Daniel Eran Dilger
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RoughlyDrafted Archives: July 2006

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Daniel Eran Dilger
Index page for articles from July 2006.

July 2006 (newer articles on top):

How to Fix the Finder 2: Smarter

Part one of How to Fix the Finder looked at ways to make it faster. The second aspect of fixing the Finder involves making it smarter, by presenting additional simple tools to perform complex tasks. Here are some examples

How to Fix the Finder 1: Faster

The Mac OS X Finder is at the top of everyone’s fix-it list. Here’s a look at what’s wrong with the Finder, and ideas for fixing it. The original Mac Finder did its job so well that few people thought of it as an application. Back then, the Finder was the system. Throughout Apple’s decade of decline after the release of System 7 in 1991, the Finder only saw some minor improvements, many of which were ideas Apple borrowed from shareware tools.

Secrets of Pay Per Click Advertising

In part one, Secrets of Running a Website, I introduced my background in running various websites. Here in part two, I’ll look at how advertising works, starting with pay per click programs like Google AdSense, AdBrite, and Yahoo! Ads. You might be wondering what kind of massive ad revenues my site generates. It’s no MySpace, but I do drive some significant traffic. This last weekend, a popular story on market share drove 20,461 unique visitors and 35,269 page views. That means the majority of readers who came to the site were interested enough to continue looking around. What kind of bonanza of advertising revenue did I earn from all this traffic?

Secrets of Running a Website

Are you considering setting up your own website, or just curious to know more about the inside operations of running an online presence? Here’s a secret look at the ins and outs of advertising, web site traffic, and the tools available to publish your content. First off, here’s an overview of my background in developing and running websites for large organizations, corporate startups, and just for entertainment.

Apple’s Next Killer App

Killer applications fuel demand for a product by exploiting new features or efficiencies in a way that changes how the world works. Here’s the next big application, and how Apple is positioned to ride the wave of new hardware sales it will bring.

The Xserve mini

Two and a half years ago, I wrote an article presenting how Apple should move their Flat Panel iMac into the future: plop three inches of Mac on the back of a Cinema Display and call it the new iMac. I also presented why the alternatives made no sense. As it turned out, I was spot on.

Market Share Myth: Nailed!

In The Apple Market Share Myth, I demonstrated how overall market share numbers can be used to suggest ideas that have no basis in reality. Here, I’ll look at the slippery aspect of numbers, prove that a quality share of the market can be better than a larger market share, and then compare how the definition of a market is critically important in determining how useful market share numbers are. In particular, I’ll look at the iPod’s market share.

The Apple Market Share Myth

According to proponents of this myth, a vendor’s market share numbers speak for themselves as a critically important factor in selecting a technology product or platform. They’re wrong, here’s why.

New Media and Free Market Choice

The Online Music and Media Rental Myth introduced the two extremes in viewpoint on intellectual property rights: the media producers who think their content is worth any price they can ask, and the peanut gallery that thinks anything in the digital medium should be free. Here in part two, I’ll consider five examples that prove that intellectual property, while offering some new challenges, still obeys the same market laws of supply and demand. Along the way, I’ll also prove why the market has rejected digital media rentals.

The Online Music and Movie Rental Myth

According to proponents of this myth, the real road to obscene profits in movies, music, software, and other digital media lies with online subscription rentals, not direct sales. They’re wrong, here’s why.

How to Build a Free and Simple Ajax Menu

Here’s a free way to add a simple, Ajax enabled menu to your site. I’m using iWeb, but it doesn’t matter what tool you use to publish your web pages. It just uses a simple collection of Javascripts to reference HTML files.

CNET’s Charles Cooper Strikes Out in iPod Attack

There’s a common misconception about what it means to be proprietary. Here’s a disassembly of one of the worst articles yet on the subject, written by CNET’s executive editor, Charles Cooper.

Generation 6 iPods

The iPod turns five years old this fall, and is due for its annual revamping. Apple keeps a tight lid on future plans, but here’s a look at three designs for Generation 6 iPods, along with three software features I’d like to see Apple deliver.

The Microsoft iPod-Killer Myth

According to proponents of this myth, Microsoft is out to kill Apple’s iPod with a player they will design and build on their own. Once it arrives, they expect Microsoft to clean up not only the music player market, but also online music sales, leaving Apple on the sidelines. They’re wrong, here’s why.

The Microsoft Invincibility Myth

According to proponents of this myth, Microsoft’s expertise in building software platforms ensures that everything that Microsoft does will turn to gold. This supposed invincibility is used to prove how Microsoft will eventually dominate all new markets, from online music stores to the iPod, and how advances by Linux and Apple’s Mac OS X will never make any significant impact on PC desktops. They’re wrong, here’s why.

Using iSight as a Hand Gesture Input Device

Apple has included simple hardware features on their laptops that have found new and different applications in the minds of users. Here are two enabling technologies that made news recently, along with an idea I’d like to see inspired by the movie Minority Report and the Sony EyeToy.

The Road to VoIP: Paved with Bad Intentions

The road to open standards is often a long, rough path. Developers of new technologies consistently aim to own and control networks, protocols, and customers, leaving their users to suffer until more open alternatives arrive. This familiar story repeated itself in email, in instant messaging, and is now playing out in the world of VoIP. Here’s what happened then, and what’s similarly happening now.

Imaging MacBooks: Understanding MBR, APM, & GPT

I introduced an experimental project to replace a fleet of PC laptops with MacBooks in Do MacBooks Make Business Sense as PC Laptops? It turns out that MacBooks do make pretty decent Windows laptops at a good price. The fatal flaw I ran into wasn’t a limitation in the MacBook however; it related to the partition map used in Intel’s new EFI firmware.

The Road to VoIP: The Empire Strikes Out

The old phone industry is, predictably, slow, conservative, and old-fashioned in everything they do. Efforts to introduce modern technologies have been hampered by fears of losing their secure existence as a monopoly, and instead be forced to compete with opportunists in profitable markets, while still being held responsible to bankroll unprofitable ventures for the public good.

Do MacBooks Make Business Sense as PC Laptops?

One of my clients found themselves overdue for ordering new PC laptops for their business, but were out of options: the Dell Latitudes they’d bought over the last five years had not held up well, and the HP laptops they bought more recently couldn’t accommodate reasonable upgrades and were heavy and unpopular with users.

Open Source Values & the Peanut Gallery

In BSD & GPL: Different Sources for Different Horses, I presented differences in two styles of open source development. Here, I’ll examine the value proposition involved in choosing an open source strategy, and roast an emerging peanut gallery who are attempting to hijack and betray the free software movement.

Fixing .Mac – Idea 8: Subscription Music

Apple’s nebulous .Mac services were introduced in What the Heck is .Mac? In 10 Reasons Why Apple Can Kickstart Web 2.0, I presented why Apple is uniquely positioned to actually deliver .Mac services well worth the price of admission. In this series, I’ll describe features I think Apple needs to add to move .Mac from “web hosting and email plus” to a complete suite of services that are valuable, obvious, and will sell themselves to potential subscribers. Plus, I want to use them!

The Road to VoIP: Phone Wars

The Plain Old Telephone System. The century old telephone system is fantastically simple on the user end: it sends an analog signals over two wires, much like an electric can on a string. At the phone company’s end, technology has progressively improved, with the manual switchboards and bundles of copper wires being replaced with automated digital switching equipment routing calls over fiber optic conduits.

BSD & GPL: Different Sources for Different Horses

Grumpy, conservative business analysts get riled up about Apple legendary secrecy, and demand that the company publish better technology roadmaps and provide more detailed financial information about their operations, while long-haired hippies chant about free and open development, and stage sit-ins against Apple’s cautiously opened, and often tightly closed, software projects.