Saturday, June 23, 2007

What were we talking about when you butted in?

Picking Nits With the Wits.

If you take the time to read this, you will subtly realize Apple finds itself in the unhappy place of having to call "nuh unh, me too" on Vista. It was a thing Microsoft advocates said for years when Microsoft was accused of "copying" Apple features.

Now the tables are turned and, the odd thing, nothing has publicly happened to do this. A couple months ago Apple was bold, confident and pushing to become a real "out of the box" computer. Now, they can't write home in ZFS and they can't tell anything outside of Apple code what to do.
So, as monkeys do groom one another (mayhaps Mister Hoffman will like to pick my nits one day), I shall assist Mister Hoffman here with some notation I hope he shall find helpful and I caution technogy writers everywhere to look up outside the cubicle once in a while. Could be there are some people beyond your telephone and the internet that could benefit your understanding greatly... and for free.

My comments in blue.

Mary Jo Foley Thinks Leopard is a Photocopy of Vista - Film at 11
OK. Bottom line here is I'm dissapointed. I've considered Mary Jo's articles to be unbiased and relatively objective in the past

By: Kevin Hoffman
Jun. 17, 2007 08:00 PM

Kevin Hoffman's Blog

Let's take a look at Mary's points one by one, shall we?

1. New desktop. I'm not sure why she thinks this looks like Aero... Vista's sidebar doesn't do nearly the amount of stuff that Leopard's dock does. The sidebar is not a place for maintaining current tasks and open documents... in short, Vista's sidebar has NOTHING to do with Leopard's dock - they serve two different purposes.
:-( But, they are both stuck in the same technological paradigm unable to reach out and interconnect and interoperate with other systems. They are simply widgets and whatsits. Odd pieces of functionality yearning to be used in a larger scheme as modules in a composite application. Where's all THAT Mister Hoffman? You wouldn't be trying to BS your readers, now, would you?)

2. Coverflow looks identical to Flip3d. Obviously Mary Jo Foley doesn't spend too much time looking at user interfaces. With Flip 3D, I can see one item clearly, and all the rest are obscured. With Cover Flow, I can see one item clearly, and many nearby items clearly, with a hint at what is on the outskirts. One is a really painful UI paradigm (Flip 3d) and one is a really enabling UI paradigm (Cover Flow).
:-( Apparently our author spend too much time loking at UI. he should look into functionality one day and explain why we're not seeing web-based functionality on Leopard. Wasn't that supposed to be one of the "secret" things Jobs had planned for you guys? I think what you guys might as well expect is something from another set of Jobs upstream your knowledge level.)

3. Thumbnail preview capability in Vista is NOT interactive. With Quicklook, you can interact with the preview, including turning on and off media, flipping through pages of PDFs, scrolling through web pages, and much more. A really common thing for people to do is look at the surface, make a snap judgement, and then become closed-minded. Obviously Mary Jo didn't do her homework on these features, otherwise she would have noticed that Quicklook is insanely more powerful. Quicklook is also an enabling feature in iChat theater, which does not exist in Vista in any shape or form.
:-( Wow. Do tell. "A really common thing for people to do is look at the surface, make a snap judgement, and then become closed-minded." So I've noticed. Thanks. Our friend here is a freaking scholar. "...insanely more powerful..." Really. Can it interface with web services to allow for searching across multiple Macs? Can it provide information to other applications so they can become more 'insanely powerful'? Now THAT would be insanely powerful. What this guy is talking about is another set of search tools stuffed into a proprietary box unable to virtualize the consumables or the products for processing forward to other applications. Another smart rat in a shoe box.)

4. 64-bitness. She totally missed the boat here. The point here is that with Leopard there is a single version for all hardware. This means that a single version of Leopard will work on 32-bit machines and 64-bit machines and run 32-bit apps and 64-bit apps. This is not how Vista works, and the 64-bit experience on Vista has been notoriously bad, everything from unexplainable bugs to lack of driver support.
:-( It doesn't mean squat if you have a 128byte machine if all that machine can do is talk to itself or others like it. If Microsoft had enabled proprietary data with XML they would have WinFS and they wouldn't need proprietary device drivers anymore. If Apple had enabled proprietary data with XML they would already be interconnecting iPhone with Mac and every other computer on the planet. Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.)

5. Core Animation. She thought the developers in attendance didn't seem all that impressed. She's wrong. What Mary Jo might not realize is that 99.99% of the attendees are ADC members, which means they've all been eating, living, and breathing Leopard (including Core Animation) since before January 2007. They all know how powerful it is. Granted, people were looking for more "new" stuff, but like one person said: at least there was enough new stuff to not have to cancel WWDC :) (dig at MS for cancelling PDC)
:-( And I quote: "They all know how powerful it is. Granted, people were looking for more "new" stuff, but like one person said: at least there was enough new stuff to not have to cancel WWD" This is why you don't let defendants represent themselves in front of a thinking breathing inquisitor. Looking for more "new" stuff? You mean, as in 'you know how powerful an XML enabled machine SHOULD perform but you didn't see that here either'? "...enough new stuff to not have to cancel WWDC..."? It was already paid for. Why cancel when it's in June? I don't get the comparison or am I missing something?)

6. Boot camp - I'll certainly grant her this point. I'm running Visual Studio 2005 Orcas in my Vista partition on my Mac. Why? Because the Mac monitor actually makes Vista look better than any Dell or IBM laptop I've used.
:-( Have you ever seen what a Mac monitor does? It softens everything to make it look less hard. They institutionalized soft-focus into their monitors like a playboy spread and they think nobody can photo nudies like they can. Honey, wrappers are IN with the virtualized world. You folks can understand that, can't you? Making things look glossy and soft is a graphics trick that can be emulated in software. Are you betting your entire future on people not seeing virtualized MAC-like GUI's running Linux and Microsoft? Bad bet.)

7. Spaces. Again, lack of apparent awe from the audience comes from this being not all that new to the attendees. They've all known about it for a long time.
:-( They've all known Leopard was not going to deliver virtualization and Web-OS and webapplication capabilities? So they all went to the convention to cheer each other up and rally the flag?)

8. Dashboard widgets are not anything like Vista gadgets. You show me a Vista gadget that has FULL access to the entire power of the OS, and then I'll say this is a valid comparison. Until then, I wave the BS flag.
:-( What about FULL access to the entire power of the OTHER OS? That's what virtualization allows for and, what the heck, virtualization is virtually free, isn't it? Isn't it?

That is what should be feely available if virtualization is freely available, get it?

I agree you should wave the BS flag. It's flying over your BS fort.)

9. Vista's meeting space working like iChat theater?? You've GOT to be kidding me. Mary Jo herself claims not to be a Mac user, but I'm beginning to think she's not a Vista user either. I've used Meeting Space multiple times, including several times with cameras, and I've never had the experience of iChat theater. This is another one (like searching) that looks like a photocopy feature but actually provides more value than Vista's equivalent. The keynote could have made it more clear, but the real power behind iChat theater isn't the gee whiz effects (though they do look fun)... the power is in the ability for application programmers to use iChat theater as an enabling technology to broadcast content to buddies, basically its "nearly free collaboration" add-on capability for every Cocoa developer. Meeting Space isn't programmable. Trust me - I can quote lines of the OCS and UC SDK from Microsoft, and there ain't jack about Meeting Space programming.
:-( Funny our man on the skreet can pick out the following abstraction: "...the power is in the ability for application programmers to use iChat theater as an enabling technology to broadcast content to buddies, basically its "nearly free collaboration" add-on capability for every Cocoa developer..." and he can't figure out what's missing from Leopard or Longhorn.

The real power is in the ability to enable proprietary data so it may be used by ANY XML consumer. Do that first [again with the patent numbers? USPTO 7,076,521] and then you can transport and interoperate freely. Then, that's where you run into the other two foundational columns: SiteFlash and Emily. I do wonder when people will start writing about them instead of staring up at the sky and wondering why God would hit them with a rubber chicken.)

