Sep 23 2010
Back in March, the Mac gaming world got excited when Valve announced their Steam gaming software was coming to the Mac -- along with Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half Life series. I was shocked at just how quickly the Valve catalog was being ported to OSX, but then, the announcements stopped as suddenly as they started; alegedly sue to a number of graphics and OpenGL bugs issues that Valve helped Apple sort out. Today, I found this little gem:
We’d previously heard tell that now that those graphic issues are fixed, Valve as hard at work to bring Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 to OS X by October… and now, if a casual mention over at Macworld is anything to go by, it looks like that date might have been further locked down to October 5th, along with the latest Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 add-on pack, “The Sacrifice.”
So only a few more sleeps until all Mac users can help keep the hordes of zombies at bay with their Windows buddies.
Sep 9 2010
Listen up, all you Boot Camp’in Mac users … Can’t find Windows drivers for the Apple USB Ethernet adapter? Want to use use the adapter on another Windows machine? Are you crazy? Well, it turns out it CAN be done, with a little bit of trickery.
There is a lot to be said for Apple's simplicity of design. Even their adapters and cables look as if they were pain stakingly and lovingly hand crafted by an eccentric, gay, Swedish man. Everything just looks better.
Recently, after the onboard NIC died in my Acer Aspire L3600 (which runs Windows 7 x64, and I use as a dedicated Windows Media Centre). After flashing the BIOS and jumping through several hoops with no avail, I needed to go looking for another way to get a wired >=100Mbit/s network interface into the machine. Since its ultra-compact form factor makes an internal PCI option impossible, I needed to go looking for an external (USB) option. It didn't take long to realise that my options were going to be extremely limited and after checking out my nearby computer retailers, I had only two options. A reasonably generic SWANN adapter, or Apple's USB Ethernet Adapter - both were in stock at my local Dick Smith Powerhouse. The problem with the SWANN adapter, is that its a single solid block, and since my Media Centre lives very close to the wall, it wasn't desirable, while The Apple adapter can be flexed to a right angle.
Problem is, the Apple adapter says (on the back) that it can ONLY be used with an Apple MacBook. But the adapter's drivers ARE included as part of BootCamp, which means it can function when running Windows on a MacBook. So with a little trickery, you can get it working on any old Windows 7 or Vista PC (32 or 64bit editions).
- First, you need to download the driver for the adapter, either the 32bit or 64bit version.
- Next, extract the zip file and locate the file Ax88722.inf. It needs to be altered in order to get the device drivers to be installed. In order to simplify the process, I've simply got the tweaked version here, for you to download. Just replace the original Ax88722.inf file with this one inside this zip file.
- Next, attach your USB ethernet if you have not done so. Launch device manager (right-click on "computer" and select "Manage"). Locate the lonely unknown device "Apple USB Ethernet" and right-click it to select "Update Driver Software".
- Select "Browse my computer for driver software" and in the file browser dialog select the folder of your recently modified .INI file and continue the wizard. This should bring your Apple USB ethernet to life!
Apparently there are drivers for 32bit versions of Windows XP, put together by the BootCamp community, if you're an XP user and feeling lucky you can try your luck with this link (but like the rest of this post, use it at your own risk).
May 1 2010
Words cannot describe how much this excites me. Only in my wildest dreams did I think Steam (my absolute favorite gaming platform) would ever come to Mac OSX. Then I saw this news, which made me giddier than a school-girl.
I watched April come and go, and still no Steam for Mac.
But then my patience was rewarded when Valve gave a hard date of May 12, 2010 as the official release date. Now obviously we Mac peeps wont get the entire Steam catalog, but Valve has more-or-less promised their library and any future games to be simultaneously released on PC, Mac and XBox360.
Valve also has a nasty habit of pushing back release dates again, and again - but I am hopeful that this time, they'll do us proud.
Mar 9 2010
Its been speculated for some time now, but it turns out that sometimes rumours that seem too good to be true, do materialize after all. Steam is coming to the Mac.
And not just im some crappy pseudo lameness through a dodgy emulation or some-such, but real honest to god native application which is, according to Valve to be considered a tier-1 level platform with simultaneous releases for PC, Mac and XBox 360 from now on. Also, Mac and PC builds will be concurrent, patches will be released to both simultaneously as well. The source engine, also gets the native treatment, now that Valve has incorporated OpenGL into its award winning, modular engine.
Portal 2 will be Valve's first simultaneous release for Mac and Windows. "Checking in code produces a PC build and Mac build at the same time, automatically, so the two platforms are perfectly in lock-step," said Josh Weier, Portal 2 Project Lead. "We're always playing a native version on the Mac right alongside the PC. This makes it very easy for us and for anyone using Source to do game development for the Mac."
This means that all steam games will be theoretically available to Mac users. Steam and Valve's own library of games including Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series will be available as soon as April (next month).
But looking at the bigger picture, I think this is a huge industry changing announcement from Valve. I think this will be the event all Linux and Mac users had been hoping for to finally bust the lid off the "Windows is best for games". This is a great idea from valve because it means that they're going to have access toa huge market of new potential gamers. I suspect that many OSX users will flock to Steam as their de facto games delivery platform, since historically only very large titles were ever ported to MAc, and generally years after the PC launch.
What's more, if Valve is to be beleived, it may be more than just Source games coming, Gabe Newell, President of Valve said:
"As we transition from entertainment as a product to entertainment as a service, customers and developers need open, high-quality Internet clients, the Mac is a great platform for entertainment services."
"Our Steam partners, who are delivering over a thousand games to 25 million Steam clients, are very excited about adding support for the Mac," said Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve. "Steamworks for the Mac supports all of the Steamworks APIs, and we have added a new feature, called Steam Play, which allows customers who purchase the product for the Mac or Windows to play on the other platform free of charge. For example, Steam Play, in combination with the Steam Cloud, allows a gamer playing on their work PC to go home and pick up playing the same game at the same point on their home Mac. We expect most developers and publishers to take advantage of Steam Play."
Given the lack of enthusiasm for Windows Vista, and given he number of people I know to be making the move from Windows to Mac, I think this will only lessen the ties people have with Windows. Especially that source game licenses are granted for either platform. Blizzard has done this too, for the record. Its not quite as elegant as steam, but battle.net was (to my knowledge) the first way to get dual platform licences which could be downloaded from the web.
In summary, this is such exciting news for me, I am positively elated. And I think that this will cause quite a stir in the games industry, in that games that support only one platform may finally be a thing of the past.
Dec 20 2009
I have found possibly the best site on the Internet:
I like to figure out the fastest way to do things. I hope these shortcuts will help you become the power user that lies within. These keystrokes should work on Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard and 10.5 Leopard (many also work on 10.4 Tiger). I add new shortcuts as I find them, so check back! I’m still exploring Snow Leopard and will be updating this page as I discover new goodies.
Please note that Cmd is short for the Command key (otherwise called the Apple key).
Guide to the Mac’s Menu Symbol:
|Key on Keyboard||
|Key on Keyboard|
||Command/Apple key (like Control on a PC)||
||Option (like Alt on a PC)||
||Control (Control-click = Right-click)||
||Enter (on Number Pad)||
|Open Sidebar item in a new window||Cmd-Click it|
|Switch Finder views (Icon, List, Column, Cover Flow)||Cmd-1, Cmd-2, Cmd-3, Cmd-4|
|In List view, expand a folder||Right Arrow|
|In List view, collapse a folder||Left Arrow|
|Rename the selected file/folder||Press Return (or Enter)|
|Go into selected folder or open the selected file||Cmd-Down Arrow|
|Go to parent folder||Cmd-Up Arrow|
|Go Back||Cmd-[ (that’s left square bracket)|
|Go Forward||Cmd-] (that’s right square bracket)|
|Select the next icon in Icon and List views||Tab (Shift-Tab reverses direction)|
|Alternate columns in Column View||Tab (Shift-Tab reverses direction)|
|Instantly show long file name (for names condensed with a “...”)||Hold Option while mousing over long filenames|
|Resize current column to fit the longest file name||Double-Click column resize widget|
|Resize all columns to fit their longest file names||Option Double-Click resize widget|
|Copy and Paste files||Cmd-C, then Cmd-V|
|Move a file instead of copying. (Copies the file to the destination and removes it from the original disk.)||Cmd-Drag file to disk|
|Move selected files to the Trash||Cmd-Delete|
|Empty the Trash (with warning)||Cmd-Shift-Delete|
|Empty the Trash (without warning)||Cmd-Opt-Shift-Delete|
|Cancel a drag-n-drop action while in the midst of dragging||Esc|
|Show Inspector (a single, live refreshing Info window)||Cmd-Opt-I|
|Undo the last action (such as rename file, copy file, etc.)||Cmd-Z|
|Hide/Show Sidebar (on the left)||Cmd-Opt-T|
|Move or Remove item in toolbar (at the top of the window).
