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September 22, 2000

Man, it's really easy to fall out of the habit of doing these things. Or maybe my subconscious is just telling me I have nothing to say. ^_^

A quick note before I get going: I make an appearance in episode 7 of Otaku Wish Fulfillment, a silly story about some anime fans who get pulled into a world of in-jokes and silliness. (Before you start thinking I'm so well-known that people spontaneously include me in these things, I'll note that Steven asked the DGML if anyone was interested in making an appearance. It's still cool, though.)

So, Wednesday last week was 13 September 2000 and since we haven't seen any reports about Antarctica exploding, it's probably safe to assume that we won't be seeing a giant purple robot defending Tokyo from alien monsters fifteen years from now. Instead of Second Impact, we got Apple's annoucement of the Mac OS X public beta.

Unusually for beta software, Apple is charging money to get copies. A lot of people have complained ("Why should I pay them to test their software?"), but others have called this a clever way to screen out the less-motivated users. As MWJ puts it:

What better than a nominal fee to screen out those who at best would produce little useful feedback to Apple on the release, and at worst would spread the "this thing is crap" sentiment far and wide?

That might sound elitist, but the truth is that a pre-release operating system is harder and riskier to use than a polished, customer-ready one. Is it worth the time and effort to buy and install an unfinished OS (and, in my case, new hardware that actually supports it)? Maybe. I'm curious, but I think I prefer to wait until things are ready.

Anyway, now that the system is publicly available, we're starting to see articles by people who have actually used it under normal circumstances (compare with my own article on the new interface, which was based on pictures at Apple's web site). At MacWeek, for instance, there is a look at the system and a discussion of the compromises involved in making it.

Will Apple pull this off? Can they adequately replace the Mac OS functionality they're removing? Will we ever learn to pronounce it "ten" instead of "X"? Will the next update be sometime this month?

If I find out, I'll let you know.