There Is No Cat

A huge orangupoid, which no man can conquer

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Keynote reaction

Steve Jobs, in this morning's keynote address from Macworld Expo, described Sherlock 3, the update to the Macintosh's built in search tool, as making a move toward web services. But the demonstration didn't really have much to do with what people like Dave Winer or companies like Amazon describe as web services, based on XML-RPC or SOAP. I know Apple built support for those two protocols into Mac OS X 10.1, but now I'm curious if Sherlock is now built around that. It would make an interesting front end to web services. Nobody seems to have picked up on this; maybe I'm just misinterpreting what Jobs said. Maybe I'll have to wait until 10.2 comes out to see any press on this.

Unfortunately, one other thing that came out of the keynote today is a nearly complete lack of upgrade pricing for the new version of Mac OS X that was demonstrated today. I paid for the Mac OS X Public Beta. I paid for the release version of Mac OS X 10.0. I paid for whatever portion of a new computer goes to support OS development, which is to say, I bought a second copy of Mac OS X 10.0 when I bought this new computer. Then I bought the upgrade CDs to Mac OS X 10.1 because none of the dealers around here knew from nothing about the supposed free upgrade. And for this, I've been rewarded with a user interface that is still miles behind what they spent 17 years developing as Mac OS 9 and its predecessors. I boot into Mac OS X to do web development work, but for the vast majority of the rest of my computer time, I'm sticking with Mac OS 9. And I'll be damned if I'm going to spend $129 to get yet another half-baked OS from Apple. Others have described much better than me the overwhelming sense of frustration that comes with using Aqua, Mac OS X's user interface. It's doubly frustrating because user interface is something that Apple did so well for so long, redefining what using a computer meant. It astonishes me that of all companies, they no longer consider following basic precepts of usability important, since it's what gave the Macintosh enough of an edge to survive. I can't believe that the number one requested new feature in the Finder was spring-loaded folders when the Dock is crying out to be axed in favor of a return to the user-configurable Apple menu and the application menu, which worked so much better and didn't muddle the difference between running applications and unlaunched applications. I would be willing to pay up to $30 for the next version of OS X; $130 is just totally out of the question. I know things are tough in the computer business, but I refuse to be milked like that. I don't expect Apple to come up with a usable interface for at least another two years, so if they don't reconsider this, I'll be sticking with OS 9.2.2 for my daily work and OS X 10.1 for UNIXish stuff. Feh.

Posted at 9:11 PM

Comments

Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

I agree about Apple's interface woes. After owning Macs for ten years I took one look at where the Mac was heading with OS X and decided it was finally time to jump ship and adopt Windows. And I haven't regretted it for a moment. Apple hasn't employed the people who made their GUI the best in the business since the mid-to-late 1980's so the state of OS X's interface comes as no surprise. Just when the guts of the OS are stable and reliable for the first time since 1984, the usability of OS X lags far behind its main competitor Windows XP. How sad and ironic.

Posted by Mike at 7:10 PM, July 18, 2002 [Link]

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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