My news feed today was full of news about Apple’s WWDC. And it is no surprise. However, I am getting more and more concerned about Apple’s leadership. Reading Bloomberg, I felt that Apple is focused on Google rather than making existing and new customers happy. Users and developers are just a tool to beat Google. But it should have been clear for Apple executives that their customers fill Apple’s pockets for good products, not Google. I guess, Apple clearly belongs to the group of companies that work to try to charge more. I thought this is my opinion that might be wrong.
But later I read another article on Barron’s that appeared to be more disturbing to me. According to Barron’s, Tim Cook dropped this phrase of the day in front of a crowd of loyal Apple developers:
Only Apple could make such amazing hardware, software and services.
I guess, in Apple’s opinion, no one in the audience at WWDC (those who grow Apple’s ecosystem) is capable of making software better than Apple does. Unless they are employed by Apple. Let consumers decide what is amazing and what is not. Okay, this is about the insult. The injury (kind of)? Used MacBooks flooded the market. Yesterday’s treasure is today’s trash. I wonder how much an average Apple customer spends to get comparable functionality available on other platforms.
All above is my opinion as a user of Apple products.
My MacBook Pro has been having some problems – performance problems, crashes, failures to come back from sleep, etc. Often it showed the black screen while heating up. Some signs point to Firefox. Right now I have 3.6.13 running under Mac OS X 10.6.6. Since I like Firefox more than other browsers, I wanted to find a solution.
It looks like I have found one solution. This is a Firefox add-on – RAMBack. It adds a menu item “Clear Caches” under “Tools” and allows Firefox users to release some memory allocated by Firefox for some performance improvement purposes. In the Activity Monitor I have seen the reduction in “Real Memory” from 250M to 215M. Not much, but that is 14%.
Ironically, at some point allocating more memory to improve performance (by caching) slows down applications. This is not only a Firefox problem. This is a more general architectural problem. When designing an application, one should make sure that improving performance of one aspect does not negatively impacts other aspects on which the former depends on.
Another problem with Firefox on Mac is that it seems to be inefficient in handling many open tabs. Firefox on Windows can handle easily up to 150 tabs open. This is an unreachable limit for Firefox on Mac with comparable hardware configuration. Firefox on Mac starts choking with just 20 tabs.
My Mac was getting hot (literaly) and I decided to check the Activity Monitor to find out what is going on. It was in the plain sight. Firefox as using over 100% of CPU time. No, that is not a FireFox problem, I guess just Mac OS developers need to go back to school to learn how to allocate and calculate resources.
This reminds me an anecdote, about the sine reaching 2 during military exercises and 2.5 during wartime.
I have not been posting anything recently as I was going through a change. After working 8+ years at one company, I joined today another company to continue to create great things. But the change did not end there. At the new place I got a Mac. I have been a “die hard” Windows user and developer since early 1995 knowing many Windows internals and was exposed to a Mac (v 8.6 or so) in 2001 briefly to test my application. This particular change I guess is long overdue since many of my former colleagues jumped on the Apple bandwagon. I was one of long standing skeptics. Nonetheless, I am embracing the challenge and want to make my environment as much productive as I used to have it on Windows. It includes so many different things – getting fingers hitting right buttons and combinations, getting used to the trackpad (I used a mouse even with a laptop – I just find it more efficient!), and tools. Thanks to a former colleague of mine, who happens to be my opposite in terms of OS preferences and is a “die hard” Mac fan, recommended me a link and another link.
But I still want to do things I used to do where shortcuts do not quite help. I’m talking about tools. For example, I use FAR Manager to copy and move files around, view files, FTP and so on. I know Mac OS is not designed with this kind of freedom, but still this tool is more productive to do many things.
The next tool is Entourage. I do not get it why Microsoft does not allow to run a rule in Entourage against already received messages and in Outlook does. Am I missing something?
The next tool is Remote Desktop Connection. I know there is an option to have a VNC session. Need to explore more.
The next tool is SyncToy. This is a kind of my first Mac gotchas. It does work, in some cases. If you need to synchronize files between Windows and Mac, you can follow these steps.
- Open “System Preferences”.
- Open “Sharing”.
- Turn on “File Sharing”.
- In options select “Share files and folders using SMB (Windows).
- Pick shared folders.
- Pick and account you plan to use. (Mac may need to store your password, which poses some security risks, even the password is encrypted).
- Select users and their access permissions (You cannot get rid of ‘Everyone’, but you can give them ‘No access’).
- On your Windows computer in the Explorer type something like \\ipaddress\shared-folder-name. When asked to enter credentials, enter ipaddress\username and the password you specified as the password.
- Now you can map that folder as a network drive and you should be ready to use the SyncToy.
I did find a problem that SyncToy fails to synchronize an Entourage script if you chose to synchronize your home directory. I do not have an explanation for that yet.