That kind of day

This is definitely the kind of day I’ve had.

funny-pictures-fighting-cats-constructive-feedback.jpg

I’m the white cat on the right.

Feh.

While I have a general distaste for the idea of running multiple websites with multiple focuses, I find that the PodPress plugin is forcing me into a untenable situation with this website. If you were unlucky enough to pop on here at around 11pm Central tonight, you might have been somewhat frightened in that the website’s title and appearance had suddenly changed.

No, I wasn’t hacked… it was Podpress forcing its special brand of love upon me. While the plugin is beautiful, it’s quite obvious that it wants to be the focus of an entirely new website.

…so yet again, another new website is in my cooker. Sigh.

Yep, it’s wrong

Some of the #morphixers may find this hard to believe, but I’m not going to defend Apple on this latest round of controversy.

Trying to sell your browser by suddenly including it in the newest autoupdate procedure for Windows users was a bad move. It reeks of that “unfriendly neighbor” feel like Microsoft forcing IE4 down your throat (remember those days?) I understand the idea and the approach. It would have been one thing to make it available – checking the box by default is another thing altogether.

I will tell you this, though; if my stepfather is any measure of success, the ploy worked on him. He blindly clicked through the dialogue and ended up with Safari on his system. Curious, he decided to give it a go. He wasn’t too impressed, though.

I was never sure that using Safari as the ambassador to Mac technology was a good idea. Safari takes a very minimalist approach to web browsing, which I (and many others) like quite a bit. However, Windows users are not known to minimalist and I doubt will see the merits of that approach. Instead, I would suspect they would see it as a featureless, bland piece of software that has now squirmed its way onto the system. The deal sealer for Mac technology has always been the OS itself, not the squeaky-clean apps that run on it. Let them put OS X in a box and I’d bet you’d start to see different results.

I agree with all of the statements that the pundits are making… it’s unfair to expect a user to keep up with a piece of software they were not necessarily aware had gotten onto their system… gives it another attack vector, etc. etc. Safari isn’t the most insecure thing on the planet, but still, installing software in a sneaky, snarky way like this is just not the right thing to do.

One day, I’ll write an article about how I just don’t understand the browser wars anyway.

Pull it back, Apple, before your black eye gets larger.

Jin and Sun as Figures of Tragedy

I feel like I can always count on episodes of Lost that are centered on Jin and Sun to bring tears to my eyes. There’s a subtle, consistent thread that exists about these two; they are figures of traditional tragedy, especially tonight.

Okie, that’s all I’ll say plot-wise, because I know some of you may have DVR’d it. I’ll try to express this without giving it away.

The story of Jin and Sun has an inherent overtone of tragedy. Sun’s secrets have always made the story quite tense and Jin’s undying devotion to his wife just makes it all the worse. It’s sad to see them struggle with their lives and relationship.

In many ways I feel like this couple is also an homage to Asian cinema. I have yet to run across a truly happy Asian film. Most Asian cinema is just really, really damn sad. If you want a feeling of complete despair, I challenge you to check out Farewell, My Concubine or Raise the Red Lantern (MGM World Films). Don’t get me wrong, this is good, hard stuff, but it’s really tragic.

I didn’t really understand them to be an homage to Asian cinema until I pointed out tonight that every Jin/Sun story in Lost is quite tragic, leading up to what will surely be quite a tragic end to their plot thread. My wife simply smiled and summed it up, “They’re Asian.”

Wink wink, nod… yes, they’re Asian, and it’s entertainment, so by design, I expect their story to have a terribly tragic ending I’m sure. I’ll applaud all the way to the Kleenex box.

Entourage GAL browsing script

Do your users try to get through the day with Entourage 2004 or Entourage 2008? (Believe me when I say “get through the day.”) Do you have your domain controllers locked away behind a VPN? Are your users depressed that they cannot access GAL information from outside your iron curtain?

E’rage users should feel less enraged with this interesting Applescript. This little guy makes a shortcut key available that will use Outlook Web Access to query your GAL and return information. It was pointed out to us by a Microsoft engineer. They did not verify that it worked with Exchange 2007, but I can tell you that it does function with Entourage 2008 with Exchange 2007.

The only downside to the script that I can find thus far is PKI. If you use your Active Directory to publish PKI certificates for users, this script will not see/use them. If you need PKI functionality with directory lookup, you still need to be able to talk to that global catalog/domain controller.

Still, it’s nice to have a backup when the global catalog is taking its sweet American time to process your lookup…

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The iPhone Earthquake

Once again, the iPhone rules the press with a heavy dollop of enticing news.

There’s a lot here on the surface and a lot below the surface. Let’s scratch the surface first.

The announcements about Apple licensing ActiveSync are interesting. There was lots of speculation in this regard and greetz to those who called it. I myself lost a bet. I was thinking that Apple might actually thumb their nose at ActiveSync and employ webdav for Exchange 2003 (much like Entourage) or web services for Exchange 2007. Of course, that would not be a quick route to policy controls on the device itself (i.e. remote kill), so ActiveSync makes the most business sense both in time and money. It’s a good investment. I was just hoping they wouldn’t just… well, because.

But they did. Let’s analyze what this brings:

– Sync with email (effectively push email, but it’s not TRULY push email… ActiveSync, even on Windows Mobile, IS NOT PUSH EMAIL. It just appears that way).

– Sync with contacts

– Sync with calendars

– NOTICEABLY ABSENT: sync with tasks

– Policy control over device. The You Had Me At EHLO blog states that this is about at the Exchange 2003 SP2 level of device control, which means it’s not as feature rich as the Blackberry, but a good starting point.

Other items of note for enterprises:

– Cisco IPSEC and VPN clients

– Two-factor authentication

What’s missing? Well, you saw me point out that task syncing is missing… Merlin Mann is likely pissing himself right about now over that. But I noticed today that there were no federal government folks present and… here’s the bad news for those federal workers… Jobs never mentioned encryption of data at rest. Thanks to an OMB directive, encryption of data at rest is a requirement for a mobile device on a federal government network. Guess what device is the only one to meet that requirement?

If you’re thinking of a berry in the color of night, you’d be right.

You’d also be right if you’re thinking of the next version of Windows Mobile… 6.1, I believe they call it. Last I remember, that also had encryption of data at rest.

So unfortunately, this may leave the iPhone out of the federal government networks for a little while longer. Perhaps it’s an oversight that it wasn’t mentioned – but I’m betting that it was left out deliberately.

All in all, I wasn’t crazy about the iPhone before but I certainly am now. The fact that they’ve really turned it into a platform with an ecosystem makes this very, very exciting. One of the challenges of the OS X platform was the lack of an ecosystem. Now with OS X advances, the freely-available Xcode and now the freely-available iPhone SDK, Apple stands to really rock the world with an ecosystem that could quickly rival Microsoft.

To make sure they’re shaking things up, there’s that iFund thing. What a fantastic idea. Folks, when was the last time Microsoft paid you to develop applications for their platform? If you want to get into the Microsoft developmental mafia, you’re likely looking at an MSDN subscription ($2500 or so the first year, $1500 each year afterwards… PER SEAT!)… you’re looking at heavy software licensing costs and hell, they don’t even distribute the application or updates for you.

Apple is not only making the price of entry into their ecosystem dirt cheap ($99), the development software is free and they will distribute your applications/updates. Folks, this is a hell of a deal and I’m betting there are small businesses and garage developers everywhere getting excited about this.

I really, really think Microsoft is in trouble on many fronts. It’s going to be hard to stop this kind of excitement. I don’t even intend to develop apps for the iPhone or the Mac and I’m excited.

Truly, there was an earthquake today in California. It may have been a subtle earthquake for some, but I felt it quite strong here on the other side of the states. I’m excited about computing again – and that’s something to cheer about.

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A Podcast Debut

This morning I was informed that the podcast roundtable was posted. I participated in this roundtable last week. Our discussion went on for a good hour and twenty minutes or so, but Jeff managed to whittle it all down to 23 minutes. I’m not sure how he managed that, but I’m looking forward to hearing it.

Just in case you’re curious, hit the podcast here. In case you’re wondering, it’s an Oscars roundup. If you have no interest in the Oscars, at least you were warned 😉

Full text of MSFT e-Mail: Microsoft execs on Vista problems

Full text of MSFT e-Mail: Microsoft execs on Vista problems: “Full text: Microsoft execs on Vista problems
A federal judge today unsealed internal Microsoft e-mails that have been used to support the plaintiffs’ case in the lawsuit over the ‘Windows Vista Capable’ program. Snippets were previously read aloud in court, but the full messages go further to reveal extensive hand-wringing, at the highest levels of the […]”

(Via Dvorak Uncensored.)

It just occurred to me, while reading Mr. Dvorak’s post, that there’s a possibility that Intel specifically torpedoed Microsoft and Vista over the past few years to turn the tide in favor of Apple.

I’m not one to actually apply paranoid-style conspiracy theories, but this just came to mind. You could quite easily take these emails, examine Intel’s past actions, combine them with Vista and Apple timelines and it certainly seems quite suspicious.

While discussing this with a co-worker, he had a brilliant observation. “Microsoft and Intel are like the two parents who should have divorced long ago, but stayed together for the kids.”

Indeed.

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Browser share

Here’s a late night pondering for you as I traipse off to bed.

Ask yourself: does the subject matter of a blog control what browser share you’re likely to experience on your site?

Given the stats that I’m getting, I can say (without much of a doubt) that yes, that’s true…

#	#reqs	#pages	browser
1	5132	2910	Firefox
 	4002	1992	  Firefox/2
 	986	837	  Firefox/3
 	144	81	  Firefox/1
2	2535	2189	Safari
 	2534	2188	  Safari/523
 	1	1	  Safari/417
3	1750	973	MSIE
 	705	478	  MSIE/6
 	978	428	  MSIE/7
 	67	67	  MSIE/5

Eh. Just interesting is all.

Once again, I’ve stayed up far, far too late. Someone shoot me so I can get some sleep, please?

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Gag Reflex

My wife is in the kitchen right now making a Chinese dish for herself that contains the worst stench I’ve ever smelled in my life. It smells like decaying flesh on a wet summer day after blisters have formed all over your feet. I’m trying my best not to make fun of it, but it’s really, really hard to do. She plans to combine it with some noodles of some kind.

If you don’t hear from me tomorrow, please know that the fumes killed me. Call the police.

Interracial marriages are fun 🙂