Posts tagged “snow leopard”.

Time to change the iTunes icon

July 12th, 2010

iTunes icon

Apple’s iTunes icon has remained relatively unchanged since it’s release 10 years ago: a CD with music notes in front. The number and colors of those notes have changed, but overall the icon has stayed the same.

Isn’t it interesting, then, that some Mac users pick on Microsoft for using the floppy disk for saving files (rightfully so, I think) when Apple, who is speeding past the physical media age, relies on a flat disc of plastic to identify it’s media app?

From the days of “Rip, Mix, Burn,” Apple has encouraged users to think beyond the compact disc. With the iPod and the iTunes Music Store, our media could be captured in bits and bytes, 1s and 0s, not rotations of a disc over a laser beam. And since the post SoundJam days, iTunes has become a home for other media besides music – like books, movies, games, and podcasts. Arguably, it’s still mostly about music. But more and more iTunes has become a hub for the digital lifestyle – a homebase for all our media.

So why stick with the CD on the icon?

Recently, I read a Rolling Stone survey that said most people still get their music from CDs (I’m one of them). Record albums are becoming popular again, and legal MP3s are a close second, but more than 87% of music buyers still get their music from compact discs. With all the talk of the electronic media age, I found the survey results surprising.

But still, iTunes is becoming less and less about tunes and more about all manner of digital media. It’s hard to parse the “tunes” part of iTunes when you combine it with books, movies, TV shows, games, and iPod/iPhone management. The tunes are just one part of a collection of consumable entertainment.

Is there a good enough case for Apple changing the icon? Or is it so ingrained in popular culture that any change, like the floppy disk in Microsoft Office programs, will be unwelcome?

iMovie icons

Think back to when Apple revamped iMovie, with the new icon.

Quicktime icons

Or QuickTime X – quite a change from the nearly-20-year-old QuickTime logo before it (above – courtesy of The Logo Factory).

It’s not like Apple is afraid of change, visually or philosophically. In the case of hardware, it’s usually revolutionary (think iMac G3 to iMac G4). Even OS X has undergone a few visual transformations over the years. Why leave the iTunes icon unchanged after so long?

Maybe the question is, what could replace the current iTunes icon?

Snow Leopard leaves classic Mac OS behind

November 11th, 2009


Here’s a call out to all my classic Mac using friends.

From what I’ve read here and here, it’s not looking good. All the updates Apple threw into OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and with the abandonment of PowerPC Macs, things like networking with OS 8 and 9 Macs and AppleTalk have been put out to pasture.

I was trying to network my PowerMac G3, running Mac OS 8.6, to my new Snow-Leopard-powered iMac over my Airport hub. No luck, despite some handy how-tos here and here.

After a half day spent trying to figure this out, and a bunch of forum list reading, I’ve just about given up. I thought it would be a fun rainy-day project for those with new and old Macs, especially for you, the people, who have OS 9/8 Macs still sitting around collecting dust.

Any suggestions, drop me an e-mail.

Newton connects with Snow Leopard

November 5th, 2009

Newton connects with Snow Leopard

Newton users may wonder, with the release of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, whether their MessagePads and eMates would still play nice with the new operating system. You get a new Mac (as I did) with the latest install, and you might worry – is it going to work?

I’m here to report: everything works fine.

Keyspan USA-28x

I started by download the Keyspan USA-28x driver to my new iMac for the serial-to-USB adapter. Things got weird when Snow Leopard recognized the Keyspan adapter as some sort of dial-up device (above). This wasn’t the case, obviously, but I pressed on just to see if it would work.

Newton Connection (NCX)

I went with Simon Bell’s excellent Newton Connection for Mac OS X (NCX) for the software connection, using a Newton eMate 300.

Since I’m working through the serial connection via USB, I select “serial” in the Newton’s Dock app and – whala. NCX and the Keyspan adapter give me a connection on Snow Leopard.

NCX screenshot function

First, I wanted to try the new screen shot function on NCX – something that was only possible before in a few roundabout ways, like with Newton Toolkit.

In NCX, head to File > Screen Shot, then press the little camera (above) and wait a few seconds.

eMate screen shot

And bam, you get a little window pop-up with a screen shot of your Newton. Pretty handy.

NCX package install

Next, I tried doing what every Newton user does at some point: install a package file. In this case, I picked a periodic table app from UNNA.

Newton package install

This worked exactly as before.


So everything, from the screen shots to the keyboard function – which, for me, worked faster than on previous Macs – works great with OS X 10.6.

