happy mac susan kare


As reported by gruber, Susan Kare has been awarded an 2018 AIGA Medal for design.

Anyone who used macs before they got popular will have heard of Susan Kare, or will go “duh” when shown her work. From the AIGA medal page:

she created some of the most recognizable icons, typefaces, and graphic elements in personal computing: the command symbol (⌘), the system-failure bomb, the paintbrush, and, of course, “Clarus the Dogcow.”

She drew many of her creations by hand, using the smallest graph paper she could find–a 32×32 grid that so happened to total 1024, one square per pixel. Other iconic creations include the Chicago font. She later spent time at facebook and pinterest, but it’s her work at apple that is so meaningful.

macbook pro usb hub


I haven’t bought my mba replacement yet. It’s still working and the frankly the reviews for the new mbp do not impress me.

But, if I had gotten the mbp or about to, I’d invest $69 for the hyperdrive, a fast usb hub with usb-c, usb 3.1, sd card and hdmi port. One hub instead of the bagful of dongles needed to convert to existing equipment.

It’s sad that the kickstarter raised $1.6 million. Not sad for the makers of the hyperdrive, just sad for mac users in general that it’s even needed. As petapixel said:

This is mind blowing when you really think about it.

I speak from the perspective of a long term apple user. When macs were expensive and compatible with nothing; before the windows version of itunes came out thus making the ipod mainstream. Increasingly, I’m feeling disillusioned about mac products. Seems like we’re an afterthought in amongst the plethora of iphones, ipads, watches and airpods that greet every customer in an apple store. I even seriously read the article that asks is it time to swap your mac for a windows laptop. I’ve owned a couple of windows laptops, but the last non-mac computer I’ve owned that was my primary machine ran DOS. So, it’s unlikely I’ll switch. I’ll just use my existing machine for as long as possible to maximise its value.

bbmm computer and dinner

Went with mm after work to the computer centre to get her mbp repaired. Her hard disk is almost dead and last time at the genius bar it was taken out of the body completely. So the aim was to a) get the HD into an ext casing and see if it still works; b) install a new HD into the mbp. Got quotes from a couple of places and went to the first one. The technician was very helpful and knowledgeable, we wandered around the mall for an hour whilst they did the repair. I bought a new screencover for the iphone, the old cover had cracked.

As usual, mm had a million questions but the technician was very patient. Almost 8pm when we left. I was pretty tired and hungry by then.


Went to a nearby building and first looked at a korean restaurant then decided to go to the thai place one floor down. Had beer, chicken wings, grilled squid, whole grey mullet, cabbage greens and roti. The squid, greens and roti were good, the chicken wings and fish less so.

Walked to a nearby gym and got our golds. Didn’t even know there is a park at that location.

mbp recovery


Went to the apple store with mm, her mbp won’t startup. The genius booted it up using a recovery startup disk and it seems her hard disk is damaged. Ouch! To make matters worse: a) she doesn’t have a backup for her files and b) most of her files are not organised, she just dumps them on her desktop.

Luckily using the recovery startup we were able to access them. I’d bought an external HD for her in case we had to copy files. We had to do it folder by folder to avoid spending time copynig her huge movies and other unnecessary files. Still took a couple of hours at the genius bar.

The biggest problem was the damaged bits included her 2 biggest files: itunes library and iphotos. The genius told us the only solution was to remove the HD, put it in a casing and copy it to another machine. Then it’s a matter of replacing the HD.

At least there’s a plan of action. We decided to go away and think about it first. She has her lenovo to use for school work, that’ll be the focus for the next 2-3 weeks.

#1 upgrade macOS


Task #1 of 101.1001 is to upgrade macOS at least once. When I set the challenge, I thought I’d follow the normal upgrade route to 10.7, 10.8 etc. We’re at 10.11 now.

I’m still running 10.6, because of old software and old hardware. I normally upgrade when I get a new mac, and credit to the little mba, it’s still running well after more than 5 years. I’m quite happy with status quo, making me one of around 5% of mac users still on 10.6.

