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MacTech at WWDC 2006

Volume Number: 22 (2006)
Issue Number: 9
Column Tag: WWDC

MacTech at WWDC 2006

by Edward Marczak

WWDC: It's like going to a rock concert! Lights, music, and audio and video gear that the likes of U2 tour with! Of course, beneath the 'show', there are important announcements: the kind that impact the way we work as MacTechs. No matter if you're a developer, IT staff tech, or an end user, the announcements of today will have an effect on you.

You may have been at WWDC, or, you may have watched the keynote on-line. You've surely read about the announcements in blogs and on Apple's site itself. The (announced) changes in Leopard are incredibly welcome, and the announcements to come will surely be incredible. No matter what they are, they're going to be covered here in MacTech. This is being written on the first day of WWDC right after the keynote where attendees were given 10.5 preview installers. The excitement can be felt even on this first day, but it is tempered with a tech attitude: let me understand how it works, and then I can implement and rely on it. Each of these announcements mean different things to different people. After talking to a lot of people, though, one feature seems to stand out over the others: Time Machine.

Time Machine is an automatic, hands-off backup to disk or server. The real killer is the UI - something that anyone will just 'get' immediately, almost more so than anything Apple has ever put out. Backup happens at midnight by default (we don't know if this is easily adjustable) and backs up everything. As of this writing, no storage rule-of-thumb guidelines have been posted. There's a fantastic developer opportunity here to make sure your app is Time Machine enabled. Really, you don't want to miss this one. The Time Machine page is, and it's well worth a visit.

XCode 3, along with Dashcode and Web Clip were also announced. XCode 3 brings us some great new debugging tools along with...well, things that we're still under NDA and can't talk about! Dashcode and Web Clip are welcome additions to the developer's arsenal. Web developers everywhere rejoiced with the addition of a JavaScript debugger! Web Clip is more of an end user-technology, and some people that I spoke with are a little hesitant. The fear is that the support calls may start to come in, only for a tech to find that a user has created dozens of Web Clips and hinders Dashboard and machine performance.

Of course, then there were the hardware announcements. The Mac Pro was the 'expected' announcement. Turns out to be one sweet machine. The 2 dual-core Xeons are almost not noticeable: no liquid cooling, no gigantic fans. Instead of reducing the case size, though, Apple took the newly freed up space and just packed more in. With 4 drive bays, 3 full-length PCI-e slots, 2 optical drives and one double-wide 16-lane PCI Express graphics slot, this machine earns the "Pro" moniker.

To be able to claim that the entire product line has been Intelified, Apple dropped the Intel XServe bomb. Redundant power supplies! Two dual-core Xeon chips supporting up to 32GB of memory! "Lights out management," however, wasn't given a detailed look. While it's an improvement (over, basically, nothing), it looks like it's simple power on/power off. Let's just say there might be some surprises in store. Much like the Mac Pro, Apple chose to keep the same form factor and use the space more wisely. The Intel-based XServes sport built-in VGA. No more sacrificing your configuration to either add a video card, or figure out how to work around not having one. With 2 built-in Ethernet ports, you can throw in a two or 4 port Ethernet card and have one heck of a router/firewall/VPN device.

Naturally, with an Intel based XServe, that means we need an Intellified OS X Server. OS X Server 10.4.7 will be the first Universal disc shipped - meaning, a single disc will boot either a PPC or Intel machine.

Team Apple have been exceedingly busy. Everyone deserves a big round of applause (and probably a raise or two!) for their work. New hardware, new software. Everyone at MacTech is looking forward to seeing how you make use of all this new tech, and, we're looking forward to guiding you through it.

Edward Marczak


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