Apple Delivers Speed Boost to Creative Suite

My copy of Adobe Creative Suite CS2 arrived last night (woohoo!), making me a very happy man. This morning, as I perused my feeds, I came across the great news (via John Nack, via JD on EP) that Apple’s release of the 10.4.8 system update includes significant improvements to Rosetta, the software that ensures older applications will continue to run on newer platforms (like my Intel-based notebook). These improvements, according to Macworld’s benchmarks, provide a 34% improvement for the CS2 suite on the MacBook Pro! The tests specifically relate to image manipulation, so that number actually matters. The same improvements had only a minor impact on non-graphics oriented applications like MS Word, which gained a tiny bump of 3%.

While this isn’t quite as good as Intel-native versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, et al, it is a much appreciated and unexpected improvement. Thanks Apple!

Software for a Switcher

Update

I’ve published a new list of software: My OS X Software Setup

In the not-so-distant future I’ll pick up I’ve just purchased a MacBook Pro, cementing my switch from the world of Windows to that of OS X (well, with occasional visits to the land of Gates). The switch brings the opportunity to try, and adopt new software, so here’s a list that I’m compiling of software that I will install, or at the very least, try on my new Mac:

  • Quicksilver – “A unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data.” Additional info available:
  • Firefox – The ultimate browser
  • Camino – Another great browser that “combines the awesome visual and behavioral experience that has been central to the Macintosh philosophy with the powerful web-browsing capabilities of the Gecko rendering engine.” I look forward to running it through its paces.
  • Thunderbird – My favorite e-mail client on any every platform!
  • Adium X – A great chat client that I’ve used on the battered ol’ beige Mac in the past. It is the equivalent of the Windows-only Trillian.
  • TextMate – Considered the editor for developing with Ruby on Rails on OS X
  • Apple Developer Tools (Xcode)
  • DbVisualizer – “a feature rich, intuitive and cross-platform database tool for developers and DBAs, providing a single powerful interface for a variety of databases. DbVisualizer supports simultaneous database connections, it lets you explore and manage database objects, execute SQL queries, visualize information and a lot more.”
  • Netflix Freak – “a full-featured Mac OS X application for managing your rental queue that enhances the Netflix experience. The program offers many unique features not available on the Netflix website.”
  • Dock Dividers – Visual dividers to organize the dock.
  • BootCamp – Dual boot windows XP and OS X!!!!! The last piece has fallen into place.
    • Windows XP Home – Seein’ as I won’t be running my ol’ PC any longer, I can just move the install over to the Mac.
    • IE 6 – For testing
    • Mozilla Firefox – For testing, though it shouldn’t vary much, if at all compared with Firefox on OS X
  • Web Development
  • Open Office – A multi-platform, open source office suite, compatible with the big boys.
  • Delicious Library – This program harnesses a Web cam (in this case, the built-in iSight) as a barcode scanner. Simply point the camera “at the barcode on the back of any book, movie, music, or video game. Delicious Library does the rest. The barcode is scanned and within seconds the item’s cover appears on your digital shelves filled with tons of in-depth information downloaded from one of six different web sources from around the world.” I’ve wanted to play with this for quite a long time!
  • Open Terminal Here – An AppleScript that sits in the tool bar of finder windows, allowing an easy way to open a terminal session in the directory being viewed.
  • FontExplorer X – A free font manager from the fine folks at Linotype. This is another app that I’ve wanted to use for quite a while, but have been unable to as it’s Mac-only.
  • Carbon Copy Cloner – Creates an exact replica of your hard disk. Ideal for creating a restore-image.
  • RSync – RSync already comes with OS X, but I’m noting this for the helpful tutorial.
  • NetNewsWire – I’ve used the light version of this news aggregator in the past, and am looking forward to trying out the full version.
  • Disk Inventory X – ‘[S]hows the sizes of files and folders in a special graphical way called “treemaps“.’
  • Fugu – A spiffy little FTP utility.
  • Cyberduck – Another FTP utility I plan to try.
  • Launchd Editor – Launchd replaces cron in OS X. This app is a “graphical editor for launchd’s property list files. It makes sure that the proper keys are of the proper values and lets you enter in whatever information you want in those keys.”

