Part 39 of elf's Apple PowerBook G4 Journal
But Wait, There's More!
As of 4:22PM this afternoon, there were more than 23,000 signatures on the
petition and the site was heavily loaded. I am surprised at the
numbers. Even more surprising is that newspaper coverage has
increased to all the major papers in the U.S.
And one of the terms of the Rogers plan is an
Rogers has the makings of a PR fiasco on their hands. I look
forward to Wednesday when Rogers responds to members of the
New, Improved Emacs Splash
<zeus> brought to my attention that there was a submission
for a new splash screen for Emacs 23, currently in development.
Francesc Rocher has to be commended for the work he did. The
hilighting on the edges looks great. As to the comment that the
serif on the "S" should be fixed, I agree it would look better if
it was tweaked a bit. The "Emacs" text was originally written
free-hand with a calligraphy pen and then digitized.
I had originally submitted an anti-aliased splash logo but I think
rms rejected it because, at the time, Emacs needed to accomodate
8-bit displays and the image I submitted was a 24-bit image with a
Rogers: Welcome to 2003
long thread on ehMac.ca, about Rogers data-plan for the iPhone
in Canada, Elizabeth Hamilton, a spokesperson for Rogers, is quoted
as saying that the plans Rogers offers for the iPhone are based on
the size of an average web page being 130KB:
There are several websites where you can find information on standard
wireless usage. Of course, web pages vary in size depending how
multi-media heavy they are, e.g. more photos, bigger the size, so
sites like CNN, CTV and Ebay are media heavy, as well as sites that
are optimized for mobile, such as facebook, google, etc. Our math is
based on 130Kb/page, which is the average HTML size according to
research. See link The Average Web Page - Preliminary Results And I
believe if you review the Toronto Star archives, they're research
yielded similar results on or around November 26/27.
The cited report is from research performed in 2003; however, at
the bottom of the page (section titled "Further Reading")
report (from the same author, Andy King) done in 2008, shows
that the average size of a web page has tripled in size since 2003,
to "over 321k".
There are rumours that Rogers will announce modified plans (with
increased data amounts for the same cost, but still no unlimited
cap) in the coming week.
How Much Bandwidth Would I Consume in a Month
I decided to estimate the amount of bandwidth I would
theoretically consume in a month (30 days) of using an imaginary
|Website||Size (bytes)||Monthly Size (bytes)|
|Environment Canada (text weather)||55,572||5,001,480 (3 times/day)|
|Google search ("iphone")||25,351||6,084,240 (8 times/day)|
|Peanuts (Sunday colour)||491,400||2,000,000 (4 Sundays)|
|Peanuts (weekday)||56,500||1,356,000 (24 days)|
|2001: A Space Odyssey||175,900||8,724,000 (1 search/day)|
|Google Maps (main page)||626,400|| 2,505,600 (1/week)|
|Google Maps (satellite map of address)||1,051,000|| 4,204,000 (1/week)|
That 46MB montly total does not include all the cartoons
I read (if I average 3MB/month for each cartoon, then 3 additional
cartoons would total 9MB increasing my total to 55MB
monthly), nor does it include email usage as I read my mail using
Emacs; but with the iPhone, I would likely use Gmail or the
departmental webmail client. I have also not included bandwidth of
my RSS feed subscriptions read via Google Reader and the bandwidth
to read external articles linked in the feeds (I have read 2,069
articles this month according to the Reader's stats, at an average
of 150KB/article, that is 300MB).
Note that a single Dr. Who episode on Youtube (5 parts) is about
300MB in size.
OMG! Rogers Changes Data Plans
that customers signing up for an iPhone, between July and August,
will be eligible for a $30 dataplan with a 6GB allowance!
The article notes that only one store in the Toronto area (at the
AMC Yonge/Dundas) will have iPhones for sale; this explains why the
Bay/Adelaide Rogers store didn't have any iPhone advertising when I
walked by, yesterday.
The only other gripes that remain are the 3-year contract and the
free evening calls beginning only at 9PM.
Don't Judge a Type-designer by Their Handwriting
of type-designers, their handwriting and their creations; the
diversity is surprising.
I am reading reports that the final step in activating the iPhone
is failing due to an iTunes error...
iPhone Agent Descriptor
Jul 10: "Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; de-de) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A102 Safari/419.3"
- Jul 12: "Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5A347 Safari/525.20"
There wasn't a single access with an iPhone or iPod on July
11th. I expect Apple to announce a gift-certificate for those that
bought their iPhone on July 11th.
University-wide Apple Computer Program
On Friday, an email was sent to all faculty and staff in the
department asking if any "Apple" users were willing to meet, "to
discuss which models would best be suited for student and faculty
use ... and to make [those] models of Apple computers available to
the Ryerson community at additional discounts."
I think there's a Dilbert cartoon about this.
Today, for some reason, the right-hand part of the menu bar
(called the "system part") froze— the clock stopped updating
at 3:15 and hovering the mouse over it, or over the Spotlight
magnifier or over Menumeters showed the Spinning Pizza of Death.
was to use the Activity Monitor to force-quit SystemUIServer—
filter processes to SystemUI, click on Info,
then Force Quit).
This advertisement for Coke appeared on a building across the
street a few weeks ago. I thought it was quite clever in copying
the look of the building— colour of the bricks and the window
frames— that it appears on. Note also, the
"shadows" below the foot-lights at the bottom of the ad.
Book Reviews: "American Pastoral" and "Austerliz"
I recently read “American Pastoral” by Philip Roth and
“Austerlitz” by W. G. Sebald, translated by Anthea Bell.
Imitation is ...?
In February 2007 the Swiss-American artist Christian Marclay was
installing a solo exhibition of his work in Paris when he received an
e-mail message from a friend about a commercial for the Apple iPhone
that had been broadcast during the Academy Awards show.
—The Image Is Familiar; the Pitch Isn't, N.Y. Times
The 30-second spot featured a rapid-fire montage of clips from
television shows and Hollywood films of actors and cartoon characters
— including Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, Dustin Hoffman and
Betty Rubble— picking up the telephone and saying "Hello." It
ended with a shot of the soon-to-be-released iPhone.
Mr. Marclay tracked down the ad on YouTube and watched it.
"I was very surprised," he said recently by phone from London. Like
many in the art world he saw an uncanny resemblance between the
iPhone commercial and his own 1995 video "Telephones," which opens
with a similar montage of film clips showing actors answering the
phone. That seven-and-a-half-minute video, one of Mr. Marclay's
signature works, has been exhibited widely throughout Europe and the
About a year before, Mr. Marclay said, Apple had approached the Paula
Cooper Gallery, which represents his work in New York, about using
"Telephones" in an advertisement.
"I told them I didn't want to do it," he said. His main concern, he
said, was that "advertisers on that scale have so much power and
visibility" and that "everyone would think of my video as the Apple
iPhone ad." Mr. Marclay said he spoke with a lawyer after learning of the
commercial but decided not to pursue legal action. "When people with
that much power and money copy you, there's not much you can do," he
Mozilla Plugin Ideas
I sent the following feedback to Mozilla a couple of days ago:
i have 2 suggestions for mozilla plugins:
1) wiki wysiwyg editor: rather than having to remember/look-up
special codes for marking-up wiki pages, how about a built-in editor
where text can be marked-up with a few clicks of the mouse.
2) built-in slideshow viewer: many sites have image galleries where
the images can only be viewed one at a time. how about a plugin where
all the images on the page are gathered together and displayed as a
i am a bit surprised that we are still doing these two things the
same way we had been doing them 10 years ago.
To expand just slightly on proposal 1, why can't I just click my
mouse on a line in a wiki, change something and click save and see
the wiki page updated? Why do I need another window containing a
text widget to edit the text that is right in front of me?
Ideas and Money
A posting from Y Combinator with ideas they are prepared to fund.
It would be interesting to see how many of these ideas have lisp
I was looking at
Meraki's (#27 "One reason
your iPod isn't made by Sony is that Sony can't write
iTunes."— my Sony Vaio laptop came with Sonic Stage, which
was the most baffling and frustrating piece of music management
software I remember using) website and found a line in Robert
Morris' bio quite amusing: "In 1988 his discovery of buffer
overflow first brought the Internet to the attention of the general
Another Convert: Satoshi Nakajima
Satoshi Nakajima, the lead architect of Win95 and
to a Mac two years ago, "We love Apple products... you need
“love” to be creative," and
now develops an application
called PhotoShare for the iPhone.
Google Offices: New York and Zurich
A Googler who hangs out in #emacs posted links to a couple of
albums showing pictures of the Google offices in New
(I like the Zurich ambience; the NY office seems sterile).
Too Many Secrets
The first hit for the words, "too many secrets" is
intriguing. Sneakers is one of my favourite fun movies.
Rules of Sysadmins
The first (an second) hit for the words, "rules of sysadmins" is
intriguing; the first hit for "rules of sys admins" is this
journal's homepage. I am surprised that I was the first to codify
them (on the web, at least).
