Wednesday, December 26, 2007

HotBook Pro

I think I noted before that I've only ever heard the fans in my MacBook Pro spin up once or twice under high load. Otherwise, it seems about as quiet as my old PowerBook G4. Yesterday, reading mail while watching television, with the MacBook Pro on my lap, it seemed to be really cooking. Really cooking—the case was hot on the undersurface, and at the rear on the top, near the display hinge. I had felt it heat up before, but predictably, under load. I wasn't really doing anything, yet iStat pro was reporting a CPU temperature over 70ÂșC. This seemed ridiculously high.

/usr/bin/top was unhelpful: top itself was the highest CPU user at about 4 or 5%. I got distracted for a while by Google: "macbook pro cpu temperature" yields some 143,000 links to people obsessing over this very problem. I briefly checked out smcFanControl, which I used to at least ramp up the fans past 2,000 RPM while I sorted out the cause of the problem. What I did discover was OS X's Activity Monitor. Evidently it's a better top than top:
CPU thrashing
See all that colour under "CPU Usage"? That's bad. Whatever DirectoryService was doing there, it stopped after a reboot. And my CPU is now running in the low 40s.

Changing hostname

I remember it took me an age to work out how to permanently change my PowerBook's hostname under Tiger—if I recall correctly, it ended up requiring Netinfo Manager. Leopard killed Netinfo Manager, so it took me another age to work out how to permanently change my MacBook Pro's hostname under Leopard. For the record, and I'm not making this up, you need to open System Preferences, and change Internet & Network > Sharing > Computer Name. Sure, makes sense when you've found it, but why not just dump /bin/hostname? It doesn't work.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Two issues with Cover Flow in Finder

I like Cover Flow in the Leopard Finder way more than I thought I would. (For one thing, it's enabled me to conclude that I have some crap in ~/Documents.) That said, it exhibits at least two problems:
  1. I have a registered copy of Pages on the system, and yet Cover Flow can't provide me with a preview of the document (nor can Quick Look, for that matter):
    pages-icon.png
  2. What's up with the resolution of some of the icons? The Pages document icon above scales up really well, even beyond the fairly large size at which I took that screenshot. Others, including those for Apple applications such as Safari, really don't fare too well:
    safari-icon.png

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mail: insane contextual menus

I once wrote that “overwhelming choice is, uh, overwhelming”. At the time I was referring to purchasing a PC. Today I repeat that observation with respect to Ctrl-clicking on a HTML file attachment and selecting "Open With" in Apple Mail 3.1:
Crazy Mail Context Menu