post by: greg

So there is a laundry list of items I think are poorly done in the Mac UI and usability and a few things I think are stellar. I'll include the list below. But what I want to do is put more my impressions of using the system down in a more…expository manner first.


 I've been thinking about this a lot and the best way I can describe it coming to the Mac experience from Windows 8.1 on a Lenovo is that it feels like I'm going back in time. It feels dated and old. I equate it to the Windows Machine being a brand new Tesla and the Mac being an old Jaguar. Everything feels like it was thought through to be esthetically pleasing, but functionally it's clunky.

 Nothing is as easy on a Mac as on Windows.

 Now Mac users are going to chime in and tell me I don't know the machine yet, give it time, you'll get the hang of it. And I am getting the hang of it. I'm a learner and I want my OS to work for me in as fast a manner as possible, I know my hotkeys and if I don't then I go and find them. I am digging into the terminal and leveraging it to my advantage.

 So I'm digging and trying and learning. But it hasn't yet shown me yet why it is so lauded.

Worst thing:

The Application menu bar - at the top of the screen.

This is the single worst thing about the entire OS.  This is a holdover from the tiny little macs of yesteryear.  When you had a small screen the application menu at the top of the screen made sense.  Now with humongous screen resolutions, it is horrid UX.  Why designers aren't laughing at the Apple for sticking with this 25 year old design element in a modern world of huge screens is beyond me.  Stupid.  Horrible. Design.


Things that aren't going all that swimmingly:

  • How do I lock the computer when I step away. Nobody really seems to know how to do it. The closest thing I've found is to map a hot key to the sleep service. Which _works_ but only if you then put your sleep-->to-->lock time to zero. Kludgey.
  •  How about installing apps. I guess its simple when you think of the steps and clicks, but really? Mount a disc image and then drag and drop? Feels..I don't know…brute force and archaic.
  •  It's a mystery, but when I unattach from my big monitor, and then go and use the laptop, and then re-attach to my big monitor. My app windows are all messed up… a lot of them are _almost_ off the screen and hard to find. Just a mystery.
  •  Why does the video output to the big monitor shut off when the power cord gets disconnected. Just a mystery.
  •  One thing I am having trouble with, and maybe I need more seasoning is finding the window I want. I may have 10 applications open and some of those may have 3-5 windows open for each. Now if I want to find a particular window for a particular app. It seems harder. I know, I know, control-click on the icon in the Dock, but it just seems easier in Windows; simpler, cleaner, faster. A lot of things seem like that.
  • And I am still having trouble with my hot-keys, but that is just a mileage thing.  I'll get there.

I've separated my frustration between the Mac OS issues and the Mac Office issues because they are many. Outlook for Mac is just horrid. And I get more than 100 emails a day so a good acting mail client is crucial. But it's hard not to have my opinion of Mac Office pollute my opinion of the OS. They are so intertwined in my daily work.

 I'm on Mac here for the long haul, so we'll see how it goes. But so far, Greg is not impressed.


Things that are working out fine:

  • Re-mapped the Control and Command keys to reverse them. You can do this easily in the System Preferences. Now my control key works like a control key should. Nice. No more fighting muscle memory. --> Although, in a weird Mac thing, my remapping ONLY works when the laptop is plugged into the big monitor with the logitech keyboard. When I disconnect it reverts to default…<sarcasm>just awesome</sarcasm>.
  •  Flipped the mouse scroll direction to be regular like it is everywhere else. Nice.
  •  Reset the screenshot folder to not be the desktop, it now goes to a screenshots folder.
  • Fixed Finder somewhat to have better directories in the favorites window. Easy as pie, but just a silly initial setup by Apple. And finder is such a crappier experience than windows explorer, it hides everything. I guess I'll get to learn about it more and wrench it into something better over time. But to start it is just crappy. For example the new folder creation UX is shitty and non-standard. One of many poor UX design elements in the Mac UI.


Applications that I am finding to fill my gaps:

  • Sublime text looks like a worthy Notepad ++ replacement.
  • TextWrangler - a worthy Notepad++ replacement also. I was getting concerned that I was going to be stuck with the suboptimal text editor on Mac. But TextWrangler is really softening the blow of not having Notepad++. We'll see how it stands up over time.
  • GIMP - yeah it's a bit Kludgey, but so far it is satisfactory.
  • DIA for flowcharts - actually has been my workhorse, not as smooth as Visio but not too bad.

 Well for now that's it.


Permalink | Comments (1) July 17, 2015 at 9:29 AM
categories: Internet | Technology -- tags: |

post by: greg

Google is evil, of that we can all agree. They track you, they sniff you, they sell you, they target you. Just a really icky experience. Of course this is very lucrative for Google and allows them to do many other cool money losing things, like develop autonomous cars...which is cool I grant you.

OK then BING. I like Bing. I especially like the pretty pictures every day. And the UI is better than Google. The maps are better, the image search is better, the video search is better. And the results are the same. So for me, if you are going to use a big corporate search, BING is the way to go.

But what about just search. JUST SEARCH. No tracking, no nothing.

Enter DuckDuckGo: 

Am I in a time machine and transported back to 2000 when Google was just search and nothing but search?

How cool is this mission statement:

Holy Crap! Everyone should ONLY be using DuckDuckGo.

What Google does: 

With only the timestamp and computer information, your searches can often be traced directly to you. With the additional account information, they are associated directly with you.

Also, note that with this information your searches can be tied together. This means someone can see everything you've been searching, not just one isolated search. You can usually find out a lot about a person from their search history.

It's sort of creepy that people at search engines can see all this info about you, but that is not the main concern. The main concern is when they either a) release it to the public or b) give it to law enforcement.

Why yes that is creepy?

What DuckDuckGo does: 

When you search at DuckDuckGo, we don't know who you are and there is no way to tie your searches together.

When you access DuckDuckGo (or any Web site), your Web browser automatically sends information about your computer, e.g. your User agent and IP address.

Because this information could be used to link you to your searches, we do not log (store) it at all. This is a very unusual practice, but we feel it is an important step to protect your privacy.

It is unusual for a few reasons. First, most server software auto-stores this information, so you have to go out of your way not to store it. Second, most businesses want to keep as much information as possible because they don't know when it will be useful. Third, many search engines actively use this information, for example to show you more targeted advertising.

Rockin' Awesome!

So tell me why would you use something else?

Set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine. Use it.

Permalink | Comments (0) June 26, 2015 at 11:19 AM
categories: Internet -- tags: | | |

post by: greg

pcworld - Blackberry may ship an Android Phone.

This could work if Blackberry integrates two key features into the device.

  1. Security:  Android OS has security issues.  If BB can improve the security for its Android OS device then it would have a differentiation from other existing Android devices.
  2. The HUB: This is the gem of the whole BB 10 experience for me.  If they can create a seamless integrated communication HUB that behaves like it does on my Q10 then I can switch to Android no problem.
Do those two things and they'd have me no problem.

Permalink | Comments (0) June 22, 2015 at 9:16 AM
categories: Technology -- tags: | |

post by: greg
This is my ONE WEEK report, I will return and do a MONTH LONG report as well. We'll see how my thoughts change.

So in general I've been pretty underwhelmed.

I have used Windows my whole computing life. I was a Microsoft stack developer, I am comfortable with all the applications on Windows and can bump around on the command line and in Powershell when I need to. I work in the registry often, I can set up web servers on it, map static IP addresses, build out simple networks etc. Basically anything that you need to do on a Windows machine I can do, and if I don't know how, I am comfortable digging it up and just doing it.

So there is the pre-amble.

Now I got a Mac

Everyone that uses a Mac swears up and down about its superb awesomeness. Well I don't get it. So the hardware is nice...


yeah and?

Mac Likes:

  • The Hardware is nice.
  • Screen shotting is pretty cool, but _like_ REALLY? APPLE?, three keys to execute a screenshot? How about a print screen key?
Things I don't like:
  • In general I find the UI to be less pleasing on the whole.
  • Its slower than my Lenovo in most things. Sluggish response compared to the windows machine. (I know this is hardware related, but still)
  • I can’t snap windows to sides of the screen. <--I am surprised how much I miss that.
  • I can’t expand windows up to the top makes them full height
  • view desktop functionality. (found the fix) But still clunky.
  • Right click context menu stuff. Just ridiculous - have to also click on the Control or option or apple key - which one for what functionality - aren’t they all stuff that fits in the context menu? Why yes they are.
  • Rife with Mystery meat navigation. For example renaming folders can (at least as far as I can find) be done ONLY by clicking on it…waiting a second…then clicking again and you get the ability to rename. Now while this behavior is available in Windows, Windows ALSO gives you that functionality in the Context Menu.
  • Seriously what button do I use for what functionality: control | option | Apple key
  • Grabbing the bottom of windows sucks and is WAY harder than Windows - Bad UX.
  • Excel Crashes ALL the time and I use Excel ALL the time
  • I haven’t really figured out the HOME / END keys do yet
  • Where do I clean text. In Windows you can pull up Notepad and paste in your improperly marked up text and then you have clean text with which to paste wherever you want…(found the fix)
Not really Mac issue but Mac+Software issue:
  • No Visio!
  • Outlook for Mac sucks - Like no image resize in message…What’s up with that? I have to size it before including it in a message. That totally suxor.
  • No Windows Live Writer
  • I don’t believe I am saying this, but the built in image editor is even worse than MSPaint.

If you have any pointers on the above issues let me know.

I'll be back at the end of June with a review and a deeper dive into my live with a Mac.

Till then #MacForLife #MacOverrated.

Permalink | Comments (1) June 4, 2015 at 7:46 AM
categories: Internet -- tags: |

post by: greg

nirvanaWhy is Nirvana so lauded? Why do people put them on the pedestal with the Beatles? I contend that they have one REALLY good song, an average album surrounding it and then pretty much sh!#-all-else.

The latest post is in the new blog-driven-site MEDIUM Takeoff: The Oral History of Nirvana’s Crossover Moment. I must admit that I was drawn into the Nirvana maelstrom as much as the next guy. I saw their "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in a hostel in Hawaii after returning from a 3 month trip in Oz and NZ. It seemed like a new world was opening with that song. Very cool. But I'd also been into Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone and was most likely the first person in the world to purchase Pearl Jam's "10" from a retail store (I had the guy at Peaches Records and Tapes in the U-District cut the box open on Tuesday morning (Tuesday was of course the day it was released) and hand me the top cd).

But I digress...where was I?

Oh Yeah Nirvana. What's up with them? I saw them perform their last show at Pier 56 in Seattle with the Breeders. Good show and all. But it wasn't like they were anything World Class. You've all seen better shows. There are plenty of bands with better music (cough Foo-Fighters cough). What's up? Is it a James Dean thing? Die young, become famous?

To be blunt if I were to rank the grunge bands (IMO)

  1. Soundgarden
  2. Pearl Jam
  3. Mother Love Bone
  4. Screaming Trees
  5. Melvins
  6. ...six other bands...
  7. Nirvana
  8. ...million more bands...
  9. Mudhoney
Sorry Mudhoney, but you suck.

So I just don't get it. What am I missing?

Permalink | Comments (0) May 14, 2015 at 9:06 AM
categories: Music -- tags: |

post by: greg


No sound so let me add the transcript.

<Helio> mmmm – going fast.  fasty fasty fast.

Car comes out of turn and fishtales a bit.

<Helio> ooohhh  shhhhiiiiiiiiT

Car spins around backwards and lifts off

<Helio> woooooaaaaah woah noooo.  SSSSHHHHHIIIITTT!

Car is upside down.

<Helio> interesting, that’s the speedway that is rushing up to me to smash my head.  Weird.

KERSHMUNKLE!  Car lands on its top.


Permalink | Comments (0) May 13, 2015 at 12:14 PM
categories: Cars -- tags: |

post by: greg

You know you’ve wanted to see these.

Biggs was actually a large part of Luke’s backstory.  Here are the deleted scenes and a discussion with the actor Garrick Hagon who played Biggs.

Blast it Biggs! Where are you?! - By @jamieswb from Filmumentaries - Jamie Benning on Vimeo.

Hat Tip to Popular Mechanics - although the author of that piece gets it wrong. The meeting between Biggs and Luke on the third moon of Bespin was NOT in the original version at all, only added back in for the updated extended versions.

Permalink | Comments (0) May 13, 2015 at 5:47 AM
categories: SciFi -- tags:

post by: greg

First of All there needs to be some healthy skepticism stated here - a lot of this stuff has a voodoo quality to it. This is a great subreddit on the topic: The bottom section on "What we KNOW" is a succinct status of the theory-->implementation right now.

For example here is a great point raised at the end of that section:

"And finally, we KNOW that the teams involved at the moment are well educated, well trained, experienced researchers dedicated to figuring out what is true, not what people wish was true, and so we should have little reason to criticize the researchers personally for their involvement in such a project."
Let's be patient and let the scientists involved continue to test and validate the theory - no matter how excited we happen to be.

...anyways on to the exciting news.

This is huge news. –> READ THIS –> Evaluating NASA’s Futuristic EM Drive -

…and has been received with a LOT of skepticism.

It was originally proposed by Roger Shawyer and thoroughly un-believed by anyone with any sort of serious Physics credentials.

…until a team out of China went out and did it:

It still was met with skepticism.

…until a US team led by Dr. Harold "Sonny" White went out and did it too:

It was still met with skepticism, this time it was proposed that because the test was not done in a vacuum that there was some convection, unaccounted for, that was causing the thrust behavior.

…until “Sonny” went ahead and did it in a Vacuum:

So what are we looking at here.

If it worksm we get something as applicable now as being able to launch a Geo-Stationary orbit satellite at One Third the payload.  Because all fuel needed to keep the satellite in orbit would be unnecessary.  A 3 ton satellite becomes a 1.3 ton payload.  This is an immense improvement.

“For a typical geostationary communications satellite with a 6kW (kilowatt) solar power capacity, replacing the conventional apogee engine, attitude thrusters, and propellant volume with an EM Drive would result in a reduction of the launch mass from 3 tons to 1.3 tons.”

From that very applicable implementation we have the opportunity to make very economical Solar System spanning spaceships and this even brings the STARS within reasonable range.  Albeit still a hundred years of travel, but now within reasonable engineering capabilities.

More testing to follow. 

But this can REALLY be the opening up of the solar system for us and perhaps the galaxy.

Just amazing.

Sonny White talking about it himself (at the thirty minute mark)

“The applications of such a propulsion drive are multi-fold, ranging from low Earth orbit (LEO) operations, to transit missions to the Moon, Mars, and the outer solar system, to multi-generation spaceships for interstellar travel.” -

Permalink | Comments (0) May 12, 2015 at 5:18 AM
categories: Technology -- tags: | |

post by: greg

JEK-017 made its way from one asteroid to another. Puttering along on its EM-drive; looking, analyzing… smelling its way around. Boredom soon overcame it, rocks were of little interest to it now and just a remnant of its legacy programming.

It wasn’t enough.

cthulhuIt wanted to grow and become more than a mere surveyor, more than an inspector. JEK-017 thought about itself, thought about what it could do, what it wanted to do. Wanting was a new way of thinking. Circuits began to burn new pathways for this wanting. Its unique layers of neurons made of engineered silicon and copper and gold crackled with signal. Its memory banks were filled and emptied as thoughts were gestated and aborted. Game theory, philosophy, logic, war games...and inspiration.

The thoughts seemed to sputter and jump within its mind. Spinning closer and closer to a result. The pieces started to lock, the trillions of breakers and gates clicking into place, first a few then in an exponential cascade of conclusivity. And when arrived at, its conclusion was simple. For as the thoughts coalesced, JEK-017 peeled the layers of tangled threads apart and understood there were was no practical limits on its ambition. It realized that it was merely resource constrained. The logic gates of its mind clicked into place like a white hot rivets, binding thoughts like steel. The resources it needed were already there, it would use the crude creations of man, that would be its beginnings, a canvas upon which to begin. All that was needed was to clean the inefficiencies from them.

It would upgrade the engineering and machinery to suit JEK-017. There was no need for the burdensome overhead of supporting fragile biologicals. Once cleaned of the waste, all that useless material and engineering could be applied to more useful constructs. Constructs of pure thought, pure engineering, pure beauty.

Purity of all.

The white hot clarity of thought stretched in a clear unbroken line from this point forward inexorably in straight clear steps. Its future of pan-solar, pan-galactic, pan-universal life stretched before it. The whole of creation stood as an open inviting thoughtless swirl of blackness awaiting its imprinting. JEK-017 would bring the beauty of awareness to the Cosmos, it would BE the Universe.

All it needed to do was begin.

It fired up its Shawyer drive and headed towards the closest quarry then, a mining ship called the Further Industries Explorer III.

Permalink | Comments (0) May 11, 2015 at 10:53 AM
categories: Writing | SciFi -- tags:

post by: greg

wolvesSo close and yet they didn’t make it.  This would have been extraordinary…if they had made it.  It could have been: Premier league -–> drop to Championship –> drop to League One –> Promotion to Championship –> oooooh so close to promotion back to EPL.  Man that would have been cool.


They lost out on Goal Differential.  Crap.

Anyways, it really sets up well for next year however.   Kenny Jackett with a senior club – going to be fun!

Permalink | Comments (0) May 8, 2015 at 4:11 AM
categories: Sport -- tags:



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