Random Quickies: RAB Friday VI, FontExplorer X, Flash Player 8

Friday, 2005-09-23; 00:37:00

Well, it's Friday again. Imagine that! Today's bug is a simple one, regarding Dashboard. Let's say I've been using the computer for a while (like about 6 hours or so) and I've been using it pretty intensely (lots of memory/CPU usage). Then I press the button to invoke Dashboard. On my computer, it takes literally 30 seconds or so for Dashboard and the widgets to even SHOW UP. No spinning beachball or any notification of why Dashboard is taking so long to activate. It just freezes up and you can't do anything until Dashboard decides to show itself. (In case you were wondering, iTunes still DOES keep playing its music, so it's just the user interface that is totally frozen up.)

This bug seems to be different from the situation where it takes your widgets a minute or so to update and get up to speed -- most well-behaved widgets go into a sort of "sleep" state if you haven't activated Dashboard for a while, so it takes a bit for them to show the correct information. That's fine, I can deal with that. But I really don't like having to wait 30 seconds before any user interface reaction.

Bug filed under #4270684.

Since it's RAB Friday, I figure I might also report a bug in a third-party application that I recently downloaded, and the status of a bug in another.

First up: FontExplorer X. Here's the bug: DON'T HOSE MY SYSTEM RIGHT AFTER ASKING ME HOW TO MANAGE MY FONTS. Simple as that. Seriously, though -- I launched the application, it asked me how I wanted to manage my fonts (by copying, by moving, or no management). I chose by copying (and I also told it to use my existing Font Book collections), and then it analyzed my fonts and ended up moving some required font out of my /System/Library/Fonts or /Library/Fonts folder. I noticed it immediately because Safari's RSS mode started displaying weirdly, and then after quitting and reopening applications, they started using some other font for menus rather than Lucida Grande. I knew something was hosed already.

And no, I didn't even touch any of the fonts -- FontExplorer was simply doing its little analysis thing that it does at first launch, and it messed up the fonts while doing that. Not a good first run; needless to say I deleted it right after I fixed the problem. I was able to rectify the situation, luckily, by telling FontExplorer to activate all fonts, restarting, and then telling Font Book (Apple's built-in font management application) to also activate all fonts.

I never really needed any font management beyond Font Book anyway.

Next up: Macromedia Flash Player. In version 8, which was apparently recently released, they fixed a serious bug from previous versions: IT DOESN'T RUN GLACIALLY SLOW ANYMORE! (In case you were wondering, I attempted to make some funny analogy to the Finder trying to make icon previews on a mounted server, but it didn't sound too funny.)

Seriously, though, it's actually fast! Flash player performance has never been that great on the Mac for some reason, but they've sure upped the performance in version 8. There are three ways I usually test Flash performance: Eye4U, HomestarRunner.com Stinkoman Level 9 (just press "Continute"), and Orisinal's Aim & Fire. Aim & Fire seems much faster than it ever was, and Eye4U and Stinkoman are much faster when dealing with many objects at once. Do note, though, that I'm on an 800 MHz G4 iMac, so those with faster computers might not notice the same speedup.

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