A Universal Binary Only Existence

by Derrick Story

Universal Binary.gif

I invested in a MacBook Pro 17" to better handle Aperture, Lightroom, and other demanding apps. In the process, I've become hooked in Universal Binary software. So much so, that's all I want on my MB Pro. But can man live by UB alone?

Why do I even care? Quite frankly, I like the way the software runs on the MacBook Pro. It launches quickly and performs with the speed I expected from this computer. Yes, I could run non-UB apps under Rosetta (MS Word, Photoshop, etc.), but why do it if I don't have to?

For imaging software, the situation isn't bad. iPhoto 6, Aperture, and Lightroom are my core apps, and they are UB. Photoshop CS and Elements are not. So I've rounded out my toolbox with LiveQuartz, EasyCrop, iPhoto Library Manager, and Boinx's FotoMagico... all Universal Binary. And, I haven't forgotten about the versatility of Apple's Preview for lots of imaging tasks.

For word processing, I've stuck with Nisus Writer Express and Apple's Pages to handle my Word docs. TextEdit can read them too. And every computer should have a copy of TextWrangler on it. MarsEdit is my blogging software of choice right now. FireFox and Safari are just fine as my web browsers.

I was happy to discover that Epson had released UB drivers for the R2400 printer, and Canon posted a UB version of its driver for my little i80 inkjet printer. Those are now installed and running beautifully.

SnapNDrag is a terrific screen capture tool (and it's free), and I couldn't imagine life without Audio Hijack Pro.

My MacBook Pro isn't my everyday lug-around laptop yet, but I'm feeling like it could be. Often, when I'm doing intensive production work on it, I'll take breaks to check mail, browse the web, and work on O'Reilly projects. So far, a Universal Binary existence is working just fine for me.


2006-06-12 10:32:02
That may be - but as long as this isn't about your main computer where you do all your work and communication etc., I don't think many of the points are valid. For many people out there (maybe a little more "Mac centric" people), Adobe/Macromedia apps are key elements. For others, MS Office _is_ key, and they _can't_ simply replace it with something that can "view MS docs fine". And then there are the little tools that make life on a Mac _worth_ the Mac, and for example StuffIt Deluxe is _not_ universal just yet. Of course one can easily switch to .zip instead of .sit - but that's more easily _said_ than _done_ if you've been working with StuffIt for more than 10 years. ;)

On the positive side: My MacBook's 2 GB of RAM handle most instances where Rosetta is involved with enough ease not to bother me too much.

2006-06-12 11:26:34
Just because it isn't my main computer *yet*, I don't think that renders the points invalid. I like to take my time setting up a new laptop so it is as clean and efficient as possible. This post represents part of that process -- finding new apps and workflows better suited to the hardware.

Also, Nisus Writer Express is more than "viewing MS docs," as is Pages. And in case you haven't checked, Lightroom is Adobe, and it is UB. I can see that guy who still uses .sit for compression might not be thrilled with my experiment. But I doubt you'll find many people more Mac centric than me.

2006-06-12 14:26:28
I wouldn't bet my future on StuffIt Deluxe. After Apple unbundled StuffIt Expander with 10.4 most software developers stopped distributing their products in SIT format, switching to ZIP, DMG, and TAR instead. My hunch is an increasing number of end users (especially newer ones) are or will also be looking for StuffIt alternatives.

Have you tried Belight Software's Image Tricks, Derrick?

2006-06-12 14:45:29
I have tried (and use) Image Tricks and should have mentioned it in my post. I think it's a terrific app with easy to understand interface and access to lots of good Core Image effects. Plus, they include a cropping tool, which is a nice touch. It's free too.
2006-06-12 15:03:21
I don't understand the motivation for this. If the app works and does the job, who cares how it is implemented? If there are performance problems running under Rosetta that's one thing, but for many apps that isn't an issue at all. To me this sounds like saying "I'll only use applications written in Pascal, or Ruby, or whatever." To me what's important is how the software works, not how it's inner details are implemented.
2006-06-12 15:28:23
Jim, Have you used Photoshop under Rosetta?
James Bailey
2006-06-12 16:31:35
Different Jim but yes I've used PS with Rosetta but not the latest. Photoshop 7.0 seems pretty good to me but I'm not expert. Of course I'm also coming from a 800 GHz & 1.25 GHz G4 so that might explain it. But except for a few filters, PS 7 seems about the same speed on my 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro as on my PowerBook and Mac mini.

I would be interested if someone would compare PS 7 with CS2 to see if it performs better under Rosetta.

2006-06-12 17:00:11
I understand saying that some particular application (for example Photoshop) doesn't perform well so you are looking for alternatives for that application. What I don't understand is why you would arbitrarily say that you don't want ANY non universal binary applications on your computer. If an application performs ok under Rosetta then what's the problem?

The transition from OS 9 to OS X was a different story -- OS X applications had compelling advantages. But in this transisition often the only way to tell the difference is to use the Get Info command.

2006-06-12 17:02:16
Hey Jim, it's an exercise, and a fun one... or at least it was :)
2006-06-12 17:24:43
But in this transisition often the only way to tell the difference is to use the Get Info command.
Or the Kind field of the Applications pane of System Profiler or "system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType" command output. :-)
2006-07-08 13:31:17
So here is a question for everyone. How come, with all the graphics people and photographers who work on Mac's, is there almost no applications that have (or at least talk that much about) lossless jpeg transformations? I want to do lossless cropping in an interactive format, there are some unix tools like this one, but nothing like this which is on windows only. I know that PhotoMechanic will do most (if not all) of what Better JPEG will, but it is 6 times the price. I like the fact that it will add visual water marks onto the photo and will only recompress the area where the watermater/ "text stamp" is being placed, but leave the rest of the photo alone.

I was able to get ljcrop to work, I had to download TCL for Mac/X86 and install that. But it does work, but it is rather clumsy.

If anyone knows of anything like Better JPEG for the Mac, I would love to hear about it.

2006-07-19 11:44:30
Chris, I'm no expert at all, but GraphicConverter is UB and I believe it handles JPEG lossless trasformations. Derrick, how come GC X isn't part of your experimental toolset?

I also use Lightroom on my MB Pro precisely because trying to use Photoshop CS's Camera RAW plugin and PS itself is a pain. I have a 2.16Ghz MacBook Pro with 2GB RAM.

By the way, I bumped into this thread, trying to find out why my Stuffit Deluxe Contextual Menu doesn't work on my MB pro, it's probably because it isn't UB, right?

2007-07-20 00:38:01
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