Apple takes aim at Adobe… or Android?

Ars Technica weighs in on iPhone 4s section 3.3.1 which bans Adobes upcoming Flash wrapper for iPhone apps:

Apple’s current—and in our opinion, objectionable—position is now close to the complete opposite of its initial stance. From promoting openness and standards, the company is now pushing for an ever more locked-down and restricted platform. It’s bad for competition, it’s bad for developers, and it’s bad for consumers. I hope that there will be enough of a backlash that the company is forced to reconsider, but with the draw of all those millions of iPhone (and now, iPad) customers, I fear that Apple’s developers will, perhaps with some reluctance, just accept the restriction and do whatever Cupertino demands.

It’s a gamble alright. On one hand, it could lock in developers with the iPhone in a very-good-for-Apple way. On the other hand, it could do the exact opposite. The good thing is, we’ll find out over the next year. Personally, I think Apple will pull it off in the 3-year near-term, but not the long-term.

How Eric Schmidt Lost His Mistress, His Partner And Steve Jobs

From a piece on Valleywag:

Schmidt’s mobile phone rang on the highway between Reno and Burning Man’s movable city in Black Rock Desert. It was Jobs, angry. The call then dropped; bad signal, middle of nowhere. The disconnect couldn’t be blamed on a flaky iPhone connection: Schmidt had long ago given up on the Apple handset because he couldn’t stand the on-screen keyboard. His wife had tested a prototype, but didn’t care to keep it. Schmidt, we’re told, ended up giving his iPhone to Bohner as a gift.

Schmidt located a convenience store and used a pay phone to call Jobs back. The Apple CEO “shouted” at Schmidt and “railed” at him, furious about his smartphone plans and duplicity, said our source. After all, Schmidt sat on Apple’s board and was supposed to be a partner on the iPhone, providing internet services like maps.

In this increasingly ridiculous feud, I find it important to remember that the Nexus One is simply a phone, one which Google doesn’t even produce but simply deliver software for. How is Google supposed to deliver good mobile software without a platform on which it can install its Voice app? I’m surprised that Jobs is surprised at Google for doing this, and I think his anger betrays his belief that this is a legitimate threat to the dominant iPhone.

Open Letter To Steve Jobs Concerning The HTC Lawsuits

Wil Shipley:

Enforcing patents is wrong. You’ve famously taken and built on ideas from your competitors, as have I, as we should, as great artists do. Why is what HTC has done worse? Whether an idea was patented doesn’t change the morality of copying it, it only changes the ability to sue.


I always thought of you as a guy who’d say, “Well, copy me if you can, because you’re copying what I did years ago, and what I’m working on now is EVEN cooler!” I like it when competitors copy me because it means they aren’t about to leapfrog me: they’ll always be playing catch-up.

This is, of course, the laser-eyes-lion-riding Wil Shipley who was himself copied by Apple. Which makes this post extra delicious.

No Tab Left Behind

With the new Safari 4 beta, Apple is taking a page from the book of Opera and Google Chrome and moving their browser tabs all the way to the top:


While not an incredibly original idea, it is a good idea and there are a number of reasons why. First of all, it optimizes the amount of vertical real-estate, which—with the upcoming surge in lo-res Netbooks—will matter more than you think. Secondly, it moves an important multi-tasking feature right up to the literal application top, where discoverability is great. Finally, it helps users understand what exactly tabs are: individual content windows with their own unique address-bar and history.

This is clearly a usability improvement, and I’m sure that now Apple has canonized what is (probably) an Opera invention, it’ll make both Mozilla and Internet Explorer scramble to get with the program. So much the better: thanks Apple.

There’s one aspect Mac users will miss out on, though. On Windows systems, when a browser is maximized, tabs that are topmost will fondle the very edges of the screen, an area of extremely valuable realestate. The little secret that makes this top screen edge price go through the roof is the fact that, to reach it, you have only to push your mouse upwards; soon enough your cursor will bump into the edge. When a browser window places its tabs there, that means you only have to worry about left or right to pick your tabs. Not even a shopping cart is left behind in such a system.

Alas, Apple has permanently reserved this top area of the screen for the ubiquitous file menu, which I’m sure a number of people appreciate. Not those who want to get the full flavor of topmost tabs though, they’ll be left out in the cold. Perhaps Apple should place tabs at the bottom of the screen instead? (Oh wait, that’s where The Dock lurks, spring-loaded to pop out when innocent cursors are nearby).