10. Time machine - granted. This is a valid point, Vista can automatically back-up, and if you want some really powerful stuff there's the "Windows Home Server" stuff coming out that'll not only do your back-up stuff but it'll work as a central media storehouse as well, and integrates with Xbox 360, etc.
:-( Notice our guy is impressed with Longhorn features [Windows Home Server - they're going to try to cram that bull in your closet. You'll need an electrician to put an Edison plug in... that's as close as you'll be able to say you're employing "inventor class" technology.] which he should say DO NOT APPEAR in Leopard as of yet. Perhaps October?)

OK. Bottom line here is I'm dissapointed. I've considered Mary Jo's articles to be unbiased and relatively objective in the past. What I'm looking at in her article is basically a piece of imflammatory nonsense. If she had taken the time to do some more digging, she would have found the depth that would have made many of her arguments appear as weak as they truly are. She took the lack of response of the audience to mean that they were unimpressed. I, however, went and talked to a couple people at random and asked them, and they all confirmed my suspicions - they'd seen it all before. It was still just as impressive as last time, but people didn't feel the need to hoot and holler about it. They were waiting for the iPhone announcement (which was arguably dissapointing for many developers... though I'll bet good money that less than a year from the iPhone's release we'll see a real SDK for it). She also compared a couple of features at a really cursory level without doing the homework to figure out how the features work.
:-( Quite frankly, I'm disappointed in both of you. Furtermore, the both of you should take a course in information system architecture for the 15000 footer and maybe you can drop some of your proprietaristic prejudices and begin seeing the technology world as a broader more agnostic ecclesichasm.)

Sure, I'll grant you that on the surface a lot of what Steve showed at the keynote might appear like a "me too" set of features. But, as I mentioned in my previous blog, Apple doesn't simply catch up, they do what the competitor is doing, and they try and do it better. For example, in addition to the improved finder providing search for all computers on a local network, it also incorporates dynamic DNS features and allows you to search office PCs, remote PCs, other PCs on the internet - something that you need third party software on Vista to accomplish and even then it won't be integrated with search (at least I have yet to see this in any packages).
:-( "a lot" is ""me too""? The question at root is not whether the two operating systems look and feel the same. They do. It's time to get over that and answer the question: What do each do extraordinary out of the range of individual proprietary computers today? The overwhelmingly disappointing awareness is that they don't. They don't DO anything with other applications as the school of interoperation says it should. They don't perform beyond the boundaries of the OS and the Browser as the XML theories said computers should and THAT interactivity is what the entire concept of all the various ideas discussed around the subject of XML spring from. It's simply the ability to work with others not of your kind. The fundamental capability of the next generation concepts is enablement for virtualization anybody's data with anybody... and Microsoft and Apple STILL can't get there fully as indicated in their stalled next generation pushes.)

I have no problem with the notion that Leopard is adding features that Vista has - I can think of a couple of features that really do look like "catch up" features. There's nothing wrong with Leopard catching up to Vista in some regards. The more competition there is between the Operating Systems, the better. If Leopard can be point-for-point competetive with Vista, then perhaps Vista will improve as a result and Leopard will then improve and so on - that's how free commerce is supposed to work.
:-( Our boy is not an idiot. He figured out they actually do both look and feel alike and perform functional elements of the traditional computer paradigm and he's OK with all that. He makes his living in that paradigm and the business for the new paradigm has not yet reached his area yet, so he must swim with the strokes he knows.)

There's nothing wrong with pointing that out in a clear, concise, objective manner. But when you use cursory, if nonexistant, research and myopic viewpoints to back up your arguments, you're spin-doctoring, not debating with fact.
:-( There's nothing wrong with pointing out that your opponent skunked you and you agree with him but at least give somebody the grace to save face. But if you can't see a deficiency in Apple capabilities in light of the kinds of things XML taught publicly as far back as 2000, neither of you should be throwing glass paperweights in a tastefully exhibited glass office. You should instead ask your editor what financial reason he can see for sticking with the status quo.)

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