Posts in category apple - page 14

Disappointing Apple WWDC announcements

The Rumor mills were overflowing with ideas of what Apple might show at this year’s WWDC and so I like many other interested parties sat down through the hour long presentation albeit via a delayed stream.


The highlight of the shows was the new Mac Pro which is a dual-processor Intel Core 2 Duo Xeon machine which replaces the PowerMac G5. Whilst it retains the enclosure everything inside is new including the Intel chips, much better performance, 4 SATA snap-in drive enclosures, dual optical bays, 16TB of RAM and space for more slots whilst also being 64-bit like its predecessor – and unlike the previous Intel Mac’s.

Xserve also got the Core 2 Duo Xeon treatment but despite the claims of better cooling the fourth drive bay that was lost when it went G5 didn’t return.

Both systems saw price cuts and rather surprisingly the entire presentation on hardware was by the VP of hardware Phil Shiller and not Jobs himself. That completes the Intel transition in 210 days since it was announced.


The software front was a little quiet – no mention of upgrades to iLife or any of the other tools just instead the presentation of Leopard. There were a few cool features including Time Machine, iChat and Core Animation but they spent a lot of time talking about mail, to-do lists, iCal un-deletion, Spotlight, Dashboard and Accessibility.

Boot Camp, PhotoBoth and FrontRow will be part of the Core OS instead of bundled on applicable machines but that should have gone without saying.

If the “PC Guy” and “Mac Guy” from that adverts had been there “PC Guy” would have been impressed and “Mac Guy” would have wondered off somewhere else.

There was a line about “not showing secrets” that sounds like “not ready to demo” which points towards Leopard not being available this year.

Microsoft bashing

It’s always easier to put somebody else down than it is to improve your own lot and it seems Apple have gone with that this year perhaps to draw attention away from what little software they have to demo. Banners exclaim that Microsoft is copying Apple everywhere and yet Apple are perhaps even more guilty for not only stealing it but then accusing others of copying them rather than the original.

  1. Dashboard vs Widgets. Konfabulator got here first not Apple.
  2. Safari RSS vs IE7. Microsoft has been applying XML transforms to un-styled documents since before Safari was born.

And why stop there… here are Apple’s “innovations” at this years WWDC;

  1. TimeMachine – already available for Windows 2003 as Timewarp.
  2. Realistic speech synth – IBM and others.
  3. 64-bit – Microsoft released Windows 64-bit a long time ago.
  4. Spaces – Virtual desktops by another name. Available since at least the 80’s.


I can’t help but wonder having watched it if Steve’s heart wasn’t in it. Maybe the products and features he wanted to show weren’t ready or maybe he needs a break to recharge his batteries.

I guess the iPod video, 64-bit laptops and iChat Mobile phone will just have to wait.


LifeHacker has a similar summary with pictures whilst Paul Thurrott has pretty much come to the same conclusion in slightly more words. Added the Xeon moniker to the CPU’s.


Keeping an eye on the MacBook/Pro temperature

As most people know these things run quite warm but at last two applications are available for getting hold of those elusive CPU temperature figures.

When in Mac OS X grab a copy of the free CoreDuoTemp.

In Windows the excellent (but not free) Everest 3.0 will reveal each core’s temperature individually as well as more detail about your machine than you ever cared to know.


MacBook Pro the ultimate developer machine?

I’ve been using my MacBook Pro now for about a month and think it’s the ultimate developer machine. You really are spoiled for choice and everything you might want is at your fingertips.

Mac OS X + Cocoa

Every Mac ships with the Xcode developer tool set. This gives you the native preferred Mac development platform called Cocoa which uses Objective-C at it’s core. The actual tools are based around the GCC 4 compiler and GDB debugger with a rather nice Xcode IDE and Interface Builder GUI designer from it’s NextStep origins.

Out of the box these developer tools include compiling for both Intel and cross-compiling for PowerPC and support C, C++, Objective-C and Java.

Windows + Visual Studio / .NET

Windows is at your fingertips either via Apple’s Boot Camp dual-boot solution or the virtualization through Parallels Workstation 2.1 for OS X or VMware’s forthcoming MacIntel solution. Both virtualization products are helped by Intel’s Core chips having hardware virtualization features.

