6/29/2004

WWDC

Yesterday was the beginning of Apple's World Wide Developer Conference. This is an event that I have always wanted to attend. In 2002 I received a scholarship pass but I couldn't go because WWDC fell conveniently in the middle of finals. Last year I was put on the waiting list and was offered a spot way too late for me to go (I had already taken a job that I couldn't miss for a week). This year would have been the best year for me to go but this is also the year that Apple decided to reject me completely for the student scholarship.

So I watched this year's keynote, delayed, over the internet. A couple things of note:

Automator looks like a tool that I will use frequently. I already have one idea for it in mind, creating iCal events from a Mail message. It seems that the majority of events that I put on my calendar are sent to me via email. Wouldn't it be great if there was a button in Mail.app that would let you easily turn an email into an iCal event? Then from iCal you can press a button that will open up that email thread in Mail. To me this is a key piece that has been missing. Hopefully Automator will provide some of this functionality.

iChat looks like it has some cool enhancements. Yet I still don't use the program. I feel, along with many other "power users" that Apple has completely ignored many of the important user interface concepts of IM, the most important of which being groups support. I have almost 200 buddies and I am constantly approaching the limit. I need groups to be able to manage my buddies, but iChat's group support is abysmal. iChat still lacks the ability to have a profile and the interface is more cluttered than it needs to be. I use Adium, but that project, much like Mozilla, will probably never be finished, and most features will probably never be finished.

It seems that there is a big fuss over Apple ripping Konfabulator and LaunchBar with Dashboard and Spotlight. It certainly is unfortunate that Apple is handling its small third party developers in this manner, however it makes sense for them to do this. So far these sorts of actions have yet to actually hurt Apple and the small shareware developers are continuing to turn out great products. Plus, in the past Apple hasn't really managed to kill off its small competition. Sherlock is still nothing compared to Watson. However it seems that Dan Wood is jumping out of this business (looks like he was given a good offer by another party). If I was him I would have taken the job that Apple offered him, but that's another story.

In all, I really hope that 10.4 contains more exciting features when it finally ships. The stuff so far looks great but in my opinion the announcement of GarageBand in January was more groundbreaking than any of the stuff that Apple showed yesterday. But then again, I'm biased. ;-)