News Recap


Without bullets, this time around. There was plenty I missed last week, but there were a few things that struck my fancy as I pored over the news and tracked down the origins of today's RSS stuff.

Which is as good a way to get started as any:

Office 12

You simply can't open an RSS reader without noticing the Office 12 Beta hype, which has spawned a ludicrous discussion amid the unwashed masses.

One of the most hotly debated items seems to be whether the new ribbon-based UI will hinder or help new users (closely followed by the new file formats and their being the new default).

My take? I won't knock the ribbon until I try it, but I loathe wasted room on my screen - it had better be real good (anything is likely to be better than the IntelliSense menu fiasco, but...). I'm much more optimistic about Excel charts, though - the ones shown actually look good, and that can only mean they finally got someone with taste on board.

Intel iBooks

Since there has been no more news concerning the next Mac Office version (the last thing I bookmarked was this piece on it sharing the Windows file formats), the next best thing seems to be the increasingly hysterical rumors regarding Intel iBooks in January.

Apple might do it, and yet they might well not - they're like that, and even I (who am typing this on an 800MHz iBook with a lot of mileage and have therefore considerable interest on the topic) have absolutely no idea of whether or not it will happen for sure.

A cool Yonah dual-core would be a very nice way to get things started indeed, but last I checked the January date quoted by Think Secret was slipping (and it seems that lower-power, cheaper CPUs are actually expected on Summer). So, if we're to see an Intel Mac on January, it's not likely to be an iBook.

Plus a lot of the piece (especially the price comparisons) seems written on purpose to lend some oomph to the rumors' spin, and considering it doesn't actually contribute to confirming the rumor sources (it's just wishful thinking without much substance and a few random quotes), it doesn't seem that credible to me.

The bottom line, however, is that Think Secret's piece makes the purported future iBooks seem more powerful than the new (just released) PowerBooks and way cheaper - so I rate it as not bloody likely to happen (at least not using Yonah CPUs).

I would, however, bet even money on an Intel mini (remember, there was only a minor update on those), and a bit more on there being a new iPod Shuffle (please, no more iPod flea jokes) or some other supporting gadget.

Google-Mart

Cringely may not get it all right (and it is getting increasingly difficult to prove him wrong, mostly due to the way he re-casts issues and the sheer bulk of predictions he makes), but his latest is mind-blowing (no matter how credible you may find it).

In short, he hints at Google becoming a massively distributed, world-wide network of tightly packed, clustered data-centers, bringing their services closer to each region's users -

This is more than another Akamai or even an Akamai on steroids. This is a dynamically-driven, intelligent, thermonuclear Akamai with a dedicated back-channel and application-specific hardware.

Me, I welcome our new Google overlords - things need to be shaken up a fair bit, and a shift to a massively distributed services platform is just what the Internet needs, instead of all this faffing about with custom Ajax start pages and tiptoeing around web-based applications.

My guess is that he'll be writing about how Google is considering opening up its service delivery platform to others next - once you have such a thing in place, it would be the next logical step, and they'd still get ad revenue from applications deployed atop it.

Mono - Half of Stereo?

Before signing off, a brief word on Mono. Miguel posted an impressive update covering a lot of angles, but the overall feel one gets is that they're repeating Java's mistakes by letting what probably ought to be their primary target (i.e., Windows.Forms) keep slipping (especially the Mac bits). After all, what use is Mono if one can't actually deploy desktop applications across platforms?

Java died several miserable deaths on the desktop due to its first horrid UI toolkits (which sacrificed usability - and good taste - to attempt portability), and I hope I'm wrong in doing this comparison.

Here, Kitty kitty kitty...

And finally, via pfig, the best take on the Sony DRM rootkit fiasco (well, the second best, right after Schneier's piece):

Brilliant.


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