Tuesday, August 31, 2010

AutoCAD returns to the Mac, and comes to iOS in the bargain

As before, I merely pass along a pointer to Architosh's report, which discusses the iOS companion program as well as AutoCAD itself.

Architosh also reports on what appears to be a 60-second TV spot, produced (or at least paid for) by AutoDesk, the company behind AutoCAD.

Monday, August 30, 2010

perseverance and pride

I've already said most of what there is to say about the event itself here, but what I only mentioned briefly there is that it's been a long, long time coming, with the project going through metamorphosis again and again. I had a need to do something that would contribute to bringing the world of music back around to an appreciation of the role of harmonics in melody, not just in harmony, or at least that's how it began. Arguably, I've accomplished that.

Along the way it also became an issue of pride in craftsmanship, as an amateur programmer with experience in Apple's approach to supporting application software. That and avarice may collaborate to drive the project further, perhaps much further, but for now I have a sense of contingent satisfaction, the degree of satisfaction being contingent on the degree of traction my creation manages to garner.

Of course, a free app with no ad revenue doesn't do much to feed avarice, so I'm left with pride in craftsmanship, for now, which is probably just as well; it's what drives me to do my best work.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

party politics in a nutshell

I'm registered to vote, but not affiliated with any political party, at the moment.

That said, here's what remains of my impressions of the two main political parties.

The Democrats have a huge investment in appearing high-minded, and consequently manage to be right about what should happen a little more often.

The Republicans have two distinct constituencies, for one of which they must appear to be at least adequately morally upright, and for the other of which they must make it clear that morality doesn't extend to the wholesale confiscation and repurposing of wealth. It's a delicate dance, and, as a consequence, they manage to be right about what will happen a little more often.

Both are people, with all that means, good and bad.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

how to improve upon Mac OS X 10.6?

Update: John Siracusa weighs in

From my perspective, that looks like a tall order, but so far it's looking like a slow news week, and Cristopher Ryan, writing in the Apple Blog, has asked What Could Make OS X 10.7 Great? so I'll have a go.

Without really understanding the issues involved, let me echo Ryan's call for a new file system. Everyone who followed such developments seemed encouraged by the hope that ZFS was just around the corner, when it appeared to be so, and then Oracle bought Sun Microsystems and suddenly we were back in bed with HFS+, with no realistic alternatives on the horizon. Meanwhile, whatever Apple is using for a file system in iOS devices is fairly free to evolve, since iOS apps are sandboxed and only have access to the narrow slice of that system that relates directly to them. Also, being flash memory devices with no hard drives, they have different abilities and requirements as compared with a desktop machine. One possibility for the future is that iOS's refined handling of flash memory might be grafted into HFS+ at about the same time that Macs other than the MacBook Air get a bank of flash memory or a solid state drive to augment their massive (but slower) hard drives. Granted, this probably won't be enough to satisfy those who really understand file system issues.

Another iOS capability that might be brought to Mac OS X is the full-blown touch interface, not just the trackpad gestures supported by the Magic Trackpad (which I love!). (If you think the possibility of touchscreen Macs isn't even on Apple's radar, check out this and this.)

Something not yet implemented in iOS, that I hope to see sooner rather than later is low-level support for machine vision, stereo machine vision to be precise, meaning dual video cameras atop MacBook screens and Cinema Displays, or, perhaps better, a dual camera accessory, also sporting stereo microphones, with motorized pan, tilt, and zoom, as well as automatic focus and aperture, benefitting from the same attention to detail as the original iSight. It would be enough if it could do good quality stereo video recording, editable in iMovie, to begin with, leaving any machine vision applications for the following year.

Mostly, I'd like Apple to continue with the transformative process that was the main selling point of 10.6 over 10.5, making the next version even more coherent, robust, and svelte.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

whichever comes first

An Engadget article on the relationship between Apple and AT&T cites a legal action as confirming "the handset was originally locked to AT&T / Cingular for a full five years." In reading that it occurred to me that there might have been another factor written into the original contract, some number of iPhone activations, that would automatically shorten the period of exclusivity if it were to be reached before the full term expired, without any renegotiation of the contract.

Given that iPhones have out-sold everyone's expectations, such a clause could be expected to fire, but the exact timing would remain indefinite until just a few days remained.