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ATPM 10.03
March 2004




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by Wes Meltzer,

The Headless iMac Rides Again

After last month, February was a thoroughly refreshing stroll through an oasis, at least as far as your loyal blogosphere columnist is concerned. Since ATPM 10.02, quite a lot has happened, meaning that my continued tenure at About This Particular Macintosh seems secure for the moment.

You may remember that last month was fairly bereft of information, and that I even complained about it. I think the universe responded favorably to my kvetching. I stood up and told it that I wasn’t going to take it anymore, and “I fought the Law, and the Law won.” Err, well, no, but humor me.

Sometimes, as a journalist, bad news is good news; an excellent example of this is Palm dropping support for Macs, which became an instant hit on the frequencies I follow. (Keep reading if this is news to you.)

My job as Mac blogosphere columnist also brings me certain exciting perks. This column is increasingly recognized in its “native habitat,” which is a Good ThingTM. I received feedback from someone about whom I had written recently, and I discovered just the other day that my first column here at ATPM was the No. 4 referrer to one of John Gruber’s columns, with 49 click-throughs. Not bad. Keep a-clicking!

All right, so big news first this month, if only because I already teased you about it. In case you didn’t hear, Palm is dropping support for the Mac in the next version of the Palm OS, which is apparently called Cobalt. The Mac Observer suggests that Palm pick up support with iSync since it comes with all Macs, and Jon Rentzsch seconds that, saying that it doesn’t make any sense for Palm to insist on developing its own application anyway. Judi Sohn points out that Palm syncing on the Mac isn’t such a great experience anyway.

Among others, Dan Gillmor hits the nail right on the head when he says that, no matter what, it’s “[d]isappointing, to say the least.” That sound you hear is the sound of Mac users everywhere groaning.

What Else From the Mac Blogosphere in February?

  • Has the time come for the iMac to lose its head? Everyone and his brother has an opinion. It all started when Business Week and Alex Salkever insisted that “the product that Time dubbed Apple’s “new core” has gone rotten,” and Salkever wants Apple to “cut off [its] head.” Sandy McMurray takes the bait and reminds us that Apple isn’t marketing toward the same users as those sub-$1000 headless box Wintel manufacturers. Julio Ojeda-Zapata wonders what it is people have against Macs with built-in monitors anyway, saying that the loss in clutter from an integrated unit is well worth it. The Core Dump defends the iMac’s beauty and suggests that the last “headless iMac” was the Cube. We all know what happened with that. Also, somewhere I got linked to another reminder that a headless iMac is not coming anytime soon, Wired’s coverage of the IBox, which as we have seen is probably not hitting the market anytime soon.
  • Matthew Thomas describes in extensive detail (one critique for each of the first 48 hours of use) what it is he doesn’t like about OS X, having only recently moved to it. I can’t say that I agree, but I know that John Gruber did, overwhelmingly, and Michael Tsai (yes, my boss, full disclosure) almost as much so so I will take their word for it.
  • For those of you who are interested in such things, The Omni Group released a beta version of OmniWeb 5. It’s been getting rave reviews since then: from John Siracusa at Ars Technica, from Kirk McPike at Mind The Gap, from John Gruber at Daring Fireball, and from Matthew Hanlon at _m. At least in February I did not see anything bad about it. It looks great. I have to admit, the drawer with graphical thumbnails is pretty slick. If only I had enough RAM…
  • Since that’s why he writes a humor series, Jack from As the Apple Turns has proposed to take Steve Jobs’ place giving the keynote address at Macworld Boston; he calls it the “AtATNote,” but I like “Jacknote” better. And hey, he lives in Boston, so even better, no expenses for Apple! If you, too, think this is a fantastic idea, you can sign a petition encouraging Apple to let Jack address the crowd in July.
  • In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh (happy 20th birthday!) some people who were involved with the creation of the original Mac have begun collecting their anecdotes about it. They call it Folklore. The writing is great, and it will make you smile about our Glorious Revolution. It’s even set up like a weblog!

To close the day out on a random note, one of the guys I regularly read, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, wrote, tongue only partly in cheek, about the deeper meaning of the iPod’s shuffle feature: “For a second, I felt that I was at some madly fashionable party at Carl Van Vechten’s.”

Also, I’m considering starting a companion weblog to this column—this is in the mode of Julio Ojeda-Zapata, who is also a columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press—so I can give you fun links to things that really aren’t column-worthy but are certainly interesting in their own right. Keep tuned for next month to see if it materializes. Or leave feedback about it…or e-mail me about it. Stay tuned for next month’s Bloggable.

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