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Know Thyself

 Sunday, December 4, 2005
Spotlight Enhancements coming in Mac OS X 10.4.4
God I hope so...
Improvements to Spotlight searches, AirPort, Bluetooth, and RAW camera support are a few enhancements Apple reportedly has planned for an early winter release of Mac OS X 10.4.4 Update, a routine maintenance update to the Mac OS X "Tiger" operating system.
9:47:03 PM    
 Saturday, December 3, 2005
Apple G4 and G5 processors optimized Firefox 1.5 builds.
For those of us looking for an even faster, optimized version of Firefox 1.5 for our Macs, here's what you looking for. Both processor flavors, G4 for the laptops, G5 for desktops Macs. A must have if you are running Firefox 1.5 on the Mac.
10:51:35 PM    
 Friday, December 2, 2005
Firefox Taking Notes from Apple's Switchers Campaign
firefox.jpgHelp spread the word, Firefox 1.5 has been released this week and it's a compelling upgrade feature wise (despite still looking like Ass on the Mac).

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see the success that Firefox is having on the web. This is one of those all too rare occasions where a novel idea is achieving quasi-mass acceptance with every day people much to the detriment of Microsoft. This site closely mirrors Apple's previous Switcher campaign and at the same time, offers some great talking points for the uninitiated.

To help celebrate the announcement, be sure to check out todays bit by Rocketboom which is absolutely hilarious. While watching this, make note of the people who appear (as a general statement) to be the most out of touch, clueless are the ones answering with Internet Explorer while everyone who generally seems to be the more clued in folks all answer FireFox. Of course, you can always edit a piece to paint any picture you want but on the whole, this was very funny.

While you are at it, check out this fantastic Firefox extension which really shows off the innovative side of the third party extension makers.

4:01:13 PM    
Top 10 System Administrator Truths
bofh.jpg This is a Top 10 list for all of the System Admins out there. The article goes into more depth on the topic but I find it somewhat humorous, especially a few of the items which are entirely 'BigCorp' centric (see #7).

Do you think that you'll ever, EVER walk into some progressive, interesting start up company, the folks doing the really interesting work that's happening on the web these days (Pick any give Web 2.0 companies at random) and see their server room decked out in pure Microsoft gear the way larger companies are? No. Instead you'll more likely going to see one or two extremely capable sysadmins running the entire shop supporting some extremely hefty technical demands of their users (who are mostly developers).

  • #1 – Users Lie
  • #2 – Email is the Lifeblood of Non-Techies
  • #3 – Printers Suck
  • #4 – Cleanliness is Godliness
  • #5 – Backups are Crucial
  • #6 – Switches and Hubs (Usually) Die One Port At A Time
  • #7 – No One Ever Got Fired For Buying Microsoft
  • #8 – Politeness > Brevity
  • # 9 – Know Your Needs
  • #10 – The Holy Grail of Tech Support
There was a time, years ago, when the thought of working at Microsoft was such a dream job -- or alternatively, supporting a large Windows based network just sounded like it couldn't get any better but after living with Windows since Windows 1.0, that pretty much sounds like a lifetime of hell to me. The thing that I never got was that a lot (but by no means all) SysAdmins are some pretty damn smart people who live and breath technology just like us developers -- yet by necessity, their focus is on living in Microsoft-land and making similar recommendations. It makes sense, job security and all but who wants to spend their professional life dealing with the lowest ladder on the technical food chain (as far as what's actually interesting and enjoyable to work with)? It's like being in the automotive business but specializing on the Ford pinto while all the cool kids are off test driving the Ferraris of the world. Go figure. While we're on the topic, be sure to check out one of my absolute, long time favorite SysAdmin related items, the Bastard Operator from Hell! A true English classic.
3:45:01 PM    
 Thursday, December 1, 2005
Apple spent $287 million on advertising in last year - how many Mac ads did you see?
images.jpgFor anyone who has followed Apple in the media for any significant amount of time can attest to the fact that before the iPod, seeing a commercial from Apple was about as rare as witnessing a Bill Gates Microsoft product demo that doesn't crash at least once.

Marketwatch published a piece stating that Apple spent $287 million on advertising over the last year yet we saw just about nothing specific to the Macintosh, OS X or any of Apple's other products that were not directly the iPod. (Of course, there are exceptions in certain market segments but as a whole, it's iPod, iPod, iPod)

Despite popular belief, Apple does consistently crank out some really good, original commercials. Unfortunately most of them end up as quicktime videos on a website somewhere and you might be surprised to know that Apple actually made commercials for OSX and many of their other produces -- too bad they never saw the light of day on national television. This has frustrated Mac fans for two decades now and there is no real hope for a change in sight but at least if you are interested in them, you always know where you can find them.

