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Spaces is one of the coolest features of Leopard. In theory.

The way it works is you can create a virtual “grid” where you have several, identical “desktops” with different programs “assigned” to each.

You can either assign them permanently, or simply drag them between the Spaces as you see fit.

For instance, you can have the Web and iTunes in Space #1.
And when you want to do some Flash, or Photoshop just switch to, say, Space #2.
Or, “Word processing and presentations”? Jump to Space #3.
Ripping a DVD? Head on over to Space #5.

And so on. It makes a ton of sense. It’s a beautifully simple concept.
The problem is it doesn’t really work.

First of all, the major 3rd party apps Adobe’s CS3, and Microsoft’s Office 2008 (which I already addressed, here) simply don’t “play” well with Spaces. Nor do many others.

What happens is when you switch back and forth betweenst Spaces the apps get all wiggy. Their windows get mixed up, wonky, and greyed-out. Log-in screens and palettes get scattered between the Spaces, too. And you can’t get them back together again without restarting the program(s).

And, surprisingly, Apple’s own apps aren’t much better.
The main menu bar at the top of the screen often says “Safari”, which is in space #1, when you’re in Space #4 using FontBook.

And God help you if you like to use any of OSX’s other awesome features, like Expose, or the standard “TAB” to switch between apps, or “H” to “hide” apps… it gets even dicier.

Sometimes apps disappear completely.

Of course the larger problem here is Apple’s trademark “no comment”. Because although both Microsoft and Adobe have acknowledged the issue, they have both pointed their fingers squarely at Spaces, and Apple.

Not much of a surprise.

But Apple needs to step up here.

Why? Because it’s their operating system. And they have a duty to make sure it not only does what they say it does, but also play well with at LEAST the other big dogs in the park.

After all, isn’t that what separates them from Windows?

They need to acknowledge the issue exists, pronto, and then fix it on their end. Again, pronto.
And then help the Devs fix it on their end.

Yesterday.

Regardless of who’s fault it is, the fact remains that Spaces doesn’t work as-advertised. Despite several updates of Leopard, and both CS3 and Office 2008.

And message boards across teh internets are strewn with questions upon questions about these exact issues. All with ZERO answers.

Everyone’s repeatedly hoping that the “next update” will fix this. Finger’s crossed.
But help never comes.

Thousands and thousands of loyal customers are simply “dealing with it”.

This is unacceptable. Buts (surprise) if it got more press… it will get fixed.

I’m doing my part. Now for MacWorld, Mac Addict, Computerworld, Cnet, etc, et all.

Guys?

-e

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I’m writing this post in the brand-new-ish Microsoft Word 2008. But just barely.

The good news is Microsoft really kicked some ass with Office 2008, and made it better (mostly), sleeker, and “Mac”-ier. And most of the reviews out there say essentially that.

The only problem is that Word (the only program of the bunch I use every day) doesn’t work with Mac’s “Spaces” (a feature I use every minute).

It’s so bad it essentially renders Word 2008 unusable.

When you switch Spaces, you “take” a part of Word with you into the other Spaces; be it the main window, the formatting palette, or the menu bar. And when you click on any of these, you get zoomed back to another space, with another piece. And try-as-you-might, you can’t seem to get them back together again.

Like Humpty-Dumpty.

This is too bad, because almost everything else about Office 2008 is hat’s-off to M$oft. And 6th sense about these things tells me that the ball is in their court on this one.

Achem?

The Lacie Boycott

In August of ’07 I bought one of these:

linky

First of all, this drive is NOT 2 Terabytes. No sir ree. LaCie is misleading, at the very least, in their marketing. This is actually four 500 Gigabyte drive, shoved in one case, and laid out in a RAID array. Which means your data is written in little, tiny pieces on all 4 drives. So, if one of the 4 drives fails, you’re screwed. Or, as in my case, if the “controller” part of the RAID fails, and can only read 1 of the drives, you’re equally screwed.

I already had a couple of 250 Gig drives, and I got this one just to back up my DVDs and Music (the bigger stuff). And immediately I noticed some “rattling” noise, almost like something wasn’t attached properly inside. So I reported it to LaCie and they sent me a return box. I shipped it in, and they backed up my data (but only after begging them), they put it on a new drive, and sent it back to me.

