Don’t Let It XPire

Seems everyone who tries Windows Vista comes to at least one of two conclusions (if not both):

  1. Please don’t let Windows XP Expire – There’s even a petition for those in this camp. And it’s getting press.
  2. Mac Time – Enough said. Mac OS X 10.5 isn’t perfect, but is anything? It’s about as close as anyone has gotten.

It will be interesting to see the fate of XP.

Resource Forks Suck

Dear Apple,

Please kill off resource forks. They add an unnecessary complexity to data archiving and management that’s unneeded by todays standards. Since Mac OS X it seems only a few places exist where resource forks are actually used. For example the older pre-Mac OS X “font suitcases” used a resource fork, while the modern “Data Fork Suitcase Format” as it’s name implies, does not1.

One could argue keeping resource forks is good for legacy purposes. But since Mac OS X 10.5 can no longer run Classic even on PPC systems, is there really a need?

If that’s really not possible, could you please make rsync suck a little less?

Ideally since rsync 3.0 looks like it will be a lot better, make it a high profile download for Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 similar to what was done to push Safari 3.0. That would be a nice stop gap solution.

I hope you’ll fix this since it’s a real pain in the butt for people like me.

Thanks,
Robert

1. 25251 Mac OS X: Font file formats

Apple Mail And Folder Management

I use Thunderbird on Windows, but from time to time like to fire up Apple Mail when on my Mac.

Why is it Apple Mail on Leopard doesn’t seem to allow me to view a few mailboxes nested under the inbox on an IMAP account? I haven’t tried under POP3, though I’d venture it’s the same limitation.

You would think they would at least show it linear if it couldn’t display it under inbox. Instead what it does is just not show it. Perhaps it’s important for me to be able to presort my inbox to make it manageable.

MacWorld SF 2008

Another year, another great day of news coverage. I’m obsessed with watching it evolve and monitor several sites throughout the keynote. As expected this was a pretty big one. I suspect this year will contain the most product announcements of any year for Apple. They have a lot of products due for a refresh and announcements expected. Even Steve himself said:

All of this in the first two weeks, and we’ve got fifty more weeks to go.

In all the keynotes I’ve followed, this was the most aggressive agenda. 2008 is going to rock for Apple products.

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Calculator Phoning Home? Not Really

Wasn’t sure what this is all about, but according to Little Snitch 2.0 (which is awesome by the way) the Calculator in Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) apparently phones home. Based on the url http://wu-calculator.apple.com one would assume that’s checking for updates (wu typically stands for web update). Though I find this somewhat odd considering Mac OS X has an update system that’s all encompassing. I decided to take a closer look. Earlier it was said that 10.5 was phoning home, though that turned out to not be the case.

Calculator Phoning Home

So I did a little sniffing around (literally packet sniffing), and here’s what I found. On load it sends the following (seemingly blank) request to apple for currency conversion info. The response is the exchange rate. I’ve got a copy for reference below for anyone who wants to see. Calculator seems to use CFNetwork to communicate (not surprising). What’s interesting is that this info doesn’t seem to be cached, every time you load calculator it’s requested.

So yes, it does technically ping the mothership, but no it doesn’t seem to send back any data worth being concerned about. The only thing noteworthy is the cookie. The cookie itself is characteristic of Omniture, an analytics company (who provides analytics services to Apple among many of the largest sites on the web). This seems like a side effect of the implementation (likely sharing stuff from webkit). I don’t think Omniture is pinged during this transaction, so unless Apple were recording that cookie and matching it against web analytics data. I’d consider that extremely unlike even if I put a tin foil hat on my head. I guess Apple could further neutralize any privacy concerns by modifying the implementation to not send a cookie. At that point they would only have your IP to go by (which could be behind a proxy and therefore isn’t very reliable). I don’t think think this is a privacy risk, but also don’t think it would be so bad for Apple to modify and drop the cookie to make it more anonymous. Or at least give the option to not request data every time.

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Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

I got my copy of Mac OS X 10.5 earlier this week. Bought it from J&R (via Amazon) since it was $99 + shipping, less than Amazon itself was selling it for. For some reason both of them are able to undercut Apple (even with a corporate discount) which seemed odd. Here’s my rundown of the new OS during the first 24 hours.

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Virtualization For Mac OS X?

Virtualization is a great way to improve reliability, take advantage of hardware and scale. For example Mozilla’s build team uses it to manage all the build instances that used to be on individual machines. These servers essentially compile code all day long. One problem with virtualization and cross platform building is that Mac OS X doesn’t run in any virtualization environment (because of Apple’s interest in selling hardware). This means while you can run Windows and Linux on the same boxes, you still need to have and maintain separate Xserve’s for the purpose of compiling for Mac OS X. Looks like Mac OS X Server 10.5 (and only server edition) now has a license that permits running virtual. While great, this makes it pretty expensive to do things like a build farm. You can’t just buy a Mac OS X client, even though that’s all you really need. You need to buy server.

Currently, there’s nothing other than PearPC that can run it (and PearPC is worthlessly slow). Hopefully VMWare will update at some point to support it. At that point, things can get interesting.