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Macintosh annoyances

Sic transit gloria mundi

Apple have declared the 12″ G4 PowerBook obsolete. If you can be bothered, you might notice that the document is dated December 2008, but the news has only recently attracted attention, in my case via The Register.

This is something of a blow. Our venerable PowerBooks are still very useful, although my wife’s has lost its optical drive (probably because she dropped it hard enough to buckle the case). For all its faults (like rubbish wireless), it’s still one of those laptops that every technical generation just hits the spot. Around 2000, it seemed like everyone I knew was buying a Sony Vaio 505; it was exactly the right weight and felt very solid to use.

So, now we’re on borrowed time. Apple don’t make a laptop which I can open properly when travelling coach, or just pop into whatever bag I happen to be carrying. There must be an alternative

A coincidence? I don't think so…

The day after Apple announce their new, metal MacBook, the plastic starts chipping off my current white one. Hmmm.

Update It gets worse. Our two 12″ PowerBooks, the machine we really wanted them to refresh, have started failing too. They’re trying to force an upgrade.

Do you know where your iPhone is?

Scary security story about personal data not being flushed on iPhones at http://www.zdziarski.com/

A few days ago, I posted a discovery in that personal data remains intact (in deleted portions of the file system) following a full iPhone restore. As it turns out, Apple themselves may not have been aware of this. Thank goodness, otherwise identity theft might actually be, like, hard. A detective from the Oregon State Police, whom I’ve verified, notified me this afterrnoon that an out-of-the-box refurbished iPhone he purchased directly from Apple contained recoverable personal data. This included email, personal photos, and even financial information that he was able to recover using my forensic toolkit. Needless to say, the original owner was quite surprised. He informed me that the device had been returned to Apple under a warranty exchange only a few months ago, suggesting that Apple has been using an insecure refurbishing process for the past year. Here are some blurred screenshots of just some of the data recovered:

Can't work with iWork

I really like using Apple’s “iWork”:http://www.apple.com/iwork/ programs Keynote and Pages. They’re cheap, clean, and intuitive to use, and the results usually look nice by default.

The trouble is they’re stored as bundles — directories that OS/X presents as a single file. First, this is confusing when trying to upload a document to a website. My bug report made it to the “37signals blog”:http://37signals.com/svn/archives2/trouble_with_directories_posing_as_files_in_browsers.php. Second, I can’t easily use version control systems such as subversion, as noted “here”:http://www.statusq.org/archives/date/2005/09/02/ and “here”:http://blog.duncandavidson.com/2005/01/pages_first_imp.html because they like to rewrite part of the tree erasing the .svn directories. I don’t really want to “change my version control system”:http://weblogs.goshaky.com/weblogs/lars/tags/pages or “manipulate directories before checking in”:http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2004/08/10/subversion.html?page=last&x-showcontent=text&x-maxdepth=0 (see “Things to Watch Out For” at the bottom).

The obvious solution would be to do what applications like OpenOffice do and package the directories up in an archive, but I’m not expecting that from Apple soon. The most likely solution is that I’ll have to give up and revert back to Microsoft Office, which is a less pleasant authoring experience.

Does anyone have a better plan?