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Archive for October 2007

The cage is opened…

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The long wait is finally over. The cage is opened, the cat is out and the reviews are all in… I meant Leopard, Mac OSX latest revision. Since Friday you will find all kinds of review all over the Internet but none came close to this article by Ars Technica that I really loved! It’s not just the aesthetic that most talked about… it is not the cover flow here and there, or the time machine this and that… but the underlying architecture changes made to the latest revision. That’s for me, an very interesting read and one that will impact the application / platform on OSX in the long haul. The same article that intrigued me when someone dived deeper into Microsoft Vista a year ago… and till today, I still hold the ground that Vista is a good solid operating system, in many ways, just like what Apple did with the underlying changes to the operating system…

Looks and feel are subjective, the platform is the king. Who will draw the most attention will be determined by which platform enables developer to great beautiful and functional application… that is the future. (not forgetting which developer tools are better to code on…)

 

At the end of my Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger review, I wrote this.

Overall, Tiger is impressive. If this is what Apple can do with 18 months of development time instead of 12, I tremble to think what they could do with a full two years.

That was exactly two and a half years ago, to the day. It seems that I’ve gotten my wish and then some. Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard has gestated longer than any release of Mac OS X (other than 10.0, that is). If I had high expectations for 10.5 back in 2005, they’ve only grown as the months and years have passed. Apple’s tantalizingly explicit withholding of information about Leopard just fanned the flames. My state of mind leading up to the release of Leopard probably matches that of a lot of Mac enthusiasts: this better be good.

Maybe the average Mac user just expects another incrementally improved version of Mac OS X. Eighteen months, two and a half years, who’s counting? Maybe we enthusiasts are just getting greedy. After all, as Apple’s been so fond of touting, there have been five releases of Mac OS X in the time it’s taken Microsoft to deliver Windows Vista.

But far be it from me to use Microsoft to calibrate my expectations. Leopard has to be something special. And as I see it, operating system beauty is more than skin deep. While the casual Mac user will gauge Leopard’s worth by reading about the marquee features or watching a guided tour movie at Apple’s web site, those of us with an unhealthy obsession with operating systems will be trolling through the internals to see what’s really changed.

These two views of Leopard, the interface and the internals, lead to two very different assessments. Somewhere in between lie the features themselves, judged not by the technology they’re based on or the interface provided for them, but by what they can actually do for the user.

This review will cover all of those angles, in varying degrees of depth. Like all other Mac OS X releases before it, Leopard is too big for one review to cover everything. (After all, Tiger’s internals alone can fill over 1,600 printed pages.) As in past reviews, I’ve chosen to delve deeply into the aspects of Leopard that are the most interesting to me while also trying to provide a reasonable overview for the non-geeks who’ve decided to take the plunge into an Ars Technica review. (Hi, Mom.)

Okay Leopard, let’s see what you’ve got.

Check out the link for the rest of the review.

Written by gooddealz

October 29, 2007 at 3:51 pm

Posted in News Only, Opinions

windows tweaks…

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But just because the operating system doesn’t look and work the way you want doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with it as is. Windows is extremely tweakable; if you dig a little, you’ll find that you can customize it in almost any way you want.

To help you out, we’ve put together this guide to tweaking Windows. It covers both XP and Vista and lets you do all kinds of things you might have thought were impossible — replacing your boot screen, hacking the Control Panel, speeding up Windows Flip 3D and more. Look for the XP and Vista icons to see which tips work in which OS.

The hacks vary in the expertise you’ll need. In some cases you’ll get down and dirty with the Registry, so if you’re not certain you know how to make a DWORD value, for example, read our story “The tweaker’s guide to the Windows Registry” first. (Be sure to read the instructions for backing up the Registry before you attempt any Registry edits whatsoever.)

In other cases, you’ll just have to dig into hidden corners of menus and folders. But in all cases, you’ll tell Windows exactly how you want it to behave … and it will bow down to you, the master.

For full read, check out the article.

Written by gooddealz

October 18, 2007 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Great Stuff

Mac fanboys…

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According to this ExtremeTech article on the worst thing about Macs

Recently, a reader named David e-mailed me, saying he found the article from my guide on how to replace the hard drive in a Macbook Pro. He asked, simply, “A year later, what do you think?” Fundamentally, I stand by my initial impressions: There are plenty of things OS X does very well, and better than any version of Windows. There are also some really boneheaded things. But honestly, the thing I hate most about using a Mac are the Apple fans. The old song and dance about the Steve Jobs worshipping, sycophantic, “thank you sir may I have another”, na-ture of the Cult of Apple is true. And while it certainly does not represent all Mac users, there are enough bad apples (pardon the pun) to spoil the bunch.

Check it out.

Personal thoughts:

I agreed with the perception that some mac user out there felt they are far superior in knowledge and choices as compared to the rest of the world.

I had an encounter months ago while traveling in the MRT (mass rapid transit) in Singapore. I came into the train and sat down beside a young guy having a macbook on his lap. He was doing some programming stuff on it. I use an Acer and placed the laptop bag on my lap as I sat down. The mac guy saw that and started to press all kind of keys to flash the expose, dashboard, dock then back to expose… and eventually stopped (after 10 – 15 sec). What’s so funny to me what that the same screen / program that he was on while I sat down, after all the switching and flashing… was on the screen… where it was earlier. 🙂

Written by gooddealz

October 15, 2007 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Opinions

the biggest and fastest… in entertainment history

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Halo 3, the latest in the Halo series, took in $300 million in global sales through its first week. Microsoft said that this makes Halo “the fastest-selling video game ever and already one of the most successful entertainment properties in history.”

