posts tagged with the keyword ‘apple’

2011.10.05

Steve Jobs
Image by Tsevis

I can’t imagine a world without the innovation Steve Jobs brought to it.

The first Apple product I used was an Apple ][+, which was purchased by my brother (also named Steve) in 1980 (or perhaps 1979, and probably with a little bit of help from our parents.) I fell in love with it. I wrote BASIC programs, and I saved them to cassette tapes, and I created LORES and HIRES graphics, and eventually we got a mouse for it, and I used MousePaint to do some pretty awesome mid-1980s computer graphics.

When I was in college, I got my first Mac, an Apple Macintosh IIvx, and I used the hell out of it. I designed things, did page layouts, created graphics, edited photos, and learned all the tricks of the operating system. Like my brother, instead of buying a car, or taking a trip, I got a computer… and all of that was probably more influential to my career path and what I do today than anything else.

I fell in love with computers and technology because of Steve Jobs, and I would not be what I am today without his contributions to the world.

Thanks Steve, you will be missed by many.

2011.06.28

Mozilla

Dave is a cranky old man, and I say that in the nicest possible way, because really, I’m one too. Cranky old men like things the way they like them, and sometimes that means, the way they were before you damn kids came and messed everything up. And you did, really, you did.

Dave is not happy with the Mozilla folks and their Firefox browser.

Personally, I don’t think browsers are done or feature-complete yet. I say this because I’m dealing with developing web sites, with HTML5, with the <audio> and <video> tags, with codecs, with multiple computers/devices, etc. and it’s not perfect yet. Firefox 4 was a welcome upgrade from Firefox 3.x in my mind. Speed increases, Mozilla Sync, and a few other features were worth the small inconveniences I faced along the way. (Granted, I was running the beta for more than 6 months on one machine, so I wasn’t surprised by anything new.)

I’d admit that I am definitely a fan of Mozilla. I may even know a few people who still work there, but I’m not a Mozilla developer, or part of their marketing department, I’m just someone who wants to see them succeed.

And why do I want to see Mozilla succeed? If you notice the graphic above it says “We Believe in an Open Web” and while Apple and Google both have browsers, they’re both in a constant battle for mindshare and eyeballs, and ultimately are interested in making a profit. Mozilla is a non-profit organization that (and I hope I don’t sound naive) has an interest in keeping the web open and free. (I didn’t even mention Microsoft because they only make a browser for one single platform, and it’s a platform I don’t even use, except for testing.)

I’m a fan of freedom, and ultimately I believe that freedom (on the web) is better served by Mozilla than by Apple or Google. I fear the closing of that freedom, and think that supporting Mozilla may help prevent it.

And oh, the beauty of open source! If Dave really wants the keep using Firefox 3.x, there is nothing stopping him. It’s open source. The code is available. Hell, look at what the TenFourFox team is doing. You want Firefox 3.6 to live on forever? Start working on it, or hire some developers. This may not be entirely realistic, but it is completely possible.

I should note something here about Mozilla providing Firefox (software) for free versus Osbourne selling computers (hardware) for money. Maybe I’ll fill it in later.

Years ago when things were looking grim for the web, I always though some company would come out with a web browser that would do away with the ‘View Source’ command. I mean, sure, Chrome hides it, but Apple finally managed to get rid of it with Mobile Safari. Ugh, Mobile Safari… I wish I could run Firefox on an iOS device. This closing of the web concerns me.

I know all the cool kids abandoned Firefox, but to me, that’s like abandoning freedom, and I just can’t see doing that yet…

2011.06.08

In my Photo Booth post I talked about using a Logitech C910 instead of the built-in iSight camera on a 2007 iMac. I wasn’t happy with the quality and ended up using a Logitech HD Pro USB Webcam C910. The Logitech camera worked much better on the iMac, so I figured I’d compare it to the built-in iSight on my 2009 13″ MacBook Pro.

iSight - Color
MacBook iSight – Color

Logitech - Color
Logitech C910 – Color

Comparing the two images you can definitely see the difference in color temperature. The iSight leans more towards red/yellow while the Logitech leans the other way. (Note that the Logitech has a slightly wider field of view as well, so you may have to move in closer.) The only light in this room was a CFL bulb with a lampshade over it, and the glow of 3 monitors. Besides the color, the sharpness of the image is what really stands out. The Logitech is way sharper.

iSight - Black and White
MacBook iSight – Black & White

Logitech - Black and White
Logitech C910 – Black & White

Taking color out of the comparison, and just looking at a greyscale images, the sharpness of the Logitech over the iSight seems even more noticeable. As I’ve said before, the iSight is a tiny little camera, with a tiny little lens, and a tiny little sensor. It’s great that every MacBook contains a camera, and for general video chat, etc. it’ll do just fine, but if you need better image quality, it’s nice to know you can get it for a reasonable price.

The Logitech also has the advantage of being able to view things on the other side of the Mac, and be placed a short distance from the Mac itself. The images on the 2XL Networks Photo Booth site were taken with the Logitech, and we’ll be testing it out with Make: Live as well…

2011.05.02

I’m often torn between the elegance of the Apple User Experience and the freedom offered by, well… pretty much anyone but Apple.

As you probably know, I’m a pretty big supporter of open source (hardware and software) and I’m also a Mac user, and more recently, an iOS user. Apple is pretty damn good at providing a great user experience with their hardware and software, and as it’s often said, most time things “just work” which is important to me, because I use Apple products to make a living.

As far as the freedom thing, I love freedom, and Apple isn’t the leading provider of freedom, so I live a life of conflict. Most of us do in some way… so be it.

As for the iPhone, there’s a lot about it to like, and truth be told, there are things to not like. I’m currently running an iPhone 3G, and I’d probably be a bit more up on the iPhone if I were running an iPhone 4. (The other day someone was recommending an iPhone to someone and said “It will change your life” which may sound far-fetched, but depending on how you use it, this can be true.)

The Android platform does hold some appeal, but I’m not sure if it’s enough for me to jump ship. I mean, Android has it’s issues as well, so I don’t even know that it can easily be said that one platform beats out the other.

Wired’s got an article about How the Android Ecosystem Threatens the iPhone which is worth a read. The graphs are worth commenting on.

Android vs. iPhone

As my disclaimer, I am not a “switcher,” and by that I mean, I was not a Windows user who eventually replaced it with a Mac. I’ve been using Apple hardware since the early 1980s and my first Mac was a IIvx. That said, I lived through the dark times of Apple in the 1990s, including Amelio, the clones, rumors of Apple’s death, etc. With that perspective, these numbers don’t look scary. There were (and are) way more manufacturers of “PCs” than “Macs” and 90% of the “PC manufacturers” made crap. Cheap crap that competed on price, each trying to be a bit cheaper than the other because they were all basically the same. Some were bigger/better than others (Dell) and most of them got around to following Apple’s innovations in hardware eventually. So the real question is, out of those 170 devices running Android, how many are awe-inspiring, and real competition to the iPhone?

Android vs. iPhone

Again, I’m no financial wizard, but to me I assume that 30% that goes to Apple helps maintain the iPhone ecosystem, the cost of running the App Store, future R&D, product development, etc. Plus, people hate carriers. I want as little of my money going to AT&T, Verizon, etc. as possible. If Apple gets it, I think I prefer that. As for the Android App Store, it goes to Verizon. What has Verizon ever done for you? What if you are a competitor to Verizon? And who runs the Android App Store, Google? Does it cost them nothing to run it? No, they’re just making their money elsewhere… (Advertising? Yup, we need more of that.)

Android vs. iPhone

This is the one I may be the most “meh” about. It seems to show the number of apps for Android increasing, until someday it will surpass the numbers of the iPhone. Again, if you’ve lived in the Apple world long enough, you probably remember back when the argument was “Windows has more applications!” and it was true, but it was also true that 95% of them sucked. Sure, there were 200 text editors for Windows, and if you were lucky, 2 or 3 of them were good enough to use. Meanwhile, Mac OS had BBEdit and tons of devoted fans. There were other text editors, but we had one really good one. It wasn’t rare to read a post saying “I’m being forced to use Windows at work, is there anything even close to BBEdit on Windows? Please??” This repeated elsewhere, and I think it shows the whole Apple cares more about quality than raw numbers when it comes to doing things. Sure, they want to sell a lot of computers, er, I mean, iPhones, iPods, iPads, but they also want them to be the best devices out there. I think it’s rare that the most popular thing is the best thing, and I think Apple knows that, and they’re fine with it. As for Android apps, I’ve read a lot of complaints about the quality of them, and the dubious nature of some of them (there’s money to be made with apps you know!) but hey, they say the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, right?

I’m eligible for an iPhone upgrade later this year, about the time the iPhone 5 is rumored to be released., but Android does have some appeal to me… I’ll get into that next time.

2011.04.21

Oh yeah, time to freak out, because your iPhone is tracking you! Well, it’s tracking itself, or cell towers, or wifi access points, or… something of interest, but sadly, it’s not doing a great job at it.

For some people, this is “Big Brother” type of scare… and for others (fans of geo-tracking) it’s not quite good enough.

I grabbed iPhone Tracker, and dug through some of my files, and took a look at the SQLite database, and was fascinated by the data (I tend to get fascinated by data) but I didn’t feel like alerting the media about it…

Will Clarke has a nice blog post about this as well. It’s worth a read.

Here’s some data that was marked 2010-12-29. I’m not sure what that date refers to, but this seems to show my trip taken on 2011-01-01. I find it interesting to see this data. Back in mid-2010 I wrote some code to make an archive of my Foursquare data, with the thought I would map it all out at some point. Sadly, I’ve collected a lot of data, but haven’t done anything useful with it yet. Maybe it would make more sense for me to just get my geo-data directly from my iPhone. I mean, I don’t even have to check in and it knows (roughly) where I’ve been!

This seems to do a poor job of showing where I was. I mean, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t in all of these location. Maybe it was just my phone connecting to towers in all of these locations…

A nice table view of some of the geo-data the iPhone records. Now to figure out how to use it for something good. Or bad. Or somewhere in-between.

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