Scripting News for 11/5/07

I’m not happy with Leopard 

I’ve given Leopard a chance, but it’s pretty clear, this is not a good operating system release.

I’ve been out of the Mac loop for most of the last decade, just got back in a bit over 2 years ago. I don’t know if early OS releases are generally as crappy as this one, but I wasn’t prepared for where we’re at now. If I had known, I would have waited, instead of upgrading most of my Macs to the new system.

Talking with a friend a few days ago, he asked what I thought of Leopard. He had installed the new version, like me, the first day it came out. “I’m not liking it,” I said. He said something that was simple, profound and revealing: “It’s like Windows.” It is. It’s that unpleasant to use. It disappears for long periods of time. Systems that didn’t used to crash now crash regularly. On one system three hard disks were rendered unusable, and I lost a couple of full days restoring them (luckily I had good backups). The user interface is quirky. The new networking interface is a big step backward. The firewall moved and lost features! That’s simply never done, you don’t charge customers to remove features, esp security features. I think Apple doesn’t understand how many people depend seriously on their Macs.

To Apple, I left Windows because it held my time and work in low regard. I was happy with the Mac because it seemed reliable. Now it seems my friend was right, I’m using Windows again, and I’m not happy about it.

Tree scene 

RSS 2.0 comments element 

RayS on Twitter asked why it is that more feed readers don’t support the <comments> element in RSS 2.0. Interestingly, less than two hours before, I had added the element to the Scripting News feed. It’s appropriate because there are now per-element comments here, people who subscribe should have the benefit in addition to people who read this blog in a web browser.

Truth is that some feed readers do support the comments element. All of mine do, dating back to Radio 8.0 shipped in January 2002, which is still my daily reader. It’s really a simple feature, not very hard to implement. If an item has a comments element, it’s represented as a little pencil in the right margin. Click on it and you go directly to the comments.

Maybe by writing about it here we’ll find out that others already support it, and maybe encourage others to add support.

Disqus progress 

We seem to have adopted the Disqus guys, helping them evolve their product to better suit our needs.

It’s a win-win because I’m getting a better comment system, and so are they.

Yesterday I asked for an XMLization of my site’s comments, and this morning I have them, and can provide more feedback.

Here’s where you go to see the feedback and any ensuing discussion.

Google announces their phone 

Three word comment: I want one! 🙂

A TwitterGram, recorded through my iPhone, explains why Google’s phone will be important, and why I want one.

My email address got cut off at the end, darn it, it’s dave dot winer at gmail dot com.

Remember the social camera? 

In June, on a trip to Italy, I wanted a copy of a picture a stranger was taking. “What if his camera, as it was taking the picture, also broadcast the bits to every other camera in range. My camera, sitting in my napsack would detect a picture being broadcast, and would capture it. (Or my cell phone, or iPod.)”

Then on August 29, a review in the NY Times of the Fujifilm Z10fd said it could beam photos to other cameras that support the IRSimple protocol. Unfortunately the camera wouldn’t ship until October. Well, it’s now November, the camera is shipping. Yet none of the reviews on Amazon mention its social feature. I was thinking of getting one, but then what’s the point if no one else has it? According to the reviews it’s a fairly ordinary digital camera otherwise. (Though it has a “blog mode” which is mentioned but not adequately explained in the video ad.)

So — do you think this this baby bootstraps? Are social cameras here now, or a thing of the future?

4 responses to this post.

  1. I guess the whole Leopard upgrade is a matter of personal preference. I absolutely love it and when I go back to my Tiger iBook G3 it feels like I’m taking a huge step backwards.

    I am really not a fan of the new FireWall Preference Pane, but the reworked Networking pane is much more streamlined and intuitive: whoever thought in Tiger and earlier to use a drop down box usually used for selecting a list of options to inside assign that to choosing which networking interface to use made a huge usability blunder.

    I don’t care for any of the silly translucent effects in the menu bar and the dock, but I love having Stacks (albeit the Grid version) for my Applications folder and Spaces is a godsend for when I’m not plugged into my other external monitor. A consistent user interface which isn’t a bizarre mix of crappy looking brushed metal and plastic Aqua is also a welcome change.

