My Mac Adventures: Addendum

As readers of this blog probably know, in 2005 I embarked on an ill-fated voyage to create a native Mac version of my Bible software. I was unable to complete my quest and disappointed several of my users who had already switched to Mac and were hoping I would be able to give them SwordSearcher on their own platform.

Well, nothing has changed with regard to development — I won’t be resuming work on the Mac version of SwordSearcher in the foreseeable future as all of the reasons I suspended work on that project still stand — but I received an email from a long-time SwordSearcher user who wanted to share his success at using SwordSearcher on his Mac with Crossover.  Here’s an excerpt:

“And I’m pleased to announce it WORKS! And it actually integrates so well, I wouldn’t even know I was using a mixed setup of Windows and Apple, they BOTH seem native mode in operation, and I use them at the same time.”

Complete details have been posted on the SwordSearcher Mac website.

Additional thought: do software compatibility layers like Crossover for Mac and WINE for Linux make native development irrelevant?

Well, certainly not irrelevant in every case.  But in my case, it certainly reduces the need to expend development energy targeting multiple platforms when Linux and Mac already have excellent “emulation” alternatives. (And yes, I know WINE is not an emulator!)  A single developer like myself, on a project as complex as SwordSearcher, is better off focusing on doing the best on Windows — where almost all the customers are — rather than trying to spend time writing multiple versions of the software, or worse, using cross-platform development tools that invariably result in a “lowest common denominator” feel for the application. And with WINE and Crossover Mac, a viable solution already exists that allows me to continue to focus my efforts on one platform.

Migrating a boot partition to a new drive in Windows

I installed a new hard drive on my wife’s machine because she kept running out of space. I didn’t have the time or inclination to do a new Windows XP install, and didn’t want to install the drive as a secondary because that means she would constantly have to redirect where stuff is installed, so I decided to transfer the old drive data to the new drive.

I got her a Western Digital drive, so I figured I’d try using their utility to do the transfer. The Western Digital Data Lifeguard boot CD-ROM utility failed to copy the old partition to the new drive with an unspecified error. (Come on! Cryptic errors are better than nothing!)

So I tried using the GParted LiveCD. It took a long time just to get something visible on the screen, mucking around in interactive boot mode. Finally, I got it to copy the partition to the new disc and resize it. Or so it told me. It took an hour but the target drive was not bootable. I checked all the partition flags and even booted the Windows install CD in recovery mode to rewrite the boot sector (FIXBOOT), and when that didn’t work, the MBR (FIXMBR) and boot sector. It just wouldn’t boot — and no error messages from the BIOS either (how nice).

Finally, I downloaded Acronis Migrate Easy 7.0.

This program is awesome. It is what all low level utilities should be. It just works. I was hesitant to try anything that didn’t run off a boot disc, assuming that I was asking for trouble running a program in Windows to copy the boot partition to a new drive. But it was easy and clear, and apparently Acronis really knows how to make Windows do low-level stuff the right way. It re-booted the system into the UI mode that I’ve only seen chkdsk run in and copied the partition to the new drive, then told me it was done and I could remove the old drive and reconfigure the system to boot from the new drive. And it just worked.

I copied a partition from an 80 gigabyte parallel ATA drive to a 250 gigabyte serial ATA (SATA) drive. The partition was automatically expanded to fill the new space, and I didn’t need to defrag afterwards even though the source drive was pretty fragmented — apparently it does more than just a blind copy of the clusters.

Anyway, this program is awesome and worked perfectly. I just wanted to sing its praises and hope this might help someone else avoid the hassle I went through learning about it.

Keyword Stuffer SpamPro Elite Gold

Web marketing seems to come down to one of two things:

1. Stay on the cusp of search engine manipulation. Keep one step ahead of Google so that you can have well-ranking web pages that customers will blunder on to, only to have to click an AdWord link to get to what they were looking for in the first place. Or,

2. Work steadily to create legitimately useful content, and hope the search engines will eventually notice its value and send users your way.

After looking around for a while, it seems that all of the keyword research tools available cater to the get-rich-quick school of thought (number 1 above). The “Keyword this-and-that” programs have mile-long web pages full of infomercial style sales pitches, promising that once you buy their software you’ll be an instant internet mogul. They make my skin crawl just scrolling down the pages.

I can’t seem to find much for those of us in group #2.

My main goal in web marketing is to help my customers find me.  I know they are out there. The trick is writing articles and pages that word their problems in the same ways they do, so they’ll find them.

I’ve decided that I should develop my own keyword research software. I have some very specific needs in mind that I don’t see being filled by these programs.

What about you?  If your work includes web marketing, have you ever thought “hey, I need something that does X?” Let me know.

Red Microsoft beats Pinko Linux

Interesting post from Jason Hiner at TechRepublic: How Microsoft beat Linux in China and what it means for freedom, justice, and the price of software

“Even with the cut-rate fees for students and the government, Microsoft will still collect an estimated $700 million in revenue from China in 2007. That amounts to only about 1.5% of Microsoft’s total revenue worldwide, but the battle for mind share has been won. Windows now has roughly 90% market share in China. There are currently 120 million PCs in China, but that number is expected by grow exponentially in the coming decades, and Microsoft is in a great position to reap the benefits.”


“The fact that Red Flag Linux failed to gain a major foothold in China is yet another blow to desktop Linux. After nearly eight years of being on the verge of a breakthrough, Linux seems more destined than ever to be a force in the server room but little more than a narrow niche and an anomaly on the desktop.”

Microsoft plans next Windows release in three years

Todd Bishop is reporting that Microsoft is planning the next release of Windows for three years from now.

[Insert obligatory Vista-was-supposed-to-come-out-in-2004 joke here.]

Of interest to me: The next Windows will be 32 and 64 bit. Some people have erroneously concluded that the next major release of Windows will be 64-bit only. It’s good that won’t be the case, because a 64-bit environment instantly “breaks” thousands of device drivers that will probably never be updated. Hardly anyone really needs a 64-bit OS now anyway.

As to this three year thing: obviously, that won’t happen.  Microsoft isn’t meeting its OS release schedules. And should it happen in only three years? No. Aside from a few techno-whiners, nobody in the real world cared that Windows XP was Microsoft’s consumer OS for six years. Well, maybe the whiners and the Microsoft shareholders itching for a new bump in sales.

I do not have any desire to upgrade my OS every three years. Stability on the desktop is a good thing for users and especially for developers. Five years seems like a reasonable time-frame to me.