Spore for Mac: Worst Purchase Experience Ever

Spore Creature

Spore Creature (Photo credit: Liam Gladdy)

I bought Spore for Mac as a digital download from Amazon.  It was only $12, but it wasn’t worth it.

Step 1:  Download a 4 GB disk image.  Good thing I have a 50 Mbit net connection.

Step 2:  Open the .dmg, install Spore and launch.  Spore says there are updates available, so click Yes, download and install the updates.  This takes about as long as the original download.

Step 3:  Launch Spore.  Spore says there are updates available, so click Yes.  Repeat this twice more for a total of FOUR gigantic downloads and slow installs.

Step 4:  Finally, Spore doesn’t say there are updates available.  Yay!  I get to play my game now!  Wrong!  The splash screen comes up for about two seconds, then Spore crashes.

Step 5:  Root around the web a bit, find this good description of the problem (scroll down to “Nevoah” if you want to read it) and how to work around it.

Step 6:  Delete the entire freakin’ Spore installation and start at step 2, but SAY NO TO THE UPDATES offer.  This lets you enter the product keys that came with the game.  Once the game launches and runs OK, you can quit and continue with step 3 (seemingly endless downloading and updating).

Elapsed Time:  2 hours.

Image representing Electronic Arts as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

EA:  You can’t afford to just bundle up all the stupid updates into one download that works the first time?  This is ridiculous.

Make Emacs Work with Cathode.app


Cathode (Photo credit: zcopley)

I’m trying to shed the habit of pointing out tiny flaws while failing to acknowledge the overall picture, so: Cathode is TOTALLY GREAT, and the only reason I care about these small flaws is that I want to be able to use it exclusively. (Yeah, iTerm has more great features, tmux, great ANSI color mapping, etc., but it doesn’t look anywhere near as good.) I’m even motivated to get one of the upcoming Ivy Bridge Macbook Pros because I think they’ll run with no fan noise with Cathode at higher frame rates. (I’m on a MacBook Air, where above ~20 fps the fans come on.)

In Cathode 1.2.0, there are a couple of xterm emulation bugs that affect me when using the Emacs and “less” that ship with OS X Lion (10.7). This video demonstrates the first bug.

To work around it, put the following code in a file (cathode.terminfo, f’rinstance), “tic” the file, then add “export TERM=cathode” to your .bashrc:

# cathode.terminfo -- Cathode.app version 1.2.0 Terminfo entry
# install with "tic cathode.terminfo"
# Use "infocmp cathode" to see the resulting full description
# This version (1.2.0) of Cathode has an overwrite vs. insert
# problem which xterm-256color exposes but rxvt-256color doesn't.  The
# remaining quirk is that Cathode doesn't understand [27m to end
# "standout" mode, but does understand [m, so we'll use that.
cathode|Mac Cathode.app 1.2.0,
        rmso=\E[m, use=rxvt-256color,

Open a new window and verify that Emacs and less work correctly.