In a way this is a slight cheat, but my challenge…my rules. Last week there was an upgrade to snow leopard, a small patch to ensure continual compatibility with the mac store. Not that I use the mac store, but I upgraded anyway.

This is all because I want to delay getting a new machine for as long as possible.

I May Need To Upgrade Soon


I bought the mba in 2010, just before I left Chicago. By the time I fully switched over, the previous mbp was 4 years old. So the mba is 5 years old and I use it nearly every day. The apps are getting long in the tooth now, people send me xlsx, docx, pptx and I have to use openoffice to convert before I can use my office 2003. I use photoshop cs2, and other old software. I’m still on snow leopard.

Recently I’ve noticed it to be struggling in some tasks. Firefox gobbles huge amount of memory and the fan goes crazy. If I have to temporarily reinstall flash for whatever reasons the fan goes supercrazy. Things came to a head over the weekend when I had to run a webex meeting. It’s another service, not webex, but similar. I simply could not get the meeting controls to work, it kept teling me I had to pick an application to open the controls, then it crashes. Digging through the help documentation, I found out that the minimum requirement is 10.7, although to use all functionalities I need 10.8 or newer.

So annoyed. I had to borrow mm’s mbp, albeit at 10.7 it’s only marginally newer. She was working in the uni library and wasn’t getting home till 8pm and I had to get home by 9pm. It was a rush, to meet up with her, test the mbp briefly and I had to get a taxi home. Expensive way of running that meeting.

The seeds of thought are germinating. Sooner or later all computers become obsolete. Possibly time to start thinking about replacing the mba. Another mba or the macbook. I’d love to get the mbp, it’ll be great for speed and power but too heavy. May be by next summer, see what 2016 refreshes are like.


macbook air


I spent the weekend setting up the macbook air, which I bought in Chicago and only unboxed this week. Unfortunately migration assistant didn’t work, and after spending hours and hours trying to fix it, I had to go with the more traditional manual method of backing up and restoring from an external hard disk. The one advantage here is that I can pick and choose which application to transfer over, so it’s like starting over again.

The painful part out of the way, I set about downloading firefox, adium and the rest. For the most part I could copy the existing setups and bookmarks from the library. Documents were straightforward to copy across, including Calibre e-books and the iphoto library; my itunes library is always on the external disk. Updating software took forever, not because of the machines but because of the pitiful virgin wifi speed.

The most obvious difference between the 2 macbooks is size. Compared with the thin, thin Air, the Pro looks like a Biggest Loser contestant. The 13” screen is smaller, but at the same resolution and way sharper so it doesn’t take me long to adapt. Do I want a bigger screen? Sure, but not at the expense of size. If I wanted a bigger screen, I would have stuck with the Pro. The keyboard will take some getting used to, it takes more energy to type, and each keystroke is accompanied by a click that isn’t so easy for touchtyping. This is my biggest complaint, plus that it isn’t a backlit keyboard.

It’s fast. Booted up by the time the apple logo came on at the Pro. Applications opened quickly, the finder navigation is an improvement.

Overall, I’m really liking it. It feels great and outperforms the Pro. It was time to get a new mac, and I think going with the Air was a good decision. For good measure, I updated both iphones so the new iphone4 is now fully functional.

macbook hotair


There was a rumour that the macbook air might get refreshed this week, citing a source that was reliable in the past. And that the refresh may come as early as Tuesday. Well, Tuesday has come and gone and no announcement. Sigh. It seems more likely that any refresh will be later this year. According to ars, who spoke with intel,

low-power Arrandale-class processors “for the ultra-thin segment” are coming later this summer

I am very tempted to get an mba in addition to a new mbp (may be even an ipad) this year. Walking around London for 4hrs with the mbp, the e-reader, adaptors, wires and 3 books in my backpack was good training, but I can do weights at home and an mba would have made it feel less like hiking expedition. Big apple year this may end up being.

mac netbook rumours

Seeing that there seems to be more, more, more and even more rumours of a mac netbook, I’ll hold off getting an mba this year. May be upgrade to the new mbp, but I still need a smaller machine.
ars talked about why apple will or will not bring out a netbook. There are cases for an apple netbook: it’s all the rage, and there’s too many rumours and “we’re not doing it” statements…and we all know about these statements. OTOH a netbook means stripped down functionality, which apple doesn’t go for. Besides, it’s arguable that the iphone is a good netbook-quality small computer already.

a couple of random links

Here’s a couple of links I’d saved during thing-a-day month.

how glasses affect your image — via digg, how adding glasses seriously affect how one is viewed.

Danish police don’t know no iMac — via boing boing, the police visited this blogger’s home accusing him of using a stolen credit card to buy stuff online. He explained he has an open wifi connection. That’s not the funny part.

We moved into my roommate’s room.
She has an original iMac.
“We have your roommate’s permission to confiscate her computer,” the Ichabod Crane one said.
“Whatever,” I said. They had already assured me that we would get our laptops back that afternoon, so I figured the damage had already been done. Ichabod started rooting around under her desk.
“Where’s the computer?” he said.
“On the desk. That’s the computer,” I said.
“No, the computer.”
“That’s the computer, dude.”
“That’s the screen.” He had lapsed into the voice you use when you explain to your 6-year-old cousin how the toaster works. “I mean the compuuuuuter. Understand?”
“Dude. That’s the whole computer. Right there. The blue object the size of an armadillo.”
“No. Where the daaaaata goes. The computer part.”
“That is the computer. For Hell!” Danish swear words aren’t as satisfying.
“So that’s the entire computer, right there?”
I was standing there with a look on my face like I was watching a dog walk on its hind legs.
“New technology, huh?” he said.

Remember, the original iMac came out in 1999.

macbook air lust

Look. Aside from the one post with four screengrabs of last week’s Stevenote have I said a word about the macbook air? No. I have been very restrained. I’ve gobbled up every review I can find, and I exchanged emails with tues about it … no wonder since we were early mbp adopters. But have I gone all geek about it? Hardly. A small mention, yes.


I’d be deluding myself if I said I needed it. It would make travelling better, since my backpack tends to get heavy with mbp, wires, camera and book. Taking thickness and 2lbs from that certainly helps. The problem is the lack of ethernet port since the hotels I visit, though 5-star standard, doesn’t seem to be too “in” with technology and are mostly still on ethernet. Or actually, they want us to pay the $19.95 a day internet connection charge cos they’re conning us. It’s disheartening to read that:

While most midprice and extended stay properties include Internet access as part of the overall rate, most upscale properties still charge extra for the service.

But I digress. I’m talking about the mba and why so many people (or may be just the techie bloggers I read?) are waiting, waiting for the mba to come out. So how to deal with gadget envy? The choices are stark: a) resist, with difficulty or b) give in. lifehacker readers suggest everything from getting married to mooch off geekier friends, though the consensus is practical — analyse need vs want; and don’t impulse buy using money you don’t have.

Now that I’ve established I don’t need the mba; and I don’t have money issues, how can I be spared the gadget lust? My saving grace will likely be — I’m lazy and a homebody. It may take me ages to actually get myself to the shop to check it out. By that time I would have read more reviews, the price could have come down and Apple could be adding more features to the product. I got kinda burnt getting a early mbp with the battery and heat problems, so if I get a mba it’ll be a 1.1 or 1.2 version.

One of the suggestions was to use the girlfriend factor. If she gives “The Look” it means the wallet stays in the pocket. Heh, may be that might work.

omg it’s another love of mac post

More mac love. I mean, any article that starts

I have right here in my hot little hands that actually aren’t all that little and are only slightly warm at the moment a brand new lick-ready smooth-as-love Apple MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo Super Orgasm Deluxe Ultrahard Modern Computing Device Designed by God Herself Somewhere in the Deep Moist Vulva of Cupertino Yes Yes Don’t Stop Oh My God Yes.

has to be quoted, copied and displayed proudly on my screen, right? (Emphasis mine.)

