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A Second Day At The Beach: The Mavericks Saga Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This


Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Days Later...

5 November 2013

Why is it that "upgrades" always seem to entail a dramatic loss of productivity? Had we upgraded to Mavericks on our main machine, we'd have gotten a lot less work done today than we did. But there's an explanation for that.

In a word, it's complexity.

If our laptop life were as confined as our tablet life, upgrading to Mavericks wouldn't have made the least little blip on our heart monitor. And having moved from iOS 4 to iOS 7 in the course of our iPad adventure, we can testify that none of those upgrades hampered our productivity.

It's not that Mavericks is causing us grief, but it's taking a while to sort out a few things that are important to our daily round, which involves a lot of software working happily together.

But here we are writing our first story on a Mavericks machine.


It's true that the current Airport Utility has never supported the original Airport Express models. And it's also true that the portable little Wireless B boxes are immensely useful and, consequently, still in use.

Previous version of Mac OS X allowed you to run an older version of Airport Utility (v5.6) to access the Airport Express. But Mavericks won't launch it.

We did find the solution, however.

Corey Mahler has created Airport Utility 5.6.1 Launcher that includes both the old application and a launcher so you can once again access your Airport Express.


Too bad he can't be confined to a chair until he does the same small miracle for MT-Newswatcher.

Usenet was never one of the better Internet neighborhoods, spawning some of the rudest online behavior imaginable. But it is useful for seeing what people are talking about.

Unfortunately because MT-Newswatcher (really the best Usenet news reader we ever used) relies on Open Transport, it's no longer functional on Mavericks, which has dumped Open Transport.

And there just isn't an adequate replacement.

Two solutions come to mind. Run Crossover and a Windows newsreader (alas, which one we can't say). Or keep that old aluminum PowerBook G4 plugged in so you can still run MT-Newswatcher.

We should also mention Postbox, which functions as a newsreader in addition to handling email, as a possible solution but our workflow keeps Usenet and email separate.


There's some discussion about the loss of USB sync from iTunes for Contacts and Calendars (you have to go through iCloud for that now) but we have a worse tale.

We connect (every six months of so) our not-so-smart cell, a Motorola Razr, to Lion via the old iSync (which when restored from the previous OS release worked just fine). But Mavericks refuses to run iSync.

This isn't a big deal to us, frankly. We're amused the original Razr battery outlasted iSync. That shouldn't happen in the grand scheme of things. But we're ready for a new phone anyway. Not just a new battery.


We've read some reports of problems exporting from Lightroom 5 so we launched it and gave it a shot.

Worked fine.

We didn't spend a long time in Lightroom but it seems as if every new launch on Mavericks takes a while. We don't get control of the cursor back right away as it scrambled to display our 50,000 thumbnails. Which is, we suppose, to be expected.

Could be Spotlight. Or some other mysterious process, some iCloud sync maybe. Out of the blue, as we were writing this, we had an alert than an extension we never use was suspect, so something is going on behind the scene.

An Alert. A warning popped up when we connected the scanner to our USB port.

We expect all this to clear up. You know how that works. Your computer seems to learn what to do after a while.


We have just played with dictation. That last line was dictated. And it seems to work pretty well. We're using Enhanced Dictation so we can work off-line.

But we can type faster then we can dictate. This section was entirely dictated with only one error.


Our biggest issue so far has been using TextWrangler with Spell Catcher, a writing tool we rely on to check our spelling, convert shortcuts into text and format text.

Spell Catcher mostly works, oddly enough. Evan Goss was a genius, that's the explanation. And he's sorely missed.

Unfortunately shortcut expansion just doesn't work in TextWrangler, TextMate or Brackets. The substitutions are truncated. It works fine in TextEdit, InDesign and Pages, though. We did contact Bare Bones Software about this and they replied promptly but there's nothing they (or anyone for that matter) can do about Spell Catcher.

We're hoping it's a Mavericks issue. We'll see what the first update brings. There are often pleasant surprises in first updates.

Meanwhile it is possible that Grammarian (which advertises 10.9 compatibility) will work.

And it's also possible we'll find a way around the problem in TextWrangler by using Services (which you can build in Automator) or just simple AppleScripts. Unfortunately, the Text expansion capability built into Mavericks itself doesn't work in TextWrangler either. And if that's the only issue, there are other text expanding utilities that may plug the hole.

TextWrangler makes it very easy to throw all sorts of automation at a story as we write it, so we're loathe to give it up. And those Bare Bones people are just the best.


We use Image Capture to ingest photos from our storage cards. It writes them to a watched folder that launches an AppleScript that moves them into a dated folder with a slug (for which we are prompted) and optionally converts any Raw files to DNG files.

Complexity, remember?

We popped an SD card into the card reader on the laptop and our scheme worked the way it always has. Hurray.

Embolden by success, we thought we'd try the CanoScan 9000F hooked up to the laptop.

Again we launched Image Capture and it found the scanner, did the preview and, on our command, scanned the image. No issues.

VueScan. No problem accessing the 9000F.

VueScan didn't have any trouble access or controlling the 9000F either. But then Ed Hamrick is another genius.


We wrote and converted this story on Mavericks, so our publishing system has survived the update. The screen shots were done on Mavericks, too, although our ImageMagick installation broke so we had to resort to Photoshop v12 to scale the VueScan screen shot. That ran normally but ImageMagick is one of those helpful utilities than is not trivial to install.

And it's dinner time.

On balance, this is pretty good news for making a two version operating system jump. Not good enough to warrant updating our main machine yet, but good enough to keep working things out rather than reverting to Lion.

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