Friday, April 27, 2007


Getting Music Somewhere Else

I realized one thing that I'd really like to see in connection to services like the iTunes store. There is a class of artist where I don't just want the songs, but I want the physical artifact of a CD with a booklet. And in the case of Marillion's Somewhere Else CD, it's not scheduled to ship from Amazon (where I have it pre-ordered) for a few weeks, but it is already available on iTunes.

What I'd like to be able to do is get the best of both worlds -- an immediate download of the album, but then get the physical CD (with documentation) at some later point in time as both a physical artifact and collectible, as well as the backup. But I'm not really willing to buy the album twice -- but I might be willing to pay a dollar or two more for the instant gratification of getting the album on my computer.

And I could even see this work as a successful double marketing campaign -- the album could go to iTunes (or some other service) as a download, and the physical CD comes a month or so later. It could cost more than a traditional download, and for that matter more than a traditional CD -- but not twice as much.

Labels: ,

Monday, April 23, 2007


Problems of Printing from a Mac to a Windows machine

I finally fixed my problems with printing to a printer attached to my Windows machine from a Mac. The instructions listed on Apple's site certainly helped -- in the end, I needed to include the full ip address, user name, domain, and password in order to get everything to print properly. But once it was set up, all looks to be well.

Labels: , ,


Fandom's OS Distribution

One of the more interesting questions came up as part of last weekend's CONvergence committee meeting. As I mentioned as I started to look at building a SF Convention IT Infrastructure, one of the biggest challenges in working with a non-profit volunteer organization like a science fiction convention is that you have a variety of different operating systems amongst the people working on it, and unlike a business environment, there's very little centralized control over what sorts of systems that people have.

I was interested in seeing that about 25 percent of the people attending the committee meeting were Macintosh users, with the rest being Windows users. I was surprised that there were only 1 or 2 people that were primarily Linux users; I would have expected to see that higher than average.

My biggest take away is how much you'd like to build systems that can handle multiple OSes -- a department like programming should ideally work where the heads don't need to be running a particular operating system in order to handle the data needs of their department.

I'm curious how our percentages compare to other convention committees, both locally and around the country -- that's a higher percentage of Mac users than generally reported on in the general population, but that is really difficult to be sure about.

Labels: , ,


judge me by my size?

I wish that we had seen this image last year when CONvergence's theme was all about space ships.


Saturday, April 21, 2007


Challenge of the Super-Duper Friends

It's an amusing mix of 1970s Superhero cartoons and 21st century politics in the Challenge of the Super-Duper Friends.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Trouble Printing

In general, running multiple OSes hasn't been much of a problem. But I haven't been able to get my Mac to print to a printer hung off of a windows printer. I've looked around the net, but I hope this works to get the printer to work right.

Labels: ,

Saturday, April 07, 2007


The Costs of DRM

I'm not terribly bothered that the DRM-free tracks on iTunes will cost more than the DRM crippled versions. It shows to me that DRM-free tracks have more features -- and more value -- than something with DRM. This is somewhat confused because Apple has also paired the DRM-free versions with higher-quality samples, and that may be intentional on Apple's part. But i think it shows that much like we "pay" for free TV by getting commercials, part of what we "pay" when we get a DRM-track are the roadblocks in using it in as many ways as we'd like.

While I'm certainly going to pay that little bit more for DRM-free tracks, it's got to be an open question whether the general public will care that much.


Thursday, April 05, 2007


Mac Fever

Scoble recently got a mac as well and is making more suggestions. So that's all good.

I also recently downloaded the trial version of Parallels -- I haven't invested a lot of my time in it yet, because I haven't purchased it yet -- only a trial version to see how well it worked, but I did quick install Vista on that as well as Ubuntu inside of it. I haven't really fine tuned Ubuntu, so it doesn't seem to recognize the full width of my monitor when I send it full screen, but Vista worked just fine.

I think that since I'm running the newest version of Boot Camp Parallels wasn't able to recognize it -- but I haven't looked that hard at it. It'd be my dream situation, and as I think Parallels was able to do that with earlier versions, it'll eventually be able to do that. I think there will be some times that you'll want to run Vista directly on the Hardware -- especially as that'll get you a really solid Vista experience -- and other times running it alongside Mac OS will be the approach that you want.

I've downloaded Quicksilver, but it's one of those utilities that it clearly takes some time to "get", and I'm not quite sure I've got it yet.

I haven't downloaded a chat client yet, but it looks like Adium is recommended so I'm looking at that. Though I haven't really done much chatting in years. But it's there.

I downloaded Twitterrific to work with my twitter account, as something more to play with as well.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


What I Want

I was interested in reading comments that Paul Thurrott and the Ubuntu blog make about what sorts of computers people want to have as opposed to what they have to have.

It was certainly a pragmatic decision when I switched to Windows back in the mid-1990s; my job was for a company that wrote Windows software, and as such that was what I needed to have for work. The jobs were available on the Windows side, and that was where it was at. I suppose I "wanted" Windows at that point for the simple reason that I wanted to have a greater variety of professional choices available to me.

When I develop software these days, I'm still primarily doing Windows development, but even then I'm also working with technologies that aren't at all OS depended like And I've always been a bit more of a generalist more than a specialist when it comes to software and development.

The "default choice" is Windows -- if you go into most general stores that sell computer hardware, you're going to see them pushing Windows. When Apple said "Think Different", they were talking about thinking different from Windows users. In most work environments, unless they're in a specialized industry, all of the work computers except a few in marketing are going to be running Windows. I'm wondering if that is changing as we see Apple stores appearing in more and more shopping malls -- if I was go average user in a major metro area, it is easier for me to find and talk to an employee of Apple than it is to talk to an employee of Microsoft.

Now days, with Intels being the core of almost all new personal computers you've got some options -- my Mac isn't just a good machine to run OS X on, but it's also a good machine to run Vista on (and I'm tempted to be uber-geek and install Ubuntu as well). But I'm not a normal computer user -- it's been a hobby, my education, and my career since I was a teenager. I wanted a Mac partially because I could have one piece of hardware running multiple operating systems.

Most people don't really want to think about their computer that much. They don't really "want" a computer at all -- not in the sense that I do or the way other IT professionals do. So they get whatever is most convenient -- perhaps because of the games that they play, or they want a computer that's easy to use, or whatever. I'm sure that means that Linux has some adoption challenges -- even if it is user friendly enough that real people can use it without having hardcore IT skills and turning into Tron Guy.


Sunday, April 01, 2007


10 Favorite Things About My Mac

Now that I've had a Mac again for a couple of days, I've been discovering all of the things that I like about the new system. There's definitely no buyers regret here. But I thought it might be worth listing a few of the things that either surprised me or especially please me as I switched back to a Macintosh for the first time in a decade.

My first computer was an Apple -- an Apple ][ -- and even though my professional life made it such that I didn't really feel that an Apple fit into it, with the latest batch of Intel based Macintoshes and the direction of the computer industry I'm able to go back to the brand that first got me into computing when I was a very young kid.

10. It Runs Windows.

That may strike the Mac purist as silly, but it's the reason why I was able to switch back. For a variety of reasons, it's important for me to have access to a Windows machine. I need to be able to access Access databases, for example, and professionally I work in a Windows world. And while I haven't pushed the Windows side yet, it runs it at as well as other machines.

9. A hidden UNIX

I've never had the patience to go ahead and install Linux -- it's perhaps so customizable that it's more than I really want to deal with. I like the software, I like computers, and I'm a programmer, but I'm less interested in infrastructure and more interested in getting things done at a higher level. And with the UNIX underlying it I'll get all of the power of a UNIX system when I want it, but without the hassles that you have to go about if you're dealing with the bazillion Linux distributions and the like. And besides, if I ever really wanted to go that route, I still could.

8. Easy access my other Windows machines and files

Moving files between the various machines -- both Windows and Mac -- was easier than I thought it would be. The networking was as straight forward as if I had added another windows machine. I had figured that it might be a challenge -- but the networking was just done. Like reason #10, it just further justified one of the things that I think we're seeing -- for many reasons, operating systems matter far less than they used to.

7. Two fingered scrolling

It's a shiny, beautifully machine -- but one of the things that I had gotten used to on the Windows side was a multiple-button mouse with the scroll-wheel. My fingers haven't quite natively learned the habits yet, but one of the things that I was thrilled to discover was that the touchpad was able to recognize multiple fingers on it -- and pulling two fingers was equivalent to the scroll wheel of old. Except it could work in all three directions. And having multiple fingers on the pad also meant that I had the equivalent to the right mouse button as well. Some of this will take some adjustment time -- but it's not adjusting to something because it is better or worse, but just that it's different.

6. Auto-adjusting screen brightening

I didn't even notice this at first -- until I realized that the screen got lighter or darker if the room light when on. It's not just a matter of controlling the brightness if I needed to -- it's that it'll do it for me, which most of the time will work just fine.

5. Keys that glow when you need and want them to

This is related to the previous item -- but not quite the same thing. If you're like me, there will be times that you work with your computer mainly in the dark. Late at night, or perhaps in front of a TV, or whatever. I know my keyboarding skills fairly well, but every computer keyboard is a little bit different, and the Mac's keyboard is different from a Windows keyboard so there are times where it is useful to have a second check.

4. Migrating iTunes

I've been a Windows iTunes user for several years, and I've been happy with my iPods. And while I'm not a fan of DRM, and I'm celebrating the idea some elements of the recording industry is recognizing that DRM creates more problems than it solves, I was thrilled that it wasn't that difficult to copy over my iTunes library from one computer to another. And I was even more impressed that if I copied over my iTunes library files -- iTunes Library.itl and iTunes Music Library.xml -- it would remember not only all of my playlists and ratings, but also my last play time and number of play counts, two things I use in many of my smart playlists.

I suspect that there's a way that I can take advantage of this and regularly sychronize the two libraries a bit more -- but the basic was certanly a good start.

3. The Dashboard

The Dashboard was one of those things that I had seen when I had looked at Macs at the Apple store and thought was pretty cool. I've seen similar sorts of things on other systems -- you get these tiny applications or widgets on things like customized google front pages, or in various sidebar applications. But having it something that I can access by a key press -- or even better, by customizing it so I can run my mouse to a corner, is very nice. And it is useful to gather all sorts of things -- weather, system performance, my mailbox.

2. Expose

Now this, unlike the Dashboard, I hadn't seen in any of my Mac demonstrations. I hadn't seen the description on Apple's website. I'm certainly someone that can easily fill my screen with multiple windows. And with a little bit of customization I can make it so I can easily shoot my mouse to a corner, and then quickly pick out the application and window that I want to go to next. And it's a far more efficient mechanism than Microsoft Vista's Flip 3d -- which might be showy, but Expose looks to be a whole lot more efficient for switching from one application to another.

1. Magnetic attaching power cord

My biggest complaint with my last two laptops was that I was having problems with my power cord. It had even be the cause of many of my (rare) repair calls. The MagSafe connector is one of those things that I wish every electronic device that was in a setting where you had to frequently plug and unplug -- or ran the risk of tripping over -- had. The power adapter has nothing to do with any operating system -- but it's enough right there even if you only used your Mac as a Windows machine.

Labels: ,


Project Rooftop

Project Rooftop is an interesting site filled with redesigns of classic DC and Marvel characters. They have most notably done a run of different Supergirl costumes.

I'm not sure that I can always see the designs they have translate into traditional "mainstream" DC or Marvel universe titles, but I think they frequently show some interesting takes on characters that sometimes have decades old designs. And perhaps it's far more a criticism of the range of art styles allowed in the traditional books (which is thankfully expanding) than a criticism of the redesigned outfits.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]