Posts Tagged ‘osx’

Increasing the screen resolution on your Mac OSX VM

After part 2 of my Mac OSX VM tutorial, I said I’d post an update for how to increase the screen resolution.  It’s pretty simple; there are two files to edit, and if you want a resolution higher than 1280×1024, a virtualbox command to run on the host machine.  I’ll do two examples, then; one where we’ll change the VM to 1280×1024, and one where we’ll change it to 1680×1050.


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Creating a Mac OSX VM on a Windows 7 host (part 2)

Yesterday we set up the VirtualBox VM so it would be ready to install OSX on our Windows host. Today we’ll do the fun part :)


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Maximized windows in OSX

Several months ago, I complained about how Mac OSX’s “zoom” button is extremely inconsistent, and how the internet is full of Apple fanboys who insist that non-maximizing is The One True Way to compute and that you should just live without it, and once you get used to it you’ll like it.

From Apple’s OSX 10.7 ad page:

Full-screen apps. A better way to enjoy the apps you love.

On iPad, every app is displayed full screen, with no distractions, and there’s one easy way to get back to all your other apps. Mac OS X Lion does the same for your desktop. You can bring an app to full screen with one click, switch to another full-screen app with a swipe of the trackpad, and swipe back to the desktop to access your multi-window apps. And systemwide support for full-screen apps makes them bigger and more immersive. So you can concentrate on every detail of your work, or play on a grander scale than ever before.

Keep in mind that “fullscreen” and “maximized” serve exactly the same purpose, as far as productivity applications go.

So to all you people who told me things are better without a maximize button, well, obviously Apple has finally caught up to 1995 and realized it’s better maximized.  They even used the word “better”.

Maybe now people will believe me: a maximize button is far better than an inconsistent zoom button.

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Creating a Mac OSX VM on a Windows 7 host (part 1)

A couple of months ago, I got Mac OSX working as a Virtual Machine running under VirtualBox on my Windows 7 host. A few weeks later, after a VirtualBox update, the VM stopped working for some reason.

I just got around to re-creating the VM, and since I’ve been having to piece this together from half a dozen sources, I thought I’d write my own tutorial. I’ve already done this once tonight (well, when this post is published it will be last night), so I know it works; I’m just going to do exactly what I did three hours ago, taking screenshots along the way. Since it’s kind of long, I’ll split it into two parts. Part two will go up Friday.


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On consistency

Apple seems to think that nobody ever needs to maximize their application windows.  Instead, they provide a “zoom” button, which is supposed to toggle the window between “show as much content as possible” and a user-defined (manually set) size.

The problem is that this “zoom” button (which doesn’t actually zoom anything) is extremely inconsistent in behavior.  I draw these examples from my usage yesterday:

  • Terminal and Xcode treat “zoom” as “maximize”.
  • Safari tries to resize to fit content, but much of the time it’s wrong, and sometimes it fails entirely.  For example, on more than one website I clicked “zoom” and the window shrank, hiding even more content; clicking it again to try to toggle it back had no effect.  Safari seemed to do that a lot – the “zoom” button would simply do nothing, regardless of whether I had resized the window manually or not.
  • iTunes treats it as a toggle between miniature mode and the user-defined size.  That’s hardly a “zoom”, now is it?

If you search the intertubes for “OSX maximize window”, you’ll find that pretty much every Mac-centric forum is populated entirely by people who believe nobody ever needs to maximize windows (never mind that some of Apple’s own apps do exactly that); the common reply to “I want to maximize this window” is “no, you don’t” and “just live without it, you’ll get used to it”.  (Yeah, because you have no choice…)

There’s something to be said for the fact that even if “maximize” is not strictly necessary, at least you always know what the button will do (speaking of the functionality in Windows and Linux).

I don’t want to argue about whether the whole UI paradigm of OSX is right or wrong, but at the very least it should be consistent

Oh, and one other thing.  Apple, if you’re going to enforce a “no maximized windows” idea (by not supporting window maximization by default), you should at least enable snap-to-borders.

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