18 January 2004

The user gives commands by pointing the cursor at graphic symbols on the screen

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh, Silicon Valley has republished a 20 year old article on the Apple rollout of a new machine. Amusing it is that the writer had to explain what a mouse was.
For $2,495, Macintosh buyers will get a computer that operates unusually quickly and is directed by a mouse - a handheld device that, when slid across a table top, moves the cursor on the Mac's screen.

The user gives commands by pointing the cursor at graphic symbols on the screen, such as a paint brush and an eraser to enable the user to draw a picture, or a trash can to destroy a document.

The user also will be able to divide the screen into a variety of compartments, or ``windows,'' that each can be used to perform different jobs. For example, the user could be writing a letter on one part of the screen, then create a window and begin another.

Here's another take on the early years at Apple.

14 January 2004

Improving operational efficiencies at Earthlink?


At home, we have the broadband experience, but when traveling on the road, many hotels still do not offer high speed internet access. Thus, I'm relegated to dialing in the internet via my laptop modem. For these instances, I've kept an Earthlink account active.

No more. Immediately, I am going to cancel it.

Laziness and the initial free month spurred me into the deal, but the shoddy and subpar online download speed will cease to frustrate me. I've switched dialup companies, opting for Hawk Communications. Three times cheaper and a return to snappy downloads. While I'm not going to be downloading huge ISO images or appending to my iTunes collection, the web page load time is significantly shorter than I've experienced with Earthlink. All of those silly Earthlink commercials prattle on about how much faster Earthlink is, but my empirical results illustrate otherwise. And the new ISP choice is three times cheaper Earthlink.

And then I discovered this recent news about Earthlink relocating jobs offshore and it pleased me more to discontinue their service.

Plus I don't like their deceptive advertising about their "Web Accelerator" that boasts of download speeds five times greater than regular 56K access. Only so much data can fit through a narrow pipe, even if optimizations like keeping a persistent connection and compressing the data stream, then expaning on the client side. First, data other than text is already compressed and on many web servers, pages are already served up in a compressed format. As for the advantages of a persistent connection, yes there will be a gain there but not that big of a spread, and several of the modern browsers now are capable of caching images and refraining from reissuing redundant get requests for image files. Again, the accelerator proponents proclaim that they utilize proprietary compression techniques that are more efficient than the traditional web compression algorithms, but there not going to shave that much from the download byte count. And for large file downloads like music files and binary images, that nifty accelerator snake oil won't provide for any faster of a download.

But don't take just my word for it - read what the hardcore geeks have to say on this matter...