VMWare Fusion is great for running all kinds of virtual machines on my Mac and the new version 6 is a great upgrade. I’ll use it to run older versions of Mac OS X for testing, the Internet Explorer VMs from Microsoft for browser compatibility with web apps, and for running server apps on a virtual Linux box. Often when running a Linux server I’ll connect to the VM using SSH and use native Mac apps and iTerm 2 rather than access the VM through the virtual display. It’s always bothered me having that extra window around, even when minimized, so went in search of a way to run a VM without it, in a "headless" mode.
I came across a new and interesting open source embeddable web server written in Objective-C for Mac and iOS apps called Barista. It’s inspired by the Express web application framework for Node.js and allows you to compose a processing pipeline by connecting middleware components that operate on the HTTP requests and responses being handled by the server. The framework is being developed by Steve Streza, formerly of Pocket, now gone indie and having also recently released Ohai. It’s early days for the project, could use some help, but is definitely interesting and worth a look.
OS X Applications for Windows Users
Controversial title? Maybe. However, as yet another former, lifelong Windows user making the switch to Mac, it’s a question I’ve legitimately asked. As great as I think OS X is, I’ve caught myself a few times wishing that it had some particular feature, or an OS X-ish version of that feature, that I often used in Windows.
Of course, many Apple fanatics assure me that it’s not the OS; it’s something wrong with me (which is a theory I’m willing to entertain). The basic fact is that Microsoft did do some things right with Windows that could benefit OS X and it’s silly to pretend that isn’t the case.
As a very simple case, when I’m using a Windows application, if I hold down Alt (the traditional key to begin a menu item shortcut), all of the letters that launch a particular menu will be underlined on the main menu. It’s a very intuitive method for accessing application menus. There really isn’t anything in OS X like this out of the box. There are ways to use 3rd party applications get close enough though…and that’s the purpose of this article.
I am talking about a neat developer tool from Apple for use on Mac OS 10.7 and later. It is called Network Link Conditioner. It is a preference pane that, when installed, will appear in the System Preferences application.
Network Link Conditioner allows you to simulate various kinds of network conditions so that you can test your application for different network speeds. And, that is awesome! When installed in System Preferences, this is how the pane looks: