Long time gone

Sorry for the length of time between posts. I was in Seattle and Portland on vacation. Bethany had a conference out that way so we decided to have me tag along and tack a couple of days on the back end to enjoy a little R and R.

We had a great time. Seattle is a really nice city. Very hip and cool and all of the things I had heard about it. Good food. Good shopping. Great views and fast efficient public transportation. It reminded me very much of the Twin Cites with it’s well kept and defined neighborhoods offering a real since of community. Lots of local businesses and home grown flavor. Trendy without being forced.

My good friend Avery came down with his wife Maureen came down from Vancouver to hang out with me there while Bethany was slaving away at her conference. I had not seen him in a while and it was a real treat. Especially since he was kind enough to bring down some cigars that are not available in the states due to our country’s outdated and backwards thinking trade policies.

Portland was a little different than expected. I had read several recent magazine articles about the city and it’s revitalization and its new found swank. Therefore, I was expecting it to be like, well, Seattle. Like I wanted it to be more than it was. What I found instead was a city that was very bohemian. Hippy but not hip. Many nice little spots but no cohesion. No overall sense of what it was or wanted to become.

I always find it interesting to visit other cities in our fair and free country. Especially because I think the “feel” of a city directly affects the people, companies and press that comes from it. Portland has been getting a ton of good press lately. It is the sort of press that Seattle used to get in the early 1990’s before they became “Seattle”. It seems like a city on the rise, attempting to capitalize on and refine it’s bohemian roots yet not quite sure it wants to go there.

This is not to say that we did not have a good time in Portland. Seeing my friend Paul was a blast. I had not seen him in several years. He was an excellent host easily flowing from his personal experiences in the city (he has lived there most of his life) to local history, politics and geography. We did some hiking in the mountains, had some great meals (breakfast at the Tin Shed was a highlight) and some unexpected surprises (McMenamin Pubs and an impromptu art viewing at his friend’s gallery).

On a sad note, I lost my digital camera while in Seattle. Bethany, Avery and Maureen (his wife) ate dinner at The Bombay Grill on Friday night. The food was very good but I brought my digital camera in to take pictures. It was in a case and I sat it by my chair. I forgot all about it and, therefore, never moved it from beside my chair. We were having a good time and were the very last people in the restaurant besides the staff when we finally decided to leave. Bethany and I arrived back in our room and it was then that I realized that I left the camera at the restaurant. I called the following day and several days after and they claim that it was not found… Now, this means that someone must have taken it (i.e. one of the staff) as we were the last ones out that were not staff.

I wish I could say that this was simply a plan to provide a reason to get a new digital camera especially the one I have been lusting after for a while. Alas, if it was, I would have made sure that I could afford a new one first. Since I can’t, I guess I will have to be without for a while.

OK, I am ready now… Apple and Intel

OK, unless you have been living under a rock or just plain don’t follow these things, Apple is planning on switching to Intel Processors within the next year. Not a special intel processor just for them but a regular old CISC based x86 processors just like the ones every PC manufacturer uses. The implications of this are huge. I am not entirely sure what Apple is thinking here and this all makes me very worried about Apple’s long term outlook. Why? Well, let me do the bullet point summary:

• Apple is a hardware company. Apple has always been a hardware company. Apple make the vast majority of it’s profits on the sales of it’s hardware. Apple has traditionally made software for one reason… To add value to (and, therefore, help sell) hardware. Take iTunes and the iTunes Music Store for example, Apple makes the player for Mac and PC and gives it away free. Apple sells songs on the iTunes Music Store that only work on the iPod and they make little to no profit on those sales (and by some accounts actually take a loss). Why? To sell iPods which have a huge profit margin and have been a huge hit. Mac OS X, while being an excellent piece of software, exists to add value and functionality and an operating system to the Macintosh hardware. That is where Apple makes it’s money.

• Running on special processors have allowed Apple to be a monopoly in their own little space that they have created. If you have wanted to use Mac OS X you have had to buy Mac Hardware as Mac OS X would not run on CISC based x86 hardware. They have not had to compete with Dell or any others in the PC space because, they did not make PC hardware.

• By switching to Intel based Macs they are now opening the doors for Mac OS X to run on Intel based hardware from any manufactures. No matter what hoodoo voodoo they try to do to prevent Mac OS X from running on anything other than Mac hardware, as soon as some enterprising hacker figures out a way to make it happen anyway (and they will) then there will be no reason for anyone to buy a Mac when they can buy a cheap PC from Dell and run Mac OS X on that.

• Since Apple can’t compete with Dell on price (they just plain can’t, I dare any arguments to the contrary) then Mac sales will plummet as Apple will no longer have a monopoly.

• Now, that they are no longer a hardware company they will have to compete with Microsoft in the OS/Software war. Once again, they can’t compete in tat spacer because of Microsoft’s dominance and monopoly. No matter how much better Mac OS X is, Microsoft gives it away for free. Apple can’t do that. Period. They can’t compete.

I am sure you can see where we are going with this. Apple, as a hardware and/or a software company is doomed if it has to compete in the same space it has stayed doggedly away from having to compete in and for good reason. It was inevitable I guess because IBM was just not able to give Apple the chip performance they promised. There is a lot of speculation about who dumped who in that marriage but it really does not matter. The future is coming and, for better or worse, it can’t be avoided. I guess we will see.

Three things I am not yet ready to blog about because they make me too upset, confused, angry or otherwise disgruntled

1) Apple to use Intel processors – Have they lost their F-ing minds?

2) Changes to the Patriot Act – They have lost thier F-ing minds!

3) My impending switch back to Safari – Maybe I have lost my F-ing mind.

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