AnchorFree offers free Wi-Fi in 4-block SF area

AnchorFree offers free Wi-Fi in 4-block SF area:
“Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AnchorFree on Monday announced the creation of a free Wi-Fi hot zone in San Francisco’s Marina district, along a four-block area of Chestnut St. between Fillmore and Scott Streets. Anyone with a Wi-Fi-capable device, including an Apple computer equipped with AirPort or AirPort Extreme, can use the service indoors or outdoors. The company said it launched the service in response to city mayor Gavin Newsom’s 2004 announcement that ‘we will not stop until every San Franciscan has access to free wireless Internet service.'”

[ Via MacCentral ]

Jef Raskin, Father of the Mac, Dies of Cancer

Jef Raskin, Father of the Mac, Dies of Cancer:
“Computing pioneer Jef Raskin died on Saturday of pancreatic cancer. He was 61.

Raskin is best known for starting the Macintosh project at Apple in the late seventies, though his later career as an expert in computer interfaces was overshadowed by controversy over who ‘fathered’ the Macintosh.

Though Raskin conceived of the Mac, he was usurped by Steve Jobs, who put his own distinctive mark on the machine we know today.

Raskin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late December 2004 or early January, said Bruce Damer, curator of the Digibarn computer museum near Silicon Valley.

‘Jef’s death is really shocking,’ said Damer. ‘He was one of the big names, and a vibrant member of the community. And now he’s gone.’

Raskin was working with his son, Aza, 20, on realizing the kind of radically-simple computer interfaces outlined in his influential book, The Humane Interface. Published in 2000, the book is a critique of computer interfaces – including the Mac’s.

After many years criticizing computers, Raskin’s attempt to build an alternative interface, the Archy project, had just received $2 million in funding.

Damer said the cancer was a cruel blow. ‘He said to me in January, ‘I finally got funding. I got support for what I do, and then this happens,’’ Damer said.

Damer said he was informed of Raskin’s death by his widow, Linda Blum, who sent out an e-mail late Saturday night to about 50 friends. Raskin is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. The family, who live in Pacifica, California, has yet to announce details of a memorial or funeral.

‘He went from being diagnosed to having very little energy in no time,’ Damer said. ‘He was just resigned. He felt that was it.’

Raskin started the Macintosh project in 1979 while working at Apple writing computer manuals.

Raskin, a former college professor, had a keen interest in human factors and ergonomics. He envisioned a low-cost, computing ‘appliance’ that did one thing and one thing only – processed words and documents. He named the project after his favorite apple, the McIntosh, but changed the spelling to prevent any conflict with an audio manufacturer of the same name.

Raskin worked largely in isolation until the project was taken over in 1981 by Steve Jobs, who had earlier tried to shut it down. The Mac quickly went from a backroom skunkworks effort to a full-blown product development. But Raskin and Jobs constantly fought, and Raskin was eased out. He quit Apple in 1982, two years before the Mac debuted.

Last year, Steve Jobs was also diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. But Jobs’ cancer was more benign, and he was treated successfully.

Damer said 8,000 of Raskin’s photographs were recently scanned. The pictures document decades of computer designs and art projects, as well as his professional and personal life. Some are reproduced on the Digibarn’s Jef Raskin page.

Raskin also granted a last interview to Damer in January, which was also filmed by a New York filmmaker working on a biography of Raskin.

Damer said he was saddened that Raskin’s later career was marred by questions about his contribution to the Mac. See, for example, original Mac team member Andy Hertzfeld’s The Father of The Macintosh, or Apple historian Owen Linzmayer’s account.

‘When you visit his house, it’s just crammed full of books and tools and radio-controlled airplanes,’ Damer said. ‘What a life. What an incredibly creative life. I think it’s a shame. There are so many other things he did.’Update: Glenn Fleishman notes Raskin’s sometimes prickly personality, and recounts a great anecdote. A true Renaissance man, Raskin quit a teaching job by flying off in a balloon: ‘When I resigned I got into a hot air balloon in the middle of Revelle Plaza and flew over the Chancellor’s residence playing my sopranino recorder so that he would hear the sound. He came out and I yelled down that I was resigning and floated off. I was an art professor at the time and it seemed arty to leave that way.’

[ Via Cult of Mac ] Firefox, Safari usage on the rise Firefox, Safari usage on the rise:
“Web analytics firm reported Monday that the global usage share of Mozilla’s Web browsers and Apple’s Safari Web browser continue to rise. The firm said that since November 2004 Mozilla usage has increased more than 1 percent to 8.45 percent thanks to the popularity of Firefox, and Safari increased 0.3 percent to 1.21 percent. For the same period, use of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser declined from 88.79 percent to 87.28 percent.”

[ Via MacCentral ]

Apple to acquire TiVo?

Apple to acquire TiVo?:
“TiVo Inc. shares jumped more than 17 percent on Wednesday, fueled by speculation that Apple might make a try to buy the digital video recorder maker, Reuters reported Wednesday afternoon. “What we hear on the street is that Apple is interested in their business and that they are a takeout target,” said analyst Steven Kroll Jr. of Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co. “TiVo’s chief executive, Michael Ramsay, has said the company is not for sale. But with a market capitalization of only $300 million, analysts figure the company might be an easy target, perhaps from consumer electronics makers to media companies looking to bolster their video services.””

[ Via AppleInsider ]

Adobe CEO: Apple is both partner and competitor

Adobe CEO: Apple is both partner and competitor | MacMinute News:
“Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen says his company has worked out a coexistence strategy that treats Apple as both friend and foe. ‘They are clearly both a partner and in some cases a competitor,’ Chizen said in an interview with CNET ‘They’re an important partner in that about 25 percent of our business comes from people who own Macs. That’s a very loyal customer to Adobe and a very important customer as well. That’s also a very important customer obviously to Apple. So it’s in both of our best interests to partner, and I think we do a pretty good job of it… There are some places where we do compete…in particular in video, and we have agreed to compete. And we compete ferociously.'”

[ Via MacMinute ]

new iPod lineup

new iPod lineup

As expected, Apple introduced an updated line of iPods today, and as usual the announcement did not include most of the rumors that were running rampid.

What they did NOT do:
* Mini’s did not get a color screen
* No bluetooth
* Standard iPod is still white, no colors introduced

What they did do:
* Added 6GB mini
* Dropped gold mini
* Dropped 40GB iPod photo
* Added 30GB (slimmer) iPod photo
* Reduced 60GB iPod photo to $449.00
* Added Camera / memory reader accessory

Apple also made a few other changes in what you get standard (in the box), like doc connectors, etc…. Overall a slightly disappointing announcement. But in all fairness to Aplle, their announcements could never live up to all the hype and rumors that precede any announcement.

The memory reader attachment isn’t available as of the time of this posting, but I am curious to see it. Third party readers available now only allow you to use the iPod for storage, you can’t view the pictures until you sync with your computer. The Apple version will allow you to view the images immediately after transfer.

The only real bummer for me is the price drop of the 60GB iPod photo to $449. Anne Marie got me the 40GB model for Christmas, and paid $499. A mere 2 months later she could have spent $50 less, for 20 more gigs.

new desktop pictures

iPod people wallpaper downloads

The ‘desktop picture’ in the upper left (above) of the 4 iPod people has been downloaded from my downloads page over 1,700 times so far this month. I’m not sure of the total number for all months that it has been available, but it’s been so popular that I thought I would add the full size versions of the individual people.

You can download all the Apple iPod people desktop pictures (Wallpapers for you PC people) by clicking on the “downloads” button at the top of the page. There is a special additional iPod desktop picture for you Dr. Who fans.

One of these days I’ll actually be adding a lot more to that page. It’s just a matter of finding the time.

It’s all mine!

This Echo is all mine!

Yippee! Yippee! Yippee! After 5 years, this car is all mine! I made my last payment this morning. I’ve been looking forward to this day since the day I bought it… No more car payment! :)