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Sam's MacOS X Diary

The following is a rambling list of my thoughts as I experience the joy's of living and working on MacOS X for the first time.

Key: - good thing. - bad thing. - very bad thing.- comment/idea. - question.


Well it's been a while since the last diary entry, and my system has been getting less and less stable in the meantime. Culminating today in a complete re-install of my macosx partition; aren't I glad I got my partitioning sorted out so that all my data is elsewhere. Things seem to be a bit stabler again now (I'm back on the older 4K78 build), but I am still underwhelmed by the performance, given that I'm on a 2 processor 500Mhz G4. Ah well, these things take time...

My UFS partition seems to have magically reappeared. Can't rename it mind you, but who cares. It sounds like I may well not need it anyway, since I gather that most of the UNIX software I am interested in installing (Python, Zope to name but two) can be coaxed into life on an HFS+ partition.


One of the scariest problems I've found so far is the way that the trash works! Like MacOS 9, it won't delete items that are locked. However, it confusingly puts up a message saying that you "don't have enough priveleges" - not one that says some items are locked. Given that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, this tends to send technically minded mac programmers, who have only a vague understanding of the unix permissions model, running off in all directions under the incorrect assumption that they need to log on as root, or chown or chmod everything in the trash, or something. In fact, all they need to do is unlock the files. Now on MacOS 9 this would be easy. First, you could just ignore the warning all together and empty the trash with the option key held down - deleting all the locked files. Sadly this option seems to be missing from X. Ok - next solution is to select the items in the trash and do get info on them, then uncheck the locked box. Unfortunately, the Info inspector window only lets you do this one file at a time, which is very time consuming if you've got loads of files in the trash and you don't know which ones are locked. Next solution, run an unlocking tool on them. I wrote an applescript droplet to do this, which works fine, except that you can't drag files out of the trash onto an application! So, I need to take the files back out of the trash first. On MacOS 9 I would just select them and choose "Put Away", which would send all the files back where they came from. On X that command has also dissapeared - aaaagh. So now I have to work out where the files came from (Get Info again), drag them out of the trash onto their original volume (so that they get moved not copied), unlock them with some tool (you can also use the command line command "chflags -R nouchg myfolder" to unlock a whole folder), put them back into the trash and then empty it. This is way beyond the capabilities of quite a few users, who are pretty quickly going to end up with a trash that gives them error messages every time they try to empty it.

Well, I've now repartitioned my disk and re-installed everything again! To be fair to X, it wasn't really it's fault - I realised that my original partitioning wasn't that sensible. I still seem to have a problem with my UFS partition though, which refuses to mount, whatever I do to it. I wonder if there is a restriction on the size or position of UFS partitions?


One suggestion I have for functionality in the X Finder (and the 9 finder for that matter). When you are in a list view, and you choose "New Folder", the location at which the new folder is created should be determined by your selection. At the moment the new folder always appears at the root folder of the Finder window, but if I have a sub-folder selected I want the new folder to appear in it.


I may be imagining it, but when my machine timed out into screensaver mode, filesharing seemed to get interrupted - another machine that was connected to my MacOS X machine suddenly announced that it had dissapeared.

So tell me... why exactly can't I copy text out of the Help Viewer? Like... duh... oh, and I also want to be able to bookmark useful help pages...

Got the 10.0.1 update today (by slightly nefarious means I must admit). Can't say I notice any difference, although some folks claim it improves performance.


I have discovered a new replacement for cursor-lining-up (that thing you find yourself doing with the cursor and a title-bar or progress-bar when you should be working). I call it dock-whizzing. Basically it involves running the cursor back and forth along the dock when magnification is turned on. Some primitive part of my brain takes over for a while... it can last for ages.

I quite regularly seem to lose the cursor in Classic applications. The next change of cursor seems to restore it, but for a while it is hidden.

Drag & Drop seems not to be implemented in lots of obvious places. Like TextEdit for example. Why can't I drag stuff out of TextEdit onto the desktop as a clipping? I thought TextEdit was a Cocoa app - surely Cocoa has d&d support in it?

When logging on to a server you get asked for your name and password, even when they are already stored in the keychain - very annoying.

Windows have an irritating habit of expanding themselves too far, so that they bump into the dock -particularly classic windows. I guess there's nothing much that can be done, except moving the dock.

I want to be able to move the dock! Now please! That's what my second monitor is for :)

The first menu item after the apple menu (the one labelled with the name of the current application) is really irritating. It means that the File and Edit menus are always moving. Grrrrr. Don't the apple engineers read UI books any more?

The choice of Cmd-N for new window and Cmd-Shift-N for new folder in the Finder really annoys me.

I've managed to crash Internet Explorer and OmniWeb at least once - by dragging things to them from the finder. Other than that, the only things that have bombed are classic apps - entourage and golive have both taken down classic more than once.

I got an answer to the CMM question - basically CMM plug-ins haven't gone away, but they are broken at the moment.


What has happened to contextual menus, particularly in the finder? can I still write CMM plugins?

At the very least, the Get Info command should be available from the contextual menu that you get when you right-click on something in the Finder

The Clock application is neat, but it doesn't seem to remember where it's window was last time. Very irritating...

My Voodoo 3 / 2000 graphics card doesn't seem very happy. Every now and then the 2nd monitor goes horribly wrong...

The Finder appears to be really slow at updating folder displays - ie it doesn't do it unless you bring the relevant window to the front!

TextEdit documents don't remember where they are.