You are viewing page 7 of 34.

The iPad 3

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:38 AM

Gruber writes about the AP's suggestion that the iPad 3's specs indicate a “modest upgrade:”

I suspect this is a prelude to much of tomorrow's post-event coverage, echoing the initial tech press reaction to the iPhone 4S. But if a faster processor, more RAM, a double-the-resolution retina display, a better camera, and maybe even LTE networking make for a “modest” update, then what would it take for the iPad 3 to be deemed an immodest update? A fusion energy source? Teleportation? A camera that sees into the future?

The Human Side of an Icon

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:39 AM

Lisen Stromberg writes observations on being a neighbor to Steve Jobs:

While Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal and CNET continue to drone on about the impact of the Steve Jobs era, I won't be pondering the MacBook Air I write on or the iPhone I talk on. I will think of the day I saw him at his son's high school graduation. There Steve stood, tears streaming down his cheeks, his smile wide and proud, as his son received his diploma and walked on into his own bright future leaving behind a good man and a good father who can be sure of the rightness of this, perhaps his most important legacy of all.

The Future of Reading

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:18 AM

Mark Pilgrim offers a simple, profound consideration of Amazon's Kindle TOS. It is well worth your time to read it.

The Future is Open

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:52 AM

“Imagine the following scenario: 'OK, ad people. We want you to sell this really cool technology that's going to change the world. But it's not really our product. You can't hold it. You can't see it. And, um, there's no way to take a picture of it or even really show what it is. Oh, did we mention that the future of our $80 billion company depends on it? Thanks.'”

That's how an article on IBM and Linux begins. Find out what Thomas Mucha is talking about in this Business 2.0 article.

The Five Gifts of Christmas

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:23 PM

Looking for a gift that will make your recipient say “Wow this is a really inside cheke and cimble gift”? Well, I reviewed 5 different gifts under $50 for the technically inclined among us (one — the “eyelighter” — is something almost anyone would appreciate). Take a look at

Tried any of them? Have a better idea? Play the pundit. Write about your own inside cheke and cimble gift ideas below.

The First Real iPad Competitor

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:02 AM

Most tablets have been dead on arrival — they cost as much or more than the iPad and none of them can do everything the iPad can do. Sure, each has its own shtick that it does better than the iPad; the trouble is, none of them present a compelling narrative for how they are going to improve the way people do the things they really want to do.

That will change with the Amazon tablet:

Meanwhile Amazon has summoned the press to an event Wednesday, September 28, in New York City, where many are guessing the company will unveil a new tablet computer based on Google's Android operating system.

I'm not predicting the iPad's doom. But, I think Amazon may be the one company intelligent enough to really compete with Apple for consumers' hearts and minds. (The fact that they've built up a huge pile of digital media perfect for a Kindle tablet won't hurt either.) Given that Amazon is bringing its powerful Kindle franchise into the mix, this tablet may run on a fork of Android, but I'd be surprised to see Android branding anywhere.

The Eighties

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:24 PM

Got it yet? Yes, it's the Apple Macintosh “1984” commercial. This is the commercial that introduced the world to the first real GUI operating system, not to mention the inspiration behind most other GUI's (including Windows). This commercial, generally considered one of the top two or three of all time, changed the computing world forever. It was the first stake in DOS's coffin. The Macintosh was here.

Two weeks ago, Steve Jobs revived the famed 1984 commercial at MacWorld, this time, using digital editing techniques, showing the runner in the commercial wearing an iPod. After it aired, the audience erupted with a standing ovation. It is known that Steve Job's famed “RDF” (Reality Distortion Field) has succeeded in causing mass excitement over little things, but this was clearly a show appreciation for both a spectacular commercial and the equally impressive era that was ushered in by the Macintosh.

It is interesting to note that as the “Evil Empire,” of Redmond, Washington, promotes the Trusted Computing (a.k.a. Palladium) initiative, a dangerous initiative that could eliminate choice in using different applications and operating systems, Apple has publicly come out against that system. Perhaps the Macintosh will really help avoid “1984.”

Happy Birthday, Mac. Let's hope Apple will still be on the cutting edge on the Mac's 40th birthday.

The DROID Has Landed

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:44 PM

In my initial testing, it looks really promising.

The Crazy Long Meme (Part I)

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:57 AM

Christopher answered this really long meme, and I thought I would do so as well. It is a rather nice one. Given its length, I decided to split up the answers into two parts so that it wouldn't grow tedious reading my answers. :) Feel free to provide your own answers in the comments.

