Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
- Local System - Exactly as Yager describes, it is the SYSTEM
- Local Service - Equivalent to an account in the Users group, it access network resources as a "null session with no credentials"
- Network Service - Equivalent to an account in the Users group, but it accesses network resources as the computer account/
|Local Service||4 services|
|Network Service||2 services|
|Local System (i.e. SYSTEM)||42 services|
Windows services represent a large percentage of the overall attack surface in Windows—from the perspective of the quantity of overall "always-on" code footprint in the system, and the privilege level of that code. Windows Vista limits the number of services that are running and operational by default. Today, many system and third-party services run in the LocalSystem account, where any breach could lead to unbounded damage to the local machine—including disk formatting, user data access, or driver installation.Read the whole article for the steps MS has taken in Vista to harden Windows Services. Will these protections make Vista more secure than XP? I would put money on it. Riddle me this: When Vista comes out and the security design changes, which emulate OS X security design decisions from years ago, result in a reduction in malware, spyware, virus, etc., would anyone ever again seriously claim that OS X was more secure primarily through obscurity instead of primarily through better design and implementation? I am not looking forward to Vista from an end-user perspective, but I am eager to see if the security design changes make computing more safe for Windows users.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
|The other day I stumbled on a bit of subtle UI that is actually useful in Apple's Mail.app. In pretty much all other mail clients I am using, an indicator that a message has been replied to is just that, a static image. Not in Mail, here you can click on the icon and see your reply to that message immediately. Now that I found this feature, I wish it were in Notes and Thunderbird, the two other mail clients I use day to day.|
Thursday, August 17, 2006
One of my primary use cases in October 2004 for getting a Mac was the quality of video chat with an external iSight and iChat. The system has worked beautifully even as I moved from CA back to NJ and went through a number of ISPs before getting to my current configuration. The iSight+iChat experience has been so much better than anything else I have seen, anything on the PC (though I haven't tried the latest Windows Live Messenger, it's like why bother, iSight+iChat is awesome). I even tried connected the external iSight (I am making a distinction here because Apple has an embedded iSight in most new products) to a Windows PC back in 2004, but the results were not good, including garbled video and Windows crashes.
A few new pieces of information have surfaced that have led me to question if Apple isn't missing out on a huge opportunity with there iSight+iChat combination. First, Apple released Boot Camp 1.1 Beta, which includes a number of enhancements, but the one that's relevant here is:
Support for built-in iSight camerasThis reads like its only the embedded iSights which are supported on the Intel Macs, but that would leave Mac Pro buyers out in the cold because the Cinema Displays don't have an embedded iSight. It was only a matter of time, but Mac Only confirms the new Windows iSight driver supports the external iSight as well. iSight+iChat for Windows I am not suggesting the iSight driver is proof of anything other than Apple's intention to completely support the hardware in their machines completely under Windows. If there was speculation to the contrary, this Boot Camp update should put that completely to rest. What I am suggesting though is that Apple is closer to and could release an iSight+iChat for Windows combination, ala iPod+iTunes.
Reasons why Apple won't release iSight+iChat for Windows
There are many reasons Apple won't do this, or wouldn't be as successful as with iPod+iTunes:
- iChat feature enhancements are a key selling point to OS X upgrades, and by extension a key differentiator of the Mac
- iChat has no incremental revenue model
- Video chatting has been historically so poorly implemented it might be difficult to convince users this is real
- iChat can't call mobile or land line phones
- Crowded market for IM/video chat/audio call applications on the PC
- Porting iChat to Windows adds another Windows application that needs to be supported
Reasons why Apple should release iSight+iChat for Windows
- iPod is nowhere near as successful as it is today without iTunes for Windows.
- Yahoo, Windows Live, Google, and Skype are all going to or already have started to attack the video chat market with force. iChat as a OS X differentiator from Windows might be in jeopardy anyway if Apple leaves iChat on OS X
- iSight+iChat for Windows gives those users another taste of the OS X world, it's an upsell opportunity to the sacred applications of OS X, the iLife suite.
