another rant

Way back when, in high school, it used to be cool for people to get a couple of bazooka bass tubes and throw them in the back of their cars. On one hand, they can be cool, but you can't crank the gain all the way up. They ended up just distorting everything and making random parts of the car rattle.

Here's the logical end of the bigger=better idea for car bass.


vmware fusion

So I have one program from windoze that I still love and need. Mathcad. So I have kept my inspiron around so that I could integrate gaussians and do algebraic stuff that mathcad is awesome at.

Today I decided to install vmware on my macbook (1G memory) just so I could have mathcad.

For those of you who have any desire to do this or have residual windoze programs that you may desire to use then I am happy to say the process is incredibly painless and sub $65. I was able to use mathcad without "seeing" windows in under 70 minutes.


Note on the screen shot, that the winapp mathcad is in the dock along with windows explorer and it is open in the 10.4 screen.

So, completely painless so far, runs faster than the native inspiron, and basically everything I hoped it would be.


a rant about email

So, I'm sure I've ranted enough about how much I hate the blitzmail program. I just don't like how the software was designed. On the other hand, the Dartmouth IT folk were nice enough to make it possible to get your email through a standard IMAP interface so you can use whatever program you want and it just works.

I've found a system that's hugely worse. The email at Loyola College, where I'm teaching a class this semester, is run on Novell GroupWise. It's the perfect example of what I think of when I think of Windows Hell. The whole point of it is to integrate with windows while just completely ignoring any sort of standard behavior of mail clients. To make matters even worse, there is no way to check your mail using anything other than the GroupWise client. You can set your groupwise email to forward to a normal email account, but there's no way to make it actually send along the email address that something originally came from, it says "Samuel Nota" instead of "". Oh, and the quotas are set at about 2 MB, so you can't keep more than 20-30 of the bloated messages in your inbox at any one time.

The integration with windows makes people do stupid things too: all informational letters are sent out as word documents rather than being attached as pdfs or just being typed in the message body. It's amazingly frustrating when you know how things should actually work.

Ok, rant done.



So, I got my copy of Leopard on Friday and installed it Friday night. There are definitely a few cool things about it... lets do it in list form.

Cool: it has virtual desktops built in.
uncool: there aren't enough function keys on my laptop to map the virtual desktops. (This isn't a problem at home since there aren't dedicated keys for keyboard backlight brightness and screen mirroring.)
Cool: seems to be rock solid, no crashes or weirdness.
Uncool: the menu bar is now a light shade of blue.
Cool: you can now set mail to permanently accept certificates from servers with self-signed certs. (cough, dactyl.)
cool: time machine
uncool: the fact that time machine will only really work correctly with an external disk.

Basically, it seems to work really well. However, it doesn't do that much that's new. Time machine is probably the killer reason to upgrade, but since most of us are using laptops the usefulness is a bit diminished.

So here are a few guidelines:
You might as well upgrade now. It works and it's only going to get better.
Before you install, make sure you have a backup and you've let software update update everything that it can.
Use the "archive and install" update method. This will make sure that any weird little programs you installed a year and a half ago won't cause problems for you now.
Make sure you have as much memory as your computer can handle. (This isn't a Leopard-specific thing, but more memory will always make your computer faster.)
Read to find out all the random cool stuff once people discover it.

In other recent-ish Apple news, you should really look at the new version of iWork. Keynote is about a million times better than powerpoint and the new version is pretty nice.

(Oh yeah, Leopard requires at least a 1 Ghz G4. So your computer has to be older than mine to have any problems. I can't think of any of you using older hardware. Maybe Brian.)



This one's mainly directed at our favorite early-adopter (this means you, G-Money), but anyone else who's hooked up the newest OS X release should weigh in with their thoughts, too.

Also, to keep this post interesting, check out the laziest picture of a leopard. Ever. No, seriously, that's pretty darned chill. That cat must live at a zoo or some other place where chasing down the food is not required.