Monday, July 1, 2013

Don't Use Beta Operating Systems on Your Only Computer

This is a public service announcement that may be an obvious statement to some people. Don't use a beta version of an operating system on your only computer.

Details - I decided to upgrade to the MacOS/X Mavericks Developer Preview. That is 10.9 for those of you who need a version number. I also upgraded to iOS7 on my iPod Touch. I must say I love the looks of the effects on iOS7. However I ran into the same issues on both systems - most everything works great except for a couple apps that I use all the time.

Since I don't have a spare Mac or spare iOS device just lying around, this was a major issue. Or would have been except I took some precautions.

For OS/X, I happened to have an app called SuperDuper! which takes a snapshot of a hard drive and clones it to an external hard drive. I had taken a snapshot right before doing the upgrade and hadn't really used the laptop much before realizing Mavericks had some issues. To revert, I just had to boot from the external drive and then SuperDuper! snapshot of the external hard drive back to the internal hard drive on my laptop and everything was back as if the whole developers preview upgrade had never happened.

For iOS7, I had also done a backup right before the upgrade. I don't think restoring a backup of a previous version of iOS is supported for whatever reason, but a quick Google search yielded instructions on how to download and install the latest version of iOS6 and then restore from the backup so all my apps and data are available again.

Lesson learned - if you have something vital to your day-to-day work, don't upgrade it to a beta. Run the beta in a virtual machine or spare computer if it is an operating system. If it's just an app, try to run the beta and real version in parallel if possible.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Want Cool Software - Help Build It!

My post yesterday about Gazingus Pins on my other blog got me thinking - if one of my biggest Gazingus Pins (something I spent money on without thinking about) is software - or apps as they say nowadays - maybe I should be looking to turn this urge to acquire and try out new software to good.

There is a large community of open source software developers out there all building a huge variety of cool apps and tools. When I see an app that looks like something I may want to buy, maybe instead I should go looking for an open source tool that accomplishes something similar and then if it is something I find myself using on a regular basis, jump in and help develop the app into something better.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pinto in Perl

Just checked out the latest episode of FLOSS Weekly about an application named Pinto In short, you download Pinto from CPAN and then run some commands to tell Pinto what Perl modules you are using and it will download the modules and keep track of them.

A couple features discussed on the show:

  • ability to create different "stacks" of Perl modules for different environments (development, test, production, etc) or operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) 
  • Version control of your stacks
  • "Pinning" which is locking a module to a specific version
  • Ability to merge in local modules that you don't want to be available on CPAN
After hearing a description of this, it got me wondering why these kind of things aren't available in CPAN in general? The main reason I can think of for not doing this is that it would vastly complicate the current CPAN set up.

If anyone pins an older version of a module, CPAN would have to keep that available forever. It could also lead to complexity tracking what is a local module not available anywhere else and what is a module available in CPAN in general.