Off the Top: Apple/Mac Entries

July 15, 2018

Mac Touchpad Dragging

I bought a Mac laptop for myself in 2001 and largely have been using the same version of the same set-up since then across 5 or 6 Macs since them (with one or two full nuke and repaves in there, but with those I pulled in my the applications and modification / customizations from preferences). In the past few months, I’ve been using a brand new Mac that is supplied by work / project and not only does it lack my outboard brain, but it doesn’t work like my heavily modified Mac.

The one thing that has been driving me crazy is I haven’t been able to sort out how I have a three finger drag on my personal MacBook Pro so I can have it on my one for work. It is frustrating as I go to click on an object to then drag it with three fingers to where I want it, or I go to the top bar of an app and place the cursor over it and use three fingers to drag the window to where I want. I do similar things to resize windows. I have looked in Better Touch Tool, thinking I had set it up there. I looked in Preference Settings for the touchpad, but no. Today I opened a lot of customization apps I have on my personal Mac and nothing.

I was looking in the Preference Settings in the Accessibility settings and found what I was looking for, the three finger drag. I would have never thought it would be in Accessibility. Given that my current personal MBP has a touchpad that the left half needs a lot of force to click on something and do usual tasks it does make sense that having a light touch manner of dragging things would be in Accessibility. Now I know how to fix one more thing on a work Mac to get it to my own personal Mac set-up so it gets closer to being an extension of me and less a tool I have to think about how to interact with rather than thinking about the work I am doing.

October 3, 2017

Animoji Trains Future Interaction Interface

In the September 2017 Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X announcement Keynote they demonstrated the Apple ARKit driven face emoji, Amimoji. This is similar to other platform’s and service’s offerings.

But, there is something I think a little different about what Apple is doing. One piece is the face identification system that Apple has in the iPhone X and the 30,000 dots it uses on people faces to ascertain an identity, which makes it difficult for someone to use a photo or mask of a person to gain access. The other piece is people interacting with their screens and the live face scans of muscles and facial features moving.

It is this second piece, the live interaction where I have a strong hunch Apple is seeding things for the future. People are learning to interact with a facial scan interface for fun and learning the capabilities so to be comfortable with it. This seems very similar to Microsoft’s using the Solitaire game in early Windows to provide a fun interaction as a means to train people how to use a mouse and get comfortable with it.

Look out a few years and start to see not Animoji, but people talking to Siri to bring up an app on their wrist, car heads-up display, or (rather banal) iPhone and use facial interactions to swipe, scroll, sort, etc. feature options and light contextual information options for simple / calm interfaces. A raise of the eyebrow could scroll up options, a side smile left moves to preferred options and side smile right moves to next screen.

I know nothing other than a hunch, but playing around with this idea for years, I’m seeing the potential could be around the corner. Finally. Maybe. Come on Apple, lets take that step.

August 8, 2017

Mac and iOS Tagging with Brett Terpstra

If you are still following along here it is likely in hopes of something related to tagging or folksonomy (I have a stack of folksonomy and tagging things piled up, but not written-up) so today you win.

This week’s Mac Power Users is an interview on tagging with Brett Terpstra. This episode digs deep into what is coming in iOS and current state of tagging on Macs. While things are mostly tagging standards based, the implementations are still a bit on the manual and geek scripting side of things.

I am deeply excited about iOS getting tags that come over from Mac, which is why I have been tagging things for the past few years. I have been playing the long game with MacOS tagging in hopes that it would also sync to iOS. Years back I was really certain (the kind of certain driven by hope, more than knowing) Mac was going to provide a tag only option, which was going to be really good, as files have multiple contexts and tags can adapt for that reality (which is far closer to life than nested folders).

While we never got the world I swore was going to be the next logical step, or at least as an option, we do have something interesting now. It will be more capable and usable in the next few months with the iOS 11 and the next MacOS update, High Sierra. If this is your thing, give Brett’s sit down with MacSparky and Katie a go and you are more than likely going to find one or more tip to up your game, if not get much more out of it.

March 28, 2015

Interview with New Steve Jobs Biographers is Quite Good

On Friday I saw that John Gruber had interviewed the authors of Becoming Steve Jobs as part of Apple’s Meet the Author Podcast series. I had been reading snippets and reviews about the book for a couple weeks, with Steven Levy’s “The War Over Who Steve Jobs Was” and Rick Tetzeli’s Fast Company except “The Evolution of Steve Jobs” and found them interesting and much more inline with the many books I read over the years about Apple and Steve Jobs, than I did the Walter Isaacson book snippets I read.

This morning I watched the iTunes podcast of Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli: Meet the Author and it more than lived up to expectation. It was incredibly good. So good I bumped the book to the top of my wishlist.

Why this book?

I have read quite a few books about Apple and Steve Jobs with Alan Deutschman’s “The Second Coming of Steve Jobs”, Steven Levy’s Insanely Great, and Adam Lashinsky’s “Inside Apple” standing out from the many others I read and all the Silicon Valley history and culture books I have read along the way. They stood out as they grasped the lore, debunked it as well as extended it. They filled in the gaps with new stories and understandings. But, under it all they looked to only tell the stories of what, the place setting, and how, but they get to the why.

This book seems to fit why I liked the others with filling in the background and understanding the lore. This book seems like it will fit well in my underlying interest.

My fascination with Apple and Steve Jobs has to do with influence and foundation setting. In particular its early-ish influence and foundation setting with me.

I was born in the Bay Area, but grew-up up and down the whole of the West Coast in and just outside the major cities until my second year junior high when my parents moved to the California’s Central Valley. Being back in Northern California and a little over and hour from San Francisco we got San Francisco stations. This meant in the late 70s the personal computer was being talked about a lot. My dad was a systems and operations guy in the health insurance industry and there were always magazines around with computers in them. His fascination and work with computers rubbed off.

But, being in Northern California meant television and print news also covered computers and technology. This hippy guy with long-ish hair and a scruffy beard was continually on talking about what was happening today and in the near future. It was Steve Jobs. His near future visions influenced my perception of reality and how things should be. Our family’s first computer came in 1983 and it was an Osborne Executive, which I learned to use and copy code (copying small software that was handed out in local user groups) and play around with to see how things worked until they broke (then I swore and did it again).

But, in 1984 the Mac came out and that changed my whole perception of things. Not only did I have computer envy for the first time, but I also began to understand the future of where things were headed and was (then) thankful I didn’t go into computer science as a major as things became much easier to use (what I sorted out a few years later is much of what I wanted to do would have been aided by having a formal CS background). But around this time I also was meeting people who worked at Apple and they loved what they did and loved their jobs. Many at college had Macs and our newspaper my last semester not only was set up with Macs, but we got a new type of software, desktop publishing, for Mac from Aldus, called Pagemaker. It was so new we got a lot of training as part of the deal. We sort of had a digital newsroom (with a fully functional sneaker net).

After Jobs left Apple I followed what he was doing and had deep interest in Next. During this time I still had Macs around with most jobs and in grad school a couple students had Macs, but they weren’t as prevalent as they were in the late 80s in California. Often jobs I had would have a Mac around for creatives or testing, but by the mid–90s they were buggy. When Jobs came back to Apple as advisor as part of Apple purchasing Next in 1997 I still knew a few people at Apple and they were quite happy to see him back in some capacity. The shifts and changes at Apple fascinated me as the guy who influenced a lot of my belief in personal computing, what is was doing and could do, and how it should be done (with a focus on the user and ease of use - this was a “no duh” for me in the early 80s as I was making and breaking things on my Osborne).

Around 1999 I started cluing into the Steve Jobs keynotes again and in 2001 I picked up my first Mac, a PowerBook G4 Titanium, lovingly known as a TiBook. I got it because my laptop I was using, a light Toshiba, was tied to my project I was on and I left that project. I missed having a laptop, but I really wanting power, good screen, and ability to have UNIX / LINUX as well as a major consumer OS. In the TiBook I had UNIX as the core of OS X with command line ability, OS X, Classic Mac, and importantly a Windows emulator that allowed me to use Visio and MS Project (those needs would dwindle and become tiresome the more I got used to the Mac and its ease of use and its “it just works” approach to things - these do not always hold up). But my needs for the 4 OSs on one device that was powerful and relatively light eased into the background as the lack of needing to spend regular time maintaining things turned quickly into me just doing my work on the device.

Over the years with my Mac and increasing interest in Apple and how they do things and frame things, I got to know even more Apple folks as friends went to work there and I gave a some talks inside Apple. I was also running into people who had managed at Apple and I enjoy interacting with them as they think and work differently, which often fits how I like working and approaching things.

It is this trying to understand why my Apple tools and software (mostly) work really well for me and how I enjoy working with Apple (and ex-Apple) folks (I also have this enjoyable fit with McKinsey folks, but for very different reasons). It is trying to understand the what, how, and why of the fit with Apple, but as well as they “this is the way things should be” that was seeded in my head in the late 70s and was feed and groomed through life, that has me interested in understanding Apple and Steve Jobs.

January 16, 2014

OmniOutliner Counts to Four

One of my favorite applications that a lot of my work and workflow lives in and through, OmniOutliner, updated today. OmniOutliner 4 finally was released today. Its interface becomes a little easier to use for more advanced functions, but if you use the iPad version the new Mac version now looks and works a little more like the iPad version (I think this is a good thing for consistency and ease of use).

I have been using OmniOutliner since version one. I learned to think and organize in outlines and I loved in the old days of WordPerfect the start a document in an outline and then start fleshing it out allowed me to work in the same manner I learned in the fourth grade in Mrs. Norman’s class at Raleigh Park Elementary. This seemed natural to prepare writing this way and once WordPerfect went missing from my workflow other writing tools faked outlines and I looked for good outlining tools to be that foundation. OmniOutliner filled this void. But, once I found OmniOutliner I found other fans who had scripted it to do really helpful tasks, like capture web site maps and dump them into OmniOutliner to annotate and arrange them, then use a script to push into OmniGraffle to visualize. Doing this in 2003 (or so) was pure joy. Not only was was OmniOutliner easy to use, it was really powerful because it was well structured and scriptable.

OmniOutliner is Where I Think

About 2003 I was asked by friend Jesse James Garret, “What tool to you think in?” At that point my answer was OmniOutliner. OmniOutliner was my capture tool that allowed for easy structuring and arranging of order. In years to come with OPML becoming the glue to connect many things in my workflow, I would would move my outlines from OmniOutliner to a mind mapping tool and back and forth. This moving the outline into a mind map allowed me to see it and see relationships spatially and to identify order, modify structure, and make connections between nodes in different branches of the mind map. From the mind map I could take all the modifications and move them back into the outline and tweak a little more. From this point it was moving into writing or into a Keynote presentation (also with a script that would take the OmniOutline and convert it to a presentation to flesh out visually).

The Initial Foundation of What Became OmniFocus

With OmniOutliner I went through the early productivity layer for it that later turned into OmniFocus. My old business started and was kept on schedule in that precursor to OmniFocus that Ethan Schoonover cobbled into and on top of OmniOutliner that was called Kinkless GTD (or KGTD for short).

I still think in OmniOutliner. I have all of the (now) 54 elements of the social lenses tucked in there with their hundreds of sub-nodes. This outline is what became the initial foundation for the four days of walk through of them with Dave Gray for what would turn into the Connected Company book. The collection of similar outlines are all within easy reach. I have a saved Spotlight search in the Finder sidebar that aggregate all my OmniOutliner files for one easy view across everything.

OmniOutliner 4 Offers Even More Potential

I really look forward to how OmniOutliner 4 becomes a new part of my world and workflows. The AppleScript looks robust (I didn’t try it in the many months of beta, but look forward to it now). With scripting and the structure there is a whole lot that is possible.

April 27, 2012

Pear Note Updates to v3 Now with Skype Support

This morning’s email notification that Pear Note, a note taking and recording app for Mac OS, updated to version 3. I’ve used Pear Note for meetings to record the audio and take note and the text syncs to a timestamp in the audio, which is incredibly helpful and reduces the notes I have to take so I spend more time listening.

The best part of the news of this update for me is that it can now grab Skype recorder. I use Skype recorder a lot so I can pay attention to the conversation and not focus on note taking. Now having Pear Note tied in I can mark quick annotations on the Skype call and then go back later and fill the notes in (if you are listening to the recording while updating your notes it will continue to timestamp).

Pear Note 3 is now optimized for Lion, includes higher bit rate audio recording and HD 720p video recording. This is paired with the updated Pair Note for iOS, which updated today as well.

April 26, 2012

Skitch Update Includes Evernote Posting

Skitch updated its Mac OS software today and now include a direct posting (or sync in their terminology) to Evernote. This past year Evernote purchased Skitch and its team and brought them into the Evernote fold.

I have been waiting for this posting to Evernote since they were purchased. While I like the Skitch hosted web dashboard and its hosting of one’s own Skitch images it didn’t fully fit into my workflow as easily as Evernote has. Skitch dashboard works well to share images and drafts out with others and provides a nice interface for seeing what is private/secret and what is public.

April 24, 2012

Path Finder and VoodooPad Major Version Updates

Two software applications on my Mac that I love were update this past week and they are running much more efficiently in Mac Lion.

Cocoatech’s Path Finder just became version 6. Along with the ease of file management in double paned windows and a much more robust quick viewer with more file types quickly viewed it has file tagging enabled built using OpenMeta. This is the first build of Path Finder I have used that I can leave running and not see a performance hit. Loving it. The upgrade price is $20 and new is $40.

The other software app that updated this week is Flying Meat’s VoodooPad, which is now up to version 5. VoodooPad is a Mac based wiki built into an app. It is mostly for personal use, but now that it has Dropbox compatibility it is open for use across machines and people and shows last edits by who and where. Also new is publish to ePub and improved PDF and HTML publishing (I have not tried either of these so I can not vouch for them). The update provide native Marckdown editing as well as the ability ability to write scripts in the app using JavaScript.

VoodooPad has been a great resource to tuck notes for projects and allows for easy linking to local resources, such as: type a person’s name you have in your address book and it links to that person’s card in your contacts and you can drag the proxy icon of document into the page to link the document directly to the page. It has been a nice way to keep things in reach and collected in one nice space on my mac.

October 7, 2011

A World without Steve Jobs

The news of the passing of Steve Jobs came as I turned on my iPad arriving at the BWI airport. It caused a gasp from me. Much of the prior 90 minutes were filled talking with my seat mate about the future of technology and our finding ease in using the tools we have today and their near future incarnations and beyond. The conversation kicked off with a question about iPad and differences between iPad and iPad2.

Today, what really struck as I woke today was not as much on what Steve Jobs inspired and shipped, but what didn't ship. I have had some long discussions with folks from Apple about things that got stuck in the Steve Jobs review and how to potentially get a feature or product beyond that hurdle. The attention to detail was stunning as to what the CEO focussed on and how each thing fit in not only the whole stretch of Apple products, but also all the touch points where people experience Apple. On rare occasion something that has been a bit of a clunker shipped from Apple, but mostly it is shipping great products that are well designed, well engineered, and very well built.

Having a leader understand this whole of the ecosystem of experience and making decisions to remove things that could dent that whole of the experience is essential Steve Jobs. One thing in particular sticks out is Apple not shipping is Flash in the iPhone. At the time many other smartphones included a Flash player in their devices, but it was never a good or passable experience, even when it wasn't locking up the device or crashing it. Jobs and Apple took a lot of heat for this decision, but it was geeks that cared about Flash in phone and those who only understand checkboxes when making device selection that were having the lack of understanding. The lack of Flash in iPhone and other iOS based products is one key to their ease of use and uptime, which lead to high user satisfaction of the devices.

American companies in recent years have been competing on price not quality, and therefore have largely been shipping mediocre products. The financial success of WallMart is founded on getting brands to make a cheaper more mediocre product so people own a brand that once mattered, but the product is deeply lacking in the quality they bought for a low price. The Steve Jobs Apple did not give in to shipping junk, their products may cost more than other devices, but once you add similar components to what Apple didn't cut corners on the price is rather close if not much more for the competing products. Jobs turned Apple around from a company that had become focussed on price and mediocrity and returned it to a company that focussed on "Boom" and quality with forward thinking products. Jobs shifted the focus from following to bringing the future to today with quality.

When we consider Pixar, Tim Berners-Lee inventing the web on Steve Jobs' Next Cube computer, changing the music industry with iTunes and iPod, disruptively moving the mobile phone marketplace, and countless other drastic changes one man and his companies made it is tough not to stop for a moment and be thankful and know we have been blessed with one who dreamed of greatness for the world around him and delivered it though passion and flair.

Now it is our turn not to give into mediocrity and accept the merely acceptable, but measure what we do and bring into our world and lives the greatness that should be there.

August 26, 2011

The Steve Jobs Difference

Yesterday's news that Steve Jobs resigned from is position as CEO of Apple hit hard. I, like everybody, knew this day would come but Jobs had many times cheated reality by creating a whole new one out of thin air (apparently thin air is made of hard work, insane attention to detail, knowing what the future looks like, hiring great people who can execute from that vision and have equal attention to detail along with knowing the deep underpinnings of everything they touch to to make something great, and not compromising on the way to making something great) and I had selfishly hoped his health and longevity would dance on some of that magic as well.

I was a fan of Apple products in the mid through late 80s when the Mac and MacBooks were the new and inventive darlings and also options I had to use at work. But, it was not until Jobs returned to Apple and the release of Mac OSX that I paid attention closely nor personally cared. In 2001 I was losing my laptop when I left a work project that loaned me one and was a web project built on UNIX that I went looking for a replacement as a personal computer for me. I went with a Titanium PowerBook from Apple because of Mac OSX as it gave me not only the new Mac OS and classic Mac OS to test with, but OSX is built on UNIX (Darwin, which Jobs' created at Next based on BSD) including access to the command line, and it could have a Windows emulator running to use the tools required when dealing with large organizations. All of this was in a less than one inch Titanium encased laptop, with a lovely screen, and battery that could last a flight across the US.

But, something happened I did not see coming, after a few months I was only using Mac OSX. My purchase choice was based on the capability and need to use all the various operating systems, but my use showed I only used one. Mac OSX was a giant change and revelation for me, I no longer was battling the operating system it just worked, I was able to do my job (that does not include keeping my personal computer functioning properly) and things were much easier to use. I noticed the attention to detail and careful design not only in the operating system and Apple software, but also the hardware. My hardware was lasting like no other manufacturer (my last laptop was 4.5 years old before replacing).

It was after purchasing my PowerBook that I started closely paying attention to Steve Jobs keynote presentations. The keynotes were a blast as Jobs seemed as giddy as we were about the newest things (iPod, iMac with extendable screen, iPhone, iPad, etc.) and at the same time deeply proud that Apple (his baby) was shipping yet another product that dared at greatness and changing the way things are done and the way we live our lives. (Josh Bernoff of Forrester counts 5 game changing innovations in technology as well as how these innovations deeply changed the music, film, telephone, internet, and other related industries). There has been no other single person nor company that has had that much impact.

There is No Other Like Jobs

I have long been accused of being an Apple fan boy, but I'm not so sure that I am that as much as I am a fan of nearly perfect execution of ideas that truly lead and are driven by a goal to ship things that are great. This is very much at the heart of what Steve Jobs has done for Apple. It is not only the vision, but he is the one that pays attention to the details and things that are insanely small and even things that can not be seen, but need to be there.

I have had the fortune of chatting with people at Apple in the cafe, being invited to speak to them, and pulled aside at events by a couple groups at Apple to "chat about some things" that lasted a few hours. These glimpses inside left me in greater awe of not only Apple and its very different and secret way of doing things, but of Jobs himself. I heard stories of Jobs product reviews and the level of detail of things he gets to (wire color inside a laptop, the symmetry of left and right invisible to sight laser drilled holes next to the laptop cameras in MacBook Pros - the right for an on light to show through and the left for balance, yes of something you can not see). But, I also had somebody recount a review he was responsible for the product and it didn't meet Jobs's standards and I watched the person physically recount the pain of that dressing down I imagine he got as he asked for suggestions for alternate paths to get it approved. The explanation and constraints around the feature and functionality were really well reasoned and I could see why it didn't ship. But also I was more in awe of Jobs and the realization of the breadth and depth he not only pays attention to, but the detail and quality that he demands. Not only did Jobs lead a company he checked it line by line as it was part of the vision and passion, but also he has the serious depth of understanding to have a company make things that are great.

The Measure of Things

Yes, not everything Apple ships has been perfect nor great and it would be foolish to say that. But, those teams and people do not last long who do not ship greatness. Apple will and has shipped things that are iterations on their way to something else as well as blown up products for a rebuild from square one (Final Cut Pro is in the midst of this) as well as things that are experiments (Apple TV). But, where Apple has and does stand apart is the expectation of greatness of product and having products that ship.

I have had senior executives of many tech companies as well as non-tech companies sit and ask about what I think is the difference between their company and Apple (I find this odd as I never publicly mentioned any interaction with Apple other than customer until this post).

This questioning has repeatedly come from senior management at Microsoft, whom I really like, but hasn't shipped anything great (perhaps other than Xbox) even though they have always had great things in R&D for years. The answer to Microsoft about the difference comes down to expectations and rewards. At Microsoft employees are reviewed on a sales and marketing model where the top third get really good salary increases and good bonuses, the middle third based on reviews get moderate increases and most years some bonus, and the bottom third has to reapply for their job or find another one. What this model of reward does is have nearly every employee game the system to be the white knight at the end of the day (just before review) sweep in with a great solution. The problem with this approach is the systems are so complicated and complex that they are not integrated nor tested well enough (often this needs many months of planning, if not years) to make a seamless solid product. Then I get asked what the Apple model is, which is really simple: All teams are given the task of making a great product and if the product meets expectations and review of the one with the insanely careful eye as well as does well in the marketplace the whole team is rewarded well, if not the team is reconfigured to better meet expectations (rumors of whole teams being dismissed have not publicly confirmed, but that would never surprise me).

Apple works and is set up as a whole to work together in clusters of people focussed with one driving mission. There is an also a culture of "what would Jobs do" that is more than myth and that matching of vision and expectations really extend broadly and deeply. But, the one thing I fear and have seen in the past year or two in Apple products is a slipping of quality and attention to detail in tiny ways. Not having the Steve Jobs with final insane attention to detail and vision review doesn't catch the things that make a deep difference. There is a lot of magic in Steve Jobs that can not be replaced (I strongly believe everybody has a gift that make them special and the world a much better place for having their gift in it, but Jobs has had this in volume like no other).

More Than Product

In 2005 I was moved by one rather short presentation like I had been at no other time and moved to make change. This was Steve Jobs' commencement address at Stanford given after his return to Apple after stepping away to battle cancer. The Jobs 2005 Commencement Address - Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. was and still is amazing. It was amazing in the craft of it in writing and delivery, but also the message. I grabbed a copy of this a day or two after I heard about it and listened to it nearly every time I travelled (which was a fair amount then). I continued listening to this about once a month for years and need to return to it.

For all of this and more I wish Steve Jobs deep thanks and wish him peace and comfort moving forward. Steve is the embodiment of of the Apple Think Different mindset and we are all better off for it.

October 22, 2010

Nokia to Nip Its Ecosystem?

First off, I admit it I like Nokia and their phones (it may be a bit more than like, actually). But, today's news regarding Nokia further refines development strategy to unify environments for Symbian and MeeGo is troubling, really troubling. Nokia is stating they are moving toward more of an app platform than software. It is a slight nuance in terms, but the app route is building light applications on a platform and not having access to underlying functionality, while software gets to dig deeper and put hooks deeper in the foundations to do what it needs. Simon Judge frames it well in his The End of Symbian for 3rd Party Development.

Killing A Valued Part of the Ecosystem

My love for Nokia is one part of great phone (voice quality is normally great, solidly built, etc.) and the other part is the software third party developers make. Nokia has had a wonderfully open platform for developers to make great software and do inventive things. Many of the cool new things iPhone developers did were done years prior for Nokia phones because it was open and hackable. For a while there was a python kit you could load to hack data and internal phone data, so to build service you wanted. This is nice and good, but my love runs deeper.

When my last Nokia (E61i) died after a few years, its replacement was a Nokia E72. I could have gone to iPhone (I find too many things that really bug me about iPhone to do that and it is still behind functionality I really like in the Nokia). But, the big thing that had me hooked on Nokia were two pieces of 3rd party software. An email application called ProfiMail and a Twitter client called Gravity. Both of these pieces of software are hands down my favorites on any mobile platform (BTW, I loathe the dumbed down Apple mail on iPhone/iPod Touch). But, I also get to use my favorite mobile browser Opera Mobile (in most cases I prefer Opera over Safari on iPhone platform as well). This platform and ecosystem, created the perfect fit for my needs.

Nearly every Nokia user I know (they are hard to find in the US, but most I know are in Europe) all have the same story. It is their favorite 3rd party applications that keep them coming back. Nearly everybody I know loves Gravity and hasn't found another Twitter client they would switch to on any other mobile platform. The Nokia offerings for email and browser are good, but the option to use that best meets your needs is brilliant and always has been, just as the unlocked phone choice rather than a carrier's mangled and crippled offering. If Nokia pulls my ability to choose, then I may choose a phone that doesn't.

Understanding Ecosystems is Important

Many people have trashed Nokia for not having a strong App Store like Apple does for iPhone. Every time I hear this I realize not only do people not understand the smartphone market that has existed for eight years or more prior to iPhone entering the market, but they do not grasp ecosystems. Apple did a smart thing with the App Store for iPhone and it solved a large problem, quality of applications and secondarily created a central place customers could find everything (this really no longer works well as the store doesn't work well at all with the scale it has reached).

While Apple's ecosystem works well, most other mobile platforms had a more distributed ecosystem, where 3rd party developers could build the applications and software, sell it directly from their site or put it in one or many of the mobile application/software stores, like Handango. This ecosystem is distributed hoards of people have been using it and the many applications offered up. When Nokia opened Ovi, which includes an app store with many offerings, many complained it didn't grow and have the mass of applications Apple did. Many applications that are popular for Nokia still are not in Ovi, because a prior ecosystem existed and still exists. That prior ecosystem is central what has made Nokia a solid option.

Most US mobile pundits only started paying attention to mobile when the iPhone arrived. The US has been very very late to the mobile game as a whole and equally good, if not better options for how things are done beyond Apple exist and have existed. I am really hoping this is not the end of one of those much better options (at least for me and many I know).

September 28, 2010

As If Had Read

The idea of a tag "As If Had Read" started as a riff off of riffs with David Weinberger at Reboot 2008 regarding the "to read" tag that is prevalent in many social bookmarking sites. But, the "as if had read" is not as tongue-in-cheek at the moment, but is a moment of ah ha!

I have been using DevonThink on my Mac for 5 or more years. It is a document, note, web page, and general content catch all that is easily searched. But, it also pulls out relevance to other items that it sees as relevant. The connections it makes are often quite impressive.

My Info Churning Patterns

I have promised for quite a few years that I would write-up how I work through my inbound content. This process changes a lot, but it is back to a settled state again (mostly). Going back 10 years or more I would go through my links page and check all of the links on it (it was 75 to 100 links at that point) to see if there was something new or of interest.

But, that changed to using a feedreader (I used and am back to using Net News Wire on Mac as it has the features I love and it is fast and I can skim 4x to 5x the content I can in Google Reader (interface and design matters)) to pull in 400 or more RSS feeds that I would triage. I would skim the new (bold) titles and skim the content in the reader, if it was of potential interest I open the link into a browser tab in the background and just churn through the skimming of the 1,000 to 1,400 new items each night. Then I would open the browser to read the tabs. At this stage I actually read the content and if part way through it I don't think it has current or future value I close the tab. But, in about 90 minutes I could triage through 1,200 to 1,400 new RSS feed items, get 30 to 70 potential items of value open in tabs in a browser, and get this down to a usual 5 to 12 items of current or future value. Yes, in 90 minutes (keeping focus to sort the out the chaff is essential). But, from this point I would blog or at least put these items into Delicious and/or Ma.gnolia or Yahoo MyWeb 2.0 (this service was insanely amazing and was years ahead of its time and I will write-up its value).

The volume and tools have changed over time. Today the same number of feeds (approximately 400) turn out 500 to 800 new items each day. I now post less to Delicious and opt for DevonThink for 25 to 40 items each day. I stopped using DevonThink (DT) and opted for Yojimbo and then as they had tagging and I could add my context (I found my own context had more value than DevonThink's contextual relevance engine). But, when DevonThink added tagging it became an optimal service and I added my archives from Together and now use DT a lot.

Relevance of As if Had Read

But, one of the things I have been finding is I can not only search within the content of items in DT, but I can quickly aggregate related items by tag (work projects, long writing projects, etc.). But, its incredible value is how it has changed my information triage and process. I am now taking those 30 to 40 tabs and doing a more in depth read, but only rarely reading the full content, unless it is current value is high or the content is compelling. I am acting on the content more quickly and putting it into DT. When I need to recall information I use the search to find content and then pull related content closer. I not only have the item I was seeking, but have other related content that adds depth and breath to a subject. My own personal recall of the content is enough to start a search that will find what I was seeking with relative ease. But, were I did a deeper skim read in the past I will now do a deeper read of the prime focus. My augmented recall with the brilliance of DevonThink works just as well as if I had read the content deeply the first time.

February 25, 2008

Paparazzi on Mac Fix-up

Since I upgraded to Apple's Mac Leopard I have had intermittent issues with Paparazzi for Mac, a webpage screen grab tool that will make an image of the full page. I am not sure what version I had, but am fairly sure it was still version 0.4.3 from my Tiger build. My issue was it would not render pages and would just stay blank.

In search of a remedy I went to the Paparazzi page and grabbed the 0.5 beta. When I loaded this on my MacBook Pro with Leopard 10.5.2 it the application would just crash. This was a step in the wrong direction.

One thing to keep in mind is I am a huge fan of Skitch, which I use for capturing sub-page elements. The ease of use, beauty in the interaction would make it really difficult for another tool to supplant the viewable screen grabs and sub-page screen grabs of Skitch. The freakishly ease of moving grabs and images out of Skitch into the apps and places I need to use the images and places I want and need to share them is unparalleled in any other application on any platform. So, I am looking for a full webpage screen grab tool

Call for Help on Twitter

I put a call out to friends on Twitter for an alternate resource. As is normal with Twitter I had a response with in minutes and many responses in 30 minutes. Jorge Arango made the great suggestion of using FireFox Extension - ScreenGrab, which I loaded and does a good job. Occasionally, I want to grab images of variances across many browsers, so I kept listening.

Another FireFox and Mozilla offering was surfaced by Joshua Porter of Page Saver by Pearl Crescent. The full paid version offers sub-page screen grabs, but it whole of the tool looks decent.

Nate Koechley stated his Paparazzi 0.4.3 was running just fine on his Leopard 10.5 and 10.5.2 installs. I went back to Paparazzi and grabbed the 0.4.3 install and used it to replace the 0.5 beta install. I started up Paparazzi and it ran just fine, just like it used to. The bugginess with my old install may have been that I had not recompiled Paparazzi to run under Leopard, which is what reloading essentially performed.

I am not one to always stop looking once I found what I was looking for (things are not always in the last place you look), so I listened to The Ronin and his suggestion for WebSnapper from Tasty Apps, which looks to be the next step up from Paparazzi with the breadth of output it offers. But, the downside is WebSnapper does not offer a preview of the output page as Paparazzi does.

The Result

It looks like Paparazzi (repaired) 0.4.3 will be my replacement for Paparazzi for pages it will deal with and WebSnapper will be its likely back-up. I hope that one day Skitch offers a full-page screen grab of web pages, but that day is not today. I am deeply appreciative of all those that offered their responses on Twitter.

June 15, 2007

Skitch Goes Live Beta

Just a quick note to let you know Skitch has gone to invite only beta. I have some invites if you are interested and have been drooling for it to launch.

What is Skitch? It is a Mac OS X screen and cam capturing tool that not only allows you to capture the image, but annotate it, then send it out to Flickr, .Mac, or MySkitch (a skitch sharing site perfect for sharing with clients or collaborators). I have been using Skitch for the past few months and loving it. I have built-up a decent set of screen captures for presentations and client work (about 300+ elements) mostly around social web interaction patterns. It is an insanely easy (as well as fun) tool to use and I only wish I had it sooner.

January 9, 2007

Digging Out of Digital Limbo

Things are mostly back to normal here. The new MacBook Pro has been wonderful (it is a bit odd to mostly focus on it as a tool and not the center of adoration as I normally do for Apple products) and even better getting my digital life flowing again. I found some gaps in e-mail had been backed-up in an odd place and they were restored.

The gap between sending my PowerBook out for data recovery (not possible as the drive was toast) and getting the MacBook Pro in my hands, even until the time of my first full back-up was one of trying to balance new info and old. Fearful of a "perfect storm" I was pushing my digital life out into corners of the internet. I have been pulling things back in to my laptop and re-building notes from paper I jot quick bits on.

Moving Forward

I have since picked up a Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo with one terrabyte of capacity set to RAID1 across its two drives (translates to mirrored 500MB drives). This seems like an insane amount of space, but knowing I can have more than one version of a back-up (that is part of what knocked me out) and can back-up my other external drive info (where my 70GB of music is stored) provides a nice peace of mind. I am also integrating my Amazon S3 into the equation as well as my .Mac storage. I am using Apple Backup and Retrospect Express to currently do my back-ups. I want a book able image for use on my Intel Mac, which it seems to have the capability of providing. I am still looking at other options. I have been a big fan of Carbon Copy Cloner, but it does not provide a bootable image capability on Intel Macs.

This New Year

I mostly have my feet under myself this new year, oh yes, Happy New Year! Work is taking off full bore and some of the bumps from last year seem to have been ironed out and lessons learned. I had planned to do a year end book wrap-up and a first year in business as InfoCloud Solutions, Inc., but the lack of a computer pushed those ideas off the table. I do not make New Years resolutions, as I try to make needed adjustments as they are needed and try not to put them off to some arbitrary date. I will be providing one or two most posts later this week, when the pile subsides and things go out the door.

Until then, enjoy Macworld and do your backups.

August 23, 2006

Apple Scholars

A quick note... Apple announced their Apple Scholars for 2006. Congratulations to all who one and to Apple for making this possible.

August 18, 2006


Yesterday we added RAM to our Apple PowerBook to take it from 1GB to 2GB. My machine can now keep up with my somewhat excessive state of open applications and tabs. My tools all now have returned to their very responsive selves.

May 7, 2006

Final Cut Pro Site is Stunning

I am not sure when this started, but Apple has started showing its product stories for Final Cut Pro in stunning video. I have been watching and saving down the movies. They are so much better than text for getting me sucked into the story and the pitch. They are each so stunning. So very Apple. Finally!

Apple Pro tools are some of the best on the market and not only put others to shame, they are much less expensive. I have been playing with the movie capabilities in iMovie HD this past week. In 10 minutes I can shoot a movie of my son, edit, and publish to a web page that I can mail those I want to see the page. That to me was hands down incredible. I am not dealing with HD quality video, but the capability is fully there. I just wanted to share a clip with friends and family quickly and get back to work.

Yes, 10 minutes. I have had iMovie for a few years and never played with it much. When I moved to a faster PowerBook this last year I started realizing the potential that was in my hands.

I am continually in awe of Apple for its simplicity, power, beauty, and potential it puts in my hands.

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.

March 8, 2006

Ray Ozzie Demos Live Clipboard for the Personal InfoCloud

Boy, did I whine too early! As Jyri blogs, Ray Ozzie demos a desktop to blog structured information tool. Ray demonstrated a potential (or is it real) tool from Microsoft, Live Clipboard. A set of screen captures of the Ozzie demonstration of Live Clipboard shows what they are up to. It is killer stuff that really solves real problems people have in living their life with digital information across their devices and platforms. He focusses on structured information, which is all around us, or should be all around us.

Ray Ozzie is one of my favorite geeks. I would have some extremely serious Microsoft love if Microsoft follows the Ray Ozzie vision of technology rather than that of the buffoon Steve Balmer. Ray has the vision and understanding that Bill Gates had for the desktop, but never showed beyond that. Balmer just seems to do more damage to Microsoft than any benefit (what is his benefit?) he provides. Where as Ray just flat out rocks by being brilliant (in a visionary to real product way), calm, and a wonderful communicator. Ray built one of my favorite tools, Groove, but stopped non-Microsoft version far too early as that could be THE killer app of the decade (last 10 years). If Groove were platform and device agnostic it would be the best thing going, but it will have to settle for a good app that has boundary limitations.

Ray is bright and understands the problems that real people have with digital information and focusses along the lines of the Personal InfoCloud for solutions. He seems to show not only tools, but simple solutions for real people to use. It is what Microsoft needs (that and to ship) and what the industry needs. So far Apple is one of the few big (non-web) companies in the space providing simple solutions that work to resolve the problems of real people as they interact with digital information and media.

September 5, 2005

If I Gave Awards...

I have been a big fan of Mac OSX Hints for quite some time. After this past week and some oddities with a couple of things, Mac OSX Hints is my first stop in solving or taking proactive steps. Not only does the site provide solutions to nearly everything I have ever run across, but it also explains the issues at hand so I have an even better understanding of the system. Awesome.

June 8, 2005

On the Apple Front: Watching was Enjoyable

Last night I watched the Steve Jobs keynote to the 2005 WWDC where he announced the move to Intel based processors. While I still have questions (do we get 64bit computing on Intel anytime soon and will we get dual processing anytime soon (soon is relative as the transition is more than a year away and the PowerMacs will not be transitioned until 2008) I was very impressed with the OS development and code compiling tools Apple has put together to run applications on both processors. This seems to solve the Osborne computer paradox of announcing a new product too far out and the demand for the current product dries up (I should not the Osborne Executive was my first personal computer it was considered a portable).

But, the thing I was most impressed with last evening was the video itself. It was running on Quicktime 7 and the viewing window was larger than streamcasts in the past and the quality was extremely good. I was actually very impressed with the quality. I have thought the quality of Quicktime movies is the best of any digital video platform for the web, but this just knocked all others out of the water. Not only was it a wonderful picture, but it seemed to use half of the bandwidth of previous streamcasts.

May 29, 2005

Response to Usability of Feeds

Jeffrey Veen has a wonderful post about the usability of RSS/Atom/feeds on his site. I posted a response that I really want to keep track of here, so it follows...

I think Tom's pointer to the BBC is a fairly good transition to where we are heading. It will take the desktop OS or browser to make it easier. Neither of these are very innovative or quickly adaptive on the Windows side of the world.

Firefox was the first browser (at least that I know of) to handle RSS outside the browser window, but it was still done handled in a side-window of the browser. Safari has taken this to the next step, which is to use a mime-type to connect the RSS feed to the desktop device of preference. But, we are still not where we should be, which is to click on the RSS button on a web page and dump that link into ones preferred reader, which may be an application on the desktop or a web/internet based solution such as Bloglines.

All of this depends on who we test as users. Many times as developers we test in the communities that surround us, which is a skewed sample of the population. If one is in the Bay Area it may be best to go out to Stockton, Modesto, Fresno, or up to the foothills to get a sample of the population that is representative of those less technically adept, who will have very different usage patterns from those we normally test.

When we test with these lesser adept populations it is the one-click solutions that make the most sense. Reading a pop-up takes them beyond their comfort zone or capability. Many have really borked things on their devices/machines by trying to follow directions (be they well or poorly written). Most only trust easy solutions. Many do not update their OS as it is beyond their trust or understanding.

When trends start happening out in the suburbs, exurbs, and beyond the centers of technical adeptness (often major cities) that is when they have tipped. Most often they tip because the solutions are easy and integrated to their technical environment. Take the Apple iPod, it tipped because it is so easy to set up and use. Granted the lack of reading is, at least, an American problem (Japanese are known to sit down with their manuals and read them cover to cover before using their device).

We will get to the point of ease of use for RSS and other feeds in America, but it will take more than just a text pop-up to get us there.

April 8, 2005

Tech Expo Fose was Ho Hum

I made it to Fose (the government-centric tech trade show) today. I was impressed nor intrigued by extremely little. There was mobile and a very good showing from the Open Source community, old old news to non-government folks. I was completely blown away by many booth's lack of understanding of their own products, particularly the Microsoft booth, I was interested in the One Note as it seemed similar to Entourage's Project (they were unfamiliar with any of the Microsoft Mac products and did not know they made products for the Mac - although they did laugh at my Keynote is PowerPoint with out swearing quip). The MS booth was pushing the product, but nobody seemed to have a clue about it. I was also interested in Groove (I was a fan from when I was using the beta of it many years ago) and wanted to see its current state. Microsoft really needs to hire people who not only care about their products but know about their products and what the company is doing. (This is truly not a Microsoft slam as I am getting some long long lost respect for them on some small fronts.)

I was quite impressed with three booths, Apple, Adobe, and Fig Leaf Software as they were extremely knowledgeable and were showcasing their wares and skills and not goofy side-shows. They had the skills and wares to show off (Blackberry also had a good booth, but I did not have a great interest there).

Apple was showcasing their professional line of hardware, including their servers and SAN, which blew all other server solutions out of the water on price and capability (including Dell and HP). Apple was also showcasing their new OS Tiger, which they were able to show me does search, using Spotlight, in the files comments in the metadata (now labeled Spotlight comments just to make it clear), which will make my life so much wonderfully better, but that is an other post all together. Tiger's Dashboard was also very impressive as it has an Expose-like fade-in ability. I tried asking the same questions to a few different people at the Apple booth and they were all extremely knowledgeable and across the board may have been the most impressive for this.

I hounded Adobe about their InDesign CS2, GoLive CS2 (standards compliance), and Acrobat (tag creation and editing). Not every person could answer every question, but they were able to bring over the right person who had deep knowledge of the product. Adobe has products I like, but there has always been one or two tripping points for me that keep me from fully loving their products and from using their products exclusively in Web development workflow.

The guy at the Fig Leaf booth (a Macromedia training and development shop in Washington, DC. I asked why no Macromedia and was told they pulled out at the last minute, but I had to thank the folks at Fig Leaf as they have the best Macromedia training anywhere in the area (nobody else comes remotely close and most others are a complete waste of time and money). I was really looking for Macromedia to talk about ColdFusion as their last product was so poorly supported by Macromedia it has been strongly considered to drop the product from the workflow. Fig Leaf, not Macromedia was the firm that posted the work arounds to ColdFusion server flaws when you run the CF MX product in a secure Microsoft environment. There is a lot about the Macromedia site that is really difficult to use and it is nearly impossible to find the information you want as well as get back to that same information. Macromedia does make some very good products and they have been very receptive to web standards for quite some time, but there are things that make embracing them so very difficult.

Overall, I got a lot from the show, if only from a very small number of vendors. I think I am finally going to switch up to the Adobe CS2 Premium Suite as it seems like a very good suite, and it has been difficult getting the cross-platform upgrade for the Windows to Mac switch from my PhotoShop 6 license (thanks to help from people in the booth that may be less painful than the two or three hour calls I have previously endured). Also thanks to the faux doctor who handed me a bottle of mint candy pills from the Blackberry booth (chili dog with onions was not good fair prior to going to Fose).

February 28, 2005

Jef Raskin has Passed Away

In sadness and condolence to his family, Jef Raskin passed away. Jef was an inspiration to nearly every designer and developer, by helping us to aim to make products that were intuitive and extremely useful. It is my hope that is vision lives on in the lives and minds of all those he inspired and still inspires.


February 23, 2005

Simple Genius for ProCare

With the arrival of my new Powerbook I was in the middle of preparing for four upcoming talks with illustrations and presentations for them in process I needed to get my works in progress off my TiBook as well as my applications moved over. I went with the ProCare at my local Apple Store, which turned out to be awesome. For just under 100 bucks they moved everything over and kept all the new goodness in place all in 12 hours. It was the longest I have been off my computer (actually more like 20 hours off the machine) in quite some time (things have been a little busy of late). I panicked when I dropped my computer off as the Apple floor person told me they no longer moved applications over, but he was just a little off.

I could not recommend ProCare more for just that service by itself. Somebody in recent weeks called ProCare the frequent flier club for Apple. You can also reserve an Apple Genius up to seven days in advance at any Apple Store. Not only that, but you can reserve a specific Genius. Unfortunately your favorite Genius will not follow you around the globe, but it is still sweet.

January 31, 2005

Apple Really Does Things Differently

Apple really does things differently. My laptop has pasted its 3rd birthday with me a week or two ago. I love my TiBook like no other computer I have ever owned (the Osborne Executive that was my first will always have a special place) has been this much of a dream. During the last six months the hard drive would click and occasionally pop, but since it passed there have been no hard drive problems. You see that is just weird. All other computers run fine until the day they get through their warrantee then kablam everything goes (actually with many of the Dells at work they just go at any time, even if it is a few days after they were purchased).

I have used this laptop harder than most desktops I have ever owned and it just keeps going. I have lost a USB port (lighting storm) and the latch is a little flakey, but it is killer other than that. I have never been this happy with a laptop before and certainly never a desktop. It may be that desktops are so malleable that draws me to replace nearly every part in them during the first year I own them. You see about the time I started getting into computers was the time I stopped doing nearly all the repairs on my own cars. Cars got too complicated with all of the computing and hardware needed to calibrate them properly. Computers were less expensive and you could make things on them that helped you. So I guess my tinkering was held over from my under the hood days.

I have been keeping my eye on a getting a new Powerbook to replace my current one. Since it has been quite some time since the last model adjustments on the Powerbook line it is time for something new. I have reservations about getting something new as the TiBook has strong sentimental value (I made me find the joy in computing again and removed the pain and cursing that comes with Windows machines (for those unaware the world does not have to be that way and for millions of us it is not that way)). Now I have found myself in that waiting game around a computer company. Will it be a G5 that is announced soon or will it be a bump in speed and on the G4 line and better peripherals? I am somewhat hoping for the G4 as I am not a fan of first generation models, but since Apple has broken all of my other painful stereotypes around computers it may not be so bad.

Thank you Apple from freeing me from a world of crappy computers.

December 31, 2004

Books Read in 2004

I bought and read one standout book this year, Malcolm McCullough's Digital Ground mixed in with many more that I enjoyed. Digital Ground stood out as it combined a lot of things I had been thinking about, but had not quite pulled together. It brought interaction design front and center in the ubiquitous computing and mobile computing spectrum. I have been working on the Personal InfoCloud for a few years now and this really moved my thinking forward in a great leap. I considering better questions and realizing there are many next step, but few of these next steps the design community (in the broad user experience design sense) seems ready for at this time. One of the key components that is not was thought through is interaction design and the difference place makes in interaction design. It was one book that got my highlighter out and marking up, which few books have done in the past couple years.

I greatly enjoyed the troika of books on the mind that came out in 2004. The first was Mind Wide Open by Stephen Berlin Johnson, which was a relatively easy read and brought to mind much of how we use are minds in our daily lives, but also how we must think of the coginitive processes in our design work. Mind Wide Open focussed on improving one's attention, which is helpful in many situations, but I have had a running question ever since reading the book regarding focus of attention and creative problem resolution (I do not see focus of attention good for creative problem resolution).

The second book was On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins. On Intelligence is similar to Mind Wide Open, but with a different frame of reference. Hawkins tries to understand intelligence through refocussing on predictive qualities and not so much on results based evaluation (Turing Test). I really like the Hawkins book, which throws in some guesses in with scientifically proven (unfortunately these guesses are not easily flagged), but the predictive qualities and the need for computing to handle some of the predictive qualities to improve people's ability to handle the flood of information.

Lastly, for in the mind book troika I picked up and have been reading Mind Hacks by Tom Stafford and Matt Webb. This is one of the O'Reilly Hack series of books, but rather than focussing on software, programming, or hardware solutions these to gents focus on the mind. Mind tricks, games, and wonderful explainations really bring to life the perceptions and capabilites of the grey lump in our head. I have been really enjoying this as bedtime reading.

Others in related genres that I have read this year, Me++: The Cyborg Self in the Networked City by William Mitchell, which was not a soaring book for me, mostly because Ihad just read Digital Ground and it should have been read in the opposite order, if I had cared to. Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What it Meands by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi was a wonderful read, once I got through the first 20 pages or so. I had purched the book in hardback when it first came out and I was not taken by the book in the first 20 pages. This time I got past those pages and loved every page that followed. Barabasi does a wonderful job explaining and illustrating the network effect and the power curve. This has been incorporated into my regular understanding of how things work on the internet. I have learned not to see the power curve as a bad thing, but as something that has opportunities all through out the curve, even in the long tail. On the way back from Amsterdam I finally read Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, which was quite a wonderful end to that trip.

I picked up a few reference books that I enjoyed this year and have bought this year and have proven to be quite helpful. 250 HTML and Web Design Secrets by Molly Holzschlag. CSS Cookbook by Chris Schmitt. More Eric Meyer on CSS by Eric Meyer.

On the Apple/Mac front the following reference books have been good finds this year. Mac OS X Unwired by Tom Negrino and Dori Smith. Mac OS X Power Hound by Rob Griffths.

Two very god books for those just starting out with web design (Molly's book above would be a good choice also). Web Design on a Shoestring by Carrie Bickner. Creating a Web Page with HTML : Visual QuickProject Guide by Elizabeth Castro.

The year started and ended with two wonderful Science Fiction romps. Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow. Jennifer Government by Max Barry.

Update: I knew I would miss one or more books. I am very happy that 37signals published their Defensive Design for the Web: How To Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points, as it is one of the best books for applications and web development on how to get the little things right. The tips in the book are essential for getting things right for the people using the site, if these essentials are missed the site or application is bordering on poor. Professionally built sites and applications should work toward meeting everything in this book, as it is not rocket science and it makes a huge difference. Every application developer should have this book and read it.

December 17, 2004

Busy Busy Busy

Yes, things have been a little quiet here. Yes, things are alright. There are some people who are members of the "clean plate club". Well we are members of the "full plate club". Yes, we have a little too much on our plate at the moment. We have the usual work, articles, home life (teaching our son to catch the ball and throw the ball (which only may be so we can say "I said no throwing the ball in the house"), try not to laugh when he opens the oven door and yells in "Hot Hot Hot!!!", and teach him to speak a language that we his parents understand), and some projects we volunteered for as we inanely thought there would be more than 24 hours in our days ahead.

We have been a little sick in the past week. We are also thinking of moving our site to the new host we have been paying for and which has some wonderful things we need like secure e-mail and the ability to put all my domains on one hosting service. Oh, did I mention we have been trying to shop for Christmas? We have not picked up a tree as I was sick last weekend (as well as the parent in-charge) and I gave that gift to others in the house (the early presents were not welcome).

I also got to run errands tonight trying to find a laptop power adapter for somebody in the house that put theirs through the paper shredder, which lead to much amusement at CompUSA and Best Buy. I did learn a renewed love for Apple as they have one power adapter for their laptops (I also realized I largely only travel to places with Apple stores (official or fantastic independently owned)). It seems Dell has many variations to their power adapters and their newest laptop does not work with most of the "universal" power adapters.

Now I am going to get some sleep or check off something else on the to do list.

December 12, 2004

Second Apple Store in Bethesda

Bethesda now has two Apple stores. There is one Apple Store in the Montgomery Mall and now a Apple Mini-store on Bethesda Row. I caught some pictures of the Apple store opening line of people a little more than a half hour before the opening and a pre-opening peak inside the Bethesda Mini-store. I was not able to stay for the actual opening as it was raining and I had my son with me on our way to music class.

I am still conflicted about the Apple stores and their impact on the local independent Apple retail stores. This new Mini-store is a short walk from MacUpgrades. The local independent stores are very tied to the people in the communities that are fans. They have been gathering places for conversation as well as quick purchases and straight forward opinions. The local stores have been places that have high touch and great customer service, but this is also a property of the Apple corporate stores.

The Apple Stores do have Genius Desks (with the direct line to Apple) and abundant software options. They are also a place to get service and accessories. The Mini-Stores only carry the "i" line of products and the full laptop line along with the above mentioned. How will this play out? Will the local independents morph into something that will sustain?

December 5, 2004

OmniOutliner3 In Beta

One of my favorite pieces of software, OmniOutliner is getting ready for a version upgrade. There are many new features that will extend the functionality beyond it just being a great outlining tool and turn it into a file organizing tool. The new version will also have a Pro version, which has piqued my interest.

September 16, 2004

43folders for Refining Your Personal InfoCloud

I have been completely enjoying Merlin Mann's 43folders the past couple weeks. It has been one of my guilty pleasures and great finds. Merlin provides insights to geeks (some bits are Mac oriented) on how to better organize the digital information around them (or you - if the shoe fits). This is a great tutorial on refining your Personal InfoCloud, if I ever saw one.

Everytime I read this I do keep thinking about how Ben Hammersley has hit it on the head with the Two Emerging Classes. The volume of information available, along with the junk, and the skills needed to best find and manage the information are not for the technically meek.

July 16, 2004

Gmail Simplifies Email

Since I have been playing with Gmail I have been greatly enjoying the greatly improved means of labeling and archiving of e-mail as opposed to throwing them in folders. Many e-mails are hard to singularly classify with one label that folders force us to use. The ability to drive the sorting of e-mail by label that allows the e-mail to sit accessibly under a filter named with the label make things much easier. An e-mail discussing CSS, XHTML, and IA for two different projects now can be easily accessed under a filter for each of these five attributes.

Dan Brown has written a wonderful article The Information Architecture of Email that dig a little deeper. Dan ponders if users will adopt the changed interface. Hearing many user frustrations with e-mail buried in their Outlook or other e-mail application, I think the improved interface may draw quite a bit of interest. As Apple is going this way for its file structure in Tiger (the next OS upgrade) with Spotlight it seems Gmail is a peak at the future and a good means to start thinking about easier to find information that the use can actually manage.

Best Web Development Practices

Those of you looking for a relatively short article or essay on current best Web practices should look no further than the Best Web Development Practices provided by Apple. Yes, this focusses on web standards, but what best practice does not as it is the cornerstone of accessibility as well as makes the same content usable on mobile devices (one caveat the article will not print on 8.5 by 11 inch paper).

July 4, 2004

What Goes In Your Ears

Tim Bray brings to life a point I recently discovered, compression on MP3 is rather poor sound quality. I unintentionally ripped a disk this past week at the lossless sound quality in Apple iTunes and ended up with 23 MB to 30 MB files in the Apple file format. I dumped the songs in my iPod and hit the road. That evening on my way home I listened to my disk I ripped, Danny Wilson's Meet Danny Wilson, and was utterly blown away by the lush tones finding their way to my ears through the Sony in-ear fontopia headset. I have been ripping my collection over the past couple years at 160 bits in the Apple format or in MP3 and getting 4 to 5 MB per song. Since my experience I am now ripping at 192 bits, but still not getting the lush sounds, although the quality is improved. I will run out of space at some point, but I will have much better sounding bits to listen.

Not everything needs the better sound quality, but there are many things in my collection that I may go back and re-rip so I have better travel versions with me.

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.

May 28, 2004

Apple Design Guidelines

Apple has published its Apple design guidelines, which are a great resource for anybody building an application. For many of us there is not much new, but it is a great resource to show clients and managers who are not sure about your user-centered development process.

May 22, 2004

iTunes on External Drive

I finally moved my iTunes repository, all 18GB of it, off my TiBook (40GB hard drive) to my external firewire hard drive (120GB). By changing the iTune directory to the external drive in iTunes preferences then going into Advanced an set iTunes to "consolodate" iTunes files everything will be properly copied to the external drive. After ripping a disk and finding the disk only loaded on the external drive I knew I had success. I then deleted the iTunes on the TiBook.

I have now successfully synched my iPod connecting to the external drive through the same firewire hub. I now have 20GB of free hard drive available on my laptop, which is a nice relief.

Closing the Vulnerability

As mentioned elsewhere the URL vulnerabilities on Mac OS X can be closed very easily with RCDefaulApp, which allows you to turn off telnet called from the URL. The free application also allows turning off many other function calls from the URL as well as mapping file extensions to applications.

May 8, 2004

I am standing in the line for the opening of the Bethesda, MD Apple Store. We got here about 20 to 10am, which is when it is to open. We are about 400 feet from the door. The store employees has done their walk through the line greeting everybody and thanking them.

[Updated May 9, 2004 12:30pm] This was the first store opening that I had been to. I was amazed at all those that were unaware of the opening and wanted to know "Who was there or what was being given away?" These people seemed a little confused that it was a computer store that was opening and just giving away t-shirts. One person said to me all those in line must be obsessed, but when I stated it is a computer that is easy to use and just seems to work as no other computer has ever seemed to before, the person seemed to instantly understand. They then began to ask people behind me about why they were in line, to which they stated the same things, great and easy to use products that enhance life not get in its way. This seems to make perfect sense to those unaware of Apple.

After going to the opening and seeing the light click on for those unfamiliar with Apple, it now seems to make a lot of sense as to why Apple has the stores. The stores create conversation about the product. The stores show passion about the product, which is hard to dispute when looking at a broad variety of people standing in a very very long line. The stores allow the new to Apple and the vets to mingle. The stores beautifully showcase the products. Even this Montgomery Mall store, which is one of the smaller stores I have been to, provides a calm environment to let the Apple products show themselves off.

May 3, 2004

Bethesda Apple Store Opening

Bethesda Apple Store opens this Saturday morning. I know one parental newly minted Apple geek I may be able to drag with me.

I still have mixed feelings about the local Apple Store, but I hope it will add to the mix and raise the number Apple users that will then frequent the great local Apple stores.

February 22, 2004

Treo 600 is Better than I Dreamed

My new phone has given me a lot of adventures, nearly all of them positive. The Treo 600 has been everything I had hoped and a lot more. I had thought there would be some sacrifice having all that the Treo offers in one device. I have collapsed my cellphone, mobile Internet, and Palm device all in one nice package. The phone is as good as my Motorola 270c ever was and that was my best phone up until the Treo. The mobile Internet is better than the Hiptop, mostly because my Sprint service has much better coverage than T-Moble (I am a fan of GSM as it provides me not only US coverage, but the rest of the Western world, although I have not needed that much coverage, yet). I do need to get a better e-mail application than what comes with the Sprint Treo, but that can be worked out. The Palm works very well and I have all my favorite applications functioning just as they always have, some were a little buggy at first, but downloading the updates to the applications to run under Palm v5(x) rather than v3 made the difference.

One thing I was not ready for was the constant attention the phone gets. It, in and of it self, is a conversation piece. I read news on it when on the Metro and I get stopped there and asked questions about it. I have been asked at the Apple Genius Bar, elevators at work, the street, in the bookstore (I use mobile Internet to check my Amazon Wishlist when in bookstores and compare prices as well as add new books to the list while in the store), at sporting events (checking live stats and news), in meetings (checking calendar and adding events as well as checking Google for updated information on new subjects that pop-up in the meeting - many conversations have been with CIOs who have Hiptop, Blackberry, or Pocket PC devices and are not perfectly happy and want smaller better functioning devices), and many other locations as it is also my watch for the time being. The attention much more than my TiBook received a couple years ago, mostly on flights as the screen was brighter and the battery lasted longer than anything else on the cross country flight.

I now think I have a fantastic troika of devices (Treo, TiBook, and iPod). I have been happier with my TiBook than any other computer I have ever owned. It has been more stable, secure, reliable, and friendly to letting me do my work without getting in the way than any other computer I have used since 1982, when I first started using computers. Any other laptop or computer is a waste of money.

January 11, 2004

AvantGo Synch for Mac OS X

I am now able to synch my Palm with AvantGo from my Mac. AvantGo USB Sync for Mac OS X is the key to getting this working. AvantGo has not supplied a Mac OS X interface. This worked exceptionally well. This was one of my last tethers to my PC. The PC has been very flakey with Palm hot synchs the past month or two, which is bad as one leaves for work with out of date info. Yes, in one day things can be horribly out of date.

January 3, 2004

Mixed Feelings about Apple Store in Bethesda Maryland

Mac Network News is reporting an Apple store coming to Bethesda, Maryland in Montgomery Mall.

I have very mixed feelings about the Apple store coming. While I trek to the Tysons and Clarendon stores in Northern Virginia and would love a store 5 to 10 minutes from my house, I still feel a very close tie to the local Apple resellers. I am a huge fan of the Absolute Mac store as they have an extremely knowledgeable staff, great customer service, and quick turn around times on perfectly done repairs and upgrades (I am willing to make the 20 minute trek to the store on Saturdays -- no late weeknight hours). (Absolute Mac has also been a fantastic resource to the local business community that understands Apple products let them get their job done and not have the computer get in the way.) I am also a customer of Mac Upgrades here in Bethesda and enjoy the ability to drop in on my way home from work or as a walk-in while doing other errands.

The local Apple resellers have provided expertise beyond what the Apple stores have provided and have better turn around on service times. The local stores are also very tied to the local community. The Absolute Mac store has been pushing to start a chapter of the local MUG, Washington Apple Pi, which would be a great meet-and-share for the Maryland Apple fans, while Mac Upgrades is a sponsor of Apple Pi.

All this said, I look forward to the Apple store coming to Montgomery Mall (my guess is it is going in where the Eddie Bauer store just vacated, which is near the official Palm kiosk). The Apple stores do a great job of introducing Apple products to the frustrated uninitiated PC consumers. The Apple stores are great venues to sit and watch new Apple users, be it iPod, iTunes, or Mac computers, come in and rave about their new found joy in digital consumer products and great computing products that actually let them do their job. I don't know how many times I hear customers stating they no longer battle their computer to do their work and are no longer wasting time or a lot of money on support for their PCs. These folks have been hardcore software programmers, business managers, store owners, students, designers, stay-at-home moms, etc. The love affair for Apple product grows from new seeds in Apple stores. The stores also provides hands-on experience to third-party consumer products and a broad array of software and add-ons.

While the Apple stores are great outreach and expansion devices for Apple and its great computing resources for consumers and enterprise buyers, the support and feeding on the Apple community has been performed by the local resellers and authorized repair shops. It would be great to have the Apple store offer repair and other services from Absolute Mac and Mac Upgrades, where applicable. Apple really needs to foster these relationships that have maintained and grown fans of great products for years.

December 28, 2003

Mobile Audio

I picked up Audio Hijack Pro so I can record some of my favorite radio shows on the Internet to playback when I have time. Since I stopped driving to work and went back to taking the Metro I have been missing Marketplace on my drive home. I can also listen to Studio 360, which I plan to do tomorrow, when I have time. The Audio Hijack is like the Tivo for Internet audio, but missing the time schedules and recommendations.

The benefit of the portable audio is getting the top item on my wishlist, an iPod. I am wishing the iPod interface was slightly more malleable and offered how much information was available about the audio file, it would be good to have search functionality too. I am happy to have my full address-book and calendar tucked in the device also. I am surprised there has not been a thumb keyboard introduced for the iPod as of yet. I am even more surprised there is not a dial and click text entry component, just like the arcade games of yore.

December 27, 2003

Great OmniOutliner Overview and Resource

OmniOutliner is one of my favorite applications for the Mac. I tend to do a lot of my thinking in OmniOutliner. Giles Turnbull offers a great overview in Flexible OmniOutliner over at O'Reilly Net's Mac DevCenter. The insights include outputting the outlines into iPod, MS Word, Keynote, and much more.

Powerbook Upgrade Promotion

(Warning - could be a rumor) Think Secret is reporting an early TiBook upgrade promotion from Apple. The promotion offers 700 US dollars for early G4 Powerbooks.

December 15, 2003

Apple Marketer of the Year

Apple is the Advertising Age Marketer of the Year. They got the kudos for their grassroots efforts. I always think of Microsoft as a great marketing company but have half-assed products. Apple had kick-ass products and goes on reputation, quality, and the marketing they can afford.

This year's award give marketing a good name for once, but they do have products that could sell themselves.

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.

December 10, 2003

O'Reilly Apple books and other offerings

There are two new Apple/Mac books and one digital photography book from O'Reilly released in the last few weeks that I am dying to get my hands on. The biggest interest is Dori and Tom's Mac OS X Unwired. The Applescript the Definitive Guide will take me to the next level and help automate more on my Mac. I am also wanting Derrick Story's Digital Photography Pocket Guide, 2nd Edition.

I picked up the Mac OS X Panther Pocket Guide, 3rd Edition last week and have found it to be a good little gem. It had a couple snippets that opened a couple doors I did not know about. It is a good price at under 10 U.S. dollars.

November 30, 2003

Absolute Mac rocks

Absolute Mac has quickly become my favorite favorite Apple store in the region. My dad was in town and had Panther hand during its installation, which would not progress forward nor back. The Apple store wanted to send it out and other locals were not on top of what was needed. Absolute Mac knew what they were doing and it was done and back in my dad's hands overnight.

