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|Saturday, February 19th, 2011|
|On the Age of Myth
I’m sitting on the couch this morning while my stepson played a game called Minecraft. It can be a multi-player game with very simplistic graphics, but apparently it’s really taking off.
So there I am listening as he and his friend discuss a phantom that’s “built into the game” called herobrine or Hero Bryan. Apparently this is the ghost of the creator’s little brother that he coded into the game with some level of AI to wander around and freak people out or kill them off randomly.
While there maybe some kind of weird cyber mythology in games like World of Warcraft, I’ve not heard anything like this anywhere else on the web. These are the sorts of stories children used to tell around campfires about the camper who got lost in the woods and returns once a year to find a new playmate to spend eternity with him.
Just listening to them talk about how freaky and scary this digital demon was supposed to be (he’s in the default skin, but with blank, white eyes) made me remember how I felt listening to scary stories my dad told in the dark sometimes.
In my day job, I’m a technology professional for a school district and I love all my technological toys from the two laptops I own to the eReaders in the house (only for pulp novels though – the good novels still get hardcover treatment), my App heavy smart-phone. However, not once has there been anything online that could frighten me the way that a good Stephen King, Richard Matheson or Joe Hill story can.
Sure, there are frightening stories online – but to have a “ghost” that hunts down your character in a video game just doesn’t seem that creepy for me. Sure, Resident Evil 2 scared the pants off me, but in the way a good scary movie will.
I’ve done some research on this digital ghost and I’ve found some things out, but I’m not going to be the one make your decision for you, nor is that aspect of the myth what I’m trying to say here.
The direction I’m going here is simply that our children seem to be so ingrained in a digital life that those myths that once would have been a part of real life has migrated to digital life and I don’t think I like it one bit. It makes me want to grab him and drag him out into the world, where ghosts exist (or don’t) in a much more frightening capacity and life is far more beautiful than some 16bit graphics on a glowing screen.
But then, why am I still sitting on the couch while the sun is out?
Guess that’s my cue to log off and enjoy the day. Current Mood: artistic
|Wednesday, February 16th, 2011|
|Apple and the Coming Fall
I love Apple.
They make some of the best hardware on the market and their OS is far superior to anything else out there (sorry Windows fans, but it's true - stop fighting it and accept it).
That's Apple as they are right now.
I still don't know what the plans are for Lion - just rumors at the moment - but some of the possibilities don't make me happy.
If what's happening to iOS is any indication, things in the Mac App store will be seeing some changes as well, and these are changes for the good of the consumer or their own developers.
Apple has now officially given a deadline of June 30 for App Developers to change their subscription and In-App purchase protocols to meet with Apple's new terms. Basically, any app that offers the ability to purchase outside the App store must allow for in app purchases with Apple's mandatory 30% cut. This makes making money for companies like Amazon and Barnes & Nobles impossible as the eBook market doesn't bring in a ton of revenue and the markups are minimal.
While it's true that the goal of any company is to make money, there comes a point where a line is crossed and the money comes at the cost of customer loyalty.
Making it difficult for companies to make money on your platform will drive them away - this maybe exactly what Apple is hoping to do. Need to read a book? iBook store. Need to watch a movie? iTunes. Need to listen to music? iTunes.
They know these other companies will likely be driven out of their "territory" with these new rules, giving customers just one option: Apple services.
What was one of the big reasons I liked the iPad so much at the beginning? Variety. I could get gift certificates from Barns & Nobles, Amazon and Borders and purchase books from all these vendors and be able to read them all on one device. Taking that away takes away a huge amount of respect I once had for Apple and has basically tipped the scales so that the next hardware update I perform will likely be to a Windows machine.
The above, coupled with the fact that Apple has decided what I find morally objectionable for me, has put me over the edge. If they are editing the content of graphic novels for non-sexual nudity, what will they do to books like The Scarlet Letter, Dracula, House of Sand and Fog
or any book that has sexual content? Will those start be censored as well?
This is not something I can be a part of any longer.
