Tag Archives: computer

A “Pro” Post to My “Pro” Blog for Professionals

It’s kind of interesting to analyze the effect of the label, “Pro”, when I’m on the consumer side versus the professional side. As a consumer the term, “Pro”, makes me feel a bit more comfortable with how much I’m about to spend, and as a professional user, it makes me raise my eyebrow in unapologetic suspicion. (If it’s really a professional product, aimed at professionals, why does it need to be said with an obviously manipulating title like “Pro”?)

I’m going to try the car analogy, again: In terms of basic performance, I can turn a VW bug into a Porsche 911, (that used to be possible), but if I do that, in the end, I still have a VW Bug, but a lot faster one. And, up to a point, being faster counts, but it’s still a Bug. If I really want the complete, carefully balanced, actual Porsche experience, I must buy a Porsche 911.

And this my friends is yet another attempt to explain my near contempt for the the whole of the iMac product line. Apple takes their iVW, a very cool machine in its own right, puts a screaming fast engine in it, slaps the “Pro” moniker on it and once again evades having to actually make another, real, professional desktop computer. To a consumer the speed of this thing, alone, makes the initial experience surreal – in a good way, to a professional, the speed is thrilling for somewhere between one hour and a week, or so. After that, I start asking real-world questions like: how come I have to tear the screen off of the front in order to do a basic thing like upgrade or change RAM? Or, swap CPUs to upgrade or downgrade the number of cores I’m using? [Yes, I might want to do that because the fewer the cores, the faster each core goes – see?) Or, why can’t I add high-end video cards to the existing system – Oh wait, I can! But, oh wait, I want to add six video cards to my system so that I can scale how my professional software applications use them – like Windows users can – And, yay! Look mom, six video cards, but, what a freaking mess on my physical desktop. Sure wish I could just put those things inside of my computer. And, my OS is still optimized for only one kind of video card language? (I’m speaking here of CL vs. GL.) Yes I can use both, but only one is actually native to the OS. WTF! I really do not want to get stuck with Windows, again, but, I will.

And, where is Linux in all of this marketing obfuscation [BS]? Linux foundations have the potential to build highly customized machines on a wonderful plethora of UIs on very powerful hardware architectures … Why is it that all I can hear from the Linux side is crickets chirping? (There actually are a few open source products, but a very few, and to-date, nothing that can well replace software products from Avid, Apple and Adobe, maybe with the exception of Black Magic and their Linux-ready Fusion product.) Please get on the ball and save those of us who: 1) Actually do care about what we use, but; 2) Are beyond weary of having to argue for anything and everything that isn’t 1000% Microsoft; 3) Are sick and tired of having to slog through the cesspool of hardware and software that recklessly slaps the, “Pro” label on everything – to the point that even consumers, by now, are completely desensitized to it. If any serious Linux developers want to take a serious stab at creating a truly professional environment for high-end media production workflows, please feel free to give me a call, because I guarantee you, there is a huge market place of deluded, tired and disenfranchised media producers who, still have a passion for the work, want to know and trust that the hardware and software they’re using IS professional, and, who are beyond weary of the two-choice reality they [we, I] work in. I’m serious.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready to install new Windows machines for our Adobe Premiere”Pro”/After Effects post production peeps [formally Mac-based], and iMac”Pro”s for our Final Cut “Pro” X/Motion users. And the jury is still out for our “Pro” Tools and Logic “Pro” X camps. They’re all unified in not wanting to go back to Windows, but they’re not convinced they want to get stuck with the iVW either, because, by now, they’re all fully aware of the BS factor in the “Pro” moniker and how difficult it’s getting to escape from it. I’ll let you know how it goes. (Call me, really.)

Is This The Year of Linux?

In a recent Twitter post Christine Hall [@BrideOfLinux] made the comment that, Is this going to be the year of Linux?, is getting to be a tired old question. My response was: From an end-user POV, an even more tired question/argument is: Mac vs. Windows. The world really needs Linux to come out of geekdom and into the mainstream. Now, we’re just minions of MS or Apple. SAVE US!! https://twitter.com/BrideOfLinux/status/954081071733313542

A More Wordy Twitter

I’ve been a subscriber and tweeter for about four years now on several different accounts and have gradually learned how to use it to ever more advantage. I don’t have time, or desire, to read every newsy thing that crosses my path and Twitter really helps me get points of light from specific areas of interest, that help me to quickly narrow down what I do want to wade into. I think increasing the word-count, based on the criteria given, is probably a good idea – let’s see how it goes. But, having some restrictions on per-post word counts has really helped me become less wordy … uh … See what I mean?! This would’ve normally been a much longer post, but, thanks to Twitter … and etc.

I Mostly Embrace Apple’s Thing …

Where @asymco, in writing about greatness, achieves it.

I’m pretty much with the sentiment here, have been since 1985 (no, not 1984). However, there’s one place Apple did cave – (apologies for my less eloquent verbage), a BIG phone. And, not just that they did big, but that they left small behind. One of the very few areas that Samsung got Apple to bend. I really do not believe that Apple would have stopped making a “small” phone if the pressure hadn’t been on from iPhone users who were getting slowly, but steadily, envious of the big phones. Even I finally buckled and traded my 5S in for a 6S, not becuase I wanted big, but I needed the power and functionality. Praise be to your Diety of choice it doesn’t feel as big as it seemed it would, but, it’s definitely bigger, and again, the thing that’s irkesome and disappointing is not that they did BIG, but that they abondon small. In almost every other way I have embraced the Apple mind-set for mobile computing and the long forgotten standard of shear quality that used to be a part of the fabric of American manufacturing, and that Apple, almost single handedly, carries on. Dear Apple, size matters, BIGGER is not always better, and I still love you.

Apple Ancient Gold

 This tweet reminds me that, about eight years ago I finally decided to sell several old Macs I had been hanging on to just because I couldn’t bring myself to let them go. I sold a MacPlus, an SE30 with an upgraded video board and a Color Classic. Remember that one? The sales went through eBay and I figured if I cleared $10 or $15 after expenses I’d be able to live with that. Long story short I reaped the following returns per machine, (headsup, nowhere near as dramatic as the Apple I).

Macplus: $1900.00

SE30: $1500.00

ColorClassic: $2000.00

Just FYI, each machine was fully functional and sold with its original boxes.

Well, that went so well that ten months later I decided to gather up all of my softeware and see if I could make a couple of bucks on that. It’s software right, old software, albeit with original manuals, floppy discs, etc. Still, it was software and I figured I’d be lucky if I broke even. I ended up with a couple of 40lb. boxes worth of software and related material and prepared my eBay add. It was a seven day run and for the first three days nada, zippo, notta thing – which is what I figured was going to happen, but again, I just couldn’t bring myself to simply throw it in the trash. Day four – a bite … Day five – another bite. As often happens with eBay bidding processes nothing else happened until the wee hours of the morning of Day seven and then all hell – uh – heaven, broke lose. During the last three hours bidding often would go $20 and $30 dollars at a single jump right up until the closing bell went off. The winning bid went to a lady from Martha’s Vineyard who apparently ran a vintage computer museum with lots of Macintosh memorabilia. My net profit on those two boxes of ancient software was $500.00!

So, between the hardware and software sales I easily made more than I origianlly paid for any single item. No, it wasn’t 1/2 a million or a million, but it still made my year, and reminded me that I have rarely been sorry that I’ve purchased any Apple product, even to this day. Apple is a good long-term investment whether you do it through direct purchases, or Wall Street investing.

How Deep Does Your Browser Go?

 
I have long been suspicious that web browsers go deep when installed on any OS, and I beleive that the article at the head of this post is only the tip of the iceberg. It makes me wonder how we can be so cavalier about installing web browsers. Many users have multiple installations of various web browsers installed and it’s not unusual for a single user to use different web browsers to get things done. I draw the analogy that, using web browsers to get everything done is a lot like using a public restroom, where, we also eat, wash our clothes, have afternoon tea with friends, scrawl bank account passwords on the walls and stalls, and etc. I know that web browsers are not the only illegitimate way into a pc, but I have to wonder, of all of the break-ins that happen, how many are accomplished and/or initiated through launching of a web browser. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t get a pop-up of somekind that is just downright creepy – and that’s with all blocking and saftey switches fully engaged.
 
My suspicion is also why I am absolutlely not on-board with the notion of web apps. I know for a fact that web apps can save a company money, and can provide freedom from an OS App store distribution system, but I don’t think it’s worh it. I’ve been burned a few times on the web, most notably when I was more heavily into being an eBay reseller, and, before there weren’t many/any non-webb apps dedicated to buying and selling with a more closed front end. In the name of more discloser, let me say that, in retrospect, the hack [theft of login info] could have easily been avoided if had just kept mental track of how many times the convincing-looking eBay login page kept poping up. I was very busy preparing purchases and just figured that I had been logged off because of a prolonged period of inactivity, and was therefore being prompted to re-login. Thankfully the outcome of that, while bad enough, was not the end of my financial world, but it could’ve been. As it was, the hacker(s) got enough info from me that they used my account to spam thousands of other eBay users and for a few days I got many angry emails from fellow eBayers. EBay doesn’t get high marks from me for the help that they proferd after the fact, but they did help enough that I was able to make ammends to my brothers and sisters in eBay land in a fairly short time. All of that from having to use a web interface to get the job done. Yes, it could’ve happened using a non-web app, but it would have been much less likely.
 
My two personal favorite browsers are Firefox and Safar – in that order; but in the real world I will have nothing to do with Firefox, because, of all the browsers I’m convinced that it goes the very deepest into the OS. In years past, and in more recent years, major performance improvements have been yielded by completely removing Firefox from an OS – I have even won a couple of low yield bets, that, removing Firefox from a given desktop system would immedately improve performance to a greater or lesser degree, but to a measurable degree in any case – and I won both times.
 
I have finally come to the point where I only use a browser when there’s no other way, and furthermore, when a company or individual provides a product or service that forces me to use a web browser or a web app, I move on to other vendors and service providers. And, that includes the likes of mint.com and intuit.com, based on the way they used to provide their various online services only a few years ago. I think that they now provide mobile and/or dedicated desktop apps for their products and services, ultimately furthering my point. Comeing back to the realm of media production, there are a couple of companies offering some very promising video sharing and production collaboration services – guess what their interfaces are? But, if they do well, I beleive that, in the long run, they will end up developing dedicated, non-web, apps.

Laboratory Malware/Attacks/Viruses

I really have to wonder about the behind-the-scenes politics of people and organizations that create previously non-existent malware. On the surface I get it, but it seems dubious that a person or group that creates mechanisms that break the average desktop or handheld computer have only altruistic motivations. Here’s just a concern or three that I have:

  1. What happens when this person’s or group’s admiration for the computing system they portend to love wanes?
  2. How long does it take for that love to wane in light of the admitted lack of appreciation that comes from the manufacturer/developer.
  3. Whether or not there is/was any real admiration by the malware creator, what would it take to buy that particular creator’s particular creation?
  4. I see no regulation or oversight of any kind for this practice.

Certainly germ warfare development [bio-germs] takes place, but it is somewhat regulated by the realization of the people doing the hands-on development, of just how really dangerous what they’re working with is. I would also argue that, whatever of this kind of thing goes on in the USA is watched very closely, even if it is not strictly regulated, (and I’m not saying it’s not – I don’t know if it is or not). Why would it be closely watched? For two reasons: To keep it secret and because it’s just dangerous to all concerned, and no risks can afford to be taken.

Now back to the malware lab where it seems to me that this kind of thing is carried out with no oversight of any kind, and if this thing shows up in the wild 12-24 months from now this person will have no culpability except, “I told you so”.

Sorry, but I don’t believe this practice should be geek fodder, because there is a lot at stake – potentially, even human life – since computers are so indelible to our existence now. The more this is contemplated the more I think this practice needs to be reigned in – there needs to be official oversight. It’s really too bad that giant companies like Microsoft and Apple, and Google, and all the rest, don’t do this all in-house – with government oversight. Software development has too long enjoyed the luxury of getting us to completely depend on products that take absolutely no responsibility for outcomes or losses due to the product’s shortcomings.