I picked up 1GB of RAM a week ago for the best non-web price I could find. They also are running a discount on a dual 2Mhz G5, who ever heard of that before. These folks are just flat out fantastic with repairs and sales. Additionally if you purchase a computer from them and get Apple Care they will provide the service at your home or business.

November 9, 2003

Apple Mac OS X as a great application development platform

Steve Neiderhauser has written an overview of what makes Apple a great application development platform. I cringe each time I hear somebody that has never understood application development or design state that Apple is a only a designer's platform. I bought an Apple laptop because of OS X, so that I could have a mobile UNIX platform for developing Web Applications and continuing my UNIX and OpenSource application development skills. I quickly found that the OS X platform was great for anytime of development, but I have not had the time to stay on top of my own development projects, as much I would like. I also found out that much of the Palm OS was built and maintained on Macs and UUNet has been largely a Mac-based company for its business practices.

November 2, 2003

Apple's Network in Hell poster with Akbar and Jeff

In the fun category Apple's Matt Groenig's Network in Hell poster.. This poster features Akbar and Jeff's ability to network to IBM Big Iron with their Macs. This poster should be updated to highlight Panther's ability to network easily on Microsoft networks, including VPN.

November 1, 2003

iPIM and Chandler have a chair at the Personal Info Cloud

There are two articles that are direct hits on managing information for the individual and allowing the individual to use the information when they needed it and share it as needed. Yes, this is in line with the Personal Information Cloud.

The first article, The inter-personal information manager (iPim) by Mark Sigal about the problem with users finding information and how the can or should be able to then manage that information. There are many problems with applications (as well as the information format itself) that inhibit users reuse of information. In the comments of the article there is a link to products that are moving forward with information clients, which also fit into the Personal Information Cloud or iPIM concept. (The Personal Information Cloud tools should be easily portable or mobile device enabled or have the ability to be retrieved from anywhere sent to any device.

The second article is from the MIT Technology Review (registration required) titled Trash Your Desktop about Mitch Kapor (of founding Lotus Development fame) and his Open Source project to build Chandler. Chandler is not only a personal information manager (PIM), but the tool is a general information manager that is contextually aware. The article not only focusses on Mitch and the product (due late 2004), but the open and honest development practices of those that are building Chandler at the Open Source Application Foundation for Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. distribution.

Mac and Apple reseller in Gaithersberg Maryland provides a great alternative

The Washington, DC and Montgomery County, Maryland area has another great new Apple reseller, Absolute Mac, who has been doing business in the Washington, DC area for 12 years. They have been supporting small businesses to large businesses with technical services.

The retail store is in Gaithersberg, Maryland, just north of Rockville and Bethesda. The store is clean and bright with a great selection of hardware and peripherals as well as software and books. The store has a great audio and video selection and demo area, that flat out beats any Apple store in the area. The folks in the store were very knowledgeable, friendly, and kind. What makes this store very nice is they are near CostCo (less than a mile up Frederick Ave.). I really like supporting my local Apple resellers as they are the ones in the community supporting the faithful and helping others switch. Additionally the knowledge in local resellers seems to be better than the what many of the Apple Genius's provide (not to knock the Apple Geniuses, but the local resellers have been answering questions in the local community for many years.

October 26, 2003

iChat AV making our family closer

Tonight Joy, my Mom, Will and I had a video chat with my Dad from Maryland to California thanks to iChat AV. This was not only a great experience for everybody as it shortened the long distance between coasts, but my Dad stated that experience alone made the move to Apple worth it all by itself. He has already said that the Mac experience is so much better than the PC as everything is just easy.

October 25, 2003

Information structure important for information reuse

John Udell's discussion of Apple's Knowledge Navigator is a wonderful overview of a Personal Information Cloud. If the tools was more mobile or was shown synching with a similar mobile device to have the "knowledge" with the user at all time it is would be a perfect representation.

Information in a Personal Information Cloud is not only what the user wants to have stored for retrieval when it is needed (role-based information and contextual) but portable and always accessible. Having tools that allow the user to capture, categorize, and have attracted to the user so it is always with them is only one part of the equation. The other component is having information that is capable of being captured and reused. Standards structures for information, like (X)HTML and XML are the beginnings of reusable information. These structures must be open to ensure ease of access and reuse in proper context. Information stored in graphics, proprietary software, and proprietary file formats greatly hinders the initial usefulness of the information as it can be in accessible, but it even more greatly hinders the information's reuse.

These principle are not only part of the Personal Information Cloud along with the Model of Attraction, but also contextual design, information architecture, information design, and application development.

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 18, 2003

Links to artists and songs in iTunes

Do you have a song you want to share? Apple now offers a tool to link to any artist and song in the Apple Music Store - iTunes

October 14, 2003

Microsoft helps with Mac compatibility

Microsoft has put together a Mac and Microsoft compatibility site to answer questions and to provide assistance.

October 13, 2003

Snapshots of Mac users

Robert Scoble (who incidently now works at Microsoft) ponders why most weblogers seem to be Mac users. This is a very good snapshot of Mac users. Webloggers are often considered word-based creative types.

Tim Bray observes nearly everybody at the O'Reilly Foo Camp weekend had a Mac (the Foo Camp was an event of some of the brightest folks in technology (not the richest, just the brightest) held at the O'Reilly HQ to share and expand understanding.)

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 30, 2003

Kryptonite G5 case mod

I wandered over to MacUpgrades to pickup a firewire cable and a miniDV tape. I could not help but notice the kryptonite G5 case mod. I stood and gawked for about five minutes. The details of the inside of the case really showed up nicely.

September 16, 2003

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.

Apple ad desire

I have been trying to find the Apple laptop ads from around 1990 to 1993 that showed what people stored on their laptops. If I remember correctly these were celebrities based print ads. For example, a musician had lyrics, recording dates, agent's address info.

I have been digging on line for weeks, but can not find examples. If somebody could provide a link I would be truly grateful.

September 9, 2003

OS X to AvantGo to Palm with AppleScript

MacOSXHints offers AvantGo-Palm sync using a basic AppleScript, which actually uses malsynch. This has been one last gem I have struggled to get working. This could be a project for later in the week.

InfoWorld CTO sees it all in Mac

InfoWorld CTO switches to Mac OS X as he replaced his Linux server and two PCs. This was a three year old G4 box that made the other boxes obsolete.

I have had a the similar experience with one Apple Powerbook. My PC, which has been relegated to games and a Windows test platform, has been in the shop for over two weeks getting a proprietary power supply (PCs have been commoditized?). I have not missed it, actually it has been ready to be picked up for four days now, but I do not need it. I do want to burn some stuff off on to discs that is resident on its hard drives, but that is all it really means to me.

September 3, 2003

JBuilder 9 on Mac OS X

Hmmm, for future use, MacOSX Hints provides Installing JBuilder 9 on OS X. I have run previous versions on Windows and Linux, but have not attempted on OS X yet.

September 1, 2003

Public disclosure of Microsoft usage

In an article from the New York Times regarding software oversight needed because some large companies don't check their own software for vulnerabilities, I ran across the following:

Proposals for government action being discussed by policy makers and computer security experts include strengthening the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity division and offering tax incentives to businesses for spending on security. Another proposal would require public companies to disclose potential computer security risks in Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

and the double standard for Microsoft

"There's a reason this kind of thing doesn't happen with automobiles," says Bruce Schneier, chief technical officer at Counterpane Internet Security in Cupertino, Calif. "When Firestone produces a tire with a systemic flaw, they're liable. When Microsoft produces an operating system with two systemic flaws per week, they're not liable."

I can just see it now the SEC requiring companies to divulge on their filings that their security threat is using the Microsoft OS. But, this would explain the day or two of lost productivity each quarter. I know of more than a handful of major firms (through friends that work at them) that had whole divisions (200 to 1,000 people) that were knocked off-line or completely out because of the last vulnerabilities. These did not show up in the news and their investors most likely were not informed.

At work I lose two to four hours per week of productivity to software bugs, security vulnerability patching, or operating system issues on the Windows platform we have to use. At home I do similar tasks on a Mac OS X based system and use Linux servers and I have a half an hour per month lost for the same things. Given I do more rigorous work at home and spend about an equal amount of time on the computer at home as I do at work I don't see why folks use Microsoft.

August 27, 2003

Apple to get serious redesign

Great things should be in store for the Apple web site, as Jeffrey Zeldman and Doug Bowman will be teaming up with Apple's in-house crew to redesign the Apple site.

This is a dream come true. Well, it would be better in one way.

August 25, 2003

August 17, 2003

Streaming motion icons in iChat

Rael explains about the streaming iChat icons from the iSight. I noticed Matt had this going on the other night. It was very cool to see live movement in the chat icon in my buddy list. At first I thought it was an animated image with one insanely long loop, but soon realized that the mannerisms of Matt were not perpetuating in the same order.

I was very close to picking up the iSight today, but am holding off for just a little longer. A digital video camera is also on my purchase list, for parental reasons (also some of the reason behind iSight).

July 16, 2003

July 12, 2003

Fred an iBook and Cambridge photos

My friend Fred picked up an iBook just prior to his trip to Cambridge, England for a summer study session. So far the switch has been good. He has posted his first pictures from Cambridge on his .Mac site. His pictures bring back wonderful memories of mine from the other side of the Oxbridge family.

He has found a rather inexpensive WiFi connection in a coffeehouse there. If you know of others post them and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.

July 9, 2003

Mobile video iChat with WiFi

Mike demonstrates iChat unteathered. Yes video chatting from the South Street Seaport in NYC all with WiFi (no wires). I am so glad Mike got to test this and posted it so we all could see it works.

July 2, 2003

Movies with iSight

Derrik Story provides Making Movies with the Apple iSight, which can be done on the cheap. This could make Mike's idea of a roving reporter using WiFi more viable.

June 27, 2003

iChat AV has spell check

One quick item of note: Not only does iChat AV have great sound and wonderful video (been privy to both), but it has spell check. Yes spell check in iChat! I have been waiting for this for so long. It does not seem to be documented anywhere that I have found, but when I mis-type the words get a red underline, just like spell check in Safari, and I have the option of fixing.

June 25, 2003

Keynote Theme repositories

Looking for a new Keynote theme? Check these out:

This list was updated on 6 June 2007. This page gets a lot of traffic and wanted to capture the current state of things and add in Keynote Theme Park.

June 23, 2003

ODBC on Apple Jaguar

ODBC in Apple Jaguar to help share data between applications.

Gantt charts in Excel

Making Gantt charts in Excel, well at least Excel for Mac (have not tried it in Windows). [hat tip Michael]

iChat AV is off this planet easy and usable

The Apple iChat AV is insanely cool and easy to use. My TiBook had a built in mic, who knew? My friend Jeff rang and started talking. I typed back that I could not talk. Then Jeff asked why he could could hear Steve Jobs talking, which was being streamed on my TiBook. He said talk, I did. Jeff heard.

Once again Apple has made an application that is insanely simple and just works. I have never been repeatedly impressed with any computer company the way I have with Apple. This is the way we all dreamed computing would be. Who knew it would take so long, yet who knew it would be today to make voice over computer so simple.

I just flat out love Apple. There have been no headaches or other problems with any of this. How un-PC and how very Apple (yes I know the Mac is a personal computer). You must get a Mac and join the ease of computing and get out of computing hell.

G5 is sexy

Apple's new G5 has made me drool. It is georgeous design and the sucker flat out flies. I am so wanting one of these to replace my desktop PC. I live in my TiBook laptop, but really would like to have a Mac desktop to be a home base. The TiBook is my homebase, but it is not optimal for me. Don't get me wrong I love the TiBook like no other computer I have had to date.

The beauty of the G5 case would make me want it on my desk top to stare at it.

Safari renders pages much better

Yes, I downloaded the new Apple Safari browser and it now nearly perfectly renders one page it has always mangled. I can now read the International Herald Tribune in my favorite browser.

The one downside in the few minutes of playing with Safari is it still does not let the user tab between all form elements. The user can not tab to select boxes, nor check boxes. This is a major usability problem in my viewpoint, but I may switch and use it to use the CMS tools here are as I need the spell checking.

June 20, 2003

Managing large image libraries in iPhoto 2

Derrick Story provides guidence on How to Manage Large Image Libraries with iPhoto 2, which has been a problem for many. Large in this case is a Gig (GB) or more of images.

I found that closing the rolls in iPhoto 2 made the speed of iPhoto greatly improve.

June 13, 2003

IE on Mac says bu-bye

All around the Web the announcement of the end of development of the MS IE browser (as pointed out by Tantek). Microsoft points to Apple users being better served by Safari, which seems very odd for Microsoft to claim. I am far happier with IE on Mac than I am with it on Windows.

During the redesign of this site to XHTML and CSS for layout and presentation I initially stayed to by the book and standards CSS. It took a couple tweaks to get IE on Mac to display what Camino (formerly Chimera) and other Mozilla variants displayed. I was still using unhacked CSS. When I finally had a look at what was happening from a Windows machine at work IE 6 was way off (the Windows box at home was off line for nearly 6 months as XP Home did not like the DSL connection and the connection speed was a third to half slower than on my Mac.

This experience truly had me appreciative of the work that Tantek and others put into the product. Many of the Microsoft product seem to be better built for the Mac than their Windows counter parts. IE on Mac has definately been a shining star for Microsoft in my opinion.

I still tend to use IE on Mac for online banking and some e-commerce efforts as some site's use javascript or other elements that do not quite function right in other browsers. I have been hoping for an update to catch up in speed of rendering to that of Safari or Camino and to fix a few remaining bugs in how it renders standards based sites (W3C standards not, what Redmond calls standards). Ciao IE.

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.

May 25, 2003

New photo galleries posted

I finally posted some photos from the NYC trip earlier this month over in the Photo section. I have been playing with Better HTML for iPhoto . I am still not satisfied with what I have for a template, but that can be changed.

I have been a big fan of iPhoto, but with over 1200 photos in its grasp it is now as slow as a long haired dog in mid-day Mississippi summer heat. I may start playing with some other products soon that have similar digital resource management functionality. The slowness of iPhoto and iTunes has been reported by many that have stretched the limits. There are some workaround listed in comments that can help keep the iPhoto quicker.

May 16, 2003

Mac trains its user

A while back I turned on speech feature in OS X. I only have it speak system and application alert to me. I have chosen Victoria (the Uli's talking moose has always been a similar voice for me). A few weeks ago, when Joy was away the TiBook lid became ajar during the night waking the TiBook. It was not much longer before the TiBook began speaking, as our house has all hardwood floors the voice carried. This startled me from my sleep and had me quite startled, then I realized what it was and went to soothe the Mac and put it back to sleep.

This last week a similar incident happened, but with Joy home and I asked Joy what she said. In the middle of the night, out of a dead sleep, Joy said "it was your computer talking" and went right back to sleep. I got up to check and put it back to sleep.

I guess this is our baby preparation application. Somehow I don't think that is the intended purpose, or even any demi-intent for use. I guess our Mac nows understands our lives better than we thought and "just works".

May 8, 2003

AAC Internet Radio next

I am now wanting MPEG-4 streams of Internet Radio as Apple's use of AAC has me enjoying the crisp clean sound from music purchased in the Apple Music Store and ripping the music from CD. The quality is very clean and enjoyable, but Internet Radio now sounds rather muddy.

May 1, 2003

April 29, 2003

Apple Music Store has many gems but not everything

I have been having fun with the Apple Music Store in iTunes 4. The store only has 200,000 songs, which is not that many if one has eclectic tastes, but I did find Trash Can Sinatras, but did not find many other finds. I did pick-up a few songs that I have on vinyl that I have not been able to find the disc in stores. The international selection is lacking and I hope they start filling in some of the gaps in the near future. The interface is good and the quickness to start to play is fantastic as is the quality of the sample and downloads.

I may rip a CD or two with MPG4 on a higher rate to check the clarity and file size. I have a good collection of music ripped between Joy's collection and mine, which has been great on trips and just hanging out or working.

This is one of the many days I am overjoyed to have a Mac.

