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Tag Archives: Apple

Daring Fireball: Only Apple

Great article. There’s a lot of words, but it’s very well written and moves along at a good clip.

The article contrasts of the Apple today vs. where it was years ago, largely with the help of Tim Cook’s strengths as CEO.

Ars: OS X power-saving magic

How OS X “Mavericks” works its power-saving magic | Ars Technica. Neat article about some interesting technology. There are three main points, all of which make a lot of sense. It almost makes me wonder why operating systems haven’t been doing this from the start, or if any others actually use similar techniques today.

Compressed memory seems to mostly about a point where our CPUs are strong enough to offset and warrant the power savings to other pieces of hardware. App Nap would not work quite as well for a server, though for single use, GUI-driven applications it sounds like a good implementation of renice’ing everything. Timer Coalescing makes me think of how browsers implement JavaScript timings to make them more efficient, so to bring this to a system level is great — it’s a micro-cron, in a sense.

iOS vs. Android: data leakage

iOS apps are more grabby with your personal data than Android apps — Ars. Interesting, quick report. It’s not the direction I was expecting, though it’s also worth noting that it’s pretty bad on both sides. That your phone is a vector for sending your information in the clear over the network to various sources is troubling to say the least. SSL is just more expensive, and when it’s hidden in network traffic that occurs behind the scenes there’s a lot more incentive to edge towards the cheaper solution.

FWIW, #WWDC == Why Would Dinosaurs Cry? #information

iBleh

I was a fan of Apple, for a time.  When OS X came out and matured a bit, I really felt that they were on the right path.  Their hardware is reasonable, too, if not a overpriced and the only opportunity to buy into this said OS.  Through the iPod and the iPhone, Apple has had such a huge share and power over the realm of technology.   Their heavy emphasis on design and a slick and simple user experience are certainly unparalleled by any other player, and because of this their brand has risen to grand heights.

Today, Apple announced their new product, dubbed the “iPad.”  It’s the first Apple product release in the past few years that made me laugh out loud.  I’m still occasionally pinching myself in order to verify that everything went down the way that it actually did.  The iPad, while certainly rather slick in a number of ways, is largely a big iPod.  It isn’t going to be a great machine for work; it is too bulky to be reasonably portable; and the choice of a standard LCD-based backlit display obliterates its use as a legitimate reading device.  I’m sure there will be plenty of people who will buy an iPad or two despite these shortcomings; though I’d argue its a rather big waste of money that could instead be spent on a whole variety of better options.

I don’t know that now is the time for Apple’s debut into the space developed by the emperor’s new clothes; though I do feel that there are some visible cracks in the armor built up around its own empire.

Reading

Reading books seems to be only one small part of the larger uses for the iPad.  Where this is most evident is by Apple’s choice in display technology, opting for an LCD display in lieu of Pixel Qi or other emerging e-ink like technologies.  I’m looking at an LCD of one sort or another for a massive part of my daily life: at work, and then at home on my computer or on my TV.

I also have a Sony Reader Touch (model PRS-600) which I got a few months ago.  The difference in reading on an e-ink or a similar display which is not backlit is rather astounding.  Eye strain drips away, and the low power draw makes for much more infrequent charge cycles.  No matter how much I read, I can get about two weeks before I need to charge the Reader.

As Steve Jobs has said in the past that no one reads anymore, it seems clear enough that this viewpoint took place in part of the design of the iPad.  “iBooks” may be one feature of the device, though it is certainly not a central component.  Pixel Qi, on the other hand, seems to be perfectly suited for the iPad form factor and use case; and that’s just one technology.  Mirasol and Liquavista could also occupy this same space, with slightly different approaches to about the same problem.

On the other hand, Apple does seem to have gotten behind the EPUB standard for electronic books.  What they did not reveal, of course, is the type of DRM that will go along with their EPUB titles sold by their store.  Already there are a few different systems out there, namely by Adobe, now augmented by Barnes and Noble with their Nook.  Fundamentally, the EPUB bandwagon is what I’d hope to be the standard for the future; though with Amazon having their own format, there is still heavy fragmentation in this space.

Back in the Linux saddle

After a long stint of having my laptop be my primary machine, I finally made the decision to not lug my MacBook Pro back and forth to work each day, and to get my desktop PC at my office running the latest version of Ubuntu, version 9.10.

Graphics compatibility setbacks: cured

The PC runs an ATI X300 PCI Express graphics card, which, up until some recent patches, had some really ugly bugs with X11: running the graphical interface at all would completely crash the machine, forcing a hard reboot.  It was not until a couple months ago that this bug was fixed, so in certain ways I wasn’t heading away from my OS X setup with any speed; and I only had heard of the fix a week or two ago.

Overperforming on aging hardware

I’m running a Dell desktop machine, which was in the high mid-range about four years ago: a hyper-threading Pentium 4 with 1GB of memory.  No matter which way you cut it, the computer just isn’t that fast.  With Ubuntu 9.10, however, coming straight off a more capable OS X machine, I have yet to find it any more daunting or less responsive.

OpenOffice works on the memory and processor rather heavily, though admittedly it’s not that much behind where I’ve used it in OS X.  Opera, sadly, does not work quite as well as Firefox, perhaps due to some implementation issues on the platform.  I have found Opera runs best in Windows, about as well though slightly worse in OS X, and in Linux it just needs a bit more time.  Firefox, on the other hand, seems to handle itself better in Linux than OS X, especially in terms of memory management.

The GIMP, too, seems much more adept and at home in Linux, being in general a great deal more inter-operable with the GNOME desktop than the OS X environment.  This, of course, is to be expected, especially where the OS X version is an adaptation from the Linux version, not the other way around.  I really do love the GIMP interface, though, and find it rather perfect for the level of image editing and manipulating that I do.

I am, of course, missing certain applications in the Ubuntu environment that are readily available in other platforms.  For work, the big app is Adobe InDesign, which despite it’s massive Adobe-level system requirements and resource strains, acts very well for the poster and other print designs that I do at work.  I can, of course, run this on Windows XP in a VirtualBox session.  I have not tried this yet, though it certainly is not going to match up compared to running it natively on the MacBook Pro which has all around heavier specs.

My point here isn’t that Linux suddenly turns some turdy old machine into something that beats out any modern computer.  What I am saying, however, is that there’s a lot of work that’s gone into the Linux kernel and the systems in general.  With GIMP, Firefox, a decent terminal, and good memory and resource management, I can get a hell of a lot of good work done.  I even rather quickly fell back into using Mutt, which, while not as fancy as some of the alternatives, is still incredibly fast, full of keyboard shortcuts, and, eventually, a more efficient path towards managing email.

Linux certainly has a different philosophy underlying its use, though one that I had strong ties to a number of years ago; ties which I feel I’m now regaining and living through again fondly.  OS X may still look a bit more flashy, though I’d much rather have a strictly proper terminal any day.

Reliving Linux

I’ve been a user of OS X for about four years now, though prior to that I worked in Windows and then Linux. I started out with Windows 3.1, and fell onto the Linux wagon before Windows XP rolled around. It’s easy to forget, however, after using Apple’s operating system, that I had used anything else, especially when the command line (via Terminal.app) has always been so close at hand, and since I still use VIM for just about everything in terms of code. The platform has changed, though in some ways I haven’t.

Or, so I’ve felt, anyway. A few days ago I finally got to using VirtualBox to run a fresh install of Ubuntu v9.10. Even after being away from GNOME and its related systems for a few years, it all still seems familiar. In the process I’ve unlocked a good deal of nostalgia over my experience with the open source operating system.

No, I have not yet gone so far as to head back to FVWM as my primary window manager. I also still am keeping in mind certain advantages to device and software support for media (namely, Logic and Final Cut Pro).. but even so, I certainly do feel as though I’m missing something by not having X as my primary windowing system. I would much prefer to be able to configure most everything via modifying configuration files. I miss the joys of apt-get, and, above all, the very quick and efficient GTK and terminal applications that sip at the CPU and memory.

Hell, at the end of the day, it’s mostly my Mac-only external audio interface and my copy of Logic Studio 8 with all its luscious built-in plugins that is keeping me tied to OS X. I yearn for a future system with proper multi-channel audio-outputting HDMI which can use the sound software I want without the cruft or flash I don’t need.