The Knowledge Navigator

In 1987 Apple was a huge force in the personal computer industry. First of all the industry was ALIVE. Thriving. Evolving. Competing. Apple still had loads of money from the success of the Apple II, the Mac was creating the DTP sector, the now 30-year old desktop paradigm was relatively new and there was no real competition to Mac OS in terms of graphical user interface prowess. This was the time before TalOS/Taligent, before Copland. Before stagnation. This was the time when Apple had the means and the will to do more than sugarcoating existing solid technologies and going after easy money. The Knowledge Navigator was a mock video of Apple’s vision of 2010 personal computers. Some of the ideas found their way in Apple’s ill-fated Newton Personal Digital Assistant — still by far the most impressive PDA ever. Some were realised in the form of the World Wide Web.



OLPC στην Ελλάδα.

OLPC in Hellas

Διάβασα στο το blog του Παναγιώτη Βρυώνη σχετικά με μια συζήτηση στην οποία συμμετείχε πριν από μερικές ημέρες στο δικτυακό ραδιόφωνο του ελληνικού κόμματος ΠαΣοΚ σχετικά με το πρόγραμμα του MIT Media Lab, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). Ιδού οι απόψεις μου σχετικά.

Αγνοώντας την αρχική πολιτική φλυαρία είναι εύλογο που ασχολείται κάποιο κόμμα με το OLPC. Απογοητευτική, παρα ταύτα, η συμμετοχή του κ. Παπανδρέου, όχι τόσο χρονικά όσο ποιοτικά. Συνολικά εξέλαβα πως επιφανειακό (στη καλύτερη) είναι το ενδιαφέρον του ΠαΣοΚ και άνευ πραγματικής ουσίας η συζήτηση στο πολιτικό επίπεδο.


My Favourite TextMate Themes.

TextMate ThemesTextMate is by far the best editor I’ve seen on Mac OS X or any other platform I’ve used since 1989, both in terms of features, usability and æsthetics/form. And in its relatively short history, from October 2004 to date, it’s managed to get its fair share of accolades, a huge following and countless extensions in the form of ‘bundles’ and ‘themes’.

This post is about the latter. Themes are sets of colours that define how text appears on your editor windows. While seemingly innocuous, a bad or ugly theme can significantly hinder productivity, especially if you have to look at it for hours on end. TextMate ships with some decent themes, but there are many more contributed by users; you can find several from Google and the macromates site. Here’s a list of my favourite TextMate themes, in no particular order. The font is Inconsolata.


» Το νόμισμα του πετρελαίου

Η αντικατάσταση του νομίσματος των ΗΠΑ με αυτό της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης από την Τεχεράνη για τις διεθνείς συναλλαγές της δεν είναι τόσο οικονομική κίνηση όσο πολιτική. Παρ’ότι όχι εμφανής, η κίνηση αυτή θα μπορούσε ίσως να αποτελέσει βασική αιτία (όμως σε καμία περίπτωση αφορμή) για τις πιθανές πολεμικές επιχειρήσεις των ΗΠΑ στη χώρα αυτή που εδώ και πολλούς μήνες αναφέρονται στον διεθνή τύπο. Και παρ’ότι το Ιράν δεν είναι το μόνο κράτος που απομακρύνεται από το δολλάριο, τόσο η συμβολική όσο και η πρακτική σημασία της εγκατάλειψης του δολλαρίου από τη χώρα αυτή είναι ιδιαίτερα μεγάλη.



Supporting the Commons and Wikipedia.

As is the case for some time now this time of year, the Creative Commons and Wikipedia are asking for your support (== money) to keep doing what they are doing. I find that — at least — Wikipedia is doing a great job and is a highly valuable community service worth supporting.

Creative Commons, very popular in online communities such as Flickr and the Anglosaxon blogosphere, has managed to secure close to $190K at the time of writing; they are aiming for $300K by year’s end. Wikipedia was at about $35K although I think it started its campaign much later. Following Panayotis’ lead I’m posting this video from Creative Commons that explains what the licences are and what the advantages are over good old Copyright. Worth seeing if you’re curious about what that CC you keep seeing on many sites means.

If you feel that free not-for-profit community services such as Wikipedia and Creative Commons are not things you’d like to see disappear (or, in the case of Wikipedia, replaced by commercial, ad-cluttered alternatives, where I dare say fewer people would contribute) consider donating. It’s easy, fast and if you’re in the U.S. tax-deductible.



Spammed to death.

About a month ago I wrote about the surge in comment spam this site has experienced. Well, it’s still going through the roof. I’m getting more spam everyday. This past few days I’ve received more than 800 spam comments per day. It took several months to cross the 1,000 mark. Last month I was at 4K. Today I crossed the 10K mark. I doubt it’s going to stop anytime soon, but I have my doubts about akismet’s capacity to cater with ever increasing spam comments and number of blogs at this rate. I’ve already found some of your comments in the spam list and it’s getting increasingly hard to peruse the list when there are dozens of pages of spam messages waiting for me. If you find your comment flagged as spam, lemme know by sending a message through the About page.

Akismet‘s zeitgeist agrees. Check out the number of spam comments per day processed by Akismet over the past year:

Akismet Zeitgeist



Is MacHeist worth it?

MacHeist is a bundle of Macintosh applications where 25% of the price paid goes to charity. It consists of 9+1 applications, many of them award winning and pretty well known, that — if bought separately — would cost around $300. The bundle goes for $49.

The applications are Delicious Library, NewsFire, FotoMagico, ShapeShifter, DEVONThink Professional, Disco, RapidWeaver, iClip4, One Pangea Game and TextMate (although that last one will be unlocked only if/when the charity raises $100k).

Now, as of the time of me writing this post there have been 4,908 bundles sold with the amount raised for charity being slightly less than $54,000. Is MacHeist worth it?

For anyone *just* getting a Mac and interested in three or more of the applications in the bundle it probably is worth it. Personally I find most of the applications useless for my needs and the ones I care about either I’ve already bought, or are not competitively priced.

For example, Delicious Library is a nice application, but awfully slow on older machines and I don’t think I’d pay $40.00 for it anyway. FotoMagico, DEVONthink, iClip4 and the Pangea Game are not applications I’d pay anything for. Shapeshifter, and customisation of the interface in general, is not something I care about, although I’ll admit it’s pretty well done. NewsFire is nice, but I don’t really like RSS readers. Not enough to pay for one anyway. RapidWeaver may be useful to someone trying to create their first web page, but I don’t exactly fall in that category.

The two applications I care about from this bundle are Disco and TextMate. Disco can be bought for $14.95 and I have already bought TextMate and use it daily. Besides, even if I hadn’t, there is no guarantee that it’d be unlocked anytime soon, considering there are 3 days and 11 hours left before the bundle offer ends.

So while Macheist is probably a good deal for the consumer, it is not at all tempting to me — and I imagine a whole lot of other Mac users. Like many, I am not quite sure about its value to the developers involved either.

In any case, even if you don’t end up getting it, it might introduce you to a good application (or two) you didn’t know before.


» Rules for Switching

Το BBC γράφει σχετικά για τους νέους κανόνες του Ofcom (της Βρετανικής ΕΕΤΤ) σχετικά με την ευκολία αλλαγής (ευρυζωνικού) ISP. Άντε και στα δικά μας.


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