So I just installed Lion

I know, I know. It’s pretty late  for Lion ain’t it? Well, yes it is, but I was actually going to wait till 10.7.4 (as some old timers do). I thought I’d explain that view, which is fully justifiable, and give a couple of initial thoughts about Lion.

Mountain Lion is right around the corner and I’m installing 10.7! That might seem crazy for some OSX users, especially iOS customers new to the platform. Some of which are so blatantly in love with Apple, go ahead and download/install developer previews on their only boot partition! We are always looking forward to what the Cupertino is up to, but they’re a software company like every other and bugs haunt them too. Albeit, you should never install a Beta OS on your main machine/boot partition. That should be run on a separate system… in a separate room… locked with an Abloyd lock… and eye scanner… in space… OK, maybe not the eye scanner 😛

What could justify this sort of odd behaviour?

  1. A working workflow and setup: If your using your computer to make money, you have a working setup, and probably a workflow. This is as simple as, upgrade your OS and lose money… Maybe because your not as efficient anymore (see: lost of exposé “all windows”) or some of your mission critical applications have new/different bugs (which you now have to re-adapt to), or they work differently (temporary loss of work speed). This doesn’t apply to me as much anymore because I’ve gone back to school, and am reorienting my career (effect: see blog title :)).
  2. Old machine run new code? As I’ve stated so many times before, I run an old MacBook Pro. How do you know if it will be as performing with the new update? Has Apple fully tested the hardware? They are definitly good at killing old hardware, so yours might be included. Again, if the new OS is slower, you not only loose overall speed, but will get deeply annyoed. Conclusion: I think Lion actually runs faster on my machine (after the initial HD indexing of course).
  3. Let em kill them bugs that are! Every software ships with bugs, it’s just about how much time they’ve had to crush them. In Adobe’s case, it’s just lousiness.
  4. Finally, going to buy new computer? With all the above, if you’re expecting to buy a new computer in the next 6-12 months, it might be a good thing to keep that older setup intact. Just saying.
Why the upgrade now?
  1. The need… of two new features (yep, you’ve read right, two). The first being cut and past in finder, which I have been dreaming of since Panther. Second, the new Spaces. My needs have evolved, and since I’m using more and more Virtual Machines simultaneously, with RDP thrown in the mix, I just couldn’t hold back on that one. It’s been astounding how the new Spaces have changed the way I interact with OSX, for the utmost best! It’s amazing. And there I was thinking fullscreen was just a gimmick, it isn’t. Just for the note, my setup currently consists of a main “web and stuff” desktop, a second desktop for Photoshop, a fullscreen VM for Linux, a fullscreen VM for my Bootcamp, a fullscreen RDP session with my old XP box, and more to come. This in less than a week’s use. Love it.
  2. Trusted sources: like… not the internet. Friends and family. In my case it was family. After my step-brother mentioned he stopped using his mouse completely since Lion, mimicking the gestures for his Spaces setup and all, I was intrigued. That is the type of guy I can trust. We’ve had countless discussions about technology, we know each others workflow (in Snow Leopard he was a Spaces lover and I was the Exposé all-windows junkie). An hour talk with him convinced me more than a year of browsing the net… WOW.
  3. What the hell, my Snow Leopard DVD is standing by.
That was it for me. I had seen too many conferences were the presenter would simply swipe to his VM, making the demos actually work smoothly, for me to just lay back and leave it out till .4.
So was it worth it? I’m happy I waited so long, becuase the shock was even bigger. YES! In all-caps screaming to all the prudent Snow Leopard users out there. Upgrade now. That’s all I can say. I am wrong sometimes. Just sometimes…
The main caveat: loss of expose all-windows. This is a main show stopper, and no Mission Control doesn’t replace it. There’s a little tip out there from OSXDaily though, and I would apply it before even trying mission control with the upper-right corner. In terminal, type:
defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0.16
then:
killall Dock
This will ease the pain a lot. I understand the thought behind removing such a thing. The new “app” focus, as in one-window-one-app etc. But to lose such a great feature is, at least to me, awkward. I’ll have to end this on a good note though, because Lion is really worth it. I am actually starting to believe Apple have learned a lot from optimizing their applications on iOS devices, working with low power and slower CPUs. It is tangible in Lion, and runs great[er] on my old laptop. Nope, it’s horrible and I’m definitely considering going back to Snow Leopard. Apple, we need a Snow Lion, or at least a Snow Mountain Lion… please?
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New interface!

I got kind of tired of my old theme, and decided to give this new one a try. I wanted something clean and less crowded that allowed for long periods of reading (basically, black text on white background). I really like it for now, I’ll see how I get accustomed to it. What do you guys think? Is it burning your eyes?

2 simple predictions for the MacBook Pro 2800×1800.

For once, I have decided to put some predictions out, so hopefully if they confirm, I can be an ass about it and say: “Told ya!”.

So apparently, the MacBook Pro might get a retina treatment…  Well, I was pondering the idea last night, trying to weigh-in the pros and cons, the problems this might bring up, and simply, if this is actually possible with our current technology. I came up with 2 solutions, which actually suit Apple pretty well. One of which I am now 100% certain we will see in the close future (maximum 3 years).

So, let’s assume this is true for a bit, what problems would a 2800×1800 display bring to the MacBook Pro? The new intel chips support even higher resolutions so that’s OK. The discreet graphics will have no problems with that (especially since PCIe 3.0 is around the corner). Well there is no problem is there!? That’s what you would think reading all these rumors! Oh yeah, Apple will be releasing a teleportation device that fits in your pockets soon, no problem!

There is obviously a problem (the main show-stopper), one that is crucial to Apple. Try to guess… Any idea?

Battery life!

Apple is obsessed by battery life (Yeah for us). They’ve been pushing it for years now. They have remodelled the MacBook Pro battery in the past, removing the parts needed for a swappable battery to make it bigger. They have tightened their battery tests. The Air can stay a month on standby… Wow. Apple diggs batteries and a HiDPI display like that would kill battery life. Plus, I haven’t read about any breakthrough in battery tech recently, please comment if I missed something.

So, how would Apple cope with this? Of course battery life is not going down, at least not significantly. We can ponder, but I made a nice drawing for you guys [cuddle]:

 

Before:

 

After:

macbook pro prediction 2800x1800

 

Yeah… Here’s my design document I would present if I worked at Apple (maybe it would be a lot nicer). We all know the Apple will not integrate BluRay, so then why keep DVD?

There is no doubt some people will cry out “But I need my DVD-ROM!!!”. Yes, go buy a USB one, they’re cheap. “But I neeeeeeed a BluRay burner!!!”. Yes, you can buy a USB one too, use Toast to burn data, and use Encore to burn videos… “But… I… NEEED… TO… COMPLAIN…!?”. Yes, go buy a PC.

Honestly though, I was a DVD-ROM activist not so long ago, but is it that essential on a laptop? I even got a faster burner from OWC. Guess what, I haven’t used it once in the past year… What a bad investment! I really do believe the Cupertino is headed that way, and I hope it’s soon!

2nd prediction will be quick. You know those neat little SSD drives in the MacBook Air… Well, when prices for SSDs go down, this will be the next step for the MacBook Pros. More space, and less power consumption makes for the perfect fit. A 512GB tiny little SSD would ease many headaches. Maybe a bigger form factor would be needed, but the essential design is there: remove every part that isn’t necessary. But the industry isn’t there yet (hopefully it will in 5  years). There is a reason why the MacBook PROs have an option for 7200RPM, 750GB dries, it’s because of the Pro thing. I do believe Apple will keep catering to us, the pros on the go, and that’s what I’m looking forward to!

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Speed-up your BootCamp VM using TuneUp Utilities 2012.

So I’ve been using VMWare Fusion a lot recently. I love how you can load up your BootCamp partition in a virtual machine, it’s darn right genius. I usually load up my Windows 7 BootCamp along-side Backtrack and have fun attacking my Windows vm (as anyone should). But I’m running an old laptop (coming five years now) and the performance has been atrocious to say the least. A bootcamp vm should not be running with only 1GB of RAM. I know, but don’t have the option.

Enter TuneUp Utilities 2012! I think I’ve used their product since the early XP days (was it out for 98SE?), and it used to be my favourite tweaking and performance booster until they came up with their new bloated and slow interface… Then things kinda got sour for me. I would still use it to clean my registry and what not, but never gave attention to the new features (that looked “dumbed down” to me). I should have!

With 2012, TuneUp seems to have gotten back to it’s roots again (somewhat) with greater customization of the app itself, greater control over automatic stuff, an anti-newb “all-features” section and finally, “shut your mouth” options! Hurray, what’s not to like? Well many reviews I’ve read and watched find it bloated… it is. But you really have to go through every single optimization wizard to really get a gist of what TuneUp is capable.

A quick walk-through of the awesomest optimizations

The basics are self-explanatory. After installation, you should run the 2 main optimizations left (Increase Performance & Fix Problems). Note: Do not set “Increase Performance” to the first setting (“best performance” IIRC), we will use the awesome Turbo Mode to make Windows really ugly. Some notes to take though, you will want to disable automatic defragmentation since your running in a VM. I don’t know how that would end up and I don’t want to find out. This brings me to the first important thing in TUU 2012, the settings. Let’s go right ahead and tame that vocal program!

Settings:

Notification area icon: Always (you’ll see why in a bit).

– Notifications: Disable everything! (Thank you TuneUp Corporation).

– 1 click maintenance: Disable Defragment hard disk.

– Automatic maintenance: I’ve disabled it completely, I like to have control over these things. You could also just disable the Defragment hard disk option.

Now TuneUp will shut it’s mouth, and wont screw up your BootCamp, sigh of relief.

Optimize System:

Why is TUU running it’s own service you ask? You don’t like that don’t you? Me neither, unless you set it up correctly right here. Basically, the “Disable Programs” feature is what justifies the extra service. TUU will automagically shutdown processes which either stay on, or don’t stop when you close an app (ex. Google Chrome). This is all customizable, and a significant boost in performance will be felt if you set it up correctly. Disabling startup programs should be a no-brainer, go ahead and disable pretty much everything except anti-virus, bootcamp services and essential stuff (that should be around 4-5 programs).

“Live Optimization” should be enabled with it’s 2 options. Configure Economy mode is self explanatory, configuring Turbo Mode is simply the best damn thing about TuneUp! If your running BootCamp, it’s probably because you play games, or work with a highly demanding application (3d, architecture, CAD etc.) and you really just boot-up in Windows for that. Well, do you see the “beautiful” windows interface while your gaming? Me neither. In conjunction with your earlier Visual Optimizations (probably set close to medium), Turbo Mode will make your Win7 machine look like shit… Hurray! Enable everything in Turbo Mode, and make sure it runs by default. Badaboom, you’ve got yourself a responsive VM.

Now if you want the beautiful bells and whistles, just select “Standard mode” from the TUU icon in your system tray (that’s why we’re leaving it there). Pretty cool stuff. I would end this section by checking out “Optimize system startup and shutdown” and applying the recommendations if they suit you, it will help startup that VM faster.

“Gain disk space” is self-explanatory and the usual temporary files, restore points etc. clean-up. “Fix problems” is mainly useless.

Customize Windows:

Finally, there is one really cool feature here, that I would encourage every-single-body to use. In “Personalize options and behaviours” go to “Start and maintenance” and the “Desktop and Taskbar” tab. Enable “Execute desktop and taskbar in a separate process”. You’ve guessed what this does, and trust me, when Windows crashes on you this is awesome. A nifty tweak.

Conclusion

So, we’ve been through the main features of TuneUp Utilities 2012 which will really help you run Windows (BootCamp or not) in a VM. Even though the software is bloated, runs an extra service and the interface is really slow, I hope you have seen past these issues and consider TUU for what it is: a great performance booster. As I said before, the reviews I’ve seen seemed to mention the basics, but never really go in depth (I’m sure some of them do). If you compare TuneUp with other optimizing software, it’s in a league of it’s own, and according to me, that justifies it’s price. Plus, your mom and her computer will thank you (and maybe give you cookies, hopefully homemade and hot, mmmmmm). Until next time!

