Part 31 of elf's Apple PowerBook G4 Journal


sputnik "think different"

Thu Oct 04 21:50:25 2007

Today was the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik.

Last Saturday was the 10th anniversary of Apple's "Think Different" campaign. thinking back, I remember seeing the campaign posters in a store window on Yonge street. It must have been an Apple reseller at the time; it's now a mattress store. I don't remember seeing the “Here's to the Crazy Ones” TV ad, though.

Mac Chick: Mandy Amano


Fri Oct 05 21:51:54 2007

I don't know how I missed this— Macenstein's June 2007 Mac Chick of the Month was Mandy Amano. Her claim to celebrity is that she starred in a Pepsi/iTunes TV ad during the Superbowl broadcast. I don't remember seeing the ad and she looks rather ordinary in the screencaps. The photography, however, is a different matter entirely... Her literary and cinema choices are sadly disappointing, bordering on the unforgivable.

Macenstein has a new feature called "The 6 degrees of Steve" where Steve Jobs is linked to another person— I originally wrote "another celebrity", before seeing today's post— by the fewest degrees possible.

Parity III

apple dollar

Fri Oct 05 22:25:33 2007

Today's Globe and Mail had a letter to the editors about an article in yesterday's paper about cross-border shoppers and the Canadian dollar achieving parity with the U.S. dollar:

I just bought an iPod Nano in Buffalo, N.Y. By the time I paid N.Y. sales tax, a currency charge, and GST/PST at the border, I'd spent $189.29 versus $193.80 in Canada. Surely,the more accurate conclusion, if Canadian shoppers aren't crossing the border in droves, is that they are not suckers but honest.

—Marcus Macrae, Toronto

Ad: Olivetti

design calculator

Sun Oct 07 12:50:29 2007

Design is the art that is hidden in plain sight.
—Philip Nobel

I was browsing through the 1974 issues of the New Yorker magazine and I came across this ad for an Olivetti calculator, the Divisumma 18; the keypad certainly looked futuristic 33 years ago when comparing it to the other products advertised. Using a sans-serif font keeps the ad timeless.

Despite the paper tape dispenser, it looks futuristic even today (it certainly does not resemble an ordinary calculator). I think if it was re-designed today, the look should remain identical but it could be made more compact.

Touch Pads

olpc touch pad

Sun Oct 07 19:39:01 2007

When I read that the OLPC touchpad could also be used with a stylus, I tried using my Sony Clié stylus on my Powerbook touchpad. But it didn't work; the Macbook and Powerbook touchpads only work with fingers and not with an inanimate object like a stylus.

AppleInsider is reporting on an Apple patent for pressure-sensitive touchpads (it is important to note that all the figures in the image are labeled, "FORCE DETECTOR TOUCH PAD" and make no mention of "TOUCH SCREENS"; I don't see how this technology could be used on a touch-screen). If I were to make an educated guess, I would guess that future Macs notebooks would have large tablet-like touchpads that could be used with styli.

This is an Ex-Emacs

emacs carbon

Sun Oct 07 20:03:43 2007

No, no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'!
—M. Python

But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness:
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
—Matthew 8:12

In response to a bug report about Carbon Emacs to the emacs-devel mailing list, I was surprised to read this statement by Dan Nicolaescu:

The Carbon port on CVS trunk has been abandoned by its maintainers and it is known to be broken. If you don't intend to work on fixing it, it is better to avoid it. The X11 port should still work ...

Does this mean that it's being ported to Cocoa? Or does it mean no more native Emacs for OS X? Doesn't anyone at Apple use Carbon Emacs? I'm sorry, but X11 under OS X is a second-class citizen and I would use the console version of Emacs running in a Terminal before I use the X11 version.

Nobel Prize: Medicine


Mon Oct 08 08:09:58 2007

The 2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine has been awarded to Mario Capecchi, Martin Evans and Oliver Smithies for helping discover "the roles of numerous genes in embryonic development, adult physiology, aging and disease".



Tue Oct 09 05:28:05 2007

An excerpt from a travel article by Danielle Pergament about Faro, Ingmar Bergman's island home and the setting for some of his movies, from last Sunday's NY Times:

"When people would come to the island to find Mr. Bergman, residents would pretend they didn't know where he lived," said Majvor Ostergren, an archaeology professor at Visby University in Gotland and a native of Faro. "He had a sign on his gate, 'Beware of Killer Dog,' but he only had a tiny little dog. People wanted to protect his privacy."

When Bergman died, the details of his funeral were also kept under wraps. "People kept the secret from the press until the grave was dug the night before," said Mr. Soderlund, who provided the wood that was used to make Bergman's coffin. "These were his instructions. He directed his own funeral."

Nobel Prize: Physics


Tue Oct 09 14:03:03 2007

Albert Fert and Peter Gruenberg won the 2007 Nobel Prize for physics, for independantly discovering magnetoelectronics (spintronics)— the use of electron spin, rather than charge to store magnetic data— more than 20 years ago.

IPv4 Address Space


Tue Oct 09 21:57:55 2007

A recent article mentioned that a new census of the Internet is being undertaken with inspiration from an xkcd cartoon.

Looking at the cartoon, I noticed that Apple was assigned a class A address space (17) before MIT (18). Then I noticed that Xerox has 13. Next I needed to know when these addresses were actually assigned. A bit of Googling led me to a page at the IANA site that lists both the addresses and dates.

13/8 Sep 91 Xerox Corporation
17/8Jul 92Apple Computer Inc.

Hmmm... within a year... it could be related, but then it could just be a coincidence.

Mobile Mozilla


Wed Oct 10 23:55:52 2007

The user demand for a full browsing experience on mobile devices is clear. If you weren't sure about this before, you should be after the launch of the iPhone.

The Mozilla foundation has announced that it will start development on a mobile version of the web browser. Google and the GooglePhone is conspicuous in its absence.

If Flash and Java are available on this mobile Mozilla, then the iPhone with Safari will look crippled in comparison.

Peter Ahé: Software Delivery

microsoft apple

Fri Oct 12 00:02:27 2007

Microsoft Windows Installer is an installation and configuration service that reduces the total cost of ownership.

This document describes the process of packaging and delivering a software product so that it can be installed on a user’s computer.

Peter Ahé compares Microsoft's documentation for software installers, to that of Apple's documentation.

Installing software for Unix mostly involves shaving the yak, flogging the gnu, pkgsrc, yum, rpm, apt-get, deb, etc. etc. etc., oh, and I almost forgot "dependancy hell" or "libc hell".


Fri Oct 12 00:24:30 2007

After writing the "Software Delivery" entry, I thought I'd Google to see if "flogging the gnu" had gained popularity. I was surprised to discover that there was one other mention of it, and even more astonished that it was ranked above mine!

<mwolson>, a regular on #emacs, is famous for writing and maintaining ERC (the Emacs IRC client). He runs Ubuntu on his Mac Mini and I sympathize with his disdain completely.

Now I'm wondering if RMS is familiar with the phrase.

Nobel Prizes: Chemistry, Literature, Peace


Fri Oct 12 07:48:15 2007

The Nobel prize for chemistry was awarded to Gerhard Ertl, for his work that led to the development of catalytic converters.

The prize for literature was awarded to Doris Lessing.

Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were co-winners of 2007 Peace Prize. It is surprising that an American would be awarded this prize.

(I'm missing the prize for economics.)

Message in a Cup

gosling mac solaris

Sat Oct 13 08:10:47 2007

David sent me a link to Gosling's latest blog entry where he mentions that he no longer uses a Mac for development, instead he uses a laptop (brand unnamed) running Solaris (I wonder how Solaris x86 runs on a Mac). When he had a Mac, he performed his compiles remotely on Linux and Solaris servers because the JDK releases for OS X lagged behind so much. Apple and Jobs have never been a fans of Java (iPhone doesn't run it because Jobs dismissed it by basically saying, "No one uses Java").

I have always contended that Solaris is the best environment for doing Unix development work, especially for Java. However, if your work involves multimedia (movies, photos, images), then OS X (or Windows) is your only other choice— you cannot get Photoshop (or iTunes) for Linux or Solaris— and the so-called substitutes are very frustrating to use, as they lack usability.

Mac vs. PC c. 1996

Sat Oct 13 09:05:33 2007

The two solitudes of the Mac and the PC user illustrated circa 1996.



Sun Oct 14 09:02:48 2007

Songbird™ is a desktop Web player, a digital jukebox and Web browser mash-up. It supports extensions and skins feathers. It is built from Mozilla, it is cross-platform (Windows, Mac and Linux, but ironically not Solaris) and is open source.

I stumbled on the link from a Sun alumni's blog entry; he recently quit Sun and went to work for Songbird.

Missouri Macs

apple macs

Thu Oct 18 23:37:30 2007

A "non-random, small demographic, lecture hall" at the University of Missouri has a rather extraordinarily large bushel of Macs.

Excepting Macworld and an Applestore, this is by far the largest collection of Macs in a single place; I wonder what the class is about.

