TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Jan 97 Viewpoint

Volume Number: 13 (1997)
Issue Number: 1
Column Tag: Viewpoint

Viewpoint

By Eric Gundrum

To Be or Not To Be

That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of our existing technology or adopt an entirely new technology and embrace it as our own.

Apple and Be are reported to have been negotiating a deal for Apple to acquire the BeOS as a quick fix to Apple's delays in shipping MacOS 8 sometime this century. At least, this is what the community has been discussing. Apple has been silent on the issue.

On the other hand, during a recent international Mac developers' conference, Apple's CTO, Ellen Hancock stated that the MacOS will be built by Apple. Is that a bit of "not invented here" creeping through, or has Apple decided the BeOS is not up to the task? I expect we'll hear a more complete answer at the January Expo. Until then, you can decide for yourself with the included BeOS for Macintosh CD.

Everyone is quick to criticize Apple. Reading the many discussions taking place on the net one begins to see that people will complain no matter which way Apple turns. Damned if they do, damned if they don't. Apple can't rely on the developer community to provide a clear direction.

Can We Have Some Engineering, Please?

Call me foolish, but I'm willing to trust Apple on this one, knowing full well that my livelihood is closely tied to the success of the Mac. Frankly, I wonder just how important is it that we get a new OS. Sure, System 7 is getting long in the tooth. Sure, the industry pundits tell us we need preemptive multitasking, protected memory and whatever hot feature comes along next week. ("Will that be MMX, VMX or TriMedia, sir?") Preemptive multitasking has some benefits, but I'm not so sure I want to give up 10% of my CPU to managing the threads, nor do I want Apple to spend precious resources trying to make it work. A few simple OS-level developer tools could go a long way to help us tune our cooperative multi-tasking environment.

The improvement I want more than anything else is reliability. I'm sick of crashes, freezes and just plain bugs that prevent me from getting my work done. Many folks say protected memory will provide that reliability, but there are many things Apple could do with the current OS (not to mention hardware) to improve reliability. Start with redesigning the pieces that are most problematic, but do it one piece at a time, and take advantage of all that the software development community has learned about developing complex systems these past five years.

As a developer, I would love a few more debug versions of the various Mac managers. The debug managers would immediately notify me if I pass an invalid handle or other parameter. How about having those debug managers perform self consistency checks to notice when their data or code is mucked up? This would help us and Apple find and fix many more bugs than protected memory, and we could have it soon.

Despite the engineers at Apple being some of the smartest people I've ever met, they sometimes suffer a mob mentality. Sometimes they blindly pursue some grandiose idea because they believe they can build a better mouse trap. Rather than trying to redesign the entire world of Macintosh software, I would like Apple to provide some incremental changes that can grow with us. Fix the things that are broken, give developers OS-level tools to write better software, and enforce some better engineering practices inside Apple to ensure that what Apple creates does not have to rely exclusively on the QA group to find all of the bugs.

User Group Shake-out

One of my most enjoyable activities is joining a group of Macintosh programmers to talk tech for a few hours. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area I have the benefit of several formal and informal groups of Macintosh programmers. Such groups often need careful nurturing in other areas of the world, but the benefits of talking through difficult programming problems and of learning how others are using new technologies are still there.

A few user groups have been having some tough times these past few months, and it doesn't seem to be Apple-related. Macintosh users often take user groups for granted. We created many in the early years of Macintosh to help us band together and support each other against the strong forces of DOS. User groups are a great place to learn what isn't in the manuals, as well as how to program the Mac when there are more volumes of Inside Macintosh than one can read in a year. Windows users have had a far greater need for the support of user groups, but they never seem to develop that strength of community.

Now several user groups are in serious trouble. (User groups are better known for things other than being well run businesses.) Boston Computer Society (BCS), once the largest user group in the world, catered to many computing platforms from CP/M to Macintosh. Earlier this year they uncovered serious financial mismanagement leading to their permanently closing their doors. Some recent reports indicate at least one other large, metropolitan user group is traveling the same path. Hopefully their members have caught it in time.

