My Very Secret MacOSX Diary

(or, my actual interaction with the damn thing, preserved for posterity)

Editor's note: The dates here don't bear much relation to reality. The author couldn't be bothered to record when he really did anything or how long it took, so a "Day" is anything from half an hour to a week.

Some of these thoughts were reconstructed after the fact. (Again, the author's laziness in keeping his diary up to date. Be certain that he has been sternly chastened.) However, they form, as best as we can determine, an honest portrayal of what he thought, and how he reacted, in his exposure to the soul of a new machine.

Further procedural note: This document is formatted as one long page, without "permalinks" to individual entries. This is because, well, the author isn't adding much to it any more. Adjusting to a new OS is an exponential-decay process -- lots of hassle at the beginning, quickly slowing down to a near-stable state. So this diary won't get too much longer. If it does, eventually I'll reformat it as individual articles.

And, lest I forget, he's using OSX 10.1.2. (Upgraded to 10.1.3 around Day 19.)

-- Day 0 --

G4 arrived today. Made very welcome.

Have decided to say "oh ess ex", regardless of what Steve thinks. Maybe "Mac awss ex", sometimes.

-- Day 1 --

Brought machine home. (It was shipped to my office, sigh.) Plugged everything in.

Steve has indeed begun shipping with OSX as the default OS. Ran through the OSX registration procedure. Not too arduous, although they asked for my address and phone number. Lied, on general principles. The system dialed up (after asking permission) and mailed my lies off to Steve.

Did very quick look-around, but no time to tarry. First task: repartition hard drive and reinstall everything!

Why is he repartitioning the hard drive? Well, basically it's easy to do now and terribly hard to do later. For various irrational reasons, he wants to have OS9 and OSX on separate partitions. Plus, he might install Linux later -- he hasn't decided -- and that will certainly want its own partition. And... personally I think this is rank superstition, but he believes that if he doesn't create an extra partition, the gods will give him reason to need one.

Booted "Mac OS 9 Install" disk. Used good old-fashioned tools to wipe hard drive and repartition. (Three partitions: 35 gigs, 30 gigs, 10 gigs. Plus a little one at the front, left unformatted -- I hear Linux needs something like that, and I can certainly spare a few megabytes just in case.)

Installed OS9 on the 35 gig partition. (Figure: if I install a really huge game, it's more likely to be OS9 compatible, at least in the near term. Anyway, it's easy to move stuff back and forth.)

Booted OS9. Worked, no problem. Set up a few favorite preferences.

Booted "Max OS X Install" disk. Installed on 30 gig partition. Installation procedure no sweat.

Booted OSX. Ran through OSX registration again. Fancy full-screen logo movies a lot more tedious the second time around. (Stupid Steve.) System mails false address and phone number to Steve again. Hope he enjoys it.

Explore interface for a while. Not very comfortable. New UI like having sex with brand-new partner, while blindfolded and wearing mittens and half-drunk so you can't remember what goes where.

Started Terminal app. Unix shell! Go Steve! Emacs! (Okay, Emacs 20, not 21. Close enough.)

-- Day 2 --

Tried to install drivers for fancy Apple flatpanel display. (Seems to be working fine, but who knows? Display came with this CD, might as well install it.)

Double-clicked cardboard box icon. (Why cardboard box icon? I know, "package", but seems awkward.)

Big dialogue box came up: "You need an Administrator password to install the software." Below this, icon of a padlock: "Click the lock to make changes."

Totally baffled. What do I do now? No clue how to enter administrator password.

Think. The OSX install procedure asked me for a user name and password. This was supposed to create an administrator user. That must be the user that I am, therefore I am an administrator. I can't log in again, can I?

Check System Preferences, "Users" tool. Yep -- "Andrew Plotkin, Admin". No place to enter a password. Hit "Edit User" button. This is how I change my password. No help there.

I try creating a new user -- maybe he'll be more of an adminstrator than I am. "New User". Name "guest", password... Allow user to administrate. Okay. Um, now he's an admin too. This obviously isn't helping.

Go back to installer app. Search menus for some "enter password" option. No luck. Very frustrated.

Blind and wearing mittens. Click the lock icon in desperation.

Surprise! New dialogue: "You need an administrator name and password to make changes in Installer." And a space to enter a password.

Bad design or stupid user? Hmm.

Now that I think about it... it still makes no sense. "Click the lock to make changes"? In what? I didn't want to "make" some ill-defined "changes", I wanted to install a video driver. I don't make changes in a video driver without knowing what's going on; that's dumb. Even the new dialogue box is badly worded; I don't want to make changes in Installer app either.

Stupid Steve.

Past hurdle, video driver installed no sweat.

Cleaning up mistake: "Delete User" on redundant "guest" account. Dialogue: "This user will be permanently deleted. The home folder will be reassigned to the administrator..." Choice of "System Administrator" or "Andrew Plotkin". Choose "Andrew Plotkin". Okay. The "guest" folder in Users is now changed to "guest Deleted". Don't need it, drag to trash...

"The item 'guest Deleted' cannot be moved to the Trash because it cannot be deleted."


Stupid Steve.

-- Day 3 --

Blew off OSX work. Installed "American McGee's Alice" under OS9. Played like fiend.

GeForce 4MX may be cut-rate video card, but it's good enough for Alice. Go Steve.

-- Day 4 --

Finished Alice. (Pico-review: visually brilliant. No plot, ten-second gimmick idea for character. McGee thinks he's going to make a movie out of this? Then again, I went to see Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.)

Just so you know, he actually took three days to finish Alice (and that was in Easy mode and with a couple of hints on how to beat the bosses. Plus liberal use of cheat keys in final battle.) As stated above, the dates in this document are highly tenuous.

-- Day 5 --

Isn't some developer software supposed to come with this thing?

Oh, no. Remember this from repartitioning Powerbook back in 1999. The "OS X Install" disk doesn't actually install everything that came on my hard drive. I was supposed to use the five-CD "Power Mac G4 Software Restore" set.

Looked through all "Software Restore" disks. No way to extract a single component, such as the developer tools. Have to actually reinstall OSX. Stupid Steve!

Inserted disk 1. Installer says it will erase my entire partition. Argh. No, wait! I have a ten-gig partition to spare, completely unused. Superstition pays off -- go me!

Installed entire system on spare partition. (Installer did not refer to "disk 1", "disk 2", etc. Instead, said "Insert CD that looks like this:" and showed picture of CD label, which showed figure juggling one CD, or two CDs, etc. Do they really believe that installation procedure is thereby made accessible to illiterates? Ha ha. Stupid Steve.)

Did not go through OSX registration a third time; never booted spare partition. Just wanted applications from it.

Found developer tools. Packaged as installer, so no sweat installing it on my real OSX partition.

Looked through other applications on spare partition. Oh, look, "iDVD 2". Yeah, that was one of the selling points of this machine, wasn't it?

Hmm. Under OSX, are you supposed to copy an application by simply copying its folder? This is valid under OS9, but a hopeless disaster under Unix systems, including BSD. Does iDVD keep extra data in strange system folder places?

Hit cmd-F to search partition. Oh, no. Sherlock. Forgot how awful Sherlock has become in OSX (and, for that matter, OS9). Rows of icons. Hate icons. More on this later.

Searched partition for files with "idvd" in name. Hmm. Looks like everything important in application folder. Deep breath, drag folder to OSX partition... open, start iDVD.

Works. Go Steve! Ran through tutorial. Looks like pretty good interface for making simple DVDs. If I ever want to make DVDs, will probably want to make simple ones. iDVD a win. Go Steve!

-- Day 6 --

Looked through other apps in spare partition. Copied a few obviously useful ones (GraphicConverter, OmniGraffle drawing tool).

Tried to clean up Sherlock. Deleted rows of stupid product-placement web links (stupid CNN, stupid AltaVista, stupid everybody). Deleted them all. Bing! Sherlock says "Channel empty. Restoring from Internet...". Stupid Steve. Fortunately not dialled in at time, so Sherlock's evil plan is foiled. Finally figure out how to placate Sherlock by adding a single innocuous search link to every channel.

