Tag: OS

[insert large cat themed title]

That is a “large cat” not a “large title” that is “cat themed”. Although that would work too I guess…

Mac owners the world over know that tomorrow sees the release of the most important new piece of software for sometime. Just after Apple have released record figures which see them now positioned as the largest PC hardware manufacturer on the planet, tomorrow should add to the current buzz.

Yes, that’s right, tomorrow will see millions of fans flocking to stores to get their grubby hands on Pro Evolution Soccer 7!!

I can’t wait. I’ve read all the reviews and it looks good… Sure it will look better if you are playing it on a PS3 or XBox 360 but hey, my little PS2’s doing fine thankewevewymuch.

OK. I confess, I too am intriguingly excited about the new version of Apples OSX. Codenamed Leopard the Mac websites have been banging on about this for a while now and, frankly, I’m glad it’s almost here because it is getting a little boring. For sure there are plenty of posts about preparing for an upgrade, what will be in the upgrade, what’s good about the upgrade, what’s bad about the upgrade, and so on, but geez give it a break!

In saying that, despite the wealth of information that has been published about Leopard there is one thing which hasn’t really been taken into account, at least not that I’ve seen. There are a large number of people who will be updating their version of OSX for the first time. Like me, there are a lot of new ‘switchers’ who have probably only recently gotten to grips with OSX, and got it all tweaked as they want. What of us ohh hallowed fanboy website?

From what I can tell, you can upgrade in situ, and nothing much should break. Or you can do a fresh install which will take you back to the default settings. I’m not sure if that wipes out user accounts as well, I guess it does.

I do have a list of the apps that I’ve installed, and kept, on my MacBook and we don’t keep files on it so, other than the odd file or two, there isn’t anything on it that either of us is particularly bothered about. A clean install is the mostly likely option. However I’ll probably hold off until later on, as I don’t really need any of the new functionality… mind you, I do have a trip towards the end of November, an ideal time to play with a new OS… hmmmm.

And, of course, there is no small amount of curiosity on my part. I’ve upgraded Windows machines all way through from 3.1.1 to Windows 95 (BETA), from 95 to 2000 (thankfully never from Windows Me), and from 2000 to XP. I don’t think I’ll ever be bothering with Vista. I’m keen to see how different the process is with the Mac OS as my experience with it suggests that it will be much smoother.

What about you, fellow Mac user, are you going to be upgrading? Have you upgraded before? If so, any hints or tips for us newbies? I

apple insider

Apple Insider is doing a set of posts, in the lead up to the new version of OSX (Leopard), entitled “Road to Mac OS X Leopard”. So far they’ve covered the history of the Dock and the Finder. Despite the titles, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour do not appear.

On my Mac

Well I’ve had it for a while now so here are some of the goodies I have installed on my MacBook. I’ve tried a lot of apps over the past few months, the following are the ones I’ve settled on.

One thing to note is that there does seem to be a different kind of software community built up around Macs, and I guess it is because the audience (whilst growing rapidly) is still small in comparison to the Windows community. There also seems to be more of an emphasis of home/fun usage, something Apple have concentrated on in the PC vs Mac adverts. I’m still not yet using the Mac as my main computer, largely because I can’t get my wife off the damn thing.

I am using a lot of the Apple supplied applications, Address Book, iCal and things like that, so most of the applications I have downloaded are either specialist or fit with the way I use a computer.

