Bits and Pieces
My Mac Magazine #15, July ’96

Media reaction to the recent Apple software developers conference was decidedly … mixed. Mixed, but easy to find; most of the major computer publications covered new Apple CEO Gilbert Amelio’s speech to the developers explaining it as the outline for his vision of the company’s future and Apple’s goals for the Internet. Some magazines said Amelio’s plans to reorganize the company are a positive sign that the company has properly placed its bet on Internet development. Others reported that there was more for consumers to be pleased with then businesses.

Web Week seemed very happy with Cyberdog in its May 20 review of the new program. Covering briefly the blizzard of features offered by the browser tool, the magazine stated, “If nothing else, the new product proves that Apple still is a fun-loving bunch.” They also recount with some amusement the story of how the code name for the product was so popular with Mac users that it became the actual product name, despite the obvious negative puns it will inspire if the product fails.

Speaking of the name CyberDog, will Apple end up calling Copland System 8? Or will they come up with something outside tradition a la Windows 95? Apparently Apple is on course for System 8 as a name, since that’s the name on demo CDs of the unreleased system which are now available.

WebWeek picked up the Cyberdog/OpenDoc thread again in its June 3 issue, explaining that it will be take some very hard selling by Apple to assure software developers that the company is committed to OpenDoc as a standard. Apparently, there are many nervous companies in the industry who are slow to jump on Apple’s technology bandwagon after getting burned in the past.

PCWeek unintentionally picked up this theme in its June 10 issue by quoting its sister publication, MacWeek. According to the two Ziff Davis magazines, Apple will take the commitment-showing step of remaking AppleShare using OpenDoc to create a version called FutureShare. FutureShare will “turn a Macintosh file server into an Internet platform.”

So anyway, you’d think PCWeek could remember all this OpenDoc talk 50 pages later. Columnist Christine Comaford gushes about the wonderful “evolutionary” nature of component software such as Netscape plug-ins, Java applets, and ActiveX … but somehow she forgetsto mention OpenDoc.

Netscape’s decision to support OpenDoc in future releases has received the attention it deserves during the current computer media obsession over the looming battle between the Navigator and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Two ideas that haven’t experienced a lot of in-print conjecture are:

1.Since Microsoft has produced a Mac version of the Explorer, will it incorporate OpenDoc?, and

2.Since IBM will be developing OpenDoc for Windows, will Navigator and or Explorer for Windows have OpenDoc versions? (Supposedly not the Explorer, given Microsoft’s all out push of ActiveX, but my speculation ends there …. )

Internet Underground is a magazine whose very existence I find a little confusing (who ARE the people who write this thing and who exactly is reading it?), but it’s a generally funny publication with good insights from people who have obviously spent a few collective decades swarming around on the Internet. One informative article in their apparently most-recent issue (I swear it does not have a date in it anywhere that I can find, but it’s issue 7 of volume 1) explores the glories of past internet scams. One good tip for new Internet users: the Good Times virus and other “junk-mail viruses” are a hoax. They’re simply intended to make newbies look stupid as they flood their friend’s e-mail boxes with warnings about supposed dangers of the Internet.

I got to wander around Comdex Chicago the week of June 3 ….

Apple was showing a short film produced to show the future direction of the company. It was a slick piece, but really just a 15 minute ad; most of the interesting stuff (CyberDog, OpenDoc) flashed by so quickly that it was hard to retain any useful information. But the company was promoting four big selling points: ease of use, power, multimedia, and compatibility. For me, the absolute most interesting thing was a stunning picture of a 3-D, brightly-colored, solid blue apple (the fruit, not the computer); it was the logo concept for IBM made Macintoshes.

I admit, sometimes my technical expertise is lacking, but also at Apple’s Comdex area was a well-attended, hands-on demonstration of Soft Windows 95 running on Pentium based Macs. It looked like something people should find very impressive, but the basic problem remains: If you’re trying to sell it to Mac users, you’re preaching to the choir, and if you’re trying to sell it to Windows users, well, they’re Windows users….

Addendum: After writing this piece, I was still too curious about the issue date of the Internet Underground magazine I referred to above to let it go. So I called their advertising department and asked what issue it was (assuming that it was the July issue because it was, after all, issue 7). Turns out it’s the June issue. Still no insight on why the magazine itself doesn’t reveal this ….

MacToid (like factoid … get it?) “It is estimated that there are about 300,000 Macs in use in Sweden today.” – International Data Group.

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