The New MacBook Air

January 15, 2008


Maybe one day I’ll be able to afford one of these babies.

Digg|OS X vs. Vista – a GUI development and concept analysis

July 4, 2006

Great article on interface design concepts and developement process on both operating systems. Different company philosophies for different results on user interfaces.
read more | digg story

An interesting article in the design process of Windows Vista and Mac OS X. One of the comments had a link to a video superimposing a presentation about Windows Vista’s upcoming features with all the features that Mac OS X has right now.

Rules for Unix Programming

March 20, 2006

It had been a long time since I had posted anything on my blog, so I thought I’d post this.
This is an extract from the online book  called “The Art of Unix Programming” by Eric S. Raymond, and summarizes the programming style, and state of mind when writing programs for Unix. I think these rules are applicable in other OSes too.

  1. Rule of Modularity: Write simple parts connected by clean interfaces.
  2. Rule of Clarity: Clarity is better than cleverness.
  3. Rule of Composition: Design programs to be connected to other programs.
  4. Rule of Separation: Separate policy from mechanism; separate interfaces from engines.
  5. Rule of Simplicity: Design for simplicity; add complexity only where you must.
  6. Rule of Parsimony: Write a big program only when it is clear by demonstration that nothing else will do.
  7. Rule of Transparency: Design for visibility to make inspection and debugging easier.
  8. Rule of Robustness: Robustness is the child of transparency and simplicity.
  9. Rule of Representation: Fold knowledge into data so program logic can be stupid and robust.
  10. Rule of Least Surprise: In interface design, always do the least surprising thing.
  11. Rule of Silence: When a program has nothing surprising to say, it should say nothing.
  12. Rule of Repair: When you must fail, fail noisily and as soon as possible.
  13. Rule of Economy: Programmer time is expensive; conserve it in preference to machine time.
  14. Rule of Generation: Avoid hand-hacking; write programs to write programs when you can.
  15. Rule of Optimization: Prototype before polishing. Get it working before you optimize it.
  16. Rule of Diversity: Distrust all claims for “one true way”.
  17. Rule of Extensibility: Design for the future, because it will be here sooner than you think.

Or if you want the lesson in one “affectionate” word,

Also read the the section on applying the Unix Philosophy.

Mac OS X Blues Part V

February 14, 2006

So here I am at the Carousel Center Apple Store. I had about fifteen minutes on my hands so I thought why not write a quick post.
I have to say this, these Apple guys do have a certain following!

In the 10 minutes, I’ve been here, I’ve seen them sell two computers.

While I love the end-to-end experience that a Mac provides, I think their manufacturing quality leaves much to be desired. This is the second time, that an Apple product has crapped out on me . Six months ago, it was my 15 GB iPod. Now its the hard disk. While I’ve heard about hard disks crashing, this was much too soon!! My HP hdd, is still alive at 3 years, even if its LCD is dead.

Anyway, I had a long discussion with him, and he gave me a couple of tips. He told me that most probably the hard disk is shot and the only thing left to do is to replace it.

The way to replace it would be open the base of the mac and replace the IDE drive. And he also told me that the price of having it done at the Apple Store would be expensive enough to justify getting a new Mac. I’m just not prepared to do that right now. I want a new Mac, but not until the new Intel-based macs mature.

The next suggestion that he said would be go to ATS (off carrier circle). They had a lot more leeway about using more generic parts because they dont work under the Apple logo, as opposed to the Apple Store which has to buy overpriced Apple authorized parts.

Replacing the hard drive while possible, seemed to be a significant task, which I’m not prepared to do right now.

One last suggestion that Mac Genius suggested was to use my newly acquired external hard drive. This hard drive has a firewire interface. That was a good decision. So according to his suggestion I installed Mac OS X 10.2, and now I’m upgrading to Panther. My first priority is to transfer my music file so that its safe and the new files are authorized. Once that happens, I’m going to try to format the original hard drive again and see if I can recover the original hard drive again.

Mac OS X’s ability to boot from a firewire drive is really a god-send right now. Some of the design choices that Apple has done for its OS are really good, and the way the guy at the Apple Store described, their hardware is really well designed too.

Mac OS X Blues Part IV

February 13, 2006


I tried and tried, and I could’nt get my Mac to either boot up, or transfer my data to an external hard drive.

Now after nearly $400, I’m going to finally bite the bullet, and try to get an appointment with the Apple Store at the Carousel Mall and see if I can get this thing repaired. I’m cursing myself for not having taken backups. Curses !! Curses!! Curses!!

A part of me thinks that I should move away from this Mac business finally. It was good while it lasted, but there are bigger fish to fry than this. Another part says that it was’nt anyone’s fault. hardware failure happens all the time, and anyway its your fault for not taking care of backups. Being a person who write software for a living, I should no better.

As far as the money I spent in trying to recover the data, I think it was money well spent, and should definitely help me as I go along.

This story is finally over, I think I’m ready to move on now.

Mac OS X Blues Part III

February 12, 2006
I’ve giving Disk Warrior a last chance. Its running right now.
Anyway, there was some progress, since the last entry.
I managed to find the director that’s corrupted. Apparently its my home directory. The funny thing is that while it gives me a an I/O error when getting the listing for that directory, I can cd to one of the sub directories. That’s the reason why I’m so hopeful that I may be able to repair the hard drive.
Anyway I booted up in Single-User mode (Turn on the Mac with the Apple Key pressed). I ran fsck -f, and then mounted the hard drive. Once it was mounted, I could create directories. I quickly copied my iTunes and Desktop settings to the recently created directory.
I’m going to let Disk Warrior run for as long as it runs. If that fails, I’m going to get an external hdd, and copy the data to it, and then attempt to do a low-level format, and reinstall Mac OS X. Stay Tuned for more details.

Mac OS X Blues Part II

February 11, 2006

So I went out and bought a copy of Alsoft’s Disk Warriors.

I bought it the Apple Store at the Carousel Mall in Syracuse. Talking to the technician I found out that the main cause of the I/O errors usually occur because of hardware failures, and I would be much better off just by getting an external hard-drive and backing up my data. So i though I would risk a an investment of $107 and see if that Disk warrior is going to work or not.

Right now its displaying a dialog box saying that its Rebuilding director, and below two progress bars in brackets showing me that the (Speed is inhibited by disk malfunction). Seems to me that the technician was right. The hard disk is physically damaged.

The causes of damage could be anything, it could be a bad cable, a faulty logic board, or that the hard drive has gon bad. I guess the only thing I can do is just wait…. I’ve taken photographs, which I will be posting as I go along.

Disk warrior starting up.

Disk warrior’s attempt to graph the hard disk.

And this is where its stuck at.

and I’m right here waiting for it to finish.