Particle Debris (week ending 10/16) Old News, New News and Good News

Early in the week, I caught Jim Louderback's observations about Windows 7. Now Mr. Louderback, back in 2006, was the editor-in-chief of PC magazine, so he's been around the block with Windows. He had some interesting observations about some User Interface (UI) issues. Some of the changes are driven by Microsoft's perceptions about how to improve the OS, but what happens when the changes appear arbitrary and conduct grand theft on your old habits? In an any case, Mr. Louderback is a PC pro -- his notes are worth a look.

It seems that everyone in the Mac world and really savvy tech writers realize that the whole business model of newspapers has to change. Most of us think about a day when we have our newspaper and magazine subscriptions downloaded to our Apple iTablet. Why does it seem that everyone knows this except the publishers themselves? I think it's because they didn't grow up with the latest technologies, don't know who to turn to and don't know who to trust. Maybe Steve Jobs will lead them out of the wilderness. Anyway, Robert X. Cringely had some interesting observations on the whole thing in Part I (Oct 7th) and Part II (Oct 12) this week.

In his typical fashion, he lays out who the players are, what their motivations are, the the challenges for the industry.

Midweek, Computerworld published "The best free open-source software for Mac OS X. Items include AppleJack, Fink, Gimp, FireFox and RSS Owl. Check it out.

Have you been hearing about new iMacs in October? Possibly quad-core. Blu-ray speculation has been on-again, off-again, and no one who's talking knows for sure. Here's what Apple Insider had to say Thursday.

I liked another article at Apple Insider about Mac OS X server and Apple's server strategy. Not everyone realizes that Mac OS X (client) has a big brother, Mac OS X Server that's used primarily, but not exclusively, on Apple's Xserve in small to medium businesses. Mac OS X server has lot of additional capabilities and services for managing moderate size workgroups.

In addition to one of Dan Dilger's amazing timeline charts, he also points out the incredible value Mac OS X server brings to the table: a total cost of US$3,749 to manage 100 users compared to $23,315 for a Windows system. Somehow, all the extra Client Access Fees (CALs) seem to get overlooked when people are investigating their options. What's more, under virtualization, one can legally run multiple copies of Mac OS X server on a single Xserve. Finally, and it's no accident, Mr. Dilger has written a book on Mac OS X Server, so he knows something about the subject.

One of the things that makes the iPhone special is its hardware: a fast 600 MHz processor and Open GL ES graphics. So it didn't take long for reserchers to figure out how to use the iPhone's capabilities to display large graphics files. Networkworld posted an article on this: "iPhone apps enable 'supercomputer-class' image rendering." Amaze your friends with this one.

This next one isn't Apple specific, but every Apple customer will find this Newsweek article on passwords thought provoking. Isn't it time we got rid of password files and constantly changing passwords that we can never remember? Gov. Sarah Palin's e-mail account was hacked with some clever guesses about her family situation. Isn't it about time we just moved on? Carnegie Mellon University's cyber-security-research department is thinking about all this.

Finally, on Thursday, John Gruber had some thoughts on Windows that I found compelling. Many Windows users are just not into their computers. They want to read e-mail, buy Christmas presents on the Internet, and may watch some video, but in many (most?) cases, they just don't have the time or technical interest to dig into a PC OS. Mr. Gruber believes it's indifference. PCs "belong to people who value 'old and familiar' more than 'new and improved but therefore different'. If that’s the case, Windows 7 may not do any better than Vista. Perhaps Windows 7’s competition isn’t so much XP as it is apathy."

My question after reading the article was, how do you build an inspired OS for people who are uninspired?