Paul Robinson paul at iconoplex.co.uk
Mon Jan 3 21:24:17 GMT 2005

On Mon, Jan 03, 2005 at 08:38:08PM +0000, Frank Shute wrote:

> Sorry to hear this iBook is a bit of a disappointment to you, I
> thought with a nice architecture and low power consumption it might
> make a decent machine. 

It's slowly growing on me, but only because it's becoming more and more
customised. List of gripes so far I've had to 'correct':

* Keyboard shortcuts disabled by default
* Once keyboard shortcuts turned on, half of them relying on function
  keys need to be reassigned as on an iBook they're doing sound, screen
  brightness, etc. and OS X gets confused
* The other half make little sense, so I've reassigned those too.
* Half the time the Ctrl, Fn and Apple keys actually do much the same
  thing when you're using pgup/pgdn etc. which is all the more fun when
  you use the wrong modifier and delete half your work
* One reinstall of the entire OS was down to OS X getting _really_
  confused after playing with DNS settings. Yes, I had to reinstall the
  OS because DNS wasn't working. I'm not making this up.
* Safari only becomes useable once you've bought Saft.
* Speaking of buying software, 99% of the code you'd want isn't freeware
  and it is Apple tradition to fork out cash for very small, albeit useful
  utilities to put things in place that should be there by default
* Power Management needs coaching to be sensible IMHO
* Way too bloody hot when on knee and when compiling
* Compiling? Oh yes, even once you have installed Apple's X11 you're
  going to need to let tools like fink compile their own version just to
  complete a package dependancy list...
* And you'll find tools that are out of date too. Ruby was 1.6.8 ... no,
  really, it really was the Christmas release from 2002
* Don't forget software you build yourself will end up in /sw
* ... sometimes
* Just because you can't see something in ps aux doesn't mean OS X isn't
  hiding it somewhere, about to throw it back into action, ready to
  destroy the work you're just trying to do
* When you get a problem with wireless, the quickest and easiest
  solution to fixing it is to change the SSID of your AP. Everything
  else you might try is just putting off renaming your SSID.
* Just because something looks right in /etc and OS X put it there,
  doesn't mean that's what is being used or that OS X isn't hiding
  something from you
* You might be occasionally attempted to try out the Location feature in
  the Networking System Prefernces. Unless you *really* need to, don't.
* If you're a ruby hacker, like me, even once you've got something
  current installed, expect to be confused a lot
* WEP. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah... errrmmm... 
* If you have a trackpad, don't enable clicking on it, unless you're
  delicate about what you're doing. I've got used to it now, but I know
  I have to be careful with my thumbs down there or work can and will be
  lost. Really.
* No LEDs telling you anything about what the hardware is doing at all
* The only way to turn wireless/airport or bluetooth off is in software
  which makes it entertaining in certain environments. Remember this
  before getting on a plane.
* Xcode needs to be installed to do half the stuff you or I would want
  to do. The default install is crap - you need more than the default
* Just because you have Quicktime, Windows Media Player and Real
  installed, don't expect to actually play about 40% of the content out

... and the list goes on. Yes, some of these are easy to fix. Some of
them aren't particularly important. But if all you're hearing is "Wow
these Apple boxes are so ace and aren't they just perfect" they might
act as a useful counterpoint.

Right now, the pluses are starting to put it ahead, but each day feels
like another little battle right now. I suppose half of it is learning.
It is actually a reasonable machine, and once you get used to all of the
above, it can become a useful environment to be in. I'm now about 30%
more productive now I've stopped trying to use Apple's default keyboard
shortcuts and set them to something more similar to what I would expect
in XFCE or KDE.

I just can't fucking stand people telling me this is something more than
a computer and going on smugly about how Apple are perfect. It's a tool.
It's a tool that does some things better than other tools. It's a tool
that has some software that isn't available elsewhere, and it lets you
bring tools from elsewhere here. It's got a reasonable battery life and
doesn't need things plugging in to get wireless and bluetooth, although
remember there are no pcmcia slots so it's a good job.

Even so, it's still, just a fricking tool. Not a lifestyle choice.

> the stage were computer geeks are going to have to go around
> incognito.

I know the feeling. 

> used a *nix before? I've made some progress with my mother using mutt
> and vim but not a lot with TeX/LaTeX (but having used Wordperfect, she
> likes the idea of the "reveal codes" though). 

Sorry, you've got your *mother* using vim? Wow. She's going to leave you
out of her will for inflicting cruelty, but good going... :-)

> BTW, have you looked at or installed Fink? And when are you going to
> wipe off OSX and put NetBSD on it?!

My problem is that I don't really want it as a unix machine. I want it
as a reasonable word processor, web browser and being able to do some
ruby and the occasional bit of unixy coding.

It is growing on me. Slowly.

Fink is troublesome at first, but once you get it working, most useful.

Paul Robinson

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