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Sat, 30 Apr 2005
Tiger update

Paul Thurrott is best known for his Windows sites, and his critical position on Apple. But Paul is a Mac person, and he's doing a great Tiger Feature of the Day series on his blog.

Anand over at AnandTech has also done an interesting review -- that's where I learned about Spotlight comments in the Finder (I almost never Get Info). I wonder if you can script modification of the Spotlight comments data.

Here's the morning update on Tiger. Thanks to readers and this MacOSXHint, I got my mail folders in the right place now. I also managed to get GNU Emacs up and running by grabbing the latest from CVS.

I've done a little exploring -- I added a bunch of Dashboard widgets (Earth to Apple - RSS feeds for the Dashboard, Spotlight, and Automator download pages). Things like weather, stock tickers, package trackers, known wireless points, etc. There's been a lot said about Dashboard, and a lot of people think that it's hype. From reading James' article on Dashboard, it looks to me like these Widgets are a very similar to "AJAX" based webapps.

Another thing that I've noticed is that things feel much snappier, at least in some applications. NetNewsWire seems much snappier and I was also running a fink source build in the background. But that might also be due to the memory upgrade that I did yesterday (and yes, I did the upgrade after I discovered the problems with the DVD-ROM).

Things I'm still having trouble with:

  • Keyboard shortcuts to Mail.app AppleScripts - I have a few scripts that I used to trigger via keyboard shortcuts. In Tiger, it looks like all the mail scripts have moved to ~/Library/Scripts/Applications/Mail. My scripts show up in the Script Menu, but the keyboard shortcuts don't work, and that's a big workflow interruption

Time for us all to get on Jabber and get off AIM. My jabber id is twl@jabber.org (no 150 user limit on Jabber)

I've done a little more playing with Spotlight, and I'm reasonably impressed. When you start to do AND/OR queries it slows down a bit, but it's finding all kinds of stuff. I'm realizing that I need to think hard about how tell Spotlight what *not* to index. There's a whole realm here for additional metadata oriented searching stuff. One thing that would help when you get lots of results is some way of previewing matching items.

More after the Bainbridge Bloggers Bash...

[22:43] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tiger is in the house

Fedex left a Tiger upgrade late this morning. What I expected to be a normal upgrade (decent chance of pain) turned into a royal pain.

First, the Carbon Copy Cloner job that I left running overnight interacted badly with SSHKeychain, which caused CCC to stop in the middle. So I had to force quit it, blow away the backup partition and start over.

The major hangup turned out to be the fact that the DVD drive in the Powerbook is no longer accepting optical media of any sort. I put the media in, and I can't even get it in all the way. The spring loaded resistance starts, and you just can't push the media all the way back into the drive. I used the drive last night to book from my PowerBook software DVD so that I could repair the various disks that I'd be using today. But this afternoon, the drive was kaput. I spent a bunch of time at the Apple web site looking for a number to call, but I was apparently too smart for my own good. I finally called 1-800-MY-APPLE and got connected to a Powerbook specialist.

The verdict: send the machine to Apple for a minimum $350 swap of the drive, and go without the machine for as long as 10 days. The specialist suggested that I go to an authorized Apple service center. More Googling and a phone call yielded a $400 repair, but it could be done in a few days, modulo a pair of $13 ferry trips.

Resigned to a busted drive, I then set about trying to find a way to get Tiger installed. I IM'ed a friend, hoping he would have an external firewire DVD ROM. No such luck. He did point out that Other World Computing had a replacement internal SuperDrive for $179, $100 less than the authorized service center. So maybe it looks like I order that and then trot over to the service center for a $99/hr repair. I still am not brave enough to open an Aluminum Powerbook by myself, even though I have the service manual. Odd, since I worked in a computer repair shop in high school. But I digress.

The solution to Tiger install turned out to be tearing the Pioneer 106S out of my old Windows box, opening up my external firewire drive, and creating an ill-fitting external firewire DVD drive.

After that, I finally got to do the Tiger install that I expected. So far, it hasn't been too bad. Since I have had so much cruft accumulating, I decided to Archive and Install. I chose not to preserve any personal data, so I'm gluing the archive back into the new system, a bit at a time.

So far, I think things are going well. I'll write more about Spotlight and Dashboard some other time, but some of those tiny other 200 features are turning out to be nice surprises. I normally use a Microsoft Natural Keyboard when I'm stationary. I was using a combination of uControl and Microsoft's keyboard driver to keep the various modifier keys arranged in a sane order. Unfortunately, both uControl and Microsoft's driver are broken under Tiger. But the Tiger Keyboard preference panel lets you map modifer keys around, so everything is fine, and I didn't need any preference panels to make it work.

Even more happily, Tiger found all the buttons on my Intellimouse Explorer, and the Expose preference panel support chorded (modifer key plus mouse button) mouse clicks for activating Expose -- that kills off the need for some other preference panels.

So far the only two casualties from my frequently used applications are GNU Emacs and the Red Pill screensaver. I compiled GNU Emacs for Aqua by hand, and the precompiled binary doesn't work. The sources that I used don't compile under Tiger either (haven't had time to dig further). The Red Pill looks completely wrong.

Oh, and the new Mail.app wants to stick all of the mail folders in my OSAF account inside the inbox folder. If someone knows/remembers how to fix that, help would be appreciated.

More later.

[00:14] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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