Forwarding Address: OS X

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Rails Will Ship With Leopard

While the Mac has long had a reputation for providing end users with a great out-of-the-box experience, it's noteworthy that it's steadily gaining an equally good rep among developers. This is especially true among the Ruby on Rails crowd -- Mac OS X is the preferred development platform for the Rails core group. Several counts I took at the recent RailsConf showed that Mac laptops outnumbered Wintel/Lintel ones by a nine-to-one ratio; some people have suggested that the ratio is larger. (In fact, after the Mac, the next most popular machine seemed to be the Nintendo DS.)

This announcement should boost its rep among developers even more: Rails will ship with both the client and server editions of OS X 10.5, a.k.a. "Leopard". Here's what the Riding Rails blog has to say:

The developer seed that was distributed today at WWDC contains Ruby 1.8.4 and Rails 1.1.2, but we fully expect to have Rails 1.2.x along with Mongrel, SQLite bindings, and lots of other Ruby goodies on the final gold master when it goes out in spring.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Full-time Fireball

John Gruber has decided to do Daring Fireball as his main job. If John is able to make DF half as cool as he hopes, it will be a big plus for the online mac community. His smackdowns are things of legend... Bon chance, John!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Looks like time for anti-virus software

If you missed the malware news last week, I have some catch-up links on my blog, but the most important one is ClamXav, the open source anti-virus package for OS X.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Open source Mac applications

Sure, you could scour Sourceforge for hours on end, but Open Source Mac is the fastest way to grab the well-tested essentials.

AppleWorks, R.I.P.

I have a feeling that AppleWorks is dead.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Killing the iTunes "MiniStore"

Yesterday's iTunes update continues the recent tradition of adding marketing features instead of, well, real features. When you start it up for the first time and see the "MiniStore" that appears at the bottom of the main window, don't panic -- just hit Cmd-shift-M.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Google Earth

Throw out those bootleg copies, the official release of Google Earth for the Mac is here. It's nifty. Requires 10.4 for the moment, unfortunately. I blab more about it here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Google Hiring Mac Engineers

If you're a Mac hacker and might be interested in working on Mac stuff at Google, let Steve or me know. These positions were just posted: And these were posted a little while ago:

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Slashdot - Microsoft Ends IE on the Mac

I don't know why this is news, because MacMinute talked about it two and a half years ago.

Monday, November 28, 2005

BBEdit Update

For those that have auto-update notification turned off, BBEdit 8.2.4 has landed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fulltext search in Tiger Mail?

So, does fulltext search in 2.0.5 (OS X 10.4.3) work for anybody else? Because it sure as hell doesn't work for me. Indexing Mail Messages is turned on in Spotlight prefs; I don't see any relevant options in Mail itself. From within Mail I can search for matches on From, To, Subject without difficult, but "Entire Message" mode yields nothing. Is this feature just broken?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Digging TextMate

I still remember being at CFP in 1996 and sitting behind some supercool geek who was using BBEdit to take notes. I imprinted immediately, and I was onboard with that wonderful application from 4.0 all the way to 6.5. Somewhere around 7.0, though, BBEdit began to lose the plot. Its transition to OS X had always seemed halfhearted, and all those buttons for generating HTML were looking very quaint. The menus and preference dialog had grown unwieldy, almost byzantine.

To make a long story short, after trying everything under the sun (really; I don't think there's a single native editor for OS X that I didn't fire up at least once), I switched to TextMate a couple weeks ago and am completely sold. It consistently works the way I want it to work and leads me to discover features I didn't know I needed. Its bundle system solves the cruft problem that's killing BBEdit, and provides an organized, accessible way for users to expand the app's featureset. It's a Cocoa app with a good native feel. I even bought it, which is a remarkable thing for a cheap, indecisive, open source guy like me to do.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

PowerBook hibernation

Andrew Escobar has posted an informative page on enabling the new "Safe Sleep" mode that Apple made public (quietly) with the release of the latest PowerBooks.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Looking at Buying a PowerBook?

John Gruber does an very detailed review of his newly acquired 15" PowerBook. If you are on the fence about a purchase, you might take a few minutes and give this a read. It might help.

Sony's DRM kernel extensions

You probably read the recent news about Sony installing cloaked "digital rights management" (DRM) software on PCs. Well, Mac users don't have to feel left out any longer, because it looks like Sony discs also install DRM kernel extensions on the Mac.


Of course none of this is a problem if you're just ripping audio, but if you're running some whizzy multimedia app from a CD, watch out -- especially if it asks for your admin password!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

LaunchBar 4.1b1

Launchbar cultists take note: 4.1b1 is out. New file manipulation commands, Spotlight integration, more iTunes controls, and even Tiger dictionary lookup.

Monday, October 31, 2005

10.4.3 Update

97 megabytes! Includes lots of fixes to lots of things.. And apparently we've got (or had) our own BSOD:
Addresses an issue in which high ASCII characters in a password could lead to a blue screen at startup, or prevent log in.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I just noticed that the folks over at Blacktree released a hallowe'en themed version of Quicksilver, Tricksilver b44. Though the site says b40 is the latest, the one I'm running lists its version as "b44 Werewolf". Nice work guys, love the start-up image!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Idea for Software Update

This is probably an old idea, but I haven't seen it around recently (or at all in my case). Spotlight may not be the key to world peace, but at least Apple provides a way to get your special file format indexed. Wouldn't it be nice if Software Update allowed a way for developers to register their app so that users could be notified through a unified interface? Yes, I know there are apps from various mac update sites that do something very similar to this. This would be much simpler for the user, even if it does put a little more load onto the developer.

I guess it would be similar to how Windows Update knows about a few of the non-Windows components on your system (video, nic drivers, etc) only better.


By now you've heard about Aperture, Apple's new pro-level imaging app. Is it iPhoto on steroids? iView on crack? Photoshop on lithium? Nobody can decide. I blathered more about it here, but if you're really curious and you happen to be within driving distance of NYC you should head on over to the PhotoPlus Expo today or this weekend and see for yourself. I hear Apple has a big booth and I don't think it's for the iPod Shuffle.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


gDisk does pretty much what you think it does, which is basically store files in your gmail account. Which is, for the most part, "cool." It works pretty much how you expect it to work, by creating draft messages and attaching the file. It has the concept of "categories" locally, which correspond to labels on the gmail side. Why they don't just say "labels" is beyond me.

But what doesn't it do? It does not act as a mounted drive like it's Windows and Linux counterparts. It's not a huge deal, and I'm glad something like this finally came out for OS X. But, and you knew it was coming, it's just one more app that has to be launched. Having file system integration saves you that much.

Found via digg (which is the new slashdot, and by "slashdot" I mean "annoying community-driven site").

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Real Player direct-ish download

I needed to install Real Player on my new PowerBook and remembered something about the BBC making the whole process less bothersome. After some Googling and testing I ended up with this link to the BBC site as the most direct entry point. From there you click on the Mac OS X download link, which takes you to Real's site where you choose a mirror. If you try to simply use the URL from the Mac OS X download link alone, referrer checking on Real's site will throw you back to the main Real download page and will subject you to all their silly info-gathering.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Adium instead of iChat

It is easy to get sucked into Apple's applications that come with OS X, particularly when you compare them to the lame ones that Microsoft includes with XP. But there are ones that are better.

I wasn't all that keen on using IM a few years ago, but it was convenient for a few friends I had. When I first launched iChat, I was quite impressed. I've been using it a few years, and became surprisingly fond of it.

Then Tim Bray recommended Adium, and I took a look at it. In short, if you like iChat but don't use the voice capabilities, you may love Adium. You can make the contacts window much more compact, you can have all your chats in one tabbed window, Adium integrates many more IM services than iChat, and you can change the color schemes easily. If you have a long list of chat partners on different services, Adium will cause you to remove iChat from the dock.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Unix for Mac OS X Tiger

Now available: Unix for OS X 10.4 Tiger: Visual QuickPro Guide, Second Edition by Matisse Enzer, published by Peachpit Press. A great intro to Unix for the curious Mac owner.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

LaunchBar screencast (and discount)

Reposted from my blog:

ScreenCastsOnline and MacTV have posted a great screencast that demonstrates some of the wonders of LaunchBar. I'm a longtime fan and user of LaunchBar, but it can be hard to evangelize because it's so unlike anything most users know. (Spotlight has changed that a bit, but that's a post unto itself.)

I thought the use of the Keyboard Viewer was particularly clever. When the utility you're demonstrating has "Keep your hands on the keyboard" as its motto, just following the mouse won't do.

At the end of the screencast, Tom gives a 20% discount code for any LaunchBar orders made until November 30th, 2005. Sweet!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Pixel mania

Jonathan Rentzsch has an amusing post today about his near-Siracusan UI obsessions.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Beware the Palm Installer

Over on this dire warning about the Palm Installer 4.2.1c:
I have just examined the contents of the Palm Desktop 4.2.1 Revision C package installer, and I have come to the conclusion that either PalmOne is intentionally trying to damage our computers, or the software is a trojan horse that someone uploaded in place of the real software.

After the program files are installed, the installer runs a shell script called "postflight" that attempts to "fix" any permissions issues which may prevent the program from running properly. Unfortunately, the script violates the most basic programming principle in the universe - thou shalt not alter the files of programs other than thyself - and it does it so blatantly that I can only assume malicious intent.

Read the rest of that post for details.

Flash back to the iTunes Installer of Death....

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Missing the comments? You're missing out

A little editorial aside: if you're reading this blog via RSS you might be missing out on what is occassionally the best part of it - the comments. And many thanks to everyone who's been leaving comments, especially those that expand the body of our knowledge. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled iPod rumours.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

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One of my favourite things about the chewy Unix core of OS X is all the bizarre comman line utils floating around in there. Jonathan Rentzsch writes about uuidgen in What A Universally Unique Product Name!.
UID stands for "Uli's Unique Item Description". Young Uli originally invented it on a TRS-80 model 100 while on holiday in the Harz mountains, for the purpose of naming every bacterial species he scraped off his boots.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Useful contextual menus for images

There's a boat-load of technologies in OS X that I rarely ever touch beyond the basics and contextual menus are one of those (services would be another; I think that I've never used the Services... menu). However in the past couple of weeks I've found two contextual menus that I really like, both of which operate on images.
The Dimensionizer
The Dimensionizer is a contextual menu plugin for Mac OS X that allows you to discover the dimensions (height and width) of virtually any image with a single click.

Icon2Image is a contextual menu plug-in that you use to convert file, folder and disk icons into images. Any image format supported by your installed version of Quicktime is available for conversion. Standard formats include include JPEG, TIFF, PNG, PICT etc.
Maybe I'll even get me one of those fancy two-button mice if this contextual menu thing takes off.