My $0.02 on iPad

First of all, I am glad that for once I had a vision 🙂

This is nothing too big, and I was not original, but I kinda-sorta thought that iPad would be a great name: it leverages off the ThinkPad name brand, it follows the suit of other “i” products (iPod, iPhone, iWork, iMac, etc.), it gives you an idea about the form-factor (it’s a ‘pad,’ not a ‘slate,’ not a ‘tablet’).

But this is not what I wanted to write about. I am torn between Gruber and Doctorow. Between Pilgrim and Ihnatko. I am not sure anymore where’s the dark side, where’s the light one. Nor whether all I am seeing is just the duct tape…

I am no RMS. I do not have any will power to stay the course consistently, driving his point on free software with religious rigor. I like it when things just work, though I also love to tinker with things, trying to figure why/how/if things work. I am a tinkerer, but I am not making any living out of that and this makes me a weakling, easy to fall for a nice and shiny package.

I love my MacBook Pro. I loved my PowerBook G4 and still love it. But I also love the power of logging into my FreeBSD box which served me as a server for many years. I am immensely greateful to those people who’ve spent uncounted hours getting *BSD or Linux distros to work, taking them to the level they’re no on. None of this could ever happen had the world been just a little more closed, restrictive and locked-in as it seems to becoming now.

Or is it? Is it truly as closed as we think? Maybe this is merely a point of view, based on what we, we’ve our baggage of the past 20-30 years perceive to be open or closed? Or is this a gradually restricted, slowly turning onto myself me talking? The ‘me’ that is turning against ‘me’?

I am torn. I don’t know what’s light and what’s dark…


Apple iPad? How about a little German innovation instead

… German Android device has a bigger multitouch screen and a faster CPU than the iPad. Also it runs Flash, has USB ports, an inbuilt card reader and expandable memory. Additionally it allows complete multitasking and has a webcam. Beat that baby.

Then it brags on about an unknown German company that is marketing a supposed German iPad killer. Ok, we all know that TechCrunch is not an Apple fan-boy playground. But this? P-uh-lease…

I love it that device is running “a Linux derivate with Android on top”, and author is quick to note that. But making claims without ever seeing, feeling and running a device? Silly…

Nexus One, iPhone, Flash

One thing I thought was a great thing about iPhone was the fact that it does not support Flash. Sure, you end up not being able to access a site or two—nothing to shed tears about. But most importantly so much of the content was moving off the flashy crap and onto H.264 and such.

What now scares me with Nexus One is the declared support of Flash 10.1 on the device. This is BAD. Really bad. This is not forward movement at all, this is much more of the dirty underdog trick on Google side. Sure, this may well turn out to be a strong Nexus selling point (not for me, but who knows). But as far as the Web is concerned a—we won’t be winners in this one.

(anti)Freedom fighter

New Yprk Times OpEd: Ten for the Next Ten (by Bono)

A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales… we know from America’s noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China’s ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it’s perfectly possible to track content.

I am very sympathetic of the hardships Bono has to endure. And I am glad that he feels for the rest of his peers, especially the ones that would never be able to sign a big fat contract with Universal or Sony Music or Warner Bros. All because of those damn file sharers just would not stop sharing that music.

What is constantly not being addressed by the criticism and militant denial of changing times like the one from Bono (or Mr. Trump & friends) is what is the underlying current, why file sharing en masse is out there? And though so much has been written about it, all the reasoning falls upon deft ears.

It is a big world out there, bathing in bandwidth, spreading the news and information fast. Yet media companies (recording industry, movie industry and press) still want to rely on inefficient physical means of distribution, because this is the only thing they can somewhat reliably control. The key here is somewhat — it is totally trivial to copy even DRMed CD, relatively more difficult, yet still possible to copy a DVD, very cumbersome, yet still quite easy to scan a book or a magazine.

But the point is not that it is easy to violate media IP. The point is that such actions need not be a violation. They are unlawful only in as much as there’re artificial barriers established around these properties, not unlike the castle walls of medieval Europe.

Apple event on 26 Jan

So, everybody and their uncle are predicting the tablet. Seems like a good bet indeed. But I am sure that it won’t be (at least in some important aspects) what all are expecting.

I wager that tablet will be centered around media management for your home media library (extending and expanding lethargic AppleTV) and aiming at PSP fair and square. It will not be Apple’s answer to netbooks.

[Posted with iBlogger from my iPhone]

Getting 802.11n to work on Unibody Macbook Pro with WRT610N

I just got me a nice and shiny Linksys WRT610N — it was about time to upgrade the network, get a bit of a speed boost. Installation was trivial (no, you don’t have to insert a CD if you know what you’re doing), but for some reason I could not get my Macbook (unibody 17″, early 2009) to see “N” network, only “G” was visible.

Solution was simple, but took some searching. In “Basic Wireless Settings” under “5GHz Wireless Settings” set “Wide Channel” from “Auto (DSF)” to any specific value (I chose “46,” being a close enough match for 42).

Why did they need to *spoil* good thing

Many moons ago I came across a nice plugin for Outlook — LookOut which has made it just passable to live with multiple PST files and cope with 300+ inbound / 150+ outbound daily emails. Just type in from:Joe subject:foo “bar baz” and ‘ere you go — a few seconds later you get your list of spam from Joe.

Even when I first installed it (around 2005), LookOut was already sold to Microsoft. They planned to integrate their search tech into Windows and Office. And did they need it.

Anyone who has ever had to try and find anything filed away in a reasonably large Oytlook pst (say, over 700mb), would relate to frustration and pain. Outlook search is dumb. Most people I know end up doing searching by sorting — by from, to, date or subject — then trying to browse the result for that very email.

LookOut only needed to index your PSTs (and any document folders too) once, then keep that index up as new items were added. First run could take a couple-three hours, but it was worth every minute. Just take a longish lunch and a staff meeting, then you’re done.

Outlook 2003 came out without any search improvements (unless one wants to consider search folders anything like a “search improvement”), but 2007 version did gain Windows Desktop Search. That was where that purchased tech must have been applied. But was it a good application?

No. It took me several DAYS to get my PSTs indexed. And even after that it is nowhere instant. Interface of Outlook Instant Search is clumsy — it gets in a way by trying to both search and redraw the UI. Explorer-based UI is no better, although I find it at least less interfering, yet distracting nonetheless.

Microsoft should really look at how this was done before, or how Google, Copernic or, gasp, Apple do this. And simply NOT “improve” it.