Club Admiralty

v7.0 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Club Admiralty Blog

A blog about life in general, in as many languages as I can manage. Ενα ιστολόγιο περι ζωής, πολυγλωσσο - σε όσες γλωσσες εχω μεράκι να γράψω.

What Microsoft needs to do about Windows

windows Logo
So, recently I got a new computer at work. It's not really new - the hardware is a year old, but it's new to me. I asked for Vista on it since I was using Vista before on my aging Dell GX270. All I have to say is WOW. It makes such a difference to run Vista on capable hardware. I had no problems with vista on my aging GX270, even though boot-up was slow so I was not a hater.

Thinking about Vista's problems, here is what I think Microsoft should do with Windows 7

1. Vista is partly a PR problem. People think it sucks because people are running it on inferior hardware. Those people talk, and influence the thought of others. The stupid "I am a PC ads" don't work. They are...well...stupid! I think the Seinfeld+Gates ads were AWESOME! Get some better ads, bring back Seinfeld.

2. Get rid of legacy shit and let people know that you are doing so! Look at Apple. They buried MacOS 9. They made a mostly compatible layer called classic and shipped it with all PowerPC machines. Now with the Intel transition MacOS 9 is gone. Microsoft needs to get rid of Windows 3.x and 9x underpinnings. Make a separate sandbox for the old 3.x and 9x based apps, and let people know, given them a firm date on when you are stopping support. Work with your developers to make the transition smooth. People who need those old apps will still run XP but at least they won't badmouth your product.

3. Be more ridgid on what runs windows! Again, look at what Apple does. No need to support a million configurations, and no need to support el cheapo $500 PCs with Vista. Force manufacturers to get rid of those crapola cheap PCs and design an experience just like apple does. There is no need for experience and utility to be separate and mutually exclusive entities.

4. If you REALLY need to have cheap PCs and webtops running Vista,build a microPC version of Windows that runs MOST programs. Dont taint windows's name my trying to make it all things to all people. Look at the various linux webtops like the eeePC. Their version of the OS is not the same as one you would find on the desktop and for good reason. Maybe you could assist your developers to create those webtop versions and have a way of marketing that it works with Windows-the-desktop-version and Windows-the-webtop-version.

5. Other people have said this, maybe this time you will listen. Get rid of those stupid and artificial distinctions between home basic, home premium, business and ultimate. Your BASIC BASIC sucks and it's more expensive than MacOS X (os x being $129 and home basic being $200). Just give everyone the Ultimate experience at the same Apple price of $129! If everyone has the same experience, everyone has the same basis for comparison. There should only be three versions of Windows: Server, Desktop (aka Vista/7 Ultimate) and Webtop.

Thus concludes my advice to Microsoft. Now go forth and stop shooting yourselves on the foot!
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Video Game Fridays: F15 Strike Eagle (GB)

This is probably the weirdest game I've ever bought (by itself - not part of a bundle).

F15 is a flight simulator game where you pilot an F15 and go out and complete missions (I think this one took place during desert storm). Now I never was a flight simulator person. I would play a flight sim if I bought it as part of a package (just so I felt that my money wasn't wasted), but I never really went out of my way to buy a flight sim - except for this one.

So what happened? My friend's older brother played flight sims all the time, and it seemed that all the cool kids did so too! So in my 12-year-old-mind, if the cool kids are playing flight sim and they are by definition cool, then if you play flight sims, you are cool!

In any case, I bought the game and sunk a lot of time into it, not because I enjoyed the flight sim (I would rate this game a C+/B-), but because it took so damned long to get anywhere! I would put the game in autopilot and go grab a sandwich. By the time I got my sandwich I was at the destination I had to bomb.

Eh...I learned my lesson.

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Οι παλιές καλές μέρες: Apple Lisa

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Apple lisa (curtesy of wikipedia)"]Apple lisa (curtesy of wikipedia)[/caption]



Αν και δεν είχα ποτέ πρόσβαση σε ένα Apple Lisa, ο μαθηματικός μου είχε έναν στην αίθουσα του που δεν χρησιμοποιούσε και κάθε φορά που είχα μάθημα ήθελα να πάω να κάνω μια εκκίνησή να δω πως δουλευεί.

Η lisa είναι ένα από αυτά τα μηχανήματα που κυριάρχησαν την φαντασία πολλών, μαζί και εγώ σε αυτό το γκρουπ, που δεν είχαν ποτέ ένα από αυτά τα μηχανήματα.

Εδώ και δέκα χρόνια παρακολουθώ την ιστοσελίδα ενός τύπου που προσπαθεί να δημιουργήσει έναν εξομοιωτή για τον υπολογιστή αυτόν, και τελικά απ' ότι φαίνεται τα κατάφερε να δημιουργήσει κάτι που τρέχει!

