Winter on the Hudson

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Frozen river

Croton Point Park, 2007-01-27

Eight Windows Features Mac OS X Should Adopt

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Eddie Hargreaves has a nice write-up of nine Windows features Mac OS X should adopt. I agree (or at least don’t disagree) with eight of them. However the one I part company on is #5, “Refresh keystroke/toolbar button for Finder windows”. Eddie explains:

Nearly every major revision of OS X has touted an “improved Finder” and one of the improvements has been the updating of folder contents. But there are still occasions where a file has been updated and its appearance in a Finder window goes unaltered. Windows toolbars have a refresh button that can be used to update the contents of the window. Since Apple has already copied the concept of making Finder windows look and act like browser windows (forward/backward buttons) they should add a refresh or reload button. They wouldn’t even have to create a new toolbar button icon, since they could just use the one from Safari. They could even use the same keyboard shortcut, since Command-R is currently unused in the Finder. Ideally, a refresh button shouldn’t be needed in the Finder at all, but we’ve seen four major revisions of OS X and it still hasn’t become unnecessary.

Sorry. That is totally the wrong solution to the problem, and totally a Windows way of thinking. You do not put an extra button in to make the computer do something it can and should do automatically. If there’s a problem with auto-detecting the need for refresh, then you fix the underlying problem so auto-refreshs happen automatically. You do not complexify the interface. The product is done when there’s nothing more to take out, not when there’s nothing left to put in.

All Empty Tags in HTML

Monday, January 29th, 2007

For my next book, I need a complete list of all the empty tags possible in classic HTML such as <br>, <img>, and <hr>. This is a list of the genuinely empty elements, not including the ones with omitted end-tags such as <p> and <li>.

So far here are the ones I’ve got. Am I missing any?

All Valueless Attributes

Monday, January 29th, 2007

For my next book I need a complete list of all the valueless attributes possible in classic HTML. e.g.

<input type="radio" name="p" value="debit" checked>

So far here are the ones I’ve got:

checked, disabled, readonly, ismap
disabled, multiple
selected, disabled
disabled, readonly

Am I missing any?

Scoble Catches Winer Disease

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Apparently it’s now all about Robert. When someone links to the New York Times instead of him, it’s a direct personal assault, not that we happen to read the New York Times more than Scoble so we never even noticed his original piece, or that we prefer a well-written text piece to a long streaming video.

P.S. Scoble was more interesting when he was blogging from inside Microsoft. That at least gave him a perspective most people did not have. Now he’s just one of dozens of independent bloggers.

802.11n is $0.99 Too Expensive

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Apple’s catching some flak for charging $1.99 (down from the $4.99 initially rumored) for turning on 802.11n functionality in existing laptops. They claim it’s the result of Sarbanes-Oxley accounting rules that prevent them from adding new functionality to an existing product. This interpretation of the Sarbox rules has been challenged,.

I’m not an accountant or a lawyer, but I suspect Apple’s wrong here. Regardless, though, I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt in this case. I do believe Apple genuinely believes, rightly or wrongly, that Sarbanes-Oxley requires them to charge for this. However, Apple does have a dishonest track record of charging $20 shipping and handling fees for “free” updates. If they really want to be clear that this is just a technical fee they’re required to charge, not another scheme to extort money from customers to make an already purchased product work well, there are two things they should do:

  1. Reduce the fee to $1.00. This is the generally recognized nominal price for indicating that you have to charge something, but don’t really want to. For instance, it is what juries award in damages when they want to indicate that the plaintiff is legally right, but is basically a putz and is wasting their time with a trivial suit they were largely responsible for in the first place.
  2. Make sure the updater is not copy protected, and look the other way as it is freely distributed on file sharing networks.

$1.00 is still annoying, but I think that price would make clear to everyone that Apple really doesn’t want to charge for the update. They’re just being forced to by their interpretation of the Sarbanes-Oxley laws.