Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Nougat? NOUGAT?!?

I don’t write about these things much anymore, and haven’t in a while. I used to really enjoy tweaking Steven Den Beste about my beloved Macs versus his crappy ol’ PeeCees back in the old days; him, me, and Brian Tiemann had many an enjoyable and informative three-way e-mail exchange about that stuff, with my old friend CapLion chiming in on mine and Brian’s side now and then, just to make the fur really fly. It was great fun, and educational as all hell, too. I like to think the resulting rasslin’ around on our respective blogs yielded some worthwhile reading for our respective audiences to enjoy as well.

But nowadays tech is slowly but surely leaving me behind. Perhaps even more appalling, I’m A-okay with that increasing disengagement, too; I’m an old dog now, getting older by the minute, and am finding myself less and less interested in all the new tricks. I do make a half-assed effort (okay, quarter-assed) to at least keep the young ‘uns in sight as they blaze off into the ether in their self-driving aircars and their personal jetpacks and their Travolators in the sky and suchlike. But as time grinds implacably on, the appeal of just staying on the porch and waving at them from a creaky old bentwood rocker as they reach escape velocity grows ever more compelling.

Notwithstanding my creeping fuddy-duddydom, to any of you Android users out there wondering about the new 7.0 update and willing to trust this old dog’s assessment: DO IT. Just do it. I installed it yesterday, and it is GREAT: a noticeable up-kick in speed across the board, and the extension of battery life (thanks in part to a sleep feature called Doze) is nothing short of astonishing. There are other new features I haven’t played with much yet, and not being a smartphone guru by any stretch I probably won’t get around to exploring some of them at all. I have fooled about a little with the split-screen dealie, which is a neat little confection but maybe not all that useful to anybody but a true power-user—which, as I already admitted, I sure ain’t. But the jump in speed and battery life alone are enough to make it well worth installing.

If it’s of any interest to anybody, I’m on a Moto X Pure which I’ve had for about a year now, and just love to little bitty pieces. They were discontinued towards the end of last year, if I remember right, which made me glad I’d gotten mine under the wire, and for an almost unbelievably cheap price* too. Now, with this update breathing new life into the old girl, I’ll be happily hanging onto her for a goodish while yet, or so I hope.

Yep, you whippersnappers can have your damned Dick Tracy wrist teewees and your Star Trek communicators a-beeping and a-blatting at you and all. Me, I’m gonna stick to ol’ Princess over here. It’s got a great big bright ol’ screen that I can actually read—and at my age that ain’t optional**, nosirree. And with this update, it looks to stay current enough for my purposes for a long, long while yet, unless I drop it in a toilet or lay it on the floor and then forget and step on it or put it in the microwave for no damned reason or something.

Now get off my damn lawn, you kids.

Den Beste would probably have been annoyed with me for not having an iPhone, if only because it would leave us with one less thing to joust over. Probably he wouldn’t have ever openly admitted to giving a damn, and would have been all ready with an elegant, eloquent, and well-reasoned two thousand word treatise on why he didn’t. But as one curmudgeon surely knows another, I bet I’m right. I can just tell.

Truthfully, though, I just never did get too excited about the iPhones, although I do still love my Macs. I don’t know why. Maybe my gravitating to Android over iOS was an early symptom of latent codgerhood. Maybe my disinterest in the iPhone was my last gasping breath of the adolescent rebellion and nonconformity that was like oxygen to me my whole life. Maybe they’re just too freakin’ expensive, and I can’t afford one, and I resented it subconsciously.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get a PC someday just for the hell of it, and get Steven spinning in his grave for reals. Just because.

Damn, but I do miss that boy. If you got the time, I strongly recommend that you click the link above to the archives of his old USS Clueless site and poke around a bit. You won’t be sorry, I promise; he was one of the very best of us OG warbloggers, and it’d be a shame for you noobs not to hip yourselves to him. It was an honor and a thrill to be linked and excerpted by him now and then, and I got all happy every time he did—even when he was deftly demolishing one of my arguments, jackhammering it to rubble bit by pitiful bit until there was nothing left of it but a slight whiff of failure wafting gently away into nothingness. Which I admit he did, once or twice. The Mac/PC stuff excepted; he was just dead fucking wrong about all that, of course.

