I have been following the discussion on Applescript and have reade dave's pieces on end-user programing. I work with high tech companies trying to help them devise effective marketing strategies. At the moment, I am working with a company that is developing a tool that *COULD* be positioned as an end-user programming tool.
I almost want to tell them to run away from this designation. If I think back it seems that despite numerous attempts these tools have never been succesful in the marketplace. Examples that come to mind:
* Novel Appware (formerly Serius Developer)
It seems that the only instances in which these tools have succeeded is when they are part of larger products or OS (Lotus macro language, MS Visual for Applications, Applescript)
Why is this? Is there a place for these tools on the market? Is end-user programing just too challenging and difficult a prospect for Joe End-user no matter how elegant the interface? IS there anything that could have been done differently to make these products a success.
Dave - if you are listening I would appreciate your insights with respect to Frontier. I was in the audience at MacWorld when you demo'ed a final Beta for Frontier. I thought that it was the best thing since sliced bread, but it never found its place in the market. WHY?
Looking forward to your answers.David Sokolic email@example.com
Dave says us Unix weenies would be totally bowled over if we just knew how powerful Apple scripting is. Well, educate us. What's so wonderful about it, compared to other types of scripting facilities (e.g. Tcl/Tk and perl , not just shell scripts) available on Unix or other systems?
I'm willing to be impressed, but am rather skeptical considering how late it was to have any kind of scripting at all on Macs, not to mention the fact that such things get zero publicity (as Dave points out). The Mac has done a wonderful job of making simple operations simple, but repetitive and complex operations have in the past turned into a hell of a lot of mouse clicking.
Is it just me, or is Microsoft Bob licenced from General Magic, Inc? Looks like Magic Cap to me... - Ian W.
I would like to start by saying that I am a life-long Apple fan. In the early 80's, the "computer lab" at my grammar school was stocked with new Apples and I have continued to use Apple and Macs through high school, college, and beyond. Despite working on a Pentium PC with Windows '95 at work, I can safely say I would never give up my MAC. Or would I? For me, life has sort of come full circle since those grammar school days. I currently work at a software firm across the street from the Apple world headquarters in Cupertino, and I also own stock in the company. Unfortunately, now as I drive by the big Apple campus on the Infinite Loop on my way home from work, I often find myself muttering and cursing out in the general direction of one of the big corner offices on the top floor. I am frustrated because no one from Apple seems to be able to come out and convince me that Apple has a true vision or game plan for long-term success. Their problem is unique: A fantastic product, pent-up demand, and a market share that erodes faster than a D.A.'s case in L.A. County. At this point, I am considering selling my stock and even more shockingly, for me, I find myself looking at PCs (gasp!!) as I prepare to buy a new computer. I still believe Apple has the superior machine but I have reached the point where if you asked me where Apple would be in two or three years (much less six months) a range of potential answers would come to mind (merged with IBM?, bought by Microsoft?, bankrupt?, back near 10% home market share and facing the same long-term issues etc..). I depend heavily on technology and my computer, and I now find myself asking whether or not my new MAC will be obsolete (from an industry view) in a couple of years. While I do expect Apple to be around in 1998, we have recently learned that "reasonable doubt" is a powerful force. When can I expect somone at Apple to give me some very compelling reasons as to why I should hold on to my shares and buy another MAC? Simply being a MAC loyalist is not enough anymore. It is this fierce loyalty that has kept Apple afloat for the last several years but in a highly competitive capitalistic system, reality almost always triumphs over loyalty. It's sad, but true. Occurrences at the recent board meeting also make me worry. With the apparent survival of Spindler and the "resignation" of the CFO, the clear, orchestrated message was that Apple is going to hunker-down, circle-the-wagons, and fight the long war. I welcome that enthusiasm and steadfastness but is anyone under the impression that there is a game-plan to win this war? I welcome reassurances/visions/answers from all including any Apple exec. who would like to take a crack at reassuring a disheartened Apple "fanatic".
