I love my MacBook. I especially love the new photo workflow I’m almost finished setting up, which will not only have a smooth transition from developing to managing to uploading to Flickr, but also has automatic geotagging if I take along my handheld GPS when I’m shooting. (None of this is stuff I can’t do on a Windows machine, by the way.)
Now – why I love Microsoft is because Microsoft has always valued backward compatibility. In my PC experience, there was one major inflection point in compatibility – the “moving to XP” inflection point. Prior to XP, home users used Win9x, and business users used Windows NT/2000. When I moved my home machine to XP, I had one piece of hardware I had to throw out because it lacked drivers (a then-old Mark of the Unicorn MIDI interface). Every other upgrade, I’ve managed to bring my hardware forward.
My experience getting the GPS (a Garmin eTrek Vista I’ve had for a long time) to work with the Mac has been less than easy. I guess I’ve been away from a command line too long – any time I have to poke around with UNIX shell commands to get a new driver to work, I think that’s messed up.
The Garmin eTrex Vista has an RS232 serial interface (how quaint! – but if I DID have one of the newer USB ones, I’d be out of luck too, since Garmin still doesn’t support the Mac). So, off to Office Depot to buy a serial-to-USB adapter – pick out a Belkin device, check the back of the box – “Mac OS 8.6 and greater.” OK, cool – take it home, insert CD – “does not support this version of the operating system.” Huh? Check the net – oh, great, Belkin has no support for OSX. Poke around trying to find drivers for other adapters that use the same chipset, to no avail. Fine. Take that one back, go to Fry’s Electronics to find an IOGear adapter (GUC232A) that DOES have a MacOS X support.
Plug THAT CD in this morning. Seems to install fine. Let it reboot, and it’s still not recognizing the serial port. No error messages, but no USB serial adapter either, in the apps or in /dev. Spend a couple of hours trying reinstalls, poking around the shell trying to hand-install it. Finally figured out, thanks to one of the last comments in this thread, that the problem is that although it’s an OS X driver, it’s NOT a universal binary – and it’s not working on my Intel-based Mac. OK, great – there’s a GPL driver that DOES work with this.
So in short, not one but two layers of backward compatibility prevented me from getting this working, and I could only get it working by installing an open-source driver from a site unrelated to the hardware I had. Hmm.
But I did get it working, so I’m happy.
PS – if you’re interested in what my photo workflow looks like – I shoot in RAW with a Canon 20D, plug the CF card in to a USB CF card reader, import and develop in Adobe Lightroom (Phase One Capture One LE as backup, since I used that on the PC), add keyword metadata and manage photos in iView MediaPro (now acquired by Microsoft), use GPSPhotoLinker to download tracks and geotag the photos, and use PictureSync to upload to Flickr, since it converts the keywords to tags. I’m getting a copy of Adobe Photoshop soon to do any further image editing. I also use iView to backup up, both to a Western Digital portable drive and to a Wolverine portable media drive.