6:31:55 PM    
 Wednesday, November 30, 2005
A perspective Mac users don't want to hear
A few days ago my friend Dave Sobotta wrong a most interesting piece on his blog Apple Peels that really nailed a fact that few of out who live and breath Macs often forget. Outside of our tight knit community, as amazing as it is, the Mac is a virtual unknown to a huge number of people. Obviously the iPod has garnered more positive press for Apple than any other product, possibly ever and nearly every time I'm in the Apple store I see it filled with potential switchers. Dave says it far more eloquently than I ever could so take a look.
7:29:22 AM    
 Tuesday, November 29, 2005
 Monday, November 28, 2005
Ten Rules for Web Startups
Evan Williams posts a list of 10 Rules for Web Startups which includes some very practical advice for the modern day entrepreneur. It sure feels like 1998 again.
5:09:25 AM    
 Sunday, November 27, 2005
Shipley discusses Frameworks
images.jpeg Fresh off the stage from the Evening at the Adler event, Delicious Monster founder Wil Shipley
expands upon the topic of programming using Frameworks which was a topic of discussion during the Evening at the Adler event.

Opinionated as ever, Shipley continues to speak his mind which is often at a stark contrast to commonly used programming principals. Regardless of your point of view, I personally always learn more from the peolpe that I tend to disagree with more than the ones that I agree with. I fully admit that Shiply can go over my head at times but regardless, he has a free spirited writing style coupled with a hyperactive mind that makes it fun to follow along with regardless of your orientation.
9:58:11 PM    
 Saturday, November 26, 2005
Interesting Keynote from the recent Podcast Expo
picture-1.gifThis is a few weeks old but I've had it on my iPod Nano here lately and really enjoyed it. At the recent Podcast Expo that everyone who attended has really been raving about - anyway, Leo Laporte delivered a fantastic keynote address that I found to truly be inspiring so I wanted to post a link to it for your enjoyment. Be sure to check out one of Leo's other podcast shows, This Week In Tech which is one of the podcasts that I really look forward to each week.
12:11:38 PM    
 Thursday, November 24, 2005
Birth of the PowerBook: How Apple Took Over the Portable Market in 1991
pb100.gifAn interesting piece on one of Apple's most important and innovative pieces of technology ever.

From the article:

The PowerBook has consistently been one of the most respected and lusted after brands in the portable computing market.

This wasn't always the case. Apple's first attempt at repackaging the Macintosh as a portable failed (the 15 lb. Macintosh Portable never caught on).

In 1992, Apple scored a hit, and sales of the PowerBook line helped the company generate $7.1 billion in sales, its best year ever.

Like the Macintosh, the PowerBook succeeded despite Apple's management.

11:14:16 PM    
 Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Ask Leo -- To Open Mouth & Insert Foot
Poor Leo - on Tuesday he had the uncontrollable urge top play a game of open mouth / insert foot. From the moment I saw the headline, I knew what Leo was in for over the next few days & weeks as the MacMacs decended on his inbox with a vengeance. Now granted, Leo said some really stupid things in his article but at least he was honest enough to post up front that he personally doesn't even own a Macintosh, yet felt qualified to offer his commentary about the relative safely merits of the platform.

Unfortunately, when someone from the PC world writes something like this, there is a huge swarm of Mac users who proceed the rip them a new ass which doesn't help either side. Leo is actually a pretty good guy and I hope most Mac users will give him a second chance because he does know his stuff in areas that he's more familiar with and he's certainly no Rob Enderle. He's also a software developer and I've had several pleasent email exchanges with Leo since the article was published and he's done the honorable thing instead of the typical head in the sand approach that guys like Paul Thurrott and Rob Enderle have made a career our of. In fact, I think a Macintosh is somewhere in the near future for Leo and I look forward to hearing his thoughts after he has had a chance to use a Mac up close and personnel and see what all the fuss is really about.

7:49:05 PM    
 Tuesday, November 22, 2005
A little Cocoa Warms a Cold Winter Mac
Jeff's Tips2005 is bound to going down in the history of tech as one of those incredible years where all the right things just started showing up in our world. A digital equivalent of the old adage: "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear". It seems like just about every week, a new product or service is announced that fundamentally changes the way we do things both on and offline. I plan on doing a full recap sometime in December discussing some of these major changes but in the meantime, I came across an application today, that although I've heard it's name before, I didn't really grok exactly what it did.

