The Apple Phobia

No, not the fear of Apple Computers, the fear that Steve is going to announce new ones

Any Apple customer knows the fear. You check the dates of Steve Job’s upcoming appearances, you time things around MacWorld or WWDC. Not because you can’t wait to hear what new thing is coming out. Because you are petrified about buying a mac or ipod the day before they slash the prices and make the computer you haven’t even received yet a dinosaur. I’m facing that fear right now as I ponder if I want to replace my powerbook before the intel switch.

Everyone knows that the channel is starting to fill with inventory and people are sitting on the fence waiting for those first intel-based macs to be announced. Everyone knows that they’ll be slashing the prices to clear out inventory and that they may announce one more power book revision before the big switch. So you wait. And Wait. Steve doesn’t have another keynote for a while, right? They never announce hardware at Siggraph, right? Maybe now is the time to buy… Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll wait just a bit longer…

Welcome to the fear, my friend.

sometimes Carbon makes me cry

the woes of cross-platform C++ development

Carbon is Apple’s APIs that were created for developers who had been writing for OS versions before OS X. Apple really wants developers writing in Cocoa (just as Microsoft wants to developers to write in .Net), and they couldn’t make it more clear to those of us who are using Carbon. While being fairly feature-rich, it is overly complicated and poorly documented. Every company I have ever done professional software development with (which includes several of the top companies in the world) does development in C++. Cocoa doesn’t work with C++. It uses ObjectiveC, which means (like .Net) that you can’t easily write portable code for Cocoa. Apple is going out of their way to make it hard to port apps to their platform and should wake up and support C++ for Cocoa.

Apple and Intel roundup

More on this massive announcement

So everyone is weighing in on this and I’ve been reading tons of commentaries. Here’s some of what I thought were the most insightful.

First of all, Apple has Steve Job’s keynote up so you can watch it for yourself. The one thing I got from that which I hadn’t seen covered yesterday was the fact that Apple has more PPC machines in the pipeline. What this means for those of us trying to decide if we want to get one of the last PPC powerbooks is that we might want to wait a bit longer to see if there will be one more performance boost before the Pentium-based machines show up. The other thing that was interesting was that the Pentium-based machine Steve was demoing on was using a “standard-issue” Pentium which might put to rest some of the speculation around a custom intel chip. Also, the responsiveness of Steve’s demo machine which was using a 3.6 GHz Pentium didn’t seem that much better than my 867 MHz PB.

eWeek’s article about how the transition will affect developers was interesting, but could have had more depth. Steve made it sound like most of the OS X developers had already made the switch to Cocoa and X-Code, but what he neglected to say was the majority of the developers using Metrowerks and Carbon are the oldest developers for Macintosh, with the largest codebases. Don’t expect too many new big features in your favorite mac apps releasing in 2006. has a nice article on some of the other potential benefits for Apple by moving to a processor family with more vendors and options.

Dan Farber has his own summation of the techno-pundits on his blog.

David Berlind has got some great insights in his blog

Thomas Claburn of Information Week has confirmed that while Apple won’t let OS X run on non-Apple hardware, it won’t prevent other OSes from being loaded on Apple hardware. This is a pretty important detail. Imagine being able to dual-boot XP and OS X on sweet Apple hardware… I don’t think Apple should try and become an OS vendor since one of the reasons that OS X is so much more stable and secure is because of it’s limited hardware surface. Some insane percentage of crashes in XP systems is due to driver issues according to Microsoft. Apple has avoided this with their strategy and I think that is a major part of Apple’s appeal.

Peter N. Glaskowsky at eWeek presents a very interesting perspective on the whole deal.

Apple and Intel. Official.

The good and bad

I’ve never been a fan of Apple because of the processor, it is the OS that I like. This is going to be interesting.

the good:

  • Macs should get cheaper. Thanks to the economies of scale, Intel chips are cheaper than PPC chips because they make a lot more of them. This should make macs using Intel chips significantly less expensive than they are right now.
  • Macs should improve faster. Since Intel is developing chips for both PCs and Macs, Apple will get the benefit of the R&D that is done. Since the PPC chips were such a small part of IBM’s business, they weren’t as dedicated to improving them as Intel is.

the bad:

