How to improve the mouse speed on Mac OS X

Ok, I've been annoyed by this since the very first day I've been using my Mac Mini: the mouse feels weird, very weird. Broken actually!

Part of my problem was the Bluetooth operating range, which I could only fix by moving the mac nearer to where I usually use my mouse in my living room.

However, the core problem is still the acceleration curve. When you move the mouse on OSX, it first moves verrrry slowly, so you move it faster and when you reach a certain speed the mouse suddenly accelerates like crazy.

This is not controllable through the "tracking speed" slider in the control panel. The tracking speed is only the fastest the mouse will go. (And you can actually make it go even faster!) But my problem is not with how fast it would eventually get. My problem is with how freaking slow it initially starts (even at max traking speed).

Solutions

Apple's been stubbornly unresponsive to this problem, as they always are, especially when the mouse is at stake (took them 10 years to aknowlege the need for a right button... good luck with acceleration!)

Fortunately, since the last time I checked (errr... 2005 :roll:), third party fixes now work well on intel Macs.

Check these out:

  • USB Overdrive (no bluetooth support, but you can try it as long as you need)
  • SteerMouse (15 days trial only but it can handle the bluetooth Mighty mouse)

Since I'm trying to do some desk work right now and have a wired mouse, I'm currently and happily using USB Overdrive with these settings:

  • Speed: 120 dpi (feels like Windows fast ;))
  • Acceleration: 50% (no longer feels like sticking to the mouse pad ;))

I'll try SteerMouse when I go back to "Media Player" configuration...

How to open Windows Explorer with the Folders shown

Dammit, I had this at the time I was using Windows 2000 and I don't understand how I beared living without it ever since. My life just got better, again ;)

Here's what you need if you want a shortcut to open the Explorer on a given folder (for example: D:\www\), with the Folders pane open (which standard shortcuts don't open):

C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe /e,D:\www\

Mac OS vs Windows font rendering

I want to recommend this post by Joel Spolski about differences in font rendering philosophy between Mac OS & Windows.

I never really understood why Apple failed to render sharp fonts on screen. Now I understand the purpose. I'm still not sure which is best though... ;)

About the PHP 5 migration chicken & egg issue

It's been 3 years since PHP 5 has been released. Yet PHP 4 still rules on the vast majority of web hosting platforms.

This is annoying for PHP open source developers who cannot leverage the potential of PHP 5 as long as they need to support PHP 4. This is also annoying for the PHP development group since they still need to support PHP 4 instead of focusing on PHP 6.

In a way it is also annoying for the web hosts themselves, since they too need to deal with clients who want PHP4 compatibility and others who want PHP5 features.

What strikes me is that the solution seems obvious, and yet the PHP team fails to recognize it.

The only reason webhosting providers haven't massively upgraded to PHP 5 yet is because it would break applications running on their current client's site. It may also prevent new clients from installing well known applications (phpBB...) which may fail on PHP5.

Of course, that would not have been such an issue if PHP5 was indeed upward compatible with PHP4. But it isn't! (object references, clone keyword, etc.) So what do we do now?

Web hosts install PHP5 next to PHP4, but you need to rename your scripts to script.php5 instead of script.php ... which breaks existing URLs... so no-one uses that either.

The real simple solution would be for the PHP team to release some PHP 5.x version which would actually behave like PHP 4 (completely!) with a simple config switch. It could then be installed in place of PHP 4 without breaking anything.

Once that is done, any PHP application that is PHP5 aware would just include something like this:

PHP

ini_set'compatibility''5' );

and everything would be fine.

Maybe PHP5 should have 2 separate php.ini files. Maybe that ini_set() call should be required to come at the very top of the script. Maybe it should be a different function. But all in all, the solution seems so simple you have to wonder why anyone would want to support the older version for 3 years instead...

Still dreaming about the ideal FTP tool

Besides the basics, there's three simple things I'd expect from an FTP client:

  1. Symetrically navigate in subfolders locally and remotely with single clicks;
  2. Upload files and overwrite the server side only if the local file is newer;
  3. Search the server for old files that no longer exist locally (with an option to ignore folders that contain user uploaded content).

I have never ever found a Windows tool doing all 3 ! :'(

  • CuteFTP 8 Pro does #1 and that's about it (Its folder sync tools are basically a joke : it compares dates without comparing times!)
  • FileZilla 2.32 does #2 but that's about it.
  • My old DreamWeaver MX does #3 but is so painfully slow that it's barely bearable!

I'm so impatient to see FileZilla 3 as well as the new DreamWeaver CS3... but I fear I'm gonna be disappointed again... :-/

Maybe I should start to figure out how to run rsync on Windows right now... |-|