I used to make fun of Apple lovers. Pretty computers? Come on! Give me a shiny black case with a window so I can see the guts of my computer as it works.

Cool web developers use Macs

I suppose the biggest convincer for me was watching all those video tutorials of cool web developers with their MacBooks. That, and the constant Mac vs. PC debates on Slashdot and other sites. The Mac vs. PC commercials helped a bit too.

These things sparked my interest enough to inspire me to do some more research. My first question was, Will my software work? So far, I haven’t found any program I used on Windows that doesn’t have a Mac version or at least an equivalent, if not better, Mac counterpart.

Where’s the legacy code?

As I learned more about the OS X architecture, I went from interested to incredulous. Really? It’s not like Windows, which still contains 20+-year-old legacy code? And it’s based on a UNIX operating system? Wow, I was impressed. The next logical step was to see how much these things cost.

My Hackintosh

My interest in Macs diminished to almost zero when I saw the price. I gave up the notion of ever being able to own a Mac–that is, until I read about installing OS X on a PC. I downloaded an OSx86 torrent and easily installed OS X on my PC. It was wonderful. I was still using XP at the time; I refused to touch Vista. Installing apps was disgustingly simple. In fact, most things seemed too easy. I began to question whether my apps were even being installed. Just drop the icon into the app folder? Where are my wizards? Shouldn’t there be more things to click: “Next, Yes, Next, Next, Next, Finish”? It was hard to believe how flawlessly my Hackintosh setup worked. My M-Audio hardware worked superbly and Pro Tools worked perfectly as well. It just worked, period.

There was only one recurring problem with my Hackintosh setup. Updates usually screwed everything up, forcing me to reinstall. This was unacceptable. I can’t suffer that kind of downtime, so I was forced to switch back to the gloomy world of Microsoft. But now I was hooked. I had tasted the Apple, and I liked it.

It’s the iPhone’s fault for being so wonderful!

My next major step in converting to Appleism was the iPhone. I was determined to get some sort of data plan for my phone once I graduated and got a job. I researched Windows Mobile (lol), Blackberry, Android, and Apple.  After numerous weeks and months of reading various reviews, I was ready to make my decision. On August 28, 2009, I purchased an iPhone 3GS from Best Buy on Fido’s network with 6GB of data per month.  It was the happiest day of my life… after my wedding, of course (my wife edits my blog–love you, honey!). My iPhone and I became fast friends. We went everywhere together. I played with it every chance I got. I even used it for a phone call or two.

But then I had a problem. My iPhone got lonely. I wasn’t enough for it, and it never did get along that well with Windows 7. They’d sync okay, but I just knew it would sync much better with an Apple.

The 27″ iMac is a thing of beauty

It just so happened that around this time Apple announced the 27″ iMac. I knew it was time. I ordered the Quad Core i7 version on November 30, and it didn’t arrive until the 16th of December. Those weeks of waiting were horrible. I kept reading about all the problems people were having with the 27″ beauties. I even bought the Apple care protection plan just in case. I was expecting to unpack my new friend and have to repackage it the next day to send it back. Well, I’ve had it for 2 months now and it still works perfectly. The updates work too! My iMac is just great. It may have cost a small fortune, but wow, was it worth it. My biggest complaint at the moment is that I keep losing track of my mouse because the screen is so huge. I had intended to use my old 22″ LCD as a second monitor, but there’s just no room on my desk for the 27″ beast and anything else.

Before

After

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Apple iPad

It’s just a big iPhone

Apple iPadThe number one criticism I hear about the iPad is that it’s a stripped-down, oversized iPhone.  Well, I say… great! I love my iPhone; I just wish it had a bigger screen.

Will I miss my GPS and camera? A little, I suppose, but I’m not getting rid of my iPhone anytime soon, nor would I even if the iPad did have those features. I’d also feel rather silly carrying around 2 GPS devices and 2 camera devices. I look at the iPad as a great companion to my iPhone. Its bigger, younger brother. I’m hoping I’ll be able to tether my iPhone to my iPad so I can save some money by not having to get the 3G iPad model.

I thought it was funny that Bill Gates was disappointed with the iPad. Yeah, Mr. Microsoft doesn’t like his competitor’s product–boohoo. I suppose he’d say his Windows Tablet PC is superior.

But there’s no Multitasking?

The other thing everyone seems to have against the iPhone and iPad is their lack of multitasking support. Has anyone ever heard of a software update? Apple’s not stupid. The iPhone really doesn’t need multitasking; it would be nice, but definitely not a requirement. The iPad’s bigger screen means it can be used for more complex things; I’d love to be able to do at least some PHP coding on there. I have faith in Apple that we’ll be seeing multitasking soon.

Laptop replacement

I’m hoping to use the iPad as a replacement to my laptop. I haven’t touched my ThinkPad in months because my iPhone gets all my attention now. When I did use my laptop, I didn’t use it for much more than email, web browsing and the occasional hour or two of web development. The iPhone is great for email and adequate for web browsing (although a bigger screen would be wonderful–hence why I want an iPad), but I can’t seem to find a good text editor for coding. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because the iPhone’s screen is just too small for that sort of thing. That being said, with the iPad’s much larger screen, I’m sure someone will develop a simple IDE or at least a fancy Notepad++-like editor for it. Add an iPad dock and keyboard, and good-bye laptop.

3G or no 3G?

I’m still not sure if I’ll buy an iPad right away or not. If the Canadian data plans are cheap enough, I might actually spring for a 3G model. The only problem is that I want one NOW! I don’t want to wait until June when Rogers gets their act together. I think that if I can find out for sure whether tethering to the iPhone will be supported, then I’ll get the WiFi-only model. Either way, I can’t wait to get my iPad!

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My prosthesis

  1. Contact lenses cost half as much.
  2. You can say cool things like, “I was getting my eye painted.”
  3. If you get something in your eye you can take it out.
  4. Cool nicknames such as One Eyed John.
  5. Great excuse for breaking things.
  6. Lack of depth perception cures your fear of heights.
  7. You can choose your own eye color.
  8. You can paint pictures on your eye.
  9. Your eye can turn upside down.
  10. Lack of depth perception causes you to see crazy things.
  11. You can frighten people with it.
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I recently cancelled my VOIP service with Acanac. Since they don’t warn you when they’re going to renew your account, I cancelled my account now instead of closer to June when my account would be up for renewal.

Technically speaking, I was happy with my service. The service was rarely down except for the summer of 2008 when it seemed to go down at the same time every Wednesday night for a few weeks in a row. I was also very happy with the price, but there were a few problems I just couldn’t get past.

The reasons I cancelled my VOIP service are as follows:

1. Useless Toronto number: I was living in Hamilton at the time and requested a Hamilton number, but I was assigned a Toronto number. When I signed up, a sales person told me that I could switch my number when a Hamilton number became available. I tried several times over the course of more than a year to change my number, but there were still apparently no available numbers. Then I moved to Kitchener and requested a Kitchener number. Again, my request to change my number was denied. I’m very curious as why other VOIP providers seem to have plenty of Hamilton and Kitchener numbers but Acanac apparently can’t find any.

2. Since I could not get a local number, I signed up with another VOIP service to receive local calls using a local number and I just used Acanac for outgoing calls. This worked fine and Acanac even changed my Caller ID to my new local number (with another service). Then I moved to Kitchener and requested they change my caller ID to my new Kitchener number. At first they refused, saying, “It’s against our policy,” and then, when I told tech support that they had changed it before, they reluctantly changed my caller ID but said this was the last time. (I guess it’s against their policy to change cities too.) Why should caller ID be a big deal?

For the most part, the service worked well and the cost was good, but since I could only use Acanac for outgoing calls, the cost went up as I had to get an incoming service elsewhere. Also, the VOIP provider I use now allows me to change my caller ID as often as I want–oh, and they actually have phone numbers for major cities in Ontario besides Toronto!

I’ve been using my other VOIP service for both incoming and outgoing calls for many months now and I am very happy with them, even though it’s not unlimited but $0.01 per minute. I finally have a Kitchener number . . . hurray!

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Springloops might seem like just another hosted Subversion service, but it has one amazing feature that sets it apart from all the other hosted Subversion services I have researched.
That feature is Deployment. Springloops provides the ability to deploy your code to multiple servers either by their web interface or automatically by just committing a file to your repository.

For example:
Let’s say you have 2 servers: a development server and a production server.
In Springloops’ web interface, you might configure your development server to deploy automatically on commit and set your production server to be manually deployed to. With a setup like this, developers can always have access to the latest version on the development server, and once development is finished, the code can be deployed to the production server. Any organization can easily fit Springloops in with their current development workflow.

Springloops pricing is pretty good. Plans range in price from free to $96 per month. The free plan only provides 100MB of space, 3 projects and 3 deployments per day. The seconds plan costs only $9 and allows 10 projects, 2GB of space and unlimited projects.

Don’t take my word for it, sign up for a free Springloops account and try it for yourself.

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