I think I just quit?

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I’ve recently been following a couple of threads on the Star Wars: The Old Republic fora about the game’s lack of a mac-native client and their plans (or lack thereof) for one. I just posted this and it was one of those things where I hadn’t realized I was making a decision until I’d already written it out and was ready to click “Submit.”

“As much as I love SWTOR, with the lack of a decently performing (or even supported!) mac client, and no plan for one in the foreseeable future, I'm just going to unsub when Mists of Panderia comes out and go back to WoW.

I live my life connected to a network for work, play and leisure and OS X/iOS make that lifestyle so much more enjoyable than any other solution available. Having to stop everything, cut myself off from essential services and boot into uncomfortable, inhospitable Windows just to play a game is more than I can take. It's like keeping my hobby in a rackety old shed that I have to walk a mile through brambles to reach instead of keeping my hobby in my clean, comfortable, tastefully appointed modern home.

I had a ton of fun in WoW for 7 years, and I'd hoped to start a new multi-year experience with SWTOR, but Blizzard is much better at keeping me happy, it seems.

Mods, Macs, and much more end-game - WoW is winning me back.”

http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=3592628#post3592628

I wanted to re-post it here because it speaks to a bigger issue. Apple is one of the world’s biggest computer manufacturers (again) and literally the largest, most successful company ever. Companies like EA and Bioware ignore mac-users at their peril.
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Eureka! USPO-ISP!

cell-tower
I just had a wild idea…

I live in a rural area, and my income is dependent on a reliable internet connection. Because I’m rural, I’m paying three or four times as much as broadband customers in other regions for much slower access speeds. There are cellular data plans, but they’re not competitive, yet, with wired broadband, and the wireless data carriers aren’t required to stay net-neutral.

I think what we need a national wireless network. A modern equivalent of Rural Electrification to get wireless broadband to every corner of the country. A network where you didn’t have to buy an unnecessary land-line or tv-cable package or cell-phone contract to get connected. A net-neutral on-ramp to the internet that won’t mess with your data or access speeds in order to gain some sort of competitive advantage. A network that every computer, laptop, and tablet could connect to, anywhere, all under a single personal or family account.

Naturally, we’d make this new national network part of the US Postal Service. It’d still be for profit like the current postal system, but it’d be the Public Option for broadband access. Profit isn’t the main directive, providing access to a critical service is. The costs would be low so as few barriers to entry as possible for the average citizen, and there could be federal assistance in place for lower income families. It would be parallel to the existing wireless networks of the cell phone companies, but it’d force them to be more competitive in price and service.

And it would create thousands upon thousands of solid, union jobs.

Too crazy?
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The Final Encyclopedia

The Final Encyclopedia
I’ve been re-listening to the audiobook version of Gordon R. Dickson’s “The Childe Cycle,” recently, and I’m currently on “The Final Encyclopedia (TFE). It’s probably my favorite though it really is difficult to chose as every story in the Cycle has amazing characters and elements. That’s probably why I usually think of it as a complete set of works rather than individual books.

I’m not sure how old I was when I read my first book from this collection (probably around junior-high), but I know which one it was. It was “Dorsai!” Dorsai! is practically a pamphlet compared to TFE - 7 hours in audiobook compared to over 30 hours - but it’s the lynchpin of the set. The main character of Dorsai! is Donal Graeme and it’s also the story that introduces Kensie and Ian Graeme, his uncles, that for all the brevity of their appearances have a massive influence to the overall arc of the Cycle.

Lost Dorsai
I can’t begin to describe how influential these books have been to me, but one of the main things that’s been running through my mind is the concept of the Final Encyclopedia, itself. In the books it’s described as a futuristic repository of the sum of all human knowledge (as imagined in the early 80’s). A tool that would allow humanity to unlock it’s true creative potential.

In the main, I think Dickson was right. The Internet in its current form is essentially what he was describing the Final Encyclopedia to be; a tool that a scholar can use to bring whatever knowledge he or she doesn’t already have immediately to hand. And - despite what detractors would say - I think we’re using it to essentially accomplish what it was ultimately used for in the books; the further evolution of humanity.

This is an amazing time to be human.
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ClamXav

A lot of friends and family have been buying Macs, recently, so I thought I’d post some tips and tricks to help out those who might be newcomers to the world’s best consumer OS.

Mac OS X is very well engineered and pretty secure, but a small malware ecosystem does exist. So do Mac anti-virus solutions. The one I use is ClamXav. Primarily because it’s free, but also because it is full-featured. You can donate to the authors (and you shiould), but it’s still fully functional even if you don’t.

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You can set schedules for automatic scans and updates:

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And you can even have it constantly scanning high-risk folders like shared network volumes or your ~/Downloads folder.

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I’ve had good experience with it. It doesn’t take up too much processor time, and it’s nicely unobtrusive and easy to use.
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Poor guy...



I found this video sadly comical. The product rep is doing his best with the little HP has given him to work with. The target audience are “Fashionistas?” Some marketers probably high-fived each other when that bon mot was tossed out during a meeting.

Around four minutes in to his pitch, you can just see the product rep deflate when the interviewer says something like, “I mean this as a compliment, but it looks a lot like a MacBook Pro.”

It’s especially sad when you think about Steve Jobs introducing the MacBook Air back in 2008. The MacBook Air has been upgraded a few times since, and the HP that was just released still isn’t nearly as sleek as the ’08 MBA.

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AppleJack is Back!

AppleJack 1.5 has just been released, and now it's finally Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) Compatible. This is such a wonderfully handy little tool. I've already done a deep clean of all three of my active Macs.
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Deals at the OWC

Other World Computing is having some clearance specials, and one that caught my eye was an Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station 802.11 b/g (UFO) for $50. You can never have too many of these things. I already grabbed one, so it's ok if I let the cat out of the bag.

They also have a couple El Gato items that if I had any use for, I'd be all over.
The Turbo.264 stick and an El Gato EyeTV 250 plus. I have an EyeTV EZ hooked to my Mac Mini hooked to my HDTV. It's fantastic, but it's also all that I need so I don't really have any excuse to spend money even though I'd love to have these toys.

Hopefully somebody will see this and go and grab them. Good gadgets need good homes.
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ScreenFlow and ScreenSharing

I wanted to make a little Screen Cast about discovering how to make .vncloc files for quick screen sharing access, and in the process I found ScreenFlow. $100 is a lot of cash for an app, but this is pro-level screen casting software. I could have manually done it by using Snapz (which I already own), but Snapz cost something like $75 anyway. For a bit more you can have some amazing features in ScreenFlow.

Anyway, here's my little
screen cast..

(Postscript: I ended up redoing it in Snapz Pro X.)
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Mmmm... that's geeky!



This is exactly the type of geekiness I most enjoy (and probably that I myself often display about my passions of choice). This guy draws, draws well, and is very knowledgeable about his tools and tips to work and maintain those tools. From auto mechanics to graphic artists, I really can appreciate this level of competence and joy in one's work.

(A twitter post from
Dave Kellet led me to this video.)
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Dammit!

I keep trying, and trying to stop using Windows on my old PC, but so far I've not found a Linux up to the task.

I inherited an old 800MHz PIII when my aunt passed away, and I set it up in the living room for my son to use to browse his Star Trek Wikis. I originally put Windows 2000 on it, but twice, now, Win2K has just randomly died and stopped booting. So twice I've tried to leave it completely behind and instead install Xubuntu. Or even Kubuntu or Ubuntu. Xubuntu naturally performs the best, but it's still dog-slow and frustratingly unresponsive when Win2K was pretty spry. Then add to the fact that FireFox hangs every 15 minutes, or so, and I've just about had it. I've never met a flavor of Windows I've cared much for, but so far the infrequent re-installs of Win2K are actually easier to deal with than the constant opening of a terminal in order to kill a hung process. Ideologically, I love Linux. But unfortunately my pragmatism is quickly overshadowing my ideals.

Now, of course, if I could get a copy of OS X running on it... Hell, even 10.3 or 10.2 would make me happy. But alas...
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Off and on but never given it up.

This post over at the Least I Could Do forums had me chuckling.

I've been an Apple partisan since 1994. I graduated from high school in '93, but my high-school was still using PETs and C64s. My first exposure to what I consider a modern PC was that fall when I started at the local community college and taking basic computer labs. These labs covered the ins and outs of Microsoft Windows 3.1 and Office.

I loved it. It made immediate sense to me. Then, a few weeks later, I was in the college library, and I found this tiny room in the back - almost a closet - that had four computers in it. Three of them were Macintoshes. Two IIfx's (yeah, really) and a Quadra 700. All running System 7. Something about those little machines seriously appealed to me. I found myself migrating back to that room all that semester. Eventually I met up with the other mac-users who told me that there were more macs on campus in the Art Department.

Next semester I took Art. I can't draw to save my life, but I took art. I also used a student discount to buy my own mac at the beginning of that semester: A blazing fast
PowerMac 6100/60. I was cutting edge. Hard core. I played countless hours of Marathon on that machine (yes, I knew Bungie back when they only made games for Macintosh).

I ended up befriending the art teacher and also discovering the intricacies of the Macintosh operating system. The school had a few hundred PCs and about 30 macs (aside from the 3 in the library there were six in the art dept. and a couple dozen on the desks of the college staff). The PCs guys didn't want to deign to troubleshoot macs, so I ended up working part-time for the school doing mac support.

I was in heaven. Mac support is 1% hardware issues like foot-snagged, unplugged cables or third party drivers and 99% user support. Basically somebody would need help figuring out how to do something and my job was to figure it out and show them how.

This went on for a few years, and eventually I switched colleges and also bought my first laptop:
A PowerBook 1400

Around 1998, though, I was starting to fall out of love with the Mac OS 9. I'd bought the
BeOS betas and had toyed with some of the ever-maturing Linux distros for PowerPC. The only thing thing that the Mac had going for it was superior processors (PowerPC) and the professional software I was rapidly becoming reliant on (mostly Macromedia and Adobe titles).

Then Apple announced their acquisition of NeXT and I decided that NeXTSTEP looked worth waiting for.

I loved OS X from the start. I started running OS X full-time, on all my machines at version 10.0.2 and never looked back (by this time I had acquired a G4 Cube to add to the menagerie).

I had another dilemma a few years later, though, when I wanted to start gaming more. I'd been buying what mac-titles were available but it was impossible not to look with envy at the Windows world where games were released sometimes for years before they got ported to mac, if at all. But productivity, reliability and longevity were too important, and the release of EQ for mac sealed the deal. In it I had a never-ending game and it was on my OS of choice.

I have still caved from time to time to the itch to try something new and have put various Linux distros on my PowerBook G4 and the old Dell I have in the front room (it usually runs Win2000 so my boy can run his Star Trek Next Generation Interactive Technical Manual). But I always end up coming back to OS X because I like things to just
work and I find OS X far, far more intuitive than any version of Windows I've encountered - and I've encountered them all.

Now, I'm on the edge of buying my first Intel Mac Pro and retiring my G5 workstation to it's new position as NAS for my house. At that point I'll actually buy a copy of Windows to install on boot camp in case I come across a game that I just
have to play. Since I now mostly play Blizzard and iPhone games, though, that's probably going to be pretty rare, indeed.
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Radio II

Last.fm just released an iPhone application. Beautiful.
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A brief, personal history of radio.

Like everybody else, radio has been a constant presence in my life. As a small kid in the 1970s, my father always listened to Country or Christian music because Rock 'N Roll was the devil's music (I'm not kidding, folks). Which was fortunate because those literally where the two stations available where we lived in Northern Arkansas: the Country station and the Christian station.

After a childhood of not really connecting to music, I ended up going to a catholic boarding school for my first two years of high-school (early 90's). The student body literally sampled every region in North America and sometimes even further afield, and they all brought amazingly diverse collections of music with them. Suddenly I was finally hearing not only
music, but music that picked me up and carried me away. Epiphany. Music has been vital to me, ever since.

Radio, however, continued to frustrate me. Even if you find a station with a good format, you're constantly being barraged with ads. CDs weren't much better because you were limited to one album at a time, and by however many jewel boxes you were able to carry. The introduction of the iPod was a godsend because I was able to rip all my CDs to MP3 and basically fake my own radio station/jukebox. Except for one factor: new music. A music library will go stale unless periodically seeded with fresh material.

In the last couple of years, I've even found answers for that.
last.fm and Pandora. Their only drawback? That I had to use them while sitting at a computer - which is not how I listen to music. I listen to music on my iPod (now iPhone).

Well, now we've completely broken down every barrier - Pandora is an iPhone 2.0 app, and it works over AT&T's EDGE (no 3G where I live and won't be for probably ages). I just took the kids out to lunch and drove through the rural country side listening to completely new and fantastic and high-fidelity music with Pandora over the EDGE network. Suddenly I have the world's best radio station literally everywhere I go.

I'm so excited.
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Newer Technology USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter

This has to be one of the best purchases I've made in a long, long time.

Newer Technology USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter

I have two defunct macs sitting in a closet along with two defunct FireWire Hard Drives for a total of 7 IDE hard drives floating around, unused. My running macs are all SATA, though, so I had no way of utilizing all these drives. The inventory ended up being a 20GB, 2x40GB, 3x80GB and a 200GB. Plus an IDE SuperDrive (DVD R/W).

What I didn't consider is that there was still recoverable data on almost all of them. One of the 80s is dead, but so far the rest are mounting up fine and I'm finding all sorts of lost treasure on them. A couple of years ago, when I was migrating my data from my old G4 to the G5, about a third of my music library got corrupted, and I never found out until after the G4 was no longer functioning. All the files were MP4s that I'd ripped from my own CD collection, and I was able to re-rip some of it, but it turned out that when I sold my Miata, I left a 40 CD case in the car that had my absolute favorites. So I still had jewel cases for all these fantastic albums, but no longer had the disks and therefore no way to get those songs back into my library.

Well, last night I found a 4 year old back up of the G4 on one of the drives that had all the missing music on it. I stayed up way too late listening to Soul Coughing and Nine Inch Nails and Violent Femmes songs I hadn't heard in years.

And I've just now plugged in the last 80GB drive only to discover some old Final Cut movies I made of the kids a few years back and an iDVD build I'd made for sending out to grandparents and relatives. I'd assumed they were also lost forever.

I've always been a big fan of Other World Computing for their FireWire drives, but this adapter is fantastic. It's worth way more than the $30 they're charging.

Post Script:

One of these is the old startup drive for the G4 and I found a ton of installed games on it - Jedi Knight, Jedi Academy, Halo, Elite Force, Elite Force II, Neverwinter Nights, Myth III, Quake, Quake 3, WoW (version 1.10!) and even a 10GB full install of EverQuest for Mac.

That last is very tempting. EQ can't hold a candle to WoW, technologically, but there's something about the world of Norrath and it's various environs that totally captured me when I played it. I have memories about places in EQ and even dreams about them as if they were places I'd really experienced. I had many gripes about the game, but I also loved it dearly. Of course, one of my main gripes was that this was the
Macintosh version of EQ and the server (Al'Kabor) was mac-only. That made it a small player base of mac elitists. I love Macs and won't use anything else, but I'm not the biggest fan of old-style mac users. It's gotten better in recent years as the growth in market share has diversified the user base, but back in the old days mac users were a pretty monolithic crowd. Either artists or teachers and almost all with a superiority complex that drove me crazy. I had some great friends in EQ, but most of them were from the small niche of tech-savvy mac people where I was. Sadly most of them had PCs, too, and I lost quite a few over time to EQII or Eve before WoW came along and solved just about every problem I had with MacEQ.

I still dream of it, though, from time to time...
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WWDC '08 Keynote

I woke up in the middle of the night and went ahead and streamed the WWDC '08 keynote, and I teared up when the crowd roared at the introduction of the iPhone 3G. I tell ya, any strong emotion. 2 hankies.

Now, I own an iPhone, and it's been a revolutionary product, as is, for the last year that I've had it. With the 2.0 update, I can really see this becoming a computing platform, in it's own right, and with the GPS in the 3G iPhone, this is nothing short of a quantum leap in the way we interact with data, and how data interacts with us. It's going to be fun to watch the evolution of apps for this thing. I'm sure that's a contributing factor to how strongly I feel about this.
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The Resistance

It’s interesting how things can change in a few short years. Back in May of 2000, I registered this domain (as well as macresistance.org and macresistance.net - ha ha ha) along with a whole slew of other domains, over time, that I thought would come in useful. At one point, I had more than a dozen domains registered for various projects I had planned. Now I’ve let them all go except this one.

It’s not like this one is entirely topical anymore, either. When I first conceptualized the site I was going to put here, it was still the dark days of a “beleaguered” Apple and I was wanting to evangelize my platform of choice. I saw external forces trying to erase my beloved mac from the tech scene, and I wanted to fight back to keep it alive.

519248000_fafdfdd7ab_m
It was a fantastic time, too, in the mac-user community, itself. OS X had been released, but not yet widely adopted, and there were still significant debate as to it’s potential for success. I, of course, loved it from day one. I actually had been considering jumping from Mac OS 9 to PowerPC Linux in the late 90s as Copland failed to materialize. I wanted power and speed and I didn’t want to move to x86 to get it (I was a PowerPC nerd). I tried BeOS, but there was no software for it. Honestly, PPC Linux wasn’t much better, but it did have a much larger and more active developer community. Apple bought NeXT, though, and started talking up OS X and made me fall in love with Apple all over again. They even brought a new personality (to me) onto the scene. Steve Jobs, who’d left Apple well before 1994 when I discovered the platform and bought my first mac.

The rest is PC industry history. Now Apple is thriving, OS X just keeps getting better, and the mac community just keeps growing and growing. Not much need for another mac-centric website. Nor did I really have the time to build much of one, anyway. I was busy working and making a family, and then, sadly, working to heal my family after tragedy struck in ‘02.

Now this domain just hosts my personal homepage and my blog. Nothing much about resisting, anymore, except in the memories of all the years I stuck with Apple despite the common wisdom. I’m going to keep it, though. It’s a reminder of those exciting days, and a validation of my convictions in the platform of my choice.
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Blue Brick

We had some heavy storms in the area night before last, and my Linksys WRT54G got bricked by the electrical activity. The power-strip behind the TV was full so I just went ahead and plugged it directly into the wall socket instead of digging out another surge suppressor from the closet (there's a ton of stuff in the TV cabinet: Mac Mini, Wii, Dish DVR, External USB hard drive for the DVR, DVD player, Ethernet HUB, and the TV). I spent a lot of time and even some money making that router a performer. I installed DD-WRT and even spent $20 on new 9db antennas for it. I spent many hours fine tuning it, but now it's all for nothing.

I bought it on a whim a couple of years ago because it was on clearance at wal-mart. $40 sounded reasonable to add a WDS node and expand the wifi coverage in my house. I even documented the hoops I had to jump through installing DD-WRT and to integrate it into an AirPort wifi set up.

http://forums.macosxhints.com/showthread.php?p=454148

So I'll miss the little blue brick. I've already ordered an 802.11g AirPort Express I found on clearance online, but it won't be the same. I'll have it plugged in and configured in a matter of minutes. It'll just work and I won't have the hours of distraction and exploration I had with my good 'ol WRT54G.
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LAN Bandwidth

I'm so excited! I'm replacing all my CAT5 with CAT5e and I've moved the 16-port 10/100 Ethernet hub that was the backbone of my home network to it's periphery, and replacing it as backbone with an 8-port 10/100/1000 switch.

Currently, my network is essentially in three parts: office, living room, and wifi. In the office I have my main workstation. Currently that's a PowerMac G5 hooked up via 100 megabit ethernet to the old hub, and the hub is plugged straight into the LAN port on my AirPort Extreme Base Station. In the living room, I have an old Dell running Xubuntu, a Mac Mini that's hooked to my HDTV à la AppleTV, and my Dish DVR which needs to be on the network to save me $5 a month on my bill. All three of these are connected via ethernet to my Linksys WRT54G which is the remote WDS node on my wifi network. On the wifi, we have my 17" PowerBook G4, my iPhone, and the Wii. Since my living room devices are bridged to my office via wifi, my transfer speeds between the G5, the Dell and the Mini are abysmal.

But all that is about to change. It's all still in process as I get components and as I wait for a chance to pull two 50ft CAT5e cables under the crawl-space of the house from the office to living room, but when it's all said and done, we'll have this gigabit switch hooked directly to my workstation, mini, and the old ethernet hub (now relocated to the TV cabinet). The Dell and the DVR will plug into the hub and end up with half-duplex 100baseTX onto the network. Not a bad speed boost for the Dell though it's primary purpose is my son's main computer for looking up Star Trek Wikis. As a bonus ,though, since I'm hardwiring the Dell, the DVR and the Mini to the network, my wifi won't have to carry their traffic, anymore.

Meanwhile, the Mini and the Workstation will now enjoy full-duplex flow controlled 1000BaseT between each other, and when I finally replace the G5 with a Mac Pro, the G5 will simply be moved into a corner of my office as a headless file/media server and will still enjoy full speed gigabit with the mini and the new workstation. Currently I have ripped some movies and TV shows from DVD and put them on the mini to watch on the HDTV and my iPhone. All those media files are going to be moved to the G5 and the mini will simply run them from the network. The mini only has 80GB of disk space, the G5 currently has 750GB, and will have more once I make it a server and do some HD swapping.

I'm extremely excited about upgrading the network. Now I just have to save up and get that mac pro...
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