Independent investigation suggests that he may be confused here. The author was working with the OS9 version of Sherlock when he had this traumatic experience. He wasn't actually on-line, so the "restoring..." pop-up kept trying to dial him in. The OSX version does the same thing, but it's even more insidious; it doesn't try to download the defaults until the next time you are connected up. Then it does it without asking.

Getting more experience working with new Finder. No longer feel totally mummified, but still not comfortable. Column view -- bleah. (Remember using NeXT boxes in college. Didn't like column view then either.) Can set Finder windows to familiar icon view, but Navigation Services stuck in column view -- or inadequate "simplified" option (for save operations).

Is this good enough? Save dialogue only appears when creating new document, or new copy of document. OS9 defaults to "last used" folder, which is almost always right. If not, like as not to hit "desktop" button, save file on desktop, drag to correct location in Finder. Just as viable in OSX. Will get used to it. Maybe.

But interface is cluttered with weird crap. iDisk links everywhere. Already have storage on Internet! Not giving Steve stewardship of my stuff. Don't want to have to look at iDisk all the time. Out of my interface. Stupid Steve.

Never liked "Recent Documents", "Recent Folders", etc. Yes, contains right answer a lot of the time -- but not predictable. Not worth brainpower to search all the time. Rather take stupid, longer, reliable navigation to desired target. Habit, not brains. How to turn off "Recent" entries in menus? No way. Stupid Steve.

Ditto "Dock" entry under Apple menu. Why waste menu space with preferences tree? Set preferences once, never look at again! "Get OSX Software"? Sigh.

Icons. Icon toolbars everywhere. In Sherlock. In dock. In Finder window! Big, glowing heart, house, ruler, all crap. Hate icons. Stupid, stupid Steve! If I wanted icon toolbars, would be using Windows.

This does require some explanation. Obviously he doesn't hate all icons; he is quite vocal about his fondness for the OS9 Finder interface, and the icon-style OSX Finder windows. The problem is the distinction -- and the original Apple human-interface guidelines make this distinction very clearly -- between icons representing objects (files, directories) and icons representing actions (buttons, menu items).

A group of objects is something you come across now and again. You want to find a particular one, perhaps. They have text labels, which are sufficient, but you also want a rough visual categorization. You want to distinguish the folders from the files, or the image files from the text files. The iconic shapes are a first cut, a way to trim down the information rush, so that you can more easily pick out the one you want. The icons are acting to make some objects more similar to each other.

A group of commands is different. Every command is different. Therefore, every command needs a different icon. So where is the similarity? There is none; you are not visually grouping all the hearts together, you are trying to remember what the heart stands for. And that's the wrong task. The point was never to associate important information with a picture, it was to associate pictures with each other.

-- Day 7 --

Time to get some tools.

To get tools in command-line OS, use Lynx. (Have already deleted (blech) IE. Strict no-MS-software policy in home. Not interested in discussing this. Morally, Netscape counts as MS software. Not discussing this either. Read on.)

Hmm. No Lynx. (No Links either.) Okay, get Lynx first. Chicken-and-egg problem easily solved; telnet to ISP shell account, use Lynx from there, FTP files home.

Hmm. "fink" project at sourceforge has Unix apps packaged for OSX, using Debian packaging tool. Didn't feel like installing Debian tool today. Just build Lynx from source, eh?

Got source. Configure, make, make install...

Hmm. Need root password to install.

Back to web. Prayed to Google. Prayer answered: data on, among others. Duh -- use sudo. (I decided to set a root password so I can su, as well. Used to su.)

Installed Lynx. Runs fine. Go Steve!

Hmm, runs not-quite-fine. Links in browser shown in reverse-text instead of boldface. I know this terminal can do boldface; Lynx works fine when telnetting to ISP.

Tried messing with Lynx config. Tried messing with command-line arguments. Tried recompiling Lynx with funky options. No good. Stuck with reverse text. (Maybe should go get Lynx package from fink... sigh. Not today.)

Next, Python. Got source. Configured. Installed. Only minor hitch, due to total failure to read README file. Python works. Even has some kind of Carbon interface module. Go Steve! (Yeah, yeah, Steve didn't do it. Go Guido, but Steve also.)

-- Day 8 --

Thumbs down on translucent UI elements. Pull down menu, what is this cruft? Oh, window behind showing through menu. Makes menu visually unreliable -- unpredictable. Stupid Steve.

Translucent title bars just as bad. How to tell frontmost window? It has a white title bar. Other windows have grey, blue, or white title bar -- depending on what's behind them. Maybe bits of text show through. Confusing.

Aha, what's this? Frontmost window has red/yellow/green buttons in title bar! Perfect! Nope -- sorry. Move mouse over any window's title bar buttons; buttons light up. Now two sets of colored buttons on screen. Stupid Steve.

-- Day 9 --

Brought up Mac Help for some reason. Was briefly hypnotized by animated text zipping around help window. "What is the Desktop? What is the Dock? What is your question?" My question is, why are you wasting my attention with little zippy animations? Animations on computer screen mean "PAY ATTENTION NOW, THIS IS IMPORTANT". While animation running, user is not getting work done -- user is watching animation. (I don't mean a naive user, I mean me.) If I have question, why aren't you giving me the answer? Trying to distract me with animation? What next, electric shock punishment for calling up help tool? Major "Stupid Steve" bonus for this one.

Seriously considering writing tool to go into help resources folder, find all such movies, rip them out by roots.

Went out looking for user-interface improvements. Win 1: TinkerTool (makes more Finder/Dock preferences accessible). Pinned dock to right side of screen, bottom edge -- icons locations stable now. (Also, Trash is where I expect it to be. Heh.)

Win 2: ASM. OS9-style application menu, at right side of menu bar. Highly configurable.

(Really finding this useful. The Dock is not a comfortable way for me to switch apps. Habitually expect to get all an app's windows in front at same time. If, say, a Terminal window gets lost behind lots of other windows, Dock provides no way to bring it front. No master window list! Can click app icon, wait for window list pop-up -- but this is slow and confusing. All Terminal windows have same name anyway. ASM menu brings all an app's windows to front -- can then use app's "Window" menu to select. Plus, ASM lets me hide an app (and all its windows) Plus, selecting app by Dock icon is dumb. Hate icons, see above. Running cursor up row of icons, reading pop-up names, is twice as dumb. Stupid Steve.)

Only missing UI element: configurable Apple menu. Or some way to do pop-up menu with hierarchical structure showing a directory tree. Needed for One True Way MacOS structure.

I should quickly explain his "One True Way". Basically, whenever he gets a Mac, he arranges the applications according to his own personal prejudices. He creates a top-level applications folder, called "Packages", and then creates a dozen subfolders inside that: Text, Video, Image, Sound, Disk, File, and so on. All applications go into one of these subfolders. He then puts an alias to Packages into the Apple menu. The Apple menu also contains a folder containing links straight to the top ten or so apps. So from the Apple menu, he can get to those apps very quickly; or he can also take the long route, and navigate anywhere in the Packages tree. I've tried this, and it really is pretty handy -- you can open "Packages:Image", for example, and see all the image-editing apps on the machine listed together. The standard all-in-one "Applications" folder of OSX seems very cluttered in comparison.

Current substitute for One True Way: added folder to Dock containing aliases to essential apps, and alias to Applications folder. Works... but slow. Menu takes full second to pop up! Not viable long-term solution.

(Note: Yes, found several third-party tools for configurable Apple menu, pop-up dock things, drawers, etc. All shareware. Shareware cool for games, large-scale utilities -- just registered SoundStudio for sound recording. But shareware for essential UI extension? Bleah. Too much risk. Irrational reaction, but fixed. Deal.)

No packages division either. Is it even legal to rearrange Applications folder in OSX? Browsing through defaults, configuration files implies that many OS components search for each other by pathname. If I move Sherlock, Preview, or System Preferences to subfolder, will appropriate Finder menu items still work? Must experiment. Scary. In OS9, would be confident that this is safe...

-- Day 10 --

Small delays are killing me.

This is a 933MHz machine. It's perfectly capable of bringing up a new Preferences pane instantly. Instead, clever smooth animation as window shrinks (or grows), new items appear. This animation takes approximately 0.75 seconds. After approximately 0.375 seconds, I am banging on computer top, screaming "Get move on!!"

Same thing all over. Move mouse over dock -- brief pause, then dock sliiiides open. Open save/load tabs in any document window -- tab "genies" out. (Note: save/load tabs are good UI. Replace OS9 modal dialogue (which pre-empts every window of every app) with per-document mode, only pre-empts the single window it relates to. However: "Get move on!!")

Scanned through system preferences hierarchy, looking for "speed" or "animation" preferences to tweak. None visible. TinkerTool no help. Surely someone has written a hack to fix damn delays. Stupid Steve!

In meantime, have turned Dock hiding back off. Wastes desktop space and adds visual clutter, but better than banging on computer and screaming "Faster!!" every time I want to access Dock.

(Hmm. Downside: every time I start (or quit) app, icon visibly sliiiides into (or out of) Dock. This also is slow. No, I don't need to wait for animation to finish -- but animation means "ATTENTION!" Wind up staring at Dock, watching animation. Faster! Stupid Steve.)

-- Day 11 --

Miracle! Noticed "Customize Toolbar" option in Finder. Can turn off icons! Go Steve!

Now insufficient visual distinction between buttons, pop-up menus in toolbar. Nonetheless much better. Added "New Folder" button, since I keep hitting cmd-N to create folder and failing. (OS9 habit.)

Still having trouble getting folder windows to appear with consistent size. Hit cmd-N, open home folder -- sometimes right size, sometimes totally wrong size. Unpredictable. Mysterious. (Stupid Steve.) Folders without toolbars seem more reliable -- or is just because I rarely navigate through them in one-window Finder mode?

-- Day 12 --

Even better: stupid help window animation runs again if you switch to different window, do work, switch back to help window. Or maybe it runs periodically. Worse and worse. Stupid Steve!

More Sherlock hell -- it downloads an ad to play in the bottom of the window, if you're in any of the channels except "Files". Grn. Just want channel icons to go away, take ads with them... should print ads out, go find Steve's house, wheat-paste them to his living room windows...

-- Day 13 --

Was unfair to Dock on Day 9. Apologies to Steve. Clicking on app icon brings up all windows of that app. Go Steve.

However, selecting app by icon is still dumb. (Stupid Steve.) Will continue using ASM menu, configured to show app name + icon, like OS9.

Basic question occurs to me: where is my home directory? OSX provides directory in /User, complete with pre-defined folders (Desktop, Documents, Movies, Pictures... not the way I would have done it.) But have also started up set up OS9 partition according to One True Way, with top-level "Zarf" folder, containing some documents. Standard One-True arrangement would also have top-level "development" folder (containing projects of all sorts). Have not yet created this.

Conflict. Keep two separate home directories? (In OS9 and OSX partitions.) Clearly stupid. But have already started to do this. This file, for example, is in OS9 "Zarf" folder -- even though most of writing, editing done under OSX. (Many tools, including favorite editor BBEdit, are available under both OS9, OSX.)

Unsure how to proceed. One True Way needs revision.

-- Day 14 --

Still meditating on document arrangement.

Basic desire: Ability to navigate entire home directory very very easily. One True Way has "Zarf", "development" folders in OS9 Apple menu. This allows me to open any file by clicking once, holding steering mouse around. One-gesture navigation technology! In retrospect, very important. Finder windows are no replacement, not under OS9 or OSX.

Simple suggestion: Trash OS9 "Zarf" folder. Do everything under OSX "Documents" subfolder. Put folder in Dock, for menu navigation. "Documents" folder in Favorites list in most file navigation tools -- possible to navigate down from there, if necessary.

Problems: Folders under Dock still too slow! Also, folder icons in Dock all identical. Lacking names, no way to tell applications from documents from development projects. (Running cursor up row of icons, reading pop-up names, still dumb. Stupid Steve.)

How hard would it be to write a freeware Dock item which navigates folder tree, without delays? Could also blazon folder name over folder icon, automatically.

(This leads to secondary thought: creating icons in OSX is hard. I got good at creating OS7/8/9 icons... ResEdit freely available; 32x32 art, limited palette. Made many icons for apps; made icons for each Mac. Now? Icons supposed to scale up to 128x128, full RGB palette. Whole different skillset required. Not exactly a "stupid" on Steve for this... but sad. That much harder for me to configure my UI without making it ugly. ("Ugly" meaning "inconsistent", of course.))

-- Day 15 --

Minor niggling annoyance: double-clicking in title bar hides window. Always turned this behavior off in OS9. Want to turn it off in OSX. Keep doing it by accident. (Never do it on purpose; use yellow button for that.)

Experimenting with Dock. (And reading help files.) Surprising how many commands are jammed into it... using control-click, command-click, option-click. More click options than Windows has with three-button mouse. Vaguely sad.

Control-click on Dock folder is the "fast menu navigation" that I wanted. Go Steve! Except... command-click does something totally different: brings up Finder window containing Dock folder which was selected. Worth learning difference? Maybe. Will probably get wrong frequently, yell at computer.

(Finder window title bars still appearing for no obvious reason. Getting very tired of them. No doubt am learning many superstitions -- false rituals -- about how to prevent them from reappearing. Open window without title bar, open subwindow, turn off title bar, close subwindow, re-open... maybe. Stupid Steve.)

-- Day 16 --

Have had new computer for sixteen (-ish) days now. Relationship now getting serious. Time to evaluate.

...Can I get work done on this thing?

Signs point to "yes". Have written documents under OSX (this diary, game review, etc). Have uploaded documents to ISP, edited remotely, posted on web site. Have downloaded software, installed it. Have connected to other household computers, transferred files as needed. Never seriously blocked when trying to complete a task.

Home directory arrangement still unresolved. Will have to look for more UI tweaks. Will also have to start more projects. Hard to design protocol for complex directory tree, when tree contains two text files and a voice recording of me saying "bop".

Will continue keeping diary. Entries likely to be sporadic. (More sporadic.)

-- Day 17 --

Spent more time selecting fonts. Font selection is annoying.

First: (noticed this actually about Day 2): Font selection dialog has no indication of which fonts are fixed-width. Not often important, but important when setting font for Terminal app. Wound up writing some text in TextEdit, trying it under every font installed, writing down which ones were fixed-width. (Have now created "Fixed" collection. Maybe OSX should come with this collection?)

More generally: Carbon and Cocoa apps have different font-rendering. Fonts look completely different. Chose Monaco 12 for Terminal; looks fine. Chose Monaco 12 for BBEdit Lite (Carbon app); looks terrible. Sigh. Poked around Carbon font list for fifteen minutes before settling on Andale Mono (condensed). Favorite web browser, iCab, also Carbon; even more hell trying to get stuff looking acceptable.

(Made even more complicated by the extra font-smoothing options in TinkerTool. Okay, my fault for installing that.)

-- Day 18 --

About the filename extensions already...

No. Better geeks than I have ranted about stupid "Windows compatibility" filename extensions. Stupid broken "hide part of filename" Finder option. Go read about stupid Steve somewhere else. I am not going there.

-- Day 19 --

Paranoia justified. Comments on Net indicate that if you move applications around within Applications folder, OSX gets confused. Specifically: 10.1.3 updater cannot find apps, writes strange half-working bundles into Applications folder. Stupid Steve. Even if you can't find app (which updaters have always been able to do under OS7/8/9) -- you should write complete new app, so I can trash old one!

Will download 10.1.3 update, then rearrange apps. When 10.1.4 comes out, will complain again.

(Five minutes later: Selected "Get Mac OS X Software..." from Apple menu. Nothing happened. The hell? I've got menu option eating space in Apple menu, can't get rid of it, and it doesn't work? Stupid Steve!)

("Software Update" control panel worked, anyway.)

-- Day 20 --

Have implemented One True Way for Applications folder. Now have usual subfolders (Audio, Disk, Files, Graphics, System, Video, etc) and apps moved into appropriate subfolder.

All apps could be dragged into subfolders (since I am admin user), with two exceptions: Print Center and System Preferences. Both these packages contain files without group-writable privileges (which is what is necessary for admin user to move or edit files).

Was afraid to touch System Preferences. It's in Apple menu; probably lots of other places in OSX tools. If I move it, probably everything will break, collapse in pile of dust. Left it alone in Applications folder. Blivet in One True Way.

Print Center? Dunno why it was locked against admin user. Moved it via Terminal commands, using root privilege. App seems to still work (although, lacking printer, no way to test thoroughly). Stupid Steve.

Rearranging applications seems to have gone smoothly. Apps still work. Dock and Finder aliases still work. (Go Steve!)

Exception: Help system gets sadly confused. Help links of the form "Open application for me" now unable to find application -- clicking links fails silently. Sad. On the other hand, have sworn off using Help system anyhow, due to annoying animations.

-- Day 21 --

Not as smooth as I thought. Application bindings (what happens when you double-click a document in the Finder) seem to be confused. ".hqx" and ".bin" don't work, and if they don't work, what does?

Managed to fix bindings for those using "Get Info" panel in Finder. But I am very unsure what I've actually done. Set binding for an OS9-style type/creator code pair? Set binding for ".hqx" file suffix? Both? How do I get a listing of what bindings the Finder actually has it its teeny little brain?

Please don't make me write a filename extension rant. Don't wanna. It's been done. You know it all already. Pure venting of rage.

Stupid Steve.

Furthermore: while playing with QT movie tools, accidentally opened a movie file in the OS9 Movie Player. Classic starts up... bang! "Buy QuickTime Pro" ad.

Swore vilely. Continued playing with tools. Opened movie file in OSX Movie Player.

Bang! "Buy QuickTime Pro" ad.

"Buy QuickTime Pro" ad is the worst thing Apple has ever done. I am dead serious about this. They will never know how much purchaser goodwill they have lost every week, for the past N years, by shouting at people who are trying to do work (or have fun).

Stupid Steve. Stupid, stupid Steve. One day I will be having lunch with Steve, and I will say "Hey, Steve, I love your computers. I own five of them. Never use anything else. BTW, remember those QuickTime Pro pop-up ads?" Then I will push his boiling-hot coffee off the table onto his crotch, and walk away.

-- Day 22 --

Fixed pop-up ad under OS9, via standard trick. (Set computer's date forward two years; run QT Player, so that pop-up appears; quit; set date back. Ad squashed forever.)

Under OSX? Hmm. Can't get pop-up to reappear. Maybe misunderstood double pop-up appearance yesterday. (Maybe it just appears once per week, instead of once per day.)

Have saved copy of QT preferences file. If pop-up ad appears, will write shell script to squash it forever, then post shell script to Internet. Ha.

-- Day 23 --

Very Secret URL of my Diary has somehow leaked out. Some news service, Slashpot, picked it up. Web server choking like anaphylactic weasel. Hey! What part of "Very Secret" do you not understand?

Slashpot seems to be some kind of Very Secret Diary too. Hundreds of entries about me. No doubt private, personal business of others. I will respect this, not read them.

This, of course, is pure buffoonery. He is a hopeless geek, reads Slashdot daily, and is pathetically pleased at all the attention he's getting. He's just embarrassed to say so.

It's true that he didn't read the Slashdot comments posted about the diary. This is because I flat-out told him not to. "You'll explode," I told him, "the idiots and the whiners and the people who Just Don't Get It will drive you incoherent before you finish the twentieth post. You don't need a cerebral hemorrhage at your age." And (in a rare moment of good judgement) he took my advice.

Oh, and our web server handled the load just fine.

Got a couple of interesting notes in email.

One person says, that "Get Mac OS X Software" menu option? The reason it doesn't work is, you trashed Internet Explorer.

Well, this is true. But I thought I set Internet preferences to use iCab as default web browser. Have I? No, I have not. Oops. Stupid me.

Okay, preference fixed. Hit "Get Mac OS X Software". Bing! iCab comes up, goes to Apple downloads web page. Go Steve!

C___ and J___ recommend LaunchBar. Have looked at their web page, but (1) it is shareware, and (2) it doesn't look like what I want.

Both of these reasons will probably be misunderstood...

(1) As noted Day 9, I have no problem with shareware. Have released shareware. But UI apps evaluated by comfort. Cannot evaluate comfort when features are blocked, or nag screens appear. Burst of insane frustration leads to irrational prejudice against software. Sad, but true.

Will stick to freeware. In year, if still annoyed at interface, will maybe start using shareware UI apps. Or maybe will write damn app myself, GPL it, post it to Internet. Ha.

(2) LaunchBar is strange new way of doing things. Could maybe get used to it.

...OSX Dock is also strange new way of doing things. Could maybe get used to that. Right now, looking for tools that work the way I work, so that I can get work done.


P___ writes that he wants a reverse diary, "where he speculates about what he would hate about 9 if he was used to 10".

This is an excellent question. Like the way you think, P___. Want to get together for lunch tomorrow? Know great place, Enrico's, good soup...

Obviously, I have no way to answer question accurately. If forced to guess... would probably write one-line diary: "No shell. Stupid Steve * 1000. Goodbye."

This would not be particularly fair. Did work with OS7,8,9 for ten years. Got much work done. When I reboot this machine (or laptop) into OS9, can still get work done -- do not feel suffocated or constrained. But if I were not used to it, and were used to OSX-like system, would probably not have patience to learn.

As for other UI details... dunno.

His essential laziness is showing through here, but in this case it's just as well. It's useless to speculate about how you would like a UI.

Look. This document, if it has any value at all, is valuable as a case study of a user interface. That is, a study of a user using an interface. A report of how he reacted. Not how he thinks he'll react.

Any UI researcher will tell you that speculation is useless. Every web designer on the planet speculates about how their users will react to their site. Most of them never bother to check their speculations. Most of them are flat-out wrong. You have to watch the users. Not ask them -- watch them.

This diary is self-reported narrative, which is already imperfect. But at least it's self-reported narrative of real events. I was in the room, on Day 2, when he got confused by the lock icon and the "Click the lock to make changes" message. I was a witness: he was honestly, totally baffled for several minutes. Now, if he was familiar with OSX, what part of OS9 would have baffled him? Guessing is easy. But the guesses would be lies.

Other email -- generally complimentary. You are all very welcome.

-- Day 24 --

Why is it that after a day of working in OSX, my desktop has six windows showing my home directory? Don't remember calling them up. Can't think of a reason why I'd ever want more than one window showing a given directory. Stupid Steve.

-- Day 25 --

M__ refers me to a entry on solving Sherlock problem. Delete channel folders under "Library/Internet Search Sites" (in your home directory); replace with empty files. (Alternatively, delete contents of channel folders, then lock empty folders with "chmod 555" or change privileges to "Read Only" in Finder.) Do this to all channel folders except Files.

Presto! Icons go away; Sherlock starts faster; and, without channels, Sherlock cannot be made to display banner ads at bottom.

-- Day 26 --

QuickTime pop-up ad again. Appearing weekly? Doesn't matter. Time to kill.

Here is a recipe to kill ad. Recipe uses Perl. Perl is frightening. Don't like Perl myself, but Perl is what comes with OSX. (Tempted to give a "stupid" for that, but will exercise restraint.)

Start up a Terminal window. Type these three lines:

cd Library/Preferences

cp 'QuickTime Preferences' 'QuickTime Preferences backup'

perl -p -e 's/([^k]time\0.......\0\0\0\0)./\1\300/g' < 'QuickTime Preferences backup' > 'QuickTime Preferences'

This third line is the critical one. Be sure to enter it as a single line. It's probably wrapped around in your web browser. Be not fooled.

You are now done. Run QuickTime Player to check that no pop-up ad appears.

If QuickTime seems to be confused, trash the 'QuickTime Preferences' file, and rename 'QuickTime Preferences backup' to 'QuickTime Preferences'. (You can do this in the Finder.) You might want to keep backup file lying around, just in case.

The Sucks-Rules-O-Meter

In case you're curious, here are the "stupid" and "go" totals that Steve has racked up, in our author's estimation:

Large collection of hints, tips, and tricks. Lovely.
Collection of links to apps (freeware, shareware, and commercial).
Forwarding Address: OSX
Discussion log among several OSX immigrants.

Last updated March 11, 2002.

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