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Personal Musings

I write a lot. Old blog posts that are more commentary than information have been migrated to this section. Logged in users can read additional private content.

Articles in this section

      • Can Apple really handle the needs of businesses?plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigCan Apple really handle the needs of businesses?

        On January 31, 2012, in the middle of the day for many users, Apple silently and stealthily blocked the Java web plugin on all Mac computers running 10.7 or 10.8.

        This has not been getting that much news coverage, which is unfortunate given how serious this action actually is. And, of course, we all know that if Microsoft did something similar, it would be making national headlines on many news sites.
      • Google’s hostile EULA – how long can you avoid it?plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigGoogle’s hostile EULA – how long can you avoid it?

        this archive of the original article

        I, like pretty much everyone in the known Internet-accessible world, use Google. A lot. I’ve used Google Docs in the past, I have friends and family who only use Google Talk for chatting, Google is obviously the biggest and best search engine available, and now they have a browser.
      • The history of the Start Menuplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe history of the Start Menu

        It’s been a long time – almost twenty years, in fact – since the Start button was introduced by Microsoft. A key feature of the all-new Windows 95, the Start button provided one-click access to all your programs in a simple, easy-to-use menu format. It was pretty straightforward. Clicking Start gave you options for programs, documents, settings, and even a file search tool.
      • Zune Flash: When Microsoft does something rightplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigZune Flash: When Microsoft does something right

        You know, for all the flak our friends in Redmond get, I’ve seen Microsoft release some pretty decent stuff lately.

        I sometimes wonder (ok, so I wonder a lot…) if people have a habit of immediately discounting anything from the hands of Microsoft because, well, it’s from
      • No, Comcast. plugin-autotooltip_bigNo, Comcast.

        This may come as a huge shock to you, but I don’t like Comcast very much. I never had much of a problem with Comcast until now, surprisingly enough. I mean, they are consistently rated The Worst Company in America by The Consumerist. I had Comcast twice in the past – once in Indiana when I lived in Lafayette, and once in Virginia when I lived in Alexandria City. Until I moved to Washington state last month, we had Cox, and they were amazing. We got free bandwidth upgrade…
      •’s Not-so-surprising Scammy Tacticsplugin-autotooltip__default’s Not-so-surprising Scammy Tactics

        PCMatic's driver databaseMicrosoft's searchable Windows Update Catalog

        I recently found myself in need of a driver for Mac OS 9. Since the hardware I was using was ancient and from a now-defunct company and OS 9 is equally ancient, this task was much easier Googled than actually completed.
      • The cake really is a lie…at least for Flickr users.plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe cake really is a lie…at least for Flickr users.

        I hate to use a cliché, but you really can’t have your cake and eat it too.

        I logged in to Flickr yesterday rather innocently – I was updating some information on my Facebook profile and couldn’t remember exactly when I moved out of my first apartment in Indianapolis, many moons ago. I opened a new tab in my browser, navigated to Flickr, and – holy crap! A new site design! And what’s this about Pro accounts? I have a Pro account and have for …
      • Reconsidering the GPLplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigReconsidering the GPL

        modified version of GNU Affero

        An awful lot of software these days is released open-source, under various licenses. Gnu GPL is a popular one, in its various iterations. It’s a pretty great idea – software is released for free, the source code is made available to anyone who wants to take the time to compile it, people get access to useful applications without paying exorbitant license fees, and everyone wins. The really big projects like Ubuntu and Firefox get donatio…
      • The many functions of useless hard drives...plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe many functions of useless hard drives...

        I’m a bit of a packrat. When something electronic finally craps out, I tend to keep it around, just in case. Dead hard drives fall into this category, at least for me.

        If you’ve never taken apart a hard drive, you should. The platters are unbelievably reflective, since they’ve never been touched by anything before being installed in the drive’s casing. I have a large collection of hard drive platters at the moment, some of which have interesting rad…
      • The Changing Landscape of Personal Computingplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Changing Landscape of Personal Computing

        I’ll try not to give too much commentary on the way Apple does things, but the company has certainly made its mark in how we view personal technology and computing in 2012. Just as the iPod revolutionized portable media players and the iPhone made waves in the smartphone world, the iPad changed how we look at the way we access our media, data, social networks, and the Internet as a whole.
      • In defense of the independent option: shattering the bipartisan mythplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigIn defense of the independent option: shattering the bipartisan myth

        I probably got you going there for a minute, didn’t I? Don’t worry, this isn’t a political dissertation or anything. I’m talking about mobile operating systems. I mean, face it – we’re down to only two options for smartphones, and it’s really becoming a problem.
      • First impressions of Firefox 3.0plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigFirst impressions of Firefox 3.0


        I strongly advise against continuing to use Firefox in any capacity. It isn't secure and will not keep your online account passwords secure.

        Very old builds of Firefox still have some utility on older operating systems. Very old versions of Firefox classic are solid enough to use as daily drivers in Windows 9x and XP. I will be maintaining a mirror of themes and extensions I use, because there is no longer any central repository online where these ma…
      • Mozilla’s latest debacle – and why it hurts open source projectsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMozilla’s latest debacle – and why it hurts open source projects


        I strongly advise against continuing to use Firefox in any capacity. It isn't secure and will not keep your online account passwords secure.

        Quite a few years ago now, a large open-source project called Pidgin fell prey to one of the bigger pitfalls of OSS – developer-user relations. With commercial software development, a company has resources available to do things like usability testing, analysis of interface design…