Posts in the "Apple/Mac" Category

The video element in HTML5 – great possibilities, but also codec and licensing problems

Man has always been inspired by things moving around and giving away noises, so it was just a matter of time before video content showed up on the web. For a number of years, Flash was the de-facto standard of showing video, but now, with HTML5, the video element has made its way into our lives.

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Why I use a Mac

The reason why I use Macs is pretty simple:

A picture of a dialog in Windows Vista reading 'A system call that should never fail has failed'

Image taken from FAIL Blog.

And, to be honest, I think this epitomizes my view on Vista: it’s something which should never fail, but just did.

Tabbing problems in Firefox in Mac OS X

Recently I got a bug report from marketing (don’t all bug reports come from there? ;-) ), about an unexpected problem in Firefox in Mac OS X. The end users had problems tabbing through the web page, and especially through forms. Since I, at the time, sat on a PC, I couldn’t test with my settings, although I knew I hadn’t seen the problem on my Mac at home.

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Let OS X free!

I use a PC with Windows at work and a Mac with Mac OS X at home and I like them both. They each have their distinct benefits but also shortcomings. What does annoy me in the computer market is when one company, no matter which company it is, gets such a monopoly that it can basically do or produce anything and the end users have no choice but to happily get into line and accept it.

So, therefore I urge: Let Mac OS X Free!

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My MacBook Pro – first-time Mac owner

First and foremost, let me tell you that I don’t abide to the poor labeling of being a Mac fanatic or a Windows user. I’m a computer user, period. I use the programs and computers and programs that are good, no matter what their eventual name might be.

With that said, I hope this post will be balanced and fair instead of just trying to take sides, and informative no matter from what angle you’re coming.

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Run Windows XP on your Intel Mac

As soon as the Intel-based Macs were revealed, people started to find ways to run Windows XP on them. The most spoken about resulted in a contest where the winner would get the money that a lot of people had contributed with. Naturally, it succeeded. To get down and dirty with the result, please visit OnMac.net.

I guess some people’s desire to run Windows XP on a Mac was to finally have a lean good looking computer with the OS they prefer; for some people it was about having it all, being able to dual-boot Windows and Mac OS X on the same machine. Some prefer one OS over the other, and some need both in their daily work.

An interesting twist came yesterday. Apple has officially launched a tool to run Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac. The days of wonder are apparently still here… The name of the tool is Boot Camp and for the moment it is in beta but offered for download by Apple. The final release is said to be shipped with the next major release of Mac OS X: Mac OS X Leopard.

What you also need to do in order to run Boot Camp is to update the firmware in your Mac. The different downloads are:

If things go terribly wrong, or if you have a change of mind, you can run the Firmware Restoration CD v 1.0

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and get it all! :-)

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My video iPod

In December, after some serious thinking, I decided to get me a video iPod, the fifth generation of iPods. I already have a third generation iPod, but took some time to find arguments to convince me (and my dear Fredrika) that it was a good idea to get another iPod just one year and nine months after the first one.

How could I motivate this to myself? Well, there were some factors that pushed me over the brink:

Being able to watch video
I think the MPEG 4 format is awesome, and I love watching videos on it. To me, the screen size is just fine.
The color screen
Color is always nice, right?
The design and size
It looks oh-so-good, weighs practically nothing nowadays (4.8 ounces/136 grams) and is almost thin like a leaf.
The price
I got a 30 GB one, definitely sufficient for me, and it’s actually cheaper than most of its matching alternatives (not to mention that the alternatives usually weigh three times more and are five times as thick).
Commuting
I commute at least two hours a day (and if you meet me in real life, give me a hug and please tell me you share my pain) and watching videos is about the best way to kill time (perhaps for sex, but that isn’t really suitable on the suburb trains…).

I’ve also seen that there a number of porn movies available in iPod format. I sincerely don’t want to know what people are doing with an iPod in one hand and… shivers
Besides, if one would want to get off holding an iPod, the design of the iPod would be such a turn-on by itself. :-P

A disturbance is that the software isn’t perfect, it has a tendency of sometimes freezing when the battery goes low and you’ve just watched a video. Just remember to hold down the Menu key and the Play key to soft reset it and you will be fine. Aside from that, I wish they would’ve thrown in an AC adapter. One doesn’t want to fire up the computer only to charge something through an USB port (and why does the computer have to be on for that?).

Conclusively, if you’re looking for a MP3 player with a nice hard drive, I most definitely recommend getting an iPod. I hesitated for a while, took the plunge, and haven’t regretted it for a single second!

If you don’t have movies in the MPEG 4 format, you can use free tools such as the Videora iPod Converter for Windows and iSquint for Mac to convert it.

Intel Macs released

The links are leading to articles at Newsvine where you will need to sign in. If you’re interested in reading these articles, write a comment and I’ll send you an invite.

So Macworld Expo has taken place and there they presented new Macs using Intel chips.

What I find interesting about this is that they will make no attempt to stop people from installing Windows on these machines, meaning that you can have Mac OS X or Windows, or *gasp* both! Sounds like a pretty interesting setup to me!

