PigPog » Apple http://pigpog.com It's just words and pictures Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Macintosh Plus http://pigpog.com/2014/11/22/macintosh-plus/ http://pigpog.com/2014/11/22/macintosh-plus/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 20:00:00 +0000 http://pigpog.com/?p=17431 Macintosh Plus

An old Mac, as part of the WEEE Man sculpture at the Eden Project.

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Eye Play http://pigpog.com/2014/01/13/eye-play/ http://pigpog.com/2014/01/13/eye-play/#comments Mon, 13 Jan 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://pigpog.com/?p=13558 Eye Play

More experiments with a macro monstrosity – this time, using an old Soligor wide angle lens, held on the front of the Sony 35mm lens. Results probably best described as ‘interesting’. That’s quite some vignette you’ve got going there.

Apple remote.

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How do You Like Them Apples? http://pigpog.com/2013/11/22/how-do-you-like-them-apples/ http://pigpog.com/2013/11/22/how-do-you-like-them-apples/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2013 18:00:00 +0000 http://pigpog.com/?p=12915 How do You Like Them Apples

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A Mini Adventure http://pigpog.com/2013/08/07/a-mini-adventure/ http://pigpog.com/2013/08/07/a-mini-adventure/#comments Wed, 07 Aug 2013 17:30:00 +0000 http://pigpog.com/?p=11504 A Mini Adventure

Stickers containing much that is, to say the least, to the point. Still, Garfield’s looking well, and there’s some classic Apple in there.

Heavily processed in onOne’s Perfect Effects, for lots of bright colour, excessive sharpness, and a silly fake film effect border.

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Civilian Labs Air Manila MacBook Air Sleeve Review http://pigpog.com/2013/03/15/civilian-labs-air-manila/ http://pigpog.com/2013/03/15/civilian-labs-air-manila/#comments Fri, 15 Mar 2013 11:00:00 +0000 http://pigpog.com/?p=9478 From a recent spending spree at Heinnie Haynes, the Civilian Labs Air Manila leather sleeve for my MacBook Air may be the only item that won’t get as much use as I’d hoped. And it isn’t the sleeve’s fault at all – it just doesn’t fit where I hoped it would.

When the first MacBook Air was unveiled, Steve Jobs produced it from inside a manila envelope, highlighting how amazingly thin it was. The Air Manila sleeve is a leather sleeve designed to look like a manila envelope.

Civilian Labs Air Manila (7)

It’s a bit brighter in colour, in an orange-yellow ‘mango’ colour. It’s quite a bit thicker than an envelope, too, as it’s made from leather, with a good layer of padding to protect your expensive computer. There’s velcro to keep it closed, but the twist-string closure is there too, completing the envelope look. There’s a really nice quality feel to the whole thing. It even smells nice – it seems like they’ve added a bit of mango scent to the leather. If the bright colour is too much for you, it’s also available in black. I usually go for everything in black, and really don’t like yellow and orange, but the bright cheery colour just seemed right for this.

Civilian Labs Air Manila (1)

It feels like it will provide good protection, and it looks great. The only reason I probably won’t get much use out of it is that it doesn’t quite fit into the bag I bought at the same time. The Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger is roomy enough for the MacBook Air, but not for the Air in the Air Manila sleeve. The sleeve adds a bit too much width.

Given the price, which makes it cheaper than most leather sleeves, and not much more expensive than many non-leather sleeves of much simpler design, it’s easy to recommend the Air Manila. As long as you have space in your bag.

More photos of the Air Manila:

Civilian Labs Air Manila (3) Civilian Labs Air Manila (2) Civilian Labs Air Manila (6) Civilian Labs Air Manila (7) Civilian Labs Air Manila (5) Civilian Labs Air Manila (4) Civilian Labs Air Manila (9) Civilian Labs Air Manila Civilian Labs Air Manila (1) Civilian Labs Air Manila (8)

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111 Days of Uptime Ends http://pigpog.com/2013/02/02/111-days-of-uptime-ends/ http://pigpog.com/2013/02/02/111-days-of-uptime-ends/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 11:00:00 +0000 http://pigpog.com/?p=9010 My MacBook Air had to install a firmware update, which needed to reboot. I felt kind of bad about it, because it had done 111 days without needing to restart, which seems like good going for a tiny notebook computer.

screenshot

Since the fault it fixes is old MacBook Airs stopping working after a large number of recharges, though, it sounded like it was worth doing. I’m not sure I’m close to 1,000 recharges yet, but it’s plugged in and out a few times most days. Now I have to start working on my uptime record again.

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MacBook Air Keyboard Panograph http://pigpog.com/2012/10/14/macbook-air-keyboard-panograph/ http://pigpog.com/2012/10/14/macbook-air-keyboard-panograph/#comments Sun, 14 Oct 2012 11:35:59 +0000 http://pigpog.com/?p=6440 I took a whole bunch of shots of my MacBook Air’s keyboard, with different Hipstamatic settings. PanoEdit didn’t want to stitch them together, so I had to do it the manual way, in Pixelmator.

