koko: macOS (Panther to Sierra), apps and more

October 16th, 2016

“Genghis Khan and his brother Don
Could not keep on keepin’ on”
(1971) “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – Bob Dylan

Advising Don’t drop your iBook, and subsequently reporting repairs and repurposing (but not eventual abandonment), I only hinted at my negative over-reaction to Apple as a result of those iBook experiences. But I also knew I had to keep up with what Apple was doing, and that would mean hands on experience.

graphite_g4a1 aboutthismacdjg4

Besides the iBook, I had a Power Mac G4 that a client gave me to port software to OS X Server. I ported the software to Panther and Tiger and still have the machine.

It isn’t close to meeting the Leopard 867MHz processor requirement, but I’ve still found it useful from time to time. Read the rest of this entry »

koko: Windows 3.0 to “10.0” and back

October 15th, 2016

“Genghis Khan and his brother Don
Could not keep on keepin’ on”
(1971) “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – Bob Dylan

Windows 3

I wrote before: “I remember thinking in 1989 that X-Windows was going to be the dominant windowing environment on PCs. I said about as much in “Unix – The Force Behind Personal Computing?Unix Technology Advisor 2, 2 (February 1990). When Michael Dell read what I had written, he gently suggested I take a closer look at Windows 3.0. History shows Michael was right and I was wrong.” Read the rest of this entry »

finding Fedora 19 fortitude

August 29th, 2013

For various reasons, some of which I’ve hashed and rehashed in the past[1,2,3,4,5,6,7], I feel obligated to keep up with Linux, particularly Fedora. It had been three years since I’d gone all the way through the effort of learning all the new stuff and upgrading production machines to the latest Fedora release (now Fedora 19), which meant I was two years behind from an release end of life perspective, and in jeopardy of not catching up.

Partly, I had held off because I didn’t like the things that were changing: increased memory requirements, more dependence on GUI for administrative tasks, new mechanisms that feel both like overkill and under baked, e.g., firewalld and systemd. I’m not Alan Cox in either Linux credentials or antipathy to recent distributions[8,9]. I don’t naturally adapt to the Ubuntu distributions either, so trudging forward with Fedora seems the most natural path, in spite of the challenges.

My typical pattern has been to emphasize the odd numbered releases, so I would have likely prioritized Fedora 15 if it were not for the new “features” that gave me pause. That was the first release with systemd, which now appears to have been the last straw for Alan Cox, and certainly hasn’t delighted me. Even more discouraging for me was the installer’s enforcement of minimum memory requirements that my ancient hardware couldn’t meet.

So it took me three years to accept and adjust. I’ve stopped trying to use the truly ancient hardware for more than museum purposes. I’ve upgraded to newer/faster/cheap used hardware. All my production machines are now running Fedora 19, as of last night. With the exception of MySQL Workbench, I’ve managed to avoid resorting to using the GUIs for administration. I’ve even got a machine dedicated to trying to learn Gnome. I brought my XO up to the latest from OLPC and even fetched some Fedora 18 RPMs for it, intending to try to get past the horrible keyboard and find some use for the XO.

In the process I’ve tried to refresh and reorganize my museum of hardware and software. I found my NextSTEP/486 discs and am thinking of trying to get NextSTEP running on my souvenir Dell 450 DE/2 DGX. That couldn’t be as frustrating as trying to re-engage with Fedora.

  1. https://notes.technologists.com/notes/2010/07/06/lucky-fedora-13/
  2. https://notes.technologists.com/notes/2010/07/06/spamd-challenging-old-iron-to-keep-up/
  3. https://notes.technologists.com/notes/2010/02/15/finally-friending-fedora-12/
  4. https://notes.technologists.com/notes/2009/08/02/fedora-11-delivered-our-heavenly-right-to-say/
  5. https://notes.technologists.com/notes/2009/08/12/old-iron-servericeable/
  6. https://notes.technologists.com/notes/2009/01/15/xo-musing-820/
  7. https://notes.technologists.com/notes/2008/05/22/fedora-9-uneven-slices/
  8. So Fedora 18 seems to be the worst Red Hat distro I’ve ever seen.
  9. Ok so problem box switched to Ubuntu

increments of learning (attrition)

May 14th, 2012

I’ve been pursuing video calling technologies for roughly 20 years. For the first years (and before my experience), a major challenge was lack of adequate networks for calling, when even Basic Rate ISDN (two 64 kilobit channels) was often hard to find. Today, even cell phones often have multi-megabit connections. Though there are network limitations and frustrations, the available networks are usually more than adequate.

Then, and certainly now, an even larger challenge has been incompatibility between calling products. There have been many laments about lack of inter-operability, long before, and after my last one, When will they ever learn?.

It is hard to call changes from last year “progress”, or even “learning”, but there have been some improvement by attrition of isolated products. Now that Skype has acquired Qik, Qik seems to be emphasizing stored video over video “chat”. (Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic. Yet, I have never known anyone to actually use Qik video chat.) Logitech TV Cam, which I lamented, has seemingly morphed into Logitech TV Cam for Skype®. Most notably, Cisco has discontinued Umi. So at least one anomalous product is gone and a second has gained inter-operability.

There are other bits of progress. BlueJeans inter-operability between Skype and H.323 systems is one of the pleasant surprises of the last year. It is hard to anticipate what Microsoft will do with Skype, but that acquisition may lead to more inter-operability between Skype and other systems, at least Microsoft’s Lync, and maybe more SIP flexibility.

Until video calling is as inter-operable as voice calling, the inability of one product to call another is unacceptable. As long as major players, such as Apple and Google, introduce new products that preclude video calls to existing products, laments are appropriate. When incompatible products are abandoned, or morph into more compatible products, some small celebrations seem in order.

EVO 4G returns!

May 13th, 2012

“It’s déjà vu all over again” Yogi Berra

The EVO has landed” proclaims Sprint, featuring 4G LTE before Sprint’s coverage is available. Seems like only yesterday (actually two years ago) I was anticipating my second “smart phone”, my first since 2001, and anticipating 4G WiMAX (which I’m still waiting for, at least at my home and other frequent locations).

Re-reading what I wrote after a month’s experience, I don’t see a lot to say differently. The biggest surprise is that I’ve used Skype so little on my Evo, only two times that I remember for a video call. I don’t remember much about the first call, but the second one seemed surprisingly satisfying from a calling perspective, and the portability allowed me to show my sister all 5 of our cats in various poses around the house.

My biggest complaint continues to be the sporadic WiMAX coverage, which seemingly hasn’t improved, and probably won’t given the trends toward LTE. Most of the time I have WiFi available and don’t feel deprived without WiMAX. But there are also times when I turn on the WiMAX radio in hopes of coverage, and more often than not, see the warning icon that tells me I’m wasting battery on non-existent 4G.

So I’m not pre-ordering an EVO 4G LTE when (a) Sprint doesn’t have LTE anywhere and (b) Austin isn’t one of the initial Sprint LTE cities. I expect I’ll keep the  original EVO until the hardware fails. If that happens in the near term, then the new EVO seems like a promising option, as long as I don’t count on LTE.