Thursday, September 10, 2009

Windows 7

...or 6.1?

I skipped Vista (except for one machine in the lab that we have to run it on because a certain bit of microscopy software won't work with anything else). By the way, even on a pretty high-powered Dell Precision 690 workstaion with 12 GB of RAM and a medium/high-end Nvidia graphics card, Vista (64-bit) is still slow, annoying, and about as painful to use as Windows 98 on Jen's 233 MHz Pentium laptop she used in college. But this post isn't about Vista, it is about how much better Windows 7 is than Vista.

Since the Windows 7 Beta was released to the public on 1/9/09, I've ignored the advice not to run this on production machines and installed it on the second partition of my MacBook Pro. Through the Beta, the Release Candidate, and now with the RTM freshly installed, I've gotten the feeling that Windows 7 is finally giving Mac OS X a run for it's money (that is, until 10.6 came out). A few observations:
  1. Windows 7 is way faster than Vista, and is even faster than Windows XP on my machine.
  2. From the Beta through the RTM, it has been the most stable version of Windows I've ever used. I even ran a data analysis loop using IGOR Pro overnight and it didn't crash.
  3. The windows management—docking right, left, and top; aero previews, etc.—is actually a bit superior to the Mac. I really like being able to throw one window to the right of the screen and one to the left in order to compare their contents side-by-side. This works especially well on multiple monitors.
  4. Taskbar and Start Menu search make organizing and finding applications and files incredibly easy—comparable to Quicksilver on the Mac.
  5. Much like Mac OS X, there are just a lot of incremental changes that show that the developers paid good attention to detail to enhance the overall experience.
I'm still convinced that running Windows 7 on a MacBook Pro is best. The Mac still has a few design advantages over PCs that make it easier to use (like two-finger scrolling on the touchpad instead of that annoying side-scroll strip). But Windows 7 as a product is easily as good as Mac OS 10.5. With the advent of 10.6, Apple still seems to be one step ahead, integrating higher performance features into the OS in a user-friendly way—just check out the new services for an example. Not to mention that it is way easier to backup Windows from another partition (the Mac OS X one) on the same machine than from within Windows itself.

In sum, Windows 7 is a huge step in the right direction for Microsoft and upgrading from Windows XP was a no-brainer.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Snow Leopard

Or Mac OS X 10.6.

It's out, it's been reviewed, so I'll add a simple comment.

Perhaps this is Apple's way of compromising with PowerPC users. If you have an older Mac, you are still able to run Leopard (10.5), an awesome operating system with great features and performance. You can't upgrade to Snow Leopard though, because it is Intel only. But, Snow Leopard doesn't include all the new features that differentiated 10.5 from 10.4; in fact, most of it's touted features are aimed at the higher-powered Intel-based machines (Grand Central Dispatch, OpenCL). Therefore, if you are still using a PowerPC Mac, you shouldn't be too put out by not being able to use Snow Leopard, and should stay happy running one of the best operating systems ever, Leopard, on an older machine.

Finally, the last PowerPC-based Macs were made around 2006, so by the time 10.7 or whatever is next rolls around, it will be high time to buy a new machine to take advantage of it.

Image by Ltshears;
and can be found at

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Matthew 28:19

Apparently, there is some controversy about the actual reading of Matthew 28:19, which I read as: Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (RcV)

But the arguments surrounding this verse are misleading for two main reasons. First, there are plenty of old texts of the New Testament, both Greek and translations, that contain this verse as written, some of which predate AD 300. There are no manuscripts or versions (i.e. translations) of Matthew that contain a different reading. This is easily verified by studying the critical apparatus in Novum Testamentum Graece 27th ed. compiled by Nestle and Aland. God sovereignly arranged for the existing manuscripts of the New Testament to be preserved, discovered, and studied, and I appreciate the scholarship that gives us an amazingly accurate text of the New Testament. Furthermore, difficult readings (such as this one) are actually somewhat common in the New Testament, and it is a tenant of textual criticism to take a more difficult reading over an easier one.

Second, and more importantly, one of the items of our Christian faith is that the Bible is the Word of God. Based on our being infused with Christ Himself as our faith when we believed into Him, we similarly believe God's Word as we have it. Advancing ideas that require one to doubt the actual text of the New Testament, replacing it with unsupported alternative readings undermines this belief. Unfortunately, such "analysis" is usually based on a certain theological predisposition, which does not match the Christian faith at all.

So in sum, those who are healthy in the faith should have no problem with such arguments, as they spontaneously believe God's word and reject alternatives to it. But, as believers, it doesn't hurt to be aware that both according to the historical record (Biblical manuscripts) and according to the faith delivered once for all to the saints (our Triune God embodied in Christ realized as the Spirit infused into us), Matthew 28:19 will read as it does for eternity.

Matthew 29:19b-20a; Codex Vaticanus (ca. 4th century). Courtesy of The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts - and for the text.