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What if your container allowed layers?

I just heard the best thing ever on MacVideo. Philippe Baudet: “What if your video file had layers, like photoshop”. He has a great talk on Black Magic Design products, but he simply forgot to mention Black Magic’s products, which is great. In all honesty, the man seems very inspired and his eyes are wide open, as he states in the video. He has a very grounded vision of the A/V future to say the least. I recommend the talk to anybody interseted in where the NLE, Broadcast or video industry is going. Great stuff.

P.S. I now believe layered video containers are the future of electronic distribution. Want that ad in mandarin? Choose video track 6, VO track 6 + M&E tracks 11-12! Wow 🙂

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My take on a Mac Pro gaming machine…

After a couple of delicious beers with a good friend, we concluded the Mac: Pro Gaming redesign might resemble something like:
  • Black brushed aluminum, or a complete new look.
  • Windows pre-installed! In a dual-boot fashion of course.
  • Dual-link, good graphics card (ex: GTX 580 SLI, or maybe the 570s)
  • Quad Core
  • 8 Gigs of ram
  • 256 GB SSD for OS X and Windows + 750 GB, 7200 RPM for data.

Boom! you got a winner here if not too pricey. A machine you can buy that has been designed from the get-go to run games at impressive frame-rates. A hassle free dream machine, with a power supply that can actually spit out enough power to feed your graphics cards.

Plus, audio/video guys can still add more CPUs and ram if needed, and remove a graphics card if not necessary. But keeping them would actually improve video editing/compressing performance since Apple is integrating OpenCL in most of their software products. I would even tend to predict Logic X will use OpenCL in some way…

All this being wishful thinking of course.

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A place left for the Mac Pro at Apple?

While working at my last job, using Final Cut 99.9% of the time, I witnessed the announcement, the release and the temporary demise of Final Cut Pro X.

The software which should be referred to as: “piss everybody off with a high-end workflow PRO X”… Now that’s mean, isn’t it. “Piss everybody off” should suffice. Amongst all the flurry of information focused on FCP X, we silently lost Color (I have my thoughts on that… DaVinci coming to mac, anyone?), we lost DVD Studio Pro and finally lost our nice presets in Compressor (which didn’t get a decent update in itself, but requires a new graphics card though). Very strange.

My technical director almost bought the new Final Cut the very same day it was released! I remember pressuring him to let a good night’s sleep calm his anxiousness down. Even with such a low price, I had a bad feeling when I read on Apple’s website… nothing new from the features I had seen in the demo (at NAB). “Bad, very bad…” I thought to myself, while rubbing my chin in a very detective-like way. The next day, I get up late and arrive late to work as usual. What’s the first thing I can say, with a huge vile smile, to the tech director : “iMovie HD”. That’s what I said, and that’s pretty much what there was to say. I had been surfing the inter-webs all night long, and oh, was I sad.

The story goes on, Apple realizes they made a mistake when they stopped selling FCP 7, so they put it back on sale. The FCP evangelist try to shove an infant piece of software down our throats saying “it’s so new” and “the meta-data is so shiny” and whatever else you’ll hear from Larry Jordan… but YOU CAN’T EFFING MARK IN/OUT AND EXPORT A CLIP !!! I’m sorry, WTF IN THE WORLD! THAT WAS DESIGNED BY BABIES !? I’m sorry again. That is a feeling shared amongst users who actually need to export video clips, you know, that thing you export when using a non linear video editor?

OK. my rant is over. All this because, at the time, I predicted Apple might stop selling Mac Pros. The developer doesn’t seem to care about professionals anymore and bla bla bla iPad bla bla iPhone etc. We’ve all heard it.

And today, I read on macrumors, a rumor states Apple might drop the Mac Pro line. Well we’ve been waiting for upgrades, we’ve been waiting for thunderbolt, we’ve spent thousands of dollars on those machines in the past and boom, they would be gone? I have no idea if this rumor holds a bit of truth, but if it does hear me out Apple! heh heh, I’d dream.

