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From the Editor, March 2011

Volume Number: 27
Issue Number: 03
Column Tag: Editorial

From the Editor, March 2011

We're just edging into March, and already a lot has happened in the world of Apple since last month. First, there was the introduction of new MacBook Pro machines. The Big Deal about this is the addition of Thunderbolt ports (this is Apple's brand name for Intel's Light Peak technology). If you haven't heard about Thunderbolt, it's high-speed I/O that delivers 10Gbps of data (like Firewire, just faster) and delivers 10Gbps of video. You hear Apple bandy about the 10Gbps figure, but in reality, Thunderbolt can deliver 20 simultaneous Gbps of performance, albeit it allocates 10Gbps to each channel. This marketing-speak makes sense as you'll never actually see 20Gbps of performance from a single channel. On the video side, Thunderbolt keeps the physical form-factor of DisplayPort, so your existing setup should 'just work.'

Next, we have the introduction of new iPads. Of course, we're seeing an evolution of the product, and many of the rumors were right. Now sporting front and rear-facing cameras, the iPad 2 also supports FaceTime (and notably, does not include the ability to multi-way chat using iChat. iChat and Facetime remain separate products and protocols. Shame). Finally, the iPad 2 gets a faster, dual-core processor, the new Apple A5 chip. Overall, I don't see an overwhelming reason to upgrade. With 15 million first-gen iPads already purchased, developers aren't doing themselves any favors by writing software that absolutely requires an iPad 2. I suspect most won't do this (unless, of course, you're a developer at Apple, where there's an incentive for this).

Last, but certainly not least, Apple surprised developers everywhere by releasing a preview of Mac OS X 10.7, Lion. This developer seed represents the first public look at Apple's "Back to the Mac" philosophy. There are a lot of technologies to get your application ready for, including being able to support full-screen windows, auto-save, resume and more. Even in this early stage, Lion looks incredibly impressive. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, "Behold Lion, a constant proof that Apple loves the Mac, and loves to see us happy."

We also can't forget that we've been seeing more and more progress from Xcode 4 seeds, which take into account a lot of the Lion-based technologies. We'd love to hear your take on Xcode 4 - what you love, like, dislike and outright hate about this new version and direction of the product. Under the NDA rules, nothing will be published until Xcode 4 actually ships. If you're interested in sharing, get us at letters@mactech.com.

While we prep for all of this upcoming Lion and Xcode 4 goodness, this month's issue is just waiting for your attention. There's great content no matter your skill-level or focus.

First, our cover story: An Introduction to Wireshark. So many people ask about using a protocol analyzer. The one that don't ask, don't realize the usefulness. A protocol analyzer is useful to everyone - developers that send and receive any data over a network (and who doesn't these days?) and to network professionals trying to figure out what applications are actually sending. Returning author Mihalis Tsoukalos writes this introduction and plans to follow on with several articles on deeper, Wireshark specifics.

This month's Mac in the Shell wraps up the basic coverage of Ruby for System Administrators. Getting the foundations down cleanly enable us to move on to more advanced and Mac-specific topics.

Boisy Pitre's Developer to Developer brings up a technique to extend classes called "categories." Honestly, I hadn't been exposed to this at all. However, it seems such a straight-forward way of extending a class, I'll be trying to press it into service at some point.

In addition to everything else that's going on this month, we have our regulars back, including MacEnterprise by Greg Neagle, Ryan Wilcox's Consultant Cowboy and more.

I will say I'm pretty excited to be featuring Martin Pilkington in this month's MacTech spotlight. In addition to running M Cubed Software, Martin ran a great session at last year's NSConf. Perhaps we can convince him to travel over for this year's MacTech Conference? (That's a hint, Martin!)

Enjoy this issue, and see you next month.

Ed Marczak,

Executive Editor

 

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