Tag Archives | Apple Macintosh

Sad About Sandboxing

Pauli Olavi Ojala does a good job of making the case against upcoming Apple rules–similar to those already in place for iOS–which will greatly restrict the capabilities of OS X programs that are sold through the Mac App Store:

Need to access hardware using something else than USB, for example Thunderbolt, FireWire or Bluetooth? Tough luck. (Just because these interfaces are on your Mac doesn’t mean Apple wants anyone to use them via 3rd party software.)

Need to communicate with processes that your app didn’t directly start, or perhaps take screenshots? Not going to happen.

Maybe you’d like to read and write files in a known location on a network disk? Not possible, unless you pop up the Open/Save dialog for every file.

There are two reasons not to get too worked up over the new regulations. One is that software developers don’t have to use the App Store–and software distributed through other channels doesn’t have to hew to the new policies. The other is that the sandboxing that Apple is enforcing has real benefits. (The company may say that Macs “just work,” but its sandboxed OS-based products are far more reliable than a Mac or any other old-school PC.)

If Apple ever starts to make it difficult to avoid the Mac App Store, I’ll get alarmed. (I’m already worried about Microsoft’s apparent plans to permit distribution of new-style Windows 8 software only through its app store.) But as long as the App Store is avoidable, I think we’re okay. Think of buying non-App Store apps for your Mac as being like jailbreaking your computer–except you don’t actually have to jailbreak anything.

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A Strange Sort of Prison, a Strange Sort of Freedom

Free software advocate and GNU creator Richard Stallman has blogged that he’s glad Steve Jobs is gone. That’s, um, gauche. But it’s not why I bring up his post. He also calls Jobs “the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom.”

Apple products? Jails. Cool ones. Apple fans? Jailbirds. Foolish ones. Got that?

Eric S. Raymond, also a free software advocate, has also written about Jobs’ passing. He’s more dignified about it, but the gist is similar. He says:

What’s really troubling is that Jobs made the walled garden seem cool. He created a huge following that is not merely resigned to having their choices limited, but willing to praise the prison bars because they have pretty window treatments.

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OS X Lion 10.7.1 is Here

As major operating-system upgrades go, I’ve found Apple’s OS X 10.7 to be smoother sailing than most. But Apple has released 10.7.1, an update with the sort of minor fixes that usually show up in the first update to an upgrade. The Loop’s Peter Cohen has some details.

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Iomega’s New Hard Drive is for iPad-Owning Mac Users

How can hard-drive companies jump on the iPad bandwagon? Seagate and Hitachi have created wireless drives designed to work with Apple’s tablet. Iomega is taking another approach. Its Mac Companion Hard Drive is a standard USB hard disk–and a desktop model at that–designed to charge an iPad.

As seen above, the Companion features an Apple-esque design and is sized to fit on the stand of an iMac or Apple monitor. It can connect to a Mac via FireWire 400/800 or USB 2.0, and has both a two-port USB 2.0 hub and the high-powered charging port required by the iPad.  (The USB 2.0 is a tipoff that Iomega really intends this drive for Mac users–otherwise, the company has been aggressively moving to USB 3.0, a technology which no Mac yet supports.)

The Companion is available in 1TB ($195) and 2TB ($295) versions, carries a three-year warranty, and will be available only at the Apple Store at first.


Coming on Monday: WWDC 2011 Live Blog Coverage

On Monday June 6th at 10am PT, I’ll be at San Francisco’s Moscone West for Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote. It sounds packed, packed, packed–we’ll get our last big look at OS X 10.7 Lion before it ships, and our first big looks at the next version of iOS, and the long-rumored service now known as iCloud. And rumor has it that there are occasionally surprise announcements at these events. (I’m told Jobs likes to keep them until the end.)

I’ll blog the keynote news as it happens, with color commentary from special guest Doug Aamoth of Techland. Tens of thousands of folks attended our last Apple live coverage (the iPad 2 announcement), but we’ll save room for you. Join us at technologizer.com/wwdc11–and go there now to sign up for an e-mail reminder if you like.

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Apple Moving Macs to ARM? If History is Any Guide, That’s…Entirely Plausible

A Web site with the wonderful name SemiAccurate is reporting that it’s a “done deal” that Apple will dump Intel chips for ones based on the ARM architecture used in most smartphones and tablets, including the iPhone and iPad–and it’ll do it “as soon as possible.” I tend to be skeptical about rumors of great big news that come from not-so-well-known sites. But I’m nowhere near as skeptical as VentureBeat’s Devindra Hardawar:

Seems to me that there are several factors that make a Mac move to ARM plausible, or least very far from unthinkable…

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