Off the Top: OS Entries

June 30, 2007

A Love Ruined - Good Bye Palm

It used to be all love. It started in 1998 just after Christmas. It was a gift under the tree and it brought me wonderful joy. It was the Palm III by Palm. It allowed me to sync all of my address book info, my to do lists, and other "essentials" of a digital portable life. It was relatively easy to write applications for it and extend its usefulness. I learn the graffiti writing in three early mornings of waking-up on the West Coast on East Coast time.

That Palm lasted a few years and I then moved to the HandSpring Visor Deluxe, which had more internal memory, still based on the Palm operating system, and it had four times the memory. The device did most everything I needed. Just like my Palm III the HandSpring was reliable and always ready, it never failed me. I added a camera and some other tools for the plug-in slot and everything always worked.

Mobile Internet & Mobile E-mail

My big advancement was getting a Sidekick (Hiptop) that gave me web, chat, and e-mail all live and all in my pocket. I still kept the Visor as it still served a purpose (address book, notes, e-books). The Sidekick was not a great phone so I kept my Motorola 270C (a really great phone - did not much else). This was a stack of too many devices, particularly when an iPod came into my life.

Treo Moves In

Somewhere in the Spring of 2002 I got a Treo 600, which seemed like a great solution. I replaced my Sidekick, my Motorola, my Visor, and my watch (this was happenstance more than anything else). Things were good for the first 6 to 9 months, but the phone began to crash regularly after that. I had some hardware malfunctions and got a replacement. All was good again for 6 to 9 months then it started crashing when pulling e-mail and the phone rang. The hardware did not last that long on this either. By Fall (18 months after the first 600) the phone was in really poor state and I woke up one morning picked it up and it split (the day before traveling to the Bay Area). By this time the Treo 650 was out and I convinced my mobile provider to let me switch with out penalty. But the same story repeated at 6 to 9 months. After 10 months the keyboard stopped working and I got a replacement. I am 12 months into that replacement and life with this Treo is hell.

Treo Is Toiletware

The relationship with my Treo is so bad I constantly swear I am going to throw it in the toilet, but that would leave me with out a primary phone (I have an old Nokia I enjoy for international service and back-up but don't have many minutes with that carrier). The odd thing is I know quite a few people who used to work at Palm and none of them use a Palm device. All of them have had horrible problems with the Treo and it was their last device with a Palm operating system.

Palm seemed to have lost their love when they added the phone. The Treo is a really poor phone (horrible voice capability), but it also is short on memory and most useful applications were removed from the device as they needed more memory than was available or they crashed the device. Now my Treo is less useful than my Sidekick. It is a slow unreliable device. Palm went from being a company I utterly loved to one I hope dies a quick painful death. Everybody I know that has new devices say they are no better.

What is the Next Step

While I have interest in Blackberry devices, I like the open platform of Nokia and Nokia gets the phone part of the phone really well. The iPhone is interesting, but is missing the open platform, 3G, and proven platfor that Nokia has. I am still making up my mind, but I think the Nokia E61i is what I really want to replaced the horrible state the Treo has left me in.

I want a phone with decent camera, with e-mail, web, WiFi, touch keyboard, and ability to read e-books and docs easily. I want to be able to build and get solid applications that serve the purposes I need and do not crash the device.

Good bye Palm, I loved you deeply for a long time, but you betrayed me with your crap phones and lack of caring. It was not that I fell for another product, you did it to yourself.

May 25, 2006

Developing the Web for Whom?

Google Web Developer Toolkit for the Closed Web

Andrew in his post "Reading user interface libraries" brings in elements of yesterday's discussion on The Battle to Build the Personal InfoCloud. Andrew brings up something in his post regarding Google and their Google Web Developer Toolkit (GWT. He points out it is in Java and most of the personal web (or new web) is built in PHP, Ruby [(including Ruby on Rails), Python, and even Perl].

When GWT was launched I was at XTech in Amsterdam and much of the response was confusion as to why it was in Java and not something more widely used. It seems that by choosing Java for developing GWT it is aiming at those behind the firewall. There is still much development on the Intranet done in Java (as well as .Net). This environment needs help integrating rich interaction into their applications. The odd part is many Intranets are also user-experience challenged as well, which is not one of Google's public fortés.

Two Tribes: Inter and Intra

This whole process made me come back to the two differing worlds of Internet and Intranet. On the Internet the web is built largely with Open Source tools for many of the big services (Yahoo, Google, EBay, etc.) and nearly all of the smaller services are Open Source (the cost for hosting is much much lower). The Open Source community is also iterating their solutions insanely fast to build frameworks (Ruby on Rails, etc.) to meet ease of development needs. These sites also build for all operating systems and aim to work in all modern browsers.

On the Intranet the solutions are many times more likely to be Java or .Net as their is "corporate" support for these tools and training is easy to find and there is a phone number to get help from. The development is often for a narrower set of operating systems and browsers, which can be relatively easy to define in a closed environment. The Google solution seems to work well for this environment, but it seems that early reaction to its release in the personal web it fell very flat.

13 Reasons

A posting about Top 13 reasons to CONSIDER the Microsoft platform for Web 2.0 development and its response, "Top 13 reasons NOT to consider the Microsoft platform for Web 2.0 development" [which is on a .Net created site] had me thinking about these institutional solutions (Java and .Net) in an openly developed personal web. The institutional solutions seem like they MUST embrace the open solutions or work seamlessly with them. Take any one of the technical solutions brought up in the Microsoft list (not including Ray Ozzie or Robert Scoble as technical solutions) and think about how it would fit into personal site development or a Web 2.0 developed site. I am not so sure that in the current state of the MS tools they could easily drop in with out converting to the whole suite. Would the Visual .Net include a Python, PHP, Ruby, Ruby On Rails, or Perl plug-in?The Atlas solution is one option in now hundreds of Ajax frameworks. To get use the tools must had more value (not more cost or effort) and embrace what is known (frogs are happy in warm water, but will not enter hot water). Does Atlas work on all browsers? Do I or any Internet facing website developer want to fail for some part of their audience that are using modern browsers?

The Web is Open

The web is about being browser agnostic and OS agnostic. The web makes the OS on the machine irrelevant. The web is about information, media, data, content, and digital objects. The tools that allow us to do things with these elements are increasingly open and web-based and/or personal machine-based.

Build Upon Open Data and Open Access

The web is moving to making the content elements (including the microconent elements) open for use beyond the site. Look at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the open APIs in the Yahoo Developer Network. Both of these companies openly ease community access and use of their content and services. This draws people into Amazon and Yahoo media and properties. What programming and scripting languages are required to use these services? Any that the developer wants.. That is right, unlike Google pushing Java to use their solution, Amazon and Yahoo get it, it is up to the developer to use what is best for them. What browsers do the Amazon and Yahoo solutions work in? All browsers.

I have been watching Microsoft Live since I went to Search Champs as they were making sounds that they got it too. The Live Clipboard [TechCrunch review] that Ray Ozzie gave at O'Reilly ETech is being developed in an open community (including Microsoft) for the whole of the web to use. This is being done for use in all browsers, on all operating systems, for all applications, etc. It is open. This seems to show some understanding of the web that Microsoft has not exhibited before. For Microsoft to become relevant, get in the open web game, and stay in the game they must embrace this approach. I am never sure that Google gets this and there are times where I am not sure Yahoo fully gets it either (a "media company" that does not support Mac, which the Mac is comprised of a heavily media-centric community and use and consume media at a much higher rate than the supported community and the Mac community is where many of the trend setters are in the blogging community - just take a look around at SXSW Interactive or most any other web conference these days (even XTech had one third of the users on Mac).

Still an Open Playing Field

There is an open playing field for the company that truly gets it and focusses on the person and their needs. This playing field is behind firewalls on Intranet and out in the open Internet. It is increasingly all one space and it continues to be increasingly open.

March 9, 2006

Microsoft Live Image Search

I have been rather quiet about my trip to Microsoft as part of their Search Champs v.4. This trip was mid-January and I was rather impressed with the what Microsoft showed. The focus was late-stage beta for MS Live products and things that were a little more rough. Last week Expo launched, which is a rather cool classified site along the lines of edgio and Craigslist. Expo did not launch with anything ground breaking, but that could be coming. None-the-less it is refreshing to see this kind of effort and interest coming out of Microsoft.

Live Image Search is a Great Web Interface

One of the products that was stellar and near launch that we saw was Live Image Search (shown with vanderwal - what else). Image search was stellar as it is quite similar to Apple iPhoto with its interface, but built for the web. Take Live Image search for a spin. No really, scroll, mouse over, change the thumbnail size on the fly. It is fast and responsive. I am quite impressed.

Oh, since I am on a Mac, I have been using Firefox/Camino to view Live Image search and it works just as wonderfully as it did in the demos on Windows with IE. I think Microsoft understand that the web is a platform, just like Windows and Mac. Microsoft gets that the web as a platform must work on top of other OS platforms. The web browser is an OS agnostic application and must remain so. Microsoft seems to understand that when building for the web it should work across browsers and OS platforms otherwise it is just developing for an OS, but that is not the web. The proof in this will be when Microsoft releases an Live toolbar for Firefox that has all of the access and functionality of the IE toolbar.

More to Come

I am really waiting for another product to get launched or closer to launch as I really think Microsoft will have a good product there too. It is something that really is of interest to me. It really seemed like the Microsoft people we worked with were really listening to our feedback.

Color my opinion changed toward Microsoft. Not only are they doing things of interest, but they are shipping. They are not only trying to get the web, but they have brought in people who understand and know what direction to head. I went to Microsoft out of curiosity and found something that went against my notions of what they were doing. Microsoft get the web in a similar manner to the way that Yahoo does, it is about people with real problems.

Where is my Mac?

Am I giving up my Mac? No. Hell no. My OS works the way that I work and does not get in my way. I don't spend time swearing at it or messing with it. I do the things I need to do for my job and life using technology to augment that effort. Apple has been doing this for years and I don't want to mess up a very good thing.

May 24, 2005

Wade Roush and 10,000 Brianiacs

I have been following Wade Roush' continuousblog since its inception a few weeks ago. Continuousblog is focussing on the convergence that is finally taking place in the information technology realm. I had a wonderful conversation with Wade last week and have been enjoying watching his 10,000 Brainiacs evolve in 10,000 Brianiacs, Part 1; 10,000 Brainiacs, Part 2; 10,000 Brainiacs, Part 3; and soon to be 10,000 Brianiacs, Part 4.

Wade's concept of "continuous computing" fits quite nicely in line with the Personal InfoCloud as we have access to many different devices throughout our lives (various operating systems, desktops, laptops, PDA, mobile phone, television/dvr, as well as nearly continuous connectivity, etc.). The Personal InfoCloud focusses on designing and developing with the focus on the person and their use of the information as well as the reuse of the information. It is good to see we have one more in the camp that actually sees the future as what is happening to day and sending the wake-up call out that we need to be addressing this now as it is only going become more prevalent.

November 12, 2004

That Syncing Feeling (text)

My presentation of That Syncing Feeling is available. Currently the text format is available, but a PDF will be available at some point in the future (when more bandwidth is available). This was delivered at Design Engaged in Amsterdam this morning. More to follow...

June 30, 2004

Future of Local Search on Mac

One of the best things I found to come out of the Apple WWDC keynote preview of the next update of the OS X line, Tiger, Spotlight. Spotlight is the OS file search application. Not only does Spotlight search the file name, file contents (in applications where applicable), but in the metadata. This really is going to be wonderful for me. I, as a user, can set a project name in the metadata and then I can group files from that point. I can also set a term, like "synch" and use AppleScript and Search to batch the files together for synching with mobile devices, easily. Another nice feature is the searches can be saved and stored as a dynamic folder. This provides better control of my Personal InfoCloud.

Steven Johnson provides the history of search in Apple, which has nearly the same technology in Cosmo slated for release in 1996.

December 14, 2003

Mac OS X is secure

Richard Forno sets the record straight on Mac OS X security compared to Windows. Forno is the former Chief Security Officer at Network Solutions. The technical overview from Forno shows that Apple's Mac OS X is far and away more secure than Windows.

October 25, 2003

Panther Rocks

So far life with Panther has been fantastic. The only downside was my I had to install two times as I was a little tired last evening and selected "Upgrade" rather than "Archive and Install", which I knew to do, but with little sleep and a crazy week I missed it. Doing this Safari did not load when clicked. I reinstalled this morning using "Archive and Install" and have a great machine. I also moved my "Previous Systems" folder to my external hard drive and got back 4.8GB. I now have 15.8GB of free hard drive (I get very nervous when it falls under 14 or 15GB and start fearing that I am running our of hard drive space).

So far the much faster interface and better responsiveness of Panther is a great addition. I am also loving the Exposé as I always have many windows open and this feature makes everything easier to find. The Font Book has been addition I have been anxiously awaiting and it has lived up to my expectations. The new finder took about 15 minutes to get used to, but I am very happy with the changes here and I think it has made the finder much more usable. I am also planning to use the file label colors to use this visual tagging to help me organize all the files I have generated and downloaded.

Mark Pilgrim offers a fantastic overview in his What's New in Mac OS X 10.3 Panther.

October 24, 2003

Got Panther

I picked up Panther at 8:20 p.m. this evening from MacUpgrades, which was on my way home from work (yes I was there that late as my Win2k machine locked-up twice in a row and cause reboots as I was trying to get an e-mail off to India). The store was very busy with 20 or 25 people there checking out Panther, picking up a copy, or just enjoying the wine and cheese and cookies and beer. It was a nice little party and I wished I could have stayed longer, much longer.

I had a call after 9 p.m. from Fred and Paula, who are new Mac owners (iBooks) this summer and the first part of the month. They called to say the line at the Clarendon Apple store in Virginia had an insanely long line. This is their first experience with a release. I will have to find out in the morning how their wait in line went.

My dad, another new Mac owner (12 inch PowerBook) who has had his machine less than a week is going the delivery route as he is at a conference this weekend in a part of California without an Apple store in close (hour drive or less) proximity.

Welcome all to the world of Apple and welcome to the world of hype and delivery on that hype. It will be interesting to see if they are as side-tracked by the Jobs keynotes for major releases as many of the rest of us are.

October 22, 2003

Panther release party in Bethesda Maryland

Mac Upgrades in Bethesda, Maryland is having a Panther release party from 8 pm to midnight on Friday, October 24th. Mac Upgrades is a great small Apple store that has always been focussed providing great service to the Macintosh community. The folks at Mac Upgrade will give any "Genius" a run for their money.

If you pre-order Panther you get a free t-shirt. If you pick up you Panther on Friday night you get yet another free t-shirt. It sounds like there will be other fun and meeting others on Friday, with out the giant crowds of the Apple stores in the Washington, DC area (actually the Tyson's Store is currently closed for remodeling so the Clarendon store could be really packed).

October 1, 2003

Apple love

Mark Morford explains why Apple deserve gushing adulation in his San Francisco Gate column. For me yesterday's plugging in a new digital video camera and having the video just seemingly show-up ready for viewing and importing into iMovie was another jaw-dropping simple it-just-works moment for me. There have been very few difficult moments for me and my Mac. And when they do occur I am tweaking at the command line and getting used to a slightly different syntax for the variant of UNIX that Apple uses. (Note: there is no need for me to play at the command line, but it is something I find fun and rewarding, in a sick build my own soda can sort of way.)

I was also able to use the a Firewire cable to connect to my video camera and have iChat sense it was attached and put me in video iChat mode automatically. Oddly the Sony camera did not come with an iLink (Firewire) cable, odd in that they own some of the rights to Firewire but do not use the superior technology out of the box, instead opting for the poorer quality USB product. The Sony camera came with a CD full of software for Windows machines and drivers so that Windows users can use the digital video output on their machines. My TiBook needed none of that, it just worked easily and wonderfully.

While I am off work for a few days to help Joy and Will adjust I get to fully live in a Mac world. I can get things done and fit work in easily, I have had no virus problems, bugs, halting interfaces, or connectivity problems that plague me at work. Having work environments standardize on Windows is akin to having them endorse non-productivity.

Needless to say I love my Mac and Apple's attention to detail. It is almost as if they care about me and the work I do, by just letting me do my work. Apple does not care if I am coding, programming, being creative, writing, or performing analytics it just allows me to be productive. The amount of money saved in using my Mac more than makes up any price difference (laughable in that there is not a comparable product in the Windows world) for a similar product.

September 14, 2003

Love for Mac and UNIX grows

I finally picked up my PC from the shop, where it had been for about three weeks or a month getting a new power supply. This also included a couple weeks for me getting around to picking it up from the shop. When I got the heap home it had 9 critical updates, comprising 15MB to download and about 35 minutes of updating, not including two additional critical updates after the first batch of 9 was completed.

Nearly all of these were vulnerability patches (they all may have been, but I will give MS the benefit of the doubt as I did not want to read, this patch fixes "X" only to be followed by two more patches explaining the first patch did not actually fix the vulnerability, but opened two new holes. Then a third patch to try and fix the original "X" vulnerability again.

This month of sending out a fully patched machine and having it return with more examples of shoddy coding, make me ever more grateful to have a Mac. You see I have had one vulnerability needing to be patched in the last two months on the Mac. The reason viruses are not often written for the Mac is that it is built on a mature operating system, UNIX (essentially BSD to be exact) that has been tightened over the years. The UNIX platform towers above the horrible dross that is Microsoft. The money wasted by businesses and others patching and leaving their bits and bytes open to the world of hackers and children playing hoaxes on a poorly crafted operating system is foolish at the least.

The PC is used for games now and testing how poor the soon to be neutered Windows version of Internet Explorer (others may be neutered too) handles displaying the results of standards compliant markup and the output of various applications built for Web-based information gathering and dissemination.

August 27, 2003

August 4, 2003

How to install Windows XP

Mark Pilgrim offers How to install Windows XP in 5 hours or less. Five hours is about the time of lost production at work in the past two or three weeks due to critical Microsoft patches to my work machine and a development server (this does not include the time making sure the entire Web team was fully patched).

May 26, 2003

Views of the future of software

Every now and then I run across something that really gets me thinking and twisting every way I look at the idea. Dave Winer's Who will pay for software, Pt. I and who will pay, Pt. II along with Tim Bray's Business Ignorance and Try then Buy. These four articles look at the state of the software industry. The consensus, go figure, is not too bright unless one is Microsoft.

As Joshua noted the other day I tend to view Microsoft's products dimmly. This is partly because the Microsoft products are rarely the best in their field, and they rarely have ever been the best. Marketing is Microsoft's strength and they have made a bundle and gained prominance not out of having the best product, but through their business skills.

A few years ago I started on a project that put me back in the UNIX environment, which I dreaded at first as much of my work for the two previous years had been on Windows based systems. I relearned to love UNIX and Linux as my develoment skilss had grown greatly. I found UNIX and Linux gave the developer and SysAdmin far better control and I could control security problems far better than I ever could in the Windows world. I left the UNIX-based project to head back into a Windows world about two or three years ago. In doing so I really wanted to have a UNIX based machine to keep up my skills, I was also in need of a laptop as my old laptop was tied to my project.

I made a decision to buy a Mac TiBook and run Mac OS X. This gave me the laptop, the UNIX underpinnings, and a solid interface. I had not used a Mac since 1990 for work after using friends Macs and loving them. I used Mac's as test environments over the past few years, but the instability of the pre-OS X operating systems and the vast difference in interfaces from Windows and no command line kept me away. From the first month I had my Mac I was in love with it, well it was a frustrating love in the way that you find that perfect mate and they just don't suck and never seem to iritate you. I hated to say the Mac was a computer as it did not cause headaches and did not cause problems. Everything I needed to do for side-projects and even work for a Windows environment was dirt simple and just worked.

This love of simplicity and an aim for perfection at Apple has a new mark for me to evaluate everything that Microsoft does. Granted the Windows software on Mac seems to be far better than the Windows OS versions, sometimes seeming to be an order of magnitude better. The Mac OS X seems to offer a very rare balance, in its simiplicity, beauty, ease of use, and control. While not all of Apple's applications are perfect, they are far better than many other offerings out there.

Apple has a flirting love affair with Open Source applications and has been making it very easy to add Linux-based apps and have them take advantage of the OS X interface, with its X11 (still in beta and it just rocks).

After reading the four articles above I have been somewhat worried that the attempts at great software that bubble up may have a tough road ahead, which is a true shame. A behemoth company that creates mediocre software (MS) may be ruining the opportunities for great software to exist, unless we can find solid methods for funding these great things. Mediocre software leads me to fits of swearing and having another human generation on its way into our home in the next few months I do not want these fits of swearing or the limited view of the world that is nothing like those of us that dream of a better world with computing want to see. I want my child to know that they can have beauty, control, and perfectly built software and operating systems that will help them through life and not provide a means of frustration.

