Thursday, October 28, 2004

osxcon wrap-up

Lenn Pryor

osxcon day three
What a day! Andy Hertzfeld's session started the morning and it was great! He started off talking about his new book "Revolution in the Valley" about the early days of the Macintosh and the team that developed it. He told stories about Jobs and Woz that were hilarious. Many of the stories in the book are taken from the site, but some are new. The stories I enjoyed the most were about Woz's love of pulling pranks. He has an amazing memory for detail and the book looks great! It will be a must buy!

Columnist and Author David Pogue spoke next and he was also very entertaining! He spoke about software design and the problems some software has with poor and inconsistant interface. He also spoke about the software paradox where supposedly great software is upgraded with new features on 18-24 month cycles. My favorite Pogue quote is, "If you upgrade good software often enough you will ruin it." This drew applause from the crowd. He used the term "software rage" when he spoke about the frustrations user have dealing with poor software. Pogue said, "what incentive do software vendors have to make software good if they are being paid $50 for each service call."

After that I saw two good presentations in the Systems Administrators track. The first was by Allan Marcus of Los Alamos National Lab. It is hard to imagine the security issues they are dealing with. The next was an in-depth explanation of Darwin by John McDermon. This was hard core UNIX programmer stuff.

I got a chance to speak with Publicist Suzanne Axtell of O'Reilly at lunch about book publishing. She was very nice and gave me some great pointers. I enjoyed talking about publishing following the book that Sue wrote and I laid out.

After lunch it was back to more Sys Admin talk and a great talk by Australian Steven Doyle of Edith Cowan University of Perth about how they admin their 600 Macs. Again, more inspiring information about administering Macs in a higher education environment.

The last session of the day was my favorite. Lenn Pryor, of (he was there on his won time and own dime, but he also works on the Microsoft Channel Nine Project!) spoke about Podcasting! I am totally excited about his technology and think it has some great possibilities for distance learning, I was even interviewed by KCBS on the subject. This is very exciting new emerging technology. Please follow my links if you are even a little curious.

osxcon day two (epilogue)
Late yesterday afternoon I saw two other sessions. The first was on Mac maintenance. The second was a very cool presentation by Dori Smith on Bluetooth. I bought her book on Mac OS X Unwired. I was especially excited to learn she also has a cat named Pixel (like we do.) She is a good speaker and really knew her material!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Osxcon Day Two Dot Two

Mid-day Report
The Active Directory Session by Michael Bartosh of 4am Media was especially useful. The holy grail of single sign-on is a goal we have not attained at SJSU. The possibility of really integrating Macs in our AD domains is something we talk about. Bartosh's talk was great. If I were still administering an NT based domain at SJSU this is something I would follow up on. I may anyway, at home where I have a Windows 2000 AD Domain.

After Richard Glaser of University of Utah's presentation on Radmind and today's presentation by James Reynolds, also from the of University of Utah, on automating computer management, I think we could learn a lot from these folks from The Beehive State. It sounds like they have solved a lot of the problems we face with Mac deployment!

Osxcon Day Two

Morning Sessions
Stewart Copeland is the former drummer of the rock band Police. He is also a composer and songwriter and he spoke to in today's morning session about his current profession as a producer of music tracks for movies. This was a great presentation. Copeland is a talented speaker. Even though this is something that normally is way off my radar screen I was captivated. Did you know he used dogs barking for the sound track in the movie Wall Street? He said, "those (evil movie) characters were not good enough for music." Very funny stuff! Copeland speaking of the ethics of making music off of audio samples verses musical instruments, "I don't care about how music is made if it makes my toe tap that is all that matters." Speaking of the recent Saturday Night Live music fiasco involving Musical Guest Ashlee Simpson he said, "that is where it gets scarey is when the audience is expecting a real performance and suddenly they realize they are being given samples."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

End of day one

A day of exciting possibilities!
It has been great seeing the new technologies coming out in Tiger. From a user interface perspective the big ones have been Spotlight, a new metaphor for relating with information in your system that changes the way we relate to our computer, and Automator a great new GUI scripting tool that empowers users in ways that users have never been empowered before. With Tiger, that is just the beginning of the features of this awesome new OS. It is a whole new breed of cat!

Great Presentations
Richard Glaser of the University of Utah did a fine session on Mac OS X File System Maintenance with Radmind we really should be doing this at SJSU! This, combined with ASR, is a great way to deploy and control Mac systems. Derrick Donnelly of BlackBag Technologies did a fascinating session on Open Source Digital Forensic Acquisition and Analysis on Mac OS X that was very interesting. I learned some interesting things about how to preserve and retrieve evidence from a Mac. Very cool stuff!

Automator, a great tool in Tiger

I am very impressed with Automator and its ability to do drag-and-drop scripting. Sal Soghoian's presentation was great. Along with Spotlight, these are the two things that, to me, makes Tiger a must upgrade. I am still using Jaguar on my Powerbook as I did not feel that Panther was worth the trouble. I use Panther on my other systems and am happy with it, but I am also happy with Jaguar.

Tiger, though, changes the way you use your computer! Until I saw Soghoian's presentation I thought that Automator was just a fancy front-end to Applescript. That, in itself, would have been a lot. But, now I understand it is so much more.

