Linked List: April 2006

How Mac OS X Implements Password Authentication 

Dave Dribin’s excellent analysis of how Mac OS X stores user account passwords on disk. In short: quite poorly up through 10.2, better in 10.3, and pretty well as of 10.4 — but not as well as OpenBSD does. See also his previous coverage.

(Via Rentzsch’s bookmarks.)

Sandbox 2.0 

New version of Michael Watson’s GUI utility for managing Mac OS X 10.4’s access control lists.

Daniel Jalkut on Apple’s Price-Paid-to-Satisfaction Ratio 

Daniel Jalkut, who is disappointed in the noise defects of his $2000 MacBook Pro and $2500 Power Mac, but pleased as pie with his two iPods:

Seems the more money I give Apple, the less satisfied I am. The two most expensive products listed above are the two that have caused me the most grief. Shouldn’t Apple be making customers of its $2500 products as giddy as customers of its $200 ones?

I have to say, the only Apple product I’ve purchased in recent years which I consider nearly perfect is my $99 iPod Shuffle.

Observations of Parallels Beta 5 

Intriguing technical analysis of how Parallels Workstation works on Mac OS X. (Via John Siracusa via AIM.)

Steve Jobs Says He Doesn’t Want Management Role at Disney 

The Associated Press:

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said Thursday he had no interest in becoming an executive at The Walt Disney Co., which will soon complete its acquisition of Jobs’ other company, Pixar Animation Studios.

In fact, Jobs told shareholders he plans to spend more time at Apple after he relinquishes his chief executive job at Pixar when the studio’s merger with Disney closes in two weeks.

(Via Kottke.)

The Ultimate Commenting Experience 

Anil Dash:

Based on extensive observation in the nearly 7 years that I’ve been blogging, here is how men actually submit comments to a site.

BitTorrent, YouTube, and Google Video 

Good observation by Kottke: YouTube and Google Video have quickly taken over the market for distribution of viral short videos, mainly because they’re much more convenient, both for uploaders and downloaders.

Nintendo Names Next-Generation Console ‘Wii’ 

Pronounced “wee”. And you thought “MacBook Pro” was a goofy name?

Steven Frank:: Updating the Treo 700w in 13 Easy Steps 

This is why people are desperate for Apple to make a phone.

Using Flat Files Instead of Databases 

Tim O’Reilly reports on web developers using flat files instead of proper databases for storage. I’m a big believer in using simple flat files unless you actually need a database. E.g. the way the Daring Fireball home page contains posts from two different weblog streams, interspersed chronologically — that’s assembled on-the-fly based on text files on disk, and typically takes less than one-hundredth of a second. (Via Tim Bray, another flat-file fan.)

1.0: Most Startups Fail 

Nice essay from Rands on shipping a 1.0 product:

In thinking about the difficulties of 1.0, I realized that Maslow’s [Hierarchy of Needs] model fundamentally applied to shipping the first version of a product. There’s a hierarchy that defines what you need to build in order to ship 1.0 and it sort of looks like this.

ZFS on Mac OS X 

Sun’s Eric Kustarz, on the ZFS-Discuss mailing list:

Chris Emura, the Filesystem Development Manager within Apple’s CoreOS organization is interested in porting ZFS to OS X. […]

Speaking for the zfs team (at Sun), this is great news and we fully support the effort.

(Via John Siracusa.)

Interarchy 8.0.1 

Bug-fix update to my favorite file transfer app.

iWork Update 

Apple released Pages 2.0.1 and Keynote 3.0.1; looks like both are mainly related to chart-rendering fixes.

LaunchBar 4.1 

I got hooked on LaunchBar 3, but switched to its arch-rival Quicksilver over a year ago. A couple of the new features in LaunchBar 4.1 have me intrigued, however, including the significant performance improvements (LaunchBar 4.0 felt slower than Quicksilver to me) and the new built-in calculator feature. (Via Michael Tsai.)

WouldjaDraw 1.0 

New $30 simple, lightweight vector-based drawing app. If you’ve been looking around for a modern app along the lines of MacDraw, this might be it.

How Apple Found 50 Acres in Cupertino and Why They Paid for It 

Michele Chandler reporting for the San Jose Mercury News:

Jobs was most likely speaking plainly when he told the Cupertino City Council that Apple ended up spending more than it would have liked to acquire the land. The assessed value of the 50 acres Apple is buying tops $160 million, according to property records. Apple would not comment on the purchase process.

But the purchase price is just the beginning. By the time Apple flattens the site’s old-style structures and builds new offices for as many as 3,500 employees — a process the company expects to take about four years — Apple could easily have spent $500 million, two real estate experts predict. That would make the company’s second campus one of the costliest Silicon Valley commercial ventures in recent memory.

(Via Infinite Loop.)

Slashdot CSS Redesign Contest 

But contestants are supposed to use the existing article icons, which are just horrible, and Slashdot grand pooh-bah Rob Malda strongly suggests the color and logotype remain the same as well.

Adobe Offers Migration Help to FreeHand Users 

George Penston asks if the writing is on the wall:

Adobe has just posted a rather comprehensive FreeHand to Illustrator Migration Guide (11MB PDF) as well as a brief technical resource paper (392KB PDF) to their Design Center. Although it’s thoughtful of Adobe to put together such helpful guides for longtime FreeHand users, one can’t help but think the writing is on the wall for FreeHand and its users.

I think the writing has been on the wall all along; Macromedia disbanded the FreeHand development team long before the Adobe deal even took place. I’m pretty sure there’s never going to be another major release of FreeHand.

The Show With Ze Frank 

It’s like a three- or four-minute-long concentrated, faster-cut, and more sarcastic version of The Daily Show. Absolutely fantastic. The archives go back about a month; I’m rationing them out at just a few a day. I predict this is going to make Ze Frank famous.

Adium to Be a ‘Google Summer of Code’ Project 

This means Google will pay for students to hack on Adium over the summer. (Via Jesper via email.)

Blinksale 2.0 

Bunch of new features for the leading online invoicing app, including printing, recurring invoices, and filtering (including with tags).

Windows Vista: Security Through Endless Warning Dialogs 

Jeff Atwood on the supposedly improved security model in Windows Vista:

The problem with the Security Through Endless Warning Dialogs school of thought is that it doesn’t work. All those earnest warning dialogs eventually blend together into a giant “click here to get work done” button that nobody bothers to read any more. The operating system cries wolf so much that when a real wolf — in the form of a virus or malware — rolls around, you’ll mindlessly allow it access to whatever it wants, just out of habit.

Mac OS X does a really, really good job balancing security and convenience; it sounds like with Vista, Windows is overcompensating and veering from “too convenient” to “too annoying”.

Paul Thurrott: Where Vista Fails 

Scathing look at the current Windows Vista betas from Paul Thurrott. I’m pretty much in agreement with Brian Tiemann on this; regarding Thurrott’s review, he writes:

I find myself hoping Vista comes out when they now say it will, and that it includes some features that Windows users can honestly crow about. The game of leapfrog is what makes the tech world flourish, and both sides need someone to try to jump over.

I.e. it’d be better for Mac users if Vista is actually pretty good.

Why Does HAL Sing ‘Daisy, Daisy’ in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’? 

Because Arthur C. Clark saw a synthesized speech demo at Bell Labs in 1962 where a computer sang that song. Kottke has a link to an audio clip. Update: Brad Smith emailed to point out that computer-music pioneer Max Mathews deserves some of the credit for that performance of “Daisy, Daisy”; it was Mathews’s arrangement, based on technology developed by Bell Labs’ John Kelly.

MacBook Pro Pricing Oddities 

The pricing on the new 17-inch MacBook Pros is quite curious. If you configure a build-to-order 15-inch MacBook with the 2.16 GHz processor — the same as the only available processor for the 17-inch MacBooks — the price is the same. E.g. for the exact same price of $2,799 you can get a 17-inch MacBook Pro with a bigger screen and larger hard drive. And, if you upgrade both machines to the 100 GB 7200 RPM hard drives and 2 GB of RAM, the 17-inch MacBook winds up $100 cheaper ($3099 vs. $3199).

Either the 15-inch MacBook Pros are due for a price cut, or something very strange is going on.

(Thanks to a bunch of readers who emailed about this.)

Judges Take a Few Swipes at Apple’s Arguments 

Howard Mintz reporting for the San Jose Mercury News:

But two of the three appeals court justices to hear Apple’s claims on Thursday suggested the company had not even shown that serious trade secrets had been revealed. “Asteroid” is a digital music device designed to work with Apple’s GarageBand music software.

“You don’t really claim this is some sort of new technology, do you?” Presiding Justice Conrad Rushing, a veteran of Silicon Valley trade secret fights, said to Apple’s Riley at one point. “This is plugging a guitar into a computer.”

Philips Pays Time Inc. to Put Magazine Tables of Contents on Page 1 

You know how when you open a magazine and have to flip through 10 or 20 pages of ads to find the table of contents? As part of their “Simplicity” campaign, Philips Electronics is paying to have the tables of contents for several Time Inc. titles (e.g. Time and Fortune) right on page 1, where they should be.

I think what the magazine industry doesn’t like about these ads is that they draw attention to how reader-hostile the usual table-of-contents placement is.

(Via Kottke.)

