. In the aftermath, we have a free OS X upgrade. Guess what my main machine is running… OS X Lion. πŸ˜€

Why did I not upgrade to Mountain Lion? Well, first and foremost, I was lazy. I mean I upgraded my laptop to Mountain Lion, but my iMac is my main machine, and I don’t really want to mess with it unless I have to. Besides, Lion was fine. From using my laptop with Mountain Lion, I don’t see much difference when going back to Lion on my iMac.

Mavericks gives me several incentive to upgrade. First, is tabs in Finders. OS X has this spring-loaded folders that makes it pretty easy to copy files form a drive/folder to a different one. However, if you have a pretty deep folder structure that you want to go to, it’s pretty tedious. Windows 7 has Aero snap, where you can quickly snap two Windows side by side just by dragging each window to the opposite side of the desktop. It makes copying files easy as I can easily set a source folder in one Explorer window, set the destination on another Explorer window, and just use Aero snap to put them side by side.

In OS X, there’s no Aero snap. Unless you opted for 3rd party apps, there’s no way to quickly re-arrange windows. In the olden days, I used the expose feature a lot, which is useful in this scenario. I usually open two Finder windows, one showing the source and one showing the destination, and use expose to copy files between them easily. Well, things have changed. Apple made Expose to cluster windows from the same app together. This actually makes things more difficult in my usage scenario as I cannot pick the destination window quickly from the pile of windows. Mission Control doesn’t improve this, and makes the experience more jarring as now everything moves back, including the different desktops. Copying files becomes a chore (yeah, first world problem). Oh, another annoying thing is that if you have a Finder window open, clicking the Finder icon on the dock only put that window in focus. To open a new window, you have to go to the menu bar and select New Finder Window. In contrast on Windows 7, I can put a shortcut of Explorer on the task bar and clicking that will automatically open up a new window. Yeah yeah, I’m sure there’s a better way, like memorizing keyboard shortcuts, but I just find things more tedious on OS X.

Enter Mavericks with Finders tab. Instead of opening a new window, now I can simply open one tab for the source, open a new tab for the destination, and I can copy files between those tabs by drag-n-dropping the files to the tabs. It makes things more convenient. Plus with Finder being able to go full screen in Mavericks, I no longer have to wrestle with OS X’s windows resizing, especially in columns view.Β One tiny thing like this can make using an OS a night and day difference, at least for me.

Mavericks have a bunch of other goodies, mainly power efficiency, which is useful if you have Mac laptops. Another point of interest is its better RAM management and memory compression, which should be helpful when I run Lightroom or Final Cut Pro X.

So, I decided to jump on the Mavericks bandwagon, setting loose my old cat to brave the new wave.

Installing Mavericks is just like Lion or Mountain Lion, a simple download from the Mac App Store (MAS). There is a big catch though. In the past, after downloading the OS upgrade, you can drill down into the application package to extract the dmg file of the actual OS installation, and make a USB disk/DVD out of it easily to get a full OS X installation disk. It is very useful for doing clean installs. Not the case anymore with Mavericks. You can still see the installESD.dmg file inside the Mavericks installation package, but inside it is just a bunch of .pkg files. Luckily, there are utilities showing up almost right away to help you create a Mavericks installation disk. Ars Technica has a great tidbit about this and a how to, even a manual way to do it.

In the past, whenever I upgraded OS X (from Tiger to Leopard to Snow Leopard), I always do a clean install and do a restore from Time Machine afterwards (which is another reason I have been delaying upgrading my iMac from Lion). This time, I’m going to put the faith on Apple’s programmers for a smooth upgrade from the App store.

The overall process is very easy. Once you download Mavericks from the App store, it shows an installation screen, asks you to accept the license agreement and select your main drive, and then it will reboot your Mac and does it thing. Probably after about half an hour to 45 minutes, it should be done. A plain non-linen log-in screen greeted me, and voila. Mavericks is installed. Upon logging in, I noticed the new 2D dock, where it is in lighter gray. I don’t actually like this as it makes certain icons harder to see. I prefer the old darker dock that provided more contrast.

