TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Nov 99 Viewpoint

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Viewpoint

Viewpoint

by Chris Espinosa, Manager, Components & Scripting, Apple Computer, Inc.

15 years in the computer business is a long time. According to Moore's Law, in 15 years, chip densities double 10 times, giving us a thousandfold increase in computing power. When this magazine was first published in 1984, 10 megabytes was a good size hard disk; the leading software applications were Lotus 1-2-3, WordStar, and dBase III; an ANSI standards committee had just been formed to standardize the C programming language; and Microsoft's total yearly revenue was under $100 million dollars, and its stock wasn't publicly traded.

Nowadays 10 Megabytes is a decent application memory partition; the leading software applications are Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Internet Explorer; the programming community has had a brief flirtation with Objective-C, a fling with visual Rapid Application Development environments, then settled down with C and C++, with a little Java and Perl to make things interesting. And Microsoft is bigger than AT&T, GM, and U. S. Steel combined - but, then again, Yahoo! is bigger than GM and U. S. Steel.

One thing I like in all this change, though, is the way that MacTech continues to open new topics to the Macintosh programming community. Keeping up with any changing technology is hard, and there are several that I've just given up trying to follow. I could once wire up digital logic circuits, but that was when there were four NAND gates on one chip. A machine-language I/O loop for the Apple II was simple, but an interrupt-time handler for FireWire or USB is a lot harder. But I can look at recent issues of MacTech and learn something I didn't know how to do before, about 3D graphics or WebObjects or PDF plug-ins. This is basic knowledge that I might not normally go and seek out, but once I know about it I may be able to apply it in something I'm doing down the road.

The Getting Started section of MacTech has always impressed me. Anybody coming into the Mac programming world has to go through a trial by fire: just knowing how to write in C is just enough to get you into deep trouble. Without understanding how the Mac launches processes and allocates memory, without basic MacsBug skills, and without the little details (like what those Finder flag bits actually do) that we all take for granted, a new programmer could get incredibly frustrated. It's great that MacTech brings this knowledge out and keeps it fresh to help bring new people into the Macintosh programming community.

And more than most other magazines, MacTech has been about community. The MacTech sponsored Developer Central sections at MacWorld Expo are social events. It's great to see my favorite hundred people from the Mac development world year after year, with great new demos and products to make the developer's life easier. These people wear two hats. Like most developers, they live and die by the quality of development tools on the Mac. But they're the ones who create the tools, so there's an interdependence that transcends the normal commercial competition among vendors. MacTech, through its technical content and ads, Developer Central, the MacDev-1 mailing list, and the large MacTech web site, gives this community a place to meet, exchange ideas, and reach developers.

With the explosion of the Internet in the past five years MacTech has broadened its coverage from just the Mac world to topics like CGIs, server-side includes, and XML. It's also ventured out into many possible "next big things" like Palm OS programming, and the BeOS. I think this is one of the reasons that MacTech is still around after 15 years. Not to imply that Mac might go away (though eventually everything does, and we were far too close for comfort just 3 years ago), but an organization that weds itself to one platform lives and dies by that platform. MacTech readers found themselves in this pickle several times, but MacTech drove on. Without jumping on every new bandwagon to come around, MacTech has delivered to us a good survey of interesting things that might be big and have some relevance to the Mac programmer. That some of these crashed and burned is just part of life's rich pageant. But, for each demised language or operating system, there's another that we should have paid attention to. Who could have told us in 1991 that we had better pay attention to Mach and NeXTStep because in five years it would be the future of the Macintosh?

As to what future that is, it's hard for me to say. First, I don't know, and second, if I did know and told you, they'd fire me. But I can point out some reasonable conclusions. Steve Jobs is in firm control of Apple and has turned it from a billion-dollar-hemorrhage to a hot products company that's quintupled its stock price. This has been done mostly on the hardware side, with solid progress on Mac OS 8, 8.5, 8.6, and now 9. But don't expect Steve to rest. The same passion for elegant design and powerful simplicity that has gone into the iMac and iBook is now being applied to the Mac OS. This isn't easy - software doesn't tend to get 2x faster and smaller every generation like hardware does - and there will be some favorite technologies left behind, like SCSI, ADB, and LocalTalk. But the result should be a modern (finally!), competitive operating system that brings forward years of Macintosh experience but leaves behind years of accumulated workarounds.

And, MacTech will be there to cover it. (After all, they've covered A/UX, NeXTStep, Pink/Taligent/CommonPoint, AIX, Copland and the BeOS...) I look forward to Getting Started stories that cover the basics of Mac OS X software, interesting in-depth articles on topics like the Quartz graphics system, hints and tips on how to live with gdb, and a lot of interesting synergies between Mac OS X's Mach-based roots and the UNIX-based world of the Web.

Congratulations MacTech, on 15 years of reading pleasure, and here's to many, many more.

