By John Gruber
Build internal tools in minutes with Retool, where visual programming meets the power of real code.
Kathy Sierra on the “Featuritis Curve”. It’s a nice visualization of Einstein’s oft-quoted maxim: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” In Sierra’s Featuritis Curve, the right side of the curve is not as simple as possible; the left side is too simple. This is related to some of the points I tried to make in yesterday’s fireball — I think Apple has the entire iPod lineup positioned near the peak of the Featuritis Curve.
Dave Hyatt’s Surfin’ Safari weblog has moved and is now hosted at the same site as the Web Kit Open Source Project. Plus there are several new contributors to the weblog.
Saturation coverage from Macworld on the new Adobe Creative Suite 2 — reviews of each of the apps and interviews with people at Adobe. This is exactly the sort of journalism that Macworld does better than any other Mac publication. (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Acrobat Professional all get 4.5 mice; GoLive on the other hand, gets just 2 mice, which is the equivalent of a sack of dog turds.)
iPod user HRH Queen Elizabeth II has admitted she finds Sony products too difficult to use.
Sony’s new CEO Howard Stringer recounted a luncheon with the Queen to Sony shareholders. He told them that the Queen had struggled with certain Sony products.
According to Stringer the Queen told him: “I have a lot of trouble with your remote controls. Too many arrows.”
Shows how long he’s been away from the Mac. He should just buy a PowerBook and come home. (iTunes uses an XML plist file to store your podcast subscriptions; Winer would prefer to see them use OPML.)
Sven-S. Porst is pretty harsh in his review of iTunes 4.9. I disagree with several of his assessments (I’m not offended by the podcast source list icon, for example), but he makes many good points (e.g. why can you disable the Radio and Party Shuffle source list icons, but not Podcasts?).
Yahoo-vs.-Google is really turning into an epic rivalry.
He still sees reasons to continue improving the podcasting support in NetNewsWire, and I think he’s right. For example, some feeds only include podcast enclosures occasionally, not in every entry — feeds like that are better dealt with in a general-purpose aggregator.
Screen-scraping hacks are no longer necessary. Documentation looks good, too.
‘My Web 2.0’ is Yahoo’s new Del.icio.us-style shared bookmark app. (What a terrible name, though; the “2.0” isn’t the version number, it’s part of the name itself.) Andy Baio has been beta-testing and has a nice overview, including a few links to other reviews.
Jon Hicks with a brief look at the latest Camino builds. I agree that it’s a very attractive app, and it does seem to load and render pages faster than any other Mac OS X browser.
Doug Adams on the couple of new AppleScript properties in iTunes 4.9:
special kind: a property for playlists (an enumerated type that can be: “none”, “Purchased Music”, “Party Shuffle”, or “Podcasts”)
podcast: a boolean flag on individual tracks
Warning: links to a PDF, and a horribly typeset one at that. Seriously, a plain text file would be easier to read and look better than this. (Via 2lmc Spool.) See also: Edd Dumbill’s quick review of their extensions.
New command-line (!) tool from Apple (inexplicably, it’s hosted at Mac.com — what’s up with that?). From the readme:
You can use Chapter Tool to create Enhanced Podcasts that work with iTunes 4.9 or later. Enhanced podcasts are podcasts that contain chapters. Chapters can be modified to display pictures or web links that can be displayed within the iTunes song artwork pane.
It only works on MPEG4 AAC audio files (i.e. it doesn’t work with MP3s), but that’s not surprising, since as far as I know, the MP3 file format doesn’t support anything like this. So it’s a nice usability gain for podcasts — chapters ought to be considered mandatory for anything longer than 10 or 15 minutes, and the web links and images are nice extras — but this is also a way to start establishing AAC as a superior format for podcast publishing. Which — and here’s the point where you can imagine Apple executives sinisterly twisting their mustaches — would help permanently cement iPods, as opposed to generic “MP3 players”, as the best way to listen to podcasts.
Panic Japan is officially launched!
Each of our software products now has an actively maintained Japanese localization, as well as Japanese language email support, and a fully localized web site.
I’m a developer on Apple’s AppKit team; I work to make Cocoa better. With a few exceptions, we are responsible for both AppKit and Foundation. This is my blog.
Ridiculous Fish is simply outstanding (and uses a very clever, albeit markup-heavy, implementation of rounded rectangles in the layout). It’s only a few weeks old, so you can easily catch up and read the whole thing to date.
Why the Lucky Stiff on memory management and garbage collection in Ruby — although these basic tips might be useful in other scripting languages, too.
Apple has not provided an API for third-party developers to execute Automator workflows, but the guys at Rogue Amoeba have figured out an unofficial way to do it.
Alfke is an engineer on Apple’s RSS team; he thinks Microsoft’s RSS support for IE is copied from Safari’s.
Cheat sheet for Google search. (Via David Pogue.)
