iShnoob

AppTrap 1.1

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I am continuing the development of AppTrap, an open source uninstaller for Mac OS X. It runs in the background, so that when an application is put in the trash, AppTrap knows and asks the user if they also want to throw away the associated preference files.

AppTrap is simple from an implementation standpoint, which is important for me, considering that this is my first real application (a finished product that is meant for public release).

The code is available here. I’d be grateful for any tips*. It’s not that I don’t have any confidence, but that I’m in unexplored territory here. Oh, and the kqueue  stuff? Right over my head. I’ll have to learn how to work with them as time goes on.

Anyway, this is all new to me. I’m sure I’ll make mistakes, but I’ll try my best to keep them from happening. And when they do happen, I’ll try my best to keep the users unaffected.

I’ll be starting class soon, so that will put a damper on development, but I’m committed to making AppTrap the best uninstaller for Mac OS X. Even though an uninstaller really isn’t all that necessary. 🙂

*Specifically, help on how to make a 64 bit prefpane would be awesome. I’ve been running into my usual set of bizarre problems in that area.

Written by Kumaran Vijayan

August 21, 2009 at 2:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Safari 4 Public Release

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Overall I’m very pleased with Safari 4’s updated UI. The public beta’s tabs-on-top implementation is gone, where the tabs were in the titlebar. An interesting experiment, but one that ultimately proved that such a feature is really quite irritating. I would have liked to see it go the Chrome way, where the tab bar is between the titlebar and the toolbar, but this is fine.

Somet other things:

  • I love the new tab button. It’s clicked vs unclicked state is very pleasing.
  • The tabs still have that stacked feel to them.
  • The Top Sites feature where you’re able to drag another website into your Top Sites while pinning it at the same time was broken in the public beta. It is now fixed. Finally.
  • That reload button is still in the URL field. How annoying.
  • I’m not entirely sure if this was possible with the public beta, but the Add Bookmark button that is attached to the URL field is only default behaviour. If you add the standalone Add Bookmark button to the toolbar from the Customize Toolbar sheet, the attached Add Bookmark button will be replaced with the standalone one. Then simply remove the standalone button. Yes, this is a very awkward workaround to just having an Add Bookmark-less URL field in the Customize Toolbar sheet.
  • Yay, the hierarchical site structure contextual menu is back!
  • A tab only shows its close button until you mouse over the tab. And they also have click-through. Blegh.

Written by Kumaran Vijayan

June 11, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Ads

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Lauren

Giampaolo

Both of these ads are the newest examples of Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” campaign. Setting aside some of the controversies, I’ve been wondering about a couple of things pertaining to these kinds of ads.

First, why is Microsoft making these ads? (not a rhetorical question) They hardly, if ever, mention Microsoft products and instead highlight things like price and hardware specifications. Isn’t it the responsibility of the computer manufacturer to do this? Shouldn’t Dell, HP and Acer be the ones making these commercials? The only answer I can come up with is that Microsoft is unsatisfied with the marketing response to Apple’s Ads.

Second, will this change anything? (kind of rhetorical, but do tell me what you think) Do these ads influence consumer’s perceptions of PCs? Wasn’t it already a well-known fact that you could buy almost any kind of PC at almost any price point?

I’m betting that those who are buying Macs are not going to be moved by this at all; For them, it isn’t a question of price but of design quality. Those who buy computers based on price are not going to be moved by this at all; They were always going to buy a Windows PC and were never considering a Mac in the first place. And those who are considering a Mac are not going to be moved by this at all; The fact that they are considering a Mac means that they’re not buying computers based on price anyway.

Written by Kumaran Vijayan

April 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Microsoft

Safari 4 UI

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Safari 4

Very non-standard Mac OS X UI. Not a bad decision, but it makes me wonder what Snow Leopard will look like.

Although I’m not so sure about that reload button in the URL field. That makes sense on the iPhone, since it has a limited amount of screen real estate, but not so much on a desktop browser.

Edit:
Check this out:

safari 4 new tab button

And there’s no progress bar, just like that other browser.

Edit2:

The font for the titlebar appears to be smaller and thicker:

Safari 4 titlebar font

Written by Kumaran Vijayan

February 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Apple

Random iTunes Interface Annoyance

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Here’s the top:

iTunes with iPod

And here’s the view when I scroll down:

iTunes with iPod scrolled

Yeah, I don’t know why there’s a scroll bar there either.

Written by Kumaran Vijayan

February 23, 2009 at 10:30 am

Posted in Apple

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Windows Vista Starter Edition In Action

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I wasn’t too sure about the limitation, but seeing it with my own eyes has actually stunned me a little. Does Microsoft actually think this will work in turning pirated copies of Windows into legally purchased copies?

Written by Kumaran Vijayan

August 26, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Posted in Windows

iPod touch

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Quartz is her name. Here’s some pics. I’ll have pics of the OS itself once the 2.0 software ships for iPod touches.

