Welcome to the latest incarnation of DannyStewart.com. I’ve
come to the conclusion that as nice as it is to have a
custom-designed, hand-coded web site, the focus of the site should
be about me, and as I am not a static entity, my web site should
not be one either. It needs to be updated frequently and grow as I
grow, which is something that my previous hand-coded site wasn’t
designed for. It was nice to get some practice with XHTML and CSS,
but for the future, I think a dynamic solution like WordPress is
the way to go. This way, I can write about what’s important to me
and what’s going on in my life without having to pry open the HTML
every time I want to write an update, or without having to maintain
two independent sites (the static main page and the WordPress
blog). It makes more sense in the long-term if the main site is
simply based around WordPress, as then I can add to it as I see fit
and keep everything under one roof. So yes, welcome to the new
site. I hope you like it and are able to find your way around okay.
You can always shoot me a message using the Contact link above
if you have any comments.
Well, WWDC ‘09 has come and gone. Here is my take on the most
significant news from Apple.
Other sites will do a much better job summing up the news than I
will, so instead of bothering to try, I will simply link you to all
as told by Gizmodo.
(Updated to point to Gizmodo’s summary post.)
Read on for my take on everything…
Mac hardware updates and price cuts
I’m frankly shocked at how much Apple has slashed prices on their
notebooks. We’re looking at $200-$700 price cuts across the board,
which I think is great, but it still managed to surprise me. The
new hardware looks fantastic as well. Kind of strange to have the
13” MacBook rebranded as a MacBook Pro, but I can deal with that,
especially now that they’ve returned FireWire to it. Also, I find
the SD card addition unexpected as well. But I’m sure people will
like it, so it’s cool with me. I’m glad it was SD cards, too, as
they’re the only type of card I use (however infrequently).
Snow Leopard is going to be awesome. I knew it would be, but it
doesn’t hurt to have it reinforced. There are so many things I’m
looking forward to, yet very few of them are worth naming. It’s
just going to be a giant leap ahead from Leopard in terms of
aesthetics, usability, and functionality, and Leopard is already
pretty good in those areas. And then of course there’s the raw
speed and processing power aspects. I’m very excited.
iPhone OS 3.0
Frankly, iPhone OS 3.0 is no longer new or exciting to me, as I
watched the media event in March and I’ve been using it as my sole
iPhone OS since it was first made available to developers.
Everything in the keynote was either a retread of things they’d
shown off before, or just plain boring. The developer demos went on
way too long. I had to stop paying attention to the keynote for a
bit and do something else. Hate to say it, but there it is. That
said, finally being able to see Find My iPhone and the Remote Wipe
functionality was pretty nice.
If the S stands for Speed, then the G must stand for GIVE NOW.
Definitely want. It’s like a Snow Leopard iPhone… except with
hardware changes instead of software. So perhaps not the best
analogy. But I still want one. New 3MP video camera with
auto-focus, support for OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics (nice gaming
benefits), voice control, 32 GB of storage, and a significantly
improved battery? Yeah, I’m definitely going to be upgrading as
soon as I have the chance. Though I must say, I am rather
disappointed that it’ll look exactly the same. I guess it means I
get to keep my case, but still. I would have gladly shunned the
case for it to look and feel different in my hand.
All in all, it was a good keynote. I find myself coming away more
excited for the future of Mac than for the future of iPhone, but
then again I’ve been living with iPhone OS 3.0 for a while now, so
I’m sure it’s just the newness wearing off for me. Either way, I’ll
definitely be getting both Snow Leopard and the iPhone 3GS as soon
as they’re available. As far as the new notebooks, well… a new
MacBook Pro would be nice, and I’m sure someone around me would be
very appreciative, but we’ll see how my financial situation is
before even thinking about that.
Nothing groundbreaking in the final release of
Safari 4, but it really feels like a
polished final release instead of a beta. Everything feels faster
(yes, folks, Safari seems snappier), the UI has improved
noticeably, and there are lots of little touches and additions that
just make it feel nicer. The one thing I noticed right away after
installing Safari 4 is that Tabs on Top seems to have been pulled
at the last minute. It’s just gone, and all traces of the feature
have been removed from Apple’s site as though it never existed. Ah
well. I had gotten used to it, but I won’t miss it too much. It’s
certainly nice to have my title bar restored to normality.
For the past several years, I’ve been relying on Google for all my
online personal information needs. That includes Gmail for my
email, as well as Google Calendar and Gmail contacts for my basic
calendar/contact needs. That changed a bit once Apple came out with
their new MobileMe service to go along with the launch of iPhone
2.0. In order to have the best experience using my iPhone, I wanted
to manage my calendar and contacts through MobileMe instead.
However this week I’ve decided to move over to MobileMe fully. The
biggest thing holding me back was the inability to use custom
domain names (sometimes called “domain spoofing”) with their
service. I had been using that with my Gmail account to send email
from a DannyStewart.com address. Unfortunately Apple still hasn’t
added this feature, but I’ve decided that the benefits outweigh the
costs, and I have decided to embrace MobileMe as it stands now. I
now use my me.com email address as my primary mode of contact, and
my old DannyStewart.com address forwards to that. All in all, it’s
not so different considering I use either Apple Mail or my iPhone
to access my email anyway, but I do prefer Apple’s MobileMe web
interface for those times when I’m away from my computer and need
to check my email from a computer. I’ve also started using Apple’s
iDisk service in lieu of Dropbox. I imagine there are some things
that it won’t quite be able to pull off as elegantly, but I do
really like the integration with Mac OS X, and I’m all for dropping
extra services whenever possible and keeping things down to a bare
minimum if I can. (Especially with Snow Leopard on the horizon.)
The fewer things I have installed on my system, the happier I am.
So far, it’s been a positive (if small) change. I really love
having push email on my iPhone. The benefits of that really can’t
be overstated. And having all my information with Apple makes me
feel a little cozier than having it all with Google. Don’t get me
wrong, I love Google as much as the next guy (probably more), but
they’re a little scary these days. So consider me a happy MobileMe
user, and let’s hope Apple keeps pushing it forward for the future.
After receiving (yet another) request for my CIN Howell theme from
years ago, I decided to do a new mix combining the Howell theme
with a Gold-inspired version. I used my Fool’s Gold mix as a
starting point, and blended it with the Peter Howell’s extended
version of the theme. The Howell theme is dominant, and the Gold
elements fill out the background (as it should be). Enjoy.
UPDATE (6/18/09 5:45 am): After posting the mix online, I got
comments from multiple people saying that the mix would be better
with less Gold in it. I have to say, this response restores a small
amount of my hope for the human race. So I am now proud to present
my updated version of Fool’s Gold (Howell Mix 2009), now with
significantly less Gold. Hooray! (The new version has replaced the
old one. If you’ve already listened, just listen again using the