My dog hates OSX

Dog OS X Review

Pity the Dog

My dog hates OS X.

He's never really cared either way about Windows, thinks Unix is a cruel jab about his operation, and embedded systems just make him itchy. But he really hates OS X.

We picked up Zeke from the local Humane Society over nine years ago. I had just started working out of the house, programming a Mac audio program called S/Link. We lived a mile down a dirt road, surrounded by woods, hiking trails in every direction: we needed a dog.

My first inclination was to get a Blue Heeler. Friends had one and it was a very smart and energetic dog. The Humane Society even had one available for adoption but when we took it for a test walk it jumped up and down, nipping at my shoulder the whole way. A little too energetic and manic. I hadn't even considered a backup breed so we took a walk down dog row (it's a sad, noisy place) to see what choices there were.

Every dog was barking. Every dog except one, a somewhat off-looking black lab mix (part border collie?) sitting there calmly looking at us. Pretty much like he is doing at the upper top left of this page. I told Faith that this was either a great dog or a really numb one. On Zeke's test walk there wasn't any shoulder nipping, he responded to simple commands, and he seemed genuinely friendly, although anxious about the whole experience. It clicked. Our dog.

The problem was we had a wedding to attend over the weekend, five hours away, staying in a non-dog house. With much regret we told the HS folks that we'd be back (they don't reserve dogs) in a few days and drove away, glad and sad and anxious. The wedding went well, the visit was nice, but all we really wanted to do was get home to "our" dog. We didn't even stop at the house, but detoured the extra dozen miles to get Zeke. Smiles and wags all around.

Zeke and I became best of friends. Each day we'd walk the mile down the dirt road to pick up the mail. Zeke learned new rules and tricks on the way down and then was free to have his own brand of fun on the way back. This wasn't our only break, whenever the Mac crashed we would head out to the back yard for frisbee. Lots of frisbee opportunities. It got so that Zeke would jump up and head to the door whenever he heard the telltale Mac boot sound. Project recompiles on the old Quadra were also a good break.

That job lasted a year and then it was back to regular office jobs. Back to PCs and Unix boxes which didn't make frisbee playing boot sounds. But the next two jobs allowed dogs and Zeke became something of a fixture around the office. He had plenty of folks to visit and was an exuberant companion for any noontime outdoor activities. He even went to work when I was out of town, catching a ride from Faith who worked nearby.

Now we're back at home, working out of a basement office. The mailbox is only fifty feet away. Computer technologdy has since conspired against Zeke. Working on my Mac with OS X the days of reboots are pretty much gone. I can screw up royally with pointers, iterate off into oblivion, walk all over memory and the OS just keeps on ticking. Compiling takes hardly anything. Changing network settings, adding apps, deleting apps: none of it requires a restart. In other words, a quiet, stable Mac and a sad ol' dog.

Seems like something could be done to lock up the machine for awhile each day. If I'm not programming in the afternoon and trying to surf, then there's the chance that my Starband internet connection will croak (often does during 3-4pm) and I'll remember the outside world and the dog curled tightly into himself under the desk. Otherwise it's off into programmer's oblivion and Zeke will be lucky if I come out of the trance before dinner time.

What we need is a killer application which returns us to the good old days of the occasional system crash, spinning cursor of doom, or the half-hour recompile. Computers need to make work look hard again. Something like computing the number of particles in the Universe at random times of the day, using every chip within a thirty foot radius to do it. Something.

For Zeke's sake.


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© Copyright 2002 Jerry Halstead.
Last update: 4/27/02; 9:06:36 AM.