Category Archives: Computers

My Mac Mini is on the way.

This will be my 3rd Mac, used primarily as a Logic platform and a programming environment. I still don’t currently plan on doing iPhone development, but that may change in the future.

I purchased the very baseline model, and I plan on doing the memory (to 4 gig) and hard drive (7200 rpm drive) upgrades myself.

I’m excited in a dirty sort of way.

Correction: this will be my 4th Mac…. I originally forgot about the old PowerMac I gave to my parents.

iPhone Development

Recently I’ve been torn between working on iPhone development or just continuing working in Windows/Web development. I’ve decided against being an iPhone developer for many reason, such as (but not limited to):

Start up costs: the purchase of a Mac and then the $99/year iPhone development fee
Market Supersaturation: there are so many other developer moving towards this, that every app that I’ve ever tried to brainstorm has been published (and then lots and lots and lots more!)
Objective-C: I’ve done my research on it. It’s not a bad language at all, but I’m a C/C++/C# programmer. Plus it’s (mostly) Mac only, and not-so cross-platform compatible.

I love my iPhone (and iTunes!), and I like my old G4 PowerMac (love it considering its age), but with Windows 7 Microsoft has redeemed itself more than just a little bit (it still needs work, but it’s a point-release–I’m anxious to see what they do in the next version).

I don’t like the limitation that Apple is only supporting Objective-C for almost all of their programming, options are so much more important to me. This is where Linux and Windows really shines… almost every development language is supported…it’s just a matter of which windowing framework you prefer to deal with.

Technology moves far too fast and I’m getting older every day 😀

Utilization of 64 bit!

My memory upgrade came in and I’ve got my venerable Asus P5k-V maxed out.
8 gigs of Memory running the Windows 7 release candidate.

I’m a happy camper as 64 bit has been a long time coming. Now I’ll be able to edit video with a little more headroom.

Mac in the closet again

Well that didn’t take long. I just didn’t see me using the Mac for anything but novel recording.

Sure I know it’s an old Mac, and yes it’s a version old OS (Tiger was installed), but it just didn’t run the familiar software that I prefer to use (although Logic wasn’t bad at all). I’m a Linux/Windows guy. I have been for quite some time now (although I know more about the grits of MacOS than most Mac users). I like Linux as a desktop, but it’s still not mature enough–at the very least Multimedia software wise–to use it for anything but programming and standard surfing (although I’ve been known to play games on it quite a bit under Wine–too bad the drivers for my MIDI devices don’t work well).

What I’d like to see is Sony Media Software start supporting Linux in their next versions of Vegas, Sound Forge and perhaps Acid. Those three are fairly inexpensive packages that I really enjoy using, however I think there’d be a better chance for Adobe to release software than Sony would as they’ve already got a cross-platform library pipeline in progress. Either way such support is still years off, and until then I’m quite happy with the Windows 7 release candidate.

The only reason I had a moment of crisis is the lack of good 64 bit DaW drivers for my Radium 61 my M-Audio MIDI controller and a quite a few bugs in SONAR 8 that have been resolved if I had pulled my head out of my butt and read the “readme” files instead of running blindly in. Hopefully after the Wichita Theatre is done with the Wizard of Oz (I’m helping out in the show by being Chorus and warm-body) I’ll start recording again.

Mac at it again.

I’ve pulled my dual G4 PowerMac out of the closet (pun intended, but true) and started using it again for recording. As much as I really don’t like the idea of Apple (hardware and software lock-in) it honestly just DOES WORK for multimedia.

I’ll continue on my way I think and see if this will really work for what I want it to do, or if Windows is the way to go for Multimedia work.
I’m such an OS slut–heh

Windows 7 RC

If I could define a single word that defines my experience with this OS so far it would be ‘wow’.

This is the OS that Microsoft should have released instead of Vista. I don’t blame them for releasing Vista, as it forced the hardware manufacturers to create drivers for the Vista/7 driver model (which was 95% of my issues with Vista when it was released).

When I dual boot from Vista to 7 I’m constantly bugged by the general lagginess of Vista in comparison to 7 (which in some cases is more snappy than XP!). Honestly, 7 is making me a Microsoft fan again. Although I still think that their server licenses are too expensive, however Windows Server 2008 Foundation may change that for me.

I highly suggest anyone that’s halfway clueful with computers to test it out by going to their customer preview program!

Wow KDE 4.2 is Slow

I thought it was just the Aspire, but after installing Windows 7 beta on a separate partition, there needs to be a LEAPS and BOUNDS speed improvement in KDE & Fedora 11 to keep up with Microsoft’s upcoming gem.

Now understand I’m a Linux fan due to the fact that it’s free: Not (just) the fact that it’s price is free, but the fact that I have FREEdom to do what I like to the OS when I like. As much as I love QT development, I still think that KDE is so far behind the times for the average layman in day to day use.

I prefer the feel and speed of Gnome. I love the control panel everything. I’m just not a fan of straight C for GUI apps (yes, yes I’m aware of gtkmm, but it always seemed more of a hack than a solution).

KDE wouldn’t bother me so much if it wasn’t so sluggish. I even let the OS sit a few hours so that it could finish its indexing and it still ‘felt’ very laggy when navigating the Kickstart menu. I didn’t get this when using the Win7 Start menu (and I don’t get this when using the Gnome main menu).

Perhaps I’m missing something, but when they rewrote KDE didn’t they strive for resolution independence? I would think that would allow me to install on a small screen netbook without having to change all the font sizes manually just to see the standard system configuration menus.

4.3 should strive to be snappier and drop the crazy “Desktop Folder” and return to a classic desktop like the rest of the world is using.

