Write Once, Run Everyhwere

Apple iOS, Mac OS X to be Merged into Single Platform: Analyst – International Business Times


“Write once, run everywhere.” This was the motto of the Java programming language when it was first deployed by Sun Microsystems. (Along with Sun, Java was consumed by Oracle, and Oracle describes Java thus: “Write software on one platform and run it on virtually any other platform.”) As with most software packages, this dreamy promise was not quite fulfilled by the Java programming language, but Java became a pervasive and highly successful platform by virtue of the possibilities that it has delivered. Apple Inc is implementing a new spin on this “write once, run anywhere” concept, and it could turn Apple into the new monopoly.

The seventh revision of Apple’s OS X operating system, “Lion”, and its iOS 5 for the iPod/iPhone/iPad platform show significant signs of the consolidation that the above article describes. The unification of of the desktop and mobile platforms has not been stated explicitly by Apple, but it is a destination to which the latest operating system releases are evidently headed. Thus, Apple will be creating a new “write once, run everywhere” paradigm wherein software written in Apple’s development environment will be executable on the hugely profitable mobile and desktop platforms that Apple controls.

The ramifications of such a unification will be huge. No competitor enables the simultaneous deployment of software to a huge number of devices on disparate platforms. Microsoft lacks the mobile platform penetration that would make such an undertaking desirable, and Google can’t offer this capability because it has zero desktop penetration. Thus, Apple’s unified development platform could become the new monopoly. It is entirely conceivable, and it is a goal toward which Apple is manifestly striving.

Oddly enough, should Apple become the new monopoly, it will owe its success to the Microsoft monopoly. The iron fist with which Microsoft prevented anyone (such as Dell, HP, etc.) from competing with itself and Apple only empowered Apple: once Microsoft failed with the Zune player, Apple was free to expand without competition. Although Google’s Android platform has managed to become the most popular mobile platform, Google’s failure to make any penetration into the desktop market with the Chrome OS or a product similar to Apple’s iTunes, means that Android developers will forever be locked into a cutthroat mobile platform in which lucrative applications like word processing, graphics and games will be inaccessible.

The perfect examples of this is Apple’s iWork and iLife productivity suites. iWork, for example, is fully functional in both iOS and OS X environments, and the deployment of iCloud allows the user to work across his or her mobile devices and desktop computer seamlessly. Thus, Apple has created a dominant system to which no one has any answer, and the monopoly structure that Microsoft defends and propagates vigorously prevents any competitor from challenging Apple’s dominance.

A lot has been said about Steve Jobs, but no one ever gave the man enough credit for thoroughly understanding market conditions and the structure of the industry and exploiting them maximally. More on this later ….

“Write once, run anywhere” will have a whole new meaning soon.

Adding to the iPhone 5 Rumor Mill

About an hour ago I received this text message from AT&T. The iPhone 5 rumor mill is working at fever pitch, and the timing of this offer seems coincide ominously with the rumored release of the iPhone 5 in September.

The nature of the offer seems to imply that the new iPhone plans will be cheaper and available from all carriers. Why else would AT&T be offering me free minutes as a “valued customer”?

What vexes me, however, is that I would rather have more text messages. I have thousands of rollover minutes. It is text messages that I usually run out of. Why aren’t they offering me free text messages?

Oh, yeah, because they don’t care. If they did they would have offered something of value to me. This lack of attention to detail may well explain why their customers move away at first opportunity, and I may do the same when my contract expires.

To be sure, I will accept the minutes. I’ll even try to use them. Anyone wanna call me?


Rude iPhone

Moments ago I was greeted by this screen when I unlocked my iPhone. Now, I had heard that Apple has been getting cocky as of late, but this is ridiculous!

How would one go about blowing an iPhone anyway?


iPad Carnage

Apple’s new product announcements never make much sense at the time they are made. It takes a while for people to understand the ramifications of the technology being introduced and the shakedowns that will ensue. The iPad announcement may well have been the paradigmatic enigmatic announcement. The stock has tanked, and everyone is talking about the announcement being “underwhelming”, but Apple’s competitors are shaking in fear because they can see the carnage coming. Here is a short list of products or industries that will soon be laid to waste by the iPad. In no particular order, these are the products, corporations or industries that could be eradicated by iPad’s success.

  • The Kindle DX Without a doubt, the first product to die will be Amazon’s Kindle DX, the larger kindle model with a color screen designed for viewing textbooks. For the same price as the Kindle DX, the iPad offers a complete computer capable of viewing textbooks with a far richer content, word processing, games, music, photos and countless heretofore unheard of new applications. The iPad will run Amazon’s Kindle and Stanza apps, on top of all this. So, Amazon was wise to hedge its bets with its iPhone apps. In essence, Amazon was well aware of the inevitable.
  • Portable Game Players If the iPhone and iPod touch failed to obviate the need for small game consoles like Nintendo DS and Playstation Player, then iPad positively will. The iPad promises graphics and action that rival those presently available only on powerful desktop computers. So, why compromise excitement for the sake of mobility? Sure, there will be many holdouts who like the little pocket devices, but the kids will want an iPad, and parents and game enthusiasts will abandon the little devices in droves.
  • Amazon Kindle Subscription Service As the New York Times’ presence at the Apple announcement on Wednesday showed, the iPad offers publishers infinitely more flexibility than the Kindle does. Publishers are free to offer something as simple as a web subscription, and everyone with an iPad (which has a full browser) will be able to take advantage of it. People with Kindles will not. Furthermore, publishers will have the ability to offer their own subscription services or product lines through an app over which they can exercise complete control over appearance, behavior and content. Amazon’s Kindle service is not as accommodating of publishers. The Kindle limits publishers to formats that Amazon defines. Publishers will have no incentive to stay with Amazon. They will abandon it in droves, and the Kindle subscription services is thus assured of a quick and untimely death, unless Amazon can reconfigure the service. Oddly enough, the Sony reader may survive because it is not tied down to any one distribution channel the way the Kindle is.
  • Windows Tablet The most shocking revelation in the iPad announcement was the fact that Apple rewrote its iWork productivity suite to be fully functional on the iPad. iWork on the iPad was a demonstration of how Apple’s grand designs for the iPad were vastly more ambitious than any pundit, prognosticator or Wall Street analyst expected. Apple is announcing that it is beating Microsoft and Google to the mobile computing platform with a fully functional mobile computer that runs a proven and battle tested mobile platform (iPhone OS) and that is ready to do everything out of the box before any of these guys even leave the gate. Oh, yes, indeed. The carnage could be far bigger and far uglier than anyone expected.

