Best way to upgrade to Snow Leopard?

So, Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” comes out tomorrow, which leaves me in something of a financial quandary.

The base “upgrade” package will go for A$39. The Apple website says that this SKU is appropriate for users of 10.5, while 10.4 users (that would be me) would be better served picking up the Mac Box Set. This package includes iLife and iWork (A$129 each) as well as the OS for a total of A$229. This is a good deal, but still $190 more expensive than the OS on its own. Continue reading

Font fun with Fondu

I had actually thought that with the advent of MacOS X, Apple had done away with font incompatibilities. It installs Windows and Linux fonts with no problem, so there’s no need to have your own font file format, right?

My wife discovered the .dfont file this morning at work. As of this writing, the Wikipedia entry on the format is just a stub.

Datafork TrueType is a font wrapper used on Apple Macintosh computers running Mac OS X. It is a TrueType suitcase with the resource map in the data fork, rather than the resource fork as had been the case in Mac OS 9. It uses the file extension .dfont.

In plain English, it’s got all your regular TTF information in a different part of the file. Kind of like a .ZIP file for fonts. Useful, except only Macs read it. Fortunately, we have fondu. It’s available for all Unix systems (including Mac OS X) and provides a suite of utilities to convert different formats of TrueType fonts. Continue reading

Dodging bullets with Carbon Copy Cloner

Carbon Copy ClonerLike many users, I make mistakes when working with my computer. Some of them are easy to recover from (the Undo command is made more powerful every day). Some are not, like when you’re trying to clean up hard drive space with the Unix ‘find’ command. Let’s just say that you should always use the ‘-print0’ flag when trying to run ‘find’ results through ‘rm’.

Anyway, due to some major carelessness, I managed to delete a large chunk of my iTunes music library. Not good, particularly when I’m not even sure how I got some of those rare mp3s in the first place. Fortunately, I am a regular user of Carbon Copy Cloner by Bombich Software.

This nifty bit of Mac donationware keeps me alive with a bootable backup of my entire harddrive on an external USB drive. One of the main selling points of CCC is that it preserves metadata. This is very important because a lot of software (including the operating system) need this metadata in order to function correctly. It can also do backup schedules, incremental backups, and a host of other nifty options.

For those of you not currently backing up your software, I highly recommend the practice. For those of you who are looking for a good backup product for the Mac, I recommend Carbon Copy Cloner. It’s donationware, and regularly maintained.