Ahem.

From Den Beste to Droid to Den Beste in one mid-length, mostly-coherent post; don’t know how that happened, but I assure you you won’t find such toothsome noodling about anyplace else but right here, folks. Which, y’know, might not be the ringing endorsement I think it is, now that I consider it. The mostly-coherent part is no mean feat either, when you’re high on Metamucil and Geritol, wear a pair of readers around your neck full-time, haven’t bothered to pick up your hairbrush in weeks because what the hell’s the point, and have enough laxatives bouncing around in your belly to break down three miles of I-85 into a fine powder.

So yeah, go getcha some Android 7.0 Nougat, y’all. Do it for Steven.

*Does a whopping 200 bucks for a brand-new smartphone—delivered to my door direct from Motorola, highly customized and without any of the bloatware installed by the big service providers to clog things up—that only a couple months before had been the flagship of the line and thus went for 700 sound like a bargain, or what? I mean, COME ON, people.

**One of the new features I haven’t fooled with yet is the ability to increase the size of everything on the entire screen, icons, text, and all. I probably won’t be bothering with it, actually. Despite all my joshing and jesting above, I ain’t quite that far gone just yet, thankyouverymuch.

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RIP Steve Jobs

Like him or not, the man changed the world for the better.

I don’t know what Steve Jobs’s politics were, I don’t much care, and in any case they are beside the point. The late Mr. Jobs stood for something considerably better than politics. He stood for the model of the world that works.

…That old Motorola cinderblock would cost about $10,000 in 2011 dollars, and you couldn’t play Angry Birds on it or watch Fox News or trade a stock. Once you figure out why your cell phone gets better and cheaper every year but your public schools get more expensive and less effective, you can apply that model to answer a great many questions about public policy. Not all of them, but a great many.

Mr. Jobs’s contribution to the world is Apple and its products, along with Pixar and his other enterprises, his 338 patented inventions — his work— not some Steve Jobs Memorial Foundation for Giving Stuff to Poor People in Exotic Lands and Making Me Feel Good About Myself. Because he already did that: He gave them better computers, better telephones, better music players, etc. In a lot of cases, he gave them better jobs, too. Did he do it because he was a nice guy, or because he was greedy, or because he was a maniacally single-minded competitor who got up every morning possessed by an unspeakable rage to strangle his rivals? The beauty of capitalism — the beauty of the iPhone world as opposed to the world of politics — is that that question does not matter one little bit. Whatever drove Jobs, it drove him to create superior products, better stuff at better prices. Profits are not deductions from the sum of the public good, but the real measure of the social value a firm creates.

Williamson includes a highly-pertinent slam at the Occupy Wall Street morons, too, winding up thus:

And to the kids camped out down on Wall Street: Look at the phone in your hand. Look at the rat-infested subway. Visit the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, then visit a housing project in the South Bronx. Which world do you want to live in?

They’re way too goddamned stupid to figure that one out on their own, and way too arrogant in their ignorance to accept it if it’s explained to them.

For my own part, it’s literally true that Jobs and Apple changed my life; if it weren’t for them, I’d most likely still be driving a truck. In 1998, my girlfriend’s father sent her the latest-and-greatest Mac G3 for her to use for editing photos (she was/is a photographer, at that time attending a fancy-schmancy art school in Atlanta; she now works as a crime-scene photographer for the APD). I had piddled around with various Windoze machines here and there, and they left me completely cold; I had no interest in them whatsoever, and said so many times. But she asked me to set the G3 up for her, and within a month, I had built my first website — I was intrigued and excited, not to say hooked. Previously, what writing I had done was done on an old pain-in-the-ass Royal portable that had belonged for years to my dad, which wasn’t exactly an incentive to do more of it, despite the nostalgia for old typewriters some folks have.

