Mark Damon Hughes Topic: Mac [Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics] [about]
On Being a Snob
Sun, 2008Mar09 19:51:39 PDT
in Mac by kamikaze

I'm a Snob, and proud of it. This isn't caused by my infatuation with the Mac and iTouch (yes, I'm studying the iPhone SDK now, more on that later). My infatuation with the Mac, and all the rest of my snobbery, is caused by my devotion to certain ideals, and my contempt for both stupidity and aristocracy.

(If you're reading this in a newsreader, click "More" for the rest of the post.)

In response to a study that found Mac users are snobs, MacWorld Video asked Mac users if they're snobs, and of course the answer is "yes". I especially liked the exchange:

"Would you consider yourself a snob?"
"I think that I'm right. <sotto voce>That's a yes.</sotto voce>"

The Mac OS X dictionary defines "snob" (I just typed the word, right-clicked on it, and clicked "Look up in Dictionary"; why, doesn't your OS do that?) as:

snob |snäb|
a person with an exaggerated respect for high social position or wealth who seeks to associate with social superiors and dislikes people or activities regarded as lower-class.
[with adj. ] a person who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to those of other people : a musical snob. [emphasis mine]
snobbery |-bərē| |ˈsnɑb(ə)ri| noun ( pl. -beries)
snobbism |-ˌbizəm| noun
snobby |ˈsnɑbi| adjective ( -bier |ˈsnɑbiər|, -biest |ˈsnɑbi1st|).
ORIGIN late 18th cent. (originally dialect in the sense [cobbler] ): of unknown origin; early senses conveyed a notion of ‘lower status or rank,’ later denoting a person seeking to imitate those of superior social standing or wealth. Folk etymology connects the word with Latin sine nobilitate ‘without nobility’ but the earliest recorded sense has no connection with this.

The origin hints at, but doesn't fully explain, what's really happening with this word, and with the ideal that drives me and other snobs to use the Mac. In a very real sense, snobbery is democracy.

Before the 20th Century, English culture (and by extension, American culture) was deeply stratified between social classes, with the lower classes considered essentially subhuman, the trade classes as human but inferior, and of course the upper classes were born to rule, automatically superior because they were descended from people who were descended from people who had killed a lot of people and seized power many centuries before. The economy was based primarily on land ownership and farming, with the "aristocratic" classes owning all land, collecting an unreasonably large portion of all produce as "taxes", and killing anyone who disagreed with this system or wanted to take some of their land. Every aristocrat is descended from generations of mass murderers.

By the 18th Century, this was starting to break down a bit, as manufactured goods became more important, the cities grew larger, and the trade classes gained wealth, and with wealth came political influence.

Aside: Democracy and Revolution
The American Revolution wasn't just a tax revolt in the British Colonies, it was a social movement being driven by this economic change, and by philosophers and politicians recognizing that there was something to this "democracy" idea the Greeks came up with so long ago. 18th Century America had the unique advantages of being well-educated, isolated, and self-sufficient, which allowed a relatively bloodless post-war Revolution, with many of the former English aristocrats giving up their titles to become honest American citizens.

The French Revolution followed, with equal idealism ("Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité"), but was ruthlessly opposed by mass-murdering aristocrats in France and Britain, leading to the need for "the Terror" (eliminating the local aristocracy and the Roman Catholic priesthood who supported them), and ultimately the aristocratic forces of Europe defeated the French Republic and ended democracy on that continent.

So now we come to the "Snobs", originally a slang term for shoemakers ("cobblers"). Upwardly mobile craftsmen came into wealth, and began to develop good taste, and held in disdain other members of the lower and trade classes who were not upwardly mobile. I refer to these non-mobile lower classes as "Plebeians":

plebeian |pliˈbēən|
(in ancient Rome) a commoner.
• a member of the lower social classes.
of or belonging to the commoners of ancient Rome.
• of or belonging to the lower social classes.
lacking in refinement : he is a man of plebeian tastes. [emphasis mine]
ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: from Latin plebeius (from plebs, pleb- ‘the common people’ ) + -an .

There are three reactions possible to Snobs living well and ignoring social class restrictions:

  1. The aristocrats see it as a threat; as a direct attack on their position and their property, and they have in the past murdered millions of people for lesser offenses.
  2. Plebeians have been taught by the aristocrats to "know their place", and intellectual curiosity and wondering if things could be better are conditioned and beaten out of them in churches and public schools. To them, people are born to a specific social class, and anyone "living above their social class" is breaking the rules they live by. This is an anti-democratic philosophy. This is not just monarchy or dictatorship, it's also the ideology of communism, of 1984's Big Brother.
  3. If you think, as a free man would, that all people are born equal, and only a person's own talent, dedication, and personal choices matter, then you are probably going to be a Snob, try to enjoy the good things in life, and encourage others to do the same. "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" are the inalienable rights of mankind.
Aside: Aristocracy in America
In American culture, there are no real aristocrats; there are stupid rich people like Paris Hilton or Michael Jackson or Donald Trump, who think they're entitled to bad behavior because of wealth, but they do eventually discover that they're just citizens like everyone else. Paris bawling her eyes out on national TV because she had to do time for drinking and driving was one of the most uplifting and heroically American sights ever broadcast.

That said, the Republicans, ironically contrary to the name and origins of the their party, have been trying hard to create a new aristocracy. If they can:

  • make the lower classes infinitely poorer than the wealthy by convincing them to elect politicians who "share their values" but make their constituents poorer,
  • disenfranchise poor people, especially poor black people, by imprisoning them,
  • scare people into keeping most legal immigration low so they can keep using illegal immigrants as slave labor with the threat of deportation,
  • keep outsourcing and the number of H1-B visas high so desperate workers from third-world countries can be used at cut-rate prices to prevent young Americans from getting jobs in high-skill industries, and then ship the third-worlders back without giving them citizenship/voting rights,
  • scare people into giving up their rights and not doing anything unapproved-of,
  • destroy journalism and destroy education to eliminate an informed public entirely,

then they can create a new Dark Age with themselves on top, and no possibility of revolt.

I can state it no clearer than this: The Republicans are an evil cult, who seek the destruction of democracy and the enslavement of mankind. There is no other possible interpretation of their behavior.

So, back to snobbery, that leaves only two classes, which are self-created. If you think about the consequences of your choices and choose to live well, you're a Snob. If you don't choose, or choose poorly, you're a Plebeian.

Plebeians... Snobs...
Buy what they're told to buy, do what they're told to do, say what they're told to say, and create nothing but pablum, because they can imagine nothing and fear reprisal.

"Forget about trying to write under that kind of dread. Writing under family-friendly corporate constraints is a necessary but curious clusterfuck in the best conditions. Sometimes it's like reaching deep within your soul and pulling out a basket of kittens, then quietly drowning it in a river. A man's gotta eat, though, and I never griped about the paycheck. That was my choice, and I made it every day."
-Jeff Simmermon, in the ironically-deleted post Drowning Kittens In A River Full Of Cash

Buy what they want to buy, do what they want to do, say what they want to say, and create what they want, and don't care if you like it or not.

