news of 2004-05-11

Apple should re-enter innovation.

Remember the days? Of course you do. Apple was an inventor. Apple brought a human user interface to computing. Apple - together with Adobe and Aldus - made Desktop Publishing possible. Apple basically invented a personal digital assistant that was more than an electronic (and worse) version of a simple notebook (a paper based one, I mean). And more...

And nowadays? Apple brought us the iPod. That's great. But it's not an innovation in the sense I mean it. We had portable music before. We even had _digital_ portable music before the iPod. I don't say it's a bad product. I love the iPod and I dig Apple's success with it. But it's not something like Desktop Publishing or the invention of a Personal Digital Assistant.

Apple has actually stopped being an innovator. They started being a company that makes money instead. Which isn't bad per se, but the time of only slowly making better products that are basically the same as the old ones only adopting other people's inventions (Bluetooth, G5 processor, AirPort and AirPort Extreme...) should be over now. This doesn't cost. This just makes money. But Apple was - and should be - more than that.

Now let's move a little bit away from that track, shall we? Apple has the Newton. (Patents and everything.) Apple has a good solution for PIM tasks (iCal, Address Book, Mail, iChat AV etc.). But Apple doesn't do a PIM-device!
Those who make PIM-devices don't seem to get what originally was great (in my opinion) about Apple's invention of the PDA 'Newton'. They make mobile phones that only hardly connect well to computers. They're also too complicated for the mass of the users. Or they make PDAs, which have a hard time of being well-connected (or are only for a 'chosen few', like the Nokia Communicator, which only in its next iteration will get back on track with the state of technology, which probably means it'll be behind when it actually ships...) and usually are just really bad at being mobile phones.

Now, what Apple can do about this is the following... (And I'm not laying out the idea completely. I want Apple to do it. They've shown with the iPod that they can do it.) Apple must take their knowledge from Newton, iPod, Human Interfaces and combine those things into a handy device which inspires people to communicate. And this doesn't have to be a mobile phone OR a PDA. It has to be the next big insanely great product. Thank you.

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-05-11 at 18:12 CET ]
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A short review: PowerBook G4 15"/1.33 GHz

As some background information, I'd like to state that I haven't bought a 'professional' class machine since the original Titanium PowerBook G4/500 in early 2001. So I can't make first-person comments on the quality of the pro-hardware Apple has released since that time.

Back in those days, the TiBook was really the one big marketing instrument for Apple. People lusted for it even when they were total Win-heads. And even I, being a PowerBook-user for five years back then and a Mac-user for more than a decade, had to admit that the TiBook was the best notebook ever made. Until I bought one...
The original TiBook got way too hot, lost a bit of colour soon and had the ugly 'feature' of remembering the keys of the keyboard as marks on the - otherwise gorgeous - screen. Also: Battery life in Mac OS X back then was sub-par to OS 9. It's still sub-par today, but things have gotten a lot better - and you can't even boot the new PowerBooks from OS 9, so the question about it is really futile.

After the TiBook I bought an iBook 12" G3/800 in 2002. I've had to had it replaced two times at the beginning before I got one that did not just die. It was an awful experience, really - and I thought badly about Apple's quality control for a while. I heard that it would have gotten better, but then Apple released the first 15" AluBook and we heard of lacking quality at the screen hinges, the screen itself (white clouds) and some screen locking failures. - Yet, I had to upgrade now in order to do my graphics work in reasonable amounts of time and with less opportunities to drink coffee or smoke cigarettes.

And I can say that this new PowerBook certainly helps me smoke less cigarettes and drink less coffee, although I probably smoke and drink more in the spare-time that I gain because I can work faster now. ;-)
The first thing I noticed when I opened the PowerBook and started her up: Quality. This machine breathes quality. It has an aura of power and stability. It radiates the phrase "I'm a finished product." and gives a calm feeling in my tummy that nothing can go wrong as long as I work on this computer. The aluminum looks better than the Titanium, although the plastic frame is really, really ugly. (Apple: It's really REALLY ugly!) I guess it helps stabilising the PowerBook, but it's ugly. Did I mention that it's ugly? Okay. One forgets about it the instant the display lights up, so this is not really such a big deal.

Speedwise, I can only compare this machine to my old iBook. And it's no competition, really. This PowerBook zooms through my work, which includes doing heavy graphic editing in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. I guess a PowerMac G5 user would disagree, but I don't care about those, because my Macs need feet (i.e.: I can't live with non-portables, anyway). I guess the 1.5 GHz version would add a little more oomph, but the difference wouldn't even be 10%. Whether the 'really high end' version with the 128 MB VRAM would add more for my kind of work - I don't think so. I'm not the gamer and not the 3D-designer. I basically need those features for QuartzExtreme only, and for that, 64 MB VRAM is enough.

So let's wrap it up. It's a great notebook. It's a great PowerBook. It's a very nice machine and it's certainly worth the money over an iBook. And Apple: Please do something about the plastic frame.

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-05-11 at 16:24 CET ]
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PearPC Panther Update

According to the 'about' page of the project, Panther is indeed running, although relatively (what a word...) slowly. Still, the project is young, and over time it might become a solution for some tasks.

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-05-11 at 15:25 CET ]
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PearPC makes some splashes...

There's a PowerPC emulator for PCs, running on Linux and Windows XP as it seems. I haven't read through all the comments, but the only screenshots of Mac OS X running in PearPC I could find showed the boot/options process of the first Panther installation CD, which leads me to believe that an actual installation is currently failing.

(Please prove me wrong. I'd actually like such an emulator. Would give Windows users the chance to see how good Mac OS X really is. I don't see a real danger of PearPC eating Macintosh sales...) - The reasons for this could be quite a few, one of them being that the project is at version number 0.1, currently. You can read more at

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-05-11 at 11:33 CET ]
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Apple updates Backup to 2.0.2

You can read about it at MacCentral. However, if you really only need to backup stuff from your Mac to a FireWire-HD, you can also use the free SilverKeeper by LaCie, which does a good job, too, and doesn't make you buy a .Mac membership. And always remember my article about backups as well as the other 'articles from the past' on the upper right corner on this page.

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-05-11 at 09:35 CET ]
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