Mavericks, Apple Mail, and Gmail

I’ve been running OS X 10.9 Mavericks for a few days now. Overall, I’m impressed by the speed improvements and how trouble-free the upgrade was. There aren’t any major new features (other than a few programs added from iOS), but it’s a solid update and probably representative of the yearly update cycle Apple is planning to use from now on.

(I don’t understand why so many people insist that 10.9 isn’t a new version but an upgrade. Although it’s true that many people like me will install it as an upgrade, that is a meaningless distinction. Almost every operating system has offered upgrades for existing users. By that reasoning, only Mac OS X 10.0 back in 2001 was a true version and everything since has been an upgrade.)

How I Logged Back into WordPress After Locking Myself Out

One problem with doing any task over and over is that your attention tends to wander a bit after the process becomes too familiar.

I noticed this the other day when I was setting up a new WordPress installation. This is something I have done many times before. But this time I somehow got turned around when setting up the options. I managed to change the WordPress URL to point to an invalid URL. (I had intended to change the “Front page displays” option, but got confused. One problem with the WordPress administration screens is that its options do all tend to look similar.)

This was a big problem because WordPress was now convinced that it was actually installed at that invalid URL. Not only did the site no longer display, but WordPress kept trying to route me to that invalid URL whenever I tried to log in. If I couldn’t log in, how could I change the URL back to the correct value?

Will Televisions of the Future Be Smart or Dumb?

Here’s an unexpected news item: LG Electronics has purchased webOS from Hewlett Packard. webOS was a potentially revolutionary operating system originally developed by Palm but largely ignored by Hewlett Packard even after spending $1.2 billion to acquire it. As part of the deal, LG is also taking over Open webOS, the open-source version of webOS that Hewlett Packard released but also mostly ignored.

The other surprise is that LG is not planning to use webOS on smartphones (of which it has several), but on its televisions that use “next generation Smart TV technology.” Skott Ahn, the LG president, stated in a press release:

Quiet Computing

Back at the dawn of the personal computer revolution, the most popular personal computers were all quiet. The TRS‑80, the Apple II, and the Commodore PET didn’t have fans, cooling themselves with convection only. I grew to like quiet computing, with only the sound of the keyboard and the floppy drive to interrupt my thoughts.

But after several years, the quiet computing environment became a thing of the past. Newer computer models, especially after the introduction of the IBM PC, came equipped with fans, sometimes multiple fans. These loud fans changed computing from a silent experience to a very noisy one. Computers still had power lights to indicate they were powered on, but, as one reviewer put it, that would only be necessary in a war zone.

My Disappointing Longwave DXing

Every shortwave radio I have ever owned has offered four bands: FM, AM (or mediumwave), shortwave, and longwave. The FM, AM, and shortwave bands are always filled with stations (although shortwave less so these days) but the longwave band for me has always been empty. In all my years of attempts at longwave DXing, I have only ever picked up two stations. These same two stations are beacons that endlessly repeat two or three characters in Morse code. I can only occasionally receive their faint signals and they are overpowered by normal electrical interference.

Why Opera Was The Only Browser I Recommended for Dial-up Internet

In a press release innocently titled Opera gears up at 300 million users, Opera Software has confirmed what had been suspected for a while: future versions of the Opera desktop web browser will use WebKit rather than their proprietary Presto rendering engine.

It’s odd how so many people seem to consider the adoption of WebKit to be the end of Opera as a unique web browser. Both Safari and Chrome already use Webkit and no one is likely to confuse the two browsers. They maintain their unique identities and I’m sure that Opera will do the same. The reality is that Opera Software is a business, and undoubtedly has determined that maintaining their own rendering engine is no longer the best use of their resources. Opera has a long history of changing with the times and this is just another example. Opera Version History is an interesting page which details when each Opera feature was introduced and when it was made final.

Opera was my browser of choice back when I used dial-up internet. In fact, I used to recommend Opera as the only usable browser for dial-up users. For those who were lucky enough never to experience dial-up internet, here is the reason why. (If you are viewing this page using dial-up, you have my condolences.)