Mac Daddy!

Ok, let me first apologize for the extended moment of silence. Ironically my last post was titled “Blostipation” and that’s exactly what’s been going on. I’ve had lots of things to write about and little time to post. I got about 27 posts backed up on WordPress none of them worthy of your peering eyes, but all of them good ideas or inspirations of one sort or another that went wrong. Today’s topic (and I resist the urge to continue KRS1’s lyrics from self destruction) is on OSX. No I didn’t say OS X I said OSX! [eh?1] At my new job they issued me one of those MacBook Pro laptops. Now I’ve had it for a couple of weeks and I just today started actually using it. Let me say this much, …as if I didn’t need another reason to stay away from Windows! I’m a Java developer right? So all this time I’ve been hacking away on Linux evangelizing it as the best thing since Run-DMC and twin turntables. Over the years I’ve heard these Mac guys boasting about OSX, *ahem* I mean OS X, and how great it is. I dunno if I told you all but I sat on the other side of the cubicle wall from one of these Mac guys. We used to go back and forth all the time about OS eye candy and cool features. I thought I finally had him with my demo of Beryl running on Kubuntu complete with Katapult to Amarok integration. I was on fire back then man! I had my windows burning up off the screen, the OSX err OS X genie effect, wobblies, rotating cube, true transparencies, and integration??? Let me tell you! I would “WinKey+R” to pull up Katapult type “be with” which would bring up an icon of the album art from my favorite R&B single “Be without you” by Mary J. push enter and the track would start playing. Then I’d grab and spin the desktop cube 180 in real time where Amarok would be waiting displaying the lyrics so that I could sing along. I had the works. Katapult integrated to Amarok, Amarok integrated with Kopete / KMail / Kontact. Kontact schdulers linked with night builds the works! It all looked so cool and snazzy. Cool and snazzy when it worked. You see I was also constantly plagued with the need to tweak this or command line that or fiddle with those (those params! what are you thinking about?) to keep everything working right and I was always off by one. synaptic upgrade to get one app would break another. Automated OS up to date thingy sometimes pulled down a new kernel which would break VM ware making look retarded when I need to quickly test something in IE for another coworker.

What I learned over the years (I didn’t learn nothing I still do the same thing!) was that upgrades and bleeding edge technology and excessive tweaking always lead to unstabilities. That’s why my XP installs always ran slow and that’s why my Linux installs would crash like Windows. That’s besides the point! I came here to boast about OSX, dangit, OS X (that’s X as in ten not “X” after “W”)! Now what was I saying? Oh yeah, I’m a Java guy right? So now I got this Mac book pro and it’s like off the chains with goodies! This is the part where the post falls to pieces because I suck at giving good descriptions about stuff and typically resort to dumb analogies that relate in no practical way. The Mac book let’s you play chess! Yeah, I know that means nothing to you unless you’re a chess buff like I am and realize that you play with your mouth, err your voice instead of using the mouse or keyboard. I was all talking to my Macbook last night telling it things like “pawn E2 to E4” and then the little pieces would move around the screen. Then the Mac would respond in a girlie like voice (because I taught it to talk like a girl. Not by training it with my own voice which sounds nothing like a girl but by programming it because that’s umm what I do! I’m a Java guy right?) and say things like “bishop G5 takes knight D6”. But that’s not all. This thing has a camera built in but you wouldn’t know it until you did something crazy like change your login avatar and click the button that says “take a video snapshot”. I mean the thing is a little inconspicuous black dot on the lid and it looks you dead in the eye as you sit with a stoopid glare trying to figure out where the dang thing gets its video feed from. Meanwhile you’re looking at your dumb mug on the 15″ screen looking around all crazy for a bulky web cam or a Punked! crew behind the wall ready to spring out and laugh at you because you can’t figure out the doggone joke because “you really thought the laptop had a camera didn’t you? Hahahahaha!!!” Then you realize there is no Punked! crew or bulky round object but just the little black dot making fun of you because you look like you’ve finally entered the twenty first century and you see yourself looking all “I just stepped into the twenty first century” like.

