iLife 09: iPhoto

I have a confession to make: until this year, I didn’t have all my photos in a properly cataloged database. I’d tried various programs, but none of them quite satisfied me. iView MediaPro seemed to have bugs in its ITPC handling. I e-mailed their support address reporting the problems, and got no reply at all. Then they were bought by Microsoft, so that was that. QPict works well as a browser for large numbers of random files, but I don’t find it a very helpful tool for organizing them.

Spots before the eyes

I guess I wasn’t paying attention to the Leopard previews earlier in the year, because OS X just blew my mind. I was editing an e-mail message, and decided to idly click on Time Machine to see what it was doing. Instead of the Finder going into Time Machine mode, my e-mail went into time machine mode. I clicked the back arrow a couple of times, and there was what my e-mail inbox looked like 2 days ago, complete with since deleted messages.

New Mac

On average, computers last me for about 4 years. Last week, I was still using an 800MHz iMac. Partly this is down to my being frugal. It’s like the TV situation, where I didn’t buy the HDTV until my family visited and laughed at the 20″ TV, and seemingly made it die of shame shortly afterwards. Partly it’s because Macs remain usable longer than PCs. A PC Magazine survey found that Macs tend to last 3.

Apple announcements

That iPod Hi-Fi looks like it was stolen from the set of Space: 1999, doesn’t it? Come to think of it, a G5 would fit the decor of John Koenig’s desk perfectly. Perhaps the Apple iPhone will look like a commlock? Then there’s the Intel Mac Mini. We all knew that was coming. However, while the MacBook Pro comes with a Mobility Radeon X1600, the Mini comes with an Intel GMA950 integrated graphics chip.

Well fancy that!

“I would shut down Apple and give the shareholders their money back.” —Michael Dell, October 1997. “If Apple decides to open the Mac OS to others, we would be happy to offer it to our customers.” —Michael Dell, June 2005.

More blunt thoughts on the x86 Macintosh

I’ve been watching reaction to the Apple announcement. On the one side, there are a lot of long-time Mac fans who have been expressing a kind of unfocused pessimism. Something about the move makes them really unhappy at a subconscious level, but they seem unable to express exactly what. Then on the other hand, there are lots of people saying “Hey, it’s just a computer, it’ll still run OS X and be pretty and be a Mac even if it has a Pentium 4 inside.

Oh no, more Apple drama

It wasn’t much fun following Apple during the 90s. The transition from mono to color was painful, as it involved whole new chunks of OS and a different processor. The transition from Motorola 680×0 to PowerPC was also ugly and painful, and a lot of software simply stopped working and was never fixed. Those of us who had 680×0-based Macs quickly found them made forcibly obsolete long before they would normally have become unusable.

Nikon, SCSI, Firewire, VueScan, Mac OS X

Since I know people find my web pages while searching for information about Nikon scanners and Mac OS X, I’d like to offer the following endorsement: The Ratoc FR1SX Ultra-SCSI to Firewire adaptor works perfectly with Mac OS X 10.3, and doesn’t need any drivers. Plug the unit in to the back of your SCSI-based Nikon film scanner, and you suddenly have a Firewire-based Nikon film scanner. This can then be used with Ed Hamrick’s excellent VueScan software to fulfil all your scanning needs.

RedPill 1.4.2

RedPill 1.4.2 is out. Adds Tiger compatibility. I haven’t upgraded to Tiger myself yet, so let me know if you find any problems… I was quite amused by the guy who wrote saying he was trying to get the source code to work under Tiger, and confessed that he didn’t know any C and could I help him? Right, yeah, I’ll do that. Also, yes, I know Tiger doesn’t include StuffIt.

Do PowerMacs dream of electric bills?

People often wonder if they should turn their computer off, or leave it on but put it into “sleep mode”. I decided to do some analysis a while back, here are the results. If you look up the specs, a Sawtooth Power Mac G4 in deep sleep uses about 4 watts of electricity. In MA you pay $0.04823 per kWh, so it costs 4 / 1000 kW * 24 hours * 365 days * $0.