First, one my the reasons I love using OSX: 16 applications open including 4 Xcode projects, Photoshop, Numbers, Evernote, Mindjet MindManager, and more without a hint of slowdown and still 1.3 GB free (4GB total on my MBP). It’s wide, because I use a 24″ display next to my built-in laptop display.
I’ve been doing a lot of work in Xcode lately, building an application for the iPhone. I officially joined the developer program this past weekend, making it possible to load applications into my phone for testing. I’ve got a few ideas for some applications that I haven’t seen done yet, so hopefully I can get something out there to fill the void.
I have to say, the more I work in Objective-C, the more I like it. Sure, I’m missing a few things like all my comfortable frameworks and such, but there are plenty of other ways to deal with things I’ve coming across. And since the NDA, sites like Stack Overflow have become a great resource for getting answers to issues I come across.
I’m still working on my other projects like MassTransit, this is just something to broaden my knowledge and have fun at the same time. Between developing on the iPhone, doing Java projects at work, and building open-source .NET frameworks at home — I’ve got plenty to keep me busy!
At the Microsoft PDC in Los Angeles this year, attendees received a CTP of Visual Studio 2010 on an external HD along with all the conference materials. VSX came installed on Windows Server 2008 (along with TFS) giving attendees a chance to dig into the new features of .NET 4.0 and the IDE.
Unless you’re on a Mac. The VM was released in Microsoft’s VPC format which can only be run on a Windows host. Or can it?
To run the CTP under VMware Fusion, you’ll need to convert it to the proper format. To do this, you’ll need to install the VMware Converter on a Windows system. Once installed, plug the PDC drive into a USB port and find the directory containing Visual Studio 2010. In VMware Converter, click the Import Machine button and follow the instructions. Be sure to pick the latest virtual machine version if you are using Fusion 2.x, as this will give you the best performance.
I chose to create the new image on the external drive so I could copy it to my Mac. The conversion took maybe 40 minutes to finish. Once converted, I connected the external drive to my Mac and copied the directory (VSXCTP in my case) to the Virtual Machines folder in my Documents folder. I then used the Library window to open the VM, which copied it into my library.
After starting up the CTP under Fusion, I had to install the latest version of the VMware Tools, after which Windows 2008 discovered a bunch of new hardware. Once the tools were installed, the machine runs nearly as fast as my Windows 2008 Workstation hack that I had previously installed.
I haven’t tried running the VMware Converter inside of a VM under Fusion, but I would imagine that it might work. Again, I didn’t attempt this, so if you do it and it works, reply and let me know about it!
Good luck and enjoy the CTP!
It looks like VMware has dropped a public beta of VMware Fusion 2.0 to the public. There are too many new features in this release to mention, so I will just share the link:
Be sure to check the release notes to see if they impact your work before upgrading to this beta release.
Items of interest I took away from the release notes:
- Use Fn+M to simulate the non-existent insert key in Windows (hello R#)
- Multiple display support for virtual machines (hello second monitor)
- Improved compatibility with Visual Studio (not sure what this is yet)
Be sure to check it out!
While I spend most of mine developing applications with .NET in Visual Studio 2005, there are times when I want to tweak a site built in PHP/MySQL. Since all my sites are hosted on GoDaddy, I don’t have SSH access into the server. This leaves FTP as the sole choice for editing remote content. While a solid practice would be to have a local development environment to text changes, it’s a blog, and it’s just not that important to me if I make a quick mistake. Plus, sometimes you’re dealing with Authorize.NET or PayPal, or FedEx, or another cart-based solution that requires cURL through a proxy.
For editing remote files, I use Cyberduck and TextMate on OSX. Cyberduck handles the FTP interface nicely with a finder-like interface. A quick click and you’re editing the remote file in TextMate. Make your change and save and Cyberduck automatically updates the file on the server. Or at least it did with Tiger.
It seems that some things broke with Leopard in how file update notifications are handled with Cyberduck. If you try to update using the built-in software update, you won’t get anything newer than 2.8 — which doesn’t have the fix. So if you’re using Leopard, you can get this functionality back by installing a nightly build of Cyberduck. It’s a quick install (simply copy to the Applications folder) and you’re back up and running. Do yourself a favor at the same time and turn off the Growl notifications for connection/disconnection to avoid some on-screen spam when saving the file.
In a shocking turn of events my wife, having reached a breaking point with her 1-year old Dell laptop, decided to accept a new 20″ iMac as a replacement. My MacBook Pro, having been the lone AppleTalker on the network, welcomed the new addition with a heartfelt “BonJour!” It turns out that the new member of the family sports the same 2.4 GHz CPU as the MacBook Pro, but came up slightly short on RAM. Nothing a quick trip to NewEgg couldn’t fix with the addition of an extra 2GB stick to bring the total up to three.
Out of the box the machine handled like a Tiger, but within an hour had advanced with Leopard like reflexes. Moments later, the new machine reached out to the new .mac account to synchronize all her settings with the interwebs. The MacBook pro, sensing the desire to share information, enabled his fast user switching to allow easy selection of user accounts. On either machine, my wife and I can quickly jump to our account and have our settings immediately available (mail accounts, bookmarks, keychain of web site passwords, etc.). This should make travel nice, since we’ll also be able to jump Back to Her Mac while away if we need to snag any pictures for the family.
