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A Bad Thursday

Things could have been worse.


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Things could have been worse. It could have been raining.

Actually it was supposed to rain but somehow it didn't. The rain's been put on hold. People have been having bad weather everywhere so far this summer, so far this year. And so far 2009 isn't known for its bad weather alone.

Farrah and Michael both left the building yesterday. A one-two punch. One after the other. Long-time companion Ryan O'Neal married Farrah at the last moment, as if to say 'we'll be together forever, baby'. Michael was preparing for his comeback tour, reputedly beset with debt and in real need of new funds, and suddenly was rushed to hospital.

And as if that wasn't enough, CBS decided at the last moment to yank what may have been Farrah's most famous YouTube clip, the interview with David Letterman. As SvD columnist Harry Amster wrote:

'Here's the interview with Letterman or more correctly CBS have just yanked it. Talk about choosing the right moment.'

But if you've seen George Clooney's movie 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' then you might recognise the following quiz show with a young non-acting Farrah with her mousy voice. CBS don't seem to own this one.

MJ's video for 'Beat It' with the solo by Eddie van Halen is online at YouTube but typically embedding is disabled by request. Typically. So are a lot of copies. Viva Hollywood. If you want to see it you'll have to go here.

Microsoft announced their price lines for the UK and the US for Se7en yesterday. Things are looking about the way people expected. From the Inquirer.

  • Windows Se7en Home Premium will be priced at £20 less in the UK at £149.99 and $40 less in the US at $199.99, for the full package, or £79.99 in the UK and $119.99 in the US for the just the upgrade from Vista.
  • Windows Se7en Professional will be priced at £219.99 in the UK and $299.99 in the US for the full package, or £189.99 in the UK and $199.99 in the US for the upgrade.
  • Windows Se7en Ultimate will be priced at £229.99 in the UK and $319.99 in the US for the full package, or £199.99 in the UK and $219.99 in the US for the upgrade.
  • Windows Se7en Vomit will be priced at £359.99 in the UK and $399.99 in the US for the full package, or £259.99 in the UK and $299.99 in the US for the upgrade.

All things considered Apple's $29 upgrade to Snow Leopard has to be looking good. But there's more to consider.

  • You might be bewildered (dazzled) by the new 'look and feel' of Se7en but that's most likely because you haven't seen anything better. 'Aero' or 'Glass' or whatever they're calling it today is a cheap rip-off of a good idea from someone else - and it's obscenely expensive in terms of hardware and up-front costs. A Big Mac might be your ultimate Happy Meal until you try a filet mignon black and white. A bucket of KFC might seem the tastiest thing you've experienced until you acquaint yourself with caneton à l'orange. Ford might have convinced you theirs is the ultimate sports car until you test drive a Ferrari. And so forth.

  • People not running Windows don't need antivirus. Oh sure - AV products are available for non-Windows platforms. And some people install them. Mostly the free kind. But they don't really need them. That's because non-Windows platforms are secure - they have 'inner barriers'. Think submarines. One compartment can get flooded but the rest won't. Windows is an empty defenceless casing.

  • You might think it's hard to use a new platform but even the oldest dogs can learn new tricks, despite the saying to the contrary. Open source platforms are generally better at emulating Windows than Windows itself. Apple's OS X is a bit apart - it's a true object oriented platform. And that can take time - perhaps a month - to get used to. But trust those who've switched: it's worth it. The time you save in your workflows is considerable. It's just easier to do things on an object oriented platform.

  • You might worry that your favourite applications aren't available anywhere but on Windows yet in general almost everything is today available in one form or another for all platforms. More and more work is done on the web anyway. Don't let your darlings hurt you, to paraphrase the famous film director Ingemar Bergman. You'll be OK - count on it.

  • In fact there is so much more software available on a Unix platform it's not funny. You have something like thirty years of Unix software sitting there and it's there mostly for free too. Perhaps more free titles than there are commercial titles for Windows. These are titles everyone everywhere is using. So there's a broad user community and a lot of good help available if you need it.

  • Don't be fooled by the marketing hype. And don't be intimidated by the lockin. Sooner or later you're going to have to switch anyway. Windows is doomed - just as Microsoft are. They missed the boat in not accommodating their software and their platform to the Internet age. They're trying every trick in the book - and spending obscene amounts of money trying to hold back the hands of the clock - but Windows of any version is always going to be the 'same old same old'. The sooner you break with Microsoft the less headache you'll have. Wait another year and the situation will only get worse.

Summary

  1. The actual interface of Windows is rather nonsensical and a cheap rip-off of ideas that come from other companies (where the idea is implemented more intelligently). If you want 'dazzle' you're on the wrong platform.
  2. You don't need antivirus. The AV companies will try to scare you into buying but don't do it. There are free alternatives available if you really want something. But you don't really need it. Non-Windows systems are more secure and don't need it.
  3. You can get used to any switch you make. At the very worst you'll need about a month. Some people don't need any time at all.
  4. You won't lack for third party software. You probably have better choices when you're no longer on Windows. And there are great user communities online to help you with whatever you need.

Spend More, Spend Less

Switching can imply either spending more or spending less. Windows is no cheap product anymore. And there are countless hidden costs which can cripple you. Open source systems are a lot cheaper because they'll run on yesterday's hardware. They're written much better than Windows. Apple systems are going to initially be a bit more expensive up front because you need new hardware. And all Apple boxes are 'top of the line' - Apple don't sell 'el cheapo' boxes. But Apple boxes generally last a lot longer than your typical Windows PC junk.

Bright Spots

But there are bright spots. Safari 4 for example. It's a lot less crash prone. And it's comforting to see David Hyatt working on the RFCs for HTML 5.



He finally fixed the Cocoa services bug - the one that made it possible to munge read-only web pages. Yes it took years but it got fixed. Hope springs eternal.

A few things about the new UI aren't too great. One wonders if those so-called 'user experience engineers' really have any 'user experience'.

  • The tab close buttons. They don't appear until you hover over the tabs. This is oh so clever but essentially of no use at all. It serves no purpose save looking clever. And considering Firefox has the close buttons on the other side it's going to slow everyone down.
  • The stupid bug with the 'no man's land' in the LRHC is still there as it's been from Day One. Hyatt still hasn't seen it after all these years.
  • That annoying 'ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO CLOSE THIS TAB YOU HAVE TEXT ON IT!!1!' can be defeated as it turns out.
    defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugConfirmTossingUnsubmittedFormText -bool NO

More to come in a future CLIX update once the team are through going through the Safari binary.

A Bit of Music

Yesterday was a big day for demonstrations too. Seems there's a supposed democracy in the middle east where certain powers that be don't really understand they're supposed to be running a democracy. And where people are so enthusiastic to vote in their free elections that the vote count can exceed the population.

There was a demonstration in London recently, and yesterday in Washington DC and Seattle, and for half a day the masthead of this site turned green in support.

It's been a bad Thursday. So a bit of music to cheer you up. Both these clips are from the 46664 concert a few years back in South Africa. The first features Zucchero, Sharon Corr, Roger Taylor, and Brian May. The second features Andrea Corr and Brian May again, this time with a song May and Freddie Mercury penned in a German hotel room after watching a news bulletin not unlike what most of you saw yesterday.

Everybody's got to learn sometime.



Fight death with life. Fight oppression with hope and perseverance. The weather's going to get better.

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