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

Monolingual 1.6.4 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. If you use your computer in only one (human) language, you... Read more
CleanApp 5.0 - Application deinstaller a...
CleanApp is an application deinstaller and archiver.... Your hard drive gets fuller day by day, but do you know why? CleanApp 5 provides you with insights how to reclaim disk space. There are... Read more
Fantastical 2.0 - Create calendar events...
Fantastical is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event details... Read more
Cocktail 8.2 - 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
Direct Mail 4.0.4 - Create and send grea...
Direct Mail is an easy-to-use, fully-featured email marketing app purpose-built for OS X. It lets you create and send great looking email campaigns. Start your newsletter by selecting from a gallery... Read more
jAlbum Pro 12.6 - Organize your digital...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code!... Read more
jAlbum 12.6 - Create custom photo galler...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
Lyn 1.5.9 - Lightweight image browser an...
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
Sublime Text 3080 - Sophisticated text e...
Sublime Text is a sophisticated text editor for code, markup, and prose. You'll love the slick user interface, extraordinary features, and amazing performance. Goto Anything. Use Goto Anything to... Read more
WALTR 1.0.11 - Drag-and-drop any media f...
WALTR is designed to make it easy to upload and convert any music or video file to an iPad or iPhone format for native playback. It supports a huge variety of media file types, including MP3, MP4,... Read more

Bio Inc's New Expansion is Infectin...
Bio Inc., by DryGin Studios, is the real time strategy game where you infect a human body with the worst virus your evil brain can design. Recently, the game was updated to add a whole lot of new features. Now you can play the new “Lethal”... | Read more »
The Monocular Minion is Here! Despicable...
Despicable Me: Minion Rush, by Gameloft, is introducing a new runner to the mix in their latest update. Now you can play as Carl, the prankster minion. Carl has a few new abilities to play with, including running at a higher speed from the start.... | Read more »
Dungeon of Madness (Games)
Dungeon of Madness 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Dungeon of Madness is an action game where you rotate tiles to create our own route. Help the hero by connecting the... | Read more »
Filters for iPhone (Photography)
Filters for iPhone 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Jump'N'Shoot Attack (Games)
Jump'N'Shoot Attack 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A mobile game for gamers! Join Louise Lightfoot, the legendary "Master of Jumping and Shooting", on her mission to save... | Read more »
Space Bounties Inc. (Games)
Space Bounties Inc. 1.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.4 (iTunes) Description: SuperGameDroid: 4/5 "Satisfying futuristic RPG combat, high replay value, and a heavy dose of nostalgia make Space... | Read more »
Gamebook: Pocket RPG (Games)
Gamebook: Pocket RPG 1.0.11 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.11 (iTunes) Description: Walk into the Land of Lanthir Lamath ruled by wicked skeletons and fight for your life in a thrilling adventure.... | Read more »
Kids Can Mix, Match, and Catch with Tata...
Tatadada MixMatch, by Tatadada Ltd, is a mobile version of the classic game of mix & match. The game uses brightly colored creatures to train your children's pattern matching skills and hand-eye coordination. It's aimed at children around age 5... | Read more »
The Trace: Murder Mystery Game (Games)
The Trace: Murder Mystery Game 1.2.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.2.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: March 16-20, 2015
Spring Roars In At 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Logitech Says MX Master Is Its Most Advanced...
Logitech’s new MX Master Wireless Mouse incorporates the best of Logitech’s many computer mouse innovations into a striking hand-sculpted design. The company claims that the MX Master creates a new... Read more
Save up to $300 on a new Mac, $30 on an iPad,...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available...
The Apple Store lowered prices on Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs recently, with models now available starting at $679. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and... Read more
Mac Notebook Evolution; A Desktop Replacement...
More often than not right from the beginning, Apple’s Macs have tended to skew toward small. The original Macs were called “compacts,”, and notwithstanding a few exceptions like the honking Big Mac... Read more
13-inch 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air (Apple refur...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Airs available for $759 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is $240 off original... Read more
YEP! Alternative Browser for iOS Now Supports...
Pfaeffikon, Switzerland based Power App AG has announced the release of an update to their Yep! Web Browser (v1.3.0) for iOS8 iPhone and iPad. Yep! hit the App Store shortly after the release of iOS... Read more
15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $250 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
Clearance 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros availab...
B&H Photo has leftover 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $250 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1098... Read more
Clearance 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has MacBook Airs on sale for up to $180 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 128GB MacBook Air: $789.99 110 off original MSRP - 11″ 256GB... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available for...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for $100 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $199, $100... 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
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - D...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Systems Engineer - Pre Sales, Educat...
…is responsible for proactively providing technical expertise to drive sales of Apple solutions into assigned accounts. The SE architects, validates, and assists in Read more
Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.