[CentOS] [OT ] Re: Laptop for CentOS-5

James B. Byrne byrnejb at harte-lyne.ca
Mon Jan 11 15:35:46 UTC 2010

In case anyone is interested in the result of the advice and
discussion that my query generated, I bought a Macintosh PowerBook
on Saturday.

My initial experience was very satisfactory.  The strong points were
the ease of set-up, an amazingly short start up time (even from a
cold start), and a simply unbelievable battery life.

The weak points including the magnetic coupled power supply--the d/c
cable from the transformer to the laptop is simply too short. Even
with the optional long a/c cable and plug the cable is just too
short to avoid dislodging it frequently when adjusting ones sitting
position. another 40 to 50 cm of cable length is required I think.

Another weakness is a re-occurring problem with the AirPort wireless
adapter.  The Mac worked with my existing WPA2/TKIP shared secret
mixed-mode wireless home lan out of the box (once the key was
provided).  When Internet connectivity was established I immediately
updated the OS to 10.6.2.  Once this completed I  worked on the
system for a few hours getting somewhat accustomed to the Apple way
of doing things.  Everything worked very well.

The next day however, after again working with the system on the
wireless network without problem for several hours, I performed an
Apple software update.  Immediately following this update the
AirPort wireless network adapter began exhibiting poor performance
with many dropped packets, resulting in poor response times, and
frequent disconnections from the wireless network.

I spent about seven hours tracking this problem down, resetting the
PRAM and so-forth on the basis of instructions found on various
blogs, FAQs and forums.  Apparently this problem is fairly common
although strangely absent from the official Apple FAQ, at least as
far as  I could see.  Along the way I discovered that with OS-X 10.6
the PRAM no longer holds any network configuration setting so older
how-to's which advise this are useless.

In the end I followed a frequently encountered recommendation to purge:


and immediately restarted the powerbook.  This seemed to clear the
problem, although by this time it was after midnight and I did not
stay up to test it extensively.

I also uncovered and issue with Firefox 3.5.7 and Mac Java.  If one
has a Java application active in any tab then switching tabs results
in the java application window staying visible, although no longer
responsive.  The contents of the active tab are thereby obscured
while those portions of the page that are not under the java window
are displayed.  Switching back to the tab containing the java app
restores responsiveness to the application window.

I could not find any thing on this from Google, although I am not
sure how one describes this circumstance to a search engine.

I am really not enthralled with the inability to cut and paste from
a Safari web page, or any desktop application for that matter,
directly into a terminal window.  This is a particular PAI for me as
I often have to connect via ssh to remote sites and perform
maintenance in vi.  The inability to cut and paste is excruciating
and I am investigating alternatives to mac terminal.  This lack and
the poor colour support in Termian.app is, to me, surprising
functional omissions for a GUI orientated OS.  This is a feature
that I could even manage between MS-IE and cygwin's rxvt on

Anyway, these minor points aside (although if the AirPort
connectivity issue is not resolved then that will be a show-stopper)
I seem to have been captured by the light side.  We will have to see
if I escape or become assimilated.

***          E-Mail is NOT a SECURE channel          ***
James B. Byrne                mailto:ByrneJB at Harte-Lyne.ca
Harte & Lyne Limited          http://www.harte-lyne.ca
9 Brockley Drive              vox: +1 905 561 1241
Hamilton, Ontario             fax: +1 905 561 0757
Canada  L8E 3C3

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