Anyway, at the moment, I am using:

  • Adium – instant messaging client that supports all the major IM channels.
  • AppDelete – which provides an easy way to delete installed applications. Installation on a Mac is, mostly, very simple. Removal less so, hence the thinking behind this application.
  • Aurora – an MP3/iTunes aware alarm clock. Ideal when travelling, can wake the Mac from its ‘sleep’.
  • Bean – for basic word processing requirements
  • Cyberduck – FTP client
  • FuzzyClock – rather than 13:45, displays “quarter to two”.
  • Growl – a wonderful little app which provides subtle (skinnable) notifications for various system events. Extendible using plugins, and feels like it is part of the OS
  • iConiCal – sets the dock icon for iCal to the correct date. Normally it’s a static icon until you open iCal, this app runs at login to change the icon. WHY this doesn’t happen this way within the OS I have no idea.
  • iStumbler – a better way to discover what wireless connections your MacBook can ‘see’. Includes Wifi, Bluetooth and Bonjour connections.
  • MagiCal – a replacement clock and drop-down calendar. Ideal for a quick check on a date.
  • MarcoPolo – automatically runs scripts to change settings when you change your wireless connection. Handy for me as I take my MacBook into work on occasion, when it picks up the wireless connection at work, it mutes the sound.
  • QuikSilver – at one level a keyboard application launcher, on another level (which I’m not at yet) a hugely powerful tool to help automate and quicken basic tasks and file manipulation.
  • Seashore – a handy graphics app, good for quick edits.
  • Skim – a PDF reader.
  • TextWrangler – handy text editor with support for most text based filetypes, good for quick code hacks.
  • VLC – an excellent video player with support for, well, every type of video I’ve tried.

All of the above are free, as in beer (where DID that phrase come from?). I have donated to some, and have bought other apps, most notably Adobe PhotoShop, but those are the ‘finds’, the none obvious stuff which I highly recommend you check out.

One type of app I’ve yet to settle on is which web browser to use. I immediately installed Firefox to give me something familiar, and coupled with my use of Google apps and Google sync, it doesn’t look like that will be changing anytime soon. Oddly though, I have far fewer extensions installed on my MacBook than I do on my PC.

There are three other items that I’ve purchased for my MacBook which I’d like to point out. One is a Radtech screen protector, a simple cloth would do to be honest, but this doubles up as a screen cloth for the shiny glass effect MacBook screen. The other is a set of Cool Feet, which sucker onto the base of the MacBook, helping circulation and cooling, and providing a nice typing elevation. Finally, my Wrapper, a customised sleeve for when my MacBook is fast asleep. Provides a little bit of protection and keeps it clean!

There are a myriad of other tweaks (check out the Kinkless Desktop and an application called ‘Hazel’ for a key part of my desktop workflow) but those are for another post. For now, the applications listed above should give you a good starting point, and none of them will cost you a penny.

Customisation

I’ve been getting back skinning and customisation of my desktop recently thanks to Samurize, Neowin and (the sadly defunct but still findable with Google) Y’z Dock. It’s slightly addictive mind you – and I find myself changing things a lot more than I used to… especially when you come across a screenshot of someone else’s desktop and think “ohhhh I like that!”.

So, how many of you guys are bothered about ‘skinning’ applications or customisation of your OS?

UPDATE: Well the initial response to this is “eh?” so here is a primer for you. One note here, if you do decide to ‘skin’ Windows XP by getting some new themes (the default blue with green start button is called Luna BTW) then let me know. I’ll post a screenshot of my current desktop when I get home to show you some of what is possible. Of course if you aren’t interested just say so I don’t waste my time!

Gadget envy

My contract is up so it is new mobile phone time methinks… But which one?

Tariff has to be cross network, phone must have gadgets. Currently I’m heading towards the Orange SPV (my mate has one and it is very smart aside from the fact it is running on an MS OS… blue screen of death on a mobile? urgh…) Either that or the new Nokia 7250.

So let’s compare:
SPV – Add-on camera thingy, includes sync capabliity with Outlook (handy for to-do lists and calendar appointments), and MP3 player – takes a MMD card so is expandable…
7250 – Integrated camera, radio, and being Nokia I’ll have it up and running in all of 30 secs.

Ohh who am I kidding, it’ll be the SPV (providing I can still get one for free…). Back to Orange then, ahhh memories of my old nk502 ‘banana phone’ my first ever mobile.

[ Updated so as not to confuse poor old Lyle 😉 ]