Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mac 2014 - I go into full Windows XP mode

I bought a Panasonic 8086 in 1986. Over the next 30 years I’d often use a Mac (Classic) at work or school and sometimes at home — but DOS/Windows and OS/2 were my primary environments.

That was not a pleasant time. The one happy memory I have is DOS 3.1 zooming on a 80386. Otherwise the Wintel world was a long, hard, slog. I bought an iBook in 2002, and a couple of years later we went all Mac. I’ve never regretted that — though I’ve written hundreds, maybe thousands, of posts about Apple bugs and issues.

You can guess where this is going. In 2014 the Mac feels a lot like Windows in 2002. iTunes 12 is a widely recognized disaster and iOS 8 is little better. The modern Mac doesn’t do nearly enough to diagnose and expose issues in our increasingly complex hardware environments. Every OS X version since Snow Leopard has been a regression.

It’s taken a while to get my head around this. Until last Friday I was in denial. Today, though, today all my XP experience came back to me. 

I’m now treating my OS X and iOS devices the way I used to treat Windows XP machines. 

I’ve configured Mavericks to restart at 6am daily. No more running weeks without a reboot.

I’ve configured mosts of our iOS devices to backup to iCloud and I no longer use a USB hub to charge iOS devices and sync to iTunes [2]. I bought a Brooks endorsed6 port Photive 50W USB charger and most of my devices now sync there. All this is to minimize interactions with iTunes and my iMac.

I’ve also removed Launchbar. I’ve used that utility for about 10 years, but, honestly, I never mastered it and it uses a huge amount of system memory. I can do most of what I need using Spotlight. No more TSRs.

For the few iOS devices I’m still syncing to iTunes I’m using Apple cables directly connected to a single USB port. 

Now to wait and see if Apple reboots itself. Otherwise, it’s gonna be XP for all of us … forever …

- fn -

[1] A very cheap passive USB 3 way splitter picked lets one port charge Fibit, bike lights and other oddball devices when needed. The other 5 ports are all for iDevices — we have nine currently.

[2] I’ve used a Plugable USB 2.0 10 port hub for about 2 years to simultaneously sync and charge, The power supply output says 5V and 2.5 Amps, that would be about 12.5W — but maybe it gets useful power from the iMac’s USB port. An iPhone charger supplies 5W, so I’ve been making a 12.5W-20W device do the work of a 60W device. I’m surprised it still runs.

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