I realized this post was starting to get rather long and Pournelle-esque as I was writing it and thought briefly of breaking it up into several posts. But I figured it would be easier to ignore and skip the inanity of the whole thing if it was just another entry. So, here…
Last week, Cisco let it be known that he was ready to give up his Mac Mini in exchange for a Windows PC. It’s what his friends have, it’s what his school runs, and, well, he’s seven.
Still, going from OS X to Windows? Giving up the slick ‘stack-of-six-CDs’ form factor for a mini-tower’s worth of eyesore? Apple to MS? The boy needed some serious talking-to. Two days I geared up for it, simplifying my reasoning to elementary school level. But in so doing, I completely defeated my own arguments. And, well, he’s seven.
So I spent the weekend putting together a decent XP-class P4 out of my previous two rigs. An upper-end core solo from right before the duos took over, a couple of gigs of RAM, an 80 gig drive for the OS and a 320 for his growing collection of, uh, ripped media, etc.
Now, I’m pretty handy with XP. I managed and was the technical lead in two projects that migrated whole critical networks of hundreds of workstations over to the platform from NT. I designed the Active Directory configuration for the severs and developed tightly locked down, closely managed workstation configurations for a variety of user types and requirements. I took full advantage and squeezed every bit of functionality I could from global/local policies, user profiles, and everything the Zero Admin initiatives could give me to come up with a solid, reliable, and relatively secure XP-based workstation build.
So no bot-net-bait on this home network. This little guy’s machine will be locked up tight as a drum. But after a relatively blissful year on the OS X security bubble (which is fast approaching critical mass as the Mac market share does the same — inevitably attracting the ne’er do wells and popping this lickable aqua-themed bubble) and all that vaunted XP experience, I still can’t help but feel like I’m handing the kid a loaded gun. Or a thermolyte explosive charge with remote detonators scattered all over the Internet.
I’m not an Apple elitist by any means — I run Vista on my primary desktop mostly by choice, and I’m learning to love my media-serving, torrent-leeching ‘buntu box — but this has got me asking, how responsible is this?
And, more importantly, is there a special circle in hell for those who give XP boxes to their kids?
Walking back from the Global ICT Townhall meeting with our Section Chief, I was eloquently waxing frustrated (frustratic?) at the collection of totally uninspiring bureaucrats who assembled to present an ICT strategy that’s supposed to drag us into the 21st century.
Save for a perky fresh hire young enough to be the daughter of every other person on stage (who had to resist the urge to channel her inner pop-star when she took hold of the hand-held), these guys exhibited the kind of enthusiasm for their respective projects usually reserved for root canals or invasive surgery. They looked defeated before they’d begun and projected the image of inevitable failure and futility.
So I was totally laying into them to my Chief on our way back to our offices, saying they should staff this thing with thirty-something year old drop out tech heads from the Valley with extensive experience in failed start ups. And then put some ex-CEO, Silicon Valley evangelist-type with VC contacts and some serious tech cred. Someone… Someone…
Then he goes, “Guy Kawasaki.”
And I go nuts, going, “Yes! Exactly. Someone like Guy Kawasaki!”
This is all by way of saying, I’ve got one of the coolest bosses in history. He gets it. He gets me. (He completes me.) And he knows of Guy Kawasaki. (And OK, no, he doesn’t complete me.)
He’s the one who should be running that show.
Why I’ve been having a hard time stepping away from my home studio these days:
Coming home to a couple of 17-inch panels after working with a pair of 24-inchers at the office all day just got far too depressing. So after the requisite geek due diligence the web has made far simpler but no less tedious, I found myself an S panel equipped Samsung 226BW and augmented the lair with another 1,746,000 pixels of display awesome.
I did wind up having to reposition the keyboard drawer though. And there’s still a good deal of re-cabling to do to once more achieve cordless zen (the recent addition of the KPC45 didn’t help there).
Pretty happy with the result overall. In fact, I’m finding myself preferring the three panel set up over the dual 24s at work. Yeah, the total pixel count’s pretty close, but the three panel division fits my work habits perfectly, the balance speaks to me, and the altarpiece-like surround experience just feels right.
Not that I’d kick a couple of Dell 2407WFPs outta bed, mind you.
Still moving in… Working out the kinks…
Move along (for now). Nothing to see here (just yet).
My Section Chief sent an SMS from New York saying he’d snagged a couple of MacBook Airs — and that I had dibs on one of them if I was interested. Yeah, coolest boss ever (keeping up with him is a pain in the wallet, but he’s still way cool).
He wasn’t due to arrive for a few days so I had time to think it over. And think I really had to, considering the BlakBook was all of three months old and still had that “little bit of plastic bag with a hint of lindenberry followed by a rush of Styrofoam” smell new Macs are known for.
After agonizing over it, as I do all things shiny, gadgety, and oh-so-slightly unnecessary, I pretty much decided I needed it (as I do all things shiny, gadgety, and oh-so-slightly unnecessary). But only if he brought home one of the more affordable 1.6GHz lower-end models (which in my heart of hearts, I knew was more likely).
Imagine my surprise and heartache when the day arrived and he pulled out a 1.8GHz sliver of absolute gorgeous with a 64GB solid-state drive. Imagine the surprise yet? What about the heartache? Here’s something to help you along: it costs over a grand more than the model I had decided I was going to take. Dammit, dammit.
So I call home to share this, my tale of woe and utter suck. But instead of commiserating, my wife goes, “Cool! Even better! Now you really have to get it!”
Most. Awesome. Wife. Ever.
And, yeah, the MacBook Air packs some awesome too.
A year, a month, maybe even a week from now, when someone puts together a top ten list of blog posting trends they regret participating in or contributing in any way to, this type of inane, self-indulgent, gadget whoring, flickr-tinkering-driven post will undoubtedly be among the top rated. Until then, though (heck, maybe even then), I’m happy to jump on the meme. Besides, I’ve run out of people to show this stuff off to at the office and one needs to gush on occasion.
So, my go gear: