osx

Photo Mechanic 6, Macs and 32 bit apps

Coming March 25th 2019…

Slowly but surely application developers are replacing their 32 bit versions for Apple OSX with 64 bit ones. As things stand there are only two bits of software that I use on a very regular basis that are still only available in 32 bit and the most important (and dare I say “most exciting”) of those, Photo Mechanic, gets an upgrade later this month. It has been a while coming, and I have mentioned it here on this blog once or twice already, when the next iteration of OSX is installed it stops us being able to use 32 bits apps altogether. Because I have the luxury of having three Macs I always have one of them running the latest (or even beta) versions of everything. That way I can satisfy my curiosity without risking my production machines with untested or insufficiently tested software. (more…)

Don’t panic…

I use Apple products. In fact, I use a lot of Apple products and some of my less generous colleagues might even label me a “fanboy”. I’d call that unfair because I’m not blind to their faults and I know that, like all technology, it will fail at some point.

I have tried my best to develop ways of avoiding failures, making sure that they cause as little damage or disruption as possible and generally covering my back wherever and whenever possible. The other day, whilst doing routine updates to one of the Macs in my office, I experienced something that would probably have completely freaked most computer users out and necessitated a lot of aggravation or even a visit to a service centre or Genius Bar.

dock_error

Simply put, all of the applications went AWOL. The dock, of which you can see a screenshot above just showed a whole row of question marks indicating that the applications were missing and a quick visit to the applications folder showed that the Mac clearly thought so too. The error message said that I didn’t have permissions to use the folder which made me believe and/or hope that nothing was actually missing. The “missing” applications included Time Machine and all of the repair and diagnostic tools that I would normally go straight to. I looked in the bin and I tried to search for items that I know should have in my applications folder but found nothing.

This has never happened to me before and I have never heard it described so I tried solution number one – to use a different device, get onto the internet and search the collected knowledge of the world’s computer users. The general consensus appeared to be that I had a major issue and that I needed to reinstall the Mac operating system. Easier said than done given that, despite trying every kind of reboot and diagnostic test I could, the App Store, all web browsers and Time Machine were amongst the locked/blocked/missing applications.

I could have done it all from one of the other Macs but I have, for many years, had a back-up drive from which I can boot my computers. These days it is a USB3 SSD drive with OSX Yosemite loaded on it and I used that to reboot my computer and install a fresh copy of OSX. Twenty-five minutes later with a mildly raised heart rate and some cramp in my fingers from keeping them crossed my computer was back as if nothing had happened. No screwdrivers were involved and nobody had to drive anywhere. No data was lost and I could get on with work.

Just in case you are wondering, panicking wasn’t even in the top ten ways to sort this out – about five places below a stiff drink or three!

A case that proves the old military phrase that I was taught at school in the 1970s and 1980s – “precise and proper planning prevents poor performance”.

The copyright symbol and Windows

I’m a Mac user and I have been for the last sixteen years. They make some great tools and some amazing gadgets but the best thing about Macs is that they seem to be made for people like me. I was having this conversation with a student on one of the excellent photographic courses at the Arts University College at Bournemouth and I realised that my preference for Apple computers can be summed up by the fact that the copyright symbol is just there – alt+g – whereas on a Windows machine you have to hunt for it. I have just Googled “how to find the copyright symbol on a Windows computer” and had to laugh out loud at the first website that came up:

“Hold down the Alt key and type 0169 if you have separate numeric keys on your keyboard. Alternatively you can go to programmes, accessories and select “character map” which allows you to assign a short cut to any symbol that you choose. Unfortunately not every copy of Windows has this loaded and you may need to reload it from your system discs”.

Does this seem long-winded to you? Shouldn’t a symbol as important as the copyright one just be there? I know that the option of using (c) is there and almost everyone recognises it but the correct symbol should be much easier to find than it is on most Windows machines.

The serious point here is that copyright is important. Actually, copyright is vital and we all need to mark our work at every opportunity to make sure that everyone knows that all intellectual property has an owner and stop copyright abuse.