Tag Archives: David Pogue

Running Leopard

So I’ve just about got everything going in Leopard having done the upgrade. The only significant application that isn’t working is iMovie – but then that didn’t work under Tiger either. (Having had a trawl around the net it seems I’m not alone in having problems with it on a G5 either… The main tip seems to be to run it on an Intel based Mac, but it’s still not perfect…)

As with the upgrade to Tiger the OS upgraded without too many problems. I opted for the archive and install method this time around, which shifts the existing system directory out of the way, installs the new operating system and then pulls in all the settings and configuration, leaving everything else intact. This is regarded as a somewhat more reliable way to upgrade than using the straight upgrade as there is less chance of problems caused by leftovers from the old system as it is a completely new install. The third option is the erase and install that I used with Tiger which does a totally new install, and then pulls all your settings across from a backup as if it were a new machine.

As with any upgrade, it was then a process of working through all my core applications to work out whether I could get everything done.

There were a couple of minor casualties – one being Menu Meters, a little tool I had running to keep track of what the machine was doing. However I found a worthy replacement in iStat Menus that does much the same, but adds details of fan speeds and the current temperature inside the machine to the mix.

Amongst the applications that gave me grief during the update, my process for keeping the e-mail I receive in an average day (see this posting for details of what I do) came to a crashing halt. I started the new Apple Mail, and was greeted with a message stating that both MailActOn and MailTags had been disabled. Both applications have beta versions that are Leopard compatible, however that was only half the story. Along with the two applications I use Smart Folders extensively to group e-mails by subject and type, and to be frank they were being less than smart immediately after the update. Fixing that though was just a question of patience – sit back and wait for a few hours whilst the machine rebuilt the spotlight indexes.

Perhaps the application (aside from iMovie) that gave me most hassle was ClamXAV, my virus checker – as it would just keep crashing. Eventually I tracked the problem down not to an issue with Leopard, but with one of the new features of the latest version that made use of spotlight – disabling that and effectively reverting to the same configuration I had before solved the problem. Aside from that, the only annoyance is that Leopard insists on loading X11 whenever ClamXAV starts up.

The last application so far that has been a problem has been Google Earth which locked up every time I tried to start it. This I nailed down to a problem with my MyPlaces.kml file – once I removed that everything worked fine, and I built up what I needed from the copy of the file on my PC version of the application.

Sorting out Google Earth also turned up another change – the way networking is set up in Leopard which has changed a bit from Tiger. This also brings me on to my biggest recommendation, grab yourself a copy of the excellent Mac OS X Leopard The Missing Manual by David Pogue. It was an excellent reference during the upgrade process, and was indispensable in quickly getting the PC/Mac networking working again. Granted I could probably have worked it around after a while fiddling, but the book has a step by step walkthrough, including pointing out the obscure settings that you might otherwise miss.

Mac OS X Leopard The Missing Manual also has a great appendix going through the upgrade process (including how to use an iPod to do it if you’ve broken your DVD drive), and as always is punctuated by David Pogue’s great writing style and sense of humour.

For example he describes the Leopard first boot title sequence as:

“… one of the most visually stunning post-installation OS startup movies in historyâ€?

I’d perhaps not go that far, the encoding on YouTube gives you the general idea – but lacks the impact of the full screen HD version you get on the Mac – gives you the general idea though.

So was it worth the effort? I’ll have to give it a few days of usage, however so far there hasn’t been any absolute show stopping problems that mean I’ve had to resort to the backup as there were when I upgraded to Tiger. True there are some applications that aren’t quite there yet, but equally there are now starting to be some Leopard only applications, so now seemed like the time to move. There are some slightly annoying look and feel changes that I guess I’ll get used to – but some real nice new eye candy too – if you’ve got Leopard and a load of pictures in iPhoto, check out the fantastic mosaic mode on the screen saver. Next thing to look at I think will be getting Time Machine going…

Proof that Americans Don’t Get Sarcasm?

David Pogue did a very funny, and very sarcastic video on Windows Vista where he attempts to prove that the new Microsoft operating system isn’t just a rip off of a load of ideas in MacOS X. What is even more funny, is that according to his blog he has had complaints from people that some of his differences aren’t really different…

Get a Taste of TED

Back in February I really enjoyed reading Wil Shipley’s blog posts describing his attendance at the TED conference, held in Monterey, CA. The conference brings together an amazing cross section of people, including actors, politicians, musicians and geeks. The thing that unites them all is ideas. To get some idea of what went on at the conference, Wil gives a good idea of the diversity in his postings.

However, until now, you couldn’t really get an idea of what the speakers were like. I say until now, because TED themselves have now posted videos and audio recordings of some of the major speakers online, with more to come. Even better, the videos and audio recordings are all released under a Creative Commons licence allowing them to be freely distributed.

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The first of the videos is Al Gore, the man who in his own words “used to be the next President of the United States of Americaâ€?. Here he is talking about Global Warming. It is worth mentioning that this was his second presentation at the conference. His first is effectively what was used as the basis for his movie An Inconvenient Truth, which received a limited release last month. The video that TED includes of Gore lasts only just over fifteen minutes, and is well worth a look if you are at all concerned about Global Warming. However, watching Gore on stage it is hard not to compare him with the man he beat in the popular vote, but ultimately handed the presidency to six years ago, and wonder how things might be different…

Anyway, back to TED. Also amongst the other speakers represented in the video, and again showing the breadth of topics and speakers is David Pogue, who is best known on this side of the pond as the writer of a number of books in the ‘…for Dummies’ and ‘Missing Manuals’ series, on keeping things simple. He opens his presentation singing a reworking of ‘The Sound of Silence’ about being on hold for tech support, and includes songs about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs – anyone would think he started out as an accompanist! 😀 Great stuff. (More of his songs can be found on his website.)

It’s not just Americans. There is also a talk by a person you may not have heard of, Sir Ken Robinson, currently a senior advisor to the J Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles. Previously voted Business Speaker of the Year, his talk is a very entertaining discussion on the public education system, particularly the way in which, since it’s birth, creative subjects are pushed aside in favour of academic subjects, leading to the cultural definition of inteligence as being academically gifted, pushing aside those whose gifts are elsewhere. Here he argues for the benefits of encouraging creative ideas in young people.

There is definitely something for everybody amongst the current selection, and a new talk promised each week. You can subscribe for free through a variety of methods including e-mail, and even through iTunes. I’d certainly recommend taking a look for some interesting, and in some cases pretty challenging stuff.