iSlate, eSlate, iPad, ePad, mySlate, myPad, iClipBoard...

What exactly will it be called? Does it even matter? Who cares?


Dear Adobe

What were you thinking when you put together the Photoshop Elements 6 Installer for my Mac? Did it ever occur to you that Setup is non Mac Speak that is sure to annoy your Mac customers? Did you ever bother to see how other Mac programs are installed? Give us a break Adobe.

Dear Steve

Leopard is Buggy.

UI Developer Manifesto

Yeah, I've been a UI Developer for a variety of corporate and not so corporate employers for quite a while now. Most places I've worked have reused their markup and customized the look and feel for different clients.

One thing I've learned is that if you take care in creating your markup and CSS you can reuse much of it all over a site. One application I worked on was used for various banking customers. In as little as a few hours or a few days I could take this application and re-skin it for a client to match the look and feel of their current web application or site, or come very close to matching a style guide, mostly by swapping out images and changing the CSS.

Back when we were using table based layouts we had some browser specific hacks like propping open cells with spacer gifs. These days however it's a tall order to avoid using hacks to keep layouts for various browsers pixel perfect. Simple things will break your layout.

One thing we could not tolerate with an application that was to be reused for various clients were things like hard coded font tags, background colors, and inline styles. Set styles in a stylesheet and it became trivial to make a few changes that made global styles change.

Currently, I'm working in a corporate environment where the site layout is design driven by a team of professional designers. Some designers I've worked with in the past would look at the world through a precise grid where some elements such as paragraphs always had a consistent and set look and feel with margins and padding and line heights rigidly controlled, to the point where a site felt static and visually stilted.

These days the designers look at a page overall and adjust things like line height on an individual and file by file basis. This means that it's almost impossible to maintain a consistent style-sheet to keep a consistent look and feel. On the contrary my predecessors relied heavily on hard coded styles to position various elements to keep the designers happy.

The Contractor Who Writes Your Code

MacBook Pro Long Term Review

Macbook Pro Computer


Last December I bought my first new Mac in five years. The old PowerMac G4 was getting long in the tooth, and I was spending more time waiting for the the beach ball to stop spinning than actually getting work done. . I spend most of my work week commuting to San Francisco on a Ferry. Sometimes I have a Power Book or MacBook Pro that an employer provides, but this is not always the case. So a Mac Book Pro made more sense than a destop Mac.

I decided on a MacBook Pro vs a MacBook since I run a bunch of apps at any given time. And I run VMWare Fusion with Windows plugging along. So it's not unusual for my Mac to be running Photoshop, Safari, FireFox, Yahoo Messenger, AIM, Mail, BBEdit, Calendar, iTunes, FreeRuler, Digital Color Meter, VMWare Fusion with Windows XP, IE, etc. A lesser machine chokes on all of this.

I got the upper end 15" machine of last year with 2 gigs of ram, and even that seems slim to me. I'm saving up for that additional 1 gig of ram so I can max out the MacBook Pro at 3 gigs. I'd be even happier with 4 gigs that the current machines offer. The extra video ram is appreciated also, as I run video intensive apps.

For a while I strongly considered a 17" MacBook Pro, but I finally realized that I'd be carrying this around every day, and even a 15" is just not that light. A permanent crick in the neck ain't no fun.

Battery life.

Battery life of the MacBook Pro is ok at best. Even when turning down the screen brightness and optimizing settings for battery longevity the most I can is a couple hours. This is a drag. You'd think that in this day and age one could go five or six hours on a charge.


I love this MacBook Pro, but it does have a few issues. It tends to run hot, making laptop operation sometimes painful. When the MacBook Pro gets hot it occasionally will make an odd chirping noise that sounds sort of like a hard drive going south, and every now and again it will spontaneously shut down, most often when I close the lid. It appears that this is an issue reported on other sites.

Another issue is that there are several dark spots on the screen. I don't see anything on the surface of the screen so I think it's something to do with the backlighting. Will take to an Apple Store and see what a Genius says. Another issue with the screen is that the keys rub on some spots of the screen. You can see some scratches here and there. This is a design flaw.

One other issue is that occasionally I lose an airport signal, and if I restart airport and am still unable to connect, then the only way to get it back is to reboot. It appears that this is an issue reported on other sites.

Good Stuff

There are some things that totally blow me away about this MacBook Pro. For one thing, having Intel processors has been a good thing. To be able to use Apple's Bootcamp to boot off of Windows for those situations where you just have to use a Windows machine and Window's biased software, it's an incredible feature.

Even better is to run Windows Virtualization software such as Parallels or what I currently use, VMWare's Fusion. Currently I run two versions of Windows XP. One with Internet Explorer 6.0 and the other with IE7. This way I can test my XHTML on all modern browsers without having to lug around a second PC or without having to reboot using Bootcamp. VMWare has done a great job and each version they put out is better than the previous.

At my last contracting gig I worked in an environment and used Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection to access my Windows server box on my desk at work on those days that I needed to work from home. It's totally doable and really makes for a productive day. The MacBook Pro has enough muscle to make it a reasonable task and is way faster than the old days of running Virtual PC or another emulation program.

The keyboard on this machine is a pleasure to type on. I love the feel and responsiveness of the keyboard. Some laptops have squishy feeling keys, and some laptops have a keyboard where the keys are too rigid and or hard to type. This keyboard is just plain well done.

Trackpad is yet another positive bit of hardware. Use one finger to drag around the cursor, and two fingers to access contextual menus or to scroll up and down or side to side in a window that has scroll bars. Outstanding! Occasionally, I have issues where the trackpad seems to not respond, but it always turns out that I have my left thumb resting on the trackpad. This is an left thumb education issue rather than a trackpad issue though. It's really difficult to go back to a laptop, either Mac or Windows that does not have such an educated trackpad. You do not need a second set of buttons on a laptop to get the same functionality.

Get a Grip

Fit and finish of the MacBook Pro is excellent as usual. The anodized aluminum finish is beautiful, though it is a bit slick if you pick it up with one hand. A rubber strip somewhere on the outer case would be nice. I suspect that a lot of folks end up dropping their MacBook Pros because the case is just so hard to hold on to.

Screen brightness and resolution is very nice compared to other laptops I've looked at. I had access to an older PowerBook G4 that in comparison had a dim and yellowish looking screen, no matter how it was calibrated. Then again comparing this MacBook Pro to the latest LED backlit MacBook Pro is eye opening. My wife has the latest machine and it's a thing of beauty. Both have the matte screen as opposed to the glossy screen.

more to come...