Gems from uk.comp.sys.mac




Daniele Procida

Oh, sweet object of desire


5 Oct 1999 19:52:38 GMT

As it happened, I - like most people - didn't actually get to see the
live video feed of the iCEO's address to the Macintosh nation. But
nearly two-and-a-half hours later Apple's servers are just struggling
back to their feet and there's the new iMac in all it's officially
sanctioned glory.

Are there it is, in six transparent shades. Not just translucent;
transparent. And there it is with FireWire and DVD built in. And there
it is with a 400MHz G3. And all of this is very impressive, but I don't
need a new iMac and I can't afford one either. But then I saw tucked
away at the bottom of one of the paragraphs of technical specifications
the fact the the new iMac has no fan. It *does not have a fan*. And then
I felt a strange sensation of love and dismay sweep over me, and I now I
really don't know what I need or what can afford.

And now I feel like I did when I was 22 and I went to Prague on a
philosophy trip just before Christmas and there was this girl and we
spent the whole time together walking around when it was snowing and on
the Charles Bridge and around Wenceslas Square and I bought a mandolin
and played it at her but in the end she decided that she had a perfectly
good boyfriend already even though it turned out later (and it was my
opinion at the time) that he awasn't entirely satisfactory but by then
it was too late and so after six days in Prague we were back in
Canterbury and I only ever saw her again two or three times after that.

Well, I don't feel as *much* as I did then, but I feel *like* it.

Daniele Procida

Re: Should I dump Windows?

8 Oct 1999 08:47:35 GMT

Michael Amherst wrote:

> Yeh, ok perhaps it is....but the response as to whether Macs are widely used
> in journalism was hardly over whelming....what do I need to do to make you
> convince me to get a Mac?!?

This is a true story. I once knew two brothers who decided to buy
computers. After much careful consideration, one bought a Mac and the
other bought a PC. Nothing really much happened to the one who bought a
Mac; he just bought it, set it up, and started using it for his work.
All pretty unspectacular; it didn't change his life though it made
certain tasks much much easier, which is exactly what he wanted a
computer for in the first place.

His brother was pleased because he thought he'd saved an awful lot of
money by going for a PC instead of a Mac. But after a month or so,
things started going badly. Firstly, he was a keen and accomplished -
and very striking - amateur painter. He began to notice that his
painting was getting drab and derivative. He had a fine record
collection, full of Stravinsky and Bartok gems, not to mention his
beloved Galaxie 500 and Chills albums and singles, but one day when he
went to seek solace there he discovered that all he had were dozens of
volumes of "Classic Moods" compilations and Best Of collections of the
likes of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. His daughters took up
smoking. For some reason, he could no longer buy clothes that fitted him
properly. He used to love reading, but whereas he used to go out on
Saturdays and spend hours in the library at the bookshelves -
Hemmingway, Genet, Brecht, Chandler, James Joyce - he now only ever came
home carrying computer magazines with garish covers. The final straw was
that he discovered his 17" monitor - so much cheaper than his brother's
Apple model - was badly adjusted and affecting the polarity of his teeth
with very unpleasant consequences. Shortly after that - fortunately, I
think I should say - his PC suffered motherboard failure just when the
warranty had expired, and he never bothered to get it repaired or
replaced. I can honestly say that after that things immediately started
to improve for him, especially his teeth.

Get a Mac.

James Campbell Andrew

Re: iMac from Gordon Harwoods - faulty

22 July 2000

James Campbell Andrew  wrote:

> A little story, for which I would appreciate some comments:

<major snippage>

How the story ended (and with apologies to well written Nordic Saga's

Herein be the saga of James Bloodaxe and his Purple Box Of Wonder:

Mighty was my fortitude, and stout my heart on the morn of Freya's Day.
With cunning and right-mindedness did I gain access to the Horn of the
Gods in the camp of my Lord, and uttered the incantation of

Long and arduous was the battle of wills between mine self and the
legions of darkness.

"Returneth my coin!" I uttered.

"Nay!" they didst answer, "for thou hast not got the sacred wrapping,
whereon is engraved the Number Of The Box!"

