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Showing posts from November, 2012

OSX Smart Maximize

As a first-time Apple's OSX user, another annoyance I'm finding is with the "smart maximize" behaviour, where a window only gets expanded to as big as it "thinks" it needs to be. This is different from Windows, where the maximize button makes the application take up the full screen (minus the taskbar).

In theory this smart maximize makes sense, why should a window be bigger than it needs to be? In practice though, it doesn't really work, because many applications have dynamic content which sometimes takes little space, but sometimes takes a lot.

Take a browser for example, some webpages can expand to usefully take up the full real-estate of your screen. Even the standard Finder application, if you click the maximize button while you're only one-directory deep in the split-pane view, it will resize to be pretty small. Then as you navigate deeper into the hierarchy, you need to scroll to the right to see the new sub-folders. The Finder window does not…

Annoying OSX Mountain Lion Animations

As a new OSX user, I'm quite surprised by the number of wizz bang eye-candy animations and transitions scattered all over the system. Sure, they may look "cool" the first time you see them. Maybe even the second and third time. After a while though, you just want to get some work done! (or at least I do, not sure what others use their macs for).

The animations only take between half a second to one or two seconds in most cases. Like minimizing and restoring windows, closing and opening applications, going in and out of full-screen mode, etc. The time taken is no big deal I suppose, maybe it only adds up to a few minutes a day.

My main issue with the animations is that they become an unnecessary distraction and interrupt your train of thought without providing any actual value (besides the eye-candy effect, which gets old very quick). For example, when I click the minimize button, I know what's going to happen: the application will disappear and I can go back to it vi…

Google Drive Misleading Sync Status

I use both Dropbox and Google Drive to sync local files as backup mechanism. Recently I've been having lots of problems with the Google Drive Window 7 client. It says "Sync Complete", and shows icons on all top-level folders indicating that all files were synched (green ticks). When I drill-down into some folders however, I find files that have the blue synching indicator icon, which never get uploaded (they don't appear in the web interface or on other clients).

I tried restarting the Google Drive client, restarting the computer, etc. But nothing seems to fix it. The client just ignores these files, but makes it seem as though everything was synched. And they're just some small pdfs, word docs and other common file types, so I'm not talking about multi-gigabyte files here.

If I right-click the Google Drive icon, there's no option for "View Unsynchable Files" or other things I've seen referenced on various forums. So I'm really stumped. …

Windows 8, Macbook Retinas and VMWare Fusion

I recently switched to a new 15" Macbook Pro retina as my primary development machine as I need to do some iOS  stuff. The screen on the retina is fantastic! Everything is super-crisp and clear. I have the Macbook connected to two external 24" 1080p monitors as well and the difference in sharpness is very obvious when moving a window from the retina screen to one of these.

Anyhow, that's not the point of this blog. I also develop a number of windows applications in C#, including using the Microsoft Kinect SDK and some Microsoft Store Apps. The plan was to use a Windows 8 virtual machine in VMWare Fusion for these. There's a 30 day trial of VMWare Fusion readily available so I downloaded it and gave it a go.

I actually had some existing Windows 7 and Windows 8 virtual machines that I previously created in VMWare Player. So I copied these across to the Macbook SSD and loaded them in VMWare Fusion. Player and Fusion both use the same VMDK format, so you can share the vi…

Windows 8 Media Center Confusion

I've been using Windows Media Center (WMC) on a Windows 7 PC connected to my TV for over 4 years now. WMC is very underrated software. It is by far the best PVR available, in terms of ease-of-use, performance and aesthetics (and I've tried them all, from MythTV to Media Portal to PowerCinema, XBMC and many others).

So I was very eager to continue using this and upgrading to Windows 8 on my HTPC. However, Windows Media Center no longer comes pre-bundled with Windows 8 -- you need to purchase it separately as an add-on for $10. No big deal I suppose, I'd happily pay the $10 given how much I use the software. And Microsoft is actually waving that fee and making it free "for a limited time".

What's really strange though is that this optional add-on is only available in the Windows 8 Pro version. So just to re-cap, there are three editions in Windows 8:

Windows 8Windows 8 ProWindows 8 Enterprise A comparison of these editions is available here. In short, most home …