Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: TV is social. Already

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  • Don Christie,

    Almost everything just worked with Ubuntu, and I still mostly use that environment myself, but it was too much to ask her to do her own research to resolve obscure issues with video codecs

    The most annoying part of that issue is that it is related to idiotic DRM legislation in the USA the like of which this Government is trying to introduce here.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Rich: there are a few options.

    1. Some programs are simply compiled without shared libraries, but statically linked. Hey, disk is cheap.

    2. More commonly, Linux applications use a sneaky system relying on symbolic links in the filesystem. In essence you have multiple versions of libfoo, with their version numbers as part of their names, and a link in the filesystem from a generic name to the latest one. Programs that need a specific version can ask for it if they need it. So your program can ask for libfoo.so.2, and actually get libfoo.2.15. If your program needs libfoo.2.14, it can install it, and ask for it when it needs it. There is no actual library called libfoo.so.2 on your system, only versioned ones, with a link to the latest one for programs which don't care. (The naming and linking is a bit more complicated than that. I'm glossing over it).

    3. In practice, because most programs on Linux come with source, they can always be tweaked and recompiled against new libraries. You probably wouldn't do that, but the people who work on your Linux distribution do. It's not like the Windows world where you get some piece of software and it won't work (or worse the installer clobbers your existing DLLs and other things then don't work) and you have to plead with the author (if you can find them) to re-release a binary version.

    Gory details.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Lex Miller,

    Hi Stephen - Japan's fine. Good grief - Cell phones are used here for TV viewing (1seg), paying for things (at shops, train tickets, etc), mail, blogs, video phoning, etc. I guess there's more of an environment for cell phone use when you commute on a train instead of in a car (or in Stephen's case, on a bicycle).

    Thanks for the Ubuntu/Mac story. Perhaps Ubuntu is the Linux for people on the Mac end of the spectrum.

    Japan • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Lex Miller,

    Actually, can't Intel-based macs boot Windows?

    Rich - I believe the options are:
    Boot Camp - Allows you to boot Windows.
    Parallels - Allows you to run Windows applications in the Mac OS X environment.

    Japan • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Yeah I saw that crazy outta control shopping using the square bar code thingies on posters at Christmas in Japan before I left.

    Picture if you will people on the train - rammed together I might add - scanning barcodes on train advertising and doing Christmas shopping. Kind of did my head in.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Glen Wright,

    My Intel iMac dual boots to Fedora Linux thanks to BootCamp. Mostly because it can, I haven't found a practical use for a second OS yet.

    Since Nov 2006 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Biggest downside: any applications that were not installed at the outset are probably not free (as in freedom or as in cost). There is a lot of free (libre) software ported to OSX but it's often not very well integrated into the platform, thus losing you the "it just works" user experience that you bought it for in the first place.

    Actually, I think one of the biggest user benefits of the shift to MacOS X was, after a little while, the flow of good, stable Unix apps. Sure, some of them don't follow Apple UI guidelines, but then, Apple's apps don't either these days ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Picture if you will people on the train - rammed together I might add - scanning barcodes on train advertising and doing Christmas shopping. Kind of did my head in.

    Is it all done through your phone? Like, do you just click a button on your phone and it sends your credit card and delivers to your house. Or is it just a bar scanner like you get in k-mart which tells you what the barcode translates to - price etc?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Actually after I posted that i wasnt sure if the purchase was paid for using the cellphone in those cases but at shops in the station you could often use your phone to pay for stuff. In retrospect I think the barcode was taking you to the webpage. But I am sure that credit card or billing from the phone bill cant be far behind if that isnt the case already.

    On such a tech based thread now I feel embarrassed for bringing it up because I cant remember the details. Sigh. So visable with my actual name up there too.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Lex Miller,

    The way I understand it is:
    The square bar code is really just a quick way to get some information (often a URL) into your phone via the phone camera.
    The payment functionality I was referring to appears to be some hardware within the phone, which allows you to swipe the phone over a special device in the convenience store or when you go through the ticket gates. I think it's like a debit card - You "charge" it up with some money. I'm not sure if it allows some credit. I don't think it is intended for large purchases.

    Japan • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Yes *blush* that is the way it works. My rash comments are the result of having too not enough work to do. Back to my book....

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Barrett,

    Lex,

    The technology in cellphones is known as Near Field Communication.

    It's still a work in progress, but there may be implementations in Japan already.

    A couple of researchers at Cambridge University published a paper on smart-card-based attacks that is generally applicable to the technology. Very cool stuff.

    Cheers
    Matt

    London, UK • Since Jan 2007 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Lex Miller,

    Thanks Matt - The (brand) name for the technology on my phone is FeliCa which does indeed appear to use Near Field Communication. It's interesting that it is externally powered i.e. It doesn't use the phone's battery. And that explains why you can pay this way with cards as well as phones.

    Japan • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    The one thing I hate about Macs is having to upgrade my OS if i want to be able to sync my phone properly, and even then not being certain it would work.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

  • James,

    Out of curiosity - any advice on where best to buy a Mac at the moment?
    The websites apple.co.nz and apple.com seem to have a slight ... lag on the exchange rates:
    apple.co.nz 20" iMac, standard specs: NZ $ 2,399 + GST

    Apple.com 20" iMac, same specs: US$1,499 + sales tax

    which at an exchange rate of 80c, is about NZ$2,000 + tax.

    New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    It'll probably take three months or so for exchange rates to start to impact upon prices of macs, and only if the dollar holds. They don't get a completely new stock every week after all.

    Renaissance have moved into the retail market recently, I don't know if there's a store up there, but if there is they might have some good 'we just opened' specials.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It'll probably take three months or so for exchange rates to start to impact upon prices of macs, and only if the dollar holds. They don't get a completely new stock every week after all.

    Renaissance have moved into the retail market recently, I don't know if there's a store up there, but if there is they might have some good 'we just opened' specials.

    Yep, they bought MagnumMac, and have plans to expand the chain.

    But things have worked out okay. I was really reluctant to buy now when the new iMacs are coming, but Apple did me a media loan of a 20" Intel iMac to bridge the gap. Yes, we journalists are jammy buggers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Alec Morgan,

    Macs robustness continues to satisfy me, try running Vista on a 2001 Dell! (with no hardware mods). My sons ‘snow’ G3 imac–cost–free, plus $6 for a firewire cable, runs current OSX Tiger 10.4.10 very well and even Adobe CS2, albeit one app at a time. Yeah I hear official Leopard support will be omitted for G3s, but “no one left behind” can go too far even for us mac loyalists. As an ex user of lightboards, lenco waxers and xacto knives I have not yet lost my sense of wonder of the digital era. For a freelancer Macs still do accurate colour better and consistently produce error free press ready .pdfs. There are not many if any dud modern macs out there.

    Apple does seem on a bit of a world domination bender at the moment–Pixar, iphone, apple TV etc. but anyone who may possibly get rid of Flash is fine by me! There is a rich history to this company from Quicktime, Next, through their new X serve technology and the itunes model of media distribution. This is a company that follows through, WinCE or a Zune anyone? Or would you prefer an iphone perhaps.

    Tokerau Beach • Since Nov 2006 • 124 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    I have a 2001 IBook G3 (500mhz) running OSX.2, OS9 and Office for Mac, it runs beautifully, not just well, beautifully and I run InDesign and Photoshop. My Shuffle works beautifully as well, synced into my car cassette player!
    I have only replaced a battery, upped the RAM and got a bigger hard drive, all easy to do. I leave it on all the time.
    I'm a TW so I have PC"s at work. I'm waiting for Leopard so I can hotswap Vista and run AIT (a 'Doz programme) at home on my Mac, BUT my IBook won't fry itself, like my first 150 Apple Notebook, they just go and go.
    I keep it on the kitchen bench, so the all in one enclosure would be appealing but a MacBook would be in keeping with the tradition. I worked for IBM, PC laptops just don't come close, in 3 years they are all but dead, always.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm writing this on my spiffy 20" Intel iMac loaner. It's quick.

    And all praise to the migration tool: I hooked up the Firewire cable and started my sick G5 in target disk mode, and an hour and three quarters later I had a new computer with everything that was on my old computer: passwords, settings, Office email, the lot. It just works. And World of Warcraft is running real nice.

    And this is after being unable to even create a backup of the G5's hard drive with two different tools this week.

    Testify.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Try doing that nifty trick with yo 'Doz box!

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

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