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Working With Tiger Technologies

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  • by samdu (114873) <samdu AT ronintech DOT com> on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:14PM (#11391368) Homepage
    Of the apps listed in the FA, Automater appears to be the only one that's really interesting. The Widget thing is already available with Konfabulator and Desktop search is also available from a number of sources. This isn't to say that Apple won't make each of these better. However, I think the breakthrough, killer app is Automater. Sure, you can script events to some extent or another either with the limited capabilities of operating systems or to a greater extent with 3rd party apps, but the ability to build event scripts with XML and/or HTML sounds freakin' awesome.
  • Re:New Apple User (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rritterson (588983) * on Monday January 17, 2005 @11:04PM (#11391687)
    You just don't get the point do you?

    Apple's business model isn't built on driving up the highest market share possible. If they wanted to do that, they would have switched to x86 long ago.

    They aren't trying to sell the most computer at the lowest price- they are trying to sell the best computers at a reasonable price.
  • Re:New Apple User (Score:5, Insightful)

    by larkost (79011) on Monday January 17, 2005 @11:51PM (#11391968)
    Just a couple of comments:

    Apple first showed Spotlight last June, and if you look at it you will see that it is really an extension of an old Copland technology (the project that was started to originally replace System 7.5) that came out in System 8.6 under the TwinTurbo codename (text summarizing and indexing of the hard drive). And if you are really stretching you can find glimmers of this in the marketing buzz for Microsofts Cairo (large parts of which made it into Win95 and Win98). In other words, this is not a new idea... so making it work (and well) is the only thing that counts. We are way beyond the point where anyone can claim that they thought of it first.

    I don't think that Microsoft's speech recognition does dictation. I think it is just like the speech recognition that has also been built into MacOS since either MacOS 7.5 or 8: very limited commands that are a big drain on the processor, and you have to repeat yourself a lot. Nothing to see here...

    And on the Dashboard comment... You are thinking of Konfabulator, and that borrowed its idea from Apple's desk accessories, which borrowed its idea from a demo at Xerox PARC (the one Apple paid for the ideas with stock). And the more you compare how the two system work, the less they look like each other. Dashboard widgets are a special form of html page with a few extra javascript hooks that live in a special environment. Konfabulator scripts are another (heavyweight) program that runs in its own special interpreter with its own language. Konfabulator was a neat idea, but the implementation sucked. Apple just extended the browser and came up with their own twists on the idea. The truth be told, Dashboard has more in common with Mozilla/Firefox's XUL than Konfabulator (and it should, since Dave Hyatt was a major mover behind both).
  • Re:New Apple User (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JQuick (411434) on Monday January 17, 2005 @11:53PM (#11391978)
    Actually desktop widgets were part of the old MacOS. They were not re-implemented in earlier Macos X implementations.

    A third party developer wrote Konfabulator which enabled users create and run JavaScript applets. He called them widgets too.

    Is Dashboard a knock-off? Apple did introduce desktop widgets first. And their re-introduction and design makes sense. With WebKit and Java as integral parts of the base OS: css, html, and javascript make the most sense, and of course they will still call them widgets.

    The fact that Konfabulator called them widgets is a knock-off of Apple's original widgets. The fact that the widgets in javascript makes some people suspicious that Apple stole the idea.

    I don't know the principles on either side, so cannot say definitively what happened. I just think bald claims that Apple stole the idea are perhaps overstated.
  • Re:New Apple User (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MattHaffner (101554) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @12:12AM (#11392089)
    You're right, I don't get it - I don't get why declining market share is a good thing for a company you want to survive or how it maintains its relevance?

    World dominance is not required for a company to make money. And that's all a company exists to do, really, in the purest sense, and certainly at this size or larger: make money for the owner/shareholders. The market has grown by leaps and bounds while the market "share" may have been declining. That means Apple still is selling more units year-over-year. And the market as a whole may be misleading. Apple from time to time focuses on certain sectors of the market. Are they really declining in every sector? I'm not so sure. In my little market space of academic science, I can tell you without even doing a head count that they have made a serious rebound in the last few years. Windows here has become a platform only of personal choice, not of need. OS X and Linux dominate our department (and I dare say our field).

    IANAFA, but the 90's did serious harm to Apple. It's taken a long times for things to stabilize and turn around. But. They did so even before the iPod took off with OS X, the Ti PowerBook, and the seamless G5 migration (at least).

    It doesn't take a BS in business to BS to figure out that after the last year or so of financials, Apple is not going to have problems surviving in the short term or being relevant.

    It doesn't take a BS in marketing to BS that when Apple's "competitors" are much more frequently talking about Apple technologies more and more in their own talking points and press responses to know that those with big shares are taking serious notice, if only behind closed doors--even if it's blowing off the relevance, saying there's nothing new, or giving us a load of BS about "choice".

    You keep focusing on that market share. Someone's been concerned for the last 10 years about it. In the meantime, "the rest of us" will go about our business enjoying a kick-ass platform. And I do mean enjoy.
  • by Per Wigren (5315) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @01:39AM (#11392537) Homepage
    I find it interesting that SQLite is part of Tiger. I'm curious as to how useful it will be. I'm sure I'd want to keep OS info away from Dev info, but I'm curious as to whether it'll replace mySQL at all.

    Does BDB or GDBM replace MySQL? Does XML-files replace MySQL?
    SQLite is only a tiny embeddable library providing a fast SQL-interface to your data-files. It is not meant to be used as a RDBMS replacement.
    In contrast to MySQL it actually does support procedures and triggers though. :)
  • by JQuick (411434) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @02:14AM (#11392640)
    I would count this as a disadvantage - they release stuff before it's finished, and force you to upgrade by making most of the libraries marginally incompatible so that oops, this only runs on 10.2 and up - soon 10.3 will be the price of entry. They keep trying to scuttle security patches for "old" versions (AKA less than a year old) to force people to upgrade too.


    Your statements are patently false.

    Situations where X only runs on 10.2 and up, or Y only runs on 10.3 and up result from adding new functionality, not from breaking old functionality. Frameworks in Macos X support multiple simultaneous versions without conflict.

    The reason that so many new packages require new versions of the OS is that the development tools and libraries are improving. Targeting 10.1 or 10.2 requires that developers forgo functionality which can dramatically reduce their effort. For instance using Cocoa Bindings (introduced in Panther) a developer can avoid writing much common code. The authors of Delicious Library say that when they first read about Cocoa Bindings they decided to give it a try:

    "We rewrote everything in a day or two--I think we deleted over a thousand lines of code that just wasn't needed any more.


    WebKit, Array Controllers, and scores of other new objects have been introduced over the past few years. In each case the general result is deriving more functionality out of far less code.

    This is not the result of Apple un-fucking things. This is the result of Apple producing software that improves the system by adding new functionality that is easier for both developers and end-users.

    Apple typically releases free updates and security patches for several years. Jaguar (10.2) came out in 2002, the last major upgrade 10.2.8 was released in mid 2003, I see that 10.2.8 was still covered by the security update several weeks ago.

    It is clear that you don't know what you are talking about.
  • Re:New Apple User (Score:5, Insightful)

    by reynhout (89071) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @04:59AM (#11393192)
    Apple introduced Desktop Accessories in 1984. At the time, MacOS (then just called the "System") wasn't multitasking, so DAs were a way to run "something else" without closing your running application.

    Some examples: Calculator, Alarm Clock (later, the clock moved to the menu bar), Key Caps (so you could find all the non-standard keyboard characters like the Yen symbol, etc), Puzzle, Scrapbook (like multiple, persistent copy buffers), Notepad (like Stickies), Chooser (to select printers and networks), etc. Yup, 1984.

    They all lived under the Apple menu, and could be used at any time. They required some unusual constraints to WRITE, however...but Apple provided some decent sample code and shareware developers wrote hundreds more of them.

    After MacOS became preemptively multitasking, the only reason DAs stuck around is that users expected them. There was no longer a good reason to code within the DA frameworks, (and by then you could put any app you wanted into the Apple menu, so that was no longer unique..)

    Dashboard is not a knock-off. It's a reintroduction of Apple's own good idea from twenty years ago. As for the naming choice -- well, I think it's dumb...but it doesn't make sense to claim that that's stolen either. There is no more generic term for a small, useful thing. Widgets will be more powerful than DAs and easier to write, but that's a function of the intervening time, not stolen inspiration.

