Not fair...

Apple released new monitors seen here, and previewed "Tiger" the next version of MacOS X.

While the monitors are tre´ cool, I am more exctited about the new features in Tiger.  There are significant upgrades to iChat, Safari, Core Services and the Finder.  Here are some sneak peeks:

new iChat features

Lets start off with the coolest one in my opinion, you can now have 3 members in a video chat:

This is just outstanding.  You can say what you want about eye candy and such but that is just swank.  There is no other word for it.  I have been waiting for the ability to add multiple streams to a video iChat with great anticipation.  And with the new codec one can only imagine how beautiful the feeds will be, although I am sure that you are going to need a pretty hefty processor and net pipe to be able to handle that much data coming across your wires.  I believe that this, coupled with the iChat Server that is included in Server 10.4, will be another strong offering for Apple in the enterprise market.


Next we hit the new compression codec in Tiger H.264/AVC.  This new codec is just amazing.  This standard was developed to provide a "network-friendly" video representation for use in "conversational" (video telephony, in use by iChat AV) and "non-conversational" (storage, broadcast or streaming, Quicktime Streaming and I would imagine the Music Store/Movie Store.) applications.

H.264/AVC really shines when compared to older standards like MPEG 2, typically increasing in the area of rate-distortion efficiency by a factor of 2.  Apparently the codec splits the data representation into one layer, the Video Coding Layer (VCL)which carries an accurate representation of the video content; and the Network Abstraction Layer (NAL) which formats the VCL and provides header information based on the particular transport layer or storage media in use.

Other than that the new codec follows the previously established block-based hybrid encoding approach first employed in H.261.

RSS for Safari

Now onto the second most exciting change for me, RSS features for Safari.  I have come to love this browser. It is fast, reliable and other than the over-used metal texture, it is well laid out from a usability standpoint... at least I think so.  My only gripes have been:

  • There lack of a script driven sidebar.  That has been solved by the author of Saft apparently, you can find info here.
  • And lastly the lack of any RSS aggregation or viewing in Safari.

Apparently my cries of pain have been heard in Cupertino and answered.  The Tiger version of Safari will ship with an interesting RSS reader/aggregator built in.  There hasn't been much rumbling in the blogosphere about the implementation other than a side note on Jon's blog, you can find it under the heading os x browser news on the right side.

    I agree that:
  1. the lack of a way to show the count of unread feeds, as well as assigning a value to frequency of updates...
  2. but I disagree that:
  3. it is not "the nicest of solutions", I see great potential in this interface (I find NNW to be bloated and over featured) and will wait to see what they come up with in the next 6 -8 months.

Either way I see this as a wonderful development.  There are many people that will now use RSS that did not before due to the trademark ease of use that Apple imbues all thier creations with, programs like NNW while powerful, are to cumbersome and complicated for the average user to contend with, I have found NNW to be a mess of buttons and features that are not intuitively placed in any concievable way.  The biggest contender to a RSS-ified Safari would probably be Pulp Fiction from Freshly Squeezed Software, unfortunately for them RSS-ified Safari comes with every copy of Tiger free.


Now onto Dashboard.   This has got to be the worst idea Apple has ever stolen.  I thought konfabulator was a collosally stupid idea, and I think that the Apple variation is a slightly better integrated, collosally stupid idea.  The "widgets" don't integrate with the UI at all, and they take up way more desktop space than should be allowed by law, not to mention they break everyone of Apples HIG guidelines.  I can't even talk about this anymore.  Moving on.

That is it for now.  I plan on finishing this up with a look at the new Meta data Search that has been added to Tiger, and the new 64 bit codebase and libraries.  Until then, stay well.