Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Narrowing In on NeXT OpenStep

A few days ago I talked about wanting to get NeXT's OpenStep running on my MacBook Pro in either Parallels or VMware Fusion.

I'm narrowing in on a vendor that has the software I'm looking for.  Bonus points for the vendor for having the authority to resell the software with Apple's blessing.  I will post more details about the vendor and purchasing options once the software becomes available for purchase.

In the mean time, check out the video below for a 'live' demo of NeXTStep running on a greyscale NeXT Cube powered by none other than the Motorola 68040 processor.  The same processor that was used in the 1991 Apple Macintosh Quadra 900.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

webOS Homebrew: onTap Community Magazine

Who expected that in August 2012 I'd be writing about webOS again?  Not me.  But once again the small but dedicated Palm webOS community has surprised me.

I was playing with my HP/alm TouchPad and came across the 'Homebrew Pivot' patch from the webOS onTap Community Magazine project while browsing Preware.

Once the small patch is applied to your webOS device, the HP App Catalog Pivot feed is modified to point at the onTap magazine feed.  You can download and install the Tweaks patch, also available in Preware, to enable or disable the onTap patch and toggle the HP Pivot feed with the onTap homebrew feed.

Right now the onTap writing team is putting the finishing touches on their first issue and should be out in the next week or two.  I'll be sure to post an update article when the feed goes live and the first issue is published.  The sample pages (see below) that have been developed by the onTap writing staff look just as polished and professional as did the content developed by HP.

As a long time fan of Palm (and Palm support forums moderator and blogger and podcaster) and their products, I'm really interested to see what the editorial staff at onTap has, well, on tap, for us.  (Sorry, about the obligatory pun.)

For more information, there are a number of places you can check out online:

Website: http://www.webosontap.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/webOSonTap/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/webOSonTap
Google+: https://plus.google.com/103118434017670797778/

webOS Nations Forums

HP's Pivot Spring issue

onTap's Place Holder on the TouchPad

onTap Preview Screen Shots



Cook Changes Up SVP Line Up

Yesterday Apple CEO Tim Cook announced via press release that he is promoting two company vets to the role of Senior Vice President.
"Apple [has] announced that Craig Federighi, Apple’s vice president of Mac Software Engineering, and Dan Riccio, Apple’s vice president of Hardware Engineering, have been promoted to senior vice presidents. Federighi and Riccio will report to Apple CEO Tim Cook and serve on Apple’s executive management team."

In the same press release, it was announced that SVP Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield, who announced his retirement earlier this year will be staying on and continue to report directly to Mr. Cook.

[Via Apple.com...]

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Note About Apple TV (Generation 1) Content

Apple released the first Apple TV set top box in 2007 calling it a 'hobby' device and wanted to see what customers would do with it.  I've recently upgraded to a new iOS powered Apple TV third generation to watch TV shows and movies on my living room TV.

My first generation Apple TV is now connected the TV in my girl's room.  They don't have a cable box so this gives them a way to watch TV shows and movies that my wife and I can monitor.  But the first generation Apple TV was released in a time before 1080p and there is lots of HD content in the iTunes Store now.

I recently ran into a problem where a late episode of Discovery's Mythbusters.  Regardless of what I tried, the episode wouldn't sync.  Naturally, I ran to Google.com and started searching for answers.

I couldn't find any.

Then I realized that the episode was only showing an "HD" icon, and not the "HD SD" icon.  SD being "standard definition," the 720p version of the show that the original Apple TV can play.  And there was my light bulb moment.  When I purchased the episode, I purchased the HD version to watch on my MacBook Pro or my living room third generation Apple TV.  I needed the SD version so my kids could watch it in their room.  Aha!

Once I downloaded the SD version of the shows, the episodes synced up to the first generation Apple TV normally.

So the lesson that I learned here is when you are purchasing HD content and you plan to use it on a first generation Apple TV make sure you go back and download the SD version of the show or movie if it doesn't automatically download.

To learn more about the Apple TV, in all it's versions, check out the Apple TV Wikipedia page.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Smooth Sailing with Mac OS X 10.8.1 Update


Earlier this afternoon I finally got around to installing the Mountain Lion 10.8.1 update on my mid-2009 MacBook Pro.

Mac OS X 10.8.1 is a small update weighing in at less than 40MB.  The whole install process literally took 5 minutes.  My Mac Pro will get upgraded tomorrow.

You download the update from the Mac App Store rather than the Software Update control panel.  This is a change in how updates are downloaded with Lion (10.7), Snow Leopard (10.6) and earlier versions of Mac OS X.

If you don't have Mac OS X Mountain Lion installed on your Mac, you can purchase it for $19.99 from the Mac App Store.  Once you have purchased Mac OS X, you can install it on any Macintosh that you own and meets the minimum technical requirements.  Double check the specs.  Not all of the new features, like AirPlay are supported on 2011 and earlier Macs.  Updates to Mac OS X are free to download.

I'm running the 17-inch model with 8GB of RAM and a 500GB disk drive.  I chose the 17-inch MacBook Pro line, now discontinued, to give me the best of both worlds; a desktop when connected to a 37-inch HD TV and a high resolution, large screen computer when I'm at my various meetings during the month.

OpenStep on my MacBook Pro

With the one year anniversary of Steve Jobs passing coming up on October 5, I'm once again thinking about getting NeXT's OpenStep installed on my MacBook Pro.

NeXT's operating system software, NextStep 3 and OpenStep 4 wouldn't be installed directly on my Mac hardware, but rather I'd install it as a guest OS in Parallels or Fusion.  The problem, really, is that legal copies of NeXT's software is hard to come by and my knowledge of UNIX and Linux is painfully low.


The Mac On Intel blog looks like a good place to get started.

If I'm going to get this done by October 5, it's going to take a lot of long nights and help from the community.  Can I do it?  I don't know, but I'll give it a try.

If you have some NeXT OpenStep experience running inside Parallels or Fusion, hit me up on Twitter with the handle @alanmgrassia.

Apple (Product) Red Smart Cover for iPad

Yesterday I visited the Stamford Apple Store and picked up a (Product) Red smart cover for my iPad 3.

The red smart cover is leather and you can feel the difference over the polyurethane covers both in weight and in flexibility.  The leather cover feels more sturdy and a little bit heavier than my previous grey poly cover.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the purchase.  For more details, check out the Apple website.

Android and iOS - It's a Personal Preference

I've been thinking a lot about devices running Google's Android operating system lately.

My long time readers shouldn't worry, I'm not planning a defection any time soon.  I'm still an Apple fan boy and I still very much love using Small, Medium, and Large; more commonly referred to as my iPhone 4S, iPad 3 (ok, ok, 'the new iPad', sheesh!!), and my 17-inch MacBook Pro.

So what's with all of this Android mind share then?  It just seems that everywhere I look, there is an Android powered something or someone is asking me about whether to get a Samsung or an iPhone. And then there are the technology blogs, newspapers, magazines, podcasts, and all the rest that are talking about Android. Oh, and let's not forget the little spat between Apple and Samsung that is going on right now.

But the truth is, and by 'truth' I'm really talking about my 'opinion' here, is that copied or not, there are a number of interesting things going on with mobile devices running Google's mobile OS.

A good friend was over last night with his Samsung Galaxy S II and was talking about all the things that he does with it: file sharing, document and email printing, game playing, interfacing with the computers at work, and yes, the obligatory email and web surfing.  Granted, that he is what many of you would call a 'computer geek' and did 'root' his phone, still, the enthusiasm was there.

About a week ago, a co-worker was asking me about whether or not to get an iPhone 4S or a Samsung Galaxy S III.  Connie has an iPad 2, and while she didn't specifically say, I'm willing to bet that her high school age or older children both have iPod touches or iPhones too.  The query came from a desire to have the 'best' phone.  Since we were sitting in a conference room helping ourselves to a free pizza lunch, the other people in the room chimed in on the conversation.  After about a 10 minute discussion, we all agreed that the phone from Samsung was a good phone, that there was an ability to reuse applications from the iPad on the iPhone, but at the end of the day, it came down to costs and not features or vendor lock-in.  She had American Express card reward points to use and they were offering a free AT&T Samsung Galaxy S III.  Not amount of marketing and jockeying for customer mind share can complete with 'free.'

And there was an article I was reading about the Samsung Galaxy Note for T-Mobile.  Anyone else seeing a trend developing here?  Anyway, I was intrigued about the Note.  The device is massive.  It measures in at 5.78 x 3.26 x 0.37 inches.  (Not that I'm thinking about it, the Galaxy S III is almost just as big at 5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 inches.)

The interesting thing about this device is that it's what I'd call a 'tween' device.  It fits in between a smartphone and a 7-inch tablet like the Google Nexus 7.  Who knows if that category of device will take off or not.  I'm sure many people will want to use a device that size, but the question is are there enough people to make it a viable market or not.  Will have to stay tuned to find out.

The market has spoken and by and large, it's a two horse race: Apple's iOS and Google's Android.  The device you pick is your choice to make.  For me, iOS will be my mobile OS of choice.  There are a lot of good things happening with Android, and it is just as powerful and functional as iOS.