According to this article, Bungie and Microsoft are parting ways… sort of.

Written by gooddealz

October 9, 2007 at 12:45 am

Posted in News Only

Flash leads the way… big time

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Article extracted from ComputerWorld on Flash Challenges:

The future of Flash

But behind the bold words, acknowledge Adobe executives, is real concern about the future of Flash. Though Flash is dominant on PCs — the Flash Player is installed on more than 90% of Web-connected computers, according to Adobe — it has failed to make much headway yet in the key cell phone market.

Moreover, Microsoft’s Silverlight poses a serious technical and marketing challenge to Flash.

“Is there any moment that I am not worried about Microsoft?” said John Loiacono, senior vice president for creative solutions at Adobe. “I always treat them as a formidable foe, if only because they have a huge checkbook and are a monopoly.”

Released officially in September, Silverlight trumps Flash in two key areas: video quality and the digital rights management (DRM) technology desired by advertisers and content providers.

Moreover, Microsoft is offering some of the necessary Silverlight server software cheaper than Adobe or, in the case of Expression Encoder, for free. Adobe’s equivalent, the Flash Media Server, costs over $4,000.

Rather than automatically distributing Silverlight to Windows users via Windows Updates, Microsoft has inked almost 10 deals with broadcast partners — enough, it believes, to get Silverlight onto 80% of Internet-connected PCs within a short time.

The adoption of Silverlight “has been great so far,” according to an e-mail from a Microsoft spokeswoman, with “downloads right in line with expectations to date.”

Written by gooddealz

October 9, 2007 at 12:35 am

Posted in News Only

future file system… here. ZFS.

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Check out this cool file system from Sun which is soon to be adopted by Apple Leopard OS… Reminds me of WinFS but in many ways different. It is certainly geeky and we will see how the actual implementation turns out. It does look promising.

Following article extracted from OpenSolaris:

What is ZFS?

ZFS is a new kind of file system that provides simple administration, transactional semantics, end-to-end data integrity, and immense scalability. ZFS is not an incremental improvement to existing technology; it is a fundamentally new approach to data management. We’ve blown away 20 years of obsolete assumptions, eliminated complexity at the source, and created a storage system that’s actually a pleasure to use.

ZFS presents a pooled storage model that completely eliminates the concept of volumes and the associated problems of partitions, provisioning, wasted bandwidth and stranded storage. Thousands of file systems can draw from a common storage pool, each one consuming only as much space as it actually needs. The combined I/O bandwidth of all devices in the pool is available to all file systems at all times.

All operations are copy-on-write transactions, so the on-disk state is always valid. There is no need to fsck(1M) a ZFS file system, ever. Every block is checksummed to prevent silent data corruption, and the data is self-healing in replicated (mirrored or RAID) configurations. If one copy is damaged, ZFS detects it and uses another copy to repair it.

ZFS introduces a new data replication model called RAID-Z. It is similar to RAID-5 but uses variable stripe width to eliminate the RAID-5 write hole (stripe corruption due to loss of power between data and parity updates). All RAID-Z writes are full-stripe writes. There’s no read-modify-write tax, no write hole, and — the best part — no need for NVRAM in hardware. ZFS loves cheap disks.

But cheap disks can fail, so ZFS provides disk scrubbing. Like ECC memory scrubbing, the idea is to read all data to detect latent errors while they’re still correctable. A scrub traverses the entire storage pool to read every copy of every block, validate it against its 256-bit checksum, and repair it if necessary. All this happens while the storage pool is live and in use.

ZFS has a pipelined I/O engine, similar in concept to CPU pipelines. The pipeline operates on I/O dependency graphs and provides scoreboarding, priority, deadline scheduling, out-of-order issue and I/O aggregation. I/O loads that bring other file systems to their knees are handled with ease by the ZFS I/O pipeline.

ZFS provides unlimited constant-time snapshots and clones. A snapshot is a read-only point-in-time copy of a filesystem, while a clone is a writable copy of a snapshot. Clones provide an extremely space-efficient way to store many copies of mostly-shared data such as workspaces, software installations, and diskless clients.

ZFS backup and restore are powered by snapshots. Any snapshot can generate a full backup, and any pair of snapshots can generate an incremental backup. Incremental backups are so efficient that they can be used for remote replication — e.g. to transmit an incremental update every 10 seconds.

There are no arbitrary limits in ZFS. You can have as many files as you want; full 64-bit file offsets; unlimited links, directory entries, snapshots, and so on.

ZFS provides built-in compression. In addition to reducing space usage by 2-3x, compression also reduces the amount of I/O by 2-3x. For this reason, enabling compression actually makes some workloads go faster.

In addition to file systems, ZFS storage pools can provide volumes for applications that need raw-device semantics. ZFS volumes can be used as swap devices, for example. And if you enable compression on a swap volume, you now have compressed virtual memory.

ZFS administration is both simple and powerful. Please see the zpool(1M) and zfs(1M) man pages for more information — and be sure to check out the Getting Started section for a whirlwind tour.

ZFS is already quite snappy on most workloads — and we’re just getting started.

Written by gooddealz

October 5, 2007 at 4:30 am

Posted in Great Stuff

the shift starts soon… HTC Shift

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Written by gooddealz

October 4, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Great Stuff