Tag Archive for ‘Operating Systems’

Hacking Mint to Recognize Modern Operating Systems

Despite Shaun Inman’s announcement late last year that he was suspending sales and support for Mint, I’ve continued to use the software to track visitor statistics on Initial Charge. In the eight years since I first installed Mint on my server, I haven’t found anything that offers the same level of simplicity, clean design, and overall peace of mind about where my stats data is stored.

I’ll continue to keep my eye out for alternatives, but nothing’s unseated Mint yet. Piwik and Tiny Stats came close. But no one I know that has tried Piwik has stuck with it and when I tried Tiny Stats, I ran across a few bugs that soured the experience for me. I’ll probably move to something new eventually, but I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon.

UserAgent 007 on iPhone

With my continued use of Mint, there is one bit of code that will have to be updated regularly — the list of recognized operating systems in the User Agent 007 pepper. For those who are unfamiliar with Mint, the software has support for plugins, called “Pepper”, that can enhance the core software’s features. User Agent 007 keeps track of what browser and operating systems your visitors are using, as well as the display resolution and whether or not they have Flash installed (which is far less useful in 2017 than it was in 2007).

In order for UserAgent 007 to recognize operating systems newer than Windows 8 and Mountain Lion — which were added in the last update — you’ll have to edit the class.php file located in mint/pepper/shauninman/useragent007/. I highly suggest making a backup of this file just in case something goes wrong.

Windows Versions Array in UserAgent 007

Within class.php, you’ll want to look for an array that tells Mint how to determine what version of Windows the visitor is using. If you’ve never edited this file before, the top entry in the array should be Windows 8. To add support for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, simply add the following two items above the Windows NT 6.2 entry, just as I’ve done in the image above.

'Windows NT 10.0' => '10',
'Windows NT 6.3' => '8.1',

macOS Versions Array in UserAgent 007

Scrolling down a bit further within class.php, you should find an array with versions of macOS listed. The last one should be Mountain Lion. To add support for newer versions of macOS, be sure to add a comma after the Mountain Lion entry and add the following five items, just as I’ve done in the image above.

'10.9' => 'Mavericks',
'10.10' => 'Yosemite',
'10.11' => 'El Capitan',
'10.12' => 'Sierra',
'10.13' => 'High Sierra'

Unfortunately, this doesn’t retroactively change the statistics that have already been recorded. But eventually, the “Unknown” listing will be replaced in your short-term platform stats with properly identified operating system names. And without officially released updates to the UserAgent 007 pepper, as long as you’re still using Mint, this process will have to be repeated as new operating systems are released with the correct version number and OS name. But this will certainly add some longevity to Mint for us users who aren’t ready to move on just yet.

93% of iOS Users Running iOS 6 ➝

Only Apple can achieve this kind of adoption rate.

(Via The Loop.)

Google Officially Demos Chrome OS ➝

Google Chrome OS

Yesterday Google officially demoed Chrome OS at their special event in Mountain View, CA. The operating system is exactly what we all expected it to be, the browser is the OS.

All of the applications are in the cloud, you can’t install (what we would consider to be) traditional applications, just web apps. Chrome OS will not support hard disk drives in favor of solid state drives. This allows them to make all sorts of performance optimizations which is how they’ve been able to keep boot time under 10 seconds.

Although Chrome OS can’t boot from hard disk drives, it will support mass storage devices. When you plug in a digital camera or a cell phone the contents will show up in a separate browser tab. Clicking on files, such as Excel files or PDF files, will open up a web app that can handle that file type, such as Microsoft Office web apps or Google Docs. Chrome OS even has a built in media player to view videos and images.

The whole concept is very interesting and I’m mostly interested in how this announcement will affect other software companies. But, the focus on low cost and low powered computers (netbooks) worries me. I happen to agree with Alex Payne on this:

I have no opinion about Chrome OS. All I know is that cheap hardware feels cheap. It’s less “cloud computing” than “disposable computing”.

And, it’s not as if you’ll be able to just install this on any computer out there. There will likely be numerous hacks to do so but, Google is working on reference designs and the OS will only officially work on approved hardware.