"Giveth me a break!" proclaimest I, "for the wrapping is flimsy
material, not spun-of-gold, and the Number thou desirest is contained
within thy scrolls of note. Thy spellest my name wrong, incidentely."

"Bringeth thy Box in on Saturn's Day morn and we shalt cure it's ills"
they countered.

"Like thy didst on the twofold other occasions I quested forth to thine
halls?" I queried.

"Bringeth thy Box in on Saturn's Day morn and...."

"Art thou capable of coin returneth lore making?" I asked.

"Nay, for I am but a lowley serf who cures the many ills of the Boxes
and the wonders contained."

"Or not, as the case may be. Giveth me the True Name of he who can make
coin-returning lore!" I demanded.

"He be not here," uttered the lowely serf, "but we..."

"Whenfore shalt he be present?!", demanded I.

"When the sun hath not yet reached it's highest mark, and the halls have
have not yet feasted." he uttered dejectedly.

"About 11.00 then. Right. And his Given Name?"

"James Wall," uttered the wretch.

"Have him farspeak mine personal rune when he doth rise from his
slumbers," I commanded, "for I am short of patience and other people in
my camp are staring at me."

The sun didst progress on its path through the sky and I was summoned to
the Horn of the Gods before 11.00.

"We wish you to bring thine Box in on Saturn's Day morn so that we may
puzzle the ailment it suffers," quoth he, "for thou art outside of the
30 days wherein we art obliged to exchange thy Box for another Box."

"I informed thee of the Box's addle-mindedness within 4 days of
possesing it," I countered, "so don't try that one sonny. Twicefold now
thine minions have tried to make it right-thinking and twicefold have
they failed. Each time I quest to thine halls it is a 90 mile trip. My
patience is lacking and I am preparing to quest to the Court of the
Small Gods Of Claims, wherein I shall put thee and thine on trial for
failing to acknowledge mine Rights Of Stature and for supplying a Box
that was not of Merchantable Quality!"

"I must ponder this," he stated, "for I am too lowely to make such far
reaching lore."

The others in mine camp did cheer, and the serving girl didst give me a

Twofold were the hours that passed before I was once again summoned to
the Horn.

"We are expecting new Boxes to be here on Saturn's Day morn. We shall
pick a purple one from the fresh bounty, engrave thy Mark thereon and
farspeak to thine personal abode. When we do this, quest to our Halls
and bringeth thy addle-minded Box and we shalt giveth thee the other Box
(that we shall test before it leaves the Halls)," he said.

"Right-o," I said, and mine camp did cheer once again for victory was


I've yet to make that trip (it's 7.22am as I write this) but hopefully
all will now be ok.
Trust me when I say that I *will* let you know what happens...

Watch this space.


Re: More X embarrassment

Thu, 7 Mar 2002 14:23:46 +0000

Sak Wathanasin  wrote:

> The Classic version 
> is using Geneva 9 which is clear & crisp, while the OS X version uses
> some version of Arial which is fuzzy despite its being bolder and taking
> up 30% more space. You may prefer the OS X look, but the Classic version
> is sharper and can thus use smaller fonts. How could it be otherwise?
> Anti-aliasing emphasizes smoothness at the expense of sharpness, that's
> the point of it.

Exactly. One of the things that had me fall in love with the Mac (or
Lisa as it was then) was the *square* pixels, giving that oh so crisp,
black on white, laser-printed page look to the screen. I'm still amazed
that anyone can sit in front of a typical Wintel all day without being
or going blind, stupid and crazy. 

