Friday, August 26, 2005

First Mac Mini experience

Last week-end I bought a Mac Mini because

1. I wanted to test Panoramio on Safari
2. I want to start developping any new application also for Mac
3. It looks cute as hell!

So far the experience has been great. Most things just work, and the whole interface is very slick.

There vere however several dark spots.

First, I took the old version of Mac Mini, preloaded with MacOS X 10.3 (aka Panther). A few months ago Apple released MacOS X 10.4 (aka Tiger). If you want to upgrade you have to pay 129€. No discount for previous users.

I doubt that Microsoft will make you pay an upgrade of this size. MacOS X 10.4 have some nice improvements, but it looks like a big Service Pack to me. But that's debatable. Spotlight and the new 3D infrastructure certainly look like quite major changes.

The thing that let me puzzled is that some software already *required* MacOS X 10.4!

Point in case, I can't use Java 1.5 because it's only available for Tiger. As I understand it, they made some changes and Java now needs to use the new 3D stuff available only in Tiger, but com'on! was there really no way to port Java 1.5 to Panther? There is a lot of interesting things in "Java the language" that are new in Java 1.5, and they are completely unrelated to the base system.

Same problem with Dashboard or the new Safari. I'm sure it would be *hard* to port these things to Panther, and I can hardly remember a Microsoft product that obsoleted a previous Microsoft OS, except those that were truly *old*.

Remember that I just unpacked a shinny new computer, and its OS is already not supported! We are not speaking of a ten years compatibility here, just compatibility with products that are still selling!

I returned the MacMini and will bought instead the new MacMini that is already announced in Apple. It seems they will receive the first boxes next week.

The good news are that Panoramio was working well with Safari 1.2 (the Panther one), except for pictures not disappearing when the marker on the map disappears.

I quickly tested Panoramio with Safari 1.3 on an exposed Power Mac in the store, and the bad news is that it was not working so well. The first problem is that the default latitude and longitude was "NaN" and "NaN", instead of the position of Madrid. It seems to be a problem with my getCookie function. I worked around this problem hand crafting an url to center the map at Madrid, and things worked like in Safari 1.2, except that I managed to crash Safari. (So far, I've managed to crash Internet Explorer and Safari.)

I will keep you posted when I'll get my hands on a new Mac Mini and fix these Panoramio problems.