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Scenes From My World

Dear Reader,

Note:This post is outdated. It is left here for archival purposes.

As I travel through the Valley, I keep seeing things and describing them to people and never doing them justice. Sometimes, it’s just the beauty of downtown San Jose, the colors of The Mercado or the geeky delights of seeing all the computer companies out here. So spent some time yesterday shooting pictures of places that are either meaningful or interesting to me. Because I can’t do anything normally, I decided to set them to music. I’ll warn you, this is a big (201MB) download and it’s really only of interest to those who know me. (I question whether it’s of interest to them) If you want to view it, download it here (link removed). If you are only mildly curious, visit my photos page (link removed) and just hum the tune Kodachrome my Paul Simon as you look at them.

Until next time, it’s getting harder and harder to fill my free time. Expect more silly projects.

=C=

Mac…one week later (Clues for Windows users switching to Mac.)

Dear Reader,

My new companion, my new life-long friend (her name is Squatty, inside joke, those who know it are already giggling) has survived her first week with me and has come through unscathed. She is in as good of condition as when I bought her. (I know that’s important to at least one of you.)

So here’s what I got working this week:

– Kensington Expert Mouse
Trackballs rock! I’ve used this particular brand of trackball on every computer I’ve had for the past 10 years. The one I had plugged into that OTHER computer plugged in and worked out of the box. A quick trip to www.kensington.com landed me the OS X drivers and now all the buttons and the scroll wheel work.

– Logitech Media Keyboards
Again, plugging it into the USB port of my baby and answering a couple of questions and I’m now free of the traditional (albeit pretty and functional) Mac laptop keyboard. Again, a trip to www.logitech.com scored me the OS X drivers and now all the media buttons control iTunes, etc. As with the trackball, this keyboard has been my companion through a couple of computers now and it makes switching to Mac much easier when I don’t have to lose my old friends.

– Logitech Premium USB Headset 350
This is the headset I used to use with Trillian to talk with my wife in TN. (Saves us a TON in long distance charges) As with the keyboard, it just worked. I didn’t even install drivers for this one. It worked out of the box.

– Logitech Quick Cam Pro 400
This little boy plugged in but was not a flawless install. You have to download a couple of different drivers and such. I’m still working to get this one installed. Once I get it working, I’ll let you know how well or how bad it is.

– LG 19″ Monitor Final piece of the hardware puzzle. I plugged in my LG 19″ flat panel display. Again, it recognized it without a problem and now I run a dual display system with the 19″ running as the primary when it’s plugged in and running at 1280×1024. (I think)

So now, my new friend feels like my old computer, at least to my hands and eyes. I am truly amazed at how easy it is to get things to work with the Mac. As someone who has made a good living over the years helping people get DOS and Windows working correctly on their hardware, it scares me to think what I’ll do if more people discover the Mac.

That’s all for today readers.

Until next time, have I mentioned the weather here is beautiful?

=C=

Ok, so MACs don’t suck

Dear Reader,

I know it will come as a shock to those of you who know me and know my deep loathing for McPeople but this weekend, I joined their ranks. Well not entirely, I’m still not smug and condescending…yet.

    Why


Last week, my 1.5 year old Alienware that has been dying since the day I got it, finally gave up the ghost. After arguing with the idiots that Alienware hires for tech support for more than 2.5 hours, I finally convinced them that this is an EX-LAPTOP! They have graciously agreed to repair it according to the warrenty they provided when I purchased the machine. This of-course means that they will pull parts out of other dead-laptops in hopes of piecing together something that will limp along through the rest of the warranty. Sorry guys, I’m sure they build nice desktops but their laptops are crap.

Anyhow, since I do development I need a workspace; so this weekend I found myself in an Apple store in San Jose talking to a man in a Lime Green T-Shirt. (Seriously)


Me: Who do I need to see about purchasing a Mac?
Lime Green T-Shirt Man : Me.
Me: Ok, I'd like to buy a Mac.
LGTM: Ok.

And that was pretty much it. The entire transaction took less than 15 minutes and I was on my way with my Mac.

Now, before you ask, I didn’t buy another Windows box because my wife, (the lovely and talented Kathy Evans) is in the process of finishing her degree in design. Regardless of her portfolio, degree or beautiful smile, without knowledge of a Mac, she can’t get a job as a designer. So we needed a Mac so she can get used to the interface. So I needed a computer and she needs Mac experience. We now have a new addition to the Evans family, a beautiful 1.5 lb baby Mac named “Squatty”.

