Snow Leopard Upgrade – Thumbs Up (Mostly)

I finally upgraded my Mac Pro to Snow Leopard. I give it a “thumbs up” because it was a smooth, trouble free process. It took about an hour, and required almost no input from me. [UPDATED 6/29, 6/30]

Apple Snow Leopard

Aside from a stability improvement, I saw no immediate, significant changes either good or bad. That was great. Most things worked, including VMWare. I didn’t lose any functionality, either through omission, or through “GUI improvements” that emphasize more common activities at the expense of less common, but still critical, activities.

My biggest gripe is that the Apple “Pro” applications like Aperture were broken by the upgrade. I didn’t find this immediately, since I don’t use Aperture every day. But as soon as I ran Software Update, it fixed the problem. A lame arrangement, IMHO, but at least I didn’t have to go searching for the fix.

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WordPress Upgrade

I’ve just upgraded to WordPress 3 and to whatever the latest version of Gallery 2 might be.

Both went “sort of” smoothly, though there was a bit of gear grinding to get the two to work together.

Oddly enough, once everything was properly set, I just had to be patient and various problems disappeared on their own. The linkage between WordPress and Gallery 2 works better than ever, though they seemed on the verge of divorce right after the upgrade.

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Blu-Ray will be a niche market

Several months ago we bought a Sony BDP-BX2 Blu-ray player. I duly upgraded my Netflix account to send us Blu-ray disks. A couple of months later I switched it back to DVD-only rentals.

Blu-Ray - not for me

I had two reasons to move back to DVDs:

  1. Blu-ray just isn’t that much better than DVDs. Maybe I’ve ruined by eyes with decades of watching NTSC television and computer CRTs, but I just don’t see enough improvement to justify a change.
  2. The Sony player is awful. It’s slow. It requires an Internet connection (!!). It doesn’t play all DVDs correctly.

In a way I’m relieved. I have a huge collection of DVDs already and I didn’t want to have to replace them.

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Yet another reason to shun HP products

About ten years ago I discovered that I couldn’t use more than one HP product on my computer at a time. I had an HP printer and I’d bought an HP scanner. But the driver software couldn’t co-exist on the same computer. At least, HP declared they couldn’t, and they didn’t care.

They still don’t care about customers, except as a revenue stream. This is again clearly highlighted by their plan to send spam to newer HP printers (Computerworld). They’ve outfitted the new printers with Internet connections, presumably to provide automatic support and updates. They’re also planning to use the link to automatically print advertisements on these printers.

As noted in Slashdot, they send the ads, collect the income, and we pay for the paper and ink.

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Losing the Hastings Star Gazette

OK, no, the Star Gazette newspaper is still there. At least, we’ve received recent issues. But the Star Gazette on-line version has gone through a misguided makeover. I remember being to reach articles just by clicking. It doesn’t work any more.

Clearly this is a recent change. The site has a FAQ section that shows just how much trouble customers are having. So it’s not just me.

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Saving the News

There’s an article in Atlantic about the decline in the news industry and the rise of Google, news and all. The article, like most Big Media coverage of the topic, focus on the risk to Big Media news operations, like offices in Kabul or investigative pieces on government waste and coverups.

When I look at Google News, what I most often see are 1,200 copies of locally-published articles that are in fact Associated Press stories. These are classic “straight news” reports: announcements by officials describing crimes, legislation, accidents, celebrity activities, and so on. It is in fact rare for Google News, or any other news source, to produce the sort of in-depth reporting that might vie for a Pulitzer.

Yes, the traditional funding sources of such things are drying up. Yes, they play an essential role in self-government. But somehow we’ll find a way to pay for these things. Maybe Google will trip over a new business model as they blunder about, or maybe someone else will.

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The Peak of Woods: a Foretaste of the Oil Peak?

Slashdot pointed me at a fascinating article on the deforestation of the planet: Peak Wood: Nature Does Impose Limits | Miller-McCune Online.

I hadn’t appreciated the role of forests in causing relocation of native American settlements on the US east coast. Or the role of wood fires in making traditional Christian teachings of Hell sound like nonsense (where would they get enough trees to keep everyone in Hell burning forever?).

My daughter in law, with her recent graduate degree in environmental policy, may already be aware of this sad story. The rest of us should read it, too.

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