Tidbits: Random Thoughts

Wednesday, 2006-02-15; 00:43:00

TAKE ONE: Surely, we must be living in Bizarro world. In an IBM/Motorola-land, Apple announces a product with a new chip. When the product starts shipping, Apple has to do a 50 MHz "speed dump" on the new products, thereby angering those customers and having to take a revenue hit by giving those customers discounts on the inferior products. In an Intel-land, Apple introduces a product with a new chip, and when they begin shipping, Apple gives customers a Valentine's Day gift: a free 0.16 GHz speed JUMP instead. The only side effect? Lame-ass people like this guy (who think that Apple's customers have just been screwed by getting a free processor upgrade) get flamed into non-existence. (Note: No, I don't think it was meant to be funny.)

TAKE TWO: You know what pisses me off? When people get into arguments about Microsoft vs. Apple, and Mac zealots point to Mac OS X and say, "Hey, well at least Apple doesn't bundle their browser into their OS!" I call bullshit. Safari WebKit is just as integrated into Mac OS X as Internet Explorer is in Windows. If you browse to /System/Library/Frameworks/ and delete "WebKit.framework" and restart your Mac, many of your applications will fail to work. Granted, the Finder still works since it does not link against the WebKit framework, but Mail won't work, Help Viewer won't work, TextEdit probably won't work, and many other applications won't work either (and this includes third-party applications). Furthermore, you can't replace WebKit with your own custom web source interpreter and expect it to work in any application that uses WebKit. It's not your choice -- you have to deal with WebKit being used by many applications.

Similarly, QuickTime is integrated into Mac OS X just as Windows Media is integrated into Windows. You can't just rip out the QuickTime framework and replace it with something else and expect all your applications to work. Yes, you can EXTEND QuickTime's functionality by using QuickTime components (like Flip4Mac WMV Player) to play Windows Media files in any application that supports QuickTime, but that's not the same as replacing the framework system-wide.

Deleting Safari and QuickTime Player and having your system run as expected does not mean that WebKit and QuickTime aren't bundled into Mac OS X.

TAKE THREE: I'd like to "coin a phrase"... well, I'd at least like to "coin a synonym". I hereby proclaim that "popping the question" should be similar in meaning to "jumping the shark". Correct usage: "that online comic strip just popped the question." I mean, come ON, that's just begging to make a comparison between a guy's bachelor life and his imagination in his comic strips. Seriously. (I realize that "popping the question" is pretty much a subset of "jumping the shark", but it's such a prevalent phenomenon that it should stand on its own.)

TAKE FOUR: Note to Apple: it is SERIOUSLY HONESTLY not cool when over half of each and every episode preview for a TV show is the title sequence. SO NOT COOL. In fact, it's not cool to have ANY part of ANY episode preview be part of the title sequence. (Not that I'd actually buy any of those TV shows to which I just linked, but I just noticed this growing phenomenon and figured I'd nip this in the butt with my insane amount of power in the Mac universe.)

TAKE FIVE: Button menus. I can't find any citation right now, but ever since Panther was released, certain interface nazis have been ranting about the existence of button menus in Mac OS X. The most prominent placing of such a button menu is in Print dialog boxes. I display a screenshot thusly:

Print Dialog Buttons

But I submit to my readers: why is the button menu so bad? It groups similar functions into a similar menu, logically. It makes the interface less cluttered. And it's a reasonable interface element: you can't use a pop-up menu, because that's for selecting items/states/preferences, not for initiating actions. You have to use a button that drops down a menu.

Perhaps the whole hoopla is because it looks like a normal text button, whereas most button menus like the "Action menu" in the Finder and in Mac OS X Mail have the little gear icon, which indicates a menu will pop down? That's a crappy reason, though, because both the gear buttons and the PDF button displays a little black triangle pointing down, indicating that a menu will pop down.

A tab-menu, though, however, is quite logically horrendous. (There was a picture of this in Apple's own documentation, and it was also referenced in some Mac guy's weblog, but I can't find it now, and it doesn't seem to be in my Safari RSS history. If anyone can find the weblog entry I'm talking about, that would be cool.)

TAKE SIX: Cliff Johnson is bordering on becoming a crook in my book. I became a "true believer" when I "pre-ordered" The Fool and his Money, the sequel to his admittedly very addicting puzzle game The Fool's Errand. But I still have the order receipt (thankfully), and it's dated September 10, 2003. That's right, it's been over 2 years and 5 months since I threw around $30 at Cliff Johnson, and he keeps pushing the release date back. I've really lost confidence in his release dates. He now says it's shipping April 24th, but I won't hold my breath.

It occurs to me, however, that the name The Fool and his Money, is quite ironic and appropriate. The joke, however, is on me.

Incidentally, I filched the "take one", "take two", etc. style from his "newsletters".

POSTSCRIPT: Apple Bug Friday Review III regarding Mac OS X 10.4.5 will be coming shortly.

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