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Month: October 2007

it is about time

For the past few months, I’ve been wanting a Mac. I made myself wait, however, because the new shiny “Leopard” operating system was about to come out. I figured, might as well buy it when that comes out. Secretly I was hoping this would delay the purchase indefinitely.

That is not what happened.

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I stopped by the Mac store on my birthday (the 27th, for those of you that are bad friends or random strangers) and took a little poking around with Leopard. After about 10 minutes, I felt compelled to purchase a new iMac. So I did.

Of course I couldn’t get out with a few accessories – specifically, a free after rebate printer, and a small-yet-expensive box of AppleCare which, despite just being an extended warranty, had a CD inside of it. I am not sure why.

The Mac is undeniably beautiful. There is exactly one cable involved, the power cable. That’s it. You plug that in and hit power and you’re using a Mac.

The startup process is beautiful. The first thing that happened was a screen popped up instructing me how to put batteries into my mouse and turn it on. Once I did so, it walked me through pairing it (I had to click a button). Then I did the same thing with the keyboard. Simple. I was struck with the fact that my mom could completely set up this computer – from plugging it in to even getting the wireless mouse and keyboard up and running. The only thing she’d have needed help with was lifting it up onto her desk.

After startup a welcome video plays, saying “Welcome” in a whole bunch of languages. It plays full screen and looks sharp. I wish I knew how to play it again. This video is Apple’s version of the new car smell. It works. You can watch it right here, but it’s not the same. Even if you made it full screen, and had a 24″ display at home, you’re missing out on how perfectly crisp it is.

By comparison, this is Vista’s welcome screen, and looking at it depresses me.

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(Note that the Vista useless welcome screen comes up every time you boot until you uncheck that stupid box at the bottom; make sure you do that upon your first boot. The Welcome Center is completely useless).

(Taking a break to watch the Leopard welcome video again)

After that, you… oh wait. That’s it. The Mac is up and running. I believe one step did involve selecting my wireless network.

On Vista, I would have had to boot the Vista DVD and reinstall (because the OEM would have put a ton of crap I don’t want on the PC). After re-installing the OS, I’d have to disable that Welcome screen again. Then, I’d have to break out a really long Ethernet cable so I can download a Wireless driver. After rebooting, I would be able to get on my wireless network, get rid of the long Ethernet cable, and then FINALLY I could download my display driver so I could increase the screen resolution from 800×600.

Using a Mac is pure pleasure. Everything works so well, and so quickly. The new features are spectacular, and even better are all the small things that they tweaked because, well, people wanted them better. And everything is great, right out of the box.

There’s a lot of stuff I hadn’t ever even used, because I’ve only used Macs at work. Front Row is awesome; it’s what Windows Media Center should be and it’s included (and they even throw in a nice remote). It makes me want to buy a Mac Mini to hook up to my TV. It’s so simple but works so well.

The new “Spaces” feature is something you can get utilities to already do, but it’s again, done so simply and so well. The awesome thing is I can dedicate an entire space to a full-screen Remote Desktop session to my PC, so it’s like my Mac is my PC, too.

I’m stopping by Best Buy tonight to pick up an external hard drive – I can’t wait to get Time Machine up and running. I’ve been extremely lax with backing up in the past, and now I won’t have to even think about it.

Well, I need to stop writing about this because I sound like a 9 year old girl who was just invited to an Alice in Wonderland party, so. Adieu.

Python, SOAP, .NET, Namespaces

Approximately 8 hours of my life was consumed by SOAP. Not the washy type SOAP, but rather, Simple Object Access Protocol. Yes, another nerdy post.

Python has a nice little library, called SOAPpy, which lets you generate SOAP requests. It seems to work, unless you’re accessing a .NET SOAP proxy. This, unfortunately, is what I was trying to do.

So it took about 6 hours to come up with the following 4 lines of code:

proxy = SOAPpy.SOAPProxy(‘http://whatever/webservice.asmx’, ‘http://whatever/namespace/’, ‘ http://whatever/Action’)
proxy.config.dumpSOAPOut = 1
proxy.config.buildWithNamespacePrefix = 0
response = proxy.Action(variable=value, variable2=value, variable3=product_name)

Specifically:

Line 1: You have to pass in the SOAPAction here, fully qualified. Otherwise you’ll get things such as “Object Reference” errors.
Line 2: This is great for debugging
Line 3: This line is not documented. Nobody suggests using it. Nobody talks about it. It is the most critical line and the one that took the longest to figure out. The problem is the SOAP request is not exactly what .NET is expecting; Python specifies the namespace with ‘ns1’ which I believe identifies the namespace. .NET chokes on this and dies.
Line 4: You need to specify the name of the variable, then the equals sign, then the value.

I actually *understand* why a page like this gets created at Microsoft

Somehow I ended up subscribed to Microsoft’s Small Business newsletter. I think, but am not sure, it is because I signed up for something. Deciding to unsubscribe, I found a link at the bottom of the email (nice!) which led to this monstrosity of a page:

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Click for full sizeosity

Holy shit, do they think anyone CARES? I want to unsubscribe! Not read a treatise some deluded PM wrote because he was feeling especially self-important one day.

Oh, and by the way, the instructions suggest that I find links that do not EXIST.

That was going to be the end of the post until I got THIS beautiful page:

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Click for full sizeness

I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. It says to check the box to unsubscribe, but at the same time, the column header is “Subscribe” – not Unsubscribe. But I already am subscribed? If there is a checkbox why are there also two different buttons, and what happens if I hit Update instead of Unsubscribe but check the Un(subscribe) checkbox?

We live in a world of uncertainty.

Oh and the best part is – what is up with the newsletter description? “Is created to be sent out as regular monthly or bi-monthly NL”? That’s so screwed up even Yoda wouldn’t say it.

I think I have unsubscribed, but I don’t have the fucking computer expertise to determine this from their poor-ass website.