MacOS X 10.5 vs. 10.4.11

Interesting quandry to have, install Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.4.11?

I just read that Mac OS X 10.4.11 is about to come out in the next couple of days, right along with MacOS X 10.5.

The big question is, which one does one install? Typically I install new releases a few days after they come out, after checking out people’s experiences and making sure there are no show-stopper for me.

But in this case I am not so sure. MacOS X 10.5 was delayed six months so you get the sense that Apple was under pressure to deliver, and what I have been hearing on the various podcasts that I follow is that this release is not quite as polished as previous major releases, so it might behoove one to wait until that first update, namely 10.5.1.

What I will probably do is install 10.5 on my laptop to see how well it works and wait for the 10.5.1 update. At which point I will update my desktop machine. If history is any guide, we should see 10.5.1 before the year ends.

Where have all the entrepreneurs gone?

I have been sitting on this post on the BUZZ in theHUB weblog asking whether the Boston VCs let the seed corn rot.

The pithy paragraph from this post reads thus:

With the VC’s in Boston taking a powder, the field became infertile and now is in need of some serious fertilization. Adam pointed out that while the Boston VC’s waited out the downturn, the ecosystem withered. We know that while nothing was going on here, there was still activity in Silicon Valley, ie… PayPal IPO 2002, Google IPO 2004, etc… The end result is that Boston is now playing catch up in the Web space. Another issue that has compounded the problem is that the continued activity in Web businesses out West has created a class of investors that does not exist here. A lot of companies are funded by angel investors that are seasoned Web entrepreneurs using significant amounts of cash to seed the next generation of up and comers. We don’t have the equivalent here.

Now I will be the first to admit that I am no expert in these matter, but I have some historical perspective on the issue having moved to the Boston area in 2002, and starting a new business here in 2003.

First it is easy to forget that Boston was hit really hard in the last dot.com crash, in fact there is good evidence that of all the tech hubs, it was hit the hardest. I think that would have made both entrepreneurs and VCs very gun-shy. Even as a tech, it was hard to get a job in this area.

Second, with the devastation that ensued, a lot of techs either moved to greener pastures, or just plain got out of the sector. I think this attrition can still be felt today in the Boston area because it seems to be really hard to come by qualified techs.

Third, I have talked to enough people here, both entrepreneurs and VCs, who noted that there is quite a cultural difference between the Boston area and the West Coast. It is hard not to miss when you live in this area and worked on the West Coast (like I did for four years).

Fourth, the PayPal and Google IPOs were silver linings in an otherwise dark time on the West Coast, Boston is not the only area that got hit.

Fifth, I started to see things changing on the West Coast in 2005, the Boston Area did not seem to wake up until 2006.

Lastly, one should note that there is now a thriving startup community in the Boston area, with lots of activity in the web 2.0 arena. You only need to look at how many networking events are now taking place, such as the Web Innovators Group, Tech Cocktail, TechCrunch, and how these events are regularly over-subscribed.

Paul Thurrott’s takes on Apple

Paul Thurrott has a very good take on Apple.

I think the crux of the article is contained in this paragraph:

There’s also a related issue here that I think many of us old-timers forget: While we may be stuck in whatever technological rut we think makes sense, we should never forget that an entire generation of students today is using technology solutions that might be unfamiliar to traditional Microsoft guys. They manage their email, schedules, and lives on the Web. They buy Macbooks, iPods, and iPhones. These people will be running the show in a few years, and they aren’t necessarily tied emotionally or logistically to Outlook, Windows, or other Microsoft technologies. This isn’t just a potential threat to your way of life, it’s a threat to Microsoft’s very existence, and it’s why I place such an emphasis on their Windows Live services here and wonder aloud, a bit too frequently, why Microsoft isn’t doing more to address this coming change.

In my mind this is not just related but is the core to the evolution of technology and how it permates our lives. What was unthinkable or unimaginable ten years ago is mundane today, and paradigms can change much more quickly than we can envision (and much more slowly, but that is another story).

