Monthly Archives: October 2002

There and back again


Out all last week, vacationing around the Gulf coast. It was good to unplug for a week and forget about the email, the blogs, and the constant hum of a noisy FireWire drive. I think we went three whole days without hearing the word “sniper”.

Cocoa/Carbon opinions from Applelust

Brent Simmons responds point by point to the misinformation in the article, “Going Native: The Attraction of the Cocoa Interface.”

Although the article is a mess, there are a couple of valid observations in it:

“Still, at this point in the evolution of Mac OS X, it is quite possible, as an end user, to perceive a very real difference between Cocoa and Carbon applications with respect to their interfaces and the way they interact with their users.”

Sadly, I agree. I think one of the reasons is this: most Carbon developers still support Mac OS 9, which makes adopting X-only features (drawers, toolbars, and sheets) more difficult because of the need to maintain two separate pieces of code. But as more users move away from OS 9, Carbon developers will give their apps a good facelift and release X-only versions, possibly even Jaguar-only versions in some cases.

Spirited Away

Last night I saw Spirited Away. I first heard about the film shortly before its release in Japan, and finally it is getting a limited release here. It opened in Austin at 3 theaters, which is more than I expected. Our showing had a good attendance, and one earlier in the day had even sold out.

That Spirited Away is original and brilliant shouldn’t surprize anyone who has seen Miyazaki’s previous films. I have only seen 3 others (Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, and Princess Mononoke). There is a lot to take in from this one. In fact, after a few failed attempts at writing a critique where you see this sentence, I’m going to wait on giving my personal interpretation and instead just say: go see it.

From an Animation World Network profile of Miyazaki:

“With Spirited Away he had noticed that some of his granddaughter’s friends, girls about 10 years old, seemed very apathetic, only interested in passively watching modern popular culture, unaware of Japan’s rich cultural past. He felt that he should make a film for 10-year-old girls that would both introduce them to their heritage and encourage them to develop a sense of self-reliance and responsibility.”

AWN also has an interview with husband-and-wife writing team Cindy Davis Hewitt and Donald H. Hewitt on adapting Spirited Away to English.

Cocoa, Carbon, and iDVD

The comments for Slashdot’s “Which Coding Framework for Mac OS X?” are frustrating. I have been experimenting with Cocoa lately, and I really like it. Objective-C is slick and the UI frameworks are good. But I’m so tired of seeing Carbon discounted as just a transitional technology and not as “native” as Cocoa. Now that it is possible to mix-and-match Cocoa and Carbon windows in the same application, hopefully we will see both technologies used where appropriate.

As big a Carbon fan as I am, though, I would probably recommend Cocoa for first-time programmers looking to write a simple X-only app. But it’s not appropriate for all apps. Photoshop and similar cross-platform apps will stay Carbon and C++ for some time to come, and many have their own internal frameworks to make life easier between the two platforms. has a good Cocoa vs. Carbon article that discusses the speed issue. Many people have noticed that recent Cocoa apps from Apple such as iPhoto and iCal are sometimes painfully slow, while iTunes and iMovie (both Carbon apps) have always been speedy even on Mac OS 9.

And then there’s iDVD. I used it for the first time last week, and it’s a great piece of software.

It took me a little while to figure this out, but the DVD Enabler that used to be distributed with OWC’s DVD-R drives does not work under Mac OS 10.2. I had to install 10.1.5 on a second drive and boot from that to use iDVD on my TiBook. But it’s well worth the trouble. iDVD is one of those rare apps that takes something that was impossible to do before (mastering DVDs for home movies and pictures on the cheap), and not only makes it possible but makes it easy. That iDVD is a Cocoa app speaks to the power in the Cocoa frameworks when used effectively.

Nobel Prize to Carter

The first thing I saw when I woke up this morning, from the BBC News: Former US President Jimmy Carter wins the Nobel Peace Prize for “decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”

The Nobel site has a long history on the Nobel Peace Prize, including this bit on the first award to a US president:

“[Roosevelt] received the prize for his successful mediation to end the Russo-Japanese war and for his interest in arbitration, having provided the Hague arbitration court with its very first case. Internationally, however, he was best known for a rather bellicose posture, which certainly included the use of force. It is known that both the secretary and the relevant adviser of the Nobel Committee at that time were highly critical of an award to Roosevelt.”