Maybe they'll turn themselves around and get back on the right track, but right now they are beginning to look like mid to late 90s Microsoft and Microsoft is beginning to look more and more like Apple used to.
Now if only Android could iron out their Market Place and make it more secure and less shitty as well as update the OS so that it doesn't suck rotten goose eggs (setting up an email account is such a complex task I'm surprised more people don't toss the fucking things in the river).
I have some hope that Apple will reverse these decisions, but not much at this point - and I think these decisions will ultimately bite them in the ass and send them on a downward spiral.
So, any good suggestions for Apple quality hardware by other manufacturers?
-Micah Current Mood: disappointed
|Sunday, February 13th, 2011|
|Writer's Block: Over the top
Who would you consider the most overrated musician, and why?
I'm going to get hit for this I'm sure, but my answer is:
While they did create a new sound that would influence music forever, I still say that they are waaaay over rated and that far more talented musicians existed both before and after their reign.
This is not to say I don't like them, but they are just overrated to the extreme.
|Saturday, January 8th, 2011|
|State of the Country
Today a Democrat was shot. Gabrielle Giffords in AZ was shot in the head. A total of 12 people were injured and 6 people were killed. Gabrielle is listed as critical in a Tucson hospital.
Right now, I fear the country is going to shit. I don't mean to raise alarm with my language, but sometimes we need to pull out the big guns to get our point across. Don't focus on the word itself, focus instead on the fact that I feel it necessary to use it.
So again, let me say that our country is going going to shit
I'm not going to point fingers here and say "It's the Republicans" or "It's the Democrats" because that gets nothing done aside from starting fights.
Right now, both sides need to grow the fuck up
and stop caring so much about which side comes up with a good idea. Anybody can then say that "I backed the idea when it came across my desk, even though the rest of my party saw it as a bad idea, and now it's fixed the economy." Right now there is no such thing as bi-partisan in most areas of government. You're standing with the Republicans or the Democrats regardless of how awful or wonderful an idea is.
There is speculation
that Gabreille was shot because of her support of the health reform bill that the Republicans are now trying to over turn. First of all, this health care reform isn't perfect, but it's a start in the right direction. If you want to reform it, change it into something better, don't repeal it and waste tax payers money in all this bickering. So what if it wasn't your damn idea, get over it and do the right thing.
Look, as a country we're in a world of hurt. It's a world of hurt that was created by the George Bush administration - there is no arguing that, look at the stats and the history of it if you don't believe me - and the culture of fear that he pushed out to the American people.
That fear still resonates through much of the country. If somebody is different, beat them, kill them, stop them - they must be a terrorist. Let us take away your freedoms for the sake of safety.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
Come on people, grow a pair.
It's time that We the People stood up and demanded that our government do the right thing - not by going out and shooting people in the head, but by raising our voices and saying "We are not afraid. We the People hold the power to remove you from your offices and throw you back into the streets and find the kind of folks who will do the right thing, the noble thing, and allow us to be free. We the People have a voice and We the People are not afraid to use it."
The time has come for us to do the right thing and demand the liberties and freedoms that, as a country and a people, we earned when we left the British Empire and said "We the People are Not Afraid."
Call your representative and DEMAND your freedoms. Tell them you don't want corporations making decisions on your health care, that you feel EVERYBODY deserves the same rights as EVERYBODY else - even concerning marriage. Tell them that were we to follow all rules written down in the Bible then adulterers would be stoned to death (Deuteronomy), women who married who were not virgins would be executed (Deuteronomy), Football would be a hell-worthy sin (Leviticus) and divorce wouldn't be permitted (Mark). Going even further, Leviticus also has prohibitions against eating shell fish, pork, wearing garments of mixed fabrics and getting your fortune told. Out of all of that we pull "Being Gay is wrong?" According to the Bible, ALL THOSE THINGS ARE EQUALLY WRONG! So if you're going to preach against being gay, you better stop watching football, wearing fabrics that are mixed, eating shellfish and devouring those bacon strips you get with your breakfast every morning.
Come on people, stop being cowed sheep and STAND UP! Call, write letters, go to news organizations, spread the word and DO THE RIGHT THING. Current Mood: energetic
|Saturday, January 1st, 2011|
|Happy New Year Everybody!
It's been a wild ride, 2010.
On January 1st, 2010 I married my beautiful wife. Now, not only is it the first day of 2011, but it's also the first day of our second year of marriage.
I can't believe it was a year ago that all our friends and family were gathering from around the country to join us in celebration. Nothing could have made us happier.
So Happy New Year everybody! I hope each of your years will be as wonderful as this last one was to us. I wish upon all of you that you find your joy, that you do good works and that you enjoy your life and the ones you love to best of your ability.
-Micah Current Mood: excited
|Friday, December 24th, 2010|
Growing up I was raised with the understanding that Christmas was as much a Family Gathering as Thanksgiving. While presents were certainly welcome (especially as a child), it wasn't about the presents so much as it was about seeing family and spending time with them.
I am of the extremely strong opinion that Christmas is far too commercialized and has been for many, many years (see the original Charlie Brown Christmas Special). We have forgotten, in our greed, that it is supposed to be a day to celebrate Family.
I also feel that Christmas has become as much of a secular holiday as a religious one. It's part of what America was built on and, as America has become more diverse, we have all still celebrated Christmas and wished everybody a Merry Christmas to boot.
Speaking of which, why would wishing anybody a Merry Christmas be offensive? I may not believe what you believe, but the wish is for happiness and merriment. Who would want to turn down such a wish? I would greet a Happy Chanukah or any other such greeting with the same sense - it is a wish of good will.
We live in a melting pot of cultures here in the United States and not all of the population is Christian, but many still celebrate Christmas and spend that time with families, others see it as an excuse to get more stuff.
I see it as a time to celebrate family, because isn't that what the First Christmas was all about? It doesn't matter if you believe that first story as fact or not because the story is a sweet one that reminds us all to celebrate the family that we have.
So to everybody:MERRY CHRISTMAS
|Wednesday, December 8th, 2010|
|Sometimes it Needs to be Said
The country is flailing.
I guess I don't have much to add to what the above link talks about. Racist, egotists are beginning to take over and they are the ones making the decision. As a country, we are in trouble - and I agree that it's not the politicians or the liars that are at fault, but our own population.
Benjamin Franklin said: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Yet these people would have all freedoms taken away just to protect their perceived safety. What they can't seem to understand is that the more freedoms that are taken, the more danger we are actually in. More on that in a later post, perhaps.
I am a registered Democrat, though I would say that deep down I lean more toward the old-school republican ideals (not the neo-conservative ultra-religious shit the party now peddles). I would love smaller federal government and more control for localized government to make decisions on how they want to handle things, however in the past twenty or thirty years, the biggest leaps in "Big Government" have come from the Republicans in the guise of "protection" and "safety" with no accounting for the rights of the individual.
To quote Ronald Reagan: "Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives."
He also said: "If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under."
While I may disagree with the religious overtones of the quote, I also believe it is an apt quote. If we are to be a nation that survives, we must remember that we are all ONE nation. That we are ONE people regardless of our race, sexual orientation, color or religious beliefs. Right now, this is a country that's fraying along multiple seams and there is no tailor or seamstress with enough skill to patch it back together.
While somebody might say to me that the people who believe the blatant likes being told by Glenn Beck and Fox news should be felt sorry for, I just can't. These are people who, when shown the facts, choose to disbelieve what is real
for the lies these fear mongering so-called news organizations are handing out like tainted candy.
We have become a country of followers, so terrified of a government that attempting to help them, that we follow the lying liars who are causing the fear an panic and we let them make our decisions for us.
I would beg people to wake up and read the truth, to seek it out and to look at their own craziness in the mirror and smash it like a bug, but I know they won't. They will continue to be afraid because that's what their trusted sources are telling them to be.
In Maine, when the marriage equality vote was on the ballot I was approached by people in the street wanting me to sign a petition to stop the rights of homosexuals to marry. They told me that this would change the definition of marriage and that soon people would be marrying their dogs.
I just stared at him for a minute and then said; "You're an idiot and a bigot."
Marriage Equality lost in Maine because of these tactics. I'm flabbergasted at the ignorance and fear of people.
"Obama said he would fix things! It's been two years and it's not fixed! We don't believe anything he says now."
Well, George W. Bush ran the country into the ground over the course of eight years. You think eight years worth of damage can be undone in two? Really? Are you that fucking stupid?
Even Obama said it was going take time to repair the damage, but you had to go stick a knife in the agenda and hand power back to the yahoos who helped Mr. Bush steer the country into the muddy hole it's in today. Go you.
So you want to live in a festering stink hole of a country while the rest of the world points and laughs at us?
Go for it. It's your own damn fault.
|Sunday, August 15th, 2010|
The series of episodes in Season 5 where Joyce dies and the aftermath-The Body
-are amazingly well done. The first time I saw The Body
I immediately rewound it (had to record it on a VCR due to work schedule) and watched it again. I watched it three more times in as many days because of how vastly impressed I was with the episode. To be honest, there are few episodes of any TV show I have seen that were that good, and one of those was also a Buffy episode: Hush
from Season 4.
The problem is, I don't know if The Body
is really as good as I think it is. It effects me in a very profound way because I've lost somebody like that. One day there, the next gone and there's not real explanation for it. While the rest of my family understood that death was the most likely outcome, they kept me, the baby of the family, carefully insulated from the threat, so when it did happen it came out of the blue for me while everybody else had been able to prepare in some way or another.
Anyway, random thoughts as I go through the entire Buffy series from start to finish yet again.
-Micah Current Mood: artistic
|Wednesday, August 11th, 2010|
What happened to my custom friend's page settings? Damn you LiveJournal!
Oh well, still fucking better than FaceBook. Current Mood: annoyed
|Friday, July 23rd, 2010|
|On FaceBook and Other Atrocities
I'm really beginning to hate FaceBook. I've considered abandoning it completely, however it may turn out to be useful should I end up with a publishing deal. Or maybe I should just make a fan page on FaceBook at that point.
It goes beyond the privacy issues or business practices (though you maybe terrified if you knew what some of their business practices are). It's the entire culture of FaceBook. There are friends from my past that I have on FaceBook, but that I've never spoken to, emailed or anything else. On occasion I see their name pop up in my news reader and I realize that I don't care what's happening with them.
Instead, I find that I come back to LiveJournal and miss the people who always used to post here. Long form wonderful posts that allowed their brilliance or humor or random thoughts to take form. Now these same people are on FaceBook and send out little snippets of information that contain nothing of what their old, long form posts contained.
I admit, maybe I'm getting too old for this shit, but I think that sometimes we really are too connected. iPhones, Android Phones, 3G, 4G... How connected are you?
Ten years ago I had a cell phone with an LCD screen and Snake and I was happy. I was happy when MP3 players came out so I didn't have to cart around a case of CDs to go with my diskman and I was happy when I could put all my music in one place on my computer.
But what next? Will they offer the iCam directly implanted into your eye so that the world can see what you see? Press a mole on your hand to take a picture and automatically upload it to all your social networking sites?
If you've not see the Anime Lain, I suggest you watch it. Once you see it, it will make sense as to the relevance of this topic.
There's a part of me that wants to abandon a lot of this connected shit. Do I need my iPhone? Why not just go back to a flip phone for phone calls? Honestly, I don't use the 3G features nearly enough to warrant the exorbitant price I pay every month for the service nor do I feel as though AT&T is being fair to us as customers with all the rate changes and policy changes. An iPod touch would do the same thing without the additional charge.
Don't get me wrong, I think technology has great potential. I wouldn't give up my laptop for anything in the world, but I also wouldn't add a 3G card to it. I bought an iPad, but I didn't get the 3G version.
I don't care who you are or what your feelings are on Apple, but the iPad is fucking awesome. The sheer potential it has as a device for education, business and creativity is off the charts. It is NOT something for you if you want a full OS with folders and registry items (if you're windows) or preferences (if you're mac). It is at once both completely simplistic and utterly complex all at once.
But the big reason I love it so much revolves around it's ability to be used as an educational tool. It's something you can hand to a kindergardener to help them learn basic math or reading skills and then hand the same unit to a senior in college to help keep track of notes and research materials and even take notes.
It's not a perfect device by any means, but nothing is. Everything has its flaws.
But I digress...
We don't need to be this connected. They all want you to think we have to be.
Now the flip side of this is that I'm a total Geek when it comes to gadgets. I love them, but I also don't need them.
I'm seriously considering killing my FaceBook account entirely. Wiping it off the map and providing people who are interested in keeping up with me both my physical address and phone number and my LJ account information.
I think it's time to go back to writing actual letters, to waiting until you get home to see your updates instead of trying to read them in the car, to reading books with covers and pages you have to flip, to get outside and see the world with your own eyes instead of filtered through tangled strands of the web.
Sometimes I just want to simplify. Current Mood: geeky
|Sunday, July 18th, 2010|
Was driving in New York on I-87 and saw Elvis driving a white Cadillac.
We tried to slow down to get a picture, but he kept slowing down as we slowed down. He must have known we were onto him. Current Mood: bouncy
|Wednesday, June 30th, 2010|
|Missing the LJ Folks
I used to have pages and pages of LiveJournal entries to read every day. Now it's all focused into tiny little status updates on FaceBook or twitter.
I miss all you LJers out there who used to post all the time. I don't like twitter except to use as a quasi IM client for techies and FaceBook has been getting me down recently.
Come back folks. I miss you all. Current Mood: cheerful
|Tuesday, June 29th, 2010|
There are moments in time that often stay with you long after they have passed. It maybe your first kiss or the first time you really fell in love, though sometimes it's little things that seem to have no deeper meaning.
For me, one of these moments was living in Portland, Oregon and cutting through the cemetery near the bar we all used to hang out at. This wasn't the first time we'd cut through the graves nor even the last time, but it was this one time that sticks with me.
It was fairly humid for Oregon on that particular evening, but not overly warm. I was still sporting my leather jacket, the one I'd bought with birthday money because I'd started to go back toward my old über goth days. We'd left the bar with the desire to go do something else, but what that something else was, I cannot remember.
We had to hop the fence to get into the cemetery, an old chain link that was taller than me. I wonder if, eight years later, I might still be able to monkey over it as easily as I did that night. There was the rich scent of the earth and fresh cut grass, the mound of dirt covering a fresh grave and the piles of flowers around it signifying that whoever it was had been well loved. I didn't stop to read the marker, just kept going on with my friends talking about writing and politics and art.
The words we spoke aren't the important thing and though I think I remember what we all said, time has a way of changing our memories.
After we'd cut through the graveyard, I got into the car and started it up, my little blue 1991 Honda Civic. The radio had just started to play "Hey Jealousy" by the Gin Blossoms and a little part of my heart was pulled out.And you know it might not be that bad
You were the best I ever had
If I hadn't blown the whole thing years ago
I might not be alone
There are days, moments really, when all I really want is to be back in that graveyard on that night with those people, though I may never know why it's specifically that night I seem to remember with such clarity - it was always the same group of people. Current Mood: nostalgic
|Sunday, May 2nd, 2010|
|The Passing of a Great Man
Last night around 1am and was informed that my grandfather had passed.
He was a gunner on bombers during WWII, was shot down and parachuted into France where he was arrested by the Nazis and put into a POW camp until the end of the war when he the camp was liberated by the Russians.
I remember him as being kind, yet firm. I can remember spending time with he and grandma, going to the zoo and climbing monkey mountain, going for picknicks and catching scorpions with him, even though he knew they were very poisonous.
I liked fishing with him because he tended to be no-nonsense about it, just as he tended to be fairly no non-sense about about everything in life.
Today we got up and went to breakfast at IHOP in his memory. While I couldn't order the Corn Cakes, his favorite, I did have pancakes. I spent some time talking about his time in the war to Damion and Amanda and remembering him fondly.
I'll be leaving to fly back to Colorado this week for services. Before going out a few weeks ago I hadn't been back there since my grandmother's funeral in 2004, and now it will be twice within three weeks.
It's a sad day today and I wish that I could be going back to visit with him one more time. I had wished that I could see him and talk to him for a little while, but that last visit was still good and it will stay with me. Current Mood: sad
|Monday, March 22nd, 2010|
|Ticket for Rush
Rush Limbaugh said that he would go to Costa Rica if healthcare reform passed. It has. Go to the above site and donate a dollar to help Rush keep his promise.
If he refuses to go to Costa Rica, all proceeds are going to Planned Parenthood. Current Mood: amused
|Friday, March 19th, 2010|
|Windows 7 Again
As much as I might point out the flaws of Windows 7, please know that I really like.
Really. Really. Like. It.
To the point where I might consider making it my primary OS and use the Mac side of things to handle my photography stuff (Mac still has better photo software than the PC - and yes, I know Photoshop is on both platforms, but if you're not doing image manipulation and just need basic "Darkroom Type" tools, then Apple wins).
I prefer Office on Windows, though if Office 2011 for the Mac is anything like 2010 for Windows then that could end up being a tie.
My biggest problems with the OS revolve around the size (close to 20gigs for the 64bit version, while Apple's 64bit OS is only 6gigs) and the lack of built in support for some things (CalDAV is the one I've mentioned before). The number of hoops I had to jump through to get all my Google calendars on my computer was just a pain in the ass and not something that the average user could do. Outlook won't sync to Google without a certain additional program and then it will ONLY sync your main calendar. I had to download Thunderbird, add Lightening and add an additional plugin on top of that to deal with Google Calendar syncing. The Mac has all that built in and ready to go.
But those are really my only two Big Complaints. I have complaints about Apple as well, just in different areas.
Anyway, there's my thoughts.
Deal. Current Mood: happy
|Wednesday, March 10th, 2010|
Patents piss me off. They strangle innovation and advancement. Didn't there used to be a rule about natural progression of patents? That company A could improve upon the patent created by Company B? I'm tired of all the damn laws suits over patents (and yes, that includes Apple suing HTC). Current Mood: annoyed
|Tuesday, March 9th, 2010|
|A List or Two
First, we'll start with a list of things the Apple can learn from Windows:
1. The dock is cool, the Windows 7 Task Bar is cooler - specifically, if I want to minimize a window, I click on the task bar and it minimizes. Maximize it? Click on the task bar. Pretty cool stuff there.
2. Themes and Customization - Come on Apple, when OS X debuted ten years ago you promised us the ability to customize the look of the OS to meet our needs/aesthetics. Where is it?
3. Menu items - Why have menu items listed at the top of the screen ALL THE TIME? The integration of Menu Items into individual windows frees up screen real estate.
4. Censorship - As far as I know, Microsoft isn't censoring anybody on their products. Stop that, Apple. It's bad form. Now I can't buy overtly sexual apps in your app store but I can rent and download 9 1/2 Weeks
or Original Sin
? Ummmmm, what? Take all the apps you don't feel are "necessary" and put them in a completely different genre in the store if you want, but don't boot them because you feel they're not necessary to the user. Are people using them? THEY'RE USEFUL!
Now a list of things Microsoft could learn from Apple:
1. Networking isn't hard, don't make it needlessly difficult just so your certified pros can hold onto jobs.
2. Develop your own hardware to sell you OS on and control the quality of it - I'm not saying try to put other computer makers out of business, but learn from Apple's total oversight of the hardware they produce - even if you don't like their OS, the hardware they put out there is always ranked exceedingly high in quality standards.