1. Your name spelled backwards.
Reltub Ythomit

2. Last incoming call on your phone.
Pastor Mark Friz, calling last night to ask me to run the projector this morning.

3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer?
According to my download history, it was Splunk, sometime last week. I was going to try this nifty log file search engine on my server, but it wouldn't install.

4. What’s your favorite restaurant?
I've done this one before! Let's try different classes of restaurants, to make this interesting:

Fast Food:White Castle — if you haven't had White Castle in the last month, life just isn't right.

Pizza (Delivery/Takeout): Pizza Hut. It is the best pizza under one roof. (SM)

Pizza (Restaurant): CPK. The California Pizza Kitchen knows gourmet pizza; I like everything I've tried there. I especially like their signature Barbecue Chicken Pizza and their Tostada Pizza with Lime Chicken:
Southwestern black beans, sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses topped with chilled shredded lettuce, fresh tomato salsa, green onions and crispy tortilla strips with our garden-herb ranch dressing. Also available with grilled lime chicken.

Quick Service: St. Louis Bread Co. (a.k.a. Panera Bread outside of its home city). I love their Panini sandwiches and I.C. Mochas, among other things.

Two Star Restaurant: The Hen House (of Bourbon, MO) has the best fried broasted chicken around. I think I'm fudging this a bit, the Hen House is more like a “1.5 Star” restaurant, according to the definition of two star restaurants, but maybe — twenty asisaid points to the person who can identify this allusion — the restaurant star rating code is not a set of rules so much as suggestions.

Three Star Restaurant: Lewis & Clark's is one of the best values in the “moderate” ($12-$15) entree range. They have the best blackened fish I've ever tasted, great spuds, delicious salads and breads and a comfortable atmosphere. It is the best dining available, in my opinion, on Main Street/the St. Charles Historic District.

Four Star Restaurant: Devil's Pool at Big Cedar Lodge (Ridgedale, MO) is a casual setting, but I think it can be placed in the four star range justifiably. Their entrees grow a bit pricey at $18-$20 for dinner, but the flavors are bold and exciting, without getting exotic. I personally love their grilled chicken with chile lime drizzle. Their house salads and ever changing selection of breads are also very good. Deserts are tasty too. Portions are extremely generous, hence I've only had desert to-go.

Five Star Restaurant: I've never eaten at one, although I think Devil's Pool could easily qualify from a culinary standpoint, although not from the other aspects.

I'm not an expert on ratings, so I checked my selections against Mobile Travel Guide's definition of two, three, four and five star restaurants, which you can see here.

5. Last time you swam in a pool?
Some time in late August in an “ool,” as the pool store sign puts it (think about that one). There are advantages to having your own pool, even if it is just a Costco-purchased inflatable 4 footer (they are so cheap, and yet so convenient!).

6. Have you ever been in a school play?
No. I have been in a few Sunday School plays in the past though. I'm not an actor.

7. 2 or 3?

8. Type of music you dislike most?
Rap. But, edging close to that lately is 80's music. Even some stuff I use to like now gets on my nerves. Enough with the stupid synthesized instruments and weird voices. Music is suppose to sound good!.

9. Do you have cable?
If you mean, “do I have a non-antenna based way of receiving TV,” yes. If you mean literally cable, no. I have a dish. I'd like cable, and keep talking to the cable company to arrange a suitable “triple play package” (It seems odd when I call that I already have the cableco's digital phone and high speed Internet but not TV). I think the price is finally right (again), and they've gone to digital simultrans (so I'm told, see part 1, part 2), but I'm waiting for them to get some more DVR's in again.

Assuming they really did launch the simultrans system, cable will be completely and unequivocally superior to satellite. Cable does not go down in the weather (unless the utility poles are knocked down, of course), cable provides more local programming (TWC WeatherScan, TWC Local Forecasts, public access channels, etc.), cable provides more HD programming, cable can provide a triple play package and cable can provide bi-directional services such as interactive TV (iTV) and Video On Demand (VOD).

Nevertheless, in the long run, I'm putting my money on AT&T U-verse (“Project Lightspeed”) fiber service as the ultimate in communications: faster internet, digital TV, digital phone service and Cingular cell service on one bill (a “quad play” package). It uses IPTV for the television portion and has the advantage over Verizon FIOS that they don't have to do a new cable run all the way to the house wanting the service, only to the subdivision. C'mon Mr. Whitaker, start upgrading the St. Louis region, please!

10. Have you ever ridden on a 4 wheeler?
I believe so, long ago. Definitely, and more recently, if you count a John Deere “Gator.”