Good, right? Well, not so fast.

Almost immediately after I got it out of the box, and plugged it in, it started spinning REALLY FAST. So, I emailed their tech support again. And they said “unplug it for 30 minutes”.

So, I did, but the symptoms persisted. I emailed them back… but nothing. I emailed them back again… still nothing.

Then, the drive started “dropping” from my system window. Just like that, it would “unmount”, randomly. So I emailed tech support again, and they told me to use a different power supply.

But then they emailed back and said “wait… DON’T USE A DIFFERENT POWER SUPPLY!”… which was very confusing. Because I was getting different emails from different tech support guys telling me to do, or don’t do, different things.

Then it just plum died. Well, not totally. I could bring it up in “disk utility”, but it only read 1 drive, just ¼ of the RAID array. Meaning something wasn’t “connecting” the drives together.

I emailed them about that… but heard nothing back. So I called.I talked to a very un-inspiring guy who told me that it “looked bleak”, but offered to send me a new power supply, because in his experience the power supplies were “frying the RAID controllers”. Wait. WHAT?!?!?

So he sent me a new power supply that did absolutely nothing.I called back, and that’s when they told me to call a “data recovery” place, and gave me a couple of numbers to call…

$10,000.00.

Seriously.

$10,000.00!

And LaCie WON’T HELP AT ALL.

The don’t have even an “ad hock” data recovery function. Not even an enclosure they can put these 4 drives in and re-connect the RAID. They ONLY fix the drives (which makes absolutely no sense), and they ever-so-smugly reminded me that “in the fine print” it stated clearly, yet small-ly, that they don’t do “data recovery”. Ironic, isn’t it?

Never mind that this is a “hardware failure” in that the CONTROLLER that connects the drives together was FRIED BY THEIR POWER SUPPLY. I asked them very nicely, based on my extended, and storied back-and-forth with customer service, if they would “help” defray the cost.

They said, in effect, hell no.

Now, you may ask “why don’t you just let those movies and music go?” Well… because… and this is a funny story… right before the drive failed I got Mac OSX Leopard. And I wanted to use the new Time Machine backup scheme, instead of my (achem) LaCie SilverKeeper backup-to-backup scheme. So I moved my backup to another drive, and that backup to this 2TB drive (which again, LaCie ASSURED me was still fine)… and that very day, as if on cue, it gasped it’s final breath.

Here’s the kicker: it just so happens that at that exact point in time the ONLY thing that wasn’t backed up… was my entire professional portfolio. Seriously.

Look. I’m a backup fanatic. I have always had a backup of my backups (though previously only on FWdisks, not DVDs). But the one, seriously ONE time I flew by the seat of my pants (so to speak) for ONE DAY I got burned, and burned bad by LaCie, their faulty products, and their awful customer service. On a drive that was acting a bit wonky, but a drive that they assured me was a-ok.

The funny thing was I had read many, many, many BAD reviews of LaCie products before I bought this one (just do a quick Google search, or even check out the ones on the Amazon site link). I had read all the computer magazines reviews, and saw that almost ALL other drives consistently had better ratings than LaCie. But, unfortunately, I was suckered in by price, and a misleading description of the drive.

And false hope.

Well, now I’ve got to send in my drive to LaCie’s “partner” data recovery service (sound fishy?) and spend an ungodly amount of money to recover data from a drive that failed from 10000% hardware malfunctions. As in: LaCie’s faulty power supply fried LaCie’s RAID controller. As in LaCie’s fault*.

So learn from my mistake. Back up your back ups of your back ups. On DVDs as well. And if you’re going to buy a large external drive, find out if it’s a RAID. If it is, think again about buying it.And more importantly, avoid LaCie like the plague they are. In fact, tell everyone you know to avoid LaCie. Buy any other brand… well, except Maxtor. They’re the only brand with *almost* as many bad reviews as LaCie. Almost.

A call to arms. Boycott LaCie.

e

*Lawyers: a class action suit against LaCie would net you about a zillion dollars. But all I want is my data recovery expenses reimbursed.