  • This transition will be full of FUD for both users and developers alike. As a OS X developer, I’m now forced to transition my projects to X-Code which I’ve been avoiding until now. X-Code is improving, but it has a long way to go to being a first-class IDE. Not that I’m a big supporter of Metrowerks either. I don’t link having choice be taken away. As a user, I was contemplating getting a new Mac PB this year. Do I wait for the new Intel-based machines next year, or do I get a new one now and hope that apps will still run on it once the transition to the Intel-based macs is complete? If I decide to get a PPC-based mac, do I wait for the inventory clearing sales? Are there going to be any more improvements to the G4 Powerbooks, or are they going to be frozen until the new Intel-based ones come out?
  • Is OS X going to be forced to take stuff that Microsoft is forcing into the hardware level? Microsoft has been trying to push more and more security features into the hardware in recent years to try and circumvent the virus writers and the music pirates. Is Apple going to be forced to support these things? I definitely hope not. Having OS X get dragged around by Windows is the last thing mac users and developers want.

The Rich get Richer

The New York Times ran the numbers and it doesn’t look good for those of us in the lower 99.9% income brackets.

This article is sobering, but is not unexpected. Its good to have some numbers to argue with those morons who insist that giving the rich more money will give everyone else more money too. Basically, the Bush Administration continuing the policies of the previous Bush and Reagan administrations has widened the gap between rich and poor to an extent never known in this country. They are corrupting the American dream and producing an American aristocracy. This is class warfare on a profound scale.

Belltown Pizza

Good pizza at a decent price

Belltown Pizza is open late and serves an excellent pie. I’m not a big fan of the thin crust style being Chicago born and bred, but I was really pleasantly surprised. Additionally, the service was excellent. The only downside was the extremely loud music, but it fits the super-hit-cum-punk-rock atmosphere. Not necessarily worth a drive, but if you are looking for good chow in Belltown, it is definitely worth considering.

The Ram Brewery

If you are given a choice between brunch here and a 7-11, you are better off at the 7-11

University Village is an upscale shopping mall near the University of Washington with a variety of restaurants. This weekend, when we found that all the places we normally would eat had long lines because of some UW parents day or something we ended up deciding to try out the Ram. A sports bar now offering brunch during the weekends. After the 35th St Bistro debacle on Friday night we should have picked up on the warning signs immediately. While other restaurants nearby had a minimum of a half an hour wait, there were plenty of open tables in this place. It has a sort of TGI Fridays ambience which I don’t really have a problem with. We knew that we weren’t going to be eating fancy, we were hoping for a standard American breakfast of some eggs or something. It is very hard to screw up eggs. It is even harder to screw up salmon in Seattle. The cheapest salmon you can buy here will be fresher than anything you’d find in the midwest. Imagine our surprise then when my eggs over easy were not just runny, but were actually completely liquid, Nicole’s salmon omelette tasted more like salmonella. Our waitresses had three tables in the room and yet I had to get up and find someone to get more coffee after the empty cup sat at the end of the table for 10 minutes. Likewise we had to track someone down to get silverware when we still hadn’t received any, several minutes after getting our food. This wasn’t a $5 breakfast place either, this is $15/person. After salvaging what we could from the toast and potatoes we gave up, paid, and went to the grocery store to get some fruit.

Ram Restaurant and Bighorn Brewery on Urbanspoon

The 35th St. Bistro

this “neighborhood place” loved by “all” is to be avoided at all costs

When this new high-end-aspiring spot took over Seattle’s favorite Hippie cafe it was hailed as another sign on the accelerating gentrification of beloved Fremont. I wasn’t going to hold that against it, because from the outside it looked like it had some serious potential. I hadn’t read any of the reviews before entering, I wish I had. Most of the reviews on the sites I’ve found have said that the service wasn’t very good but that the food and ambience was excellent. I was a bit surprised when we entered at 8pm on a Friday night that we were seated immediately. We sat, read our menus, put our menus down, sat some more, talked, sat some more. We sat a good 15 minutes before being offered water or bread. We waited another 5 minutes before our drink order was taken and then another few minutes before our actual food order was taken. We were now starving so we ordered an appetizer which then took over 20 minutes to arrive. It burned our tongues when we tried it (there was no warning from our waitress), when we did get our taste buds back we found it to be extremely bland. We were so hungry though that we finished it and proceeded to wait and wait for our main courses. All during this time the noise level in the room increased to the point where we had to shout at our small table to hear each other. This is a small room with maybe 20 tables so that is saying something. Also, every time someone would walk past our table (which was very often), the loose floor boards would vibrate our silverware around the table. Finally, we gave up and vowed never to return. It is a pity because I really wanted to like this place, but I won’t be back there for a VERY long time.