The Next MacBook

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

I now know what the specs for the next, ultra-portable MacBook are going to be. Look for:

  • 32GB solid state drive
  • Intel Core 2 Duo Ultra Low Voltage chip running at 1.2GHz
  • 1-2 GB RAM
  • 802.11a, b and g wireless; built-in Ethernet
  • Carbon fiber case
  • 276 x 199 x 29mm
  • 1.15 kg
  • 11.1 inch screen 1,366 x 768 pixels
  • Integrated webcam
  • Integrated Dual-layer DVD writer
  • USB 2 and Firewire
  • 6 hour battery life
  • Price (the number I’m least certain of) $2995

No, I don’t have any inside information. These are actually the specs for the new Sony Vaio VGN-TZ12VN (except for the price). Sony’s the only manufacturer that really competes with Apple in the “cool laptop” space; and Apple is not going to let them win.

Internal and External Exceptions

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

Perhaps the continuing confusion over the difference between checked and runtime exceptions in Java is because we haven’t named them properly. Mosts texts and teachers, including myself, have traditionally focused on how and when you handle the exceptions (compile time or runtime) rather than on what causes each. I propose a modification, not in code, but in terminology and teaching. Specifically I think we should should start calling checked exceptions “external exceptions” and runtime exceptions “internal exceptions”.

Apple Surrenders

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

I am pleased see that the just released QuickTime 7.2 enables full-screen playback for all users, not just those who’ve paid extra for QuickTime Pro.

As some of you may remember, I started the Amateur Project mostly because I was pissed off that Apple wanted to charge me again to play movies in full screen mode, even though I’d already paid for QuickTime Pro once. Amateur is written in Java on top of Swing and QuickTime for Java.

Amateur became capable of playing movies in fullscreen mode fairly quickly, and it even has a few useful features Apple’s own player does not. I’ve used it for most of my media playback needs ever since. It never achieved full parity with QuickTime Pro in other features though because:

A. Apple has more or less abandoned QuickTime for Java, and many new features of QuickTime 7 and even 6 simply aren’t available from Java.

B. I’ve had limited time to work on it for the last year or so.

C. Nobody else competent ever stepped forward to contribute. A couple of dozen people did fill out a generic form requesting developer privileges without contacting me first, or giving me any indication of who they were or what they wanted to do. All I got was an opaque username and a request for commit privileges. Sorry that’s not enough. I did not get a single patch or even a usable bug report from anyone.

North and South

Friday, July 6th, 2007

David Chapelle writes that

To anybody who’s paying attention and who’s not a hopeless partisan, the war between REST and WS-* is over. The war ended in a truce rather than crushing victory for one side–it’s Korea, not World War II. The now-obvious truth is that both technologies have value, and both will be used going forward.

That’s a nice analogy. Take it one step further though. WS-* is North Korea and REST is South Korea. While REST will go on to become an economic powerhouse with steadily increasing standards of living for all its citizens, WS-* is doomed to sixty+ years of starvation, poverty, tyranny, and defections until it eventually collapses from its own fundamental inadequacies and is absorbed into the more sensible policies of its neighbor to the South.