Friday, November 07, 2003

Playing catch-up...

Well there was all sorts of stuff that happened today, so here's a quick run down.

First, Mac Rumors has posted an unconfirmed rumor regarding the possible return of the Cube. Details are still sketchy, though this is definitely a possibility since Steve Jobs himself has dropped hints that the Cube was his favorite design and that he wished to bring it back someday.

Mac Rumors is also reporting that yesterday's rumored-then-denied McDonald's iTunes giveaway is actually on. As you might remember (because you read my posts daily, of course), I considered that this might happen based on what McDonald's said. They're statement simply denied that there was an announcement to make (how slick of them).

Meanwhile CNet is spewing out even more anti-Apple "reporting" today with their "report" Five reasons not to buy an iPod. Go ahead and read it. Yeah. CNet seems to have some issues with their credibility these days...

Anyway, those are the big stories today. Check out Mac Rumors for some more info on the possibility of Napster for Mac (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!. But seriously, they're apparently trying that for some reason) and the latest release of Windows Media Player for OS X (don't tell me you're not totally thrilled).

Well, I'm going to sleep.

TGIF!

There's all sorts of interesting stuff happening today, from yet another Apple-bashing "News" item at CNet to confirmation of an iTunes/McDonald's giveaway. I'll tackle it all later tonight (ooohh... Stay Tuned....

Thursday, November 06, 2003

No iTunes with your McFlurry?

Despite a report in the New York Post claiming that McDonalds would give away one billion iTMS songs, McDonalds has come out saying there's no deal to announce.

Of course, that doesn't mean there won't be one in the future and this was simply done to please Apple (who probably wouldn't want details on something as major as this getting out). It may also mean that the New York Post was wrong (that's possible).

I guess I won't be Super Sizing my fries any time soon.

McTunes!

or...
One billion songs!

The New York Post claims that McDonalds is close to announcing a One Billion Song iTunes Music Store Giveaway (and you though 100 million songs from Pepsi was big).

Details are still forthcoming.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Just like a Barbara Walters interview!

CNet's got all the dirty details of Steve Jobs comments in a recent meeting with financial analysts (sounds sexy, doesn't it?). Topics range from Intel to the iPod, and the necessary cheap shots at Microsoft and Longhorn (quoting Steve Jobs: "They're hoping to be in 2006 where we were with Jaguar.").

One of the most interesting topics was the long, long rumored "Apple on Intel" possibility (looks like it's more of a "lack thereof"). Jobs actually claimed that Panther could be easily ported to any processor architecture, but that Apple has no intention of leaving IBM and the PowerPC family. As Steve put it: "We have all the options in the world, but the PowerPC road map looks very strong."

Meanwhile, Steve tackled the possibility of a Mac version does-everything-on-the-freaking-planet-(though it doesn't really do any of them well)-PC, which Microsoft likes to call Windows XP Media Center Edition. Jobs said Apple might as well make a Mac with an integrated toaster, with Phil Schiller adding "We can do an up-sell for bagels" (to which everyone in the room replied "What's Phil Schiller doing here?").

The point Steve - and Phil - was trying to make was that he'd rather have something specifically designed to record his TV shows (TiVo, for example), than have a computer that might lose quality or half a show because the processor was too bogged down with other stuff. Said Jobs: "When I want to record 'The West Wing,' I want to make damn sure it records 'The West Wing'" (and did anyone else notice an iPod/iTunes ad during tonight's 'West Wing'?).

Finally, Steve went on a musical defensive (with Phil Schiller on the piano and Jonathan Ive on the sax) regarding the iPod's lack of non-iTMS music store support. This generally stems from Apple's decision not to support WMA (with good reason, it's a mediocre proprietary compression that Microsoft profits off of), which most other online music stores currently use (many PC users are praising Apple for using AAC in iTMS). Steve's response to the compatibility questions: "Why should we work with another music store when we are working with the Microsoft of music stores?"

Yes, Steve Jobs just called iTunes the "Microsoft of music stores." Oh, he meant that in a good way? Ah, that makes much more sense.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

It's the Exposé of Exposé!

AppleInsider updates today with this new report claiming that Apple is developing "Virtual Desktops" for upcoming versions of OS X.

Virtual Desktops is a window management feature. Think Exposé meets fast user switching. All your open windows right now would be contained in one desktop, and then you could have another desktop for different windows, and so on. According to AI's info it would be implemented as a sort of über-Exposé feature.

It even seems that Apple has inserted some of the code for Virtual Desktops in Panther's current Exposé system. By editing a specific string in Terminal (AI has the complete instructions in their report), the F11 key will trigger all the current windows to minimize into a thumbnail on the desktop, rather than sending the windows off the side of the screen. Currently, this only acts as an alternative to the regular F11 action, and it doesn't support multiple desktops (AI also reports that it's also buggy).

