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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=

Odd Bits and random thoughts

Dear Reader,

1:
I have a conference call with a guy form a company (www.sxip.com) pronounced skip dot com. They make an “identity solution”. Anybody remember when we just wrote software? yea, back in the days when Marketing thought we were nerds and left us alone. Anyhow, this looks like a great black box access control solution for a project I’m working on.

2:
The server move went, well, less than smooth. but it’s done and I don’t ever want to do that again. I’d like to say thanks to all my customers who showed infinite patience as I worked through some of the technical details.

3:
Kathy has been at SIGGRAPH all week. For those of you who don’t know, SIGGRAPH is German for “Open Bar”. :) She’s having a great time and since she spent my food budget for the month on a camera, maybe she’ll upload some pictures to either my site or hers.

4:
Santa Clara has a radio station MAX-FM that started off like Nashville’s JACK-FM. However, now they have live DJs and insipid banter in the morning so I’m forced to find another station or just listen to podcasts on my morning drive-time. (For those curious, JACK-FM is really somebody’s C=64 sitting in a closet somewhere.) :)

I think that’s all for now. Any more and I run the risk of rambling.

Until next time, it’s awful quiet in my world these days.

=C=

I know what the hell is wrong with Hollywood!

Dear Reader,

I’ve done it, I’ve cracked the code. I know what is wrong with Hollywood; “Content Overload”!

No, not in the traditional sense of we have too much coming at us so we can’t absorb it all. No, the problem with Hollywood is they keep making more and more ‘content’ for us to consume and most of it is crap. Let face it, good movie ideas are like good business ideas. One out of every 100 or so may be good and out of that only 5% will actually make it. So why does the Hollywood entertainment engine feel that it has to fill our lives with every crap script (‘cmon, who actually green lighted “Evolution”?) that comes across their desk. I mean some of them are good but most of what comes out of the mainstream entertainment industry is total crap. I’m not talking about, it’s a niche vehicle and just not targeted at me; no, I can recognize the difference between bad and just not interesting to me.

“The Jerk”

Father: “You see that?”
Navin: “Yeah.”
Father: “That’s shit. And this, “shinola.”
Navin: “Shit, shinola.”
Father: “Son, you’re going to be all right.”

Wake up Hollywood, we can all tell the difference between shit and shinola!

I’m tired of the entertainment industry being one of the few industries that, if they sell you a bad product, you can’t demand your money back. If you bought a car that looked beautiful in the brochure and on the show-room floor, only to find out that it smelled of BO after a week, the floors were sticky and you always had 2 people behind you that were so bored with where you were going that they’d rather hold their own conversation? No, you’d take it back and demand your money back and throw a royal hissy.

So here’s what I propose we do about the problem. To all who actually care that great baskets of money are being wasted on people watching bad movies, let’s setup a “Movie lottery” Insert of everybody in the US going to see the latest celluliod fluff foisted upon us at the theaters each week, we’ll all draw straws. Each week 100 of us will see each movie that comes out. That’s it. Everybody else stay home and watch “Caddyshack”, “Stripes”, “The Shining”, “Moulin Rogue!”, “The Jerk” or whatever your personal favorite movie is but don’t go to the theater. Then, the 100 that go see each movie will post reviews. Now at this point, it’s up to you.
Once you read the review and check the score given to it by ‘The 100’ then you have to decide then if it’s worth your money or not. But at least you aren’t going in blind.

Until next time, hope all is well.

=C=