E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.


I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!


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Death to QuickTime Pro

Seeing a QuickTime upgrade show up in Software Update today reminded me that I'd been meaning to briefly rant about the split between Quicktime and QuickTime Pro and what a silly anachronism it is. John Siracusa said it best in his Ars Technica review of OS X 10.4:

Mac OS X ships with a complete integrated development environment that supports C, C++, Objective-C, Java, and all of the APIs in Mac OS X (not to mention distributed compiling, a GUI design and layout tool, and a suite of performance monitoring applications). Tiger includes a free web browser, e-mail client, address book, dictionary, thesaurus, font manager, and AIM/Jabber instant message client. When you buy an iMac you get all of the above plus iLife: iPhoto, iMovie, Garage Band, and iDVD.

The total development cost of this software bundle is absolutely huge. The total retail cost of iLife alone is $80. And yet after spending $1,500 or more on a new Mac with this great software bundle, what's waiting for you when you fire it up for the first time and try to watch a QuickTime movie trailer in full-screen mode? Why, it's a nag screen asking you to pay $30 more for the "privilege" of calling the QuickTime APIs that are sitting right there in the library code on your disk.

(Emphasis mine.)

Also see Andrew Plotkin's classic post from 2002 on the same subject:

One day I will be having lunch with Steve, and I will say "Hey, Steve, I love your computers. I own five of them. Never use anything else. BTW, remember those QuickTime Pro pop-up ads?" Then I will push his boiling-hot coffee off the table onto his crotch, and walk away.

It's not about the money. As Siracusa points out, we can work around the problem with free third-party players and plugins and well-known hacks. It's just embarrassing that Apple perseverates on this. Wouldn't it be smart of them to just fold those "Pro" features into the default player already? Yes, it would.

Friday, October 28th, 2005
1 comment

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Comment from vanni , 10 months later

you and others are dead on on this rant. i have stopped "upgrading" to the pro version and use VLC. I think that Apple's shortsightness on this issue as well as some other ones is slowly losing them loyalty...and once that goes....

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