April 13, 2003

Mac OS X Hacks proves to be very good

This weekend I picked up Mac OS X Hacks by Rael Dornfest and Kevin Hemenway for O'Reilly Books. I have picked up a few new tricks and have some new shareware to look into. The price is very reasonable, which made it an easy decision to purchase. The book is well written and has been bed time reading and couch reading, which has not worked well for getting too many of the good ideas implemented, but that will come.

One interesting section (there are 100 sections) is a speach recognition section that incorporates Perl, AppleScripting, SOAP, speach recognition, and voice output. This contribution by John Udell was a very juicy tidbit that had me thinking of all the wonderful uses.

January 27, 2003

Poi aims to open MS file formats to Java

Chris pointed me to an excellent overview of Poi. Poi is an Apache Jakarta project that aims to open Microsoft file formats to Java. Somehow I think I will be following Poi for a while.

June 12, 2002

Mac is great

Jason discusses his Windows to Mac conversion and the Apple switch campaign. At nearly every turn I have found friends, who I consider peers switching to Mac. I was in California recently for a meeting and of the 12 of us there 7 or 8 of us had our Mac laptops and were using them with great ease. The ratio among the technically adept and advanced and the creative users are hitting highs. Those that have always seemed to be on the leading edge and understand techical solutions are all joining the switch to Mac. Mac lacks the swiss-cheese-security of Windows, which is another fantastic advantage.

One of my biggest stumbling blocks with my switch to Mac has been its ease of use. When I loaded MS Office X it was done in four minutes or so and I had only answered two or three questions. Being a Windows user since 1992 (having left a company that used Macs, PCs, and dumb terminals I lost contact with Mac on a daily basis) I had been patterned to expect long painful loads of software that had a lot of questions. I had thought the Office install crashed, I started my usual Windows cursing patterns (because that is the relationship one learns from Windows and I now see that with friends and family that have not joined the smart side of the world), but I clicked Word and it worked and then click PowerPoint and it worked too. I had learned lesson with Mac, things are easier and just work, even Microsoft products can just work (Office X on the Mac is my favorite version of Office to date and Entourage is my favorite PIM (which I did not think anything would ever surpass or equal Lotus Organizer (user since 1993) and e-mail client . Who knew? At SXSW I had a relapse with my ease of use issues when I was trying to get a wireless network link. I knew I was trying to hit a wireless hub that was non-Apple (the Airport setup here at home was a 15 minute setup including tying down the security settings) and that should mean arcane practices again. I tried entering user names and passwords on WiFi connections that had full signals that I had just clicked on from my dropdown list of "available" access points (stop laughing). Yes, it was that simple and it was already working and the Mac just worked again. I happened to be sitting next to a Windows user who could not get it to just work and I was following her lead and picked up her frustration (she is very technically adept by the way). When I figured out I my connection was working all along I tried helping her, but not wanting to mess up a setting under a poorly labelled tab I surrendered. I came away a happy computer user and she a willing Mac convert because Mac just works.

On the business side of my life I have found very little I really can not do. I have found very little I can not do better than before. I still use my PC for some things, surfing the Internet while I eat (don't want to sully my TiBook with breadcrumbs as I have respect for it) and playing some games (my TiBook is now my work machine and audio/visual entertainment machine) as I have not bought a joystick for my Mac.

Now a moment to exude the pleasure of the TiBook. On my recent trip out West I was able to be on the Mac nearly the whole trip (MS Office, OmniOutline, OmniGraffle, and iTunes) nearly the whole trip (more than 5 hours in total). On the first leg, Baltimore to Denver, a flight attendend stopped and knelt next to me as we were nearing Denver (knew what was coming, the "you really need to shut down your computer" stern warning) and was asked what type of computer I was using as I had been working nearly the whole flight, I had the thinest computer on the plane, and had the most wonderful screen on a flight with about a third of the travellers using their laptops. I explained it was an Apple, which the flight attendant stated "you Apple people are all fanatics", to which I explained this was my first Apple I ever owned and I really could not consider it to have an operating system because operating systems cause headaches (being a UNIX developer has had its frustrations at times too) and this computer did not. The attendant said he would maybe think about a Mac. Then all the Dell, Toshiba, and HP laptop users sitting around me started asking questions and giving me their frustrations. The Windows users wanted to know how their Windows business and technical work would port over, for the most part I had already done what they were asking and I could show them because I still had 2 hours left in battery.

June 10, 2002

June 8, 2002

XP Home does not allow moving about the mome with Mira

More problems for Microsoft XP Home, it will not work with Mira. Mira is the tablet based operating system MS has been touting that could free users from a stationary desktop machine. The advantages of this are great for businesses and home. In the home Mira has been touted as being a recipe book, a TV guide with remote, and other helpful items around the house all in one "portable" casing. It is a tablet PC. If MS is pushing toward the home environment they had better fix their OS for the Home. Currently the XP Home does not play nice with static IP DSL and older Windows operating systems and does not have the simple and basic standard networking protocol (Samba) to talk with non-Windows machines to easily share files and print services. Step up to XP Pro and you have the basic needs that most home environments need. If you want to run a small office network you are best off using XP Pro. If you want to do much other than share an Internet connection on a Home network buy XP Pro. Now if you want to use any innovative product MS is producing you need to buy XP Pro. Or you could buy an Apple and leave the mediocre software behind.