From my experience with this little gadget in the past couple of days, I’m blown away. Absolutely easy and fun to use. I prefer it over my Mac.

Written by Kumaran Vijayan

July 11, 2008 at 5:46 am

Posted in iPod touch

Rogers iPhone 3G Pricing

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I was absolutely wrong. It appears Rogers isn’t doing anything worth paying for in the realm of the Canadian iPhone. I just hope that Canadian iPhone carriers down the road have better plans than this.

Oh, and it’s the same with Fido.

Written by Kumaran Vijayan

June 27, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Posted in iPhone, Rogers

WWDC 2008

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For those who don’t follow Apple, the WWDC 2008 keynote would probably give the impression that all Apple cares about these days is the iPhone. And to be honest, they are. The next couple of months are iPhone Months™. Don’t expect much hype about the Mac or iPod.

iPhone 3G
The unimaginatively named successor to the first iPhone will have 3G networking for faster cellular access to the net as well as GPS (something I didn’t expect to be built in), giving Google Maps a huge boost on the device.

However, the phone being subsidized brings with it some undesirable side-effects. For one, activation will have to be done in-store. That just sounds like a disaster come July 11 when the iPhone 3G goes on sale and crowds of people line up to buy one.

But the biggest attribute of the iPhone 3G is the $199 price point. Even though the device will be more costly to own than the previous iPhone (the dataplan fee rose by $10), people are largely concerned only with the sticker price. $199 with a 2 year, $70/month service plan is a lot easier to swallow for most people than $499 with a 2 year, $60/month service plan.

 

MobileMe
Now we’re getting into more interesting territory. This new, terribly named, replacement to .Mac appears to be a complete overhaul of the service, both from a conceptual standpoint, as well as a functional one.

.Mac was originally named iTools and was a free service that shipped with every Mac. It didn’t provide much in the way of storage, but it was a simple service that tied well into the Mac OS. However, Apple eventually saw the profit potential in iTools and decided to make it a subscription service. It’s capabilities were expanded and an annual price tag of $99 was established. Since then, it’s gone downhill.

Before MobileMe was announced, .Mac provided Address Book, iCal, Mail Rules and Dashboard Widget syncing with multiple Macs as well as 10GB of online storage, iDisk, an online general purpose storage disk, .Mac Web Gallery, which allowed users to quickly upload their photos to the web from iPhoto, and iWeb integration.

However, the service has been plagued with reliability problems and it’s feature set simply didn’t justify the $99 subscription fee in the eyes of most Mac users.

MobileMe appears to be a big step up. The most noticeable differences are the 20GB of online storage per user and a full set of rich web applications. The former is a fairly solid upgrade while the latter is quite impressive. Apple’s Mail, Contacts, Calendar and iDisk web apps are beautifully designed and look almost exactly like their Mac OS X counterparts.

But the biggest change is something that many users won’t truly appreciate until they actually begin to use it. Instead of the periodic sync provided by .Mac, where Mac OS X performs a sync operation every 10 or 20 minutes, MobileMe uses Push to perform the same tasks. That means that as soon as you change a contact or make a draft email in Address Book and Mail.app on your Mac, those changes are immediately pushed to the online service and from there, pushed to any other devices tied to the same MobileMe account. This is a set of services that primarily only businesses using Microsoft’s Exchange server have had access to. Apple’s managed to make a consumer-oriented subset of the same set of services available to the general public.

Another interesting point are the devices to be used with MobileMe. Yes, there’s Mac, iPhone and iPod touch support, but also Windows PCs can be used with it. Using Microsoft Outlook on Windows XP or Windows Vista, you can get the same exact set of services available to Mac users. In fact, much of Apple’s Guided Tour for MobileMe is done in Windows Vista. And it’s fairly obvious why: Apple wants to sell the service to Windows iPhone users.

 

Mac OS X Snow Leopard
Keeping in line with Steve Jobs publicly stated 12 to 18 month release cycle for operating systems, Mac OS X Snow Leopard is set to be released in about a year’s time. With no major new end-user features (save for Exchange Support), the upgrade focuses primarily on developer and under-the-hood features and refinements.

Grand Central, a set of frameworks that help make it easier for developers to take advantage of multicore systems, and QuickTime X, a major overhaul of QuickTime based on the media capabilities of the iPhone/iPod touch OS, are the two features I find most interesting.

But more interesting than the features themselves is the fact that Apple is even pushing out an upgrade of this nature in the first place. With Vista being such a PR mess for Microsoft, Apple can afford to release an OS upgrade without any marketable features for end-users.

Written by Kumaran Vijayan

June 16, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Posted in Apple, WWDC

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WWDC ’08: Before The Storm

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Let’s see what it looks like tomorrow.

Written by Kumaran Vijayan

June 9, 2008 at 4:12 am

Posted in Uncategorized