George Hotelling's personal blog. Same 90% crud, less scrutable name
Category: OS X
I’m convinced Apple is acutely aware that only nerds called Mac OS X “Mac OS Ten” and only nerds call the iPhone X “iPhone Ten.”
The fact that I didn’t have to write “iPhone Ex” and you knew what I meant proves my point.
I’m further convinced that they did the market research and found that the vast majority of consumers don’t care, but the nerds get a smug sense of superiority by calling it “Ten” and correcting people.
Giving them a pedantic toehold to correct people is win-win. Well, a win for Apple, a win for pedants, and a loss for anyone who ever hears the sentence “Actually it’s pronounced ‘ten.'”
I was at the Scholarship and Libraries in Transition on Friday, a symposium on how mass digitization affects libraries. I’m not a librarian but Tim O’Reilly was keynoting and since I’m not going to ETech or SXSW this year, it was a decent consolation prize.
One thing I noticed was the sheer number of Macs in the audience. I sat with Ed Vielmetti and met Bill and Barbara Tozier, all of whom had their iBooks with them. The local digerati weren’t anomalies; I would guess that the audience was about 40% Mac.
As an aside, the Toziers are involved with Project Gutenberg’s Distributed Proofreaders which is the Web 2.0 version of Google’s digitization project. Instead of a centralized effort to digitize books, DP pushes the work to the edges.
Back to my point and inflammatory title, a recent question on Ask MetaFilter was a survey on libraries offering free audiobooks. I thought it was interesting that there were so many Macs in the audience because, as I commented, my library offers audiobook downloads but because I’m on a Mac and have an iPod they’re useless to me.
I’m not bashing (well, not librarians). I realize that there’s a ton of licensing bullshit that goes into getting audiobooks into a downloadable format, and somewhere in the chain there’s someone for whom no DRM is a deal-breaker. I guess I’m just hopeful that if enough librarians are using Macs and can’t take advantage their own libraries online services that DRM will become a deal-breaker.
There’s been plenty of talk about the two bigannouncements at MWSF 2006, so I won’t bother to go into them. While I want a sexy new MacBook Pro, (though not the first few off the assembly line, thank you very much) my technolust doesn’t add much to the conversation.
But what about the other announcements? Let’s see if we can’t find a common theme.
iPhoto will now be able to publish and subscribe to image RSS feeds of photo albums, deemed “Photocasting.” Photocast feeds will work with regular RSS readers, but iPhoto will be able to handle 1-click subscriptions and will treat Photocast feeds as special folders. It’s kind of like a distributed Flickr, using RSS.
iWeb, the new iLife tool for web sites, has built-in blogging and podcasting tools. While hosted blogging tools have gotten to the point where even executives can blog, there’s still a market for client-based blogging tools. So with iWeb, people will be able to produce RSS feeds, complete with media enclosures from other iLife applications.
On OS X? Using iChat? Time to switch to Adium. I tried Adium maybe a couple years ago and was underwhelmed, so when I started hearing people talk about it I figured that it wasn’t anything worth checking out. Eventually the buzz got to me and I downloaded it again. Guess what? In a couple years software can get a lot better!
So what won me over this time?
It’s super simple. Easy to set up, easy to keep running.
Address Book integration
I love how iChat integrates with the OS X Address Book, and Adium is just as hooked in.
My AIM, my Jabber, and even the accounts I have but don’t use all in one contact window, thanks to the Gaim underpinnings. It even supports Zeroconf, err, I mean Rendezvous, err, I mean Bonjour. The one network it doesn’t support is Skype, so unfortunately I have to have 2 IM apps open.
It supports OTR encryption out of the box, and it’s super easy to get going.
If you use Growl, you’ll appreciate the built-in support. No extra apps required.
History in chat windows
When you start a new conversation, the recent history is displayed. This is great if you leave a message for someone, close the window, and then the other person replies after you’ve forgotten what you’re talking about.
All things being equal, I prefer an open source solution. All things aren’t equal here though, this blows iChat out of the water.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have its shortcomings. If you use iChat for audio or video conferencing, you’ll probably want to stick with it. Another big hurdle is that sending files doesn’t work as well as iChat, likely due to NAT issues (which a simple upgrade should fix). The only other problem I have with it is that I can’t find a dock icon that doesn’t flash when I have an unread message, which I find distracting. [Update: Brian found a dock icon that isn’t animated.]
I’m pretty geeked about it, I like seeing an open source app that gets OS X UI right. Geeked enough to evangelize in my blog. Check out the screenshots, go download it and give it a try.
Last weekend I was completely offline. Comcast decided to disconnect my cable line instead of my neighbors, and thanks to Memorial Day weekend I got to wait extra long to get my cable restored. I wasn’t online, my only TV was from the TiVo, and all my GameFly games were in transit. In order to keep my mind distracted and prevent any quiet self reflection I was forced to read a book, like a common caveman!
During that time I got over 60 comment or trackback spams on my blog. I deleted them as soon as I got online, but the good news is that thanks to nofollow I knew I could let the blog get a little ugly for a little while without providing aid or comfort or PageRank™ to the enemy. If nothing else, nofollow lets me relax a little bit during unexpected downtime.
[Aside: While reading my, ugh, book I realized how addicted I’ve become to the ability in Mac OS X 10.4 to be able to instantly pull up a word’s definition in most applications simply by pressing Cmd-Ctrl-D. Who knew that books had such big words in them?]
Here’s the deal. I have Mac OS X and a pile of documents on the desktop in .DOC format. What I need is a search engine with a preview box feature that will allow me to search for key phrases and preview the results, so that I can quickly assess if the search results are what I’m looking for.
“You can always tell whether you’re on a Mac or on a PC, … just stick your applications in there and see whether they’ll run.”
If you read this site regularly you know I’m not an Apple apologista, but I’m going to call bullshit when I see it. 90% of the time if you move an application from one Mac to another, it’ll “just work.” 90% of the time if you move an application from one Windows system to another, it won’t because you need the installer to add a bunch of DLLs and registry keys and other things. So Bill was right, but only because Macs work better.
Remember the guy who basically broke into Apple to work on the graphing calculator after his contracting gig there was up? If not, go read the amazing story. Anyway, I just wanted to give people a heads up that one of the guys involved with the graphing calculator is on this week’s This American Life (the permalink isn’t live yet). Should be a good show.
Also, is there a podcast feed of This American Life anywhere? The only reason I (and literally half their listeners) manage to catch On The Media is because of their podcast. I would like to start listening to This American Life regularly again, but I can never remember to tune in when it’s on.
I whipped up an AppleScript for iChatStatus to set your iChat icon to the album art for the currently playing song. It’s an amalgam of the default iTunes script for iChatStatus and a script that sets the iChat icon. I haven’t tested it too throughly, but it seems to be working for me.