December 2006

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The Coathanger

  • 12:58 AM

They're testing the New Years light-show tonight.

The Coathanger

I don't normally do this sort of thing, but since Mike (who tagged me with this one) is responsible for signing my pay-cheques, I thought it politic to not be the one to break the chain.

  1. My left arm is three inches shorter than my right. When I was nine, a doctor told me that as a result, I would never be anything more than a poor medium-pace bowler. My father was terribly disappointed.
  2. My attempt to get in the Guinness Book of World Records for going the longest without blinking failed by six hours, twenty-four minutes and eleven seconds
  3. I can curse in half a dozen languages, all of them English.
  4. I was the original inventor of RSS. Unfortunately, I left the plans in a train on the eve of the D-Day landings, where they were picked up by Dave Winer's grandfather, and hoarded until the late 1990s.
  5. I have only ever once seen a dead body -- my uncle Harold when I was thirteen years old. The nice man from the police station told me that if only they had found the murder weapon they would have been able to press charges, and that I was very lucky and he had his eye on me, sunshine.

I shall tag all of you with this meme, my dear readers, to do with as you wish.

Faint Praise?

  • 11:31 AM

Here's a sample customer comment from Perforce's testimonial page:

"I reported a bad link in Perforce's online docs -- and received a response in 52 seconds (according to the mail headers). To properly measure the performance of perforce support you would need to account for clock skew!"

Here's one about Contegix:

These guys are pros! I haven't been able to throw anything at them so far that they weren't willing and able to tackle. They have made it easier for us to build our business by letting us worry about the big stuff and not having to sweat the back-end stuff. We plan to grow with Contegix as partners for years to come.

Here's a section from JBoss's monthly news email:

Thanks for the suggestion. It helped us in resolving the problem we were facing.

Now, I have no idea whether JBoss support is any good or not. They could be absolutely fantastic for all I know. But I have no better idea of how good they are after reading those comments than I did before, apart from "Was that the best they could find?" Which sort of defeats the purpose of including them in the first place.

Restarting works now - thanks!

Do I want to do this? Will it end in disaster? Will it make a good story anyway? (Found here, who found it here. I just cleaned up the graphics.)

On the iPhone

  • 12:42 AM

My response to this poll on TUAW: I would give reasonable odds on Apple not producing an iPhone, and even if they did, I'd give the same odds they wouldn't introduce it at Macworld SF. I'm hedging my bets here because I'll admit neither is impossible. I'd be doubly surprised if Apple did announce a phone at Macworld, but not tearing-my-hair-out shocked.

First, the iPhone itself. If you watch the original iPod launch (the full event can be seen here, but the YouTube edit starts exactly at the point I want to talk about), Steve Jobs made it very clear why Apple chose that particular product at that particular time. When the iPod was first introduced, the market for mp3 players was tiny, but had a huge potential for growth. Of the market that did exist, there were no incumbents with significant market-share, and there were no stand-out products. Apple had the opportunity not only to put the best product on the market, but to be the first company to truly market an mp3 player to non-geeks, to introduce the concept to the masses.

The mobile phone market is completely different. Apple would find itself pitted against massive incumbents who are focused entirely on keeping their market-share. Even if Apple came out with something truly revolutionary, would they be able to come out with something revolutionary that couldn't be copied by Nokia in six months? Say what you like about Steve Jobs, but you can't imagine he's dumb enough not to have thought this through very hard. If there is going to be an iPhone, it's got to be one of:

  1. So revolutionary it turns the multi-billion dollar handset industry on its head
  2. A novelty accessory for the Apple faithful, kinda like the iPod Hi-Fi, that nobody else is expected to buy
  3. Some sort of add-on for the iPod
  4. A polished but not world-changingly innovative (and therefore doomed) product, produced entirely to shut up everyone who was asking when it would appear

The first would be really cool, but unlikely. The other three would lead to a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth across the punditsphere.

But maybe Apple is, in fact, destined to change the world again. Why not at Macworld?

Not so long ago, Apple reorganised itself into two distinct units: one devoted to the Macintosh, and one to the iPod. At last year's Macworld, about ten minutes of Job's ninety-minute keynote was about iPod+iTunes, and after he was done, he said "That's what we're up to in music. BUT ... It's Macworld. So we're gonna spend the rest of the day talking about the Mac." (via Engadget)

The iPod Shuffle was introduced at Macworld 2005, though, so it's not entirely out of the question. That said, if there is going to be an iPhone, it's probably going to come from the iPod side of the company not the Macintosh side. Which means standard Apple procedure would be to announce it like most iPods, in a media "special event".

What am I expecting instead from Macworld 2007?

  • iLife and/or iWork '07 (a reasonably safe guess)
  • all the end-user-visible changes in Leopard that have been kept secret so far, including
  • a revamped Finder

Well, maybe the Finder is wishful thinking, but there's going to be something new and cool for Leopard. We were told at WWDC that Apple was keeping some things a surprise, away from prying eyes and inevitably leaked developer seeds. What does a January Macworld represent to Apple right now, if not the perfectly timed occasion to pull the rest of the covers off the new OS, and steal what's left of the wind from Vista's sails?