Oct 19

So along the same lines of last fortnight’s post, “iPhone, therefore I am“, as well as the very old “OSX > Linux > Windows“, I though I’d tell you why I use Mac.

So I saw this post that was comparing either Android and the G1 vs iPhone and it’s iPhone OS, or Android vs the iPhone OS, or the G1 and the iPhone, or Windows and Mac, or Microsoft and Apple, or any combination of the above. For the purposes of this post, we’ll assume that it’s the comment has been said comparing Android and the iPhone OS.

You can obviously tell that I can’t find the actual article/post that I’m talking about – if I could, I’d show you in a heartbeat. Anyways, what the post (or commenter on the post/article) said was:

“…polished and shiny? As opposed to what? Dull and lacklustre?”

Yeah – you can obviously see how that ties in to comparsions between Android and the iPhone OS, or Windows and OSX.

You can obviously tell that OSX is all polished an shiny, as compared to Windows which is, for the most part, dull and lacklustre. I’m all for Windows when it comes to gaming (damn Steam and they Windows-only stance), but for general productivity and what-have-you, OSX for the win.

I’m going to take another quote here, this time from Slashdot, Chris J’s favourite site in the world. Well, apart from the obligatory…

If someone is happy using, say, Word and Photoshop, what’s attractive in hearing that Linux can’t run Word and Photoshop but they can do pretty much the same things with Openoffice and Gimp, once they take the time to learn how to use them? Why should they do that when they can keep on using Word and Photoshop?

Like I said, i used Linux for ten years. I switched to Apple a few years ago because I wanted wireless to work. Now, I need to buy new hardware. I could easily save a few bucks and run Linux on something. But, why should I? I like Apple software, I’m accustomed to using it. Everything I did in Linux I can do on a Mac, often with greater ease and reliability. Why should I care if Linux allows me to do the same things once I learn how to use it and a bunch of new programs? Where’s the incentive? There are tens of millions of Windows users thinking the same thing.

You know what? I agree totally. People shouldn’t have to change their choice of Operating System just because it’s “the next best thing”, similarly, people are as entitled to their Win-Mo smartphones just as I am to my iPhone. I’m not happy with Windows Mobile, and as a consumer I get some sort of choice over what OS I use on my phone – obviously, I could have chosen between Symbian, Palm, Blackberry, Win-Mo, or the iPhone, or even Android if I was feeling ambitious. However – I like Mac, I use Mac – iPhone OS was the obvious choice.

A little further on, it says:

Back in the ’80s and early ’90s, people coped perfectly well with competing computers and operating systems. Sure, an Amiga was a bit different from an Atari, which was a bit different from a PC, which was a bit different from a Mac, which was a bit different from an Archimedes… but so what? People coped, just like they cope with the way every washing machine or DVD player today has a different interface. When you started using computers, you became computer literate, just like everyone’s more or less washing-machine-literate and DVD-player-literate. And once you’re literate in a technology, you can learn to use any form of it relatively easily.

What the Windows monoculture has done is to destroy computer literacy among most users. Now, instead of learning to use a computer, people are trained to use Microsoft Windows. Instead of learning about launching applications and using word processors, they’re trained to click on the big button at the bottom left of the screen that says “start”, then to click where it says “Microsoft Word”. And so as soon as that button turns into a picture of a foot at the top left of the screen, and the icon they’re looking for says “Word Processor”, they’re left bewildered and uncomfortable.

Of course, this has now bitten Microsoft too: it’s one reason why Vista and Office 2007 are so unpopular.

It’s doesn’t get any better – now you have someone to blame for this mess! Handy, no?