Forget Innovation, Let's Just Imitate
microsoft apple linux
In a recent internal email, Ballmer said, "In the competition
between PCs and Macs, we outsell Apple 30-to-1, but there is no
doubt that Apple is thriving. Why? Because they are good at
providing an experience that is narrow but complete, while our
commitment to choice often comes with some compromises to the
Gates would always go on about how Microsoft innovates; now I
suppose it's easier to imitate.
There was also a recent statement by Ubuntu founder who said, "If
we want the world to embrace free software, we have to make it
beautiful. We have to make it gorgeous. We have to make it easy on
the eye. We have to make it take your friend's breath away."
Vista wants to copy OS X and Linux doesn't even bother to copy
Microsoft products anymore.
"Have You Considered Buying a Mac?"
"Have You Considered Buying a Mac?"— I never imagined I
would hear my boss utter those words within earshot, after having
used a MAc for only 3 weeks. Yesterday, however, he did just that.
Very often, the faculty in the department consult him before they
purchase new hardware; naturally, the first question they are asked
is— "What kinds of things are your going to use your computer
for?" Sometimes they have a specific hardware vendor (Dell, IBM)
in mind and they ask whether a particular model will fit the task
they intend for it. This was such a case— the faculty member
called to say he was interested in buying a laptop that ran Unix
(for doing course-related work; his previous laptop was a Dell with
dual-boot Linux/Windows) and also ran Windows (for Office). My boss
suggested a Macbook as we have a sitewide license for Office on
both Windows and Mac. The faculty member incredulously asked, "Does
it have a terminal?" at which point, I rolled my eyes; he wanted
to know if gcc was available... at which point my boss
explained that OS X was FreeBSD with Apple's own GUI.
After the conversation was over, I expressed my surprise that my
boss would recommend a Mac and he said that wasn't the first time
he had recommended a Mac. He had recommended a Mac to a woman, who
he commutes with regularily on the train, whose (non-technical) son
would be leaving for University in the coming Fall. She said that
she had heard of Macs but she hadn't really considered them (she
was thinking of getting Dell).
At some future date, I will find out what the final decisions in
both cases were.
The Secret Army grows.
One Thing Leads to Another: Dracula to Cinelerra
This all started when I was browsing through the audio-visual
catalogue of the Ryerson library. I had long-forgetten that Coppola
had directed Bram Stoker's Dracula (starring my secret
ex-girlfriend Winona Ryder). I began reading
trivia and found the item about the entire visual-effects team
being fired because they refused to do in-camera effects, instead
recommending computer-generated ones, particularily interesting
which lead to another trivia element that mentioned that this was
the first movie to be edited using
linear editing system"— a term used for a computer-based
editing system— which finally lead
a free movie editing suite available for Linux and OS X (with X11).
A Giant Leap
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to skip an entire
generation of computer technology and leap from the equivalent
bronze age to the modern era, then
post by Hunter Davies explains the feeling of giving up his 20
year old Amstrad PC for a Macbook with network connectivity.
Verbatim 250GB Firewire Portable HD
250GB Firewire portable hard drive from the Apple Store, last
night just before going to bed. This morning, I woke-up and I
realized I hadn't checked whether the Mac Mini at work had a 6-pin
Firewire port or a 4-pin port (which would mean the drive would
need an AC adapter). The Mini has a 6-pin Firewire port.
I bought the Verbatim drive based on the positive reviews on the
Apple Store. I had also considered the Iomega portable drives but
the mixed reviews indicated quality control problems. I was quite
surprised that the Apple Store didn't carry any LaCie products in
this category. The U.S. store does carry them.
My three year old
LaCie Databank USB
drive is alive and well.
Update Tue Jul 29 15:49:27 2008: Shipped from Memphis, TN
to Winnipeg, MB; estimated delivery is for tomorrow— "the driving
distance from winnipeg to toronto is 2,229 km with a driving time
of about 23 hours 16 mins".
Update Sun Aug 03 15:14:27 2008: Last night, I timed the
backup of my iPhoto directory to the Firelight— 13.91GB took
11 minutes (wall-clock; the copy-progress dialog estimated 13
"What is this-- iPhone Day?"
Yesterday, a graduate student (who has a Macbook) dropped by to
have his iPhone configured to use the campus-wide Wifi. So my boss
took the opportunity to "play around" with the phone (to do things
he was unable to do in the store; ejecting the SIM, for
example). Before he had completed configuring the first phone, a
faculty member (Windows user) came by to have his iPhone configured
to use the Wifi— at which point my boss uttered those famous
I would not have expected this faculty member to be an iPhone
user— it was quite a surprise. Based on this single
data-point, I would estimate that Apple will easily meet their
sales target for this year.