Running Windows On The Mac: Did It Ever Work? [Update 3: Returning It]

Just last week, I bought myself a brand new unibody Macbook Pro 15, a rather expensive piece of hardware. I bought it, expecting it to run Windows natively via multi-boot; Apple advertises that their Boot Camp feature will do just this:

[Mac OSX] Leopard is the world’s most advanced operating system. So advanced, it even lets you run Windows if there’s a PC application you need to use. […] Setup is simple and straightforward – just as you’d expect with a Mac.

As it turns out, sure, setup is easy, but that’s pretty much where the trademark simple and straightforward ends. Windows, running on my late 2008 Macbook crashes, freezes and Blue Screen Of Deaths me constantly, as in at every 10 minutes of plain use. To preempt your question, “Why run Windows at all?”: gaming.

There are a number of problems:

  • Windows doesn’t seem to control the cooling fans at all, and so it overheats
  • Windows can’t switch between the two (fast or power friendly) graphics adapters
  • Windows freezes when simply browsing websites

So overall, Windows on the Mac is a consistently unpleasant experience, which brings me to the purpose of this post. I need to decide whether I should return the Mac for a full refund and buy a different laptop for half the price, or alternatively, establish whether it’s likely that Apple will address all of these issues given reasonable time. It would really be a pity to return the unit, as I have already grown quite fond of the hardware. Furthermore, despite prior gripes, I can actually now see myself switching to OSX for day to day work, only to boot Windows for the occasional game of Fallout, whereas I bought this Mac with the expectation to do both while in Windows.

Because I genuinely want to make this thing work, I have a number of questions I would love to hear your opinions on, and preferrably before thursday this week where my 14-day right of return expires:

  • Do you have a late 2008 Unibody 15 Macbook running Windows, and are you having similar troubles?
  • Do you have any other Mac running Windows, and if so, is that unit running perfectly?
  • Have you had problems like these on older Mac hardware, which Apple fixed with firmware and software updates?
  • If you are running Windows on a Mac, is it Vista or XP, and did switching from one to the other fix your troubles?

Please note again that I’m referring to Windows running in Boot Camp, not in emulation or virtualization like Parallels or VirtualBox.

While I have done some a lot of research on the topic and found that quite a few others are having the same troubles, and even articles on Apple supposedly working on a fix for these issues, I would love to hear updated feedback on this. As a point of note: OSX runs just fine, doesn’t crash and cools the machine aptly, which leads me to believe this is mainly a Boot Camp software / driver issue, rather than solely a hardware issue.

So there it is, the current state of my fling with The Mac. Please help me turn this into a love-affair. I’ll end this with a Steve Jobs quote:

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

If you’re reading, Steve, right now it doesn’t work.

Update: I’m putting a signed print of your choice on the line for the author of the comment that fixes the problems I’ve been having—not that I think that’s possible without Apple actually getting involved, but it’s worth a shot.

Update 2: After reading an article on The Inquirer, I’m now finding it likely that this Macbook and many others are suffering from bad Nvidia hardware. Please help me decide whether I should return the unit, or request a repair.

Update 3: Returning it. More to follow.

The Quest For A Sturdy Laptop

A coworker and myself are looking for laptops in the “desktop replacement” class. That means fairly fast computers sporting plenty of RAM and dedicated graphics cards. That means prices in the 1500 ranges. These are all Fisherprice plastic concoctions, however, and therein lies the problem. Can it really be true, that only Apple makes truly sturdy laptops? No, I will not just buy a 2500 dollar laptop, even if it is prettier, sturdier and smells better; for that amount I’d rather get a slightly used Toyota.

Is it the metal build quality that jacks up prices? I’ve used the XO (the 100 dollar laptop) and it is plenty sturdy even, so I know it’s possible to build a computer whose keyboard doesn’t break when you type antipathy. Even so, it seems only Sony, Lenovo and Apple has gotten this and at their prices I might as well get the Mac the Toyota. I find it both frustrating and mindboggling that only three laptop makers in a fierce market have discovered that “durable” is a boon, so help me out here: is there a sub 1500 dollar laptop with the above specs and sturdy build quality?