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News, Pointers & Commentary: September 1997
|30 September 1997|
Recommended reading from scripting.com: A report from an Apple source on a party with Steve Jobs celebrating the new ad campaign.
Here are some of the other ads Apple is planning on placing in various venues (walls, buses, billboards...)
|29 September 1997|
The new Apple Ad. (requires QuickTime plugin)
One take on the ad, by former Apple ad executive Michael Markman. I'll go along with his take for now.
On a lighter note: Please Stop Right Now; No More Upgrades - Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle. He has a point, but companies think they have to make money, and this is the way they're used to doing it...
|25 September 1997|
MacNN has an extensive set of notes from last night's demo of Rhapsody. Cool stuff.
Here's a thought experiment: what if in Windows, Notepad (or even WordPad) had support for ligatures (character pairs which should look different when they appear together in print, i.e. fl, ae, fi, etc.), kerning (intercharacter spacing), and international characters such as Japanese Kanji? Let me rephrase that: what if every Windows application had support for those things in the exact same fashion so you didn't have to relearn a new set of commands each time you switched applications?
They don't, obviously; Notepad still has trouble dealing with ASCII text using non-Windows linebreaks, for crying out loud.
Every Rhapsody application can and most likely will have those features in all their text-editing areas. (it depends on each program's developers, but there's little reason for them NOT to take advantage of it). This is a raising of the bar. And that's just a minor feature of Rhapsody...
Oh, and the attendee's final observation: "...nothing, not one app, not one OS process, crashed the entire time." Hoo-hah.
|24 September 1997|
There's some great stuff in today's DaveNet, Winning at Seybold. We run a WebSTAR server and use Frontier for CGI handling and site building. Rhapsody sounds like an amazing server OS; I'm excited about it and am willing to do some work to move our stuff to it. Having WebSTAR for Rhapsody and Frontier for Rhapsody waiting there for me would be ideal; having a clean upgrade path to RhapsodyWebSTARReplacement and RhapsodyScriptingEnvironment, whatever they will be called, would be better than nothing.
So far Apple's doing neither: they're not saying anything about upgrade paths and they appear to be instituting less-functional replacements for both products as 'standards', which is what's got Dave Winer concerned. I'm with him.
Here are a few less-than-fresh links from this weekend that I hadn't gotten around to posting:
PCs waste three working weeks each year, survey says - Reuters. Those wouldn't be Windows PCs, would they?
Against All Odds: Jean-Louis Gassée On The Improbable Rightness Of Be-ing - MicroTimes. I've never used the BeOS, and I may never in the future either. But I do love JLG's attitude and wish them the best.
Finally, from Dave Winer's scripting.com site, Things We Can Learn From Dogs, courtesy of Steven Bove. Words to live by.
|23 September 1997|
WOW. Right from the horse's mouth: MacInsider has two must-read letters from people who have worked at Best Buy and CompUSA and tried to sell Macs. Have you ever thought Apple needed a better presence in stores? Have you wondered why salespeople seem to steer you to Windows machines? Check these out. What it feels like to Sell Macs at Best Buy and Selling Macs at CompUSA. Good readin'.
|21 September 1997|
People never cease to amaze me. Better Living Through Windows NT is a PC World article with "workarounds and tricks for overcoming some pesky problems with [Windows NT] version 4.0". If you read the article, you'll note that MOST of the workarounds are for things that should work but don't. Where I come from those are called bugs. They are mistakes or omissions by the program authors. Why paper it over with the term "pesky problems"?
The headline of the article could (and should) read something like "How to Live With the Bugs in NT" or even "More Bugs and Ways Around Them".
Whose interest does it serve to call it "Better Living Through Windows NT" and never call them bugs? The magazine's? I don't see how. The reader's? Um, no. Microsoft's? Duh.
|16 September 1997|
Microsoft delays release of Windows 98 -- PC Week. Okay, who is surprised by this? Anyone? They don't really have to have the OS out until next Christmas shopping season, if you think about it...
Apple Names Steve Jobs Interim CEO - Reuters. SIGH.
|15 September 1997|
Amelio: Jobs a Cheerleader, not a Manager -- News.com
That Lovin' Feeling by Randy Whitted of TechWeb
Apple Shoots Foot -- PC Week Editorial
|11 September 1997|
Apple Recon has a different perspective on the Motorola cloning pullout, and Frank Rezney of HyperSoft MedWorks Inc. posts some thoughts about it as well. Both appear to be not too rattled about it; they say not to get too riled up because we're not seeing the whole picture.
Fine. Can we be told when we ARE going to see the big picture?
As Jai Singh of News.com puts it in an editorial called Ax Jobs,"Almost everyday he makes a decision or formulates a policy that appears not only to alienate a growing number of users, but also to make you wonder what exactly he has in mind. For the fact is that he has not made a single specific statement yet on what he intends to do to grow the Apple market share."
As I've said before, we would all feel a whole lot better if Apple would just tell us what the hell it's thinking instead of being surprised at the venom it's stirring up in its customer base...is anyone listening at Apple?
|10 September 1997|
One big game of Telephone: In Rumor Control, Patrick Taylor of "StepWise" takes some time to address the plethora of rumors on Usenet and the Web, most of which I hadn't actually heard as serious rumors (maybe they're more widespread on Usenet, which I don't visit any more). Great reading for lowering one's blood pressure.
Ric Ford of MacInTouch reports that he's had a chat with Steve Jobs and is feeling much better about the future of the Macintosh. If Ric feels better, I feel better. I look forward to his report on the conversation.
It looks like Apple might be close to picking a CEO (Reuters). Can't happen too soon, if you ask me.
And finally, good news from (yes) Microsoft! They've posted a fact sheet on the highlights of Office 98 for the Mac OS, and it's looking good! I especially look forward to being able to do ordinary things like rename the hard drive WITHOUT breaking Office's links to its own components as a side effect. Drag & drop, contextual menus, identical file format to Office 97 for Windows...sounds like a winner, especially compared to the previous version!
|9 September 1997|
New Scribble: It's a Market, not an Ecosystem and other observations
Expand your mind: Check out the Wired News article Buckminster Fuller Gets His Corner of the Web. I've looked through the first chapter or so of the web-based version, and he's frequently talking over my head when he gets into the fancy geometrical constructs, but it's riveting reading nonetheless. See the Synergetics site itself at http://www.servtech.com/public/rwgray/synergetics/synergetics.html
|8 September 1997|
Things are hitting the fan fast and furious in the Macintosh market (not 'ecosystem', Mr. Jobs, market). As they should. See these open letters from various people to Apple:
Is anybody listening to their customers at Apple?
- Ric Ford (of MacInTouch)'s Open Letter to Steve Jobs (and Jobs' unhelpful response)
- Robert J. Moriarty of MacCPU (and his explanation for using this approach)
And what's with the reabsorption of the Newton division (article courtesy of DNWire)? Didn't Jobs hate the Newton? Why does he want it back? We were going to be seeing cool new products and partnerships from Newton Inc. sometime in the next six months. Now what's supposed to happen - everyone miraculously decides they need an eMate?
Is it good for a company to infuriate its customers this much, this often? Has Microsoft or Sun or IBM or Oracle or SGI or Dell or Compaq ever reneged on as many agreements and commitments as Apple has this year? Does Apple seem to be interested in explaining the reasoning behind its actions to anyone?
The answers are No, I don't think so, and No.
|5 September 1997|
UMAX has reached an agreement with Apple to use Mac OS 8 on their clones. Licensing is not dead yet, thank goodness, but it's definitely a much different playing field than before. I am curious to see what it will do to UMAX's prices...
On the Bovine RC5 effort, a new twist: many people are now running the client with the team name Clones4mac@aol.com in the hopes that a pro-licensing team will find the key rather than the cheer-Apple-no-matter-what team, email@example.com. Already it's in 23rd place in the daily rankings. I'm adding my previously-solo efforts (roughly 700,000 keys/sec) to that team now. I hope it's okay with the author.
Finally, check out one of Dave Winer's best pieces, Is it Time to Quit?
|3 September 1997|
Andrew Meggs, the lead developer of the Mac OS Bovine RC5 key-cracking client, has posted a message announcing the end of all support and new development for the Bovine effort until further notice, in protest of Apple's end to clone licensing. He further asks that those who are using his program turn it off. I will respect his wishes and do so, even though that means my chance at the $1000 reward goes down the drain.
You can read his entire statement on the Distributed Mac site (the September 3rd entry).
The Fastest Computer You'll Never See - Webintosh's review of the Power Computing PowerTower Pro G3/275
|2 September 1997|
As you may well have heard:
Apple Kills Clone Market - Wired News
Memo from Steve Jobs - San Jose Mercury News
It's So Confusing - DaveNet
Backlash among Mac faithful - News.com
Bah effing humbug. This is not news I wanted to hear. Here are two more relevant pieces from Dave Winer from a few weeks ago:
Apple Avoids Competition and the followup, Amelio on Competition -- DaveNet