Mistakes I Made When Setting Up My WinXP/OSX Intel-Based Mac

I really like my little Intel-based (Core 2 Duo) Mac Mini. It has a small footprint, low power draw, and it has wifi (so I don’t need a Cat 5 cable snaking through my apartment). Surprisingly, after comparing it to other small-footprint systems with comparable specs, the Mac was about the same price and came with the added option of running OSX. I set it up as a dual-boot WinXP and OSX system so that I can continue to run all my Windows software, as well as checking out some of the nifty Mac software (like the night we sat around making humorous commercials for the Chevy Volt using Garage Band and iMovie).

Aside from just using Apple’s Boot Camp to select which OS I wanted to use the next time I started the computer, I also installed rEFIt, a boot-loader that will let me select which OS I want as I start the system, and VMWare Fusion, so that I can run WinXP from within OSX.

From my experience with with a dual-boot WinXP and Ubuntu Linux laptop, I wasn’t looking forward to sharing files between the 2 systems by setting up an antediluvian FAT32 partition. However, one of my friends recommended MacDrive, a program that allows Windows to read from and write to an HFS+ volume. Magic, right?

Everything was looking rosy, until I decided to be stingy and give Windows XP a 10 GB partition.
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Finally got GD working with PHP under osX

Since time immemorial, I have been having problems with the php installation that came on my powerbook, striving and straining to get any new modules installed, to make it work in the ways that even the most simpleminded linux install does out of the box, generally frustrated with it. Currently I have two for pay projects that require me to use the GD library, so I broke down and really attacked it today. After about three tries, I finally got something working… specifically I used the entropy install of php, and got it to actually work by converting apache2 from a fat file to a 32 bit only binary based on the instructions from the same site. These instructions were NOT easy to find, and several google searches didn’t turn them up at any point. I only found them after reading of the trials and tribulations that the blogger at #| had with the same problem.
The good news is that it’s done now, and I’m happy.

Emacs and osX

I am a huge emacs fan, to the point of having written my own major mode for working in coldfusion when I couldn’t find one that satisfied (rather than moving to another editor) Its something that I see as part of my personality, almost like a political affiliation. I also happen to be using a mac at the moment, and my first few tries at using emacs under osX went pretty poorly, but I did work everything out, and I thought that I would write about it some to save everyone else the trouble.

First off, I initially tried just installing a standard version of emacs and using it through the terminal. As it turns out that has a lot of problems, particularly with keys being in odd spots (the meta key behaves a little oddly) and with the interaction of cutting / pasting / killing and Yanking. The next try was xEmacs under the mac X11 server. That was an instant disaster.

My third try was with aquamacs which worked decently, but I still found to have several frustrating bits of unpolished interaction. I could have lived with this indefinitely, but another emacs fan I know suggested I look at carbon emacs and wow am I glad I did. This is what emacs for mac should be.

The only major change I needed to deal with is adding (setq mac-option-modifier ‘meta) which made the damn meta key work in a way that doesn’t drive me nuts.

So for those of you on a mac, consider having a look.

Totally Hosed My Dev Environment

So I have been trying to play with the Zend Framework, which by all accounts is pretty cool, and trying to get it set up on the dev environment that I have here on my cute little macbook. Sadly, for some reason the version of os X 10.5 that ships with it doesn’t have pdo_mysql support installed (though it has pdo_mysqllite ?? I mean, come on, seriously?) So it’s off to the recompile mines. Sadly, once you recompile PHP you need to recompile Apache, which wouldn’t be a big deal at all other than my not knowing about it and it not giving me anything like a coherent error message regarding this. Fine, whatever….

Next, I discover that I can’t user the PEAR auto-installer, because it can’t find the damn modules directory, and neither can I. I have even tried making new ones in every likely place. What’s worse, I seem to have also lost traditional MySQL support as well.

I’m getting pretty annoyed with OSX here, It’s a damn nice client OS, but it’s driving me nuts on the server side. (Still better than Windows, it’s just a bit like the The Twilight Zone, things are close enough to where they should be to make you think that you know what’s going on, but when you try to actually do something….)

I guess I’ll try MAMP now. I have been meaning to look at that anyway.