Dysmey Blog Archives > Mac Work and Web Folly

Mac Work and Web Folly

I have had one of the busiest weeks ever. I knew that I would have a lot to do when I came back from vacation last week. But I am bone tired now, and it is not even over.


I got the call from my vet, who reports that the tumor, while it was cancerous, was not of the aggressive variety. All of the tumor was removed. My cat will be just fine, esp. after she grows her fur back. This was also the last of the ten days, during which I have to give her the bubble-gum antibiotic. I will still keep the stuff for a little while until I am sure Isis is healed.


I had one week to prepare images (hard disk copies) of three kinds of Mac computer; load them into their computers; and configure the computers so that they will let users log on to the campus network. The images contain the latest updates to Mac OS X as well as the new Adobe Creative Suite 3 with the icons that look like periodical element symbols. Don't ask why Adobe chose to do that unless it didn't have time to compose proper icons like the ones for CS2.It takes time to install Mac OS X, its updates, and the various programs that my unit supports. Then I have to do the magic trick of making program configurations work for all users; this is especially true for Firefox, whose Mac-defying profiles make it difficult to configure. Then come the creation of the image on an external hard drive, from which I load the image on one Mac at a time.

My coworkers can load images on a dozen or more PCs using Norton Ghost. But there is no Norton Ghost for the Mac; and external drives can only boot one Mac at a time; so I have to spend hours working on a set of Macs.

That is why, even when I came in at a quarter after seven and worked to five on Thursday and Friday, I still have Macs left over to reimage: two older iMacs in one area and the iBook/MacBook laptops.

I suppose that if I had more than one image-holding external hard drive that the work would go much faster. Or, even better, an image-holder server accessible from a Mac. But we have no Mac servers where I work; and I am allotted only two external hard drives; and one of those is for Intel-based Macs.

The Intel-Mac hard drive I successfully prepared with a GUID partition and loaded the image of our newer MacBook. This is how I have discovered a divide between the older three MacBooks and our newer MacBook: The install disc for the older ones will not install on the newer.

Anyway, I want to get all this out of the way before I do the harder work of making our test repository work the way the library wants it to work. The server, based on the EPrints system, is running as it should. I have a list of seven things that I had to determine whether they are feasible (whether EPrints can do them, or whether I can do them).

firefox as theft?

This is so foolish:

A website is aiming at blocking Firefox users. This because a fraction of the Firefox users installed an Ad Blocker and are therefor stealing money from website owners that use ads. They recommend using IE, Opera or IE tab. From the site: Demographics have shown that not only are FireFox users a somewhat small percentage of the internet, they actually are even smaller in terms of online spending, therefore blocking FireFox seems to have only minimal financial drawbacks, whereas ending resource theft has tremendous financial rewards for honest, hard-working website owners and developers.

Ignoring the ad hominem arguments of the site owner's redneckitude, there are reasons for the foolishness of his arguments:

The guy's Firefox filter is clumsy and ineffective. I visited the site with Safari on an iMac; it identified the browser as Firefox! That's the kind of crap that alienates millions of Mac OS users from his Web sites — users with more money than the average IE stiff, users who can't use IE because it is no longer available for the Mac.

And then there is the problem of users who are clever enough to configure Firefox (using the User Agent Switcher add-on) to identify itself as IE. The guy could have Firefox users reading his stuff and ignoring his ads and not even know it. But then, someone with IE or Opera can turn off Javascript and read his ad-less pages.

The point is that there is no law or moral absolute, that states that we are obligated to read and click on the ads on a Web site and that to turn the ads off is theft. Indeed, the Web was never meant for advertising: To try to make it into another form of commercial television is folly.

It is obvious that the guy who wrote up this turning off Web ads is theft argument is deeply ignorant of the nature and purpose of the Web; either that, or the guy is a shill for an advertising agency or consortium which wants to treat the Web in the same way as radio or television, and which is angry that people (esp. intelligent ones, as Firefox users tend to be) can ignore ads on the Web. The guy is in the same state of mind as those who believe that religion, politics and education are all televisible. (They are not: In fact television is the worst form of idolatry: But that is another topic.)

Posted on the Dysmey Blog on 17 September 2007.