WebDAV, NetBoot

Attended a session on WebDAV today, which I’ve thought of implementing to allow students remote access to their files. The session itself wasn’t awesome (the speaker from Thursby was dry as a bone) but I did learn that there’s little advantage to deploying WebDAV unless you have a specific need to provide collaborative behaviors in the filesystem. NFS and SMB are just as universally supported across operating systems, and client implementations are more mature. On the other hand, if you do WebDAV now you’re ready for whatever collaborative things your peeps come up with in the future. It was interesting to see what Adobe has done – all of their new generation apps have a “Workgroup” menu item with special options built in to connect to and work with WebDAV volumes shared by groups. Very forward-thinking.

Next attended a seminar on NetBoot and got more than I bargained for. Wanted to learn the fundamentals of disk imaging and restoration, either locally from FireWire drives or over the network, but they assumed an audience with 10 years experience using rsync, revrdist, ASR, and friends – it was the most technical Mac conference I’ve been to. The author of Carbon Copy Cloner was on the panel – fascinating guy, and so committed. Good timing – I’m about to image and restore all the Greenhouse Macs, and this was a perfect intro.

More than 90% of people who attend trade shows just wander the booths, never go to the seminars, but there are so many smart people running the sessions. If you can pull the bread together, it’s usually worth it.

Music: Norah Jones :: Seven Years

iPhoto, iTunes Falling Down on Library Size

ORA blog: iPhoto, iTunes Falling Down on Library Size

I’m not steamed because there are bugs. I’m steamed because Apple announced a whole raft of iLife features today — great features, no doubt — but made no mention of addressing the one thing that thwarts the very people who take the digital hub sales pitch seriously – media library sizes greater than “just beginning.”


Update: I’ve been MacSlashed!

Music: Old and New Dreams :: Augmented

On Safari

It’s funny – an Apple-branded web browser is the last thing I thought I wanted out of Expo, but I’m already head over heels for Safari. Earlier this morning I was wondering why they would have chosen the lesser-known KHTML rendering engine over Gecko, but after feeling its speed and reading that the codebase is less than 1/10th the size of Gecko’s, I get it.

Safari’s bookmarks implementation is a thing of beauty. I’ve wondered since the mid-90s why no one ever seemed to get bookmark management right, but think Apple has finally cracked the egg. The one aspect of bookmark management I miss from BeOS is the ability to add keywords to bookmarks and then find similar bookmarks via live keyword queries. But if you make sure you give good descriptive titles to your bookmarks, the existing Find function works just fine.

They copied all the hotkeys over from Explorer, so everything works as expected. Even the almighty Cmd-click to open a link in a new window.

I’m always surprised to see how many people gripe about the brushed aluminum look. Personally, I’m sick to death of looking at white stripes and would be happy if every app on my system went brushed aluminum. However, it does seem like Apple has violated their own guideline to use brushed aluminum for apps that replace real-world devices. What device does the browser replace?

Music: Sham 69 :: If the kids are united

Apple Store, Body Butter

Went to the grand opening of the Emeryville Apple Store, which coincided with the grand opening of Yet Another Hugemongous Shopping Mall, this one like a little Disneyland world within a world – fake city streets lined with Banana Republic and Body Shop and Williams Sonoma and whatnot… The inside of an Apple Retail Store is precisely what one would expect – like walking around inside the Apple Online Store – all white diffused light bouncing off white walls and ceiling, brimming with oh-so designed Apple Toys and Apple Software… like stepping into Cult HQ, seductive and scary.

I mostly wanted to talk to the Apple Geniuses to try and find an answer to a hanging problem with CUPS printer sharing – a problem I know is not in the vendor’s driver but in Apple’s CUPS layer… but the Genius of course threw the onus for the problem right back on the printer vendor. For crying out loud, it’s an Apple bug but I can’t get tech assistance without paying for Apple Care (je refuse) and the Apple Geniuses just deflect the blame… an absurd comedy of errors resulting in Amy not being able to use our “shared” printer for the past two months.

Went into Body Time and was assaulted by no less than half a dozen moonies, er, employees all wanting me to slather myself in buckets of Body Butter, sugars, salts, aromatherapy, yoga incense, etc. I must be missing an appreciation gland for this kind of thing – I don’t know what it would feel like to come home and think, “What I want most is to slather myself in fruit-scented butter.” With them, it’s all about making one’s body into a great hunk o’ toast.

Music: The Upsetters :: Curly Dub

Study: Mac OS Least Attack-Prone

Computerworld: Mi2g Ltd. said 1,162 new software vulnerabilities in operating systems, server software and third-party applications have been discovered so far this year. Of that number, fewer than 25 were attributable to the Mac OS.

Gotta say, it feels great to not worry about a thing as one wave of vulnerabilities after another washes over the Windows shores. And even better to know that my wife, father, landlord, clients in the city etc. all fly under the radar as well. Security by stealth + security by design is a lot of security (though not total, of course).

Music: Billie Holiday :: I Cried For You

Comparing Apples and Penguins

Moshe Bar at Byte.com has performed a careful and thorough side-by-side benchmarking of OS X as a pure server (not desktop) environment by installing both OS X and the SuSE PowerPC Linux distribution on an XServe. Short story: OS X lost to Linux on every measurable count, but Moshe is still impressed, since OS X is so new while Linux has had a decade to tune its subsystems. To my knowledge, this is the first such test done with this degree of care.

Music: Fugazi :: Waiting Room

MacWorld Article Published

The article I wrote for MacWorld a few months ago on setting up OS X for MySQL/PHP web development, “Serve It Up,” was published in the November issue. There are actually two versions of the article – one on Jaguar, which is in print only, and another on 10.1.x, which is the one they ran online. Enough stuff changed between 10.1 and 10.2 that the online version won’t quite work under Jaguar…

The topic is more technical than the typical MacWorld audience, so producing the piece turned out to be a real editing challenge. In fact, I probably did more round-robins with my editor than for anything I’ve ever written… a process that bordered on becoming a genuine pain in the ass but that was worth it in the end, even if some of it doesn’t quite sound like me.