Archive for February, 2006

Gnome 2.14 – a.k.a. Gnome OS X

Monday, February 20th, 2006

[No, it’s just me that calls it Gnome OS X]

Gnome 2.14
is a huge jump forwards.
I don’t know why they don’t use 3.0 or something.

Gnome 2.14

Screenshot of Gnome 2.14 — look at them nice drop shadows
click for larger picture

Feature after feature sounds just like Mac OS X.
Very cool.

The Island, redux

Monday, February 20th, 2006
the island
click for larger pic

So I rented “The Island”, as per Jeff’s
“Underrated Movies”.
I thought it was a nice, enjoyable action-adventure.
Unfortunately, I knew too much about the plot to enjoy the “twist” (such as it is).

My feeling about the movie was mostly that it was a Logan’s Run tribute in many ways.
Mostly in how the clones are kept in a child-like state, only to be killed for reasons that are completely beyond them.
My favorite bit of acting was Ewan MacGregor trying to ask why Tuesday was Tofu Day, and what the heck was “tofu” anyway!!
His anxiety over not knowing something that should be so simple defined his performance, which was overshadowed by the action sequences.

There were numerous plot holes.
The bit about having to be concious for the organs to work was a doozy, and very reminiscent of the Matrix question: “Why didn’t the machines use cows instead of people?”.

Aside from that, we have the usual romp of growing awareness.
A bit of a shortcut is taken when the main character, Lincoln Six Echo, suddenly connives to leave the controlled environment.
It’s a dodgy narritive cheat that deprives us of Lincoln’s first exposure to anuncontrolled environment.

How did he meet the worker?

How did he first go outside the environment?
What was his reaction?

These would have been important moments in the movie,
and it would have been the better for it.
I think too much time was taken up by having “The Girl” in the movie.
She didn’t contribute much of anything, except for the reaction of knowing her “original” was a mother – that wasn’t bad,

Cut down on the chase scenes, too.
Do more with perhaps navigating this fantastic world and coming to grips with it.

They let get away the whole trained-by-Xbox thing.
If you’re going to prostitute your movies, try to get some good out of it.
Have him go into an arcade and beat the crap out of someone.
Or perhaps use the martial skills he’s learned in the Xbox to beat up a bad guy.
Anything – throw me a bone.

Okay, despite my original intent to make this a light-hearted review of an innocent piece of fluff (with the occasional sledge-hammer of anti-Naziism),
I’ve gotten a little testy.
Ah well.

It’s just that it could have been so much more.
Especially with that cast and that budget.

About This Particular Mac

Monday, February 20th, 2006

atpm
About this Particular Mac
(atpm) is an online “zine” about Macs.
From skimming the Feb 2006 issue, it looks like they eschew selling it in favour of advertisers.

An interesting read, with a huge chunk in the middle taken up with an unlikely and somewhat amateurish cartoon about Steve Jobs vs Woz.
The layout of the technical articles is excellent, with nice screenshots and plenty of links with footnotes for printouts (I read the “for print” edition).

OSX on non-Apple Intel hardware

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

osx86

Well, despite Apple’s lawyerly actions to stop the OSX86 project,
it seems there is no shortage of resources on the internet for those that want to run OS X on non-Apple Intel hardware.

maxxus

Maxxuss
is still going strong, with patches to apply to Mac OS X kernels going back to 10.4.1.
Patches allow SSE2 and AMD CPUs to work, along with various VMWare patches for those going that route.

The work continues, and it is doubtful that Apple will be able to put this genie back in the bottle at this late date.

AMD socket AM2 – I’m glad I waited

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

AMD is set to move to another socket interface:
AM2.

I guess I will move from Socket A to Socket AM2, skipping all the numbered ones (939 and 73something I think).

Sometimes it pays to wait.

PowerBook G4 CPU upgrades available

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

Daystar has
some CPU upgrades for G4 PowerBooks.
You can upgrade a 1.5 GHz machine to 2 GHz for $500 US.

Unfortunately, my 1.67 GHz PowerBook is not supported. I think the motherboard is very different, like it has DDR2 RAM and stuff.
I would expect our upgrade to come out later (and preferably FASTER).

WolfKing gaming key..pad

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006
WolfKing keypad
click for larger pic

Iain pointed out
an article on ExtremeTech
that talks about this thing called the WolfKing.

It’s designed for first-person-shooters (FPS’s), where you use the q-w-e/a-s-d/z-x-c section of the keyboard a lot.

Personally, *I* use ‘q’ for move left and ‘e’ for move right, but there are many (most I think) who use ‘a’ and ‘d’ instead.

If they were smart, they would just make this thing a USB hub, so you can plug your keyboard into it and then plug it into the computer,
all without using up another USB port.
Don’t know if that’s what they did though.

Collaborative Word Processing on the Web

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

(there are some wide pics in this post. If there is a blank space below, make your browser window wider)

Writely.com
is an online word processor.
I briefly mentioned it in
an earlier post about AJAX apps.

Writely editor

Along with just editing, it allows you to collaborate on your documents with anyone else.
You hookup to them using their email address.

Writely editor

Here you can see me sharing a document with David Barker.
Assuming he reads his email, that is.

Btw, Apple’s current version of Safari (2.0.3 417.8) is claimed to be unable to use writely.
I think that’s a load of bunk, since Safari jumped way forward not too long ago, and writely just hasn’t had its page updated.
But oh well, you need to use Firefox or Camino or something to access the page normally.
Personally, I used the Debug menu in Safari to masquerade as Mozilla 1.1 and it worked fine.

HD-DVD and Blu-ray are delayed

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006


This Ars Technica article
explains that both HD-DVD and Blu-ray share some of the same encryption system, and that system is delayed.
So both are stuck for a month or two.


It’s ironic in that AACS — the encryption system — will be cracked within a few months anyway.
Ya, they’re trying to makeit “dynamic” so they can put new code on newly released discs.
This is supposed to combat the once-it’s-broken-it’s-broken-forever problem that DVD had.
But let’s be clear here – the code would be *on* *the* *disc*.
Um, ya, that’s secure.

In other news, it looks like HD-DVD players
will be $500-$800 US when they come out.

The HD-DVD people of course claim that Blu-ray players will cost a gazillion dollars.

Apple ships faster laptops than advertised – damn them

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

Apple
has decided
to ship faster CPUs in their laptops.

The $2,499 model now includes a 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, up from the previously announced 1.83 GHz, and will begin shipping this week. The $1,999 model now includes a 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, up from the previously announced 1.67 GHz
[..]
customers may now upgrade to a 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo

So that’s a 9+ percent increase in speed.
In other news, you can
now install OS X on non-Apple hardware.
Well, not legally, but still.