Apple’s new MacBooks prevent home-cinema viewing

Inevitable, but still so sad.

Apple’s new MacBooks prevent home-cinema viewing: “Anti-piracy measures block viewing on large monitors and projectors

Apple’s new line of MacBooks include built-in digital copy protection that will prevent protected media, such as DRM-protected iTunes films, from playing back on devices that aren’t compliant. The software, the Intel-developed High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), prevents content being played on devices such as large TV monitors and projectors.

(Via Macworld UK.)

OS X and the frustrations of not being Open Source

It’s now being about 22 months since my job sortof forced me into sharing my main OS from being 90% Linux (with a Gnome desktop usually) to 50:50 Linux:OS X. In that time I’ve grown to really like it. Prior to that I’ve used a Mac for about 10% of the time for a number of years. Probably coinciding with the introduction of OS X I guess, although I’ve also used OS 9 and OS 7 at earlier times in my computing life. I love the ease of use. When I want something to work it just does. I really enjoy messing, but sometimes the effort of setting something up surpasses the need for that task. For example although I spend a large amount of time hacking and reconfiguring my Mythtv box, I’ve never had the motivation to get my scanner working with Linux, as I know it’s just going to be a drag! This whole ease of setup is only possible due to a unified platform controlled by a dictator.

However, the enforced integration also has a downside. That is when I want to do something that is not prescribed by the Apple user guidelines. Having a Linux ‘if it does not do what you want and how you want to do it’ attitude, it gradually becomes a frustration when I need to do something in a different way to the majority of the OS X user base. Admittedly this frustration is way lower than whenever I have to use Windows. Steve Jobs and his crew have got most things correct, so that it does do things properly, and of course you always have the option of dipping into the CLI and doing things how you want to do them. However, that is not always an option when you have a third party application that is frustrating you, rather than the OS.

Consequently there’s always a list of trivial things that do well annoy me that would have had solutions quickly developed if they existed on an ‘open source’ platform.

Actually while we’re on this topic here’s two annoyances that just would not survive in the open source world

–’s rubbish behaviour (see this post) when used with a low bandwidth connection. IMAP is just not great. It’s got better with Leopard, but it still does not behave as well as Evolution.

– itunes and Ogg Vorbis. Come on even most Windows mp3 jobbies wil also deal with Ogg files. Why does iTunes just do not do so? AAC is good, but larger and not that good. If my MBP had a 1Tb disc then FLAC would be good, but it does not have the space and let’s be honest, you do not always need FLAC quality.

I also suppose it’s ironic that the Linux desktop I use the most (Gnome) seems to be heading down the road of reducing user configurability. I’ve never had a problem with that though.

Introducing Nokia Map Loader for Mac

Wahey. Nokia are really putting effort into supporting Macs for their phones. The Nokia Beta Lab has just announced a Map loader for the Mac (Nokia Maps). OK Nokia Maps is not a great app, but it’s not bad, and it’s free, and beats Google Maps on minimising data usage, since you can download all the maps via this app!

Introducing Nokia Map Loader for Mac: “

Guest writer: Steve A, the product manager of Map Loader for Mac



I am pleased to announce the beta-release of Map Loader for Mac 1.0. It allows you to load Maps to your device via your Mac, rather than over the air. Particularly useful if you are planning on travelling to a new area you are unfamiliar with. Save on that phone bill.

We get a lot of feedback through the existing application, Nokia Multimedia Transfer, for all sorts of features and one of the requested items has been a Map Loader for the Mac. So we have worked away to bring out version 1.0. In terms of functionality it is similar to the Map Loader for PC 1.0 but with a definite Mac look and feel. We also wanted to give our Mac users, something extra, so we have added one feature we are hope you will find useful, a history feature.

You will need a device that can run Nokia Maps. See for more information. You can also check the compatibility list for Map Loader for Mac. You will also need to install Nokia Multimedia Transfer if you haven’t already

Getting started
Firstly make sure you have a memory card installed in your device, unless it is a product like N95-8GB with built in memory. Run the Maps application on your device. Once you have done this, you can connect your device to your internet connected Mac using your USB cable. If you are using Nokia Multimedia Transfer to transfer music etc, it is best to wait for this to finish transferring. Then launch Map Loader for Mac. You can then drag and drop various maps elements such as countries to your device. And the history feature? Well not groundbreaking, but it lets you see what you have transferred, and you can use it to reload the same set of maps as a later date.

Giving feedback
You can send feedback via the application itself, or Nokia Multimedia Transfer, or add a comment to this blog post. We look forward to hearing what you think. Ideas may not make the final 1.0 version, but could appear in a future update. Also fairly soon we will have an update to Nokia Multimedia Transfer which should improve the performance of the Nokia Map Loader for Mac.

One more thing…
I am sure there is another Steve who uses that phrase. Please keep all the Mac feedback coming. We do listen and hope to offer more solutions in the future

Enjoy – Steve and all who have contributed in the development of this product.

(Via Nokia Beta Labs blog.) for the Mac… natively and no X11 needed, Awesome!

So we have a native OSX version of Open Office. How awesome is that? I’ve spent many years using Open Office. From StarOffice 3.0 on OS/2 (I vaguely remember paying for that), the earlier versions of the free OpenOffice and even writing my Ph.D thesis using OpenOffice 1.0 on Linux. Since moving to using a Mac a lot, not being able to share documents between Mac and Linux has made me use Office 2008 in the main. The lack of integration of the X11 based previous versions was too painful to use really. I’m so pleased that this version has come out. Let’s give the servers a while to cool down from the pummeling they’re currently getting, and let’s give it a ride!

Issues with configuring Personal Web Sharing on ‘upgraded’ Leopard

I’ve just been tearing my hair out trying to understand why a colleague could configure a personal website and I cannot! WIth OS X you can simply drag some html files into ~//Sites/ and enable Personal Web Sharing and access those files with the following URL


So far so good, except I could not for the life of me get this working on Leapard. Every attempt at loading this webpage resulted in a permissions error. What on earth! Whereas my colleague running Tiger set it up very quickly.

The frustration was further deepened by the fact that I was temporarily stranded in the middle of North Carolina without a internet connection! Not even a a single bar of cell signal!

However, once I got my fix back I found this web page detailing the issue, Gigoblog.

It appears that as a consequence of moving from Apache 1 to Apache 2 in the Tiger to Leopard move, Apple forgot a few things. The main one of these was that the default location of the Apache configuration files was changed from “etc/httpd” to “/etc/apache2”. That’s fine, but if you’d upgraded from Tiger to Leopard any users that were created under Tiger have their individual personal web sharing config files stored under the old location, and they’re not migrated to the new location., IMAP and being mobile

One thing that has always frustrated me is the stubborn nature of keeping offline. It always fails to recognise when you are offline and try to send email. Then of course warning you that you are offline and it cannot connect to that server . well no shit Sherlock I did not know that! More importantly when you open and you are offline, instead of being able to take all inboxes offline, it instead turns them offline saying you cannot connect. This ‘warning offline status’ is different from when you take it offline yourself (different icons) and the next time you go online it will try to take all these mail boxes back online.

So envisage this scenario. You have to send a single email from a personal account. You do not want to have to even think about work email (being on holiday). More so you want to minimise all network activity as you are connecting with a phone tethered as a 3G/GPRS modem at £3 a Mb (data roaming is a real pain!). So you need to minimise activity due to cost and also the fact that the signal is never more than 1 bar on your phone, and your ZX81 and acoustic coupler used to get a better throughput!

So you fire up Mail,app which automatically takes all inboxes offline since there is no network connection. You go online then immediately you then have to take all these inboxes offline (ACCOUNT > ONLINE STATUS > TAKE OFFLINE). However, doing this leaves whatever connection had started ongoing. (Open Connection Activity to see all the threads that this leaves going). Invariably trying to stop one of these, leaves one or more of your IMAP mailboxes in an ‘unknown’ state and it then tries to resycnhronise the entire inbox and folder structure. However, it cannot do so as there are lots of connection threads in a stopping status and the mail box is offline. Concurrently your single email is timing out as the SMTP server it is trying to be sent by is timing out. SO you kill praying that it will remember the proper offline status. However, it then will not close as of course it wants to finish all these open conections. Which it cannot. So you use Force Kill, which is always a bad idea with You fire up again, and it tries to again synchronise at least one of your offline mail inboxes. In spite of it’s aparentl proper offline status.

So there I was 2 hours later having had to send a single personal email.

So why does not have a proper online/offline status? Does Apple have some deal going with ISP’s mobile operators to inscrease traffic as much as possible?

Edit: my Phone bill for that escapade worked out to be £10. Which was far more than the rest of the data related costs for the entire fortnight!

Is iDisk now faster with MobileMe than .Mac?

In spite of all the hassle that’s been publicised with people having issues with their mail and other Mobile Me < .Mac migration problems, I've actually noticed that accessing iDisk is quicker. I share an iDisc for apparently trouble free file sharing between some of my colleagues. However, it's painfully slow. However, since the migration it appears to be more responsive, although it's still slower than pigeon post for uploading.