Leaving that aside for a bit, I know nothing is perfect. Certainly freshbytes isn’t (a few more readers wouldn’t go amiss :D ) and neither is Mac OSX, the iPhone, or any beloved Apple creation. The iPhone itself has crippled bluetooth, and it’s battery life isn’t exactly spectacular – not great, better than other 3G smartphones, but still rubbish compared to my old dumbphone(s), Mac OSX has strange quirks which leave some users utterly bewildered as to why it would perform in that apparent non-sensical way, and the iPod, well, it doesn’t have as much codec support as your nearest Rockbox player does. Hell, there are even entire websites devoted to telling the boys at Cupertino about what’s what, and what the end-user would like to see. (Disclaimer – I write for DearCupertino.com – and that was yet another shameless plug…)

I was in the PC lab one day and the same person who asked if the iPhone could text asked a teacher why he was using a Mac in a room filled with PCs. The teacher responded: “It’s because I like to live on the edge.” – GOLD! Now, I’m not suggesting that using a Mac is living on the edge in any sense of the phrase, but at the end of the day, it’s not about which OS is better than the other for whatever intangible reason – it’s about what OS you’re most comfortable using.

For many of you reading this, that would mean Windows undoubtedly. For many others that would mean Linux exclusively. And then, OSX whole-heartedly. I was once asked to decide which OS was “the best” – and I couldn’t. I’m intelligent enough to see that there are merits to all OSs – not one OS is most suited to any one task, be it productivity, entertainment, business, or otherwise.

In my opinion, Linux should stay on the supercomputers, in the Cicso routers, the embedded devices (and their derivatives), and the web-servers. For those purposes, Linux does an excellent job – an example of this is Wikimedia (and, by extension, Wikipedia) changing their servers over to Ubuntu.

Windows can be relegated to gaming only and the business sector – even though there are more and more businesses changing to Macs, I’d say over 80% of people are most familiar with Windows – and market share goes a long way in determining how popular something is. Internet Explorer is a great example of this – it’s complete rubbish, yet it’s the most-commonly used web-browser in the world, simply because it comes pre-installed on each and every single Windows machine.

Mac OSX, on the other hand – I’m happy for it’s market share to stay roughly where it is. One by one, I’ve seen people turn from the Vista juggernaut, and those basic consumers (who only word-process, access YouTube and MySpace) who are sick of all the viruses, turn to Mac OSX. And I”m fine with that.

You won’t hear me preaching the gospel according to Jobs – similarly, you’ll won’t hear me singing the praises of Ballmer.

However, I reserve the right to cringe everytime I see someone using IE.

Comments below.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 07

Not the way most people would start out a review of the latest desktop environment (unless Vista was mentioned in close proximity). Not only that, most people wouldn’t know that Gnome I’m referring to is not one of those boring (no offence) little characters in gardens around the world. The Gnome I am referring to is a desktop environment found predominately (and to be honest, only) in Linux and BSD distros. If you have ever used Ubuntu, it’s the default desktop interface. You know, that taskbar with a list of windows at the bottom of your screen…ok, maybe you don’t know. Regardless, I’ll continue.

The latest version of Gnome is 2.24. Most distros out in existence are still using 2.22, which is nothing to sniff at. 2.22 was stable, unlike previous versions where the file system browser (nautilus, think of explorer for windows and you’ve got the picture) would crash when doing nothing in particular. The latest version of Gnome, and the time of writing, is only included in two distros: Ubuntu 8.10 (beta) and Fedora 10 (beta). Notice that they are both betas, which means that they are likely to be unstable, thus not of ‘production quality’ you would expect from final releases. And thus, the reason why I am unmasking and installing Gnome 2.24 on my Gentoo Linux laptop (against previous advice).

I can’t say that 2.24 is a major leap in any particular direction. Think of it more as a few security updates, patches, bug fixes, and some features here and there. However, one bright feature that was included was the ability for the file browser to have multiple tabs! Think of using firefox for file operations, and you’re right on the money. Not only does that feature save screen space, it also makes the screen space more efficient.

Nautilus 2.24 under Gentoo Linux

Nautilus 2.24 under Gentoo Linux

About the only other two features I can think of include an ability to setup monitors with a lot less effort (including rotating your desktop), and the date & time applet having the function of being a calendar as well as a note-taking/planning application. Not that most people would use them, but I might :) .