"If you want my advice, Peter, you've made a mistake already. By asking me. By asking anyone. Never ask people. Not about your work. Don't you know what you want? How can you stand it, not to know?"
-Ayn Rand, "The Fountainhead"

Claim that everything is pretty much the same, always has been, and if anything was better then everyone would already be using it. Recognize that some things are actually better than others, and some ways of living are better than other ways of living; they're better for you, better for the environment, and make the world a better place.
Deny that global warming is a danger, because it would inconvenience them if it were true. They might have to change something in their lifestyle, maybe even quit shitting where they live. The Republican cult's dogma is that this is all a local trend. I'm not sure what they get out of humanity's extinction, since dead slaves can't work very hard. Pay attention to what the evidence says, and adjust their behavior based on facts, whether it's convenient or not.

It is not a coincidence that Nobel Peace Prize winner, former Vice President, and shoulda-been-President Al Gore is on the Apple board.

Drink crappy lager because it's cheap and convenient, and don't even know or care that it's diabetic horse piss. Drink proper ale, because it tastes good.

"Magic? I'll show you magic in the clink of glasses in a toast, in the settling of a pint from silt to black, in the voice that rises as it tells its tale... in a hundred smiles that bubble into laughter, and shut the golden door against the cold."
-Garth Ennis, "Hellblazer: Damnation's Flame"

Drink drip or percolated or instant (eeeeew) coffee that's been sitting on heat burning all day, because they don't know or care that it tastes like mud. They don't know or care that the beans were acquired by gangs beating peasant workers until they picked enough beans, then paying them almost nothing, which is why the beans are so cheap. Drink espresso, high-quality fresh-ground coffee, or lattes, because they taste good. Snobs prefer to buy Fair Trade coffee beans. $4/cup is a small price to pay for something good.
Drive Ford cars and pickups, because they're cheap, even though they're garbage. They drive through rush-hour traffic, making it even worse and wasting their time and everyone else's, then park at parking meters because it's convenient, and then have to go outside and feed the meter every half hour, and panic whenever a parking maid comes around, like cockroaches scurrying from the light. Drive good cars, use a shared car system, or don't even drive, because they already live in the city and don't want to pollute any further or drive in traffic.
Buy non-iPod media players, because they're cheap. Usually not Zunes, because only MS employees buy shit-brown and puke-green Zunes. Buy iPods. They just work, beautifully and easily. You will pry my 80GB iPod Video or 16GB iTouch out of my hands only when Apple makes something even better (a 64GB iPhone with 3G or WiMax network would do it for me).
Buy PCs from Dell or assemble some beige thing from random parts that may or may not work together. It comes pre-infected with Windows, and within 30 minutes after going online, Windows has helpfully infected them with all of the other 100,000 viruses and spyware on the 'Net, and are sending out spam to every mailbox in the world. The drivers don't work, or conflict with each other. It crashes, a lot.

Plebeians don't know or care, because it's cheap, and almost everyone at work is using Windows, except that one weird guy using a Mac. So that must just be how things are.

Buy Macs. They just work. They're beautiful. The hardware and software is actually designed intelligently, and it all works together. The cost is actually a bit less than a PC with equal hardware specs when you consider anti-virus software, maintenance, and resale value, but that's really irrelevant to a Snob. Paying more up front for quality is worth it.

It's different from what "the masses" use, but it's good to Think Different.

The "GNU" and "Linux" people don't fit in either category. On the one hand, they defy convention and use what they like. They're making a value judgement. On the other hand, they live in squalid, archaic X11, have to edit config files and recompile the kernel to make the tiniest things work, and often just have to live without modern conveniences and media because their OS doesn't support it. So they're not making reasonable value judgements.

In the Dark Ages, they would have been the crazy people who went off to be hermits in the mountains. Did you know that Richard Stallman doesn't even use the WWW? No fooling. That's not thinking different, that's religious self-flagellation.

Use MS "Internet Explorer", because it's on the computer already, and they don't know any better. Never mind that it breaks every web standard in every way, or that technologically it's 10+ years behind the competition, or that its use causes rectal cancer (just kidding... I only wish people who make IE-only web sites got rectal cancer from it). Use Safari or Firefox or Opera, because they're beautiful (Safari obviously more so than the others), follow the web standards, and are developing new technologies like HTML5.

The future happens on these browsers.

Users can't do any real scripting or automation of their system. Ooh, batch files, it's like it's still 1981!

A Plebeian who needs to solve a problem does it by hand, click, type, click, type, doing rote mechanical labor. Or they call Windows support (which is to Windows what "alcohol support", "cancer support", and "drug support" groups are to other kinds of self-abuse).

Users quickly learn that they can use Automator and share Automator actions, and AppleScript for more advanced work.

A Snob who needs to solve a problem can solve it; the tools are available, and the intelligence to find those tools and learn how to use them. The friendly neighborhood Apple Store has classes about any conceivable subject.

Codemonkeys use toys like .NET (MS's broken, non-portable clone of Java) and Visual Basic. They actively rebel against using any other language, and yet immediately copy any useful library from other languages (nhibernate, nant, nunit, etc...).

They're considered mentally retarded by software engineers, and earn half the salary. No kidding.

"It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration."
-Professor Edsger W. Dijkstra, How do we tell truths that might hurt?

Software engineers use professional languages, like Python, Java, or Objective-C/Cocoa, and often experiment with new languages, like Groovy, Scala, Ruby, Haskell, Caml, and so on.

"A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming, is not worth knowing."
-Alan Perlis

Learning new things is good for your brain, and new programming languages can teach you new ways to think about problems in any language. You cannot learn these new things by remaining in a .NET rut and hoping they will get ported.

Ask a software engineer to work in .NET, and he'll react as if you called him a motherfucker and a Republican. You'll be lucky to escape with just a beating.

Yes, I'm proud to be a snob.

Night 2 of the MacBook Air Era
Mon, 2008Feb18 23:56:30 PST
in Mac by kamikaze

Wes noted that the Air's jewelry box design is the same as the iPhone and iTouch (I love that neologism, Apple should have called it that from the start!). I'm still blown away by how elegant that is. Compare this to the standard Dell industrial cardboard box, styrofoam, tons of plastic wrapping, and it's just scary. It's like they're not even AWARE it could be attractive. Like Michael Dell WANTS to suck all joy out of your computing before you even get the computer on and find out it's infected with Windows.

Anyway. Turns out I want Xcode on the Air, so I go hunting for it. Not on install disk 1 under "Optional Installs" like it is on most Macs, but the remote drive software is, so I install that, restart, go into Sharing, turn on Disk Sharing, and it's visible on the Air. I did nothing on the Air, and yet it pops up on the desktop. Neat!