However, not sure what the pricing is in your country, but here the new Macs are still terribly overprized compared to the PC equivalent. But I guess you gotta pay for your high maintenance life style… :-)

Some equilibrium, please

First, I guess you need to check the description of equilibrium in the dictionary. Done? Great, let’s go to my rant.
I get tired when people criticize the hell out of Microsoft all the time, just for the sake of it. I’m not a Microsoft lover, and I do think they definitely deserve some of the bashing they get. But take a look at these examples:

Microsoft bundles their own web browser, IE, in Windows
While Microsoft are in courts, trying to not get the company split up, Apple bundles their own web browser, Safari, in Mac OS X. No one says anything.
Microsoft includes Windows Media Player in Windows
Microsoft has to battle in the European Union Court to find a compromise. Concurrently, Apple includes iTunes in Mac OS X, and I don’t see anyone raving about that either.

How long will it take before someone sues Microsoft for having the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer in Windows XP (and the same time no one will even mention iPhoto)?

Also, to me as a Windows user, it’s enormously annying that Apple forces me to download iTunes if I only want to download QuickTime to watch a movie clip.

I know Microsoft are huge, I know some of the things they do stifle competition. But to me, either something’s good business practice or bad business practice, no matter who does it. So please, give me a break; be consistent (and have some self-distance) when it comes to your criticism.

Some equilibrium, please.

 

PS. A funny sidenote is that Apple’s headquarter is nowhere to be found in MSN’s Virtual Earth. DS.

Once you go Mac…?

Recently, I confessed about my flirting with Mac, and right after that I got the chance to go all the way. An Art Director in the company I work for resigned, and I got (read:took) the opportunity to take over his Power Mac G5 with the Panther OS installed and 1,5 GB RAM. In short, a very competent computer.

Some more cynical people would say that it is a case of “knowing your enemy”, but that’s definitely not the way I see it, I was just very interested.
However, the things that bothered me was:

Dialogs
Since I’m really a keyboard shortcut freak, not being able to tab in dialogs beween “Save”, “Don’t save” and “Cancel” was really annoying.
The keyboard
I really like the look of the white keyboard, and it’s as nice to touch as patting a puppy, but in the long run I didn’t like typing on it. This might be because I normally use the ergonomic Microsoft Natural MultiMedia Keyboard.
The necessary connection to a PC
I have the need to develop things in Visual Studio.Net, and using the Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac to connect to my PC proved to be to too slow (over a 100 Mbit LAN), definitely a lot more sluggish than the equivalent Remote Desktop Connection built in to Windows XP.
It also resulted in other keyboard combinations to write characters like >, {, [ etc, which just became utterly confusing in the long run.
Why I didn’t use Virtual PC for Mac is because I already had the development environment I wanted on my PC, and that I didn’t want to compile things in an emulated environment.
Developing tools
Except for Visual Studio.Net, I really think Macromedia HomeSite is superior to BBEdit for writing web interface code.
Maximizing windows
To the contrary belief that PC users have their application windows maximized just because they don’t know how to change it, I really prefer having them maximized. It helps me keep focused on the thing I’m doing for the moment, and then I just use Alt + Tab to swith to any other programs I need to work with.
Closing of windows
I just find it weird behavior to keep the application running when I close the last window in it.
What’s up with the Command key (the one with the apple on it)?
Is it really necessary to have this key? Isn’t Ctrl, Alt and others sufficient? Or is to make up for the lack of an Alt Grip key?

 

All in all, it didn’t suit me for developing purposes, but I would have nothing against using a Mac for entertainment purposes at home.
Now when I’m back with Windows XP, and now sporting the silver color scheme, it feels just right! :-)

 

PS. Thanks to Per Zimmerman at Gamepepper for helping me finding where different characters actually were on the keyboard, as well as the discussions about a real environment vs. an emulated one. DS.

Apple – the way to go

I just have to say that Apple‘s image, design and software really seem to be the way to go. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a PC user and I’m not about to change, given certain developing tools, more software available etc for a system with Microsoft Windows (some of the reasons in Why Windows Users Won’t Switch To The Mac may also be applicable). Also, I find it terribly pricey.
However, I have been flirting with Macs for some time now since they seem to have some kind of attraction power trying to lure me in.

First of all, when it comes to the hardware design there’s, in my humble opinion, no one that even comes close to it. I find it unbelievable that no other company has ever been near Apple when it comes to design. How hard can it be?
I’m not saying that design is easy, but what I’m going for is that I can’t believe that no other company can match the Apple design. The main reason they’re so popular is their design, so it really should be desirable for other companies to beat Apple in their own playing field. I mean, compare this with these (and I really do like Dell‘s computers, but design-wise compared to Apple: come on!).

I also think the Mac mini is a great design idea, although its performance isn’t really spectacular.

With the gargantuan success of iPod, which has even been appointed to be one of 5 inventions to change your life by CNN Money, it has had an enormous effect on the market. I own one myself and love it. Plus it’s probably the closest I’ll get to owning a Mac. But many other users have taken the plunge, it seems:

The survey, which polled 400 consumers, found that 19% of PC iPod owners have purchased a Mac in the past year

When it comes to software, I really like the look and feel of Mac OS X, and I wish I didn’t need Apple hardware to use it. The interface just seems more intuitive than, for example, Windows and it’s also good for the world to see that something can look good and be functional.

I think it’s great if Apple gets more popular, I would have no problem seeing them having a 10% or 20% market share. Just as with web browsers, I’d really like to see several actors with about as much users as the other, for a level playing field and more incentive through competition to be better.