    Geek Stuff


Ok, so, how does a Windows lifer make the switch? Well, first off, I don’t do a LOT of gaming. I used to but these days, Warcraft is about it. (Warcraft, online, not Worlds of Warcraft) So I bought a copy of it when I bought the Mac. I figured I’d load it over the weekend. Turns out I was much busier this weekend than I thought…but that’s another story.

Mainly when I do with my computers is mail, surf and develop web applications and services. My tools of choice are Apache, PHP, MySQL. Some quick reading turned up XAMPP which is my favorite Windows AMP tool. It loads everything into an easily managable package. I use it at work as do most of my team mates. So I was elated to find that it was available for OS X.

Next, program editor. Now I was excited to find that my favorite commandline editor, nano, is included in OS X because that maked editing config files and such in the terminal window much easier. But for program editing, I need something a little mroe robust. My current favorite is Komodo and that’s what my teams uses for their development. A little poking around and I found the Beta for OS X for Komodo. (and a mighty w00t went up from the crowd)

For mail and surfing, the built-in Mail and Safari do just fine however I’ll probably switch to Thunderbird and FireFox because it’s what I know. (Mail is a bit slow when handing emails with large graphics attached but other than that it’s IMAP implementation beats Outlook hands down.)

For FTP, I downloaded a little command line ftp client ncftp since it’s what I use on Linux a lot. However, because OS X is FreeBSD based and so many of my Linux friends come pre-installed, ssh and scp were already there. This makes moving file to and from my production server ever so much easier.

So let’s recap, I use my computer for:
* Warcraft
* Development
* Mail
* Surfing

I found :
* Warcraft
* XAMPP/Komodo
* Mail
* Safari

Hmmmm….everything I do on Windows I can do on my Mac. So the question begs to be asked. If I can do everything on my Mac that I can do on Windows and the Mac is easier to use, why do I need Windows again?

Until next time, LyMy,

=C=

Blues

Dear Reader,

In my never ending quest to find things to fill my time, I have stumbled across a gold mine. Well, it’s dark and kinda dank but its not really a cave, more of a dive. I speak of a place called JJ’s which is right down the street from where I live. Awsome little dive where the blues rock every night of the week. This little hole-in-the-wall bar is located in a generic strip-mall on Stephens Creek Blvd in San Jose. Sandwiched between a matress store and a sporting goods shop is a blues emporium that will surprise you.

I hit it Sunday night for a couple of hours and was blown away. When I got there 5 old white guys (and that’s important only because you don’t normally think of 5 old white guys when you think of blues.) were turning up. Since the show hadn’t actually, started, I hit the free Sunday BBQ and sat down to wait. Soon enough, they started picking. They had a tight sound. (well, ok, as tight of a sound as you can get playing blues) To my untrained ear, they sounded like they were a bunch of guys that got together every week and picked for a while. Imagine my surprise when I asked the Sound Engineer what band this was and he replied that they were just 5 guys that showed up with instruments. (Yes, Love, like Amy and the Total Strangers but with facial hair)

They spent an hour running through some of the classics. At one point the guy playing lead actually looked at the others and said “let’s play something in G”. And with the practiced ease of national acts like “Stewie and the Cow Tones” the launched into a song that I assume was actually in G. Of course, they played one of the few blues songs I recognize, “Sweet Home Chicago”. (I sang along but now, reading the words, I butchered it. No wonder people were snickering.)

Long about 9:00 PM, Alvin Draper hit the stage. Alvin looks a lot like Morgan Freeman but sounds nothing like him. He and his band (at least one of the pickers from the Jam Session) let lose for a set that was pretty damn good. For an old guy, his boney old fingers can really pick.

So for the price of a couple of drinks, I was fed, entertained and left with a warm feeling in my stomach. (Which was either the alcohol kicking in or the polish sausage, not sure which)

If you are ever in San Jose and looking for some place nice and quiet to just kick back and relax, JJ’s is probably not the place you want to go. but if you are looking for dark and dank with killer blues and decent drink prices then yea, JJs is the place you want to hang.

Until next time, It’s lonely exploring out here by myself,
=C=

New Toy!

Dear Reader,

I have been given a shiny new Blackberry! So now I can finally say with confidence that the Treo rocks! I’m sorry, I know the BBerry is “push” and my little Treo has to “pull” email but still the BBerry just can’t compare to the plethora of applications available to it. FWIW, this is my 3rd BBerry, I had one of the original ones and one of the original in this form factor and while they’ve gotten better, they still can’t hold a candle to a 650.

I guess, given the price difference, if you want a phone with some cool options, the BBerry is good. If, however, you want a true PIM/Phone and communications device, it’s Treo, hands down.

Until next time, “…the weather is here, I wish you were beautiful”.

=C=