Solipsism Gradient

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Browsing Posts published in April, 2006

Miksang

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I’ve uploaded a couple more pictures to my Flickr page and added a new tag to most of what’s there – Miksang:

Miksang is a Tibetan word meaning “Good Eye” and represents a form of contemplative photography based on the Dharma Art teachings of Chögyam Trungpa, in which the eye is in sync with the contemplative mind.

…Miksang involve nothing fancy, no special setup, just a visual capture, in the proper state of mind, of everyday’s reality.

Well, I’ve been interested in Buddhism – especially Zen and Tibetan Buddhism – for many years; I have several of Trungpa’s books; and I’ve even visited Karmê Chöling, the Trungpa-founded meditation center in Vermont, about a decade ago.

But I’d never heard of this Miksang thing until a few days ago, when I visited a friend and showed him my Flickr photos, and he exclaimed “but that’s Miksang!”

Well, after reading up on it, I have to agree that most photos on Miksang galleries remind me very much of my own photos, and the descriptions I’ve read on the process are also quite familiar. Not that I want to claim undue credit or extra specialness for these pictures… but I feel they belong somehow.

There’s a Miksang class in Berkeley which, unfortunately, partially overlaps WWDC, which I can’t miss. Drat. I’ll try to e-mail the organizers and and see if I can attend the first days…

hmafra wrote:

He did it again! One of his takes now is the kernel thing. Speed, he says.

What he writes makes some of sense, like the part on cross-licensing agreement. I still don’t buy it, though.

I was about to comment on that.

I checked with some friends who know more about the kernel, and they say he’s completely wrong. In fact, there are two myths at work here. The first one says that Mac OS X uses a Mach microkernel, which is wrong. XNU, which is the Mac OS X kernel, is effectively monolithic as the whole BSD stuff runs right alongside the Mach stuff in the same context. The Mach code takes care of memory allocation and thread scheduling, the BSD code does most of the rest. None of the switching that would make a pure microkernel inefficient. Granted that there are some kernel functions which are slower than the equivalent calls in, say, Linux; but this just means that Mac OS X isn’t currently suited to huge server farms, and that Apple can tinker with this if necessary without switching kernels at all. In fact, they’re probably already doing this with the Intel versions of Leopard.

The second myth is that only Avie Tevanian was holding Mach in place by sheer orneriness, and that now that he’s gone, everybody will heave a sigh of relief, throw Darwin out, and shoehorn Linux (or even XP) into its place. That too is completely wrong. Bertrand Serlet has been in charge of the OS policy for at least two years now. And consider that XNU, because of the Mach component, is well-suited to scale to a larger number of processors. And consider that Intel is coming out with new chips that supposedly will scale well to 4, 8 or even more cores…

The idea of Leopard implementing the Windows API is, at first look, interesting. (Let’s discard the misinformation about “Microsoft saving Apple”, and that the cross-licensing included the Windows API.)

After all, Mac OS X already has several APIs for writing applications. BSD with X11, Carbon, Cocoa, Java, and so forth. Why not an additional one? Well, it’s possible in theory. In fact, the WINE people are working on such a thing. However, why should Apple make it too easy to move applications into Mac OS X? Such apps would never be full-class citizens, the appearance would be awkward, drag&drop would probably be impossible… no, virtualization is the way to go. Running Windows inside a secondary window would also be a constant reminder of which environment is the native one, which is more in Apple’s interest.

Posted by hmafra:

Rainer Brockerhoff wrote:

I suppose you mean the PBS Cringely, but I think he’s wrong in many points. Why should Apple change the kernel, for instance? It makes no sense. I haven’t commented on this since I think all such speculation is premature until more of Apple’s plans are revealed at WWDC.

Hi there, it’s me again on the same topic. This is something that really interests me, since I need some Windows only apps to work, but would prefer to use Macs all day. icon_wink.gif

He did it again! One of his takes now is the kernel thing. Speed, he says.

What he writes makes some of sense, like the part on cross-licensing agreement. I still don’t buy it, though.

Any comments?

Helvécio

Tempora Mutantur

No comments

Yes, the times sure are changing. Today I even found myself largely agreeing with a Paul Thurrott article:

Since the euphoria of PDC 2003, Microsoft’s handling of Windows Vista has been abysmal. Promises have been made and dismissed, again and again. Features have come and gone. Heck, the entire project was literally restarted from scratch after it became obvious that the initial code base was a teetering, technological house of cards. Windows Vista, in other words, has been an utter disaster. And it’s not even out yet.

Doesn’t that sound a lot like the ill-fated Copland project?

