eXtra Notes

Blue Apple

Graham K. Rogers

Unpublished ideas that are not going to make it into print

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I think that I am going to have a love-hate relationship with True, the local provider of ADSL to the Windows platform. On the Mac, as far as the signal is concerned, it works, although with the eMac I deliberately avoided the free USB modem (still in the box) and bought my own modem/router. As far as the human interfacing goes, it doesn't if you have Macs. The shop staff are technically challenged and give contradictory information about using Apple computers. I had found that the technical support staff were able to provide answers to some of the questions I have come up with:

Now I am less than content with Support and it concerns this website, eXtensions. If you can read this, you are OK. I can read eXtensions at work, I can read eXtensions at home using the dialup/modem; I can also access the site to upload files with the FTP software (Fetch -- see below); and I can look at the administration pages via a browser. I cannot, however, view MY pages, on MY computer at MY home.

I have made some checks. I have done the housework. I have restarted. Checked the settings. Prayed to the gods. All the usual things one does when a problem appears. Of course, I also contacted technical support. I was hopeful as the last time I did, the problem was fixed within hours. This time, too, there was an e-mail reply within the day but that was when the hopes evaporated.

Problem noted, but True were able to connect to the website from their office without difficulty. If it persists, please send a screenshot of the information the browser displays.

As this was the standard warning displayed in the browser window, I was a litle annoyed that I had to do the work for True, but this does seem to be standard for many tech. support staff worldwide (and not only for computers): never believe the customer until you see it with your own eyes.

tcp screen

So I did a screen shot and sent it back to them; and I heard nothing more.

AltawayIn the meantime, I contacted the web-space provider, Altaway. As there had been some similar problems, they were prepared and made a suggestion that I move the hosting site to another that would not have such problems (I hope). The IP number will change but the name (eXtensions) does not. DNS entries must be altered to accommodate the new reference.

This may in part be due to the old rivalries that have existed in Thailand since the start of Internet access. Simply, providers do not talk to each other, at least in terms of Internet connections. It seems a nonsense to me that to connect to the website of a government institution from a university across the road, that the request then the data have to go halfway round the world and then come back. I think that CAT made a gallant attempt to have a central link but that ruffled feathers, trod on toes, threatened fiefdoms; and not everyone signed up for that initiative.

As it stands right now, I have uploaded all the files to the new site. We are running with the old server and I cannot view my pages. In the next few days the new one will be ready to go and ThaiNic will be informed. They will take steps to ensure that the site is identified by the new DNS numbers. I think I have that right. If all goes as planned, the change will be seamless. I will still get my mail (that is on the server too) and, for a change, I will also be able to view my pages.

Despite all the hype and my enthusiasm for the Mac mini, I have decided that I will be buying a new PowerBook, the 12.1", 1.5GHz. There is an education retailer for Macs here, and although the discounts are not large, the computers on sale are a few thousand baht cheaper than in the retail outlets. There is also the advantage for us poor teachers that payment may be made in three installments. I will obviously be passing on details of arrival and use.

powerbookNot that anyone should think that I am dissatisfied with the eMac. I thought my G3 iMac was one of the best computers I had ever owned, but the eMac trumped that ten-fold. It has much life left in it for the general user and anyone thinking of a new Mac should include this on a list of possibles while they can. In Bangkok the education pricing in the retail outlets is still floating around 30,000 baht for the Combo option, with the Superdrive option at a bit over 40,000. (In France the eMAc has been reported as "end of line" and there have been rumours for months: the eMac has been unchanged for over 300 days and the usual time-scale for Apple to update a line is about 160 days. Statistically, it is about time; but the eMacs still on sale have much to give.

Two things pushed me in the direction of a new computer: iLife '05 and a desire for hard disk space so that I can work more with developer tools. Not that I am programming (heaven forfend), but I am intereted in finding out. Although the Mac mini has iLife '05, the hard disk is the same as I have in the eMac and I want more. That was a reason why I also decided that the iBook was not quite what I wanted. Of course, the main reason for all of this is that I am a sucker for new toys. Talking of which, I have an appraisal copy of iWork -- Keynote 2 and Pages. It has a bit of a learning curve I must admit. I shall be reviewing this in due course.

As I was writing this I noticed that another upgrade of 10.3 is being seeded to developers: 10.3.9. That looks as if we have run out of numbers for 10.3 upgrades. Alternatives would be Security Updates, and that might be stretching it a bit for some fixes, and adding numbers to the end, such as which would be new (for OSX at least). And then we have Tiger (10.4) to look forward to.

All materials ©copyright G.K. Rogers. Free for individual use.

Other links:

Bangkok Post, Database
Mac Center: Thailand
OSX Faq Mac Dr Smoke's X Lab Site George Mann
Applelinks MacNightOwl MacNightOwl

Phuket Mac User Group

For further information, e-mail to Graham K. Rogers.

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