Thursday, April 7 2016

Re: Tell us about your Mac
[10:40:59] matt []/Psi+ On Wed, Apr 06, 2016 at 05:18:58PM +0000, Apple Market Research wrote:
> We love feedback.
> Tell us about your experience with Mac.

Creating an Apple ID from the on-device application is broken (you cannot
select the password confirmation box).

Getting on a WPA2 protected (EAP+PAP) network is overly complex compared to
other platforms, requiring downloading a configuration tool through your
application store which has changed its name twice.

Regarding re-installing the OS: there's a catch-22 that you need an
application that's already been used in the Application store. If you've
never used the Application store, this means you can't re-install the OS.
This isn't documented, including in any on-line documentation that I could

It's unclear what the replacements are for basic Unix elements, like
resolv.conf. Generally, documentation seems to be lacking.

The magsafe power connector is a huge improvement over the flimsy and
expensive connector used on the aluminum Powerbook.

Setting-up Xcode with iOS simulators and documentation was a bit annoying,
as it had to be done through the XCode UI, and each install asked for an
administrator's password. Every time I closed my laptop, the downloads
would stop.

Messages (? The app that looks like iChat but which I think was renamed,)
is still a rather shoddy XMPP client. Among other things, it appears to
lack support for Jingle and remote control. (I didn't use it long enough to
check this time, but in the past iChat also handled users logged-in with
multiple resources very poorly.)

Why can't I organize my applications installed by default anymore? Why
can't I delete them? There's so much junk in the default Applications
directory, and most of the included applications are not very good. is a sub-par terminal emulator. There are graphical glitches
with which I've learned to live (e.g. dividers when using tmux either aren't
shown or are shown across areas where they don't exist). More annoying is
using multiple windows in a workflow. If I have a full-screen emulator, and
need to bring-up a second terminal, I cannot do this on the same workspace:
there's no "maximum-size" now, just full-screen on a dedicated workspace.
XTerms on XQuartz didn't work as a replacement, the experience simply seemed
clunky, and copy-and-paste didn't seem to work right (at all?) even when
fiddling with the options to try and sync the X selection buffer.

Friday, May 25 2012

Dissapointed with the Lytro Camera
[06:27:28] matt []/Psi.generay I split time on my recent vacation in Japan between my DSLR and my Lytro camera. I had some dedicated days where I just used the Lytro, and it was the only camera I carried with me. Other times, I carried it once I'd put the DSLR away. It has some bennefits, but I don't think I'll keep it as a real back-up, even over my main phone's fixed-focus camera. Prox has similarly indicated he's not enthused about it, to the point he's going to sell his.

Walking around, my impression was that it was hard to see the LCD in actual light to frame a photo; if you're using it for the touted bennefit of shoot-first, focus later, the difficult with framing on the small screen while squinting in daylight causes the process to take longer than most camera's would with auto-focus. As has been mentioned in every amateur photographery review of the device, there are no manual exposure controls at all, and I couldn't find a means of AE-lock either, which means you're at the mercy of the environments for the final exposure unless you're shooting in a studio. And if you're in the studio, you can use a tripod and take several much higher-quality shots at different focus points and create the same depth perspective (at least until Lytro adds 3D modeling based on the depth-map which would be much more difficult with the in-studio fakes).

Since I didn't bring my hefty Mac OSX laptop (another drawback is that the camera is basically tied to its proprietary closed software to convert photos from the device to a rendered lightweight version) I looked at the photos on the device, and my reaction was that the results were much better than I had expected, while many shots from indoors in non-ideal lighting were blurry, and night shots were very noisy. Many however included frustrating white balance settings which were also not within the user's control. Still, I felt like maybe I'd underestimated its bennefits as small little camera.

However, after getting home and looking at the final results on a computer (extracting the JPEG files and looking at full size) it again was dissapointing. Downsampling from the 1024x1024 square (I like square film, so I was quite happy with this) could probably fix the blockiness, and banding perceptually, but it's clear that this isn't something you'll want to look at blown-up or even larger than a 4x4 if printed. Again to be fair to Lytro, they've said as much.

Monday, July 25 2011

[19:16:14] matt []/Psi.dementia Rebooting to install updates. Because if you don't have a Mac, you don't have a Mac.
[19:30:05] matt []/Psi.dementia I'm a Mac, and I'm really good at rebooting.

Wednesday, June 23 2010

[15:41:26] matt []/Merch Trying out OSX once again. Annoyance filter on medium: MobileMe is all over; but less obtrusive than .Mac used to be; QuickTime isn't pestering me; and the perpetua bombardment of mandatory EULA bombardment is annoying.

Tuesday, April 13 2010

Fancy Small Computers
[19:49:41] matt []/kerberos I remember a time, not so long ago, that it was difficult to find a small computer that was portable and had a long battery. The OQO looked intriguing, but it would continue to be vaporware for several years. The only thing I could find was the Fujitsu Lifebook P-series, which at the time was using the exciting new Transmeta Crusoe chips designed for energy efficiency. Unfortunately, even compared to the computers of the day, that laptop was slow.

These days "netbooks", much to the shagrin of Psion, are bountiful--often running on Intel's x86-compatible Atom processor, although increasingly running on ARM Snapdragons (supported by Maemo, Android, and Ubuntu Linux distributions among countless other variants). Jamie just got an Assus EeePC that's running Ubuntu; my mother has an Acer Aspire One running some MicroSoft version. I borrowed the EeePC and didn't want to give it back, it's really well done given a single-use mentality (the Netbook Remix variation of Ubuntu is very Mac-like).

The question I find myself pondering is what do I really want? I recently picked-up the Nokia N900 which runs at a decent clip, the Maemo 5 (Fremantle) interface is pretty snappy, and I've really gotten used to the touch interface for anything non-productive ("consumptive") tasks. It's actually a very amazing machine that in practice is very much like that P-2110 but smaller.

In the end there's a lot of small options, and they each have a different niche to fill--but I'm not sure how much overlap they all have. It could be that one covers too much of another's niche, making two distinct devices redundant. I can carry the N900 instead of the E61; but it doesn't replace the Neo when I need a small pocketable phone. I could carry the EeePC on trips where it would take-up less space than the MacBook, and still have a phenominal-for-a-laptop keyboard to compose messages or configure machines, or even do work albeit on a small screen. But what does that really get me? A slightly bigger screen (2") and a bigger keyboard, at the cost of another device--and one that doesn't have a ubiquitous Internet access at that.

If more areas had converted to municipal WiFi, it might be a different situation.

Monday, April 5 2010

[17:29:47] matt []/kerberos If the iPad is supposed to be a computer replacement, "the first computer affordable to the middle class in China" as quoted in the Economist, why does it list as its requirements a Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later, or Windows NT 5.1 or later machine? In other words, what does the Jesus Pad need with a starship?