Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report

23 April 2004 2 pm | 5 pm

In today’s Report:
A List Apart No. 178
CSS Drop Shadows, Part II: fuzzy shadows.
I’d Like to Buy the World a Mac
The end of the end of print.

ALA issue 178

In Issue 178 of A List Apart, for people who make websites:

CSS Drop Shadows II: Fuzzy Shadows

by Sergio Villarreal

Picking up where he left off, designer Sergio Villarreal takes his standards-compliant drop-shadow to the next level by producing warm and fuzzy shadows.

I’d Like to Buy the World a Mac

I love my Mac. I feel about it what no man should feel about a computer. Most Mac users believe they are lucky to work with such a beautiful and extraordinary system. Few Windows users in my experience have reported feeling the same kind of tactile pleasure and creative rush I get every time I park myself in front of this thing to do a little work.

In the late 1990s, the press was engaged in an Apple death watch, and even the guy who delivered sandwiches to the office I worked in at the time would shake his head sadly, and say, “Mac, Mac! You got to get Windows, Mac is going away!” What did I do? I bought a new Mac. It’s what all of us did who loved the platform and were not about to let negative speculation become fact.

Every time I design a website in Photoshop, I leave the body text non-antialiased, because ugly, pixellated text is what most computer users will see. I wish they could see what I see when I use OS X. Even Amazon looks pretty because of the Mac’s superior text handling. If I had Bill Gates’s money, I would buy a Mac for every person who needs a computer.

Okay? So I’m a fan. And nobody, not even Steve Jobs, wants Apple to succeed and grow as much as I do.

That being said, kindly indulge me when I occasionally point out flaws that incapacitate the system or one of its essential components. Fortunately today I know of a solution as well as a problem.

Me Print Pretty One Day documented my inability to print after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.3.3 via Software Update. Many Mac users have experienced similar problems; Apple’s advice doesn’t help. Printer Setup Repair, a wonderfully complete and inexpensive third-party utility, fixes nearly every known Mac OS X printing problem. But not this one.

Reader Daniel Staal pointed me to AllOSX’s Panther Printing Fix, which explains how Apple’s update breaks the printing system — and more importantly, at least in some cases, how Panther Printing Fix can repair the damage:

The Panther upgrade install appears to forget to create a couple of new Panther users. In particular the ‘lp’ and ‘postfix’ users are not created. When permissions are repaired via Disk utility the missing users cause damage to the print system.

Basically, even if you installed Panther via Archive and Install (as I did), when you let Software Update install 10.3.3, the utility performs a standard Upgrade that is incomplete. After rebooting, when you repair permissions as Apple recommends, the system is damaged and you lose the ability to print. (This may not happen if you ignore the installation disks’ default user interface the first time you install Panther, and insist on doing things the hard way. In other words, if you behave like an expert user, and ignore the easy one-click process Apple is trying to get you to use, you might avoid this and other problems.)

The first time I ran Panther Printing Fix, it failed to solve the problem.

The second time I ran it, I was able to print via a networked Epson printer — though I still cannot print from a second Epson printer that is connected to this Mac via USB. But one working printer is infinitely better than none.

I don’t know how Apple can grow its market share, but the company could avoid losing users if, before unveiling its latest spectacular innovation, the engineers check to make sure that upgrades don’t damage the system or remove functionality as basic as the ability to print. If you ask me.

Highlights from recent Daily Reports

Valley of Shadows
We wake to a wailing chorus of sirens.
Anno Dominey
Designer extraordinaire Todd Dominey releases Flash slide show source, including editable XML and XHTML files.
Reservocation 16
Typography on the web and other subjects.
Pingo was his name-o
Let your pinger do the walking.
Me Print Pretty One Day
OS X 10.3.3 upgrade creates printing problems for thousands, including me. More to come on this one.
Project Amnion
A small announcement.
ALA 177
The Problem, the Balloon, and the Four Bedroom House (taming unruly projects, by Joe Di Stefano). Let Them Eat Cake (usability and accessibility combined in a simple DOM-based page view project, by Aaron Gustafson).
God is telling me to become a fisherman
Design is more than meets the eye
A rudimentary computing task should not require arcane knowledge of secret handshakes. Good design is about more than surface appearance.
Carbon Copy Cloner and Font Corruption
If you own and manage many fonts, think twice before cloning.

There is more

More highlights and back orders may be found in our Essentials Department.