Sunday, February 20, 2005

Joel on Software - Thursday, February 17, 2005

Joel on Software - Thursday, February 17, 2005: "So far, it looks like this is a nifty program, and consumers should be happy that Microsoft has announced it will be free, but it really, really would have been nice for us here in the software industry if Microsoft had set a price on this thing just to provide some air cover for the other companies working on spyware removal. This is not a software category where a monopoly monoculture will be a good thing."

Ah, but this is the beauty of the thing. The same company that flooded the world with this poorly designed bloated bag-o-crap needs to hit another home run, and it's the bottom of the ninth and all their best hitters have struck out as mighty Bill wheezes up to the plate...

"HEY... let's tie another wagon to the cash cow!"

And as what's left of Norton and Macaffee hurl themselves from the burning superstructure we watch it sink into the tar pit as MS corporate management are hanged by their private parts from the mizen mast.

err, or something.

Anyway, this whole notion that Microsoft must fix the bad design of Windows by adding more software, free or otherwise, on top of it is a major admission of failure, one of several, inability to support multiple hardware architectures quickly being the other one that comes to mind.

Like the mangled mass of metaphors in this post, Windows can't be fixed, and the egos at Microsoft won't let it be re-written. Apple use will continue to grow, as will Linux, and there will be a continuing trend back to server-centric computing that will make the outcome of the OS wars less interesting anyway. Can Microsoft succeed in a competition for on-line storage and services? Do they have the courage to buck Intel and start coding for radically new processors? Can you spell "Razor thin profit margins"?

Well, of COURSE you can NOW. Anyway, this is all fun to watch from the vantage point of never having to boot Windows again. The longer the agony lasts the better.

I don't think I should add future posts right after watching epic movies such as Return of the King.

Friday, February 18, 2005

New Apple Notebook and SL

Haven't updated this for a while, but I answered an inquiry in the forums recently about laptop recommendations. Since I recently got a new Apple Powerbook it seemed like a good opportunity to brag...

The 12-inch model I got probably isn't optimum for running SL, but it does rather nicely. I wanted something small, no noise, no heat. I almost just got one of the new Mini's, but they only have 32M video ram, and my old Compaq could go at any minute so I thought another laptop/desktop-replacement-style might be better. The 12-inch model (well the new ones anyway) will run an arbitrarily large external monitor AND the built-in monitor at the same time in dual-head mode so I no longer need a 2-PC switch to run SL in full screen mode and still do web browsing etc. My external monitor (a Compaq as a matter of fact) has both analog and digital inputs and the Powerbook supports both.

The Apple OS is also quite compatible with Linux systems, so I can open up an X-window and run Linux applications remotely too, so, after I get used to this, I think I can give away my KVM switches... the never-ending transition from PS/2 to USB to wireless I/O devices making them rather hard to deal with anyway.

For LESS money I could have gotten one of those desktop-sized G5 systems which I'm sure do a better job of SL...but then I think the days of those big space-heater systems are numbered.

My only concern was if SL would cause the tiny fan in the Powerbook to run continually and eventually (fan bearings being the weakest link in most computers) overheat. But I found that if I use the option in the OS to throttle back the CPU (mostly in there to save battery power) SL is still useable but the fan doesn't run (at least not fast enough that I can hear it). Hint: This would be a good option to build into SL I think for those of us who don't really need 30 FPS when we are standing around chatting, but I couldn't figure a way to achieve the same results with the existing SL display options without cutting my visibility range down to almost nothing.

I'd be curious to know if others have run their laptops (of any kind) on SL for a long time (several hours a day for a few months for example) with no ill effects. Maybe I'm just over-cautious.

By the way, my model has an nVidia graphics card, I think the higher-end Powerbooks use ATI. I know the ATIs are supposed to be better but for my needs nVidia is fine, and ATI drivers are notoriously flakey. Having once had ATI drivers corrupt my hard drive (YES!) I swore never again. YMMV.