Archive for September, 2009

Why texting while driving is a bad idea

September 16th, 2009 No comments

Everyone who buys a mobile phone or drives a car should be made to watch this video.

I make no apologies about the graphic nature of the content – only when people see the consequences do we stand any chance of people changing their behaviour.

SMS from O2 pushing Wi-Fi

September 8th, 2009 No comments

O2_LogoI’ve just received the following text message from O2 (iPhone provider in the UK):

Get the most of apps and the web by using Wi-Fi, at home or out and about. It’s quicker, especially for apps like video, and really easy to set up. Tap the link and we’ll take you through the steps.

What they’re really saying is “It’s better for us if you don’t use our network for data”. They’re obviously feeling the pinch with data usage. Maybe if they implemented and maintained the data network that we are all paying for then they wouldn’t have a problem.

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Snow Leopard will likely cost you far more than £25

September 5th, 2009 2 comments

Snow LeopardDisregarding the fact that at £25 (21.73+VAT), UK users have to pay 22% more than their US counterparts for the Snow Leopard upgrade, you will be extremely lucky if you get away with only spending 25 quid.

The problem is that while I experienced few problems moving from Panther to Tiger, or Tiger to Leopard, Apple’s latest incarnation of OS X appears to have taken more away than it added, and in doing so it has cut off several pieces of software and device drivers. While the PPC-Intel Babel Fish Rosetta is still available for install, this is no guarantee that older software will still run.

Trying to find updates and patches means trawling the net and it is interesting to see how support forums are populated by two polarised camps: on the one side you have those angry that [insert appropriate software company name] has not issued a patch to work with Snow Leopard, versus those who chastise the former camp for not having already upgraded to the latest version (and paid handsomely for it). Many understandably see no reason in spending hundreds of pounds or dollars on the latest version when the one they have “does everything I need thank you very much”; a situation repeated in the Windows world where a significant number of companies still run Office 2000 and even Office 97.

The following are my experiences so far with various pieces of software and devices:

Elgato EyeTV

EyeTV iconBefore applying the Snow Leopard upgrade I checked Apple’s list of incompatible software and Elgato’s EyeTV was the only one listed that affected me. Apparently versions 3.0 through 3.0.4 were not compatible; only problem was that I was running v2.5.3 which was not even mentioned. I had of course been offered to upgrade a while ago, but since I only use EyeTV for watching live TV, there was no justification for spending money on an upgrade to get features I wouldn’t use. Unfortunately, since Elgato would not be updating version 2 for Snow Leopard, it meant spending £29 or throw the EyeTV in the bin. Already the cost of upgrading to Snow Leopard has more than doubled.

Dreamweaver MX 2004

Dreamweaver MX iconDreamweaver simply won’t open. The icon bounces a few times and then quits with no error message from either OS X or Dreamweaver. Since Adobe have since moved to CS3 and then CS4 there’s no hope that they will do anything to sort this one. Users are even reporting problems with CS4. What’s odd here is that Microsoft Office v.X is working fine and that is older, but reading up on Adobe problems shows that Adobe are in the habit of hooking into undocumented OS functions, so it’s not surprising that even CS4 is causing problems. The solution? Pay £163 to upgrade, however, given the problems even CS4 users are having, and the fact that I use Dreamweaver mainly as a hand-coding environment, I have been looking at alternatives and Panic’s Coda is looking good; at $99 (about £61) it’s a lot cheaper than throwing more money at Adobe, but it still means that our previous total has once again doubled.

Printer Drivers

Snow Leopard is supposed to set up your existing printers but, just as with Tiger, both my DeskJet 995C and Canon CP-300 both disappeared. Fortunately, I was able to re-add them although the system is using the GutenPrint drivers which work fine. Good job as HP have announced that they are dropping support for a whole raft of older (but still in-use) printers.

CyberDuck ftp

At the time of writing a Snow Leopard version is only available in beta but it is available.


Silverkeeper just needed an update to v2.0.2.

Soho Notes

SOHO Notes iconVersion 6 is not compatible, but when I went to their website I found that I am entitled to a free upgrade to version 7 owing to the date I purchased version 6, otherwise that would have been another $25. Version 7 users need an upgrade to v7.0.5 owing to the underlying openbase needing upgrading.
UPDATE: OS 10.6.1 breaks SohoNotes 7.0.5 – you need to update to version 7.0.7 ensuring that you select the option to reinstall the database engine.’s Booksmart

Requires a patch.


1Password doesn’t work with Safari in 64-bit but there is a workaround by forcing Safari into 32-bit mode. Version 3 will work OK, but again there’s another $19.95.

X-Chat Aqua

X-Chat is showing garbage fonts as though some mapping is wrong. The official site doesn’t mention any problem.


Requires update to v7.3.4.

Other Software

No problems with Microsoft Office v.X, Reunion 8, iPulse, Photoshop Elements 4 or 6, GarageSale, Tweetie, Drobo dashboard,, FileJuicer, Little Snitch, or Mozy.

My Canon scanner (using Canoscan Toolbox X) and Nikon film scanner (Nikon Scan v4) are also both working fine.

Snow Leopard also reset my SSH port to 22 and overwrote my Apache httpd.conf file (as did Tiger).


Any OS upgrade is going to cause problems, but applications that play ball and use documented system calls will fair better than those that try to be clever using undocumented calls. While it is unreasonable to expect a software company to continue to support and update older versions ad infinitum, users often find they have to upgrade just to keep up, rather than receiving any real benefit, as although the software may have new features these may not be relevant or needed. The dropping of support for devices means that perfectly functioning equipment is needlessly thrown away because the company would rather you buy their latest (and not always better) model.

Snow Leopard resets SSH port back to 22

September 4th, 2009 2 comments

Snow LeopardIf you have changed your SSH port in Leopard to something other than port 22, be aware that the Snow Leopard upgrade process resets this back to the default port 22 without asking or warning you.