The MAC OSX and Freedom of Choice

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I read an article this past weekend which refers to Steve Jobs as some kind of dictator. The author out of all things is trying to or actually intends to switch to Ubuntu/Linux. The author of this article is basing his decision on not having freedom of choice. I believe that if you run a business and you use your computer(s) to keep that business running then you should always have the freedom and choice to move to a different platform. However in this case I believe that the author of the article may not be doing it for the right reasons.

He claims that Apple is putting restrictions on his operating system and that Steve Jobs most likely will not continue to develop the MAC OSX any further or that at some point it will become stagnant. He also credits Microsoft for having a great OS in Windows 7 but also says that this OS is also too restrictive; And that all of Apple’s development will most likely go into the iPad/iPhone.

I feel that most users don’t care about freedom when it comes to a computer or software; to them they see it as a dishwasher or a refrigerator. If your not a geeky techie type then you really would not care about this and actually pay as much as you can for a piece of hardware/software regardless of what freedoms it may or may not offer you. Well if you are a business owner you should really pay more attention to this kind of freedom and stop looking at your computer as some piece of appliance equipment because it actually holds valuable information and it is an extension of you, yes an extension. Most PC user keep tons of personal information in it such as pictures, music, movies, documents etc… So what happens if and when you do decide to switch to a different operating system such as Windows or Ubuntu/Linux? Well on the MAC I think is fairly easy to move as it does not seem to have too many restrictions like on a Windows platform. Although anything like movies you’ve downloaded or anything that you have not created yourself maybe a bit hard to transfer over due to DRM (Digital Rights Management – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management / http://www.defectivebydesign.org/what_is_drm) restrictions.

The MAC OSX is actually a great operating system. The only issue is that is extremely expensive although some might argue that you are actually paying for quality which I tend to agree to a point. As far as freedom goes you have the freedom to do what you like with your own personal stuff that resides in that computer but like Microsoft you don’t really own the OS, you are merely renting it since you can’t make any modifications or anything like that and that is fine because most users don’t care(although they should).

So I wonder why is this particular author complaining about the MAC OSX since he knew from the start that the OS had its terms of agreement and he agreed to it when he purchased his MAC book pro.

Steve Jobs will not make the OS stagnant specially since the MAC is gaining so much market share and most Windows users seem to be switching over. I will also point out that they are not just moving to the MAC OS but also towards Linux(mainly Ubuntu). If you have no issues with renting an OS and not being able to tweak it as much as you like then the MAC OSX gives you freedom enough to the point were you can move your personal stuff in and out of it as long as you play within Apple’s rules and the same goes for Windows (DRM anyone).

The one thing the author was 100% correct was that at some point you will eventually be totally locked in on either platform(MAC OSX or Windows) and also claims this is the reason why he is moving to Linux, I will closely follow his progress and see how it goes.

But again if you don’t care about your OS freedom the MAC OSX is a damn good system.

Article: http://www.salon.com/technology/dan_gillmor/2010/06/20/from_mac_to_linux/index.html

Safari 5! Oh yes is a web browser…

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Safari 5So what is the big deal about this new browser? We honestly don’t see anything new that other browsers don’t already have. Extensions have been around for quite some time. Firefox has had this feature for a while now which is why it leads in this category. Google Chrome also has this feature as well.

Our question to you folks is why opt for a web browser that is closed source and besides the extensions has very little to offer. The browser runs like garbage on a Windows PC and is not available for Ubuntu/Linux at all; Yes it does run well in its native environment (Mac OSX) but most users don’t own a MAC. Although the use of extensions is very good for developers to add much needed functionality to this new browser it really offers very little compared to what is currently out there.

Safari has a ton of HTML 5 capabilities but so do the other browser such as Chrome and Firefox. Just a couple of days ago Apple showcased a bunch of HTML 5 (http://www.apple.com/html5/) functions which could only be seen if you installed Safari. We know Apple wants to push its products to the point where it wants to shove them down our throats but come on HTML 5 is an open standard/markup language . We think this is totally ridiculous that in order to see it you had to either fool the web site by making it think you had a Safari browser or to actually download Safari.

