Better is NOT Perfect

March 31, 2009

One Week Left for MacHeist 3 Bundle, Cro-Mag Rally Added!

Filed under: I Love Apple Software, I Love Apple Users — Tags: , , — Gerald @ 2:06 pm

I didn’t buy into the first one (it seemed scammish) nor the second (I was only interested in one app), but this time I couldn’t resist the MacHeist Bundle.

Twenty-five percent is going to charity, the developers participating are getting a far cut this go round, and besides… I wanted four of the apps in the bundle. On the surface, it would seem silly to buy a bundle of apps when I couldn’t care less about 75% of them – but the discount on the four I want make it worth it. Everyone I speak to feels the same way: Only interested in a few, but holy cow! What a bargain!

The four apps I’m interested in are (in order): BoinxTV, Kenemac, SousChef, and iSale.

BoinxTV
As of this writing, BoinxTV has not been unlocked. It’s the app I want the most. I have been dreaming of a Video Toaster replacement since the death of the Amiga and have been drooling over BoinxTV since it’s late beta stages. If the MH bundle was only this app and a pile of shovelware, I’d have still bought it.

The thought of not getting this one unlocked seems so disappointing that even the incredible bargain on the other 3 apps wasn’t enough to make me jump at the deal. It wasn’t until 20,000 bundles that I jumped in, and it’s currently @ 29,930. I am sweating the countdown.

Kinemac
I have been playing with Blender because I can’t afford Shake and/or Motion, but the learning curve is so steep on the UI that even if I just wanted to do some simple animations, there’s a wall climb first. The only advice the “experts” ever give is to keep practicing until you memorize all the key combos.

Yikes.

I’d not heard of Kinemac before, but my jaw dropped as I watched the demo. The first thing I did was delete the 500MB of “Blender Basics” training material I’ve been avoiding for months.

SousChef
I’ve been looking for a good recipe organizer since the Apple IIe. I never found one. I played around with MacGourmet but when my hard drive crashed I didn’t reinstall it. SousChef looked interesting to me, but I wasn’t quite sure enough to drop cash on it – and you really can’t tell from demos as much as developers and software geeks like to believe (which is why I never really decided on MacGourmet).

Now I own a copy and I don’t have to worry about how many times I’ve launched the app or how long I have before I can no longer procrastinate putting it through it’s paces.

iSale
I’ve been contemplating an iSale/Agent Craig combo for a while, but I don’t buy and sell enough to justify it. I tried to win a copy of Agent Craig on one of MacHeist’s nanoMissions, but never got farther than finding these pix:

Is that all?
I’m enjoying WireTap Pro and World of Goo. I never would have bought either one of them, but WTP is so useful and WoG is so fun that I will definately look to these developers in the future. I’m also downloading Cro-Mag Rally, which was added to the bundle today. Pangea won me over with Enigmo. I can’t wait to play this game.

What a Bargain!
Just the four apps should cost me $567.95. I’m getting 92% off. Even if BoinxTV doesn’t get unlocked it’s $368.95 for $39! How good of a deal did YOU get? How many apps interested you?

February 4, 2009

Macs Don’t Get Viruses. So, what? They’re still not safe.

Much is made over the fact that Macs don’t get viruses. Even Apple’s advertising campaign plays up this fact. To this I say: So What? Viruses aren’t the only nasties out there, nothing is safe from a trojan horse, and everyone can be phished.

Nothing Is Safe from a Trojan Horse
I can burn a trojan horse on a DVD, and render your DVD Player permanently inoperable. I can put a trojan horse on a thumb drive and plug it into your car stereo’s USB port, and brick your car stereo. Of course, the trojan horse has to be written for the specific target. The trojan horse that destroyed the DVD Player won’t do anything to the car stereo and vice versa.

The same is true of Windows and Macs. A Trojan Horse written for a Mac is harmless to Windows, and vice versa.

What’s the difference?
A virus is a self-replicating piece of software. It requires no human intervention to spread. It just has to exploit a known hole in your system’s security. A Trojan Horse (or just “Trojan”) doesn’t have to find a hole in your security. It just has to bait you. It fools you into downloading it, installing it, giving it permissions, and running it.

Caveat Pirate.
It can be disguised a quarterly report from your supervisor, a viewer for a porn site, a cracked version of iWork or Photoshop, or even a pirated song.

When it’s disguised as a photo or a video or music file, it’s easy to spot because clicking on those things should never prompt your Mac to ask for your password… so when it does: Bingo! Trojan Horse Blocked! However, if I I’m installing something, asking me for my password is perfectly normal.

Another thing no OS is safe from: Phishing.

A phony e-mail link is a phony e-mail link and the fake web page you’re typing your password into doesn’t care what you’re typing on.