The operating system will launch in the second half of 2010. But, if you want to see more of the user interface there are a few videos introducing and demoing Chrome OS on the Google Chrome YouTube account, I really enjoyed the  “What is Google Chrome OS?” video.

Previously:
11/18/09:
Google Holding Chrome OS Event Thursday
7/8/09: Google Announces a Linux Distro and the World Goes Mad

Update 11/21/09: Gdgt is hosting a VMware image of Chrome OS. If you’re unsure how to use it, Engadget has published a video with the instructions.

Update 11/24/09: Chrome OS Should Be Built on Anroid

Slight Changes in Snow Leopard 10A402

There were some slight changes to Snow Leopard with build 10A402.

  • Apple has changed the theme used for menus that appear when right clicking (or ctrl+clicking) on items in the dock.
    Dock Contextual Menu
  • The slider used in Finder windows for resizing icons is now grey instead of blue.
    Finder Slider
  • Third party preference panes are now functional.
  • QuickTime has been upgraded to build 10.0.
    QuickTime Version 10.0

Last night there was another update to Snow Leopard brining it to 10A411. But, there hasn’t been any reports of notable changes with this most recent build.

Update 7/15/09: There have been a couple of changes found with the latest build (10A411). Including an updated version of Safari, a changed font in the dock contextual menus, and a new navigation interface in QuickTime X.

QuickTime X 10A411

Google Announces a Linux Distro and the World Goes Mad

Last night on Google’s official blog they announced the Google Chrome Operating System. Unfortunately the details on the OS are a little vague. They talk about a minimalist user interface but there isn’t a single screenshot, they talk about security but it is based on Linux so that isn’t a big issue to begin with, and they talk about running on x86 and ARM chips but Linux has been running on both those architectures for years.

If you were curious (like I was) as to why Google would choose to announce this now, especially since they don’t seem to have much to say about it yet, Robert Scoble believes it has something to do with a Microsoft announcement set for this Monday. Unfortunately Scoble is embargoed from talking more about it.

What’s funny about this story is that there isn’t really a lot to talk about and yet everyone seems to be finding quite a bit more than I am.

There have been operating systems that focused on the web like this before, some of you might remember gOS. The problem with all of these internet focused operating systems is that you have to run completely different software than what most users are accustomed to. I know that Google wants to think that everyone lives in the cloud now but that just isn’t the case. It does appear to be the case amongst the kind of people that work at Google but not the Average Joe. And, even if the Average Joe does have everything up in the cloud theres i some sort of fear towards relying on it full time.

Google Chrome OS is initially being targeted at netbooks, which is a wise decision. The netbook market is currently the place where Windows doesn’t really cut it and not a single Linux distro does either. The only problem is that Windows 7 will be out by the time Chrome OS is released (Chrome OS will be available in the second half of 2010) and from everyone I’ve heard or talked to about Windows 7 says that it works flawlessly on every netbook they’ve tried it on.

I know that Google feels the need to compete with Microsoft but what they fail to realize is that Microsoft will always lose when competing with Google at web services (like search) and Google will always lose when competing with Microsoft at desktop software.

Official Google Blog: Introducing the Google Chrome OS.

Update 7/9/09: MG Siegler says that it is indeed an online version of Office that Microsoft is going to be announcing on Monday. This is the reason for the timing of the Chrome OS announcement.

Update 7/9/09: The geniuses over at Engadget posted screenshots of Chrome OS. It should have been pretty obvious that they were fake (John Gruber puts it best), but they posted them anyway only later updating the post to correct their mistake.

Update 7/10/09: From the Official Google Blog:

The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies.

It has been pointed out on various blogs that because Google is building a new windowing system this isn’t going to be “just another Linux distro.” I tend to disagree, mostly because I can’t really imagine how it could be all that different. I am very willing to eat my words if Google shows something that blows my mind but at this point I really don’t see that happening (and can’t see that happening until next year, when this thing actually ships). I have a feeling that this OS is going to just boot directly into a web browser, which wouldn’t blow me away and instead would leave me as disappointed as I am with Chrome OS as it is today (which is with essentially no details).

