Entries Tagged 'Mac' ↓

ZFS Appears in Recent OS X Build

I wrote a while ago about the utter coolness of Sun’s new filesystem, ZFS.  There were rumors back then that it was being ported to OS X.  I’ve been running a ZFS RAID-Z volume on my home file server since before that article and absolutely love it.  Members of Apple’s Developer Connection have seen ZFS options in the latest build of Tiger suggesting that this support is near.  When it comes out in prime time (and has had it’s tires adequately kicked) I’ll have no reservations about reformatting my MacBook Pro.

Apple provides free Aperture test drive

Apple is providing a test drive of their (totally awesome) Aperture application for photographers.  Click here to receive your free 30-day license.  Apple describes Aperture as:

The first all-in-one post-production tool for serious photographers, Aperture provides everything you need for after the shoot. Using its comprehensive collection of tools, you can easily import, manage, edit, catalog, organize, adjust, publish, export, and archive your images more effectively and efficiently than ever before.

I’ve been using it for about 6 weeks and I adore it.  It has a steep learning curve, but it has more customizability than any other photo application I’ve used.  I’ll be writing some recipes on it once I feel that I’ve mastered some of the capabilities well enough.

So, if you have a Mac and a camera and are serious about your photographs, give it a spin!

MAMPStack at BitRock

While perusing the development downloads at Apple a few weeks ago, I noticed an offering from BitRock called MAMPStack. I hadn’t heard the term MAMP before, but was more than familiar with LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP). Substitute Mac for Linux and you’ve got MAMP. The folks at BitRock have put together some essentially one-click install packages for both LAMP and MAMP (click on their Web Stacks link). I’d bookmarked the link back when I saw it since I was much too chicken to install it on my iBook and have been looking forward to trying it on the new MB Pro.

It installed very quickly and, after following a few post-install steps, everything works fine. They even have phpMyAdmin, one of my favorite web apps, preinstalled. During the install process it asks for just a bare minimum of information (admin passwords). It includes a little rc script to start and stop one or all processes. I’m impressed by their packaging.

They have other intruiging items at their site as well. When I get a chance, I’ll definitely look into their other products. One thing that caught my eye was their multi-platform InstallBuilder which offers text, gui, and unattended custom installers for a nice selection of platforms.

MAMPStack is a great quick-start package for a lot of folks who have compiler-itis. Anyone who needs to tweak their install will need to follow their own path, but if you want a generic test and development platform on your Mac in 5 minutes, you can’t beat it.

Christmas in October?

FedEx should now see a serious decrease in the load on their tracking servers since my new MacBook Pro has been delivered and I can get on with doing something other than hitting reload. As an aside, wouldn’t it be cool if we could get real-time package location via GPS tracking on the trucks…

A few months back, I switched over 100% to an iBook G4 from a generic XP laptop. Despite slowness due to age, I thoroughly enjoyed OS X. Being a UNIX man, I love having a real shell at my disposal, all of my old friends right there, ready to work for me. While this new laptop still has the new laptop smell (which, I might add, as a new-computer-smell connoisseur, is exceptional), here are my first impressions:

  • Magnetic power code – brilliant idea. How long have there been laptops? Why has no one come up with this before? The power cord has strong magnets that hold it in place but allow it to pop off easily in case of trouble. I’d seen the ads and knew to expect it, but I’m impressed with their implementation of it.
  • Keyboard nirvana – I’ve never loved a laptop keyboard. Until now. There is something soft about the edges of the keys and the texture is so pleasant to the touch. Keyboards are a personal thing and I suspect that there are those who wouldn’t care for it, but loving one is certainly something I didn’t expect.
  • Night mode LCD/keyboard – I knew that the keyboard was backlit, but never knew just how that worked. It turns out that there are two light sensors near the top of the speaker grills on either side of the keyboard. When both register darkness, the LCD brightness dims and the keyboard becomes backlit. So cool. I often wake up in the wee hours of the morning and like to make sure the Internet is still there, but I always dread the daytime mode LCD brightness in the 3AM darkness. Yeah, I could turn on the room lights, but what fun is that? I can already tell that this will be an appreciated feature.
  • Lights, (tiny little) camera, action! – Apple found some way to sneak a video camera into the flip top just above the LCD. I have to admit that I clicked the Photo Booth application first off to try out the little camera. Very impressive for its size. David thinks he can watch me code now whenever he wants. I’m going to have to make a 15 minute video of me actually coding and find a way to loop it.
  • Front row – Kinda like Windows Media Center Edition, only it works. Jennifer and I bought an early MCE box, enamored with the idea, but we were severely disappointed with the implementation. This laptop came with an old-school Shuffle-like remote control which controls Front Row (which I looked for in the applications folder before I even noticed the remote). I’ll have to play with it more, but I like what I’ve seen so far.

I’ll have more comments as I break it in and pics tomorrow when I have some daylight. Oh, it’s blazing fast, too. Double-click to coding in Zend: 7 seconds (it took about a minute and a half on the iBook and don’t even try running it with Photoshop at the same time). I hope the new laptop smell lingers.

Who else uses a mac?

Jennifer and I travelled to Nashville this weekend to attend a seminar by Alton Brown. She has written about the experience here (although there will be more to come, I’m sure). When I have time, I’ll write more about the experience as well. For now, I’ll say that Alton in person is as quick-witted as he appears on his shows, as entertaining, and a genuine, generous guy.

Oh, and he’s a mac user! I had my iBook with me and was inspired by his MacBook on stage to ask him to sign mine. He went all out and topped it off with his AB sketch.

AB signed laptop