And, the folks at Wired.com seem to agree, though they use slightly less explicit language.

Of course, the basic premise that people will want to do their computing with hand gestures on a thin, mobile tablet that has amazing computing capabilities may turn out to be false, but Apple’s experiences with mobile devices so far would imply otherwise.

It will be interesting to see who still stands after the iPad earthquake and all of its aftershocks because the landscape will change completely.

Keeping Records

The last uptime record on my Mac has been difficult to beat. Apple has been releasing software updates requiring a reboot at a staggering pace.
Second Leopard Uptime Record

All of which is good, I suppose, but it would be nice for my Intel MacBook Pro to beat my ancient PPC Powerbook record’s uptime at least once.

As it happens, the record in this iStat Nano snapshot still dates back to the ancient PPC machine, and it still falls short of the previous record of 28 days and some change.

88 tasks, 322 threads. Not too bad for an old machine, one relegated to home entertainment center.

My old 12" Powerbook (867 MHz PowerPC) as my current home entertainment center



pMac is an 867 MHz G4 12″ Apple Powerbook purchased in August of 2003. By that reckoning, it is nearly five years old as of this writing. It has traveled extensively. It has seen limited travel within California–only about as far away as Livermore from its current home in San Buenaventura–but it has been to quite a few places in Europe: Amsterdam, Brussels, Mons (Belgium), Berlin, Muenster, Mannheim, Bad Duerkheim, Paris and Munich. Some destinations probably elude recollection at the moment.

It bears the scars of its only fall quite well. The fall happened at the platform at the Rheine (Germany) train station while en route from Amsterdam to Muenster, Germany. pMac was in its trusty Timbuk2 laptop bag at the time, and the cushioning provided by the bag was sufficient to keep it alive.

At 3.5 years of age, the original Toshiba (40 gigabytes) hard drive failed, but it was promptly replaced by a similar Toshiba model with an 80 gigabyte capacity by the wonderful technicians at CNG in Westwood the same afternoon! This replacement drive used to be the former back up drive, which contained an exact copy of the main drive thanks to the wonderful free backup utility, Carbon Copy Cloner. (Thus, I only lost about two weeks of work as a result of the failure.)

Now it chugs along nicely, albeit slowly at times, but without  any problems at all. It runs Leopard at a reasonable speed. It is now awaiting  the arrival of a MacBook Pro so that  it can be demoted to home entertainment center. The transition may happen in 2008.


Download Day: Launch Firefox into Record Books

I still use Safari and Omniweb as my primary browsers, but Firefox is far too cool a browser to be forgotten. After all, it is the most feature rich browser on the planet by virtue of its add-ons.

So, strike a blow against inferior browsers and help to set a new internet record for the most software downloads in one day. Download Firefox 3 on Download Day. The Guinness Book of World Records awaits.

Download Day - English


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Brokeback Mountain What?

nicworks :: downloads ::  brokeback mountain icons setBrokeback Mountain Icon Set

Customized, clean, artistic and professionally rendered icons are one of the many nice things that the Macintosh developer community offers the Macintosh user community. An icon set based on Brokeback Mountain, however, is a mystifying contribution from this incredibly generous developer community. The offering of the icon set begs a lot of questions.

Is the gay Macintosh user base so large that catering  to it is useful? Or is the heterosexual base small enough that it can be ignored? Does the gay user base want gay icons? Does my writing on the subject qualify me as a member of the gay user base, or merely as a curious metrosexual? Why would anyone be so obsessed with this movie so many years after the fact?

Will the fundamentalist Christian community condemn the users of this icon set?

Most fortunately, however, no one will ever bother answering these questions.


Upgrade to a Slow Computer

Windows XP Significantly Outperforms Vista, Tests Show | Windows | InformationWeek

Wow. This is truly unbelievable. Information Week conducted tests to show that Windows XP outperforms Vista–Microsoft’s upgrade to XP–in every category, even if the computer is equipped with all of the latest hardware. This is the greatest testimony to Microsoft’s monopoly power. The company is forcing computer makers like Dell and HP to sell an inferior product. Instead of suffering losses, it is recording higher profits, to boot! 

My upgrade to Leopard was not totally smooth, but now that I have worked out all the kinks, it’s truly phenomenal. This thing rocks. I think I will stay with Apple a little while longer. They actually deliver something for the price they charge.

Addicted to Apple Macintosh

Yes, I knew I was addicted to my mac, but thanks to a web site, I now have a quantitative measure of this addiction.

58%How Addicted to Apple Are You?

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