Looking at and past the
(1965) "Same old places and the same old songs...
It's the singer, not the song." - Jagger/Richards
(1929) "You may forget the singer, but don't forget this song." - A.P. Carter
January 19, 2007 --
My head hurts from all of the explorations I've allowed myself,
Like Poirot, I need to
rest the "little gray cells". But not this morning.
Many of the things I thought were important to say seem lost in the gray
cells, so here goes with what I remember.
- Trying to make Windows XP, PuTTY,
Samba cooperate so that I can
securely access Windows shares (and Samba shares of Linux file systems)
off-premises. An aggravating battle, not for the faint of heart,
but I won.
- Helping a friend, a 20-year Mac user, recover an eMac which
OS X had helped mess up. (He seems to have "won" but seems
forced into testing his disaster recovery procedures.)
- Exploring PmWiki and
MediaWiki to try to
"evangelize" a new church Wiki.
I tried both, on IIS on NT4 Server, on
Apache on NT4 Server, and Apache on
MediaWiki is way too hard to work with for my purposes.
PmWiki is delightful on Apache, and probably OK on supported
IIS, but I never got it to work on IIS/NT4.
- Continuing to clean up self-certified SSL connections for IMAP,
LDAP, sendmail and other things I'm probably forgetting.
- Reading lots
of what others have written recently about Vista and OS X.
Writing about the ad hoc
was unsatisfying both because it was probably not very interesting to
many and yet not thorough enough for others. For example, the startup
times really don't capture the performance effects after the startup
phase. The 486 machine really is painfully slow, trying to use it as a
web server with Apache or IIS. Thanks to a friend, the
has a couple more Mac timings. They are interesting in that they
are so consistent with clock frequencies of the three Macs in the table.
(But not necessarily perceived efficiency per clock cycle of the G3,
G4 and Core Duo.)
Though it was confusing and enlightening to look back
at older hardware and lots of software configurations, the
applications and operating systems often cost more than the hardware
these days, so they deserve more scrutiny.
But the scrutiny is inherently more subjective -- individual priorities
and perceptions dominate.
Rather than create an even longer single page, this page has
abstracts of some major topics and links to separate, topic-specific
If the details are not of interest to you, here are some summary suggestions:
Most individuals probably do not consciously consider the
in a technical sense, but are influenced by OS design decisions more
than they realize, particularly with regard to permissions and
Not surprisingly, 3D windowing and permissions seem to
be the hot new topics in reports about Vista -- the Microsoft Features page lists "User Experience" and "Security" ahead of all other topics.
- IMO, not one of the prominent platforms (Linux, Mac OS, Windows) does everything well. Not even close.
- It is easy to find staunch advocates of each platform and
dramatically contrasting writings extolling
- Except for the staunch advocates of a particular platform, not one
of the platforms is good enough to get excited about.
- The next releases (Fedora/ubuntu 7, Mac OS 10.5, Windows Vista)
are not that much better than the predecessors.
- Personally, there is no urgency to upgrade to Vista or 10.5,
certainly not enough motivation to spend money. (With free versions of
Linux, there's a little more curiosity basis for exploring
May I see your
The biggest security problem in Windows (ignoring bugs in the code) is the
way permissions are used, such that ordinary tasks, even viewing a
web page with Flash
seems to require full Administrator privileges in Windows XP.
Microsoft seems to think Vista has better answers --
I'm most curious to get my own Vista system to see for myself, but
am not ready to buy one just for that or to experience 3D windowing.
Until the 1980s, windowing wasn't even a part of commercial
operating systems, and didn't become prominent until
Working with a plethora of windowing systems, I find Mac OS windowing
far clumsier than reputed.
The evolution of Windows 95 to Windows XP has left me mostly comfortable
with what Microsoft has done, at least before Vista.
A good part of why I said "plethora" is the multiplicity of
windowing options in Unix/Linux environments, and a good part of
why that doesn't bother me as much as it might is that I tend to
not use one of those options unless I really need to.
Though the current Microsoft windowing feels comfortable, trepidation
about Vista changes seems justified, based on preliminary reports.
Personal experience with IE 7 and Office 2007 exacerbate concerns.
Using a 60-day trial
version of Office 2007, I can say what I like and (mostly) dislike
about this release.
Today I mostly use Office 2000 and am glad I own copies of Office XP to
use when Microsoft drops support for Office 2000.
Who needs a mouse, anyway?
Gina Trapani writes of a command line comeback, and Microsoft tries to finally displace the legacy DOS command shell
but some of us, like Gina, never forgot the command line.
Whether Linux, OS X, Unix or Windows (with Cygwin), a command line shell such as bash is a necessary tool for me.
I don't pay attention to Linux windowing, even though I spend lots
of time using Linux, because bash is the "window" of choice.
After bash, one of my dominant tools is
Bill Joy's vi editor.
I probably use vi for the majority of my writing, for configuring
systems and for code development. (Microsoft Word, Outlook Express,
Apple Mail and TextEdit are the main writing alternatives for me.)
One of my Unix mentors is a staunch vi
advocate, to the point that he uses vi as his primary email tool.
I don't go that far, but I probably do use vi to manipulate email
at least once a day.
Even for those who don't directly use vi are probably unaware that
they use (or can use) aspects of the
vi input model
in very recent software, including Google Reader.
There are so many other perspectives appearing every day, spurred by
anticipation of Vista and "Leopard" (OS X 10.5).
Chris Pirillo committing to Vista and sharing his
Walt Mossberg, often a staunch Mac advocate, gently
Microsoft Watch is even more
With all of the awareness of Microsoft bugs, the
Apple Vulnerability Project is using January to try to raise consciousness of bugs
in OS X.
Lockergnome seemingly says we've
heard these songs before.