I’ve installed Slackware from 42 floppies. It takes a lot to try my patience
I’m sorry Apple, you’re really shitting the bed here.
I’m sure you think Internet Recovery is fabulous (and it is). Hey, we don’t need to ship media with our machines anymore. Great. Oh, but we now have two seperate operating systems (client and server). No biggie.
I purchased a 2011 Mac Mini Server (macmini5,3) for the quad i7 and two (raidable) drives in it. I do not want Mac OS Server, I do not need Mac OS Server, but you know better. At first I was fine with just avoiding all the Server cruft installed on the machine, and the mouth breathers will happily scream “DERP SERVER IS CLIENT NO DIFFERENCE YOU STOOPID JUST USE SERVER”. But now I’ve run afoul of some Server bullshit I can’t dance out of. Namely, I cannot run my own DNS server: I must be able to have my DNS switch with different network configurations.
OS X Server is not OS X Client.
You see, Server has all kinds of shit running in the background. Some of it you can turn off (Apache httpd). Some of it you can’t (Bonjour discovery). Some of it is just fucking insidious.
Good ol’ DNS. Oh, you don’t want to run a DNS server? Just uncheck DNS in Server Admin. Uh, why isn’t it unchecking? Uh oh.
No problem, I’ll just use serveradmin on the command line. Problem solved.
The UI in System Preferences doesn’t allow you to change your DNS server. It is hard-coded to 127.0.0.1. I’m not making this up.
It’s at this point that I’ve had my fill of OS X Server. I’m ready to somehow get Client onto this machine. Internet Recovery is out, since it doesn’t bother me with a pesky choice of which OS I want to run (you bought a Mac Mini Server, after all!) and the App Store prevents me from buying/downloading Lion Client (for the same reason).
"This version of Mac OS X 10.7 cannot be installed on this computer."
That’s what I get when I try to run Lion (Client) Installer off a USB Install Key. If I try to boot it, I get a crossed circle (never seen that before). Google tells me that different hardware now requires different builds of of the OS. That’s great, if I was running a Dell and Windows 95. Christ, Apple, you have what, 8 different hardware configurations? Too difficult to add all 8 of those configs into one build of the OS?
I am into day 3 of trying to get this figured out. I am now trying to acquire Mac OS X Lion Build 11A2061, and even then I likely will need to install it over target disk mode (yea, $50 Thunderbolt cable I’ll need once).
I remember when Macs “just worked” and installing the OS was the same on all hardware. I guess Steve Jobs is dead, after all.
The Joys of US Mobile Roaming
So, I’m headed to la belle Montréal in a couple of weeks to drive my brother’s RX-8 back to Edmonton to be sold. It’s going to be a bit of a slog, since I have to be back in time to see Coldplay, but I’m looking forward to it. I really, really love driving, and an RX-8 isn’t a bad prison cell to do time in.
Anyway, our route will take us through Detroit, around Chicago, and up through Minneapolis through to the Vag and then home. What to do about wireless roaming?
Well, there’s a few options:
I’ve done this a couple of times. It’s a pain in the ass. First, you need an unactivated AT&T blue GoPhone SIM. Next, cut the Mini-SIM to Micro-SIM dimensions. Then, you need to top up the account $25 to buy 500MB of data (did this data allowance go up? I remember $25/100MB for some reason). If you’re getting the SIM from an AT&T retail store, don’t mention iPhone or they won’t sell it to you. If you’re topping up the account, remember to buy top-up cards when you get the SIM because your non-US credit card will not work over their IVR system. Finally, change your APN to Cingular/AT&T to get data to work. On the plus side, AT&T’s network is ubiquitous, and it’s 3G all the way.
Note: AT&T kills inactive GoPhone accounts after 6 months, so you’re screwed into getting a new SIM after that. Ebay apparently sells SIMs for $5 but I haven’t gone that route yet.
