Apple's iPhone

Well it was almost two years ago I wrote about waiting for the Apple phone right here. Now it’s announced, and the furor has subsided, so let’s see how good my predictions were.

OpenID

OpenID looks like something worth investigating. I have signed up for a free OpenID with Videntity, and I will use their server to make this website function as my own personal OpenID. There is a Drupal module under development (but not yet upgraded to 5.1) so I hope that my site will become OpenID enabled in the near future.
OpenID Logo

DLL Hell and Windows tricks

Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you just can’t use all the tools you are accustomed to having. I had one of those weeks recently.

Thought I forgot about Lex?

Saw my previous post? Hey Yacc is only half the battle. So why don’t I give it all away and post the lexical analyzer too? OK I will. But I hope you appreciate how difficult it was to post this code since many of the characters in here have meaning to html as well.

Compiling Yacc files using Yacc

Yet Another Compiler Compiler or yacc. From the way it was named it sounds like the latest tool in compiler building, right? But actually it is old and venerable. Please don’t email to tell me about the much better tools out there. I refer you to the Wikipedia topic on compiler-compilers.

But when you are building a grammar visualization tool (as I am) one of the first thoughts to cross your mind is how to read the many pre-existing grammars already out there. There are literally dozens if not hundreds of yacc input files floating around. So I wanted to be able to read those files and generate my graphics based representation for editing with a mouse. Hmmm…generate, sounds sort of like compile. Yeah, make a compiler that accepts yacc files as input. So what tools do I have handy with which to build such a compiler? That’s right, Yacc. The one thing about Yacc is that it, or it’s close relative GNU Bison, is available on every computer out there. If you’ve got a Linux box or a Macintosh and a development system then you are ready to compile a compiler.

So how to write a grammar for Yacc?

Boot Camp

What does today’s big announcement by Apple of software that will dual boot an Intel Macintosh mean? After all if I buy a Mac I want to run Mac OS X all the time. I regularly use Windows XP from my Macintosh and I do it using a program from Microsoft called Remote Desktop Connection. About the only thing I might prefer over having the ability to remotely access a Windows XP machine and its screen, would be to run Windows virtually. By Virtually I mean to run Windows software from within Mac OS X. Nonetheless this announcement is important for two big reasons.

Mac OS X Security Challenge

Recently there has been a lot of news about the security of Mac OS X. A lot of the press would like to sell the idea that the Mac isn’t fundamentally any more secure than any other operating system (read Windows). The reasoning is based upon popularity. Surely the less popular operating system has fewer problems because it naturally has fewer attackers.

Well...Maybe

Does Microsoft Deliberately Crash On Macs?

Spencer Critchley wrote:

Tell The Truth Pt 2: Microsoft Deliberately Crashes On Macs by Spencer Critchley – Wow! Big response to my post, made with tongue only partly in cheek, accusing Microsoft of designing Office apps to crash on Macs. More on my experience as a crash test dummy, plus other perspectives.

I remember back in the days of the Mac Plus. It was during a snack break at one of the very first MacApp courses offered by Apple. An Apple engineer (who I won’t name here) explained something to us then that has always stuck in my mind. Before the days of protected memory ordinary users (not us tech types) saw crashes as a problem with “the computer”. Most people don’t know where to assign the blame when things go wrong. So the blame would lie with Apple.

Should Developers be Accountable For Flaws?

Howard Schmidt, former White House cybersecurity advisor is quoted in an article suggesting just this. Like many politicians his comprehension of the real issues borders on ignorance.

Will Apple go to the blogs?

“Giles Turnbull on weblogs.oreilly.com” wrote:

There’s something that Microsoft is doing much better than Apple. Not only doing it better, but improving with each and every day that goes by. It is a cutting-edge activity for large corporations, something that few businesses today have even tried, let alone got right. But Microsoft has got it right and is reaping the benefits.

What is this mysterious activity I’m talking about?

Opening up.

Microsoft is opening up like no other company I have ever seen. Just take a look at all the detailed information … that is coming out on weblogs written by the coders and managers working on each project.

These weblogs are … full of detail, full of facts, full of stories of success and sometimes failure.

It sounds really wonderful doesn’t it? People are watching the inner workings of Microsoft by reading blogs. Shouldn’t Apple do the same thing?

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