Safari 5 ReaderSafari 5 may have some good features such as a good Javascript engine and the use of WebKit which is open source but besides this we really don’t see anything else other than the fact that its a tad faster and it has a built in reader. It also has created a partnership with Microsoft to bring BING as the default search engine (Why would you dump Google and go with Bing?) and that it supposedly uses hardware acceleration. Take a look at all the new features here (http://www.apple.com/safari/whats-new.html).

In terms of security Apple has decreed that in order to create any extensions for its browsers developers must attain a digital signed certificate which to us seems reasonable and is free to obtain one, but you do see where we are going with this. Just like with the Apple store it will reject any extensions it does not like. So sure developers can go ahead and go crazy with extensions development . In the end however if Apple does not want to allow your extensions it simply will not issue a security certificate and your extension wont be published.

Apple has made it easier for the developers to built extensions and it will not use the same XUL language as Firefox to built the extensions as it will use a build in package called Extensions Builder which will allow the developers a much easier way to built and deploy their extensions.

As with the current stable version of Safari it will render pages very well with the exception to Web fonts which it currently blows out of proportion depending on the font. For example if you try to incorporate the Google font API into your existing web sites some of these fonts will not render correctly, Internet Explorer 7 has this same issue by the way.

Until Apple makes this browser available for all operating systems we don’t see why anyone would want to use it or even create extensions for it as it has very little market share and lacks functionalities that the other browsers currently have. What Apple should do is follow Opera’s lead and make it available to everyone. Apple sure loves to use Open Source code in their products but wont even make a crack in their closed closet door.

The book of Jobs (post two of the thumb drive chronicles)

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Moses came down from the mountain with tablets in hand to give to the masses the commandments of the Lord.  As these commandments where chiseled in stone so too is the faith chiseled in the minds of those who believe in their lord and savior.  But if your faith is more on a technological level, than a spiritual one and you are looking for that savior that is going to alleviate your woes of system crashes and deadly viruses and you are also looking to trade in your travel bible for a digital do it all.  To thee I say don’t panic because there is an APP for that.

In an auditorium full of anxious Faithfull’s and gleaming lights resembling Sunday mass at an Evangelical temple; Steve Jobs appear onto the crow with tablet in hand to give unto the world the IPAD.  And Jobs spoke selling the iPad as the messiah of technological innovation.  But like every other messiah before it, it has fallen short on deliverance and heavy on gimmicks.  Like every other new religion that springs up out of nowhere, with its ideas and underlining structures rooted on century old believes and sprinkle with a modern twist of propaganda so is the iPad rooted on four years old technology simply implemented in a bigger shinier package.

And Jobs said on to thee…

I am Steve Jobs, who brought you out of the land of Microsoft and free you from windows.

You shall surf the web anywhere.

You shall read eBooks.

You shall play games.

You shall watch videos and movies but you shall not purchase them anywhere else but iTunes.

For six days you shall labour and do all your work, but on the seventh day you shall enter the apple store and spend all of your money.

I shall take 30 to 40% of everything sold in the house of Apple.

Shall you make fun of me your app will be rejected from the app store.

You shall not use flash or even think about future support.

The lack of flash support in a device being sold as the ultimate web experience is like a born again Christian without the Holy Ghost.  75% of online videos are made in flash, 70% of games online are made in flash including those on face-book.  The IPad lacks support for Java, adobe Air, and lacks any USB connections.  Closing the devices to an apple mandated doctrine will only hurt the device in the long hull.  Forcing developers to use apple tools to produce their applications; only stagnates advancement and hurts the consumers in the long run. The lack of a camera has certainly crushed the hopes that many had for Skype conversations or for face to face meetings on the go.

But in the end no other company can compete with Apple in terms of product desirability or mass appeal.  Therefore I don’t see the Church of Steve Jobs fading anytime soon even under the worst recession we have seen in the last 60 years.  But less not forget that when it comes to aesthetics there is no other religion like the Catholic Church, where the Catholic Church fails is in being open minded and progressive and Steve Jobs seems to be pulling his doctrine out of the same page.

The DOJ knocking on Apple’s iron closed doors

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Recent news that Apple has surpassed Microsoft for the King of Technology title (http://tinyurl.com/38oxxjz) has stirred up some additional controversies with regards to the DOJ(Department of Justice) wanting to start an antitrust investigation into Apple’s iTunes music monopoly and everything else.

It seems that Apple has been making shady deals with the music labels (http://tinyurl.com/354mssu) to only release their new titles on iTunes before any other major on-line competitors such as Amazon or Walmart. Amazon and Walmart only account for 12% of on-line music sales while Apple’s iTunes accounts for 70%. Well this 70% is whats got the DOJ knocking on Apple’s iron closed doors.

Now lets add to this that Apple has recently announced that they will be launching an advertising platform (http://tinyurl.com/ybfdwrk) which will compete against Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and wait for it Adobe’s ad platform (http://www.gigya.com/public/Content/Widget.aspx). This explains their recent rejection of flash no matter what Steve Jobs tells the press or how many letters he writes about Adobe Flash being too resource intensive and not performing up to part on the iPhone or iPad. Steve Jobs claims do have some merit but is not an excuse to dump Flash period.

The DOJ is also looking in to the fact that Apple only wants to have developers use their very own development tools to develop applications for the iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch and the iPad. This means that you must buy a Mac and sign-up for a developers account through Apple’s website. Developers can’t just say well “I’m going to use Eclipse (http://www.eclipse.org/) to develop my applications” no you must have a Mac. The one thing that’s got me puzzled is why would Apple do this when they provide an SDK for these devices. Developers should have a choice in writing their applications in whatever IDE they see fit.

Take the Android OS for instance; It lets developers use whatever tool they want and across a variety of platforms/operating systems. This could be due to the fact that Android is open source and has no specific platform which is trying to push. This could also explain the recently high numbers Android’s got in sales (http://tinyurl.com/2b2yrvu).

This leads me to the conclusion that Apple is worst than Microsoft when it comes to vendor-lock in schemes. Not only do they make you buy a Mac so you can create software for their devices but also lock down these devices so that they only function with a Mac/iTunes.

So yes I say let the DOJ have their way with Apple and I hope that they bring that iron closed door down. Because if this happens it will benefit us consumers a great deal.

On a side note there were some rumors that Steve Ballmer would address developers at WWDC

on how they can write/develop applications for Apple devices through Visual Studio 2010. Is Visual Studio 2010 not a third party tool; If this is true why can they do this but not any other small tech firm who sells third party development tools?

What’s so great about the Apple iPad?

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As I was watching the tube last night, yes it was a geeky show on the Discovery channel! So I came across this iPad commercial which looked nothing like the I’m a Mac or their iPod commercials and I realized that there is nothing great about the iPad. Why? Because there is nothing special about it. It behaves exactly like my iPod touch.

We recently got a hold of one at the office so we could test all of our web applications, designs and to our surprise it behaved again just like my iPod touch. So basically this thing is a big iPod touch with nothing new. You can use the existing applications which you can use on your iPhone or iPod touch(http://tinyurl.com/y8j5s22) and the darn thing has Wi-Fi connectivity issues; out of all things that could go wrong is the Wi-Fi.

All the web applications behaved just like they would on a Mac/PC or on any other standards compliant web browser(Internet Explorer does not count). Some of the form controls on the web applications were a bit out of place although the CSS for these web applications validates without any errors and they are design with WebKit in mind.

Also I recently read some disturbing articles about how Apple wants developers to only use their tools to create applications for all their devices this just does not seem right. A developer should be able to use what ever tools he/she deems fit to create applications. So I’m starting to wonder how long can their devices survive starting with the iPad. Sure the iPhone was great when it first arrived and so was the iPod but these devices are quickly being dismissed by other products which are more open for development and less expensive such as the Android.

There are tons of small tech firms coming out with tablet devices based on Android as well such as the WePad(http://tinyurl.com/y8wvbxs) and the Adam by NotionInk(http://www.notionink.in/adamoverview.php).

So going back to the commercial on the tube it stated that it is already a revolution but why? There is nothing revolutionary about the device in fact touch screen tablets have been around since the year 2000. So why would Apple make such a claim. I honestly think that is because people like the Apple designs but not because there is anything revolutionary about it.

The one thing I liked about it is that is light and it is slick just like all of Apple’s products. But besides this nothing else stands out. If you guys have a different take on this device please share it or if you plan to get one or wait for the competition to arrive. I would like to be enlighten.