Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It figures

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Deep down I somehow knew this when I bought my Nano a couple days ago: there are new Nanos on the way. Word is they will be 8 and 10 GB. I’m assuming the pricing will be in the same range.

Word is they’re coming in the summer or maybe early fall. If that’s the case I don’t really have any regrets–I really did want one now. However, if there are 10 GB versions later this year I’ll probably update. It’s day three and I’m already out of space on the 2 GB and there’s a bunch of additional music I’d like to be carrying.

I finally gave in…

Thursday, April 20, 2006

…and bought an iPod. A white 2 GB Nano, to be specific. It arrives tomorrow.

I’ve been good for a full five years and really never missed having an iPod, regardless of how cool they were. Five months in New York with virtually no time behind the wheel, though (I used to do the majority of my listening in the car), made me susceptible to the iPod’s lure. Right now I’ve only been listening to tunes at home on Saturdays and Sundays. I miss my music.

I wanted the iPod so bad, in fact, that I had it overnight shipped from Amazon. So urgent was my need that I decided to ignore the fact the Nano hasn’t been updated since September, hence making it ripe for an revision. I’ve been hoping for a more scratch-resistant and maybe a more interesting color (I liked the blue Minis). I didn’t feel like waiting any more, so I bit the bullet (and bought a case to keep off the scratches).

My rationalization is if I use the Nano a lot and the next full-size iPod goes wireless or adds the rumored full-size screen maybe I’ll update later in the year. Since I didn’t buy the full 4 GB and got the 2 GB on discount this plan feels justified (Amazon discounts most of them, and also prices the white ones cheaper than the black ones). Self-delusion at its best.

Anyway, tomorrow I become the ultimate late iPod adopter. You’ll be able to find me zoned out on the streets of New York City.

Reluctant switch

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I begrudgingly set Firefox as my default browser today.

It’s not that I don’t like Firefox–it’s a solid product and always has been. It’s just I’m more of a bundled browser kind of guy. On Windows I’ve been using IE exclusively since 4.0 was released in late 1996 despite many (sometimes better) competing browsers. On the Mac I’ve been using Safari since I returned to the platform in early 2003 (I took a Mac hiatus from 1996 through early 2003).

I haven’t used a non-Microsoft or non-Apple browser since 1995-96 when I used Netscape 2.0 and 3.0 on my Windows machines and Mac. Even at that time I used IE 3.0 on Windows whenever I could, but the product was buggy and slow, so I didn’t completely trust it.

I generally feel the OS developer’s bundled browser should be the most tightly integrated with the platform. This is definitely the case on Windows, for better and for worse. I like the way IE is integrated into Explorer and other areas of Windows.

Safari doesn’t feel as tightly integrated to me, but that’s not why I’m moving away from it. The reason is simple: site compatability. For a long time I’ve lived with a degraded experience on Gmail (rich text editing and chat don’t work), del.icio.us (the posting feature is degraded), and other sites. Even the WordPress admin console doesn’t optimally in Safari (rich text editing again). Since I use Windows as much as I use the Mac and I use the same sites on both platforms I’m constantly reminded of Safari’s limitations.

In the end Google Calendar is the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s in beta, so I’m sure it will be compatible with Safari eventually, but I’m an early adopter of services like Google Calendar, so I don’t want to wait. I’m tired of second-guessing browser compatability when I visit sites.

I really want to use Safari and I think the Safari crew is working hard on the compatability problems. Until I can be confident that even the minor compatability problems are going to be a rarity, though, I’m going to be spending the majority of my Mac browsing time in Firefox.

At the top again

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Windows on (Intel) Mac is at the top of Memeorandum again. It’s not quite 24 hours since my previous post and the developments continue.

Today’s top headlines focus on individuals who bucked Apple’s compatibility commitments and installed Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and Windows XP Media Center Edition.

Windows on Mac is really capturing imaginations. Exciting stuff.

Windows on Mac, for real (and goodbye, Dell)

Saturday, April 8, 2006

So Apple quietly announced Boot Camp Wednesday and it’s been covered by pretty much everyone since then. It was at the top of Memorandum Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night (okay, it was third at 9:50 Friday) and it’s at the top again tonight.

It’s of course been covered by the usual folks such as Mac Rumors and MacWorld. It was covered in Business Week this week, was on the cover of USA Today, and Walt Mossberg has already weighed in on it. Nowadays Apple gets a lot of coverage from the mainstream media, but this level of coverage is unprecedented. Every variation of “Hell has frozen over” and “pigs are flying” has been used to describe this event.

My first thought when I read about Boot Camp was “Goodbye, Dell.” My initial feeling was the Mac would now work as a full-fledged Windows PC and the early tests already appear to confirm this.

From now on it will Macs all the way for me. My PowerBook and Dell will eventually be replaced by a single MacBook Pro. I’ll dual boot it using Boot Camp or its successor, or maybe I’ll use a virtualization solution like Parallels or VMWare. (I didn’t know until this week that emulation and virtualization are two very different things from a technical perspective. No more Virtual PC for me. My bet is Microsoft kills the product.)

Even if I need a second or dedicated Windows system for some reason (I hope I won’t) I’ll just buy an additional Mac. I like the hardware that much better. Life’s too short to burn money on another annoying Dell laptop.

I’ve been thinking about the impact this will have on Apple’s business and what it means for their product strategy. In general I think it will bring more folks to the platform, both “typical” folks and enthusiast users.

I’d guess dual booting will serve as a nice security blanket for potential switchers held back by fear of being unable to run Windows programs. How many of those individuals ever actually dual boot their system is another question, though configuring a dual boot system should get easier when Apple integrates Boot Camp into Leopard. Configuring a dual boot system would seem to be a nice value added service for whatever remains of the independent Mac reseller channel.

Interestingly, Nicholas Carr postulates (with credit given to Daring Fireball) the dual booting capability will be particularly attractive to “high end” or enthusiast buyers who are more profitable and this is the reason for Apple’s dramatic stock price increase following the announcement:

It’s not that Apple may be able to expand its general market share by a couple of percentage points; it’s that those percentage points are likely to represent many of the most attractive customers in the market.

I consider myself an enthusiast buyer and the capability is obviously attractive to me, so I think the argument holds water.

Will Macs that run Windows ultimately marginalize the Mac OS? I’m not as confident as John Gruber at Daring Fireball, but in general it seems that, given exposure to both operating systems, folks find Mac OS X more appealing than XP. The Apple-developed Mac-specific software like iLife and Final Cut Studio are also selling points for the Mac OS.

With regard to third-party software available on both platforms I don’t think the picture is as clear. If Leopard and subsequent versions of the Mac OS continue to keep Windows as a dual boot option instead of providing some sort of cleanly-integrated virtualization solution it would seem most of the dual platform developers will probably continue to create Mac-only versions.

If, however, Windows runs within the Mac OS in a fashion similar to the Classic app integration I wouldn’t be surprised if some developers scuttle their Mac versions. Software like Quicken, which has a weak Mac version, comes to mind.

All this is speculation, of course. Apple’s been playing things pretty smart, so I remain optimistic. This is great news for me personally. I’m a lot more anxious to get a MacBook Pro. Paging Apple: please deliver the 17-inch version.

Good week

Friday, April 7, 2006

It’s been a good week, a little crazy in places:

  • I got back from Asheville at about 1:30 Tuesday morning.
  • Tuesday night I hit the NY Tech Meetup. Interesting.
  • Wednesday Apple announced Boot Camp. I’ve been wanting to ramble on it ever since.
  • Wednesday night I did the New York Flyers group run. It was a better-than-usual night. Good company.
  • Thursday was a low-key night. I rode my bike for the first time in a couple weeks.
  • Today I went to Bryant Park after work and chilled for a while. Very therapeutic. I ran into my neighbor on the train and found out she’s the new sales head for Fast Company. I’m getting ready to run out and see Inside Man.
  • My friend Jen will be visiting this weekend. She’s bringing her daughter Grace and her husband Richard.

Most of this stuff I’ll blog about later, I just want to get in a brain dump now.

New computer day — again

Monday, March 20, 2006

Today’s a new computer day. New computer days are always good.

I seem to have a new computer day about once per year at this point. I don’t plan it that way, it just happens. There’s always a good reason for the new computer. Really.

This year it’s one of the new Intel Mac Minis. The Mini scratches two itches: it serves as a media hub via Front Row and iTunes and it gets me into an Intel Mac. The latter wasn’t an immediate must-have, but it made the purchase easier to justify.

Difficult to justify, at least initially, was buying the Core Duo version. It was pretty easy to rationalize buying a Mini to connect to my TV and serve as a backup server when I thought I’d be paying $500 or $600. Within a few days of the announcement it was pretty clear the Core Duo Mini was going to be a lot faster than the Core Solo, so I decided to suck it up and pay the extra money for the Duo. Ideally Apple would allow you to configure the machines à la carte, but they know better. They’ve got me right where they want me.

So I’m sitting on my couch browsing through my PowerBook’s music library on my old Mitsubishi TV via Front Row on the new Mini. There’s no keyboard, mouse, or monitor attached. I do the media stuff via Front Row; when I need to do computer-type stuff I connect to the Apple Remote Access service using Chicken of the VNC.

Sharing via Front Row over my wireless network is pretty fast and the tunes sound great. I tried one of the Lost videos I bought from iTunes, too, and it worked pretty well. Setting all this up was ridiculously simple, even with the firewalls enabled on both the Mini and PowerBook. I configured iTunes to share, enabled iPhoto photo sharing, and was running.

Browsing and playing music is intuitive and so far it’s got all the features I need. The only annoyance is for some reason I can’t adjust the volume via the Remote when streaming through AirTunes on my Airport Express. I haven’t dug too deeply into this issue, though; there may be a solution. As I said above the videos from iTunes seem to work fine on my old TV.

The photo sharing is pretty useless. The photos are too slow to load (this may be because my photos are high res) and there’s no straightforward way to control the browsing order. I assume Apple will add thumbnail browsing and fix the performance problems before too long.

So, no regrets so far. I’ll post more impressions as I spend more time with the new Mini.

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