Well, things didn’t go as smoothly as I wanted it to be. First thing I noticed, my external Firewire drobo is no longer listed in Finder. I panicked, as this is not only my Time Machine drive, it also contains many of my media files. I ran Disk Utility, and it still listed the drobo in there. It’s just that for some reason, Finder is not showing them. Apps that access it directly could still see it too, as Drobo dashboard could see it. Just not me via Finder. So all hope was not lost. Going to drobo support proved unhelpful as they just started their knowledge base page for Mavericks without any info in it other than links to the latest firmwares (which I already had).

I tried a simple reboot, no go. Worse, even Drobo dashboard started acting up, saying something is not loaded properly. Uh oh. Also, Disk Utility now said something is wrong with the Time Machine partition. Double uh oh. It seems like when booting Mavericks, it does not load everything right away, so when you log in to the desktop right away after a reboot, things can get weird. I rebooted my iMac, let it sit on the log-in screen for a moment (just like Windows), logged in, and everything seemed fine. The drobo was still invincible in Finder, but at least there were no weird errors.

So, what’s the solution? I turned off my iMac, turned off my drobo, turned it back on, turned my iMac on, still no go. *sigh. I turned off everything again, unplugged the drobo, booted my iMac without the drobo, and then hot-plugged the Firewire cable. Voila, Finder was showing my drobo. Huge relief! Right now, apparently this is the only solution as this issue popped back up again, and I had to unplug and replug the drobo back to bring it back from invincibility. Hopefully a more permanent solution would be provided by drobo.

Okay, problem one solved. Oh wait, there’s more! Take a look at this.

Yes, Time Machine had reset itself back to zero. All those hundreds of gigabytes of backups I have accumulated over the previous years are just sitting there ignored. This creates another problem, as now I have to make sure my Time Machine partition has enough space for the new backup from Mavericks (with the way drobo works, the OS can show that it has more free space that what is actually available on the drobo itself). Boo! 😦 So I have been busy cleaning up things. Oh and of course, this initial backup will be huge and take a looooong time.

Well, at least there’s an upside. Apple announced that iWork will be free, but with a new purchase of a new Mac. Well, I didn’t really care as I don’t use iWork, and I’m sure I’m not qualified anyway. Checking the MAS showed that iWork would still cost me $20 each.

However, when I logged in to the MAS from my Macbook Air, I was treated with a confirmation to get all the iWork apps for free. Sweet! Funny thing was, my Macbook Air was not even running Mavericks, it was still on Mountain Lion. I don’t know how, but my Macbook Air was the Haswell one, refurbished. Apple posted an information on their site that those that purchased Macs from October 1st can get iWork for free. I purchased my Macbook Air I think in September. Maybe Apple had some leeway in giving these apps for free. Or maybe all 2013 models are eligible. Nonetheless, it’s icing on the cake. πŸ™‚

Using Mavericks on a desktop is, well, not much different than previous versions of OS X. Sure, skeumorphism is gone, but base functionalities of things are still practically the same, which is great. Oh, the new Maps app? It requires wifi (obviously, for triangulation) to find my location. But I don’t want to use wifi on my iMac. I have gigabit ethernet for a reason. I guess I have to enter my location manually. First world problem, again. πŸ˜€

Activity Monitor has new more detailed graphs, more likely to show off Mavericks memory management and power saving features. Game Center is still covered with skeumorphism, unlike the iOS7 version. Notifications are now displayed automatically on your Mac’s lock screen. This is no good. You have to go into Settings and disable this on per app basis. Annoying. Keychain syncing is back as iCloud keychain. You have to set up a couple verification steps to use it. A phone number is optional, but can be a good 2-step verification via SMS. Note that I tried my Google Voice number, it did not work. It failed to receive any SMS from iCloud.

On the desktop, I think that’s about it. I have not noticed major application issues so far. Lightroom still runs fine, so I’m good. πŸ™‚

On my Macbook Air, there are other things I noticed. The power button behavior has changed in Mavericks. Previously, pressing the power button will trigger a prompt asking what you want to do, ie. shut down, restart, etc. Now, it just makes the laptop sleeps. To trigger the same dialog, you have to press and hold the power button a little bit. I don’t see any way to change this behavior. In Windows, you can customize what Windows should do when you press the power button or close the lid of the laptop. The new iTunes seems unstable. Crashing quite a bit, requiring a force quit.

