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Die dicken Bretter der Postmoderne

540 words on

With Mac OS X.4 just being out for a few days now, there’s quite a bit of writing done on it. Most of it in the technical arena, with the usual amount of feature listing and yawns of course, where only John Siracusa’s survey impressed me – not for being well-balanced perhaps but rather for just writing the stuff I’m interested in myself. Then there’s the general press, with all the Mossbergs, Pogues, Wendlands and whatever their names are being keen on delivering their nibbles of pre-digested boredom, incompetence and superlatives for the pleasure of Apple.

And finally, and totally unexpectedly there was today’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung who had a little Automator icon right in their Feuilleton, i.e. ‘cultural’ section rather than in the business or technology sections. It’s appropriately titled Die dicken Bretter der Postmoderne – The thick planks of the post-modern and starts with a few blurbs on the Mac and Windows followed by a mention of the Dashboard and Automator:

Nicht alle Neuerungen, die der Tiger im Tank hat, verschlagen einem auf den ersten Blick den Atem. Es gibt da ein wenig Tandaradei an der Oberfläche: Gimmick wie das ‘Armaturenbrett’ (‘Dashboard’), das die Steuerzentrale mit smartiesbunten Kacheln aufhübscht, aber nicht wirklich bereichert: etwa mit einer Welt-Uhr, dem Wetter und Börsenkursen. Daneben gibt es eine ‘Automator’ genannte Funktion, die an Daniel Düsentriebs ‘Helferlein’ erinnert. Sie soll Routine-Arbeitsabläufe roboterhaft selber erledigen, beispielsweise eine große Anzahl von Dateien selbstständig umbenennen oder Bilder umwandeln. Der Automator lässt sich ohne Programmierkenntnisse bedienen. Im Automator steckt Potenzial. Man weiß nur noch nicht genau, welches.

These are refreshingly correct without being overly technical. Next up is Spotlight which the author presents as mind-blowing and potentially changing computer use a lot. The ability to file stuff automatically, across different types of data and in different places at once thanks to smart folders impresses as it frees the user from having to manually sift through his back-catalogue of data all the time – and from having to create it in the first place. While that may be overly optimistic, it is apparently where post-modernism comes in:

Und damit gibt sich das Informationszeitalter plötzlich geschichtssouverän, ja, es rückt vor ins Stadium seiner Postmoderne: Offensichtlich traut man der Verwaltung der Vergangenheit mehr Informationsgehalt zu als der Akquise von immer Neuem.

Oh well. I’m not too familiar with the post-modern. This may be taking it a bit too far. But at the same time it’s a refreshing way of writing about technology. Perhaps we’ll see more of that in the mid to long-term future as the ubiquity of computers makes observations of a more ‘cultural’ type more and more relevant.

Other news of the day are that there are updated iMacs. And it’s a sweet update. Slightly more MHz, finally half a gigabyte of RAM by default, double layer DVD burning, more video memory and Airport as well as Bluetooth included by default. Arguably most of these should’ve been present in the iMac when it was introduced last year, but nonetheless it is now a machine that doesn’t need any apologies can be recommended without any caveats.

P.S. Geee, one way in which Apple’s web site sucks greatly is that you can’t possibly link to anything.

May 3, 2005, 21:24

Tagged as Mac OS X.


Comment by Moritz: User icon

When the PowerMac G5 came out, the Feuilleton of the Süddeutsche Zeitung also ran a nice article, comparing the design with old Braun consumer electronics design. They had a good point, I find. Also, but I might err, I think they also had a good story on the Cube.

May 4, 2005, 2:09

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