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MacServers Live Coverage of Adam Engst, Andy Ihnatko Keynotes

This morning we’re providing live coverage of Mac OS X Conference keynote speeches by Adam Engst and Andy Ihnatko. This report will be updated continually until the talks end at 10:15 AM Pacific, so refresh frequently.

Andy Ihnatko: The Big Re-think

(Andy talks fast. Following is what we could snap out of the air and get down. Any mistakes, omissions, or lack of humor is entirely our fault and not Andy’s. Sorry, but for this one, you had to be here.)

I have too many Santa Clauses. I write for a bunch of different publications, and I get too many boxes full of eval products, etc. Nice problem to have, but too much clutter. I have a lot of stuff left over, and so sometimes I have do “the big edit,” tossing stuff that I don’t need/use. But that didn’t work too well. (Shows photo of his primary work area, which is inundated with all kinds of gear.)

I decided something more drastic was necessary. The Big Re-think. If something was going to make me a better Ihnatko, it had to go. I decided, for example, I would take a buzzsaw to a sofa. If after it was in pieces I decided I still wanted it, I could put it back together. Strangely enough, after it was in little pieces, I decided it fit well in my trash can, and I was done with it.

eBay brings the whole clean-up process to a standstill. Instead of just throwing things away, I spent way too much time selling ancient alcohol tumblers on eBay for $8 a piece.

I also have decided to keep all kinds of storage media. I may be the only one on the planet to have one of almost every kind of storage medium ever made. I’ve been backing up my whole Home folder to punch card, because you just never know.

An act of heroic stupidity. Sometimes things don’t make sense, but you do them anyway because they are cool. Someone took a standard Apple one-button ADB mouse, split the single mouse button into two, added custom circuitry, and wrote a software hack to get his Mac to recognize the FrankenMouse. (Shows photo of two-button ADB mouse.) I admired his ingenuity; there should be a separate Nobel prize awarded for projects this stupid.

The Island of Unloved Hardware. That is my house. Any time there’s a piece of hardware that can’t find a good home, it finds its way to me. (Shows photo of Lisa cage.) I paid $30 to have some guy ship one to me. This is a typical story, and leads to a number of problems. For example, I have exactly 61 Mac “classic” style Macs. If I add these all together, I might have the processing power of a Mac II.

(Shows photo of original NeXT Cube.) The gold standard in computing. It’s now a lovely nightstand for magazines and drinks next to my couch.

Went shopping recently. (Shows photo of original Germany Army ENIGMA cipher machine.) Too expensive for me, but one of the most important computational devices of the 20th century. Not as cost effective as a box of Commodore Amigas, which was much more my style (shows box full of them marked at $3.00).

MacQuariage. I have a lot of old classic Macs because I like to make Macquariums. (Show’s early prototypes.) The most I’ve managed to auction one off for charity so far is $1,000.

I didn’t realize how many jumpsuits I had until I did the Big Re-think. I’ve got NASA, power plant jumpsuits, and a WingZ jumpsuit. I told the WingZ folks that I couldn’t afford their spreadsheet, but I really wanted their jumpsuit, so they sent me one.

(Shows catalog of 5 MB hard drive for $5,000.) Wow.

Microsoft sent me a can of Pringles once, and I wasted an hour of time trying to figure out why. I refused to read the enclosed press release because I wanted to figure it out on my own. I didn’t. It turns out they were promoting WiFi support in Windows. (Get it? Pringles can?)

(Plays music included on one of Apple’s Developer Group CDs: a seven minute track entitled “We are Apple.”) It will probably be over soon. Okay, no it isn’t. Sounds like a bad version of FlashDance. I can imagine a lot of pissed-off developers trapped in some hall somewhere listening to this. It’s gotta end soon, it’s just gotta. It doesn’t. You get to the very end, and they spell out A-P-P-L-E. (Andy follows along, with the crowd going nuts.)

(End of Andy’s keynote)

Adam Engst’s Panther Report Card

(Most recent news appears at top. Read from bottom up for best results.)

(end of Adam’s keynote)

9:28: Q: “Why might the user interface be slower than it could be?”

Probably the eye candy. Increased performance beyond a certain point doesn’t really increase sales, so it’s hard to justify spending development time on it.

9:27: Q: “What would you give as a letter grade?”

Once 10.3.1 comes out, we’ll be in the B+/A- range.

9:25: Internationalization. Apple has always had great support for non-Roman languages, and Panther has improved internationalization somewhat. New keyboards and fonts have been added. What Apple should do now is evangelize developers (like Microsoft) to support Unicode fully. Apple should also include more Unicode fonts, including support for all 96,000 characters in the Unicode 4.0 specification.

9:18: Mac OS X is still too device driven, even with Rendezvous. We need a cloud of shared files. Why not make a peer-to-peer file sharing system to populate the cloud? This could also be useful for backup and data recovery. Obviously, with such a system, smart utilization of permissions and encryption would be essential.

9:14: Interoperability. iTunes music sharing and Panther’s network browsing are great. The ability to browse Networks instead of typing smb:// into Jaguar’s cumbersome “Connect to server” dialog.

9:12: Mac OS X needs faster interface reactivity, and Apple should rely on hardware performance to make up for a sluggish UI. The SPoD (spinning pizza of death) should be interruptible where appropriate, but at the moment it’s unstoppable. At least that way you’d know the difference between an app that’s still working and an app that’s hung.

9:09: Apple’s focus on ease-of-use has often been at the expense of performance. Raw performance has not been one of the things Apple has excelled at over the years. Perceptual performance is perhaps more important that raw performance, and that’s where Mac OS X fell down badly. Panther brings a lot of improvement, but Apple should really focus on perceptual performance going forward.

9:05: SubEthaEdit is great for brainstorming with one or more people, where people can edit a document together in real time. But Apple needs to find these guys and hire them. These protocols should be built-in at the OS level, allowing any application hook into it. So spreadsheets, image editors, and any other application could be shared in much the same way.

9:03: A universal dot mac ID could resolve this. Apple doesn’t have to give away the service, but a universal ID would make it easier to have a single identity that could be used across different machines.

9:00: Mac has always supported communication between people and between applications, and now that’s been extended to devices like iChat AV / iSight / iTunes / iPod / iSync. But this communication could be even better. If I have four Macs running iTunes, I should have full rights on each one, with the ability to change playlists on the other machines.

8:55: One suggested improvement would be hardware diagnostics. SMART technology built into most hard drives and can tell us when hard drives are about to fail. We should have a SMART tab in Disk Utility. Apple should do something like this for RAM and other hardware troubles.

8:53: Currently little data on Panther as far as reliability and stability. There’s a new Submit Bug Report dialog when something crashes. Panther appears to have some problems with some RAM modules and external drives.

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