Apple results

I don’t usually comment on the quarterly Apple results, but these were interesting for a number of reasons:

  • This was Apple’s best quarter ever.
  • They sold a record number of Macs.
  • They sold lots of iPhones, 1,119,000 this quarter and 1,389,000 this quarter, meaning they sold 270,000 in the last 2 1/2 days of the last quarter.
  • Their stock price is around $184, giving them a market cap of around $160B, contrast with Microsoft with $288B, Google with $206, IBM with $157B, HP with $133. Sun Microsystems with $20B.

Leopard guided tour

I had a little spare time so I watched the Leopard guided tour. While it is a sales pitch, it is also a good way to get an overview of some of the new features in there. As I am the Apple guru in my family, I am the person people turn to to get support, so iChat screen sharing will be a very welcome feaure as I now have to spend $$$ for Fog Creek CoPilot.

Mac OS X security tips from MacWorld

Some good Mac OS X security tips from MacWorld.

Definition of virus

This is pretty funny, go to the Apple site and do a search on virus, this is what you get:

Apple Virus

Universal Music vs. iTunes

We have been hearing about Apple and Universal’s tiff for a while now, and it now looks like Universal is actually trying to get other record companies to join it into creating an alternative to the iTunes music store. Business week has some details.

Some things from the article did jump out at me:

While the details are in flux, insiders say Morris & Co. have an intriguing business model: get hardware makers or cell carriers to absorb the cost of a roughly $5-per-month subscription fee so consumers get a device with all-you-can-eat music that’s essentially free. Music companies would collect the subscription fee, while hardware makers theoretically would move many more players.

This is an interesting model, “baking in” the price of the subscription into the cost of the player. This is actually very astute since Universal will get its $5 regardless of whether the consumer will use the service or not, and this money would come right off the profit margin of the device makers since I don’t see them raising the price of a $250 device to $255. The downside for the consumer is that they pay $5, regardless of whether they use the service or not, and they will still have to buy music that is not offered through the subscription package.

But before long, Morris realized he and his fellow music executives had ceded too much control to Jobs. “We got rolled like a bunch of puppies,” he said during a recent meeting, according to people who were there. And though Morris hasn’t publicly blasted Jobs, his boss at Universal parent Vivendi is not nearly so hesitant. The split with record labels–Apple takes 29 cents of the 99 cents–“is indecent,” Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy told reporters in September. “Our contracts give too good a share to Apple.”

Well if Apple gets 29 cents of the 99 cents, does that mean that the music company gets 70 cents? If so, I would say that this is a good deal for Vivendi since they only need to ship one unprotected copy of any tracks they sell to Apple. Apple still has to put DRM on the track, store it, and deliver it to the user. I wonder what is left out of the 20 cents Apple gets once it has paid for all that. What Vivendi does not mention either is that Apple has built a very effective delivery mechanism to the consumer, and with more than 300 million copies of iTunes and 100 million iPods out there, this is a lot of consumers for Apple to give access to Vivendi to.

Left brain or right brain

By way of The Life of Leo Laporte, an animated GIF on the Australian Herald Sun which will help you assertain whether you are “right brain” or “left brain”.

As for me, I seem to be able to make it change direction at will. This just confirms what I always knew, that there are more than a few loose screws in my brain.

Ripping music CDs

I read Paul Thurrott’s article on ripping music CDs with great interest since I really have no clue what encoding format and bit rate to use for ripping my own CDs.

Initially I encoded my music in MP3 using a 128 Kbps variable bit rate. That was back in 2001 and I had a large quantity of CDs, so that seemed to make sense given the hard drive capacity constraints of the time. At the time it took 3 weeks to do with 2 machines working.

Of course hard drive capacities have gotten a lot larger, as so I reripped my music in AAC using a 192 Kbps variable bit rate. That now took about 3 days with a single machine working.

I went back and forth on the MP3 vs. AAC format, and in the end I figured that ACC was just fine given that I have all the CDs, so I can rerip them if I decide to change formats. Also I recently bumped up the bit rate to 256 Kbps.

I will probably rerip my CDs in the next year switching to a lossless encoding.

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