The road has been pretty trouble free so far. A slight configuration problem with IMAP on Gmail caused Mail to dump out some nasty remarks, but tweaking the settings on the server made all happy again.
At the same time, I threw a Lacie Ethernet Big Disk (1TB) on the network to store all of our shared files (over 280 GB of lossless audio and movie files), plus at least another 100GB of photos, plus back of files of tons more stuff. This should allow me to reduce the footprint of the single remaining Windows machine significantly. I’m thinking very soon a Mac Mini running Leopard OSX Server might be joining the household to round out the remaining slot.
Now to reformat the old laptop and get it up on eBay…
Today was another day in the adventures of Leopard OSX. Since upgrading to Leopard I’ve tried to be a loyal Apple fan boy. But I have to admit some things are not perfect. This latest discovery has nothing to do with Leopard, however, it has to do with the way Leopard follows Internet standards. You see, there is some new way to resolve domain names whereby a SRV record is requested instead of a plain old A record.
Apparently this is to distinguish well known services (like HTTP, SMTP, etc.) from standard old server names. This is to allow a single domain like hotmail.com to use different servers for services on different ports but with a single domain name. For example, asking for port 25 on hotmail.com would return a different IP address than asking for IMAP (yeah, that was a joke on hotmail). Asking for port 80 (HTTP) would return yet another IP address. All with the same domain name.
It seems that Leopard is uses this new method and certain DNS implementations do not handle it properly so it times out and falls back to the legacy A request. Well, neither of my D-Link routers DNS Relay implementation seems to handle it properly so it wasn’t working well at home. I smell a firmware upgrade at some point, but for now my DHCP server is handing out the ISP (cox.net) DNS addresses and all is well in Leopard land again.
If you are having any of these slow-resolving name issues, etc. you might give this fix a shot.
In my usual morning loop, I found the following tweaks to enable to Debug menu in Safari. In Leopard, Safari 3 debugging tools have gotten some serious love — I mean serious love. Let’s take a look!
First, you have to enable the debug menu on Safari. In Terminal, enter the following:
% defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeDebugMenu 1
Once that is done, open safari (if it was running, it may need a restart) and notice the new Debug menu appended to the end of the standard menu. From here, you can open the web inspector and the world just opens up. There is so much stuff in here it’s hard to cover it all, but the features are deep. One of my favorite views is the network view that shows a timeline of the page load to find slow spots:
It’s pretty deep, I like it. I’m going to spend some more time with it, but I figured I would share it with those Mac dudes that are always into cool stuff.
When a hard core computer guru moves to a new operating system there is an initial period of identifying applications on the new OS to replace the tools left behind. On Windows, I typically have a basic set of applications including things like 7-Zip, EditPlus, etc. I’ve been using OSX for almost two months now and I figured it was time to lay down the list of things I find useful on a daily basis on the new platform.
- VMware Fusion
My preferred tool for virtual machines, this was the first thing I bought and I use it almost all the time.
I read a lot about this before I switched, and it has lived up to everything advertised. It works great and a Mac just isn’t a Mac without it.
A lightweight editor that doesn’t suck is mandatory and TextMate is a hard core editor in a lightweight package. I’ll be learning this one until the end of time.
Windows Live Writer is nice on Windows, but it doesn’t run on OSX. I ran through a few other choices, but this one seemed to stick. Excellent integration with Flickr makes it an instant win.
The best IM client on OSX, period. I also run Skype for its ability to transcend some of the nastiest firewalls.
- Mindjet MindManager Pro
The organizational power of the mind map is pretty useful and I used this on Windows for a long time. One of the advantages of MindManager Pro is that the same file can be read/written on either Windows or OSX. I just keep all of my maps on my .mac WebDAV folder and edit them on either platform.
This is a mixed bag right now. There are a ton of excellent features but it is still a .0 release. After the first update this one is a no-brainer.
You need a BitTorrent client, and I think Transmission is the best one for OSX. It’s open source and a native application. This one might even warrant a contribution or two if you have some spare time to help develop the feature set.
- VLC Media Player
The ultimate multi-platform, multi-format media player. Quicktime works great for .mov, but this thing handles everything else — and I mean everything else.
A very nice native IRC client for OSX. Use to visit the ALT.NET chat room.
You need an advanced FTP client if you’re doing web work and this one fits the bill. It even integrates with TextMate for editing remote files through the file browser.
This is a great lightweight image format converter, size adjuster, cropper, and most importantly easy Flickr uploader. I dig it, you should too.
- Photoshop CS3
I tried the simple editors, I tried to live them, but in the end Photoshop is it. I’ve been using PS since 1997 and I honestly could not handle anything else. Fortunately Adobe has a cross-grade program when you can destroy your old media to get a copy in the other OS.
That’s a pretty decent list of stuff. Many items are free, but there are some expensive items on the list as well. Hopefully this will be helpful if you’ve recently switched or are thinking about switching to a Mac. While installing BootCamp and just running Windows is an option (and a must for games), using a VM and having access to all the great applications for OSX is a really nice option.