MacInTouch Reader Reports

Mac Marginalization: Commentary and Tips

Feb. 20, 2009
Feb. 21, 2009
Apr. 27, 2009
Jul. 28, 2009
Jul. 29, 2009
Jul. 30, 2009
Jul. 31, 2009
Aug. 1, 2009
Aug. 3, 2009
Aug. 4, 2009
Aug. 5, 2009
Aug. 13, 2009
Aug. 14, 2009
Aug. 17, 2009
Aug. 18, 2009
Aug. 19, 2009
Sep. 14, 2009
Oct. 5, 2009
Oct. 6, 2009
Jul. 2, 2010
Jul. 6, 2010
Jul. 7, 2010
Jan. 5, 2011
Jan. 6, 2011
Apr. 12, 2011
Apr. 13, 2011
Apr. 14, 2011
Apr. 15, 2011

Newer entries...
Feb. 20, 2009

item.87396

Gordon Burns

Slightly off topic, but pertinent: I bought my daughter a little notebook that came with Windows XP and IE installed. I tried to use it to email her yesterday but found that I could not access my MobileMe since it didn't accept IE but asked me to download Firefox or Safari.

So there is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black here.

Feb. 21, 2009

item.87434

Steven MacDonald

Re:

"I bought my daughter a little notebook that came with Windows XP and IE installed"

Although it will give a warning of poor performance IE 7 works fine with MobileMe.

IE 6 and earlier will give the "not supported" message.

You need to upgrade IE.

item.87439

James Bailey

Gordon Burns wrote,

"[...] I bought my daughter a little notebook [...] with Windows XP and IE [and] found that I could not access my MobileMe [with] IE but asked me to download Firefox or Safari. So there is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black here."

Not at all. The difference is that Safari and Firefox try to be standards compliant. Microsoft with IE is only attempting standards compliance with the beta of IE 8 and is not all the way there even then.

When MobileMe asks for a different browser it is because it is using standardardized HTML and Javascript features that simply do not work in IE 6 & 7.

The key here is that Apple is using public, established and non-proprietary standards that Microsoft has ignored until very recently. When Mac marginalization occurs with IE only sites it is because the site authors specifically ignored those standards and coded against proprietary Microsoft features and sometimes bugs in IE.

Apr. 27, 2009

item.91173

Colleen Thompson

re Windows Media Player 10: someone on the Crossover forum apparently got it to run. Crossover is a $40 program that runs some Windows programs without requiring you to install Windows. Details are at http://www.codeweavers.com/compatibility/browse/name/?app_id=1122;tips=1

Crossover has a 30-day trial so you could see if it works first.

[Crossover pricing starts at $39.95, and it requires an Intel-based Mac. -MacInTouch]

Jul. 28, 2009

item.96577

MacInTouch Reader

I heard that Apple is not shipping printed manuals with their "Pro" apps and learned that the documentation is now online at http://documentation.apple.com/. I tried to view the site using Internet Explorer from my work PC. Imagine my surprise when I received the following message:

The Help Library is best viewed using Safari or Firefox.

To download Safari, go to:

www.apple.com/safari/download

The browser sniffing code excludes IE 6, 7, and 8, so there doesn't seem to be any option but to use one of the browsers Apple deems acceptable.

I'm a life long Mac owner/user, but this seems like reverse Mac marginalization to me! Shame on Apple for playing that game.

Jul. 29, 2009

item.96611

MacInTouch Reader

Interestingly the documentation site also excludes IE 5.2, the last of the Mac "supported" versions. But, Camino, Opera, Netscape, and Mozilla all work, as well as Safari and Firefox.

item.96614

MacInTouch Reader

Re:

"The browser sniffing code excludes IE 6, 7, and 8, so there doesn't seem to be any option but to use one of the browsers Apple deems acceptable."

Or perhaps they are excluding browsers that don't support W3C HTML programming standards and use proprietary extensions so that they don't need to 'code to the browser.'

item.96622

David Charlap

A MacInTouch Reader wrote:

"... http://documentation.apple.com/. I tried to view the site using Internet Explorer from my work PC. ... The Help Library is best viewed using Safari or Firefox. ... this seems like reverse Mac marginalization to me! Shame on Apple for playing that game."

I'm very amused.

But note that unlike the IE-only sites, this doesn't marginalize any users. Firefox is available for all platforms, and Safari is available for Windows. (And I just browsed some of the site using Firefox on Windows.)

item.96625

Gregory Weston

A MacInTouch Reader comments:

"The browser sniffing code excludes IE 6, 7, and 8, so there doesn't seem to be any option but to use one of the browsers Apple deems acceptable. I'm a life long Mac owner/user, but this seems like reverse Mac marginalization to me! Shame on Apple for playing that game."

I usually go home for lunch, and my wife telecommutes. She's the lead developer for an online store. It's not at all uncommon for me to come home and find her cursing IE for doing some not-very-esoteric task differently from every other browser they support (and there are more than a few). It may not be that Apple is "playing that game" so much as they just really don't see the justification for putting the effort into providing crutches for non-standard behavior in a browser that doesn't even run on their OS.

item.96626

Antonio Tejada

An anonymous reader objected to Apple's support site rejecting Internet Explorer.

It's a very rational decision to ignore a browser that 1) is not necessarily dominant among your visitors, and 2) that requires an inordinate amount of development time to make it work.

Apple can write their site once, and it'll work fine on Safari, Firefox, Opera (and probably other browsers that use similar rendering engines). Internet Explorer is still so incompatible with standards that it requires significant rewrites to work.

Besides, Firefox is incredibly popular on Windows, and even Safari has its followers on the Dark Side. It's not a huge hurdle.

item.96628

MacInTouch Reader

Safari, Firefox, and Opera (which also works with Apple's Pro documentation site, even if it's not mentioned) are all available on Windows. Firefox and Opera are available on just about everything.

I'm sure that the fact that Apple's Pro apps themselves are Mac-only is much more of a barrier to Windows users than the documentation library. (Especially when you consider that both Logic and Shake were available for Windows until Apple bought them.)

item.96635

Chas S

Considering that IE is the worst browser out there, I have no problem with Apple confining browsers to those that can actually render the site properly. As a web designer, I am infuriated that IE shows such little regard for established standards.

In any case, Pro app users are going to be using Macs - viewing the documentation from a Mac is not going to be a problem, which begs the question, why are you looking up docs for what are exclusively Mac apps on a Windows PC? Perhaps you should ask your work to install Firefox or Safari.

item.96638

John Baltutis

MacInTouch Reader wrote, among other things:

Apple is not shipping printed manuals with their "Pro" apps and learned that the documentation is now online at

I don't own any pro apps, but if I did, I'd be demanding that Apple provide those manuals in a downloadable PDF file, exactly the same way they provide their other documentation. Having to read those things in a browser is unconscionable.

item.96644

Mark Thomas

[Re: Apple documentation]
I know for a fact that the latest versions of Apple's pro apps Logic Pro and Aperture ship with detailed, well-produced, printed documentation. It's likely that the new Final Cut Studio does as well.

As for reverse-discrimination towards Internet Explorer, it's probably simply that Safari and Firefox support the open web standards used on Apple's sites, but IE does not, hence IE is not supported. This is different than the Microsoft tactic of using proprietary, IE-only features on its sites as a way to drive users toward their own browser.

item.96660

Walter Ian Kaye

Interesting that IE would be excluded for that reason, and yet I can view the documentation there using Lynx. The message for Lynx users is as follows:

The Help Library requires JavaScript.

If JavaScript is not enabled, you will not
be able to view all the content.

Of course, I can't view any graphical content in Lynx, but plenty of text is available. :-)

Jul. 30, 2009

item.96677

Robert Mohns

MacInTouch reader suggests:

"Or perhaps they are excluding browsers that don't support W3C HTML programming standards and use proprietary extensions..."

I doubt it. When it comes to W3C standards compliance, IE7 has HTML+CSS support as good as Safari 3's, and IE8 updated the JavaScript engine, finalized CSS 2.1 support, and added some CSS3 features. (Note that CSS3 isn't yet a standard; it's a work in progress but browser vendors are implementing some of its more stable elements.) IE8 is actually a very good browser, as far as standards go.

As for proprietary extensions, Apple has been creating new HTML features like mad over the past few years, ranging from inventing the <canvas> element, to creating CSS extensions and weird hacks just for iPhone's MobileSafari, to being one of the earliest implementors of HTML5's <video> and <audio> elements. Apple has even created a new HTTP-based streaming approach and has submitted it to IETF as a potential standard.

Microsoft still supports ActiveX for backwards compatibility, but when it comes to "proprietary" "extensions", Apple now leads the way.

The difference would be that Apple has been successful in getting many of its creations accepted into the HTML5 working draft, while Microsoft's IE group has been so busy playing catch-up that they haven't tried to invent anything new lately.

I believe the last major new feature they tried to implement was a change to DOCTYPE for version targetting. IE8 would have acted like IE6 unless website authors specifically put IE8 into standards compliance mode. This was a good idea for Microsoft's installed base of corporate intranet users with custom apps dependent on IE6, but lousy for everyone else in the world. This caused quite a ruckus! Ultimately, Microsoft listened to the web standards community and switched to the ideologically more pure approach of requiring authors to request legacy mode rather than getting it by default. This has not endeared them to their old corporate customers who now have to either fix their apps or modify them to spit out a new DOCTYPE, but it's good for the evolution of the web as a whole.

Microsoft did the right thing -- they considered the problem, crafted a solution with web standards leaders, listened to the feedback from the community, and modified their plans accordingly, even when it would cause them business pain. When was the last time you remember Apple doing that? Nothing's ever simple, is it?. :-)

item.96699

MacInTouch Reader

Actually, IE8 with Windows 7 works just fine on the Apple documentation site. You just need to install an extension called "Set UA String" and before visiting the doc site change the UA string to Firefox or Safari or whatever. The site then works just fine. It even works if you use a UA string for Lynx, which is a text-based browser going back to the stone age. I leave it to the reader to surmise what is the purpose of the IE exclusion.

FYI: I use several operating systems and am OS-agnostic, although I have preferences.


Jul. 31, 2009

item.96765

MacInTouch Reader

Robert Mohns' characterization of Apple's extensions to HTML as "proprietary" is misleading. Apple's extensions are disclosed to both the public and to standards groups, along with documentation of how they work and explanations of what they add to established standards. And Apple's rendering engine, WebKit, is fully open-source anyway, so the implementation of these features can be studied and replicated by others.

Aug. 1, 2009

item.96847

Steven Wicinski

An anonymous reader stated:

"Robert Mohns' characterization of Apple's extensions to HTML as "proprietary" is misleading. Apple's extensions are disclosed to both the public and to standards groups, along with documentation of how they work and explanations of what they add to established standards. And Apple's rendering engine, WebKit, is fully open-source anyway, so the implementation of these features can be studied and replicated by others."

They are "proprietary" if you use the definition as "non-standard", which is how most people look at it when discussing standards. This is exactly the problem people had with Netscape and MS back in the browser-war days. They'd just start adding features to the HTML set so they could add capabilities to their respective browsers. The fact that they are published and all is immaterial. These features, by default, will only currently work in WebKit browsers, because no one else will implement them until they are 'standardized'.

BTW, if it were Microsoft creating new tags and elements, even if they published all information about them, there'd be a loud cry from the 'standards' folks complaining on how MS is trying to take over the 'net again.

Aug. 3, 2009

item.96881

Geoffrey Green

Re:

BTW, if it were Microsoft creating new tags and elements, even if they published all information about them, there'd be a loud cry from the 'standards' folks complaining on how MS is trying to take over the 'net again.

The difference is that, as Robert points out, Apple has worked diligently with the HTML5 working group to try to get their creations put into the HTML5 spec. Moreover, other browser vendors (not Microsoft) have, as part of their effort to adapt cross-browser standards, have picked up on Apple's inventions, such as the canvas tag. If Apple's development of these new specs were so controversial, the other vendors which have created their own browsers based on the WebKit code underlying Safari -- Google and Palm being the most notable -- could have easily stripped out these new tags. They have not done so.

The reason Microsoft got a bad rap is because they did (and to a lesser extent still do) have a commanding market share and implemented HTML tags and proprietary features (remember ActiveX?) without any community discussion. (And then abandoned web browser development for several years.) Apple does not dominate the browser market like Microsoft did, and if it chose to introduce a spec in Safari/WebKit which wasn't picked up by other browser vendors, it hasn't created a de facto standard or vendor lock-in like Microsoft's actions did.

As far as Robert's comment above:

Microsoft did the right thing -- they considered the problem, crafted a solution with web standards leaders, listened to the feedback from the community, and modified their plans accordingly, even when it would cause them business pain. When was the last time you remember Apple doing that? Nothing's ever simple, is it?. :-)

Microsoft's actions caused serious harm to the web development community. It's about time they listened to the standards community, and any supposed harm to their business is going to be minimal, at best. Apple's done nothing of the sort in the web browser market.

item.96886

Robert Rosenberg

Robert Mohns stated

"When it comes to W3C standards compliance, IE7 has HTML+CSS support as good as Safari 3's, and IE8 updated the JavaScript engine, finalized CSS 2.1 support ..."

Unless the CSS does NOT need IE7-Hacks to render the same as Safari 3 (and other STANDARDS COMPATABLE Browsers) I do not call the IE7 support Standards Compatable but only capable of being so if I include non-standard CSS code to force it to act that way. [IF IE7] comments (and other hacks/crud) are required to force IE7 to act like a SC Browser

item.96904

Travis Butler

Re:

"They are "proprietary" if you use the definition as "non-standard", which is how most people look at it when discussing standards. This is exactly the problem people had with Netscape and MS back in the browser-war days. They'd just start adding features to the HTML set so they could add capabilities to their respective browsers. The fact that they are published and all is immaterial. These features, by default, will only currently work in WebKit browsers, because no one else will implement them until they are 'standardized'."

My understanding was that the WebKit developers were working in conjunction with other browser developers (and other WebKit users) to define these tags, possibly as part of the HTML 5 working group; hence many if not most of them work in Firefox, Opera, etc. Is this not the case?

item.96906

Stephen Hart

I think the issue about standards compliance is how well a browser deals with current standards. Adding non-standard features is, perhaps, less important than fully supporting standard features. My understanding is that Safari is the most standards-compliant browser.

item.96909

Jason Froikin

The difference between what Apple is doing now with extended HTML tags, and what Microsoft used to do, is fallback compatibility.

If you use the "search" type input tag, for instance, it will show up as a nice oval blank with search history on a WebKit browser, but will still work fine as a normal input blank on other browsers.

What Microsoft did was create new or different method of using existing Javascript or HTML and require it only be used that way, essentially breaking any browser that doesn't support it's use in that manner.

There's the difference between extending web standards and damaging them.

item.96913

Antonio Tejada

I usually agree with everything Robert Mohns has to say, but to say that IE 7 or 8 have standards support even close to Safari's is patently absurd.

Any web developer will continue to tell you that while IE 8 has made significant improvements, it still causes huge headaches because it does not render according to the standards.

I realize that they don't necessarily simulate real-world web usage, but IE still fails the Acid tests miserably. The lack of support means that a web developer must limit themselves to the smallest common set of supported features, because IE won't (correctly) support anything beyond the basics. That means losing out on the more advanced HTML and CSS features that could otherwise simplify a lot of web design.

In other words, if you target Gecko browsers (Firefox, Camino, etc.), KHTML/WebKit browsers (Safari, Nokia, etc.) and Opera, you can pretty much follow the standards and your code will just work and be rendered correctly. On the other hand, IE will still render many things incorrectly.

Note also that one of IE's biggest failings isn't that it doesn't support certain features, it's that it supports them WRONG. A browser should just ignore tags it doesn't understand, because then you can fall back to another tag that it does understand. IE does the worst possible thing, which is to accept a tag, but render it incorrectly, so you never make it to the fallback.

Note that MS has publicly stated that comprehensive standards support is not one of their goals for IE.

item.96918

Steve Seaquist

Here's the editors' draft of HTML 5, dated approximately 6:22 AM today:

http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/Overview.html

Note who the two editors are.

It's no big secret that those who define the standard are first to market with implementations of the standard. That's the candied apple reward for the otherwise thankless tasks of sitting through long meetings, listening to people arguing, constantly being criticized for how you phrase things, etc.

P.S.: What a great read the editors' draft of HTML 5 is. Little gems here, there and everywhere.

item.96922

Patrick T Kent

I absolutely agree with Steven Wicinski's post. I believe 'Standards' need be approved and ratified before any company start implementing them.

