Friday, June 29, 2007

I am a Mac.

Suppose I could be riding the wave here, but with all the iPhone talk I figured I'd chime in with the "okay, what ya been doing?" answer... At my new job I now work on a Mac book pro. Yup, as far as Bill Gates is concerned I've gone to the dark side. Of course, there are a few tools that I would recommend when you land your new Mac - especially if you are coming off of Windows.

Adium
Adium is Trillian for OS X - a one stop IM application that can aggregate all your IM contacts into one place. I have friends on AIM, ICQ and MSN. No problem. Adium had a few IM protocols I had to go look up!

QuickSilver
I had been using Launchy on Windows, which was inspired by QS. Both applications search, and index information and applications on your HD. You can then launch QS, key in a few letters, and bring up anything from your favorite website to an application. QS wins where you can now take it a few steps further. You can chain QS commands into actions. So I can say, take this file, and move it to, this directory. And it's done. No Finder, no drag and drop, just keyboard.

TextWrangler
On Windows I had been using jEdit and Notepad++ for text editing. While the built in Apple text editor was okay, I missed having tabs for editing (I'm not a multiple-window guy) multiple files. TextWrangler filled that gap and does very nicely. I haven't tried it for code, I still fall back to VIM - don't bother selling me on Emacs, it wont work.


There are a few more that I'm playing with to get things settled, but nothing worth mentioning till I get more into them. And yes, if you ask me about the Mac, "It just works." If you haven't tried it, you wont believe me. I can see why the catch phrase is so overused.

But is the RIAA listening?

I've been saying this for years, glad someone up the food chain has a similar view:

So who killed the record industry as we knew it? "The record companies have created this situation themselves," says Simon Wright, CEO of Virgin Entertainment Group, which operates Virgin Megastores. While there are factors outside of the labels' control -- from the rise of the Internet to the popularity of video games and DVDs -- many in the industry see the last seven years as a series of botched opportunities. And among the biggest, they say, was the labels' failure to address online piracy at the beginning by making peace with the first file-sharing service, Napster. "They left billions and billions of dollars on the table by suing Napster -- that was the moment that the labels killed themselves," says Jeff Kwatinetz, CEO of management company the Firm. "The record business had an unbelievable opportunity there. They were all using the same service. It was as if everybody was listening to the same radio station. Then Napster shut down, and all those 30 or 40 million people went to other [file-sharing services]."
I added the emphasis. This is from a Rolling Stone Article entitled "The Record Industry's Decline". The store of the recording labels is one for any entrenched business model - at some point you will be obsoleted and trying to push the genie back into the bottle wont work. You will be left behind.

Anyone want to tell the oil industry about that?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Come again?


Interpretation left up to the reader.... I'd be curious to see the committee that approved that one.

New B5 movie in the works!

Check out the preview over on the Official site.
Synopsis:

Times change. Dangers remain. 10 years after he became President of the Interstellar Alliance, Sheridan prepares for a fateful Babylon 5 reunion that could prevent Earth’s impending doom…if he will also compromise his core principles. Meanwhile, commander Lochley confronts an unexpected interloper on the way station – a being whose presence makes the B5 freeport the crossroads between heaven and hell.

A little more digging and you find out that it will be a DVD release available July 31.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sounds and noise....

It's been busy. Mostly because I've been back to putting in a real days work, which is a nice change, but hasn't left me the time I'd like to do things, like, well, you know.

I'm sitting here listening to the soundtrack for Pirates of the Carribean 3. There is a scene where all our major characters meet for parlay and as they walk to meet each other we go from the normal orchestral pirate themed music to.... ready? A western.

Yup, you could as easily of pictured the Stranger walking into a town to this music as much as Jack, Elizabeth, Will and Davy Jones. I loved it, awesome change.

Ah well, back to work. Pick up the soundtrack if you like the movies. See the movie if you haven't.

Friday, June 08, 2007

It's all connected....

"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system."

This has become known as Gall's Law and can be found in the book Systemantics: How Systems Really Work and How They Fail.
This is from The Poker Shrink's latest article over on PokerNews. What struck me, is that my first though wasn't about Poker, it was about work and how true this was. A simple system, that is grown into a complex system (and I mean intentionally!) works nicely. A system built complex from the start inevitably fails too meet some of its goals.

My last job had a few systems like this. Our original product was "built in two weeks" by my former manager. It was still living when I left the company. I worked with it for 5 years, and it had close to 10 years on it before that. It was a simple system that was grown to be overly complex and needed a redesign. It worked, but it failed to meet a number of its goals.

I wrote, during my first year, a complete replacement for it. The replacement failed, it was too complex. We had lost that simple system that made the original so good. The complexities that plagued the elderly version weren't replaced or lost, they were brought forward and modernized. So we got a modern elderly version wth the same problems.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I agree!

Off on my normal tour I ran across a piece from NPR: "Top 10 Secrets They Don't Want You to Know About the Debates". Most of this you should already know, or at least, not be surprised by. But this one comment had me doing a "Yes, we do."

(7.) The secretly negotiated debate contract bars Kerry and Bush from any and all other debates for the entire campaign.

"Under what I call the Debate Suppression and Monopolization Clause of the contract, it is illegal for the candidates to debate each other anywhere else during the campaign," Rice says. "We need a new criminal law for reckless endangerment of democracy."

I added the color emphasis. She's right. We really do need a law that punishes for reckless endagerment of democracy. I can see a number of politicians that would have enough of these on their records to make "hardened criminals" look like petty thieves. Go one step further though, receiving one, only one, excludes you from holding a public office.

Somehow, I don't think our leaders would let that one through.