Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

June

29

by Kaj Kandler

For over 8 months I have been working on a Mac Pro now. Let me share some of my experience with the you.

First I ran the beast with Windows XP on it. And this machine is a beast! It’s quad core server type processors are fast and the box in itself is put together in a way that it deserves the “Pro” for professional in its name. After realizing that memory under Windows XP was limited to 2 GB for some reason and we could not get it to even accept 3 GB of the 6 that it was configured with, I decided to switch to its native Mac OS X.

Let me share a few of my impressions to use a Mac OS X for programming, lots of reading/browsing, e-mail and Office work:

  • It does use memory economical. I can run way more apps at the same time than on my Windows XP laptop with the same amount of RAM (only 4 GB of the 6 GB it originally had). Not to mention that is stays responsive even with my usual 20 – 30 tabs in Firefox.
  • It is rock solid. It runs weeks w/o reboot, unless I start Windows in Parallels. The Windows VM does bring the machine to a crawls after a day or two. Don’t know if it is Windows or Mac OS X.

More in my next post.

October

26

by Kaj Kandler

Apple releases tomorrow its latest version of Mac OS X called Leopard. It’s build-in text editor TextEdit now supports ODF and MS OOXML. This means it can exchange text documents with OpenOffice.org Writer, NeoOffice Writer and also with MS Word 2007.

Many Mac OS X fans now hope that Apple will soon support the ISO standard ODF in the iApplications such as iWork.

June

27

by Kaj Kandler

According to the latest Consumer Reports Tech support Survey (subscription required), independent technical support is better than the offers by manufacturers.

While manufacturers’ free support on average were able to resolve only 53% of issues, the same organizations increased their hits to 59%, when paid. Notable exceptions where Apple (80%) and Lenovo (80%), the former IBM Consumer PCs. However the support services affiliated with major retail chains did solve 84% of issues and other independent tech support organizations solved 93% of tickets. Independent and paid services were also more responsive to pick up the phone and had more knowledgeable staff.

Lets speculate, this could be a phenomenon of “I get what I’m paying for” and users of paid services are more satisfied than if it is for free. On the other hand this could be a real observation that independent tech support is better and more qualified.

I guess there are multiple effects in play. First, an independent shop can’t point the finger to some culprit outside of their jurisdiction. It is so common that the hardware manufacturer blames the OS and the OS blames the application and the application blames the driver from the hardware manufacturer. If you are independent you need to focus on solutions and not on blame.

Also, if you are paid by incident, you need to pick up the phone before the customer walks away, resulting in faster response times. In addition, if the client needs to pay for every incident, he will only bring up the really important issues, cutting down on perceived issues that a customer might have. Some folks have the attitude, “lets ask, it doesn’t cost me any extra” and in reality they ask the impossible. It would be interesting to filter out from the survey the group of people that has used both, manufacturers and independent tech support. These answers would be the best to decide who is better. For the moment I’ll give independent the benefit of the doubt and the survey results. I guess if you need to compete for each incident, you got to deliver some value.

May

09

by Kaj Kandler

Apple’s notebooks have become increasingly popular. OpenOffice.org does run on Apple’s MAC OS X operating system However it does not comply with the OS X user interface, called Aqua. Sun Microsystems has now decided to commit two full time developers to produce a full MAC OS X compliant port of OpenOffice.org.

Even among the geeks at recent BarCamp Boston 2 it seemed they had gained a majority. So it comes to no surprise that OpenOffice.org on Apple’s OS X is seen as deficient, because it lacks full integration into the User experience. The current version requires the X windowing system to be installed. This poses a double whammy for users, because

  1. It is an extra installation step, that might not so experienced users from using it
  2. It does conform to the X Window user interface created for Unix systems, with significant differences to the way other programs work on OS X

There is a porting project underway which has been run solely by volunteers so far. Sun now committed two full time developers to support these efforts. Unfortunately this is only one of two projects that work towards the same goal. The second project being NeoOffice, which tries to achieve the Aqua user interface through using Java. I wished that those two projects could pool their resources and expertise in order to achieve this very desirable goal faster.

May

19

by Kaj Kandler

Apple Matters has selected OpenOffice.org as best open source software for the Macintosh in its category. Devanshu Mehta from Apple Matters sees it as an obvious choice, writing “This one is a no-brainer. Compared with the expensive office software from other companies, OpenOffice.org has a quite well-rounded feature set.”

However, Devanshu thinks that the reliance on X11 for OpenOffice.org for OS X is a serious drawback and recommends NeoOffice, the port created by Patrick Luby and Edward Peterlin using Cocoa for a native look and better integration.