By the way, MS still not offering an upgrade from XP Home to XP Pro for the price difference between the products. The e-mail contact information on the Microsoft site for sales and upgrade support, does not go to the proper division, you have to call an 800 number that does not pick-up in less than 45 minutes (I give up at 45 minutes and have 5 times now). The price difference between the two products is $100, the price Microsoft wants you to pay is $200. Now to use Mira, to have Microsoft take you where you want to go, and you have XP Home you can pay double the price of the price difference Microsoft set, which is illegal in most states as a bait-and-switch marketing tactic, particularly since the first few rounds of MS marketing materials made no mention what Home was missing, as they do now.

June 7, 2002

Windows to Mac OS X

So you too are considering making your next personal computer an Apple Macintosh with Mac OS X? Mac vs PC offers insights into why others have moved from Microsoft Windows to Mac.

On a similar note I have been looking for resources for folks that are moving from Windows to Mac OS X. I have not found a great amount that take this on. There are resources that are spread around the Web, which can be overcome with a blog or a metablog (think IASlash a small community of posters) or a larger site with resources. Let me know if you have pointers.

June 4, 2002

OS X Updates

Good news on the OS X front. Yesterday Microsoft updated Office X for OS X, which is a great improvement on my favorite version of Office and Word on any OS platform. The new Office really flies and is quite responsive. Today Mac OS X 10.1.5 released with a few patches that seem to have increased responsiveness also. It has been a couple nice days. Now I get back to writing.

May 14, 2002

Apple means business

Apple announces Xserve that, as Doc writes it, seems to kick the snot out of Windows servers. Faster, more stable, based on an enterprise proven OS, not a virus friendly OS, not a hack-worthy OS, and less money. You do the math.

May 7, 2002

Mac OS X update announced at WWDC 2002

Yesterday was Apple's Steve Jobs keynote at the WWDC where he held a funeral for OS 9 and announced Mac OS X Jaguar, the next Mac OS X major release (due this summer). Doc points to a MacCentral review of the Jobs WWDC 2002 keynote.

May 5, 2002

Good bye Windows

Why have I bought my last Windows-based computer? My problems revolve around the years of headaches of horrible business and technical practices that Microsoft breeds. Their concern is not the customer and their well being, but their pockets. In the 10 years that I have had my own Microsoft OS-based computers (four of them) I have had four complete meltdowns resulting from MS patches or incompatible MS software (not third-party software or hardware problems). I have had software overwrite a shared resource (because MS took a sort cut in their OS and created DLLs). I have bought OS' and software that had to be repeatedly patched for security problems, not just bugs (one of these security patches overwrote an element that controlled my hard drive partition, which resulted in a cleared hard drive). I have provided numerous hours of help to friends and relatives that have had similar problems (many of them have had worse and more frequent problems because they are not computer professionals). I have paid for incremental upgrades or for an actual CD I could boot my computer from, when all MS would offer is an OEM disk that contained an image of the software installed on the system. I had paid for the operating system when I bought my computers, but if I wanted to own the OS, I had to buy the damn thing again (this seems to be Microsoft's understanding of two for one bargains, like many things they do they got it horribly wrong).

I had figured this what I had to deal with to run a monopolist's operating system that everybody else used (the courts proved MS is a monopolist and that has stood the appeal attempts and they remain criminals that are now trying to settle a punishment). My most recent encounter with Microsoft is their practices with their XP OS software. The marketing and technical materials, at the time of their release stated that the home version was all one needed to perform networking at home. The Professional was for advanced enterprise networks. Well it is not the case and MS marketing materials now reflect this statement. They state the Professional version of XP is for "advanced" home networks, which I have found to mean trying network not only another company's operating system (Mac), but its own variants (Win 98), while trying to keep a connection to a DSL router. The configuration requires a static IP. The Home version wants to reorganize your configuration, which knocks out my DSL connection and never let me share files with my Windows 98 machine, nor use its printer. The XP Home will play nicely with other XP Home machines, but that seems to be about all.

Now comes my last straw. You notice on the XP OS software page that the price difference is $100. I am willing to pay that difference to upgrade to Pro from Home. I am not willing to pay for Microsoft's bait-and-switch tactics, which are illegal in every state in the U.S., and pay the $199 upgrade price. MS will not budge. This means I will budge. I have never received an e-mail response from MS regarding how to or where to find information on upgrading from Home to Pro. Like most of MS site internal links, they are broken. I may have missed something in the many months I have spent trying to correct the error in my ways, which was believing MS marketing materials.

What makes it easy make my next purchase something other than a Windows machine. Mac OS X has made this option available to me. My laptop running OS X has been a dream. I don't know that I would call this an operating system as it has been headache free, it has not conflicted with other software, it allows quick software loads (which are also pain free), and things just work. This is unlike any operating system I have ever used. It is not perfect, but it is damn near perfect. I thought I may have problems doing my regular work on the machine, but I can do every thing I ever did on a Windows machine and without the damn headaches. I can markup HTML, write Word documents, code software, connect to and build SQL compliant databases, use and develop Web Services, use the full (with the exception of Access) Microsoft Office suite and easily share and collaborate with others using Office on any OS platform, I could even run Windows OS (with the help of Virtual PC) so to have access to any other needed software (or even run IIS to test ASP, which is not an option on XP Home), run and build Java natively, not have to continually worry about security holes and viruses, network the computer with non-XP Home computers relatively easily, not have to worry about having to rent my operating system, and not having the OS invade my privacy by strongly urging my use of an unsecure Passport.