Sadly, Gates, too, is part of the Bad Microsoft, a vestige of the past who should have had the class to either formally step down from the company or at least play just an honorary role, not step up his involvement and get his hands dirty with the next Windows version. If blame is to be assessed, we must start with Gates. He has guided – or, through lack of leadership – failed to guide the development of Microsoft’s most prized asset.

Perhaps Microsoft’s most serious mistake, retrospectively, was that Gates and Ballmer were too compatible. Ballmer should have driven Gates out of the company in the 80s, then Gates should have matured elsewhere, only to return triumphantly in the 90s with new, cool technology, in the nick of time to save the company that was going broke after Ballmer in turn had been pushed out… sounds familiar, too? icon_smile.gif

Now here’s another interesting part:

Here’s what you have to go through to actually delete those files in Windows Vista. First, you get a File Access Denied dialog (Figure) explaining that you don’t, in fact, have permission to delete a … shortcut?? To an application you just installed??? Seriously?

…What if you’re doing something a bit more complicated? Well, lucky you, the dialogs stack right up, one after the other, in a seemingly never-ending display of stupidity. Indeed, sometimes you’ll find yourself unable to do certain things for no good reason, and you click Allow buttons until you’re blue in the face. It will never stop bothering you, unless you agree to stop your silliness and leave that file on the desktop where it belongs. Mark my words, this will happen to you. And you will hate it.

This is exactly what happened to me when I, a few months ago, had to install Windows XP for my wife’s business (to run a proprietary vertical app, if you must know). I tried to set up an admin account for myself and a normal user account for the receptionist. This being the first time I’d ever seen XP, I did them in the wrong order… and then tried to organize the desktop and taskbars. In the end I had to wipe and reinstall everything. It seems Vista won’t be any better, sadly.

Thurrott goes on to complain about glass windows and the Media Center UI, which I can’t comment on myself. But, here’s a thought:

    One of the “stealth” features of Apple products is that more and more people are being subconsciously educated as to what constitutes good design.

We certainly aren’t that used to columnists criticizing details of the Windows UI; specialists like Don Norman, sure, but not mainstream columnists. Personally, I’d about given up commenting on bad UI to Windows users… they either just emit a blank “huh?” or say somewhat ruefully “well, that’s what computers are like, you know”. Not that the Mac UI is itself perfect – it’s still a work in progress – but at least we developers, and many people inside Apple, deeply care about producing good UI. (Here’s one example among hundreds.) If that attitude is now leaking out to the general public, so much the better.

Thanks to John C. Randolph for pointing out that article.

hmafra wrote:

Well, I meant PBS Cringely (Robert E. Cringely). I didn’t remember the other Cringely, who has an X. instead of E. icon_smile.gif

Sorry, they both have an X… icon_smile.gif

hmafra wrote:

I can’t see much use for the kernel changing as well, but the part where he describes a possible use for virtualization sounds good (Easy DOS It)

It’s well-known that Windows running under Virtual PC is more stable too… that’s not news. I don’t think Apple will do any explicit marketing of the fact, when there are much more interesting things to do with virtualization, as I said before.

Posted by hmafra:

hmafra wrote:

Well, I meant PBS Cringely (Robert E. Cringely). I didn’t remember the other Cringely, who has an X. instead of E. icon_smile.gif

I went to the site and saw I was wrong about the E. It’s an X. Well, anyway, it’s the PBS Cringely!

Helvécio

Posted by hmafra:

Rainer Brockerhoff wrote:

Do you mean the PBS Cringely or the InfoWorld Cringely? (Some people don’t know they’re not the same person.)

I suppose you mean the PBS Cringely, but I think he’s wrong in many points. Why should Apple change the kernel, for instance? It makes no sense. I haven’t commented on this since I think all such speculation is premature until more of Apple’s plans are revealed at WWDC.

Well, I meant PBS Cringely (Robert E. Cringely). I didn’t remember the other Cringely, who has an X. instead of E. icon_smile.gif

I can’t see much use for the kernel changing as well, but the part where he describes a possible use for virtualization sounds good (Easy DOS It)

Helvécio

hmafra wrote:

What do you think of Robert E. Cringely on the future of Boot Camp, Windows Vista and Macintoshes?

he idea makes sense, but, would it be feasible?

Do you mean the PBS Cringely or the InfoWorld Cringely? (Some people don’t know they’re not the same person.)

I suppose you mean the PBS Cringely, but I think he’s wrong in many points. Why should Apple change the kernel, for instance? It makes no sense. I haven’t commented on this since I think all such speculation is premature until more of Apple’s plans are revealed at WWDC.

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