Slides from his talk to the students attending WWDC this year. Despite the seemingly glaring “market share” numbers in Windows favor, there is definitely a business case for being a Mac-only developer — it depends on what type of software you want to write.
Free web service; source code (Python) also available, so you can run it on your own. See also: Gregorio’s XML.com article discussing the service and code.
Apple support document listing the Mac OS version included with every Mac produced since January 1998.
Dave Girard’s detailed but rambling review of Photoshop CS2 for Ars Technica.
Bug fix update for Late Night Software’s Perl debugger; I missed this when it was new last week.
Chuck Toporek shows how to hack Llew Mason’s RabbitRadio widget to add support for additional NPR radio streams.
Svnx is an open source GUI browser for Subversion repositories. (It’s not new, I just hadn’t heard of it until today.)
He compares them to hypothetical “literary patents”, a clever and apt analogy.
The Mac-Intel Developer Transition Systems have started shipping to developers (or at the very least, Steven Frank at Panic got his).
Cameron Marlow, who created and maintains Blogdex, is conducting a survey for weblog authors as part of his Ph.D. thesis at MIT.
MacInTouch reader survey shows a surprisingly high failure rate for first-generation iMac G5s, especially 20-inch models. Seems to be under control in the current models, however. (Warning: not a permanent link.)
Still-in-development IDE for creating Dashboard widgets. (Via Buzz Andersen.)
Great primer by Philip Greenspun.
Mark Simonson on why an italicized typeface should be more than just a slanted variation of the roman letterforms. (In a postscript, he mentions that he expects to release his new font Proxima Nova by the end of June.)
$20 a month gets you the “payment-processing capabilities of a merchant account and gateway”. Sounds like a fantastic deal; I’m going to look into using this for Daring Fireball t-shirt and membership sales.
Longtime Mac developer Marshall Clow is blogging his transition from CodeWarrior to Xcode; great perspective on the differences in both UI and compiler output.
Interesting new tagging features at del.icio.us:
for:joshuato bring a tagged item to someone’s attention.
system:filetype:mp3are automatically added to bookmarked items that end in certain extensions.
The latter features allows you to assemble RSS-with-enclosures podcast feeds.
They were rumored to have been looking at Skype. I never even heard of Dialpad before today — not surprising, since they don’t have a Mac version.
New app for creating and modifying launchd property list files. $5 shareware.
Update: This week’s show has been cancelled; I might be on next week instead.
John Markoff reporting for The New York Times:
Several executives close to the last-minute dealings between Apple and I.B.M. said that Mr. Jobs waited until the last moment — 3 p.m. on Friday, June 4 — to inform Big Blue. Those executives said that I.B.M. had learned about Apple’s negotiations with Intel from news reports and that Apple had not returned phone calls in recent weeks.
In the end, Mr. Jobs was given no choice but to move his business to Intel, when I.B.M. executives said that without additional Apple investment they were unwilling to pursue the faster and lower-power chips he badly needs for his laptop business.
In other words, it’s not that IBM couldn’t keep up, it’s that they wanted Apple to pay for the development costs for the new generations of chips.
Jamie Zawinski has been waiting for stuff to “just work” on Linux for a long time, and he’s finally given up:
Remember last week, when I tried to buy exactly the same audio card that 99.99% of the world owns and convince Linux to be able to play two sounds at once? Yeah, turns out, that was the last straw. I bought an iMac, and now I play my music with iTunes.
Ars Technica’s Jon “Hannibal” Stokes speculates, convincingly, on how Apple’s Intel transition might play out: which chips in which Macs, the 64-bit strategy, and why they chose Intel instead of AMD.
He lost a bet, too.
New open source Movable Type plug-in from Six Apart turns the Keywords field into a del.icio.us-style tagging feature. Too bad it replaces the Keywords field, which I’m already using for the slug names for post URLs.
By Leander Kahney. Claims Microsoft is using Transitive in the opposite direction: it’s how they’ll run old x86 Xbox games on the new PowerPC Xbox 360.
Jason Snell knocks out the answers.
This post from September 2002 pretty much makes Dan Benjamin look like a genius — he completely nailed Apple’s x86 transition strategy three years ago. (Of course, if he really were a genius, you wouldn’t have to go through the Internet Archive to read his old essays.)
I think this accurately sums up the feelings of those Mac users who’ve developed an emotional attachment to the PowerPC architecture.
Just a tiny 9-inch PC motherboard inside a spacious G5 enclosure.
For a buck a song, it’s worth paying for the better experience.
The New York Times confirms speculation that Rosetta is based on technology from Transitive. Recall that the chairman of Transitive’s board was in 1992 the President and COO of Next Computer.
(This new site consistently uses “WebKit” (as does Hyatt); Apple’s official developer documentation prefers “Web Kit”. I’d love to see this clarified.)
Upcoming product from Karelia; it’s an “iApp” style web site creation app. Impossible to tell from this teaser whether it’s actually interesting or not. If it weren’t for the fact that Watson was pretty cool, I never would have linked to this.
High-quality h.264 compression — better video quality than ever before. (Look for a few shots of Woz around 51 minutes in.)
Apple developer documentation on the new “fat” structure for dual PowerPC / x86 binary applications. (It’s a PDF.)
Check out the first paragraph of this AP report:
In a risky move that could further shrink its minuscule slice of the PC market, Apple Computer Inc. announced plans Monday to switch its Macintosh computers to the same Intel Corp. chips used in systems that run Microsoft Windows.
These are the same sort of dweebs who’ve been saying for 10 years that Apple “had to switch” to Intel.
At its Worldwide Developer Conference today, Apple announced plans to deliver models of its Macintosh® computers using Intel microprocessors by this time next year, and to transition all of its Macs to using Intel microprocessors by the end of 2007. Apple previewed a version of its critically acclaimed operating system, Mac OS X Tiger, running on an Intel-based Mac to the over 3,800 developers attending CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote address. Apple also announced the availability of a Developer Transition Kit, consisting of an Intel-based Mac development system along with preview versions of Apple’s software, which will allow developers to prepare versions of their applications which will run on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.
Attorney Jay de Groot, in his personal profile on the West Legal Directory, claims the following in his list of client work:
Transitive Technologies: Represented Transitive Technologies in a co-development and licensing agreement with Apple Computer
This could indicate some sort of PowerPC emulation for x86 Macs. (Via MacRumors.com.)
Also worth noting is that Mr. de Groot works for the firm Morrison and Foerster, LLP, owners of one of the greatest domain names on the entire Internet.
Nothing new in the report, which they make up for by rehashing 20 years of Apple’s history with Motorola and IBM. Worth noting is the caption under the photo of Jobs:
Steven P. Jobs of Apple Computer is to address his engineers Monday.
All your engineers are belong to Jobs.
Says he was right about Mac-on-Intel from two years ago.
Khoi Vinh on Mac OS X’s multiple window styles.
Paid subscription required for full story, but Paul Thurrott has an excerpt.
Useful information for web server log analysis. (Notice that Apple still can’t seem to make up its mind whether it’s “Web Kit” or “WebKit” — they use it as two words in the body text, but close it up in the headline. Daring Fireball house style uses the two-word form, because that’s what Apple uses more frequently.)
They’re reporting it as a done deal, to be announced Monday at WWDC. Assuming this is true, it’s HOLY SHIT news. I’m still skeptical — the article doesn’t offer a decent explanation for why Apple would do this.
Apple Computer plans to announce Monday that it’s scrapping its partnership with IBM and switching its computers to Intel’s microprocessors, CNET News.com has learned.
Apple has used IBM’s PowerPC processors since 1994, but will begin a phased transition to Intel’s chips, sources familiar with the situation said. Apple plans to move lower-end computers such as the Mac Mini to Intel chips in mid-2006 and higher-end models such as the Power Mac in mid-2007, sources said.
No word on who the sources are, and no explanation why higher-end models wouldn’t switch until 2007.
The BBC Philharmonic is performing all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies, and they’re making the performances available for download. (Via Kottke.)
Extensive, well-written review of a terrific app.
New feature from Google. “Beta”, of course.
By placing a Sitemap-formatted file on your webserver, you enable our crawlers to find out what pages are present and which have recently changed, and to crawl your site accordingly.
Basically, the two steps to participating in Google Sitemaps are:
- Generate a Sitemap in the correct format using Sitemap Generator.
- Update your Sitemap when you make changes to your site.
Minor update recommended only for those affected by the fixed bugs.
Public beta of Jesper Lindholm’s fork of Brent Simmons’s open-source Huevos, which hasn’t been revised in a few years. It’s a small window from which you can fire off Internet searches; you can configure it to send a query to pretty much any search engine. Bonus points for the clever name.
Cocoa windows that are “main” but not “key” get a subtly different visual appearance than normal background windows. I think it’s a bug that this only happens for Cocoa apps.
WordPress’s entire publishing architecture seems geared around the assumption that posts will be authored in raw X/HTML, but so while you can get alternative text filters like Markdown or Textile to work (thanks to the numerous plug-in hooks), you’re pretty much swimming upstream.
Don’t miss the charts — they really show that Michel has worked his ass off to get PHP-Markdown working well in WordPress. This is one area where Movable Type clearly has the advantage — it’s really rather simple to hook up a text filter plug-in like Markdown.
Excellent Quartz Composer demos from Futurismo Zugakousaku. I wonder why Quartz Composer is only installed as part of the developer tools? This is something any visually creative artist could really get into. (From Daniel Bogan via AIM.)
Have I mentioned before how much I miss Dive Into Mark?
MacOSXHints.com founder Rob Griffiths stays on as a full-time “senior editor” for Macworld. See also: Jason Snell’s announcement.
Minor update for Tiger compatibility. I love Snapz Pro.
Shorts on a superhero? Sheesh! And all those exclamation points are killing me!