This works in most programs.
|Open Quick Look (Mac OS 10.5)||With file selected, tap Spacebar (or Cmd-Y)|
|Zoom In/Out on a Quick Look Preview||Cmd-Plus(+) or Cmd-Minus(-)|
|Find by File Name (Mac OS 10.5)||Cmd-Shift-F|
Oct 12 2009
While using a Windows VM on my MacBook today, I needed some files off a Windows install disk. I put the disk is with no problems, did what I needed to do, and then tried to eject it. You can imagine my suprise when I could hear the drive (making its really ugly crunching sound) and then - no disk.
So I pressed eject again. Nothing.
And again. Nothing. hrmm. This wasn't looking good.
So I went back to OSX, and the disk wasn't being detected by OSX - despite working fine the VM. I pressed the eject button. Nothing. I logged off (thinking some app had locked the superdrive). Pressed eject. Nothing. Rebooted, holding the mouse button down(I'd heard this does an eject if done on boot) - still nothing.
I was worried.
In a last ditch attempt, I found the terminal command 'drutil tray eject' which made the right sounds, but didn't eject the disk. hrmm, getting closer. I thought to myself "I wonder if it's stuck on something?" and then (and I have to admit that I felt like i was molesting my Mac) - stuck the tip of a plastic cable tie into the slot poked around a bit (a little, just enough to feel some resistance inside) and tried 'drutil tray eject' again in the terminal window.
The disk ejected, like a good little MacBook.
Jun 18 2009
As a long-time Windows user and programmer, I cannot state enough just how great Mac OSX is as a development environment. It comes with so many tools already installed as standard ready to go (or at the very least on the OSX install disk).
Like I said, mac osx comes with a subversion client out of the box. At least Leopard does. If you do not believe me, try the following command and watch the output:
svn, version 1.4.4 (r25188) compiled May 31 2008, 03:45:57 Copyright (C) 2000-2006 CollabNet. Subversion is open source software, see http://subversion.tigris.org/ This product includes software developed by CollabNet (http://www.Collab.Net/). The following repository access (RA) modules are available: * ra_dav : Module for accessing a repository via WebDAV (DeltaV) protocol. - handles 'http' scheme - handles 'https' scheme * ra_svn : Module for accessing a repository using the svn network protocol. - handles 'svn' scheme * ra_local : Module for accessing a repository on local disk. - handles 'file' scheme
However, as you can see, the default Subversion client (type: svn --version in a terminal window) is quite old. The biggest problem to me is that I use Versions and that stops NetBeans IDE and the command-line client no longer work. But no fear! It turns out it is very easy to update it.
- Head over to http://svnbinaries.open.collab.net/servlets/ProjectDocumentList?folderID=164&expandFolder=164&folderID=0 and grab the correct version of subversion for you, download and install it. So long as the new version is higher than the old, you can just install and it will copy over the old version.
- Make sure that the new binaries are on the path before the original subversion libraries. To do this, issue the following command in a terminal: export PATH=/opt/subversion/bin:$PATH
If you type: svn --version into a terminal window again you will now see the version you installed.
svn, version 1.5.4 (r33841) compiled Oct 27 2008, 11:19:10 Copyright (C) 2000-2008 CollabNet. Subversion is open source software, see http://subversion.tigris.org/ This product includes software developed by CollabNet (http://www.Collab.Net/). The following repository access (RA) modules are available: * ra_neon : Module for accessing a repository via WebDAV protocol using Neon. - handles 'http' scheme - handles 'https' scheme * ra_svn : Module for accessing a repository using the svn network protocol. - with Cyrus SASL authentication - handles 'svn' scheme * ra_local : Module for accessing a repository on local disk. - handles 'file' scheme * ra_serf : Module for accessing a repository via WebDAV protocol using serf. - handles 'http' scheme - handles 'https' scheme
Hope this post helps you use the new and improved subversion.
May 24 2009
For my whole life, I've basically been a Microsoft Fanboi. This isn't because I actually believed Microsoft was better, but more so that I was a big gamer; and well, games sucked on everything that wasn't a PC or a console. My options were limited.
So after my impressionable teen years and I started my IT career, it was really only logical to continue down that road, since in my opinion at the time, Window's worked fine. Linux and BSD operating systems were still notoriously difficult to use, and had swarms of issues and Apple machines we're for people who didn't want a REAL computer. And since I still liked gaming – Windows was my de-facto standard operating system and I never thought that would ever change – until a couple of months ago when Vista finally broke what was left of my patience and spirit.
Unable to tolerate the Vista rhetoric any longer, and having been frustrated with the “omg, your computer's sex is on fire” beauty of the new Intel-based MacBooks I made the switch. A long time ASP3, .Net developer by trade, doing the unthinkable – joined the army of people who like to wear berets, and watching Steve Jobs' latest Apple keynote speech.
And I have never been happier, nor have I looked back.
Looking back on it, I actually think that the problem started the moment that WinFS was dropped from the (then longhorn) feature set. This was followed by more dropped features until there was nothing left to look forward to. Vista ended up being all bling and no substance. It is the Amy Winehouse of operating systems. But still, despite this, despite the endless trouble with driver accessibility, despite the pitiful security solution called UAC, despite the endless and constant flow of problems; I persevered – hopeful in the knowledge that if I gave Windows some love, it would love me back. This has always been the case with previous versions of Windows, why should this be any different? But try as I might, as patient as I was, there just ain't no love coming from Vista. It hates you from the moment you install it, until the day that you die. And no matter how many service packs or patches I installed, it never got any easier.
It's like the spoiled middle kid from a dysfunctional family. What's worse, is that I suspect Microsoft knows it!
And before all of my previous comrades start cheering for Windows 7, like its the second coming, can I just point out that Windows 7 is effectively a working, stable version of Vista. Not much more. And what's worse, your going to be charged for the pleasure of upgrading to what Vista should have been in the first place.
Having had several conversations with various Windows user's since the purchase of my Mac, has been an interesting experience. I've come to realise, that Windows users have come to expect mediocrity from operating systems. And when I try to explain some of the awesomeness of OSX I am met with either apathy or a serious lack of comprehension.
It didn't take me long at all to fall in love with the MacBook. And this is just as much a tribute to Apple elegance (when they choose to use it) as it is about Vista sucking harder than a hoover. But the single, final feature which sealed the deal was the magical MacBook, sleep and wake-up/resume functionality. It sleeps and wakes up on he close/open of the lid like any other notebook. But the speed at which is goes from fully awake → fully asleep → fully awake is simply staggering. And, unlike Windows, I mean fully asleep (minimal battery usage) to a fully awake (and fully usable) state. I have the 2.0GHz version of the 2009 aluminum MacBook, and the whole process is only a few seconds! Simply amazing.
And much of the things which have truly impressed me are not even immediately obvious. The best way I have found to summarize the difference is this; “All of the things that you [Windows users] have learned to live with, just gone!” Windows in Finder (the equivalent to Explorer) open instantly, viewing folder file properties are virtually instant, search is staggeringly fast (this is called spotlight) and often, close to instant.
Even gaming isn't an issue (although I seldom get time for much of this these days) – I have a 30gb side partition for Boot Camp which runs Windows naively with correct drivers when I HAVE to use Windows with as much grunt as I can give it. VMWare Fusion actually lets you run the Boot Camp installation as a virtual machine if you only need basic Windows functionality (such as testing browser computability). This is sometimes to even needed, however, as many of the more popular games are sometimes available for OSX anyway.
I was expecting a lot more pain with the transition and its difficult to adequately paint the correct picture, but the simple fact is, MacBooks are amazing.