Mac OS X: Force Quit

If you’re switching from Windows you may be familiar with an old friend, the Task Manager. Apple provides a similar tool, with an easy way to force unruly applications to quit. I’ll get to why you’d want to do this in the moment. To access Force Quit, you can either go to the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen, and choose Force Quit… Alternately, you can press three keys at once: Command + Option + Esc. It’s sort of the Mac version Ctrl-Alt-Delete.

Why would you want to force an application to quit? Sometimes applications get “struck” for whatever reason and can’t recover. If you notice the “rainbow wheel” spinning when you try to access the application and it just won’t do anything. Check the Force Quit tool and see if the name of the application is red and there’s a parenthetical warning “not responding”. This is your cue to use Force Quit – just be aware that sometimes an application might not be responding, but might still be “alive.” Typically what I do is go grab something to eat, and give the app 2-5 minutes to get itself together. If it is still stuck, I force quit.

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Apple Speaks of 10.5.6 Problems

Apple released a technote detailing an issue that some users have run into awhile installing the latest Mac OS X Software Update.

When attempting to update software using Software Update in Mac OS X.5, the update process may stop responding while “Configuring installation” is visible in the update window.

Apple describes that this may happen when trying to install a partially downloaded update. The work-around is to remove the partially downloaded update and try again. The incomplete update files may be found in “/Library/Updates” and can be safely deleted before trying Software Update again.

Alternatively, users can download the Combo update and install it themselves.

It seems that the bug resulting in the partially downloaded file affects Mac 10.5.1 through 10.5.5. Once you’ve successfully installed 10.5.6, the issue seems to fixed for future updates.

Mac OS X 10.5.6 Prohibits DFU Mode

iPhone Alley is reporting that the Mac OS X 10.5.6 update is causing problems for the jailbreak community. According to a recent post at the site, if you place the iPhone in DFU mode (similar to restore mode), your iPhone will be unrecognized by a Mac running 10.5.6.

DFU mode is required to jailbreak your iPhone using many of the popular tools such as Pwnage or QuickPwn. So far there is now word from the iPhone Dev group on this finding. In doing my own research, I discovered that the problem does, in fact, exist. So, if you need to jailbreak your iPhone/iPod Touch, you might want to hold off on updating your Mac.

Could this be Apple’s way of combatting owners who jailbreak their iPhones? has this happened to you since upgrading your Mac to 10.5.6? Let me know.

Mac OS X 10.5.6 is now Available

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Apple’s support page and Software Update appear to be a little hammered – you know what that means: A new OS update!

Mac OS X 10.5.6 has just been released to Software Update. the 377MB update offers up the following, according to Apple’s Support Page:

  • Various improvements to performance and stability in Mail.app, iCal, Airport and Safari
  • Graphical improvements
  • DVD player performance improvements
  • A new Trackpad panel in System Preferences for Portable Macs
  • Time Machine and MobileMe improvements
  • Other various fixes.

The whole support page lays out the improvements with more accuracy than we often see from Apple and there are security updates too.

My download has just finished and my dock is bouncing, so I’m off to update my system. Post your results and comments!

Apple Trademarks “Grand Central”

When Apple announced Snow Leopard, they also detailed a new developer service that can be used to take full advantage of the dual cores in newer Intel Macs. The Apple Website tells us the following about Grand Central:

Grand Central takes full advantage [of the processor cores] by making all of Mac OS X multicore aware and optimizing it for allocating tasks across multiple cores and processors. Grand Central also makes it much easier for developers to create programs that squeeze every last drop of power from multicore systems.

MacNN is reporting that Apple was granted a trademark on the name “Grand Central” under USPTO serial number 77626943. The trademark was filed under “009” classification, which is “computer software; computer operating system software.”

We can only wonder if this trademark filing will cause an uproar from Google, who acquired Grand Central telephony service

Psystar: Part of Larger Conspiracy?

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Earlier this year, manufacturer Psystar began selling computers capable of running Mac OS X Leopard. They’ve gotten the Mac community’s attention, and Apple’s. Of course, Psystar found themselves involved with Apple legal shortly after their announcement. That was no surprise, but this week’s news kind of is.

Apple is claiming Psystar is part of a larger group of individuals or corporations. Here’s a quote from the recently amended claim:

…persons other than Psystar are involved in Psystar’s unlawful and improper activities described in this Amended Complaint. The true names or capacities, whether individual, corporate, or otherwise, of these persons are unknown to Apple. Consequently they are referred to herein as … the “John Doe Defendants”…Apple will seek leave to amend this complaint to show the unknown John Doe Defendants’ true names and capacities when they are ascertained.

Yikes. What does make sense in light of this accusation, if proven to be true, is Psystar’s apparent brashness. When faced with an opponent as high-profile and well-funded as Apple, they’ve continued to sell machines. Either they’re crazy or they’ve got some serious backbone. We shall see.

Aperture 2.0 Review

Test Hardware:

MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz

  • 2GB RAM
  • 250GB 5400 RPM HDD
  • OS X 10.5.5

System Requirements:

  • Mac Pro
  • MacBook Pro
  • MacBook Air
  • MacBook
  • Mac mini with an Intel Core Solo or Duo processor
  • iMac with a 1.8GHz or faster Power PC G5 or Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • Power Mac G5 with a 1.6GHz or faster PowerPC G5 processor
  • 15-17 inch PowerBook G4 with a 1.25GHz or faster PowerPC G4 processor

 

Interface

The Aperture interface was always good, but it suffered from palette clutter. The main changes the 2.0 interface reduce the amount of visible panels needed to work effectively. There are now three tabs at the left of the main window which let you concentrate on the main types of work with your images. The Projects panel tab helps organize your library, the Metadata tab lets you tag and batch-edit metadata, and the Adjustments panel is for image editing and filtering.

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Not much has changed for each panel, which is fine since they worked well to begin with; they are just less jammed into one big cluster of dialogs that takes valuable screen real estate away from your images. For those like me who are deeply offended by having to click with the mouse, hitting the W key will alternate between these three tabs. If you want to work in full-screen mode and have a floating Adjustments HUD, you can still do that, only now the tabbed panel is carried through to the floating HUD, which used to just contain the Adjustments panel:

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This simplification of the Aperture interface was needed and I think it goes a long way towards curing the “where is that thing and what is its shortcut key?” issue that plagued the original UI. I find the new interface more intuitive than the different working modes that Lightroom uses, but I still find the UI text too small. If you’re working on a 15″ MBP, navigating the disorienting, miniature save dialog, tiny contextual menus, and white-on-gray type of the floating HUD can be annoying.

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It’s better on a 24″ LCD, but many photographers do quick tweaks on set with a laptop, so it’s fair to say that this is a valid issue. Also, Aperture only has gray widgets for the windows.

I know about Apple’s motivation and “perceived color” but it’s as if Apple wants to set its products apart from the competition by doing things that are against its own interface guidelines. It just smacks of bad form, and if it was Microsoft Word that was doing this, I’m sure it would cause a Mac blog meltdown. Apple should be holding itself up to its own standards here.

All in all, Aperture scores a 9.5 on 10 I will definitely be using this photo editor instead of iPhoto 08.