If Apple starts doing this, they (we) have no right to complain about others, and I take a dim view of that right being taken away from me.

I enjoy being on the side of right. So come on Apple, let's do it that way!

Let's think different and be the ones that do right, no matter how easy wrong might be.

Aug. 4, 2009

item.96946

MacInTouch Reader

Patrick T Kent said,

"I believe 'Standards' need be approved and ratified before any company start implementing them."

In principle, I think everyone would agree with you. However, the process through which proposals become standards is always a long and sometimes political process. In the tech world, this can mean that a standard is obsolete before it is finished.

One of the risks of a stagnant standard is that web developers and users will turn to proprietary technologies when they need features that the existing standard does not provide. In practice, today that usually means Adobe Flash. Much of HTML 5 (including <canvas>) seems to be intended to provide an alternative to Flash.

The WHATWG (the main "working group" through which Apple participates in the standards process) was created for this reason. Browser vendors (Mozilla, Opera, Apple, and Google) are trying to deliver enhancements quickly without totally bypassing the standards process. It's not ideal, but it's a good deal better than the total free-for-all of the Netscape/IE wars.

item.96953

David Charlap

Patrick T Kent wrote:

"I absolutely agree with Steven Wicinski's post. I believe 'Standards' need be approved and ratified before any company start implementing them."

You should subscribe to some standards body mailing lists. You'll be quite surprised to see that most standards bodies believe just the opposite. Most of the time, a feature will not be accepted as a standard until there are working commercial implementations (and frequently, they require this from at least two vendors.)

This is designed to avoid "ivory-tower" problems, where the standard looks good on paper but is difficult or impossible to implement and use.

This is the case with IEEE, IETF, and ITU. I would be really surprised if it was not also the case with W3C.

Of course, the downside is that if you build a web page (or device) that uses a draft-feature, you may have to make changes, should the draft change substantially or ultimately be rejected by the standards body.

Aug. 5, 2009

item.97011

Steven Klein

Although others have already commented on this, I think a real-world example will show what a bad idea it is.

Patrick T Kent wrote that standards, "need be approved and ratified before any company start implementing them."

Consider, as a counter-example, the 802.11n WiFi standard. Apple (and other vendors) shipped their first 802.11 products over two years ago. Virtually all new laptops and routers today use the 802.11n standard.

And yet it still has not been ratified!

I can't imagine that even Mr. Kent thinks we'd be better off if we'd all stuck with the old standard.

item.97028

Paul Huang

Implement first and apologize later - as long as your explanations are convincing enough. Consensus is difficult to reach. If you don't do it this way, by the time standards become standards, it's already behind the times. Of course, this could be dangerous. This is why an individual is delegated to make decisions.

With each passing year, I set standards for the office and classroom. I do talk to all users, but I don't necessarily have to ask their approval.

A few examples:

2000: outlaw color inkjet printers and install ONE color laser printer centrally and all printers must have RJ-45 connection.

2001: all computers must have at least one USB port

2002: outlaw floppy disks

2003: 192MB minimum. Implement OS X (10.2.n)

2004: flash drive standard issue for all users; OS 10.3 minimum; remove OS 9.

2005: All computers must have FireWire ports. (This was my hidden agenda to get rid of antiquated Windows from 2000); 256MB minimum for all computers.

2006: G3/400 and faster.

2007: iMac G3/500 minimum; desktop: G4/400 minimum.

2008: OS 10.4.11 standard

item.97041

Seth Steinberg

A good example of a standard which is in common use, but not yet approved is 802.11n which is at the heart of Time Capsule among other products.

item.97055

MacInTouch Reader

For those who are complaining about Microsoft's additions to the standards, bear in mind most of these occurred years ago when the web was young and both MS and Netscape were battling it out to make the web 'better'. And a lot both were doing were in the "implement first, see if its good second, and, well, maybe someday we'll see if there's a security issue" vein.

And so much of these 'features' were added at the behest/demand of the web site authors, looking for new and exciting ways to add content to their sites.

Oh, and let's not forget those non-standards people at MS also came up with that XMLHTTP tag which formed the initial basis for AJAX.

So feel free to complain about IE's lack of standard's compliance (except the basically pointless Acid tests - benchmarks prove nothing, really) and it's 'idiosyncrasies' (as in "Why the -bleep- does it work so stupidly!"), but don't be complaining because they long ago added features that people were demanding and others were also doing.

Aug. 13, 2009

item.97478

Joe Huber

Mac users affected by bug in ATT Uverse High Speed Internet

This is a bit long but hopefully will benefit the many Mac users on ATT Uverse.

A few months ago I had ATT Uverse High Speed Internet installed, and in general it's worked well. However there has been a very annoying problem where certain web pages would be very slow to load (30-60 sec) or some images might never load at all. eg Zooming into Google Maps, some tiles might load very slowly, many not at all.

The problem was most prominent when using Safari on our Macs but it also showed up in Firefox. Our PCs would load those same pages in just a few seconds with no problems. It was very frustrating and several calls to ATT Uverse support could not fix the problem.

I recently Googled enough to find a few forums that revealed the problem is with the DNS proxy in the ATT Uverse home gateway. Hundreds if not thousands of Mac users have been having these same problems!

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r22349614-We-got-some-news050609-Slow-Web-Page-Loading
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r21760399-Web-pages-mostly-load-fast-but-frequently-but-dont-complete
http://utalk.att.com/utalk/board/message?board.id=HSIA&thread.id=8919
http://www.uverseusers.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=2&action=printpage;topic=12487.0

Luckily there is a relatively easy work around, but it's not always an appropriate fix. The problem is that the DNS proxy in the Uverse gateway gets easily overloaded with DNS requests. Safari's ability to precache all the DNS names on a web page when first opening that page exacerbates the problem.

The work around is to configure your Mac to directly use the main ATT DNS servers and not the local DNS proxy in the Uverse gateway. Open the Mac's Network panel, click the Advanced button and make new DNS server entries for 68.94.156.1 and 68.94.157.1 This works well, except in a few cases where you NEED to use a DNS server other than ATTs (eg When I'm at work and want to print to a local printer I have to switch my DNS config to use our local DNS servers. Bummer.)

ATT is now apparently aware of the problem and has promised a fix, but it has been delayed. Unfortunately none of the ATT support people I spoke with knew about the problem. And one second level support tech even admitted he had the same problem at home and never found a solution. He was going to try the work around I mentioned that evening.

Aug. 14, 2009

item.97543

Larry Wink

Better still, use OpenDNS servers and ignore ATT entirely. I always have and have never had a problem with ANY web site.

Add:

208.67.222.222
and
208.67.220.220

to your DNS listings and move them to the TOP of the list!

item.97570

Geoff Strickler

Regarding:

The work around is to configure your Mac to directly use the main ATT DNS servers and not the local DNS proxy in the Uverse gateway. Open the Mac's Network panel, click the Advanced button and make new DNS server entries for 68.94.156.1 and 68.94.157.1 This works well, except in a few cases where you NEED to use a DNS server other than ATTs (eg When I'm at work and want to print to a local printer I have to switch my DNS config to use our local DNS servers. Bummer.)

The simple solution to that is to set up separate locations in the network control panel, one for home with the ATT DNS server addresses, one for work (and/or elsewhere) with DHCP and automatic DNS selection.

Aug. 17, 2009

item.97595

Thomas Banacek

To the suggestion if using OpenDNS, just one comment I was using OpenDNS servers for years and was basically problem-free until a few weeks ago.

Out of the blue, I couldn't access some web sites (facebook, myspace, etc). Opendns was blocking them. Following through I finally figured out that someone with fios must have set up an account with my ip (which was theirs previously, I assume, and dhcp gave it to me) blocking all this.

I ended switching back to Verizon servers to get it to work.

[That's an interesting experience. Is this related to the OpenDNS content filtering option? -MacInTouch]

item.97657

Colleen Thompson

Re: the conversation about ATT Uverse DNS server.

I second the motion to use OpenDNS. No need to make a new location; just enter the OpenDNS servers in your Automatic location. They work everywhere, at least in my experience, and avoid lots of DNS issues with various ISPs.

I've got them down by heart:

208.67.220.220
208.67.222.222

Aug. 18, 2009

item.97801

John Muccigrosso

OpenDNS offers a small app, OpenDNS Updater, that will update your IP address with them every time it changes. It runs in the background and will notify you of changes. I started using it when my blocking suddenly stopped. (FiOS user too.)

item.97804

MacInTouch Reader

Regarding using OpenDNS: The company I work for uses OpenDNS and I have found that they block http://www.archive.org I don't recall the exact message given but the reason stated seemed erroneous to me when I saw it. So you might have some totally reasonable and legitimate web sites blocked using that service.

[I use OpenDNS and I just accessed www.archive.org yesterday and today with no problems. -Ric Ford]

Aug. 19, 2009

item.97841

D Rice

Re:

The company I work for uses OpenDNS and I have found that they block http://www.archive.org I don't recall the exact message given but the reason stated seemed erroneous to me when I saw it. So you might have some totally reasonable and legitimate web sites blocked using that service.

Even if they did block a "reasonable and legitimate web site" OpenDNS allows you to create a white-list of web sites that will never be blocked.

item.97850

Rodney Haydon

Quote

MacInTouch Reader said:

Regarding using OpenDNS: The company I work for uses OpenDNS and I have found that they block http://www.archive.org I don't recall the exact message given but the reason stated seemed erroneous to me when I saw it. So you might have some totally reasonable and legitimate web sites blocked using that service.

MacinTouch Reader, that is a setup that your company has done. You can setup OpenDNS to block sites, or you can have it wide open. It depends on how you set it up when you create an account. If you don't create an account, it will not block any sites, even known malware ones. Talk to your network admin.

item.97851

Colleen Thompson

MacInTouch Reader said

"Regarding using OpenDNS: The company I work for uses OpenDNS and I have found that they block http://www.archive.org. I don't recall the exact message given but the reason stated seemed erroneous to me when I saw it. So you might have some totally reasonable and legitimate web sites blocked using that service." And Ric added [I use OpenDNS and I just accessed www.archive.org yesterday and today with no problems."

Just adding OpenDNS servers to your network settings won't block anything. But if you create a free account on OpenDNS.com, there is a control panel where you can block various *types* of web sites (commercial, social, games, gambling, etc.) Sites get assigned to categories based on user feedback, and sometimes pretty inaccurately. I have had to create exceptions for some in the control panel. Perhaps your company has blocked a category that includes archive.org (it's listed under Search Engines and Visual Search Engines), and you can ask whoever administers it to unblock that domain.

item.97854

MacInTouch Reader

It is probably not OpenDNS that blocks archive.org. It is your company's blocking software. Using archive.org is one way to get around blocking software and see sites that your corporate net mom doesn't want you to browse while at work. So the censors block that also.

item.97904

MacInTouch Reader

I use OpenDNS and I just tried doing an nslookup of www.archive.org - it returned the correct ip address no problem... I can't connect with my browser at the moment, but this does not look to be an OpenDNS problem.

item.97913

Ernie Franic

Re: OpenDNS

I set up OpenDNS at the company I work for. In addition to providing speed and security, OpenDNS can be configured to act as a web content filter.

The previous reader was probably blocked at archive.org because his system administrator set it to block Proxies and Anonymizers... The idea is that Archive.org can be used to work around the content filter's blocking of a video site such as YouTube... one couldn't go directly there, but without the Proxy/Anonymizer setting, you could still go to Archive.org and view archived YouTube content.

item.97919

Geoff Strickler

Re:

"I second the motion to use OpenDNS. No need to make a new location; just enter the OpenDNS servers in your Automatic location. They work everywhere, at least in my experience, and avoid lots of DNS issues with various ISPs."

While I'm a big fan of using OpenDNS (it's what I use for my primary DNS), that doesn't solve the original poster's problem, and that is that he needs to use his company's internal DNS for access to internal resources that can't be resolved by OpenDNS. That's why I suggested he set up a second location. OpenDNS is great, but it's not useful for all situations, sometimes you really need to use a local/internal DNS, and for those situations, using Locations is a great solution.

Sep. 14, 2009

item.100235

Peter Lovell

A cautionary tale for schools switching to PCs:

This is from Brian Krebs' excellent "Security Fix" column in the Washington Post, detailing a $150,000 theft from a school district in Oklahoma.

My favorite quote ...

"It was all over the whole office complex," Snow said. "Unfortunately, like most schools, we need about three times the number of people in our IT department than we have now."

Full details [here]: Clamping Down on the 'Clampi' Trojan

Oct. 5, 2009

item.101816

Matthew Boehm

Why CIOs are saying 'No' to Macs...

Oct. 6, 2009

item.101857

Colleen Thompson

Matthew Boehm's link, "Why CIOs are saying 'No' to Macs...", makes me curious how often a Mac-based organization has to deal with someone who wants to use a Windows machine? My only experience (ten years at a newspaper with about 50 Macs and 6 PCs) has been that only once or twice has someone asked if they could use their PC, and didn't pursue it, though they weren't forbidden to (they would have had to provide their own hardware and software, though.)

item.101909

Gary Kellogg

What the never mention in these articles, natch, is that they would more than offset the cost of the machines by the reduction in IT staff and budget.

Jul. 2, 2010

item.117323

Barry Levine

Surprisingly, this is a tale of Apple marginalizing itself. OSX Server includes Open Directory which allegedly will replace Active Directory for an enterprise requiring single sign-on for both Macs and PCs. Unfortunately, this isn't really happening in many cases. Apple's discussions are full of complaints from OSX Server admins who are unable to get OD single sign-on working with PCs. (It does, however, work great with Macs.)

Calling AppleCare within two days of the server's delivery yielded "we don't do PC support" when I asked how to get OD single sign-on setup properly for PCs and how to get a PC to bind to the OD server. What was demanded was $695 for a "support incident" or thousands of $$ for a service contract in order to get this resolved. It was suggested I read the documentation about this topic but short shrift is given to OD and binding for PCs. Frankly, when enough people buy the $999 mini server and discover how badly Apple has left them out in the cold, we'll either see a class-action lawsuit or Apple will simply live with marginalizing itself.

Luckily, my client agreed that PC single sign-on wasn't an issue for him so we could forget it (as he's working on a budget). But when other clients ask me about using OSX Server to replace an AD network, I'll be telling them to budget in an additional $3500 per year for Apple tech support. So that $999 server becomes $4500 and $3500/year for tech support. That exposes how much Apple's server really costs. Put that into your TCO and smoke it.

Frankly, this nonsense could be prevented if Apple simply did their due diligence in writing adequate documentation (and the attorneys simply love that phrase "lack of due diligence"). Perhaps if Apple would simply provide a video showing how it's actually done... in real life... we might really have a product I could recommend to my clients. As it stands now, it will make a nice file server for both PCs and Macs (and Linux boxes). I'm sure the non-server version will make a great media center as the server version runs cooler than any other mini I've ever encountered.

item.117354

Gary Quinton

Unfortunately the opposite has been true for many years. Windows servers and AD do not play well with Macs. For example, Mac users often aren't able to change passwords. Microsoft points the finger at Apple and vice-versa.

Jul. 6, 2010

item.117373

Seth Elgart

Barry Levine wrote:

Calling AppleCare within two days of the server's delivery yielded "we don't do PC support" when I asked how to get OD single sign-on setup properly for PCs and how to get a PC to bind to the OD server. What was demanded was $695 for a "support incident" or thousands of $$ for a service contract in order to get this resolved. It was suggested I read the documentation about this topic but short shrift is given to OD and binding for PCs. Frankly, when enough people buy the $999 mini server and discover how badly Apple has left them out in the cold, we'll either see a class-action lawsuit or Apple will simply live with marginalizing itself.

I've been a Mac IT guy for many years, and to me what Apple is doing seems completely reasonable. If I buy a Mac, Apple will help me with the computer but they're not going to teach me how to use Photoshop. It's the same with server administration. Unless you get a service contract to pay for it, it's not really reasonable to ask them to spend hours and hours with you (and hundreds or thousands of other Mac Mini owners) on the phone teaching you advanced server administration. When I buy a server, I *always* get the higher level service and support agreements. They pay for themselves many times over if you're running a studio full of computers.

There are three basic agreements: Help Desk, server support, software licenses. The Help Desk agreement lets two people at a company call Apple for anything you can do with the GUI tools (not command line server hacking, in other words). Server support lets you call for any kind of GUI tool server help. The software license agreement gives you three years of OS upgrades which, depending on your timing, can be either a bit of savings or a tremendous pile of savings.

If you buy a car, it's unreasonable to ask Ford to teach you how to win at Daytona. They'll be happy to tell you how to work the radio, though.

item.117388

Mike O'Neill

To Barry Levine in Marginalization:

Completely agree. I've dealt with numerous issues now that are NOT in the PDF documentation that caused many hours of troubleshooting. Time Machine network backups crashing Network Home Folder based Macs and Bonjour "owning" .lan causing DNS havoc to name a few. Both admittedly poorly documented via Apple support when I got to an engineer who would help. FYI, I have been able to wrangle some no-cost support out of a few techs but the $3500 option keeps popping up in those calls.

Jul. 7, 2010

item.117462

Mark Miller

Barry Levine wrote:

"Calling AppleCare within two days of the server's delivery yielded "we don't do PC support" when I asked how to get OD single sign-on setup properly for PCs and how to get a PC to bind to the OD server."

Barry should take a look at the AFP548 site, http://www.afp548.com. They have a lot of information, how-to's, and forums for supporting OS X server.

item.117469

Stan Greenspan

Re Barry Levine's comments
I understand where Barry is coming from, setting up a Mac Server is not easy for a first timer. You need to know about Open Directory, Samba, NFS and a whole bunch of other things that you don't do on a regular basis.

But if you've ever set up a Windows Server, it's a breeze.
I just finished setting up my first mini server and it had it's challenges (newspeak for "problems") but they were all overcome with a few tricks I've learned over time and through experience.

The biggest challenge was raiding the disks without a DVD drive, but Carbon Copy Cloner and spare HD worked. Good thing you can startup from a USB drive.

Apple does not give experience away; no manufacturer does. You need to learn the tricks and figure it out for yourself or buy a book.

If you have the money and need the help from Apple, by all means, call them. They have every right to charge for that help, heaven knows that I charge for the same thing and I'm glad that they are more expensive!

But once you know how, it's an easy server to set up and easier to manage than anything I know of.
PS, I don't charge that much for telephone service!
;-)

Jan. 5, 2011

item.127153

Raj Gurdwara

Has anyone seen this yet at www.lucisart.com?

"Starting at midnight PST on January 1, 2011, Image Content Technology LLC (ICT) will become a Windows only software company. At that time sales of the Macintosh LucisArt 3 software will cease."

I use this software a lot. Why have they dropped the Mac platform? Unbelievable.

item.127140

Zeigh Owensby

Hello,

This Mac Marginalization report concerns Energizer's "Power Your Playlist" promotion. Like most rebates, you have to have the attention span of a scientist to navigate through all of the fine print or patience of a saint to endure the two month wait for some part-time teenage employee to find a stamp. This rebate is no different, except that it has a humorous twist that shows how out of touch this company's marketing department and/or webmaster really are.

I purchased a pack of Energizer lithium batteries and attempted to submit the enclosed redemption codes for a free iTunes $10 gift card. My progress in completing the online registration was halted when none of my CAPTCHA entries (you know, those odd words they make you type for security) could be recognized. The same outcome was found regardless of using the latest versions of Safari, Firefox, or Google Chrome. So, I sent a quick e-mail to the main Energizer customer service address. Almost a week later, I get a reply with this main message:

"We have found that Firefox and Safari do not work with our website as well as Internet Explorer. If possible, please try to enter using the Internet Explorer web browser and this should help the situation."

Apparently, nobody at Energizer realizes that Microsoft hasn't supported Internet Explorer for Mac since 2005 and that installing the program (if you can even find it) on any recent Mac results in constant quirks and crashes. What is the most ironically humorous, is that this entire promotion is advertising an Apple iTunes gift card! Yup, Energizer is acting exactly like that meth tweaked drum whacking bunny of theirs; all frolic and no logic.

"Technological change is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal." (Albert Einstein, 1941),

Jan. 6, 2011

item.127175

Gregory Weston

Raj Gurdwara says:

Has anyone seen this yet at www.lucisart.com?

"Starting at midnight PST on January 1, 2011, Image Content Technology LLC (ICT) will become a Windows only software company. At that time sales of the Macintosh LucisArt 3 software will cease."

I use this software a lot. Why have they dropped the Mac platform? Unbelievable.

Only they can answer why they've dropped Mac support, but the obvious answer is that they weren't seeing the ROI to justify continued development.

item.127186

Michael Corbin

LucisArt may be dropping Mac support . . . but I'd suggest they've had delusions of grandeur for a while now, to such an extent that I've been using Topaz instead anyway. Topaz is much friendlier, has more options/presets, and costs less to boot.

item.127229

Raj Gurdwara

Michael Corbin said:

...Topaz is much friendlier, has more options/presets, and costs less to boot...

I don't know about that one, Michael. Lucis was pretty incredible for what I used it for. I also have the latest version of Topaz - I have to disable it when not in use otherwise CS4 crashes every time I quit. Granted, this may be a conflict with other plug-ins but Lucis never gave me a hiccup.

In response to Gregory Weston about "only they can answer why". Here's an e-mail I got from a graphic designer friend who also uses Lucis:

...I have had several e mails from the woman who developed Lucis Art and she keeps telling people to keep Lucis Art a secret...

Say what??

Apr. 12, 2011

item.133264

MacInTouch Reader

Marginalization courtesy of Cisco Systems:

Cisco has prematurely dropped support for PowerPC Macs in their WebEx products for on-line meetings and remote support.

The end of support for OS X 10.5 "Leopard" is coming in the next few months, but it will come after the release of OS X 10.7 "Lion."

My employers have used WebEx Meeting Center and WebEx Support Client for years, and now I need to find a replacement that support OS X and Windows.

Are there other options for on-line multiple-computer meetings and for remote support of client computers that do not require rejiggering firewalls as long as the client computer has access to the World-Wide Web?

The privacy of the client computer is essential, so ad-supported freeware is not an option. The technology must not install a means of unsupervised access that remains after the one-time support session or meeting.

My employers would pay for the service, the service must be free of charge to my employer's customer.

Apr. 13, 2011

item.133347

Dimmer FJ

GoToMeeting is pretty much the other big name in this field. They support Tiger on up, and PPC, as well as intel systems. They are at least as secure as WebEx, and have a number of features Cisco's product line lacks.

item.133356

David Charlap

With respect to conferencing, I don't know if this will work for you, but my employer uses IBM/Lotus's Sametime product for this. Although the server must be running Windows or UNIX (Linux, AIX or Solaris), there is Mac support for the client - the AIM-like "connect" client requires an Intel Mac. The "meeting room" service used for screen sharing is based on Java and should work with any web browser.

I don't know if this will work for you, but it's worth asking about.

item.133359

Larry McMunn

I use GoToMeeting, from Citrix. Both my employees and clients (in the financial industry) are quite happy with it. We have used it for a couple of years and plan to continue with it. You can make different participants the Presenter, give others control of the Presenter's keyboard and mouse, and share control at the same time if desired. The cost is $400+ yearly, and if I remember correctly, we can have up to 16 participants in one meeting.

item.133363

Dave Gitlin

Re: a replacement for WebEx, try TeamViewer.

item.133370

Jim Kofron

GoToMeeting is a WebEx alternative that seems to support the older Mac environment. While I've used GoToMeeting (and it's good), I've not tried it running a PPC Mac.

item.133375

Brian Stevens

Re:

"Cisco has prematurely dropped support for PowerPC Macs in their WebEx products for on-line meetings and remote support."

The key is they dropped support for PowerPC Macs but not Intel Macs. The WebEx system requirements clearly show Mac OS X with 10.5/10.6 *and* an Intel processor are supported. Also, the lack of PowerPC frameworks in Lion is really the genesis of dropping WebEx PowerPC support. Without compiled PowerPC frameworks, Rosetta won't run. Without Rosetta, PowerPC apps won't run on Intel Macs. Sounds like the solution is to buy an Intel Mac. Any PowerPC Mac is at least 5 years old (Apple switched to Intel in 2006).

Apr. 14, 2011

item.133401

MacInTouch Reader

I can attest from personal experience that GoToMeeting currently supports Tiger on a PPC Mac Mini.

item.133425

Bradley Price

TeamViewer is a 1-on-1 great support tool, but is no substitute for WebEx. Different animals altogether.

I applaud WebEx's Mac support - it is far more complete that GoToMeeting and works very well. Yes, you need an Intel Mac, but PPC machines are by now long in the tooth. Not many around in my world, and that's a good thing.

Apr. 15, 2011

item.133447

MacInTouch Reader

Brian Stevens writes:

"Cisco has prematurely dropped support for PowerPC Macs in their WebEx products for on-line meetings and remote support. The key is they dropped support for PowerPC Macs but not Intel Macs. The WebEx system requirements clearly show Mac OS X with 10.5/10.6 *and* an Intel processor are supported."

Brian's answer makes sense, given the way I wrote the original report of Cisco Systems' action. I wrote that poorly, though. I meant to point out that this drops support for a current Mac OS: Apple still supports the PowerPC under 10.5 "Leopard" and will do so until the release of 10.7 "Lion" this Summer.

That dropping of support is a Bad Thing for anyone who was relying on WebEx Meeting Center or WebEx Support Client. It is an especially bad thing for some of my employer's customers, who need remote help with PowerPC Macs that control industrial equipment by means of PCI cards.

As for switching to an Intel Mac: that isn't simple for my employer. None of Apple's Intel-based Macs offer PCI slots; PCI Express slots are the only option. Where available, PCI Express replacements for some the PCI cards are expensive. Their cost is high enough that it might be worthwhile to buy an expansion box that would hold the PCI cards and connect to a PCI Express slot in a Mac Pro (or the Thunderbolt port of a MacBook Pro).

item.133450

MacInTouch Reader

I wrote:

"Are there other options for on-line multiple-computer meetings and for remote support of client computers that do not require rejiggering firewalls as long as the client computer has access to the World-Wide Web?"

Though it might run on PowerPC at the moment, the GotoMeeting Web site indicates that an Intel Mac is required - see http://www.gotomeeting.com/fec/online_meeting_support.

TeamViewer looks promising.

I have found another option that I will have to investigate: Copilot, from Fog Creek Software. It would handle remote support, but would not support one presenter-to-many attendee on-line meetings.

I am clearly going to have to talk with each service provider about PowerPC support!

item.133478

MacInTouch Reader

A reader wrote:

"Cisco has prematurely dropped support for PowerPC Macs in their WebEx products for on-line meetings and remote support. "

Well, all they're doing is following Apple's lead. If Apple says PPC is dead, who's Cisco to argue the case? Heck, I wouldn't be surprised to see new versions of XCode being released that doesn't support PPC compiling.

item.133505

Gregory Weston

A MacInTouch Reader wrote:

"If Apple says PPC is dead, who's Cisco to argue the case? Heck, I wouldn't be surprised to see new versions of XCode being released that doesn't support PPC compiling."

On the off chance that wasn't tongue-in-cheek, that day is already here.

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