If you've installed Snow Leopard and your fonts are fuzzy, clap your hands

Posted on Fri, 28 Aug 2009
Users of third-party monitors who are performing a fresh install of Snow Leopard may notice a preference that's missing. Ever since Apple first implemented subpixel font antialiasing in Jaguar, there's been an option to adjust the style of antialiasing used on your monitor. If OS X couldn't determine that your third-party monitor was a LCD monitor, you could still set the kind of antialiasing used manually.

That control has been removed in Snow Leopard. The only option now is labeled "Use LCD font smoothing when available", but the definition of "available" doesn't include the majority of LCDs on the market. Users who upgrade from a 10.5 install will keep their setting (as far as I can tell), but new users or fresh installs will revert back to the default grayscale-only antialiasing.

Fortunately there's a workaround. Just open up Terminal and run the following command:

defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2
If you used the "weak" setting on Leopard, replace the last number with 1; if you used the "strong" setting, that'd be a 3. Then log out and log in again for the setting to take effect. When you look at the Appearance preferences now, you'll see a checkbox in indeterminate state like this:

That's what it should look like; don't touch it!

It's More Fun To Compute

Posted on Tue, 11 Aug 2009
Last edited Tue, 11 Aug 2009
Steven Frank posts about a reply from Phil Schiller about the iPhone developer program and his self-imposed iPhone boycott. Phil promises that they're working on the issues Steven raised, and his recent communication with influential technical bloggers shows that Apple is serious about changing people's perception. The problem is that the approval process won't ever be good enough.

It's ironic that the company that "ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II" would also make the first touchscreen device I've owned that isn't programmable. Over the past decade I've always had a programmable computer that I could carry almost anywhere. My Pilot Pro with cBasPad was followed by a sequence of ever more powerful devices and more interesting programming languages. I'm now carrying a T-Mobile G1 (HTC Dream) with Google's own Android Scripting Environment. Each of these devices has allowed me to relive the simple joy I discovered long ago on an Apple IIc in solving problems by writing software.

My iPod touch has better software and hardware than any of the other portable devices I've owned in almost every way. It's smaller, faster, smoother, and generally put together with more thought and care. It's not perfect, but I like it quite a lot. It's the best portable music player I've ever owned. But it still couldn't replace the Pilot Pro I owned ten years ago.

Apple is so committed to the idea of controlling my experience on the iPhone OS platform that it's unwilling to allow me to create my own experiences on the device. It doesn't matter to me if they're going to be more open or less arbitrary about the app approval process in the future. It still won't compute.