This gives you the ability to install whatever Windows developer tools you want such as the heavyweight Visual Studio 2005 or freebie Visual Studio 2005 Express C# Edition.

Linux + GCC

While I’m not a fan of Linux these individuals have a live boot Linux CD for the MacBook or you can run Linux under Windows or OS X using your favorite virtual machine.

Mono’s .NET

The Mono project support many platforms but their recommended IDE, MonoDevelop, is still quite far off being able to run on Windows. Either way you can test your app on Windows, Mac OS X or Linux.

Mac OS X + *nix command-line

It’s no secret that OS X is built on various BSD technologies and Apple include a bunch of the developer tools. For those tools that are missing grab Fink which will let you add everything important that’s missing as well as providing newer updated versions of the tools Apple include.

If what you’re looking for isn’t covered by Fink as default, try switching to the unstable packages. If that fails then try downloading the tarball then ./configure and make.

Mac OS X + X11

Apple provide an X11 implementation as an optional installation with appropriate library headers. Another base covered.

Web development with *AMP

OS X ships with Apache installed as default and you can add the MySQL and PHP elements if you so desire. Then you can choose between LAMP or MacAMP ;-)

Web testing

For testing web applications the Mac has you spoiled for choice.

On OS X you can test in Safari to exert your app against the KHTML+WebKit engine, Firefox or Camino to test compatibility with the Gecko engine, IE for Mac or Opera’s Macintosh offering to name but a few.

Switch to Windows and you’ll have your IE6/IE7 engines at your fingertips as well as checking with the Windows versions of Opera and Firefox.

For running stress or penetration testing Mac OS X means you can get your hands on Nessus, NMap, Snort, Hydra and other Linux based tools.


Hardware hacking the MacBook movement sensor

Developers keep finding new and unexpected uses for hardware and software – seemingly never more so than on the Mac and OS X.

Whether they’re using the iSight camera to scan bar codes into your Delicious Library or turning the Apple Remote into a alarm key-fob in TheftSensor there’s always some novel hack around the corner for the latest bit of kit.

Current attention is focused on the motion sensor added to MacBook and MacBook Pro’s that is used to park the hard-drive should sudden movement be detected.

In true Apple fashion rather than add a simple yes/no movement sensor the device can detect tilts and both the X and Y axis as well as the current level of force.

With a little imagination those enterprising third-party developers have come up with…

Sudden Motion Sensor

Amit Singh is a man with a mission – which is just as well because he doesn’t have a MacBook or a MacBook Pro. So quite how he’s written a bunch of fun apps and a useful command line motion sensor tool is another matter.

Amit includes some technical coverage of the sensor and how it works over the I2C bus Apple also use for temperature sensing, fan control etc.

He also has a useful command-line tool and some fun hacks such as showing a MacBook Pro in 3D oriented as yours currently is and a window that self-adjusts itself to always be horizontal. Alas, at least on my MacBook Pro, the X axis seems to be inverted and the invert X axis didn’t work so the effect fails to impress.

More interesting is his page on using the motion sensor as an input device. While not as advanced as the Nintendo Wand – it doesn’t support detection of position – it still holds some promise as he illustrates.


With the sensor sporting a force level it was only a matter of time before somebody used that sensor magic to come up with something like MacSaber.

The sole purpose of this app is to make your $2,000 laptop hum like a Star Wars lightsaber as you swing it dangerously around the room with a satisfying tzzzzum and sheuw.

Just don’t rely on the midichorians to stop your MacBook slipping through your fingers…

SmackBook Pro

You might be thinking this sensor is nothing but a curiosity but SmackBook Pro illustrates a rather novel use to desktop switching.

Desktop switching is one of those problem areas for short cuts. You might be using any one of tens of apps and finding a good shortcut that’s not taken by any of those applications could really be a problem.

SmackBook Pro’s solution is to tap the side of your machine to switch desktops and the way the new desktop flies in from the side is a great visual indicator of what has just happened as the video illustrates.

I’m not sure constantly tapping the side of an LCD is good for it’s health.

Many more hacks to be found at Raul’s blog.