On why AV software is necessary on Windows* (especially XP)
* Until very recently, all versions of Windows came with five of its ports open (Mac OS X comes with all of them shut and locked.) Ports are back-door channels to the Internet: one for instant-messaging, one for Windows XP’s remote-control feature, and so on. These ports are precisely what permitted viruses to infiltrate millions of PC’s for almost two decades. Microsoft finally shut those ports after 18 years with the release of Vista.

* When a program tries to install itself in Mac OS X or Linux (system folder), a dialog box interrupts your work and asks you permission for that installation — in fact, requires your account password. Windows XP goes ahead and installs it, potentially without your awareness.

* Administrator accounts in Windows (and therefore viruses that exploit it) have access to all areas of the operating system. In Mac OS X, even an administrator can’t touch the files that drive the operating system itself. A Mac OS X virus (if there were such a thing) could theoretically wipe out all of your files, but wouldn’t be able to access anyone else’s stuff, couldn’t touch the operating system itself, and couldn’t access your backups.

* No Macintosh e-mail program automatically runs scripts that come attached to incoming messages, as Microsoft Outlook does. Outllook and IE are the two most common vectors for malware infection because of auto-running.

On why AV software is a good idea on a Mac.
If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

OK, so a Windows Virus can’t affect your Mac… they’re still attached to that e-mail you forwarded to that mailing list! If you had scanned it, you would have protected your non-Mac using family and friends from having to deal with it. What if their AV software isn’t up-to-date? Wouldn’t you feel awful if little Suzie lost her book report on turtles just because you saw a retro dancing-hamster / peanut-butter-jelly-time flash video and wanted to pass it on?

So am I suggesting you buy the latest version of Norton? HEAVENS NO!!!!

Norton AV software actually has caused problems in the past on Macs and have not provided any protection from anything for all the money they charge.

Check out ClamX AV. There are plenty of free Mac AV solutions, but ClamX is the least intrusive. People say that when a danger finally surfaces, that’s the one they’ll be downloading and using. Until then, no one bothers.

Caveat Complacent.
Now, if you’ve made it this far you may have noticed that in the beginning I said that Macs don’t get viruses. That is not the same thing as Macs can’t get viruses. OS X has set a record for longest time without an outbreak, but nothing lasts forever and no system that communicates is 100% secure.

*Clipped from a Slashdot post, I have no idea who the original author is.

Digg @ http://digg.com/apple/Macs_Don_t_Get_Viruses_So_What_They_re_Still_Not_Safe

January 31, 2009

Hello world! (Or, Version 1 of my “About Me” Page)

When you start a new WordPress Blog, by default it has one post. This post. Hello World!

Hello World!
Based on my blog’s title, who am I? . . . ? Your answer will determine how I’ll sound to you in all my posts.

I’m a Hater
I’m on the Microsoft payroll and am just pulling a Dvorak and trolling for page hits. I’m Dan Lyons. I’m Fake Dan Lyons, I’m Fake Fake Dan Lyons. I’m a Microsoft PR Move to deflect from [insert bad news here]. I’m a gamer and build-it-yourself type who thinks everyone should know how to upgrade their RAM and add a second hard drive. I think that Bill Gates was a visionary, but was taken down by jealous companies who couldn’t compete in the market and had to get Big Brother to fight for them. I’ve never touched a Mac, except in Middle school and it kept freezing up; they’re overpriced and under-specced and I won’t waste money on a fancy case with a logo on it.

I’m a Fanboi Apologist
I worship at the altar of Steve Jobs. I drank the Kool-Aid and only pretend to grumble so I can make excuses. I’ve never owned a PC because I’m rich. I have Apple stickers on my car, my bicycle, my skateboard, and my dorm-room door. I like to think I’m a rebel, and I’m Different, and therefore better and cooler than you. I have all my hair, and it hangs down to my ass. I believed in Apple II Forever. I bled in six colors. I believe that Jeff and Andy were creating two very different machines, and Steve made the Mac into neither and both. I think Apple is that iPod/iTunes company with the cool bus ads and has something to do with The Beetles.

Who am I really?
I’m a nobody. I’m your brother. I’m Steve Jobs. I’m Fake Steve Jobs Twice Removed. I’m a fourteen year old who just got his own room and a new Mac. I’m the original 40 Year Old Virgin.

OK, it’s not funny anymore.
Well, it was for me. Spoiled sport. Truth? I’m no one you’ve heard of. I write things that you don’t care about and definitely don’t agree with. You shouldn’t read this blog at all. Go away. You’ll thank me.

You think this is comedy gold, don’t you?
I think I’m kinda cute. Of course, that’s the crap they use to rake you over the coals later.

Cute, or Smug?
See! It’s happening already. You’ve put me in a box.

Who are you talking to?
Isn’t that.. me? I mean… you’re me, right? There’s no interviewer giving voice over. I mean, I’m not doing voices out loud or anything.

You want to do it out loud into the empty room, now. Don’t you?

Don’t you?

*sigh*
Yay!!

January 7, 2008

MWSF2008: What I want vs. What I expect

[NOTE: This post was originally published January 7, 2008 @ 7:35 on my personal blog. It has been moved here to consolidate all my Apple-Related rants in one place.]

We all know the format. Rock music is playing while the auditorium fills. Backstage Stephen Jobs, businessman, readies himself for his performance as The Steve. He’s in costume, he’s well rehearsed, and he has his water. The music stops and he walks onstage to a thunderous applause.

First he talks about Old News (existing products, sales reports), then New News (doling out the goodies).

New software first, then (if any) new hardware and hardware bumps. The earlier he reveals new hardware, the more new hardware we’ll get.

Then one more thing. Maybe. He doesn’t do them every time.

Sometimes a thank you and goodbye, sometimes a musical guest.

So what will be the specifics? Until next week, we can only guess.

He’s my two cents:

iPod:
What I expect: The lineup got a complete refresh in October, including a new model. I don’t expect hardware to change in capacity or price at all. I expect firmware 1.1.3 for the iPod Touch to come out with all the rumored features.

What I want: A video/voice VOIP handset. Call it the iPod Chat. or the iChat Mobile. Or the skunkcabbage vomit machine. Who cares what you call it? Just make it. Please.

iPhone:
What I expect: Firmware 1.1.3 and a loose date for the SDK.

What I want: Immediate release of the SDK and a developer’s preview of Firmware 1.2.0 which it will require.

Portable Macs:
What I expect: Processor and hard drive bumps on existing models.

What I want: Wide touchpads on all models, including a new Macbook Mini, and the functions in OSX to take advantage of it (like resolution independence, Ink, and gestures). Also: A mini tablet that you hold like a PSP.

Desktop Macs:
What I expect: Processor and hard drive bumps for the iMac and Mac mini. Nothing for the Mac Pro.

What I want: A whole new desktop machine. Shaped like a small drawing board, it does away with the pointer and introduces a different GUI paradigm.

AppleTV:
What I expect: After two years in the making, there will be movie rentals.

What I want: TV Show rentals at ridiculously low prices. Low enough to consider cutting out your cable bill and going all-internet.

Cinema Displays:
What I expect: Nothing.
What I want: New 24″, 26″ 42″ and 52″ models. Standard with iSight, BTO without.

Partnerships:
What I expect: Skip lines @ Starbuck’s. All Starbuck’s in airports are now wired for iPhone.

What I want: iPhone now works other places like it does at Starbucks. Music off the air, browse the iTunes Music Store, and order food if available. (Like the pizza/hotdogs at Costco)

Software:
What I expect: iTunes 8
What I want: OS X 10.5.2, and updates to iLife and iWork.

One More thing:
What I expect: He didn’t do a “one more thing” at all between September of 2004 (iPod nano) and October 2007 (iPod touch). I wouldn’t expect one this time.

What I want: I want it all. Duh.

Musical Guest: Nobody. Too much new hardware.

March 26, 2007

The Cons of Switching from Windows to Mac. Ten Quick Ones.

[NOTE: This post was originally published March 26, 2007 @ 9:36 on my personal blog. It has been moved here to consolidate all my Apple-Related rants in one place.]

The Cons of Switching from Windows to Mac. Ten Quick Ones.

1. Everything has a learning curve. Remember learning to tie your shoes? It won’t be nearly that hard.

2. It’s different. Yes, I know this is a Pro, but it goes along with that learning curve thing.

3. Firewire and USB 2.0 only. Gotta dump that ancient printer, finally.

4. When you ask for help, people will try to “solve your problem” rather than answer your question. They will also question your motive for doing it YOUR way. It’s a right-brained/left-brained thing, I think.

5. You will become a magnet for every Apple hater around. You will be surprised how personally offended others are by your choice in electronics purchases. Heaven forbid you buy hardware from a manufacturer that writes its own OS rather than outsourcing it!

6. Mac Memory. When you switch from PC to Mac you will have to break the habit of buying the cheapest RAM you can buy and/or cannibalizing old/dead machines. You will have to buy quality pieces of hardware. Quality hardware is expensive when one is used to bottom of the barrel and freebies.

7. WMV files with one or more of the many types of Microsoft DRM on them go from being “confusing and overpriced” to “completely useless”.

8. Hardware Manufacturers who must sign away the rights to include Mac or Linux drivers with their products (or mention on the box that it works AT ALL) in order to get the “Designed for Windows” logo necessary to compete turns buying gear into Russian Roulette.

9. Software Companies who have to halt development of Mac versions in order to get those same logos. This is happening less and less. In fact, software that halted development of Mac versions in the 90s are returning to the Mac. *cough* Premiere *cough*.

10. Owning a Mac makes you want to own more Apple gear. It sounds like a joke. It isn’t.

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