My future is mine and not Microsoft's. I will take me where I want to go and my OS of choice will help me get there and not stand in my way. I will let the U.S. Federal Trade Commission know of the fraud. I will also continue to providing for support MS applications and environments at work, because that is my job and I get paid for those headaches.

April 28, 2002

UNIX and Mac OS X guide

I finally got my hands on a copy of Mac OS X Unleashed, which is a great resource. Not only does it provide indepth understanding of the Mac side of OS X, but it provides an excellent resource for the UNIX side too. I have had problems getting Perl's CPAN running through the "make" process for some modules. This book seems to give me enough understanding of the foundations to get me through the processes. I have knowledge of UNIX and Linux and each variant has its own twist, which is not a bad thing.

OS X speed tweaks

Not that I need to tweak my TiBook with Mac OS X yet, but restoring speed to the OS X will be helpful to have within reach.

March 29, 2002

Fox counters Microsoft's mistruths

After battling the crappy MS OS at work the past couple of days (it locked all users from copying files to the development server only solution was to create a new base directory and copy the old files in with the permissions set like they were on the previous folder), I was happy to see Kevin Fox' response to Microsoft's proposed hipocracy and lies. Microsoft should change their slogan to "We use fear to sell, because are products aren't worth they money you pay". The consolation is I get to come home to Mac OS X and have few if any problems, because it is UNIX at the core. [hat tip Dinah]

March 23, 2002

Linux Journal offeers a great article about the state of Apple OS X written by Brent Simmons and Doc Searls (whom it was wonderful to meet at SXSW). The article gets to the core of what is great about OS X and the stability of the OS and the usability of the OS. Over the past week or so I have grown more iritated with Windows and its foibles of lack of detail in so many areas.

March 5, 2002

Derek Story finally has posted his wide view of Mac OS X based on over 500 e-mails in response to an open question regarding how folks liked or disliked the new OS. Derek's write-up seems to do the broad spectrum justice. Me I love the OS and I am getting more used to it with each use. I switch between Windows 2000 and XP to Mac in the course of each day. I find less confusion based on which keyboard I am using that I did at the beginning. If I had to choose Windows or Mac at this point it would be Mac.

March 4, 2002

This may be the first reason not to own a BMW. The first car that is easy to steal, crash, and have to dial the manufactuer if you change a part all in one. Thanks Microsoft now the everybody can be l33t. [hat tip Cam]

March 1, 2002

One thing about being a bi-OS kinda guy is that I now look for what OS software will run on. More often than not of late it is not easy to find. I guess I just assumed the Web was MS centric prior to my finding an OS I like much better. I never looked before and everything I downloaded ran. When I was running Linux I went to the Linux sites for software and the rest of the Web for MS.

It took Jish pointing to Araneae for this to dawn on me. Now I am wondering what is wrong with the Web sites with software that they don't tell you what OS their software will run on.

Windows XP will get a service pack upgrade in late Summer or Fall, which is much later than I would have expected it, but it is not my call. One thing the upgrade will offer is Freestyle an upgraded graphical user interface that makes use of pictures, video, and sound. Freestyle sounds like a DVD interface for the PC.

February 21, 2002

The system updates for Apple OS X provide an easy way to see new drivers and software updates. If you are like me an feel like you don't need to see every update, Apple's knowledgebase instructs us how to make the unwanted updates inactive.

February 19, 2002

Psst... Mac OS X 10.1.3 is out and ready to download (from your software update in the settings).

January 20, 2002

Apple explains Myths to Windows Users. This has been one of my favorite bits of the week. I have been finding much of this to be true as I have been switching from Windows to Apple (at least for laptop). Apple is proving to be a much better operating system for interacting with other operating systems. Windows XP Home is a pathetic computer to network and that is being more than generous (the Pro version is a much better OS to network and even much better suited for home networking).

January 14, 2002

Those of you that have a real home network, which would be a melange of PCs, Apple Macs, and maybe a kid's science/computer project of a Linux box. If you believed the Microsoft hype and bought XP Home only to find out you can not network that OS if you are using a static IPs on your network (such as having a static IP on you DSL connection or other device that allows for such simple ideas). You say you want to share your MP3s, photos, movies, or even MS Word documents with your Mac? Your options are limited, but if you happened to also be an early adopter an have Mac OS X running you can set your files to share and set the network settings to accept FTP connections. Now you can return to your XP box and use FTP to send your files to your Mac.

The other option is to load Apache Web server on your XP box (XP Home does not allow IIS or even PWS (personal web server) and set the document directory to what you want to share (remember to allow directory view if you do not have a default page). Now open a browser and point to that machine (statice IP will work wonders for this) then drag and drop single file by single file to where you want them on your Mac.

January 13, 2002

Heard about Apache 2.0 and want to learn more? Internet News has a good write-up on what Apache 2 will offer (the IIS information information is not completely correct in is reasoning, but the facts of non-inclusion in XP Home is).

A large part of my desire to get an Apple computer that would run OS X, was my work with Unix and Linux over the last couple years. I have loved working in that environment that is stable, lacking confounding DLLs, and easy to manage from the command line. To this end Linux Jounal reviews the recent MacWorld. The article notes many familiar faces between the Linux and Apple conferences, also held in the same building.

January 5, 2002

Dan Gillmore (SJ Merc) discusses Mac OS X showing headway in becoming an OS to be reconned with. He discusses his interaction with the various operating systems that he owns. This article is not only about the OS, but an introspective piece on Dan's own usage patterns.

November 13, 2001

The great Microsoft and Linux debate is on... Slashdot discusses MS inside memo on Linux threat. The Slashdot folks are by-in-large technically inclined, if to hard core techies and are also leaning Linux. It is good to see technical understandings when comparing Windows server solutions to Linux, both running on Intel.

The sales approach for Microsoft is ahead of the Linux folks. MS is giving the hard sell to the boardroom inhabitants and Linux is winning the technical folks who are in the trenches. This is a great view of the dicotomy of corporate environment and the disconnects between business and technology (not directly in this example but in the stories underlying the example). Microsoft has always sold the future and what is coming, while the UNIX and Linux people solve your problems today. MS is just delivering on their promisses of years ago, but they are still selling the future and are still behind the xNIX platform. Heck, Apple even got religion for their stable and fast new OS.

November 12, 2001

It seem September 11, 2001 was the day Bill Gates claims "he" invented Open Source. Sometimes I think he is going to start naming operating systems Zeus, Hydra, etc as he may think he invented the Greek gods.

If you have Windows XP and are running ClearType (if you have not given it a try you should) Microsoft has a Web tool to tune your ClearType settings. [hat tip Anil]

One annoying item with XP for me is the option in the menu on IE6 (in XP) to mail > send a link. This action used to send an attached .url with the e-mail and embed the URL in the text of the e-mail message. Now it only sends that attached .url file. This is problematic for two reasons on is that folks that have their e-mail security turned up do not have access to the .url file. The second reason is there is not a link to copy so that it can be easily pasted in a link page or in a weblog entry. I have spent much time looking for a setting to get the printed out URL sent as a default. The second thing is I can not find my PhotoShop 5.5 CDROM so to reload the program. I do not seem to have it at home any longer. ARG!!! I found my activation string while searching for the disk, but not the disk.

November 11, 2001

So far so good. No major expletive-laden blurts have been uttered. In 24 hours I have upgraded my CD-R/W to a TDK Velocd (which is a fast mother), added a new 40GB hard drive (for a clean start), and Windows XP Home.

I added the new CD-RW to backup files more quickly than the cheap slow writer I had been using and pulled my essential files (e-mail, finance, Lotus Organizer, and site files). Then I added the hard drive so to start from fresh for adding a new full version of the OS, so as not to pull any of the unbelievably crappy Win ME OS. Then I tried adding the XP OS (full version) from scratch. The building the OS on a fresh hard drive was a little bit of a hand-holder (meaning it was a good thing Joy was out shopping or doing what ever she was doing while I was going through the logic puzzle of having XP partition my drive, then have XP not recognize the partition and other wonderful tricks). I now have most of my main software reinstalled and seemingly running properly. I have a hand full of software that I am having problems locating in my stacks of CD-ROMs, which are now slightly better organized.

I am really enjoying having a more stable operating system. The real test will come when I start doing working from this machine again. Running Dreamweaver, Word, fax software, e-mail, and a couple browsers will be a decent test. I am really hoping it will take that pressure. If it can handle that maybe I will be able to compile Java applets/servelets or compiling C/C++ applications while running a cygwin instance to upload and tweak the output of the compiling. Oh, to live a life where the computer is a tool for me to use and not chunk of plastic with electronic bits that induces cursing.

November 9, 2001

Posts may be sporadic of the next few days as my main computer gets an upgrade of OS. Going away is the piece of garbage MS ME. Having the system run out of resources with two browsers, e-mail and textpad open with 384MB of RAM and 64MB of SDRAM on the graphic card is beyond pathetic. I will be staying in the Microsoft family for the time being, but I am saving to switch to a more capable OS in the hopefully near future.

November 5, 2001

The stability of the MS ME operating system is horrid (operating seems to be an oxymoron). There were three crashes Satufday, which was largely a day of errands and Joy and I entertaining 5 year old twin nephews (more on that later). Sunday there were five crashes, which were quasi detrimental as they were happening during a site integration of an updated Dreamweaver template. Trying to finish what should be two to three hours more work on a small project with an unstable OS is not my idea of fun. This may mean that I am forced to move up to XP. I have thought about Windows 2000, but there are more drivers available for XP. I will have to move the scanner and fax software to Joy's computer from this point forward, if and when I make the move. The move will probably require getting a new hard drive so to start clean and still maintain my files. I have back-ups of the most important items, but not all 25GB. A new hard drive and a full version of XP should allow me a nice clean slate to start on, which should be less problematic. I really don't like a computer making me less productive.

November 1, 2001

Trying to decide on getting Windows XP, take a look at InfoWorld's Waiting for Windows XP article.

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