What's your reaction to Jean-Louis Gassée's I N D E X - T O P I C S
While Chairman Bill was bolting together a release of Windows that incorporates a web browser that can't even handle HTML tables, those whacky Netscape dudes just made an end-run around the operating systems behemoth.
They just announced four new products, including what looks to me like the ultimate killer middleware app -- Netscape Navigator Gold 2.0.
This little toy edits HTML, supports a load of interesting kit such as frames (which sound to me like you can use them, finally, to create a transclusive network a la Ted Nelson), Java language support, and ability to play Macromedia presentations.
MiddleWare: it ain't just a buzz-word any more.
Who cares whether the app you're developing runs on Windows, Linux, or MacOS? The future is on the web.
And this is why Chairman Bill will fail. Microsoft's empire was built on the OS, back when the OS was the computer. But today, as Bill Joy predicted, the network is the computer. And Mozilla is, indisputably, king of the network.
Which is better? IBM came out with os\2 in 1987 and we have seen three versions since. They both have bugs, which is easier to fix? At least os\2 lets you dual boot to choose witch os to use.
I wish Dave would be more careful when talking about issues he's clearly not informed about.
Like the CBS show in the late 50's and early 60's, Whose Side Are You On?
Also, I'd like to discuss table-making using something other than (Netscape-enhanced) HTML.
Why Alderman's invention of DNA biocomputer is genios and why the article of Tomas A. Bass is unacceptible and can hurt the whole idea of molecular computers.
Very ironic us in Atlanta consider a conference in the Valley prize. Fry's Electronics in Sunnyvale seemed like a hang out at lunch time especially on the Friday I went. Evenings though was where is everyone. Doing usual stuff, workout at the Y, healthfood store, and get to an ACOA meeting I met more people. The Software Bar is definitely magnetic. mp firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Winer says he's puzzled that Bill Gates is still a big fan of the Mac. Perhaps there's a clue to why in the text of the column where he says this.
Missing the point. Or how IBM ate an Apple, and shed a Lexmark.
Hi, I'm brand new to DaveNet, please excuse any bad manners. While reading Apple Is A Lousy Lover I chuckled about 'As I wrote in "Bill Gates vs. the Internet" last October, Microsoft must try to gain control of the standards of the Internet. I think that's inevitable. But another OS vendor can let the Net community drive the development of the platform. Apple already has lots of high ground in the Internet world.' Even as published pundits abandon UNIX the FreeBSD/Linux crowd gathers steam. Kids and grownups with a net friendly platform and source for _the whole thing_. -- Gary Johnson email@example.com
My Apple is a Lousy Lover piece got a reaction from Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple.
Click here to read his piece.
I thought it was worth pointing out that there's a Microsoft ad on this week's DaveNet. It's pointing at their Windows 95 rollout website. Irony or mischief? Hmmmm.
Is there any doubt that the missiles are in the air?
Alright, you can say what you want about "Gee, the world belongs to Microsoft, and who can blame them..." but I know why PCs are selling like hotcakes and everyone else isn't.
People like cool applications! Developers learn an OS to write cool applications for a particular system. OS programmers write a particular OS to support a hardware system. Hardware developers create hardware to do a particular low-level thing well.
Who drives the market? The people. Not the developers, not the OS programmers, and not hardware! The people decide what to buy based on how well it suites their needs and interests.
Back when not a whole lot of people had computers, applications like Photoshop, Word, etc. were the staples of the Mac community, because most of the *people* who owned Macs were graphic designers, artists, musicians, etc... creative people with just enough nerd quotient to get a computer, and not enough to put up with a command line.
Most people who owned PCs were in business or worked in one, so word processing, database, etc... were the big applications. Hence, DOS was big.
Windows and OS/2 to a lesser extent, filled a kind of crossover gap made up of people who still needed to use big-business applications, but wanted the "minimum nerd" graphical interface. Mac did not satisfy this need because of its relatively 'late' entrance into the business market.
Now, big question... with millions of new customers going out and buying computers, what will the demographics look like? Not nearly as exciting as they were in the high-business, high-academe ratios of the past... no, these will be the average consumer, whose interests are balancing checkbooks, a little wordprocessing, maybe bringing some work home from the office, and (for the kids...) **games**.
You might ask why such a little thing like 'games' should have a huge impact? Because nearly any machine/OS combo today can do all the other categories well, but only DOS-like machines can do the game medium *well*.
Given the comparable pricing and features, my choice as a consumer would be the best overall platform, and this would lead me towards DOS, simply because the most outstanding games are written for it.
How could this happen?
An action game is the most complex real-time programming code that can be written. Its demands are nothing less that entire control of the platform. Platform advances will never outstrip this requirement, because game programmers will continue to want the entire machine for even more spectacular innovations in code.
Gee, Unix programmers have been programming real-time systems for a long time... if it can't be done, how are they doing it? Two words: external I/O. I can't load the system with high-priority real-time non-pre-emptable processes and expect to handle high bandwidth load conditions (like, say, a *multimedia* intensive process!).
Even DOS game developers have turned to this technique by using DMA (Direct Memory Access) hardware.
Now maybe the announcements regarding Microsoft's future support for MPEG hardware and 3D make more sense. They're politely ignoring all the developers who say that the "consumer" will never buy such hardware.
What about Macintosh, Amiga, Windows, and .... Windows 95 action games, you say!?? Nearly all of them shut-down or block the entire OS while they run and exclusively access the systems hardware resources.
Amiga is too small to worry about. Mac doesn't die as peacefully as DOS, plus none of the hardware is documented "officially". Windows is built on DOS, so ***surprise***... amazingly it doesn't have too much trouble chucking itself to the wind to make room for a game. Windows 95 may have more of a problem, supporting multitasking and protect mode architectures, but watch for a quick bank shuffle (save state, warm boot DOS, quit, restore state) of the entire OS to make room for a full DOS machine.
Macintosh has not provided this "direct" capability, nor do very many real-time game developers know how to access the hardware directly the way they know DOS.
So surprise! If Microsoft is the only platform that supports this kind of access, which platform will the average consumers buy?
Wake up guys!
Yesterday (August 24), Windows '95 was formally released to the planet. Will this cause a true computing revolution as advertised, or will any problems with the OS cause it to flop like a bad sci-fi movie?
Netscape is on its way up. So what if Microsoft includes a web browser in Win95. Netscape has the one the masses like and use. PCs are the platform of choice for the masses. Apple is on its way down and out (sad but true).
Microsoft sucks. It's an embarrassment to the computer community. Anyone who understands what's really happening to humankind thinks Microsoft is a contemptible footnote in history.
People who worked there 10 years ago are still there? Maybe the ultra-anal-manager-types with their cushy offices and cushier Ford Tauruses.
-- but not the people who actually do the work, the young programmers and designers that Gates & Co. sap dry in endless cycles.
Microsoft management is proud of the fact that they steal other people's good ideas, and then implement them badly. Want examples? Try Windows. Try MSN. Try Project. Try Bob. (Er, on the other hand, don't.)
You can call that kind of ignorant arrogance anything you want -- good for the economy, The Republican Way, Gates' right as a greedy capitalist, whatever.
It is not, not at all. It sucks.
But please, don't call Microsoft cool.
It is not, not at all. It sucks.
Is it just me, or does Wired seem to have a bi-lateral,
Yo Dave! You're making me nuts with all the New Age yada-yada. You had some interesting columns earlier on; now it seems you've decided to go total "I'm wired okay, You're wired okay."
Lately it's been non-stop Bad Hair and Better Ways to Say Hello -- I think I probably missed How to Love Your Pet when I was camping the other week.
Enough already. Save the touchy-feely stuff for the shower.
P.S. And no, one mention of Apple in the most recent column does not end your streak.
IBM ran a series of advertisements featuring prospective customers discussing their computer wishes with acquaintances around the world.
Uh, Dave, you must not have a very good dictionary. Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition says:
3: something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example.
Sounds pretty good to me.
"The speed of change, the exponential increase of new communications and the transformation of SPACE and TIME thanks to computers connections, make us all aware of the need to chat, communicate and exchange ideas on how can we cope with this sort of HIGH WAVE of transformations that we are living in." HotWired member Jose-Luis Pardos proposes a "Club of Survival."
Dave's proposal for a sort of toolbar is in fact already a part of the HTML 3.0 specifications. They're very open to suggestions at W3. Maybe Dave should send in his other ideas related to the spec, such as the "beep" tag.
Dave is right on with his summarization of the Exon movement to censor the net.
But once and for all: we do not fall out of Generation X when we turn 30. Logan's Run was only a movie!
Find smart people under 30? The very youngest baby boomer is about 35-36 now; Douglas Coupland, who coined the term to describe his lost generation, is 33.
How about: find smart, young people.
-Dave Says, "I wonder if the politians will ever let us vote via the internet?" -If the "politians" are suppose to represent "us", the 'people, then isn't it up to "us", the people, to decide wether or not to take advantage of the new medium? -COME ON PEOPLE! TAKE HOLD AND LETS SEE SOME ACTION. "YOU POST" any suggestions you think will contribute to the start up of an organization to administrate this radical movement. -Communicate Well!
The CDA has passed. Two online petitions went ignored. The floor debate was a joke. What are you prepared to do now?
Good for IBM? Good for Lotus? Bad for both? What will happen here? Will Ray Ozzie stay or go?
DaveNet changes every 7 days. (9 days left.) anyone know why it says this at the top of Dave's column?
Dave is right on about this one. CyberDog sounds cool, but I'm getting tired of Apple's vaporware.
Netscape just eminates coolness. Marc is the role model for thousands of us lowly computer science undergrads who are hoping that we won't, upon graduation, just be shoved in a huge Microsoft Truck 95 (tm) to write Word 10.0. And geez, they give college students an official break and don't force them to pirate software. Dave's description of their cooperation does not shock me at all..
Would you trust Dave to secure your computer?
Instead of using Frontier to run scripts embedded in Web pages, maybe Dave should check out HotJava. It's designed from the start to be integrated into Web pages, and incorporates much better security than the "you are ultimately responsible" variety.
A new analogy is needed. Aretha client as "viewer" for new MIME-type "script" evokes but seems too narrow. (Say "doer".) Why do users click things "for" baby? To equip and train her. To please her. She needs them. Baby deepens her roots, gets smarter, does more for you; informs, organizes, represents you better.
Is the Macintosh Web Server shareware on a CD? I don't think so. Sure, MacHTTP started as shareware. And BBEdit has a shareware version (BBEdit Lite). But what else is on there (I actually don't know)? Anyway WebStar, the former MacHTTP, is not shareware. BBEdit is a commercial product, always has been. And Netscape, many users' practice to the contrary, is not shareware.
The more I read of this guy, the more I wonder why he's on HotWired. I mean, I read, and don't find this particularly hard hitting, nor intriguing. Interesting on the simplest level, perhaps. But, then, I wouldn't want to read a lot of Forrest Gump quotations on HotWired, either.
Dave noted that Microsoft's Bob was much- criticized. It is also much-praised, and was much-engineered. Is Bob the proper direction for computer interface design? Or does Bob rob the computer of its essence--forcing the computer to interact with its user in too-human ways?
Why not have an interface where the end-user ultimately defines what comes on the screen and how things interact? We all have the same desks, and we all put things on them and in them in different, unique ways. Imagaine, tough, if we all had the skills and materials to build our own desks and truck them into work.
Here's a thought... Why not link SimCity into SimEarth into SimLife into SimTower into SimHealth...and then network them all together... You could have life forms created in SimLife inhabiting SimEarth living in SimCities, residing in SimTowers, subscribing to a SimHealth program, playing with SimAnt farms... This could get very Borges-like...Thoughts? Michael (sip)
So, how many people who read that didn't notice a clear connection between SimCity and computer interfaces?
> HyperCard was also the precursor to the World Wide Web. Because you link from screen to screen? If I only used Lynx, I'd say that 1-2-3 on-line help was the precursor to the Web. But I don't--I have a slightly broader perspective.
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