Scripting News for 3/30/2007

Today’s links 

David Brown has a theory about a way I might get XP to install on my MacBook. Don’t you love DRM. It turns paying customers into hackers.

Rex: When everyone blogs, all sides of a story can be aired.

Keep blogging, you’re going to be on the A-list. 🙂


My second of two PC laptops died this week, and rather than get them repaired, or get a replacement, I ordered Parallels and a fresh copy of Windows XP. Both should arrive today.

Back in Sept 2005, I bought a cheap Mac because I wanted to test new versions of the OPML Editor on the Mac before releasing it. Now, having completed my unintentional migration to the Mac, I’m now in the mirror situation, needing a Windows machine so I can make a new build of the Windows version that works. I don’t think this means I’m going back to using Windows, however. 🙂

Alan German: “Parallels is so good for my purposes that I’ve never even tried BootCamp.”

Postscript: I bought the Windows XP upgrade, because I own three XP licenses and am using none of them. I even have an XP install disk, so when, during the install process, they asked me to insert a disk, I was able to. Unfortunately the Mac does not recognize the disk. So I’m out another $90 to Microsoft, and a boatload of time. I wonder if Bill Gates has to put up with this. New suggested slogan: How much time do you want to waste today?

A reminder from Kevin Tofel that Apple is no better when it comes to wasting users’ time. You can’t buy better service by spending more money — if anything Apple’s service is worse than what you get from PC manufacturers, even though you pay a lot more for the computer.

Getting static 

Lots of changes happening in my web in the next few days.

Until a few days ago, I had two servers at a colo facility in Somerville; they were my original life-after-UserLand servers, started in 2003. One was used for and the other for everything else. Eventually migrated off the server onto a Linux machine at ServerMatrix in Dallas. Then when my business with Adam Curry was forming, in 2004, I rented two servers for our podcasting work — on Sunday those servers are finally going away.

After this corner-turn I will go from seven servers to three. One of the remaining servers is running only SYO, which I must admit is suffering from lack of attention. But there is some small hope of reviving the project.

At the same time Manila sites are seriously under attack, I’m not up on the exact vector or what the company may be doing to deal with the threat. However, we are having a board meeting a week from today. Writing about the situation with Russo & Hale here apparently had a good effect. It’s the old sunlight as disinfectant thing.

Meanwhile, the Manila server I set up at Harvard when I was there is back up, but only for a very short period of time. The fragility of this server is one of the things that’s inspiring my interest in future-safe systems. Back in 2003, with the help of Jack Russo, representing UserLand, we transferred the RSS 2.0 spec to Harvard, for safe-keeping through the years, hopefully decades, maybe longer. I think now, in 2007, it needs one more little bit of help to turn the corner to be relatively safe for the next century or so (knock wood, praise Murphy).

I volunteered to convert the RSS 2.0 site from a dynamic Manila-hosted site to a static Apache-hosted site. I’m moving all the images and sample XML files into sub-folders of the static HTML pages. We will also offer the whole site as a zip archive so people can download it in total. I will also provide the Harvard webmaster with an htaccess file that redirects the old urls to the new ones. I’m trying to anticipate the nit-picking that such a change is likely to cause, but I’m hopeful that with the recent Kathy Sierra mess, people will be reluctant to get so personal about it. All I’m doing is helping my friends at Harvard deliver on their commitment to provide an unchanging home for a spec that a lot of people build on. I am being careful not to change one word of the spec. Yet I’m sure, as I write this, that some people will spin as if they were on a Sunday morning politics show, hoping to confuse good people into thinking that changes were made. That’s just the context our work takes place in, there’s nothing to be done about it, other than hope people understand.

Too many lawyers! 🙂

17 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Dave,
    I wish I had a Mac. Oh well, someday. Or maybe Linix PC, but not on a Dell! I do hope other major PC manufacturers start delivering Linux as an alternative, so that searching/downloading drivers might become less of an issue.

    I lost the link, but I saw somewhere a spoof on the Apple Win/Mac commercial – where they discussed “how Linux would fit in”. They did one with the Linux persona being a not-at-all-geeky, but normal-looking gal wearing SuSe green. Now we are talking. I have been dual-booting linux for years, and carry a Knoppix boot CD.

    In the meantime, my older than I liked to admit laptop/Win 98 I use for testing is still serving up teh intarweb (and OPML Editor) with nary a hiccup. Praise be.

    I realize you may be in the midst of some heads-down coding, or looking up only to gaze upon all who have recently twitter-ed, but once again the OPML Ed blog server seems not to be serving-up the past couple of days. Just in case you were not aware. Thanks. Cheers!


  2. Posted by Alan on March 30, 2007 at 8:01 am

    FWIW, I’ve been using a MacBook Pro for a year now, running Parallels with Windows XP, Vista (just recently) and Ubuntu linux. I use Parallels and another OS only for cross-browser/platform testing, or if there’s some Windows-only software I need to run (very rarely these days).

    Dell laptop users who look over my shoulder often comment about how the speed of Parallels/Windows XP is equal to or better than what they see on their laptops.

    Parallels is so good for my purposes that I’ve never even tried BootCamp. With the new automated Windows installer in Parallels, you should be able to get Windows running in less than 30 minutes. Don’t forget to install all of the Windows Updates after the initial install.


  3. Dave,

    You may want to download Boot Camp 1.2 beta for your Mac also. It allows you to run Windows Vista for compatibility testing. Parallels runs Vista Business and Ultimate versions, but not the Home versions. Boot Camp will also allow Direct-X enabled software to run without problems.


  4. Posted by Simone Bettini on March 30, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Welcome back, Dave 😉


  5. Do you have the license key for the unused XP licenses? If so, you might be able to install the upgrade — instead of having it check the disk, it should be able to just take the key.

    At least that’s what I was able to do when I installed XP into Parallels. Give it a try, it should only take a few minutes to check, and then maybe you can get a $90 refund.


  6. Not sure how to do that.

    I have the certificate for my Sony Vaio, and I can probably dig the one up for ThinkPad. Are you saying that Windows will understand that the key isn’t for an upgrade, that it’s for a fully licensed copy, even though I’m installing from the disk I just bought?


  7. Posted by Bryan Schappel on March 30, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    If you have the disk from the Vaio or from your other PC then just use that disk and the serial number from the Vaio. That will be a full install. It will work.

    If you don’t want to go that route then return the upgrade version and order an OEM copy from It’ll run you about $140.


  8. I would concur with Brian — if you have the Vaio certificate, the number on that should work.

    They want you to have a license per machine you are running it on. It sounds like you’ve retired the Vaio, which means you’ve got a license lying dormant. If the install still asks you to activate, call the operator and explain the situation. That’s what I did, and they gave me the code I need.


  9. Posted by Ahsan Kabir on March 31, 2007 at 3:58 am

    This has nothing to do with DRM, and everything to do with licensing.

    Dave says he owns three XP licenses and isn’t doing anything with them. It’s not clear to me how he acquired any of them, but the implication is these are preloads.

    If you buy a computer preloaded with Windows, the license is valid for that computer only. You can’t use it on another computer, even if you promise never to use the original computer again. (OEMs (and thus you) pay a much a lower rate for this license in exchange for this restriction.)

    The Windows Upgrade is intended only for those computers with an associated Windows license.

    Since the Mac doesn’t come with Windows, you can’t legally (by contract) use the Windows XP upgrade CD. You need to buy the full retail version.



  10. Where does it say that on the Microsoft site, or on the Amazon product page?


  11. Posted by Dave on March 31, 2007 at 5:58 am

    Uncle Dave! Your XP serial number should be on a sticker on the bottom of your thinkpad, use that.


  12. Dave,

    As a fellow Parallels and XP user, I can relay the following. I used my OEM copy of XP Professional originally from a Gateway computer to install into a virtual machine. Anyone that tells you that you can’t move your license from one computer to another is full of shit. You just can use the license on two machines at the same time!

    Anyway, I finally did get XP installed correctly, but not without lots of trouble. The secret seems to be install using the Custom option, not the Express option. When it comes to applying all the Windows updates and you get to Service Pack 2, download the administrator’s version so it can be saved to the hard drive first, then run it from there instead of the download and install one step process. And be patient, cause it took me like 10 tries to figure this out!

    I have both XP Professional and Vista Business now running on my Mac Pro. And BTW, when it comes to Vista, only Business and Enterprise can be run on a VM, not Home or Home Premium.

    Good Luck.



  13. Installing Win XP via Paralllels on my MBP worked without a hitch for me. It did take a while, as my Windows disk was SP1, and it took nearly an entire day to go through all the download OS update/install iterations…

    Recently, Parallels went live with a upgrade patch that lets me run Windows apps in “convergence” mode, and it’s pretty sweet — lets you have an icon on your doc just like any other Mac app and it will easily activate Parallels (if not already running) and start application…

    If I had my druthers, I wouldn’t ever soil my Mac with Windows, but it’s useful when I work in a Win environment and needed for testing for cross platform/cross browser suitability when developing web applications…


  14. Posted by Ahsan Kabir on March 31, 2007 at 9:04 am

    It’s in the EULA.

    Joe, there’s technical limitations and there’s the contractual limitation. Just because Microsoft didn’t make it difficult, doesn’t mean it’s OK with the company. According to the EULA, you cannot use the same the retail license on more than one computer simultaneously, and you cannot transfer an OEM license at all.

    You’re free to do what you will, of course.


  15. Dave:

    Do the BootCamp partition and Parallels combination. I use Parallels daily and the separate drive partition really helps speed up Parallels use–make sure that you use FAT32 though. That way you can access the content on the drive when Parallels isn’t running.


  16. By the way, the latest build of VMware’s Fusion, currently free to try in beta, will run Direct-X 3d stuff if that’s somethinbg you need to do. I’ve been running it for a few weeks and it’s smooth like butter…it even works with all my weird windows-only hardware.


  17. The convergence mode in Parallels is what I have been wanting for the last 10 years! It’s truely amazing seeing Mac applications running along side Windows apps. You can even copy/paste text between them and use shared folders. I use windows for development purposes and VPN into work using Parallels with no real noticeable degradation in performance. You have to have adequate RAM on your Intel-based Mac, but if you do, the rewards are huge :).

    Dave, I’ve even used Parallels with my Garmin GPS and everything works like a breeze. No More PCs on at this house, just Macs now.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: