Thursday, February 24, 2005

End User License Agreement (EULA) matters!

From Slashdot article (in Your Right Online section).

"When Doug Heckman was installing a PC Pitstop program, he actually read the EULA. In it, he found a clause stating that he could get financial compensation if he e-mailed PC Pitstop. The result: a $1,000 check, and proof that people don't read EULAs (3,000 people before him didn't notice it). The goal of this was to prove that one should read all EULAs, so that one can see if an app is spyware if it is buried in the EULA."

Right. That's what most users never do: read the EULA. Most users just choose to accept the license, implying accepting all its condition, by just clicking OK on the EULA dialog box.

Why does this matter? Well, this is a proof that people don't read EULA.

So, how does that matter? Because a lot of software (mostly those free/shareware downloaded from the internet) sometime will do some nasty things to your computer, like installing spyware or other forms of ads-support system, or whatever. While many of those software will just install those, without informing the user (hence violating individual right and privacy), many other software have statements in their EULA informing the user what it will do. So, by choosing to accept the license, users agree to let the software do it by free will.

This shows one thing: we all should be reading EULA, by two reasons:

  1. to know what is the what the software might do once we installed it, and what we could do with it.
  2. we might get money ;-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Apple gains marketshare in Australia

Australian IT said that Apple had gained marketshare in Aus, from 3% to 4.1%.

I know that marketshare doesn't mean much, it's one of many ways to play with raw numbers. However, this nevertheless is a good indication to welcoming Apple back into the game. Now with the incredible Mac mini, with the ever-better Mac OS X ... Apple certainly has potential to take over a much larger market in developed countries. Forget about the developing countries and underdeveloped countries, though. For those, Mac mini would still cost more than the do-it-yourself-from-the-cheapest-possible-parts kind of systems.

However, with the Mac mini costing very little, the iBook doesn't cost much, iMac and PowerBook are pretty attractive and reasonable for their prices, and with Windows PC getting more and more security and stability problems, while OS X getting almost none ... there are less and less reasons to stick with PC and not making a switch to a Mac, unless your work requires it and you absolutely cannot find any alternative on OS X.

Watch out, the jump from 3% to 4.1% in Aus was only the beginning.

By the way ... that jump was BEFORE the introducing of Mac mini and the new speed-bumped (with some new technologies and hardware-spec bumped) PowerBook .... now, NeXT, Watch What Happens! ;-)

[Also, for those who think 3% to 4.1% is little ... let look at the number this way: in the same quarter, the number of Mac units sold in Australia increased by 49.1% ... so, looking only the number of Mac sold, it's 49.1% growth for Apple].

Monday, February 21, 2005

HotU is actually by the Thais?

Surprising ... Home of the Underdogs (HotU), a museum of old software (mostly games), akin to what Project Gutenberg is to old books, might actually be in Thailand and/or made by Thai people?

I used to visit that website a lot when I was younger (years away in the past, from today). I don't know what made me want to visit it again today, after so long time of not visting. When I entered the site, I found this notice:

The fist line read Here in Thailand we are still trying to cope with ..... Errr.... In Thailand and we? .... are they foreigners living in Thailand? or they are Thai people in Thailand? ... or they are just travelling and happened to be in Thailand on that day?

Well, I might mail them to find out.

Monday, February 14, 2005

The longest few days

I have to wait for something ..... which I might or might not like the outcome. Nevertheless, it's the good outcome that I want to hear the most, and I cannot cope with doing anything until I know the result. Be it the bad one, my life might be ruined. Now I just want time to pass as fast as it could.

Time is passing 1 second per second. What? No, that doesn't make sense. I can make it feel longer and short. Now, I just feel that every second passing is as long as a minute, or an hour. The sound of clock ticking is proving me otherwise. But that's physical, I still feel it's much longer than usual ...

So what should I possibly be doing until that time come?

Dave, here is you list:

  • RSS reader, now since my favourite RSS reader, NewsFire became a shareware, costing quite a bit for an RSS reader, ~20$, I might want to write one myself. I have never written any XML parser in Cocoa/Objective-C yet (nor I had in any other language) ... so this will take me whiles.

    The problem: I don't feel like coding that much. Also, I could always use NetNewsWire Lite, a freeware version of NetNewsWire (same link). I just like NewsFire more.
  • Cocoa Tutorial (in Thai). Another thing I want to do. I had been writing a book about C++ programming, which I got a bit quite far. Now I'm thinking of writing another one on Cocoa/GNUstep. However, after times, I think I'd better do it in the collection of small tutorials fashion, so I can update them partially, as it's done, to the web (or someone else's web).

    The problem: I don't feel like writing text that much either. Also, there aren't many Mac users out there in Thailand who might want to get their hands on coding. Another thing is: teaching people programming actually remind me a lot ... of something I don't want to during the time-killing tasks.
  • Reading books I bought. Have a lot of books that I haven't finished, or worst, haven't started reading much.

    The problem: No ... nevermind. Can't do it. Can you?
  • Start packing things back to Thailand. Sooner or later I will have to do it anyway.

    The problem: No ... nevermind. Don't feel like doing it right now.
  • What else? .... hmmm let see ... taking sleeping pills and just sleep and let the time pass? hmmm ... make some sense ... travels? no .. probably not, not in that mood at all, besides I hate traveling alone. Reinstall GNU/Linux or FreeBSD on my Dell? No... not this time, had been doing that too frequently. My fingers are used to that and won't kill much time anyway.

So ... conclusion?... hmm .. maybe playing Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic ... but well, nevermind that either. Not in gaming mood.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

iPod shuffle

Got my last Macworld order today [haven't ordered Mac mini yet, but will later .. after I had thoroughly think and rethink what can I do with it], the iPod shuffle.

I'm not gonna review it in-depth here; you can always find the yet-another-review everywhere on the web.

All I have to say with this little iPod is, it just what I expected it to be: Just Work. All I have to do is, like all other iPods i have (3Gen and mini), plug it in. The autofill function will pick songs from library and fill it up for me. But since I have many classical songs that I'm sure I won't like listening to on the road, I choose to have it pick songs from my top rate playlist. Now it is smaller than the capacity of the iPod shuffle, so everything is there.

The little neat thing is: I can easily specify how much of the space I would like to keep some data.

This is one of the main reason I bought the shuffle. I want something that feel less fragile than the iPod mini (which is quite tough actually) and can act as the USB memory stick that I can use on both Mac and Windows (and Linux). While I'm working, I won't need the screen anyway .. and having the screen will just suck the battery. Also, having only 5-stars songs on the shuffle, I am ensured that I will like whatever song that shuffle will randomize for me.

I always use my iPod mini this way anyway; have it shuffling the songs in my top rate playlist.

The function of the shuffle seems a bit weird to me currently. It will take a little to get used to the 'new' hold-scheme that I have to press a play/pause button for 3 seconds instead of sliding the 'hold' slider. Also, having a nicer way to indicate the amount of remaining battery would be nicer. Now I can't distinguish 80% and 100% any more. But since I will likely have it fully charged before going out anyway, this is minor problem.

To summarize my thought up: Apple is a big fan of Zen minimalism. Things they designed are pretty simple, straightforward, easy to use and figure out, no-nonsense/not-needed parts/components, especially the interface. This is something that right now in computer industry is unique to Apple. This iPod shuffle is no different. It is a lean-and-mean portable music player. Nothing else. Just Works. (Almost) no interaction required. And it is pretty small. Put it in my shirt pocket, and then I can forget about it.

Talking a bit about the 'no-screen' and 'shuffle only' that had worried some people. Psychologically, people can be very selective when they are given choices. But when choice isn't available, people will just ignore it. Especially for the 'sideline' thing, like listening to music while doing 'main' thing like working/traveling/sight-seeing/sleeping/reading.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, try leaving iTunes on in the partly shuffle mode, make it choose songs from your top rated list. Or, try this with iPod or iPod mini.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The title read

"World-Wide-Wait (www) for Apple's PowerBook to get the G5".

So, don't get me wrong with the title! (And, please Apple, I'm not releasing anything about your new product, so don't sue me!)

Just making fun of the latest article: Apple on G5 PowerBook: Not so fast and NewsFactor's: G5 PowerBook Will Have To Wait (via Yahoo news)...

