Friday, 26 June 2009

A bit of Bashing

Despite their best efforts, there's a few software developers I have some issues with. Windows, naturally, is a prime candidate. However... they're excluded from this post because I haven't gotten around to playing with Win7, and never will. For a while, at least.
For Mac bashing, see my previous post.

Linux. Yes, even my favourite system has it's bad points.
Ubuntu Jaunty - presently has a few issues still, such as an ongoing problem of not getting it to work with my wireless.
Debian. Hmm. I thought with Ubuntu based on it, it wouldn't be too different, right? Oh how wrong I was. There's a lot of differences I hadn't expected, and I ended up doing more damage to it in just trying to get working what I had on Ubuntu.
Package Management, specifically RPM. DEB is a nice clean system, it tells you dependancies, it works fairly well. RPM I have issues with. It's quite possible it works just the same, but it's not, and I have trouble with that.
GNOME/XFCE/KDE - not technically a Linux bash, but a Windows one. It's more about the desktop environments, I can choose to have GNOME or use KDE or even both. Windows doesn't have this, with the exception of alternative shells. I've tried a few, but to Microsoft's credit, their own native shell so far has bested them all. Not through any great brilliance, but through the fact that the ones I've tried all had issues.
Also, multiple desktops - on my Linux box, I can have several desktops, and arrange windows on them, send them to other desktops, etc. I have found only one program which does this on windows, and it fails to start on XP (Vista is not even thought of for these computers.)

Don't get me wrong, I like Linux, but it does have it's problems too.

Other bashing now though.... Adobe.
How about 'A Deskload of Bloated Elephants'?
Okay, so I couldn't think up anything better for the 'e'.
But it's a fair point... Bloatware described a lot of the Adobe software. The updater needs teaching manners, I'm opening a PDF, don't go and decide to restart just because there's an upgrade. Don't go looking for upgrades without telling me. And stop re-setting yourself as the default viewer, and placing unwanted shortcuts.
I don't use much Adobe software. In part because I don't have it, in part because of the bloat, but mostly because their pricing is dreadful - €99 does not equal £99 or even $99.
Finally, the Flash Player, one of the most used things on the 'net. And one of the most broken.
Well, not broken, it still works, but on Linux it doesn't fully work correctly, on any system, it's a gaping security hole and leaves behind non-deletable flash cookies, and most of all, the source is not available.
If they'd just provide the source, not only could other developers contribute to improving it (Not to mention the distinct possibility of better developers than theirs), it would help make it more stable, secure, etc, etc... and overall more useful.
It's a similar issue to Apple's only allowing OS X on Apple hardware. If Apply unlocked it to work on all computers, if Adobe showed the code to all people, a lot of good things could happen to each.

Alright, bashing over. And sorry for no post yesterday, there was nothing interesting to mention, except that I got a conquest victory on Civ4 (On Monarch difficulty, hardest I've played on yet)
Rock on people.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

On Macintoshes, Hackintoshes, and other systems

The Hackintosh, for those who don't know, is a Mac OS X operating system, hacked to work on your Windows and Linux capable computer. Normally, this isn't possible because the OS X code looks for a little chip on the motherboard (at least, I think it's a chip, any passing experts can leave a note in the comments correcting me) that says, I'm a Mac. Try to install an unhacked OS X, and it'll fail because it can't find that chip.

If you're one of the few people who reads EULAs and has read the OS X one, you'll know that in there is a little snippet which says you may only run OS X on a Mac.
This seems backwards to me. Windows can be run on their in a varaity of ways, as will Linux which runs on just about everything up to your toaster probably. (Hm, open source toast.)
Apple in their infinite wisdom, chose not to do the same. Well, okay, I guess if you want to lock it to your hardware, that solves a huge amount of hardware problems, but I think if they either allowed Hackintoshes, or better yet, did it themselves (though seeing their pricing, still overpriced) they could win over a significant amount of users to use their system. It's not perfect - not even Linux is - but both Linux and OS X are an improvement of the security-hole ridden Windows.
Though, I'll admit they're trying to fix that, Vista seems to have left such a bad taste that no one wants to leave XP - myself included, however, I've chosen to use Linux instead (Ubuntu, and if you think you're using a better distro which doesn't use RPM for packages, also comment and I'll consider it)
Wine covers a lot of ground, and I can do a considerable amount in Ubuntu instead of Windows, but it's not perfect, and some programs and games still don't fully work. PlayOnLinux attempts to solve the latter, I haven't gotten around to trying it yet. In any case, until Wine can manage a lot more, I'll still be using XP mostly, while patiently awaiting the day where everything is made primarly for Linux, and there are wine-like things to make windows able to run Linux apps.

Yes, I'm a Linux boy. I've had trouble trying to use Macs, but I don't hate them. Windows... isn't bad, but also isn't good. It has a lot of issues, but if you're willing to sacrifice a little hard drive space and a few resources, it's not as much of a problem. But nevertheless, I await the day Linux takes Prime Spot.

That's all from me for now. Rock on people. (To whatever music you like, I'm currently listening to Metallica, Linkin Park - their new song New Divide is awesome.)

When in the summer

Do as summer does? I think not...
I don't do well in heat, and I overheat easily, and get somewhat testy.
I don't mind going out in it, so long as I get the chance to stop in a patch of shade somewhere. I also don't mind walking a friend's dogs for her when she can't, I've been doing that a lot lately.
What I do mind is the people up on the trail nearby on the bikes, not all are bad, but a lot of them aren't all that nice, and couldn't care less who else is on the trail, it's theirs.

Anyway, completely away from the computer bit done.
I've been playing Civ4 a lot lately. I thought I'd have the bright idea of learning to mod it. XML isn't too hard, Python only slightly more so. Modding the SDK though, is not taken so lightly, I've had experiences in C++ before, (With OpenTTD, a game I've stopped playing recently) but the SDK for Civ4 is a bit above that. Especially when what you want to do is take the sources for several mods that use SDK changes, and merge them.
A bit beyond me. Something I'm going to leave for now. C++ might be useful, but it's a devil to understand sometimes.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


So I guess in a time where everyone seems to have their own blog, it's probably about time I started one too.
Some people will likely disagree with that, but at least this way I have one knocking around I can use later on.

Blogs are useful little things. The used to be a way to bore people with your life, now they're more, and you can find a blog for just about anything if you have patience to search for them, for which Google is naturally good. I have an issue with them on that though - grab your copy of IE (if you dare!) Firefox, Konqueror, Opera - any browser will do. Turn off ad blocking, and any addons that affect the Google search. Search for something. Anything.
Look at the results carefully, and there's two glaring problems: Ads which are just wrong, and Spam Results.
Ads which are wrong - look on the right, if you searched for something like a piece of software, it'll likely show "Download ___ Free, no cost" and other such. Shouldn't Google be doing something about this? Hmm... it's one small area though. Look through the results, even the 'sponsored' ones sometimes, and there's more. The Spam Results.
Also included in which are the results which aren't really results, they're just another search engine muscling in trying to pretend to be a result, leading you to another search. Now, I can understand that search engines want your business over a different one getting it, but that almost seems like stealing people's business.

So far, I've found one solution for this, CustomizeGoogle extenstion for Firefox. A lot of other browsers offer ad-blocking, and frame or text blocking to hide things like this, but that extension is the only one I will use, because it does the job without even reminding you it's there.
It doesn't just affect Google search results either, but you can read more details about it and try it here at it's addon page.

That isn't, by far, the only extension I use, or the only reason I use Firefox over other browsers, but I've talked long enough. If people want more on this, I'll do another post on it.