Even though the video industry has gone sour after the release of Final Cut Amateur X. And even though the audio industry will turn sour after your release of Logic Amateur X. There is an industry (well, more like a public) that hasn’t turned sour yet, that hasn’t even turned. My god, that doesn’t even care! You guessed? The video game industry, which the Mac division has never even attempted to conquer, even less approach. This industry is actually taking notice of the mac platform. The best example being Steam and it’s few games. But since Apple rages in the laptop world, and those PC gamers need good laptops to play on, well there is a good chance many hardcore gamers have ended up with a Mac. If not, they have taken notice.

Razer will be releasing a wicked 17inch gaming laptop soon. I quote the CEO of Razer, Min-Liang Tan, “There is actually another laptop out there, it’s not PC though, that has discreet graphics, that is 17 inches in terms of the screen size, supposed to be one of the most powerful laptops in the world. [Our laptop] is thinner than the Mac Book Pro. So [it] out performs the Mac Book Pro in gaming, there’s only one thing it doesn’t do though. But we PC gamers don’t care, why? It doesn’t run Mac OS X, that’s all.”

Apple could revamp, re-market, and re-idealize their Mac Pro line to fit this eager audience. Which is in need of more power than it ever has before! The Mac Pro can deliver, but can Apple? Oh wow, what a nice ending phrase that was… before I interrupted 🙂

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Gnome 3 – Inspired and inspiring…

Haven’t posted much recently, but I wanted to get this out. Gnome 3 is looking awesome and truly inspiring. But it does replicate a lot of OS X and Windows 7 interface features. I am definitely not shocked nor bothered by such. Here are a few examples:

 

  • Mac OS X exposé + hot corners? Yup, thank you very much, I can’t live without those! It also serves as the new Lion mission control thingy. Haven’t tried it yet though, I did not update yet (and will be waiting for a bit).

 

  • Windows 7 window management, if you like it it’s there (personally I am not fond, or maybe just not used to it).

 

  • OS X Lion launchpad? Yes, but done better… It is Linux you know 🙂

 

Now as a Mac geek I’ve been advocating for a simple and ready to use OS system. I have ditched Linux as a desktop OS a while back since I’ve never really been satisfied with the home user experience. I’m also an audio guy, and I’m sorry, but Linux is not there yet (and might never be because of licensing issues). Seeing this new Gnome has pretty much punched my opinion in the face (most certainly with a well placed hook). I understand the Gnome guys have much work left to do, and they say so themselves, but honestly, coming from a Mac background, this is looking pretty appetizing to me.

Maybe some people will blame Gnome 3 as copying stuff from other Oses. I definitely praise and congratulate them for it. Now I don’t want this post to sound as if the Linux scene has been copying stuff from other OS platforms often. Actually, it’s more of the contrary (OS X “Spaces” as the easiest example), but replicating and then pushing an idea/feature to the maximum potential, is to me the greatest thing about software competition. I am glad Gnome 3 desktop devs have been able to step on their pride a bit, and acknowledge that other OSes have good interfaces too. And most probably, Gnome’s implementation will simply be better! I think I’ll be loading up a VM with it pretty soon 🙂

Easy multi-boot for Macs, no Bootcamp hassle, no rEFIt.

If you wish to simply see the steps required, please skip to the installation mini-guide.

I’ve recently received my new internal hard drive for my late 2008 MacBook Pro. For the last few months, I probably hit OWC every single day, waiting for a 7200 RPM, 750GB 9.5mm drive that would fit my laptop. The WD Scorpio Black 750GB recently became available, and I ordered this very nice drive with an external enclosure and the little screwdriver kit. What an awesome overall product idea, plus the enclosure is USB3!

So after doing lots of looking around and googling here and there, I came to a quite simple but sad conclusion about multiple boots on a mac; Boot Camp is a tool for toddlers and multi-booting a heavily partitioned drive is extremely tedious. I was wrong!

My intended setup totals 5 partitions. One for my main Mac OSX boot, one for Windows 7 64bit (games), another Mac OSX boot for audio, a user data partition (documents, downloads, music etc… this could logically be shared between my two Mac boots, more experiments on this in a future post) and finally an audio data partition. Ouch.

Most forums I read explain how to do this by tricking Bootcamp, partitioning after the initial 2 partitions are created, and using a bit of magic with a salt of luck you might just get it working… that’s if your skill level is at 60 and you have much HP left 🙂

Natively installing Windows 7

The main reason for all this Bootcamp stuff is XP doesn’t support EFI, and Vista seems to have a limited support (source needed). 7 on the other hand (I tested 64bit) supports installation in an EFI environment out-of-the-box. My little guide describes installation on a new hard drive, you might want to tweak this a little bit if you’ve resized a partition for windows. So, here goes.

    1. Boot into Mac OSX Snow Leopard disk, select the disk utility tool and create your partitions. Make sure you create a Fat32 (Dos) partition for Windows. This partition must be one of the first three partitions (I think the first 4 might work, but lets not take any chance).
    2. Install Mac OSX in your first partition. You can then update your mac, do what you wish. Some people install rEFIt. I tried it but the tool didn’t work for me. rEFIt is not required for this setup to work. It might be if you want to install Linux though, I haven’t tried that yet.
    3. Insert the Win 7 64bit DVD in your mac. Reboot and hold the “c” key when you hear a chime. This will launch the Windows setup.
    4. At setup, you will be asked to choose a partition for windows. Make sure you select the right partition as it will be formatted. The installation had serious trouble reading most of the partition names, so I chose my Fat partition by size… Very scary moment. Once you select the partition, you need to click format. It will format in NTFS, then continue with normal installation.
    5. The installer will reboot 3 times (IIRC), whenever it does, hold the “option” key (alternative names: “alt”, “saucepan”, âŒ¥) when the chimes play. Then select the windows partition and boot it to continue installation. Don’t worry if you miss the boot screen, just restart you mac. The installer restarts where it left off.
    6. Now when you are asked for a password, do not create one with any special characters! Actually, I would recommend to wait until later before creating a password. Why you ask? Because your current keyboard setup is most probably wrong, and all your keys will change when you install the Mac drivers. This happened to me, simply because I used “/” in my password. I had to reinstall Windows, because when booting up, I couldn’t recreate the symbol at login screen. Stupid thing.
    7. When rebooting for the third time (the last reboot), at the OS selection screen (OSX’s boot loader), remove the Windows DVD, and pop in the Snow Leopard DVD.
    8. Once in windows, your volume keys, brightness keys and screen resolution will be all wrong, plus other stuff. Launch the Bootcamp setup in the OSX DVD you inserted earlier. Reboot again. TADAM!

You now have a native dual-boot setup, without rEFIt (even though rEFIt looks really nice, it doesn’t work for me and troubleshooting help is scarce), without the hassle of Bootcamp partition resizing and voodoo partitioning.

Hope this helps someone, and now go play some video games 🙂

Note: Windows 64bit will not work on all MacBook models, if the Mac drivers complain about it, you should install 32bit. Also, I have yet to install my third Mac OSX boot, this might screw things up. Rest assured I will blog about it or correct any information if things go wrong. Finally, I do not know if the OSX boot-loader supports Linux, you are encouraged to post any comments about such a setup (it will work using rEFIt). I personally think it would be fine if you install GRUB inside your Linux partition.

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Selling video software? How about a video on your website…



I’ve recently been surfing and searching a lot about video software. Even though I’m a sound editor, life has me use Final Cut Pro as a main tool – sigh. After a little more than 6 months researching and learning on the web, I realize that most video software vendors, and most tools, don’t have a single video up describing their offer on their own website!!!

Listen there video software producer! Obviously every single product should have a page that describes features and specs. But that page should also feature a nice overview video, with a screen cast of the app being used. Plus maybe a super nice guy talking about the product.

I don’t want this rant to go so much longer, but when you are expected to pay in the thousands, and actually tens of thousands for a product, why can’t you just buy a Mark II and film a God damn simple video about your product!?

Thunderbolt is actually slow,

slowtech

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