Perhaps ironically, one of the great technological advances of OS X over previous versions is the availability of a command line. Someday we won’t need this, but today it turns out that the pure point-n-click GUI was something of a premature optimization, and that in fact certain types of users find they work faster and better when typing commands. While its simplicity is part of its charm, terminal applications invite tweaking.
In case you missed it, Apple has a new product. You can’t, you know, buy it or anything just yet – that’ll be about six months. And $500, please. While you wait you can compare it to the competition. They claim that it runs OS X. Hm. I can imagine there’s a BSD kernel (running on what processor I don’t know), QuickTime, WebKit… but really, how much of the stuff in the standard OS X architecture diagram is actually going to be in that phone?
Update: It’s out. Download here. Also see PhotoshopUser.com’s review of new features. In case you haven’t heard, Adobe’s releasing the beta of Photoshop CS3 in a few hours. It will be interesting to see how much of the Lightroom-style interface experimentation, if any, has made it in there. This is especially big news for Intel Mac users, who have been stuck with Rosetta emulation for Photoshop. Note that the other Creative Suite apps – remember them?
A little-used new feature in the Displays preference pane in OS X 10.4 is rotation in 90-degree increments. I tried this feature out with the 20-inch Cinema Display on my desk. Novel – it took me back to the old grayscale Pivot I wrote so many columns on in the ’90s. A base that handled rotation would make it nicer. Also, the type and other elements onscreen just don’t look as good at 90 degrees – I don’t know if it’s the disparity in vertical and horizontal viewing angles, or maybe a change in anti-aliasing behavior.
David Brin, in a piece at Salon.com entitled “Why Johnny Can’t Code”, complains: almost none of the millions of personal computers in America offers a line-programming language simple enough for kids to pick up fast Maybe Apple’s marketshare is so small that they equal “almost none,” but all OS X Macs come with Python and Ruby among other options. But wait, Brin seems to have heard of some of these newfangled scripting languages:
Joel Spolsky (who started his career at Microsoft as a manager on the Excel team) has been writing some recent longer blog posts on a MacBook Pro in TextMate using Markdown. He describes the process in a recent entry. He calls it a “surprisingly good experience.” He goes on to gripe about anti-aliasing quality (FWIW, that’s explained here), and beachballing from dropped wifi connections (which I’ve never experienced, maybe it’s an early Intel thing?
In case you haven’t been following this mini-saga – about two security researchers, an alleged MacBook wireless security vulnerability, and a writer from the Washington Post – here’s your study guide. The original story at blog.washingtonpost.com (does the “blog” part mean we should lower our journalistic expectations?) has the unassuming title of “Hijacking a MacBook in 60 Seconds.” An alternate, more descriptive title is “Hijacking a MacBook via a Third-Party Wireless Card that Nobody Would Ever Use, in 60 Seconds, and Also Allegedly Hijacking it via the Built-In Card that Everybody Uses, But Wait, Maybe Not, Sorry, We Can’t Talk About That.