While attempting to install the open source vector graphics program Inkscape, I found that I needed to install the latest version of X11 (a window system used on Unix systems as well as Mac OS X). However, I couldn’t easily find the installer on Apple’s site, but I did discover it buried on my MacBook Pro Install Disc 1 at: /System/Installation/Packages/X11User.pkg. It’s also likely available for installation during system setup and while booted off the disc, however no reboot is necessary to install and run X11.
In the past, I’ve had the best luck with Seagate brand hard drives — avoiding Maxtor like the plague — but just recently I had a 320 GB Seagate SATA drive start failing on me. It started with what sounded like a few small read/write head hiccups, and turned into widespread sector failure, causing several diagnostic utilities to red flag the drive.
I bought the drive from NewEgg, but they referred me to Seagate for support and returns. With no other alternatives available and a failing drive on my hands, I got in touch with Seagate and filled out their online return merchandise form. Just a few days after shipping off the dying drive, I received an email letting me know that a brand new drive was on its way to me. I’m happy to be kept in the loop while the return is in progress, and I’ll update this post when I get the new drive!
While I had to cover the nominal shipping costs myself, I feel compelled to note how easy and fast their service is. I’m attempting to make a habit of documenting good customer service as well as the bad. After having dealt with some online returns that are a real hassle, Seagate is a refreshing change from some of the other rather lame options out there.
Update: Received an entirely different “Certified Repaired” hard drive in a very well packed box! It works great and passes all my tests!
It’s about time Apple updated the iMac, iLife, and the Mac mini. We’ve all been expecting updates of the latter two for some time now, wondering if refreshes were simply delayed or products were about to be cut from the lineup. Thankfully, Apple was just polishing up the glass on the iMacs and dotting the ‘i’s on iLife and iWork, readying all of it for one well rounded Mac-centric update. With all the talk about iPhones, iPods, and multi-touch this and that, it’s great to see Apple back in full swing with Mac stuff again.
iMacs: Aluminum & Glass
The new “Aluminum and Glass” iMacs look quite good, and as Jason Fried noted, are taking on the iPhone look. (As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not yet sold on glossy screens, as I’m already picky enough about fingerprints on my display. Apple seems to be taking the glossy screens to every Mac they make, so I’ll have to get used to them at some point!) I’m also glad to see a CTO 2.8 GHz option, as well as 1 TB of storage. Packing that much data into one machine is still rather mind boggling; I remember owning an external 9 GB SCSI-2 hard drive back in the day and thinking I was hot stuff. Now we can lug around 100 times that data in half the space.
Apple continues to innovate on the professional front, and not long after making some big advances, some of the technology filters down into the consumer level products. One such advancement is Events in iPhoto. When you take photos and later download them into your Mac, photos are grouped into the identifiable chunks of time in which you took each subset. It automatically sifts through all the images and sorts them appropriately. Sometimes it’s off a little bit, but correcting it is just a few clicks away.
Some suspected the Mac Mini was on the chopping block at Apple — it’s clear that Steve doesn’t care for the required cables — but it did receive a much needed Core 2 Duo and Gigabit Ethernet update. With the addition of Gigabit, I can now truly consider replacing my G4 home server with a less power hungry Mac Mini. (In addition to the Mac Mini, the iMac and the AirPort Extreme got Gigabit as well.)
Overall, a great summer consumer Mac update from Apple just in time for “back to school.” Be sure to grab the iWork ’08 trial if you haven’t placed your order already.