Apple

Thinking different(ly)?

Determining Gentoo CPU_FLAGS_X86

Gentoo have recently taken the positive step of removing Intel-specific USE flags from builds directly, and introducing the new ‘CPU_FLAGS_X86‘ variable to control platform-specific hardware options.

(Presumably this opens the option for extensions such as ‘CPU_FLAGS_ARM="neon"‘, etc., in the future also…)

There is a new build app-portage/cpuinfo2cpuflags which will determine this information – but really, this feels like something that we can figure out canonically for ourselves without needing to pull-in additional packages 😉

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Updated: Steam on Mac OS X

Further to my 2010(!) post Installing Steam on Mac OS with a Case-sensitive boot partition Steam is now, if anything, even more broken on Mac OS – and this is particularly odious given that a Linux Steam client is now available which operates under the same conditions, but handles itself correctly.

Valve, why do you hate Mac gamers?

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Disable Mac OS Lion’s “Zooming Windows” feature

From Terminal.app

 defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool NO

That’s all folks!

Disable Mac OS Lion’s “Restore windows” setting on an individual per-application basis

The “General” PreferencePane in Lion’s ‘System Preferences’ windows contains a “Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps” item. However, sometimes this behaviour does’t make sense – after a reboot I found, for example, that the OS X Installer had re-launched and was asking for a package to install!

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Mid-2011 MacBook Air processor comparison: Core i5 or Core i7?

I’ve been promising myself for some time now that – as my current MacBook Pro has started to fall to pieces after three year’s perfect service – I would upgrade to a lighter, much more portable MacBook Air as soon as they received a Sandy Bridge processor update.

There is a nice overview of the available options at TechonoBuffalo, whilst MacWorld and Bare Feats are the first places I’ve seen with useful(*) benchmarks. Furthermore, the ever-reliable Storage Review has an interesting set of figures for the (excellent) performance of the new Blade SSDs.

However, what I’ve been unable to find elsewhere (and even wikipedia isn’t overly useful, in this case) is any quantitative comparison of the two MacBook Air processor options: For the 128GB 11″ model, the Core i7 processor is a £150 (~15%) extra for – on the face of it, a 200MHz (a fifth of an iPhone 4 or iPad, or 12.5%) speed increase.

There must be more of an advantage, surely?

As it turns out, the answer is yes and no…

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More fun with NSStrings in Objective C

Sometimes, it’s the simple things which can be the most handy. Here’s a quick category on NSString to allow all characters within a set (NSCharacterSet *illegalCharacterSet or NSCharacterSet *symbolCharacterSet, say) to be easily and efficiently removed. This fills a gap in between the stringByTrimmingCharactersInSet: and stringByReplacingCharactersInRange: withString: & stringByReplacingOccurrencesOfString: withString: methods, which only act upon the ends of the receiver or require a continuous range or fixed string respectively.

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Fixing Terminal.app window titles where directory names contain extended characters…

This one may be a little esoteric, but I’ve always configured my ~/.bashrc to set $PS1 in bash to a simple ‘$ ‘, but show all relevant information in the terminal (or screen) window title.

This is generally fine but, on OS X at least, if a directory name contains an extended character such as ‘Æ‘ then what actually happens is that all characters are sent to the window title except for the extended character, which is pre-pended to the prompt for the following line. Being a double-byte character, this then confused the shell’s line-editing abilities, and characters have a tendency to disappear if the cursor keys are used for editing.

After suffering with this for several months, this interesting problem reached my needs-a-fix threshold and I decided to do something about it 😉

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Installing Steam on Mac OS with a Case-sensitive boot partition

So Steam has now been released for the Mac. Whilst this is a massive step forwards for the Mac as a platform – finally giving Apple a credible position regarding gaming (after the 2007 deal with Electronic Arts, which didn’t even promise Mac native games but merely wrappers around Windows titles*, apparently went nowhere) – there are still clearly rough edges which makes Steam feel more like a late beta.

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Apple Time Capsule 500GB Tear-down

Enterprise backup, it ain’t

In December of last year, after only nineteen months of use, my 500GB Time Capsule died of a dead PSU. As documented here (a great graph, sadly lacking a scale on the y-axis…) the average lifespan of a Time Capsule was, for these first generation units, nineteen months and 20 days – and mine was only eighteen days short of this.

In any case, Apple offered to replace my out-of-warranty unit free of charge – but noted that they had no backup service to recover the contents. When asked, they did say that they were happy for me to dismantle the Time Capsule and backup the data myself though. Them’s fightin’ words 🙂

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iPhone development…

After a long slog ironing out some last-minute bugettes (and a major performance issue I’d accidentally introduced by attempting to bubble-sort an 10,000-entry strong list) I’ve just posted an updated release of Æther Tool to Apple for approval.

This is my first commercial app, admittedly, but it has taken a great deal of time, sweat, and (almost ;) tears to progress this far… and it makes me wonder how other small- or one-man developers approach the development process and how long this generally takes.

And now, following in the footsteps of the seminal “How 12 Hours, 2 Guys, 6 Cups of Coffee = 1 iPhone App there’s Sahil Lavingia‘s oneweekapp.com.

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