Fewer Particles, More Debris ( Week of May 5)

/> This week, there was some discussion of what might be Apple's name for the next version of Mac OS X, 10.6. According to one writer who investigated last year, trademark filings show that Apple has only two names left: Lynx and Cougar. The hypothesis was that Apple wouldn't have two successive releases that start with the letter "L," but I don't really believe that. I also doubt that Apple would pay much attention to the current use of the term Cougar as an older woman in search of younger men.

Lynx has two possible connotations. The first is that it's not a big and powerful as the other cats and names Apple has used. On the other hand, small, fast, and lightweight (compared to Vista) might be a favorable comparison.

JavaOne was held this week at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. My wife attended and passed on her observations to me. First, in the 90s, Apple's WWDC was very emotionally driven -- because the company was desperate for success and survival. About the year 2000, when Apple's success was modest, yet assured, things got down to business with a more mature atmosphere. However, at JavaOne, my wife still felt that sense of excitement, all things possible, and emotional hype created by Sun. Next, there were a lot of attendees at JavaOne. I don't have the exact numbers, but from what I heard, the attendance was much higher than WWDC, yet Sun managed to provide decent, edible food. Ever since Apple departed San Jose's McEnery Convention Center, the WWDC food has been, well, not so great. The photo below summarized how a lot of us have felt recently.


At JavaOne, one would expect to see a sizeable fraction of Apple MacBooks, and there were. Perhaps one in four was the casual, non-scientific count. Who wants to be seen at the JavaOne conference with a dreaded PC notebook? New and important technologies like JRuby and Groovy, scripting for Java, were prominent. Sony Erisscon appears ready to embrace Java for a new mobile phone.

Don't let anyone kid you. While Apple developers work with Objective-C, out in the enterprise, military and government communities, C++ and Java are the object oriented languages. Why there's aren't more native Java applications for Mac OS X and why it has taken so long for Apple to deliver a limited version of Java 6 for Mac OS X go to cultural and historical issues with Apple that are worth exploring.

This week, I ran across an interesting bug in Mac OS X. I launched some trial software from its .dmg file after it mounted. After it ran nicely, I copied it from the mounted dmg volume to /Applications. Then I right-click quit the application from the dock. CRASH. I've been told by a major developer that this is a bug in Mac OS X.

Oh, my.

After seven years? Mac OS X 10.0 shipped in March 2001. How many years does it take to attend to a bug like that? Apple engineers should be embarrassed.

On Thursday, it was reported that the FBI tried to demand information from a non-profit digital library, that operates the Wayback Machine by using a National Security Letter. One problem. The archive's founder, Brewster Kahle, is on the board of directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Oops.

The EFF and the ACLU sued the FBI under the amended Patriot Act which protects libraries from having to disclose what their members are reading. Its a good story.

On Friday, ITWire carried a story about how, in the UK, if you play music so that someone else can hear it, that's a "broadcast" and you could be breaking the law. That's according to the Performing Rights Society. So the next time you're in the car on the way to work, playing the radio, make sure your carpool buddies hold their hands over their ears. That's in the same league with the spokesperson a few years ago who said that getting up to go to the bathroom, and missing TV commercials, is a violation of your implicit contract with the TV show.

Finally, if you thought software is the only threat to your privacy on the Internet, think again. The FBI is investigating whether some counterfeit chips, made in China, may have made their way into some Cisco routers. It isn't clear yet whether the hardware was designed to have a backdoor or to allow snooping and stealing design secrets of the hardware or both. In any case, now we have hardware to worry about.