Is it another macgeek talking? Possibly. But this one is all.about.design, Apple style. Ya gotta give them credit, them iPods and mbps and stuff do look good, no? Thing is, I’m beginning to not want too many of the masses catching onto our little good thing. Especially when overzealous geeks start doing things like creating proof-of-concept kernel panics for the sake of … what?

Probably not too helpful.

my cool mac

The mbp is hot, that’s a known issue. Recently, some enterprising folks have finally come up with a possible solution. It involves modifying the kernel extensions (.kext files) that control the speed and frequency of the internal fans. They even made available several applescripts for running the fans at different rpms. Wow.

As the author pointed out, no pretty GUIs, and the script needs to be run everytime the mbp is rebooted or comes out of sleep. But it’s not even an issue because, HELLO, no more hot wrists! I’ve been running it at 3,000 rpm and it’s markedly cooler, especially the area above the battery where my left hand usually rests. coreduetemp says 27°C. The bottom is still too hot to stay on a lap for long, but I’ve never gotten into the habit of using it on my lap — too soft and unstable.

There’s some talk about whether the increased speed (setting it at 3,000 means I have the fans running continuously at that speed) will wear out the fans. The default is 1,000 and it means they’re running all the time too. I really believe that the cooler temperature will benefit the entire computer. There’s no increase in noise level either.

Most people on the forums report theirs in the 40-60°C region. I’m sure that my new koolsink helps too. No, the mbp is never as cool as the pb1, but that’s like comparing apples with oranges.

There’s a second method which involves setting the minimum fan speed rather than a fixed speed. Looks interesting, I may try it out over the weekend.

ETA: coreduotemp now stays at the 39-41°C range, which makes better sense thn the 25-27°C that it claimed was the temp cos I definitely could feel the heat. I can feel the fan working, there’s a tiny breeze when I put my hand on top of the vent.

high satisfaction

Anyone tired of my mac obsession yet? 😛

For the third year running, Apple came first in customer satisfaction survey of personal computer manufacturers. Respondents to the American Customer Satisfaction Index survey, which has been conducted once a quarter since 1995, gave it 83/100 points. Second place is Dell, with 78.

It’ll be interesting to see if the problems with the macbook pros and the macbooks, coupled with a larger user base, will take its score down next quarter. After all, Apple has 12% of the US laptop market share.

Talking about problems, my replacement battery arrived and I changed it. It may be my imagination but the mbp is hotter than before. I’m not sending in the old one just yet.

battery exchange

I learnt about this via infinite loop. Apple announced a worldwide “15-inch MacBook Pro Battery Exchange Program” covering MBPs sold between feb and may 2006, with model number A1175 and a 12-digit serial number that ends with U7SA, U7SB or U7SC. eeeeep, that’s me.

Went to the Apple page, filled out the form with my serial number, my battery serial number and yes, they both validate. Filled out address info and hopefully a new battery will be shipped to me soon.

The discussion about why there is such an exchange program hasn’t started because the Americans aren’t up yet. Apart from the mbp getting very hot, I’ve (touch wood) not had any problems. And it’s on whenever I’m home. hmm.

And no sniggering or 5% comments!


I’m back on the PB, phew. Finally got the internet to work again, have no clue why it wasn’t connecting. Switched over to Basic user on TCP/IP (huh?), created another config and reconnected the cable to the modem. Sigh, apparently this dinosaur is too ancient to have a readily available airport express card, so no wireless for my baby.

Of course I’m still resolutely using 9.2.2 and Netscape. I do miss Firefox though, a great deal. Tried installing Tiger, but got an error that the software can’t install on this computer. I know this machine can take up to 10.4.3, I’ll have to check with mm which version PB2 runs on.

I’m just relieved and happy to have the PB functioning again. Perhaps I’ll keep it as a 9.2.2 machine and forget about Tiger. Very tempted to get a new PB so I can run Tiger. Sheesh, it’s not like I’m rolling in gold, I just bought a new camera, and taxes are coming up. Eeeep.