Technical Difficulties

March 24th, 2006  |  Published in old and busted  |  1 Comment

So … quiet period over the last week or so. Blame the tools.

I’ve been using ecto to do most of my blog entries (and I’d recommend it for anyone who’d like something nicer for handling stuff like adding pictures or managing drafts), but it’s still not out in a universal binary, and MarsEdit, which was included in the purchase price of NetNewsWire, is.

Better yet, in the category of “it’s nice to use things from people you know,” Brent Simmons’ recent move to NewsGator meant that he picked up Gus Mueller of VoodooPad fame to manage MarsEdit development ).

The notion of brand or company loyalty is a pretty new one to me that’s so far been expressed less as a positive thing (“I like Brand X!”) and more as a neutral thing (“I have no idea, but Brand X didn’t blow up last time, so I’ll go with it again!”). In terms of computing, I’m even further behind on that score. To the extent there’s only one company to buy a Mac from, I guess I’m “loyal” to Apple, even though the existence of an OS X that ran on just any PC (without first being cracked) would probably prove that loyalty lacking.

But NetNewsWire and VoodooPad are two of the apps that make me stick with my Mac. BBEdit? I’d learn to live life without it. Safari or OmniWeb? Firefox would be fine on any platform I chose. OmniOutliner? Nice, but not a showstopper. Losing NetNewsWire would hamper my interaction with the world, though; and VoodooPad is probably my favorite application just because I’d been wanting it to exist for a few years before it did; and when it did come into being it was better than what I’d imagined.

So, long and short, I’ve got a sense of investment and loyalty where NNW and VoodooPad are concerned, and it extends to Brent and Gus, who are both careful, responsive and responsible developers.

So to get back to where we started, ecto was gobbling some RAM because it’s still running under Rosetta. I decided to use my MarsEdit license since it’s a universal binary.

Sadly, MarsEdit manifested one of those odd little behaviors that you know has to have a simple cause: Every 18 seconds, its CPU utilization would spike from a fairly normal level of maybe three to five percent to closer to 60 percent. It would hang for a second, causing a really annoying typing lag, then it would unstuff and go back to normal … for another 18 seconds.

Any other app, any other developers and I probably would have just switched back to Ecto and maybe taken a moment to drag MarsEdit into the trash. Considering the developers, though, I decided to file a bug on the forums and see what might come of it. You can follow that thread for all the troubleshooting contortions and the eventual resolution (it was my fault, but in an indirect sort of way), which includes a temporary lack of category archives as I come to grips with the way I managed to induce the problem. Also worth noting that there was nothing anyone could be reasonably expected do to help me beyond asking a few questions here and there and offering some assistance in an off-forum exchange, which Gus and Brent did.

Anyhow, it was a big tool distraction. They happen now and then. It didn’t help that I was sick in bed for a few days, too. So sick that when I started watching “The Crow,” huddled under a blanket on the futon, I was too weak and sick to muster the will needed to make that incoherent and painful mess of a movie go away.

All better now, though.

Oh … and add the Griffin PowerMate to the list of things with support for Macintel boxes. The soothing blue glow is back on my desk.

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