Enhancements iChat needs to truly make this model succeed
On either OS X or Windows, iChat needs a number of important + fun enhancements, not just fun enhancements to remain competitive or increase it's lead over other applications in the space.
- Phone calls, both mobile and land line. This is such a no-brainer, Apple already has a billing relationship through the iTunes Music Store with millions of customers
- Micro-transactioned content - Similar to songs on iTunes, emoticons, pictures, backgrounds (look at the green screen style background stuff in Leopard), and ringtones all purchasable through the iChat Store using your iTunes account
iSight+iChat for Windows could be the first step to expansion into another market with the iPhone. Online presence and communication can be unified using this device. Move from a Mac at home, or on the go with the iPhone, or at work on your Windows PC and maintain the same friends list and high feature parity between all platforms, with text, audio, or video dependent on the hardware (PCs can do it all, iPhone does audio and video, or all 3 with a BlackBerry style device). Everyone expects the iPhone will be a cellular based technology. It's possible Apple is going to go the WiFi, or WiMAX route, or even a hybrid approach that uses cell or WiFi depending on the network technology available wherever you are. Vonage and Skype are releasing WiFi phones that are modeled on cordless telephones, not very innovative thinking. The Vonage V-Phone a USB keychain that lets you take your Vonage account to any PC to turn it into a Vonage compatible phone looks a lot like an orange iPod shuffle, why can't Apple put iChat on all iPods? iChat on OS X is using the same network technology, SIP, as Vonage, so network connectivity can't be a major hurdle.
Apple's iPod millions should allow an expansion into another market. Apple's CFO Peter Oppenheimer said recently when asked about cell phones eating into the iPods market for stand-alone music players:
...we're not sitting around doing nothing.I think that's clear they have to enter the mobile phone market, exactly what form that takes is the question. If they port iChat to Windows and unify the friends presence and communication problem across PCs, Macs and mobile devices, I think Apple could be a hugely disruptive force in the mobile phone market. Even if Apple just released the iSight+iChat properly for Windows, it could be very disruptive. Microsoft is now selling webcams in the same price range as the external iSight, and as this article about the announcement of the MS webcams states the webcam market is growing, Logitech reported earnings of $273 million with 36% growth. With Apple's great looking iSight and the elegance and ease of use of iChat, I easily think they could have a winner on their hands.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Another good article. It should be obvious to anyone that Time Machine is a tremendous advance in usability and capability over Volume Shadow Copies by allowing browsing and restoration within the native apps UI, making it within the realm of possibility that mom can do it on her own. The first part, the unraveling of the Paul Thurrott's "Secret Formula" is probably necessary, seems like he has spun more out of control than usual. Too bad it has come to this, I too would like reasoned intelligent analysis vs. the kind of stuff Thurrott has been doing lately. As for the Mac "haters" posting here saying that Mac users think they are better or smarter than everyone else, for most of us that's simply not true. A lot of us use Windows, OS X, and Linux and are just looking for the best technology that allows us to get more stuff done, with less hassle, than the other tech out there. If 1 million people say OS X is better than Windows, it means its better for them. If you talk to them about it and their use cases intersect with your use cases and you are not using OS X and its apps, most of the time OS X users are going to suggest why they think OS X might be better for you. Obviously, as with anything in life, some people that have discovered OS X before others believe they are better for getting their earlier, it validates them. Just like people that find good bands before others, you kinda have to ignore those people for being pompous about it. What Daniel does here, and hopefully from time to time I do on my blog, is show people what is better in OS X and why compared to primarily Windows since it has the market. This isn't some superiority complex, I think we are both trying to help people save time in their lives if something works better, because after all time is the most precious commodity we have.Daniel is one of my favorite writer's on the interweb, I highly suggest you subscribe to his feed.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Xcode 2.4 adds support for 64-bit Intel development, with support for creating four-architecture Universal applications (32 and 64 bit for both Intel and PowerPC).Now the pieces of why 64-bit Leopard are a big deal fall into place, contrary to what some are saying about it. Here is a quote from the Leopard Preview site:
Leopard takes 64-bit computing to the next level, while maintaining full performance and compatibility for your existing 32-bit applications and drivers.There will be just 1 version of Leopard, and it will be 64-bit with full 32-bit non-emulated support. It's now obvious that starting with Xcode 2.4, the Universal binary format has been extended to support 32-bit and 64-bit for both PPC and Intel inside the same file, quad univeral binearies! Users don't have to choose between 32-bit or 64-bit, either at the OS or application layers, it's all abstracted from them. The Mach-O object file format has been extended again to great utility. Read more about Mach-O and Fat Binaries on Wikipedia. The differences between MS and Apple on the transition to 64-bit couldn't be more stark, assuming Apple executes as it has with the Intel transition and ongoing PPC support. With MS, I have to "choose" between the compatibility of 32-bit vs. the possible improvement of a 64-bit version, with a lot of downside, as Paul Thurrott reported last year about XP x64, and again with Vista, based on Thurrott's advice for buying a Vista PC. This is a nice quote:
I do recommend x64-compatible chips, but those who upgrade to Vista in the next year or so will likely want to stick with the 32-bit Vista versions for the short term.Paul's Vista Feature Focus: 64-bit has a Final Thoughts section that I could quote wholesale, it's all germane, but this is the saddest part:
...the x64 versions [of Vista] are also far less compatible than their predecessors, with both hardware devices and software, and these incompatibilities will ultimately make the x64 Vista versions less attractive to most users. Within the next few years, the majority of Windows users will almost certainly move to x64-based PCs. But I'm guessing that the 32-bit versions of Vista will dominate throughout this product's lifetime because of compatibility issues.No one can say right now whether Apple will be able pull off inclusion of 64-bit as smoothly as they are suggesting until applications start getting compiled and testing using Xcode 2.4 (and later Xcode 3.0) on Tiger and Leopard, but Apple has certainly maneuvered themselves, and their developers, to provided 64-bit support to those users that need it with none of the problems that Windows 64-bit, either XP or Vista, are plagued with. You need only look at how smoothly PPC to Intel was delivered to make some good bets. 64-bit in Leopard is not just an important end-user feature for the Pro community, it's an amazing piece of engineering, and again demonstrates Apple's seemingly unique ability to take complex technical problems and simplify them. Hide all the hard engineering for the majority of users, but with OS X expose it for those that want it. Anyone saying that the 64-bit situation with XP or Vista is in anyway analogous to what is coming in Leopard has blinders on.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Apple Takes On Exchange Server
Apple's Open Calendar Server vs Microsoft Exchange
MacDailyNews has has picked up on Roughly Drafted's articles and I posted a comment on the article saying I originally talked about this back in August 06.
Leopard Server was not demoed in the WWDC 06 Keynote in any capacity, but the preview site and subsequent reports (see the References section at the bottom), makes something very clear. Apple is about to attack Microsoft at it's linchpin server product, the one enterprises get shackled to first: Exchange Server.
Microsoft's Server Playbook
Microsoft Exchange Server (4.x-2003) is a Trojan Horse, it gets other MS server products in the enterprise. This plan become obvious once Exchange 2000 was released. In one of the most stunning instances I can remember of tying two software markets together, Active Directoy in Windows 2000 Server was required. Exchange 200x will not function without it. Why is this is insidious? Look at the cost for a medium sized company from the MS Exchange Server site and theWindows Server 2003 R2 pricing site:
|Product||Number of Users||Cost|
|Microsoft Exchange Server Standard Edition||N/A||$699|
|Microsoft Exchange Server user CAL||50||$67|
|Microsoft Exchange Server device CAL||50||$67|
|Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition||5||$999|
|Windows Server 2003, Client Access License 20-pack x 2||20||$799|
Before OS X, Apple did not have an OS capable of being a true server operating system (i.e. no preemtive multitasking). This point is important because gaining traction with a server OS takes years. It took MS 8 years before Windows NT, rechristened as Windows 2000, really took off (it helped that Windows 2000 was also the best version of the product at the time). But what was the appeal of Windows NT vs. Solaris/Digital Unix/AIX? NT used cheaper commodity (Intel) hardware, undercut the pricing models of the big Unix servers, met the needs of the bottom end of the market first (small and medium businesses), specialists were cheaper, and yes NT was easier to use in a lot of cases for people that grew up on Windows. Now look at the moves Apple is making with Xserve and Leopard Server. Apple has moved to Intel hardware. An Xserve with Leopard Server starts at $2499. That includes Mac OS X Leopard Server for UNLIMITED users (retail is $999 for the upgrade) and includes a number of servers built-in (Mail, Calendaring, Directory, DB, Teams) which MS charges seperate CALs (AD, Exchange) and seperate servers (Exchange, AD, SQL Server, SharePoint) for very low pricing. In Leopard Server, Apple looks to be targetting the bottom end of the server market first with the new Server Assistant and Server Preferences. No administrators required, just plug in your Xserve, run through the Server Assistant, and you are ready to use. You have to wonder how realistice "No administrators" is, but that is a huge chunk of cost if Apple can reduce the number of servers operators to near zero. What about backup? Imagine if Time Machine is built-into Leopard Server? Who needs to manage backup when its always running and the bits are just there if you go looking for them, as long as you have enough disk space. Notice I mentioned Server Assistant and System Preferences. If anyone can focus on a hard problem and come up with an easier way to convey the same ideas as others, it's Apple. Take a look at Time Machine for an example. If you have ever seen the MS Exchange Management Console? Be afraid, be very afraid. This is very telling, listed on the iCal Server preview page:
Networks with an existing directory service — such as Active Directory — can deploy Leopard Server for local hosting of all calendar and collaboration data while continuing to use the existing directory for user log-in and authentication.
How can Apple offer all of this at such low pricing?
Create a disruptive union of open source and closed sourced development models. Apple has been on this path for years, using the parts of various open source project that best met its technical and licensing needs. Apple announced the most recent and obvious commitement they have ever made, Mac OS Forge, including there iCal Server that is going to be in Leopard. How is this cheaper? Open source has a near chronic inability to put the finishing touch on any project (exceptions exists, e.g. Firefox), but that's one of Apple's core strengths, meticulous attention to detail which distills a problem down to its essential parts, and bubbling that to the surface. Add to the fact that iCal Server has been open sourced.
Worms in the Apple
Will Apple have problems executing this plan? You bet. Enterprises are steadfast that they need multiple hardware sources to use with their monopoly software, with Apple you are stuck with the hardware and OS, but not that Apple is Intel, if OS X Server doesn't work out, you could always install Windows anyway. But that's not the rub, its that if Apple makes the hardware prices really undesirable, you can't move your software elsewhere. Another issue will be getting the data out of Exchange. MS and Lotus have both spent millions writing conversion tools, sometimes even for different versions of their own products. If Apple doesn't have a way of getting data out of Exchange, their market is only the companies that don't have a solution already, not very appetizing. Apple needs to start pounding he pavement to once Leopard Server is out the door to get people to convert if it wants to sell Xserves. But they really don't have to sell a lot, take a couple percent of the Collaboration Server market, and it would be tremendously disruptive. Finally, since the server is open source, you will get people that build iCal Server on Linux and deploy for free. But the geek's that do that aren't the market Apple is targeting, so I don't think this is a huge worry either.
