Recommending a New Mac
I got an email from my mom the other day asking me for a recommendation on a new Mac. The first question I asked was what her budget was like. She said she’d like to keep it under a grand, which right away narrowed the field quite a bit. Next I asked what she would be using the machine for, to which she replied with the standard home use cases of “income taxes, email, scanning, internet, etc”, as well as printing to a Brother ink jet.
Write it Down
If you really want to remember something, write it down. By hand.
Life Long Intellectual Pursuits
I’ve always been curious. I remember having coffee with my cousin and her boyfriend as a teenager and saying, in my naïvety, that I wanted to know everything about everything, to know all that was knowable. Even then I knew that was impossible, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to know as much about the world as I could. As time went on I started to dive deeply into different subjects, and put off others till I had more time. Now that I’m looking at forty and an ever growing list of things to learn and do, I’m experiencing something new… panic at the thought of running out of time.
A Technical Education - The Operating System
It’s good to think of a computer as something like a cake with several layers. If the hardware is the first, and foundational layer, then the operating system is the second, and applications are the third. Today, we are going to look at that second layer, and leave with a basic understanding of what an operating system is, what it does, and what the differences are between the major operating systems available today.
A Technical Education - Base Level Hardware
The first and most important thing to remember when considering a computer is that computers are machines. Incredible, wondrous, bordering on magical machines, but machines nonetheless. They were built by people who are no smarter than you, and designed by people every bit as fallible as you. There are no magic incantations, no special spells, and no generational gap that make one group of people better able to understand computers than another. Computers are machines, machines that you can understand.
A Technical Education
I didn’t grow up with computers. They just weren’t a common thing in Montana in the 80’s. When my family moved to Texas for two years during my sixth and seventh grades, one of my friends had one in her room that we would play Oregon Trail on, but otherwise it was unremarkable. With the exception of video games and VHS tapes, my childhood was very much like the childhoods of the generations before me. If I wanted to see a friend, I’d have to walk over to his house. If I wanted to send someone a letter, I had to sit down and write it out on paper, scratching out misspellings along the way, then folding it up, stuffing it in an envelope, licking a stamp on it, and dropping it in the mailbox. And then, I’d wait. Sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months. In the past twenty years however, our world has changed dramatically.
Technical Education in K-12
Our small school is nearing the end of the four-year cycle for a one-to-one program that provides all students in grades six through twelve with a white MacBook. Students are free to take the laptop home, and parents must sign an agreement to pay for any damages. Over the course of the past few years I have become strongly, almost vehemently opposed to the program.
For The Public Good
I just finished another article for OStatic where I imagine what web services would be good candidates for public, non-profit organizations. The two services I came up with are search and email, both I consider essential Internet tools. I’ve wondered about the democratization of the Internet before. One thought I had was wondering about the possibility of each household owning their own “server”, or server type device that connected them to the Internet, but also became part of the Internet.
Macs, Netbooks, and Education
What does it mean when an entire community springs up around hacking together a product that is not otherwise available? Apple has been adamant that it is not interested in the netbook market, but according to the many users who are breaking Apple’s EULA and installing OS X on Dell Minis, the market is there, and waiting.
Rumors have been circulating for some time now that Apple is working on a netbook. I wish I had some special insight or access to Apple’s inner-workings so I could confirm or deny those rumors, but all I can say is I hope so. To get everyone on the same page here, let me explain exactly what I mean when I say an Apple netbook. I’m talking about a small device with a ten inch (or smaller) screen, small physical keyboard, reduced hardware specs, running a legal, full copy of OS X. I’m not talking about an iPhone, or some kind of iPhone/MacBook hybrid. While its not clear if Apple would consider such a device or not, what is clear is that people would buy a $500 MacBook Nano (or NetMac?) in droves.