Written: October 22, 2013

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Latest Mac OS X – Mavericks

Today is the big day to update your Mac OS X operating system for free to the latest release called Mavericks, or version 10.9. The 5.28GB download will take about 45 minutes to download (remember, no DVD media), then installing and restarting another 45 minutes or so. Apple claims some 200 improvements with this version of Mac OS X, so you can get a better idea of specifics here or at the Apple site here.

On my setup there are two external monitors and with Mavericks it added a menubar to each external monitor. I can see how some users would welcome that, however for me I want the maximum screen space available so I figures out how to turn off menubars for external monitors right away. My first external monitor is just as fast as the laptop display, however my second external monitor is connected to the USB port with a device made by Diamond using software called DisplayLink, which is now dog slow. So I’ll have to wait for an updated version of DisplayLink to get back some of the lost speed.

Most of the changes that I see with Mavericks are cosmetic, reminding me of the recent iOS7 update for the iPad.

Go ahead, update to the latest Mac OS X, just pick a time maybe near the end of your work day, or when you can be doing something else productive for awhile during the installation process.

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Why Allow Java Updates?

As you use a Windows or Mac computer there will be a time like this week where you are prompted to install an update for Java. Should you do it?

Yes, and here’s why. Java is a popular language created by Sun Microsystems (now owned by Oracle) to be “write once, run everywhere”, meaning that a developer can write an app just one time and then have that app run equally well on: Windows, Mac, Linux, HP, IBM, SmartPhone, etc.

Both of my Windows and Mac machines prompted me to update Java, so here’s what to expect on a Windows computer. The first dialog is about the Java 6 update 37 being available:

The second dialog has info about McAfee, which I don’t use so ignore the commercial:

While waiting for the install there’s a commercial about the 3 billion devices using Java, which is mostly cell phones:

At last the Java install is done and we can all get back to productive work:

 

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Control C, Control V on a Mac

Copy and Paste, Windows and Mac

As a web developer I use Windows and Mac every day, however I started out on Windows decades ago and have memorized the familiar Copy (Control+C) and Paste (Control+V) with my left hand and it works ergonomically very well with the Control key pressed by the left pinky finger.

A few years ago I bought my first MacBook Pro laptop and had the painful task of using the Apple Command key, which on a MacBook Pro keyboard is two keys away from the Control key, therefore my left pinky finger cannot reach it.

Today I did some Google searching and found a way to add the familiar Control+C and Control+V on my MacBook Pro, instead of the awkward Command+C and Command+V. Here’s how, click: Apple> System Preferences> Keyboard> Keyboard Shortcuts> Application Shortcuts

Control C, Control V on a Mac

Click the + icon to add a new shortcut. Under Menu Ttile, type: Copy

Under Keyboard Shortcut, type the two keys together: Control C

Click the + icon, under Menu Title, type: Paste

Under Keyboard Shortcut, type the two keys together: Control V

You have now added the familiar Control C and Control V to your Mac:

Control V on a Mac

Your typing efficiency on a Mac will now equal that of a PC, enjoy.

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Apple’s Multi-Key Madness

Apple is well known for making hardware and software that is intuitive and easy to use, however once you take the plunge with an app like iTunes you quickly discover that to control the beast you must first memorize arcane, multi-key stroke sequences that are far from being intuitive.

For example, last night I was using iTunes to view a movie and wanted to watch in full-screen mode on my beautiful 24″ external monitor. There’s a little icon with opposing arrows to view full-screen, so that was intuitive to see and click:

Uh oh, now that I’m in full screen mode there is no menu to choose from, no icons to click, no visual clue on how to revert back from full screen mode. My only option was to click Command+q to quit iTunes all together, not so friendly. A quick Google search turned up the key sequence: Control+Command+F

 

I was expecting that some menu choice would show up when I right click in full screen mode, but nothing did. The Escape key will exit you from iTunes but not revert the screen size.

Summary

Not everything in Apple apps like iTunes is intuitive, in fact you have to memorize 3 key sequences to actually control it. There is much room for improvement here, I would suggest to Apple that in the full screen mode they add a menu when I right-click to show me how to Exit Full Screen.

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Mac OS X – Mountain Lion, 10.8.1

I use both Windows and Mac OS X every day, so have become accustomed to how Windows must restart after updates.

To my surprise the latest Mac OS X release of Mountain Lion numbered as 10.8.1 also required a restart:

It’s annoying to me when I have to loose several minutes of productive work time during the business day to install an update and wait for a restart Oh well, during the restart I just went over and used my iPad instead where I can continue to read all of my email accounts.

The official list of fixes for 10.8.1 include:

Happy computing.

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Bad Checkout Experience

I love gizmos and when I found a new Linux-based computer for just $35.00 I had to get one, it’s called the Raspberry Pi:

The company that builds the computer sells through resellers, so I selected to buy from a company called Element 14. Checkout went just fine until I had to confirm my shipping preferences and then I got a 403 error and had to contact the support team 800 number in New Jersey.

First question from tech support, “Have you cleared your browser Cookies recently?”

