Backlog

After a much quieter evening without any buzzing pests, it is refreshing indeed to catch up on the news (and some e-mail) in the wee hours of the morning. So here's a few things I found interesting:

  • I've been following Dean Bubley's writing, and had this piece on Wi-Fi phones flagged to read for weeks now. He makes a few excellent points where it regards debunking the whole thing, although I wish he'd written a bit more regarding straight-up infrastructure - i.e., decent coverage costs are also a big factor where it regards telcos ever taking Wi-Fi phones seriously.
  • Om Malik has a few interesting statistics on the evolution (or involution) of broadband and dial-up in the US. With AOL going "open", I'm curious as to things will evolve in the worldwide broadband marketplace. EU and local stats are available - courtesy of your friendly local regulator - but the overall trends are still hazy. Sure, broadband use is going up, but how much exactly? Does it make for a sustainable business by itself before the (ever shrinking) margins set in?
  • MacInTouch has published a reliability report incorporating the feedback of 2.800 MacBook and and MacBook Pro users, and the results are very interesting indeed. For instance, despite 13% (364) of the computers in question having been repaired, the satisfaction indexes are amazingly high - so much so that some people do not feel that some minor issues are "severe enough to merit the time and effort of a repair".
  • Pedro Melo has taken a look at Tim O'Reilly's piece regarding mentions of Linux distributions via Google/Trends, and adds Fedora and (the more common spelling of) RedHat to the graphs. The spikes around Fedora releases are very noticeable. But hey, these are only statistics on searches, not actual "market share".
  • Florian Beer has a very nice tip for easily starting SSH sessions via URIs in .inetlocs. I do the same for VNC sessions (I have a couple of VNCDimension documents - named after the machines they connect to - that I invoke via Quicksilver), but I never joined the dots to do this for SSH. Then again, I have a terminal window open on login and need to do X11 forwarding quite often, so his method doesn't help me much - but it's surely good enough to give it a try.
  • I must confess nostalgia took over me when I came across this. I'm downloading the Quake 4 demo right now, although I have a feeling my iMac G5 won't be up to scratch. But I need to have a bit more fun, and this might be something to do while the heat outside makes it unbearable to go out.

Leopard's Talons

Finally, a bit more on hype. There's a supposed feature set for Leopard making the rounds, and despite my not subscribing to the pre-WWDC hysteria, I thought it interesting enough to read, point out what isn't there and to reflect a bit on the obvious.

For instance:

  • No mention of Virtualization or Boot Camp. I'm still waiting for VMware to have some say in the matter (since all my images are either QEMU or VMware-based), but after all the hype leading up (and pertaining) to Parallels, it's just odd (then again, this is a supposed feature set). Update: There will apparently be some news regarding this, which is very nice.
  • No mention of Spotlight being able to index the contents of e-mail attachments (something I haven't needed much because there's usually enough context in the actual e-mail, but which is kind of a gaping hole when comparing Spotlight to other indexers).
  • No mention of any standalone Finder improvements. I know the debate on stuff like document piles is pretty much dead, but the Finder is kind of a recurring sore point and given the emphasis on Spotlight I'd love to see an easier, more intuitive UI for bunching together documents, maybe based on metadata and search folders.
  • Dashboard widgets are supposed to be usable on the desktop and the Dock (which makes a lot of sense, and even seems doable in Tiger). But I prefer the bit where you are supposed to be able to drag a page off Safari and turn it into a widget.
  • iChat is supposed to gain "better VoIP integration". I have to wonder if that means voice-only (as in it becoming a standard, open SIP client, preferably with G.729 support) or (dare I dream) if there is a slim chance of us ever getting standard, interoperable video conferencing as well. The bit about MSN and Yahoo integration is of note, too, and one thing I think might realistically happen as a side-effect of AOL opening up AIM as well.
  • DivX support in Quicktime? Hummm. I want to believe full screen display will become available without hackish AppleScript (I do occasionally buy into some wishful thinking), but the rest seems a bit much.
  • Mail.app support for "new server protocols". Huh? Are we talking X.400? UUCP? Or (dare I wish for) proper MAPI/Exchange and IMAP IDLE? I'll wait and see, and that also goes for any real UI changes or iCal integration.

One thing's for sure: This year there won't be any switches to new CPUs (unless Mac OS X is going to run on SPARC chips or something).

I'm a bit curious about whatever will (eventually) replace the G5 towers and when (rather than whether) the MacBook Pro will upgrade to Merom, but those aside, I expect the WWDC to be mostly about things we'll only be able to get by year's end or so (with heavy emphasis on the "or so").

And I, for one, can wait for Leopard.