 
AAPL
$103.37
Apple Inc.
+0.90
MSFT
$44.68
Microsoft Corpora
-0.21
GOOG
$536.25
Google Inc.
+9.71

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Apple Security Update 2014-005 - For OS...
Apple Security Update is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X. For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/... Read more
EyeTV 3.6.6 - Watch and record TV on you...
EyeTV brings a rich TV experience to your Mac. Watch live TV on your Mac. Pause, rewind, and record whenever you want. EyeTV gives you powerful control over what you watch and how you watch it. Put... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.0 - Create template-based...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
NTFS 12.0.39 - Provides full read and wr...
Paragon NTFS breaks down the barriers between Windows and OS X. Paragon NTFS effectively solves the communication problems between the Mac system and NTFS, providing full read and write access to... Read more
RestoreMeNot 2.0.3 - Disable window rest...
RestoreMeNot provides a simple way to disable the window restoration for individual applications so that you can fine-tune this behavior to suit your needs. Please note that RestoreMeNot is designed... Read more
Macgo Blu-ray Player 2.10.9.1750 - Blu-r...
Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can bring you the most unforgettable Blu-ray experience on your Mac. Overview Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can satisfy just about every need you could possibly have in a Blu-ray... Read more
Apple iOS 8.1 - The latest version of Ap...
The latest version of iOS can be downloaded through iTunes. Apple iOS 8 comes with big updates to apps you use every day, like Messages and Photos. A whole new way to share content with your family.... Read more
TechTool Pro 7.0.5 - Hard drive and syst...
TechTool Pro is now 7, and this is the most advanced version of the acclaimed Macintosh troubleshooting utility created in its 20-year history. Micromat has redeveloped TechTool Pro 7 to be fully 64... Read more
PDFKey Pro 4.0.2 - Edit and print passwo...
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
Yasu 2.9.1 - System maintenance app; per...
Yasu was originally created with System Administrators who service large groups of workstations in mind, Yasu (Yet Another System Utility) was made to do a specific group of maintenance tasks... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Craft Your Own Mini-Games with Papercade
Craft Your Own Mini-Games with Papercade Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Scrapbookers move over, Scrapgaming is the new thing. | Read more »
Reshape Review
Reshape Review By Jennifer Allen on October 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: SIMPLE SHAPESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Match triangles together to form cubes in this fast-paced and twitchy game.   | Read more »
Miika (Games)
Miika 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Miika is a beautiful 3D puzzle game based on camera perspectives combined with the use of optical illusions. Miika challenges... | Read more »
Infuse Pro (Photography)
Infuse Pro 3.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $9.99, Version: 3.0 (iTunes) Description: ** All-new version 3 includes fully licensed and certified DTS® and DTS-HD® audio! ** | Read more »
Swap Heroes (Games)
Swap Heroes 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: **Half price for a limited time only** Swap Heroes is a casual turn-based strategy adventure. Form a group of heroes and guide them... | Read more »
Ghost Blade (Games)
Ghost Blade 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Get the most outstanding 3D Action Game from App Store NOW! For those who dare pursue dreams. Masterpiece of Yu Shi Game ---China... | Read more »
Fiete – A Day on a Farm Review
Fiete – A Day on a Farm Review By Amy Solomon on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fiete – A day on a farm in an interactive app for young children full of... | Read more »
Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge is Almo...
Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge is Almost Here Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] One Man Left has announced the official release date of Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Re | Read more »
Starfly Review
Starfly Review By Jennifer Allen on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: CHANGE OF PACEiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Want a slightly different browsing experience? Starfly is a pretty personalized one but it’s also buggy.   | Read more »
Sago Mini Monsters Celebrates Halloween...
Sago Mini Monsters Celebrates Halloween with Fun Costumes and Special Treats. Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 21st, 2014 [ permal | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

AT&T accepting preorders for new iPads fo...
AT&T Wireless is accepting preorders for the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, cellular models, for $100 off MSRP with a 2-year service agreement: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi + Cellular: $529.99 - 64GB... Read more
Apple offering refurbished Mac Pros for up to...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2013 Mac Pros for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The... Read more
Select MacBook Airs $100 off MSRP, free shipp...
B&H Photo has 2014 a couple of MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Strong iPhone, Mac And App Store Sales Drive...
Apple on Monday announced financial results for its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended September 27, 2014. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $42.1 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.5 billion... Read more
Apple Posts How-To For OS X Recovery
OS X 10.7 Lion and later include OS X Recovery. This feature includes all of the tools you need to reinstall OS X, repair your disk, and even restore from a Time Machine backup. OS X Recovery... Read more
Mac OS X Versions (Builds) Supported By Vario...
Apple Support has posted a handy resource explaining which Mac OS X versions (builds) originally shipped with or are available for your computer via retail discs, downloads, or Software Update. Apple... Read more
Deals on 2011 13-inch MacBook Airs, from $649
Daily Steals has the Mid-2011 13″ 1.7GHz i5 MacBook Air (4GB/128GB) available for $699 with a 90 day warranty. The Mid-2011 13″ 1.7GHz i5 MacBook Air (4GB/128GB SSD) is available for $649 at Other... Read more
2013 15-inch 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro availa...
B&H Photo has leftover previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1599 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $400 off original MSRP. B&H... Read more
Updated iPad Prices
We’ve updated our iPad Air Price Tracker and our iPad mini Price Tracker with the latest information on prices and availability from Apple and other resellers, including the new iPad Air 2 and the... Read more

Jobs Board

Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.