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Archive for the ‘Apple/Mac’ Category

Combining Mac, Linux, and Windows in One Video

SOME time ago I linked to a screenshot showcasting Boot Camp. This involved Mac OS X, Ubuntu Linux, and Windows running simultaneously. There now exists a public video, which illustrates this rather exciting experience. Well, it is exciting to folks like me…

[Video omitted one week later]

This shows nothing unprecedented or novel, but it can be pleasant to watch if you fancy operating systems.

The last time I embedded an off-site video, this led to trouble and invalidated the markup. Let us hope for better luck this time around.

Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows Simultaneously

Mac and Dell

USING virtualisation software, someone from Hungary illustrates how Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows can be worked on simultaneously (view screenshot and further details), without the need to boot into a different, independent partition.

This comes only a week or so after Boot Camp from Apple began supporing Linux. It now caters for Linux boots, as well as Windows boots. It relies on the availability of Intel chips, which replaced Power PC in an important strategic move. This makes the prediction and vision of triple-boot machines a reality, but moreover, it does so without the obvious perils. It obviates the need to reboot Mac OS X. This equips Apple with a huge selling point.

Multi-Platform, OEM Wallpapers Collection

Windows XP
Probably the most ubiquitous wallpaper nowadays

EACH platform (including its distribution and/or version) can often be characterised by its default wallpaper (background picture), among other visual signatures such as the login screen and icons set. Here is a nice and fairly complete gallery of default wallpapers . It contains wallpapers many of us have seen in Mac OS, Windows, and Linux.

Proprietary Formats and Their Sordid Mess

OPEN formats are based upon a standardised specifications, which ensure global collaboration among applications. Without common formats, hardware are software are simply unable to communicate, unless they come from the same vendor. Formats are also analogous to the notion of a language, or technically speaking, “protocols” and “standards”. They are often agreed upon by an ample panel, which involves industry experts and industry/academy leaders.

What happens, however, when a company goes astray and implements its own formats, which it is unwilling to disclose for competitive reasons? What happens when a format is extended without acceptance by others who already use and depend on it? When common language is violated, disaster is foreseen. An industrial majority (or a monopoly) can use miscommunication as a ‘tool’ which drives competitors away. The temptation to use that tool as a weapon is often there, yet the seminal formats must always be honoured. If not, conversion facilities must be made available, so that a non-lossy route can be followed to ‘sanitise’ the unknown data structures and appendages.

LockI have already complained about proprietary formats that lock one’s personal data. The context in this blog was Palm-powered devices, as well as software packages from Microsoft. It is a terrible scenario when one chooses an appliance or a software package over open formats and is thereafter obliged to use it perpetually. It is an utter lock-in, which has even reached the Web that is openness-motivated. Internet Explorer-only beame more commonplace, yet Firefox has shouted out for a change in recent years.

Let us illustrate the primary contention with the aid of yet another specific example. In question are the advantages of open fromat and exportable data, so let us consider address book (contacts) data on a variety of platforms. I currently hold my address books on Palm’s Address, KDE’s KMail, and Mozilla Thunderbird. Maybe I base my statements on the wrong factors, but experience shows that address confusion and poor organisation skills are prevalent among those that still rely on Microsoft to organise and manage their data. I used to be among those who delegate data organisation to applications (packages) rather than formats. As a consequence, I struggled to move between application, inter-operate or even decipher my own data in the absence of one particular commercial application. Sounds familiar?

In summary, as food for thoughts to ponder: maybe it’s the obscurity of moving data without adherence to standard formats. Maybe it is the lack of import/export utilities and maybe frequent hard-drive re-formatting due to virus attacks and the like. Either way, Linux and Mac users appear to have extensive data which is easily-locatable, inter-changeable, rocoverable and resilient. Openness entails true benefits, which are better understood in the long term.

Browser Compatibility Responsibilities

Firefox and other icons in the dock

I recently volunteered to take browser compatibility more seriously. I never truly believed there was a place for platform discrimination. However, refusal to upgrade from Internet Explorer to Firefox is not quite so excusable. Web standards should be fundamental enough to be supported at the very core of a browser and behave reliably. And yet, I realise that my attitude must change.

The context of this post is WordPress, a blogging platform whose development and community I have been a part of for over a year. In fact, I have put my name down among the Roles in WordPress Wiki page. To quote:

Testing / QA

Browser Testing – Testing Firefox, IE, Opera, and Safari against major WP functionality; documenting bugs; coding workarounds.

  • I have a large variety of browsers which are built for Linux (including old versions), so I will continue to test nightlies and report inconsistencies and incompatibilities whenever time permits. I can use emulation to test under Safari and IE, but I have WinXP and an iMac at work. –[[User:schestowitz|schestowitz]] 3:38, 13 Jan 2006 (GMT)

The idea of roles in WordPress was introduced less than a fortnight ago. While editing the Wiki, I also decided to bind a vague personal description to an empty placeholder page which carries my name. I chose:

An ordinary guy who is overly fascinated by ‘anything Linux’ and ‘anything PHP/MySQL’.

My role involves using a large variety of browsers, especially exploring the Administration Panel (/Dashboard) side. Due to Safari and Internet Explorer, I will have to work on alternative platforms, too. Mac OS X is powerful, but rarely has the ‘expessivability’ of GNU/Linux. Also, it has commercial strings attached to it. Many of its applications bear a cost. To test cross-Web browser compatibility, I can disengage from the 3 Linux that I regularly use and take advantage of the iMac and Windows XP machines at the office. These operating system definitely have a place; just not in my house [smile]! They have not been switched on for months, but now there is a reason for a small change. I love WordPress! As matter of face, it was love at first sight and the affair carries on.

I have reported a few bugs already and some have been resolved:

Google Take Interoperability More Seriously

Google Earth
Google Earth on Windows; screenshot taken
when it was first released; click to enlarge the image

AFTER several months of waiting, the Windows version of Google Earth has been ported to run on Macs too.

If I recall correctly, they did the same with Google Talk recently. Will a Linux version be next? That would the real test. So far they have primarily, if not exclusively, catered for commercial, closed-source platforms. Perhaps Google Pack was a key milestone, due to which they could not afford to lose time on ports.

Rants about interoperability have been voiced before although Google’s media player was cross-platform from day one. Google’s clear intent is to remain Open; in fact, all of their Web-based tool are rarely ‘platform-discriminatory’.

The Home Entertainment War

TV X-Files

One of the giants is due to control of home
entertainment, or at least share a piece of the pie

SOME time in the past, Google’s media player was mentioned as an interoperable tool of value — somewhat of a milestone even. We now hear about a partnership involving DivX, Pioneer and Google Video.

LAS VEGAS–Video technology company DivX is partnering with Google to make Google Video accessible on a variety of consumer electronics devices, the companies announced Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show here.

Meanwhile, the world is also being informed about Yahoo Go TV (in German). Apple continue with their entertainment industry push for domination. Their video and photo iPods come to mind. Lastly, Microsoft reveal that the XBox 360, which may play HD-DVD owing to a Toshiba alliance, is striving to take control of our living rooms.

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Original styles created by Ian Main (all acknowledgements) • PHP scripts and styles later modified by Roy Schestowitz • Help yourself to a GPL'd copy
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