Archive | April, 2005

Tiger Day One

Laura and I were at our local Apple dealer – Bitznbytes in Concord – at 6 PM last night to pick up a copy of Tiger. Fortunately, there was no long line of loonies dressed as strange characters – no wait at all, in fact – walked in and picked up our copy, chatted with the staff, played with the computers and left.

Today was much too nice a day to spend inside playing on the computer – Laura and I worked in the yard instead – so I’ll devote a little time over the weekend to getting the machine backed up and set up for the upgrade. O’Reilly & Associates web site MacDevCenter like “Everything You Need to Know to Install Tiger and “Housecleaning Tips for Tiger” worth reviewing before you leap in.

As my iMac is primarily a desktop machine for NeoOffice/J documents, email, browsing, blogging and as a terminal into remote machines, I don’t have a lot of software installed on it, and so I’m going to try the lazy man’s approach of upgrade-in-place, rather than a Freemanize of “blow everything away” – partition, format and reinstall – that would be more appropriate for a more heavily used machine. If the install gets glitchy, of course. that’s always the last resort. Stay tuned.

Ars Technica has a review of Tiger here including what seems to be a well-deserved bash of the Mail GUI redesign and a great explanation of fine-grained vs. course-grained kernel locking. Ars Technica has also started a set of journal pages, including an Apple journal page appropriately named “Infinite Loop.”

Tiger Ship Day

Barring a successful injunction from Tiger Software — interesting that they waited until Ship Day Eve to sue! – Tiger, Mac OS X version 10.4 goes on sale officially today. The news sites are filled with interesting insights:

Pitting Tiger Server vs. Windows Server. After a week of non-stop Longhorn news, it’s time for Apple Computer to let the big cat out of the bag. The next version of the Mac client and server operating system is set to ship today. [Microsoft Watch from Mary Jo Foley]

Apple sued over ‘Tiger’ name. Apple is being sued by U.S. e-commerce site for infringing on its trademark with the launch of the latest version of Mac OS X, code-named “Tiger.” [Computerworld News]

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. The time period between the release of Panther and Tiger (Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4) has been the longest since Mac OS X was first released in 2001. During that 18-month period, Apple has been busy adding new features to the OS. They run the gamut from the readily-apparent (e.g., Spotlight and Dashboard) to under-the-hood tweaks (like improved support for metadata). By (Ars Technica)

Shipping is a feature…

Slashdot notes Rave Reviews for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. druid_getafix writes “The first mass market reviews of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger are trickling in with a big thumbs up for the release. Walt Mossberg of the WSJ says ‘Tiger Leaps Out in Front’ but complains about slowness of some applications – notably Mail. David Pogue of NYT says ‘But with apologies to Mac-bashers everywhere, Spotlight changes everything. Tiger is the classiest version of Mac OS X ever and, by many measures, the most secure, stable and satisfying consumer operating system prowling the earth.’ In related news Mossberg also covers the rising incidence of spam/virii in the Windows world and says ‘…consider dumping Windows altogether and switching to Apple’s Macintosh…’. Previous reviews of Tiger were covered on /. earlier.”

OSNews reports *Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger: A Review*. “OSNews reviews Apple’s latest OS upgrade. Is it an overpriced, glorified point release or a truly worthy upgrade with major new functionality? Is it a Longhorn killer or just more of the same? We’ll take a look, and try to see what’s on the surface as well as what’s under the hood. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article…”

I’ve reserved a copy at my local Apple dealer, Available tomorrow at 6 PM.

Eating Their Own Children

InfoWorld: Top News reports WINHEC – Microsoft slams XP in call for Longhorn support. “SEATTLE – Microsoftæon Tuesday badmouthed its own work on networking and hardware support in Windows XP in order to sell hardware makers on new technologies it has planned for Longhorn, the next version of Windows due late next year.”

Later in the article… “Khaki then called Microsoft employees on stage to demonstrate how Microsoft plans to do better in Longhorn”


CentraLUG Meeting Monday, 2 May: Ed Lawson presents Scribus

The monthly meeting of CentraLUG, the Concord/Central New Hampshire chapter of the Greater New Hampshire Linux Users Group, recurs the first Monday of each month on the New Hampshire Technical Institute campus starting at 7 PM.

Directions and maps are available on the NHTI site at This month, we’ll be meeting in the Library/Learning Center/Bookstore, , marked as “I” on that map. The main meeting starts at 7 PM, with Ed Lawson presenting Scribus, an open desktop publishing system. Open to the public. Free admission. Tell your friends.

Scribus is available from and is not just another pretentious word processor, but an entire pre-press system for producing high-quality documents suitable for publication. It will generate PDF. It has a new “Scriptor” API for scripting in Python. Imports and exports SVG. Bells! Whistles! It runs natively under Linux and under X11 on Mac OS X and CygWin on Windows. Scribus is distributed under the GPL.

