Mac OS X Software List

A few years ago Stefan published list of his favorite Mac utilities. When I started to use the new MB Air last week I realized that my list is completely different:

Gmail
del.icio.us
Remember The Milk
Google Calendar
Plaxo
Google Reader
LinkedIn
Blogger
Facebook
Google Docs
Flickr
YouTube

Oh, I almost forgot to mention Firefox and Adium…

There was something in the air…

… and after a series of long flights (via Shanghai, Anchorage and San Francisco) it landed on my desk:

Apple’s answer to Ubuntu

This is how Nelson Mandela once explained the meaning of Ubuntu: “Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to improve?” And here is a recent answer from Apple:

The latest iPods have a cryptographic “checksum” in their song databases that prevents third-party applications from synching with the portable music players. This means that iPods can no longer be used with operating systems where iTunes doesn’t exist — like Linux.

I don’t think anybody needs Nelson Mandela to explain the meaning of this answer…

You say "Apple", I hear "control"

Ever since I came out as a Mac user little over a year ago I’ve been very happy with this choice. Unfortunately “choice” is not really word from Apple’s vocabulary. Everything related to products, music, software, public relations, technical support and so on is very tightly controlled by Apple.

I do understand that control give us the fully integrated experience we get from Mac or iPod but sometimes it’s simply overdone. One of many examples could be the famous Macbook Random Shutdown problem. It took Apple way too long to even acknowledge the existence of the problem and it really upset the community of users. Sometimes the control becomes completely counterproductive: you can’t simply report a problem with iTunes to Apple. You have to pick from “I bought the wrong version of a song”, “I bought the same song twice” and other pre-fabricated options that blame you, the user, before you can even send message to Apple.

Larry Lessig called me once a post-communist capitalist but I don’t think he was correct. I am simply looking for more balanced relationship with my computer/music player/software/media supplier. And I guess this is why I am using Ubuntu more and more. At the end of the day Ubuntu means: “I am because we are, and since we are, therefore I am“…

PS. Apparently the other possible meaning of Ubuntu is “I can’t configure Debian”…

XP: new Mac OS shell?

According to Wikipedia the shell is a piece of software that provides an interface for users. The primary purpose of the shell is to invoke or “launch” another program, however, shells frequently have additional capabilities such as viewing the contents of directories.

And this is exactly how I am using Microsoft XP on my Mac. The new Parallels Desktop 3.0 turns XP into a piece of code that is almost invisible and that helps me to launch a few remaining apps that have not been ported to Mac OS X yet. I don’t plan to upgrade to Vista ever. All I need is a small and stable shell. A piece of code…