Archive for February, 2008

Uninstallers: AppZapper vs Hazel

2008-02-12

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Update 2 (2008-12): MacApper posted a review of CleanApp 3, which has been released a month ago, and it looks even much more interesting than it did before. I’m yet to try it, though.

Update 1 (2008-04): Someone else compared many uninstallers, reaching similar conclusions.  Hinted at CleanApp possibly being the perfect solution.  Reviews on MacUpdate are fairly positive.  Cleanapp’s rating would be almost perfect if it wasn’t of some performance bugs that might get fixed when version 3 is released.

In the past few months, Hazel, an application that’s useful to automate your organization of files and folders, started lending a hand when you want to uninstall software from your Mac.

This move from the author is a really wise one, as it widens Hazel’s target market into the uninstaller utilities category of applications.  And indeed, that’s what convinced me to buy it, because first, I needed a good uninstaller, and second, I might someday want to build myself an automated workflow for my files and folders organization.

Now, the main question is:

How good is Hazel at uninstalling applications,
compared to the leader of this category, namely AppZapper?

I started my tests a month ago with the hypothesis that neither one would be really sufficient as a uninstaller, because unless I’m wrong, they both solely rely on Spotlight to find which files should be trashed when you uninstall something.

To verify this hypothesis and find an answer to the main question, each time I needed to uninstall an application, I would both use AppZapper and Hazel to see which one fares better.  It’s easy to do.  First, drag your doomed application to AppZapper.  Then, drag it to the trash.  You will end up with both AppZapper’s and Hazel’s suggestions as to what should be deleted along the application package.

The Short Answer

Neither one is that much better.  Neither one is sufficient.  Use both.

The Long Answer

(more…)

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A Review of the Mighty Mouse

2008-02-11

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Update (2008-06): I now hate the Mighty Mouse.

Switching from a regular PC to a Mac also means, in most cases, switching keyboards and mice.  When I started using my brand-new iMac, I wasn’t sure if I’d like the Mighty Mouse, but I wanted to give it a chance, so I decided I would use it exclusively for at least two weeks.

My first impression was that I’d miss my back and forward buttons.  And let me tell you I do.  Next, I found it’s hard to use the side buttons, and up to this day, this hasn’t changed.  I was also really surprised to learn that the side buttons are in fact together only one button.

After a few days, I was hooked at its scroll wheel.  Er, sorry, I meant scroll ball.  It’s addictive.  It’s wonderful.  It’s even ergonomic.  Scroll wheels hurt.  Scroll balls don’t.  Scroll wheels wouldn’t if they were designed as small as this ball.  And I say that with some experience with carpal tunnel problems.

What’s funny is that after two weeks, I still hadn’t understood how to succeed at right-clicking every time I tried it.  Most of the time, the mouse would register a left click instead.  It would drive me nuts.  And it’s even funnier that my wife picked it up fine starting on day one.  But we weren’t able to find what it was I wasn’t doing well.

Seeing something was (ironically) wrong with me, I decided I wouldn’t revert to my Logitech mouse until I had solved this problem for myself and tried the mouse in this new glorified way for at least one more week.  And then, a few days later, I found out you have to make sure no finger remains on the left side of the mouse when you push on its right side.  That’s so counter-intuitive.  I mean, why should I need to lift my left finger before right-clicking?  My wife, on the other side of the fence, always did this with any mouse.  How (un)lucky she is!

The most annoying problem of the Mighty Mouse is that its cursor sometimes jumps from one place in the screen to another one when we’re moving the mouse, instead of following our movement.  At first, I thought I was facing some kind of bug in OS X.  Now, I believe it’s because this mouse’s optical system has some problems recognizing the surface of my desk.  When I try my Logitech mouse, I never face this problem.  Let me tell you it’s a really annoying bug, and no, I don’t want to use any kind of mouse pad.  That would ruin the careful looks of my workplace, wouldn’t it?

So, after 4 months using the Mighty Mouse, how do I feel?  Well, I think it’s time to buy a new desk.

Seriously, I hope Apple will make a better device soon.  I would gladly encourage them to continue producing half-crap devices by buying their next mouse instead of switching back to my previous mouse.  Until then, I’m going to rock (argh…) and roll (yay!) with my Mighty Mouse because I’m hooked at the Mighty Scroll Ball.

20 Observations from a Switcher

2008-02-02

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Update (2008-06): Updated to reflect how it works for me now.

Like most computer users who started with a Windows system, I once believed Macs are mostly crap or hype.

Background

That said, I would never have considered switching if Apple hadn’t introduced Mac OS X.  Mac OS 9 wasn’t my cup of tea (I used it for some school projects).

Through the last 7 years, my progressive discovery of the open source community in general drove me more and more to feel and experience how Windows sucks for a non-ms developer.  I needed some kind of unix/linux flavor, and even in 2007, my opinion was that linux distributions aren’t mature enough for me.  But linux is worth another rant.

When I started to understand in 2005 that Mac OS X had redefined the game and was indeed a great system, my interest raised enough for me to start reading a bit about it when bloggers would mention it.

In 2006, I saw the birth of MacTels and much more people starting to switch.  At that point, I was really enthralled by Leopard’s promises.  But I wasn’t ready to switch.  I needed to realize a three more things:

  • Mac OS X is so much based on a unix system that it’s in fact the best unix/linux-compatible distribution out there for the mass market, while at the same time being great for developers.
  • I can replace all the Windows applications I use with strong Mac alternatives.
  • Buying a Mac is a no-risk decision, since I could always switch back to Windows with the same Mac by using BootCamp.

When I understood all these facts, I knew I needed to give OS X its chance.  That’s when I started waiting for Leopard’s release.  This waiting wasn’t the happiest of all, especially after MacWorld 2007 came without the next cat.  I was of those wanting Steve Jobs to tell us to go buy our Macs now and he’d ship us Leopard later for free, but now I’m happy I waited.  I got a 24” aluminum iMac instead of a 20” plastic iMac.  I bought it one week before Leopard’s release and I ordered the 10$ upgrade disc to get Leopard one week after its release.  I received it three weeks after its release, probably because I’m Canadian.  I was angry at first, and then I felt deceived and sad about that.  When I finally received Leopard, I forgot all about that and continued using my shining, brand new iMac.

Observations

  1. I’m lost! I’ve used DOS and Windows for about 14 years and now I must find how to do almost anything.  …After a few days, most of that feeling was gone.
  2. PhotoBooth is a great deal of fun. My wife would like us to take one picture of us each and every day.
  3. System Preferences are much easier to browse and use in general than those of Windows XP.  And it’s really great that they all take effect without having to click on an OK button. (more…)