Sunday, February 26, 2006

Apple should have called Rosetta Windows

About a year ago I bought a 12 inch iBook as I got a good deal on it and I was curious to see what Apple had to offer. I kept hearing about stability and ease of OS X. I was tired of tinkering. You know the times when you're using your computer and you would load a driver, uninstall the driver, try a different version of the driver, uninstall the program, reinstall the program just trying to get your work done. I marveled at my iBook as I turned it on and it attached itself to my wireless network after I answered some questions. The printers at my office and home loaded up across the VPN. I began just basically using the computer, I no longer tinkered. I went on to move my family and house to the OS X operating system, having since bought a mini, a PowerMac, and PowerBook. What didn't stop was my thirst for the latest, greatest. I got my Intel based MacBook Pro 5 days ago, I ordered it the day they were announced. I began the process of moving applications and files over from my "old" Powerbook. I'm just about functional now with my mainstay applications: Word, Excel, Firefox, Acrobat, iCal, AddressBook, and a few others. The speed is noticeability faster. I don't mean you see a difference on the stopwatch, I mean you'll see a difference time-wise , 1 - Mississippi, 2 - Mississippi, get the point. The keyboard is a little stiffer, the screen is smaller (I had a 17" PB), but I don't seem to mind as it's much brighter. But that's not the point here. As you may be aware you must have a universal binary version of your software to run in native mode on the new Intel Mac's. If you're not using a new universal binary, a part of OS X calls Rosetta which translates the old PowerPC code into code that the new Intel chip will understand and execute. All transparent to the enduser, other than..... The crashes. Yesterday I had to scan a about 60 pages of a contract into a PDF. Acrobat froze time and time again. I would have to start again. I tried using the HP software to scan directly into a PDF, frozen again. I tried plugging the scanner into a different USB port. I tried scanning into a text file. Just like I used to do when I ran Windows. It brought back less than fond memories. Then I remembered my PowerBook was still up and running. I plugged the scanner into the PowerBook USB told the same HP software to scan the pages into the same version of Acrobat. All 60+ pages right into the file, chose a filename and saved it. No crashes, no freezes it was just like it was after I left Windows. Maybe Dvorak was right, maybe Rosetta is actually Windows running on Apple already.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Geeks are from Mars and nongeeks are from Venus

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to the use of computers by the "masses", is geek v nongeek. I don't mean vs in the sense they oppose each other, but rather the differences in traits. There is a mindset that understands computers. A person with that mindset will intuitively function with a computer. No manuals, no training, they can navigate through and work software new or old. It's more than just being a logical thought process. If you a geek you've seen it before. You sit down in front of the computer to help someone. You complete what seems like a simple task and the expression on your helpee's face is one of the like that you just pulled a rabbit out of your hat. On the other end you've worked on completing a task for what seems like and hour and you ask for help. Your helper sits down at the computer and quickly, much quicker than you write it down, rattles through a series of what are totally foreign tasks. This isn't a problem, people are different. But as computers become more and more interwoven with daily life they need to function with all types of people. Now the problem arises not because people are different, but it arises because the people who "setup" or program the computers setup the computers to work how they think they should work. Then to compound the problem who writes the instruction manual for the person to use the computer? Of course the person with the same thought process. I'm not solving the problem here. But the first step to resolution is identification. Hopefully I've covered that.

Friday, February 3, 2006

MacBook Pro and Presentations

Of all the demos the one thing I haven't heard asked, or seen demonstrated is: a slide presentation.... I can honestly say I've given a LOT more lectures using Keynote or PowerPoint on my notebook, than I've watched movies. What I'm looking for is --- does the handy dandy remote allow you to load up presentation and control it with the remote? And why IR not RF? :(