Disk 2 has Xcode, Dashcode, and WebObjects (ew), install went pretty good; a bit slower than normal, but not bad.

Apple Store was out of the external drive yesterday, and now I'm thinking maybe I won't get one. See if I can live without it.

Day 2 of the MacBook Air Era
Mon, 2008Feb18 14:29:53 PST
in Mac by kamikaze

Yesterday, after many days of trying and failing to find one in stock, I went out to the Bellevue Square Apple Store, and bought my MacBook Air. The box alone is something to see. It's like a jewelry case. Thick box top that lifts off, and the Air is nestled into a display tray, ready to be admired. Lift that out, and the accessories are down in the second tray. It's the most technoerotic computer packaging I've ever seen.

It is a truly beautiful machine. It doesn't even seem to be a computer, it's just a wafer-thin keyboard with a wafer-thin screen attached. If you're not using the ports or power, there are no ugly breaks in the line of the case. While the MBP is a fine piece of hardware, and makes a great portable desktop computer system, it's still a giant technical-looking block of cable ports and slots and stuff. The Air looks like a magical artifact, like the Glaive, or Excalibur (maybe Thomas Malory gave Jonathan Ive some design advice). And of course, picking it up, you know it's magic; 3 pounds isn't even noticeable, it's like a stack of paper.

While all the media trolls were whining about missing ports and how the Air doesn't give them handjobs and $200 kickbacks, they missed one: there's no antitheft cable slot on the Air. This would actually be a real problem on the MacBook and MacBook Pro, because those are always going to be tethered to ethernet cabling and power and a half-dozen life-support cords, so taking it with you when you go somewhere is a pain. The Air doesn't care. Unplug the magsafe power cord, and take it. I'd still rather have one, but enough to break the lines of the machine? Maybe not. I should take a closer look at what they do for security at the Apple Store (besides having very polite armed guards at the door).

The keyboard is more solid and has a crisper feel than the MacBook's mushy, wiggly cheap plastic toy keycaps, which is good--I prefer the MacBook Pro's keyboard, but this is actually quite pleasant. The screen is almost too bright. I dropped the brightness a bit after I found the world outside the screen was getting darker. The VGA-quality iSight is pretty lame, but it does work with iChat videoconferencing, even with special effects (I iChatted myself across the room with Bonjour, got some wicked feedback). The little teeny tinny speaker under the arrow keys is awful. To sound good, you will need headphones or external speakers (audio jack, unless you like wasting your USB port on sound).

Performance is okay. I'm able to run a basic Eclipse Europa (NOT MyEclipse), and work on my hobby project. Second Life gets <10 fps fullscreen with all settings at minimum, in a sim where the MBP gets >30 fps windowed with everything maxed out, but it does run. It's not unusable, just really slow at the 3D graphics (which you'd expect, since it has a crappy Intel onboard graphics thing). For anything that doesn't do a lot of graphics, it's a pretty snappy machine. It's still a 64-bit, Intel Core 2 Duo, even though it's only 1.6GHz, and 2GB RAM is as much as I have in my MBP (yeah, I should upgrade it to 4GB... Not real motivated to spend money on it now).

vSide runs great, though. Right after I bought it, I couldn't wait to get home to pop it out, so I went to a Tullys and used their electricity and wifi, and went into vSide to goof off while waiting for power to charge up, and found a music listening station to see if there was any good music... They had Feist, playing "1 2 3 4", the song in the iPod Nano ad. Apple is everywhere!

.Mac is a life-saver with this device. All of my personal information just syncs across. As long as I'm using IMAP, I don't care which machine I run email on (my POP accounts are going to be a problem until I set them up to forward to another account that can do IMAP). iDisk lets me move files into a common space that all my machines can access. I already used it for that somewhat, but now I'm going to be using it as my primary "drive". Guess I'd better upgrade to 20GB. Alternately, I could just put more stuff on my little portable USB drive, but that's more stuff to carry around. Meh.

NetNewsWire could be better at .Mac syncing. Half the time, it fails. When it succeeds, it's really slow (okay, I have 1100 feeds, guess it might take a while). I guess I could go back to Bloglines, but I do like the NNW experience better. This is, of course, why they released NNW for free: to get people like me to buy NewsGator.

No idea yet how I'm going to set up Time Machine (Apple's is nice, but I prefer the original); my big firewire drive won't connect to the Air. I may have to wait for the Time Capsule gadget (I don't own an AirPort Extreme yet, so it's a practical solution to the networking problem anyway), and back up onto my USB media drive until then.

I don't have a bag small and light enough for the Air; my WWDC07 laptop bag is great for the MBP, but about as heavy as the Air and 10x more volume. I shopped around for a bag, and there's nothing. While using a padded manilla envelope is an amusing idea, I actually need a bit more protection and handles and/or a strap. I'd love to have the Crumpler Winston Fleece in a smaller size. Instead, I bought a cheap SwissGear Angle that's still too big by several inches, and weighs half as much as the Air. MADNESS! I'm sure there'll be some nice cases in a few weeks or months, but until then, it's going to be hard to carry the Air correctly. Ideally, the case should be just a layer of neoprene with a zipper, and a carrying strap that can be tightened to use as a handle or loosened to use as a messenger bag. And it should be black with aluminum-colored trim.

So, worth the $1799? Yes, absolutely. I don't know that I'd buy the $3098 64GB SSD version, regardless of how much faster the drive is; 16GB less space would be crippling on such a small device. For me, this machine only makes sense as a travel computer, but it's SO good for that task that anything else seems archaic, it makes every other laptop look as lame as the iPhone makes every other smartphone.

MacBook Air
Wed, 2008Jan16 11:47:50 PST
in Mac by kamikaze

MacBook Air

"separate fanbois from cash.", as DarkMark said of it yesterday. And yes, it does that. And I need one. My back needs me to get one.

I currently have a MacBook (5.0 lbs), and a MacBook Pro 17" (6.8 lbs).

I use the MBP for software development, Second Life, and as my connection point to the Net, because I always have it on me. This kinda sucks, because it's HEAVY. It's HUGE, too, but it fits nicely in my WWDC 2007 bag. I'm more concerned with the effect that carrying 7+ lbs (once I add the power supply, because it has maybe 2 hours of battery life, MAYBE).

The MB used to do this job minus the software development and Second Life, and also served as my writing tablet. But I can't carry both the MBP and the MB (12 lbs?!?), and the weight difference isn't much, so it made more sense to carry the slightly heavier one that was so much better.

The MacBook Air is 60% of the weight of the MB, and 44% of the weight of the MBP. I could happily carry the Air all the time, assuming it met my needs... The price is high compared to a MacBook, but not unreasonably so, compared to other ultra-light laptops. The sealed memory, disk, and battery are fine, since I'd just take it back to an Apple Store in event of emergency anyway. This is why you should always buy AppleCare.

What I actually need, day to day away from my desk, is Safari,, NetNewsWire, BBEdit, and iTunes. MyEclipse is too heavy for use on the MB, and the MBA has the same performance, but MochaCode is pretty freaking amazing, light, and fast, albeit still in pre-release, and Xcode runs fine on the MB; as I move to more and more Objective-C, I care less and less about the Java stuff. When I need to do serious Java development, I can do that at work (increasingly, that's the only Java code I want to touch) on the company's iMac workstation, or at home on my MBP.

My one concern at this point is how to sync my iTunes library. It's too big for any one drive, especially a dinky little 80GB drive. I have separate libraries for music and TV/movies now, but at least they're on one computer and don't have to sync. Actually, I could just use the iPod all day, and keep my actual music library at home. Ultimately, I should put that on some network-visible system, and use Back to My Mac to find it.

The larger implication of this gadget is that my world splits into "permanent storage at home" and "portable ubiquitous wireless device". The only remaining problem is the lack of a cell-based Internet connection, so it's only live near a wifi access point. I've tried setting up my Treo as a bluetooth modem, and have always failed utterly. This is the fault of the Treo, Palm, and Sprint. I hope Palm festers and dies, at this point; they're so grossly incompetent they deserve to suffer on the way down. Sprint's network is pretty good, though their customer service is atrocious. If only Apple would let me hook up an iPhone to a MacBook Air as a bluetooth modem...

Skype Sucks on Leopard
Mon, 2007Nov05 08:25:30 PST
in Mac by kamikaze

If you have your firewall active on Leopard, WHICH YOU SHOULD, DO IT NOW, Skype will only launch once. Second time, it'll just die.

It turns out that Skype modifies itself, and Leopard's firewall sees that as a virus and won't let it run again. The solution is simple: Run Skype from the DMG every time, and it can't modify itself. You'll have to hit "Allow" on the "launch this scary new app" and "bypass firewall" dialogs, giving you the Vista experience, but at least it works.

Skype's soi-disant "technical support" has a different suggestion. They say you should just turn off your firewall!

The best response to people this malicious incompetent would be to quit using Skype, but sadly it's our office IM system. <sigh>

Menu Apple | System Preferences | Security | Firewall, select "Set access for specific services and applications".

iChat Screen Sharing
Thu, 2007Nov01 15:08:10 PDT
in Mac by kamikaze

In Leopard, select someone you're iChatting with, and hit Buddies | Ask to Share X's Screen.

Once they accept, you are now sharing control of their screen. That's it! Your screen is minimized in the corner, where you can flip back to it, (drag & drop? I didn't try that), whatever.

This is, with no exaggeration, magic.

I've used VNC, Remote Desktop, X11, and so on for years and years. Sharing a screen to fix someone else's computer or see what they're seeing was a total pain in the ass. Until now.

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Mark Has a Leopard
Tue, 2007Oct30 13:12:06 PDT
in Mac by kamikaze

Leopard Day came (I went to the Bellevue Apple store to get an iPod Touch and a free Leopard t-shirt!), and I started my Leopard download from the ADC (yes, Leopard is "free" for developers, but $500/year "free")... And a mere 12 hours later, I had a DMG... With an invalid checksum. I was heartbroken. Crushed. Thankfully, yesterday I was able to download it at work, got a good copy, and am now running Leopard. Still, that the consumers got Leopard days (for some developers a week+ before the November Dev DVD arrives) before the developers, that's a serious problem. Apple, please address this in the future. Developers pay serious money for ADC and WWDC passes because they need to know the future before the consumers.


The "Upgrade" process worked almost flawlessly for me, despite this being a heavily-used development machine. Make a good backup (I know, without Time Machine that's asking a lot...) and try it. If it fails, the worst that can happen is you have to erase and install, but you still have a backup.

All of my apps Just Worked in Leopard. I shouldn't really be surprised by this, but it's a pleasant change from the beta seeds, which were not so great at running every random thing.

In, I saw a lot of "[1] ( Throttling respawn: Will start in 60 seconds". See this MacRumors thread for a solution:
sudo update_prebinding -force -root /
and then reboot.

Development Tools

Xcode 3.0 initially refused to install. I've had 2.4, at least one beta, and 2.5 on this box, so that's unsurprising. Running
sudo /Developer/Library/uninstall-devtools
to clean that out, and then re-installing Xcode 3.0 worked nicely.

I was able to subscribe to the Apple documentation set this morning and get an update from them, instead of having to download the dmg from as before, so finally that's working. From now on, Xcode should just update itself on a regular basis; I'll have to check back and see if that's still true in a month, but it looks promising.

Command-Line Tools

Those who've used Terminal in previous seeds know how great the tabbed Terminals are: no more running 'screen' and having to hit ^A<ESC>^B to scroll back, etc., just use it like a normal tabbed app.

'ls' has been upgraded: it now shows "@" after the permissions if the file has metadata, and you can use
xattr -l FILENAME
to list the metadata and contents. I can't find a proper man page for xattr, but 'xattr -?' gave basic instructions. This is actually kind of a big deal; with these tools, metadata is now easy for developers to find and work with.

'ant', 'mvn', and 'svn' are now installed standard. This will make it quite a lot easier for developers to set up a new machine and get working; a stock, unmodified Leopard has all the tools you actually need. And oh, yeah:

] python
Python 2.5.1 (r251:54869, Apr 18 2007, 22:08:04) 
[GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Computer, Inc. build 5367)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import turtle
>>> turtle.reset()

A standard, current production version Python! YEE-ha!


Now, the one dark spot: Java. Java 6 is not on Leopard. I believe, from things said by Apple engineers, that there were some issues that kept it from an initial release, but it'll be out soon. In the mean time, just be happy that Java 5 works. They cleaned up the Swing look & feel quite a bit, they made it 64-bit, seems pretty stable; I've been working in MyEclipse last night and this morning, and had zero problems.

I really wouldn't suggest deploying for Java 6 yet, anyway, but it is inconvenient for developers to not be able to develop against it. Still, this is going to be a short-term problem, and freaking out or saying you're leaving Mac (as James Gosling has, in favor of Solaris, of all the ludicrous choices possible), that's an overreaction. Patience, people.

If you are going to complain, please complain in Radar, where Apple will read it and may even give a damn, NOT on the goddamn mailing list, which is for technical issues. This post by the infamous Hani Suleiman summed it up nicely.

The Java "community"'s hysterical reaction to only having Java 5 has been so immature, so totally ignorant, that I'm seriously reconsidering my use of Java; I have been for a while, since native Cocoa apps are far superior technology for desktop apps and games, but this is driving another nail in the coffin. I don't want to be associated with these people in any way.

Hey, Whiny Java People: Why didn't you whine when Vista shipped without any JVM at all? (or does it still have J++ 1.1?)

Me: 29 hours to go.
min: got your tennis shoes so pope steve can pull a heaven's gate?
Me: If Pope Steve promised us a spaceship, it wouldn't be some preposterous suicide pact. It'd actually be a real spaceship, with real aliens.
They might require us to submit to anal sex to get on-board, but fuck, it's a real spaceship.
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Safari for Windows
Mon, 2007Jun18 15:02:04 PDT
in Mac by kamikaze

The Safari for Windows beta is... weird.

For Mac users, it means that web developers who only use Windows can test Safari compatibility, but I don't know how much this matters. There are few competent web developers on Windows, they're already using at least Firefox and Opera and therefore making tolerable sites, and the bad ones won't test anyway.

It does let people who want to "develop" for iPhone but only have Windows... But that seems improbable, too. And do you really want an iPhone webapp developed by some tasteless Windows developer? Can you point to a single attractive app made by Windows users? No, of course not. Jobs wasn't joking about that "ice water in hell" thing.

Safari lets Windows users see proper font rendering on the Web for the first time in their lives. Some of them don't seem to be too happy about the experience yet, but it'll grow on them in time, once they scooch their chairs back and quit ruining their eyes squinting 2" away from the screen at shitty Windows fonts.

The Mozilla organization is right to be afraid, though. Safari really is pretty damned fast, and considerably more pleasant to use than Firefox. Years ago, I switched from Opera to Firefox because Firefox was faster and easier to use. Almost 2 years ago, I switched again to Safari for the same reason; Firefox had become slow and memory-devouring and unpleasant to use, just like all of the horrible Mozilla programs. Anyone who uses Firefox, and gives Safari a serious try for a few days, will quit using Firefox. There's no easy way to convert MSIE users, because they just use what's pre-installed with no awareness. Apple should make iTunes for Windows also install Safari for Windows.

All is not perfect in Safari-land, mind you. It's not the most stable browser I've ever had. Safari 3 finally keeps your tab history (History > Reopen All Windows From Last Session! YAY!), so the occasional crashes don't lose anything. The unsorted bookmarks are insane; thank goodness for Bookdog. Safari for Windows users are boned.

← Previous: WWDC 2007, Part 2 (Mac) Next: Software Gallery (Software) →
WWDC 2007, Part 2
Sun, 2007Jun17 13:45:48 PDT
in Mac by kamikaze

Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4) was a big deal for users. It didn't have a lot of new programming stuff, but Apple had really focused on applications and major system enhancements, almost all of which are amazingly great: Spotlight and Dashboard alone make Tiger worth having. Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) isn't about the users. They get a few things, but mostly, it's all about the developers this time. A lot of what the users get is the shaft.

It's just a virtual desktop system, like VirtueDesktops was. I like it, and I've got it bound to the bottom-left corner of my screen and use it constantly now, but most users will never want or need it. Developers accustomed to Linux, where almost every window manager has 4 virtual desktops by default, they're the people who wanted this. Still, for me, it's very good, though I'd rather have just kept using VirtueDesktops.
IN, AWESOME: Terminal Tabs
The Terminal now lets you have multiple terms in a single window, with tabs at the top! Just like Konsole, except dragging tabs in and out actually works! Terminal is one of my primary applications, and this massively improves it.
OUT, SUCKS: Apple Human Interface Guidelines
They're writing new ones now. The old ones, that they've been violating for the last several years, are dead. I wish they'd updated the guidelines first, tested with users, and then and only then made apps which violated the old HIG and followed the new ones. As it is now, there is no definition of what's Mac-like and what isn't.
IN, SUCKS: Translucent Menu Bar
Ugly as shit. Really, this is hideous and bad with a great many desktop backgrounds, and we all made our displeasure clear to Apple at the feedback session, so hopefully they'll get a clue. I am appalled that this feature got in like this. [Edit:] Hooray for Many Tricks Non-Transparent Menu Bar Hack! Problem solved!
IN, SUCKS: Consistent Dark Gray Window Theme
Daring Fireball: An Anthropomorphized Brushed Metal Interface Theme Shows Up for the WWDC Preview Build of Mac OS X Leopard. I'm happy and sad. Brushed Metal was ugly, but at least it looked physical and solid and real. Dark Gray is dull. Boring. Smooth, but facile and meaningless. Dark Gray is an insurance adjuster or IRS agent. Not a friendly, likable figure, more someone you'd want to mug in a dark alley and take his watch, because you knew nobody would miss him.

Worse, it's really dark. It's hard to read black text on a dark gray background, let alone the dark gray text some apps used. Many icons that looked great with Brushed Metal look terrible on Dark Gray, and the much lighter background window style steals your eyeballs away from the primary app.

Looking at the much nicer lined-background panel of BBEdit, I think repeating tiles are the answer. We should have the ability to change the primary app tiling with a little bitmap, like the desktop background on the original Mac. Trivial to implement, cheap to render, totally customizable. If someone wants dark gray, they can draw dark gray. If someone wants pink flowers all over their backgrounds, it's their Mac, let 'em. On the bright side, there's always Shapeshifter. Sadly, I can't use it on Leopard yet.

On the same theme, Aqua looks just garish and plastic now. I never liked the stripes in the scroll bars, but when that super-bright blue is the only stuff on the desktop in color, it's a nightmare. I had to switch to Graphite appearance to get some relief, and now my desktop is almost completely colorless. It's time for Aqua to die, Apple.
White text on black background translucent window, for use as Heads-Up Displays or pref panels for full-screen apps (more precisely, apps which may go fullscreen, but may not always be that way), are now legit. Apple repeatedly uses the phrase "Transparent Panel", but it's a HUD. It's the CoverSutra look. That is sweet. For the apps that need this, where a full window or panel is inappropriately bright, where you need a floating control that isn't a replacement for your front app, BOOM, pop up a HUD. Use some common sense with these, and they'll really make certain apps better.
IN, SUCKS: New Dock
The new dock wastes precious screen real estate on a reflective, tilted glass pane, with a half-obscured blue LED instead of the old arrow for running app. First, blue LEDs are bad for you. Second, I can't see the damn thing against blue or white icons, which is most of them. The reflections are distracting and ugly, and it reflects nearby windows, too. I'm appalled again at Apple's decisions. Maybe Steve Jobs was too busy taking over Disney to spend 5 minutes reviewing this shit.

I don't know which makes me more nauseous: this dock and the menu bar, or that horrible Disney film about a filthy fucking rat in a kitchen, which is a criminal health code violation and someone deserves to be in prison for it. Rats are not cute, rats are not clean, and neither are the new menu bar and dock.