Regarding the use of web-based applications on the OS. It’s obvious that all of them will work, as long as you have a browser (I’m assuming Chrome OS will use the Chrome web browser) all web-based applications will work, I’m certain that you don’t have to mention that specifically. Google says that “the web is the platform” but does that mean that there won’t be any native apps for the OS? That seems a little silly to me, especially since this OS is built on Linux. Obviously you will be able to write native apps for it and Google probably won’t do anything to stop you, so why act as if web apps are the only apps that will work? We all know how that worked out for Apple.

This whole announcement has been the oddest one I can remember. I don’t expect announcements like this out of Google, and yet here we are. I wish they would have just said “we’re building an OS, we have nothing to say about it now, but it is coming next year.” And, just left it at that. At least then we would let our imaginations run wild. Maybe Google would have even taken some of our speculation to heart and actually built a really amazing product.

Update 7/10/09: Google has posted a useless FAQ about Chrome OS.

Update 7/14/09: Not only does Eric Schmidt say that he didn’t want to do Chrome initially, he also says that Microsoft is welcome to port Internet Explorer over to Chrome OS. This means that (unless Schmidt was just joking) it will be very possible to build native apps for the OS.

Update 7/14/09: There was some speculation that Google announced Chrome OS when it did because of Microsoft’s rumored “Gazelle” project. The Gazelle project is a browser that works similarly to Chrome in terms of how it deals with processes but it is definitely different. Ars Technica managed to dig up a white paper on the project and you can find their post on the subject here.

Update 7/14/09: It’s possible that “Native Client” may play a significant role in Chrome OS.

Native Client is an open-source research technology for running x86 native code in web applications, with the goal of maintaining the browser neutrality, OS portability, and safety that people expect from web apps. We’ve released this project at an early, research stage to get feedback from the security and broader open-source communities. We believe that Native Client technology will someday help web developers to create richer and more dynamic browser-based applications.

Update 7/15/09: Bill Gates talking to CNET regarding Chrome OS:

There’s many, many forms of Linux operating systems out there and packaged in different ways and booted in different ways. In some ways I am surprised people are acting like there’s something new. I mean, you’ve got Android running on Netbooks. It’s got a browser in it.

Snow Leopard‘s New ‘Marble’ UI Theme

Lately there has been a lot of talk about Snow Leopard’s supposed new UI theme, called “Marble” by those in the know. There have been many sources of this rumor, from AppleInsider to John Gruber but there still isn’t too much hard evidence proving its existence.

The new UI theme has been said to be closer to the current look of iTunes (UI elements pictured below) than anything else, darker window chrome and light text on dark background menu bars. But it is easy to point towards iTunes and tell you that this is what Snow Leopard will look like. If only it were that easy, although there have been some screenshots of Snow Leopard leak depicting a new look for QuickTime (shown above and which hasn’t been confirmed, the screenshot may be fake) no one really knows exactly what Snow Leopard will look like.

iTunes Chrome

What makes matters even more confusing is the recent release of Safari 4 Beta which doesn’t have very many (if any at all) of the UI tweaks that we are all expecting to appear in Snow Leopard. Safari’s chrome has actually appeared to get lighter, not darker in the switch from version 3 to version 4. The scroll bars in Safari didn’t the same design change that we’ve already experienced in recent releases of iTunes. So, unless Apple has decided to leave these elements out of the current Safari 4 release and plans to release it with Snow Leopard, something is awry.

AppleInsider claims that this UI overhaul will come with the next developer build of Snow Leopard. I find this incredibly hard to believe since Apple has publicly announced that there won’t be any new user-facing features in Snow Leopard, if they neglected to factor in the UI changes then one would assume it would be a big selling point for Snow Leopard, releasing it in a developer seed would surely allow it to leak online. But, Apple wouldn’t want it to leak online, Apple wants to control when users find out about Marble, my guess is that we won’t be seeing too much hard evidence of Marble until WWDC, which will be held at Moscone West in San Francisco June 8-12.

image credit to feber.se

Update 6/10/09: The Marble UI theme isn’t going to be coming in Snow Leopard. There are hints of it in applications like QuickTime X but it seems as though Marble is being pushed into 10.7. WWDC Keynote 2009.