Archive for March 2005

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Return of the Mac

Paul Graham, echoing Tim O’Reilly:

If you want to attract hackers to write software that will sell your hardware, you have to make it something that they themselves use. It’s not enough to make it “open.” It has to be open and good.

And open and good is what Macs are again, finally. The intervening years have created a situation that is, as far as I know, without precedent: Apple is popular at the low end and the high end, but not in the middle. My seventy year old mother has a Mac laptop. My friends with PhDs in computer science have Mac laptops. [2] And yet Apple’s overall market share is still small.

Shared Photo Screensaver Module

Danny Novo has an idea for a Mac developer with a bit of time:

I subscribe to Apple’s .Mac service. I do so for exactly one feature: the .Mac screensaver. This feature works thusly: I designate an album in iPhoto, hit “.Mac slides”, upload the photos, go to my screensaver in Mac OS X, designate my .Mac member ID, and voila, screensaver of the photos with complete Ken Burns Effect. Anybody with Mac OS X can subscribe to this screensaver if they know my member ID. Like the Grandmas.


If you write a program to do this, I will pay you $100 (what .Mac cost me this past year) to be able to use it. Make it freeware, make it shareware, make it open source, I don’t care. Just give me a working copy and I will send you $100.

Monday, March 28, 2005

BBEdit 8.1

BBEdit 8.1 adds support for Subversion and the bbedit tool lets you control where the files are opened, amongst lots of other changes.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Jonathan Rentzsch Interview

DrunkenBlog conducted a great interview of Jonathan “Wolf” Rentzsch.

If you could push a feature request, or perhaps a bug on your wish-list to the top of Apples’ radar for OS X, what would it be?

Kill Finder X. It’s really that bad. But don’t just resuscitate Finder 9—do better.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Programming Notes

Mark Jason Dominus’s Higher Order Perl, soon to be available on his Web site, looks like an interesting book, even for people who don’t program in Perl. Damian Conway, author of the OOP book that includes my favorite explanations of non-OOP Perl, loves it.

Google has open-sourced some of its libraries. The initial Python bits aren’t very interesting—people who like the functional style will already have their own similar code—and seems to be geared towards older versions of Python.

Monday, March 14, 2005

AIM Terms of Services

AOL has changed the Instant Messenger TOS. Ted Leung writes:

If AOL decide they wanted to post logs of your AOL AIM/iChat conversations, they could do so at any time.…We the users of the system have no recourse other than to stop using the system.

If you have me on your AOL/iChat buddy list, we now have a problem. I want to honor the new AOL TOS by discontinuing my usage of the system. The likely target candidate is for me to start running Adium and making Jabber the primary protocol that I try to use. Unfortunately, things are complicated because I use iChat’s audio and video chat features, and they rely on the AOL buddy list system for their operation. I can only hope that the rumors about Jabber support in Tiger’s version of iChat are true. Someone should get Steve Jobs to read the AOL management the riot act.

There’s more on MacSlash and MetaFilter. My guess is that AOL was simply trying to protect itself and got carried away in enumerating its rights.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Inside Ranchero

DrunkenBlog interviews Brent and Shiela Simmons:

People talked about how great Macs were for photo editing, all that—but what was apparent to me was that, for some weird reason, Macs had better text editors than everybody else.

And outliners.

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Adobe Open Source

Sean Parent on Adobe’s Adam and Eve libraries (via Brent Fulgham):

Adam is a modeling engine and declarative language for describing constraints and relationships on a collection of value, typically the parameters to an application command. When bound to a human interface (HI) Adam provides the logic that controls the HI behavior. Adam is similar in concept to a spreadsheet or a forms manager. Values are set and dependent values are recalculated. Adam provides facilities to resolve interrelated dependencies and to track those dependencies, beyond what a spreadsheet provides.

Eve consists of a declarative language and layout engine for constructing an HI. The layout engine in Eve takes into account a rich description of UI elements to achieve a high quality layout—rivaling what can be achieved with manual placement. A single HI description in Eve suffices for multiple OS platforms and languages. This document describes Eve2, the latest version of Eve. Eve2 was developed to work with Adam and to incorporate many improvements that have been requested since Eve1 was written.

I am convinced that writing correct, high performance, and feature rich systems can be orders of magnitude simpler than it currently is. By my estimate, 70% of Adobe’s current code base could be better represented declaratively.

It’s interesting to compare Adobe’s approach with Adam to Apple’s with Cocoa Bindings. It used to be Apple that favored ambitious, heavyweight solutions, and then had trouble getting them adopted. Bindings are lightweight and can be incorporated incrementally, but their uses are more limited and they’re probably less scalable.

Friday, March 4, 2005


LinkBack, from Nisus, Omni, and Blacksmith, brings EGO-like functionality, like that found in the old Nisus Writer, to Mac OS X:

LinkBack is an open source framework for Mac OS X that helps developers integrate content from other applications into their own. A user can paste content from any LinkBack-enabled application into another and reopen that content later for editing with just a double-click. Changes will automatically appear in the original document again when you save.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

ATPM 11.03

The March issue of ATPM is out: