NeoOffice for Intel

Fri, Jun 30, 2006 04:45 AM
I am a long time user of OpenOffice on Windows and Linux. It does more than I need it to. I have installed it on several friends PCs and they have had no problem using it either. So, I knew that would be one of my big problems on the Mac. You can install OpenOffice for the Mac. It uses X11 though. That means its slow and not Mac like at all.

NeoOffice has been around for a while for PPC Macs, but tomorrow, a public alpha of the software will be available for Intel Macs. Last week, I decided to go ahead and pay the very low $10 to get a copy ahead of time.

It's everything I hoped it would be. Its fast and gets the job done. It uses all the Mac keyboard shortcuts and uses the standard Mac menu. The long time Mac users may not like it as well as I do. The dialogs do not look and feel like a Mac. They are the standard OO.org widgets. As a long time user for OO.org, I have no problem using it. In fact, its good to be home again with my office suite.



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macally icestation

Tue, Jun 27, 2006 04:09 AM
I recently got a macally icestation for my MacBook Pro. It works quite nicely. Their site markets it to work with Powerbooks and other laptops. The only problem I see is that the CD slot is on the front of the MacBook Pro and therefore putting in CDs when it is on the icestation is a bit of a hassle. I don't use a lot of CDs though. Overall, it's much better than having the MacBook Pro just sitting on the desk.



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Matias USB 2.0 Keyboard for Mac

Tue, Jun 6, 2006 05:15 PM
Matias is well known these days for their Tactile Pro Mac keyboard. Its uses mechanical keys and kind of addresses a lot of the problems that some users have with the Apple keyboard. Things like the function keys not being spaced into groups.

However, their web site is pushing this new USB 2.0 Keyboard. They have a Mac only version and a Mac/PC version. Its closer to a full size keyboard that I have been using for years now. I also liked the idea of a USB 2.0 hub on my keyboard. So, I ordered two. One for the office and one for the house.

I got them, unpacked one and hooked it up. Well, at this point, I see the funky dual USB cable. One is a USB 1.1 cable and the other is a 2.0 cable. I then realize that the keyboard nor its hub is 2.0. There is a single port on top of the keyboard that is USB 2.0. So, basically, there is a USB 2.0 cable embedded to the keyboard. That's it. I looked at the web site and sure enough, at the bottom of the page it mentions all this. However, both there and in the docs, they show a little more hospitable cable. So, on that I was willing to live and learn.

So, I started typing. The first thing I noticed was that the keys were a little small. The number pad and other keys like the F-keys were normal sized. My hands did not find the cursor keys or the page up, page down group very easily. I chalked all this up to having a new keyboard. The more I used it however, the more I felt the quality of the keys was not what I was used to. Still, I pushed on.

A day went by and I noticed that one "feature" of the keyboard was really starting to annoy me. Their innovation on this keyboard was to move the caps lock key from the normal spot and cram it on the lower right side with the command, option and control key. In the place of the normal caps lock is an extra control key. WTF!?!? This became very annoying. I am a programmer, so, I come across things that are all upper case more than say a writer or graphic designer would. This was the last straw for me. I am sending them back.



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Mac Security

Sat, May 13, 2006 05:35 PM
Seems a lot of folks are talking about security on the Mac these days. I read another switchers blog and he has ranted about it. Then I checked out Ctrl-Alt-Del today and found their latest comic. I have to admit I laughed.

Myself, I am following the same pattern I did on Windows. Don't do anything stupid ( I include running anything named Outlook in that ). Believe it or not, I never ran anti anything software on Windows. And I never ( I promise never ) had a virus or malware installed on my system.

Of course, I realize that most people can't or won't follow that head. They will click that email from someone they don't know to see a picture of their favorite celeb in the nude. And they will pay the price.



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Intel in a PPC world

Thu, Apr 20, 2006 09:05 AM
Well, I am mostly converted over. There are a couple of apps I use that don't have Intel/Universal binaries yet. One is X-Chat Aqua and the other is eSVN. Both are ports of *nix applications. X-Chat is a full port to Cocoa. eSVN uses the QT toolkit.

The other frustration was fink. My PPC coworker uses it daily. I am not so lucky yet. Gentoo's packages are for PPC also.

MySQL has presented a challenge as well. We are still using 4.0 on our servers. There are some backwards compatibility issues that are keeping us at 4.0. MySQL has a nice Mac package. But, because 4.0 is not a current release, they only offer PPC binaries. So, I will have to build it myself to get 4.0. I have been working around the problems for now and using 4.1. Maybe this is a good time to bite the bullet and change our code to support 4.1+.



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Color Picker

Sat, Apr 15, 2006 05:44 PM
When I was on Linux, I used a tool called KColorEdit. It was a standalone color picker that was part of KDE. It would allow me to input a hex color code, adjust via RGB or via HSV (Hue, Saturation and Value).

I was dismayed when I starting looking for a Mac equivalent. Most things I found fit one of two categories. They were either a plugin for something else or they were a "web safe" color picker. Now, sure many of the latter were old, but some were not. Web safe colors are so 1998.

I enlisted the help of some Mac friends. They pointed me here and there. I found a nice trial-ware application called Color Schemer. But, its $50. All I need is a color picker. They do have a cool web page though that lets you do some color matching.

Along the way, I also found a hex plugin for the Mac OS X color picker from Lucky Software. But, there seemed to be no way to invoke this from within jEdit.

Then, a buddy found this post on MacOSXHints. It describes how to make the OS X color picker into an application. W00T!!

Thanks Finney.



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iSight and my hat

Wed, Apr 12, 2006 09:43 AM


My kids got me a hat for my birthday. I think it fits me. Took this with the built in iSight. I have been happy with the iSight's quality. I figured it would suck.



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Networking works

Wed, Apr 12, 2006 06:49 AM
Windows networking is a little mysterious. Sometimes, you just have to reboot the machine no matter what control panel or even command line stuff you try.

Linux is much more geeky. But, you have awesome control. You know exactly what is going on.

However, on my Mac, you just don't worry about it. The wireless works, I changed the static IP on my router for the Mac today. I use one local IP here so I can route stuff in and out of the network for my development. I then with to the Network Preferences to refresh my DHCP lease. Well, crap, its already updated. And, I never lost connection to IRC, IM, email, anything. This is the kind of thing that made me swtich.


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Power cord woes

Wed, Apr 12, 2006 05:32 AM
When I saw the power cord connector in the keynote, I thought it was cool. After having one, I don't like it. It comes unplugged all the time. My Mac regularly warns me that I am on reserve battery power. I look down and the cord has come unplugged.

On a related note, having all the connectors on the sides is inconvenient too. When I sit with my MacBook, I regularly sit with my legs crossed. The connectors on the side hit my legs. This of course knocks the power connector out. I am afraid I am going to damage the USB port.

Maybe I will get used to it.


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Fink + Intel = huh?

Tue, Apr 11, 2006 01:48 PM
Coming from Gentoo Linux, I was quite used to a good package manager for system tools. I had heard good things about fink. So, I grabbed the package from their site and installed it. That seemed to go just fine. The first thing I wanted was wget. wget is a great command line tool for downloading files. Its especially useful when you are already in the shell. The install of wget failed. (I did later discover that curl is on the system.) At first it was problems with compiling (see below). I got the compile issues worked out. It still failed. I got an error complaining that the package was for ppc and the target was i386 or something along those lines. I started digging around on the fink site and Google and discovered that fink is not quite ready for the Intel Macs. I had to compile it from scrap (as they call it, boostrap). No biggie, I was used to that. This process took a while. But, after that, it still will not install stuff. fink now reports that it can not find a package for wget. WTF?!?! I am kind of stuck on fink now. I could dig more, but one of my goals for moving to the Mac was to get away from fighting with command line stuff all the time.

If anyone is running fink on Intel Macs with success, please let me know.


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