Many folks working in the Macintosh industry got much of their training helping others in user groups. Many companies got their best user feedback from user group audiences. Now it is time to give a little back. Look into your local user group and see how they are doing. Make sure they are not falling apart while no one pays attention and see how you might help them a bit. You might find that they help you even more.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

How to evolve Eevee in Pokemon GO
By now, almost everyone should be hip to how to evolve Pokemon in Pokemon GO (and if not, there's a guide for that). Just gather enough candy of the appropriate type, feed them all to the Pokemon, and evolution happens. It's a miracle that would... | Read more »
CSR Racing 2: Guide to all game modes
It might not seem like there are all that many ways to go fast in a straight line, but CSR Racing 2 begs to differ. [Read more] | Read more »
Bulb Boy (Games)
Bulb Boy 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Multi-award winning 2D point & click horror adventure about a boy with a glowing head. | Read more »
5 top free emoji keyboard apps
If we're not at peak emoji yet as a society, it feels like we definitely should be. The emoji concept has gone far beyond what anyone in Japan could have envisioned when the people there unleashed it on an unsuspecting world, but the West has... | Read more »
How to unlock more characters in Disney...
One of the big charms of Disney Emoji Blitz is seeing a wide variety of beloved Disney and Pixar characters transformed into smiling emojis. Even someone like the sneaky Randall from Monsters Inc., who probably never cracked a smile on film, is... | Read more »
Cubway (Games)
Cubway 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cubway is a journey with an abstract story of lifecycle of rebirth, called Samsara. Guide the cube through the long way full of dangers... | Read more »
Colorcube (Games)
Colorcube 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Turn pieces and blend colours in this minimal yet visually stunning puzzler.Over 200 handcrafted and challenging levels. Features... | Read more »
Doodle God Griddlers (Games)
Doodle God Griddlers 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Crusader Kings: Chronicles (Games)
Crusader Kings: Chronicles 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Crusader Kings: Chronicles is an interactive text based game that puts you in the shoes of Guy de Rose as you make... | Read more »
Roads of Rome: New Generation (Games)
Roads of Rome: New Generation 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Charitybuzz Set to Auction Unique Apple-1 Com...
Offering an opportunity to own the computer that sparked a revolution, on Monday, July 25, leading online charity auction platform Charitybuzz will auction what is claimed to be the world’s most... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP
Amazon has 11″ and 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $899.99 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $270 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz... Read more
Apple refurbished 11-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ MacBook Airs (the latest models), available for up to $170 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is... Read more
Apple iPad Pro Sales Far Outpacing Microsoft...
A report on Appleinsider notes that despite Microsoft Surface tablet PC sales growing by 9 percent year over year, revenues remained below $1 billion, and are down sequentially from the $1.1 billion... Read more
DEVONthink 2.9 Features Ultra-fast, Robust, A...
DEVONthink 2.9 allows users to keep databases synchronized using many means of transport. It transmits them between Macs on the local network or stores them in a syncable form on removable hard... Read more
12-inch WiFi Apple iPad Pros on sale for up t...
B&H Photo has 12″ WiFi iPad Pros on sale for up to $100 off MSRP, each including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi iPad Pro: $749 $50 off MSRP - 12″... Read more
Apple refurbished 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2... Read more
Apple refurbished Mac minis available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Apple Mac Sales Finally Colliding With ‘Innov...
After successfully swimming against a tide of diminishing PC sales through 2014 and 2015, it appears that Apple has finally stopped defying gravity and is running up against the unwritten “innovate... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - APPLE (United...
Job Summary As an Apple Solutions Consultant, you'll be the link between our future customers and our products. You'll showcase your entrepreneurial spirit as you Read more
*Apple* Professional Learning Specialist - A...
Job Summary The Apple Professional Learning Specialist is a full-time position for one year with Apple in the Phoenix, AZ area. This position requires a high Read more
*Apple* Picker - Apple Hill Orchard (United...
Apple Hill Orchard, Co. Rte. 21,Whitehall, NY 9/7/16-10/228/16. Pick fresh market or processing apples Productivity of 60 boxes and 80 boxes processing fruit per Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - APPLE (United...
Job Summary As an Apple Solutions Consultant, you'll be the link between our future customers and our products. You'll showcase your entrepreneurial spirit as you Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.