Friday, October 2, 2009

TheAppleBlog (3 сообщения)

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TheAppleBlog, published by and for the day-to-day Apple user, is a prominent source for news, reviews, walkthroughs, and real life application of all Apple products.
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  • Colloquy Brings IRC to the iPhone


    Even though services like Skype, Gtalk, Yahoo, AOL, Twitter and Facebook make it possible to instant or direct message just about anyone online these days, some folks still swear by Internet Relay Chat (IRC). In fact, for many die-hard geeks and software development teams, IRC is the only way to fly.

    There are plenty of Web-based and standalone apps that let you join IRC chat rooms (or, channels, as they’re typically called) from your desktop computer, but once you go mobile, your options dwindle. Colloquy, one of the most popular open-source IRC clients for the Mac, now has a spiffy new version for the iPhone that lets you stay connected in-channel while you’re on the road.

    Once installed, Colloquy sets up easily in minutes. To add an IRC network to your preferred list, simply supply its address and your identity information. You can choose to automatically connect to the server and even individual rooms at launch.



    It’s easy to remove networks from your list if you decide you no longer want to visit them.


    Colloquy runs in the background to track conversations and tells you at a glance where the action is. It also alerts you when someone in the channels you’ve joined uses your nickname or keywords you’ve pre-designated.


    Channel conversations are streamlined thanks to nickname and emoticon completion popups and support for all the common IRC commands you’re used to using with computer-based IRC clients.


    Colloquy for the iPhone has a number of other useful features including support for landscape mode, a searchable room member list, and secure connections over SSL. Clicked links open with the built-in browser, and Colloquy even stays connected when you lock your phone.

    If you use IRC for online communication, then Colloquy for the iPhone’s $1.99 price tag is well worth it. The app is easy to use, even for a novice, and has a great user-community that can help you get started or answer any questions that arise. Once you have the app up and running, be sure to come by TheAppleBlog’s IRC channel and say hi.

    Subscribe to GigaOM Pro and gain access to our Webinar, "Biggest Opportunities in the Smart Grid," on Oct. 7, 2009.


  • The Appeal (and Ethics) of Hackintoshing: Should Apple License the Mac OS?

    Writing on Fast Company, Farhad Manjoo says that not long ago, he got his hands on “one of the slowest, ugliest, and least-user-friendly Macintosh laptops the world has ever seen” — and he loves it, since it sports a couple of features that others can’t match. It’s tinier and lighter than Apple’s pricey MacBook Air, and even better, having cost him only about $500, a third of Apple’s tariff for the most inexpensive Air.

    This laptop is of course a “Hackintosh” — specifically a 9-inch Dell netbook Farhad has hacked to run Apple’s Mac OS X. He notes that since Apple adapted its elegant OS to run on Intel’s processors, hackers have been diligently breaking down the walls between Macs and PCs.
    My daughter, a lifelong Mac fanatic, is one of them, having been happily running OS X — currently Leopard — on a 2.6 GHz Pentium 4 desktop box for the past three years and finding it more than satisfactory. I’ve tried out this machine, and it’s impressively fast. However, my daughter is an accomplished computer tech who’s been able to deal with the necessary tweaking and technical tedium of getting OS X up and running reliably on her bargain basement Dell.

    Not for the Faint of Heart

    Farhad Manjoo notes that, no surprise, Apple doesn’t look kindly on the Hackintosh movement, but this evidently hasn’t slowed the movement’s momentum, and Mac hackers, some on constrained budgets like my daughter, have discovered that they can build precisely the features and products they want into a custom desktop or laptop model of a type and price point Apple doesn’t choose to offer and save a boatload of money in the process.

    “We don’t know how to make a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk, and our DNA will not let us ship that,” CEO Steve Jobs observed last October. That may be all well and good, but there are an awful lot of folks out there these days who want a $500 computer, or indeed in today’s snakebit economy simply can’t afford a higher price of entry, or who really want a netbook-sized laptop, which is one of the market categories Apple has chosen not to serve, at least yet. And its an exaggeration to insist that all sub-$500 computers are necessarily “junk.” Legions of satisfied netbook users contend otherwise.

    Manjoo warns, and my daughter’s experience underscores this, that Mac hacking is not for dilettantes or the faint-hearted, and there are plenty of potential technical hurdles and pitfalls to be overcome, but there is support available from the fraternity (and in some instances sorority) of experts populating online forums who’ve probably encountered — and solved — the problems that may be your current stumbling-blocks.

    But is it Ethical

    There is of course the ethics question. Installing OS X on a non-Apple computer is a direct violation of Apple’s End User Licensing Agreement. My daughter has been encouraging me to get a PC laptop and let her install OS X on it for me, but while I profoundly disagree with the thrust, extent, and spirit of current copyright regulations, especially the execrable and draconian DCMA, it’s still the law, which I personally prefer to stay on the right side of, although I don’t pass any judgment on those who are exercising civil disobedience against what they (and I) consider unjustly excessive intellectual property end user restrictions.

    I also understand and appreciate that if Apple were to have a change of heart and authorize the Mac OS for installation on non-Apple PC hardware, it could very well spell the end of Apple-branded computers. This very nearly happened in the mid-’90s with previous Apple CEO Gil Amelio’s near catastrophic experiment with Mac OS licensing to third-party clonemakers. The latter made some very attractive machines. I still have a UMAX SuperMac S-900 that was a formidable piece of work in the context of the era, in many ways outdoing the Apple PowerMac 9500 and 9600 that competed against it at higher prices.

    So this is definitely one of those matters where the “be careful what you wish for” axiom applies. It would be neat to be able to buy a Dell or Asus laptop, some models of which I personally find quite enticing — and not just because of prices. However, I would hate for the ability of Apple to keep rolling out sublimely elegant and delightful machinery like my unibody MacBook to be compromised because of a bleeding away of Mac OS users and profitability to cheaper PC boxes.

    How about you? Do you think Apple should license Mac OS X? How about the ethics of hackintoshing?

    Subscribe to GigaOM Pro and gain access to our Webinar, "Biggest Opportunities in the Smart Grid," on Oct. 7, 2009.


  • Snow Leopard Leaps in Market Share

    Eighteen percent of Mac users are running Snow Leopard just one month after its release, according to Web metrics firm Net Applications. That’s a remarkable upgrade rate for the latest iteration of OS X, especially considering Snow Leopard is Intel only.


    Overall, OS X now represents 5.12 percent of the worldwide OS market, up from 4.87 percent in August. While that might seem like a small increase, it’s up 37 percent from a year ago, and the platform is seeing a continuing a steady rise. In contrast, Windows has now fallen below 93 percent, though the release of Windows 7 will likely result in a temporary spike. Nonetheless, OS X is moving up, as is iPhone OS.


    Somewhat surprisingly, the increase from August to September was not as great as one might expect for iPhone OS. Despite the recent release of the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch, iPhone OS is now at 0.35 percent, up from 0.33 percent last month, with the iPod touch remaining at 0.07 percent. Still, 0.4 percent of OS market share represents more than 50 million users, and with the introduction of the iPhone in China, the growth rate will likely increase soon.


    As for Safari, version 4 continues to increase its share among Mac users, with three out of four now running the latest version. Considering Safari 4 was officially released in June, that’s an impressive feat. However, Safari still lags far behind Internet Explorer, even losing ground to competitors challenging the dominance of Microsoft’s web browser.

    Safari, including the Windows version, now holds 4.24 percent of the overall market, up from 4.07 percent last month, but that increase is small compared with Firefox, which jumped about 1 percent. Even Chrome grew faster than Safari, which showed about the same increase as Opera — ugh. What this means is that there are probably more than a few Firefox users on the Mac, and that Safari for Windows has been an utter failure in taking market share from Internet Explorer.

    Nonetheless, September once again demonstrates OS X is running strong on Macs and handhelds, and that’s what really matters.

    Subscribe to GigaOM Pro and gain access to our Webinar, "Biggest Opportunities in the Smart Grid," on Oct. 7, 2009.


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