When you think Automator, think Xcode! What is Xcode? Xcode is Apple's premiere developer tool. Automator is like Xcode for the rest of us. Automator can incorporate Applescript and be used to create Applescripts. But, it can also use any other language or framework supported in Xcode to automate actions. This includes cocoa! Automator handles the transfer from one framework to another. You create "actions" that are similar to applications, but that do not have their own runtime code. It takes the actions from applications, scripts them and repackages them.

Using this tool a user can do what he/she wants to do without having to worry about what is on the computer that allows him/her to do it. Thank you Sal Soghoian for the great presentation!

New iPods Rock!

Andy in front of screen

More on new iPods

"What photographers want is the ability to upload photos from flash memory cards (and store them on a portable hard drive) so they can reuse the cards while in the field. We still are not there yet (with the Photo iPod,)" Derrick Story, Program Chair.

U2 iPod Quote

"This is the kind of thing Darth Vader would use to kill people," Andy Ihnatko speaking about the new U2 iPod.

Cool Xcode stuff, (but same old timeline for Tiger?)

Wiley Hodges, Apple Senior Product Line Manager, gave an interesting talk about the new version of Xcode 2.0. He said, "Tiger is the biggest release for developers since the release of Mac OS X." The new version of X-code is very powerful! I found the info about 64 bit adressing interesting. This will enable the VM engine to address up to 16EB, or 4 billion times more memory than Panther. But, one of the most interesting comments he made was about the product life of Tiger. When he was talking about memory adressing and he said that the Kernel of Tiger would be able to address 4TB which is more than adequate for the 15-18 month product life of Tiger.

I was hoping they were going to start relaxing the fast turnarounds of these OS versions! IMHO - There are just too many versions of MacOS out there and this is causing a support headache for us! That means more driver issues, more helpdesk issues, more configuration issues, more UI issues for us to deal with.

Tiger is cool, though. I can't wait for Sal Soghoian, Apple's Applescript Manager's, presentation on Automator. That is in 20 minutes.

Blogging live from the O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference!

Chris Bourdon, Apple's Senior Product Line Manager, just gave an impressive demo of Tiger. I was most impressed with Spotlight. Just this feature alone will make Tiger a must upgrade. It is an incredibly fast search engine, that does the kinds of things Longhorn talks about. It changes the way users use their computers.

I also really like Automater. This is Applescript for the rest of us. It allows users to use the power of scripting with a fast drag-and-drop interface. The H.264 video compression and the ability to use iChat AV to do audio conferences of up to 9 people is also really cool. There is a lot of great stuff in Tiger. Panther, IMHO, was a skippable upgrade, but not Tiger!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Tiger Developer Overview

Apple has released this developer overview. This is a must read for Geeks interested in Tiger Features!

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Mac is now a mess?

Jef Raskin, a member of the original Macintosh Development Team, asserts that the new Mac OS X operating system has rendered the Macintosh a mess. Personally I love Mac OS X, but I am a guy who taught myself Linux in order to prepare for it. What Raskin says echoes what a student said to me just yesterday after I had to spend an hour on the phone with her to return her new iMac G5 to operability. She had bought the iMac to replace her old Mac and lamented that she wished she had bought a Windows computer because she thought it was easier to use.

Upcoming sessions at CFDS and more!

November 15, 1:30p - 3:30p
An introduction to Desktop Publishing, Using Adobe In-Design, IS 134
An introduction to the Zen of desktop publishing (DTP.) What makes DTP different than word processing? Attendees will be introduced to the concept of Adobe's pallette metaphor. There will also be an in-class excercise. We will create a newsletter page using InDesign. The powerpoint presentation for the seminar is available here:

November 19, 10:00a - 11:30a
Adobe InDesign, Session Two, IS 134
Adobe InDesign is a flexible desktop publishing program available for both PC and Macintosh Computers and produced by a local company.  This session assumes a basic knowledge of desktop publishing principles and some familiarity with the pallette interface common to Adobe applications. We will produce a document using InDesign and discuss how to become a more powerful user of this wonderful tool.

December 2, 11:30a - 1:00p
Emerging Technology and our University, IRC 101
This brown bag seminar is the second in our Emerging Technology series.  For this seminar we will step back and look at emerging technology itself and how the Information Technology paradigm continues to evolve and change.  We will look at the impact of this on higher education overall and our institution in particular and discuss how we adapt, cope and implement technology.

Weblogging Seminar
This was a great seminar! Dennis Dunleavy did a fantastic job telling the attendees about how he is using weblogs in his teaching. A number of folks have expressed interest in the seminar and if there is interest and willingness on Dennis's part to repeat it, I would love to. Meanwhile, here is a link to the Powerpoint:

Next week I will be at the O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference
I will be posting here from there! So, come back and see what is happening!

Personal Note
Weblog posted movie of new grand-daughter
Here she is and she is a sweetie!

NOTE: Seminar info is subject to change. However, I will try to post any changes to this weblog.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Follow this link to find earlier content!

My old Techblog material can be found here. I enjoyed using iBlog but resented the lack of commenting on it. So, I have moved my blog. All new posts will be found here.