TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Oct 94 Editor's Page
Volume Number:10
Issue Number:10
Column Tag:The Editor’s Page

What We Did on Our Summer Vacation
in Boston

By Scott T Boyd, Editor

What We Did
On Our Summer Vacation in Boston

Well, so it wasn’t really a vacation. I wouldn’t wish setting up a booth in the World Trade Center without any air conditioning on anyone, especially as a vacation activity. [You have to understand, exhibitors aren’t really considered “people” and therefore don’t need air conditioning. - Ed. nst]

Actually, there was a good bit of fun. Strangely, though, the biggest parties aren’t always the best bet. This year at least one of the biggest almost completely succeeded in what must have been a deliberate attempt to screen out the t-shirt crowd. All that effort to have a museum full of suits? Go figure. Two much smaller parties made their mark. Mac the Knife hosted a nice little get-together. The attendee list spoke volumes about the quality of the Knife’s sources. The best party, though, had to be one where the party guests supported the party by buying t-shirts. Yes, it was the “System 7.5 Sucks Less” party, and the quality of the production bears witness to the kind of results you can get with a small team of hard-working, dedicated team members. Some good (non-engineering) folks at Apple had a hard time believing that “sucks less” was a good thing, but us programmer types enjoyed the good-natured ribbing. Strange, but there were a lot more t-shirts than suits at this party!

The show itself held a few surprises, and a lot of non-surprises. If there was a theme, it might have been “More of the same, only native!”

The best part of the show for us was the opportunity to spend time with a whole bunch of the people who build the developer tools we use. MacTech Magazine had two booths, one on the floor of the World Trade Center, and a tiny one in the Apple tent. The tent spot was right in the midst of a number of developers, right between Symantec and Metrowerks. During lulls, developer tool authors mingled, swapped stories, and gave each other a hard time. I got to watch as a worker on one side of us talked a guy from the other side out of a t-shirt, saying, “I promise I’ll wear it to work.” That’s something we’d like to see.

Random Show Observations

Much of what we saw in the way of developer tools has already shown up in print here, or will soon. On the other hand, some of what we saw on the show floor gave us some things to think about. For example, RAMDoubler’s success evoked exclamations like, “Isure would like to have a big hit and get rich!” from even the most modest of developers. Berkeley Systems had people standing five deep to get free inflatable goodies and watch fun screen “savers”. And, although WordPerfect was giving away umbrellas, we saw people standing in line not knowing about the freebies. They wanted to watch WordPerfect’s demo because, “There’s no way I’m going to put OLEon my Macintosh just to run the big, new version of Word. I want to see what I’m going to be using next” (we don’t make this stuff up).

Dayna was showing a cool demo of their wireless networking. Apple was showcasing just how many applications have gone native (although they didn’t bother to point out just how many of them were done with CodeWarrior). Computer Chronicles, the PBSTVshow, was taping segments all over the show floor. The World Trade Center food was pretty good, and not expensive, either. We expected airport quality and prices.

The one game that programmers kept talking about was Sensory Overload, from Reality Bytes. Everyone says it’s just like Doom. I (shamelessly) talked them out of a copy so we could do our duty and give you a quick review. In a nutshell, one programmer didn’t understand the attraction. Another programmer disappeared for several hours, then cursed me for letting him try it (probably because he couldn’t find anywhere to buy it yet).

Even though it was available before the show, going on the road gave Neil a chance to give his new 19.2 PowerPort modem a real workout. He’d been struggling with Apple’s modem “solution” for his Duo, and is pleased to report that he’s found the alternative. Neil does more e-mail or faxes per minute than anyone Iknow, and he grooved on Global Village’s performance and fax software. He says, “Faxing is now so much faster and easier, it isn’t worth comparing to Apple’s software. Check it out!”

Speaking of computers and phones, Collaboration Technologies was showing their still-in-development PhoneBridge® to everyone with telephony products, and kicking up quite a stir. PhoneBridge is a hardware/software combo which connects to your Mac via ADB, Sound In, and Sound Out. It can mix and match audio and knows all about phones. You can use it and your Mac as a most interesting phone. The best part? It’s a developer platform. I told a few friends about it, and each one immediately went and demanded that Collaboration take their money and give them a developer kit. It was great to see developers truly excited about a new technology! My favorite developer opportunity for it? To use it to mix in the background sound of your choice to create custom atmosphere for your calls (e.g. “Wow, this connection is really bad. I’ll have to call you back”). One developer is already working on a real-time Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) secure phone application for it. For more info, e-mail phonebridge@apple.com.

Hawking His Wares

Stephen Hawking, renowned physicist, gave a thoughtful keynote, taking us through the thought process of wondering whether there is life elsewhere in the universe. Along the way, he identified computer viruses as a life form (controversial, but not convincing), and used it to get a good laugh. His humor may very well have been the highlight of his talk. At a show like MacWorld, it wasn’t surprising to discover that a big reason for his keynote was his new CD-ROM multimedia version of A Brief History of Time, his 1988 best-seller.