Well, I’ll leave you to decide what you think of the new file browser (as shown above), and scan the web looking for the release notes while I go and emerge -av =gnome-2.24 (Gentoo Linux package install command for Gnome 2.24 for those who have never used Gentoo).


written by Chris Jacques \\ tags: , , , ,

Jul 14

Ok, well here is a quick note for you folks. For all those who have played flash games at school/play them currently, I have found a nice little application for playing flash games.

Yes, it is only for Windows (sorry Benny), but most people like to play games in the library, where this app is best suited for.

Works for me (with Kopter):


Enjoy. YMMV, be aware of that.


written by Chris Jacques \\ tags: ,

Jul 06

I think I’m suffering from writer’s block or something, because I can’t think of what to write for this post. I had a few good ideas about where this was going, some punchy-one-liners, something profound, but now they’re all gone :(

So I’m going to start off with the tech news of the day, and no, it’s not iPhone-related. You can definitely expect something on that front next week though, when the holy grail of all phones is actually released…

Guys, VOIP is the word of the day. Get into it! If you have a computer with a microphone (USB or what-ever, doesn’t really matter) and speakers, you’re all set! All you need is a client (piece of software that lets you talk with other people all around the world – for FREE, all it uses is your internet connection) such as Skype, and you’re all set!
To the NoSpoon crew, I know we use TeamSpeak for group chat, but maybe we should cut out the middlemand and get VOIP-ing. So get Skype, get a Skype name, and get chatting! My Skype username is “bennylingbling”, (without the quotes) so whenever you want to chat, I’ll usually be there. If I’m not, contact me by IM and I’ll be on Skype faster than you can say Voice Over Internet Protocol!

Radi8, as usual, was awesome – the 4th of July meant that there was the movie Independence Day being shown. The games were based on Uncle Sam, so we had some US General Knowledge questions and a couple of other fun games. Unfortunately, Black Team didn’t win – we lost to some other team I can’t remember by either 4 or 6 points. On another note, the Radi8 website has been changed to incorporate a MySpace and a static (non-MySpace) page, where those of us who don’t have Spaces or Facebooks can see what’s going on – without all the extra crap that a MySpace usually has.

And on that note, MySpace is utterly ridiculous. I don’t know how people can stand using pre-built, shocking-CSS themes, but they just, look, horrible! In this blogger’s humble opinion, MySpace has degenerated into a [insert derogatory word here]-fest of people who don’t know their Verdana from their non-repeating backgrounds.
Facebook, on the other hand, is just an upper class version of MySpace – just without the crappy “custom layouts” and all that other junk. I really like Facebook, just because everyone uses the same layout, the design is clean, and there are cool things like “Walls”, “Pokes”, “Gifts”, and the insanely awesome Facebook chat. MySpace just pales in comparison.

ANYWAY, after that mini-rant, it’s time for what you all came here for: the moral guidance/deep and meaningful. That stuff that makes the world go around, that wonderful, excellent stuff that so few seem to have, and yet long for in the deepest, darkest corners of their hearts… Or something.

Now, I’m not one to be affected by change, but when it’s world-shakingly huge, I stand up and take notice. The 3G iPhone is a good example of this – it’s a device which has generated so much talk, yet has one of THE biggest pedalstools in the history of gadget-goodness. If it doesn’t stand up to be all that it’s hyped up to be, then Apple will take a huge hit because of it.

However, there is one aspect of change that worries me – the fear of the unknown. That part that’s completely open to interpretation, up-for-grabs, and all that kind of stuff. You never know what’s just around the corner in respects to change – that new employee might be a complete clown who doesn’t know anything, or just generally not a very nice person. I think it’s up the individual in regards to how they deal with change – accept it and move on, or rant continually on a small blog that they have… You can see which path I have chosen to take, ya?

There was this event on the weekend that I wasn’t invited to. Sure, I was just a little, tiny, tiny cut, (my ego did take a hit) but then I realised that it didn’t matter that I wasn’t invited. I had been to the ‘event’ two years ago, and yeah, it was awesome, but in that two years – mate, so much has changed! I know I’ve changed, I think that other people have changed, and people just aren’t the same as they were.

