June 15th, 2008 — Tech Tips
Netbeans, the open source and free Integrated Development Environment (IDE) from Sun is developing into a great piece of software with each release. They are also trying to be the new Eclipse and seem to have done a good job at that. One of the things that could send a developer away towards Eclipse is the rich set of plugins that Eclipse already has but Netbeans has the Java advantage. Its a complete platform for Java development. But every piece of software has some basic thing done wrong, could be because of neglecting it or because they didn’t feel it mattered or there was a conflict in how it should be implemented or anything else. One of such things in Netbeans in the option to disable the start page. I had to browse through all the tabs in the preferences window before I found it at the bottom of the start page itself, which is not such a good place for it to be. People with larger screens may easily notice it, but still they should have it integereated into the preferences page.
So in one line, to disable the start page in Netbeans 6 scroll to the bottom of the page and uncheck the option that says Show On Startup.
Update: In case you feel like you are missing the start page and wondering how to get it back, here is the procedure
Click on the Help Menu for Netbeans
You will see a menu item Start Page, click on it and now you will see the start page, now make sure you check the Show on Statup option so that Netbeans shows you the start page from the next time.
Thanks to jav for asking this intriguing question in the comments
May 15th, 2008 — Apple, Internet, Leopard
Why Update Rails
Mac OS X Leopard ships with Rails 1.2.6 which was the latest version when the OS released. But the rails team has updated Ruby on Rails to version 2.0 (2.0.2 now to be exact). Version 2 of rails brings many new features, updates and fixes. To get your Mac running the latest version of rails, open the terminal and run the following commands
$ sudo gem update --system
$ sudo gem install rails
$ sudo gem update rake
$ sudo gem update sqlite3-ruby
You have to run the commands with the sudo prefix to run them as the super user (equivalent of admin) or you will get a the following error
You don’t have write permissions into the /usr/bin directory.
$ sudo gem update –system – this command updates the ruby gems package manager (this update is required by the latest version of rails)
$ sudo gem install rails – updates and installs the latest version of rails including the dependencies
$ sudo gem update rake – updates the rake tool which is used by rails
$ sudo gem update sqlite3-ruby – updates the ruby sqlite3 bindings, you can skip this command if you don’t use sqlite as your database
You will get visual updates as the update process goes on but if you still feel like testing the update once you are done, type this command in the terminal
$ rails -v
and to get a list of all the gems currently installed on your mac displayed with their version numbers use the following command
$ gem list
If you have any other suggestions or questions about the update, write a comment.
April 2nd, 2008 — Apple, Firefox, General, Leopard, Mac OS X
I had a really bad experience installing Firefox on my Mac so I decided to pen down the detailed instructions along with my experience installing it as a first time Mac user.
Installing Firefox on Mac OS X
Goto Firefox.com, click on the download link and the file should download to your Downloads folder
Open the Downloads folder using Finder and locate the Firefox.2.x.x.x file, double click on it ad you should see this screen
Click accept and in a few moments, the image will be mounted and you will see this window
Now open the Applications folder in another Finder window and drag the Firefox icon from the above screen into the Applications folder
You will see a progress screen for a few moments and you are done installing Firefox
Right click on the Firefox disc image icon on your desktop and Eject
To launch Firefox, double click on the Firefox icon in the Applications folder
For future use, you could drag the Firefox icon from the Applications window onto the dock to create a shortcut
Installing applications is supposedly a trivial task on a Mac but when I tried to install Firefox (my first non-Apple application) I was clue less about how to install it.
It was my Day 1 with the Mac and I already got the hang of Safari so I decided to try the mighty Firefox for a few reasons -
- First its a damn good browser
- Second I was used to it as a windows user
- Third and most important, Firefox maintains a consistent UI across all platforms
Just like everyone else I downloaded the DMG, double clicked on the DMG and it showed me this screen.
