Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Software

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A lot of downloading done today. Apple came forward with yet another update to MacOS X.2.3. It's a whopping 50MB download and the list of improvements is rather long. As usual hardly any of the improvements will do me any good. At least they seem to have fixed the bug that'd stall Cocoa applications on opening certain JPEG files (JPEG 6 format, containing EXIF data). But many of the other shortcomings are still present: The buggy Finder, the system being unresponsive when there's a lot of (non-vital) disk-activity, the lack of date localisation in Mail, the fact that important bits of the UI have to be loaded lengthily before they appear (e.g. volume/brightness display, menus), no proper support for SMB/CIFS networks, the Finder not localising folder names although open dialog boxes in other applications do etc. I didn't check whether the kernel panic you can get when connecting to SMB servers still occurs, but I bet it does.

Also, Apple released a further development of the Script Editor for AppleScript. AppleScript has been around for ages now, and I've been saying for a while that it is being underestimated. It looks like Apple tries to push it harder now, with the introduction to AppleScript Studio a year ago, providing classes to simplify the programming side of supporting AppleScript in Cocoa and now putting in more support for the Script Editor. It looks promising, particularly the contextual menus that may prevent you from mis-remembering some of AppleScript's too intuitive commands or phrases. Finally, there's a ScriptEditor Service now that can evaluate an expression as an AppleScript and return the result. One of the examples provided is that as a calculator. Probably the folks at Apple also think that the speed of X.2's Calculator is among the most embarassing in their software and accordingly quite useless.

Another addition is the ability to perform mouse clicks using AppleScript. I think it is a good idea to have this ability as it makes AppleScript more versatile. However, it should be made clear that the 'mouse click' method is only good to work your way around applications with insufficient AppleScript support. The numerous examples gives suggest that Apple's own AppleScript support isn't quite what it should be - and the advent of UI Scripting suggest that Apple doesn't want to do anything about it. Mixed feelings…

While I was at it I also got myself a copy of the December 2002 Developer tools after reading that they're out. I also saw that the newest update to PowerMail includes support for OSX's Address Book and spell checking. I dropped PowerMail for Apple's Mail a while ago because they wanted me to fork out quite a bit of money for an update although I had only recently bought it in the first place. Currently I'd say that Apple's mail is nicer to use but a bit on the slow side and vice versa.

December 21, 2002, 1:14

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