If I say any more, you’ll probably stop reading altogether, so I’ll leave you with one last thought and another video from the Radi8 Digital Scavenger Hunt:

“When times change, you’ve got to change with the times.”

This time, it’s Emily J, Lyndsey H, Hannah M, Rachel O, Lucy O, Laura V and Rachel W doing some crazy things, examples of which include: singing the National Anthem in front of a public Australian flag, breakdancing on a cardboard box, cartwheels on the beach, walking out of an elevator backwards, and some other crazy things… You’ll just have to watch the video.

Comments below.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Jun 08

So I’ve been playing CS:Source a lot lately, and one of the best quotes ever went a little like this:

[CT One] “Don’t flash the tunnels!”
[CT Two] “Why not?”
[CT One] “Because I’ll be in there.”

Gold! Which is fair enough, if you’re going to be trying to kill people in the tunnels you DO NOT want to be team-flashed.

CS:Source is great, it really, really is. The Magnum sniper is so powerful it’s not actually funny, check this out:

443 damage in 1 hit

That’s 443 damage in one hit – enough to kill 4 people with one round.

I’m suffering from a complete lack of news at the moment, so I’ll leave it at that for now. My sincerest apologies if you were expecting more.

PS. Two sleeps till the Australian release of the 3G iPhone!

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , ,

May 27

As the apparent Australian release of the 3G iPhone draws near, I’d thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about it…and some other things ;)

So as you all know, I’m sure – I’m a huge fan of Apple’s products. I love what they do, how they do it, and the general look and feel of all things Apple. There is no doubt in my mind that I’ll be getting a 3G iPhone when they land in Ostraya (that’s Australia, folks) and that I’ll probably be putting it on Telstra.

Hate them or love them, you can’t refute the fact that Telstra have the largest 3G network in Australia, with plans to increase coverage in the next couple of years. If I were in any other city than Tasmania, I’d be with Three (on pure coolness of name alone, if nothing else) or one of the other providers. But, I live in Tasmania, and for pure coverage, Telstra wins hands down. Add to that the fact that Telstra are going to have the fastest iPhone in the world (disputed – apparently the chip in the iPhone doesn’t support 42mbps) at 42mbps by Christmas 2008, and you have a winner. Besides, all my friends are on Telstra, and 1c text is great :P

Ah, it should be so awesome when it actually does come out in Australia. I’m salivating over it already…

Now for the message part of this post (oh yeah, you knew there was going to be one, didn’t you?!)…

Still iPhone related, but a couple of weeks ago I had a dream about the new 3G iPhone (sad, I know, but just goes to show how much getting one means to me – it’s like the holy grail of Apple products). Anyway, in this dream of mine, someone came up to me and said that they had a new iPhone. Obviously, I got really excited, walked into the room where the new iPhones were being handed out like candy to children, and proceeded to clamour around the immensely lucky people that had already managed to receive the holy grail. As I watched the expressions on their faces at the joy of new tech, I slowly realised that something was wrong. The iPhone was great, yeah, but the design – shocking! Think late 80’s hand-held games consoles – big, chunky, two-handed things that had tiny, black and white screens, and used semi-joystick things to play the games on them – one of which was basketball related, I’m sure. I didn’t realise that Apple would never have made such a hideous product – I was just blown away by the fact that it was an Apple product – the holy grail of Apple products.

I think that’s how a lot of people are going about their business these days. They’re so wrapped up in the product that they’re buying that it doesn’t occur to them that what they’re getting isn’t the real deal (aka it’s a fake), but it doesn’t matter because hey, it’s an Apple product! They blindly follow the crowd, thinking that just because everyone else has one, they need one, or two. Now, this make work in the favour of any successful business (not all businesses, though) but in the long term, all that happens is that people end up with an item they didn’t necessarily need. Don’t get me wrong, I think the iPhone is a great product – the pinnacle of digital convergence, if you like – but those that are buying iPhones for the hell of it, or to look cool – don’t. Put your money towards something more worthwhile, like a gift for your significant other, or a donation to charity. Say no to the man!

So I guess the message of the day is: If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

Benny, out. Comments below.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , ,