The Computer Blog

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Apparent Death of Go Live

When Adobe bought out MacroMedia, part of the concern from the user community was whether Adobe would continue to develop Go Live. With Dreamweaver widely recognized as the leading application for web building and development, folks were rightly concerned that Go Live had seen its last days. Apparently, it has, despite assurances from Adobe that it would continue to be supported.

Tomorrow, Adobe will announce its new CS3 line up, and the name of “Go Live” will be noticeably absent. Adobe is not even offering a Dreamweaver upgrade path from Go Live. Essentially, the Go Live Adobe community is being abandoned.

With this move, there will be no major commercial web development application other than Dreamweaver. Yes, there are lots of third party web development apps like BBEdit. But the mainstream market will effectively now be monopolized by Adobe and Dreamweaver and nothing else. That’s just not the American way. Silicon Valley, be damned! Who was the Federal regulator that let this one through?

I had hoped to get some kind of Intel-native version of Go Live, but that is not to be. I am not going to spend money on transitioning to Dreamweaver. I’m going to put up with Go Live’s speed hits and run it under Rosetta or I’m going to start managing my website while running under Windows.

I’ve seen some web forum traffic indicating there are still people who believe Adobe’s going to keep Go Live as some kind of consumer application. If that’s true, then why can’t you find any mention of Go Live within any product list in the Adobe website?

The whole thing makes me want to stick with CS2. Period.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Technical Notes on Building up My Mac Pro

I bought the standard configuration Mac Pro with twin 2.66 GHz Xeon 5100 CPU’s, 1 GB RAM (2 x 512), a 250GB hard drive, and a Nvidia GeForce 7800 video card. The configuration I’m running now is a machine with 3GB RAM, a 500GB operating system(s) hard drive, a RAID 1 set composed of two 250GB SATA hard drives, and a 300GB OS X backup hard drive. I’m running Tiger (OS 10.4.8 currently) and Windows XP SP2 using Boot Camp, both operating systems located on the “boot drive”. The machine is hooked to a 23 inch Apple Cinema Display and is controlled via a Logitech S530 keyboard and mouse set.

Here are the notes I jotted down about the machine as I built it up:

--Installed an extra 2GB (2 X 1GB) of RAM from Other World Computing. Works great!

--Most of the time spent was spent building up the Windows side of the machine. For the OS X side, I used Apple’s Migration Assistant to transfer all my applications and data from my old G5 PowerMac to this machine. I then chose to reinstall some Universal Applications to make sure I got the performance out of them I was expecting. For the Windows side, everything was from scratch. It had to be, since Windows won’t allow me to “clone” it…

--Loaded Windows XP SP2 and all updates as well as Office 2007 up on the Windows side.

--XP only recognizes 2GB of my 3GB of RAM. I tried using the “/3GB” switch in the boot.ini file as Microsoft suggested, but it had no effect.

--XP does not see the RAID 1 hard drive set, which is what I expected since that’s a software RAID set. I’m not even going to attempt to get XP to recognize them; I’d just as soon Windows left them alone.

--I loaded my copy of Corel Draw 11 up on my Windows partition since I had a Corel clip art application and collection that is Windows only.

--I hate how Outlook handles in-line photos in e-mail. It’s one of the major reasons I use Mail.

--Logitech S 530 keyboard CD eject function is not recognized under Windows. Tried Logitech S510 Windows keyboard drivers and got full mouse functionality but nothing additional on the keyboard. Must use right-click on CD icon to eject CD when in Windows.

--The Mac Pro’s analog audio port doesn’t work under Windows. I learned the hard way that even in OS X this port is software controlled. Some folks have gotten the port to work under Windows using newer Realtek drivers, but that didn’t work for me. Needed an integrated solution that would work under both operating systems and got it by using an old USB based Griffith iMic for sound. Logitech Z4 system is hooked into it and working great.

--The machine is very quiet. I almost never hear the fans. Most noise comes from the hard drives when they’re copying data, and that’s pretty minimal.

--Installing a second optical drive was fairly easy, though the IDE cable isn’t long enough to attach to the second drive totally out of the bay. I had to angle the drive toward the case and hold it just outside its slides to get the power and data cables on before turning it parallel and sliding it into place.

--Hard drive installations are a snap. You pull out a tray, mount the hard disk in the tray with four screws, and slide the tray back in until it’s snug. That’s it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Problem with CompUSA

If you’ve read the online computer news, then you know that CompUSA is shutting approximately half its stores. This is something I’ve been expecting for a while, except on a smaller scale. As a longtime CompUSA customer, I’ve been saying for some time the company just really wasn’t competitive with other local, large retailers like MicroCenter or Fry’s. In my case, the store located closest to me is in Webster, Texas.

CompUSA never has been known for good prices. Admittedly, computer parts and accessories don’t allow for very large profit margins, and the success of online computer retailers only made the local retail store picture that much more difficult. But what I always noted about CompUSA wasn’t as much about what they provided but what they didn’t. The stores never seemed to sport the really good deals that other brick and mortar computer stores did, and it was the only store I knew of where I could count on not getting help when I needed it, even when there was sales staff around. In some strange twist of alchemcy, when I was just browsing or knew what I was going after, they were then always there.

My local CompUSA store is located in Webster, Texas, and it is one of the stores being closed. Only two stores are remaining open. One of them is in the shopper-heavy Galleria area, and the other is only a few miles away westward down Westheimer and is the newest of the lot.

My store was marked with a huge “Store Closing” banner and signs on the doors saying “Everything in the Store Up to 20% Off!”. I wandered through there yesterday on the way home from work to see if there were really any good deals to be had. Knowing my feelings about the company the way I do, I didn’t expect any. I was not disappointed. Most things were a measly 5% to a decent but not huge 10% off, enough to get me to buy something I was already planning to but not enough to make me spring forward and buy something on impulse. In other words, CompUSA was making sure they parted with very little of their inventory and either shipped it out to their remaining stores or were willing to pay another company to auction it off, anything other than gives its customers a really good deal. And, there you have it, i.e., the same attitude that helped drag the company down in the first place.

The store could withstand the devastating impacts of its own corporate culture as long as it was the only game in town; and for many years on the southeast side of Houston, it was. Then, a couple of years ago, Fry’s Electronics decided to build a huge store a few miles away. Despite the fact that Fry’s doesn’t have a sterling reputation for customer service, either, what it does have is a very large inventory and good prices; from that moment on, CompUSA was doomed. Within days of Fry’s opening, CompUSA became almost a ghost town. I would go in there from time to time to see what was going on and if anything was changing, and nothing ever did. The store never responded to the increased competition, preferring instead to sink into oblivion. That is exactly what it did.

Yesterday, I did buy a Logitech V100 scanner from them since I had been thinking about it for a while and it was 10% off. “All Sales Final” was marked on the sales slip.

Indeed, for CompUSA, they are.