Sometime in 2004, I started using Del.icio.us pretty much full time as my tool of choice for keeping track of my bookmarks. Since I tend to work on multiple machines made Del.icio.us an attractive proposition. These days, I use it countless times each day and have only grown more fond of it. Along those lines, I landed on the page of Cocoalicious which is essentially a Cocoa application that interfaces with Del.icio.us and allows you to search your bookmarks, index them in addition to posting and using tag completion. This may seem contradictory since Del.icio.us is a web 2.0 application to want to use a desktop app to interface with it, however since all of your data still resides serverside, I see as a way to use the service even faster from the comfort of a Cocoa application written by none other than the author of Podworks.

11:56:28 AM    
 Monday, November 21, 2005
You Got Your Peanut Butter in My Chocolate - Web 2.0 Style!
Jeff's Tips
So if you are under 30 years of age, this title means absolutely nothing to you, however in the 1980's it was a clever marketing campaign for recess peanut butter cups which took two individual components which were great by themselves and combined them together to create something totally new.

But in the remix culture of Web 2.0, if something is cool by itself, let's see how much cooler it might be if we mix two things together and create something all together new. Today's entry is to introduce you to just such an experiment.

If you get any of your tech news from the web, (and who does not these days) - then Slashdot needs no introduction. In addition, although still in beta, Del.icio.us has grown from obscurity to having a loyal following (yours truly included) in a very short amount of time, with the final site being the truly innovative Tech news site Digg.com which quickly became my default home page since it's debut earlier this year.

Now all three of these sites have their relative strengths but one of their commonalities is their reliance on the contributions of others to make their content really come to life. So what could make these sites better? That was the question asked by FrozenBear and the answer he came up with is Digg Dot Us - a literal combination of all three sites. Because of the underlying enabling technologies that these sites were developed with, it becomes possible for a third party like FB to come in and literally mix and match the sites into something truly unique. While the jury is still out on its usefulness, I at least wanted to make you aware of it's existence for your own experimenting.

10:24:18 PM    
When SysAdmin's Ruled the Earth - the Podcast
images.jpg From Cory Doctrow:

I've started my next podcasting series of fiction-in-progress. This time I'm reading "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth," a new story about an apocalypse that arrives on the heels of a catastrophic Internet worm. When the trump sounds, the world's systems administrators are all in their sealed data-centers, and so they survive the carnage.

Published as a series of podcasts which can be found here.

5:42:52 AM    
 Sunday, November 20, 2005
Saturday Night Live gets into the Apple Spirit
SNLSteveJobs.jpg From the iPodGarage:

In perhaps the surest sign yet of Steve Jobs' rockstar status, Saturday Night Live had a "special report" this evening from an actor pretending to be Steve Jobs during SNL's Weekend Update. During the course of the sketch, Jobs announced that the iPod nano and iPod video are "both obsolete."

In their place he introduced the new iPod Micro, immediately discontinued it, and then introduced the iPod Pequeno, which was the size of a thumbnail and held one million songs. Jobs then immediately discontinued the Pequeno and introduced the iPod Invisa, which holds eight million songs, is invisible, and holds "every photograph ever taken." An iPod Garage exclusive hands-on review of the iPod Invisa is forthcoming. No word yet on Invisa-compatible peripherals.

UPDATE: a video clip of the Steve Jobs sketch can be viewed here. Additionally, one person who placed an online order for the iPod Invisa has received an email from Apple stating that it too has already been discontinued.

10:15:47 PM    
An Integrated Development Environment for Ruby on Rails
Komodo_screenshot_small2.gifAs I journey deeper and deeper into the world of Ruby on Rails and discover just had damn cool it all is, not to mention that Ruby truly does live up to it's name as far as making programming fun again -- there has been one major thing missing, or at least so far unsettled, an integrated development environment for doing the actual coding in.

I purchased a copy of TextMate some time ago and absolutely love it - lots to learn in that app as well and it seems to be quite popular with the RoR crowd but as I look at my desktop while doing RoR related coding and I've got a slew of applications open at any one time, the browser, TextMate, a few terminal windows, NaviCat (which absolutely kicks database ass) but I just can't help but think that there might be an easier environment to work in.

I heard rumblings about ActiveState's new IDE for Ruby (amoung other languages) a few weeks ago called Komodo which looks promising but it's insanely expensive at $295 and I say that out of complete (ok I admit it) ignorance as I know very little at this point of it's capabilities. From what I can see, it looks highly polished and quite a bit better than some of the others that I've tried so far. By no means am I opposed to paying for quality tools, hell, it's where I earn my living so good tools make my life easier. It's just a mental shift paying for a significant amount for a development tool for a freely available open source programming language like Ruby on Rails. That aside, I definitely plan on checking it out and will report back what I discover.

9:34:32 PM    
 Saturday, November 19, 2005
To Apple designer Jonathan Ive, design and ease of use are as important as function
jive.jpg An all too rare interview with the man behind the design side of Apple computer, Jonathan Ive. For more than a decide, like many of you, I've enjoyed, admire and greatly respected the products that came out of the mind of this man. He has inspired me in so many ways that it's cool to start to see him get some of the hard earned recognition for his accomplishments.

From the article:

Ive is no ordinary designer, and Apple is no ordinary company. The Essex expat is responsible for some of the most recognisable gadgets of the past decade.

In 1998, as head of design at Apple in San Francisco, he revolutionised computer design, and helped reverse the company's failing fortunes, with the original iMac - a computer placed inside a coloured translucent television.

It was followed by increasingly clever updates - an iMac that looked like an angle poise lamp and one that looked like a flat LCD television screen.

Then came the iPod. At the turn of the millennium Ive and his team of designers realized they could fit a computer hard drive into a box the size of a deck of playing cards and use it to store thousands of songs. For the first time it was possible to carry your music collection in your pocket.

Its success was not just due to clever electronics. Even critics said it looked fantastic, and was ridiculously easy to use. Much copied, but never bettered, there are 30 million iPods out there today.

10:45:54 PM    
 Friday, November 18, 2005
Killer New App from Unsanity
ctm.jpg Unsanity is a fantastic indie Mac developer made up of a group of really smart and talented programmers who consistently crank out innovative applications that serve a specific niche, often times filling a need that you didn't even know you had until you discover their solution and their newest addition Chat Transcript Manager is no exception.

From the press release:

Chat Transcript Manager will index all of your iChat and Adium X chat transcripts and allow you to find what you need in a snap.
  1. iChat and Adium X Support
  2. Fast Transcripts Import
  3. Find Links In Chats
  4. Full Address Book Support
  5. Fast Search Results Navigation
  6. Unite Your Chats
  7. Customizable Chat Display
  8. Transcript Picture Management

Full details on this application can be found here. In addition to consistently great applications, Chat Transcript Manager maintains Unsanity's history of more than fair product pricing coming in at $10. If you've never heard of Unsanity before, I recommend checking out this app as well as all of their other applications. The icon alone for CTM is a thing a beauty and simplicity and at such a great low price, if you use Instant Messaging at any level, CTM is a must have application in my book.

5:44:21 AM    
 Thursday, November 17, 2005
Apple's iMac G5 wins CNET's Editor's Choice!

In what seems like a more and more frequent event, a largely PC centric publication or website has awarded another of Apple's products with either Editor's Choice or Product of the Year. This time around it's CNet awarding Apple's 20" 2.1Ghz iMac with their Editor's Choice From the article:

The good: Built-in iSight camera for videoconferencing and photos; remote control and Front Row software let you enjoy media from across the room; faster and cheaper than past models.

The bad: TV missing from Front Row media application; can't adjust the height of the screen; expandability limited to adding RAM; only 90 days of phone support.

The bottom line: The Apple iMac G5 gets trimmer and cheaper as it ups its performance and adds a handful of multimedia features, resulting in an all-around first-rate home PC.

For the right audience, the iMac is an amazing machine and always has been. Ever since it was first introduced and then went on to be known as the machine that would ultimately turn around Apple computer and put it back on the right track towards once again being a profitable company. The 20" iMac in particular, especially with Front Row and Photo Booth, continue it's legacy as one of Apple's most innovative computers.

It's all around great to continue to see Apple's products getting such good press based on their merits from the very same publications that loudly rang the Apple Death Knell over the last decade. How quickly times change. I started Apple back in the glory days of the Apple II and watched the world change with the introduction of the first Macintosh in 1984 and was a loyal user until the mid 1990's when the realities of the job required that I spend the majority of my time on Windows PCs (that and the fact that Macs of that era were in a real low point) but when talk of the earliest betas of Mac OSX hit the developers circles, my interest was definitely piqued and before long I was the proud owner of a shiny new Titanium Powerbook which was one hell of a warm welcome back into the Macintosh experience.

Despite it's early stage, OS X showed the potential of being the best operating system ever created and I've never looked back. Compared to 2001, being a Mac user today is an entirely different experience. We always knew we had the absolute best hardware and software and even this new iPod thing was just too cool but outside of the core Mac community, no one else really understood it. It was like being privileged to this amazing secret that no one else was in on but today, more and more people are waking up to Apple and it's products, thanks in no small part to the incredible success of the iPod.

Their retail operations are growing at an amazing rate and compared to how you used to have to buy a Macintosh, these new stores offer a truly compelling way to learn about the Mac. Being someone who lives and breathes this stuff, a trip to the Apple store is a good reminder of how regular people are just getting their first taste of Apple and it's products. I was reminded of that the other day when I went to my local Apple store and overheard a guy in his 20s asking the employee for some advice about which Microsoft iPod would be best to surf the IntraWeb. Without missing a beat, the associate calmly replied: "The black one" (I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried folks!) For those of you who have made the switch, all I can say is enjoy the ride - we truly do live in very interesting times.

8:24:41 PM    
Hypocrites in High Places - Cardinal Warns Parents About Giving Wireless Devices and iPods as Christmas Gifts
Religion and Politics are always hot topics for bloggers but honestly most of the talk in those areas just doesn't interest me, however this little beauty caught my eye as yet one more high place hypocrite who felt the need to open his mouth just to show us all how much he just does know. There may well be some valid reasons not to buy your kid an iPod for Christmas but doing so to avoid unsolicited porn on them is a bit of a stretch. I can't recall the last time I was was walking to work and somehow Jenna jameson's latest movie just suddenly appeared on my iPod! In fact, if you did want to get it there in the first place, it takes a significant effort to accomplish.

Washington, Nov. 15 - A leading Catholic cardinal is warning Catholic parents to be careful when buying iPods and other wireless devices as Christmas gifts because they could be used by minors to access pornography.

Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore, who co-chairs the Religious Alliance Against Pornography, said iPods, PDAs and video cell phones can easily send and receive pornography, much of it unsolicited.

In addition to the obvious technical inaccuracies in their article, I still find it humorous that the Catholic church is telling me when what devices to buy based on their belief systems which as the last few years have shown, have been horribly tainted by the actions of some of their members. Watching a porn flick seems a minor offense besides the stuff they have been getting away with lately, just ask your local choir boy.

12:55:25 PM    
 Monday, November 14, 2005
Evening at the Adler Video Download Now Available
video_download.jpgThe very highly anticipated video from the recent Evening at the Adler / Mac Developers shindig went live as of a few minutes ago (Sunday, 8:40 PM MST) - via a boatload of distributed HTTP servers as well as a bit torrent feed which you can find here.

This video features a unique group of top tier Mac developers talkin both shop and industry at the event. DB - Fantastic job, your efforts are sincerely appreciated!

8:52:46 PM    
Why Did ROKR fail and RAZR didn’t? Call it the iPod effect.
images.jpgThe ever insightful Om Malik pens a great piece entitled The iPod Influence talking about the changing culture in the consumer electronics business where people are starting to finally wake up to the fact that yes, design does matter and more importantly, design is NOT how something looks, but rather how the designers approached solving the problem at hand.

From the article:

how much does design really matter? Consider this: Motorola sold about 250,000 Rokr phones in the third quarter of 2005. During the same period, its sleek cousin the Razr sold an impressive 6.5 million units. Why? Not because of the Razr’s ability to play tunes. The Razr became a must-have icon largely due to its looks; as with the iPod, consumers bought the $400 Razr because of its elegant design.

Call it the iPod effect. Apple, which has sold 25 million units of its popular music player so far, has had a huge impact on product design in the consumer electronics industry at large. Now, perhaps more than any other industry, the world’s cell-phone makers are using the iPod to inform the design of their latest models.

6:39:15 PM    
Passion is Blind
A fun and true piece about how having passionate users is a lot like having a get out of jail card for your product or service with a heavy Mac focus.
5:41:35 AM    
 Sunday, November 13, 2005
PC Mag comes to appreciate the 17" Powerbook
powerbook.jpg In a recent review, PC Mag had some kind words to say about the 17" Powerbook. As someone who uses this beast daily I can definitely appreciate where they are coming from as this is the nicest laptop I have ever owned.

In a quasi-relased story, check out John Grubers newest piece entitled Full Metal Jacket as he discovers the world of using a Powerbook as your primary Mac.