Όσοι φανατικοί της Apple ιστορίας, και της ιστορίας της πληροφορικής, ρίξτε μια ματιά εδώ. Η lisa έτρεχε το λειτουργικό που άκουγε στο όνομα Lisa Office System (μάλλον για το γραφείο την προωθούσαν ως αντίπαλο για την ΙΒΜ) και έμοιαζε αρκετά με αυτό που γνωρίζουμε σήμερα ως Classic.


[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="LisaOS (curtesy of digibarn)"]LisaOS (curtesy of digibarn)[/caption]
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What I would like to see in Canola

OK, now I know that it's easy for people who don't code to be sofa commentators on what they would like to see in software packages, but I will do so anyway ;-)

I've been using canola a lot in the past few weeks as my media player of choice when I am using my N800 as a PMP and not as a tablet for browsing. Canola is a great piece of software that's missing some user interface elements, or some functionality that would make it event better. I've created some categories for improvements:

Internet Radio Directory - Inputting addresses for internet radio stations is a royal pain in the butt with Canola. What canola needs is an interface for a directory of internet radio station so that you can just add your favorites to a quick access list

More format support: Now this may be something that's out of reach, but I would love to see windows media, real and quicktime streaming formats supported (maybe work with VLC?)

FM Radio - The N800 sports a built-in FM radio (sadly no RDS support). Why can't I access the radio from Canola?

Podcast Directory integration - This is the same problem as the Internet Radio. Adding a podcast is a royal pain. Even when I export an XML file from iTunes Canola doesn't import it! Maybe Canola can work with podcastalley or podcaster to have a built-in directory for easy subscription and podcast exploration

Support for Video Podcasts - This is one of my bigger problems with the tablet. I am not sure if the N800 supports video podcasts that work on iPods (my tablet has played videos a bit choppy), there should be video podcast support in Canola.

Better TVersity support - Recently I discovered TVersity, and supposedly this work with Canola, but when I try to get G4's TVersity channel added to canola I run into problem.

Photo service Support - I know that there is a third party Flickr plugin (which doesn't work with the recent beta), but I would like to see Picassa support as well - officially

IP TV support - I guess the model for this is Equinux's Media Central for the Mac. I would like to be able to see television from the channels available on Media Central, but I would also like to be able to access my Hulu and Joost accounts and view video from there, as well as CBS, ABC, and BBC websites. This would be pretty cool

Imagine how great of a PMP the internet tablet could be with these canola modifications!
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The lost art of letter writing

I wrote a few days ago about the need to write emails as a means of communication when we have SMS, blogs, microblogs, flickr and friendfeed to keep our friends and relatives up to date with our comings and goings.

Now, when I was in High School, and I had recently moved back from Greece, I had started to write letters to two or three friends of mine. My address became known and soon more friends had been writing to me and I back to them. This continued up until I was a sophomore or junior in college and at the climax of the letter writing years I had at least twenty to twenty-five pen pals from Greece, but also from Germany, Norway and China!

I enjoyed getting letters from friends and writing letters to friends. Letters took anywhere between two weeks to two months (depending on how frequent correspondence was), so news accumulated and you had something interesting to write! In addition you could take you time, compose your thoughts, bring out your best (or worst) penmanship and...well the only word that comes to mind is: accessorize.

Then all of my friend went to college too, and some who were older got jobs, so they stopped writing as often. Eventually when email was the new things in two (for them) they decided that they would email. This worked out well initially because people did not have too much time online so emails were still here-and-there and news was still plentifully.

Eventually, however, emails got sloppy - no subjects, two lines in the body like "how are you?" with nothing else - at this point I lost interest in correspondence, or emailed once in a blue moon when I had time to really write something that had attention to detail and would not be a canned email I could send to all my friends.

Now, I've lost day to day contact with many people I used to know, some that I consider good friends! It's time to pick up letter writing again - show attention to detail. No typed letters - handwritten, on good paper, with a good ol' postmark on 'em.

Sure it takes a week or more to receive it - but good things are worth waiting for!
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Οι παλιές καλές μέρες: Apple IIgs

Αν και με το Apple II δεν έπαιξα πολύ, με το Apple IIgs έμαθα να προγραμματίζω χρησιμοποιώντας την γλώσσα Apple BASIC. Μπορώ να πω πως το Apple IIgs κατοικεί μια ιδιαίτερή θέση στην ιστορία της πληροφορικής μου. Το Apple IIgs που είχαμε στην τάξη έτρεχαν το Apple ProDOS 16 και ήταν όλα που κάναμε στο μάθημα μέσο του CLI. 


Εγώ σαν έξυπνο παιδάκι βρήκα στο ίντερνετ την GUI έκδοση του λειτουργικού που λεγόταν Apple II GS/OS και μοιάζει με το Classic System του Mac. Το πέρασα σε μια δισκέτα (!!!) και από τότε με ζήλευαν όλοι οι συμμαθητές χε χε χε.


Για το Apple IIgs υπάρχουν δύο εξομοιωτές, ο KEGS  που είναι δωρεάν και ο Bernie ][ the rescue  που είναι shareware. Με το KEGS η αλήθεια είναι πως δεν είχα και τεράστια επιτυχία όταν το δοκίμασα, με το  Bernie η εμπειρία ήταν άψογη!


Μπορείτε ακόμα να βρείτε αρκετά παιχνίδια ή να δείξετε στο παιδί σας πως να προγραμματίζει χρησιμοποιώντας μια παλιά και ευκολότερη γλώσσα. Τα παιχνίδια που θυμάμε ήταν το Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego και το Oregon Trail.


[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="704" caption="Apple IIgs finder, KEGS emulator"]Apple IIgs finder, KEGS emulator[/caption]
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Television Tuesdays: ReGenesis


Another Freebie on Hulu. This series is a Canadian series centering around NorBAC, a collaborative research laboratory between the US, Canada and Mexico. They are like the CDC on steroids. If there is an unexplained infection of virus, they're there!

Each season has an overarching disease they are fighting (or trying to find its origins) while injecting other personal issues into the mix, such as the main character's megalomania or...rather a-hole-ness. He's sort of like a mild version of House.

The first season features a kid that kept hounding the main doctor in the series to test him because he thought that he was a clone. Weird, but interesting.

The one bummer is that the series has four seasons (and still filming I think), but Hulu only has two season available! I hope more seasons are available soon.

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Is firewire going the way of the dodo?

With Apple's removal of FIrewire 400 from all laptops, and complete removal of the port from the MacBook line, I am wondering if the firewire port is going the way of the dodo. I hope not because it's an technology!

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2 χρόνια μετά τρέλας

Βασικά έχουν περάσει δύο χρόνια από τότε που άρχισαν τα τρελά με την πρώην αφεντικίνα οπότε είπα και εγώ πως είναι η κατάλληλη στιγμή να γράψω ένα ή δύο λόγια για το τι έγινε, πώς έγινε και πώς καταλήξαμε στα τρελά γεγονότα που με έκαναν να κάνω το μπλόγκ μου ιδιοτικό και να δίνω πρόσβαση μόνο σε μερικά άτομα για να διαβάσουν.

Σκέφτικα αν θα έπρεπε να γράψω ένα μεγάλο δημοσιεύμα ή να το κόψω σε μικρότερα κομμάτια. Αποφάσισα να το κόψω σε μικρότερα κομμάτια, ένα δημοσίευμα για κάθε μήνα που πέρασε, αρχίζοντας από τον Αύγουστο του 2006.

Που θα πάει; Κάποια μέρα θα ξανανοίξω το μπλόγκ μου στο κοινό, αλλά προς το παρρόν αυτή η ιστορία θα είναι μόνο για τους κοντινούς φίλους...
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Οι παλιές καλές μέρες: Apple II

Όταν ήμουν στο γυμνάσιο είχαμε μερικά παμπάλαια Apple II που τρέχανε AppleDOS.  Η αλήθεια είναι πως δεν τα χρησιμοποιούσαμε για να δημιουργούμε έγραφα αλλά παρά μόνο να παίζουμε κάτι εξίσου παλαιά παιχνίδια εκπαιδευτικά που είχε το σχολείο (ιδικά για Αγγλικά).


Αυτές τις μέρες ή enthusiast πρέπει να είσαι για να έχει ένα Apple II ή να πας σε κανένα μουσείο. Αλλά μπορείς αρκετά εύκολα να χρησιμοποιήσεις λογισμικό και μέσ' αυτού παιχνίδια με το πρόγραμμα Virtual ][.


Αν και δεν θυμάμαι πως ήταν να χρησιμοποιείς ένα κανονικό Apple II, θυμάμαι το λειτουργικό και μερικά από τα παιχνίδια που έπαιζα. Αν έχετε μια νοσταλγία για τα παλιά λειτουργικά ή θέλετε να δείτε πως ήταν τα πράγματα τότε, ρίξτε μια ματιά εδώ.





[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="715" caption="Virtual "]["]Virtual ][[/caption]
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