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Archive for October, 2009

Kicker bundle removed in Leopard

October 30, 2009 1 comment

AppleEasy system notification gets kicked

Whilst researching a possible notification system for Eject Disks to intercept and replace system eject actions it turns out that the general system events notification system Kicker.bundle was removed from Leopard! A replacement system called crankd is being developed, but frankly due to the complete lack of documentation I gave up!

Categories: Apple, Mac OS X Tags: ,

Eject Disks 0.4

October 29, 2009 2 comments

Script CreamConvince Finder to eject disks.

Download Eject Disks 0.4

Eject Disks version 0.4 is released! Get it from the link above.

Changelog:

  • Fixed drag and drop and Finder selection.
  • Added more timely dialog boxes using CocoaDialog.
  • Changed Finder selection options so you can choose to do a normal scan if there is an inadvertent Finder selection.
  • Fixed bug parsing optical volumes with spaces in the name so they don’t appear twice.
  • If a disk and it’s subvolume(s) are selected for ejection, now subvolumes are skipped instead of throwing errors.
  • Removed official Tiger support since I no longer have a Tiger test system.
  • Drag and drop is now fixed for all types of disk.
  • A new bug in drag and drop means disk images are not detected unless they are the only item dropped.

More info on the Eject Disks product page.

Tested on:

  • Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger)
  • Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)
  • Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

FireWire gone from the MacBook

October 21, 2009 1 comment

AppleThe love affair between the MacBook and FireWire is over

I recently predicted that FireWire would eventually be replaced by Light Peak on all Macs, and that FireWire was only back on the MacBook temporarily. Little did I know then that only a couple of days later Apple would announce the new MacBook and kill off FireWire so quickly (on the MacBook at least).

It’s a shame, I shall miss it. The fast peripheral bus is dead, long live the fast(er) peripheral bus!

MacBook peripheral predictions

October 17, 2009 Leave a comment

AppleFirewire makes a (temporary) comeback?

Last year I speculated about the future of Firewire on the MacBook and came to the conclusion that the most logical path for Apple would be to build firewire into the Ethernet port via the new Firewire specification IEEE1394c.

Apple may have taken this in a new direction entirely (which frankly we should all expect from Apple by now!), if reports of Light Peak, the new peripheral bus from Intel are to be believed.  More on that later.

Firewire has now been reinstated to the MacBook line, albeit in a roundabout way.  Firewire 400 is still available on the white plastic MacBook which was the only surviving member of the old MacBook generation that wasn’t transitioned to the new Unibody enclosure borrowed from the MacBook Pro.  Those MacBooks paid the price for their svelte looks and lost their FireWire ports in the process.  Apple has now reinstated Firewire in the form of Firewire 800 to these and rebranded them as the new 13″ MacBook Pros.

So here’s the situation.  Once more every Mac has Firewire (apart from the freak of the family, the MacBook Air).  Although I haven’t had personal experience with the new models, presumably once more every Mac has Firewire Target Disk mode (once again excepting the freak).

So is Firewire back for good?  I don’t think so.  I think Apple was frankly surprised at the backlash to losing Firewire (especially after it was dropped from iPods with only a little angst) on the MacBook, and that was part of the reason to its comeback.  But I believe it will only be a temporary measure, until Light Peak replaces it.  When I first heard about Light Peak I was amazed that we didn’t have a peripheral bus based on fibre optics already, and that no-one seemed to have thought of it before.  I firmly believe that the future will be in wireless peripheral communication, but wires aren’t going away any time soon.  If we have to have wires, why not have one small, high capacity connection that can carry all types of communication now that fibre optic has matured to make cables flexible and durable enough for this purpose?

My only concern is that Light Peak will be developed as a master/slave architecture that will make technology like Target Disk mode and daisy chaining (that makes Firewire great) impossible to implement.  Its multi-device, multi-protocol design would most probably make that unlikely though.

Flasher Safari

October 17, 2009 Leave a comment

AppleClick2Flash

If you use Safari as your internet browser, especially on older hardware (I have two PowerPC Macs), I would recommend checking out Click2Flash. It replaces all instances of Flash with a clickable button to load the flash, has a menu item for loading all flash on the current page and supports a whitelist to always show flash on certain pages. My poor old iBook will never get slowed down by Flash advertisements again!

Categories: Apple, Web Tags: , ,

Virtual Dumb Terminals

October 10, 2009 Leave a comment

ThoughtsDumb made smarter

When I was studying Computer Science at university we used Digital UNIX on a server and rooms full of dumb terminals connecting to it. It meant that the terminals simply showed the display and passed the user’s input onto the server, hence the ‘dumb’ title.

The world of computers has moved almost exclusively into the opposite model of stand alone computers or at least ‘smart’ terminals that use a server but process most work locally. The latest move into ‘cloud’ computing is not a move back towards the dumb terminal model because the actual processing of data is still done on the local machine.
But there could be a move back towards this model, as virtualisation becomes more and more pervasive.

My idea is to take a virtualisation server and let it dynamically load the ‘terminal’ computer that runs the virtual machine with whatever the terminal can handle. The server would monitor things such as the RAM and CPU load on the terminal, and if resources are running low perform more calculations on the server end and simply send the result to the terminal, which would require less resources.

This would mean the terminal could always run fast and light, and the server could offload as much as possible to the terminal, but bail it out when it needed some extra muscle.  There are many advantages to virtual computing such as load balancing, easier software upgrades, more choice of platform and so on.  This approach could make it much easier to upgrade hardware as well though, as a new server could result in better performance across all it’s terminals just as if the terminals has been replaced instead.  Older hardware would be able to run more advanced software (albeit with an increased load on the server over newer, more capable hardware) and everything from smartphones to main frames could be supported centrally.

Categories: Thoughts Tags:

Spotlighting

October 10, 2009 Leave a comment

AppleI’ll come back later then shall I?

spotlight

I was hoping to do a search now-ish, not in two hundred and thirty-two years.  Actually, I think I’d like a new computer before then too!

Categories: Mac OS X, Thoughts