First impressions

Yes, it’s a slow day at the office. But it’s a faster day on Mac OS X. Jaguar absolutely launches faster, multitasks better, and seems generally cleaner.

One or two complaints:

  • While the Help engine launches much faster, it takes longer to retrieve help for an individual application the first time; second time is much faster. The Help Center is now a drawer, which is both good and bad. Good–you can jump to any help book you want at any time. Bad–they forgot a scroll bar in the drawer and to see additional books you have to resize the parent window.
  • I very much dig the new address book. One or two glitches: it opens a “Converting” window on first run and takes forever to close it (stays with a full progress bar and the message “Saving…” for a long time). Not clear from the new UI how you have a card in more than one “group” at a time. I liked being able to categorize someone as “UVA Alum,” “Glee Club,” and “Old Friend”; this functionality appears to be gone.

Still looking at other things. Mostly I’m just glad my machine is working again.

I never thought I’d quote Jake Lloyd…

..but “it’s working! It’s working!!!!”

After verifying the hard disk repairs, I removed one big chunk of packaged software that I wasn’t using and had a CD for reinstall if I needed. I was concerned about not having enough free disk space to continue the install. Then I put the upgrade disk in, switched my boot disk to my OS X partition, and rebooted.

Sure enough, the installer came up and told me that I needed to insert Install Disk 2. As I write this, it’s finishing the installation of the additional applications.

I think I dodged a bullet.

Thank God for Norton

The longer I’m a Mac user, the more I’m convinced that disk repair utilities are like money. The more of them you have, the better.

As reported previously, during the install of Mac OS X 10.2 my OS X partition went blooey. I ran Disk First Aid repair three times, which still left three reported errors: “Invalid BTree Header,” “MountCheck found serious errors,” and “Volume header needs minor repair.” I pulled out an old copy of Norton Utilities and ran Disk Doctor. It appears to have fixed all the errors–I’m cross checking with Disk First Aid now.

What’s next? Well, I’m bloody well going to back up my user data. Then I’m going to try the upgrade again. This time if it fails I’ll have to wipe the partition and spend the weekend reinstalling applications.

Ashcroft v. “Secret Court”: Court 1, Ashcroft 0

Washington Post: Secret Court Rebuffs Ashcroft. In an almost unprecedented decision, the court that oversees the Justice Department’s requests for wiretaps and search warrants refused to give the Justice Department broad powers because they’ve done such a bad job providing evidence to date. Apparently this is the first time the FISA court has ever unanimously voted to release an opinion.

According to the article, the court “alleges that Justice Department and FBI officials supplied erroneous information to the court in more than 75 applications for search warrants and wiretaps.” As a result, the court felt that giving Justice carte blanche under Ashcroft’s proposed new procedures would “would have given prosecutors too much control over counterintelligence investigations and would have effectively allowed the government to misuse intelligence information for criminal cases.”

When even your rubberstamp court of record is telling you they don’t trust you with extended powers, your brain, if you were Attorney General, might dig up something long forgotten from your civics classes. Something about checks and balances, perhaps, or limits of government power. Probably not anything about the Bill of Rights, but hey, we can always hope.

The sound of a thousand ISPs wiping their brows

Slashdot: BT Loses Case Over Hyperlink Patent. Thankfully the judge saw that what had been patented and what was being claimed as a violation were apples and oranges. I love the statement in the opinion:

“I find that as a matter of law, no jury could find that Prodigy infringes the Sargent patent, nor that Prodigy contributes to infringement of the Sargent patent, nor actively induces others to infringe that patent,” McMahon wrote in Thursday’s opinion. “I therefore grant Prodigy’s motion for summary judgment.”


Trouble with a capital T, Part II

I was thrilled to find my pre-ordered copy of Mac OS X 10.2 (“Jaguar,” or “Jag-wire” as Steve inexplicably likes to call it) sitting on my front porch when I got back from watching the game last night. Naturally I wanted to install it right away, but Lisa wanted to finish watching Fellowship of the Ring (she never saw it in the theatre), and my Powerbook is the only DVD player we have. So after the movie finished, I popped in the upgrade disk, went through the first reboot, and started the upgrade process.

The installer reported that I was about 100 MB short on my Mac OS X partition, but I deselected half a dozen language packs and the Lexmark printer drivers and kicked off the upgrade. Then I went to bed. Did I do a clean install? Did I at least opt to back up my old system? Heck no! I’m a statistical wunderkind! I won’t have trouble!

This morning I came down to find the machine on with the new gray Apple startup image and a frozen “progress ring” indicator below it. Uh-oh. I listened for disk activity–nothing. I crossed my fingers and rebooted. Nothing. I took the CD out and rebooted–nothing. No action at all. Despairing, I put the CD back in and rebooted. This time it booted the CD and went into the upgrade again. I tried to use the Installer’s built in disk repair to see if there was a problem. My hard disk didn’t show up.

A-ha, I said, or words to that effect (only more colorful), and tried to boot from an old copy of Norton. Too old for my machine, alas. Finally I powered it down and took it into work, where I tried to boot from the Apple Hardware Test CD that came with the PB. I didn’t hold down Command-C, and it booted the machine from my OS 9 partition. Thank God.

So I’m running Disk First Aid, OS 9 flava, and it’s reporting things I’ve never seen, like “MountCheck found serious errors” and “overlapped extent allocations.” The repair is going now; we’ll see what happens. When it’s done, I’m backing up my data (which I should have done to begin with, obviously), freeing up some more hard disk space somehow, and trying again.

I haven’t decided yet at which point I start making jokes about being co-dependent on this machine…

Trouble with a capital T, Part I

I watched the first half of the season opener at my coworker David’s house. Down 19-6 at the half, I went home to get dinner taken care of. I asked Lisa to switch to the game so I could check the score, but then realized our cable package didn’t include Fox Sports Network (hey, don’t look at me like that! I didn’t even think I could watch ACC games in Seattle!).

So looking at the results, it looks like we have a little quarterback controversy. To wit: one throws passes that I could pick off; the other does better but fumbles on the 1 yard line.

But this is a young team. And their ability to come back like they did in the second half is impressive. I’ll have to see if I can sneak a little Fox Sports Network under the budgetary radar. This could be a good season.