A New Mac Pro

Monday, July 26th, 2010

A new Mac Pro is long overdue, and I need one. Lightroom’s too slow on my vintage 2007 MacBook, and more importantly Warcraft is only giving me about 5 FPS. :-) If the new machine is fast enough, maybe I could even use Parallels/VMWare/Bootcamp instead of my Windows 7 desktop PC (which clocks 60 FPS in WoW without breathing hard). Maybe Apple will release new models tomorrow? If it does, I want to compare it to today’s prices, so if I bought today behind door #1 we have:

Selling Off Old Macs and PCs

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

I have two desktop PowerMacs to get rid of, two Mac Minis, and one PC running either Windows 2000 or Linux. (I’ll have to boot it to find out.) Update: it’s Ubuntu and Windows 2000. If anyone wants them they’re for sale to the highest bidder. Minimum bid on all items is showing up at my apartment in Brooklyn and hauling them away. I’ll probably put them on Craig’s List or eBay soon, but in the meantime here’s what I’ve got:

Prediction: The Apple Tablet is Going to Flop Worse Than the Newton

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

The more I hear about the rumored Apple tablet coming later today, the more I’m convinced this isn’t going to work. The love child of an iPod Touch and a Kindle might be pretty but it isn’t world changing in the way the iPhone and the Mac were. More to the point, it won’t save the media industry from their own outdated business models. Newspaper publishers and magazine publishers and book publishers are so desperate for some hope of salvation that they’ll swim to anyone who promises to throw them a life preserver, not noticing that the life preserver is made out of lead. Remember, we’re talking about people who think the problem with HTML is that it isn’t more like PDF. The surest sign that a technology will fail is when senior citizen C-level execs are gaga over it.

I could be totally wrong about this, as could everyone else who’s been posting rumors about what the Apple tablet is actually going to be and actually going to do. It could well be that the use case for the tablet is something we haven’t even imagined yet, and if so all bets are off. However, if the fundamental raison d’être for the tablet is simply to be a nice e-book/magazine/newspaper reader with network connectivity and a built-in iTunes content store, it’s DOA. Microsoft made this mistake with Blackbird, MSN, and Silverlight. AOL, Prodigy, Genie, and Compuserve all made this mistake; and it killed three of them, and is slowly killing the last. Apple made this mistake before itself with eWorld. (Remember that?)

The bottom line is that the Web wins. The Web is the content delivery platform. Paid or free, what people want is an open two-way platform based on networked hypertext. Furthermore, that platform should be as open as possible. The more DRM is imposed, the less people will use it. Even a simple registration form is enough to drive more than half of potential readers away. If the content for the iPad isn’t on the Web — if it’s in some nonstandard, closed, non-editable format like PDF that’s served only from Apple’s servers or the servers of big media over some proprietary protocol — the tablet will fail. If the content looks good on an iPad but doesn’t look good in Firefox on Linux, or Chrome on Windows, or in Internet Explorer with JavaScript turned off, the tablet will fail. If you can read an article, but you can’t save it, or e-mail it, or copy and paste from it, the tablet will fail.

Sorry Big Media. This has been tried before and failed before, many, many times. Sprinkling magic Apple pixie dust over a bad business model won’t make it profitable. Tim Berners-Lee and Marc Andreesen gave you the most important technological development in publishing since Gutenberg, and you’ve spent 20 years proving you have no clue whatsoever how to use it while teenagers blogging from their parents’ basements beat you up and took your lunch money. A shiny new toy from Apple won’t save you from your own incompetence.

What to do When Firefox Chooses the Wrong Monitor

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

A recent crash of Firefox 3.6 B3 Namoroka led to an unusual and annoying situation. My main Mac is a MacBook laptop connected to a large external monitor. When docked, I use the larger externally display is my main monitor. The menubar goes there and most of my attention goes there. However, Firefox started opening windows on the smaller laptop display that’s off to my left, and that I have to crane my neck to see.

This seems to be a regular problem, or at least it used to be circa Firefox 3.0. However, the solution I found on the Web — deleting the localstore.rdf file —had no effect. Various other things I tried were equally ineffectual. What eventually worked, was the following:

Hard Drive Upgrade Complete

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

It took a quick trip to the hardware store in the rain to locate a Torx T-8 screwdriver, but my MacBook now has more than double the disk space it started with:

Little Boy

The hard drive is the new Western Digital 640GB 5400RPM Scorpio Blue. Western Digital makes make a couple of even more capacious 2.5in drives, but those are a few millimeters too thick to fit in the MacBook. It’s a little noisy, but I think that’s just because Time Machine is doing a complete backup of it. It should quiet down once Time Machine is done.

Possibly I should have gone with a 7200RPM 500GB drive instead, but the extra space was too tempting. Or I could have gone with a wicked fast SSD drive, but that would have traded space for speed. I used SuperDuper and an AcomData USB enclosure to copy the old hard drive to the new one before swapping them around. That seems to have worked reasonably well so far. Firefox gotten a little confused trying to restore its sessions, but that’s minor.

Now I can get serious about combining my Windows apps onto this one laptop, using either Parallels or VMWare Fusion. I’ve actually been spending more time in Windows lately for two critical apps: Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Aion.

Both Parallels and VMWare say they’ll import my existing PC onto the Mac, but I’m not sure that will work since Dell cheaped out and installed an OEM edition of Windows Vista instead of the full version. I’ve got full install discs of Windows 2000 around here somewhere, but I’m not sure that will run all the software I want. Anyone know the cheapest way to get a copy of Windows (XP or later) for the Mac?

Snow Leopard and Epson

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I just noticed this in my logs:

9/13/09 8:12:01 PM com.apple.launchd.peruser.501[4485] (com.epson.epw.agent[6796]) posix_spawn(“/Library/Printers/EPSON/InkjetPrinter/EPW/IJEPWAgent.app/Contents/MacOS/IJEPWAgent”, …): No such file or directory

What’s really annoying is that it happens every 10 seconds. Anyone know how to turn off whatever is trying to do this? I don’t have any Epson equipment.