All entries for August 2007

August 02, 2007

Day 5: Web browsing

An easy one for today. I use Firefox on Windows and there are no sites I visit which don’t work with it. So web browsing on the Mac is as easy as downloading Firefox, exporting my bookmarks from Windows Firefox on to a memory stick and then importing them into Mac Firefox, grabbing my favourite plugins (Delicious toolbar and Text area resizer), and we’re done.

I’ve seen no significant differences at all between Mac and Windows versions of Firefox and so far everything has just worked. Firefox on the Mac has needed to restart itself a couple of times during my testing, but then, that’s happened to me on Windows too. I miss Alt-D as a shortcut to put the cursor in the address bar, but Command-L does the same thing, so it’s not exactly a big deal.

I guess if I hadn’t already been a confirmed Firefox user I might have spent more time investigating Safari, the web browser that comes bundled with OS X. From a brief look, it seems fine to me, and if I hadn’t been sure that I wanted Firefox and my preferred extensions I’d probably have been quite happy with Safari (or Camino or Opera, probably, too). But Firefox ticks all my boxes.

August 01, 2007

A digression: wireless networking

I wasn’t expecting to write anything about this, because I had assumed that it would Just Work, but I have been dismayed to find that the MacBook Pro I’m testing has noticeable problems with its wireless networking. At least in part, this is just an unlucky fluke of timing; there is, it seems, a known issue with the latest software update to OS X (10.4.10) introducing problems with wireless networking, especially when running on battery.

But even discounting that bug (which is a particularly nasty one, causing kernel panics and requiring a restart), the MBP seems to struggle to work with a wireless basestation in my home, seeing it but being unable to connect to it. Part of the problem, I suspect, is that I live in a street with lots of wireless basestations nearby, and there is some overlap and some interference, especially given that at least one of the other basestations is on the same channel as mine. But what makes it slightly irksome and puzzling is that my Windows laptop which is sitting on the sofa right next to the MBP doesn’t display even a hint of the same problem.

I fixed it by downloading a utility which shows all the basestations in range together with their SSID and channel, finding an unused channel and switching my basestation to that. This was probably a smart thing to do anyway, improving the quality of the connection for any and all connected devices. But it’s disappointing that the Mac is the only hardware which just couldn’t cope until the change was made.

August 2007

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