More details at about this meeting and the group are available at and

Hope to see you there!

Are Macs More Expensive? Another Myth Debunked.

OSNews points to Of Course Macs Are More Expensive… Aren’t They?. “So, I went out to at least partially test this theory, and to do appropriate comparisons between Dell computers and Apple computers. I’m hardly the first one to take this challenge but I’ve decided it’s time to stop talking and taking other peoples’ word for it, and go get some concrete facts to put on (digital) paper.”

This looks like a well-reasoned, well-researched study. Take a look and see if you come to similar conclusions.

Microsoft returns to 64-bitness after a six-year hiatus

A strange article at InfoWorld: Top News titled Microsoft: Let the 64-bit era begin. Microsoft was one of the companies that started the Windows 64-bit era with Windows NT running on the PowerPC, MIPS, and Alpha chips in the early 90s. DEC produced the Alpha chip and went on to port UNIX to the chip as Tru64 UNIX. Sun responded with the UltraSPARC in 1995, also 64-bit. For reasons unclear to me, Microsoft dropped all but the Intel 32-bit version of their Windows products in 1999, effectively ceding the 64-bit market to to Sun, DEC, Compaq and HP. Linux has run on 64-bit chips since they were available. A recent post on the GNHLUG board indicates that Linux will run on an AMD64 laptop as well. Wow, 64 bits on a laptop!

The article mentions the 64-bit release of Windows XP, but seems focused on the long-promised “Longhorn” release of Windows, and has a couple of strange paragraphs claiming that the Longhorn flavor Windows Explorer can provide much of the search capabilities of the oft-promised (but not included in Longhorn) WinFS database-as-file-system:

The various transparencies, shading, and richer animation capabilities of Longhorn’s graphical interface that will be featured in the demo are not glitz for glitz’s sake, because these improvements are designed to help users to “collect, organize, and visualize data in a way that is not possible today,”

Uh, hunh.

I don’t think this column is coincidentally timed with the release this Friday of “Tiger,” Apple’s latest OS X version 10.4, including the built-in “Spotlight” desktop search feature. Can’t wait to see how Tiger delivers!

Where hath the Gillmor Gang Gone?

Scripting News asks You think?. Steve Gillmor: “I’m really suffering from Post Gillmor Gang Disorder.” Dave Winer responds: “Tell me something I didn’t know. “;->”Note to universe. Please get Steve and his pals back on the air. I’m suffering.”

Same here. These guys are good. The final session, with Dan Bricklin, was tops. Hope they get the chance to try to top it.

Do Real Programmers Use Source Control?

Andrew MacNeill asks Isn’t Source Control part of programming 101 yet?

Source code control, change management, modeling, testing and project planning are skills that distinguish professional programmers from “coders.” When the PC revolution displaced the entrenched bureaucracy of the mainframe and mini computer of the “Data Processing Department,” there were lots of babies thrown out with the bathwater. Every Tom, Jane or Mary who could code a macro in 1-2-3 then worked out hex codes for 132-column print, batch files, then created dBASE tables. One day they were brave enough to try to change the printer ribbon, the next they are writing multi-tier, distributed, transactional, multilingual applications. So, many folks didn’t have the advantage of computer science training that teaches methodical software development. The last twenty years has been a thrashing attempt to bring back the reliability (without the cost and time delay) of committee-driven waterfall development methodologies in a Rapid Application Development, Extreme Programming, Cyclic Development or another Personal Software Process.

One of the many ugly truths that IT doesn’t like to admit is that most of the folks out there delivering applications are amateurs. It’s why, in 1997, I presented “It’s the Process, Stupid!.” Because there is not one “generally accepted practice” of software development, there are huge variations in the amount of care, professionalism and engineering that’s brought to bear on software development tasks. In many of the shops I consult with, the line workers often know there ought to be a better way, but getting middle- and upper-management buy-in to invest in tools and training is difficult. Solo practitioners are on their own to work it all out. Some fly by the seat of their pants and get away with it; others dive in too deep and get bogged down with complexities of managing the tools. Another bunch decide against anything Not Invented Here and whip up their own source code control techniques, making daily ZIP files and hoping to add the right arguments to their copy commands. Rarely do these tools support branching, labeling, rollback, point-at-time images, reporting or the other key SCC features.

SCC may be part of Programming 101 now, but when did your client take the course?

MSNBC loses Dr. Weinberger

Scripting News points to David Weinberger’s post on doing 90-second blurbs on “the blogosphere” for MSNBC: David Weinberger: “I quit.”

and “I’m in the blogosphere to escape from this degradation of values.”

Excellent and insightful post. If the topics of blogs vs. mainstream media (the insiders are abbreviating it MSM in some of the posts), follow a few of the links for some thoughtful back-and-forth, I think Jeff Jarvis nails it {link gone}: “Blogs don’t need mainstream media. Mainstream media needs blogs.”

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.