11. Have you ever made a prank phone call?
Only to my grandpa (we use to bug each other on the phone all the time).

12. Boyfriend/Girlfriend?
No. I'm trying to wait on God about this one…

13. Would you go bungee jumping or skydiving?
Emphatic “no.”

14. Farthest place you ever traveled?
Timbuktu. Ok, not really; in reality my traveling is rather unimpressive, but I'll admit it: the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.

15. Do you have a garden?
Yes, but it's been taken over by vines.

16. What’s your favorite comic strip?
That's a tough one. Probably a toss-up between Drabble, Pearls Before Swine, Foxtrot and Dilbert. Which one depends on my mood.

17. Do you read a newspaper every day?
Yes, the Post-Dispatch. I shouldn't admit this, since I'd like to write for them again, but they're really ruining the paper with all of the ads in it recently.

18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem?
Beyond the first verse, I have some gaps that require humming.

19. Bath or Shower, morning or night?
A combination bath/shower is preferable, IMO. I go with night only because I'm not enough of a morning person to make it anywhere on time in the morning if I bathed in the morning.

20. Best movie(s) you’ve seen in the past month?
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). Late December/early January is my movie viewing time of the year, so I've seen a bunch as of late, but that was the best. Also notable was Holes (2003), Shrek 2 (2004, which I saw at the cinema), and Johnny English (2003, repeat viewing). The worst movie I saw during my movie viewing extravaganza? Guess Who (2005), which came highly recommended by several people. I only watched about an hour of it and then turned it off — it was moderately offensive and unamusing.

21. Favorite pizza toppings?
Supreme/Deluxe, usually. I like a pepperoni and onion if I get a Pizza Hut Pan Pizza, however. I've already talked about some of my favorite CPK choices above.

22. Chips or popcorn?
Depends. Usually chips, but movies go best with authentic theater butter and popcorn… I mean popcorn with butter.

23. Have you ever smoked peanut shells?
I'm with Christopher on this one — I didn't even know it was possible. For the record, I've never smoked, inhaled or otherwise been connected to any kind of smoking device (other than second hand smoke in a restaurant ;)).

24. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant?
No. Are you nuts?

To be continued… tomorrow.

The Big Thing that Was Ignored

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:17 AM

After all the hubbub had settled down over WWDC '06 itself and, especially, the alleged lack of anything “really exciting” being announced by Apple, I stumbled across something that seems to have been mostly ignored that is very exciting: iCal Server. One of Apple's major server offering weaknesses has been the lack of a groupware solution. While Mac OS X Server comes with most everything else you might want in a SMB server package, it offers nothing analogous to the full Exchange package. OpenDirectory does provide directory services using OpenLDAP and Samba, and Apple has also long included Postfix for e-mail serving — but the lack of a server counterpart to iCal has always seemed odd to me.

While not much of a deal was made of it, Apple released a number of FOSS projects at WWDC, not the least of which was Darwin Calendar Server, a python based calendar server which will be included with the next Mac OS X Server as “iCal Server”. This is much like the arrangement by which Darwin Streaming Server is known at QuickTime Streaming Server when included with the OS.

Why is this big news? To my knowledge no FOSS calendaring server has claimed Microsoft Outlook compatibility thus far. I could be wrong, but to my knowledge, such servers, as FOSS versions of older proprietary products, have been stripped of that function, necessitating the purchase of a module from the donator of the code to achieve Outlook support. Support for Apple's own iCal has been even shakier for most of these projects (though Apple claims in a case study that is no longer the case for the Zimba Collaboration Suite). Now, I'm not sure exactly how Apple has this all worked out, but if you can truly get Outlook's calendaring to work with this FOSS project, it will prove a giant boon to system administrators looking for a completely Open Source groupware solution, when assembled with the rest of the Mac OS X Server middleware stack.

Apple also released its launchd startup manager (which, let me tell you, is far faster than any other *nix launching system I've seen and dramatically reduced Mac OS X's boot time when it made its debut in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger), the latest Bonjour (f.k.a. “Rendezvous”) zero-conf implementation and the “infamous” x86 version of the Darwin kernel code. While Apple continues to keep its crown jewels closed, it still seems to be creating a very decent portfolio of in-house created FOSS projects. Moreover, while Darwin Calendar Server is not yet cross-platform, I suspect it will be in the future, just as Darwin Streaming Server is.

In other words, this is big news for everyone who desires FOSS server components, not just Apple users.

You are viewing page 7 of 34.