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by: Bernard Teo






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Joy of Tech ... from Geek Culture



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Copyright © 2003-2012
Bernard Teo
Some Rights Reserved.

Thu 29 Apr 2004

iTunes

Category : Commentary/iTunes.txt

Is it only me? But I believe the music sounds better on my iBook since I did the latest iTunes update. There's so much to admire about Apple's interface design. You read about Party Shuffle and you sort of understand why it'll be cool to have such a feature. But then, when you finally get to trying it, it all makes sense, and you go "but, of course!". Want to do really good user interface design? Use a Mac. Every day. (And I thought I had gotten being a Mac evangelist out of my system).

In all the notes about Steve Jobs' iTunes Music Store anniversary interviews, I think one item stands out - about the two thirds of the music that is not in print anymore.

"A somewhat intriguing glimpse of the future was offered when Steve Jobs said that one of the biggest challenges in working with the labels was getting their out of print archives online. Mr. Jobs said that most of the labels had less than 1/3 of their entire catalog in print, largely because of the physical and financial limits the real world imposes on physical inventory. He added that "it's getting even worse with the demise of small record stores."

"According to Mr. Jobs, Apple would like to get that back catalog on the iTMS. That would offer untold options for music lovers of all varieties to get what we currently consider to be "hard to find" songs." (MacObserver)

It makes perfect business sense. These pieces of music are not in print because of the old economics prevailing. You may have a certain number of people who have a very deep yearning to buy, collect and listen to these old pieces again. But there wouldn't be enough of them to make it worth the distribution overheads.

But the beauty of being digital is that you're shipping bits directly to desktops and then to ipods. You've nuked the overheads and changed the rules of the game.

Zooming out from talking about iTunes for a while, I've spent a lot of my time looking for a business we can run ourselves that uses our own technology, and where I don't have to argue with an IT department about using a Mac, or doing things the Mac way, etc, because I know it all works and that there are so many ways to kill your competition using it.

It seems like Apple has found it. They've found a way whereby their iTunes, iPods, Music Store, Apple Store, experience streaming huge amounts of content out their Movie Trailer servers, and the whole Apple design gestalt come together in a business enterprise which just works and which cannot be easily duplicated because the magic is in the whole gestalt rather than in any individual piece.

This is what I'm envious of. That's the way to do it. Use your own technology, stop trying to persuade people, and kill the competition. It's the best revenge.

Man, you've got to love all this music. iTunes takes you out of this world and into the world of memories.

Mercy mercy me
Things ain't what they used to be
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east
Mercy, mercy me
Things ain't what they used to be
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas, fish full of mercury
Mercy, mercy me
Things ain't what they used to be
Radiation under ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh, mercy, mercy me
Things ain't what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land
How much more abuse from man can she stand?

Marvin Gaye, "Marvin is 60 - A Tribute Album"

Posted at 3:21PM UTC | permalink

Java-on-Mac Meetup

Category : Commentary/JavaMeetup.txt

These are some of the pictures Timmy Yeo took a couple of nights ago at Burger King (at Novena Square, where there's glorious free wireless surfing and we should use it while it lasts!) when a few of us met up to take a look at Java on OS X. I think I was trying to explain Model-View-Controller, using the iBook, handphone, and what-else as props.

James Gallagher is doing a blog editor tool in Java and Cocoa, using XML-RPC to talk to a MoveableType server. I persuaded Hai Hwee to come along because, being the Java-Cocoa guru (and I'm just the "suit"), she would be of better help.

There's Siva (bottom, left), self-confessed "MacAddict", who's using the version of PHPosxom that I mangled (basically I made changes to it to make it easier to design the look of the web page without tripping over the PHP code), and who has since helped a few other people set up blogs.

Then there's also Hanx (top, left), a long time Mac user and "evangelist", and Seng Aik (top, right), who had set up MacRebels ("Rebel Against Stupidity").

Also, I just remember - we're going to have the usual monthly Mac meet-up next week, Tuesday.

So, the Mac scene is alive and well in Singapore.

I was reading this article about the design of the Apple Store, yesterday, and about how Apple feel the stores may have contributed to Mac sales, ever since they were started. But, the question is : just how many people were pre-sold about the benefits of the Mac in sessions like these, all over the world, before they even walk into an Apple store or an AppleCentre.

If the entity in Apple that oversees the sales figures of our local office is happy with its performance, then the impact of all these non-paid Mac "evangelists" must have been significant.

Because, for years, watching Apple perform in Singapore was like watching a team in smart cool jerseys get walloped 10-nil every time they take the field. And they could still give themselves high-fives when they leave the field.

And there's nothing you can do about it, if you can't bring yourself to work on Windows. Love me, love my dog. So, if you can't help sharing your enthusiasm for the platform, you're probably going to help sell a few Macs, which makes Apple salespeople think they're so smart, since they can sell so much without doing a thing themselves. Which could be the reason why they seem so smug. And the cycle goes on and on.

But it struck me clearly, last week at Sun Tech Day, that Java has given me a way to dis-engage. No more throwing a body in the line of a rabid Windows or Linux user. Be my guest, take a swipe.

You can continue using what is probably the best hardware/software combination. Yet, you don't marginalise yourself out in the fringes.

I would love it if Apple Singapore perform better and get their act together because it would be no more than the long-suffering Mac users deserve. But we should leave this worrying of the (small) size of the Mac market to the guys who're paid to do it (even if they always seem so determined to run the company to the ground, and then return to the safety of their IBMs and HPs). I don't believe we will see any improvement until Apple hires people who really love the platform for their Singapore office.

I was actually astounded to read the last paragraph in the Apple Store article:

"But I think the one thing that sets apart our stores and Apple, is fundamentally two types of people in the world, in my view. There are believers and there are skeptics," Johnson said. "Apple is filled with believers. And believers tend to think of what can be, and they just go do it, and they don't spend time asking why not. They go and make it happen."

"Apple is filled with believers." If this were true, I don't see it in our neighbourhood.

Finally, Apple's success with OS X shows that, some day, some Taiwanese or Chinese company will wake up to the same conclusion - that they can take their skills building computer hardware, and marry that with an ability to integrate all these free, Open Source stuff, the way Apple has done. The Microsoft business model may not be the only model that could succeed and Apple has shown a viable alternative.

So, it may be all geek-talk. But geeks can feel the ground shift before others can. It'll be interesting to see how this works out.

Posted at 10:40AM UTC | permalink

AutopMac

Category : Commentary/autopmac.txt

Found this page to linked to the Postfix Enabler page : AutopMac pour Mac OS X Jaguar et Panther (http://autopmac.chez.tiscali.fr/). It looked interesting.

And here is the English translation.

Posted at 4:31AM UTC | permalink

Looking for Feedback

Category : Commentary/PFE1_1feedback.txt

There were some (twenty?) downloads of Postfix Enabler 1.1 Beta that I can count from looking at the web server log.

It would be great to get some feedback. If it had messed up a system, I would have heard by now. So, maybe, no news is good news. But it's still good to know if it has worked for you, all those who've downloaded it.

Posted at 3:14AM UTC | permalink


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