Tech Week in Review

OS X is not for me, Mac Portable returns as Sony LCD desktop, what Steve won't announce on Monday, standards compliant HTML, IE 5.1 vs. iCab, and more

OS X Is Not for Me!

While Andrew Orlowski makes some good points, and I certainly agree that the UI speed of OS X is its biggest problem at this point, I don't think OS X is as doomed as he might imply. Of course, it sure would help if Apple and ATI would get someone to write OS X drivers for the Rage II and higher graphics chipsets. I know the Rage Pro is "old technology" and all, but I spent $3,900 on this PowerBook G3/266 and associated accessories, and I want to run OS X without feeling like my mouse pad has molasses on it.

The Mac Portable Returns...

...running Windows XP and without a 6-pound lead-acid battery. Sony has just introduced a new desktop that bears a great resemblance to the Macintosh Portable of 1989. Sony's styling department, however, looks like they went on vacation for a while. The Mac Portable was a much more attractive machine, although I doubt the new Vaio costs $7,300 and refuses to boot if you look at its hard disk the wrong way.

What Steve Won't Do

Apple claims next Monday's MWSF keynote will be "beyond the rumor sites. Way beyond." While I don't pretend to know what Steve has up his sleeves, I think I know what won't be happening. And for all of you hoping for an iWalk, there are debunkings of the hoax at As the Apple Turns, MacSlash, and Slashdot. Just for good measure, a fourth debunking can be found at Wired. Just to clarify, don't expect any sweaty fat guys dancing or "iWalk" Apple PDAs, at least not ones that look like the mutant child of a Sharp Zaurus and an iPod running something very suspiciously reminiscent of WinCE.

Browsing Around

MacEdition's CodeBitch, whose articles almost always catch my eye, has an excellent piece on browser market share and Web statistics. It also addresses the issue of writing kludgy, noncompliant code so that pages will look the same in all browsers. Since the overwhelming majority of browsers used now are standards-compliant (or reasonably so), Web developers have no reason to write anything but standards-compliant code any more. You heard it here: no more of those nasty PageMill creations. If you can't write HTML 4, at least try and write good HTML 3.2.

Speaking of Browsers

If you haven't gotten IE 5.1 yet, and you're convinced that IE is the best browser for you (I'm not), you might want to get 5.1. I haven't noticed much difference between it and 5.0 or 5.0 SR1 as far as speed goes, but 5.1 added two very useful preferences: whether clicking on the address field selects the whole field or places an insertion point, and whether or not to open a new window when a "getURL" request is sent to IE (very useful). The latter is a feature iCab has had for quite some time and one I use extensively. The former is a behaviour from Netscape that I dearly missed when I first switched to IE back in late 2000.

While I applaud Microsoft for the update, I still find myself drawn back to iCab 2.6 — it uses about half the RAM and disk space of IE 5. It's not that I don't have plenty of either one, but I'm philosophically opposed to software that is bigger than it needs to be. It's the same reason I haven't gotten into Mozilla or Netscape 6.2 yet — both are fast enough, but their RAM and disk space requirements are astronomical. Another reason I find myself sticking with iCab is on the rare occasions when it crashes, it only takes itself out. IE 5 tends to take the whole Mac OS 9 down with it on the much-more-frequent occasions when it locks up.

Watch Mac Daniel for a big honkin' Classic Mac OS browser shootout coming sometime in the next couple weeks. The question: can anything displace IE 5.1 from its position at the head of the class?

Pre-Expo Anticipation Humor

Three words: Rodney O. Lain.

See you next week.

copyright ©2000-2004 by Chris Lawson