The wait for the new PowerBook to sport the G5 processor is the worldwide one now (thus, WWW), especially ones after others speculation failed to come true. Since Macworld Expo 2004 to Macworld Expo 2005, even before the iMac G5. Everytime there's the official Apple keynote/expo, people had been expecting the new shiny PowerBook G5.

Eight months passed since the last update (which saw the top model topping at with 1.5GHz G4), PowerBook line got its update once again: speed bumped G4 (top at 1.67) plus various advancements in technology. Not, however, the much awaited G5.

Putting the G5 into the laptop right now, is not out of the realm of possibility. But this assumes that any kind of laptop, any thickness, any weight is OK. Putting the G5 into laptop as slim and slick as PowerBook, is another story, and I don't think it is even plausible to think about now.

For this, I quote article:

"It'd be this really thick, heavy notebook, and it would be loud as all get-out," said Kevin Krewell, editor in chief of the Microprocessor Report. "Those would not be design choices that Apple would want to pursue.

[...skipped ... fast forward...]
The main thing holding back a G5 PowerBook is the chip itself. IBM technical documents show that when running at 2.5GHz and 1.3 volts, the chip consumes a maximum of 100 watts of power, a fair amount of juice for a notebook.

That's not to say a 100-watt chip cannot be built into a notebook. Dell's Inspiron XPS, for one, offers Intel's 3.4GHz Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processor, which is designed for desktops. Intel's thermal-design guidelines call for computers using the chip to be able to dissipate heat produced by a chip of nearly 110 watts.

But the Dell machine, which comes with a 15.4-inch wide screen, is a relatively hefty 2 inches thick and weighs just over 9 pounds with a CD drive and battery installed. Apple's 17-inch screen PowerBook measures 1 inch thick and weighs in at 6.9 pounds with a CD drive and battery. (Apple's 12-inch and 15-inch screen PowerBooks are 1.18 inches and 1.1 inches thick and weigh 4.6 pounds and 5.6 pounds, respectively. Dell's Pentium M-based, 17-inch screen Inspiron 9200 is 1.6 inches thick and weighs 7.7 pounds.)

They are talking about this bulky piece of brick


I'm sure none of us would want to see a PowerBook like that. (I've seen the Dell machine ... and it looks really incredibly amazing ... a *downward* accomplishment of engineering and design).

What's more? From the same article:

Thus, to fit the G5 into a typical PowerBook-size chassis, Apple would have to throttle down the G5, causing the chip to run more slowly than current G4 mobile chips. The G4 also would likely still consume less power--or produce a bulkier laptop, probably with noisy cooling fans, said the Microprocessor Report's Krewell.

This is very crucial part, very important piece of information.

To those misinformed people who think they must have 64-bit processor for e-mailing and watching movies and browsing internet. 64-bit processing is not what you think. Being 64-bit won't *automatically* make things faster. Many things will actually slower. If you want to address the multi-GB data (think about the very big poster pixel-by-pixel, or the entire human-DNA sequencing, simulaiton of solar wind, composing & playback the symphony with very very fine details) .. then you might need one.

G4 is not yet obsoleted. It is still a pretty good processor, especially as the *mobile* processor. The downside of the current powerbook line I can think of, is the narrow Front-Side-Bus (yeah ... it's a joke). But it still quite a good processor and architecture for laptop.

One last time I will say this: if PowerBook will have a big update anytime within this year, unless IBM pull off a miracle in microprocessor technology ... I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Dual-core G4. [This current PowerBook update .. is, at any cost, likely to be the last update to the current PowerBook line].

Ultimate accessory for your iPod: the Mac mini

iPodlounge had reviewd the Mac mini in this article: Apple's Mac mini: the Ultimate iPod Accessory?

The review is quite good, well-written, and thorough, though sometime & somewhere bias toward mac (well, everyone is bias in his way anyway, so this is not a complain). Read the review article first before you continue here.

The idea of picturing the Mac mini as the ultimate iPod accessory is quite an interesting one, and actually is another way we can position the Mac mini in the market: for iPod-Windows users.

To summarize up the review regarding this bit:

  1. iPods on Macs have no problem with driver conflictions, music transfering, programs conflictions, and formatting

  2. New features for the iPod will likely be Mac-first, or Mac-only features, or simply performing much better and/or simpler on the Mac (especially ones that take advantage of the iLife suite; think iPhoto library and iPod photo)

  3. iTunes just works better on Mac. The Windows version is more buggy, consuming more resources, slow (these are my additions to the comment). Parts of this came from Windows' own weaknesses in handling multi-tasks (compared to OS X).

  4. On the Mac, it's not just iTunes but you get the entire iLife package. Nothing comes close to this iLife experience on Windows. Use iPhoto once and you will forget most other photo (or images) management tools.

  5. iLife, again, of course, nothing comes close on the PC.

  6. Mac OS X. Period

Apart from its potential to be a killer home media center (for living room photo-viewing, watching DVDs, and streaming musics to the entire house), potential to tempt Windows-users who already got monitor, keyboard, and mouse and wanting to switch to Mac but don't want to pay extras for these, potential for geek to build his own cluster of his dream, .... and potential to be the vehicle for anything Apple has in its hand .... Mac mini as the ultimate iPod accessories for those Windows-iPod geeks and lovers .... isn't the bad way of positioning it after all (everyone wins; except may be Microsoft).

One word of caution: once you fully get onto OS X, there's almost no going back to Windows (IMHO).

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

iPod shuffle at ... what? 7-Eleven?

According to the news (Macworld UK) Singaporeans can soon buy the iPod shuffle at 7-Eleven!

Quoting here:

The Shuffle will be sold at 50 7-Eleven outlets "located in major residential and commercial areas" from 1 February.

Apple's distributor in Singapore told hotMILK: "7-Eleven has the widest reaches of storefronts in Singapore. This gives anyone who wants an iPod a very easy retail location".

New PowerBook - Finally

Just a few hours after I wrote my previous entry: New PowerBook: To Be or Not To Be, Apple had updated the PowerBook G4 line.

In my previous entry, I was talking about the possibility of the PowerBook update, and considered G5 PowerBook, Dual-Core G4 PowerBook, and the speed bump G4 PowerBook. About the update that actually happened, I quote myself:

Else? Hmmm .... Yet-Another-Speed-Bump rumor surfaced before the Macworld Expo. At that time (and still this time), it seems to be the most likely thing to happen, but is surely the least people want it to. After all, 8 months and only 0.17 GHz? You can't kid people like that.

It seems Apple can really kid people. Anyhow, it is nice that the PowerBook line got the update finally.

However, there actually more to this update than yet-another-speed-bump. This new PowerBook sports various new technology: Scrolling Trackpad, Sudden Motion Sensor, Bluetooth 2.0, and DVD+/-R/RW SuperDrive.

Talking about the speed bump, now they are up to 1.67 GHz G4. I don't know how much faster it is comparing to the previous update that topped at 1.5 GHz, eight months ago, and how much faster it is compared to my first aluminum 15" model at 1.25. Does't matter much, I'm not getting a new one.

I see this update, however, as the technology testbed for the next update. We will see all these technology in the next update, too. The next update of the PowerBook, no matter when it comes, will be BIG. Either they crack the way of putting the G5 in or decide that Dual-core G4 is the way to go; it will be BIG either way. So, with Apple's decision of including tomorrow's technology today, the gap of the current PowerBook line and the newer one that could come out at either WWDC or Paris, will be smaller, and make the buyers of this speed-bump update fell less cheated.

Take this: aside from newer chip, and probably newer design, (and a lot of machine architecture that most users don't know'/care about) everything else is the same.

I still really believe that Apple is desperately trying to put G5 into the laptop (the PowerBook, and future iBook) instead of going with the Dual-Core G4, even I myself would want to have the dual-core more. This is because of just one thing I mentioned in the previous entry: Marketting.

Many times I talked to people, many are mac zealots or even non-zealot mac users. They have misunderstand completely about the G5 and 64 bit processing and misunderstand completely the concept of dual-core chips. Also, they will just think that Dual-core G4 is just another G4 with all its current weaknesses (like narrow FSB). I have to tell them "read the spec first please" always.

One more thing to this update: it's cheaper.