Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mac .75 Years Later


  • Don Jones, Microsoft genius extrodinare, says that Microsoft "Office for the Mac is a wonderful product". No, it's not. It's stuck in some unholy ground between Office 2003 and Office 2007 (except for Outlook which is stuck between Office 97 and Office 2000, which still makes it the premiere e-mail handling program on the Mac). Maybe Don Jones sees something I don't, or maybe he just hates the ribbon with an undying passion (it only makes a guest appearance in MS Office for Mac).
  • What is up with the network stack bombing out?  On more than one occasion the Internet dies (for everything), but is brought back to life if I quit out of Safari and get back in.  (Other times it dies completely, but I blame that on Vuze, my bittorrent client).
  • One time Steam died out but it left processes running in the background, like way in the background.  A little UNIX command line action would clean that out, or so I thought.  Not so much luck as a reboot was required (to be fair, every *NIX system I've ever been on has been prone to zombie processes, and I shouldn't have been playing Half Life 2 anyway as I had school work to do).
  • Another time iTunes dumped out and I figured I'd be clever and hit the command line again.  The command "ps -aef|grep iTunes" will report back the offending processes responsible for iTunes.  I killed off one of the three processes without incident, but when I killed off the second process the system crashed to a gray screen.  No reboot, not task monitor, no nothing; had to turn it off and on because of iTunes :-(
  • The Time Machine disk, you know, the disk that a Mac owner depends on for backups, seems to get the flu at the drop of a hat.  Any issue that can cause the Mac to have issues (power outage, etc.) will almost certainly trash the Time Machine drive.  It seems like a much better plan to run the computer off of the Time Machine disk and back it up to the apparently more stable drive inside the Mac itself.  (I just checked, and a power outage did indeed crash the Mac file system on the USB Time Machine disk.  Nothing like undependable crap for your backup solution, thanks!)
  • On the plus side: the Cisco VPN that I need for a side job is much easier to setup on the Mac; Adobe CS5 is the same product on Mac or Windows, the touch pad is my favorite pointing device since the Kensington mouse balls, and I do like the Doc better than the Start Menu.  At least on the model I have, the screen real estate helps a great deal with multi-tasking and the easier than anything multiple desktops let me stack task on top of task.

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