Mac Lab Report

Remembering Rodney, White Folk in 'Switch' Ads, Sticking It to PC Users, and More

- 2002.07.11

Here are some things that have been running through my head this summer, none of which really generates its own full-sized article for me. So instead of my usual well-planned and outlined piece of perfect prose, this week I have some random junk in my head I need to clear out, so bear with me.

Those of you who read this column regularly know I can't resist some smart-alecky remarks along the way, so if that's what brings you back, I'll try to fulfill your wishes.

Bye, Rodney

I was on the road and offline when the news about Rodney was announced. More eloquent writers than I have already said good-bye to Rodney O. Lain, but I just wanted to throw my two cents worth in and say: It took guts to write some of the stuff you wrote, Rodney. I've become a little more honest in my writing because of you. Like many, many others, I corresponded with Rodney once or twice. He was daring, forthright, eloquent, well-read, and, well, very troubled. I wish he'd talked to one of us, all of us, or someone.

iBook Cart Leftovers

A couple of things I left out of the iBook articles: Number your cart slots with the laptop numbers so the same laptop gets returned to its original position. In practice, it's better to use them plugged in than to struggle with power at the end of the day. Pull those power supplies out if you're working all day long.

Apple Buys Emagic

Feels good to stick it to those PC users, doesn't it? Well, not as good as I had hoped. You have to admit, all these years of us saying, "Hey, we've got money, don't you want to sell us your product? So what if we're a small market share?" sound pretty hollow when weighed against those poor folk who invested in Emagic for the PC recently.

I almost hate to admit it, but I think Apple made a mistake here. It sort of justifies all those product cancellations everyone else does to us from the PC side, doesn't it? Now maybe we should just all get along, like our frequent correspondent Alvin suggests.

On the other hand, it might have been sweeter to just let Emagic for the PC lag a couple of versions behind for a while. Steve, Steve, why do we have to point these things out to you?

Rumor Sites Excluded from MWNY

I rake the rumor sites over the coals as much as anyone, but it is a definite mistake to ban them from the Macworld Expo. Bad idea. Apple has the right to do it, but do they have the wisdom not to? And besides, it's kind of like that whole fat-people-not-welcome-at-Southwest gig: Who gets to decide?

Can we see a list please?

Switch Commercials

I haven't seen so many white people since I last visited

C'mon, Apple, where's the rest of us?

OS X 10.1.5

The more I use it, the more I hate going back into Classic. Even though my instincts are screaming about the zillions of scattershot files all over the hard drive, the restrictions on customization, and the lack of compatibility with my already existing software such as the Network Assistant I am using to type this article on my computer upstairs using a laptop downstairs - I still am aching to make the switch permanent.

Big Plans for Fall

We just got some grants to establish a space academy at our school. I'll be writing about that later, but one of the things about writing grants is that you always include hardware, right? We're talking a new TiBook, a flat-panel iMac (or maybe an eMac) for myself and my coconspirator. Got to use a TiBook for a workshop the other day, and, yeah, that screen was big, but there was also a definite snappiness to it that my iBook just doesn't have.

I'm thinking Dreamweaver, I'm thinking maybe some new drawing program, I'm thinking maybe a CCD camera for the school telescope. Oh, we're going to be busy. As part of this work, I went to a Web page design class - basically a walkthrough of Dreamweaver functions - but they did show some nice stuff with tables controlling page layout, which think I can adapted to Claris Home Page pretty easily.

Those of you out there complaining about the lack of money for your pet projects, just get on the stick and write some grants. I wrote about six before the first one came back approved.

Well, gotta go back to the real world. I'll see you next time.

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is a longtime Mac user. He was using digital sensors on Apple II computers in the 1980's and has networked computers in his classroom since before the internet existed. In 2006 he was selected at the California Computer Using Educator's teacher of the year. His students have used NASA space probes and regularly participate in piloting new materials for NASA. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and scientific papers. He currently teaches astronomy and physics in California, where he lives with his twin sons, Jony and Ben.< And there's still a Mac G3 in his classroom which finds occasional use.

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