Making stuff as a founder of Avocado. Former music-maker. Tuna melt advocate. Started Google Reader. (But smarter people made it great.)

The machines aren't touching.

Normally, when techs talk about their personal computers or gadgets (and how they use them) people's eyes glaze like a doughnut.

This is one of those times: prepare to glaze.

Personal computers / devices

My current state of the personal computing experience can be summed up as follows: I'm experiencing platform segregation.

And it's predictable. I hate when marketers are right. :)

My Windows box is where I have heavy duty development and other work-related programs installed: SQL Server, IBM Websphere, Visual Studio, IntelliJ, T.O.A.D., Perforce, PeopleSoft, SAP, Bulletproof FTP, Java SDK, PHP, ActivePerl, Homesite and of course, Office. I take this computer, albeit rarely, to certain meetings. I sync my Palm Pilot to this machine.

The not-quite-real image I've dutifully absorbed as asked: A power tie hanging off the monitor cable of this machine.

My Macintosh is where I have my heavy duty entertainment-focused software. iTunes, Reason, Cubase, Final Cut Pro, iChat and the one non-console video game I play, KoboDeluxe. This laptop I take everywhere - to hang in internet cafes or conferences, to record, to rehearse, and to make the oh-so-pretty sounds come out. I sync my iPod to this machine.

The not-quite-real image I've dutifully absorbed as asked: A fist-shaped apple with the words "CRY FREEDOM" spray-painted on a bright-green fur cover perfectly complementing an orange ascot near the USB port.

Both have Photoshop and Mozilla. (Or a variant - see Camino.) Otherwise, they don't touch (especially in spirit and type of time consumption) except to network and share files.

Web development

Browsers I like:
Mozilla, IE 6, Safari, Camino, Phoenix.

Dogs that were mistakenly issued major credit cards and others who weren't so lucky:
I've dropped support for IE 5.0/Win entirely. IE 5.5 - you're next. Also soon to be cut: IE 5 on the Macintosh. (When I float an element and give it width, I want to be able to align the text horizontally.)

I no longer test Opera.* Too frustrating. Even though I've heard that version 7 has made great strides.

* Of course, I'm lucky to have that luxury. The enterprise web apps I work on every day require a sophisticated soup of CSS and DOM that are currently only supported by the big players (Microsoft, Mozilla/Netscape). And this site's main users (me, my Dad, my bandmates) all browse with the latest and greatest. Which is a blessing...because I can't even imagine having the time to test my poor little vanity site with as many browser/system configurations as exist now.

Update: Well...I caved. I just tested on Opera 7 and submitted a fix for the top navigation tabs. Should work for Opera 7.01/Win now.

Things I like about this Massless redesign:
Putting images as backgrounds to HTML elements. Which (a.) gives me more area to right-click and use the navigation menu to select "Back" and "Forward" rather than right-clicking and getting the image context menu and (b.) allows me to change the images of any one design by just changing the stylesheet. I also like that the entire design will fit on an screen with 800x600 resolution. (About time, I know.) That's mainly to make the site better for my Mom and Dad.

More things I like about it:
It seems to work in IE5.5/Win, IE6/Win, Mozilla 1.3/Win, Mozilla 1.3/Mac OSX, Camino 0.7, IE 5.2/Mac OSX, and Safari v.62 the one with tabs that's a "secret" to only a few thousand power users.

Things I don't like about this redesign:

The wrong tab lights up when I open certain sections (like "See All Links" or when opening an article). Also, it doesn't degrade well. And it doesn't validate. And it fails by any number of accessibility standards.

In application server news:
I'm beginning to hate IBM's Websphere with Simon-Cowell-like intensity. I waste hours waiting for the Service to restart or the Admin Console to reload.

Also: Companies in my sphere are beginning ask some weird questions. Like: Why does it take so long to develop web apps in Java or C++ or VB or C# when PHP, ASP, PERL gets us 80% there? Overheard: "Our open-source competitors are burning us with a new release every few months! Is it the tools they're using?" I think it's a weird question in part because I think there are so many good reasons to use those languages and, anyway, the tool which fits best is the one that should be used. What the hydra-headed question suggests to me: Yahoo's announcement about PHP a while back was parallel executive discovery, I think. Whether you like it or not, I think there will be a bit of experimenting with the reliance of server-side scripting as companies try to competitively reduce the length of time of software release cycles. The need for some value to offset high prices in a time of recession is driving this it seems.


I play one non-console game: Kobo Deluxe. The OS X port was submitted by Adam Marks, my bandmate in our electropop group: The Small Hours. (There are still some SDL issues.) Try it on Windows, to see, though: Kobo is a 16-bit-like throwback. Lovely. Addicting.

I play one console game: Super Mario Sunshine. Yes, I am eleven years old, thank you for noticing.

Posted at March 7, 2003 03:36 PM
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"Re-design in the Time of "Car"-lera."