Apple Hardware Software

MacWorld SF

It’s MacWorld tomorrow. I’ll be watching the net closely to see what the almighty Steve announces. I’ve got the following predictions:

  • Mac OS X 10.5 Announced (99% Chance) – That means I get to be a geek and preorder from the Apple store.
  • More Video/Movies On iTunes (95% Chance) – This will be a big focus since Apple really wants this market.
  • .Mac Overhaul (80% Chance) – Don’t really care about this one personally since I don’t use the service.
  • iTV (72% Chance) – I doubt it’s ready. Either an announcement to expect summer delivery, and/or a more detailed preview. I could be wrong, but I don’t think they are ready.
  • Incremental Bumps For Various Computers (70% Chance) – Rather lame and generic for a prediction, but I think at least 1 computer line (most likely iMac, and Mac Pro) will see a speed bump. For the Mac Pro it would make most sense, since Intel just announced Quad Core Xeons.
  • Airport Extreme 802.11n Edition (68% Chance) – The rumors exist, and I think there is a decent shot. They likely need it for iTV.
  • Phone (60% Chance) – If it is, it will be the fabled ‘iPhone’, though likely under another name. Only reason I give it 60% odds is because of all the press. Otherwise I’d put it down to 25%. I don’t think it’s extremely likely, but there is to much press to ignore. Then again, I’m still waiting for my Apple PDA (ended up being the iPod).
  • New iPod (51% Chance) – I’m going out on a limb here. Despite pretty much no press, I think it’s time for the full screen iPod, with a true chipset designed for the purpose of video. I mentioned this before.
  • Software Upgrade(50% Chance) – Very likely some software, either an iWorks upgrade, or iTunes version.

So there are my predictions. I do believe it will be a very busy MacWorld with more announcements than usual. I expect volume to be one of the more notable things. A lot of things on all fronts. Not so much of a war on Microsoft, but a big grab at the “digital lifestyle”.

Lets see how I pan out this year.

Mozilla Software

The Venice Project

I got an invite to the much-talked-about Venice Project a few weeks ago, and managed to take it for a spin a few times. GigaOm among others like Engadget and BusinessWeek have also mentioned it. A few noteworthy things:

  • It’s running on Mozilla’s XULRunner! Confirmed by Allan Beaufour.
  • Video quality is extremely good, and buffering time is minimal even when getting only about 4Mbps broadband (during busy holiday times as I typically do 6-8Mbps). This means we should expect Linux/Mac versions to follow.
  • Content is extremely sparse. This is really the Achilles’ heel of the venture. Without content it’s worthless, despite being technologically cool.
  • It doesn’t quit when you close the app by default. It minimizes so it can still share data. This isn’t a very cool thing if you care about bandwidth consumption (you may, or you may not). I understand why they do this though.
  • UI is very fluent and almost TiVo-ish, though not always as intuitive as one would like. It is still a beta, so I’d expect things to improve. One thing I did email about was getting tooltips to show up sooner, which would help remedy this.
  • Doesn’t seem to pierce through firewalls as easy as Skype does (though still does a pretty good job). Not sure if this is on the todo list, of if it’s something that can’t be fixed. Perhaps Skype just set a really high standard.

I don’t want to go into a very serious review because it’s still in development, and it doesn’t seem I can include screenshots other than those released just yet. I plan to revisit this with a more thorough review at a later date. Perhaps when it’s permissible to include screenshots, or when a beta picks up a feature warranting a little more info. As someone who loves seeing new innovative software, and businesses, this has been a real treat to check out. As someone who appreciates the tech behind the scenes (go XULRunner!) it’s really a treat.

Edit: Now known as Joost.

Mozilla Software

Windows Media Player 11 And Firefox

Windows Media Player 11 has been out for a while now. I just recently installed it since I like to wait until some others have tried Microsoft’s larger updates first. Since the upgrade I went around several sites to see how it performs while using Firefox. It does indeed look as if the busy bees at Microsoft have been hard at work improving Windows Media Player support for Firefox (using Firefox 2.0).

The most noticeable difference is that when clicking on a link to a Windows media file such as a .wmv it correctly launches Windows Media Player and plays without involving the download manager. This is a big usability win right here. It makes the process of watching video much more fluent. In my opinion this alone is worth the upgrade.

