Comments on Unibody MacBookPro 17″

14 05 2009

Been working with a MBP17″ for a few months, and Apple asked me for feedback today, so I thought I’d share what I told them with the rest of you:

  • Has HDAPS (“Hard Drive Active Protection System,” an IBM term), which uses inertial sensors to park your disk when you jiggle the computer around!  This is a great feature, but Apple doesn’t seem to market it.
  • Build quality is awesome.
  • Weight is awesome for a 17″-er
  • Battery life is really good, but I’d like it if Apple could do more to help me conserve.  For example, I only use USB at my desktop when the computer is plugged in; I’d like to have it off on battery power by default
  • Keyboard nit: the keys are too flat.  The slight curvature of keys on the earlier MBP keyboard helped with touch typing.
  • Too much tactile feedback in the keyboard.  Tactile feedback has been proven to be ergonomically counterproductive (hurts typing speed, accuracy, and RSI rate), even though everybody seems to want it.  The ideal keyboard technology (IMO of course) was only used in a couple of laptops, the Dell Inspiron 8100 and Latitude C810.  I had a custom external ‘board made from used parts and I’m still using it.
  • Not enough keys on the keyboard.  I miss Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, (forward) Delete, and Insert
  • Its unix is crippled in several ways that make me miss Ubuntu:
    • No single comprehensive package management system.  MacPorts and Fink don’t play well together
    • The X11 server is dog-slow.
    • Keys don’t pass transparently through and/or X11 to a Linux system
    • Command-line apps are 2nd class citizens next to regular Mac .app bundles.

Movable Type, Perl, Apache, CGI, PostgreSQL/SQLite/MySQL… Oh, My!

6 05 2009

Bah. Humbug!

I wasted hours on this one as I was trying to install MovableType on my Mac. I had long ago installed PostgreSQL using MacPorts, and that’s where everything started to break. See, MT scripts all begin with #!/usr/bin/perl Don’t get me wrong; I have a perl interpreter there. The problem turns out to be that it’s a 32-bit executable and MacPorts builds 64-bit binaries. So in the end, if you want to use a MacPorts database installation with Movable Type, you end up having to hack all its files to begin with #!/opt/local/bin/perl

This command worked for me:

find . -type f -exec sed -i -e 's|#!/usr/bin/perl|#!/opt/local/bin/perl|g' {} \;