Linked List: January 2006

CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions 

Sample chapter and table of contents for Andy Budd’s new book on CSS (written in collaboration with Simon Collison and Cameron Moll). Looks like a winner.

Mark Bernstein: Jam 

Mark Bernstein:

I bet a lot of the people who comment on VersionTracker don’t do much grocery shopping. Not to put too fine a point on it, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them depend on Mom to buy the groceries.

Official Google Blog: Google in China 

Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s senior policy counsel:

Filtering our search results clearly compromises our mission. Failing to offer Google search at all to a fifth of the world’s population, however, does so far more severely. Whether our critics agree with our decision or not, due to the severe quality problems faced by users trying to access Google.com from within China, this is precisely the choice we believe we faced.

This is the sort of straight-forward explanation I was hoping to see. But McLaughlin is dissembling with regard to his explanation why the regular google.com domain doesn’t work well in China — he makes it sound like a technical problem, but the real reason is that the Chinese authorities block it.

fseventer 

Freeware app allows you to monitor all file system changes; uses the same underlying mechanism for noticing file system changes as Spotlight. (Via Rentzsch.)

Update: Siracusa has informed me that the fsevents API is undocumented and not supported for third-party use, and that apps that play with it like fseventer risk hosing Spotlight. So consider yourself warned.

FaceSpan 4.3 

First bug-fix update since FaceSpan — the $100 much-better-thought-out alternative to AppleScript Studio — was acquired by Late Night Software.

Google Removes Its Help Entry on Censorship 

They should just state what, exactly, they’re doing with their Chinese search results; and if they’re embarrassed to say, then they shouldn’t be doing it.

Firewheel Design: ColorBurn 1.0 

Cute Dashboard widget from Josh Williams; offers a new color palette each day.

Mangled Monaco 9 and 10 Glyphs 

Daniel Sandler with a report and screenshot of a mangled “G” in Monaco 9. I saw this two times last week with Monaco 10, with two different glyphs — “m” and “x”. Michael Tsai has seen it, and John Siracusa has been complaining about it to me via AIM, as well.

I hadn’t seen this before last week, nor had I heard about it from anyone else, so I suspect it’s a bug in Mac OS X 10.4.4. The solution seems to be to delete your font caches and restart. To do so, delete everything in this folder:

/Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS/

(Or, if you use Linotype FontExplorer X, choose Tools → Clean Font Caches.)

Finding Leopard 

John Siracusa, on the Finder:

Now I know what some of you are thinking. “There goes Siracusa again, harping on his stupid Finder issues. Give it up! The Finder is fine now.” Yes, the Mac OS X Finder has gotten better over the years. But […] while I’d much rather be stabbed in the eye than shot in the head, they both still suck.

An Event Apart Atlanta 

The Zeldman and Meyer road show heads to the South. Highly recommended.

Toy Story 3 Cancelled 

I wondered all along whether Disney’s non-Pixar “Toy Story 3” project was just a bargaining chip in the Disney-Pixar saga. (Via Kottke.)

Dave Pell: Did the Internet Destroy Me? 

There are days when I feel like this.

Job Description: Finder Software Engineer 

Apple:

The Finder team is seeking an energetic, motivated software engineer to help develop next generation versions of the Finder, the notorious file browser for Mac OS X. You will be responsible for developing new features of an application that is often perceived by our users as the “face of the system”.

It’s charming that they describe it as “notorious”, but if they really wanted to go the “honesty is the best policy route”, they should have called it “unpopular”.

Scott Stevenson on Leander Kahney’s Weird Jobs-Gates Comparison 

Perfectly said. I found Kahney’s article to be creepy, almost on the verge of, say, criticizing Jobs for his religious beliefs. The stuff Kahney is advocating and criticizing is none of anyone’s business other than Jobs’s.

C-Command Universal Binaries 

Michael Tsai has released universal binary updates to SpamSieve, BBAutoComplete, and DropDMG.

Carbon Universal Binary Bullshit From Think Secret 

At the tail end of a report on the ostensibly slower-than-expected sales to date of the Intel-based iMac (I don’t believe it), Think Secret’s Ryan Katz writes:

Major software vendors like Adobe and Microsoft have been careful not to shed any light on when their popular and performance-critical programs will be ready as Universal Binaries. Both companies’ products are extensively Carbonized — a result of Apple’s transition to Mac OS X — which are far more difficult to convert to Universal Binaries than Cocoa applications written from the ground up for OS X.

The difficulties faced by Microsoft and Adobe moving their suites to universal binaries have very little to do with Carbon; their problem is that they were still using CodeWarrior, and CodeWarrior cannot generate universal binaries. BBEdit is a Carbon application, and was running as a universal binary before last year’s WWDC was over. Version 8.2.3 was released as a universal binary back in August, long before most Cocoa apps. The reason Bare Bones was able to universalize it so quickly is that they’d switched from CodeWarrior to Xcode a few versions ago.