3. Quality Control - Seriously, Vista should never have been released as it was. Stop the "Release it now, fix it later" doctrine and get it right the first time. With any luck, Windows 7 is a glimpse into a brighter future in regards to that.
4. Stop trying to play catch-up with technology you didn't come up with. The Zune should be put out of its misery and let go. Focus your attentions on your strengths and build out from there. The upcoming Courier from you guys is unique, useful and and appears to offer much more usability than the iPad right out of the box.
I could easily go on for some time on both lists, but I don't want to rant too much.
I honestly feel if you put the best aspects of both into a single OS, it would become the one OS to rule them all! Current Mood: cheerful
|Monday, February 22nd, 2010|
|Windows 7 Update
Things I REALLY like about Windows 7 (and in some cases, Windows in general):
1. Integrated Task/Menu bar - Unlike Mac which has a menu bar at the top of the screen and a dock at the bottom, Windows combines them really well into one cohesive bar.
2. Window based menus - Instead of having the menu bar at the top of the screen change based on the application running, the menu bar for each application is contained within the application window itself.
3. Windows Button/Tab browsing - Cool separation of windows when trying to find the window you want to be working in - Apple does do this a little more efficiently with Exposé, but I still like it in Windows.
4. Microsoft Office on the PC - Right now, Office for the Mac just isn't as pretty, isn't as cool and feels clunky after playing with Office on Windows. This maybe remedied when Office 2010 for the Mac arrives later this year.
5. Price - While you often times "Get what you pay for" in the computer world, you can still find a computer of comparable Apple quality for less than you would pay for an Apple; not always MUCH less, but still less.The Things That Apple Has Nailed
1. Included software - Most of the crap that ships with your new Windows computer is crap and that's generally because the hardware manufacturer is shoving third party software down your technological throat. Apple provides home-grown software that provides the everyday consumer great options for photo sorting, website creation, music making, movie making and DVD authoring. Microsoft itself doesn't package much with it's operating system, leaving you having to spend more money to get the same functionality you would have with a Mac out of the box. Yes, there are free options out there for some of these items, but the quality is decidedly worse than something you'd pay for. Yes, the GIMP is impressive, but next to Photoshop it's just a pile of monkey poo.
2. Page Layout - As wonderful as MS Word is at Word Processing, it makes a crappy Page Layout program, which is what makes iWork such a wonderful piece of software. For the consumer who just wants to put up some signs, create a newsletter or put together a homemade invitation, Pages is truly amazing.
3. Security - Yes, Macs are more secure. People will point out that Macs tend to lose security challenges more frequently, but they also tend to have the Macs logged in as an Administrator as opposed to a standard user. Being logged in as an admin to any system puts you at a higher risk for backdoor system takeover. Also, there's the virus side of things. There is one piece of malicious software out there that might be considered a virus, but that is still up for debate. While the claim that there aren't people out there writing viruses for the Mac and that's why there are no viruses for the Mac holds a little weight, the sheer lack of viruses makes it quite clear that attempting to write that sort of software for a BSD Kernel isn't an easy task. HOWEVER, this is not to say that the Mac is immune to KEY LOGGERS and TROJANS. These pieces of malicious software are currently available for all systems, including Linux. The only 100% safe system is one that has NO network connections and NEVER will.
4. Spaces - The ability to have multiple Desktops that you can switch between is fantastic. I currently have 9 different desktops setup with each one home to only certain applications. No longer is my screen cluttered with a billion open windows and running applications. A quick keyboard shortcut will get me to the next Desktop or whatever particular desktop I want. You can find something quite similar to this in Ubunut.
5. The Terminal - Yes, Windows has a command prompt, but it is nothing like the Terminal in Mac OS. True power users who want to delve into the real guts of the OS swoon over a UNIX terminal like this. This one of the many reasons why Apple has become one of, if not the, prevalent system in the MIT School of Computer Sciences and Electrical Engineering.
6. Size - A base install of Mac OS X 10.6 is just over 6gigs while the base install of Windows 7 comes it at 17gigs! The sheer size of Windows 7 is staggering.