6:43:07 AM    
 Friday, November 11, 2005
People are Diggin' It
A few days ago I wrote a piece over on SurfBits talking about the various Mac OS X boot keys, mainly because I thought there would be a lot of people who had not heard about a lot of these. A day or so later, it gets picked up on Digg.com which is currently sitting with over 1,000 Diggs! Who would have thought -- shit, I'd better be more careful in my writing, people are actually reading this stuff :-)
4:57:44 AM    
 Wednesday, November 9, 2005
Four Interns, Twelve Weeks, Shipping Software

Being someone who has always been fascinated with the behind the scenes stuff, this absolutely fascinates me. Although I live and breath it every day, it's always interesting to see it through other people's experiences.

From the site:

Four interns are brought into Manhattan and given 12 weeks to design, develop, debug and ship a program that will change the way computer geeks around the world fix their friends' computers. Boondoggle Films presents a journey through the world of software development from the perspective of a unique upstart, four quirky interns, and the world of The Geek.

Be sure to check out the trailer.

9:26:51 PM    
A mid-afternoon laugh
cgh-cameo2.jpg If you watched and enjoyed the cult classic movie Office Space, then this short video is right up your alley.

I came across this on the blog of 37 Signals and this 11 minute film which is apparently made by their office mates at Coudal. If nothing else, you guys have some very cool co-workers as I could only imagine trying to do something like this in some of the places that I've previously worked. Give it a look.

2:08:14 PM    
Ruby on Rails: Making Programmers Happy

As someone who is quickly learning to love Ruby on Rails, much like the Mac, the community surrounding RoR is a largely fantastic part of the attraction -- that and the technology totally kicks ass.

Shortly, I will be moving to a new career doing RoR based applications, I read articles like this and see how the whole design of RoR (and Ruby in particular) as just a huge breath of fresh air. Making developers happy by providing them with a great language on top of a flexible framework allows them to focus more on what really matters, crafting fantastic applications for their users.

My favorite quote from the article:

In a sense, we're trying to be the Apple of Web application development. Provide and care for the complete experience. The buck stops here. Every problem is our problem. So we tend to get a lot of those small things right that fall outside of any of the major divisions.
5:41:20 AM    
 Tuesday, November 8, 2005
Get new Mac blog from an insiders perspective
images.jpg I'm really enjoying reading a fantastic new blog called Writers Block Live written by Mike Evangelist which is an interesting experiment of an author literally writing a book called The Jobs I've Known but doing so online and in the open, fully subject to feedback and criticisms on the blog which will ultimately be made into book form.

I haven't read it all yet but apparently Mike's company was bought by Apple 4-5 years ago based on the DVD technology that they had developed which was ultimately evolved into iDVD and Mike came on board Apple as the product manager for iDVD and ultimately DVD Studio Pro.

Mike has a great writing style and he shares his memories and observations of his time with Apple on the blog and his personal experiences with Steve Jobs.

While you are at it, be sure to stop over and visit my friend Dave Sobotta who also writes a very compelling blog called Applepeels about what it was like to work as an executive at Apple Computer. I hope this is an emerging trend with more people who have worked inside Apple sharing their unique experiences.

10:19:00 PM    
 Monday, November 7, 2005
Safari Gaining in Browser Wars
safari2.jpgFrom MacObserver:

Apple's Safari web browser is continuing to gain market share, according to the latest statistics from NetApplications. The October 2005 statistics show that Safari has climbed up to 2.56 percent of the browser market, behind FireFox at 8.59 percent, and Microsoft Internet Explorer at 86.52 percent.

Although Safari's percentage is small compared to Internet Explorer, the numbers overall are quite impressive, considering that Safari is a Mac OS X-only application, while FireFox and Internet Explorer are cross-platform applications.

In October 2004, Safari held only 1.46% of the browser market.

Safari's growth may also be indicative of the overall growth of Mac OS X, since more users are exposed to Safari when they purchase a Mac as first-time computer owners, or when switching from Microsoft Windows. NetApplications thinks this, along with Mac users who keep their computers longer than Windows users do, is helping to keep Safari's growth healthy.

NetApplications expects that Safari will continue to grow, helping FireFox erode Internet Explorer's stronghold on the web browser market.