IN, AWESOME: New Finder
The Finder is your primary interface to your files (unless you're a hardcore old Terminal user, like me). So now it has spotlight integrated sanely, some common searches are in the Finder sidebar, and for pawing through long sets of media files, you can switch to Cover Flow and use Quick Look to examine their contents, without even launching the app. For finding and opening the file you want quickly, Leopard blows away everything else.
Finally, I have one of my favorite features from OS/2 back: Dock drawers. Just drop a Finder folder into the dock (to the right of the spacer, dangerously close to the Trash), click on it, and instantly, I mean RIGHT FUCKING NOW, a row or grid of icons pops out, that you can pick from. They're not quite real folders, but you can single-click instead of double-clicking on them, or drag them somewhere else. Awesome for managing your Downloads folder, which is the one they set in the Dock initially, but also good for any folder you want to spring open.
OUT, SUCKS: Sherlock
I can't even run an old Tiger copy of Sherlock anymore. Sherlock Holmes is dead, alas. Fuck you, Moriarty.
IN, MEH: Dashboard
Web Clip feature in Safari, which lets you make a Dashboard widget out of part of any page, is okay. Nothing to get excited about. The new "Movies" widget is just the movie times feature ripped out of poor old Sherlock's not-yet-cold corpse, with a worse interface.
IN, MEH: Time Machine
We all know people don't do backups. Maybe Time Machine's sexy interface will lead them into self-preservation instead of self-destruction. I'm betting not, because most people, even on the Mac where IQs are at least 10 points higher than on Windoze (and are a good 50% more attractive than Linux users), are still really fucking stupid self-destructive chimpanzees. Chimpanzees don't do backups unless you feed them bananas, and there's no banana in Time Machine.

Part 3, with what little technical material I can cover without violating NDA, will come in a day or two. I need to study a ton of notes for that.

← Previous: WWDC 2007, Part 1 (Mac) Next: Safari for Windows (Mac) →
WWDC 2007, Part 1
Sat, 2007Jun16 22:15:34 PDT
in Mac by kamikaze

Whew. I spent the entire week at WWDC, hopefully the first of many. I got back in last night, and I'm almost recovered after a day of sleeping in and goofing off. Five days of hard technical tracks is a lot to take in. Home seems really strange and alien... My whole week is gone, so many emails to catch up on. Not to mention two slogs through the airports, which is never fun, thanks largely to the TSA Nazi traitors.

There were way too many people at WWDC this year. Insanely too many. It's going to need the full Moscone center next year, I think, and have very aggressive splitting up of tracks, and... This thing can't scale any more like this. Mostly people were pretty well-behaved. Some individuals did not comprehend the notion of getting out of the way of a moving stream of people, they just stood there and had their conversations. Everyone else was too nice to knock them down, kick them in the kidneys, and trample them, which is quite a shame. "The stone in the road gets kicked aside."

WWDC was a total whitebread sausage-fest. There were less than 1% women, less than 1% black, maybe 5-10% asian and Indian. I've never seen such an overwhelmingly male-dominated tech conference. Where were you, Mac programmers who happen to be women? Is the Mac only programmed by men, or is there some specific thing driving you away from WWDC? No black men is even weirder. There is an economic divide in this country, and a Mac is a luxury computer, but it's not that big a difference, and there's usually many times more black guys than this at tech conferences. I get creeped out around this many Aryan males; I keep expecting them to invade Poland.

The food the first day was great, as was the beer that night (at least, while I was still able to get ale; that went quick). That's the day His Steveness is there, and the reporters, and, you know, it sets expectations. Tuesday to Friday, we got variously-tolerable box lunches with sandwiches or salads and a wee tiny bit of meat. Tons of Odwalla fruit juices, and canned ice tea, and coffee, including a free espresso bar (FREE ESPRESSO, YOU HEAR ME! TWITCH! FREE!), and little snacks throughout the day. Big piles of bananas for the codemonkeys, yay!

The WWDC Bash was not at Apple HQ, but at Yerba Buena Gardens near Moscone. The food was pretty good, a stand each for nachos (meh), hand-rolled sushi (FREE SUSHI! AND GOOD!), Chinese dim sum (FREE DIM SUM! AND GOOD!), and Italian pasta (good, but no comparison). The band (Ozomatli, which is the mass-murdering cannibal Aztecs' word for "Can't play a coherent sound") was unbelievably lame; I expected them to be the shitty opening band for someone good, but it was just them, and then they stopped playing and left. PAX 2007 will have MC Frontalot, Jonathan Coulton, The Oneups, Freezepop (!!!), NESkimos, Optimus Rhyme, and the Minibosses. That's awesome. Any one of those, or The Aquabats, or The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, or... Man, there's a million fun, rockin'-out geek bands. Get one of them. Or, shit, this is Apple. Doesn't Bono owe Jobs a favor or two? Get U2 on the stage. Or even Paul McCartney, much though I don't like the Beatles, would rock out more than this. Haul Sting on stage and make him play the lute for 5000 Mac programmers.

The main star at a bash, of course, is beer. Unfortunately, they didn't have beer. They only had lager. Look, I know that most Californians are uncultured swine and haven't learned that only ale is "beer", and most lager is just sweetened horse urine (THIS IS TRUE! DO NOT DOUBT ME!), but you'd think with a world-wide audience, the caterers would know that we want and demand ale. At a bare minimum, a hefeweizen, an IPA, and a stout or porter. Only frat boys and wife-beaters drink that shit from Milwaukee. They did have some Heineken, which at least was drinkable, but not great.

My novice Cocoa programming skills were just at the right level to be pushed hard by the sessions, and yet not be completely ignorant. I was really pleased by the quality of most of the presenters.

The Steve Jobs keynote was kind of disappointing. Yes, this is just not the most impressive year, but still. When it's almost the only information you're going to get about upcoming events, it's really important; when it's just one of many sessions, and only a high-level overview of new user space stuff, not developer tools, it's almost irrelevant. Sorry, Your Jobsness, but Chris Espinosa and Matt Formica (ant or tile?) were a lot more useful to me.

By Tuesday, my butt really hurt from sitting in terrible hard chairs; I'm used to something a lot softer. I went out to Brookstone and bought a nice butt-pad, and carried that around the rest of the week, and it made an enormous difference. I will never go to another long conference without my butt-pad. Apple needs to rethink the human interface of this site.

Part 2, with actual news instead of me complaining about my butt and the inferior free lager I had to drink, will appear as soon as I can finish editing it.

← Previous: Review: Dario Argento's Opera (Media) Next: WWDC 2007, Part 2 (Mac) →
Disable Gimp splash screen
Sun, 2007Mar04 10:18:57 PST
in Mac by kamikaze

The GIMP is a very nice image editor, but it has a few annoyances on Mac OS X. Obviously, it needs X11 (hidden on the developer CD that comes with your Mac). X11 eats the first click to focus a window, so choosing tools requires two clicks, which is pretty annoying. But worst of all, the splash screen comes up front and center, and can't be moved or put behind anything until it's done... And it's really slow.

Easily fixed: Edit /Applications/, and change the last line to
exec "$CWD/gimp-2.2" -s "$@"

Yay! Gimp quits bugging me! Someone with spare time on their hands feel like adding a "Disable splash screen" checkbox to the preferences panel?

