Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Magic Mouse: 24 hour review

Until yesterday, I had been using the standard Apple wired mouse (with scroll ball and side buttons) that shipped with my Mac Pro. That was a decent mouse, but, frankly, I got tired of trying (usually with not a lot of success) to clean the scroll ball. (As an aside, the scroll ball has a pretty terrible failure mode: almost random scrolling. Sometimes a page would scroll up as I moved the ball down.)

I had been meaning to buy a Magic Mouse for a month or more. (In fact, I tried to buy one twice, most recently this week, but as usual, Next Byte has nothing useful in stock. Ever.) Yesterday, I picked one up at the Mac Centre at Norwood. So after 24 hours:

  1. Installing it was easy, though not as easy as I had expected. Initially, I unplugged my wired mouse, turned the wireless mouse on, and waited, figuring some magic would happen. It didn't. In the end, I had to plug the wired mouse back in so I could launch System Preferences, and select the Mouse preference pane. It all came online pretty quickly after that.

  2. As written everywhere, it's a pretty nice design. It sure looks good. Apple seems to be almost synonymous with outstanding industrial design these days, but only just over 10 years ago, they were shipping pretty much the most woeful mice ever made.

  3. The Magic Mouse is a good weight. I always felt my wired mouse was a bit light, and had a tendency to slip all over the place. I got used to it, but I really like the extra weight in the Magic Mouse.

  4. Touch sensitive scrolling works well. It's different to a scroll ball, but that's hardly surprising. I'll get used to it.

  5. I really miss the side buttons on the wired mouse. I had them hooked up to expose the Desktop, and now I'm fumbling around with F11 again.

Summary: very cool mouse.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Aperture 3: Purchase and installation

I've been an Aperture fan since version 1. Yesterday I decided to download the trial version of Aperture 3. The confirmation email that Apple sends with the trial activation key says this about already owning Aperture 2 (or 1):
1. If you already have a licensed copy of Aperture in your Applications folder, you need to move or rename it before installing the Aperture 3 trial.

Fine. I renamed it ‘Aperture 2’.
2. To open an Aperture library with an older version of Aperture (1.x or 2) after you use the Aperture 3 trial, drag the library onto the application icon of the older version.

OK, now I'm slightly confused. After using the Aperture 3 trial, which I'm about to learn won't allow you to upgrade an existing library anyway, I don't just go and open the newly renamed ‘Aperture 2’ application, I have to drag and drop my existing library? Aperture 2 will mysteriously forget where my library is? Although I back it up (using Aperture's in-app ‘vault’ system), I get pretty nervous about my Aperture library, particularly as it's a ‘managed’ library—there's not a lot of transparency about where my photographs are.
3. The trial version of Aperture 3 cannot upgrade a library created by an older version of Aperture. This is only supported in licensed versions of Aperture 3 since it permanently upgrades the library.

That's fine, and not unexpected, but by this point I was still trying to decode what was going to happen to my existing library in the unlikely event that I didn't buy an upgrade license and wanted to revert to Aperture 2.

I considered not installing the trial version at all, but I was very keen to see it. The Apple Store seemed to suggest that I could just purchase an activation key online, and that I wouldn't have to wait for a box to be shipped, but last time I tried that (with iWork '08, if I recall correctly), the claim was just flat out wrong—the Australian store simply wouldn't sell me an activation key online. Anyway, I downloaded and installed the trial. At the opening dialog, I was offered the chance to purchase the activation key, so I tried it. Safari fired up the Australian Apple Store, and I could, indeed, purchase a key on the spot. So I did. Apart from the slightly confusing email regarding the trial, everything was particularly smooth. I've just fired up Aperture 3 to check out the new features. This could take a while.