10:17:02 PM    
 Sunday, November 6, 2005
New PHP Framework Emerges
framework.jpg Meet WASP

Now that Ruby for Rails is permanently stuck in my cranium, words like Web Frameworks now pique my interest more than they previously would have but being a huge PHP fan, I was interested to learn about the WASP project. Admittedly my knowledge of WASP is rank beginning at this point (vs those 24 hour hardened vets who learned about it yesterday morning) -- I can't see how it can at this point match what Ruby on Rails can do but I totally applaud the thinking. Once you see the benefits of this method of thinking, it's next to impossible to ever go back.

WASP is a powerful web application framework built on PHP 5. WASP strives to allow web developers to make great applications with more fun and less code, but in the familiar playground of PHP.
10:34:05 PM    
 Friday, November 4, 2005
What A Difference Eight Years Can Make

From BusinessWeek

ts been eight years since Michael Dell was asked after a speech at a Gartner conference in Orlando what he would do if he were in charge of Apple Computer. His answer: Shut the company down and give the money back to shareholders.

Now remember these were the days before the iMac, the iPod, and OS X. Apple was typically described with adjectives like “beleaguered” and phrases like “on the ropes.” Steve Jobs was only about two months into his time as “interim CEO” and had inherited a big stack of challenges from Gil Amelio.

What a difference eight years can make. That’s what I thought when I saw the news that Dell Computer had warned for the second quarter in a row that its revenue and earnings will fall short of expectations. Now that it’s approaching $60 billion in sales, its finding growth isn’t so easy.

Over the last four quarters Dell has been coming in with a net profit margin of about 6.5%. Meanwhile Apple just finished its fiscal 2005 with a profit margin just shy of 9.6%. Sure Dell’s still bigger than Apple by a long shot – it takes in about as much revenue in a quarter as Apple did in it’s best-ever year. And over that eight-year period, you'd have done a lot better owning stock in Dell than Apple. But if you bought shares in both about two years ago, you're probably happier with your returns on Apple than on Dell.

2:09:09 PM    
 Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Mapping Microsoft's Competition
MS From Om's blog, he provides this great graphic outlined Microsoft's current competition based on their big announcement (and subsequent huge demo flop - Can that company EVER do a successful product demo?).

Russell Beattie has a nice post today on the long term impact of Microsoft Live efforts. He calls it Monopoly 4.0. One thing missing from his story: this graphic. Enjoy.

MS Competition

9:23:44 PM    
 Tuesday, November 1, 2005
12 reasons MS doesn't cut it for web development

I've been reading Scoble since the very beginning and while I don't always agree with him (ok, seldomly) -- I respect the hell out of what he does for Microsoft. If Microsoft had a slew of people like Robert, public opinion of them would be 180* the other direction.

Today Robert has a fascinating discussion with David Heinemeier Hansson, the designer of Ruby on Rails where David makes the statement saying: 12 reasons MS doesn't cut it for web development. In addition, be sure to read the original piece, Robert's rebuttal, and finally David's comeback.

In a nutshell, here are the 12 points that David raises. In reading this, the words could have been coming out of my own head.

  1. Startup costs. Linux is free. Ruby on Rails is free. MySQL is free.

  2. Performance per dollar. They perceive that a Linux server running Apache has more performance than IIS running .NET.

  3. Finding tech staff is easier. There are a whole new raft of young, highly skilled people willing to work long hours at startups who can build sites using Ruby on Rails.

  4. Perception of scalability. The geeks who run these new businesses perceive that they can scale up their data centers with Linux and not with Windows (the old “Google runs on Linux” argument).

  5. That Microsoft doesn’t care about small businesses. After all, Microsoft is an evil borg, but Ruby on Rails comes from a single guy: David Heinemeier Hansson. He has a blog and answers questions fast.

  6. That open source makes it easier to fix problems and/or build custom solutions. A variant of the old “Google or Amazon couldn’t be built on Windows” argument.

  7. On clients, they want to choose the highest-reach platforms. That doesn’t mean a Windows app. Or even an app that runs only in IE. It must run on every variant of Linux and Macintosh too.

  8. They don’t want to take shit from their friends (or, even, their Venture Capitalist). Most of this is just pure cost-control. I can hear the conversation now: “OK, you wanna go with Windows as your platform, but is the extra feature worth the licensing fees for Windows?”

  9. No lockin. These new businesses don’t want to be locked into a specific vendor’s problems, er products. Why? Because that way they can’t shop for the best price among tools (or move to something else if the architecture changes).

  10. More security. The new businesses perceive Linux, Apache, Firefox, and other open source stuff to have higher security than stuff built on Windows.

  11. More agility. I’ve had entrepreneurs tell me they need to be able to buy a server and have it totally up and running in less than 30 minutes and that they say that Linux is better at that.

  12. The working set is smaller. Because Linux can be stripped down, the entrepreneurs are telling me that they can make their server-side stuff run faster and with less memory usage.

Robert, this is the kind of thing that so many people working in the (don't make me actually use the term) Web 2.0 world inherently take as a gospel truth. I give you major props for even printing this and I hope it opens some eyes (on both sides). Ultimately, this is not an us vs them world in my eyes -- but I find it absolutely fascinating how the giant is now the underdog and all of these great technologies that have been developed by the little guys are literally reshaping our world. If nothing else, it is certainly going to be a wild ride and fun not only to watch but to be involved with.

By the way, David, the gentleman at the center of all of this, is a 26 year old from Copenhagen. I can't tell you how exciting it is to watch everyday people take the web and make it into what they want it to be without waiting for the big guys to step up and fill in the gaps that I would argue they don't even fully understand.

11:52:58 AM    
 Monday, October 31, 2005
Firefox as a web-development environment
firefox.jpg From Earth High Orbit comes some intriguing ideas about using Firefox as a web-development environment. I've been enjoying Safari and having so few problems with it since it's initial debut that there has been little need to look elsewhere browser wise but over the last 8 months, FireFox has been receiving about half of my surfing time and once you take the time to customize it by downloading certain add-ons, it's one damn fine browser!

For someone who writes web applications all day long, FireFox offers via the web developer toolbar some really nice debugging tools. Be sure to check out this article which has links to a presentation for people using FireFox in this capacity.

4:46:24 PM    
Why anyone cared about my blog and how my post got famous
A most interesting tale of someone going from a total nobody to quasi-famous in the blog word literally overnight.
3:34:01 PM    
 Sunday, October 30, 2005
Steve Jobs : The Guru
resize.php.jpg Imagine the scenario: a billionaire walks into a mobile phone shop. The sales assistant says, 'Can I help you?' but gets the reply 'Just looking, thank you.' The man tries a few phones, lifting his glasses to look at the detail of the display. He presses a couple of buttons. He shakes his head. He could buy any phone in the shop; in fact he could buy the shop, or even buy the chain. But he doesn't. He walks out, empty-handed.

...he still can't choose a mobile phone. (How nice to find you have something in common with such people.) His problem, he says, is that he can't find things that satisfy him. 'I end up not buying a lot of things,' he says, carefully, when I ask how he chooses what to buy from the myriad of gadgets and technologies in the shops. 'Because I find them ridiculous.'

9:08:29 PM    
Apple's Mike Evangelist Chronicles the Company in Weblog
The MacObserver has posted a great piece about a former director of video product marketing at Apple, has started a weblog where he discusses his career at Apple. From the article:

He is posting chapters from his upcoming book that documents his experiences working there.The chapters are available for all to read and comment on.

In addition to musing about Apple and sharing his perceptions of the people he worked with, Mr. Evangelist wants to use his blog as a tool to help other writers. He comments on his blog "The concept is pretty simple: make a place where I (and other writers) can work on their books online and get comments/feedback LIVE as they do it."

So far, a chapter discussing Steve Jobs, thoughts on writer's block, and comments about his favorite tech gadgets are available.

7:02:23 PM    
 Saturday, October 29, 2005
Announcements of video iPods and new PowerMacs pale in comparison to this announcemuent!
warcraftnightelf.jpgBeing someone spends entirely too much of my life behind a computer screen, I play surprisingly few video games. I try quite a few of them but seldomly find something that is compelling enough to keep my interest for any length of time. Or at least that was the case until I gave into peer pressure and discovered the wonderful World of Warcraft! With all of 3 weeks worth of experience under my belt so far, I've taken to it hook, line and sinker -just a ton of fun. But what fun is a great game if you can't share it with friends and family so before long, my son and I were playing it together and tomorrow we join our first guild to take it to the next level.

As fascinating as reading about my entry into the World of Warcraft universe must be for you (ranks right up there with formatting your hard drive to reinstall MS Windows yet again!) but that's not really the point of this post.

Today, MacWorld posted that Blizzard had just announced that they would be bringing a new World of Warcraft expansion pack out! Now if you know anything about World of Warcraft, you probably know that it's an absolutely massive game and at this juncture, I'n such a Newb, that I have no business even contemplating making the world even bigger but it's always cool to see your favorite game getting expanded. If you'd like to drop by in-world some day, let me know!

9:23:22 PM