The Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE) Act is supposed to be a good thing. Turns out that it’s been hacked quite a bit by various people (aka special interest groups) to allow them to disregard the network neutrality agreements. What is network neutrality? Check out the wikipedia link (new window) for more info.
Basically, the way things are worded now, if the bill becomes a law, then your ISP will be able to “tax” websites for access to their customers. If, say, Google doesn’t pay the fee, then an ISP could slow customer access to the website, or block it entirely. They could even, theoretically, make it so that when you go to Google, you end up at their own search engine. And blogs that are critical of the ISP? Oh darn, you no longer have access to that site – it’s now on the black list.
It would also allow companies to do whatever they wanted on their own networks – in the mid-90’s, Cox Cable blocked the common ports used for VPN access – “forcing the state of Washington, for example, to contract with telecommunications providers to be sure its employees had access to unimpeded broadband for telecommuting applications.” (Wikipedia).
If you enjoy the internet the way it is now – where you can access a wide variety of information in a timely manner (based on the level of your internet access, of course), then you need to take action.
Contact your Congressperson (via the House website, or MoveOn.org)
Sign the Save the Internet Petition
Spread the word.
Apple – Get a Mac – Watch The TV Ads
Apple has finally come out with some new TV ads, and they’re not for the iPods (not that the iPod isn’t a fine tool, but I want them to sell more computers).
Anyway, starring Justin Long, they’re quite funny. Check them out.
Ctrl Alt Del
I have to admire a business man who can turn down a potential nightmare of a customer.
When I worked for a VAR, we had a customer who needed someone to come out just to turn the darn thing on. I told my boss we should just buy the comptuer back from her and then block her from ever calling us again. He didn’t get it.
Daring Fireball: Smart Crash Reports
While I like the idea of having a way to notify third party developers that their app has crashed, and possibly providing them with valuable log information, it seems like the covert installation is NOT the way to go. Sadly, you might not even know that it’s being installed – PathFinder, for example, apparently installs it while it’s being installed. It’s a nice idea, in theory, but it’s just a little sneaky – if the user doesn’t know it’s there, then the user can’t uninstall it. And since most Mac apps are un-installed by removing the app itself – the very model of simplicity – you can’t uninstall Smart Crash Reports, since it’s not in the same place as the app that installed it.
Either way, like I said, it’s a good idea – if it’s done right. Don’t be sneaky and underhanded when you install it (i.e. the quiet install) and there won’t be any problems.
Apple – Boot Camp
More and more people are buying and loving Macs. To make this choice simply irresistible, Apple will include technology in the next major release of Mac OS X, Leopard, that lets you install and run the Windows XP operating system on your Mac. Called Boot Camp (for now), you can download a public beta today.
And with that, Apple throws their hat into the ring: they’re going to kick Microsofts butts. I fully expect, after this announcement, that the next version of Mac OS X – Leopard – will not only integrate this, but build on it. They’re already emulating PowerPC code on the fly – why not make it so that you can double-click on that copy of MS Access and have it emulate Windows on the fly?
It might sound far fetched, but with the dual core and quad-core processors, it’s not hard to imagine such a thing being just around the corner.
Vintage and Obsolete Products
If you have a computer on this list, good luck getting support! Well, parts anyway….
Behold, the power of the internet:
MacOSX CLI Utility to Capture Stills From iSight Camera
I asked on Macintouch and I got an answer. I tested it and it works, so we’ll just have to see how this plays out in the end. It can be done, however and that’s all that matters….
MacInTouch: timely news and tips about the Apple Macintosh
Adam Gerstein posed an interesting question about the camera Apple is building into new Mac models:
I’m wondering if anyone has looked at remotely accessing the camera in a MacTel iMac or the MacBook Pro – partly to “monitor” the users, but also because it could be used as a security measure – one of ours is looking right at the door to the lab, so it might be nice to have photos whenever no-one is using the computer…
Ideally I guess it would be a terminal process you can run via cron, since it would have to run when no-one’s logged into the computer.
I realize that there might be privacy issues, but we monitor all electronic communications anyway, and I’m making an allowance for if someone’s logged in so they have some privacy.
Am I the only one interested in this?
Yes, that’s me. We just got several iMac’s with the built-in cameras at work and have them setup in a computer lab. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to use them to monitor the room if we want – it would be nice to be able to setup one of these and then get grabs from the camera every minute, just in case something happens….
man2PDF 1.1 – Mac OS X
You’ll have to scroll down the page a little bit to find it, but this tool is quite handy – you launch it then choose which program you want the info on, and it will create a PDF of that man page.
Of course, you could also just use this command:
man -t manual_page_name | open -f -a Preview.app
Share and enjoy!
Mac Mini vs. Microsoft Media Center: Round 1 – Crave at CNET.co.uk
Head to head with a PC using the Microsoft Media Edition, the Mini soundly trounced the PC in ease of use and initial setup. Is that surprising to anyone? I didn’t think so.
I’ve been toying with the idea of something like this – although, to be honest, I was just going to use an old laptop. It’s certainly powerful enough to play movies and recorded shows on the tv, and with the right external drive I could probably record to the drive as well.
Time to spend some money, I think….