Browsing around sites, I couldn’t find any major problems, so the upgrade seems pretty safe regarding compatibility.

I did note that on, which nests the player with native controls in a UI that butts right up against the bottom of the player it can get cut off on the bottom by a few pixels. I personally haven’t seen this in Windows Media Player prior, so I presume this is new. It seems like it happens mostly if the window is refreshed, or if it’s toggled back and forth between fullscreen a few times. A screenshot is below (click for full sized):

Windows Media Player on CNN

I couldn’t find any other site with a design similar to that using Windows Media Player, so I couldn’t reproduce it. Either sites are using custom controls (such as, don’t have anything so close to the bottom of the player, or don’t use Windows Media. If anyone can think of a similar site, or finds one with this quirk leave a comment.

This isn’t a serious issue since the player is still usable, and it’s not something that happens very often (it took several minutes of playing around to reproduce it more than once).

Has anyone else seen issues with Windows Media Player 11? How has site compatibility been since upgrading with Firefox 1.5 and 2.0?

Blog Internet Mozilla

Off Topic Mail

It seems to be happening more and more. I get emails sent either through my contact page or emailed directly to me that are extremely misguided. Often to the point where you question if they would give you their credit card number, social security number, or proof of a sacrificed first born if you just replied and asked for it. We aren’t talking about spam, but questions that really have no purpose being directed towards me, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why someone would pick me.

I’ve tried with the “emails about _____ will be ignored” warnings on the contact page, but they were ignored, so to make the page cleaner I just removed it. Apparently people who do this are so misdirected, that didn’t help ;-).

Among the more memorable ones:

  • Account/Invite Requests – This is the most popular. They typically want an account on: Orkut, Reporter, Gmail, something about ‘Mozilla Email Service’ or something like that once or twice a few years ago. Are there plans to compete with Gmail that I haven’t heard about? Even The Venice Project (which I can’t confirm or deny any sneak peak, much less share if I did).
  • It’s Broken – I answer if it’s related to code that I wrote (extension, website, etc.). If it’s a “Firefox doesn’t work” I always point to mozillaZine forums for this (since those forums do a pretty good job), can’t login to some random site including online banking or their work email, or some other site. Requests about lost passwords? Yup.
  • He’s picking on me – How to get revenge? I got one of these before too.
  • Can you help me make… – Typically a request for me to do all the work (for free) behind someones moronic business idea. Like I don’t have enough things I want to do for myself.
  • Angry Mail – These are the ones where people feel that if your online, it’s your legally binding obligation is to be their digital slave. Not even a simple request, but a demand or threat, often either abrasive or just outright offensive in nature.

There are others, but not quite as memorable. 9/10 that fall into the above categories are just ignored and deleted with no reply. After all, why even get them started. Some people do get worse than me, so I really can’t complain too much.

A few months ago I was getting some serious spam, but since I rewrote the system to include several anti-spam defenses, that’s been remedied. That of course doesn’t solve this.

It doesn’t bother me to much (it’s not like it’s flooding my email), but just one of those silly things you have to deal with. I understand the Firefox related questions on occasion, or things related to work I’ve done. But much of it is so off target it’s funny.

I do wonder if there is a better way to handle it.

In The News

Top 10 Airports

Here’s an article on the Top 10 Airports in the World. They are billed as great places to pass time while waiting. And boy is this article a load of manure.

I’ve flown out of John F. Kennedy International Airport (though not the mentioned Terminal 6), connected at Los Angeles International Airport (with a layover), and spend 12 hrs delayed at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

First of all, their description of Schiphol is borderline fraudulent. Believe me, all airports are boring after about 1hr. Everything they mention is a bit smaller than the description implies. To give you an idea, take the size of the country and compare the scale to that of the United States. Got that ratio handy? Then take a small Atlantic City Casino, Museum, etc. from the US and shrink it down by that same ratio. That’s about accurate.

I never saw any celebrities at LAX, but perhaps that’s because I was there before the sun came up on a layover, and that was in July as I recall. Any celebrity with money, and some without were somewhere else but LA.

General Personal


It’s now 2007 for an hour already. So here’s to a great 2007!

On the plus side, it’s nice to see at least this blog updated the copyright on it’s own (though an hour off since the server is GMT -6 rather than GMT -5 like I am. I’ve got to make the rounds and do the rest now, and make it automatic for the future. Every year I forget until the last minute.