Apple Vs. Microsoft - Choice

Having switched from Windows to the Mac, I have noticed the subtle and not so subtle ways the Microsoft and Apple business models differ.  The first thing that struck me was how Microsoft makes every effort to never brake any 3rd party software.  Apple on the other hand is very quick to depricate underlying technologies and if you don't update your software it will be broken.  More on that another day.

The other day I had to buy a new PC at work, and what struck me was the number of SKU's Microsoft offers.  Here is a screen shot of the list, and not all of it fit on the screen.  How many SKU's does apple offer?  Two.  Far more sensible.


Copyright, Piracy and the 407

The latest hot topic is online piracy and the internet.  To start with let's just get it out there.  Piracy, aka stealing is wrong.  Copyright infringement, and theft are illegal, and there are laws on the books to deal with it.  So the question becomes, is there something special about theft on the internet, and should we put in place new laws to address it.

In the physical world, we had a similar situation with the 407 electronics toll road.  Here we had theft, people driving the highway, but refusing to pay the bills or hiding their license plate so the system could not record their use of the highway.  So, we have ways of addressing and punishing theft, but for the 407 they created a new system.  The 407 was capable of essentially putting a lien on the car, and the owner would not be able to renew their ownership which was required every 1 to 2 years.  This would seem reasonable, except for the fact that the 407 made so many billing mistakes.  They charged the wrong car, sent invoices to wrong addresses, failed to record payments, and as a result many innocent people were caught up in the system, and could not renew their ownership.  Essentially they were not permitted to drive their cars.  Eventually the 407 was told that they would no longer be able to prevent owners from renewing their licenses.

Large content holders are looking for similar actions to be taken with the internet.  They are looking to ban people from accessing the internet (3 strikes laws), they are looking to takes sites off the internet (DNS redirect in SOPA and PIPA), and they seek to do this without court oversight.  They would like to be the sole determiner of copyright infringement.  It is a lot of power, and if history teaches us anything, with power comes corruption.

We all know Napster was a problem, they are now history.  Content companies should be seeking legal action against infingers, and punishments should be reasonable (A million dollar settlement agains a single person for sharing 24 songs is not reasonable).

If content companies were suffering large losses, there may be cause for concern.  However their does not seem to be any evidence of that, in 2009 Hollywood had the biggest box office take in history, while the rest of the economy was getting trashed.  So again, piracy needs to be dealt with but the content companies do not need a "nuclear option".

Content creators have been in fear of every new technology, and their fears have never come true.  I guess it could happen this time, but I doubt it.  Have a read of this article. And hey, the industry has been caught infringing copyright.  They were republishing music on mix CDs and not paying the artists.  They settled for $50 million without admitting any wrong doing.


Best Hardware Upgrade Ever

Well, this past weekend I upgraded my Mac Book Pro, and put in a SSD. All I can say is wow! I knew it would speed things up, I had no idea it would be this fast. If you are wanted to extend the life of a computer it is a worth while upgrade.

SSDs have been around for some time, but I never made the jump becuase of the price. OWC is now offering a 120GB drive for $189, and it seems to have decent reviews. The other reason I hesitated is that fact I have 300MB of data on my Mac, and getting a 500+ SSD is out of the question due to price. Fortunately OWC offers a kit that alows you to take out the optical drive and mount a 2.5" drive in it's place.

The upgrade itself went smoothly. Swapping the hard drive is really easy in the Mac. Getting the optical drive out is a touch more involved but not really much more difficult. It took about 1/2 hour to change out the hardware. I put the SSD where the HDD had originally been installed and moved the HDD to the optical drive bay.

I had a couple of problems getting the software the way I wanted it. I moved my home directory off the boot drive and onto the HDD. What I overlooked was moving the hidden "Library" directory in my home directory. The other problem was an issue with Parallels. It did not like the missing optical drive. It saw it was gone, and popped up a message saying it would disable it. But eventually the VM would grind to a halt. To the Mac it looked like Parallels was using 100% of the 1 core I allotted, but in Windows it thought it was only using 10-20%. Windows at this point would run so slow it was unusable. Once I went into the VM configuration and removed the optical drive device, It was ok. I also had to fix the boot order when the optical drive was removed. For some reason Parallels wanted to put network boot ahead of the hard disk, which meant that my VM would not boot.

Now everything is installed and configured, and the core2 duo machine is screaming fast.



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