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Java – The Movie

June 27th, 2010 makii Comments off

For all you out there who code java like me :-)

And everyone else…

via @pommesbude

Update:Youtube seemingly has killed the video, but the original version is still available here.

Microsoft’s “Apple Tax”. WTF?

April 12th, 2009 makii Comments off

After Microsoft’s ad starring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates, which was the first response to the well-known Get a Mac commercials, was kind of a flop, they recently started the Laptop Hunters series. Watching it is kind of funny. Mostly, for my part, because of the reactions of the people when they’re presented with the money for their computer-to-be.

Apart from that, the Company From Redmond commissioned, or sponsored, as they call it, an analysis from Endpoint Technologies Associates, which should transparently describe the “Apple Tax”. At the first glance the form (filled out by hand, as it seems) looks pretty convincing, stating an overall saving of more than 3300 bucks when you buy a PC instead of a Mac. Is that really true?

Ina Fried from Cnet took a closer look at the findings and is not convinced. The report states no additional license fees for the Windows systems despite the OEM licenses included in the hardware price. Where do they get there Software from? Do they use OpenOffice? Do they use copies from their friends illegally? Why do they list the (totally optional) MobileMe account? This account on it’s own bills for about $750 in the five years. I know only one person who uses MobileMe and he will discontinue it.

Sure, Apple hardware is more expansive in comparison to PC hardware, that’s true. But as the Windows Experience Blog states correctly, it’s not only about cost, but about value. I’m an Apple user for about a half year now and I think I get a lot more value for my money than for my previous laptops, which were PC systems. In germany we have two words to describe this difference. The word which describes a possibly good deal is “günstig”, which translates well to cheap as in low priced. “billig” also means cheap, but more in a kind of this product’s kinda crappy way. A lot of PC hardware in the past was “billig”, and the present one often still is. The hardware of these systems does not fit together well, the cheap ones still have a ridiculously low resolution (I will never work willingly on anything below 1400×900 on 14″ or 15″ screens). The chassis stability of Macs might be reached by Thinkpads, but the Design I think is still leading, though it is quite simply.

To the software. I had installed Windows on my previous PC systems, and I even have a BootCamp installation with Windows XP on it on my Mac. I boot it two or three times a month to play games which unfortunately are not available for OSX (Assasins Creed and Fallout 3) and don’t work with Crossover Games properly. That’s all I use it for, and, hell, that’s all I need it for. The last five years I solely worked on Unix- and Linux- based systems. And I like it. Instead of clicking around endlessly in the explorer or the System Control I have a powerful shell (zsh or bash) and I can do everything on the fast lane. For the direct functions of the operating system the clicking point is also valid for OSX. But the simple gestures on the trackpad, or the Expose configuration is so addictive I tried to switch workspaces on my Linux workstation in the office by moving the mouse pointer to the upper right corner only two days after I bought my first Mac (yeah, I know. This might become a problem someday).

The important part for me is: Mac OSX, while shiny and colorful, has a Unix foundation, which is (IMO, even if not open source), a good thing. No ugly Cygwin necessary. There is MacPorts. There is Fink. Lots of stuff I need for everyday life. And the parts which come with OSX UI are most natural and intuitive.

To the point. I like Apple Hardware and Software, because

  • It looks kinda cool. This sure is one major point why Apple is so successful.
  • The hardware is sturdy.
  • The software fits my needs.
  • There is not that much malware, spyware and other bad stuff for OSX, if any.
  • There is a usable Unix environment underneath all that glamour.
  • I am not ridicuously accurate about free software licenses, though I like and respect free software in general.

I have stopped looking into Microsoft’s operating systems since Windows 2000. As mentioned before I’ve run XP on my Samsung X20 and MacBook Pro for gaming only. This was good as I can tell you now. Having started at a new Job I need to speak with a funny Exchange Server from Redmond Industries which I could not get up and running with anything I tried with Evolution, so I continued using the pre-installed Vista. It looks good enough for now, but still is a plain continuation of the user interface concepts from Windows 95. I still have to use the embedded context menue to create a new folder. It still comes with 2 tons of funny software preinstalled which needs to be cleaned out before you can somehow work with the system. Every tool which should bring me some sane Virtual Desktop support is either broken somehow, or is totally cumbersome to use. I think this will be my next desktop wallpaper…

I wish I had a Mac.

But this would not help either, this mail setup does not work for Entourage either.

So I’m (again, for once) stuck with Windows and no light at the end of the tunnel. I think I’ll, if time allowes, play a bit more with an Ubuntu in some virtual box setup and try to get Mail access up and running with Linux. Till then I need to work around with the most sane environment on windows, which still is Cygwin, which offers a sane xterm, zsh/bash, screen and some other utilities which I never want to miss.

Comming back to the topic of this post: There sure is some kind of “Apple Tax” if you want to call it that. BUT I really really doubt that it is so high as described in the Microsoft-paid paper. My opinion is that users get more value for a higher price. Some of the added value is purely aestetic, another is less pain in the ass, as they don’t bloat up their registry with a ton of funny entries for installing software they simply want to try, viruses, malware, The Search For The Driver(tm) and other stuff. The whole software suit from Apple is much more integrated and more simple to use. Every user has to decide whether they think it’s worth the price for them. If (probably) crappy hardware with Windows works for them – who am I to judge?

Despite that, the Get a Mac ads from Apple are more conciliabe, meaning they acknowledge the strengths of the PC to some degree, even if in a comical way. Laptop Hunters is a more offensive and absolutistic approach to compare the two systems, telling the customers Apple is stealing money from them. That’s business, OK, but it’s totally unfair.

Categories: Java, Mac, Windows Tags: , ,

The Windows Matrix

November 18th, 2008 makii Comments off

I’m going to learn Ubuntu?!?

Categories: Linux, Windows, funny, video Tags:

Again & Again

May 30th, 2008 makii Comments off

Small comparison of what one’s able when either using OS X or Windows XP…

first OS X

now Windows XP

Ooops, BSOD!

Stumbled over in the End User Blog.

Categories: Mac, Music, Windows, funny Tags: , , ,

Windows Vista: Work in Progress?

April 21st, 2008 makii Comments off

Having found a blog entry at Simple Thoughts (granted, without source), that Steve Ballmer admits Windows Vista is a work in progress. Well, who would have thought.In the same context I stumbled over the following manual, created by a power user, how to correctly install Vindows Vista on a box. And what a box preferable to use. See for yourself: 

Categories: Windows Tags:

Windows XP: productivity gimmicks for non-natives

April 21st, 2008 makii Comments off

Having not used MS Windows for a long time at home, except maybe for gaming, which I don’t do really often these days, I don’t know pretty much about the tricks and tweaks of this really pretty operating system since version 2000. Finally at my job here I’m forced to use it again, despite there is absolutely no reason for it, as nobody uses office documents anyway. All the documentation stuff is kept in our confluence wiki and nowadays Lotus Notes works pretty well on Linux.But now, being assimilated, I had to work with what I have. So let’s see how it’s going.

Sloppy Focus

Besides a proper shell interface the most important thing I miss in Windows is a working sloppy focus. I just love it! Someone, I don’t know who, told me there might be some sloppy focus utility in these PowerToys, but they pop the windows selected on top of the stack after a timeout, so I’m hardly gonna like it. So, unfortunately, I had to go somewhere else and found a pretty good working sloppy focus utility named True X-Mouse gizmo which not only offers a sloppy focus as on all *nix/Linux desktops, but also the nice “copy-on-select/paste-on-middle-mouse-button” feature what would have been the next on the list. The licensing terms are funny though:

Usage is free, but only those who have sent a postcard(*) are entitled for support:-) Postcards with a view over your home-town or other local sight signed with encouraging words and your E-mail address are to be sent to<snip>name and address of the author</snip>(*) Employees of Chalmers University of Technology don’t have to send a postcard.    

Multiple Desktops

Having used several of these utilities at the beginning of my former job some six years ago, when I had not switched to Linux there, I tried out the first three I found and ended up with VirtuaWin. It offers a pretty customizable interface so you can hook up the screen switch onto the keys you’re used from your favorite operating system, or you may click on the tray icon next to the clock. It’s even pluggable so you can add features like the cool desktop name which fades out you might know from WindowMaker.Licensing is GPLv2.

Shell/Terminal

 As mentioned above there also is no proper terminal on Windows. Sure, there’s this “cmd.exe” or whatever it’s called these days, but It doesn’t work for me: rudimentary tab completion, slow rendering of outputs, and this ugly windows command syntax. So the next logical step is to get Cygwin for Windows, which by default offers a ported native bash environment inside such a “cmd” terminal. This leaves the ugly handling of this window, including cranky buffer configuration, resize issues and the IMO very slow renderning of text output, e.g. when tailing a logfile which writes hundreds of lines in just a view seconds. How nice a simple xterm  would be…So just install it. Cygwin offers you to install a X server, namely XFree86, out of the box. The only issue here is it’s not pretty straight-forward to configure, I had a hard time to get it up and running as such, as the Cygwin guys have done lot’s of customizing here.Maybe take a look at the X live cd, they package the Cygwin X environment onto an autorun-cd for Windows: push in, click “start x” and you have a full-fledged X server running on windows with native xterm and all the basic utilities you need (at least I need) in my day-to-day work. It also offers an “install to hard drive” option, but this doesn’t work pretty well either. Unfortunately I haven’t taken notes for a walk-through, maybe in the future…WHEN you have it, finally, up and running, you basically have two options how to configure your X-Server: 

  1.  Start the X server as a “window” with a window manager of your choice (blackbox included).
  2. Start the X server with a special window manager which integrates your X windows into the windows environment, so all X windows are just decorated as usual Windows windows and integrated into your desktop seamlessly.

I decided for the latter option, for the sake to only have one environment, even if I don’t like it. Works pretty neat, having finally a xterm running screen running nice utilities I never wanna miss like tail, grep, ssh or find. OK, it’s not perfect, but hey, it’s usable… 

Categories: Windows, Work Tags:

About new architectures and old filthy systems…

March 7th, 2008 derlanders Comments off
Categories: Technology, Windows Tags: