August 28, 2005
If you own a computer...
you can't sing the blues. [Funny.]
I'm not sure that's a 100% hard-and-fast rule, but it does seem true in my case. One of those things I just have to live with. Perhaps the closest I ever came, if it even might be considered almost somewhat close, was singing Jumping Jack Flash in public once in high school. That was definitely one of the more embarrassing moments of my high school career. A particularly telling aspect of our performance was the fact that the lead guitar line was played on a flute.
August 23, 2005
Most iPod songs are legal...
...at least according to this informal poll.
August 17, 2005
Interactive 3D Display??
Check this out. I sure wasn't expecting something like it any time soon:
Originally mentioned at Gizmodo as a prototype in 2003, IO2 Technology has just completed the production unit and provided the details behind the revolutionary HelioDisplay which produces interactive 3D dsiplays in thin air (via lasers) from common sources.[OhGizmo!]
Discs vs Disks
I've always been pretty mystified about the use of the word "disc" ending in "c" for CD's and the like. Why?? The world seemed to have gotten along pretty well with "disk" ending in "k" for a few centuries. Still no answer to that major conundrum of our age, but at least Apple has clarified the difference between the two in Knowledge Base article 30152:
A disc refers to optical media, such as an audio CD, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, or DVD-Video disc. Some discs are read-only (ROM), others allow you to burn content (write files) to the disc once (such as a CD-R or DVD-R, unless you do a multisession burn), and some can be erased and rewritten over many times (such as CD-RW, DVD-RW, and DVD-RAM discs).
All discs are removable, meaning when you unmount or eject the disc from your desktop or Finder, it physically comes out of your computer. Disks
A disk refers to magnetic media, such as a floppy disk or the disk in your computer's hard drive, an external hard drive, and even iPod. Disks are always rewritable unless intentionally locked or write-protected. You can easily partition a disk into several smaller volumes, too.
Although both discs and disks are circular, disks are usually sealed inside a metal or plastic casing (often, a disk and its enclosing mechanism are collectively known as a "hard drive"). [Thanks to The Unofficial Apple Weblog]
A commenter said:
The spelling is most likely due to the fact that Compact Discs were invented by a task force led by Philips (a European company), whereas hard disks were developed by IBM (an American company, naturally).
Investigating further, I found:
In British English disc is the usual spelling, but American English uses disk, and disk is also more common in computing, as in disk drive. [Tiscali.reference]
Now I will rest easier at night, knowing that this momentous mystery has finally been resolved.
Python vs. Java on OS X
Paul Bissex writes today:
The Apple Developer Connection recently posted what looks like a nice introduction to PyObjC. It's even got QuickTime movies showing how to work with Interface Builder. Cool. The enthusiasm on the page is palpable:We long ago made the decision to use PyObjC and Python on OS X for Goombah. We're quite happy with it overall.PyObjC's maturity is unmatched—it's been around longer than even Apple's Java bridge (it originated on NeXTstep).Meanwhile, in case you missed it, the Cocoa-Java bindings are deprecated:Features added to Cocoa in Mac OS X versions later than 10.4 will not be added to the Cocoa-Java programming interface. Therefore, you should develop Cocoa applications using Objective-C to take advantage of existing and upcoming Cocoa features.This is a watershed moment, I think. Python is a language Apple enthusiastically endorses for building Cocoa apps, while Java is emphatically not. Wow.
August 16, 2005
Misinformation about iPod patent
There has been a lot of publicity recently on a Microsoft patent by someone named John Platt which seems to cover the iPod interface. Some of the "pundits" are misstating some of the legalities, so I thought I'd say something about that here. For instance, PC Pro says:
Apple invented and publicly released the iPod interface before the Microsoft patent application was filed,' a company statement reads.
Under US law, you cannot patent something than someone else has already made. In theory this invalidates Platt's patent.
The writer's assertion is not true. The fact that Apple invented and publicly released the iPod interface before the patent application was filed does not necessarily mean the patent is invalid. In the U.S., the real issue is the date of invention.
It is conceivable that Platt can prove that he invented the user interface before Apple did, giving Microsoft the rights to the patent.
However, that does seem unlikely in this case, since it does take quite some time to actually build a device like the iPod, and much less time to file a patent application.
August 11, 2005
Mac OS X Security Advantages
I found this ComputerWorld article written by a "switcher" to be interesting. One of the discussed advantages:
For example, one of the ways malware is able to "hide" from users under Windows is via hidden file extensions. Many users aren't aware that even if you tell Windows to display all file extensions, there are still some that are hidden by default. To make matters worse, a Trojan horse or any installed program can reconfigure your extensions so that they are no longer hidden.
Under OS X, you aren't permitted to hide a file's "real" extension if hiding it causes the file to appear to have a different extension. Furthermore, if you attempt to append an extension onto an application's true extension, the true extension will become revealed and you won't be able to hide it.
I'm sure the fact that OS X is much less common than XP has a lot to do with it's being targeted less frequently, but it's hard to gauge how much of its "advantage" is due to that.
All I know is that as an end-user of the OS X platform, I end up spending virtually no time on security issues and have never had an infection other than an Excel virus some years ago. I hear people getting so frustrated trying to clear their Windows machines of spyware and other malware that they end up throwing their computers away and getting new ones. All I can do is shudder.
August 09, 2005
Amazon's "Statistically Improbable Phrases"
I think this new feature of Amazon's is a nice idea. Actually I'm not sure how new it is, but I just noticed it this morning due to a list of "Statistically Improbable Phrases" appearing in the information about a book I was considering buying. From their site:
Amazon.com's Statistically Improbable Phrases, or "SIPs", are the most distinctive phrases in the text of books in the Search Inside!™ program. To identify SIPs, our computers scan the text of all books in the Search Inside! program. If they find a phrase that occurs a large number of times in a particular book relative to all Search Inside! books, that phrase is a SIP in that book.
SIPs are not necessarily improbable within a particular book, but they are improbable relative to all books in Search Inside!. For example, most SIPs for a book on taxes are tax related. But because we display SIPs in order of their improbability score, the first SIPs will be on tax topics that this book mentions more often than other tax books. For works of fiction, SIPs tend to be distinctive word combinations that often hint at important plot elements.
Click on a SIP to view a list of books in which the phrase occurs. You can also view a list of references to the phrase in each book. Learn more about the phrase by clicking on the A9.com search link.