Windows vs. Mac Security. One of these operating systems has a destructive virus built in

Oh the irony. So here I am watching the last Steve Jobs keynote (the aluminum iMac introduction) on my Dell Windows Vista laptop (the one I use for testing the software I write, and incidentally use to surf the web when in bed) and Windows logs out on me without warning.

Why? Well to update Windows of course.

It’s funny how Windows thinks that it’s OK to shut down my computer without so much as a by your leave in order to patch itself, since — presumably — the reason you patch your computer is to fix security problems and bugs, each of which could potentially cause your system to crash without warning or corrupt your data.

In contrast to this, when my Mac patches itself, its updater patiently waits for me to restart.

I’ll take the OS without malware built in by design, thanks.

While I wait for a better iPhone

Well, I finally played with an iPhone (that’s right, despite all my posts about it, I didn’t queue to buy one, and didn’t even visit an Apple Store to see one for weeks after the release). Mainly, I wanted to see if my video ad serving technology worked on one (it does, but since the iPhone only supports a limited range of video options, most of my test videos wouldn’t play). My conclusion is that I won’t buy one until it has a ton more storage (preferably with removable media as an option) and better bandwidth.

Assuming that what you basically want from a phone is (a) a pretty good phone, and (b) something to surf the web, and (c) that you already have an iPod … the missing component for me — and I suspect a lot of people — is the web browser. And given that you probably find surfing the web via EDGE to be pretty unbearable, what you really want is a Wireless web browser with decent battery life that is rugged and fits in your pocket. Ideally it will be cheap enough that if you lose it you won’t be shattered psychologically and financially.

Well, Nintendo has released a web browser cartridge for the DS (it’s Opera, of course). Darn it, I wish they’d simply add a physical keyboard and an IDE.

So, I now have my 5G iPod, Motorola Razr, and for $30 I can convert my $130 DS into a browser. Downside of course are significant: (a) three gadgets vs. one; (b) no cellular internet (well I could have it on the Razr but why bother?); (c) smaller screen; (d) no spiffy touch interface (the DS’s touch interface is kind of pedestrian); (d) web mail is the only email option (and it’s not cellular); (e) no integration: if the phone rings you need to turn something else off to talk; (f) none of the really great functionality you get from synergies (e.g. camera + email, web + email + phone); (g) the Razr, on its own, even with Bluetooth enabled and set up, is more of a pain to synch than an iPod, and the DS can’t synch at all; (h) and it’s even geekier than having an iPhone, and some folks will think you’re infantile for using a DS in public.

Upsides are (a) each device individually has more battery life than the iPhone (although with every house, office, and vehicle I have access to festooned with iPod docks, cradles, and chargers, iPhone battery life seems like a minor issue); (b) the DS browser arguably has a better keyboard (pen-based); (c) the DS is insanely rugged and doesn’t look that great to start with, so I won’t get worked up over nicks and scratches; (d) far more storage (30GB in my case); (e) you can, apparently, play games on the DS.

When you weigh the pros and cons, the iPhone is definitely better overall than the iPod + Razr + DS combination, and the base model is even cheaper ($499 vs. $249 + $99 + $129 + $29). On the other hand, the marginal benefit of paying $29 to let my DS surf the web will allow me to wait for MacBooks with iPhone functionality or an iPhone with decent storage capacity, better broadband, and the 1.0 kinks worked out.

Uh oh, AAPL is down $4

In general, when Wall Street responds poorly to Apple announcements it’s a sign either that Apple’s announcements were lame OR that Wall Street doesn’t understand the implications. Remember that the iPod announcement was received with yawns (including from me) and so was AppleTV. We’ll see.

Going back to my reaction to the announcements at WWDC 2006 (last year), it still seems to me that Time Machine is a killer feature. Just ship it and have it not suck and I’m sold. Stacks is also a killer feature. At last, your desktop can actually look pleasant without constant maintenance. (It’s sad how much time I waste clearing up my desktops on both Mac OS X and Windows.) I should point out that the Apple Menu and Tabbed Finder windows in OS9 are long overdue for replacement, but stacks do appear to be a very well thought out replacement.

Quick Look may or may not turn out to be amazing. It really depends on what documents are supported and how easy it is for third parties to build their own lightweight plugins (e.g. if I can preview 3d models from, say, Cheetah 3D via Quick Look, that would be great, but how likely is that?) Quick Look is eminently hackable though — write a Quick Look plugin to do screen casting, for example (since it’s unclear whether that functionality is available in iChat AV as implied).

The DVD player functionality looks like a really compelling feature, especially for the Mac Mini as home entertainment center. At last, one of the two most annoying things about DVDs (skimming through them to find something) appears to have been clobbered. Now all we need is a MENU button that can bypass ads.

Spaces looks like it will be amazing. I’ve got a license to Virtual Desktop somewhere (one of several free and shareware virtual screen apps for OS X) and I gave up using it long ago. For something like Virtual Desktop software, incredible attention to detail (like perfect Exposé integration and muting games in hidden screens) is essential, and this is where Apple can make a great concept that doesn’t quite work available to everybody.

Again, the devil is in the detail. Yes, Vista has automated backups. So does the Mac. Do you think that this is the same as Time Machine? It’s like when Apple added outline font support at OS level back with System 7 saying “hey, Windows has fonts too”.

WWDC 2007 Keynote

Well the leak was completely inaccurate (and yes, the real keynote had hard numbers in it).

The “and one more thing” item was Safari for Windows. Cute.

As per my previous post, the SDK for iPhone is a web server. Duh.

(Similarly, you can view Word documents in your iPhone via google documents, instant message via any one of a number of browser-based IM clients, etc. Isn’t having a non-crippled browser fun?)

“This is going to make the EDGE limitation worse (Gizmodo)”

Yes it will, but get over it. EDGE will still be better than sharing a crappy wireless network in a hotel or airport*, and personally I’d take this as an opportunity to do some intelligent web coding that works well in the moderate bandwidth available via EDGE and thus have a competitive advantage over the idiots who, say, don’t know how to produce small graphics or whatever.

* I’ve just spent the last two weeks on the road, and 1k bps would rock compared to what I’ve gotten in hotels, airports, and friends’ home networks.

iWork ’07 MIA

Expect to see this discussed closer to the release of Leopard or, possibly, in a separate keynote later in the week (remember, WWDC has mini keynotes on Tuesday and Wednesday).

“Apple to let outsiders create programs for iPhone” Reuters 1:32 PM

Well, I guess that’s one way to put it. Apparently, Apple will allow you to build websites on the internet and then allow iPhone customers to visit them.

My Wetware Problems with Apple Products

I have to admit this — I’ve been to Apple’s genius bar twice with problems (once with an iPod, and once with a MacBook Pro), and both times the problem was instantly solved by the same thing — I had to reboot.

Dammit, why aren’t Apple’s products completely perfect? Aside from needing to be rebooted sometimes as often as twice a month for system patches, now, apparently, some mysterious problems (such as DVDs not playing) can be solved by rebooting.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting that rebooting has become a blind spot for me when trying to fix a problem on an Apple product. It’s a shame that their products aren’t quite ready for it.