Category Archives: Macintosh

Surfin’ Safari, or Wave of Mutilation?

FYI, a little techie post today. If you’re looking for the latest update on the home improvement project, I’ll have photos and commentary up in the next few days. Think yellow.

They say that opinions are like, well, you know. Everybody’s got one.

For Mac enthusiasts such as me (and no, I don’t prefer the term “fanboy”), this week kicked off with anticipation over the “Stevenote” at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Since Monday’s pep talk, the Mac blogospere has been abuzz over such exciting topics as SDKs vs. Web apps for the iPhone, and Safari being available on the PC.

I’m not much of a developer, and I’ll probably never have an iPhone, so that discussion is about as exciting to me as interscholastic high school bowling. The Mac web browser on the PC, however, that has my interest piqued.

For the record, I use Firefox on my Mac and IE on my work PC. Firefox is my choice: I just like it more. I’m not crazy about Safari’s brushed metal look, and my old version of Safari had issues with some websites. Firefox “just worked” better than Safari, and I haven’t looked back. IE isn’t a choice, it’s a corporate standard. Sit near me at work, and you’ll hear me curse at it 5 times a day, minimum.

So why am I jazzed at Safari on the PC? Well, for one, I like the idea of another choice. The fact that it comes from Apple is gravy to me. More significantly, however, I have a feeling that this newest inroad to the Windows desktop is like me sitting down on the first step in the swimming pool. I’ve gone beyond getting my feet wet, but I haven’t really committed my sensitive areas.

What follows is pure speculation, and completely unsubstantiated, but I think it makes sense. First, I think (like many others, I’m sure) that Safari on the PC is a marketing tool for Apple’s look and feel. Apple is saying “Hey, you like iTunes? Like how we do media management? Think it kicks the pants off of Windows Media Player? Well then check out our browser. That’s right, we have a browser. We think it kicks the pants off of IE, and we think you’ll think so too.”

So iTunes and Safari are now on the Windows desktop. What next? I say iPhoto. Get iPhoto to the WinMasses, and for about 75% of the computing public you’ll have covered their basic needs: The web, music, and pictures. That’s all my parents really do on their computer (an iMac, btw), and all my in-laws really do as well.

So where from there? I think from there, Apple should sell boxed copies of OS X (oe XI at that point) for Windows. Not OEM, not licenses to Dell or HP. Boxed copies, with system requirements right on the box. Apple won’t have control over the whole widget, but they can at least make their suggestions. Sell the OS for $125, and make sure it includes a way to install as dual boot over top of Windows.

It won’t be for everyone. Installing a new OS, even an Apple OS, is serious business. But in a couple of years, the way HD pricing has dropped, a decent PC rig should have room for a nice Mac OS partition, with a dual-boot option at startup. It will give the types of users who downloaded and enjoyed Safari and iPhoto a new option for the whole OS. It’ll soothe the fears of would-be switchers by keeping their precious Windows functionalities intact and readily available. And, if the switcher blogs I’ve read are any indication, a good portion of those fols will use Windows less and less as they get more comfortable on the Mac. And when those folks are in the market for a new computer, they’ll be more likely to pick a genuine Mac than they would have been without that test drive.

I know there are flaws in my logic. Probably huge ones. But I think it’s do-able. Boxed Mac OS for Windows. No partners, no licenses. When it happens, you heard it here first. (Unless, of course, some other blogger posted it. Then my bad. Seriously. I’m good with second, third, fourth, whatever.)

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Guys and Their Tools

No, not those.

You may not know this, but I’m a Mac user. Not one of those trendy iPod owners; a Mac user. I’ve owned at least one Macintosh since 1992, and an Apple computer of some sort since 1983. There are currently three Macs in my house – two operable laptops, and one older desktop destined to become a storage server when I have time and money.

I mention this because I’m writing today’s post with a blogging tool for the Mac called MarsEdit. I’m a big fan of tools. I have tools for working around the house, and tools for working outside the house. I’m a believer in the axiom “the right tool for the right job.”

So it goes with computers and the Internet. I’m always on the lookout for the right tools. I use Flickr for my photos, del.icio.us for my bookmarks, and WordPress for this blog. In each case, I tried other tools (Blogger, PhotoBucket, the Yahoo toolbar) before settling on these.

To me, Apple has made the best computing tool on the market for the past decade, since the debut of the iMac and the “renaissance” of Apple. My PowerBook 12″ is my constant companion – I bring it to work, on vacation, pretty much anywhere I need access to my stuff or my electronic tools.

One of the best parts of being a Mac user is that there is real community among other users. Maybe it’s because our software isn’t sold at Target, or maybe it’s because there are so many niche uses for a Mac. Whatever the reason, finding new software tools for the Mac is half the fun of owning the machine. And there are great websites – TUAW, Macintouch, and MacWorld to name a few – that keep me up to date on the latest hardware, software, and Apple-related business news.

One of these sites, Daring Fireball, is among my daily reads. And it was by joining that site that I was entered into the contest that won me a free license for MarsEdit and the rest of the Red Sweater Software product suite.

So, like a symbiotic relationship, I contributed to the Mac community, and the Mac community has given back. So far, so good on the tool: it’s HTML-centric, easy to use, and I was up and blogging in about 2 minutes after downloading. No lie.

Anyway, requisite switcher pep talk: If you’re in the market for a new PC, look at a Mac. Seriously. It’ll change your outlook on technology. Remember: the right tool for the right job.

Quick Hitter: Got a busted latch?

The Unofficial Apple Weblog has just the ticket if your Mac lappy, like my wife’s, has a busted latch:

Terminal Tip: Keep your Mac portable from waking when the lid is opened

By executing one simple command in the terminal, no more will the comupter wake up automatically when the lid is opened. I would equate this with having to press a button to answer your clamshell cellphone, rather than just opening the flip.