Since its enthusiastic adoption a year and a half ago, by Google, Six Apart, WordPress, and of course the eminent Dave Winer, I think we can all agree that nofollow has done…nothing. Comment spam? Thicker than ever. It’s had absolutely no effect on the volume of spam. That’s probably because comment spammers don’t give a crap, because the marginal cost of spamming is so low. Also, nofollow-tagged links are still links, which means that humans can still click on them–and if humans can click, there’s a chance somebody might visit the linked sites after all. Heck, if we really wanted to eliminate comment spam, why don’t we just get rid of hyperlinks altogether?
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Sunday, May 28, 2006
This may sound heretical in these days of standards for everything, but I’ve had the best successes by designing my own ad-hoc data formats. Rather than adopting (or worse, adapting) a standard to fit your purposes, you should create your own data representation. It will give you the best fit for the problem at hand.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Now, when allocating memory, malloc can either manage the memory blocks on the application heap, or it can go to the kernel’s virtual memory system for fresh pages. The application heap is faster because it does not require a round trip to the kernel, but some allocation patterns can cause "holes" in the heap, which waste memory and ultimately hurt performance. If the allocation is performed by the kernel, then the kernel can defragment the pages and avoid wasting memory.
Because most programmers understand that large allocations are expensive, and larger allocations produce more fragmentation, Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X will all switch over from heap-managed allocations to VM-managed allocations at a certain size. That size is determined by the malloc implementation.
I ran into this dialog on Sunday and assumed it was referring to a PowerPC pref pane. But the only third-party pref pane I had was Growl, and it was already Universal. Nevertheless, I re-installed the exact same version, and it proceeded to work.
I was using two Dell 2005FPWs with the G5, so now I have one attached to the iMac. So far, I haven’t quite been able to get the colors on the Dell and the internal display to match. The internal display is actually brighter than the Dell, which is amazing since last year the Dell was significantly brighter than any LCD I’d ever seen. The Dell case is hideous, of course, but I find its picture slightly easier on the eyes. Oddly, the iMac, contra the G5, can’t seem to put the Dell to sleep. Instead of turning it off, it puts it into a self-test feature check mode, showing some RGBW color bars floating around on a black background.
I reiterate my opinion that the iMac Core Duo is one of Apple’s best-ever machines. At this point, I mainly wish that its optical driver were faster and that it had two headphone ports like the original iMac.
Given Apple’s recent hardware updates, the MacBook is pretty much what you’d expect. MagSafe. Front Row. The base model costs $100 more than the iBook. Core Duo. AirPort and Bluetooth are built-in, but the modem is optional and external. Dual-display support with DVI out, but integrated video. The 1280x800 display is wider (and brighter), and the computer itself is wider and thinner.
What I didn’t expect: There’s no Core Solo model for $999. It’s 0.3 pounds heavier than the 12-inch iBook and 0.6 pounds heaver than the 12-inch PowerBook. When configured identically, it costs $150 extra to get the black. [Update: And, apparently, there’s no microphone. Weird. Update 2: Unlike the G4 iBook and PowerBook, the MacBook and MacBook Pro have power adapters with different wattages.] Some people are grumbling that at about 1.6 inches wider than the iBook it’s too large (even though the other two dimensions are smaller), but I think it’s a reasonable trade for the additional pixels. Overall, a great machine, especially for students. I would’t be surprised if Apple can’t meet demand for these things.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Jesper is starting a list of things he really hates about Apple products. I think he’s right about QuickTime Pro and its support for other formats. I still don’t find two-button mice comfortable, though, and the one-button trackpads are a good incentive for developers not to rely on contextual menus. The Mighty Mouse works great in one-button mode, but every time I boot from an installer DVD I have a momentary confusion when the mouse doesn’t seem to be working. It’s defaulted to two-button mode, and there’s no feedback when I accidentally right-click instead of click.
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
James Wiebe analyzes the relative reliabilities of different hard drive configurations (via Dave Nanian). The short summary is what you’d expect—RAID is good, mirroring is better, and non-redundant multi-drive enclosures are bad—but Wiebe’s white paper will give some insight into how good and bad. These are relative reliabilities because Wiebe based them on a 2%/year Hard Drive Failure Rate, which he made up based on his experience because, as he notes, published MTBF figures don’t take into account a variety of real-world problems that can cause drive failure.
Saturday, May 6, 2006
Friday, May 5, 2006
Nat! reports that
[NSNumber numberWithInt:1] and
[NSNumber numberWithBool:YES] are equal but have different hash codes because
NSCFBoolean doesn’t override
Thursday, May 4, 2006
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
If Goodin wanted to be reasonable or accurate, he could have written a story titled “Some Guy Double-Clicked a Trojan Horse Virus for Mac OS X but It Didn’t Actually Spread to Anyone Else”, but what kind of story would that be? OK, it’d be a true story, but it wouldn’t be a good story.
It’s nice to see Apple advertising the Mac again, but I’m not thrilled with the TV ads. Sure, they’re fun for people who already have Macs, but I don’t see them doing much convincing. The humor is mean-spirited, and they reinforce the old stereotypes: PC guys are uncool suits who do real work, and Mac guys are unshaven youths who play with digital media. (And, once again, the Mac spokesman was previously on the big screen using his computer to fend off aliens, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Windows and PCs have all sorts of problems, but I don’t think that, for most users, frequent restarting and trouble talking to digital cameras are among them. How is this supposed to appeal to the millions of PC users who already work with digital photos? By insulting them? I’d rather the ads showed what people can do with Macs.
Of course, should you happen to experience the occasional hiccup with your Mac, you won’t get the runaround. Because Apple makes the whole enchilada, one phone call—or better yet, one visit to the friendly Genius Bar at your local Apple Store—can solve both hardware and software problems in one fell swoop.
Based on my limited experience, this is a bad joke.
4 PM update: John Siracusa gets at something else that was bothering me:
It’s like an airline advertising that it has fewer fatal crashes than its competitors. This just isn’t done—and for good reasons. Putting aside the moral and ethical aspects, which arguably don’t apply to Apple, there are important practical considerations as well. The new “Viruses” TV ad pulls back a slingshot and holds it to Apple’s face. The backlash is inevitable.
Monday, May 1, 2006
Alas, Apple doesn’t provide an API for its iLife applications, but MacOSXHints points out that iPhoto has an Automator action for choosing photos, so it should be possible to do this programmatically without completely rolling your own (via Matthew Binkowski).
Jonathan Rentzsch’s antivirus utility of choice is Virtual PC:
Only the disposable images are allowed to play on the Net. Even if/when they get compromised, they don’t last long — I shutdown the image and use Undo Disks to throw away whatever changes they’ve made. Thus pretty much every time I use IE6, I’m using it from a “fresh”, untainted XP install, regardless of what malware snuck in the last session.
The May issue of ATPM is out:
- Bloggable: Yes, Drill Sergeant!
- MacMuser: Data Composting
- MacMuser: Fish Out of Water
- About This Particular Web Site
- FileMaking: Text Parsing With FileMaker
- About This Particular Outliner: Outlining Workflows and ConceptDraw
- Desktop Pictures: EAA AirVenture
- Software Review: Footlights Pro 2.1
- Accessory Review: Hardsleeve
- Hardware Review: iPod 5G
- Software Review: iTunes Catalog 2.0.1
- Hardware Review: SmartBoard USB5000
- FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions