Archive for MacOS

Protect your Privacy in a Post Prism World

What Microsoft does to Protect your PrivacyWe’ve been hearing a lot about Prism lately. It’s a big topic and a big deal. I hear excuses for it all the time. “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” “It’s for our security!” Blah blah blah. None of the many excuses I’ve heard have remotely justified Prism to me. That’s one of the many reasons that I rely on Linux to protect my privacy.

Microsoft and the NSA

If you’re using Windows, and you want to protect your privacy, you can spend a lot of money to do it. You can buy packages that will protect Windows. You can upgrade your firewalls. You can install virus and malware protection. You can encrypt your files.

Do you honestly think that will protect you from the NSA and having your data sucked down at will by Prism? Of course it won’t.

The trick here is that Microsoft allegedly is working with the NSA. They’re giving the NSA access and allowing them to bypass their encryption. Nothing you’re installing to protect your privacy is working.

Now, Microsoft has denied that this is the case. What we now have is a case of he said she said regarding your privacy. Who do you believe? And that’s the billion dollar question.

Any OS can be Secured, Sorta

Microsoft would have you believe that Windows can be just as secure as Linux, and they’re doing everything in their power to protect your privacy. The thing is, you have to take their word for it. And that’s not just the case with Windows and Microsoft. It’s the case with any proprietary OS where the code is locked away from the customer. We can’t look and see if what Microsoft is telling us is true. We can’t look and see what Apple is telling us is true.

It’s hidden.

This is where Linux by it’s very nature is better. The code is open, and anybody with an Internet connection can download that code and verify that no NSA snoop has a back door to their operating system. Just by being open, Linux does more to protect your privacy than Microsoft and Apple combined. Combine Linux with tor, and you’re virtually invisible. On top of that, you don’t have to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to achieve this. It’s all free.

Protect Your Privacy

Even before Prism, I had a hard time coming up with a good reason to use Windows. Now, post Prism, continuing to use Windows or OSX seems like you’re just wrapping your private affairs in a pretty bow as a gift for anybody that Microsoft or Apple makes a deal with. If you’re even slightly interested in keeping your private matters private, you should be using Linux.

Antivirus for Linux

LinuxBugIt never fails to amaze me just how the same arguments keep coming up over and over again, like bad pennies. Most of them ignore facts so blatantly it gives me a headache.

The I’m referring to today is the one about Linux Viruses.

First of all, Linux Viruses exist. Yep, it’s true, they exist. There’s actually a couple of them. Wikipedia lists an even 30 of them. There’s even Virus protection for Linux.

True, compared to MacOS and Windows, that’s a drop in the bucket. Barely worth noticing. And that’s where the same old argument comes up time and again.

“The reason that Linux doesn’t have viruses like MacOS and Windows is because it’s not as popular!” The argument is that if more people used Linux, there actually would be viruses for Linux. The completely ignores the fact that the desktop is the exception, not the rule. Linux dominates elsewhere. Servers, smart phones, super computers, etc. Linux is kicking ass and taking names. A virus that could infect all those systems would be hugely valuable both monetarily and for a reputation. Yet, it doesn’t happen.

Even  the ones that already exist pretty much suck compared to their Microsoft and Apple counterparts.

So is there a reason to even consider running anti-virus on your Linux computer? Shockingly, the answer is still yes, but not for the same reasons some Mac users and all Windows users should.

You should run anti-virus on your Linux machine as a courtesy to your non-Linux using friends. Their systems aren’t as impervious as yours, so even though your computer is unlikely to get any infection, the same can’t be said for theirs. This also helps you in the long run when all those non-Linux computers aren’t infected blasting out TBs of garbage data out onto the Internet, slowing your connection down and filling your Inbox with spam.

In the long run, we all win.

Samsung Should Withhold Technology from Apple

Samsung Should Withhold Technology from AppleIn recent days, Samsung has been showing off some pretty cool new stuff. One of these new technologies is the flexible display that they actually showed us last year (at right), but which this year will be new and improved. Of course the question came up, given the current situation between Apple and Samsung, will Samsung withhold these new technologies from Apple? My personal opinion? Samsung should withhold technology from Apple.

To Big for their Britches

Apple has spent the last couple years strutting around like they’re the cool kid on campus, suing anybody and everybody from the most minimal slight, justified or not. They’ve gone after Samsung more than any other company. The biggest irony in that is that Samsung has manufactured a great number of the components that make the iPhone/iPad work. Processors, displays, memory. Recently, Apple has attempted to get those parts from other companies, with mixed success. As it stands currently, Apple needs Samsung. Apple can’t even make their devices without Samsung.

Apple has Withheld from Samsung

It’s impossible to not note that the cases we’re currently seeing in the courts are a result of Apple pulling fairly ridiculous patents out of their bag of tricks, refusing to license those patents to 3rd parties, and then suing if there’s even a hint that those patents might be violated. Those patents include multi-touch and their rubber band patent.

Samsung has got the Goods

Samsung Should Withhold Technology from AppleThe thing about Apple suing Samsung is that it provides Samsung with very little motivation to continue to provide their technology to Apple. And why should they? I don’t think they should. I think that Samsung should withhold their technology from Apple, because quite frankly, despite the fact that Apple has somehow managed to get a reputation for being innovators, they’re not. Samsung is on the other hand. Let Apple continue to use what they’ve got, but anything that Samsung comes up with in the future is strictly off limits. Before long, the iPhone will look like this little gem to the right.

A Taste of their own Medicine

I’m anxious to see Samsung give Apple a taste of their own medicine. Some of these new technologies that Samsung is coming up with are extremely cool, and like nothing Apple has ever dreamed of. If Apple is happy to withhold technology like a rubber banding effect, then I’m all for Samsung keeping flexible displays from Apple. Give them a taste of their own medicine and watch them fade into obscurity just as relevant as Betamax.

Is Samsung Copying Apple Again?

I have to ask, do the people who are fans of Apple think that this new device from Samsung is shamelessly copying Apple again? Leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

iFanatical Idiocy

A bit of a rant here.

I ran across this graphic on CounterNotions (I only bother to link because this guy has Apple so far up his rectum he’d probably sue me for copyright violation if I didn’t link to him).

This graphic is a perfect example of the thought process of many iFanatics I’ve run across. Ever wonder why so many of them think that Android is a copy of iOS?

For some reason, Windows/Microsoft is now the source of inspiration for anything that has grass. Apple is the source of inspiration for anything that has icons. Google can only be Search.

Does this  make any logical or technological sense? No, not even a little. Don’t even bother trying to tell them that.

Android: Intent on Winning

I doubt many people were not aware of Apple’s latest announcements concerning iOS. Of course Apple again held their little party and pomped and circumstanced all over. This is to be expected. Pretty much any company making an announcement will do virtually the same thing. What concerns me is the reaction to these announcements in the media.

I ran across a comparison over on PCWorld.

First of all, the comparison itself is bogus. The author took only the features that Apple announced that were new about iOS, and compared other platforms to that list. This automatically gives iOS the upper hand. If I were to list the new features of Android or even Win7Phone and compare those to another platform, it’s going to appear as if the OSs being compared are falling short. Unfortunately, this is pretty normal behavior for PCWorld. There are quite a number of Apple fans on staff and they conceal it rather poorly, if they make an effort at all.

Second of all is the small portion of the chart that I pulled out and posted down below (headers left intact for ease of understanding).

See how the Facebook and Twitter integration for Android is listed as “3rd party apps only”? To me, this is implied inferiority from the creator of this chart. It screams “iOS does this better because it’s integrated and in Android it’s not!” This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first. The chart is technically correct. Android doesn’t build Twitter or Facebook support directly into the Operating System. Instead it does something much better. Intents.

An intent in Android is a mechanism allowing for apps to communicate with each other. This includes the OS itself.

Using Intents, Android can create very similar functionality to what iOS users see when Apple integrates a service into the OS. Not being integrated is it’s greatest strength. This allows for Android to give integrated type functionality to any application installed on the device. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, you name it.

Because the service isn’t integrated, the OS is a lot more versatile.

Allow me to propose a hypothetical. In the not very distant future, Apple trots out iOS6 on it’s new iPhone, complete with it’s neat and spiffy Facebook integration. Shortly after that, there’s a social revolution. A new player appears on the scene. Let’s call it MyFace. Because of several new and really cool features MyFace offers that Facebook doesn’t, users leave Facebook in droves. Facebook becomes a ghost town. iOS users are now finding this new Facebook integration almost entirely useless. Android users simply delete the Facebook app from their device and install the new and really shiny MyFace app. Intents allow for MyFace to be instantly integrated with the device. A year passes, and Apple finally gets around to updating their OS to implement MyFace, removing the now defunct Facebook, only to find that MyFace is old hat. It’s been replaced with a new service, SpaceBook. Android users simply remove MyFace from their device, install SpaceBook, and go on with their social lives. iOS users are stuck waiting, again.

Now, is this analogy plausible? Well, two new and dominating social networks over the course of a two years is pretty far fetched, but that’s not the point. With Android, it doesn’t matter how fast the industry changes. Android changes just as fast. Intents allow for that to happen. iOS is not nearly as agile. It’s slow and dependent on Apple to move it forward.

To often today I’m seeing journalists holding up one of Apple’s greatest weaknesses as if it were one of it’s greatest strengths. Make no mistake, iOS is a dinosaur. It just doesn’t know that it’s extinct yet.

iPhone and Galaxy S III – Not the Same

Just a quick note to the iFans out there that are claiming that Apple’s iPhone 4s and Samsung’s Galaxy S III look so much alike. Look again!

Keep in mind that the following statements actually came from a real message from an iFan.

Virtually all Android devices have 3 or 4 buttons on the bottom, yet Samsung made a single Home button in the middle and faded the 4 buttons so that the surface of the device closely resembles that of the iPhone.

No it doesn’t.

Almost all Android devices use USB, but Samsung made their connector to look virtually identical to that of Apple’s 30 pin cable.

No they didn’t.

To an extent devices are going to look similar. It’s the nature of the type of devices we have now. Perhaps separately these minor things wouldn’t be noticed. But combined they show a desire to tell potential customers that their devices are just the same.

These devices are not “just the same”. No amount of repeating Apple’s lies will make that true. Next time, try facts.

A Linux User’s Day with a Mac

Oh $#!+.

Several days ago, I was sitting at my desk minding my own business when a received a new email. This is a regular occurrence for me, as I’m sure it is with most people in today’s office workplace. With not even a thought, I open it.

It’s not what you think. I didn’t get a virus or get fired or anything weird. It was a message from our corporate IT department informing me that my computer was due for a “refresh”.

What is a “refresh” you ask? Well, that’s when they take your computer and replace it with a new one. To top it off, I’d been selected to be a part of our Windows 7 pilot program. Our company is finally moving away from Windows XP and upgrading to Windows 7.

My reaction? “Oh $#!+.”

There’s no getting out of this, so I dutifully copy all my files that I hadn’t already stored on the network drive to a location where they will be safe. The IT department wants my computer “First thing in the morning”, so I drop my computer off at 8:00. They inform me that it will be at least 3 hours before my new one is ready.

My choices are now simple. I can either do without a computer for 3+ hours, or I can find a different system to use.

Casting my eye around my department, there is only one computer currently unused. One of our test systems. A Mac.

How bad can it be I ask myself? I used Macs quite a lot back in the 90s, and for a while was the “Mac guy” at the computer shop, fixing people’s broken Macs. Apple has always been renown for it’s ease of use and beauty. It was only for a couple hours. I could handle this!

Linux User

So, I’m sure anybody reading this is more than aware that my system of preference is Linux. I use Windows at work, but my home system is Linux Mint 12. I’ve made some changes to the default interface, and only use the top bar. I have no bottom bar. Most everything else is fairly stock.

My Thoughts on OSX

So, here’s where I tell you all about my experience. To put it as plainly as I can, it sucked.

First, the dock.

OSX, like Windows, has this stupid bar at the bottom. In the bar are your favorite apps, and running applications. Why should this be on your screen all the time? I know that you can have the stupid thing hide, but every time your mouse approaches that part of your screen, it pops up like some hyperactive chiwawa. It’s as bad as Windows. This is not something that needs to be on the screen all the time. The only time you need to see it is when you’re launching something new, or looking for something that’s already running.

Second, Exposé.

Exposé is actually the perfect solution for switching between applications, it’s it’s limitations in OSX make that impractical. Only applications not minimized show up in Exposé? Not smart. This is a much better way to pick between your windows rather than some nondescript icons where you can’t tell the difference between one terminal window or another. It effectively makes half of the dock completely useless. Why have that half of the dock when the functionality is better represented elsewhere?

Third, Spaces.

What kind of a half-assed hack is this? The functionality has been around in various forms of Unix since the 80s. It’s been improved upon and made very useful, but Apple’s version looks like something straight out of 1988.

Fourth, Exposé and Spaces?

Why the heck have both of them? In Linux Mint, hitting the super key on the keyboard brings up Mint’s Exposé type feature, with the virtual desktops along the right hand side of the monitor. They’re not seperate screens, and Windows can literally be moved from the existing Exposé type view to a completely different virtual space without leaving that screen. One screen, two functions. Apple’s method is straight out of the 90s, if that. It’s ancient, limited, and impractical.

Fifth, Macintosh HD.

On the system that I used, the only icon on the desktop was the Macintosh HD icon. This icon opened up to show your standard file browser type appliation, but what is all this junk inside of it? It takes you to a location that looks like / on a Linux box. Why the heck would you want to go there by default? You need access to your files! When I open Nautilus on my Linux box, it goes to my home directory! MINE. /home/mike. Not some random location with crap that I’m rarely if ever going to want to go to. I mean, “lost+found” and “Library”? What the hell?

Sixth, the Clock.

You’re probably wondering, what could possibly be bad about the clock? It’s a clock for pity’s sake. True, and as a time piece, OSX does very well. What I’m missing is functionality that I use every day in Linux but find sorely missing in OSX. Heck, even Windows does this. When you click on the clock on a Windows 7 box, you get a bigger clock and a calendar, as well as the ability to change your preferences. OSX is missing the calendar completely. On my Linux box, not only do I get a calendar, but on the right, I have a list of all my meetings. Below the meetings, I can open up my actual calendar application! Great functionality in the perfect place. Functionality sorely missing from OSX.

That’s what I found most about OSX. Missing functionality. Chances as making a good interface missed. In closing, I want to show you something. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the left, we see OSX, 10.0. Pristine the day it was launched. On the right, we have OSX, 10.7.3. 10.0 from 2001, 10.7.3 from 2011. A full 10 years difference. What’s changed? There’s a new, cool 3d effect on the dock. Color scheme has changed a bit. Yea, that’s pretty much it. This is the “innovative” OS? Are you shitting me?? Seriously?

Don’t even get me started on this iPad type launcher turd.

Conclusion.

So, how does the story end? When all was said and done, I was able to work in OSX. Corporate IT ended up taking 7 hours instead of 3 like I was hoping, so I ended up getting my new Windows 7 computer close to the end of the day. I can say it was with real glee that I ditched OSX to run (RUN I tell you) back to Windows (and that’s saying something). After starting some file transfers to get my personal files back on my hard drive, I gratefully went home, sat down in front of my “ugly”, “hard to use” Linux box and sighed with relief. I hope I don’t have to do that again for many, many years.

Second Thoughts about Linux

I’ve had people ask when they find out that I’m a Linux user if I miss Windows. Do I ever have any second thoughts about moving from Windows? They think that I have to, or maybe that I’ve never tried a Mac and that’s why I’ve chosen Linux over a Mac.

I recently agreed to help out a friend of mine who’s computer wasn’t working correctly. She dropped her computer off with me, and I setup the beast in an empty space. I fire this thing up to find that it’s running, of course, Windows XP. Everything seems to load up correctly, but the DNS just isn’t working. Pings work, no DNS. I go through the regular fixes and nothing is working.

This isn’t a “please help me fix this stupid Windows XP” type of post. No, it’s nothing like that. I’ve done this exact thing so many times, I can’t even tell you. I couldn’t begin to count. Thousands, if not tens of thousands of times. Every time, it’s the same crap. Infinite amounts of frustration.

See, people are always telling me how hard Linux is to make work. I don’t think that those people have the foggiest idea what goes into keeping Windows up and running correctly. My Linux desktop sits there on my desk, happily running along with never a care in the world. Every (and I mean that) Windows computer I’ve run across has had some type of problem.

So, to all those people out there that wonder if I miss Windows or if I’ve ever had second thoughts? The answer is HELL NO.

That’s all I wanted to say.

The NEW iPad!

I heard that there’s a new iPad!

I’m REALLY excited.