    Dashboard is also interesting because the applets (see?) are like Desk Accessories, but the use model appears to be Apple's first admission that virtual desktops might be a GOOD IDEA that users are capable of understanding (when presented in a very animated-so-you-know-whats-happening-at-all-times kind of way). That's a big step for Apple HIG!

    Next stop, multi-button mouses, STANDARD!

    I only worry that with Expose and Dashboard, Apple might decide that users are all tapped out in the weird-things-that-happen-to-my-desktop department and never implement virtual desktops themselves.

    (Though I'm pretty happy with Virtue. Look it up on version tracker.)
  • Re:it gets worse (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @05:02AM (#11393198)
    "I like MacOS, but I don't want to pay for Apple hardware"

    I'm guessing that much of that angst has be channeled into PearPC [sourceforge.net]

    I agree with your sentiment, but I think that Gnome and KDE are too well entrenched for GNUstep to have much of an impact. There's Simply GNUstep [simplygnustep.com] of course...

    But I suspect GNUstep is tarnished for several reasons.

    Cocoa is a minority platform with even fewer open source developers. And how many people know objective-c? The Mac has a long history of quality shareware; on the whole the idea of giving code away for free never caught on as with Linux. Those with skills in such a niche area are no doubt finding lucrative opportunities to sell their spare-time efforts! :)

    Providing a clean-room implementation of technologies is dependant on their being killer-apps to run.
    In the case of haiku, it's implementing a much cherished discontinued platform.
    In the case of wine, it's running Windows apps without Windows.
    In the case of classpath, it's implementing a JVM without Sun's restrictions and support on every platform.

    In each case these projects aim to provide API AND binary compatibility. Achieving binary compatibility with OSX would be comparatively more difficult given that Cocoa is one of a number of technologies which might also need to be emulated.

    Plus, most of us do without the niceties of OSX. Those priveleged few that do have Macs are satisfied with their choice of hardware & software, so to re-implement the wheel isn't a high priority.

    Finally are there any killer opensource Cocoa apps whose equivalents don't exists in the X11 world? For example, if Apple were to donate the rest of the Safari code to the community, as Netscape did with Mozilla, it would provide a tremendous example of a large-scale Cocoa app. This would perhaps attract developers to the platform. Plus, it might spur people on to implement the missing bits in GNUstep.

  • Re:New Apple User (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @09:02AM (#11394035) Homepage Journal

    You need up to date information. [nwsource.com]

    "Note the trend in Mac shipments, particularly the big increase in the most recent quarter."

    Mac shipments have been trending upwards over the last 8 quarters. From 711,000 in Q12003, to 1,046,000 Macs sold in Q4 2004. A sizable jump there in Q4, from 836,000 in Q304.

    Market share is not all its cracked up to be.

    IBM has about 8.6% market share. Unfortunately, even that wasn't enough - they lost money on their PC business for the last three years, so they bailed out and sold it to Lenovo.

    I'd much rather have Apple at 1.9% market share, profitable, growing, and influential, than at 8.6% market share, losing money, and bailing out.

    As a NeXT/Cocoa programmer, I'm quite happy to see that Apple has sold about 6.6 million Macs (fast, OS X-running Macs) in the last two years, and even more happy that that figure will likely grow even faster in 2005.

  • Re:New Apple User (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MattHaffner (101554) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @04:12PM (#11399505)
    No, it's a difference between Q1-2005 and Q1-2000 of 24%. Look at the data for the last 10 years. It's all over the place. You can't just pick out one pair of years and say "look a huge decline!". Q1-2005 over Q1-2004 is up 26%. A lot of year-to-year variation is based on product cycle. You have to look at the whole trend over a longer span of time.

    And, the original argument was about market share. That's a hard thing to compute just based on raw sales. How many sales are new to the platform? How many are just upgrading old machines? How do homes with one of each major platform get counted? How does a business with a variety of machines get counted?

    If I'm an application developer, I'd be concerned these days with whether the fraction of users are using or have access to a given platform, not just how many raw units are floating around. Here's a pretty unsubstantiated statement, but one I believe is true: the user contact/availability with Macs is growing and has grown in the last few years. Whether those users are migrating or supplementing their current hardware is a curiosity, but not particularly important if you are primarily interested in how many potential buyers of your software/device/etc. there are available.

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