May 26, 2005

Intel chief (almost) recommends Macs

Intel's CEO Paul Otellini has stopped just short of recommending the Mac, but admits that security concerns on Intel hardware won't be fixed anytime soon.

Let the Apple/Intel rumor mongers chew on that one for a while...

Posted by Jim at 12:45 AM | TrackBack

May 24, 2005

Apple/Intel rumors - Bah!

Well, the media is just going nuts thanks to a rumor started by 'analysts' at the Wall Street journal about Apple possibly using Intel chips in upcoming products, and everyone's just falling all over themselves buzzing about the possibility. Personally I think that anyone in the media that starts talking about such things should be fired for their incompetence, but here's my take on all of this.

First of all, nowhere in the original article was the word PROCESSOR mentioned. You know, that really big chip that runs the whole show? Last time I checked, Intel made more than just Pentiums, and Apple has used Intel chips in the past in its products. In fact, at this very moment I'm staring at an Apple multi-port Ethernet card removed from a G4 server, and it has Intel chips all over it.

Next, even if there was the thought of moving to Intel processors, as I mentioned Posted by Jim at 7:28 PM | TrackBack

May 15, 2005

Postfix and road warriors

Ok, so you've set up your own mail server on your PowerBook for when you're on the road, and don't know what ISP you'll be connecting to next. Now you can send mail from anywhere, as long as you've got an internet connection, and it'll go through just fine, right? Wrong. An incresing number of mail servers worldwide are restricting where they accept mail from, dynamic or dial up IP ranges are blocked in many cases, mail from IP addresses without a resolvable DNS name, or even ANY DNS name, etc. And some mail is just dropped, you'll never know it bounced. So, what to do, you ask?

The answer is to relay your mail through another mail server. Generally, this is something that most mail servers should be set up to avoid doing (as Postfix does), but in this case, what we want to do is get mail from our mobile mail server to a fixed mail server elsewhere. If your regular ISP has a mail server set up to allow SASL (Simple Authentication and Security Layer) access, Postfix can be configured to support this, and once authenticated, mail can then be relayed to your ISP's mail server, which should then go through fine (assuming your ISP has a properly configured mail server).

A second option would be if you've already set up Postfix as a mail server at home (as I have), and your ISP doesn't provide SASL access, would be to pass mail to your home system, which can then send the mail out. A bit convoluted, but it will get the job done, and you won't need to worry about mails not going through.

Not quite the simple plug and play solution Mac folks are used to, but mail servers are not known for being simple, nor should they be. Anyone attempting to set up their own server should understand the technology involved, and be prepared to support themselves, and probably consider joining one of the mailing lists available.

Posted by Jim at 10:47 PM | TrackBack

Postfix Enabler for Mac OS X 10.4

Postfix Enabler for Tiger is now available, finding this out has saved me some time trying to test the prior release and figure out if it worked. This will activate the built in version of Postfix and within moments give you a fully functioning mail server.

Posted by Jim at 10:27 PM | TrackBack

May 10, 2005

Radio Shuffle?

Philip Michaels writes in his piece on macworld.com today that iPods killed the radio star, an article about how radio stations across the country are changing their formats, greatly expanding the number of songs played, and using terms like 'Jack and Shuffle' in their promotional materials to describe the format. Philip seems to think this is a great idea. I, on the other hand, call it crap.

Case in point, some months back, a local and much beloved Oldie's station suddenly and without warning switched it's format, and they now apparently play everything ever recorded. This isn't a format, this is a total lack of format. What had been a station that the whole family could enjoy, and more importantly, was something my wife and I as parents felt comfortable with our children listening to, suddenly became off limits because you never knew what would pop up next in their rotation. As an added 'bonus', the station also canned all their on-air personalities, and so now songs weren't announced, so for the most part you had no idea what you were listening to.

For years, while on the road and tuning up and down the band looking for tunes, I'd occasionally find some decent music (my tastes run from oldies to classic rock to metal), and then suddenly I'd be listening to an entirely different genre. Typically such stations included the tags 'Mix' or 'Magic' in their slogans, a sure warning sign to stay away.

People like to shuffle their OWN playlists, songs that they have specifically added to their library by artists they know and enjoy listening to. Shuffle allows them to hear songs from THEIR library that they might normally play, forgotten tracks from an older CD. Tuning into a radio station that plays selections from multiple genres and from artists the listener has probably never heard of is quite frankly annoying. How would you feel if you bought a case of your favorite beverage, and every can tasted different?

For me, the whole point of listening to a radio station over my iPod is to hear tunes not necessarily in my collection, but hopefully in a category that I'm familiar with and enjoy. I like listening to the local DJ announce the songs to tell the listener what they were listening to, maybe give some info about what the artist is doing these days, and all the other banter that's worked into the broadcast, something your iPod can't do. But tuning into a radio station that's all over the dial musically, and worse those without DJs to tell you what you're listening to is just plain bad business.

People like a certain amount of predictability, they like things they're used to, and hence will stick with those products that deliver this reliably. Small changes over time are easily accepted (new songs from old artists, new songs from new artists, but all within the accepted genre), but major format changes are often rebelled against and listeners will go elsewhere.

Radio stations can not and should not be directly competing with the iPod or other MP3 players, they need to stick with what they do best, what they've been doing for decades, and give the listeners what they want, or you'll find that your listers will soon be shuffling to another location on the dial.

Posted by Jim at 5:59 PM | TrackBack

May 1, 2005

Tiger mail server

Now that Mac OS X 10.4 is shipping, I know that some folks running mail servers will be interested in upgrading their systems. I've heard that 10.4 includes Postfix 2.1.5, the last official release in the 2.1.x series. Even though Postfix 2.2.x is available, light duty servers can still manage just fine with 2.1.5, but I'm assuming that MySQL support and other goodies probably weren't compiled into the build.

I'm going to get my server here upgraded in the next few days to Tiger, which for me will involve recompiling Postfix (I'll probably upgrade to 2.2.3), but I'll also see about doing some testing of the base 10.4 config and report my findings here.

Posted by Jim at 1:39 PM | TrackBack