← Previous: Closures in Groovy and Java (Software) Next: The God Delusion (Atheism) →
Music to Love Your Mac To
Mon, 2007Jan29 19:22:43 PST
in Mac by kamikaze

Music time!

Watch a cute girl singing "Mac Beautiful" to the Mac Pro, listen to a synthpop song I Love iPhone, and watch the "I Love My Mac" music video.

Now... where's the love songs to Windows? Is it even possible to sing one, without the tears of misery and betrayal choking your voice, or is it more like Luka singing "just don't ask me how I am"? Oh, right, there's always Dance, Monkeyboy and other antics by Uncle Fester/Dick Cheney/The Penguin/Steve Ballmer.

Me, I think Happy Slip's a lot sexier.

← Previous: Seattle Slogans (Society) Next: ed is the standard editor! (Software) →
Mac to Linux? Are you mad?
Thu, 2006Jul27 11:15:09 PDT
in Mac by kamikaze

Bryan O'Bryan (who desperately needs a last name) is quitting the Mac for Linux. I'm going to go over his points, because I'm not just not switching back, ever, but consider it the height of folly.

"1) The Mac Community": Bryan complains that Mac users complain when software doesn't meet their insanely great expectations. Well, yeah, of course! That's what I love. Everything on the Mac has been tweaked and adjusted and polished until it just works perfectly. The Mac is a Rolls-Royce. The Mac is Airwolf. Mac users are spoiled rotten by software that actually works. That does what you want, and then some.

The Linux experience of software is that nothing works, you always have to recompile the code, maybe fiddle with some compiler settings, download 10-20 new versions of the dependent libraries for every new piece of software (and if they conflict with some other program, you're usually screwed), then go hack on 500 different config files, recompile the kernel, email some college student in Croatia who wrote the device driver you desperately need to get your new $500 gadget to work, and finally give up because it will never actually work. Linux software is ugly. GTK may be the ugliest GUI toolkit every invented, rivalled only by Motif and Qt, which are the other two dominant toolkits on Linux. No two Linux programs look or act anything like each other. There's no goddamn documentation; if you complain, you're told to read the source. Linux software typically has half the functionality of a Mac app, but twice as many configuration options, most of which make it stop working. Linux software can't be scripted; there's no real equivalent to AppleScript. It's pathetic!

That's not to say that anything on Windows is any better; Windows is like a cheap Chinese knock-off of a Fisher-Price My First OS, and 99.9% of the software available on Windows is, in my professional opinion, absolute garbage. Compared to Windows, Linux is tolerable, especially for geeks. But compared to a Mac, Linux is stone-age technology.

So, naturally when you release software that just barely works on Linux or Windoze, they're overjoyed, just like an abused child is overjoyed if daddy is too drunk to beat them one night; it's not love, it's not acceptable, but it's better than what they're used to. When you release software that isn't up to Apple's standards of beauty, functionality, and elegance, you get flamed, because you are taking a shit on the hood of a Lamborghini. Stop sucking, and Mac users won't flame you. For what it's worth, my software, often unpolished, has got a lot of praise from Mac users, particularly Perilar, which is the first thing I've really bundled for the Mac.

"2) Apple and their practices". Yes, this is pretty rotten when it happens to you. But it's only happened twice, in both cases years after the original release. On the bright side, Apple's cloning and integration adds enormous value to the platform, and they tend to implement these features differently and better than the originals. Konfabulator didn't add a separate screen; the Dashboard takes some getting used to, but it's far more convenient. Watson was pretty bad at searching most file types, and of course wasn't integrated into running applications, like Spotlight is.

"3) Apple’s software quality". Frankly, I think Bryan's just insane or delusional here. I almost never see a Mac app crash; I can get Safari to crash sometimes. Haven't used Garageband much, but iWeb works very nicely. iPhoto does not work the way I need it to, but it doesn't crash. I'm still deciding if I should use .Mac permanently; I don't desperately need it, but it works very well. And this is during the transition from PowerPC to Intel; normally, the Mac is even more stable and perfect. So, he's just plain crazy.

"Apple’s bundled web browser, Safari, renders many pages I visit incorrectly (often in weird ways) and, when it doesn’t, it often crashes (or at least hangs for a minute or more at a time rendering my system almost unusable)." This is just comical. Safari uses the same KHTML rendering engine as one of the standard Linux browsers, Konqueror. Yes, KHTML, MSIE, Firefox, and Opera all render pages slightly differently. But you can use Firefox, Opera, or several other browsers on Mac, if you don't like Safari. No big deal.

As for the community feel, Bryan's just insane. I've never seen so many enthusiastic, happy users as on the Mac. I've only been to one Mac Users Group meeting so far, but it was awesome, and I plan to go whenever I have free time.

For me, the killer problem is one of ideology, though. On the Mac, writing commercial software is a good and noble cause, and you can actually make money at it. Open source has its place, but commercially-developed software is almost always higher quality. I release all of my games as freeware currently, but only because there's no viable distribution system for them. Soon, that looks like it will change, and I'll be changing my release-quality software to commerical, probably through Greg Costikyan's Manifesto Games label..

On Linux, you're surrounded by religious fanatics who label that "evil", and rip off your software because they're communists who don't believe in private ownership of property. I just got a series of strident, ranting emails from an asshole in Germany who said, in summary, "oh, I like your software, but I will only use it if it's open source", culminating in a long bullet-pointed rant comparing me to Microsoft. I've had similar encounters many times in the last 10 years I've been using Linux. Give something away free or shareware or sell it at a low price, but decline to give away the source code to the software you wrote, own, and want to continue to own, and people attack you. This is the typical charming motherfucker you deal with on Linux.

Not every Linux user is a problem; 50% of them are sane, pleasant geeks who just can't afford a Mac yet. A few normal people try to use Linux, but this is not really a viable plan, and while it looked for a while like it might get better, in the last few years Linux has moved firmly back into the hardcore geek camp. But the other 50%, the religious fanatics, are deeply offensive, and I have never seen any Linux user willingly part with money for software, which means the crappy software situation there will never change.

Since almost all of the software on Linux also runs on a Mac, there's no reason to do this foolish thing. Since the Mac is far more powerful than Linux, both for geeks and non-geeks, it's crippling.

Worst of all, trying to convince normal people to switch to Linux is a crime. They try Linux, find that it's unusable and ugly, and assume that all non-Windows OS's must be just as bad, so they go back to Windows.

I still use Linux for servers. It's a tolerably good server OS, though Solaris is better, and Mac OS X Server is at least competitive. But for a desktop OS, there is only one reasonable choice: Mac OS X.

Airwolf is by Ernie Cline. All of his work is just as funny.