April 28, 2003

Apple changes music buying and bring reality to the industry

Michael Sippy expounds on Apple iTunes 4 and music store, which sounds much like my life, but I do still buy CDs (but only if they are less than $15). I have found virtually nothing coming out of the major record labels for the last 5 years that was worth buying. I can find five to 10 discs each year I am interested in buying, but very little of it is the interchangable Brittney's or the 400 Machbox 20 Wannabee's. The major labels over produce garbage by the truckful and wonder why they can't sell music. Things get so bad for the industry they hire a mindless shill to point fingers at pirates. Ever look at what many of these folks have downloaded? Much of it is not forsale in the local record store. Now with Apple it looks like there is no need for the major labels if Apple starts picking up indi artists. It looks like somebody is finally smart enough to make money on in the music industry. Mabye the shrill shill will go away and take her lawsuits with her.

TiBook antennae tweak

Yesterday I ran across Matt's TiBook Wifi antennae tweak, which is found in Ars Technica's Open Forum and was suggested by Apple tech support. I can no sit in my living room only 15 feet away from the office and get a full Airport signal. I was only getting minimal signal and had to sit in just one spot. I am glad this bubbled up.

April 19, 2003

Interview with Fink Project Lead Max Horn

OSNews has a very good interview with Fink project leader Max Horn offering insight into Fink (Mac OS X application that allows incorporating Linux/open source applications into the Mac native graphics framework) and Fink Commander development.

Safari getting better, but still has some bumps

I am guessing most everybody that has Mac OS X is aware that Safari browser has a new Beta release (build 73), which has added some new elements (such as tabs), and fixed some bugs.

One element they have not addressed is tabbing through form forms. I don't like switching between the mouse and keyboard as I prefer to stick with one imput device when working on a task. The Safari browser frustrates me as I can not fillout forms easily with out grabbing the mouse to choose an item in a select box (menu) or to click radio buttons. Tabbing between these elements is a common interface function that is in nearly every other browser I can think of.

I tend to fill in many forms, one I regularly fill out is the one that builds what you are reading here. I can enter text in the body of the entry and I can add a title for the entry, but selecting location and entry type, as well as clicking the categories that apply are only doable with a mouse.

I do like the spelling functionality in Safari, the speed of the page builds, and other nice features, but the lack of tabbing through forms properly is a large down side. I am tending to enter longer entries in Safari and shorter entries in Camino (formerly Chimera).

One of the other downsides is not all pages are working properly in Safari yet. The International Herald Tribune is very buggy in Safari still and some sites still do not even appear. It is getting there and I know if I use other, slower browsers I can get to the information properly.

April 16, 2003

Macworld monster May disk

Those of you who are Mac users will like to know the MacWorld May issue of the magazine does not have a CD with it on store shelves, it has a DVD with it. I let my subscription lapse because the subscription did not come with a disk. The may disk has 500 product reviews and demos on it and 350 shareware apps, plus the usual reviews, demos, and Breen movie. This is the mother of all extra disks.

Java and AppleScript intro

Mac OS X Hints offers an Intro to Java that interacts with AppleScript. This intro works with iTunes, but can work with any AppleScript available application.

April 15, 2003

OmniOutliner updated with Visio import and export

OmniGraffle 3.0 is out today as is the Pro version. The Pro version has import and export of files with Visio 2002 (using the Visio XML format) and includes mouseless editing (these two features could make the Pro version worth it for me). The interface has received an complete redesign and is much better incorporated into OS X, which version 2 ran very well under. The regular version will output files to PDF, PNG, JPEG, and HTML (among others), if the HTML is as clean as the OmniOutliner this will be a treat. I have been looking forward to this upgrade of one of my favorite tools.

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.

March 21, 2003

Now less competion in the tech marketplace

Wall Street Journal reporting Cisco is buying Linksys. In all I think this is a good idea as I like Cisco products and they care about their products. On the other hand the lack of competition in the technical sectors can not be good in the long run. We need options, much like when I got fed up with Windows and switched to Apple (actually Apple provided a better solution and I switched last January and found a much easier and reliable way to do computing, which caused me to question why we put up with inferior products from Microsoft). In the U.S. we were educated to believe competition was good and the evil empire to the East did not allow competition. Now the U.S. government seems complacent to allow, and even encourages (at the FCC) the removal of competion. The lack of competion was un-American. Where is the U.S. now if we are removing competition from the marketplace?

March 16, 2003

TiBook external monitor for Keynote

Today I decided I better figure out how one uses the external monitor funtionality on the TiBook in preparation for the presentation at the IA Summit 2003. This little endevor was super simple as I just plugged in my 19 inch Mitsubisi with trinitron flat screen and it started to come to life. A quick to system preferences to automatically grab the dimensions and drivers for the monitor and it was rolling. The external monitor is just an extension of the laptop's screen. The clarity on the large monitor is exceptional and there was no slowdown to the TiBook performance.

I ran Keynote with ease with the laptop screen showing the application and the external monitor showing the presentation. I can not figure how to scroll through the notes section while the presentation is running, that is one thing I really would like to sort out.

March 7, 2003

Chimera now Camino offers update

My favorite browser name, Chimera became Camino and is now in version .7 (yes, pre-version 1). I did a download of the browser and wow, the sucker is fast. I was a Chimera/Camino fan before Safari came along. Camino now seems to have speed in the Safari ballpark, with tabs, and wonderful rendering as always. What I now with Camino would get is spell checking. I am somewhat torn between the two browsers, but the speed of both and the standards compliance of Camino really make it painful to use IE on a Mac.

IE is my dirty browser, in that I mean I have my Amazon cookies stored and other cookies stored. The other two browsers I try to keep clean so I can see what everybody else sees without my personalization set. Safari is where I keep my handful of bookmarks for works in progress and links I have not yet added to the links page. Camino is where I maintain my site. Regular Mozilla and Netscape are over burdened with "stuff" and much slower than Safari or Camino.

March 3, 2003

Veen crankin' with OS X

Jeffrey Veen offers his views on Web development on Mac OS X. He discusses using PHP, MySQL, Perl 5.8, CVS, and BBEdit, which in my opinion are excellent choices and some of the reasons I moved over. Jeffrey offers some great links also... (the version control with Mac OS X is a new favorite as is the blog Forwarding Address: OS X

March 2, 2003

iView photo galleries

I keep hearing about iView software for managing photos on a Mac. I don't know if I have ready to shell out the money for it, but I do know I love the iView sample galleries.

March 1, 2003

Konfabulator is fabu baby

I finally downloaded Konfabulator and I am having fun. I am impressed with the widgets (small single purpose applications that elegantly sit on the desktop of a Mac). Go check it out, you may find that small application you are looking for, or you may create it with XML and JavaScript (what all the widgets are made with).

February 18, 2003

Bethesda February 2003 snow photos

My snow photos from February 16th to 18th are now posted in the photo section.

I posted this round of photos with Apple iPhoto 2. I did all the editing in iPhoto and created the gallery and their export from within iPhoto. I was somewhat pleased with the results. The output from iPhoto creates decent HTML markup with "alt" tags. The doctype is not exact, but there is one there.

February 17, 2003

PDF Workflow in Mac OS X 10.2.4

Apple discusses PDF Workflow an shows how to uncover this gem. [Hat tip Dori]

February 13, 2003

XML Schema for Apple Keynote

The XML schema for Apple's Keynote explained in Technotes. This may come in handy in the not so distant future. [thanks to Daniel Steinberg for the heads up].

Apple upgrade make things zippy

I have upgraded Apple's upgraded beta of Safari, X11 upgrade, and Mac OS X 10.2.4. These upgrades have my Mac zipping along again. I am not sure what happens with each upgrade, but the performance improves on my TiBook with each upgrade. I have yet to have any buggy nature with an Apple upgrade. On Windows every few upgrades from Microsoft would cause a minor or extravagant disaster and never did it make the machine run faster. Have I ever said how much I love Apple?

February 10, 2003

Tivo for the ears in Audio Hack

I finally found an application that does what I have been wanting one to do for some time. Audio Hijack for Mac OS X allows one to grab audio audio files and save them to AIFF. The audio can be coming from a DVD player, Flash files, or streaming audio. I have been seeking this to pull streaming audio of some of my favorite radio shows (Studio 360 and Marketplace) and timeshift them or more importantly play them with out an Internet connection or radio when travelling or commuting. Audio Hack has a timer to record at any time, so it is much like a Tivo for digital audio.

February 1, 2003

iPhoto 2 Reviews and automated photo gallery building

I started using iPhoto 2 last night and found it to be a nice improvement from the previous version. I did not use the first version often as it was not how I wanted to do things. The new release is very usable and I have imported many of my monthly archives into iPhoto and have used the enhance to bring out some nice touches. The Enhance tool is not quite perfect or consistent yet, but it is well worth a try on every photo as you can command-Z it right back.

James Duncan Davidson shares his 12 Hours with iPhoto 2 and Derrik Story offers his review in iPhoto 2, it's mostly good news. These two review offer a solid insight into the solid program that Apple is offering.

My next step is to test the build HTML page option, which is something I am missing at the moment on my Mac. I want good clean code, thumbnails build with ease, the ability to caption and "alt tag" the photos. My favorite application is Paul Bausch's snapGallery (does not or did not provide thumbnail option, but it was great clean and valid code that was easy to tweak) and closely followed by PhotoShop auto-generate gallerys option (this has a wonderful look and builds reduced versions of the main photos and thumbnails). I have not picked up PhotoShop for the Mac yet, but may do the Cross-Platform upgrade as I miss it. I will post the results of my postings in the near future.

January 27, 2003

Apple Word Replacement Rumor and Information Structure Dreams

Rumor has it Apple is working on MS Word replacement. This would be a great thing if it would read native Word files seemlessly, but even better would be turning out valid HTML/XHTML. MS Word has always made a huge mess of our information with its conversion to something it "calls" HTML, it is not even passable HTML. One could not get a job using what Microsoft outputs as HTML as a work sample, heck, it would not even pass the laugh test and it may get somebody fired.

One of the downsides of MS Office products is that they are created for styling of information not marking up information with structure, to which style can hang. MS Word allows people (if the turn on or keep the options turned on) to create information sculptures with structure and formatting of the information. What Word outputs to non-Word formats is an information blob that has lost nearly all of its structure and functionality in any other format. It does not really have the format the Word document to begin with. What Web developers do is put the structure back into the information blob to recreate an information sculpture again.

You ask why is structure important? Structure provides the insight to know what is a header and sub-header. Structure provides the ability to discern bulleted lists and outlines. Structure makes it script-kiddie easy to create a table of contents. Structure makes micro-content accessible and easier to find with search. Structure provides better context. Structure provides the ability to know what is a quote from an external document and point to it easily. Structure provides ease of information portability and mobile access easier. These just name a few uses of structure.

Does MS Word have this structure capability? Yes, do people use it? No really. If people use it does MS Word keep the structure? Rarely, as it usually turns the structure into style. This is much like a somebody who spent months in the gym to build a well defined physique only to have the muscles removed to stuff their own shirt with tissue paper to give it the look of being in shape. Does the person with the tissue paper muscles have the ability to perform the same as the person who is really in shape? Not even close.

Structure is important not only for the attributes listed above, but also for those people that have disabilities and depend on the information being structured to get the same understanding as a person with out disabilities. You say MS Word is an accessible application, you are mostly correct. Does it create accessible information documents? Barely at best. The best format for information structure lay in HTML/XHTML/XML not in styles.

One current place that structure is greatly valuable is Internet search. Google is the top search engine on the Internet. Google uses the text in hyperlinks, the information in title tags, and information in the heading tags to improve the findability of a Web page. What are these tagged elements? Structure.

One of the nice things about a valid HTML/XHTML Web document is I can see it aqnd use it on my cell phone or other mobile devices. You can navigate without buttons and read the page in chunks. Some systems preparse the pages and offer the ability to jump between headings to more quickly get to the information desired.

These are just a few reasons I am intrigued with the Apple rumor. There is hope for well structured documents that can output information in a structured form that can validate to the W3C standards, which browsers now use to properly render the information on the page. I have very little hope in the stories that MS is working toward an XML storage capability for Office documents, because we have heard this same story with the last few Office releases and all were functional lies.

January 22, 2003

OmniOutliner shares with Keynote

You can now get Omni Outliner 2.2 beta 1, which includes the ability to import and export in and out of Apple Keynote presentations. I do a lot of thinking in Omni Outliner and really like the capability to pass these thoughts in outline format to presentation software. OmniOutliner already creates perfect XHTML as an output option, which has been a great asset so far.

January 20, 2003

Apple Keynote a wonderful tool

I have been playing with Apple's Keynote today. Once I figured out that the adjustments and transitions are located in the inspection menu I was having fun. Now that I have a reason to use Keynote I am finding it a solid tool. I am now wishing for AppleScripts to connect OmniOutliner to Keynote. I would love to drop my outlines into Keynote and parse them into a presentation. I tend to think in outlines and use OmniOutliner quite a bit.

January 16, 2003

Spell check in the browser

Hot damn Batman, I am loving the spell check feature in Apple's Safari browser. This should help the quality of the spelling here in Off the Top (I know you are disappointed and many believed the poor spelling was an ingenious method of for me to find my own entries, knowing this is my backup brain) and in comments on other sites. I tend to think in text boxes and e-mail and somewhat publicly.

Those of you that have not turned on the spell checking can find it under the edit menu in the spelling flyout and should check the "spell as you type" item. This item does not have a short cut, but it may be worth keeping turned on all the time.

January 14, 2003

Collaborate with iStorm

Color me interested iStorm is a Mac-based collaboration tool available for under $20 (including two years of upgrades). I am involved in more than one project that is running virtually and this tool seems what it takes to get the job done and more (yes, most of those collaborating are Mac users, but not every single one -- yet).

January 12, 2003

AppleScripts for Safari

Apple Scripts for Safari is a good place to watch for helpful tools. I am finding there is not a "mail link" in Safari, well that I could find. I may take my first whack at AppleScript to scratch this itch. [hat tip Jason]

January 11, 2003

January 7, 2003

Mark offers solid review of Safari

Mark Pigrim offers the most helpful review of Apple Safari browser. Mark lays out the downsides to the browser and the need for some work arounds.

Apple provides new tools

Steve Jobs did the usual at the Macworld Keynote speach, great new products. The new 17 inch powerbook has severe lust factor as did the Airport Extreme with 802.11g (55MB of wireless connectivity and a USB print capability). The iLife tools are very cool and will be very helpful. But the two items that really got me intrigued were the Keynote a presentation tool and Safari Apples Web browser.

Keynote intrigued me from the beauty of it and its storing all the content in XML. The XML functionality could make reuse of the information in presentations actually usable, unlike the hardwork to extract content from PowerPoint. But, as we know presentation software is best with the speaking note or the spoken versions that go along with the presentation. Keynote could be a good first step. At least Apple is thinking in the right direction with a beautiful product that provides easy reuse.

Safari had me dying to get home to my Mac to download and test it. So far I am very impressed with not only the speed, which is great, but the proper rendering of pages. Safari handles XHTML and CSS box model beautifully. I only had so problems in Tantek's CSS examples. I went through much of Eric Meyer's CSS site worked very well with no discernable problems that I saw. I am very happy with it. It really could use back function on its right mouse menu. Time will tell if this replaces Chimera as my browser of choice.

December 13, 2002

iCal World

iCal World could be your one-stop location for calendars and applications for your iCal.

December 12, 2002

Heuristic evaluation template for OmniOutliner

Michael post his OmniOutliner Heuristic evaluation template. This is going to be a well used template, too bad I don't have a Mac at work or it would really be well used.

For the unwashed, the OmniOutliner is a Mac outlining tool that is fantastic for todo lists, building outlines for work, us outlines with categories, etc. I tend to think in outline format when I really try to structure ideas as a foundation for easily understood communication. One of the great things about Outliner is the ability to output wonderful HTML from your hierarchial outlines. I have done this a couple times and pulled it into Dreamweaver MX code view to see beautiful XHTML with validating nested unordered lists. It was such a wonderful site to see an application that generates validating code and well structured information at that.

November 29, 2002

Upgrading Flash 6 on Mac OS X

I was having problems getting Macromedia Flash to upgrade on my Mac OS X (Macromedia has not spent the time on this as they have for the Windows world) and it would not upgrade. I really wanted/needed Flash 6 for some very valid reasons and I was finding many enterprise sites using only Flash 6 (not that they were using Flash 6 functionality) accessible files. I spent a couple weeks with no luck. I found the hint to manually delete the flash files from the library directories prior to running the upgrade. Magically I have Flash 6 now running wonderfully on OS X.

November 20, 2002

Redesign explained

You most likely have noticed. There has been a redesign here. This new site is nearly all XHTML and using CSS box model. Going through this process introduces one to all the bug that browsers have that you need to work around. I found that IE 5.5 and up on the PC is horribly buggy and does not follow standard box model too well. Netscape 7 on the PC is the best browser. On Mac OS X the best browser has been Navigator/Chimera and IE 5.2 (through this Chimera became my favorite browser on most any platform).

You dare ask why the redesign? Well it was well past time. The last design had been around for a year or so and the CSS was giving me fits. I really wanted cleaner markup and I wanted to have a font size that scales. I believe that the font scales on all web standards compliant browsers and platforms. It should even scale on the PC's IE 5.5 and 6 browser (this has had broken functionality since day one, if you need a browser to scale font sizes properly get a real browser, one that is Mozilla based will do just fine). I am trying to remove the thin white line under the logo graphic and above the menu bar, it is showing up in IE on the PC and on versions of Mozilla on the Mac (Please contact if you have a solution).

I also wanted a better layout that would permit a cleaner layout. I moved the global navigation to the top bar and it uses and unordered list and CSS to put it in line and give it the roll-over (I stole part of the code from Scott and tweaked it). I also moved the local navigation to the left, which has been a joy as it is near the scroll bar and has made life a little easier. The right navigation may also be a place for other goodies. The right navigation has also helped me on the links page as there are a ton of links and I wanted a sub-navigations (yes, the links page is going to be getting an over haul in the near future with some needed integration with other elements in the site). The redesign also give the opportunity to introduce some small photos or images on the pages and not have other colors overwhelm them.

The box model drove me crazy, but I created some cheats I hope to share in the near future, once I get some minor tweaks around here done. The redesign was done solely on the TiBook and using a combination of the Macromedia MX Studio (Dreamweaver MX is a decent text editor, but I could not find a way to have it show a passable rendering of the pages in its own browser) and BBEdit. I started the process with outlines in Omni Outliner (a tool that rocks and is unparralled) as well as Omni Graffle to put together some wireframes to help me sort out the layout and functionality. This set of tools has been one of the best combinations I have used, I wish I could use this combo at work. I really am missing Adobe Photoshop, which may become my next software purchase, as it is a great tool that saves time.

Please, please write wit questions or bugs found. Thank you. I did this for me, but I hope you enjoy it.

November 14, 2002

Yo, what a change

Last night while watching West Wing I saw my favorite Apple switch ad. This had Yo Yo Ma extolling how he, as a technophobe was able to use a Mac.

November 7, 2002


I think I found a FTP application for Mac OS X that I really like. Transit is the FTP/SFTP interface for me. I like the drag and drop element to the interface. I had been using Fetch, but not knowing from the interface where items were being downloaded too was annoying. I also really wanted SFTP as I like using SSH rather than telnet. Very happy day.

November 6, 2002

New TiBook to increase productivity

Apple releases a 1GHz TiBook it also can house a SuperDrive and has an ATI 9000 graphics card with 64MB RAM. This is insanely impressive. Did I mention I really have not been needing my PC and have been living off my TiBook at home? Mine will be a year old in January and I still love it and still believe it is the best computer I have ever owned or ever work with. I have loved desk top computers for their flexability and power and still crave one, but definately not a Windows product. I know think about all the wasted hours of productivity that Microsoft has put people through. If the wasted hours could be recaptured or people had been productive would that be billions of dollars? Would that be how much closer to the cure for cancer? Would that be what? At home I have one or two hours a week lost on MS and work is about an hour a week lost to a bug. A co-worker watched her Word document rewrite itself with gibberish the other day. A few hours of productive time lost. But, this is a documented bug in XP OS and XP Office with no real cure, just turn off functionality. Maybe if we donated the money wasted we could have feed all the hungry? All the hungry in the world.

October 31, 2002

Mac has better Zoom

Oddly enough I am getting nearly a 1.1Mbps download (a 19MB software upgrade in well under 2 minutes) and 730kbps upload on my Mac using DSL. On the PC it is 820kbps down and 730kbps up. Can you guess which machine I am using? I had not used the PC in nearly a month until last night. It was a completely frustration experience. Only one time in seven reboots did it ever load all the "start-up applictions".

Zoom Zoom

Ahhhh.... This past month has been horrible to be with out my own e-mail accounts and or broadband. I have more than a handful of digital friends I keep up with, e-mail, and chat with on-line and not really having access was no fun to say the least. I am behind on e-mail and other things I had taken on, accept heartfelt appologies and know I am doing what I can to catch-up.

I am really not understanding how folks use dial-up, particularly with Yahoo offering a $29 per month offering and Covad offering about the same price or less. I can understand not being DSL accessable, but if you are it is well worth the effort. Trying to read even CNN on line was painful. With broadband I can check local movie listings in Watson and see a clip (oh what a wonderful idea, I have not done this in months).

October 28, 2002

RSS in the near future

The RSS feed is in the works here and should be ready by the anniversary of the tool, which is October 31st. There have been many upgrades to the application that runs this site in the past year, but one that I really wanted was RSS. I have it running on my laptop and it needs only one tweak and then to get dropped into my main posting page. Did I mention I am loving having my a my development tools and full webserver with all the application elements running on my TiBook laptop again?

October 11, 2002

Update on lack of broadband progress

I am still with out most of my outbound e-mail capabilities for my usual accounts. I can see all the inbound e-mail, but I am mostly devoid of responding, which is driving me crazy. This will get resolved once DSL arrives, I am still waiting on Verizon to get their act together and tie the phone number to the address. The last residents of the house has DSL running at a really good clip, but nobody can see that until Verizon understands their role in the world.

We finally got satellite TV today, which is a huge improvement over cable. Why? Much better picture, much better sound, cheaper, and channels like Tech TV and BBC America. The downside is the current placement of the dish, on the right hand corner of the roof on the front of the house. It could be a good reason to remove the tree that is creating this issue or to get the dish moved when we paint the eaves.

I spent today trying to figure out why we had no phone signal, well it turns out the PC modem fries the phone lines. I was waiting for contractors to come and fix a furnace, closets, and the dish guys. All the contractors were stuck in the traffic related to trying to find the DC shooter and we calling the often to let me know of their delays. The shootings really have not un-nerved me as the odds are long that I or anybody I know would get shot. I am much more aware of my surroundings, much like living in the UK in the late 80s with the IRA bombings and such.

I was put off from doing some work for a while today as the CD I burned on a nearly up-to-date security patched Win 2k box would not be acknowledged in the Mac. This is odd as it is how I move files out of XP Home (miserable version of XP). I finally got the CD to run in the PC (I finally had a reason to assmble it after nearly 2 weeks in the house) and reburned them on a CD, which did run on OS X. This little task and figuring out that the PC modem has phone voodoo here caused the loss of a couple hours. I knew I should have pulled the box of blank CDs out of the packing box they are in.

I am trying to focus on getting a couple reviews done, user/usability test a new site, get back to writing some articles, and putting our office together.

October 1, 2002

AppleTechs gets moving again

Damien has his AppleTechs running again. This has been on hold since late April and it will be so nice to have this back and running again as both of these sites are great resources for Apple users.

September 22, 2002

September 13, 2002

iCal ideas

A weblog on iCal seems to be a good resource for the new Apple application. [hat tip Adam]

September 9, 2002

OS X blog from one of the sources

Mac OS X's product manager, Ken Bereskin has a weblog with good stuff. [hat tip Andre]

September 3, 2002

Mac helper

O'Reilly Net has a good starting point article for those folks making the "Switch" to Mac (particularly OS X). This article finally put the keyboard differences in my head properly (Jesse tried his darnedest to help, but it did not quite stick).

August 30, 2002

Perl and ColdFusion updates for OS X

A couple reminders of things to look at, well atleast for myself: Updating to Perl 5.8 on Mac OS X and installing ColdFusion MX on OS X.

August 25, 2002

MySQL for Jaguar

MySQL for Jaguar loaded wonderfully and easily.

Apache 2.0 builds for OS X

Hmmm... Yesterday I was looking at Apache and the other two pieces of the triumvirate PHP and MySQL. Today I ran across what could be an improved option, Server Logistics' Apache 2.0 along with Perl, PHP, MySQL, and Postgres. Apache 2.0 provides multithreading and other improvements to the incredibly stable and supreme Web server All of this is set to build and run on Mac OX 10.

August 24, 2002

One bad switch story

This past week I ran across Salon's Mac switcher remose story about an Episcopal priest who had purchased a Mac and found the change over was rather difficult. For those switching to a new OS there is a learning curve. I had some of the same difficulties with keyboard differences and learning new keystroke shortcuts. I did get MS Office right away to ease that transition. I have found everything else I have done on the Mac to be a much better experience than anything on the Window's side of the world. I also love the lack of the flood of serious security holes from that other platform. Getting over the hurdle, which is a rather low hurdle for most people, I and many others have never been happier. The key is easing the transition a little more. I know of some things on the horizon that could help with this transition.

Jaguar at night

Since I did not go to the Jaguar release gatherings I have been reading the O'Reilly's James Duncan Davidson discussion of the Palo Alto release party, more stories and photos from Palo Alto, and MacCentral's great coverage and discussion boards.

Once I pickup and load Jaguar I will be going to Mark's trove of Jaguar links, the ones in the Hands-on reports and the Hard-core geek section will be top on my list.

Mac server on a laptop

I did not go to the OS X 10.2 Launch last night (I was having a wonderful time at Fred and Paula's birthday gathering), but I may be picking up Jaguar shortly. When I do so I will revert back to the base Apache build in OS X. After this it will on to O"Reilly Net's Setting up a Site Server article and Marc Liyange pages. It seems when I upgraded the base Apache build on OS X the PHP builds from Liyange were not running properly as they are based on the default builds from OS X.

August 22, 2002

OS X Launch

I am strongly considering hitting the local Apple store tomorrow evening for the 10:20 release party for OS X 10.2. I would have never thought of going to a Widows release. I did go to a relase of MS Office and was copletely unimpressed. I have not met a Mac user I did not like. Now with UNIX in the underpinnings the geeks have entered the fun, which seems to bring together a crowd I really like: creative, smart, geeky.

August 19, 2002

iPhone possible

The NY Times discusses the possibility of an Apple iPhone. The signs are in Apples upgrage to their OS X (10.2) that indicate a PDA/phone could be in the works. If this is so I really would like it combined with much of what is in the iPod. Many Gigs of music or other data, great usability, but with a better screen with color and I an there. Getting the sucker to synch with AvantGo, Vindigo, etc. would get me on board in a heart beat. I love my Palm/HandSpring, but from the sounds of the NYTimes article that does not seem to likely, bummer. I am enjoying my mobile phone with Internet access and text messaging, which I use on a regular basis (reading on a tiny phone screen is not the greatest experience, but it is better than not having great resources at your finder tips. [hat tip Damien]

July 31, 2002

Jaguar for less

Jaguar for less over at Amazon. Thank you Mr. Story.

July 24, 2002

New Chimera rocks

Chimera version 0.4.0 was released today for Mac OS X and it flat out rocks. It is fast and is seemingly more usable than the previous version. If you are a Mac OS X users it is work the download.

July 15, 2002

OS X Updates

A couple of good Apple updates today. MS adds Palm synch to Entourage, which I have been hoping would get here since I started using Entourage in January. (No, I have not synched yet). ATI releases ATI graphics card update software, which seems to make my TiBook speedier and even more georgeous. Finally, Apple releases Quicktime 6 and it is fast and clean with beautiful pictures. It was a nice update date. All of these finds can be found at Version Tracker for OS X.

July 14, 2002

PHP development with Apple's OS X Developer Tools

Apple provides information to use Apple's Developer Tools (for OS X) to build PHP. This will be a very nice mobile tool.

July 1, 2002

June 28, 2002

Mouse matters

I am really enjoying my new mouse. I have not travelled with it yet, but its size should make that endevour very easy.

June 26, 2002

Windows to Mac OS X keystroke conversions

Terrie Miller offers former Windows users tips to using Mac OS X. This is the type of resouce I have been looking for, and I know there are many others out there looking for the same thing. I have asked and in turn have answered some of these keyboard and keystroke questions. The keystrokes took a little adjusting to, but nothing that a couple hours of retraining muscle memory could not cure.

June 22, 2002

MacUpgrades and Macally optical mouse

I stopped by my local and independantly owned Mac store, MacUpgrades here in Bethesda. I had been thinking about a mouse for my TiBook as I am beginning to change my graphics software from Windows to Mac. Mac Upgrades has very knowledgeable staff and is a great small store and repair shop. I found a great Kensington pocket optical USB mouse with a retractable cord.

June 20, 2002

June 15, 2002

Samba primary domain controller

Samba as a primary domain controller for PC and non-PC network can provide a solid home network, if you are not using XP Home.

June 14, 2002

Smart Media reader for OS X

I finally have a good USB Smart Media reader that works with Mac OS X, the Imation FlashGO does the job and gives the option for other media and is rather compact, which means it is a perfect for the TiBook. Now that I have an easy way to get photos into the TiBook it is time to switch PhotoShop from Windows to Mac. (My previous reader, ZIO, would only function properly on Mac OS9. They had an OS X driver but it never worked. It had worse problems on Windows XP for a while, as it would shut the system down when the USB device was being plugged in. It took two driver updates to fix that.

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

Adobe cross platform upgrade is key to Mac

On my way home from a day long meeting I stopped in an Apple store (they are like magnets). I had to ask about an upgrade to Adobe Photoshop. My issue is I have a current Windows Photoshop 6 application. I really want Photoshop on my Mac and really do not care to much to upgrade my PC version. The key is Photoshop 7 cross platform upgrade. It seem the cross platform term is the key to all my issues and having the capabilities of fully jumping to Mac with out having to pay full price for all the software (well Office I did pay full price, go figure). I have had registration and upgrade "issues" with Adobe in the past, but this time it seems I may find no long struggle. Yeah!!!

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.

OS X with Moz and Silk

I agree with Damien that Mozilla 1.0 for OS X and Silk (thanks to Brad for his tip in the comments on Moz 1 regarding Silk) is a great browser combination. Silk also helps reading in other on the TiBook when I have the screen turned low to save battery. Silk is similar to Microsofts Clear Type, but with out the fuzz factor, at least on a laptop.

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 29, 2002

Chimera browsing

Like a lemming I downloaded Chimera, a browser that speeds along on Mac OS X. I am really loving the speed and the easy readability of Chimera.

May 26, 2002

Unix tips of OS X

Unix Tips for Mac OS X is a good place to get below the surface of OS X. You know you want to.

OS X Open Source packages

Looking to add some of the great open source Web applications to Mac OS X? The first stop should be Marc Liyanage's OS X packages.

May 25, 2002

OS X Wiki - Dive into OS X

An OS X Wiki site DiveIntoOSX, this looks promissing. [hat tip Andrew]

May 21, 2002

More move to Mac

There are more folks that are moving to Mac. Doc notes Ev and Scoble's moves to Apple and there is a list of folks moving to Apple noted at applelust. (The annotated version of the pro-Mac discussion found on this site was written by Charles W. Moore. )

I have been running this session on my Mac since Friday early afternoon. I finally trust the sleep mode in the laptop, which wakes up instantly, and the on and off the planes and capturing my thoughts throughout the weekend has been wonderful. I have been running MS Word (great on the Mac), OmniOutine, OmniGraffle, BBEdit, and Entourage for these past days and have not had to reboot. I have also opened for periods Adobe Acrobat, IE, Netscape 6.2, Mozilla, and a few other applications. I was missing nothing that could be found only on Windows.

May 16, 2002

Tim O'Reilly keynote at Apple WWDC

Tim O'Reilly's keynote from Apple's WWDC, which focusses on watching Alpha Geeks and how they use technology.

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.

Location Manager for OS X

The Location Manager for OS X, looks to be a very helpful app for folks like me. I like the network options that OS X offers in the System Prefs, but one that includes time zones and other helpful info would be great.

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.

May 4, 2002

MS security causes sad day

Life sucks when: You have to pull an e-mail account that you manage from service. Particularly when this account is for your Dad. My Dad can be reached at Tom and I will be keeping Thomas. The TJV account is closed.

Why you ask? The account was hacked with the klez virus. He cleaned his hard drive, as he had no choice it or another virus took the hard drive out. He took another hard drive and put it in that machine and started fresh. This may have also infected his new laptop. Yes, all of these machines run Windows (the swiss cheese security system). My dad is more than computer savvy and Windows is not a consumer OS, as it is nothing more than an e-mail away from destroying everything digital you own (among many other issues, which I spend hours assisting friends and relatives with their continual problems with the MS OS). Microsoft continues to lie about its focus on security and the basic problem is the OS itself, it is not secure and it seems it will never be secure. UNIX has some issues, but has many more years of development under its belt, which is why is far more secure. UNIX variants (Apple Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, etc.) all have the advantage of years of experience and advanced developers working on the OS.

Keeping a MS box secure requires somebody with a lot of experience and they are not cheap. The MS total cost of ownership being lower than UNIX is a myth and unfounded. If you have MS open to the outside world (Internet server, DSL at home, or unfiltered (through virus scanner) e-mail, etc.) you need an MS security expert focussed on ensuring the sanctity of whatever is considered valuable on the MS boxes. This person will cost as much, if not more, than a senior UNIX systems administrator (who are, by and large, veterans in UNIX security also as it comes with the territory).

Too many folks (that are near and dear to me) have had MS servers hacked or been victims of viruses in the past couple of weeks. Granted the MS boxes hacked may not have been watched over by MS security experts, but that is what it takes.

Making choices, as far as what language to develop Internet applications, should keep in mind lock in factors. A UNIX only or a Microsoft only solution that requires the application be only run on a certain type of server has never been a great idea. This becomes even more apparent now. In my opinion this has never been a good option. Fortunately, there are many more options available that run on nearly all OS platforms. These include: Perl, PHP, Java (JSP), Python, ColdFusion, etc. Each of these languages have their own plusses and minuses, but if a certain OS platform becomes an unavailable option the applications can relatively easily be moved to another OS. This is not the case with ASP, and even less so the .Net framework (as noted before. Sure ASP can use ChiliSoft, but that is a very short term solution (as you know if you have ever had to use it, it buys you time to recode everything into a portable application language) and requires double to triple the hardware resources to run it compared to ASP on MS or any other language running natively.

All of this is just the beginning of the reasons why I most likely have bought my last Windows machine. The other reasons fall into the areas of trust and pricing. This explanation may follow soon.

April 29, 2002

New TiBook

Sigh! A new TiBook with better graphics, faster chip, and more 1MB L3 cache. This is the first time in a long long time I have computer envy. Only three or four months after I received my TiBook, which was nearly the top of the line, a new one has me gaga. I don't ever remember being this way over any PC I ever bought. No, I don't wish I had waited, because my TiBook rocks.

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.

April 22, 2002

Expat help for Mac

An overview of expat will help tie the loose ends together. For those Mac heads reading you may also want to take in Life with CPAN by Jeremy Mates which puts together the missing pieces for Mac.

Need to get your hands on OS X packages. I have found this page many times and now mabye I can find it on a regular basis.

April 2, 2002

Omni Graffle out

Omni Graffle 2.0 for OS X is finally available. This includes free of charge Visual Vocab (listed in the pallette as "Garrett IA"). Omni Graffle is fast and easy to use. Now I don't think I will need Visio so much on the Mac.

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 24, 2002

Apple Applause

Are you like me, a PC user for years that has just bought a Mac? Apple wants to hear from us PC to Mac converts. My biggest difficulty is the lack of keystrokes that echo the keystrokes on the PC for those of us that keep our hands on the keyboard and don't always reach for a mouse. Using keystrokes within forms in Web browsers has been a little bit lacking, but for all the great steps forward I will wait for this minor steps ahead. I wish that Real and others lacking foresight to build OS X versions of their software, would see this is the way the future of desktop and laptop personal computing. My Mac gives me so few problems it is amazing that one would call it a computer. The incredible battery life on a souped up TiBook shocks me at every turn. My frustrations with the PC are regular, but there are few frustration with the Mac. Actually the converse is true, I find amazement and great ease of use at nearly every turn.

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 21, 2002

Apple OS X version tracker has a bunch of tasty treats I have been downloading all evening. A update to iTunes, Netscape 6.2.2, and HP printers have been a nice treat.

March 20, 2002

March 19, 2002

There are Quicktime clips of SXSW sessions and interviews, which includes one from the Josh Davis session. It is rough and not in context, but it does offer a good snippet of Josh and the magnetic dots.

March 13, 2002

O'Reilly Net continues its Apache on OS X series with integration of MySQL. This is one element I have not set-up as of yet and one that will make development of this site much easier and also make the development portable.

I am sitting in the Austin Airport using an 802.11b wireless connection to collect and read e-mail and to post here. The world of wireless connectivity has been kick ass this trip. The SXSWi guerilla wireless efforts by Cory (boingboing) Doctorow were greatly appreciated and widely used and many of us would offer our first child or at least a beer for his fine efforts.

Another observation of this trip is the insanely wide use of Apple laptops. They were everywhere at the conference, it was almost as if they were in the conference bag of goodies. Those of us on Mac had little problem grabbing wireless connections and were showing our pictures to others we had taken. By the end of the conference many of the Windows folks were cursing their non-compliant and non-easy to adopt laptops. Not only were the graphic folks using Apple, but the tech geeks were too (this is where I fit in, believe me). Even Doc Searls was Mac'n around. In the land of Dell, Apple proved to be king.

I am somewhat saddend to be heading home and leaving old and many new friends behind. SXSW is a place were passion for the Internet rules and sharing our passion, knowledge, and experience is what it is all about. Hair color, age, gender, skin color, or location is not important as the passion binds us together. We are all out to make the Web and Internet a better place to be. To a person we all have become much better people because of the free sharing and passion. Jack Vallenti and his trying to label us terrorists is not only poor sighted but a fat lie. We share to grow and learn. Jack only want to play his Anderson card and shred our reality. (There will be more later to clarify and to help you understand what I mean by these comments.) Liars and fear mongers are trying to steal the truth, but Austin let truth ring out. You bet your sweet bippy, I'll be back.

I love all those I met and whose paths I crossed and wish all safe journies home. Keep the passion alive.

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 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.

February 28, 2002

One more piece of the Mac OS X desire list has been filled in tonight with the Iomga driver set for OS X which gives me access to my USB Zip drive. Real Player for OS X and a functioning driver for the Zio card reader would complete much of my desires.

February 27, 2002

Dean points to Mac OS X ad redirecting. I like the approach and the means bethid it.

Cult of the Mac - Why So Many Mac Fanatics? as explained by Robyn Weisman. [hat tip WebWord]

February 25, 2002

A gaggle of Cocoa apps all ready to go. [hat tip Mr. Barrett (Damien)]

February 23, 2002

Can't get enough about Mozilla? Blogzilla may be our answer. This is a weblog devoted to the Moz. (By the way Mozilla is extremely fast on OS X and is becoming my favorite browser on that platform.) [hat tip Scott]

February 21, 2002

Business Week's Byte of the Apple column looks at A Great Future in Store for Apple?. I could not agree more. The environment is friendly and the store workers are very helpful and informative. The downside is there are not great sales people. It is almost like they are trained to be host to a show of great greatly functional tools. Apple could be sitting on a gold mine. As I talk to folks about my Mac they say they have heard other raving reviews from other friends of theirs. Most people are tired of the broken way Windows tries to work and want to walk on the other side. One of the downsides of the Apple stores, and I find very few, is there workers/hosts are not also PC people or former PC people. Most times when I am in the stores the folks looking at the Macs are PC people and want to have their conversion questions answered. It is a minor thing, but I would love to see many others as happy as I have been with my duel OS life (moving toward Mac centric).

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).

February 18, 2002

A site that is new to me and worth keeping track of is Apple Lust. Currently they are focussing on digita photography and digital images.

February 17, 2002

Ah, an even newer update to MySQL on Mac OS X. My last build was a little buggy, which was to versions back. It is seeming that it is contiually a good thing to follow the setup info on Marc Liyanage site.

February 12, 2002

Web Page Design for Designers offers a browser size test that lets us choose the pixel size of the browser, Mac or PC, and IE or Netscape to view our pages. This tool is a great one for our tool belt. [hat tip xblog]

Palm's Mac OS X Beta is seemed very bug free so far. I synched my HandSpring Platinum using the USB port quite easily. Now I am just waiting to have Microsoft's Entourage get the ability to synch. This will make going on the road and keeping everything up to date quite easy.

February 8, 2002

Now the fun begins. I can now sit on the sofa next to my wife, not only work on my laptop but have access to the Internet using Apple's Airport. Yes no wires attached and I have full througput of our DSL line.

This is enabling me to watch the Winter Olympics opening ceremony and alternate tasks. I have been more impressed with the ads during the opening ceremonies, much more so than the Super Bowl. My favorite so far is the multi-sport Nike ad. Hands down my favorite add I have seen in months, not saying much as I really do not watch too much television, as I prefer to watch the interesting bits off the Internet. You ask what made the Nike ad so impressive? Not only was it the transitions, the relationships between athletes and youth and amatures trying the same performance, and the visual beauty, with intermixing a steady camera and a moving shot. The cinematography was beautiful. Full marks.

February 5, 2002

David Coursey has been trying an iMac as a change from his devoted PC life and writing about the experience. Coursey has been enjoying his iMac after one week and hints he may not go back.

February 4, 2002

Do you build Web pages? Do you have Mac? Do you have to convert text to HTML/XHTML? If you answered yes (if you didn't you should see what you are missing) please go check out Dean Allen's AppleScript for writing on the Web. These should be wonderful additions to our tool belt.

February 2, 2002

The current term the neighbor from the Graduate would say is "Web Services". If you have Mac OS X, then O'Reilly Net's "AppleScript Primer for Mac OS X" is your passage to understanding how to do Web Services today. This means you don't have to wait for the expensive .Net Framework as you have the the technology now.

February 1, 2002

I have been looking for a solid e-mail client for quite some time. I seem to have found one that I really like, MS Entouragge for Mac OS X. Entourage is much farther ahead of Outlook in that you can not only flag an e-mail, but set a reminder in your calendar to come back to that e-mail at a later time. The ability to set categories in addition to rules and other elements is a great help. I find it easy to use and work with.

The competition has left me cold to some degree. Netscape 6(plus) is light years ahead of version 4 (did not allow pulling from multiple e-mail sources), begins to really choke with a couple thousand e-mails in a folder (the downside of being on some wonderful listserves that are full of great information). Outlook Express does not permit archiving. Outlook on Windows has a muddled interface that works well with Exchange and that is not completely a plus.

In all I am very impressed with MS Office on Mac OS X. That is my "productivity tool" of choice. It loads faster and the application does not get in the way of doing what you want it to do, although "Clippy's" cousin is alive and still annoying.

January 30, 2002

The Fool compares Apples and Windows and their networking strategies. This question of how Apple with work with .Net has been on my mind for a while. Since .Net is XML based it seemed to be no big deal. I have been finding that OS X handles all my networking needs and more, which I definitely can not say about Windows XP.

January 24, 2002

I now have MySQL running on my OS X Powerbook. I largely followed the directions from The Business Mac MySQL instructions. I used the install package from and found it a rather easy build. I did have to make one minor adjustment. When trying to start MySQL for the first time it is good to place an empty mysql.sock file in the /tmp/ directory. The other item to add is create a directory (sudo mkdir) libexec in the mysql directory then go into the libexec directory and create a softline to ../bin/mysld (sudo ln -s ../bin/mysqld mysqld). You should be good to go.

January 20, 2002

In the attempt to get photos out of my Olympus D-490 I have been having fits. The camera is fantastic and takes great pictures. Getting photos out has been a pain of late. The serial port is horribly slow to say the least. I bought a Microtech Zio USB card reader about six months ago, which has been a great asset. I switched to Windows XP on my main PC and Apple for my laptop.

The XP would not read the Zio and locks up if the reader is in the USB when starting up the PC. Worse is if you plug the reader in while the machine is running, it kills the machine dead by shutting it down instantly. I upgraded the drivers, but no luck after the recent security upgrades from Microsoft.

The Apple would acknowledge the card in OS 9, but required an initialization. OS X would not ackknoledge the card. Today, I started the laptop in OS 9 and found that I could read the cards and pull the images on to the hard drive. This was a great day. I can get access to that drive point from OS X and view them. I am now happy again. And once again Apple has provided an option that works where Microsoft fell short, Apple 5 and MS 0.

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 13, 2002

There are two Slashdot reviews of the recent MacWorld conference. CmdrTaco points out where Linux has power Apple has desire and chrisd looks at the Apple community. Chrisd noted the exhibition's, "focus on sheer functionality, capability and commerce."

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 7, 2002

My digital bundle of joy arrived today. It was apropoe that my Powerbook arrived today as Steve Jobs gave his keynote at MacWorld. I was thankful a new TiBook was not announced today, but I was half expecting it. I have been more than impressed at the ease of setup and the ease of use of the Mac OS. It has been a long time since I used a Mac on a regular basis, but it is giving me far fewer headaches (none actually) than Windows XP. Setting up a network connection was easy, even in the manual mode, which was a huge headache for XP.

On the keynote front I did not think the announcements met the huge hype, but the new iMac is very cool and impressive. The iPicture loaded like a breaze for me and seems to very straightforward. The XP easy photo stuff seemed to be a mess and my kludgy methods were better than what XP offered. I may like this new world, if I can just get the keystrokes down.

Wired provides a good technical look at Apple, which is why new tool will be Apple. Apple seems to be farther ahead with hardware and software than anybody else around these days. Not only that, largely they are doing it very well.

January 6, 2002

Things are going to get a little Apple-centric here for a little bit. I should have my non-human object of lust in the next week or so. This means gathering information about Web resources that are available and finding software and script repositories that will help move the transition/inclusion of another OS environment into the home office environment. If you have good Apple resources (books or sites) drop me an e-mail. I am going to be rebuilding my link pages here to include more Apple/OS X resources.

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.

January 2, 2002

I really would like XP Home to have Samba (SMB) as the Apple documentation on using SMB to network machines and share drives is very solid. XP Home does not have SMB capability. If anybody knows a way to build it in plese e-mail me (comments being turned on this month or next month).

SMB is an open source networking tool that is supported on most operating systems. Windows 2000 and XP Professional support SMB. I should have learned my lesson and never by consumer grade software or hardware as I am always wanting to do more.

This MacSlash posts tries to answer networking OS X and Windows XP boxes, this will be a task I will soon try and tackle. My only issue is I was a sucker and only bought the XP for Home, which seems to lack the ability to build a home network with anything but a Windows machine (even this is fussy). I must only know the aberrant households, but most of the people I know with home networks are connecting Mac, Linux, and Windows machines (mostly Mac and Windows). Microsoft seems to have a different understanding of home than the people I know, but then again they are not average families as they don't have 2.3 children, they have children in whole numbers.

January 1, 2002

SecureMac seems to offer solid information, warnings, and fixes for Apple Mac security issues. It will be a good site to keep my one's on.

Okay, I stopped using an Apple computer on a regular basis more than 10 years ago. I have followed their news, progress, and trade shows with a side view as they seemed to have their finger on the pulse the last few years. Now I am really waiting for the MacWorld Conference and Expo beginning January 7th. There has always been hype around the big shows, but I will be an Apple owner soon, so I have a vested interest.

December 29, 2001

I have been anxiously waiting for my TiBook to finally arrive, but it seems there are hardware issues and it could be a week or two more before it actually ships. You ask why Apple? I have been in need of a laptop as mine have always been tied to a job and being able to build applictions on the road (along with have e-mail and Web access), let alone hang out with my wife while she enjoys her movies in the family room, were nice options. The Apple OSX was the kicker. I have heard nothing but raves about the TiBook, but OSX has been getting better reviews from non-traditional-Apple folks than XP. I have had more than enough issues with XP (Home edition) of late with all the networking and development functionality it can not do.

In short, I can have my Windows applications running on a laptop that has UNIX stability, provides a great development environment, and carry it with me. Apple keeps beating my expectations by leaps and bounds, and Microsoft keeps letting me down. XP is light years better than ME ever could dream of being (perhaps MS' worst operating system ever released), but I need to run IIS or even PWS so to test some ASP code (not an option on XP for Home), nor is networking easy with non-XP machines as is our home office.

I have been spending more time at Mark Newhouse's site and using his good collection of links, which include Apple links. I have found the Mr Barrett site to be quite helpful.

November 21, 2001

Derrick Story Tests the Ti and adds to my lust for this great machine with the amazing OS.

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