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

OmniOutliner Pro 4.2 - Pro version of th...
OmniOutliner Pro is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually designed to help you think. It's... Read more
VLC Media Player 2.2.1 - Popular multime...
VLC Media Player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, MP3, OGG, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It... Read more
Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.1 - Multilingual wo...
Nisus Writer Pro is a powerful multilingual word processor, similar to its entry level products, but brings new features such as table of contents, indexing, bookmarks, widow and orphan control,... Read more
Tinderbox 6.2.0 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more
OmniOutliner 4.2 - Organize your ideas,...
OmniOutliner is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually designed to help you think. It's... Read more
Things 2.5.4 - Elegant personal task man...
Things is a task management solution that helps to organize your tasks in an elegant and intuitive way. Things combines powerful features with simplicity through the use of tags and its intelligent... Read more
NeoOffice 2014.10 - Mac-tailored, OpenOf...
NeoOffice is a complete office suite for OS X. With NeoOffice, users can view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, PDF files, and most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. NeoOffice 3.x... Read more
iPhoto Library Manager 4.2 - Manage mult...
iPhoto Library Manager allows you to organize your photos among multiple iPhoto libraries, rather than having to store all of your photos in one giant library. You can browse the photos in all your... Read more
Web Snapper 3.3.8 - Capture entire Web p...
Web Snapper lets you capture Web pages exactly as they appear in your browser. You can send them to a file as images or vector-based, multi-page PDFs. It captures the whole Web page - eliminating the... Read more
TeamViewer 10.0.41404 - Establish remote...
TeamViewer gives you remote control of any computer or Mac over the Internet within seconds, or can be used for online meetings. Find out why more than 200 million users trust TeamViewer! Free for... Read more

Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night has...
It's time to put the Darkness back in its place now that Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night has officially made it to iOS. | Read more »
A World of Ice and Fire Lets You Stalk 2...
George R. R. Martin’s A World of Ice and Fire, by Random House, is a mobile guide to the epic series. The new update gives you the Journeys map feture that will let you track the movements of 25 different characters. But don't worry, you can protect... | Read more »
Gameloft Announces Battle Odyssey, a New...
Battle Odyssey, Gameloft's newest puzzle RPG, is coming to the App Store next week. Set in the world of Pondera, you will need to control the power of the elements to defend the world from evil. You'll be able to entlist over 500 allies to aid you... | Read more »
Fusion - HDR Camera (Photography)
Fusion - HDR Camera 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Fusion creates HDR (high dynamic range) photos by capturing different exposures and then combining them into one... | Read more »
Sago Mini Toolbox (Education)
Sago Mini Toolbox 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Come build with the Sago Mini friends! Use a wrench, try a saw, or hammer some nails. From sewing hand puppets to... | Read more »
You Should Probably Grab Hitman GO While...
Hitman GO is a surprisingly cool (yet also incredibly drastic) departure from the Hitman series. It's well worth playing for any puzzle game fans out there, and at the moment you can get your hands - or garrotte if you will - on it for a mere $0.99... | Read more »
IFTTT is Bringing Do Button and Do Note...
IFTTT has announced Do Button and Do Note for the Apple Watch. Do Button lets you make your own personalized button that can connect to things like your Google Drive, control the temperature in your home with Nest Thermostat, or turn the lights on... | Read more »
How Many Days, Hours, and Minutes Are Le...
Countdown, by Yves Tscherry, is now available on the App Store. The app keeps track of countdowns to your favorite things such as someones birthday or days till the New Year. You can display the time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months,... | Read more »
The All-New Misfit 2.0 App is Available...
Misfit has just given their app a complete overhaul. Misfit 2.0 now has a brand new interface with a sleek design and is easier to navigate. You'll be able to sync your Misfit device and look up health and fitness information faster than ever before... | Read more »
Halo: Spartan Strike (Games)
Halo: Spartan Strike 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Delve into 30 challenging missions through cities and jungles using a devastating arsenal of weapons, abilities and... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

TigerText Introduces First Secure Enterprise...
TigerText, a provider of secure, real-time messaging for the enterprise, has announced the launch of TigerText for the Apple Watch. TigerText for the Apple Watch enables users to securely send and... Read more
The Conservation Fund Partners with Apple To...
The Conservation Fund has announced that it will partner with Apple to help protect working forests in the United States. The Apple initiative will conserve more than 36,000 acres of working... Read more
Clearance 13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro a...
B&H Photo has clearance 2014 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1099, or $200 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP, NY tax...
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 1.4GHz iMac: $1019 $80 off - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $1189 $110 off - 21″ 2.9GHz... Read more
Sale! 16GB iPhone 5S for $1 with service
Best Buy is offering 16GB iPhone 5Ss for $1.00 with 2-year activation at a participating cellular provider. Choose free home shipping and activation, or buy online and activate during in-store pickup... 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. These are currently the... Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2349, sav...
 Adorama has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2349 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $150 off MSRP. For a limited time, Adorama will... Read more
Save up to $380 on an iMac with Apple refurbi...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $2119 $... Read more
iFixIt Teardown Awards 12-IInch Retina MacBoo...
iFixIt has posted its illustrated teardown of the new 12-inch MacBook Retina. They note that this new MacBook is less than half the thickness of the last Apple notebook called just “MacBook” back in... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Technical Project Manager - *Apple* Pay - A...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is seeking an experienced technical PM to…manage the on boarding of new merchants for the Apple Pay platform in the US Within this role you Read more
Senior Identity Architect - *Apple* Pay - A...
**Job Summary** Apple , Inc. is looking for a highly motivated, innovative and hands-on senior identity architect to join the Apple Pay Engineering team. You will Read more
Program Manager, *Apple* Retail Global Tale...
…for the worldwide creation and implementation of the key talent development initiatives within Apple Retail. He or she will work closely with our Retail Corporate team, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.