macnews.net.tc
2006-08-08
A comment on the WWDC 2006 keynote
For future reference, you'll find our live transcript here, but I guess by now you know what Steve and his people at Apple have told the WWDC attendees.
During the keynote I've made some critical comments already, because I truly felt there were too many things left in the dark, and there was a bit too much "bling" for my taste and not enough "bang". So let's review Steve's message...
The Mac Pro: Certainly a good machine. As we've expected, Apple doesn't use the "Conroe" variant of the Core 2 Duo line of processors by intel and uses the workstation class processor instead. That's both good - and bad. For example: The cheapest config you can buy is now 2'124 USD. While it's still a good (2 GHz quadcore Woodcrest) machine, it takes the entry point for a pro machine up a notch, and certainly leaves some people wondering whether they're truly asked to go Mac mini or iMac! There's certainly a "free spot" for a more minimally equipped pro desktop machine. For example, they could let you have one with only one dualcore processor for 1999. Or they could actually start at 1799 for a machine with a Conroe processor. Apple has previously filled that spot with a "lesser" machine. Either way: The highend's looking good - and a few years late, we've finally reached 3 GHz. (Steve didn't dwell on it, so let's not repeat that message too often, either.) ;) - The Xserve was good news as well, and it implies that in October, there finally will be Tiger Server for intel, at least preinstalled on the Xserves. Apple might decide to only let customers buy separate server licenses when Leopard arrives, though.
Talking about Leopard, Steve has made it clear that certain "top secret" features weren't talked about yesterday. Whether that really was to stop MS from copying Apple or because the features simply weren't ready yet - we don't know (but guess the latter). Leopard was postponed 3 months to "Spring 2007" compared to the original "end of 2006" point. (Whether "Spring" means beginning or end of Spring will remain to be seen. April would be two years after Tiger, which more or less complies with what we originally expected would be Apple's "new cycle" after Panther/Tiger.)
The shown features are all right and well, but other than Time Machine, they didn't exactly blow my mind. Time Machine itself... I'll have to test this. As I'm working on a notebook, I fear that there might be some issues with disconnecting and reconnecting my backup harddrive when I'm on my way/coming home. Will it try to move large amounts of data every time I reconnect the drive? If I changed, re-changed and then deleted a file I created while outside, will Time Machine have backed that file up without the external drive connected in the meantime in some sort of cache on the local volume? Does that mean that I'll run out of local disk space more often and sooner? After a couple of months, will I need 500 GB for my 100 GB internal drive, because I actually do work a lot? Can I selectively let Time Machine forget about a 20 GB iMovie project that only takes space I know I *really* could put to better use? Questions and questions - and unanswered until quite a bit of testing is done, I guess. Generally, I certainly like the idea of instant automatic backups. But there aren't that many cases in which I really need several states of a file ready to recover. And if Time Machine tries to remember a 20 GB iMovie project that I've *wildly* edited over a few weeks, I guess it *would* take up lots of space on that backup drive. Three users using a server could quickly run into problems - unless Time Machine automatically starts to "select and forget". And if it does, I'm not sure whether I truly want to trust its "guts" about which versions to forget. The oldest might be more important than some in-between steps, you know. At least for nostalgics like myself. Then again, it maybe doesn't even want to forget, and will just inform users that they have to buy a couple of TB of drive space. (The real reason for the four drive bays in the Mac Pro, I guess?) ;)
I guess we just can't really say too much about Leopard yet. We'll certainly report about the coming along of the next version of Mac OS X over the next months. And we're looking forward to it. After all: Tiger was not all that good, Panther was a bigger step. (Read: "leopard's coming. was tiger good?")
I haven't used my MacBook's iSight much so far. Backdrops might make me use it, I guess. I always wanted to video chat from Mars' surface. :) But that's a "gimmick", not a feature of the OS, in my opinion. I hope Apple won't deliver "200 new gimmicks, five new features" with Leopard.
Comments:
I've a different perception of Time Machine: it's just a good incremental backup program, with a very innovative UI.
As you can see from the Leopard Sneak Peek pages, by default Time Machine will backup everything incrementally each night, provided that the backup media is connected.

So if you create, delete, recreate, modify a file, Time Machine will record only the version that will be present at backup time.

Notice how there're no hours in the Time Machine UI, just days (because by default it backups each night).

The API for TM will probably be something like "provided a data file show a graphical representation of it". So if you write TM support for a word processor you can show a window for each version of the file, highlighting changes.

Time machine is a very smart idea, in my opinion, but there's no mind-blowing-alien-technology, just a really smart usage of incremental backups.
 
If that's the case, then he's been lying again. ;) Clearly, he said "as you change the file", which implies that things would be instantly backed up. Well: I *hope* it's going to be a sane solution, of course...
 
Well... "as you change the file" it's automatically included in the list of files to backup, without any user intervention.
He didn't say WHEN you change the file ;).
 
osx server for intel exists now. you can add it as a build to order option with the MacPro.
 
cool. :)
 
I'm actually excited about the virtual desktop stuff mentioned. I work on several largeish programming projects at a time, so being able to organise each of these into a selectively launchable "desktop" would be really great - I've tried other third party solutions and they all seemed a bit incomplete and generally limited my work rather than helping it. It'd save my dock from being cluttered with 3000 minimised windows too.
 
AFAIK you won't be able to move one window of application A to space 1 and another to space 2. Apps are restricted to one space, it seems. Sad.
 
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