Alvin Alexander | Java, Scala, Unix, Perl, Mac OS X

I haven't purchased Mac OS X "Leopard" yet, but when I do Spaces will be the main reason for my purchase. In my earlier Unix days I used the multiple desktop feature quite a bit, and I look forward to using it again.

This NY Times article gives a little idea of operating systems sales on mobile phones. From this article and other sources, it looks like Apple thinks they will sell around 10M iPhones next year (either next year, or in the first 12 months), and Microsoft is projecting sales of 20M Windows Mobile devices in 2008, both of which were announced before Google's Android announcement today.

Wow, I thought I'd get really secure when I took my MacBook Pro on vacation recently. So secure that I managed to forget the root password after I changed it. (duh) Fortunately I found an easy way to change it after I lost it.

I was lucky enough that I created one of my login accounts as an administrator ("Admin") account, and that's all I needed. Well, that, a Terminal, and the sudo command. :) Here's what I did.

Mac screen capture FAQ: What are the keystrokes to create screen capture images on Mac OS X?

Mac OS X screen capture keystrokes

One of the great things about Mac OS X is that it's pretty easy to create a screen capture. You can capture the entire screen (like using the Print Screen button on a PC), select a region to capture, or capture an application window without needing any third-party tools. The only hard part about this is trying to remember the magic Mac screen capture keystrokes.

Have you ever seen Steve Jobs (or anyone else) do the "slow Genie" effect when minimizing a window on Mac OS X, and wondered how they did that?

Turns out it's pretty simple: just hold down the Shift key when clicking the yellow minimize button on any Mac OS X window. Assuming you have the Genie effect enabled (see your Dock preferences), the Genie effect will still work, but it will send your window to the Dock very slowly. This may not be too useful for everyday work, but it is kinda cool for presentations. :)


In an earlier post I wrote that my first impression of iMovie '08 was very positive, and now I'll add that my longer-term impression is also very favorable. I've created several short vacation-oriented movies so far, and I've been able to add movie clips, pictures, voiceovers, and sound effects without ever having to read a manual (which is really great, since I had never created a movie before).

MS fights back

The next step in this chess match is that MS won't take this lying down. On the Office front I don't think they can do much to fight back. Office applications should be a commodity -- they ran out of good new features years ago. ("Ribbon", anyone?)

Going after Windows and Office

In the business world I prefer being aggressive, and if someone is coming after me, I in turn am going to go after them -- but only if I think I can win the battle. So that becomes the question, can Google win this battle?

MS: The ultimate guard dog

Throughout their history MS has always acted like the ultimate guard dog. Not only do they protect their own territory (operating systems, applications, development tools), they also protect anything in their neighborhood. They're a little like this:

Aren't the Google Apps enough?

Next question: Why should Google create an operating system? Isn't it enough for them to create their own suite of Office applications (Google Apps) as a replacement for MS Office? Why get into the operating system battle?


After reading this article by John C. Dvorak, I can start buying into the need for Google to create their own operating system, aka, the GoogleOS. More specifically, the OS should be a binary-compatible replacement for Microsoft (MS) Windows.

Kudos to the Boston Red Sox for winning the 2007 World Series (and Colorado Rockies for getting there), and major poop on the classless acts of Scott Boras and Alex ("I make every team worse just by showing up") Rodriguez. "Announcing" that Rodriguez is going to be a free agent during Game 4 of the World Series is inexcusable and a terrible distraction from the game, and I hope MLB fines the crap out of them.

VoodooPad is a really interesting application for Mac OS X users. As stand-alone applications go I don't know any good comparisons. But when you compare it to web applications it's easy to say, "Oh, it's a wiki." But really, it's a personal, one-user wiki, written as a fat client instead of a web application, with a few extra features thrown in for good measure.

After all these years -- and despite some of the bad things I've written about Microsoft and Windows in the past -- and all the people that laugh at me for using it, FrontPage is still my favorite HTML WYSIWYG editor.

As I mentioned in a review of the Easy Task Manager for Mac OS X, I've come to prefer an application named TaskPaper.

TaskPaper takes an interesting approach of letting you work on a plain-text file with custom tags. Possibly the best features about TaskPaper is that it looks like the normal paper lists I normally make, and also lets you cross completed tasks off the list, giving you that good old feeling of accomplishment.

I don't offer normal product reviews on this site, and this one is no different. My review of the Easy Task Manager is this: As task managers go, I like the TaskPaper application better.

For more detail ...

I took a little time today to review two applications from hog bay software, and so far I like them. TaskPaper is a very simple to-do list "getting things done" application. It seems like a very minimalist application, and in some ways I want it to do more -- especially for the price -- but I do like scratching items off my list, the fact that it stores the data as plain old text, and a simple tag approach. It looks like it offers printing and archiving of tasks, but I haven't tried those yet. is my favorite website of the moment. I love the idea of essentially unrelated people -- arguably experts in their fields -- sharing ideas. In a lot of ways the more diverse the topics the more I like it.

I bought a Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard a few days ago to try to help with some carpal-tunnel issues. I do like the way it positions my hands and wrists, but why do they have to make the keys so hard to press???

I just read this quote from Steve Jobs:

"People don't understand that we've invented a new class of interface," he said ... "there are no 'verbs' in the iPhone interface", he said, alluding to the way a standard mouse or stylus system works.

"In those systems, users select an object, like a photo, and then separately select an action, or 'verb', to do something to it."