What the heck??? What am I supposed to do with this little window?? What does it mean? I was really frustrated, why can’t they include instructions to install the app? I initially thought it was actually a splash screen. Then after playing with the window for a while, I discovered that the Firefox logo is an icon and by the signs I thought I should drag this icon into the white Applications icon in the window. Didn’t work. Tried some googling with no luck then realized that I could drag the icon into a new Applications finder window. And finally there I had it, Firefox on my Mac.
This was in the past and when I was a Mac noob. Now that I know how to install applications (apps), when I think about my first install experience I feel embarrassed. And I wish Firefox developers designed it in such a way that the Firefox icon could be dragged into the Applications icon in the same disk image window rather than the user opening a new Applications window and then dragging the icon into it.
It was actually my mistake, they had install instructions on the download page which I did not notice and closed.
March 10th, 2008 — Apple
I bought an Apple MacBook. Even though its the cheapest Apple laptop I bought and even though I could have got something really more powerful if I chose to buy a Dell or a Toshiba its really cool. Thats no surprise I guess. But I am not sure if the coolness is due to the Mac factor or due to the laptop factor because I have never owned a laptop before. One of the main reasons I like Apple laptops is because of the design (not because of Leopard). By design I mean the hardware design, and by hardware design I don’t mean how the parts are hand picked and fitted together with craftsmanship so that they work seamlessly. By design I just mean the look and feel. Just take a look at it. Its just an inch thick. It weighs just 2.2 kgs (5 pounds). Has a 13.3 inch screen, this might depress some but thats what portability is about, right?
The power adapter (Magsafe adapter) is an innovation in itself. It connects magnetically and unplugs when someone trips over it. It has a slot loading optical drive, there is no drive bay that you need to push.
The main thing where other laptops miss on is symmetry. With a Macbook as with all other Apple products, they are symmetric, the keyboard looks the same from any direction, no out of order special keys, the keys are all equally spaced. Its not just the keyboard, when you look at the laptop from any angle it looks the same. At times I get confused which side the display opens. When I say from all sides, I don’t really mean from all sides, its a cuboid, it can’t look the same from all sides. When you look at a Dell or a HP you can easily say which is the front and which side is the top (when the screen is closed).
But the problem like the others argue is Apple products are expensive. And yes they sure are. The beautiful design has to come with some overhead. Thats business logic.
After a lot of moving back and forth I have decided to get a MacBook. I wasn’t completely ready to get one untill I saw one and felt it with my hands because I was having a feeling that the 13″ screen might be a bit too small. But once I went to the Apple store I was convinced that this is the one for me, its the one im gonna spend the rest of my life(1-2 years) with.
And Apple offers student discounts on select products. Check the Apple online store and compare with the Apple online student store to see the discount. In case you are going to buy at one of the retail stores Apple has, you better check the discounts online because I had some bad experience while buying my MacBook with student discount.
March 9th, 2008 — Apple
Its official: I got a Macbook. I bought one like some 2 months ago and didn’t have time for a post.
Bought the basic $1099 MacBook.
And by the time I am posting this to my blog Apple has updated the MacBook lineup and you now get a 120GB hard disk instead of the mere 80 mine has and a 2.1GHz processor instead of a 2.0GHz and its the new Penryn lineup from Intel, launched only this Jan.
And if you didn’t know, Apple offers discounts for students, $100 off on all MacBooks and $200 off on all MacBook Pros at the time of writing, go to the Apple online store. Don’t go to the Apple retail store to know about student discounts because people who work there sometimes have no idea what the exact student discount is on a specific product and they just tell you the amount they know which might not be true. I had a really bad experience while buying my MacBook and I had to go to the store 3 times to buy and get the right discount. I wrote about how Apple screwed the student discount on my MacBook.
I was in a dilemma weather to buy a MacBook or a Sony VAIO or a Dell. I didn’t research on the lineups of other brands, but i found some interesting laptops from these brands. But the reason Why I chose a MacBook over the Dell and the VAIO is the design.