Back in the Real World

Last week Idropped in on a Software Entrepreneurs Forum in Palo Alto for an OpenDoc vs. OLEdebate. Both sides brought their heavy hitters, and they played to a packed audience. Every time Igo to one of these debates, both side refine their approaches, using lessons learned in previous debates.

I keep finding myself looking at the issues being discussed. Is SOM the right object model? Do developers really need non-rectangular objects? Will the shipping technology “win” because it’s available and the other is not? Is a framework necessary, or programming components at the “bare-metal” APIlevel easy enough?

In this issue, we have a letter where the writer insists that MacTech Magazine rally behind Apple, lending our support because we owe our support to Apple, and so Microsoft doesn’t win. A debate along these lines is happening in comp.sys.mac.programmer.

I expect that most of you find at least some of these questions interesting, perhaps even worthy of debate. I have to wonder, though, are these really the issues you care about?

For example, how will you, the developer, decide whether you will support OpenDoc? Will it take convincing you that OpenDoc is the superior technology? Maybe knowing that it’s available cross-platform will be your deciding factor? Maybe SOM is what you’ve been waiting for? It could be that you’ll go with it because it’s an Apple technology, and you’ll follow Apple’s lead. Or maybe you’ll go with it because it’s not a Microsoft technology.

And how will you decide whether you’ll support OLE? Microsoft Office is wildly successful. Perhaps you want to play into that market. Of course, it’s shipping, and maybe you have to get to market now, and you simply can’t afford to wait. Maybe OLEis enough for your needs, or you’ve already got a Windows product, and it only makes sense to use the Microsoft technology that you believe will become dominant.

Here’s an issue we haven’t heard much about. What’s the debugging experience going to be like when you’re intermingling components from a number of different vendors? Is one technology more conducive to easy debugging than the other?

These and other issues will play into the decisions that countless developers will be making. The shape that the debate has been taking focuses on these issues.

Yet, there’s something we haven’t heard enough about, and that’s the business model. The debate we’ve seen so far has centered on interesting issues, but it’s time that the debate starts hitting on the issues that make the real difference for developers.

The biggest of these: how are you going to make money? A number of questions come to mind, and none of these has received the kind of treatment necessary for business planning at the small, third-party developer level. Will there be room for more than one kind of each component in the marketplace? How does a little developer get into the channels? Will makers of suites have their collection of components that are good enough, leaving little room for better components too gain entry? Will end-users really shop for individual components? Will Apple and Microsoft do something to help the small developer survive the transition?

Here’s another big question. Is it really an either/or choice? It’s easy to come away from these debates with the notion that you have to choose up sides. It’s also easy to come away thinking that you’ve got to make up your mind soon.

We’re not even sure why Apple keeps attending the debates. Maybe it’s just a way to get in front of developer audiences. Maybe it’s to give developers a reason to stall and not make a big committment to OLE just yet. Apple has a strong offering. It interoperates with OLE. We see little reason to position it as a competitor.

We’re going to take the time to examine both technologies and the business issues surrounding them. We expect the vested interests to take issue with some of what gets printed here. That’s why we invite all comers to make their case. And feel free to rebutt. But let’s get the debate focused on the needs of the developer. By the way, if there’s an issue you’d like to see addressed, let us know, and we’ll raise it with the players.

Prograph Conference

Prograph International is hosting the 2nd Annual Prograph Developers’ Conference October 14-16 at Apple’s R&D campus in Cupertino, CA. The conference will focus on new developments in client/server database tools and cross-platform technologies for PowerMac and Windows. (415) 773-8234 for more info on how you can spend three days soaking up Apple atmosphere while immersing yourself in Prograph.

Food For Thought

Ever wonder how Apple comes up with its licensing strategy and pricing? We had to scratch our heads over this one. To license QuickTime Package 2.0 for Macintosh costs $300/year, yet QuickTime for Windows 1.1 is only $250. What’s the message here?

Not Food For Thought

You know that glue we used to bind the CD into the August issue? We visited our printer and asked them what it was called. The technical term? Booger glue.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

CrossOver 14.1.3 - Run Windows apps on y...
CrossOver can get your Windows productivity applications and PC games up and running on your Mac quickly and easily. CrossOver runs the Windows software that you need on Mac at home, in the office,... Read more
Little Snitch 3.5.3 - Alerts you about o...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 6.2.3 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
OmniFocus 2.2 - GTD task manager with iO...
OmniFocus helps you manage your tasks the way that you want, freeing you to focus your attention on the things that matter to you most. Capturing tasks and ideas is always a keyboard shortcut away in... Read more
Cocktail 8.4 - General maintenance and o...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
PDFKey Pro 4.3 - Edit and print password...
PDFKey Pro can unlock PDF documents protected for printing and copying when you've forgotten your password. It can now also protect your PDF files with a password to prevent unauthorized access and/... Read more
Kodi 15.0.beta1 - Powerful media center...
Kodi (was XBMC) is an award-winning free and open-source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 6.4.12 - Catalog your d...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast. Finder-like intuitive look and feel. Super-fast search algorithm. Can compress catalog data... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.3.0.0 - Monitor and c...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more
Lyn 1.5.11 - Lightweight image browser a...
Lyn is a lightweight and fast image browser and viewer designed for photographers, graphic artists and Web designers. Featuring an extremely versatile and aesthetically pleasing interface, it... Read more

Battle of Gods: Ascension (Games)
Battle of Gods: Ascension 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: TURN-BASED TACTICAL COMBATFight tactical battles against the forces of Hades! In Battle of Gods: Ascension you play... | Read more »
Shadowmatic's Latest Update Adds a...
Shadowmatic's shadowy shadow-ness is getting a little shadowy-er thanks to a recent update that adds an Arcade Mode. [Read more] | Read more »
Sunrise Calendar and Slack Have Assimila...
Wunderlist is perhaps one of the most populat and beloved productivity apps on the App Store - and now it's gone and incorporated itself into other useful services like Sunrise Calendar and Slack. [Read more] | Read more »
Crossy Road Devs Hipster Whale are Bring...
Hipster Whale, the minds behind the rather popular (and rather great) Crossy Road, have teamed-up with Bandai Namco to create PAC-MAN 256: an absolutely bonkers looking maze runner chaser thing. | Read more »
Meet the New Spotify Music
Spotify Music  has a lot going on. They're introducing 3 new modes to serve all your musical needs, with the "Now" start page  gives you curated playlists based on your particular tastes. As you listen the app will learn more about your tastes and... | Read more »
What the Apple Watch Gets Right, and Wha...
| Read more »
Celebrate PAC-MAN's 35th Birthday W...
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America is celebrating PAC-MAN's 35th anniversary by releasing updates for PAC-MAN and PAC-MAN Lite for iOS. [Read more] | Read more »
Strike Wing Episode 2 has Landed on the...
Strike Wing: Raptor Rising is an exciting space combat simulator by Crescent Moon Games, which was recently updated to continue the story with Episode 2. [Read more] | Read more »
Kiqplan Expands its Interactive Coaching...
The makers of Fitbug have been hard at work on their Kiqplan lineup, and have added four new summer themed plans to help you get the most out of your workout. [Read more] | Read more »
Make a Photobook in Minutes with Pictyea...
What happens when you can't stop taking photos and have an urge to create a photobook? Pictyear saves the day. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

What Would the ideal Apple Productivity Platf...
For the past four years I’ve kept a foot in both the Mac and iPad camps respectively. my daily computing hours divided about 50/50 between the two devices with remarkable consistency. However, there’... Read more
PageMeUp 1.2.1 Ten Dollar Page Layout Applica...
Paris, France-based Softobe, an OS X software development company, has announced that their PageMeUp v. 1.2.1, is available on the Mac App Store for $9.99. The license can be installed on up to 5... Read more
Eight New Products For USB Type-C Application...
Fresco Logic, specialists in advanced connectivity technologies and ICs, has introduced two new product families targeting the Type-C connector recently introduced across a number of consumer... Read more
Scripps National Spelling Bee Launches Buzzwo...
Scripps National Spelling Bee fans can monitor the action at the 2015 Spelling Bee with the new Buzzworthy app for iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices. The free Buzzworthy app provides friendly... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $120 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $979 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model (except for Apple’... Read more
27-inch 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899, $10...
B&H Photo has the new 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Save up to $50 on iPad Air 2, NY tax only, fr...
B&H Photo has iPad Air 2s on sale for up to $50 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $469 $30 off - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $549.99 $50 off - 128GB iPad... Read more
Updated Mac Price Trackers
We’ve updated our Mac Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers: - 15″ MacBook Pros - 13″ MacBook... Read more
New 13-inch 2.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available starting at $679. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 11″ 1.4GHz/128GB... Read more

Jobs Board

Senior Software Engineer - *Apple* SIM - Ap...
Changing the world is all in a day039s work at Apple . If you love innovation, here039s your chance to make a career of it. You039ll work hard. But the job comes with Read more
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail...
**Job Summary** Job Summary The Lead ASC is an Apple employee who serves as the Apple business manager and influencer in a hyper-business critical Reseller's store Read more
Architect / Senior Software Engineer, *Apple...
Changing the world is all in a day039s work at Apple . If you love innovation, here039s your chance to make a career of it. You039ll work hard. But the job comes with Read more
*Apple* Pay Support Readiness Project Manage...
Changing the world is all in a day039s work at Apple . If you love innovation, here039s your chance to make a career of it. You039ll work hard. But the job comes with Read more
Hardware Design Validation Engineer - *Apple...
**Job Summary** The Apple Watch team is looking for a Hardware Design Validation Engineer. This person will be part of the Apple Watch hardware team with Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.