Declaration of Resolution-Independence 

John Siracusa speculates on when we’ll see a scalable user interface in Aqua, not just in WebKit.

McNealy steps down as Sun CEO 

CNet:

Scott McNealy, who helped found Sun Microsystems in 1982 and has been its CEO for the past 22 years, has stepped down as CEO. Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s COO, has replaced him. Schwartz, 40, joined Sun in 1996.

McNealy will remain as chairman.

Mac Backup Software Comparison 

Extensive comparison of 17 different backup and disk cloning tools for Mac OS X, with one clear winner: SuperDuper. (Via Dan Benjamin.)

Cabel Sasser: Nintendo DS Lite Third Look 

The trilogy is now complete.

17-Inch MacBook Pro 

Includes three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 400 port, and, unlike the 15-inch MacBook Pro, a FireWire 800 port. This makes me wonder if the lack of built-in FireWire 800 in the 15-inch model has kept people from buying it.

‘Software Engineer’ Tops List of Money Magazine’s 10 Best Jobs in America 

“Self-Published Weblog Writer” does not make the list.

High DPI Web Sites 

Dave Hyatt explains a major proposal from Apple’s WebKit team regarding how to enable web sites to scale beautifully on higher-resolution displays in the future. There’s a lot packed into this proposal, and after a quick read it strikes me as very well thought-out — good solutions to real problems. Be sure to check out his follow-up, which emphasizes that this proposal is only about new ways to make web sites look better on higher-resolution displays; existing web sites that don’t use these proposed features would continue to look the same as they do now.

Rubinstein Not Totally Gone 

Jon Rubinstein retired as vice president of Apple’s iPod division earlier this month, but according to a regulatory filing last week, he’ll still be working for Apple as a consultant:

Apple of Cupertino, Calif., said Rubinstein, through his J.R. Ruby Consulting Corp., agreed to make himself available for an average of one business day per week until April 16, 2007. He will be paid a “non-material” flat fee, Apple said.

Build-It-Yourself PCs Cost More Than Discount Machines From Dell 

Bill O’Brien configures a comparable system to a $399 Dell POS using cheap components from New Egg, and the tally ran to $599. (Via John Siracusa via AIM.)

Apple Offers Free Computer Take-Back Program 

Apple:

US customers who buy a new Mac through the Apple Store (www.apple.com) or Apple’s retail stores will receive free shipping and environmentally friendly disposal of their old computer as part of the Apple Recycling program. Equipment received by the program in the US is recycled domestically and no hazardous material is shipped overseas.

‘Close Enough’ 

New aptly-titled short film from my fellow Kubrick aficionados at Coudal Partners.

Gallery of Netflix Mailers from 1999–2006 

Nice gallery from Business 2.0 showing the design evolution of Netflix’s mailers, and explaining the reasons behind the changes over the years. (Via John Siracusa via AIM.)

Steven Frank: More on Tech Complexity 

Nice essay from Steven Frank on burdgeoning tech complexity, and why it might be the leading factor weighing Windows Vista down:

Clearly, market forces are demanding the production of increasingly complex computers and devices that do 80 million things, none of them well. But then, said market forces get pissed off when they can’t get into Outlook or whatever because of some DLL error. You can’t have it both ways, though.

And that’s the weird thing. If you made a little box, and all it did was read email, and it did it exactly perfectly, but it didn’t do anything else — well, nobody would buy that. Or close enough to nobody that you would only survive as an extremely niche product.

I don’t agree with that last paragraph, though. Substitute “play MP3s” for “read email” and you’d have a description of the iPod, which has been a raging success even though it’s up against a bunch of multi-purpose gadgets that can read email (poorly, usually), surf the web (poorly, usually), place phone calls, take photographs (poorly), and so forth. I’m not saying an iPod-esque device that just did email would sell well for sure, but it might. And one might argue that BlackBerries are such devices — they do more than just email, but everyone I know who uses one bought it just because they do handheld email so well.

Apple Reports Second Quarter Results 

Apple released their Q2 2006 quarterly results, and they’re great: $410 million in profit on $4.3 billion in revenue. I missed this yesterday while I was toiling away on my “Initiative” announcement. Things are only going to get better as more Intel-based Macs are released this year.

Google Posts 60 Percent Gain in Earnings 

A couple of interesting tidbits from Google’s quarterly financial statement (that is, in addition to the main thrust of it, which is that they earned $592 million in profit for the quarter, up from $369 million a year ago). The first is that they spent $345 million in capital investments for things like new servers and data centers. The second is that they hired 1,100 new employees, bringing their total head count to 6,790; that means one out of six Google employees was hired in the last three months.

Google Calendar Data API 

Curiously, all the examples are in Java. I’d think PHP or Perl would be more popular (and Ruby would be more hip). Perhaps I’m just out of touch with the great silent majority of Java hackers out there. (Via Daniel Bogan via email.)

Community Creators, Secure Your Code 

Niklas Bivald writes for A List Apart regarding cross-site scripting attacks. I had no idea that Internet Explorer executes JavaScript contained within style attributes:

<style="background:url(javascript:alert(document.cookie))">

and that filtering for “javascript” isn’t enough, because IE will also accept things like:

<style="background:url(ja
    vas
    cript:alert(document.cookie))">

which is just sickening. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking you could filter for the regex “j\s*a\s*v\s*a\s*s\s*c\s*r\s*i\s*p\s*t”, but who would expect that that’s necessary?

Writing Code Isn’t Rocket Science (It’s Worse Than That) 

Nice essay from Microsoft’s Eric Lippert on the difference between rocket science and brain surgery, and why programming is more like brain surgery even though we want to make it more like rocket science. Sounds silly in a blurb, but it really is a good analogy. (Via David Weiss.)

A Tour of Microsoft’s Mac Lab 

The MacBU’s David Weiss offers a guided tour of Microsoft’s impressive Mac lab, which includes a rack of 150 Mac Minis controlled by Apple Remote Desktop and some KVM switches. The Minis are perfectly suited for this task because they run cool and can be packed together in much less space that 150 typical computers. This is a rather incredible setup for testing, and it makes me wonder what Adobe’s is like. (Via Jon Rentzsch.)

Video: Jobs Announcing Apple’s New Campus to Cupertino City Council 

Chris Saribay has the video footage of Steve Jobs’s announcement to the Cupertino city council regarding Apple’s plans to build a new 50-acre second campus, and a link to the location on Google Maps.

Apple Plans to Build New 50-Acre Campus in Cupertino 

Reuters:

“What’s happened at Apple is that our business has basically tripled in the last five or six years,” Jobs said on Tuesday evening at a Cupertino city council meeting, which was recorded and viewable as an archived Webcast.

Jobs said that it would likely take three to four years to design and build the campus and that it could accommodate 3,000 to 3,500 employees.

A lot (most?) of Apple’s current campus was built in the late ’80s and early ’90s, during Jobs’s exile. I’m guessing the new campus will feature much more Jobsian design and architecture.

Burst.com Sues Apple for Patent Infringement 

I’d be more willing to write Burst off if they hadn’t extracted a $60M settlement from Microsoft last year. However, Apple has seen this coming, and Burst’s announcement today is in fact a countersuit against a declaratory relief complaint Apple filed against Burst back in January. Apple asked that Burst’s patents be invalidated, and declared that even if they’re valid, Apple’s products don’t infringe upon them. Burst’s countersuit claims, not surprisingly, that their patents are valid and that Apple’s products (iTunes, iPods, and QuickTime) do infringe upon them.

Parallels Workstation 2.1b4 

New beta of Parallels Workstation introduces full-screen mode and dual-monitor support.

Bonjour for Windows 1.0.3 

Apple’s new version of Bonjour (formerly “Rendezvous”) for Windows includes a plug-in that allows Internet Explorer to discover HTTP servers advertising on Bonjour. Also includes a “Bonjour Print Wizard” to allow Windows to connect to Bonjour networked printers. Pretty useful for Boot Camp users on a mostly-Mac network, I’m thinking.

Mr. T 

Dan Benjamin on the difference a “t” can make.

Hivelogic: My Setup, Part II: The Software 

Dan Benjamin on the Mac software he uses every day. My big three are different (BBEdit, Safari, and Mailsmith instead of TextMate, Firefox, and Apple Mail), but otherwise his list is nearly identical to mine.

Kottke Joins The Deck 

Jeffrey Zeldman on Jason Kottke, whose Kottke.org is the latest site to join The Deck.

Disastrous Intel Remote Control Demo 

Video footage of an Intel guy demonstrating a voice-activated remote control — it does not go well. And, curiously, this so-called “zero-button” remote seems to have about 40 or so buttons. (Via Jason Santa Maria via AIM.)

Safari User Growth 

Number three browser in the world (behind IE and Firefox, of course) grows from 1.81 to 3.19 percent from just one year ago.

(Current daringfireball.net stats put Safari at number one with 48 percent, Firefox at 32 percent, and IE and Camino at 10 and 5 percent, respectively. Which just goes to show how far out of the norm DF readers are.)

Keychain Access From the Shell 

Allan Odgaard on the security command, which gives you access to your keychain from the shell.

Google Adds ‘Birds-Eye’ Feature to Maps 

I think this is new, or at least fairly new: there’s a little birds-eye view box in the lower-right corner of Google Maps results pages now; it lets you drag the viewport around at a larger scale. (Via Nat Irons via email.)

Tuesday Whipper-Snapping 

Brent Simmons on tactics that don’t work when trying to get him to implement a feature request. The “I consider the lack of feature x a bug” ploy, by the way, never works.

Greg Storey: Thirty-Five 

On the occasion of his 35th birthday, Greg Storey offers up a lovely little essay on life lessons.

Akismet for Movable Type 

Anti-weblog-spam plug-in from the makers of WordPress, now available for MT users thanks to a port by Tim Appnel. John Battelle has been testing it and vouches for its efficacy.

Disastrous Demo of Microsoft’s Origami Gadget 

The Korea Times:

Kim Hun-soo, vice president of Samsung’s PC division, first ascended to the podium as he tried to do the presentation in a Steve Jobs style _ which was not so successful.

Kim first tried to start the Powerpoint presentation, which was saved in his Q1. But after introducing himself, he failed to turn to the second page while his staff nervously watched him. […] After spending several nerve-racking minutes trying to solve the problem on his own, Kim was finally helped by one of his staff to get to the next page.

(Thanks to Paul Davidson for the link.)

Snell on Kantor 

Macworld editor Jason Snell responds to Andrew Kantor’s idiotic USA Today column. The one point Snell missed is that Kantor comes across as so defensive throughout his little screed; it seems to me the real point of Kantor’s column was to reassure himself that all he needs to know is Windows to continue his career in tech punditry.

Jackass of the Week: USA Today Columnist Andrew Kantor 

Andrew Kantor writes in USA Today that Boot Camp will start an “exodus to Windows” of Mac users:

But the notion put forward by some Mac folks — that Boot Camp will improve the Mac’s position in the business and gaming marketplace — is backward. Instead, it’s more likely to convince Mac users to switch to Windows once they’ve used it long enough to be deprogrammed.

Readers keep sending me links to ill-considered punditry such as this, and I love it, because in every case, the stuff I’ve already written about Boot Camp refutes every point they try to make. In a nut, though, the two most important points about Boot Camp are these:

  • You now get to choose between a computer that can only run Windows or a computer that can run both Windows and Mac OS X. And only Apple sells the latter.

  • Apple isn’t trying to get all PC users/owners to buy Macs. They’re just trying to get high-end users who are already tempted by the Mac to switch.

NFox’s Karl Kraft on the Apple/O’Grady Subpoena 

Well this is interesting. NFox’s Karl Kraft posted a comment on Slashdot regarding the subpoena he was served regarding Jason O’Grady’s email that was subpoenaed by Apple:

I’m the ISP / person who was subpoenaed. I have no problem telling a company the size of Apple to pound sand, I’ve done it twice before and been successful. When I received the initial request I refused it because it wasn’t a subpoena signed by a judge.

I don’t feel threatened at all by Apple. At no point has Apple or their lawyers ever “intimated” me. On the other hand the EFF has attempted to coerce and intimidate me in this matter. Their legal filings imply that my conversations in response to the subpoena from Apple were violations of federal law. The EFF cherry picks what parts of the case they want to display on their web page. Meanwhile I have a foot tall stack of filings from the case.

Jason has left out that the reason that I got into the loop at all is because he used my phone and address instead of his for his domain registration. He has since changed it to a PO Box.

Firefox 1.5.0.2 

Now a universal binary — strikingly fast according to everyone I know who’s tried it on Intel-based Mac hardware.

Forrester Research: Apple Could Double Market Share on Microsoft Defections 

Forrester Research says the customers most unhappy with Microsoft look like typical Apple customers, including the fact that they have higher incomes and spend more online.

MacFixIt Retort on Repair Permissions 

Cites several examples where running Repair Permissions can fix actual problems, but that’s just my point — that it’s a troubleshooting tool, not a maintenance tool.

Pyro 1.0 Beta 

New web-browser designed specifically and only as a client for 37signals’s Campfire web-based chat service. (Via Jason Fried, not surprisingly.)

Aperture 1.1: Price Cut and Rebate for 1.0 Owners 

Apple release Aperture 1.1 today, which includes universal binary support and a bunch of improvement. They also cut the price:

In addition, Apple lowered the price of Aperture from $499 to $299. Apple is offering a $200 e-coupon good on the online Apple Store to licensed users of Aperture 1.0. Licensed users of Aperture 1.0 Academic will receive a $100 e-coupon.

(Via Steve Hubbard via email.)

Flashbag 

USB flash drive that expands — as in physically, like a balloon — as it fills up. I’m not quite sure whether this is actually a good idea, but it’s certainly very clever. Concept-only right now, so you can’t buy one. (Via Andy Baio.)

Gapers Block Redesign 

Wonderful “major tweak” to an already excellent design. (Via Khoi Vinh.)

Google Calendar 

Scheduled to be in beta for the next four years.

Also, it doesn’t (yet?) support Safari, and informs you of this with a JavaScript alert that reads:

Sorry, Google Calendar does not support your browser yet, so things may break in unexpected ways.
Press OK to see a list of browsers that we support. Or cancel to try to use it anyways.

$121 billion market cap and they have someone writing error messages who thinks “anyways” is acceptable English.

Developers to Mac Users: ‘Just Boot Into Windows’ 

Crazy Apple Rumors Site:

Developers have no reason to develop for the Mac when they can easily tell users to spend several minutes rebooting into a crappier operating system that they hate to use.

Transmit 3.5.3 

Bug fix update to the popular file-transfer client. There was a 3.5.2 released earlier today, but if you blinked you missed it. Kudos to Panic for revving the version number even just to fix a build goof, though — I don’t like it when quick fixes are rolled out with the same version number.

The State of OmniWeb 5.5 

OmniWeb 5.5 — the long-awaited update that switches from Omni’s custom WebCore fork to using Apple’s Web Kit for rendering — is in private beta.

Bare Feats Benchmarks 5400 RPM vs. 7200 RPM MacBooks 

Also shows just how much faster FireWire 800 is than FireWire 400 (MacBook Pros only come with FireWire 400).

Acquisition and NAT Port Mapping Protocol 

David Watanabe’s excellent Acquisition P2P/BitTorrent client now supports NAT Port Mapping Protocol (and for non-Apple Wi-Fi routers, UPNP) which allows things to “just work” even when they require non-standard port configurations.

John C. Welch Reviews Apple Remote Desktop 3 

I love a detailed software review from someone writing about a tool they actually depend upon, and Welch obviously depends on ARD. Welch likes version 3.0, he likes it a lot, and he’s particularly happy about the new AppleScript support:

You can now, finally, automate the Apple Remote Desktop application itself. This is a major one, because quite honestly, even if I can copy a file or install something to multiple computers via Apple Remote Desktop, prior to AppleScript, I had to do this manually. Select the computers, select the file, create the task, run the task. If I had to do multiple client management tasks a day, I had to sit there and make with the clickey-clickey for each thing.

A manual administration tool kind of blows.

Well, the suck level of Apple Remote Desktop has dropped like a rock.

Hixie: Content-Type Is Dead 

Hixie:

I think it may be time to retire the Content-Type header, putting to sleep the myth that it is in any way authoritative, and instead have well-defined content-sniffing rules for Web content.

The problem is that too many web servers are administered by incompetents, which in turn led all the major browser and aggregator developers to assume that all web servers are administered by incompetents. (Via Mark Pilgrim.)

Cocoa Smart Quotes 

David Dunham’s NSTextView smart quotes implementation, based on an algorithm he developed almost 20 years ago and which was used in both PageMaker and WriteNow. His algorithm looks good to me, and I very like his distinction regarding the term “smart quotes”: that it refers to the automatic replacement of straight quotes with correct quotes, not to the curly quote characters themselves. A subject near and dear to my heart. (Via Rentzsch.)

Scumbags at Jigsaw Raise $12M in Funding 

Mike Arrington:

Jigsaw isn’t the most evil company on the Internet by far, but it is the most evil company funded by well known and respected venture investors. There should be more to an investment decision than the bottom line profitability potential of a company. Its cost to society should be factored in as well.

Niall Kennedy Hired by Microsoft 

Niall Kennedy:

Starting next week I will join Microsoft’s Windows Live division to create a new product team around syndication technologies such as RSS and Atom. I will help build a feed syndication platform leveraged by Microsoft products and developers all around the world.

Sounds like a perfect job for Niall. And thanks to Boot Camp, he can still use an Apple laptop. (Via Brent Simmons.)

Path Finder 4.1 

Includes a new Quicksilver/LaunchBar-style “Go to Folder” dialog that just blows the Finder’s away. Looks like a nice .1 update.

Apple Remote Desktop 3 

Major update to Apple’s popular remote desktop management system. New features include several improvement to remote software updates and installations, including a “curtain mode” where you can prevent the remote end user from seeing what you’re doing. The QuickTime tutorial provides a nice overview.

Parallels Workstation 2.1 Beta 2 

Updated beta of Parallels’s virtualization program for Mac OS X — and they’ve cut the price from $50 to $40.

Boycott Walgreens 

Here’s a boycott I can get behind.

Macworld Round Table: Assessing Boot Camp 

Jason Snell on the idea that Boot Camp will hurt Mac developers:

Fundamentally, Mac users are Mac users because they want to use the Mac OS. And developers realize that if Mac users wanted to run Windows apps, they wouldn’t be Mac users.