That said, I’m not criticizing Adobe or Microsoft for not having already made the switch to Xcode. Most developers I know consider CodeWarrior a much better IDE than Xcode for C++ development, and also much better-suited for very large projects.

Jobs and Iger Comment on Disney’s Acquisition of Pixar 

AppleInsider reports on a CNBC interview with Steve Jobs and Bob Iger:

Even with the buyout, Disney films produced by Pixar’s animation studios and staff will continued to be marketed under the dual “Disney Pixar” brand. “It would be foolish to throw any of [the successful brand] away,” the company said.

Google Code: Web Authoring Statistics 

Massive analysis of real-world HTML markup from Google:

In December 2005 we did an analysis of a sample of slightly over a billion documents, extracting information about popular class names, elements, attributes, and related metadata. The results we found are available below. We hope this is of use!

(Via Jesper via AIM.)

Apple’s iWork Is Second-Best Selling Office Suite 

iWork has a higher retail sales market share than Corel, even though iWork is only available for Macs. I knew Microsoft dominated the office market on Windows, but I thought their market share was like IE’s, around 90 percent. I had no idea that it was over 95 percent. In other words, the slice of the Windows market left over after Microsoft Office is smaller than the Mac market. It’s worth noting that because these figures are based on U.S. retail sales, they don’t take into account freely-downloadable open source products like OpenOffice.

And so much for AppleInsider’s report that iWork sales have been disappointing.

High Volume Flow 

Kottke on how much work is involved keeping comments open on a popular weblog.

On Brain Training 

Cabel Sasser:

As you read this, a fairly significant revolution in the videogame industry is taking place in Japan. A quirky “game” is gaussian-blurring the line between games and applications, old and young, fun and utility, gamer and non-gamer — and you might be surprised by the results.

Disney to Buy Pixar for $7.4 Billion 

The Associated Press:

The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it is buying longtime partner Pixar Animation Studios Inc. for $7.4 billion in a deal that could restore Disney’s animation domination while vaulting Pixar CEO Steve Jobs into a powerful role at the media conglomerate.

Looks like good news for Pixar fans, in that Pixar people are taking over Disney’s animation unit, not the other way around. I’m already tiring of the “Pixar will be to Disney what Next was to Apple” analogy, but I must admit there are some parallels.

Apple’s Intel Ad and The Postal Service’s ‘Such Great Heights’ Video Side-by-Side 

There are more similarities in terms of shot framing than I originally thought, but considering the two pieces were directed by the same team (Josh Melnick and Xander Charity) and how different the results are, I still don’t see this as inappropriate.

The Cults of Macintosh and BlackBerry Collide 

David Pogue:

Last week at Macworld, it was announced that beginning in February, the cult of Macintosh will finally be able to join the cult of BlackBerry at no charge. Instead of having to pay $30 for a copy of PocketMac for BlackBerry (which is required if you want to sync your calendar, address book and e-mail with a BlackBerry), PocketMac will be a free download from blackberry.com.

Pogue pegs the Mac user base at “50 million users”, which is a higher number than I’ve ever heard before.

Official Google Blog: And Now, News 

Google News is officially out of beta. Only took three and a half years.

Nat Irons on Yojimbo 

I concur, especially regarding the craving for Yojimbo to become scriptable. (However, the NSTextView outliner support he mentions is a secret feature of Cocoa, not of Yojimbo — it works in rich-text documents in TextEdit, too, for example.)

Yojimbo 1.0 

Brand-new $39 information organizer from Bare Bones Software, with a terrific interface for entering and searching for items. Item types include rich-text notes, passwords, serial numbers, URL bookmarks, and PDF and web archives. Items can be encrypted, and you can sync your Yojimbo library between computers using .Mac. I’ve been beta-testing it for a few months, and Yojimbo is without question my favorite new Mac application in years. Highly recommended. (Insert my usual Bare Bones disclaimer here.)

Ben Gibbard of The Postal Service Unhappy About Apple-Intel Ad 

Ben Gibbard, in an un-permalinked note on The Postal Service’s web site:

It has recently come to our attention that Apple Computers’ new television commercial for the Intel chip features a shot-for-shot recreation of our video for ‘Such Great Heights’ made by the same filmmakers responsible for the original. We did not approve this commercialization and are extremely disappointed with both parties that this was executed without our consultation or consent.

There are, obviously, some very similar shots, but I don’t see how anyone could look at these two pieces and consider the commercial a “shot-by-shot recreation”.

(Via Ramanan Sivaranjan via email.)

Carpenters’ Level Dashboard Widget 

Free widget by Pall Thayer uses your PowerBook or iBook’s motion detector to turn your laptop into a carpenters’ level.