Trying NewtSync on Snow Leopard

The real test, and the one I’ve had issues with on my eMate since forever, is syncing Address Book and iCal names and dates to the Newton. I’ve had no luck at all so far, besides a few to-do items syncing from iCal to the Newton’s Dates app, and I don’t guess it’ll get much better on Snow Leopard. I tried using NewtSync (above), but had no luck syncing anything.

The important message to take away is that, with software like NCX, it’s possible to connect your Newton, install packages, and do a few other tasks no matter which version of Mac OS X you’re using.

This may not always be the case. There could be some future OS X release that cripples any potential Newton-to-Mac connection. I would think it’d be in the areas of data syncing or unavailable drivers for serial adapters. But the newer MessagePads and eMates allow for Bluetooth compatibility, which shows no sign of going away.

WWDC ’09: Chinese HWR in Snow Leopard

June 9th, 2009


Lots of good stuff from Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (including a new iPhone 3GS), but the part that caught my eye was the ability of OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard to recognize Chinese symbols through handwriting recognition on Mac trackpads:

You can now use a Multi-Touch trackpad to draw Chinese characters in your documents. They’ll appear on the screen in a new input window, which recommends characters based on what you drew and lets you choose the right one. The input window even offers suggestions for subsequent characters based on what you chose.

The iPhone had this ability first, but now it’s an OS X-wide feature. Pretty cool.

Us Newton users are always curious to see how Apple uses handwriting recognition in our post-MessagePad world. The technology lives on in Inkwell, but would it be useful to have English handwriting recognition on Mac trackpads?

Mac OS X Carbon vs. Cocoa – what’s the story?

October 30th, 2008

Saw this rumor (a few times, actually) over at Webmonkey: a Cocoa OS X Finder may be on its way, starting with Snow Leopard.

But wait. Isn’t the Finder an all-OS X beast?

That got me wondering what, exactly, is the difference between the Cocoa and Carbon development environments. I’m not programmer, so I needed a low-brow explanation.

Just before Apple launched OS X, Macworld had this article describing the basic differences between the two. I like to reference the original Mac OS X introduction video, by Mr. steve Jobs, as a primer, too. He goes into detail about the different levels (kernel, Carbon/Cocoa, OpenGL, etc.), which helps.

My basic understanding: Carbon is for applications that need to reference the old, OS 9 way of doing things while operating in OS X. Cocoa is an all-OS X environment, and lets developers use stuff like Core Audio and Core Animation.

Even at Apple, the two platforms have their place. Mail is a Cocoa app. iTunes is a Carbon app – a hold-over from OS 9. PhotoShop, as it stands now, is a Carbon application. Again, in terms of development, it’s an OS 8/9 relic. But that may be changing. Adobe has already produced a Cocoa-based app in Lightroom, so hope springs eternal.

Now, 32 bit versus 64 bit? That’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax.

Your 2008 WWDC Survival Guide

June 6th, 2008

Who will survive, and what will be left of them?

Stressed about the “one more thing” that will be announced this Monday, June 9 at the Worldwide Developers Conference? Fear not. We have a round-up of rumors, damned lies, and fun games to play while you’re waiting for the next big thing.

A Newton 2.0? That’s on the list, kind of.

WWDC ’08 Keynote Bingo. Ars Technica always does a nice job at this. I’m hoping for the top two corner pieces.

Snow Leopard strays from PPC. This one was first featured at, but the Cult of Mac guys really touch on what a change Mac users have seen from the days of OS 8 and 9 to now. In short, “The Mac is dead. Long live OS X.”

From .Mac to MobileMe. John Gruber did some snooping and found the new domain names Apple registered. People have been bitching about .Mac for years (I had it for a year, and it was…eh), so this could be pretty exciting.

WWDC banner pictures. That’s right. They’re up, and the speculation is flying. OS X iPhone, anyone?

Newton 2.0. This one has been like Lazarus. A new MessagePad in the form of a Mac tablet? Supposedly, there’s a 50/50 chance. But we’ll see. After all, Apple is shopping for handwriting engineers.

Oh, and that rumor. You know, the one everyone knows is coming. And the iPhone 1.0 is undergoing drought conditions. What else could it be?

I’ve decided not to participate in any of the live blogging feeds or constant refreshing of Apple news sites. I’m going to wait until the Quicktime video is released (which I watch faithfully anyway), just so it can all feel new and “just announced” to me. Should be fun.