I did note in my earlier rant that I prefer the look and feel of Gnome… this is only half true. I really prefer a single pane for any taskbar, (an OS should stay out of the way of applications as much as possible, gnome should have one taskbar not two — somehow. I’m not clever enough as a user to create a nice solution) and I really like the look of KDE a credit to their art volunteers it’s just the speed really, REALLY needs work.

My Acer Aspire One

I’ve been installing Fedora Core 11 beta on my Aspire One that I purchased last month and until today I’ve had hell getting the wireless driver to be enabled for usage.

Every time I went to the network manager icon in the taskbar (I’m using the KDE version since I’m looking to do some QT development) it kept telling me that wireless was disabled.

I spent the better part of last night thinking that it was a driver issue, but when I had Ubuntu installed the ath5k kernel driver module worked fine (which is what Fedora 11 uses).

I had an epiphany this morning when I was recalling the system network configuration options about allowing users to turn enable and disable the interface and I checked the option and restarted the networking stack (or you can reboot). Lo and behold everything worked as perfectly as a beta could function.

Here’s my methodology (there’s probably a more graphical way to get to the sytem-config-networking screen, but I’m a junkie):

First thing’s first: Fix the fonts (as the Aspire has too small of a screen for many GUI Control Panel options)…

  • go to Kickstart (the “Start” “F” button) and select System Settings
  • Click on Apperance
  • Select Fonts
  • Go to each font and make them two sizes smaller except the Window Title (unless you want to)
  • Save and reboot (as for some reason it doesn’t take the settings until after a full reboot)

open up a Terminal:

su –
(type your root password)
echo blacklist acer_wmi >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklists.conf
echo blacklist ath_pci >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklists.conf
yum upgrade
(let yum do its thing)

Comedy Gold

One of my biggest complaints over the last few months was the Developer Unfriendly nature of Apple. Today Apple posted this:

We have decided to drop the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for released iPhone software.

We put the NDA in place because the iPhone OS includes many Apple inventions and innovations that we would like to protect, so that others don’t steal our work. It has happened before. While we have filed for hundreds of patents on iPhone technology, the NDA added yet another level of protection. We put it in place as one more way to help protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others.

However, the NDA has created too much of a burden on developers, authors and others interested in helping further the iPhone’s success, so we are dropping it for released software. Developers will receive a new agreement without an NDA covering released software within a week or so. Please note that unreleased software and features will remain under NDA until they are released.

Thanks to everyone who provided us constructive feedback on this matter.

At their iPhone Developer Program page
I suppose I should retract some of my previous comments.,

Now if they’ll sell a “prosumer tower” somewhere between a iMac and a Mac Pro in power (preferably a quad-core with expandable graphics options like the Vista box I built) I’d be more inclined to be a fan.

NO to Mac

After several months of deliberation I’ve decided not to invest my money in the Mac platform although my little PowerMac G4’s a neat little machine. I’ve always used Cakewalk’s SONAR (at least since it’s been out) and before then Pro Audio (from version 7 or 8–I can’t remember–cocaine’s a helluva drug, heh) and I think that the learning curve, the fact that I already have fantastic hardware and the advertised new Audio engine performance improvement and the workflow changes make an upgrade from 5 to 8 a very, very tempting offer. So tempting I ordered my upgrade today.

I think the only thing I’ll miss is the choir AU from Logic Express/Garage Band, but I’m sure I’ll find an equivalent DX or VST synth equivalent in time. Once I have the box in my old hands I’ll go ahead and order the Rapture virtual synth upgrade from Cakewalk as well since SONAR 8 comes with Rapture LE their upgrade price is only $129.

Between that and the formal piano lessions I started to take last month I foresee some creative boosts in the future!

I have several reasons I’m against the Mac platform:

  1. It’s a developer unfriendly environment (e.g. NDA insanity and some App Store Shenanigans
  2. It’s a closed system. I’m no hardware geek but I get by. I’d prefer to be able to build a tower to MY specifications instead of having to spend more than double on a machine that I won’t use to full effectiveness daily.
  3. The most of the cross-platform software I use (mainly Lightwave) seems to be a few months or a year behind in development maturity compared to the Windows platform. Even Adobe has 64 bit versions of their products for Windows while this version doesn’t have 64 bit for a allegedly ‘more mature and elegant’ 64 bit system. This goes back to point #1. Apple refuses to back-port libraries that professional developers are using and forcing them into Cocoa (although it’s very nice).
  4. One doesn’t have much choice with software with Apple. You can purchase 1st party apps such as Logic or Final Cut which is quite mature and seem to be industry standard, but other than those choices they’re bleeding the market by pricing it to the point it’s difficult for a 3rd party to compete against them. Yes, the end-user seems to win, but choice is more important to me than price alone. With the Windows platform I have dozens of choices of Video editing platforms while on a Mac there really is only one (ask anyone what they edit video with on a modern Mac it’ll be Final Cut Express or Pro–even the old Avid guys either jumped ship to PC or switch to FCP).

Now don’t get me wrong. For a consumer Apple is very enticing and easy to use, and I’d love to have a MacBook or MacBook pro to replace my aging Acer (mainly to boot to Windows), but the desktop selection is far out of my league or not enough cowbell for my needs. Id’ still suggest a Mac to a new-to-computers person since Vista although is stable and usable, still has some complexity issues for a new customer (although a new customer in a 1st world country is very rare these days).

I despise the Control Panel layout in Vista it’s WAAAY too busy. Microsoft needs to take a look at the MacOS control panel for some ideas. UAC is great, but I’d like to see an ‘always run as administrator’ option in the shortcut options where it UAC prompts you once but never prompts you again unless the executable’s checksum changes. A modern program shouldn’t need to prompt you for UAC every time it launches, but there are a few legacy apps & games that I launch occasionally that required it.