That’s why we do what we do

More than Lion, iLife or the new awesome MacBook Air, the one thing I liked best about today’s Apple event was that sentence, pronounced by Steve Jobs during the iLife presentation: “That’s why we do what we do”. Why?

Today I left a meeting a few minutes after the beginning of the Back to my Mac event. I went to my car to drive home, and before turning on the engine, I grabbed my iPhone, launched Safari and tuned in to the live video feed. I placed the phone somewhere on my car where I could listen to it, and took off. During all the 20 minute drive home, I could listen to the event (I didn’t watch it, because, well, I was driving!), and only twice did the iPhone pushed it back a few seconds to recover (immediately) from dropped packets. I then got home, and switched to the Mac using my fiber connection.

Putting all this in perspective, Steve and his team were speaking in Cupertino, a bunch of equipment was capturing the event, encoding it and streaming it to half a world away, to a (fast) moving car on a freeway, where I was receiving it with a powerful, stunning device that has more CPU power than any computer I had when I was a kid and still fits in my pocket. And the quality was perfect.

Yes, this is why all of us, in this industry, in this passion, do what we do.

iPad – Why not flying solo?

OK, I admit it, I don’t see why the iPad would be an useful device. For me. On the street, I have my iPhone, at home, I have my Mac. So why do I need a third device? For nothing, probably. But that’s me.

What I find paradoxical is that most people who are buying iPads are the ones who need it less. It’s the people who love gadgets, and those people already have everything – iPhones, laptops, desktops, you name it. What will they be able to do with an iPad that can’t be done with every other piece of electronics they have? Nothing.

Continue reading “iPad – Why not flying solo?”

Apple 2009 wish list

It’s a brand new year. So here’s my wish list for Apple:

  • Please fix the wireless driver that causes my Mac to crash about 10% of the times I turn Airport off.
  • Please fix the trackpad driver, or whatever is causing the trackpad to behave strongly erratic during about 30 seconds after waking the Mac up.
  • Please fix the damn copy/paste bug that makes the paste command paste the previously copied object and not the most recent one. This is specially irritating when you cut a piece of text, paste and you realize you are pasting something else, and that your supposedly cut piece of text is lost forever, unless you can undo and get it back.
  • Please fix the irritating bug that causes an iChat window to keep being the active one even after I click Safari, making its window go in front of iChat’s. That’s specially annoying when I type apple-W to close the Safari window, and the ichat one goes away.
  • Please provide replacement keyboards for people who has pre-unibody MacBook Pros that, you know, actually sense a keystroke every time the key goes all the way down, without the need to almost punch the key.
  • Please fix whatever is causing my father’s MacBook Pro to keep waking up and going back to sleep when the lid is closed and the charger on, despite I had already turned off every god damn thing that could wake it up, including the lid open event.
  • Speaking about the charger, please provide chargers where the charge light doesn’t go off for some unknown reason. It still works, but it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in it ans it’s safety.
  • Please provide granular updates to Mac OS X Server. Please please please pretty please.
  • Please care a little more about the entreprise and IT markets, namely your own web application technology (WebObjects, of course).

Thank you, guys! You must hate me but you’re nice people anyway. Sometimes.

iPhone mania

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iPhone iPhone iPhone. iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone! iPhone iPhone? iPhone iPhone iPhone? iPhone? iPhone!

iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone. iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone. iPhone. iPhone iPhone iPhone.


Back from USA

Well, I’m back from another WOWODC and WWDC. I’m still really tired, but some quick notes:

  • As David LeBer already mentioned, Pascal did an amazing job organizing WOWODC all by himself. Great room (a bit cold on the first day ;) ), large windows and sunlight on the halls. Food (well… not that good, but after all, it’s USA!) and caffeine provided frequently. Very very nice. Suggestion for the next year: a bigger (and brighter) screen, and eventually plasma screens among the room to make it easy for people in the back to read the code.
  • I learned a lot about WO frameworks out there (like Wonder, Houdah and specially LEWOStuff that I did not know before). I met for the first time some very talented people, and of course, all the folks from the previous conferences. It’s great to be able to have technical discussions and know different views on the same problems from all those skilled and experienced people out there, face to face.
  • WWDC had some interesting news on many stuff. As you know, I cannot talk about the stuff under NDA, so I shall only say that some interesting stuff is being done on the WO side. Also, as you all know by now, the iPhone is now 3G, includes a GPS, the price was slashed, and will be available in many countries of the world. I just hope the service providers slash the data roaming prices, because that makes the iPhone useless when you go to foreign countries. Finally, Snow Leopard was announced, and, as already expected, the focus is not on new features, but on a big cleanup of the OS infrastructure. Not only this are great news for us, developers, but also shows some courage from Apple and a lot of respect for their users. They want to focus the next year on improving the quality of their OS, rather than packing it up with some new features just to win the race against the competition.
  • As a side note, the MacTech people was giving away some magazines for free to the people who were standing in line during the morning. I took the time to read most of it during my flight, and I really liked it. I was a MacTech subscriber in the past, but I cancelled it because, during my graduation, I didn’t have time to read it (it’s good to graduate on a place where you actually don’t have time to learn, isn’t it?). Maybe I’ll subscribe it again now.
  • Not related to the conferences themselves, we went to visit the bay area surroundings on Friday afternoon. We did the classic trip to the Apple and Google campuses, because we are all geeks, but we also went to the Stanford and Berkeley campuses. The Standford campus totally blow me away. You have to see it to believe it. From now on, I’ll laugh, really laugh, every time I hear a faculty from my university stating that we actually have a campus. The Berkeley campus did not impress me much. It’s more urban style, more crowded and dense. I prefer the Stanford way, with space, a huge amount of space, tons and tons of space, really. Almost made me want to return to the univ! :)

Accessing Mac virtual hosts from a Parallels VM

I finally moved to an Intel machine. Despite the dramatic speed improvement in everything Java-related, namely Eclipse, there’s another big advantage: being able to run IE on Windows using a virtual machine. Unfortunately, that’s something every web developer must do to ensure his or her application will work on the most used (and crappy) browser on earth.

I installed Parallels and created two virtual machines, one for IE 6 and another one for IE 7. This way I’m sure there are no weird problems between those two versions (having more than an IE version on Windows can only be accomplished by hacks, and hacks are bad). Also I can install Visual Web Developer Express Edition on each of the VMs, and use either IE 6 or 7 to debug.

My apps run inside virtual hosts on Mac OS X apache, under a fake DNS name. On Mac OS X it’s easy to add the DNS entry to the /etc/hosts file, under the entry. This way, your DNS name will always point to your mac, and you’ll be able to reach your virtual host.

I wanted to do the same from inside Windows running on Parallels. An easy way would be to edit the Windows hosts file, adding the Mac OS X public IP to the file. But that will only work if the OS X IP doesn’t change. My Intel mac is an MBP, and I change the network I use often, so I needed a little more flexibility. So, this is the way I found to do this:

  1. Configure your VM to use Shared Networking. This wall, Parallels extensions installed on your Mac will create a NAT network where your virtual machine will be hooked into.
    Paralleles Configuration Screen
  2. Open Mac System Preferences, and look for the “Parallels NAT” network port. This is an interesting one, because it allows the Mac itself to be connected to the virtual NAT network, using an IP on the NAT subnet. Write down that IP: this will be the IP you’ll use to access the Mac virtual hosts from within the virtual machines.
    System Preferences
  3. Finally, edit Windows hosts file. This file is located on \WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts. Add a line with the IP (in my case, and the name of the virtual host, just like you do on the Mac.
    Windows hosts file

That’s it. Now you can access your Mac virtual hosts from Windows, whatever the Mac IP is. Ick, what’s a Windows screenshot doing in my blog!?