But with the G3, and all the Macs I’ve owned since, well, I just can’t stay away from them. They’ve all been elegant, beautifully designed, and reliable; they just work. They do what they’re supposed to do with no fuss, muss, or hassle. Yeah, they cost more — and you get what you pay for. And although I now also have a five-year-old HP laptop that belonged to my late wife, Windoze still just leaves me cold.

So Steve, if you can hear this somehow wherever your spirit may be a-roaming: thanks. Of course, Lileks has something to say too:

It all seems inevitable in retrospect, but it wasn’t. It took a guy who could see several steps in the future. Beyond this to the thing beyond that.

And now he’s gone to the thing beyond it all. Thanks, Mr. Jobs. Every day: thanks.

Amen to that, my friend. With bells on.

Update! Slublog gets right to the heart of Jobs’ amazing achievement:

I think it’s easy to forget how truly revolutionary the first iPod was. It was small, portable and easy to use. I was old enough when I first got one to be amazed by it – here was a device the size of the cassette tapes I used to put in my Walkman that can hold ALL of my music. I didn’t know I wanted this thing until it was offered to me.

Exactly. The great American experiment wouldn’t have been possible without the freedom and creativity unleashed by capitalism; capitalism itself wouldn’t be possible without people like Jobs. Every day, in every way, they make lives better the whole world around. And a bunch of ingrate mouthbreathers in lower Manhattan are even now screaming and yelling about how “evil” it all is, that it must be “smashed” and destroyed, merely because it can’t live up to their notion of “perfect.” The very fact that these self-made zombies are chronicling and sharing their idiocy on iPads and iPhones is the most efficient refutation of their dunderheaded ideology imaginable. Talk about ironic.

I’ll note, too, that Slu also includes a “thank you” at the end of his short post. In fact, just about every obit I’ve seen so far includes an expression of gratitude to the man. It’s an incredible, powerful testimony to his contribution and influence–far more so than any manifesto or list of foolish “demands” from spoiled, whining children will ever be. Again: ironic, innit?

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest update! Nemo, via Bill:

Long after we are all forgotten — George Bush,  Barack Obama, Osama bin Laden, and all the rest of us, the world will remember Steve Jobs.

Because he said:  “No. I want this.”  And we got things that changed the world forever. It’s a wonderful thing that one bright person could do what no government ever could.

Indeed it is. Stunning, and saddening, that so many refuse to accept the truth of it.

Making magic update! Fine post from Allahpundit:

I’m straining to find a cultural analogy for Jobs and am struck by the fact that I have to leave the business/tech fields entirely to do it. You can do it if you go back far enough — Henry Ford and Edison pop to mind, but…that’s awfully far. The obvious modern comparison is to Bill Gates, but that doesn’t work. Gates, like Jobs, is capital-I Important to the computer age, but in sort of the same way that ancient cave painters were important to the development of art. Jobs started out as a cave painter too but kept at it until he turned into Rembrandt. I think Lileks is close to the mark in comparing him to Walt Disney; my first thought when I heard the news was that only Steven Spielberg’s passing today would hit quite as hard. The common thread among those three is that they all made magic, but Jobs put it in your hands so that you felt like you were the one making it. That’s the crucial difference between Apple and Microsoft — Gates made computers easier to use but Jobs made them objects of wonder. He made magic, literally. There’s no greater epitaph.

Amen.

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Much ado about not much

Much schadenfraude among Windoze victims over this, but in the end, Mac or Windoze, it all comes down to the same thing: problem exists between monitor and chair.

One of the most pervasive and costly types of infection is now hitting Mac computers, signalling the end of an age of innocence for Apple customers, who until now have been spared many common cybersecurity problems.

Known as rogue antivirus or scareware, the scam programs warn PC and now Mac owners that they have been infected, then demand credit card payments to clean the machines.

The operators of the programs are typically criminals who may resell the card details or try to install more malicious software.