Where was I? Oh yeah, I’m a Java guy right? Well I’m playing with this Macbook when I realize that the chess game isn’t the only thing you can speak to. The whole doggone OS is wired with speech reckognition. I enabled “speakable commands” and now I can say stuff like “computer what time is it?” and it responds in a girlie like voice (because I trained it to speak like a girl. Not because my voice… oh yeah I already said that…) “it’s 2:25 pm”. Then I can say stuff like “Switch to Firefox” and it brings my webpage to the forefront where I sit and key about all the wonderful things Steve Jobs has done for humanity. Then I find out that I can say something like “tell me a joke” (because I’m big on jokes and humor but I’m not really all that funny) and it engages me in a random knock knock joke. Then I actually laugh at the joke! I laugh at a knock knock joke! I’ve heard tons of them but the ones on the Mac book are funny! Maybe they wouldn’t be as funny if I hadn’t spent the last minute laughing at how dumb I looked searching for the Punked! crew followed by my amazement at this thin device that seems to be having an intellectual conversation with me. Maybe it wouldn’t be funnyif I heard it mumbled from the mouth of a coworker or boss. (you know how a joke always lose its flare when a coworker or your boss fumbles the punch line?) But dagnabbit! It was funny! And I laughed hard. Then I had to explain to my coworker why I was laughin at an inanimate object. Once I did that the joke became funny all over again. There’s many other things that I’d love to brag about but I’m killing too much clock. So to all my homies, if you really wanna party with me put your hypertext where my eyes can see…

1. What’chu talkin’ ’bout OSX?: I’ve been pronouncing the name phonetically oh-ess-ecks when it supposed to be pronounced numerically oh-ess-ten!
2. There’s a whole ‘nother story about me stepping into the twenty first century with my first mobile phone that I have to save for another day because it’s not nearly as interesting as the above story. Not that the above story is interesting to you at all but I think it’s rather entertaining because I’m living it and feeling entertained! So if you’re not entertained go buy your own Macbook and write a dumb story about it then you’ll see what I mean!

5 thoughts on “Mac Daddy!

  1. Well, I’ve had a mac mini now for about three months. I have to say OS X seems pretty unstable. I’ve had to forcibly reboot it at least ten times in that period. It’s visually slicker than XP but the only thing I really prefer over XP/Linux is the remote control for playing movies and music.

    Nothing has lured me away from Ubuntu to date. I can’t remember the last time Ubuntu locked up on me, or even if it ever has. I can (and have) left it on for six months at a time, only to turn it off out of choice. I guess what makes this easy to achieve is I don’t spend much time on it tweaking the setup.

  2. Unstable? That’s new on me, especially considering OS X is based on a unix kernel. (BSD I believe but correct me if I’m wrong.) Still, I’ve seen even Unix systems locup and spontaneously reboot so no OS is invulnerable. It really boils down to one of those pesky little id10t errors. At my last job I had Kubuntu/Mepis so tricked out that it was behaving worse than my Windows install. Oh no, wait! I had hardware issues that were forcing the spontaneous reboots, but I did see lots of instability. Wait again! The instabilities were always in the apps because the kernel kept running. That’s right, it was X11 that would mess up sometimes and various crashes in KDE apps and firefox/Flash issues. Overall I believe *nix based OSes are invulnerable to complete failure, however an OS is only as strong as the software you run on it. So while it’s cool to say, “my kernel is still running!” it’s no fun staring at a black screen with a command prompt having to climb back into some sort of X11 session. Just the same it’s cool to say my desktop is still running but no fun not to be able to open your critical email or launch your IDE after several repeat failed attempts. What I’m really rambling about is instability is really relative, unless you’re talking about pre-XP Windows!

  3. OK Merlyn, I see instability but I think it’s me. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it here but I have a knack for exploiting instability in even the most rock hard OSes. Ask me how I got Linux to blue screen. I’m always doing something different or coloring outside the lines in some weird way that makes the most iron clad software fall to pieces. So yes I’ve seen instability in my MacBook, a couple of boots took a minute before the initial chime and screen showed up, Entourage stopped working miraculously, and it locked up once or twice. However I somehow feel it was my doing not the product of poor Apple craftmenship.

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