Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Even more Mac stuff

I’m sure these posts will stop eventually, but anyway…

The Good Bits

  • Despite what Joe said, Adium X looks really good. The lack of internet at home has meant I haven’t had much chance to play with it, but the interface is very nice and I like the cute duck icon, whose eyes open when Adium is launched. It’s everything that Gaim should be on Windows.
  • Like I was expecting, software installation, and indeed uninstallation is a breeze – arguably easier than Windows and much, much easier than Linux.
  • NeoOffice seems to work well, and being based on means that I’m immediately familiar with the interface. Alas, it still uses the same interface as the Windows/Linux versions so it looks a bit ugly, though it is an improvement on the standard builds for the Mac which also require X11. My other complaints would be that it is based on OOo 1.1.4 which means it doesn’t yet support the OpenDocument formats (which some of my work is saved in) and the splash screen is ugly – too much text. The icon is nice though, however quite what a galeon has to do with an office suite I don’t know.
  • Deer Park also works mostly okay bar some minor display issues; Thunderbird seems to be fine.
  • After upgrading the firmware on my router, Airport is working fine. We’re using WPA-PSK in the house to encrypt the Wifi transmissions. It still doesn’t work with my Wintel laptop but I’ll put that down to the rather old 802.11b PCMCIA card and not Windows XP itself which supports WPA as of SP2, and in SP1 with an optional download. I’ve got a new 802.11g card with WPA support on order.
  • Unlike in Linux, I’ve barely had to use the terminal for anything – the only thing it was useful for was for finding out where a CD was mounted so that I could use it with DOSBox which is a pretty niche use. Mac OS X gets it just right – the Terminal is there if you feel the need to use it, but there’s usually no reason to unless you need to engage in some real geekery.

The Bad Bits

  • Still not got the keyboard thing sorted, however I’ll check these threads out:

    Ucontrol may also be worth a look.

  • Can’t seem to be able to install the 10.4.2 update. As far as I can tell I just have plain vanilla 10.4, but when I try to install the 10.4.2 package it tells me my disk is “not suitable”. It doesn’t tell me why it’s not suitable, nor how I can make it suitable though. This thread seems to cover my problem so I’ll look into it.
  • On the subject of updates, in addition to the OS, I’ve had to update iTunes, iPhoto, iSync and QuickTime. This is a brand new machine; why weren’t these already on there? iTunes was at version 4.7.1, yet 4.8 came out in early May – surely the best part of 3 months is ample time to include an update. 4.9 has been out for over a month too.
  • I don’t really appreciate OS X creating .DS_store files on my laptop when transferring files over, however there is a way of disabling it. It does require dropping to the Terminal and a reboot, though.
  • More StuffIt ranting: StuffIt is not included in Tiger, so any new Macs, like mine, don’t support .sit archives. Ironically I’ve had to expand them on my PC using ExtractNow before copying them over. Mac people: please, please use .zip files from now on πŸ™‚


  1. It’s everything that Gaim should be on Windows.

    Its everything Gaim should be full stop. Adium really is an excellent piece of software, especially combined with the joy of growl and general mac lovelyness.
    Best IM client on any platform IMHO, I can’t recommend it enough, combines the greatest parts of the mac togeter so well and works great with applescript extensions.
    Argh, i’m getting too excited that I can’t even list what I love about it.

  2. Even though I think OS X is the most user-friendly and easy to use OS out there, can software installation be any easier than on a Linux distro with apt-get and the Synaptic front-end? I mean, of course dragging an app from a disk image (which you have to extract) is really easy. But prior to that, you’ve got to find and download the image. On a Linux distro like Ubuntu, you do a search in Synaptic, click on install and you’re done.
    Regarding your Stuffit problem: If they haven’t stopped development on it since their version for 10.2 (which I am currently using), there is the free Stuffit Expander which you can use to extract sit archives.

  3. Stuffit Expander is free at…
    Most Mac users have made the switch to either DMG or ZIP… it is a rare happening for me to get SIT files anymore.
    Updates are not installed on new machines until well after they have been in release. This is actually a smart move, because updates are more likely to go wrong and cause problems than a stable, major release.

  4. Mario: I’ll respond to your point in a separate post πŸ™‚ .
    Dave: Sure, StuffIt is available to download, but .zip support is built-in to Tiger so hopefully people will stick to that now. I did encounter a few .sit files (like DOSBox) but most use disk images now, as you say. Still, I was surprised that Tiger came with no StuffIt support.