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iPhoto Annoys Me
Sun, 2006Jun04 11:24:11 PDT
in Mac by kamikaze

This morning's goal was to rename some photos and organize them into gallery directories. Half an hour's work, I figured. Instead it took 3 very long and annoying hours.

  1. iPhoto doesn't like you renaming files from the Finder; it can't find the photo, even though other Mac apps are perfectly capable of watching for filesystem changes and updating themselves. How amazingly primitive.
  2. You can't see the image's title, stars, or keywords until you turn them on in the View menu... Why would these NOT be on by default? You don't use Finder without filenames, why would you want to see images without names?
  3. But even that doesn't help, you can't just double-click on the filename and change it like you can in almost every other Mac app, and even like the album names on the sidebar. Right-click and Info doesn't give you an editable field... At this point, I am forced by cruel necessity to resort to my most hated enemy for the answer: the help system.
  4. Buried in one subject is the baffling answer. You have to click on the little (i) icon in the bottom toolbar, a popup box comes up, and then you can edit the title (which is initially the same as the filename, but does not change the filename!). So it's mouse-to-image, click, mouse-to-info-box, double-click on title, edit, enter. OVER AND OVER AGAIN. This goes beyond sucking. This is total garbage. This is nearly as bad as a Windoze app!
  5. Assigning keywords to each image is pretty easy. Make some smart albums that select on those keywords, and hey, I've got something looking nice now.
  6. Overconfident, I now attempted to create galleries. Dragging albums does nothing, which is a major UI design flaw. Hmn. File|Export? It hangs with the message: "Unable to create /Users/mdh/Desktop/gallery/". Hit cancel. Try exporting one album at a time, and it reports that a file didn't export... But I can drag that file by hand and it works. So I go drag each of the files in that album out to a folder, and eventually find one that can't be dragged; I had earlier moved it to the trash, but the thumbnail hadn't been deleted. But iPhoto would not tell me that information. Not specifically which photo failed. It just gave up and hung. What a wretched tool!
  7. Unfortunately, even when it works, File|Export doesn't make multiple album directories for you. So I have to go down the line of each album, and export it to a new folder with that name.
  8. Publishing to iWeb is no better. One album at a time, bub.

At the end of this process, I got my photos in a useful format. The core features of iPhoto seem to work okay. But there's enormous user interface problems. The lack of error reporting, and reporting the WRONG IMAGE when it finally did specify a file, could have been catastrophic; if I hadn't found it the dead image in that gallery, I might well have just grabbed all my files back out from the filesystem, and never used iPhoto again.

For future updates, I'll have to learn how to use AppleScript to export each smart gallery out to the filesystem. That'll probably take several hours to get right. <sigh>.

Apple software rarely lets me down like this. It may "scroll like butter", but iPhoto clearly hasn't been usability tested.

What's Your Anti-Virus?
Fri, 2006May26 00:56:30 PDT
in Mac by kamikaze

In more humiliating news for users of that automated virus loader, their anti-virus software can itself spread viruses.

Pardon me a moment while I laugh uncontrollably at others' misfortune. This won't take but a few minutes. Hours, at most. Okay, sure, I'll be snickering about that for weeks to come...

And then the idea hit me:

[iMac: my anti-virus]

← Previous: iDroid (Toys) Next: Web 2.0 (tm) is over, Tim O'Reilly commits corporate seppuku. (Software) →
The Daily Show on iTunes
Wed, 2006Mar15 08:46:09 PST
in Mac by kamikaze

It looks like Apple finally caught on to people like me bitching about iTunes video prices; The Daily Show is now available on a "multi-pass" (Fifth Element: "MOOOOOLTI-pass. MOOOLTIPASS!" "Yes, she knows it's a multipass."), 16 episodes for $10.

Good job, Apple. The Daily Show is the only cable program I care about--the only TV news worth watching anymore--and finding it on BitTorrent and leeching it every day was a pain in the ass. Cable would cost $35/month, minimum, I'd have to either watch it at the right time each day or find blank tapes for the obsolete "VCR" device, and ultimately I don't want cable in my house, poisoning my mind; I haven't watched live TV in months, and may never do so again. $20/month for a constant dose of The Daily Show on the iPod, automatically updated, is about the best deal I'm going to find...

← Previous: Walter Cronkite (Society) Next: Shiny LEGO Robots (Toys) →
Poetic Justice
Mon, 2006Jan23 21:50:18 PST
in Mac by kamikaze

Hahahaha! There is a little justice in the world, after all: Mac-abusing Windoze fanboys kill their iMac Duo Cores by putting Windoze on them.

If you're stupid or desperate enough to want to run Windoze apps on your Mac and you're too poor to buy some piece-of-crap beige box and a KVM switch, there's Virtual PC, and when the universal binary version of that comes out, it'll be nearly native speed.

It's simply retarded to try to do this, even aside from being disrespectful and disgusting, like taking a shit on the table at a high-class restaurant. Didn't their parents teach them any manners? Filthy Windoze users have to eat out in the alley with all the other crazy people. They shouldn't be allowed to use nice hardware, because they won't treat it well.

I'm just disappointed that all it does is destroy the firmware. Anyone trying to put Windoze or Linux on shiny Mac hardware deserves to have their computer erupt in a fiery explosion and burn their house down, hopefully killing them in the process.

Think of it as evolution in action.

iTunes Video Store
Mon, 2006Jan23 07:33:54 PST
in Mac by kamikaze

The pricing on iTunes for TV shows is preposterous. $1.99 per 44-minute episode (if you're lucky! Many are 22-minute!)? A DVD box set with good resolution and commentary typically costs $30 for 22 eps, and has no DRM. Why would anyone ever buy a TV show from iTunes? At $0.99, they'd be reasonably-priced; I'd pay $22 for a season of Law & Order that I didn't have to manually rip for play on the pod, but at $44, I'm just going to rent the DVD sets instead.

Music videos are even more insane. $1.99 for 4 minutes of music video. Now, maybe I'm spoiled, since I grew up in a mythical era called "The '80s", when MTV played a dozen music videos almost every hour of the day, every day, for FREE. No, really! They'd have a few "specials" every year (so they were special!), and the only game show was Remote Control (which was to modern game shows as James Brown was to Milli Vanilli). Then back to music videos. Then Headbanger's Ball at night. Yes, I know this seems like an impossible fantasy world to kids these days who've never known an MTV that played music. I guess it doesn't really matter for them, because all modern pop music is crap; Gwen Stefani isn't worthy to lick the fanboy bukkake off Cyndi Lauper's feet. I've noticed that BET does play some hip-hop videos, so music video isn't completely dead.

I'd be willing to go $1.99 for an hour of music videos. Hell, gimme a Best Of MTV Back When They Didn't Suck (all videos, nothing else), and I'll pony up the $1.99 an episode without whining. But an hour of BOMTVBWTDS would cost $24 on iTunes. A "season" of 22 eps would cost $528. Fuck. That. Noise.

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