Why I love my MacBook, but Microsoft too.


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. 

 

-C

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.

Comments (21)

  1. Rosyna says:

    You should never install drivers off a CD. They’re always old.

    But why didn’t you use IOGear’s driver? http://www.iogear.com/support/driver/GUC232A-Intel.dmg It’s linked from the driver section of the product page you linked to.

    At the bottom of http://www.iogear.com/main.php?loc=dm&driver&Item=GUC232A

  2. cwilso says:

    Rosyna – I did actually download the iogear driver first, not install off the CD.  The IOGear driver available for download is an OS X driver, but it’s not an Intel Mac driver – and Rosetta’s not doing its magic.  That’s what didn’t work.

  3. Rosyna says:

    That link I posted is for the ICBMs (it says "Intel" right in the name of the file).

    Note that the link on the driver page does not list Mac OS X versions to the left of it.

  4. Fyrd says:

    What everyone REALLY wants to know is…which browser(s) do you use on your Mac? :)

  5. cwilso says:

    Rosyna-

       AAAAAHHHHH!!  Clearly, I am simply blind.

    Fyrd-

       I switch back and forth between Safari and Firefox.  I actually dislike both of them, for different reasons (Safari because it occasionally "can’t find the network," even though ever other piece of network s/w can, and its bookmark interface is weird; FF because it’s very slow to boot (no, I don’t have addons loaded) and I’ve had to force-quit it nearly a dozen times.

  6. Fyrd says:

    Hmm, interesting. Well, while I’m sure you know quite a bit about alternate browsers already, I’d recommend Opera…it’s Mac version isn’t perfect, but I like it best. Or you could try Camino, I guess.

    Better yet, you could try convincing Microsoft to continue development of Mac/IE… :)

  7. Hmm, interesting. Well, while I’m sure you know quite a bit about alternate browsers already, I’d recommend Opera…it’s Mac version isn’t perfect, but I like it best. Or you could try Camino, I guess.

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  9. I’d recommend Firefox…it’s Mac version isn’t perfect, but I like it best.

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  10. mika says:

    My macbook is great. I newer had any virus.

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  12. Medyum says:

    Hmm, interesting. Well, while I’m sure you know quite a bit about alternate browsers already, I’d recommend Opera…it’s Mac version isn’t perfect, but I like it best. Or you could try Camino, I guess.

  13. Medyum says:

    I’d recommend Firefox…it’s Mac version isn’t perfect, but I like it best.

    Very nice content. I’m trying to build my site, but have no success for now.

  14. medyum says:

    I’d recommend Firefox…it’s Mac version isn’t perfect, but I like it best.

    Very nice content. I’m trying to build my site, but have no success for now.

  15. hikaye says:

    Hmm, interesting. Well, while I’m sure you know quite a bit about alternate browsers already, I’d recommend Opera…it’s Mac version isn’t perfect, but I like it best. Or you could try Camino, I guess.

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  17. I’d recommend Firefox…it’s Mac version isn’t perfect, but I like it best.

    Very nice content. I’m trying to build my site, but have no success for now.

  18. seslinefes says:

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  19. medyum says:

    I'd recommend Firefox…it's Mac version isn't perfect, but I like it best.

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