Signs and Portents

January 9th, 2006  |  Published in old and busted

Think Secret’s Eve of Expo Rumor Recap will serve as a rumor mill scorecard for tomorrow’s MacWorld keynote. On the list:

  • Intel-based minis and iBooks

  • iLife ’06/iWeb (which prompted Karelia to fly into a panic and kick out a public beta of Sandvox, its Web authoring proggie.

  • A set-top Mac mini

  • updated shuffles, partnerships and a bunch of other crap

This is the closest I get to feeling like a cultist all year long.

Regarding Sandvox: Hm. I’ve used some of the non-public betas once or twice. I’m not going to comment on its stability or anything, because it’s just been a private beta up to now, and it wouldn’t honor the spirit of the developers’ request for privacy to make any comment.

What can be said pretty easily and fairly now that the beta is public is that it looks like Sandvox will offer a nice way to get stuff up on the Web quickly, with some pleasant touches for syndication and such that don’t involve a steaming, smoking heap of Perl or PHP churning away on some server somewhere. The templates are fancy, but they’ll be showing their age in a year. Hopefully, if the product goes anywhere, Karelia will be working to crank out updated/new templates on a regular basis. Looking at some of the templates provided, I had the same feeling I had when I saw Apple’s Pages … The current (Pages) designs are great, but so up-to-the-minute in terms of design that all but a few will be a little jarring in very little time … the same way mauve paint on office walls is both repellant and revelatory of when the place was last remodeled.

The real bad news for Karelia, though is that Sherlock proved “free and slightly crappy” seems to trump “good but with a pricetag” when it comes to the Mac market. I’d have given Sandvox bad odds against an Apple-produced and bundled Web authoring app even if it had been on the market for a year. The same app still in public beta with a caveat that it might not even open files you create with it in the next version? Even worse.

Regarding the set-top box: While I was stationed at Ft. Bragg I had a WebTV for a while. There were problems with it when it came to rendering certain pages and getting at certain kinds of content, but for the pre-search, Yahoo-dominated interweb of the mid-’90s, it was pretty cool, especially with a wireless keyboard for mail/Usenet and the standard remote for just browsing directories and “Cool Site of the Day” pages. I’d say I remember it fondly, even if I wouldn’t use one today.

On the other hand, we’ve got a perfectly good iBook that sits in the living room and:

  1. streams music to our stereo over the Airport Express

  2. resolves debates about which actor starred in what movie

  3. lets us check our inboxes now and then

  4. gets consulted for weather forecasts, movie times and event schedules

  5. lives in constant danger of being left unattended at the exact moment Ben decides his Fisher Price farm is boring, and that he’d really like to see if that pretty white thing flies as good as it looks

So we could make some use of something a little easier to secure, and designed to pipe content through the biggest screen/sound system in the room.

Leave a Response

© Michael Hall, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.