And the second, to Woodrow Wilson:

“In 1919, the Peace Prize was awarded to the President of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson for his crucial role in establishing the League [of Nations]. Wilson had been nominated by many, including Venstre Prime Minister Gunnar Knudsen. In a certain sense the prize to Wilson was obvious; what still made it controversial, also among committee members, was that the League was part of the Versailles Treaty, which was regarded as diverging from the president’s own ideal of ‘peace without victory.'”

Mr. Swartz Goes to Washington

Aaron Swartz has an excellent write-up of his trip to Washington for the Eldred case. Also covered is Brewster Kahle and the Bookmobile:

“Brewster talks about how he sat down with book industry executives. He points out that they have thousands of out-of-print books, which they aren’t selling and are making no money off of. He pulls out his checkbook. ‘How much do I have to pay to be able to make these books and give them to children?’ he asks. They refuse, they will not let him make their books for any price.”

More Lessig v. Ashcroft

Every week or so the tech weblog world (or at least the portion that I view) aligns on one issue. This week it’s the Lessig arguments in the Eldred case before the Supreme court.

Matthew Haughey, “Copyright and the Commons”:

“As the law currently stands, this very piece I’ve written here and the image I made to accompany it are protected from someone trying to sell it and pass it off as their own, and that’s great for me as an artist/writer. Yet that also means neither will be available for reprinting, repurposing, or any other use without my permission for a very long time. If I die on my 75th birthday, you’ll be free to reuse the above image or this text in 2117. Is that what copyright was intended for?”

Another timely piece I enjoyed was a Salon article titled “Riding along with the Internet Bookmobile”. Boing Boing summarized it well:

“Brewster’s Bookmobile is a van with a sat dish, a duplexing printer, and access to thousands of public-domain children’s books. As a dramatic demonstration of the value of the public domain — which Larry Lessig is arguing today before the Supreme Court — Brewster is driving the Bookmobile across the country, stopping in working-class neighborhoods and printing books on demand for school libraries.”

And then there’s this ridiculous headline from the United Press International web site: “Case could strip Disney of Mickey”. File that one under oversimplification or misinformation, your choice.

Electronic Voting

Slashdot reports on Brazil’s electronic ballots.

Early voting here in Austin this month will use the eSlate system, which has already been tested in some surrounding counties. It will be used by everyone in Travis County for the general election next year. It looks like an okay interface: a wheel for scrolling through candidates and a big red button to submit your ballot. The final screen shows a summary of your choices so you can correct any mistakes.

Mirror Project

Peter Merholz writes about his first contribution to the Mirror Project:

“I went to the mirror, and saw I could frame myself in between the two brothers talking, and snapped the photo you see on the site. My dad is older than Bertin, and in infinitely better shape. I wondered just what dad was *thinking* as he was looking at his little brother, who probably tagged along with him on the streets of Cleveland, who probably looked up to him in that way that younger brothers do, and now, as they enter twilight years, the younger brother is clearly going to pass long before the older.”

I submitted a photo to the Mirror Project earlier this year, too, but it doesn’t have an interesting story behind it. I had browsed through the Mirror Project site earlier that day or week, and afterwards whenever I saw my reflection in something I thought about the site. It’s a cool idea. If you like what you see, you can even subscribe to an RSS feed of the latest submissions.

Mac OS X Conference blogs

It’s fun watching the posts come in to the Mac OS X Conference “Trackback” feed. Hopefully more people will hook into it before the conference is over. It’s a good way to learn about other blogs that share a common interest.

MacCentral has a short write-up on James Duncan Davidson’s Cocoa talk at the OS X conference. One quote that stood out for me: “Project Builder was the first IDE I actually liked”. That’s funny — the more I use Project Builder, the less I like it.

There’s also some coverage at the O’Reilly site.