Do I think that developers who are only tenuously attached to the Mac market, but don’t really get it, might try the “just use our app in Windows” approach? Sure. But most of those companies dropped out of the Mac market long ago.

Disney to Offer Some ABC Programs Free on the Web 

Webcasts of popular shows like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives”, available on the web the day after they’re televised, supported by commercials.

Siracusa on Boot Camp 

Terrific essay from John Siracusa on Boot Camp, including this bit on the rampant fear that Boot Camp will lead to developers abandoning real Mac software development:

This naturally leads to the fear that Mac users will simply snub themselves out of the software market entirely by rejecting the supposedly inevitable “just boot Windows” crumbs offered to them. Here’s my favorite rebuttal of that scenario, from a comment on Seibold’s article page, by Dogger Blue. (Emphasis added.)

Consumers don’t compete for developers. It’s the other way around. Any developer who wants any significant presence among Mac users needs to release an OS X version. That is never going to change, and any developer who thinks that will change, might as well just write off all their Mac business because some other developer will come along and take advantage of the fact that they have just left the door wide open for competitors.

There is money to be made in the Mac software market. (Just ask Microsoft; Mac Office is incredibly profitable.) As long as the number of people with Apple hardware stays about the same, that’s not going to change. And if it increases, as seems likely given the removal of one more barrier to entry (“Can it run my Windows?”), the pool of Mac software money will only get bigger. Software makers are competing for that pool. They have to satisfy us.

Siracusa’s observations on what this means for Mac game development ring true as well.

Mac Geekery: Non-Destructively Resizing Volumes 

Starting in 10.4.6, the command-line diskutil tool can do the same non-destructive disk partitioning trick that Boot Camp uses to create your Windows disk partition. Or, more likely, Boot Camp’s debut was waiting for this feature to appear in 10.4.6. (Via 2lmc Spool.)

Rentzsch on the Xcode Double Broom 

And people wonder why so many shops clung to CodeWarrior for so long.

Why Apple Needs to Support Dual-Booting Even if They’re Planning for Virtualization in Leopard 

Chris Clark gets it:

Thus, if Apple is to provide a virtual machine for Windows on Mac OS X, they have to provide a “boot into Windows” option: the VM alone won’t cut it for people who rely on Windows in a do-or-die capacity. The Classic environment didn’t preclude booting into OS 9, it just rendered it unnecessary for 90% of people 90% of the time. By the same token, dual-booting Windows is the contingency plan for the edge cases; the people with special needs that VM can’t fulfill.

HBO Dashboard Widget 

Full programming schedule plus QuickTime clips. (Via Dave Walker.)

Gavin Shearer on Windows as the Next Classic 

It was easy for me to write yesterday that Windows will be the new Classic. But Gavin Shearer got it right back in January, over two months before Boot Camp shipped. His follow-up from Wednesday this week looks spot-on too.

Chiropractor Claims He Can Go Back in Time 

Funniest thing I’ve read all week.

New York Times Editorial: Windows on Apple 

That there’s an editorial in today’s Times about Boot Camp shows just how big a deal this is.

Surprise, Surprise: iPod Dominates Teen Music Player Market 

Brad Cook, reporting for iPod Observer:

Piper Jaffray’s recently-completed 11th semi-annual survey of teenagers found that 77% of those who own an MP3 player own some type of iPod, up from 74% in fall 2005, while 71% of those who use an online music service use iTunes, which is a leap from the 64% who said so last fall.

Nine Things KDE Should Learn From Mac OS X 

The state of KDE UI design remains atrocious. I can hardly believe that screenshot of the KDevelop IDE is for real.

Joyful JavaScript 

My friend Luke Crawford on the joys of programming JavaScript using Prototype.

Lance Ulanoff Is a Moron 

Brian Tiemann rips apart PC Magazine columnist Lance Ulanoff’s silly argument that Boot Camp portends Apple turning into a Windows PC maker.

Boot Camp and the PC War 

Nick Carr totally gets it:

I think that’s the reason the Apple’s stock price has shot up nearly 20% since the Boot Camp announcement yesterday. It’s not that Apple may be able to expand its general market share by a couple of percentage points; it’s that those percentage points are likely to represent many of the most attractive customers in the market.

Das Boot Camp 

I thought about using this pun, mainly because I love Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot. Anyway, if you want more interesting analysis on Boot Camp and virtualization, Khoi Vinh has it.

Cabel Sasser: Boot Camp First Look: Half Life 2 Video + More 

Cabel Sasser:

Upon hearing about Boot Camp here at Panic Labs, we immediately and excitedly downloaded, installed, and documented, and by “we” I mean “me, while everybody else in the office did actual work”. Here’s what I found.