PCs running Microsoft’s Windows operating system have been besieged by scareware for years. Though scareware infections can begin in a number of ways, they are often triggered by the ability in popular web browsers to download programs automatically.

In the past few weeks, a large number of Mac users have run into the same problem, encountering scareware with names like MacDefender, MacSecurity and MacProtector when using Apple’s standard Safari browser for web surfing. The programs sport professional-looking interfaces and have been lurking in advertisements on media sites and links returned by Google searches.

For Mac owners running Safari in the default mode that enables downloading of “safe” files, the malicious programs began installing automatically and then prompted the users for their passwords to finish the job. If they complied, the software ran when the machine restarted, reporting bogus infections and asking for payment.

And there you have it: If they complied. There’s no reason to, so don’t. These things almost always work via the same assumption: the user is a gullible sap. They simply don’t work otherwise. But if there are any of you out there who have gotten tricked into clicking on something you shouldn’t have, here are instructions on how to get rid of it. And may the people who code these things all burn in hell for a thousand years. At least.

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“Disappointing?” Hardly

Lileks follows up on yesterday’s find with a more comprehensive list of good Mac stuff. I use most of ’em myself, and can heartily second his recommendations. And here’s a few of my own:

For backups, Deja Vu is very damned slick, and completely customizable. DVD ripping: RipIt works well, and they don’t come much simpler; I never could get Handbrake to work right, and ditto with Mac the Ripper. If you listen to a lot of internet radio — which I do; mostly old stuff like various OTR stations or The 20’s Network — you’ll hear things all day long that iTMS just doesn’t have, and neither does anybody else. You’re gonna want to add at least some of it to your own collection, and if so, Audio Hijack Pro is a must-have. And of course there’s Cocktail, which is pretty much invaluable for general Mac maintenance and keeping the Infernal Machine humming along hitch-free.

So there ya go. And if you didn’t grab James’s, and my, recommendation from yesterday, what the heck are you waiting for?

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I am not an animal! I am…a…PC?

Okay, so I saw one of these ads last night, and I thought it was okay, actually. But you gotta admit this is pretty funny:

Metadata found on Microsoft’s creative copy used in its ‘I’m a PC’ ad reveals that the graphics were actually produced using Macs running Adobe Creative Suite 3. After the details were published on the Flickr photo sharing site, Microsoft scrambled to polish off the embarrassing details last night

Microsoft’s new ad features contrasts a “stereotyped PC user” dressed up like John Hodgman in Apple’s Get a Mac ads with a number of people who say, “I’m a PC” apparently to affirm that they run Windows.

However, not even Microsoft itself can wean itself off the Mac, as the metadata discovered by Flickr user LuisDS points out. Microsoft was not only using Macs but also Adobe’s software in place of its own Expressions Studio, which the company bills as software that “takes your creative possibilities to a new level.

Just not a good enough one, I guess.

(Via Stephen)

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Nabbed!

Nancy was kind enough to send word of this supremely satisfying story:

A clever Mac user who had her laptop stolen led the police to the alleged burglars using Back to My Mac. Three roommates in White Plains, N.Y., had about $5,000 worth of computer and entertainment equipment stolen 27-Apr-08. Then this last Tuesday, one victim who works at an Apple Store, Kait Duplaga, received a text message from a friend, who, spotting her on iChat, thought she’d recovered her computer.

She said no, and used Back to My Mac’s remote screen sharing feature to monitor her laptop’s built-in iSight camera to grab a photo of one of the alleged thieves. She then used remote file sharing to find pictures of the other stored on the laptop. The two men charged in the burglary were arrested with the equipment in their apartment, and are reportedly friends of a friend of the roommates who had their stuff stolen.

Godalmighty, but I hate a friggin’ thief about as bad as I hate anything in this world. Good on ya, Kait.

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Question for the Mac Gurus

I’ve searched around, but I’m not finding the exact answers I need…here’s the situation:

My roommate has a Mac G4 Quicksliver 700mhz(somewhere around that) running 10.2…

The hard drive is an IBM Deskstar 41 gb…

He has purchased a Seagate Barracuda 500gb PATA internal drive and has a 10.4 install disk…

He put the new drive in and has attempted to install both 10.2 and 10.4 (when the former wouldn’t work) from the DVD drive, but when it comes to the point to select a drive, there is nothing to select…I’ve double checked and the jumpers and cable were all correct when installed…

I’ve researched and i’m suspecting his system won’t allow him anything larger than 137gb…and that to go any higher he might need a PCI controller card…

I welcome any ideas or possible solutions….Thanks!

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LOLMicrosoftstore?

Headline: Microsoft Planning to Open Most Exciting Retail Stores Ever! (punctuation mine):

It looks like Microsoft is planning to take a page from Apple’s playbook, with rumors of plans to open a number of retail stores dedicated exclusively to Microsoft products. It’s not clear what that will entail exactly, but I’m guessing there will be a big focus on Vista.

Gizmodo artist’s rendering of what the new stores will look like:




Seems to me he forgot something, though:


(Via Amazon Currents)

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Hang your heads, Mac geeks

Looks like yet another disaster for Apple, who I courageously and stubbornly hopefully predict will go out of business sometime in the next half hour, due to abject shame at their inferiority and lack of innovation and competence. This thing won’t work, can’t work, and doesn’t work, and no one will buy them because no one wants them. Also, Apple sucks. There’s a reason Macs only have about .000864 percent market penetration, and that’s because Apple sucks. Also, they’re not serious adult computers because there are no — zip, zero, zilch, nada, not one — games playable on them. Even though they now run Windoze and can do anything a Windoze computer can — better. Too expensive, too. Did I mention they suck?

There, that about cover it?

Update! Tiemann says it blows goats. No, really.

Updated update! Cap doesn’t like the MacBook Air either, but points this out:

First, Time Capsule — in a nutshell, an airport express base station with a big hard drive in it, either 500GB or 1TB, which allows one to wirelessly back up stuff with time machine. This little guy is a) Cool, and b) Marketed towards notebook users who are presumably bothered about plugging in an external hard drive to back their stuff up with, who are not necessarily technical enough to do it to another machine or server via NFS or AFP or what have you.

That’s all well and good, but it’s also cheap. 1TB for $500? With another APE base station that can presumably extend range? Considering most 1TB external drives go for about the same price without any of that extra goodness, it’s kind of hard not to apply the “just because” purchase justification.

Yeah, all joking around aside, I do really like this thing. Oh, and…to hell with Randy Newman anyway.

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Perspective, broadened

Oh, the shame of it:

With the political season officially getting underway in just about a month, Mac Daily News reports that Net Applications, which tracks operating system market share, found that “higher percentage Mac usage states almost perfectly match up with states that typically vote for Democrats” (via PR.com). (MDN has the Net App map compared to voting trends maps in the 2004 election.) In another segmentation story, Forrester Research (as reported by InfoWorld) found that “Apple users are proportionally more eco-friendly than users of other vendors’ PCs. Moreover, they’re more willing to plunk down extra cash for “green” products.”

Gag. Well, not this Mac geek, anyway. But know what I like? That after months and months of endless political blogging, interminable early debate coverage, and enduringly tedious regurgitation of the “Fred is lazy, he better do something and fast” observation, this guy mentions that the now-perpetual electoral cycle will be “officially getting under way in just about a month.” Why, it’s downright…charming. And a nice reminder, too, that politics ain’t by any means everything — and to some in the body politic, it’s nothing at all. I can’t help but find that refreshing, honestly.

Really, though, I’m only posting this to be sure I beat Sithmonkey to the punch. Because we all know he was gonna.

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Calling all Mac Weenies

My buddy has a Mac G4 Quicksilver (not a laptop). We’re networking the apartment, and really don’t want to run network cable everywhere…

So, my question is…What type of PCI cards or network adapters would you recommend? I’ve checked the usual places like OWC and such…any assistance is appreciated, and the router being used is a Linksys WRT54G.

Muchas Gracias.

Oh, those of you using Boot Camp might want to have a look at this…

(via Slashdot)

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Big Yawn Alert!

Well, there had to be a first:

Mac OS X users visiting malicious porn sites are told to download a special codec that will let Apple’s Quicktime player to play the porn flicks, but instead of adult treats, users get a malicious trick, according to anti-virus vendor Intego.

The OS X Trojan, which infects a computer after a user chooses to download a proprietary codec, hijacks the infected computer’s DNS settings. Internet-connected applications use DNS settings to figure out how to translate URLs, such as Wired.com, into the physical address of a server, according to Intego’s alert. By hijacking the DNS, the Trojan is able to redirect visits to sites such as banks, eBay and PayPal to fake websites that attempt to harvest user’s logins and passwords to commit financial fraud.

Of course, it ain’t exactly the first, and you still have to be something of a dumbass to catch the bug at all.

Intego says it has written a signature for what it is calling OSX.RSPlug.A Trojan Horse and that its software will protect users. Since many Mac users don’t use anti-virus software out of the fairly realistic belief that Macs are safer than Windows machines, they should avoid installing software from unknown sources. While this is largely true, Mac users aren’t immune from malware (including one to-remain-anonymous scribe here at Wired who got infected this week).

Nope. Nobody is. Clicking on forum-spam links that take me to some unknown porn site, where I then have to choose to download a disk image, unzip it, mount it (yeah, I know; sorry), and go through several steps to install software merely to watch “free” movies? Woo, scary!

Sorry, but I think I’ll save my hands for wringing over something way more worrying – like “anthropocentric global warming,” or whether House and Foreman will become friends in the end.

(Via Hot Air)

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Number one with a bullet

Despite the usual kneejerk naysaying from ADS sufferers (very similar to BDS, but slightly more inexplicable – ahem), it looks like Apple’s done it again:

Apple over the weekend sold more than 700,000 iPhones to rocket past analyst predictions and shatter AT&T’s record by selling more iPhones in three days than Motorola’s RAZR did in its first month. Apple’s supply of iPhones depleted at more than half of its retail stores less than a week after the cellular handset hit shelves at 6:00 p.m. ET last Friday night. Buyers cleared out both Apple and AT&T stores in 10 states, with 95 of 164 stores selling out on Monday night, according to Bloomberg. Apple stores located in Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington state sold their entire stock of iPhones yesterday, and AT&T sold its entire stock at almost all of its 1,800 stores.

The near nationwide sellout came after AT&T reported over one million inquiries about the iPhone via its website shortly after the device debuted at Macworld 2007 in January. Shortly afterward, AT&T’s CEO predicted “the largest commercial product launch in the history of electronics.”

Research firm American Technology Research yesterday predicted that the iPhone would likely become the company’s fastest selling product in history after reviewing initial sales numbers, and even speculated that the iPhone could rank among the fastest selling consumer electronics.

At the restaurant where I had dinner last night, a guy at the next table was showing off his new iPhone, and I gotta admit it: even though I’m not terribly fashion-forward when it comes to cell phones/PDA’s/whatever you want to call ’em, and can think of lots of things I’d rather spend 600 bucks on, I was gawking like a schoolboy, just like everybody else in the immediate vicinity. The thing was a lot slimmer than I had thought it would be, too. Honestly, it looked pretty damned cool.

And another thought: I really need to get me some shares of Apple stock.

Conversely, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in mid-January laughed at Apple’s iPhone, saying that the device isn’t very useful for business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard. Ballmer also gawked at the iPhone’s high price, calling it the most expensive phone in the world.

After pointing to Microsoft’s software on “millions and millions” of phones alongside Apple’s “zero” in the market place, Ballmer hinted that Apple’s most expensive phone might not fair well as the company’s first cellphone offering.

Hey Steve, shouldn’t you be checking for another antivirus software update, or reinstalling Winbloze yet again, or rebooting, or tearing your hair out by the roots, or something?

(Via AP)

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"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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