...but I still haven't decided on the exact shade of grey! ;-)
Utterly irritated by Windows Vista and its expensive, paranoiac, annoying and complicated way of doing things but still in need for a faster/better solution to deal with photos, I ended-up with a Malus domestica.
For a long time, people have been telling me, "I love my mac because everything just works..." And until very recently, I hated macs because "everything just broke": I spent (cumulated!) hours having the colourful spinning wheel turning round and round in front of my nose.... obviously, the Mac way, i.e. without any clue about what/why/for how long/etc...
Brand New Features!
Leopard (10.5) seems to have improve the things as (except on a old G4 laptop after the upgrade), I had to deal with very few crashes so far... Moreover, Apple made a lot of marketing about "Brand New Features" I have been using on my good old trusty linux boxes:
- Spaces. I can't remember when I started using such a thing with icewm but it's not recent!
- 64 bits support. Helllllllo! 5 years ago you could use Linux in 64bits (but agreed: 64 bits doesn't make much different with 2GB of RAM indeed). *i Loads of UNIX programs which were really missing (svn, rsync, etc...). At last, the OS comes with a decent bunch of programmes...
With a bit of luck, Apple might one day discover the existence of a very handy thing called LED, so I can't wait until I see the press release to say they put one LED for hard drive activity and one for network activity! Maybe is too hip... You never know, they might be copied...
So, waiting for useful LEDs, the best is to use emulation. Found a nice software called MenuMeters
There are loads around but this one is great... free (but I "paypaled" some bucks), open-source & non-obtrusive, it does perfectly the job!
As my main computer is (still) my Linux machine and I didn't want to buy a new screen, I went for the Aten CS62U: It's cheap (< £25), tiny, has very good performances and even switch the speakers.
A double-click on "Scroll Lock" to switch between the 2 machines. Moreover, the image is almost as good as with a direct connection... Not like with a model, from a different brand I prefer not to name, which is slow, clumsy and give an image so bad, I had headache after 5 minutes (obviously this would not happen if I was using DVI... ...next monitor maybe! ;-) )
Since I share my keyboard and I'm not a great fan of the Apple's version, my is a basic PC UK model with "|\" near the "z" , "~#" by the CR, etc... Since Apple doesn't seem to provide a decent keyboard support, I made one using Ukelele. Here is the file Genius.keylayout to put in ~/Library/Keyboard Layouts/ Then by ticking and selecting "Genius" in Preferences / International, log-in out and in again, you have your keyboard correctly configured.
Twenty years after the byte-order & end-of-line character war between Macs and PCs, a new one has started: MAC OS X uses a canonically decomposed Unicode for its filesystems. Worse, it can't cope (well) with the use of precomposed characters. Obviously W3C recommendations as well as all other operating systems (AFAIK) around use the precomposed version.
I was wondering why the mac could see my directories with characters contening accents but unable to see the content. After wasting a lot of time and googling around I had the (annoying) answer.
Since I'm alone using these directories and Linux seems to cope OK with decomposed Unicode, I decided to convert the shared directory thanks to convmv. Under Linux, I simply ran:
convmv -f utf8 -t utf8 -r --nfd --notest /photos
That said, this mean that it is possible to create 2 different directories with exactly the same name :-( Oh well, this will do for me but I really wonder how they cope in companies sharing windows, linux & macs????
Automount & NFS
Well, Leopard can do NFS automount (the UNIX way) but the mounted directories won't appear in the Finder... This would not bother me if some programmes (with graphical interfaces) can't cope with "invisible" directories. If it's not visible in the finder, it doesn't exist. Of course, one could use the "Connect to Server" option but it's annoying having to do it by hand each time you start the computer. Since Bonjour and "shared computer" stuff works only with AFP or SMB/CIFS but not NFS.... I had a problem! :-(
I finally found a 3rd party software (once again): Automount Maker. You can create as many "mounting operation" as you wish and load them when you log on. Simple and efficient.
It is supposed to be Gigabit on the Mac mini but, it's 100Mb/s 90% of the time and Gigabit only 10%. Log indicate "2 Pair Downshift detected" and switch to 100Mb/s. It seems that this is a known problem with Yukon chipsets. It's usually when the cable is bad but I tried 3 different switches and 6 different cables, so I suspect the problem being somewhere else. I'll have to contact Apple support. Which actually is annoying because they seem to do everything over the phone only. What's wrong with a web/email based technical support? Not sexy enough??
Printing quality on my old HP 930c was awful. Rastering problem I presumed. When the same printer is used from Linux or Windows the quality is good. I might have found the explanation on the Gutenprint release notes:
Version 5.1.3 is the one shipped with Leopard.
"5.1.4 -> Fixed an issue in Mac OSX 10.5.x (Leopard) where the printing system was not obtaining the proper resolution from the Print Quality setting and was defaulting to the lowest printer resolution found."
Easy fix? No because this new release also has another entry: "removed support for most HP Business Inkjet, DeskJet, Photosmart, OfficeJet, and Color LaserJet printers"
In short, once again a proof of the "Mac? It's just doesn't work" motto ! :-(
The fix is to create a postscript printer pointing to the Linux Gutenprint (not buggy this one) which in turns send it to the print server!
Mac OS works well as long as you don't expect more than a fancy GUI and you use latest Apple hardware.
Still a bit too much "It's the way WE decided and YOU the user have to take it or leave it" for my liking.
It has improved a lot but there is still a long road to enlightenment.
That's said, the photographic workflow (using both Mac and Linux) is taking shape... The pipeline is just a bit dry due to too much time spent doing IT! Oops! :-(