Category Archives: apple

Geeking out, Mac style

I. Love. My. Mac.

Apple has truly seduced me. I bought a low-end iBook back in 2004 to check out OS X, which sounded great on paper. It was running 10.3 Panther at the time, which was pretty cool. Then 10.4 Tiger came out, and I loved Spotlight and Exposé, enough so that when time came to move to New Zealand and I was shedding computers, I decided to make a Mac my only machine.

And so I bought a spanking new 15″ MacBook Pro. And while my MasterCard smoked for a few days afterward, I never once had the slightest twinge of regret over my purpose. It is simply fantastic. The quality you get for the money is astounding.

And now I’ve just upgraded to 10.5 Leopard, and I just sit here and drool. It looks stunning, which is great, but then you get to using the new features, and it just works. The new Finder Cover Flow and Quick Look are so amazingly slick and fast I’m still amazed; give me a week and I won’t be able to imagine living without them. Time Machine is trivial to set up and just works (though on this one the delivered reality is rather less impressive than the vaporware I remember from a year ago…even Apple isn’t perfect). Spaces is the most elegant implementation of multi-desktop that I’ve seen. Mail’s parsing of contact info and appointment information is a really cool concept and works pretty well. So far, absolutely no regrets over shelling out NZ$199 for the upgrade.

Yes, there are still some things that you can’t do on a Mac. Last night I had to borrow the wife’s PC laptop to load some New Zealand maps onto my Garmin GPS. Connecting to my company’s VPN uses a PC-only solution. But it’s getting to the point where I view these exceptions as a weakness in those products rather than seeing the Mac as an ‘also-ran’ platform. (Garmin, to their credit, is finally getting around to supporting Mac, but they’re not quite there yet.) Of course, I could always shell out for a copy of Windows and dual-boot or run something like Parallels, but at this point I don’t see the value for the money.

And since I mentioned it, I will put in a plug here for the New Zealand Open GPS Maps Project, which provides free auto-routing street maps for Garmin GPS. The price is much better than the near-$300 that Garmin wants for their equivalent, and after limited experience, I can’t see anything that’s missing.

Good tech, bad tech

Wow, has it really been since May that I posted?!

As for the topic of this post, I received an iPod Shuffle for Stressmas and I, as I and many others are prone when it comes to Apple products, have fallen for it. The design is, needless to say, inspiring…the aluminum, the hinged clip, the simplicity of controls, the lack of protrusions, the little touches like silk-screening the serial number and the required FCC, etc. ratings out-of-the-way under the clip; it’s all just perfect.
And how does it actually work? While listening last night, I fumble-fingered the pause button and instead hit ‘next track’. Since I was in the middle of a lengthy podcast, I thought: “@#$(!, now I have to find where I was again”. But when I hit ‘back’, it started from where I’d left off. A small thing that made all the difference at that moment.
But of course not all is perfect; my main complaint so far: I want a better way to automatically update it with podcasts!

On the ‘bad tech’ side, I opened Adobe Reader tonight and it notified me that it wanted to be upgraded with version 7.0.5 and 7.0.6 and 7.0.7 and 7.0.8 and whatever else. Fine. First annoyance: I had to select each update individually and click ‘Add’…shift-click and control-click didn’t work.
That done, it downloads and starts installing. Not only did I have to reboot to commit the changes, I had to reboot 5 times. Must’ve taken me half an hour to update bloody Acrobat Reader, probably without being able to notice any difference.

The moral of the story: Details matter a whole damned lot!