My iPhone 3G normally resides in a case of some sort—the iFrogz 3G Luxe for normal use, and the Incase Power Slider when using the iPhone for GPS during a round of golf. (Sadly, the Power Slider is out of production now; you may be able to find leftovers at Best Buy, Target, or the Apple Store. It does a great job at making battery life a non-issue, even during five hours of intense GPS use.)
After returning from an early-morning round of golf one recent weekend, I took the iPhone out of the Power Slider case, and noticed a small crack on the back of the iPhone—it started at the dock connector, and went up and right from there, running about half-an-inch or so. I wouldn’t have even noticed it visually, except that it was a complete break—my finger snagged on the ridge where the plastic had split.
My iPhone 3G was new in late August 2008, so it was still under warranty. After a bit of digging on the Apple support site, I found the Online Service Assistant. After entering my iPhone’s serial number, the assistant confirmed my iPhone was under warranty, and told me to make an appointment with an Apple Genius at a local Apple Store.
With Thursday’s release of Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio, Apple has moved its flagship video and audio editing suites exclusively to the Intel chipset—while previous releases were Universal apps for either PowerPC or Intel CPUs, these versions are Intel-only.
Beyond these mainstream productivity apps, many new games are shipping with Intel-only requirements—Call of Duty 4, for instance. There are many other such examples; you can find lots of pointers on Transgaming Technologies’ Cider page. (Cider is a technology that lets developers “wrap” their Windows games in a Mac-compatible bundle, so that they can be ported to the Mac with minimal work.)
Aw, who am I kidding? Making predictions about things we know nothing about is what the Internet was made for, amiright? So in the spirit of talking through my hat, here are the two Chrome OS-related thoughts that kept my brain busy over the past week.
By the time I got to work Wednesday morning and began browsing through my RSS feeds, I had my choice of 14 stories about Chrome. None of them substantially advanced the story beyond, “It’s here! (Well, not yet. But it will be!)”
Google Chrome OS isn’t expected to appear on machines until the second half of 2010. For those scoring at home, that’s at least 12 months away. To get there, Google admits it’s “going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision.” Think about that statement—Google is relying on help from a community that just heard about this project Wednesday, and yet it plans on having an operating system installed and shipping on machines in about a year’s time.
Granted, a lot of the work is done already, as Chrome OS is based on Linux. Still, the company’s admission that it needs a lot of help to get this project done doesn’t really inspire a lot of confidence that it will be done on a timely basis. But forget all that—let’s assume it will ship on time, next summer or fall. That still doesn’t mean that Apple (and Microsoft) have anything to fear from Chrome OS as of today.
The tantalizing question about William Gibson's ideas in his novel Neuromancer involves their relationship with the course that the Web took and continues to take as Neuromancer's publication date--July 1, 1984, 25 years ago today--recedes farther into the past. In his afterword to the 2000 re-release of the book, novelist Jack Womack suggests that Neuromancer may have directly influenced the way the Web developed--that it may have provided a blueprint that developers who grew up with the book consciously or subconsciously followed. Womack asks "what if the act of writing it down, in fact, brought it about?"
I'll take a stab at discussing Neuromancer's major tech inventions, including the ones that are already coming true, as well as some that seem unlikely to happen anytime soon.
First, a little background. Neuromancer tells the story of Case, once a hot and high-paid cyberspace cowboy who could infiltrate and rip off corporate databases. But he stole from his employer, who took revenge by crippling Case's nervous system with a mycotoxin, rendering him unable to hack. Alone and suicidal, Case is scooped off the street and given a second chance by a shadowy group of people who have big (and scary) plans. In exchange for curing Case's nervous system, they want him to help them infiltrate the core of a huge and powerful AI (artificial intelligence) called Wintermute.
There’s an old saying, widely attributed to Will Rogers, that describes three types of people: “The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” In matters of technology, I'm a proud member of the third group. As a perfect example, I’m writing this article from the smallest Mac OS X laptop I’ve ever used: It weighs just under 2.4 pounds, and is only 9 inches wide, 6.7 inches deep, and 1.3 inches thick.