Aleksandar • Vacić

iOS bits and pieces

More eBay frauds

There is no end to ways someone can (try to) cheat a person.

After three failed auctions for my old PC laptop, all ending with frauds, I posted another one, the last one I could while in UK. This time, I set the starting price to £699, and 3 days auction time (it can’t be less than that*). In the end, there was an offer from a legitimate looking account that was a high bidder for some time, only to be overtaken by a brand new account in the final minutes.

After finishing with £920 wining bid, I wrote a message to him, to see about payment and shipment. However, in less than an hour since the bid end, this account became the unregistered user on eBay. :( eBay help advises to file a dispute, which I will automatically win since the other party is no longer a user. This immediately gave me back my posting fees and everything was nullified. I then offered a second chance to the 2nd high bidder, but after a day he didn’t even respond to numerous messages and everything went bust again.

Outside eBay channels, things were more interesting.

Mac-(di)ed

I have a feeling this post will cause me days of torment from Dejan ;), but what the hell - I always wrote the full truth, as I saw it.

As I promised in the previous post, I used first free weekend to use iMovie and iDVD and to create the DVD disk for my wedding. This went rather well, up to a terrible crush. I created the movies, picked photos and had a background music in the back of my head.

iDVD is really nice and creating a DVD with submenus and video or still thumbnails is really easy. However, as soon as I tried to enter preview, things went ballistic. Main menu usually opens, but clicking on any of the submenus caused iDVD preview to completely halts. And not only that, but it freezes entire OS. Strangely, the only thing still working is mouse cursor - everything else is unresponsive. The only way out of there is hard reset.

I also tried to skip preview and save the DVD to VIDEO_TS folder, that finished the same after a while.

Threads on MacRumors and Apple’s own discussion forums reveal dozens of people with the same problem. It seems that problem appears when iDVD tries to render the submenus, notably menu transitions. It does not happen with all themes and it seem to be dependent of the content you put in the DVD structure. I think that my experiment with saving to VIDEO_TS folder confirms this, but I can’t be sure as Mac froze when I was in Firefox sidenote: 3.0b1 works much faster than 2.0.0.9 - there is hope.

People that know more than me reported that bunch of graphic card-related errors show up in some log. It may be. It could also be that Leopard + iLife is not-yet-fully-charted territory, even for Apple engineers. Betalogue blog is a great example for that, as this post proves it.

Apple seem to have changed a good deal of subsystems in Leopard, and some are just not polished as they should be. Which is not that unexpected, when the GM build is concluded just one week before the launch date. Somehow reminds of some other software company that I know…

At this moment, “I’m a PC” guy could easily dance around “I’m a Mac guy” and punch him just for fun.

Mac-ed

I’ve jumped the fence into Apple’s backyard. I bought the lower MacBook Pro 15" model, with 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM and 120GB SATA disk. As someone who’s been on Windows from 3.11 to XP (with brief dive into OS/2 WARP) this is quite a change. I love Apple’s products, love the design, the attention to details.

I also love the uncompromising advancements and getting rid of the old stuff. Removing floppy, using only DVI connectors, removing modem - Apple usually did it first.

mbp-black.jpg

MacBook Pro itself is a great machine. It gets warm at times, in the top left corner and along the upper edge, but nothing unbearable. It’s inexplicable to me why Apple included just two USB ports when clearly there is plenty of space. Rest of the connections are great and I adore having DVI port on it. The slot-in drive makes very ugly noise when it’s sucking the disc in, otherwise works ok (although I used it only for Leopard installation). I’ll need to check for RPC-1 firmware, but I have little hope in that.

Speaking of Leopard, the disc I received with the MBP is labeled as upgrade disc. At first I thought that I’m fucked if I ever need to reinstall (that I would need to install Tiger first). As it happens, I needed to reinstall two days after buying. I’m happy to report that Archive and install went just fine from that disk, thus “upgrade” label could be just a gimmick. Whatever it means, I’m fine with this.

Challenges

I’m not an average user. I developed web sites (part of a larger product platform) for enterprise-level clients which means various custom-built stuff for Windows platform. I need to use various Windows programs and tools from the company. I need to be able to access Windows-based servers, both through remote desktop connection and through file share. I work daily with IIS and ASP (old one), possibly .NET in future, MS SQL Server.

Thus for me, switching to Mac is a path full of challenges. And since my old Windows laptop is being sold just after Mac is bought, I needed to be able to immediately continue working as nothing happened, both home and office.

This was the most important aspect of this transition. I have lots of valuable data (to me at least) and for this to be seamless as possible, I needed to switch to MBP but continue to use Windows apps as they were, until I gradually transfer all of my habits to Mac apps. That naturaly meant using virtual machines.

There were many obstacles, but now that I mostly got it, it’s time to write about it all, as I’m certain it will help someone else.