Snow Leopard Chaos Subsides

Like a damn fool true fanboy I installed Apple’s Snow Leopard the day it came out. Sure, it was faster, and I liked the polishes they made to the user experience. But it broke a lot of things that made it possible for me to develop web sites on my laptop: MySQL, all my Perl modules, and the Ruby apps I use to track my To Do list (Tracks), and my projects (Redmine). I also lost the ability to print to my Canon laser printer, which I like cuz it does 2-sided printing. Also broken: Saft, iStatMenus, and Parallels, but I could get by without them (but did miss them).

Usually Google is my friend, but since it takes a few days for Google to catch up with people’s blog updates this time I turned to Twitter, and got up-to-the-second reports on people’s reactions to and fixes for Snow Leopard. MySQL turned out to be a quick fix, since it was just a broken symlink. After that my PHP scripts could once again connect to their databases, as could the Navicat app. But for the life of me I couldn’t get Perl’s DBI and DBD::mysql modules to work right, which meant a bunch of my older scripts weren’t working, and it made working on some of my older sites challenging in that I couldn’t test changes locally, I had to make them to the (gulp!) live site, which is hardly ever a good idea.

Every few days I’d search Twitter and Google for advice, and would try different things, but nothing would get Perl talking to the database :(

In the meantime I upgraded to Parallels 4.0 ($), which let me view my sites again under Internet Explorer. Since WinXP could still talk to the Canon printer I could print now if I saved to a PDF file, moved it over to Parallels and printed it there (ya, tedious, but at least it was possible). And new versions of iStatMenus (free!) and Saft ($) came out, so things were slowly returning to what we laughingly call normal here.

Labor Day (yesterday) was a down day that I used to finish digging the hole for the cob oven project (another post for another day), and I returned once again to my Perl/mySQL problem. Not a lot of people are using Perl anymore, or at least they’re not posting about their fixes for Snow Leopard, but all those hotshot Ruby kids kept saying they had to recompile the 64bit version of MySQL. Not wanting to break what was already working, I decided to try doing that on the family iMac and see if I could get Perl and MySQL working on it. Stock 64bit MySQL installed just fine, and I could talk to it over the command line. Good so far. I then installed the latest DBI and DBD::mysql modules using CPAN, which took a while but both installed with no problems (woohoo!). I created a small test table on the command line, then wrote a small Perl script to display all the records in it… and it worked!

Emboldened and embiggened, I then went over to the laptop, backed up all the mySQL databases, and removed all traces of mySQL from the computer. I then went thru the same steps as on the iMac; mySQL installed just fine, as did the DBI module, but DBD::mysql still refused to install. Desperate, I decided to copy the installed DBI and DBD::mysql modules from the iMac to the laptop, and after restarting Apache my perl scripts connected to mySQL just fine! Yes, it was a good day.

This morning for the heck of it I uninstalled all my Ruby Gems and reinstalled their 64bit versions, along with an updated passenger. After restarting Apache, Redmine once again started working! This is a very good thing, since I use it primarily as a GUI to the various Mercurial repositories I have for each of my web sites.

And a Google search for printer driver updates turned up a new driver which got my printer working again!

Jeezum, it’s like the morning of Aug 28, before I installed Snow Leopard! :)

France vs. Apple's DRM: A Third Way?

I’m reading today on MacNN that Denmark is considering legislation similar to the law passed in France this past week, which forces Apple to open up their FairPlay DRM to competitors. Conventional Wisdom says that Apple, faced with either
1) allowing songs from the iTunes Music to play on rival MP3 players or
2) leaving France
will do the latter since it’s such a minor piece of Apple business, and the lesser of two evils.

But I’m wondering if it’s possible for Apple to take a third way: dropping its DRM completely, removing the protection that keeps its songs from playing on other players, and keeping the songs from being pirated. Does the French law supercede any agreements Apple has with the music publishers to protect those songs with DRM?

Just a thought…

Sweet spots and tipping points

The big news in the Apple world this week is the new iPod shuffle and the iMac mini. This is big news because Apple has always been perceived as having innovative but expensive products, and these two new products are positioned in the mass-market sweet spot. There’s a great illustration of that here.

Lots of people lust after an iPod, but $250 can be tough to justify. The $99 “iPod shuffle” is nearly an impulse buy. After it was announced, one Apple Store sold out of 2,000 Shuffles in just four hours — a lot of people bought one for themselves plus one (or more!) for friends. I think Apple has a hit here.

The iMac mini is going to be hot also (it doesn’t ship until Jan 22). So many people are sick of dealing with Windows issues, viruses, spyware, etc, that they’re looking for reasons to use something else. And I think more than a few of them will be thinking seriously about getting a $500 Mac, since they already have a monitor, keyboard and mouse. It comes with a lot of software, and they can always buy Microsoft Office for the Mac if they need it.

I’m happy with my iPod and PowerBook, so these announcements won’t affect me, but I have preordered iLife 05 for the new and improved GarageBand so I can make more music!