2. Buy a roaming pack from your existing carrier
I’ve done this once. $100 for 250MB is extortion on a criminal level, and unfortunately being a Fido Ambassador doesn’t get me a 50% discount on that cost. It is easy to do, requires no SIM-cutting or APN fiddling, but horribly expensive.
3. T-Mobile USA
Well, I’ve never gone this route, primarily because T-Moblie uses the AWS spectrum (like Wind, Mobilicity, etc. in Canada) which is not compatible with the iPhone for 3G. I’ve never looked into their rates as a result.
This brand-new option for Canadians should be a godsend. A legitimate, roaming-only network provider which has great rates ($30/250MB, $20 for a Micro-SIM) and piggybacks on a nationwide US network? Yes, please! Downside: it’s T-Mobile’s network, which means only EDGE for iPhones…or does it?
The internet has been aflutter as of the past several months talking about T-Mobile refarming their existing 1900MHz GSM network (that which would give you EDGE) to HSPA+ (3G). There’s lots of reports of unlocked iPhones picking up 3G on T-Mobile’s network in the Pacific Northwest and in non-Philly PA. This has the potential to really shake up the US smartphone market, as people begin to learn paying full price for a phone and getting a PAYG plan is way cheaper than 2 (or 3) years of $100/month servitude for a $500 discount a the get-go.
Anyway, I ordered a Roam SIM. We’ll see how this goes. In a pinch, I can always run and nab a GoPhone SIM.
Still waiting after all these years
I find it maddening that I still can’t find browser nirvana. We’re lightyears beyond my first web browsing experience (Mosaic on big-iron UNIX, for those curious). We’ve survived the dark days of Netscape Navigator 4. Persevered through Internet Explorer 5 (and 6). Despite amazing advancements in the past few years, and huge gobs of money being thrown around, I still have dealbreakers with all the browsers out there. Here’s a few UI bugaboos of mine.
Tabs on top
WebKit has really broken the browser game wide open, in terms of a newfound demand for performance. Some thanks are deservedly sent towards those who got the ball rolling with KHTML, but Apple is also deserving of credit for beginning the backlash against over-engineered UIs. (Sorry, Internet Explorer.) So why is Safari stuck with tabs on the bottom, looking like a bunch of dummies who can’t see the obvious change in tide. Every gripe I have hinges on the paradigm that each tab (thank you Firefox for those, btw) should be considered a seperate entity from one another, with the tab bar merely being a convenient way to group them.
Why do I need a title bar?
Sorry Safari, but that title bar is completely wasted. Chrome does away with the title bar as a container of information, since in a browser that information is invariable duplicated from the currently active tab. Get rid of it.
Give me one bar Vasily. One bar only, please*
I don’t think I need to waste any breath here, since with Safari 5.2ß it appears Safari’s two seperate bars are being merged into an Omni-/Awesome-bar. Long overdue. Now Safari needs to add search engine shortcuts (Firefox having pioneered this feature). Chrome also drops the ball here—your carefully constructed search engine URLs can’t be synced between machines.
I don’t need an address bar all the time
A great feature of Safari is the ability to ditch the address bar. Hey, space saved! And it’s easily to call it up with a simple ⌘L. Chrome seems to have similar functionality in alpha in permanent alpha in its Windows Dev builds, but it’s never graced Mac Chrome before.
But lets take it even further. Scratch this “hidden until needed” address bar. Why not steal a page from Mobile Safari and have the address bar attached to the web canvas and scroll out of view, giving me those few extra pixels for what I’m interested in: the content of the page.
For that matter, why do I need any chrome at all?
Lion has shown the masses that those hideous menu bars gumming up your windows are dead space. Much better to hide them unless you’re actually using them. The new QuickTime X player takes this a step further and completely hides all chrome entirely, unless you mouse over something or performing an action (like scrubbing) where the chrome would provide useful information. Just imagining such a UI for a browser gives me a pretty hefty nerd boner. Magnifique!
* Yes, I recently watched THfRO. I’m sorry. I am already regretting having written that.