My reply, “Uh, no, and what does that have to do with anything?”

Support, “What browser are you using?”

“Google Chrome”, I said.

“OK, try a different browser”, she said.

“Hmm, I will give it a try. OK, that’s working with Safari.”, I replied.

Summary

If you have an e-commerce site, make sure that it works in all standard browsers:

If you don’t test all browsers then you will make customers upset, and then they don’t come back for more business or they take up your support time.

 

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One response to “Bad Checkout Experience”

  1. Daniel says:

    Good news, my Raspberry Pi arrive on Wednesday so I’ve been spending time getting the wireless keyboard and mouse connected. Another blog to come when I get the Pi to control my Canon 5D camera with WiFi.

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Mac OS X 10.7.4 update, iOS 5.1.1 update

Mac OS X 10.7.4

Wow, two updates from Apple in the same week. I was a little leary about the Mac OS X 10.7.4 update for my MacBook Pro simply because it was 729.6MB in size!

The good news is that it installed just fine and my laptop still works. This is deja vu from decades of using Windows computers where I received at least two updates per month and have to reboot my computer to complete the installation. It’s so odd to reboot because other operating systems like Linux hardly ever require a reboot to install software.

iOS 5.1.1

My iPad is another story because I just bought it on March 16th and have never updated the iOS before. All went well with this install and I have to credit Apple with being thorough in telling me what is being updated with the iOS operating system, plus they noted that I should have my iPad plugged in.

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Windows 7 Update – 10 of Them Today

Every day I use both Windows 7 and Mac OS X, side-by-side to get my web development work done, they both are capable, so no bashing going on here. Today my Windows 7 operating system told me that it had 10 updates to perform, so I let it go right ahead.

  

After it finally reached the 10th update and completed, then it restarted and I saw DOS programs being run in the funky black screen with white letters. On reboot it had to complete the install, so more waiting. I should’ve checked to see how big these updates were, so I’m just guessing that they were hundreds of megabytes in size. Anyway, here are the 10 updates that took some 15 minutes to install:

 

Lots of security updates which are necessary because hackers are constantly looking for exploits in Windows 7 so that they can take over your computer, steal your credit information and much worse by destroying your credit or online identity.

Moral of the Story

Always update your Windows 7 computer, keep current, use common sense when receiving spam and phishing emails.

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One response to “Windows 7 Update – 10 of Them Today”

  1. Karan Okimoto says:

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Unreliable Laptop Hard Drives

Last evening I returned from the office, setup the laptop at home and pushed the power button. Uh oh. My MacBook Pro screen just showed a startup but never progressed even after minutes of waiting:

No problem, I’ll just reboot again using Command+R and plugin my backup hard drive. Then I could see the utility screen:

In the Disk Utility I clicked Repair Disk however it returned this ominous error:

Invalid B-Tree node size

A Google search told me that this meant that my 500GB hard drive was damaged. Wow, that drive was less than two years old.

This morning I drove to Fry’s in Wilsonville because they open at 8AM, while I really preferred to shop at Best Buy in Tualatin because they were much closer to my office in Tualatin however they open later at 10AM.

The tech guy at Fry’s showed me the laptop hard drive choices available and when I told him that I had a MacBook Pro he said, “Well, I wouldn’t use the 7200 RPM drives in that because Apple didn’t design it to remove the heat fast enough, stick with the 5400 RPM drive instead.”

So, I bought a Seagate 500GB hard drive, the 5400 RPM version and went back to my office to replace the dead 500GB hard drive. Sure enough, my dead drive was the 7200 RPM version from Seagate. Lesson learned, don’t exceed Apple specs in your MacBook Pro.

Replacing the hard drive was straight forward, with my small screwdriver set I unscrewed the phillips screws on the bottom of the case. Remove two screws on the hard drive assembly, popped out my old drive, inserted the new drive, the powered up. Uh oh, the new drive had nothing on it, so the MacBook couldn’t boot.

I powered off, the powered on while holding the Command+R button and did a reboot from my backup drive. Back to the familiar Mac OS X Utilities menu. Under Disk Utility I had to first Partition the new drive, then choose Restore from Time Machine. Now it’s telling me that a restore will take 4 hours and 23 minutes, hmm. I’ll let you know how the story ends.

This is not the first time that my MacBook Pro has given me woes:

What Can Go Wrong With Mac OS X – Lion?

After Lunch Update

Just before I left for lunch the Restore dialog told me that I had less than 1 hour to complete, so I felt excited to finish lunch and come back to a restored laptop. Not so. After lunch I entered my office to find that the laptop display was off, so I clicked the mouse but it didn’t wake the display. Hmm. Next I clicked the power button but it only showed me the start screen and never booted to the desktop.

I re-powered and pressed the Command+R key to boot from my backup drive but now that wouldn’t work. I’m going backwards here.

Jump in the car, drive home and fetch the old Snow Leopard OS which came on DVD, unlike Lion which has no DVD and requires that your laptop be healthy enough to boot up. Now I am starting my second Restore from backup and the dialog says 5 hours and 43 minutes…

The only thing that allows me to do any work today is my backup HP laptop running Windows 7 and accessing my email accounts through webmail. Now, why did I leave HP in the first place?

No go, the second restore will not boot.

Apple Store
At the Apple store now and Tony thinks it is an OS issue so he is loading Lion on my new hard drive. Success, my MacBook Pro will now boot after the corrupt Lion OS was re-installed. Tony is a genius, many thanks you found the issue and got my laptop back to life again.

Apple Bridgeport Village

When I returned from the Apple store I still had to do a recovery from Time Machine to get back my user accounts, programs and documents.

Conclusion
My MacBook Pro would not boot because the OS was corrupted and the Time Machine backup doesn’t include the OS, so my attempts to restore from backup didn’t solve anything. I still don’t know exactly what caused the OS to become corrupt.

In three years of owning MacBook Pro laptops I can say that they are as unreliable as any PC that I’ve owned for the past 30 years. So much for the fabled superiority of Apple over PC when it comes to running a business because I don’t see Apple as being more reliable than PC (HP, Dell, Toshiba).

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One response to “Unreliable Laptop Hard Drives”

  1. Joline Johnstone says:

    Currently the only reason I have a cloud storage account is due to the unlimited music storage. Otherwise I really do not use it, as I am not going to waste all week recreating folders for my files. Also I am unhappy that the Kindle Fire really does not interact with the cloud store items as I have a few photos on there that it does not see.

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My Experience with Mac OS X – Lion

If you are a Mac user then you’ve been hearing Apple beat the drums about their latest OS upgrade named Lion. Being an Apple faithful I clicked on the App Store last night and started the download process. Here’s what I learned.

Install Issues

The App Store prominently featured Lion and it was simple to click and start the process after I provided my iTunes login credentials. I could see an icon in my dock indicating that Lion was downloading but couldn’t figure out how to see the percentage progress or estimated time to complete.

In the App Store I had to click on Purchases to see the progress of my download, that’s not intuitive.

When the multi-gigabyte download did complete I clicked the Install button in the App store. Eventually my Macbook Pro was restarted and I saw a Disk Utilities app take up the whole screen. Very odd, why do I want a disk utility?

One of the choices in the disk utility was to re-install Lion. Huh. I had already clicked the Install button once in the App store, why do I have to re-install Lion to continue?

Clicking re-install completed the installation of Lion, like I said not intuitive.

Up is Down, Down is Up

I’ve been using my Macbook Pro for two years with the magic mouse that already uses gestures and to my laughter the first thing I discovered is that Apple decided in Lion to reverse the scroll up and down gestures with my mouse and touch pad. More intuitive, not to me.

Fortunately the Apple developers had the sense to let me use the System Preferences to uncheck their new default for up and down.

Swipe Left to Backspace in Browser Changed

I’m on the web all day long and I often want to go back one page in my browse. The magic mouse has that feature with two fingers swiping left. In Lion they changed that gesture to now mean swipe between full screen apps. I don’t want that so had to once again change my System Preferences.

2nd External Monitor is Dead

I went into my office on Thursday morning to connect my MBP with two external monitors however only one of them worked, the one plugged into the USB port was dead. A little Google Research showed that I needed the Lion drivers from DisplayLink.org

Clear 4G WiMAX

This is a 32 bit app and simply wouldn’t start in 64 bit Lion without rebooting in 32 bit mode. Luckily the Clear web site had a 64 bit upgrade. Of course, to download the new upgrade I had to find a WiFi signal because my 4G connection wouldn’t work.

Login Window

On the top-right of my screen was my full name, that was different, before it was just my first name. I clicked on it and saw a drop-down menu so I clicked Login Window. Not smart. It showed me a login window and I couldn’t escape, couldn’t type, couldn’t click, the cursor turned into a swirly rainbow and I had to push the power button to regain control.

250 New Features

After loosing so much time trying to get my MBP back to a funtioning state I’ll have to wait until the weekend to discover the other 248 new features that Apple cooked up for me. I’m not impressed with the $29.99 investment so far.

Sticky Mouse

Drag and drop suddenly stopped working and I searched several forums online and found that many other Lion users have the same issue. The only work around I’ve read and used is to Sleep my MacBook Pro, then wake it back up.

 

 

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4 responses to “My Experience with Mac OS X – Lion”

  1. Daniel says:

    Well, two weeks into using Lion I just had my first Panic screen from the OS asking me to, “Press the Power button to restart your computer.”

    I’m starting to feel that Lion OS is about as unstable as the old Microsoft Vista.

  2. Daniel says:

    Another feature that is broken with Lion: Setting my Desktop image to update every 15 minutes. Instead of working I see a grey desktop. The only fix for this bug is to restart my laptop.

    When I used Microsoft Vista I also had to often reboot, deja vu, all over again.

  3. Daniel says:

    An interesting article on CNN with, “Apple’s 7 most stubborn decisions”. See, I am not alone in pointing out usability issues with Mac OS X.

    http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2012/technology/1201/gallery.apple/index.html?iid=L_Jump

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