Categories: Geek, Mac, News, Technology

Today is the first day of a post-Jobs era. A man that has been praised, loved and hated by so many but that has never been indifferent to anyone with the bit interest in technology.

It’s pointless to try to make a heart-felted and deep post about the man whose professional achievements are well-known but whose private life was so, indeed, private. What I can only testify is the way his legacy has affected my life.

I’ve been an avid user of all things Apple for a few years mainly because of the way their vision of technology makes sense to me. Everything seems to be connected around a simple concept: to offer the best products that just work the way people expect them to. Sure, there are a lot of people that disagree but one thing is undeniable: the man has spurted a movement in the technology world that very few have done in such a profound and lasting way.

And it was not only technology that was affected by him. In 1986, after been thrown out of his own company just a year before, Steve Jobs bought Pixar and changed the way animated movies were made.

I still remember the day I went to see Toy Story. I was with some friends at the mall (which at that time and age was probably the most interesting thing one could do) and we decided to go to the cinema and we ended up seeing Toy Story, even though many of my friends (and myself, I have to admit) were not so keen about going to watch an animated movie. Remember, at that time, the only reference for animated movies were the Disney movies that were mostly musical-based love stories. But since the cute girls that we were with wanted to see it, we conceded and ended up leaving the cinema with that feeling of wanting to run back in and watch it all over again.

And as I was watching Ratatouille with my son this morning before taking him to school, I realized that I was probably right one month ago when I wrote this: “his legacy is strong enough to endure for years after he’s gone”.

Let’s hope it’s true. To a great visionary.

Categories: Geek, Mac, Technology

Reading the news this morning, one would think that Steve Jobs has already left this earth. Steve’s resignation is far from unexpected considering the fact that Steve has already been on a medical leave (the third, nonetheless) since January.

Sure, it’s a sad day but hold off the obituaries for now. The man is not dead yet. And remember, his legacy is strong enough to endure for years after he’s gone.

Published by António Lopes on July 21, 2011
Categories: Geek, Mac, Technology

About 4 months ago, I posted about Apple’s decision to reverse scrolling in the new version of Mac OS X. But now that Lion has been released, people are starting to complain a lot about this and contesting the decision. Well, if people read my blog they could have gotten used to the idea by installing and using Scroll Reverser, which I’ve done ever since I first knew about this decision.

But the discussion is only natural considering that Apple has decided to change something that has been the standard for years. So, evidently, the question remains: why do it and why now?

Why do it?

Because our way of interacting with our devices is changing. I got used to the new scrolling direction quite quickly and oddly enough it felt natural. And then I realized it was because I also own an iPhone and an iPad and this is the natural way of scrolling with your fingers.

Naturally, you may reply: “But the iPhone and the iPad have been around for awhile, so…”

…why now?

Up to now, people have been using the scrollbars to go up and down pages of information. In that sense, the traditional scrolling direction makes sense. But ever since the advent of more capable trackpads and Apple’s introduction of two-finger scrolling, people started using the natural touch-based scrolling that defies the conventional scrolling direction.

With the iPhone and the iPad, Apple introduced us to a more natural way of scrolling in the screen… the touch. Devices such as the magic mouse and the trackpad are slowly doing the same for laptop users. Which brings us to the new version of Mac OS X, which is nothing more than the first step in the ladder of unifying Mac OS X and iOS. The new multi-gesture capabilities introduced by Lion shows us that the touch-based interaction may very well be the future, which in turn leads to other changes such as the removal of the traditional scrollbars (except when you’re actually scrolling) that are now less useful and allows to regain some screen space back.

It’s true that this is a change that will not be welcomed by a large part of Mac users, especially those that do not own Apple’s touch-based devices. But I’m guessing Apple’s decision will prevail and people will slowly understand that this is actually the way to go.

Published by António Lopes on July 5, 2011
Categories: Apple, Funny, Geek, Mac, Personal, Technology


For reference, read this.

Published by António Lopes on June 17, 2011
Categories: Apple, Geek, Mac, Personal, Technology

I installed 4GB of RAM on my Macbook 6 months or so ago and, although I noticed some improvement on its performance (especially on video editing tasks), it still was having some stupid slow-downs that can only be interpreted as the Macbook’s “coffee break”, where it simply stopped responding and presented me with the wonderfully hypnotic beachball of death. Considering I still had a lot of RAM to spare and the CPU was usually very low during these breaks, there’s only one more part to blame: the ridiculously slow 5400 RPM Hard Disk that comes bundled with these Macbooks.

So, after being tired of hearing people saying how much faster their computers were after installing an SSD I decided to finally go for the jump. At first, after a friend suggested the Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 I really considered buying it since it was so cheap at Amazon. However, after looking at these benchmarks (thanks, Carlos), the OCZ Vertex series felt more like the best option.


Takes us to Warp 5, Mr. Sulu

I settled for the OCZ Vertex 2(1) on Amazon and after a simple installation and a clean install (which was long overdue) I was really amazed at the performance difference. It’s not only the time it takes to boot(2), it’s the (not so) little differences across the entire OS. Applications now open instantly. And you know that time it takes to open a folder on Finder that is not that long but it’s long enough for you to notice that it’s there? Well, now it isn’t. Or how quicker Spotlight and Alfred are that you can actually call them productivity tools now? It’s that amazing. Overall, it’s a new world of responsiveness that makes you feel like you just bought a new computer.

Keeping your SSD healthy

However, not everything is perfect in the SSD world. You don’t have to have crazy Google-fu skills to find a lot of people with SSD problems mainly due to their short lifespan (of the SSDs, not the people). So, if you’re the lucky owner of a brand new SSD you may want to prevent (or at least, delay) those problems by taking some simple measures.

First of all, activate TRIM support. Since native TRIM support will only come in Mac OS X Lion (due in July), the solution for now is to hack your way through that TRIM activation. Luckly, some guy has made the process as simple as to press a button, so, go grab the TRIM Support Enabler here.

Secondly, you’ll want to reduce the amount of writes that are done to the disk, especially those superflous writes that may be useful for special features but are far from being vital. This post is wonderful to guide you on some of those situations.

In conclusion

Go for it! Really! It may be only a few months or a year before I have to buy a new SSD but this was definitely the best investment on any computer that I’ve made so far.

(1) Before you ask why I didn’t get the OCZ Vertex 3, consider that my Macbook HD Interface is only Serial ATA (3 Gb/s) and the only difference from the Vertex 2 is that the Vertex 3 is 6 Gb/s

(2) Which now is merely a 4 or 5 seconds boot. But, actually, to me this makes no difference since I only reboot my machine for update purposes.

Published by António Lopes on June 7, 2011
Categories: Apple, Geek, Internet, Mac, Technology

As many Apple fans out there, I followed the news at the WWDC keynote yesterday. I was quite pleased with the amount of new features both on Lion and iOS5 but what really caught my eye was the way Lion and iOS are starting to walk towards a unified operating system for all Apple devices. And in doing so, they are filling out the holes that were previously occupied with third-party apps that will now have to rethink their future.

One OS to rule them all

Both Mac OS X and iOS are walking towards each other in the sense they keep borrowing features from each other, but between Lion and iOS5, I’d say Lion is the one taking the biggest leap.

Let’s start with Multi-touch gestures. This has an impact on the way people browse in Safari or iPhoto, all to make it look and feel more like if you’re working on an iPad. Consider even the subtle change of reverse scrolling in Lion.

Then there’s Full-screen. Let’s not waste any display real estate, exactly like you have on the iPad or the iPhone. It actually makes a lot of sense, especially in smaller displays like in the Macbook Air or my white unibody Macbook.

The new version of Mail looks really familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because it is almost the same as in the iPad!

And if you still need more proof, check out Launchpad:


I rest my case!

More Apple, less third-party apps

Another thing that really surprised me in yesterday’s keynote was the way Apple seemed to be launching new features that were fulfilling most of their users’ desires. Apple is known for their innovative features but it is also known for not launching simple features like MMS or copy-paste on the first iPhone (when the competition had already done it 4 or so years ago) or the simple fact that we still don’t have SMS receipts on the current version of iOS. Yesterday was different. They sounded a lot like a company that was actually listening to their users and decided to act upon it by presenting some interesting features that aim at filling out some holes in the current version of iOS and Mac OS X.

But Apple’s faults on missing features are third-party developers’ opportunities. And if they have been taking advantage of those missing features by creating great apps (and gaining some money in the process), now they’ll have to rethink their future.

iMessage vs. PingChat (and a bunch others)

I’ve been using PingChat to exchange SMS and MMS-like messages (with reading receipt) with family and friends and it works great. But now Apple is launching their own version of this kind of apps. And I bet the integration with the rest of iOS is much more subtler than in PingChat, so… guess which one I’ll be using in the future? 🙂

Reminders vs. 2Do (and a bunch others)

This is one of those things that Apple haters love to point out: why doesn’t iOS include a simple way to sync ToDos with the Mac? This is 2011 and I still have to use apps like 2Do to manage my tasks between iCal and the iPhone/iPad. Finally, Apple has come to its senses and is now releasing the Reminders app that I hope will finally make my life easier on this end. 2Do is great and all but it still creates some (really hard to manage) conflicts when it comes to sync tasks between 3 different devices. I’d much more rather use an elegant Apple solution, which I hope Reminders will be.

Safari (with Reader and Reading List) vs. Instapaper

The only downside I see on this Instapaper-clone of the new Safari on iOS is the fact that it will only work on Safari and since I use Chrome on the Mac, I’m not quite sure I’ll stop using Instapaper. If only Apple would release the API for Reading List… (pretty please, with cherry on top?).

AirDrop + iCloud vs. Dropbox

Don’t start your flame-throwers just yet, I don’t really think that the AirDrop and iCloud combination will make me stop use Dropbox altogether. But I’d say Apple’s getting there and if they do it the right way in the future, I’d say Dropbox will lose a great chunk of Apple users.

Oh, and Wi-Fi Sync (vs. jailbreaking alternatives)

Finally! No more USB-based syncing!