At various times in my career (in the sense I careered from one
assignement/project to another) I have been Chief Support Gumby for
networks of up to 300 Wintels, frequently running nasty stuff like NT,
and after a couple of months I forget that working with computers can be
not only fun, but can provide a kind of delicious joy that makes me feel
tingly all over. I start to hate the beautiful indigo blue colour of the
sky, late on a clear summer evening, because I've come to associate it
with yet another 57 service pack installation that's failed because some
lazy arse programmer working in a tiny cubicle in some software
sweatshop in Seattle couldn't be bothered writing decent code, and
instead cobbled together a bunch of crap some other misbegotten cluster
of lazy arsed programmers had previously assembled from bits of
cola-stained discarded dot-matrix waste, compiled the whole soggy mess
and called it an operating system.
<blood pressure pills taken>

D.M. Procida

Re: iMac logic board problems


Thu, 23 May 2002 10:54:57 +0100

Richard P. Grant  wrote:

> In article <1fcmp7d.v33eyj1ea8dfqN%{$usenet$}>,
>  D.M. Procida wrote:
> > It's a little round button on the logic board, usually red. Most PPC
> > desktop machines have them. Some G3s had other similar buttons for
> > resets and so on too.
> OK, what does it do?  Reset the mb in some way?

Nobody really knows. On some machines it seems to do little more than
reset the PRAM, on others, including slot-loading iMacs, there are
vague, ambiguous, and threatening warnings about what might happen if
you press it twice (they seem to suggest that you could corrupt
something and kill your Mac for ever) - it sounds like a Greek myth or a
folk legend, but that's the state of the art in technical writing for

Jonathan Sanderson

Re: Stickies equivalent in Jagwahr

Mon, 30 Sep 2002 13:29:44 +0100

> I still think that heraldic banners, intended to be seen and recognised in
> trying circumstances in the field, had the right idea. The mediaeval GUI...

"'ere, Errol, see that banner w'lion over there?"
"'appen. Oh, hang on a tick - tha talkin 'bout t'red one or t'green
"Search me, I'm colour blind, ain't I? On the... you know... the sunward
"Yeah, that too. Anyway. Is that lion rampant or passant?"
"Ooh, now you're askin'. You sure that isn't a Wyvern?"
"Nah, wyverns points the other way, don't they?"
"I thought that was bears?"
"Definitely not a bear. It's got all claws and stuff."
"Bears have claws. And they can be rampant."
"What does 'passant' mean, anyway?"
"Search me. Let's ask this chap, he's wearin' a lion-wyvern-bear thing,
must be one of us. Hey, mister - on yon 'eraldic banner, is that a lion
rampant, or a wyvern passant?"
"Yeah, or a bear looking... away from t'sun?"
        [passing knight on horseback runs them through]
'Oh, bollocks.'		

D.M. Procida

Re: Installing Mac OS9.......


Thu, 07 Nov 2002 14:11:18 GMT

Jon B wrote:

> OK this may sound like a really dumb question but anyhows.

It wasn't a dumb question, but basically, I'm afraid you're stuffed.



Frodo Morris

Re: *More* shiny hardware form Apple

Mon, 10 Feb 2003 16:51:25 +0000 (UTC)

Jon B wrote:
> zoara  wrote:
> More shinys, so thats three product upgrades in three weeks since the
> expo, so whats coming next week.....

If they read the stuff posted here it's likely to be an all-black 
iReadPoetryAtYou.  It looks stunning, reacts to events very slowly and 
yet despite its overwhelming coolness, will find it hard to be accepted 
by everyone.  Although maybe that's what it *wants*.

Hang on, that just means they're selling rebadged 68k NeXT machines.
FM (powered by iGoth)		

D.M. Procida

Re: Copying a file greater than 11.19GB to a Mac OS X file server

Fri, 27 Feb 2004 09:58:00 GMT

D.M. Procida wrote:

> Has anyone managed it? I can't copy more than 11.19GB. It just stops. No
> errors.

Kindly ignore me. I was copying an 11.19GB file.


Luke Bosman

Re: Copying a file greater than 11.19GB to a Mac OS X file server

Fri, 27 Feb 2004 15:56:45 GMT

Richard P. Grant wrote:

> D.M. Procida wrote:
> >
> > Kindly ignore me.
> Sorry.  That's bin gemmed <url:>

I'm now trying to typ this whil wiping disturbing quantitis of snot off
th kyboard of my wif's iBook, having trid not to laugh whil drinking a
cup of ta and rading th abov.

Unfortunatly, a particularly larg amount has landd on th ky allocated to
th nglish languag's most popular vowl.

Richard, I hat you, and I've only got fiftn minuts to sav th kyboard
bfor my wif com's hom.


Luke Bosman

Re: Copying a file greater than 11.19GB to a Mac OS X file server

Fri, 27 Feb 2004 19:39:38 GMT

PeterD wrote:

> Richard P. Grant wrote:
> > Do let us know if your wife doesn't kill you.
> Especially let us know if she does. There could be a lot of money in it
> for you if you're prepared to be our contact on "the other side".

h's dad.
Luk's wif.		

Peter Ceresole

Re: PB Display Query


Wed, 03 Mar 2004 19:41:28 +0000

In article
<>, D.M. Procida wrote:

>That's not vibration. That's 50Hz electrical current. I can't stand the
>sensation - to me it's the prelude to an unexpected 230V wallop.

In the case of people with philosophical dissertations on their HDs it's
caused by the density of the ideas and language; information, as we're
always being told, has an energy content. Energy is mass. The effect of the
philosophy is to cause an accumulation of unbalanced clumps of information
on the HD, hence out of balance vibrations.

A couple of Kylie quicktime videos should smear it all out.



Alternative to "Computers as cars"

Sun, 9 May 2004 20:47:25 +0100

Overheard my non-geek girlfriend explaining to her even less geeky
parents that I couldn't "just recommend a computer" for her brother, and
that I needed to know what he'd use it for (from him, not from them) and
how much they'd be willing to spend, etc...

Then I heard an analogy that could be a good alternative to the old and
worn out car analogy - computers as kitchens. If you decide you need a
new kitchen, you set a budget, you decide what you want to use it for
and whether you want extra features like a dishwasher or microwave or
whether they'd be a waste of money. Do you want tiled floors or just
lino? Shelves or cupboards?

And the analogy can be extended... Some people buy entirely functional
kitchens, some buy with a nod towards aesthetics, some people build
their own (including the plumbing and the wiring). Some people's
kitchens need a lot of upkeep to stay in good running order, others
pretty much look after themselves. If you don't do a bit of housekeeping
now and again, things will get untidy and more difficult to work with.

If a person enjoys cooking or does it a lot, then their kitchen will be
completely personal to them; they know all the quick ways of doing
things and rely on muscle memory to locate and use a lot of things. And
they feel lost and a bit disorientated in other people's kitchens,
especially when they keep the cutlery in  that  drawer, when it would
obviously be better in  this  one. Conversely, those that don't care
much about cooking won't be that bothered about 'customising' it so it's
easier to use, and will be pretty much happy with anything they're

Oh, and my girlfriend is an excellent cook, which might explain the
choice of analogy :)

David Kennedy

Re: Icons to make a PC look like a Mac


11 May 2004 07:44:32 GMT

Jerry wrote:

> Has anyone got any (free) icons/pictures that make a PC look like a Mac?

Not really but B & Q will sell you a hacksaw & a blowlamp


Re: You'd have to be a bit dim - Mac nasty.

Wed, 12 May 2004 22:34:47 +0100

Giles wrote:

> Apparently if you believe that Microsoft releases demo software via
> Limewire, you lose your home folder.
> <>

Aaaargh! A Mac virus!

 *runs around in headless chicken mode* 

etc etc.

Tim Gowen

Re: Backup solution?

Fri, 21 May 2004 19:05:18 +0000 (UTC)

Bella Jones wrote:

> Having had a total of *four* analogue boards go down on me

Doesn't that violate any of Asimov's laws?


Bathroom taps - discuss (tentatively ON topic)

Sun, 17 Oct 2004 14:01:07 +0100

Went to a hotel the other day with some very odd taps. As soon as I
worked out how they worked, I decided "wow, that's such a better way of
doing it". You see, instead of "hot" and "cold" they had a mixer tap
where the left tap controlled flow, and the right tap controlled
temperature. Additionally, the right tap was labelled with temperature
(in degrees C).

Whilst initially confusing, the advantages seemed plain. With 'normal'
mixer taps [1] you can achieve a given flow and temperature, but if you
want to adjust either of these independently you need to adjust  both 
taps. More flow? Turn both taps up by the same amount, check that
temperature has remained constant, adjust if not. Hotter water? Turn the
hot tap up and the cold tap down (otherwise you splash your front with a
well-aimed high-pressure rebound flow). If you turn one tap,  two 
variables change (heat and flow).

With these 'alternate' taps I could - for example - fill the bath as
'hot, but not boiling' (if I'd used them before I might also know that
'37' was an ideal temperature for my bath), but if the phone went I
could turn the flow down - or off completely - and come back to the same
perfectly adjusted temperature with a spin of the flow control. Or,
alternatively, I could get a nice flow going in the sink - neither a
trickle nor a messy spray - clean my teeth and then turn the temperature
up to wash my face.

I thought that they were great. Basically the designers have abstracted
the interface away from the mechanics of the system. Instead of 'this
tap controls the valve in the hot water pipe, and this one the valve of
the cold water' they have gone back and though, if we could start taps
over with the technology we have today, what would be the best way? And
that's to have each tap control  both  valves, such that the 'flow' tap
opens them both at the same rate, and the temperature tap opens one at
the same rate as closing the other. More complex to design, but simpler
for the user.

And this is the point where my post goes on-topic. I think that this is
a possible reason a) why Macs are easier to use and b) why Windows and
Linux users get disorientated when moving to Macintosh.

[note: the following in a broad generalisation; it's more of a
discussion of user interfaces in general than specific digs or praises.
I know Windows (and applications) do some interfaces well, and Mac (and
apps) do some badly... it's just a general discussion]

Us Mac users have the advantage of several interface tweaks (and even
whole applications) where the onus is on designing a system that may be
complex underneath, but strives for simplicity at the level of the user.
Clicking a single button (like, say, the Personal File Sharing button -
there are better examples but it's 2:30am) may set off a whole host of
actions behind the scenes, but the user just wants to share their files
so just does the one click.

Systems like Windows and Linux seem to be designed to represent system
settings directly, rather than abstracted into something more
task-orientated. A Mac user approaches a task by thinking what the task
is and then thinking how to do it, whereas a Windows or Linux user
thinks of the individual steps and settings required. A better example
might be uploading and showing a slideshow of photos from a camera (and
I know this is somewhat improved in Windows). A Mac user attaches the
camera, up pops iPhoto, and the user clicks import. When done, the user
selects 'last roll' and clicks 'slideshow'. A Windows/Linux user would
be more likely to face opening the camera's files in a file browser,
then copying them to local disk, then opening an image
cataloguer/viewer, selecting the files just imported (probably manually)
then selecting a slideshow.

Back to the taps then. They're a bit weird to start with, because you're
used to adjusting both taps, checking the temperature, possibly
readjusting and rechecking. The more simplified interface takes a while
to work out (even though it's simpler) because you're used to things
being more complex. Even when you've got used to it, you still sometimes
make an adjustment then think "hold on, is that it?". And I think the
same applies to switchers. To start with, Macs seem more complex just
because they're different, but even after a while they still give this
uneasy feeling that you aren't quite in control - that you should be
doing something else as well, it shouldn't be that easy.

And I think that's a big reason why Windows and Linux users are so
dismissive of the Mac, whether they just used their friend's Mac for a
few minutes to check email or really did give it a proper trial of a few
days. It feels weird, because you're used to working harder to get stuff


[1] And why mixer taps aren't more common I have no idea; to wash your
hands with seperate taps you have choices
1. Fill the sink (mix hot and cold to desired temperature)
2. Use ice-cold water
3. Use scaldingly hot water
4. Use hot tap but time it to that warming-up phase between 'too cold'
and 'too hot'.


D.M. Procida

Re: Best cheap usable mac for mother? (not the Mini)

Paul Hutchings wrote:

> I know the obvious answer is a Mini, I'm just wondering if there are any
> sensible s/h alternatives that would be cheaper but offer better value?

No, there aren't. The mini was conceived, designed, priced, marketed,
manufactured, assembled, tested, boxed and transported specifically for
 your  mother. You don't have to believe in fate to realise that if you
turn your back on this Destiny will turn its back on you in disgust,