What every dessert needs: fun and danger!
The torch, at Fell & Masonic Streets, 6:30PM 1/18/2002:
Even though I have major problems with the lame design of the 2002 Olympics website, I’m kind of excited to see the torch will be cruising right past my apartment tomorrow night.
Bryan figured out (scroll below the photos to the iPhoto section) what the real breakthrough in Apple’s releases were last week: the legitimization of digital photography in the minds of consumers, and the perfect bridge between the real (printed photos in your hands) and the virtual (jpegs in a photo database on your hard drive).
It makes me wonder about the moment Apple chooses to do an online publishing application. If they ever create something like an iWrite application that automatically stores and categorizes local copies of writing (which could offer weblog as a format option), with some sort of instant html-ize and upload to your homepage.mac.com account, they stand to legitimize the collective work of online writers if they choose to allow print and custom book creation. I can see the Steve Jobs presentation now “The Great American Novel will be written on an ibook running iWrite, and printed, published, and delivered instantly for $14.95 for the first 50 pages.”
I noticed today I’ve taken over two thousand images with my camera, which is only about three months old. Most are garbage, as I learn how to deal with composition and light by experimentation.
A wiser fella than m’self once said, sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar, well, he eats you.
(via pitfall and Lebowski)
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve worked on a variety of freelance web gigs, on a variety of website hosts. The biggest surprise has been the lack of standards in terms of basic server software deployment. I have a windows/apache/php dev environment at home, I have a remotely hosted FreeBSD/apache/php environment with my web/email host, and I have a windows/IIS/ColdFusion environment on my metafilter server. When I develop scripts for clients, it’s usually something I can finish in an hour or two, test locally, then deploy on the server. And then the fun begins…
The integration and deployment has often doubled and tripled the development time. Given the array of apache configurations, php & perl configurations, and various levels of user security on each host, it made realistic budgeting of time and money nearly impossible. I guess I’ve been spoiled, running a couple servers myself with any features or rights I wanted. Apache and PHP restrictions seem the most surprising to me. They’re open source applications, but for one reason or another the configuration of the services aren’t shared in the same open source spirit.
I suppose if one host figures out how to give everyone full script access in any directory without compromising the security of others, that’s an advantage in the crowded marketplace. When you shop for a host, they are rarely upfront with the technical details of their hosting setups. It makes me wish for a serious, development-oriented list of what website hosts really offer, with reviews of technical snags other developers have faced.
Apple has shown time and time again they are good at creating and perpetuating their own buzz. I don’t know if today’s product releases lived up to the hype, but they were good releases for the company. I’m glad to see they continue to fully go after the new computer user. As a lifetime windows user, no matter how much easier windows xp gets, it’s never going to compare to the mac OS in terms of usability and simplicity. My personal beefs with the mac OS are usually related to it not allowing power users like me to route around the simple paths setup for new users, but with OS X I can have the command line if I want it.
I was glad to see iPhoto. I was talking with a friend a couple weeks back about digital cameras. Whenever I go to a family function now, and whip out my camera, invariably, an uncle or cousin wants to check it out, and they say things like “I want one of those, but should I get a computer too?” I have to explain to them that yes, you need a computer, then you need to get fairly proficient at using that computer, then you get some photo software, get good at that, then buy a digital camera, and put it all together (I don’t have the heart to tell them it could take a couple years of futzing around with a PC before getting very good at it). The next question is usually “how do I print photos out of it?” which opens up a whole new can of worms. Digital cameras are everywhere now, but it’s pretty hard to work with the output. I think Apple’s reaching a huge market of people that want to play with these cameras and don’t have years of experience using computers.
The new iMac is interesting. Much of the criticism of the original iMac was that it was all-in-one and not very upgradeable. Given the current low costs of new systems, is that even a problem anymore? The market Apple is aiming for won’t ever know how to put in a second hard drive, and they don’t have to. The success of the older generation iMac proved customers would rather have everything included, and not have to fuss with any wires or hardware. Ease of use won out over expandability. The new machines should continue the success of the iMac, though the features are so numerous in the top of the line model, I wonder what will happen to their tower desktop sales.
Why doesn’t Microsoft have a theme park yet? They could inject a little fun into their company while raising awareness of their products. Lego has one. All the entertainment (now media) companies have them. Heck, even beer companies all have theirs. I could imagine it now…
“Welcome to the new Windows XPerience, where you’ll soar to the heavens, defying gravity as you jam to the hottest Madonna hits we could afford to pay royalties on.”
Of course, all the rides would break down too often to be any fun.