Update Fri Oct 19 23:27:15 2007: walking into the engineering building this morning, I saw one Macbook and seven PC laptops. The Macbook was a surprise— typically it's all PCs.


software firefox

Fri Oct 19 12:32:35 2007

Firefox has been released. In addition to security fixes, it's compatible Leopard (which will be released on the 26th).

Minsky MIT AI Lecture

ai mit minsky

Mon Oct 22 13:03:43 2007

The objective is to make a machine that does the things that we admire in people...

We don't know how the mind works. My conjecture is that until we make a good theory of it, the neurologists won't find out...

I'm not interested in how the human brain works...

Marvin Minsky (using a Mac) gives a lecture on AI (Realplayer or mplayer required). It's surprising he didn't use Keynote; it looks like he used Word. The question and answer period is the most interesting.

Apropos his first anecdote of manufacturing automation, I was talking to a member of the OLPC project last week, who mentioned that he would be in Shanghai this week, to supervise a batch of 100,000 laptops, which will be going on sale (the give1get1 program) to North Americans by next month. A total of 75 people will be supervising the robot plant (Quanta) during the production run.

Sun Ultra 24 Workstation

hardware sun u24

Wed Oct 24 00:00:17 2007

The Sun Ultra 24 workstation is the first Intel-based workstation in 20 years. The U24 is also a seriously ugly looking workstation.

I remember using the i386 "roadrunner" running SunOS 4.0, SunView windowing environment and a virtual DOS box wherein I often passed the time playing Falcon 2.0.

There are those that argue that Sun is no longer relevant (I love his blog's splash image) today. The follow-up comments (esp. Mike Rundle on Sun's relevance and Java on the iPhone) to one of Scoble's posts are more interesting than the post itself. I agree with one of the comments that Java apps would look really ugly on the iPhone.

Update Thu Oct 25 08:18:55 2007 linked to Scoble's post.

Still no iPhone in Canada

hardware iphone

Fri Oct 26 18:42:58 2007

The delay of the iPhone release in Canada is possibly due to a legal dispute over the use of the term 'iPhone'.

According to a CBC report, a Canadian company called Comwave has a VOIP telephony product called iPhone Mobile which they claim has been in service since June 2004; Apple applied for an 'iPhone' trademark in October 2004.

Photo: Toronto Skyline at Night


Sat Oct 27 09:28:00 2007

Panoramic photograph, looking south-west, of the School of Interior Design building and the Toronto skyline, from the nearly completed Centre for Computing and Engineering building's outdoor "rock garden" taken at about 9:00PM on August 12, 2004 with my Canon S30 in Program mode; I leaned the camera against a door frame and took 2 photos.

Details: on the far left is one of the iconic silhouette Apple ad for the iPod. The CN tower is barely visible in the far darkness, to the left of center. The two bright towers on the right and center are the Cadillac Fairview towers flanking the Eaton (now Sears) Centre. The tower with the red "S" is the Scotia Bank building; the tower with the greenish cap is the Canada Trust (now Toronto Dominion) building.

The Electrical Engineering Dept. technical support staff were working 12-hour days that entire month, moving and setting-up 18 undergraduate labs from their old home at Eric Palin Hall, to the new building, in time for the upcoming school year which began Sept. 4th. Each lab took to 2 days to set up (not including the actual moving which succumbed to delays as the brand new freight elevator was constantly breaking down). Note that 18 labs times 2 days-per-lab is 36 days— August only has 31 days.

It wasn't so much the Apple ad as the overtime pay for that month which compelled me to buy my first Mac, six months later.

Extreme Closeup: The Last Supper


Mon Oct 29 17:38:56 2007

Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.
—Mark 14:18

A Flash application that allows one to zoom-in down to the cracks in the wall (not plaster) and pan around Da Vinci's Last Supper in a 16 giga-pixel photo.

Lineup for Leopard in Toronto


Mon Oct 29 18:09:53 2007

Whilst browsing the blogTO Flickr pool, I came across a photo of Friday's lineup for Leopard in the Toronto AppleStore.

The pool has some beautiful photographs of the city and its people— Toronto has some amazing photographers. There are even some photos of the runway fashions from the L'Oreal Fashion Week— which I looked forward to, hoping that the streets (at least around City Hall) would be teeming with beautiful models, but no such luck— just the everyday uglies.

Unixersal Translator


Wed Oct 31 18:25:07 2007

The Rosetta Stone for Unix is a universal command translator for performing specific tasks on each of the various flavours of Unix: AIX, BSD, HPUX, IRIX, Solaris, etc.

luis fernandes / G4 PowerBook Journal, Part 31 / Last Modified: Fri Nov 16 13:51:50 2007