Jed’s Other Poem 

Stewart Smith’s wonderful “unsolicited music video” for Grandaddy’s “Jed’s Other Poem”. The video mostly consists of a stream of text on a 1979 Apple II+. The Applesoft BASIC source code is available for download. Be sure to read the release notes in the source code package to learn Smith’s clever solution for getting the source code off his Apple II+ without having to transcribe it.

How to Be a Curmudgeon on the Internet 

David Pogue’s “rules for being an Internet pill”.

That Postal Service-Apple/Intel Ad ‘Rip-Off’? Never Mind 

Last week Leander Kahney tried to cast Apple’s new Intel ad as a rip-off of a somewhat similar video from The Postal Service; ends up the commercial was directed by the same team that directed the video. Ha.

Even if the same directing team hadn’t been involved in Apple’s ad, it clearly isn’t a rip-off. Are there similar shots? Yes, definitely. But the tones are completely different. The video is good; the commercial is great.

Steven Levy Interview With Steve Jobs 

I missed this interview in Newsweek last week. Jobs, on why there weren’t any iPod-killers unveiled at the CES show the week prior:

The problem is, the PC model doesn’t work in the consumer electronics industry, where you’ve got all these companies and some does one thing and another does another thing. It just doesn’t work. What’s going to happen is that Microsoft is going to have to get into the hardware business of making MP3 players. This year. X-player, or whatever.

Sandvox Auto-Installs Input Manager Hack 

I’m glad I haven’t bothered trying Sandvox yet. Bill Bumgarner reports:

I was debugging a random crasher problem today and noticed that something called Smart Crash Reports appeared in the inventory of my Cocoa app’s list of frameworks and bundles.

As it turns out, Sandvox silently installs Smart Crash Report in ~/Library/Input Managers/ when it is launched. As an input manager, SCR is thusly loaded into every Cocoa app launched and subsequently uses various non-supported mechanisms to modify the behavior of said application.

Completely unacceptable. Sandvox is now gone from my system and will not return until this feature is “opt in” only.

This is the exact same thing I complained about regarding Path Finder 4.0 earlier this week.

Apple’s Social Software Group Is Hiring 

Jens Alfke says his team at Apple is looking to hire an engineer.

New York Times Report on Disney-Pixar Merger 

Report by Laura M. Holson and John Markoff says the Disney-Pixar deal is likely to be approved by Disney’s board, and would make Steve Jobs the single largest Disney shareholder. (Because Jobs owns 50.6 percent of Pixar, it’s apparently pretty much up to him whether Pixar accepts.)

Michael Tsai: iMac Core Duo, the First Afternoon 

Says it’s quiet and noticeably faster than his dual 2.0 GHz Power Mac G5.

The Mixed Grill: TextDrive, Strongspace, and Joyent 

Crazy good deal from Joyent and TextDrive: one-time payment of $499 gets you a TextDrive shared hosting account, a 9 GiB Strongspace account, and a 5-user Joyent Connector account (the latter coming next month). Pays for itself in about eight months.

Disney ‘in Talks’ to Acquire Pixar 

If true, let’s hope it turns Disney back into a Pixar-like company, rather than turning Pixar into the type of company that produces “Bambi II” as a straight-to-DVD piece of crap.

Word Movement in Terminal 

Useful tips from Allan Odgaard on adding Mac-like cursor movement to Terminal.

The Deck: A Nice Marketing Strategy 

James Geurts captures perfectly why I joined The Deck.

Tim Cook Warns of MacBook Pro Shortages 

Profits and revenues are record-breaking for Apple (again), but share prices dropped 7 percent after Apple lowered projections for the next quarter.

Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s executive vice president for worldwide sales and operations, told analysts that the company was anticipating a shortage of MacBook Pro computers in the second quarter. The first of Apple’s notebook line to use the Intel chip is expected to ship in February. “We may not be able to meet demand for MacBook Pro,” Mr. Cook said. He also said a version of the iPod Nano, the 4-gigahertz [sic] model, was “lean” in certain regions. “We are working hard to get those out there.”

(I’m pretty certain they meant “gigabyte”, not “gigahertz”. Also, they got Cook’s title wrong — Cook is now Apple’s COO. What a rag The New York Times is.)

Mark Pilgrim: ‘Unofficial Documentation of iPhoto 6.0 Photocasting Feeds’ 

Mark Pilgrim’s exhaustive critique and analysis of iPhoto’s new RSS support, posted to Apple’s Syndication-Dev mailing. (Via Tim Bray.)

Study shows that within 50 milliseconds of viewing, readers form their first impression of a web site. Jason Fried has a hunch that this is “a big win for the big text camp”. I disagree — no matter how big your type, no one can read it in one-twentieth of a second (although it might give them an instant sense that the site is friendly). I think this is a win for whitespace, simplicity, and good color selection.

Newton Lives 

Paul Guyot’s Einstein emulator has the Newton OS running on Linux PDA hardware. How can you not root for the Newton die-hards?

Macworld Benchmarks Intel-Based iMac 

Jason Snell:

Macworld Lab’s tests do show that the new Intel-based iMac is faster than the iMac G5 when running native applications. However, we found that those improvements are generally much less than what Apple claims is a 2x improvement in speed.

These scores are pretty much in line with what I had expected: faster, but not remarkably faster. The G5 is a good processor, so I would have been surprised if the Intel-based iMac had blown the iMac G5 away. The Intel iMac does, however, boot twice as fast. Real-world benchmarks between the MacBook Pro and PowerBook G4 will likely prove much more dramatic.

(Also worth noting: In an aside, Snell suggests that iMovie 6 is buggy.)

Right-Alignment for Form Labels 

I think the author, Swapnonil Mukherjee, has grossly over-analyzed this, but he’s right. (Via Khoi Vinh.)

Update: As reader Jacob Arnold said via email: “This guy’s article could be summed up by a simple rule of graphic design: ‘Avoid trapped white space.’”

Ben Franklin on the Feeling of Security 

Great Franklin quote from Bruce Schneier.

Startup Key Combinations for Intel-Based Macs 

Two interesting things about this: (1) the Intel-based Macs support all the main startup key combinations as PowerPC Macs, including FireWire Target Disk mode (which is yet another reason why I don’t expect to see FireWire dropped in any Macs any time soon); (2) this is the first time I’ve seen Apple use the term “Intel-based Macs”, which is the term I’ve been using for a while. Needless to say, we won’t be abbreviating it to a TLA.

Poor Richard’s Redemption 

Excellent New York Times Op-Ed essay by Stacy Schiff, commemorating the 300th birthday of my hometown hero, Benjamin Franklin.

Running Things Periodically With Launchd 

James Duncan Davidson:

I’ve mentioned a few times before in my essays that launchd simply rocks. It can slice, dice, and peel your tomatoes. As is already fairly well covered on the web, it can replace init and watchdog like processes all in one feel swoop. What hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, however, are some of its other talents. In this essay, I’m going to focus on how it replaces cron. Yes, our venerable friend cron is due for replacement and launchd brings on the goodness.

A List Apart: Web 3.0 

Jeffrey Zeldman:

Web 2.0 is a fresh-faced starlet on the intertwingled longtail to the disruptive experience of tomorrow. Web 3.0 thinks you are so 2005.

Intel Macs Break Mac::Glue 

Note to Mac Perl nerds: Chris Nandor reports that while most of Mac::Carbon works on Intel Macs, the Apple event features don’t work at all, which means no Mac::Glue.

iMac 17-inch Core Duo Review at Ars Technica 

Looks like real-world Rosetta performance is definitely “good enough”, which is great news.

Hoefler & Frere-Jones: Numbers 

Fifteen new fonts containing only numbers, punctuation, and symbols.

Wil Shipley on Coming Up With Product Ideas 

Wil Shipley:

But, for example, when the Excel product manager got up on stage at Macworld several years ago and said, “We’ve found that 85% of our customers use Excel just to make lists and outlines,” we (Omni) said, “Shoot, that’ll be our next product. We can do a GOOD job of making lists and outlines, and sell it for a lot less.” And OmniOutliner was a pretty decent success.

Introducing the Web Inspector 

Very cool new feature in the nightly builds of Safari, useful for both web developers and Web Kit hackers:

I would like to introduce a new addition to WebKit—the Web Inspector. The Web Inspector lets you browse the live DOM hierarchy in a compact HUD style window, catering to the needs of web developers and WebKit hackers alike.

Update: I just realized that the Web Inspector is itself implemented as a Web Kit view, so you can inspect the UI of the Web Inspector using the Web Inspector.

Authentic Boredom: New iLife ’06 Packaging: Hot or Not? 

Cameron Moll opens a discussion on the new iLife ’06 packaging. I prefer the visual from last year’s branding, but I like the new ones too. The biggest change is that the box is now roughly the size of a stack of CDs — I always found the wasted space in the bigger packages to be annoying. The smaller size makes it easier to keep the disks in the original packaging.

Jobs Suggests Dell Should Eat His Words 

John Markoff:

It may not be the last laugh, but on Friday afternoon, after the close of the stock market, Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple Computer, shared an e-mail chuckle with his employees at the expense of Dell, a big rival.

(Interesting that CNet is now reprinting some content from The New York Times. Update: Actually, the CNet-Times partnership is old news, I just hadn’t noticed before.)

Path Finder 4.0 

Major new release of the leading alternative to the Finder for file management on Mac OS X. I’ve been beta-testing it for months, and if you liked Path Finder before, you should definitely like version 4 even more.

Note for those who care about hacks that modify all running apps on your system: Path Finder 4 silently installs Smart Crash Reports in ~/Library/InputManagers/; if, like me, you want to suppress this, you need to invoke a secret pref switch:

defaults write com.cocoatech.PathFinder InstallSmartCrashReporter NO
iPhoto 6 Works With Flickr RSS Feeds 

Julian Missig:

I was hoping it would be true, and today I got to verify it: You can subscribe to a flickr RSS feed in iPhoto 6 and it will appear as a photocast just like any other Photocast. Unfortunately it’s only the small images you normally get with Flickr feeds, but fortunately there are clickable URLs to the Flickr pages for every one of those photos.

Regarding Flash and Safari on Intel Macs 

Todd Dominey asks a good question: Does Flash run natively on Intel Macs, or is it PowerPC-only (which would require all of Safari to run under Rosetta). Eric Albert, who works on the Mac OS X for Intel team at Apple, answers in the comments:

Flash is universal on the Intel-based Macs.

Omni Group Universal Binaries 

Everything but OmniWeb.

C-Command Universal Binaries 

Michael Tsai’s line-up of software works well already under Rosetta, and he’ll release free universal binary updates as soon as he gets his new iMac and can test them.

Apple Publications Style Guide 2006 

Apple’s in-house style guide, including their spelling and capitalization for their entire product line, and the correct names for nearly all common user interface elements. (Via Matt Deatherage on the MacJournals-Talk list.)

Macworld MacBook Pro ‘Inside Scoop’ 

Comprehensive FAQ on the somewhat mysterious MacBook Pro, compiled by Jason Snell and Jonathan Seff:

Apple hasn’t given an official battery life rating to the new MacBook Pro, but told us it expects battery life to be similar to that of the current PowerBook line (which ranges from 4.5 to 5 hours). Apple says that the MacBook Pro’s new, thin lithium-polymer battery is state-of-the-art, and that the Core Duo chip that powers the MacBook pro is roughly comparable to the power consumption of a G4 chip, or slightly higher. The MacBook Pro also has a much brighter screen than previous models, and that screen may negatively effect its battery life as well.

Also:

Apple says that the 15-inch PowerBooks will only be available while supplies last, but won’t make a similar statement about the 12- and 17-inch models.

(Via Daniel Bogan via AIM.)

iWeb’s HTML Markup: Not So Good 

Unfortunate, but also not surprising.

iPhoto 6 Performance Gains Are for Real 

Garrett Murray (who unveiled a remarkably lovely new site design back in November):

Well, they weren’t lying—iPhoto is a lot faster. Every year I buy iLife almost solely for the iPhoto update and the last few months, with nearly ten thousand photos, iPhoto was really starting to feel sluggish. So, when Jobs said in his keynote that iPhoto 6 was much faster, I wanted to believe him. But I’ve heard it before about previous iPhoto updates and I never really felt a speed difference. Today is a new day

Hanzoweb 

Like Delicious, but instead of bookmarking web pages, it creates archives of them in their current state. (I’m not going to play along with their goofy punctuation game, however.) (Via Ben Hammersley.)

Kottke on Digg and Slashdot Traffic and Influence 

Terrific analysis from Kottke on the effects of getting the same post linked from the front pages of both Digg and Slashdot. What’s weird to me is that either site picked up on that particular post of his, which is a couple of months old. Gist is: don’t count Slashdot out.

Bill Bumgarner on Google Earth for Mac 

Overall, it looks and feels like an X11 application. That, combined with a overly busy user interface that does not focus on the core display (which is quite fantastic in and of itself) leads to an application that is just terribly unpleasant to use.

Bumgarner is right: it’s not just that the UI widgets look clunky — it’s just not a particularly well-designed app, particularly its use of screen space.

Google-CBS Video Store Apparently Sucks 

Ashlee Vance:

If, like us, you expected the new and improved Google Video service to rival something like Apple’s iTunes store, then do yourself a favor and don’t visit the Google shop for a few months. Google has done nothing to celebrate its unique access to shows such as CSI, Survivor and Star Trek. Instead, the company has buried CBS’s shows beneath a dismal interface wrapped in a shambles of a delivery mechanism.

Griffin Technology: TuneCenter 

Clever and interesting, and sounds like a great deal for just $100, but my gut feeling is that Apple is going to obviate this later this year.

Nikon Plans to Stop Making Most Cameras That Use Film 

Martin Fackler, reporting for The New York Times:

A company spokesman said Nikon made the decision because sales of film cameras have plunged. In the most recent fiscal year ended March 2005, Nikon said that film camera bodies accounted for 3 percent of the 180 billion yen ($1.5 billion) in sales at the company’s camera and imaging division. That is down from 16 percent the previous year.

Windows Media Components for QuickTime 

This is great news: Microsoft is now offering a free download of Flip4Mac’s Windows Media Components for QuickTime. After installing Flip4Mac, you can play Windows Media files right in QuickTime player, as well as within your web browser. I.e. you’ll never again need to burn your retinas looking at Windows Media Player for Mac.

Wikipedia: Extensible Firmware Interface 

Wikipedia entry on EFI:

The Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) is an updated BIOS specification developed by Intel. Designed for use with trusted computing, it allows vendors to create drivers which cannot be reverse engineered. It also allows operating systems to run in a sandbox, delegating networking and memory management to the firmware. Hardware access is converted to calls to the EFI drivers

Windows XP Won’t Run on Intel MacBook, iMac 

XP only supports booting from BIOS-based systems, but Apple’s new Macs use EFI.

Universal Binary Programming Guidelines, Second Edition 

Updated developer docs from Apple, reflecting hardware changes in the now-shipping Intel-based Macs.

Knight Rider 

David Hasselhoff is huge in Germany.

Google Earth for Mac 

I can see your house from here.

Airfoil 2.0 

Rogue Amoeba:

Airfoil 2 is a major update to our AirPort Express companion, enabling you to send audio from any application to multiple AirPort Express units simultaneously and in sync! Now you can wire your house, wirelessly, using Airfoil and AirPort Express units. In addition, Airfoil 2 features direct support for USB radios like the RadioShark, transmitting from widgets and audio devices, and even the ability to send all system audio at once. Toss in audio effects, full AppleScript support, and a sleek new interface and you’ve got one heck of an update.

Techdirt: Unintentially Geeky Joke In Apple’s Share Price 

On the day Apple released their first Intel-powered computers, their share price closed at $80.86.

MarsEdit 1.1 

Update to the leading Mac weblog editor with a few new features and bug fixes. Plus, it’s now a universal binary.

Apple: DTK Exchange Program 

Apple is exchanging the $1000 Developer Transition Kit machines for 17-inch Intel iMacs, one for one, cross-shipped, shipping costs paid both ways. Pretty sweet deal, considering everyone thought they’d have to send back the DTKs in exchange for a steaming pile of corporate gratitude. (Thanks to Nat Irons for that turn of phrase.)

Tom Yager on Apple’s Intel Benchmarking 

There are lies, damn lies, and benchmarks, but InfoWorld’s Tom Yager thinks Apple’s new benchmarks are especially bogus:

In short, Apple used multiprocessor benchmarks to skew the performance advantage that its Intel-based machines enjoy compared to single-core PowerPC G4 and G5. Apple used the industry-standard SPEC suite components SPECint2000 and SPECfp2000, but here’s the catch: Apple used SPECint_rate2000 and SPECfp_rate2000. Both tests spawn multiple parallel benchmark processes and are specifically intended for comparing multiprocessor systems. Single CPU, or single-core machines do positively lousy on SPEC*_rate2000 tests. That’s predictable and universally understood. […]

Apple uses SPEC*_rate2000 tests as a foundation for claims that Intel-based Macs outperform PowerPC G4 and G5 by a factor of 2 to 5. Well, yeah. A dual-core anything outperforms a single-core anything else by a factor of 2 to 5 in benchmark tests that make use of multiple threads or processes, tests crafted specifically for the purpose of stressing SMP-based systems.

All iLife ’06 Apps Using iTunes’ Theme-Without-a-Name 

It’s hard to tell for certain from the shrunken screenshots on Apple’s web site, but it looks to me like all the new iLife apps (other than the still utterly goofy-looking GarageBand, of course) are using the same unnamed “looks like unified-title-and-toolbar but dark like brushed metal with curiously squared-off window corners” theme introduced with iTunes 5. (If anyone at the show can let me know for sure, please do.)

Comparing the MacBook Pro to the PowerBook G4 

Nice comparison chart from Paul Thurrott; the lack of estimated battery life from Apple is either ominous or curious.

Big Chunks of Adobe Lightroom Written in Lua 

Gus Mueller, on the fact that 40 percent of Lightroom is reportedly written in Lua, a scripting language:

Holy Crap. 40%? Wow. That’s nuts. I had heard it described as a Cocoa app, so I needed to download it to check it out.

The first thing I did when I got the .dmg was to open up the package and snoop around a bit. Not that many .nib files laying around, but I bet they are using Cocoa. I found a couple of .lua files.. but they were in byte code for so I couldn’t see what was in them (damn!). A little shell script action reveals that there are 223 different .lua files in there. Wow.

Google Ad Deal With Chicago Sun-Times 

Google gets to put classified-style text ads in the empty space that the Sun-Times would have otherwise filled with house ads.

Adobe Lightroom First Look and Primer 

Michael Reichmann’s early look at Lightroom for The Luminous Landscape:

So, is Lightroom Adobe’s response to Apple’s Aperture? In a way, yes, but it wasn’t originally intended to be. Lightroom was begun more than 18 months ago as a project to create a new paradigm for image management and processing. It’s rather remarkable given the time span how similar in overall concept the two programs are. It’s almost as if this is a design concept whose time had come, and both companies saw it coming roughly simultaneously.

The Shadowland/Lightroom Development Story 

Photographer Jeff Schewe on the development history of Adobe Lightroom.

Adobe Lightroom Public Beta 

Direct competitor to Aperture, available for download as a free public beta that expires in June (intriguingly, only for Mac — support for Windows is coming later). Don’t miss the video tour of Lightroom’s features and interface.

Lightroom is a product of Macromedia Labs, so it’s something Adobe picked up with they bought Macromedia. It looks great, so it may well be one of the reasons they bought Macromedia.

Update: Lightroom has been under development at Adobe for about four years, under the code-name Shadowland — many of the engineers previously worked on ImageReady. That the download is available on the macromedia.com site is a side-effect of Adobe using the former “Macromedia Labs” group and moniker as a testing ground for cutting-edge software.

Also noteworthy are the system requirements, which are much less than Aperture’s:

Adobe Lightroom Beta requires Mac OS X version 10.4.3 (Tiger) or higher, a 1GHz or faster PowerPC G4 or G5 processor (including iBook G4 or PowerBook G4), and 768 MB of RAM (although more is recommended), and 1 GB or more of free hard drive space.

At the very least, we can abandon any thoughts that Adobe will cede anything at all to Aperture. Aperture-v.-Lightroom is going to be a good old-fashioned arch rivalry.

(Via John Siracusa via AIM.)

Creative’s Not-So-Creative Definition of ‘Podcast’ 

From Creative’s Zencast site:

Podcasts, short for Personal On Demand broadCast, are audio files you can download into any MP3 player or computer.

Via Jason Fried, who commented, aptly: “A for effort, F for give me a fucking break.”

MacConnection: New 17-inch PowerBooks for $1,800 

MacConnection is selling previous-revision 17-inch PowerBooks (i.e. the ones with 1.67 GHz G4 processors but with 1400 × 900 display resolution and 100 GB hard drives) for just $1,800 after a $100 mail-in rebate. (Via Nat Irons via email.)

Safari Guide 

Freeware utility from Todd Ditchendorf allows you to “evaluate arbitrary XPath, XQuery, and JavaScript expressions against the current frontmost Safari web page”. (Via Buzz Andersen.)

Cabel’s Blog LOL 

Cabel “Panic” Sasser now has a weblog. Clever writing, clever design. Be sure to try out the JavaScript jiggery-pokery on the photo thumbnails.

Skype for Mac OS X 1.4 

Terrific update to my favorite VOIP app; new version adds the ability to forward Skype calls to regular phones, automatic iTunes pausing when you get a call, and Growl support.

Kodak Unveils New Logo 

Ben Rand, reporting for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:

Kodak’s new corporate symbol retains the company’s distinctive red and yellow colors, but does away with the boxes that have contained the word “Kodak” for the past 70 years.

I kid you not, no joke, Betty Noonan, Kodak’s director of brand management and marketing services, said this: “We want to break out of the box, in a lot of ways.” 70 years of brand recognition flushed down the toilet so they could “break out of the box”.

Small and Nimble: The Long Story Behind Karelia’s New Logo 

Remember the thing where Dan Wood’s Karelia Software had Watson, but then Apple released the very Watson-esque Sherlock 3? Karelia’s been working the past year or more on a consumer-friendly web page editor called Sandvox, which, judging only from the name, might be running head-on into Apple’s apparently-soon-to-be-released “iWeb”.

Wood addresses the impending release of iWeb here, revisits the Watson-Sherlock story (admitting that Apple gave him advance knowledge of Sherlock 3’s release, and that they offered him a job on the Sherlock team, which offer he turned down, all of which is contrary to the conventional wisdom regarding the Watson-Sherlock saga), and ties it all in nicely with the introduction of Karelia’s new logo (the typography of which logo I shan’t comment upon).

TextMate 1.5 

Has been in public beta testing for a while as version 1.1, but even 1.5 is a humble version number; TextMate is much improved over 1.0. Also, don’t miss TextMate developer Allan Odgaard’s “Year in Review”, where talks about how he turned developing TextMate into a successful indie Mac software business.

Rogue Amoeba Hiring 

Rogue Amoeba Software is hiring, with open spots for a developer and support technician. Great opportunity for anyone looking to break into the indie Mac software business.

Behind the Magic Curtain 

Former Apple product manager Mike Evangelist writes about what it’s like preparing for and demoing on stage at a Steve Jobs keynote. Evangelist is writing a book about his experience at Apple and publishing the drafts on his web site.

DragThing and PCalc Updates 

Both of James Thomson’s nifty apps are now universal binaries.

New ‘iWeb’ App Leaked on Apple.com 

Google’s cache has a snapshot of a GarageBand page on Apple.com that references iLife ‘06 and a new iLife app called iWeb. (Via John Siracusa via AIM.)

A Marriage Not Made in Heaven 

David Pogue pretty much trashes the user interface and experience of Palm’s new Windows-powered Treo 700W:

Sooner or later, you’ll run into the “Program Memory Low” error message, requiring you to shut down programs manually in a special list box.

The 700W’s beefed-up memory (60 megabytes free) makes this situation less frequent. Still, the whole ritual should be unnecessary. Doesn’t anyone at Microsoft realize how silly it sounds to say, “Just a minute — I have to quit some programs on my phone”?

Amazon Album Art Widget 

Very nifty widget; grabs album art from Amazon and assigns it to the currently selected tracks in iTunes. Freeware, donations encouraged.

Visual Tour of Recent Windows Vista ‘Pre-Beta’ 

Still looks really ugly to me. I mean really ugly.

2006 MacFixIt Toolbox Awards 

XRay, Pacifist, and SuperDuper are the top winners.

Michael Dupuis: Developing Mac Applications for a Living 

Michael Dupuis, developer of SQLGrinder and MacGourmet, on achieving “The Life” as an independent full-time Mac developer. (Via Brent Simmons.)

This Is No Game 

Jack Handey, in The New Yorker:

This is not some brightly colored, sugarcoated piece of candy that you can brush the ants off of and pop in your mouth.

This is not playtime or make-believe. This is real. It’s as real as a beggar squatting by the side of the road, begging, and then you realize, Uh-oh, he’s not begging.

(Via Philip Greenspun.)

Markdown Vim Mode 

Markdown syntax highlighting for the ever-popular Unix text editor Vim.

Zawodny on Dell Tech Support 

Jeremy Zawodny buys a new 24-inch Dell display; display arrives in an utterly broken state; fun ensues.

iPodDisk 

Free (GPL) utility gives you access to the music contents of an iPod by making it available as a mounted volume, with the music presented in hierarchical folders arranged by artist and title metadata. Very clever. (The author, Isaac Huang, is looking for work.)

(Via 2lmc Spool.)

Siracusa: Aperture Ascendant 

John Siracusa, on why he’s bullish about Aperture even though version 1.0 is a performance dud:

It will take longer for competitors to match the feature set and overall design of Aperture than it will for Aperture to fix enough bugs and performance issues to finally become usable.

Coping With Mac OS X’s Font Rendering 

Michael Tsai offers tips and suggestions for those who dislike on-screen anti-aliasing at small font sizes:

I am 20/30 without glasses and, as far as I know, do not have any visual handicaps. After more than five years of using Mac OS X—and two upgrades to sharper, brighter displays—I still find it tiring to read large blocks of smoothed text (with or without glasses). Unfortunately, there is no setting to go back to the OS 9 font renderer, and I have no expectation that there will ever be one. However, there are a number of things you can do to make text on OS X easier to read

Jens Alfke: Sweet Fifteen 

Jens Alfke, who’s worked on everything from AppleScript to iChat to Safari’s RSS reader (and who wrote the original Stickies app) is celebrating his 15th anniversary working at Apple:

I’d say “it doesn’t seem like that long”, only it does! Things have changed so much. When I started, on January 2nd 1991, there was no Apple campus. I was in De Anza Six, a building that later became Taligent and then IBM, and now sits empty, apparently awaiting demolition. My first machine was a Mac IIfx, a wicked-fast 33MHz 68030 with 8MB of RAM. (I bought my own for home, at a crazily-discounted price of $1800.) The very first piece of code I wrote at Apple, a utility called AEBuild, still survives to this day as part of the AppleEvent framework in OS X.

Suck.com Back in Action 

No longer pointing to a porno directory; still no word on how last week’s fiasco happened.

FastScripts Lite 

Speaking of Daniel Jalkut, he just released FastScripts Lite, a freeware version of his nifty FastScripts system-wide scripts menu utility, both versions of which offer much more functionality than the scripts menu that ships with Mac OS X.

Daniel Jalkut on Verizon’s Shitty Yahoo Installer 

Great write-up and analysis of a truly bad installer. Jalkut’s is turning into one of my very favorite Mac weblogs.

Guy Kawasaki’s New Weblog 

“Let the Good Times Roll”, a new weblog by the ever-readable Guy Kawasaki.

Blech on Mount Manager 

Blech at 2lmc Spool:

I’m afraid this is going to be one of those spool entries where I give some poor unsuspecting Mac developer a good kicking. Just thought I’d warn you in advance.

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