    The thing though that we all need to remember is despite all the glitz, the real changes in Leopard are under the hood development changes, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how developers take advantage of all these new and updated frameworks. There will come a time in 2008 when we’ll look back at Tiger and the apps that could be written for it and say “wow, look how old and crappy that is”


  2. Posted by Bryan Schappel on November 5, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    The .0 release of any Apple OS is always a little shaky. 10.4 had major issues; many were solved with 10.4.1 which was release a little under a month after 10.4.0 shipped.

    You are correct that the Network settings and Firewall are downgrades. They are more like Windows. Anytime a basic setting like the IP address is shoved under an “Advanced…” button is a downgrade. I HATE that about Windows.

    I could forgive the firewall change if the “Advanced…” button actually gave the user access to all the old (and MORE) features and settings. As it stands it’s terrible.

    The unified interface is nice. The new folder icons are NOT. For all of the 3D effects the 2D folders are terrible. I think I’ll but CandyBar 3.0 when it’s released to change that.

    Having the icons of folders in the Dock (like Downloads) change is a downgrade. I had custom icons on those folder so I could click and go to my Downloads folder. Now I have to mouse over all the folder icons and read the label because my custom icon is gone. That’s bad UI design.

    Leopard is not done. They released too early. It needed another three months work — at least.


  3. Posted by heavyboots on November 5, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    So, Top 5 Leopard Peeves (all bug reported at one time or another during development):
    [1] Transparent menu bar–Some people like it, some people hate it. Not engineering a way to turn it off if you hate it is the major problem. I have a 100% black background under the menu bar (Earth from space pic). Now my menu bar is just this really dark gray. I HATE gray.

    [2] Self-healing fonts–If you try to remove Helvetica.dfont or Helvetica Neue.dfont from the system, it puts them back. We still have jobs that require old Helvetica Type 1 and I know there are plenty of other design studios using those fonts too. And the only reason they NEED Helvetica is because the GUI designers thought it looked pretty. Fine. Stick it in a secret folder that only Apple apps can access and stop screwing with the ability of designers to use their fonts without generating a conflict with the system fonts. (BTW, you can strip the self-healing fonts out at least; search for them in the Frameworks directory.)

    [3] Spotlight & Finder Finds–Still hideously broken. In 10.3, I can generate a customized default search (eg, search for filenames containing this & this and visibility of all). I can also filter a selected folder using the upper-right corner search field in each window. In 10.4 & 10.5, filtering is gone. Customized defaults are gone. SPEED is gone. I can’t believe they didn’t fix the ability to customize your defaults at least. I’m sure a lot of people filed bug reports on that one in 10.4…

    [4] Dock Stacks–These are sort of cool, but they blew it by forgetting to include hierarchical folders as a viewing option. I have folders with 100’s of items. Used to be I could drill into a subfolder from the Dock very easily. Now I’m limited to choosing fan (like 10 items max?) or grid (70 items max). And neither can drill into a sub-sub-folder.

    [5] Finder icons–These things are hideous when compared to the previous easy-to-discern icons! Who thought blue-on-blue would be a great idea? ‘Cause the lower the contrast, the easier the reading, right? o_O

    On the cool side, we’ve got:
    Time Machine–Almost makes up for all the bad stuff. Can’t wait to get people like my parents set up with this. Finally, simple backup for the masses!

    Spaces–Another good organizational tool to throw at screen clutter.

    Quick View–This grows on you very quickly! The ability to just zip into any file and take a quick look without launching an app or anything. Plus, if you view a folder of fonts, it’s becomes a very useful tool for designers looking for that perfect font from their collection.

    Network Panel–I’d say it’s better and easier to use. I’m not so sure about the Firewall panel, particularly if it’s not actually working correctly OR enabling automatically at startup.

    Also, the stuff under the hood is great too.

    Basically, if Apple will consent to tweak a few design elements and optimize some speed issues, I think it will be a better OS than 10.3 or 10.4 finally. Having said that, I have no plans to install it on work machines until around 10.5.5 or so. The wrinkle-ironing process could be quite long because IMHO it was very immature when released. I agree with Bryan above that they could have used at least another 3 months to get everything in order. Releasing with so many rough edges is more likely to hurt them than help them in the long run.


  4. Ahhh…I see you deleted my comment. 😉


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