Thursday, November 15, 2007

something old, something new

Apple has added what must surely be the last chapter to the book of Mac OS X 10.4, a.k.a. Tiger. Version 10.4.11 was posted yesterday. That's not to say that there won't still be a few footnotes added, after all Apple also just posted a pair of security updates to Mac OS X 10.3.9, a.k.a. Panther, which was superseded by Tiger more than two years ago.

Looking forward, the rumor mill is abuzz with talk about a soon-to-be-released ultra-portable Mac sub-notebook which is expected not to have an internal optical drive, and which will have solid-state mass storage, possibly in lieu of an internal hard drive. Probably to be marketed as a MacBook Pro, with a metal case, this new model will be noticeably thinner than and only about half as heavy as the current 15-inch MacBook Pro, but will share its LED screen backlighting, which makes a more vivid display possible and uses less power. This model is expected to be very popular.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

sorting it out

It's not about me. Well, actually, a bit of it is about me, but mostly not. Mostly I'm a bystander, an onlooker; I am not the pivot about which the world turns, not even for myself. At best I am a servant of forces far more powerful than myself, and may choose to which of those forces to add my own meager efforts, and which to deny. I am nearly inconsequential, just not quite entirely so.

For such a humble personage, one homepage is quite enough, and it might as well be the one I've had for years. That and other pages on the same site are where I honed my HTML and CSS manual coding skills, a well as JavaScript, although I'm very rusty at that.

Cultibotics is easily an important enough issue for me to be willing to devote my .Mac website to it, even if all that's there thus far is a link to the Cultibotics blog. The website will develop as I become more comfortable with iWeb.

The Harmonic Ratio blog is home to a project that has been taunting me for years with niggling results that do poor service to the deep potential of music not hampered by a centuries old compromise. That project is also my main hope for breaking through as a serious programmer, although I have other programming projects that may reach 1.0 status before any of my musical efforts do.

This blog, Lacy Ice + Heat (snowmelt, get it?), is where I get to indulge my Mac fixation, as well as anything else that camps out in the forefront of my mind for awhile, which will undoubtedly include those other programming projects, when the time is ripe.

It may not be perfect, but it at least seems like a rational parceling out of purposes.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Leopard: first impressions

Well, it's been a bit over ten days since Leopard was released, and almost as long since I started using it. So far, most of my attention has gone to the new Spaces feature, which is a great addition but has a few behavioral quirks in the version included with 10.5.0. They're nothing I can't get used to, given a little time, and I do have Spaces enabled, but I'm hopeful there'll be a few adjustments in how it works in 10.5.1 or 10.5.2.

Others may differ, but I like the new Dock, with its reflections and bright dots to indicate running applications. I've given up on trying to include everything in the Dock that I'd like to have there, and have installed aliases to a handful of apps on one side of the Desktop. I wish that it had occurred to me to do this before, both because it allows me to put more apps where they're easy to get to and because their icons make nice decorations on the Desktop. It also allows me to group them in two dimensions instead of just one, as on the Dock, and I know right where they're going to be if I need one of them. The Dock is still more convenient, but aliases on the Desktop rate a close second.

I also like the newly adjustable grid that controls icon placement on the Desktop and in Windows, the more detailed icons, the unified window appearance, and the inclusion of predefined searches in Finder's sidebar.

As much as any new feature, though, I like the sparkling performance. Tiger was quick, but, with very few exceptions, Leopard is quicker. It also feels quite stable for a point-zero release. Aside from the rules driving the behavior of Spaces, I haven't found any bugs at all so far, and only one feature gone missing, the ability to launch a URL from Terminal using Command-Doubleclick.

My main reason for wanting Leopard was the new version of Xcode, with support for refactoring, and of Objective-C 2.0, with declared properties, iteration over collections, and garbage collection, and that's where my attention is now turning. The rest I'll get around to sooner or later.