7. Server - Apple has nailed the server market and Microsoft wants to try and keep up, they will have to totally revamp their server software. With 10.6 Server, Apple has become 100% UNIX compliant, and considering it sits on top of a UNIX Kernel, you can configure all the services through the terminal and never even touch the GUI, if you really want to.
8. Networking - While Windows 7 does bring some improvements to networking, they still make it unnecessarily difficult for the average user. Mac has turned something that was once a giant ball of confusion into something simple and easy to understand and configure.
As a total Apple Fanboy, with the release of Windows 7, I honestly wouldn't be adverse to having a Windows 7 dedicated machine in my house. I am vastly impressed with the operating system and enjoy using it - sometimes, though I am loath to admit it, more than using Mac OS. Current Mood: happy
|Monday, February 15th, 2010|
I’ve been using Windows 7 since Wednesday and, as an avid Mac fan, I’m pretty pleased with it.
Now for my required “Mac centric” part of my review:
Right off the bat, I will say that over all, the Mac is the better platform. It’s a more secure system, more stable and generally put together with more care toward those ends than Windows.
Anybody who says that “Power Users” need Windows really doesn’t know much about operating systems. Sorry, but it’s true.
However, that said if you want to feel like a power user then Windows 7 is the way to do it. Yes, it’s very customizable with its built in and downloadable themes. If you want to try to edit the registry, you can do that as well, altering functionality and making the OS feel more personalized.
Mac does two things very important things very well: They create an easy to use OS that pretty much anybody can sit down and use and they give true power users the ability to delve into the real guts of the OS with a terminal and UNIX commands. Both OS X and OS X Server are fully Unix Compliant, which is very important on a server. Since the OS sits on top of a UNIX kernel, you can use command line tools to setup services or you can use the GUI.
Also, ask any IT professional (who isn’t trying to convince the higher-ups to buy more PCs so they can keep their jobs) and they will tell you that Mac OS kicks the ass out of Windows.
That said, I am very pleased with Windows 7. There are the little annoyances that continue to pop up. The inability to tell Windows to STOP asking every time you open a particular application or control panel. You have to change your Security Settings over all instead of just saying “Don’t ask for THIS application.”
The OS is very responsive and reacts quickly, a nice change from Vista’s sometimes sporadic performance on the same system.
Regarding the task bar, I have decided that most of the time, I prefer it over the Mac Dock, however there are moments when it gets annoying. Just because I’m hovering over the application icon doesn’t mean I want a list of all the open windows in the app popping up in thumbnail view. It would be a much better feature if that was a secondary click option.
Not a Windows issue, but Outlook’s inability to import a .vcf file with multiple contacts is rather frustrating. I had to import the contacts one at a time into “Windows Contacts” and then import them all into Outlook. Considering how well most of Outlook is put together, I would expect them to be able to recognize multiple contacts in a single .vcf file. It’s a touch annoying.
But back to Windows.
Like I said, it’s snappy, responsive and… huge! It weighs in around 17gigs with no other software installed on my system, wherein my Mac OS X 10.6 base install is about 6gigs.
I’m not going to lie, I like the look and feel of Windows 7 and there are some aspects of it that I prefer over the Mac, but overall I still say that the Mac wins.
This does not mean that I will stop using Windows 7 from time to time. Windows 7 has a great feel to it and I like the audible feedback you get from various actions and Windows Button/Tab ability to flip through windows is far better than the alt/tab version (or Apple’s Command/Tab).
My last major complaint is the fact that Microsoft charges you huge amounts of money with various “versions” of their software suite, while Mac charges one price ($129) for a fully functional, non-hamstringed OS and offers their Server software with unlimited clients at just $499.
So those are my thoughts. Mac is still superior, but Windows 7 has come a long way from XP (and billions of miles from Vista). While it’s nice to see that they have realized they really do have to start putting quality into their OS and not just their office suite, they still fall short in very important ways – one of the biggest being ease of use in networking. Current Mood: cheerful