Apple is being very aggresive, they want a piece of the enterprise. If this wasn't clear before, it certainly is now. Exciting times indeed.
References Some people have started to put this together, it's there in bits and pieces, so instead of linking it all above, here are my sources so far for this info: http://weblog.infoworld.com/enterprisemac/archives/2006/08/wwdc_2006_repor.html http://www.macworld.com/news/2006/08/08/caldav/index.php?lsrc=mwrss http://lists.apple.com/archives/darwin-dev/2006/Aug/msg00067.html http://www.apple.com/server/macosx/collaborationservices.html http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,2001617,00.asp?kc=EWRSS03119TX1K0000594
Monday, August 07, 2006
Huh? I believe Vista DOES make our computing lives easier. The desktop search features are a huge advance. The multimedia capabilities are WORLDS ahead of anything else I’ve used. And the Tablet PC, Speech Recognition, and Media Center stuff that’s in there is WORLDS ahead of Apple. Although watch Apple in a week. Hint hint.I just wish Apple was streaming the event live, realistically I won't know anything until 2-3 PM EST, oh the agony...
Thursday, August 03, 2006
- Minimize memory used
- Maximize data throughput for file sharing - the Default
- Maximize data throughput for network applications
- The Universal Media Remote died. I bought this seperately, but its part of the MS accesories story, and in < 3 months, it just wouldn't work anymore. I don't remember doing anything to harm it, but it died. To MSes credit though, they did ship me a new one very quickly, but I am concerned about the longevity of this system because...
- The 360 crashed on boot with a System Error. This would appear to be the 360's BSOD (in this case a Black Screen of Death). It happened on a cold boot after being off all night long, so I an concerned this points to a coming hardware failure
- Games sometimes just lockup.I have seen this in both Project Gotham Racing 3 (PGR3) and Ghost Recon: Advance Warfighter (GRAW). Game is playing fine, then all of a sudden the screen freezes and the 360 is unresponsive, but music keeps playing. Very Odd
- The 360 runs VERY hot. I am not talking about the fan noise, that is immediately obvious, I mean the temperature of my 15x10 room changes from acceptable, as is the rest of my house, to unacceptable if I play the Xbox 360 for more than an hour. I have had to bring a fan into the room just so there is enough airflow. And no, the game lockups happen at all times, so its not purely a hear issue.
- Achievements aren't well documented in many games. I am growing increasingly frustrated by the need to google forums and other sites for an actual explanation on how to obtain some achievements. There are a lot of achievements, particularly in PGR3 and GRAW, that require getting compound objectives. If you can't get it done in one sitting, you have no way of knowing most of the time what criteria you have satisfied vs. what you don't. Also, the wording on achievements is sometimes intentionally cryptic, that's my observation, to make it harder to achieve. That's not cool, I don't want a mini-game built-in to the achievement system, I just want to clearly know what in a game I can get points for, and what my status is in getting those points
- Downloadable Content Pricing. The GRAW - Chapter 2 was very expensive for a game I already paid $60 for. I bought it to get another set of Co-op missions since me and a friend have really enjoyed the Co-op missions. Have I got my money's worth? Tough to say, but what's infuriating is that there were no more achievements for the additional Co-op missions for my I think $12.
- Unable to download content error message. I am a demo and trailer downloaded whore from Xbox Live Marketplace, until 2 days ago that is. I tried to download the Madden 2007 trailer and some other stuff and I kept getting told unable to download content. Reason why, I was out of Hard Drive space!!! Common MS, this should be an easy thing to tell the user, Unable to download content because the hard drive is full, I shouldn't have to troubleshoot the downloading of content. You have got to be kidding me.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
- Advance Wars: Dual Strike
- New Super Marios Bros
- Brain Age: Train Your Brain In Just Minutes A Day
- Tetris DS
- Castlevanie: Dawn of Sorrow
- Trauma Center
- Phoenix Wright: Attorney at Law
- Animal Crossing: Wild World