If Apple is really developing this feature (and it seems fairly possible), it might not see an official release until OS 10.4 next year. While Apple could probably have it ready to go sooner, they might want to wait and make a big deal out of it next year (you know, to justify us spending another $129).

Monday, November 03, 2003

Man, they whine like John Rizzo...

Apparently (thanks to Mac Rumors for reporting this), MusicMatch is just a little bitter about iTunes for Windows. Prior to iTunes's release, MusicMatch was the default PC iPod jukebox.

So rather than fighting back with advertising or by producing a better application (not that they'd succeed there), MusicMatch is hoping to scare iPod owners with lies and deception (whoo!). The company has sent out emails with such helpful advice as "DO NOT install iTunes for Window on your PC". Okay, I took that slightly out of context. The quote continues: "if you are using Musicmatch Jukebox and wish to continue using Musicmatch Jukebox with your iPod." Still, it's an obvious scare tactic.

While iTunes does take over iPod syncing once installed, it doesn't actually do anything else to the MusicMatch application. Really a more important question would be: Who's going to use MusicMatch instead of iTunes for their iPod?

And yes, I'll stop harassing John Rizzo now.

He's just bitter!

(See "Does he even know what he's talking about?" below)

Just adding to reviewer John Rizzo's bitter ranting in CNet's Panther review is a series of anti-Apple references. These include a direct link to application LiteSwitch X (whose app switching style was incorporated into Panther by Apple), and mentions of the minor OS X security flaws patched in Panther, but not Jaguar (over the weekend Apple announced that it would patch the problems in Jaguar).

The entire review takes a very Wintellian tone, and is extremely bitter towards Apple. Rizzo obvious applies a double standard, because there's quite frankly no way any version of Windows could score above a 4 out of 10 while being judged as critically as he judges Panther. He then goes on to insist that Panther brings, at best, small performance boosts, in spite of numerous reports indicating a much more noticed increase.

Overall, Rizzo's points are weak, and his credibility weaker. But there's a funny - and quite ironic - part to this story. While Rizzo winds up giving Panther just over a 6 out of 10, the reader comments (which are either thumbs up or thumbs down) are 90 percent thumbs up. Actual people are raving about Panther while Rizzo goes off on a tirade about column view and the Favorites folder (and, so far, no one has emailed me to say they used the Favorites folder).

And, speaking of people raving about Panther, PC Magazine is doing just that in their review of the new cat. Yes, they gave it five out of five (I suppose that would translate to 10 out of 10 on CNet's scale). So a magazine dedicated to PCs actually provides a more objective review of a Mac OS than a supposedly "neutral" tech site (although CNet's "neutrality" is debateable to begin with).

I'm sorry Mr. Rizzo, but all the whining in the world isn't going to make us think that the move to slick blue button-style tabs is some terrible interface decision that will ruin our computing experience.

Mac... news... overload...!

Apple admits a Powerbook G5 is going to take a while, PC Mag raves about Panther, Apple execs are trying to get PC manufacturers to bundle iTunes, the "Big Mac" has apparently broken 10 THz, iTMS is leaping forward towards a European release, and Microsoft is getting cozy with IBM over the next XBox.

Whew.

I'll get to as much as I can later tonight (and hopefully still have time to post some more on that crazy CNet review of Panther).

Does he even know what he's talking about?!

CNet has just put together a less than favorable review of Mac OS X Panther. While it's far from scathing, it's still not particularly kind. While reviewer John Rizzo is obviously entitled to give Panther a "fair" rating, I just can't help but get just a little pissed when I read his reasons.

For instance, Rizzo insists that we should all mourn the loss of the "Favorites" folder. I have yet to meet someone who actually used the Favorites folder, and I haven't seen its departure mentioned even momentarily in any forums since Panther's release. Favorites was really quite useless. Panther's sidebar is far more useful, especially when combined with the newly revamped save panes.

Another one of Rizzo's fantastic arguments: Tabs have been replaced with "buttons". Oooh! While the "buttons" (I'll stick to calling them tabs from here forward, since that's what they are) have caused some issues with a few apps (like Camino), developers were fully prepared for the change. Not just is this an extremely petty thing for Rizzo to bring up, but it's also pointless. Most users (myself included) like this new, sleeker aqua. It's much smoother, with fewer pinstripes (you really don't realize how annoying all those pinstripes are until you finally get an OS that tones them down).

Anyway, I suggest you read the review yourself and see just how Apple-savvy Rizzo isn't. I'll post more on this later (alas, study hall is over in just 60 seconds).

The Favorites folder?! Who used the Favorites folder!? (Actually, if you did use the Favorites folder a lot, feel free to email me about it)

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Version 2.5.1! The 0.0.1 is a good thing!

Go ahead and take a quick look around, because now you can actually read the text! Yes, I replaced that screaming electric blue color with a nice contrasting grey. I might try some tweaking of the other colors this week.

And thanks to all the readers who emailed me and told me just how screamingly electric that blue was. A special thanks to reader Carol for emailing me a turkey recipe.