IDEA 8 on Java 6 on the Mac

That's a lot of "ons" for just a title but it's descriptive at least.  I've been having some problems launching IDEA 8 on my macbook pro since upgrading to 8.0 final (the RCs were fine strangely enough).  I tracked it down to a plugin that had been built against Java 6.  Unbeknownst to me, IDEA 8 is hard coded to launch with Java 5.  I have no idea (ha!) why but I know how to fix it. If you open up the package contents (right click, show package contents) and open the "Contents" folder you'll see a file called Info.plist.  Edit this file with your favorite editor and change the line that says "1.5*" to say "1.6*"  You'll also need to update the JVMArchs entry to list x86_64.  Save the file (but don't close it in case you need to roll back this change) and start IDEA.  When it's done starting up, click on the "Intellij IDEA" title in the menu bar and select "About InteliiJ IDEA" option.  The window that pops up should now list your VM as some 1.6 variant.

Now, I'm sure that JetBrains had some good reason for tying to IDEA to 1.5.  This change might break something down the line.  I haven't used it enough to see if I hit anything like that but so far so good.  Your milage may vary and, of course, I can't guarantee this won't trash your source files.  But it seems to work so far.  If you run into any issues, please leave a comment and tell me about it.  I'm guessing if we run into anything it'll be some odd swing bug.  Good luck with it.


A friend mentioned some menu rendering lag after trying this tip and fixed it by increasing his permgen space.  Another pointed out the VMOptions IDEA plugin to help with editing those options.  No more tracking down that file.

Not So Genius Bar

Apple is often lauded for its care of its customers.  Generally, i think this is true.  But I had an experience the other day that no one seemed overly concerned about.  I've emailed the person I'm told is the manager at the W. 14th St. Manhattan store but have, as yet, received no reply.  This was about 3 or 4 weeks ago.  Below is the text I sent both to the manager and (at least tried to send) to the apple care survey.  My computer quit booting and I'd done some tests before taking it to the "genius" bar.

After running diagnostics, I suspected hardware failure on the drive and suggested that to the first tech.  He assured me it was likely filesystem corruption as hardware failure would've given a different error.  When they tried to scrub and reinstall the HD, they discovered it was in fact hardware failure.  Where things went wrong was when he entered the specs of my machine as an 80G HD when it was, in fact, 160G.  When I noticed this on the work order and brought it to his attention, he did something and assured me he had corrected it.  When the tech doing the repair noticed the HD was dead, he replaced my drive with one as listed on the work order:  80G.  I didn't notice this until I got it home late at night.

<the lady> at AppleCare called the store and spoke with someone.  She told me to take the laptop back and ask for <the tech> and told me that I would get "a half day turn around."  When I showed up, <the tech> was not there (and there was some confusion about who <the tech> was) and instead of the half day I was promised, I was told it would be ready by 10pm (it was about 9 am) which, as you'll note, is about twice of what a normal half day usually entails.

I still had received no call by 9pm so I took the train in from Brooklyn to be at the store by 10 to either pick it up or register my discontent in person.  When I told one of the last remaining techs who I was, he asked me to hang out while he sent for my computer.  Whether it was done or not, I'm not sure but I did wait a while in an otherwise quiet store.  In the end, I got my computer but had I not shown up it would not have been until the next day that anyone would've called.  All this after being promised a half day to correct a mistake that should've been fixed in the fifteen minutes it would've taken to correct while I waited.

So after four trips in one week, it's doubtful that I do any Genius Bar appointments at this store again.  There's nothing about my experience there that engenders any trust.

I've removed any reference to names as they're irrelevant to a wider audience.  But neither my negative survey nor my email to the manager (or any internal "oops" lists the store should track) have led to any sort of response.  Not even a phone call/email saying "sorry 'bout that."  I don't expect a Monty Pythonian "Those who are responsible have been sacked" response.  But something accepting responsibility for a boneheaded screw up would've been nice.  Something to show that there's some level of professionalism at play in that store.
Either way, though, I don't think I'll be doing any business at that store any more even though it's only 5 blocks from my office.  I'll make the longer trip to the 5th Ave or SoHo stores.  So far they, at least, haven't done anything to give lie to the "genius" title.