What’s New in Python 2.5 

Python 2.5a1 is out, with a bunch of new syntax constructs and a few additional standard library items (including SQLite, which is sort of turning into a standard module everywhere, and deservedly so). The Rails phenomenon has catapulted Ruby ahead of Python in publicity, but Python still strikes this Perl programmer as an intriguing language.

Death to ‘User-Generated Content’ 

Derek Powazek:

So let’s not give in to the buzzphrase du jour. Let’s use the real words. Those people posting to Amazon pages? They’re writing reviews. Those folks on Flickr? They’re making photographs. And if we must have an umbrella term to describe the whole shebang, I have a suggestion. Try this on for size: Authentic Media.

New York Times: Apple Allows Windows on Its Machines 

Shares of AAPL jumped $4.23 a share — 7 percent — based on news of Boot Camp.

Jack Shafer: I’m Canceling My Times Subscription 

Slate’s Jack Shafer likes the new NYTimes.com design so much that’s he canceling his subscription to the printed version of the paper. Good critique of what’s great about this new design, along with some good observations about how it can improve.

The Omni Mouth 

New weblog from The Omni Group.

Boot Camp Beta: Requirements, Installation, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Comprehensive KnowledgeBase article from Apple regarding the Boot Camp public beta. Includes an explanation as to why it requires a full installer for Windows XP SP2 or later, and also this regarding music from ITMS:

I have purchased music and video from the iTunes Music Store. Do I have to authorize my computer in Mac OS X and in Windows XP?

Yes, you need to authorize one computer for Mac OS X and one computer for Windows XP if you wish to play music or video in both operating systems, even though the operating systems are installed on the same computer.

(Via 2lmc Spool.)

Apple: Boot Camp 

Holy shit: Apple has released a public beta of a utility to let you dual boot into Windows XP on Intel-based Macs, and the technology will be built into 10.5. Wow.

Nearly-Invincible Powerbook 

Amazing photo of a PowerBook G4 that was run over by an SUV but still works.

House Industries: United 

Just got my new House Industries catalog today, featuring their new typeface United. Looks great: somewhat reminiscent of ITC Machine, but United is much more expansive, with 105 total fonts in five widths and seven weights.

Mac OS X 10.4.6 

Looks like a pretty big update, including fixes for iSync, iDisk WebDAV access, and a bunch of Intel-related fixes for standard apps like iChat and iMovie.

Plus note this weird item:

With the Mac OS X 10.4.6 system software update, PowerPC-based Macs will restart twice, instead of once, after the initial installation.

Treo 700w Has Egregious DST Bug 

Steven Frank:

Wait, it gets better! Here’s Palm’s “preferred method” for solving this problem:

  1. Delete all the messed up appointments.

  2. Re-enter them.

  3. In the future, DO NOT CREATE EVENTS ON THE PHONE, create them on the desktop only.

*head in hands*

This is an absolute travesty. Guys, keeping track of calendar appointments is a CORE FUNCTION of a PDA. How could you NOT have tested daylight savings time issues? Aren’t you embarrassed? Hell, I’m embarrassed FOR YOU. I’m embarrassed for the whole industry.

Khoi Vinh: The Awesome Redesign I Didn’t Do 

NYTimes.com design director Khoi Vinh:

One little detail that I should clarify: I did not design this. Ever-changing marketplace and business pressures had made a redesign necessary long before I even began talking to management about the possibility of joining the company.

NYTimes.com Redesign Launches 

This is without question better in every way than the previous NYTimes.com design. Much less crowded than before; ads, for example, are much better integrated into the pages. (The main reason it feels less crowded is that it now uses a 1024-pixel-wide layout.) The type is much improved — the body copy and most headlines are now set in Georgia, and the line-heights seem more comfortable.

I have a bunch of quibbles. Some of the type seems too small, especially the longer list of headlines in the middle of the home page. And as I’ve always felt about NYTimes.com, I’m not sure how anyone is expected to be able to take in the entirety of the home page — there’s just way too much there. (Compare and contrast to the front page of the print edition of The Times.)

But those are quibbles. What matters is that overall, it’s big, big improvement to the design of my favorite web site.

Greg Storey on ‘Web 2.0’ 

Greg Storey:

I used to design and make web sites. Now I have to tell people that I design and make web apps otherwise they look at me like I’m a C-average communications major newly graduated from some backwoods community college. Pity the word sites has a better ring to it and app rhymes with crap.

MacBook Pro Noise: I Believe in Miracles 

More from Daniel Jalkut on the seemingly “magic” Dashboard widget that quiets the annoying CPU whine in MacBook Pros.

Anil Dash: Your April Fool’s Joke Sucks 

Yes, yes it does.

Internet Jackass Day 2006 

Andy Baio’s annual run-down of various online April Fool’s Day pranks.

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