Well, that’s about it for now. Overall, Mavericks is a welcomed update. One, it’s free. Second, even the new iLife updates require it. Third, the power savings and memory management will be appreciated, especially if you have a Mac laptop. If you have a Firewire drobo, take note of the issues. iCloud integration will be useful to those that rely on it.Β I am quite pleased that Apple can still squeeze things out of OS X, considering how mature it is at this point. There are annoying things here and there, but it’s Apple, so the glossy rainbow usually makes up for them. πŸ˜€

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 25, 2013 in apple, impression

 

Tags: , , , ,

Apple Special Event, October 2012, Impression

Apple streamed the video very quickly. I’m guessing they are now extremely well rehearsed and confident about the performance to even do a live streaming. Well, let’s cut to the chase, and drop my 2 cents.

Just with any Apple keynote, it starts with stats. Tim Cook on stage, iPhone 5 selling like hotcakes, pretty neat video, iPod Touch selling like hotcakes, yada yada yada. Tim was highlighting how the new iOS6 features are already used in the millions.

Tim also took the opportunity to emphasize that iPad apps are not “stretched out” phone apps. Punch #1 against Android.

iBooks stats. Sorry Tim, imo e-ink is still the ideal screen for eBooks. New iBooks featuring continuous scrolling, a departure from the classic idea of pages. Beautiful Korean fonts, and Chinese, said Tim Cook.

Bam, the Mac. Yeah, so much for a segway. Apple is selling more. Yeah, most people know that Apple is printing money.

Phil Schiller on stage. Beautiful, gorgeous, best, describing the 15″ retina display. And as expected, now retina display comes to the 13″ Macbook Pro. Lightest Macbook Pro ever. Well… DUH! The retina display resolution continues to astound me. 2560 x 1600. Yeah, more than even my iMac. I still drool over the idea of photo editing on a retina Macbook Pro.

And, what’s missing from the inside? Discreet graphic. Yup, the 13″ Macbook “Pro” only has the HD4000 intel graphics. Advise to people, you may want to sit this one out and wait for Haswell. You’ve been warned. I doubt the “better” speaker is worth the price of this one. Starting price $1699. Shipping today. Again, THIS is why Apple is succeeding. Many other companies cannot even ship their products months after announcement, let alone same day.

17″ MBP is still MIA. 17″ retina display would be mind blowing.

Next, Mac mini. A refresh for the step child. Might be one of the few Macs left with Firewire 800. Quad core at this tiny footprint is amazing though. Starts with dual core i5 for $599. Server version uses quad-core i7 with 2x1TB drives (but only 4GB of RAM?) for $999.

And the big one, the iMac. No more optical drive, and what you get is a super thin display unit. It’s… amazing. I mean really, being able to make an iMac that thin, with a full computer inside, it’s mind blowing. Sure, it’s just the edge that’s 5mm, but it’s still damn thin. This is why I love Apple, and why I hate Apple when Phil said how a new thing can make the previous one look so old. Damn you Apple.

No retina display, but it’s fully laminated and individually calibrated. Phil keep saying how much better the speaker on this new iMac too, but who cares as a separate 2.1 speaker would probably still be better. Something gotta give right, for something this thin. The obvious one is the optical drive. Well, the hard-drive got a downgrade too, starting with a 5400rpm drive, which we know is kinda slow for a desktop. Apple’s best marketing is upselling, and they want you to upgrade to the fusion drive, basically Apple’s marketing scheme for hydrid SSD+traditional hard drive. Apple is using its own software to optimize performance on what files are going to the SSD.

21.5″ iMac starts at $1299. Yes, Phil conveniently skipped the fact that it comes with 5400rpm drive. 27″ starts at $1799. Shipping in November for the 21.5″ and December for the 27″. And I bet it’s non-user upgradeable at all, not even the RAM, which is unfortunate as Apple gouges you on upgrades. Another odd design decision, due to the thinner edge, the SD card slot goes to the back, like the Mac mini. That’s not really intuitive, but at least you won’t mistake the SD slot with the super drive. Seriously, one time I slipped an SD card into the super drive of my iMac without realizing it, and was freaking out in trying to get it out.

Tim is back, and iPad stats again. 100million iPads sold. It’s interesting that Tim is showing how Apple is selling more iPads than Windows PC manufactures, AFTER the new iMac announcement. Yes Tim, everybody loves iPad, and everybody use iBooks.

Interestingly enough, Tim Cook mentioned how the new iBooks allows publisher to “update” text books. Yeah, good luck with that. Publishers love to gouge students by having them buy new books every year.

Phil is back. You know that “new” iPad that you just bought? Well, yeah, that’s no more. Apple is releasing the iPad 4, a “newer” iPad, and discontinued the short-lived iPad 3. Interestingly enough, the iPad 2 is still available. This boggles the mind on why Apple would do this, but they did it. The “newer” iPad comes with an A6X processor and lightning connector. It also has 720p front-facing camera, and the more world-compatible LTE radio. Same price points. Yeah, so much for the iPad 3…

Along the new iPad, Apple is also announcing lightning to USB, SD adapter, HDMI, and VGA (individual adapters).

And finally, iPad mini, hiding behind the newer iPad. Really great segway. New design, look a lot like the new iPod Touch. Even the black one has a black back. It looks more like an iPod Touch XL than an actual iPad mini, and alas, the specs say so. 7.9″, 1024×768, IPS display. Yup, no retina here, which is ironic considering how Tim Cook was pushing iBooks. The focus is thinner and lighter. Phil didn’t even bother to mention the display being IPS, let alone it not being retina.

Oh, the Nexus 7, punch #2 against Android. It’s plastic, thicker, more bezel, and heavier. But guess what Phil, the Nexus 7 has higher PPI with its 720p display. Also, it starts at $199. Phil did point out the disadvantage of ICS/Jelly Bean’s virtual buttons that is taking up screen space. Oh, and Phil just keep on going in comparing iPad apps with Android apps.

Now, the letdown. A5 chip. Yeah, Apple can put an A6 on the iPhone, but only an A5 for the iPad mini? REALLY APPLE? Come on. At least it has 720p facetime camera, and LTE version, unlike the Nexus 7 that is stuck at 16GB wifi only max (and doesn’t even support 5GHz wifi n). Cue in another documentary by yours truly, Johnny Ive. They keep comparing the iPad mini with the iPad 2. Well, guess what Apple, you yourself was just talking about the iPad 4. That’s number 4, 2 more than the iPad 2. I want the iPad mini to be a smaller version of the CURRENT iPad, not the iPad 2 generations behind.

Oh, new smart covers for the iPad mini. Gone are the aluminum part, just the clothed colored cover.

It’s amazing how they are pushing this iPad mini on the documentary, despite the obvious failures (no retina display, no A6).

Pricing, 16GB wifi at $329. $100 to double the capacity, and $130 extra for cellular radio. Pre-order October 26, shipping the wifi version first to a lot of countries, again showing the reason Apple is so successful.

Tim is back to close the presentation.

So, how did my prediction go? Well, I over estimated Apple. I thought Apple would not cut corners with the iPad mini, using A6 processor, but I was wrong. At least I was correct in mentioning the use of IPS, where many tech blogs said otherwise that the iPad mini would’ve used the inferior 3GS screen. I was correct in the pricing, but I missed the fact that Apple is keeping the iPad 2 (and instead discontinuing the “no longer new” iPad with an A6X iPad).

A mixed bag presentation. I’m not bothered with the retina Macbook Pro until Haswell. The new iMac design simply awed me. It’s incredible, period, but real-life usability, I would still need an optical drive on a desktop. However, the reason I was excited about this was for the iPad mini, and I was disappointed that Apple is cutting corners on the iPad mini, by making it a smaller iPad 2 instead of a smaller iPad 4. I’m torn. I was so ready to get one, but now I’m cautious, fearing that Apple would release the real iPad mini (with retina display and A6) in 6 months from now. *sigh.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 23, 2012 in apple, event, impression, Keynote

 

Tags: , , , ,