Friday, February 09, 2007

MacBook Installation

I said I'd write about my install experience so here it is.

Painless. Nothing complicated to figure out. The only difficulty I had was that the Mac didn't automatically configure and connect to my home Wi-Fi network. That would have been just a little difficult for it to do since I'm using a shared key with MAC address filtering. I spent about 2 minutes trying to find the right place to configure this. 2 minutes is not bad considering I haven't touched a Mac since 1991!

I was up and running in 1 hour and that includes the time it took me to find the address, username and password to my Wi-Fi router, find the MAC address for the Mac's card, enter it, install Firefox etc. Not bad! This took far less time then it typically takes me to set up a new Windows machine.

Once I had it up and running I wanted to get Firefox installed. It took me a second to figure out that I had to drag it to the Applications folder but I did remember an article I previously read about this so I had help. Then I had to figure out how to move the 'shortcut' to the Dock. I know my terminology is wrong - I suspect this will take longer to learn then the Mac. I figured that out in about 2 minutes so now I had Firefox on the Dock - did I say that right? 'On the Dock'? Hmm.

Then I installed Google Browser Sync. All of this took about one hour. Then I wrote my first post on the Mac from the Mac.

OK I needed a desktop productivity suite so I installed OpenOffice which was a little more complicated since there's no native OS X version (funny, I never cared until now) and you have to install X11 first. I followed the instructions and downloaded X11 from the Apple website, tried to install and then read the small print: "System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.3 through 10.3.9". Oops. I'm running 10.4, the X11 version of which is apparently on the install DVD...Which took me about 15 minutes to locate and install. [Dogs! I keep getting messed up with the CTRL-TAB, CTRL-SHIFT-TAB, CTRL-C etc. features of Windows and Mac - different] Then downloading and installing OpenOffice Mac version - all in all about 1/2 hour of work. Then I had to move my iTunes library and some personal file folders to the Mac. I also discovered this really cool feature, "FileVault" which encrypts my home folder. In Windows I had to use TruCrypt which works nicely but not seamlessly. I've also used other encryption technologies like PGP (commercial version) which a) costs too much and b) last time I used the full-disk encryption feature on my laptop, after a few weeks of use it refused to boot. Luckily there's a nifty utility that allows you to decrypt your drive...36 hours later I had my 60GB drive descrypted and could boot. Last time I used that feature! Now I know that Vista has this feature but I'm not testing Vista so for now I don't care.

I never mentioned the packaging. Slick. I'll post some pictures with my next entry.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Dumbing down of America, Part II

I have refrained from "Bush Bashing" over the years of his presidency and don't intend to do start now. What follows is more an analysis of his thinking then a criticism of him as a person.

I also need to add the caveat that it is pretty evident that the article I am about to reference has a, er shall we say bias against the president as seen in how the author has presented the budget announcement.

A while back I posted on the difficulty young people today have in obtaining a university education in the United States. This article in today's Chicago Tribune outlines the president's plan to increase military spending by 11% or $100B this year and $145B in 2008 for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while calling for a reduction in federal education spending from $68B in 2007 to $58B in 2008. Increased spending in defense and reductions in education is another example of this administration's predilection for brawn over brain. It is what has led the US to where they are today (in economic terms never mind political) and why China will take over and the combined power of the east (India, China, etc.) will soon overwhelm the US. The nails in the 'leadership by might' coffin were hammered in by both Perestroika and Globalization. The Cold War's termination ended the justification for Pax Americana. Globalization of auto manufacture ended the Big 3's dominance in automotive manufacture to the point where the US industry is on the brink of collapse. After manufacturing comes knowledge creation. This is what drives the industry 5-10 years, or more, in the future where technology patents and scientific discovery result in new products. It takes time, however, so we don't really know what shift is currently in the works. Although the next 20 years will tell I don't think we should wait for the fait accomplit. Now's the time to invest in the education of our youth.

While I am clearly against the president's plans for the US, the article I've referenced really ticks me off! The budget figures have been presented to manipulate the public to respond negatively to the administration. The author claims military increases of 62%. Once you read on you discover this is compared to the 2001 budget. Then he claims the budget has been increased by $245B only to discover later that $100B is for this year while $145B is for 2008. If you're going to lambaste someone do it honestly and without prejudice or manipulation. Whatever happened to journalistic ethics? Or maybe I'm giving the author too much credit for having real convictions. Maybe it's all about sensationalism and selling newspapers.