Saturday, August 30, 2008

Macs suck at fonts now?

Just spent an hour trying get my damned Mac to install a font. The system is smart enough to identify both the PostScript and TrueType files as fonts in the Finder -- and it even loads a preview! But try to "Add Font" in the system's Font Book application and you get a SILENT failure.

No dialog. No diagnostic message. And no font added.

UPDATE: I'm not the only one with this problem. A known bug. No response from Apple. 

UPDATE2: Just add the files to ~/Library/Fonts. Works fine that way.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mac OS X Fails Me Every Damned Night

Right now I'm watching Bill Clinton's DNC speech for about the fifth time, because OS X has yet again crashed. This time, in the midst of a video capture.

You think you know your operating system? Trying using it for 12 blog posts a night. With video capture and editing and encoding and uploading. Heavy picture downloading, cropping and scaling. Heavy RSS skimming across hundreds of feeds. Heavy Web surfing. Streaming in lots of video. Heavy email use. Constant IM. Ten different things going on at once in the name of speed on a busy news night.

You'll discover how weak your tools really are, even when they're the best the world has to offer. Not just the OS but your Web services (Google), third-party software (ecto, Photoshop, Visual Hub, SnapzPro) and Apple sofware (iMovie, Preview, Safari, iChat).

  They will break your heart and, worse, waste your time night after night. It doesn't matter if it's a brand new multicore machine with the RAM maxed out. It doesn't matter if it's built on a Unix core that's supposed to have protected memory and preemptive multitasking. OS X WILL have a hard crash on you sooner or later. In my case, it happens once or twice every night. 

Every crash sets me back a half hour or so. That's time out of my life and it adds up.

Hard things are hard to do. Fair enough. I didn't build a better system. But I hope Apple realizes how fragile its system is at publishing, 21st century style.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 ruined as professional tool

A note on the new version 2 of We actually use it extensively at work as a professional tool, to share links with one another (and thus to suggest or assign posts and various other things). However v2 dropped timestamps on all bookmarks -- only dates are provided. This has made it about half as useful. And there's not even an option to turn timestamps back on!

Lesson: If your design assumes people will use your app as a kind of casual toy, you will probably foreclose serious, hard-core use.