Useful Customizations & Recommendations

I’ll be adding more over the next few days, and appreciate any suggestions you may have!

Boot Camp

The pieces are falling into place… My shift to the Mac will be complete, now that Apple has released Boot Camp, software that will allow users to run Windows XP on Intel based Macs. A tasty quote from the release:

“Apple has no desire or plan to sell or support Windows, but many customers have expressed their interest to run Windows on Apple’s superior hardware now that we use Intel processors,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch.”

Life. Is. Good.

Now… to go order my MacBook Pro.

XP on MacTel is official

The fine folks at Engadget bring word that the installation of Windows XP on an Intel-powered Mac has been verified, generating $13,000 of prize money for the winner, narf2006. It sounds like extensive hacking was involved, so it is by no means ready for the public, but it should provide a starting point from which developers can build an open source project to spread the love. More info to be posted on the official site.

Wireless network-aware homepage

From Mac Geekery comes the wireless network aware homepage

Given a list of trusted SSID’s it will test internet connection and:

1. if connected to a trusted network it will load homepage if connected or display an error if not connected

2. if connected to another network it will display SSID and connection status

3. if not connected to a wireless network, show homepage if internet detected (like ethernet or whatever) else display an offline page

I can’t wait to get me a MacBook Pro so I can try out all of these OS X tricks and tips!

Free Ruler for Mac OS X

Free Ruler for Mac OS X

Features:

  • A horizontal and vertical ruler which can be used independently or simultaneously.
  • Measurement in pixels, inches, picas, or centimeters.
  • Automatic alignment of rulers.
  • The ability to group rulers and move them around as a unit.
  • Shadowless rulers with customizable transparency.
  • Interactive tick marks which follow the mouse location for more precise measurement.
  • Independent resizing of rulers, from 200 pixels to 5000 pixels in length.
  • Single key shortcuts for most ruler functions.
  • Conversion assistant to set ruler resolution based on screen size and resolution.
  • Unit converter utility for converting numbers between different units of measure.
  • Did I mention it’s free?

OS X Annoyances & Solutions

As I make the switch (slowly) to OS X, I keep discovering new and exciting things about the operating system. Occasionally though, I find some annoying aspects that impede my progress, and cause me to question my desire to shift platforms. In addition to the fact that HP hasn’t bothered to write OS 10.3 drivers for our scanner (HP 5370c), which we specifically bought because it was friendly to both platforms, I have run into a problem with using a USB trackball on our fileserver, which runs 10.2.8.

Luckily, in both cases there appear to be independent developers solving the problem.

Scanner Drivers

The TWAIN SANE Interface for Mac OS X makes use of the existing SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) project, which was originally developed for LINUX. I haven’t tested it yet, but I have hope.

USB Trackball/Mouse Drivers

According to a thread at macosxhints the trackball problem can be solved with the purchase of a shareware driver called USB Overdrive. The project site provides a great summary of the software’s purpose:

The USB Overdrive X is a driver for Mac OS X 10.2.4 or later (including Panther) that handles any USB mouse, trackball, joystick and gamepad from any manufacturer and lets you configure them either globally or on a per-application basis.

I look forward to trying it out with a Microsoft Trackball Explorer.

I will post the results of both tests soon.

Change File Associations in OS X

Get InfoUpdate: I’ve revised the directions slightly to show the difference between 10.3 & 10.4, plus I’ve added a screen shot.

Just a quick note to document how to change which applications are used to open specific file types.

All you have to do, is select a file in the Finder and ‘Get Information’ (cmd + i or right-click > Get Info or cmd + click > Get Info) for it. Then toggle the ‘Open with…’ option and choose the proper application.

To make sure that every file of that type (every php file for example) uses the new application, make sure you choose that option below the application drop down box (it may be grayed out until you’ve chosen an alternate application from the current default:

10.3: “The generic application for documents of this type”
10.4: “Use this application to open all documents like this.” > Click the Change All button.

Source: macosxhints – Changing application/file associations