Some thoughts on the cuture of Macintosh and the relative security that Mac users enjoy:

SecurityFocus HOME Columnists: Apple’s Big Virus

Just as Windows users have become accustomed to 140,000 viruses, Apple users have become accustomed to none. It’s a major cultural difference that admittedly, sometimes causes Apple users to do stupid things — and get away with them. It’s hard to describe the freedom of using a system with no malware known to have spread. It’s liberating.

Beyond critical mass, I would like to believe there’s a better reason for the lack of viruses on OS X, and it’s based on the culture of the Mac — which is distinctly different from other platforms. Is it wrong to try a new computer system and actually enjoy the user experience, for a change? Can you imagine a world where (today) you can click on anything and never worry about malicious intent? Can we not continue this unwritten rule that there can be a platform out there that is simple, easy-to-use, with Unix (and a cool ports tree) underneath that has no threat at all from viruses?

It’s true really. As a Mac user, I pretty much surf the web without fear, and the last time I saw a Mac virus was CDEF back in the early 1990s, which usually got transmitted via floppy disk exchanges and cured via good old Disinfectant or a desktop rebuild.

The author in his article states: “…understand that users can still be tricked into clicking on anything — social engineering will always work, and there will always be people who click.” Certainly, ask a bunch of users to do something stupid, and a few of them are bound to click the big red shiny button. There is, in fact, a sucker in every crowd. And certainly part of the perceved security is a cultural thing people just don’t do that to their Mac-wielding bretheren. But I think also that a fair amount of credit needs to be given to the tradition of strong security practices in the Mac OS in general, and even more credit is due to Microsoft for making the most penetrable, bug-riddled, insecure operating system ever.

Pimped out

Pimp My Safari is a site dedicated to featuring plugins, hacks, and extensions to the Safari web browser. Kerim wrote about this site the other day and, being a fan of some of the key Firefox extensions, I went to go check it out.

For some reason, I didn’t click with the Saft plugin. I uninstalled it after only a couple of hours use. Just a personal thing I suppose, but the type-ahead-find feature didn’t quite work as I had hoped. I could never see in the page the text I was typing, and Firefox lets me press return to acivate a selected link.

WebDevAdditions looked interesting. I haven’t installed it yet because it isn’t anywhere near where the Firefox Web Developer Extension is. But I’m going to keep an eye on it.

I did in fact jive with the SafariStand plugin. I’ll probably keep that one installed in Safari for now. I love it actually. The code coloring is rudimentary but way better than the default of nothing. But the best thing about the code window is the addition of the Apply, Revert, and Reload buttons. Very cool. Also love the Copy Title function and the Show Page Info dialog. All in all quite a helpfull little addition to pimp out my Safari with.


As The Slat Rat duly noted, I recently resumed posting after at least a month of nothing, and sort of light posting this year in general.

Part of the hiatus was due to the conversion process of this thing from my homegrown PHP/MySQL contraption to the ever-popular WordPress, a process that continues bit by bit as time allows. But probably a bigger factor was that I was practicing classical guitar every night instead of dicking around with my computer and studying geek books. I do that all day at work, so I think I just got fried doing it at home too, and needed to do something else. I have a master’s in classical music perf. for chrisssakes ��� sometimes I wonder what the hell I’m doing with the web stuff… 😉

What I’ve been practicing is Bach lute pieces, particularly the suite in E minor BWV 996 in it’s entirety, the prelude from the E major suite BWV 1006, and the fugue BWV 1000. And maybe some sightreading and a few √�tudes here and there.

I have not been practicing any flamenco. This guitar I acquired doesn’t have the right sound. I think of flamenco guitars as being best with a bit of a raspy, burly, and almost metallic sound, but this guitar has a pure and ringing tone that just doesn’t seem to resonate with the rasgueados. But it sounds damn gorgeous for the Bach. Maybe if I try some different strings though…

I also have not been practicing any double bass, save for my Thursday night rehearsals with the orchestra. But I’ve been thinking about practicing more double bass. Heh.. yeah that’s the ticket…

Last autumn I was playing quite a bit ��� again with the Bach; cello suite no.3, and some chamber music excerpts here and there like for Dvo≈�√�k, Prokofiev, and Schubert quintets.

God I love the Dvo≈�√�k… What a great piece. My good friend Shinji handed me a copy of his published transcription of the missing Intermezzo movement from this quintet, which was removed and reworked by Dvo≈�√�k into his Serenade for Strings Op.44. I think it sounds good with that movement left in to the quintet – gives it balance, and gives me more chamber music to play…

Well enough of this post. It’s time to go practice some more. 🙂

The story of Iris Chang

I was going to comment on the whole hissy fit between China and Japan lately, but I think there’s enough commentary on that going on already. Here’s a good one. suffice to say Japan’s revisions of history are as wrong as China’s revisions of history both of them need to own up but the stoking of this flame by the Chinese authorities, and their hand over fist diplomatic blunders lately give me an eerie… waitaminute I said I wasn’t going to talk about that.

I was going to talk about this article from today’s San Francisco Chronicle:

Historian Iris Chang won many battles / The war she lost raged within

Iris Chang was the author of The Rape of Nanking, a book she researched passionately, and passionately wrote, to tell the story of what happened when the Japanese pillaged this city during WWII, a key point of the tensions that are happening right now. The book was an enormous success, and at the same time it stirred enormous controversy and earned her some enemies.

Iris’ life ended in tragedy late last year when, overcome with bipolar disorder, she wound up taking her own life. I remember reading the initial news breaks on the investigation, talking about how she might have been murdered by Japanese ultranationalists or even just randomly. When it was discovered that it was a suicide, I remember feeling an odd connection (since she was about the same age as me, lived in the Bay Area, and spoke about issues I find very interesting), and thinking about how powerful psychological disorders can be and how they can affect anyone, no matter how successful, smart, or talented they might be.

This story in the Chronicle is a deep look at Iris Chang’s story, and it is really well worth a read. I couldn’t help but find it a fascinating read, and a worthy and relevant story that has a connection to current global events and history, and at the same time a close and personal look at Iris Chang’s life, successes, and ultimate tragedy.