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Upgrading to MacOS 10.6 Snow Leopard http://pigpog.com/2009/08/31/upgrading-to-macos-10-6-snow-leopard/ http://pigpog.com/2009/08/31/upgrading-to-macos-10-6-snow-leopard/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2009 14:04:18 +0000 http://pigpog.com/?p=4191 [Updated at end]

I hadn’t actually planned to take two days off work so I’d be off for the day of release of Snow Leopard. It just happened that way. I’d booked the time off in order to spend a little time with Sam’s mum (quack, quack). Then, it just happened that the second day I’d booked was the day of release.

So, it would have seemed rude not to go to Exeter, pop into the Apple Store, and pick up a copy of Snow Leopard Family Pack.

So we did.

It was packed. Really, amazingly busy. There were a few people buying Snow Leopard, but most of the crowds were there for Macs, accessories, iPods, support, training, etc. The staff were doing their best, and were doing a nice job of occasionally hurrying down the lines of people, apologising for the delays, and promising to get to everyone soon. I joined a queue after a while, and paid for Snow Leopard. I also had a mouse to sort out, but that’s another story.

I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t in a desperate hurry when we got home, but the pressure was too much. I soon gave in, and stuck the DVD in the drive. I made sure that Time Machine had backed up recently enough, then ploughed in to the upgrade. In a disaster, I figured I could always install again from the original Leopard CD that came with my Mac, and migrate the data and apps from the Time Machine backup.

There was no disaster.

It took around an hour in total, and I was left with a system that worked pretty much the same as it did before, with a few nice little tweaks. Purely subjectively, things feel nice and snappy – I think it’s faster in quite a few places. It’s always difficult to be sure with such things, though, without any real testing.

So far, the only app that didn’t work was CyberDuck, but a quick check for the latest version showed a new beta that worked fine. It turned out, that was the final anti-straw to get me to make a little donation to the developer. It’s a free app, and works really well.

All told, there isn’t a huge amount to get excited about in Snow Leopard, but for the small cost, it seems well worth it. An cheap, easy upgrade that made the OS smaller and faster, whilst polishing a few features.

Surely that shouldn’t seem as strange as it does?

I’m left with just a couple of oddities. Video is jerky in QuickTime, though it may only be when using Perian codexes. Hopefully an update to one or the other will sort it out soon. Also, when I close iTunes, it immediately restarts itself, and hides the window.

Neither are major problems for me, so I’ll just Google them occasionally – answers usually take a little while to appear for a new product.

Update: Found the solution to the iTunes problem. I was running a little app called I Love Stars, which put a control to rate tracks into the menu, hiding itself unless an unrated track was playing. Getting rid if it removed the problem. It wasn’t causing the problem until Snow Leopard, so either something changed, or it was quite a coincidence.

The jerkiness may be more widespread than I’d thought – some YouTube videos seem jerky now, and some animations, too. Aperture’s keyword controls are supposed to slide neatly into view, but actually appeared in a series of jumps, taking a long time to fully display. Right-clicking seems to take a very long time in a few places, too, including iTunes.

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iTunes Store Removes Friction http://pigpog.com/2009/08/13/itunes-store-removes-friction/ http://pigpog.com/2009/08/13/itunes-store-removes-friction/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2009 14:04:35 +0000 http://pigpog.com/?p=4102 If software is cheap enough, there’s very little reason not to buy it, if it’s useful to you. The main thing that puts me off at that point isn’t spending the money. It’s the time and effort taken to make the purchase, then enter a serial number and store it somewhere safe for the future.

It’s not really a problem I have with buying, so much a little friction in the process.

That’s what the iTunes store does. It removes that friction. I see an app I like the look of, I tap a button, then tap again to confirm. Moments later, i’m using the app.

That speed and simplicity makes me buy more software. Generally, I’m buying at a low price, but it’s easy, so I do it.

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Switching to Mac Part 4: In Use http://pigpog.com/2009/06/14/switching-to-mac-part-4-in-use/ http://pigpog.com/2009/06/14/switching-to-mac-part-4-in-use/#comments Sun, 14 Jun 2009 16:22:51 +0000 http://pigpog.com/?p=4012 This post is part of a series of posts about switching to a Mac – here are links to all the posts:

It’s taken me a long time to get around to writing this post, but here it is at last.

When I last posted about switching, I’d just got the machine unboxed and started up. I was impressed with the experience so far, but hadn’t really started using Mac OS yet.

How did I find the machine to use? Did it just work?

Generally good, and yes and no.

The User Interface

The new interface didn’t take as much getting used to as I’d expected. The Dock is quite a nice thing to use, and I even quite liked the animated effects. I switched the interface to grey, getting rid of the blue highlights – the less colour involved in the basic interface, the better you can judge colours when fiddling with photos.

Having the menu bar fixed to the top of the screen, when it relates to the window you’re using at the time, seemed a little odd, but again, it wasn’t as difficult to get used to as I’d expected. The location of it doesn’t entirely make sense, but you always know where it is, and it’s very quick to get to.

The strangest part was finding myself having no idea how to do some quite simple tasks. I already knew that Mac apps usually arrive bundled in a .dmg file – a Disk iMaGe. It was no surprise to double-click one, and find it mounted itself on the desktop, and auto-ran the contents. I knew I had to drag it to the trash can to unmount the image. I had no idea what I had to do with the contents to install the application, though. I had to Google. Just to find out how to install an app.

It turned out to be quite straightforward. For most apps, the window that opens up contains the app itself, and sometimes a shortcut to your Applications folder. You just need to drag the app into your Applications folder, and that’s it installed. Some apps actually do need to run an installer, though, so it isn’t entirely consistent. Uninstalling an app is usually just a matter of taking the app back out of the Applications folder. If it needed an installer, though, there isn’t always a straightforward way of uninstalling. As far as I can tell, though, even these apps only commonly add a few bits to a folder of their own under one of the ‘Library’ folders.

An app is just a single ‘.app’ file. Except it isn’t really. I guessed what they really were, as it’s the same as the old Acorn Archimedes used. The .app ‘file’ is really a folder, which the OS makes look like a file. Double-clicking on it lauches the application, by running a file or script from inside the folder. Under normal circumstances, you don’t need to know or care that the app is a folder. If you need or want to, though, you can open the folder by right-clicking and selecting ‘Show Package Contents’. Probably best not to fiddle with the innards of your apps, though, unless you know what you’re doing.

Speaking of the Archimedes, the dock has its similarities to the old Archimedes bar – apps live there when they’re running, and can stay running there even when their last window is closed. Unlike the Archimedes, though, you can get any app to stay there, even when closed.

The only part of the interface I still find frustrating is creating new documents. I was in the habit of using the ‘New…’ right-click menu in Windows, and it had always made sense to me. Go to where I want the document, create a document of the type I want, then open it and start working. Many people have never worked that way, and would find the Mac way of doing things perfectly natural – run the application you want to use, start working, then save the document through the application when you’re ready, using the Save dialog to put it where you want it.

I’ve always found that an awkward way of working – the Save As dialog isn’t a nice way to get around the filesystem on any platform, and until you get around to saving the document, you have a load of data sitting there with no home. The first save is harder to do, so you put it off longer than you should, and have the risk of losing unsaved work. I’ve found a couple of neat work-arounds for this whole issue, though, which I’ll post about another time.

The Hardware

The hardware is beautiful. It all feels wonderfully solid and well-made, too. I get on surprisingly well with the tiny wireless keyboard. I mostly love the Mighty Mouse. The little scroll ball on the top of the mouse, though, gums up fairly often. Apple, it seems, forgot that there was a reason we all gave up on mice with balls. The same thing on a smaller scale, being rubbed around by your finger all day, with no way of opening it up to clean it, is a bit of a bad move. I’ve always been able to get it going again with a bit of firm rubbing with the mouse upside-down, but it feels like a bit of a design fault. On an Apple product. That’s just wrong.

Software

There’s very little software I miss. TrackMania would be nice to have back, but it’s not worth dual-booting or running a VM for.

Oddly, for a machine so rooted in design and photography, image editing software is the one area I haven’t quite got settled on yet. On Windows, I used to use The GIMP. It’s available for the Mac, but it isn’t a pleasant experience. It runs under X11, so it doesn’t get its own menu bar, and doesn’t act like a Mac app. There are a few decent independent attempts at making image editors native to the Mac, so I tried pretty much everything I could find. Once I had a few options, I tried making the same set of simple edits to the same source image in them all. Photoshop Elements stood out as being much quicker and easier than the others. Making a selection was much easier, and making changes to the selection ended up with something that looked right, while the others ended up looking a mess.

I haven’t quite taken the plunge and bought it yet, but I probably will soon.

I actually do very little editing of the sort that needs a real image editor, though. On Windows, I’d been trying out Adobe Lightroom, but really didn’t get on with it. It felt slow and awkward, and seemed to have real performance problems when dealing with the number of images I had. I could get around it by splitting into multiple libraries, but switching between them would be more hassle than I wanted. I bought Aperture at the same time as my Mac, and loved it from the start. I still do. Almost everything I want to do with my photos can be done without leaving Aperture, and with a neat little plugin, I can export directly to my Flickr account.

The Result

I’m glad I made the switch. I still use Windows at work, and switching between the two every day makes things a little harder, but there are far more things I miss from the Mac when I’m using Windows than the other way around.

A colleague told me he’d bought a Mac because he hates computers. I told him I bought one because I love computers.

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