Category Archives: Apple

New Macbook

I’ve been looking for a upgraded laptop for a while, so yesterday I picked up a MacBook Pro. In the words of Ferris Bueller, "it’s so choice."  The 15" screen seems gigantic; Carole makes fun of the size even though I have to remind her "it’s not even the biggest one they make!".

I haven’t put Boot Camp on this machine yet, but I have to say that the ability to potentially run both Windows and Mac on this thing was the thing that got me to 100% on the purchase instead of waiting until January which was the original plan.

My old 12" G4 Powerbook (which I also loved as a home office nights/weekends browsing machine) just got a brainwipe and will live on as my daughter’s play computer. She is all about Dora the Explorer Animal Adventures.

Here are the stats on the new deck:

  Machine Name:    MacBook Pro 15"
  Machine Model:    MacBookPro1,1
  CPU Type:    Intel Core Duo
  Number Of Cores:    2
  CPU Speed:    2.16 GHz
  L2 Cache (shared):    2 MB
  Memory:    1 GB
  Bus Speed:    667 MHz
  Boot ROM Version:    MBP11.0044.B02
  Serial Number:    W86162L8VWX
  SMC Version:    1.2f10
  Sudden Motion Sensor:
  State:    Enabled

David Pogue Needs To Settle Down

I loves me my New York Times but two things that they consistently screw up are news of the West and technology reporting. They blow it on timeliness, they blow it on accuracy, and (particularly for news about the West) they often use a condescending style which is maddening.

David Pogue is not the best technology reporter/reviewer in the world. His review of the IPod nano in today’s edition is embarassingly cloying and extremely poorly edited. In it, he says:

Some music players contain a tiny hard drive, offering huge
capacity. Others store music on memory chips, which permit a much more
compact design. (This type is known as a flash-memory player, or flash
for short.)

What’s so clever about the iPod Nano ($249) is that it merges these two approaches.

Well, no it doesn’t, it’s just a flash player. What Mr. Pogue may have meant to say was that the nano offers the best of both worlds, but this quote implies that the device is somehow both a flash player and a hard drive device, which makes absolutely no sense. I realize he’s trying to hit a non-technical audience, but there are accurate ways to describe the product that don’t bombard the reader with technical details.

He also credits Apple with the “gutsy” move of discontinuing the IPod mini. This is gutsy like falling off a bicycle is gutsy; the mini was their mid-range player and now it’s being replaced with another mid-range player. Yes, it’s gutsy of them to disrupt their own market by coming out with a new product that displaces one of their old products, but that’s how you stay on top (it’s the same thing that Sony did when they released the audiocassette Walkman in the 1980s; everybody said it would cannibalize sales of their high-end audio equipment, but it actually led to two decades of dominance in consumer audio). But the gutsy part didn’t involve taking the old product off the market. So, memo to Mr. Pogue: if you’re going to pontificate like this, read the Innovator’s Dilemma and check back when you’ve found a new copy editor.

Update: Fake Steve Jobs has some compelling thoughts in re Mr. Pogue.

Yahoo! Acquires Konfabulator

Wanted to do a quick post here now so people caught it before they went to bed, I’ll post much more about this in the next few days.

Yahoo buys maker of ‘widget’ applications (Detroit News)

Yahoo! Acquires Konfabulator (Macworld.com)

I’m bursting with excitement and pride that we were able to get this done, this is something that my boss and I started working almost immediately after I was hired at Y! back in April.

If you’re looking to try out Konfabulator, download it here (direct links to Mac OS X or Windows binaries).

Developers who want to learn how to make their own widgets, download documentation and tutorials here.

If you’re already using Konfabulator and you want to check out the hundreds of cool widgets that Konfabulator’s developer community has created, check out the widget gallery here.

Update: Staying up late to catch the insomniac and international blog reaction, this is a lot of fun. Dori says "holy crap". RD says "OMG!" Bob says "pretty smooth move". Slashdot seems excited after they RTFA. The Mercury News covered the story on their blog and said they have plans to port their own Mac-only widget to Konfabulator — awesome! Scoble squeezes a mention of this in alongside a mention of a totally unrelated tablet PC thingie that nobody will ever use — didn’t they teach you not to bury the lede in J-school, my man?

The Apple Store is Genius

Excellent New York Times article about the "Genius Bar" at the Apple Store, where you can get help with your Apple products from people who actually know what they’re talking about and who can replace your product on the spot if it’s busted.

I hadn’t been in a shopping mall in a couple of years, I can’t stand them. The only serious mall-ish retail I’ve done in the past year was our trip to The Grove at Farmer’s Market in LA last year, which doesn’t count as a mall since it’s more like a lovely well-tended park that happens to have a bunch of retail stores around it. (The Grove has an Apple Store, too — if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself in L.A., it’s worth checking out).

It’s crazy how happy I get when I go into an Apple Store. Even if I know I don’t need anything in there, it’s still fun to get in there and touch stuff.

My daughter’s CD player broke a few weeks ago and my wife suggested that we get her a cutesy replacement CD player with Hello Kitty on it or something. Last night at the store I saw an iPod bumping the tunes inside of one of the donut-shaped JBL OnStage speakers and got all excited. Screw Hello Kitty, I think I’m going to get her her own iPod. It’s cuter.

Update: Wifey put the kibosh on the kiddie iPod ("she’s THREE YEARS OLD"). And she has a point. Hello, kitty!

Update the 2nd: Just returned to this post after more than a year because I’m doing some blog housekeeping. I actually wound up winning the iPod argument in March 2005 because we all started commuting down the freeway together after I changed jobs; I gave my disused iPod Shuffle to the kid and she freaking loved it. So I am here to say that it is totally proper to give your kid an iPod Shuffle, and more importantly, I am not a bad father for wanting to do so.

At Macworld Today

Adam and I spent the morning in San Francisco attending the Macworld keynote. Terrific show — Steve Jobs really knows how to talk about his products in a way that simulates that part of the brain that controls consumer desire[1], and I was happy to have a chance to see him do it in person.

If you were there (or if you caught the webcast, which should be available online real soon now), you saw Steve demonstrate a new technology called Dashboard that will be a part of Mac OS Tiger. Dashboard is intended to be a platform for little utility applications (in essence, what the Mac used to call ‘desk accessories’, but way better and easier to develop.) Steve demoed some widgets that display the current weather, a stock ticker, a dictionary/thesaurus, and so on. Very neat stuff.

If you were paying attention toward the end of the demo, you saw Steve fire up a little eBay widget. This is a real app that uses the eBay API to display a list of eBay items you’re bidding on. Adam worked on it over the past few weeks with folks from Apple; we’re hoping to make it generally available in some fashion around the time that Tiger is released.

[1] I bought an iPod Shuffle for no reason. Then when I realized I had no reason to own one, I bought another one for my wife. That’s how good the guy is.

Subversion on Mac OS X

Notes of Miguel’s Mono Talk at OSCON

We just released Mono 1.0
~300 contributors
high level of developer productivity because the type of project is easy to compartmentalize
"this is an open-source implementation of ECMA 334 and 335 — but that doesn’t quite convey it."
Mac OS X support was sponsored by a company that wanted embedded systems support on PowerPC. We aren’t saying what that company is until they ship their product.
Roughly 50% of contributors to Mono use Windows exclusively.
Other platforms supported: Solaris, HP-UX, AIX
"Tier 1" languages. C#, Java (IKVM), and Nemerle
Preview: VB.NET, JScript, Python.
This python implementation embeds the Python VM with the Mono runtime.
(what is the use case for this?)
this afternoon Jim at 4:30 will be giving a talk on another approach to doing Python with Mono. (IronPython — great talk, btw!)
we don’t do VB because we think it’s a great language, but because it’s our #1 request.
Intent is to ease transition from Windows to Linux development
Mono 1.0 supports .NET framework 1.1 except:
vb, windows.forms, enterprise services (transactions), installation services
We have RelaxNG extensions
Monodoc
A lot of our documentation is repurposed from ECMA documentation. ("It’s bad [as are many OSS projects in terms of documentation] but not as bad as some.")
Their Monodoc works like a wiki, they make it very easy to contribute under the MIT/X11 license.
  — THIS IS AN AMAZING INTERFACE FOR CONTRIBUTING. Every software product should have this.
Within Novell, new apps are being written using Mono (not rewriting old apps)
trying to make the kernel people talk to the desktop people
City of Munich is using Linux and contributed about 50 bug fixes to Mono
If you compile a VB executable and copy it over, we’ll run it. we don’t have a native compiler for VB that is windows independent yet.
Java will JIT Java byte code or Jars and JIT it into IL and native code
20 Novell engineers
Mainsoft has a product that hooks into visual studio. they add a button that says deploy into J2ee server. recompiles dotnet code into java code and lets you run your asp.net apps on j2ee.
He showed a demo of how easy it is go internationalize gtk# apps by flipping a setting and having the whole thing appear in hebrew. somebody from the audience asked, what about Chinese? "That’s a very good question, my friend! I don’t know. But…hey, it’s Chinese."
(Monodevelop) does not generate makeconf because "that’s nasty."
Future: improve Unix, Gnome, Cocoa
    Continue .NET/Java compatibility work
    Improve development tools (monodevelop, mono debugger, mono documentation)
Beagle, Novell Dashboard
Bringing Google onto the desktop (we demoed this six hours before Apple did — but in Norway in front of 300 developers instead of at Moscone Center in SF)
"I would have to admit that we suck because we don’t have a debugger."
"This is probably not a problem for you because you come to oscon therefore you debug with printf, but the less manly of you would like to do this."
I have two teams working in parallel: one working toward mono 2.0 but that is far away. api not set in stone yet, so it will be a while. mono 1.1 will have some incremental features. windows.forms and vb are two.
my estimate right now (for mono 1.1) is feb. 20042005 so we’ll freeze code by end of this year.
precise garbage collector: today we use boehm, we are moving to SportsModel (mozilla’s).
SPARC v9 (64 bits) is done but didn’t make it into 1.0