[See the whole album](https://pictures.lytro.com/echeng/stories/9252) in my Lytro gallery.
I had a kernel panic today (quad-core iMac running Mac OS X 10.6.8), and when my Mac started up again, the Command and Option keys on my keyboard (a Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000) were reversed. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal—one just goes to the Keyboard Preference Pane and changes the modifier key settings to swap the two keys. But in this case, no amount of changing the modifier key settings had any effect. This is incredibly frustrating for someone who is nearly 100% keyboard shortcut dependent.
After over half an hour of trying various things like rebooting, resetting PRAM, trashing assorted .plist and preference files, I finally unplugged the Logitech wireless transmitter that talks to my Logitech Performance MX mouse and set modifier key behavior using an Apple Magic Mouse. It worked, and the settings stuck even after I plugged in the Logitech Unifying Device (the USB transceiver). Strangely, if I go to the modifiers preference now, it shows that it has reverted to default, even though my keyboard suggests otherwise.
If you've discovered this site because you have same problem, unplug your Logitech mouse and make the changes again using an Apple mouse. I hope it works for you!
[One of my friends](http://drewwohl.com/) wrote to me this morning to let me know that the [screaming turtle](http://www.google.com/search?q=screaming+turtle&hl=en&prmd=ivns&source=lnms&tbm=isch) has gone big time, showing up on Apple's support website:
I wonder if I know the Apple employee who made the screenshot. To see it on Apple.com, go to "[Copying personal photos and videos from iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to your computer](http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4083?viewlocale=en_US)" and click on "Mac: Transferring personal photos and video from your device to your Mac".
Apple, send me a free iPad! ;)
Last week, I sold my MacBook Pro, which means that I am finally back to running on a single machine (plus a MacBook Air for work)[^1]. I used to run the MBP on a 30" monitor, using [teleport](http://www.abyssoft.com/software/teleport/) to share a mouse and keyboard across machines, but when I sold the notebook, I decided that I'd like to connect all 3 of my monitors to my Mac Pro. This has proven to be more difficult than I thought it would be.
Apple officially supports connecting 3 monitors to an ATI Radeon HD 5770 or 5870 graphics card. In a [knowledge base article](http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4279), Apple outlines the various configurations that are supported. It's strangely confusing, but I suppose a very small percentage of the market actually tries to connect 3 displays to a computer.
Here's what Apple says:
- To connect up to two Mini DisplayPort displays and up to a 30-inch DVI display simultaneously, use the ports without any adapters. - To connect two DVI displays, use the dual-link DVI port and the Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter or the Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (sold separately). - To connect three DVI displays at once, you must use two Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapters (sold separately). - To connect up to three VGA displays simultaneously, use the Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter and DVI to VGA adapters (sold separately).
Unfortunately, there are a [bunch of problems](http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3477) that they also document.
I have the following displays:
- Dell 3008WFP 30" LCD (DisplayPort, Dual-Link DVI) - Dell 3007WFP 30" LCD (Dual-Link DVI) - Dell U2410 24" LCD (DisplayPort, DVI)
Because there are two DisplayPort monitors, I thought I would fit into this category:
> *To connect up to two Mini DisplayPort displays and up to a 30-inch DVI display simultaneously, use the ports without any adapters.*
Unfortunately, when I do this, my system goes haywire. The 24" Dell, which is connected by a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable, simply goes dark. It turns off, and none of the buttons -- not even the power button -- do anything. I have to physically disconnect power from the monitor for it to behave properly again.
If I reboot the Mac Pro in this configuration, no monitors power on. When I VNC into the Mac Pro and run System Profiler, it does not even show that I have a graphics card. Removing one display, and the Mac boots up properly.
I have gotten all three monitors to work ONCE in this configuration (2 x Mini DisplayPort -> DisplayPort, 1 x Dual-Link DVI cable), but it failed upon rebooting.
Someone on a [discussion thread at Apple Support](http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2555983&start=45&tstart=0) wrote:
> *Windows will run the three displays in Mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort (x2) and DVI without issue - until you need to reboot, and then the power draw makes the video card unrecognizable.*
So maybe it's a power draw issue. He also says that he managed to get everything to work by using 2 x Dual-Link DVI (adapters) and 1 x DVI, but the idea of using two $99 display adapters, each of which also uses a powered USB port, is insulting.
At the moment, I have all 3 monitors working -- even upon rebooting -- by using only one of the Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapters, replacing the DisplayPort cable leading to the 24" display.
The final, working configuration:
- Dell 3008WFP 30" LCD via Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable (monoprice, cheap) - Dell 3007WFP 30" LCD via Dual-Link DVI cable - Dell U2410 24" LCD via Mini DisplayPort to Apple Dual-Link DVI adapter / DVI cable (adapter requires single USB port for power)
Getting this to work was harder than it should have been.
[^1]: Not counting the Mac Mini server in the closet and Pam's iMac
The Apple iPad, announced today
I am a mobile device junkie, and have been long juggling Blackberry, iPhone, Droid, Kindle, Mifi and satellite phone in an attempt to find a solution that works best for me. I realize that I am not a typical user; I am always online, but I spend about half of each year out of the country in areas with poor connectivity. This instantly makes any device without an optimized, compressed wireless network nearly useless when I'm in the field (e.g. iPhone, Droid). Even if wireless networks were up to speed, the cost of international use would be outrageous. I took my iPhone to India a couple of years ago and chewed through my 50MB of allocated monthly data in a matter of days. A friend on a trip to Mexico last week went through his 50MB in 7 days -- and that was with light usage during the day, plus a WiFi connection at night. So I stick with my Blackberry Tour and its fixed-cost, unlimited international data plan. It is the best of both worlds: Verizon CDMA in San Francisco (the only working network here) and CDMA / GSM / EDGE / 3G when I'm out of the country. Unfortunately, the Tour has a slow processor, which means > 5 minute hard reset times and frequent multi-second lockups, but there are no other options and I remain productive while using it. The trusty little Tour downloads 200 messages in a minute on EDGE while I drift by small Indonesia villages. Meanwhile, the iPhone can barely finish negotiating an IMAP connection, and the Droid is hopeless because it's on CDMA.
In a protest against AT&T's crappy network, I sold my iPhone and switched to Droid on Verizon. I like the potential of Android, but I'm finding that I only use the Droid as a fancy video player and alarm clock when I'm on the road. Because I don't have time to watch TV or movies when I'm at home, most of my reading and video consumption happens from the comfort of tiny cabins on dive vessels. I read books on the Kindle because there is no Kindle app on the Droid and because I only need to charge the thing once a month. The Kindle app is the one thing I miss the most about the iPhone.
I think the iPad will change things, though. Its display is large enough for comfortable book reading and video viewing. It can be held easily while on the airplane and in situations where a notebook computer would be unwieldy. It will have more light-weight apps than one could ever hope for, is compatible with the iPhone apps I already own, and can beautifully display my photography and video portfolio.
I'm thinking that it will replace the iPhone / Android device in my lineup, as well as the Kindle. I'll finally have one phone, one notebook computer, and an "in-between" device: Blackberry, iPad and MacBook Pro (plus MiFi). Now if I could only coax my Blackberry into creating a WiFi cloud...
MacBook Pro with Intel X25-M SSD and second 500GB SATA drive
Unboxing -- first view of Tony's new machine
Tony will use the 160GB SSD as a boot / applications / cache drive and will probably keep his Aperture library package on it (even though his library is failing -- poor Aperture users). The 500GB will be used to store images and video. His old MacBook Pro has a terrible display -- everything is dim and fuzzy. I'm not sure if they were all that bad, or if Tony's has just deteriorated over a few years of constant use (I don't remember my old MBP's display being as bad).
The new machine boots really quickly:
Even after being fully configured my MacBook Pro with Intel X25-M still boots in just over 20 seconds. Most computers lock up when a user starts up and logs in because all the startup apps hit the hard disk simultaneously (and this is really slow when you have a spinning drive).
**What did you use to replace the SuperDrive with a hard disk?**
I used the MaxConnect Optical Bay kit for MacBook and MacBook Pro Unibody Laptops. Previously, I used another product, but I really like the MaxConnect optical; everything fits perfectly. My only gripe is that the adapter is 100% metal, which means that it is heavier than it should be. I think it should be made of strong plastic. In general, I like MaxConnect products; I also use their SAS/SATA BackPlane Attachment for Mac Pro, which I find to be an excellent solution for putting an SSD or two into a Mac Pro desktop machine.
**Why the Intel X25-M SSD?**
I know that there are finally faster SSDs coming to market, but the Intel X25-M is still a really strong choice and outperforms almost every other consumer SSD currently available. In real-world use it is ridiculously fast due to its best-of-class random read and write speeds. More importantly, Tony could order an X25-M and have it shipped to me overnight. The new SSDs are clearly fast and are getting great reviews, but they're not quite available yet. It is great to see OCZ innovating in the SSD space after their initial products, which used crappy controllers and were easily coaxed into multi-second write delays. OCZ also seems to put out a new SSD line every few weeks -- really confusing for non-computer people. They should clean up their product line!
Personally, I use RAID striped Intel X25-M SSDs (generation 1, vs Tony's G2 drive). I love this machine and never have to wait for anything other than Mac OS X network timeouts (improved over old versions of OS X but still annoying).
Many of my old classmates and co-workers are ending up in influential positions in the tech world, which is very exciting. I continue to live vicariously through them because I wandered off the path years ago and fell with a big splash into the ocean, where I continue to paddle around. Here's an old photo I found today while looking through some archives:
interns @ apple in 1997
It's a (terribly-blurry) photo of Adam Nash, me, Michael Schroepfer, and Scott Kleper in 1997 when we met Woz as interns at Apple. Nash is now Director of Products at LinkedIn, Schrep just (today) left his position as VP Engineering at Mozilla to join Facebook as Director of Engineering, and Klep is CTO at Context Optional, Inc. What's especially interesting is that all three of them ended up at social networking companies. I guess it's the next big thing, eh?
Meanwhile, I keep floating around in the ocean, looking for interesting critters. Congratulations, guys! I'll be cheering you on while wrangling sharks and looking for rare nudibranchs. :)