Arjay Central
  Contact Nellie
    Spy Central
      Our Fiction
November 2005 Arjay Web Services


Rick Sutcliffe's

Other eBooks



Christian Resources
ArjayWeb Services
Linking? Copy this NSpy
Or, see this page

The Spy is also in:

The Northern Spy
November 2005

Taking Over the World--One iPod at a Time

Rick Sutcliffe

The Good News Keeps rolling

for Apple's Mac and iPod shipment numbers, and thus for the corporate bottom line. |During the quarter ending in October, Apple sold 1.2 million computers and 6.5 million iPods, representing growth of 48% and 220% respectively with respect to the same quarter a year earlier. Earnings were $430 million on revenues of $3.68 billion, both records, and both likely to be shattered in each of the next few quarters.

On expectations that Apple will sell between nine and thirteen million iPods next quarter, .some analysts have raised their Apple stock target to levels between $66 and $79. There's no doubt the ubiquitous iPod has been a huge hit so far this shopping season, but, the Spy believes such stock prices reflect more emotion than a hard-nosed bottom line analysis.

As many expected (and the Spy doubted) the iPod Video is now a real product. Half resolution video chosen from a limited store stock and played on a tiny screen isn't too exciting--yet--but there's lots of potential here, for Apple to do for video what it has already done for music. Now, if they would only get on with the book reading software and eBook store component. Cellphones and Palm devices have already captured a large chunk of the eBook reading market, but there's plenty of room to do it better.

In a side note, Apple has recently released version 2.2 of its programming environment, XCode, said to enhance debugging capabilities.

But not for Dell

whose customers' increasing frustration over service response times and repair issues has begun to reflect in sales and earnings, which have missed the company's targets in two consecutive quarters. It must also take a $450 million charge to repair broken Optiplex desktops and will restructure its workforce. The company isn't hurting too badly, for revenues are still almost $14 billion, but if Apple keeps up this growth rate while Dell remains flat, the Cupertino company will catch up in three and a half years. Who'd a thunk it?

Or for other MP3 player vendors

whose products are falling like flies in a marketplace so dominated by Apple that there seems little room for anyone else. Let's hope success doesn't go to Steve's head.

The Spy still expects

at least one and possibly two speed bumps in the new dual core G5 desktops before the switch to Intel, and possibly (becoming less likely as the months roll by) one more iteration of the G4 laptops as well, perhaps to dual core. A switch to Intel in the server line seems unlikely for the near term future. There is little potential benefit, and much downside to such a move.

Stop the (Virtual) Press Department

Yet another fast-spreading virus is making the rounds via eMail. This one purports to be from the FBI, CIA, or like agency, and warns recipients about illegal Internet use as a prelude to getting them to click on the attachment that installs the virus. Apparently a similar package is circulating with a "hook" offering a porn video. Millions of Windows machines (but no Macs, of course) are said to be affected. The fix isn't computer science, folks (others say "rocket science, but that's easier). Don't click on unsolicited attachments.

Meanwhile, the browser wars,

thought to have been long-since won by the MS Internet Explorer, are heating up vigorously. Apple's Safari has been making small gains, but the Mozilla Firefox browser has done very well on all platforms. It's fast, accurate, and (like most nowdays) free. Well worth a try, and most who have don't go back.

The Spy has had much to reflect on concerning browsers recently, as he's been working on a dynamic menu system written in JavaScript. Yes, yes, he knows. There's lots of these around. But he needed a big enough challenge to force him to learn the language, and (hosting excepted) prefers to run the dynamic aspects of his sites with his own scripts.

The project has been successful enough, except that he discovered along the way that IE, Safari, OmniWeb, and Opera each have different ways of calculating how to position items on the page than do the Camino, Mozilla, Netscape, Firefox group. For its part, iCab still had bugs in its positioning routines that made full compatibility impossible to achieve.

It's now therefore more apparent to the Spy why so many developers prefer to construct dynamic elements at the server using php rather than leave them for the client browser to try to render correctly. But server-side preparation isn't always the most practical route, so JavaScript (properly ECMAScript, BTW) still has a role, and developers still have to make all those fiddly little adjustments on a per browser basis to get the exact pixel positioning they want on each of the many browsers. Ah, for standards.

Kudos to Olive Tree Bible Software,

vendor of top-flight reader software and Bibles for desktop and mobile devices. The Spy recently bought their Gramcord lite package to get a better-marked Greek version of the New Testament, along with the Greek lexicon. While he was at it, he added the Vulgate. He was a little surprised to find he remembered his high school Latin better than the Greek he learned much later. Ah, well, as they say, Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.

If on the other hand, you prefer the gorilla of all Bible software on your honkin' big desktop screen, Oak Tree Software's Accordance is still by far the best such package for scholars on any platform.

Sudoku Anonymous.

may have to rent larger premises. Joining Brian DeBoer's previously released Sudoku widget, is MacSudoku, a $9.99US application from Rosborough Technology Co. that offers a free trial to hook its users into this addictive game. Don't say you weren't warned. Now, let's see. That cell must be either a three or a five, and likewise the one below, so the remaining one in this block is a nine, and that means....

--The Northern Spy

Rick Sutcliffe, (a.k.a. The Northern Spy) is professor of Computing Science and Mathematics at Trinity Western University. He's written two textbooks and several novels, one of which was named best in the science fiction genre for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and he's a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of BC since 1972.

Want to discuss this and other Northern Spy columns? Surf on over to ArjayBB.com. Participate and you could win free web hosting from the WebNameHost.net subsidiary of Arjay Web Services. Rick Sutcliffe's fiction can be purchased in various eBook formats from Fictionwise, and in dead tree form from Bowker's Booksurge.


The Northern Spy Home Page: http://www.TheNorthernSpy.com

WebNameHost : http://www.WebNameHost.net

WebNameSource : http://www.WebNameSource.net

nameman : http://nameman.net

Arjay Books: http://www.ArjayBooks.com

Booksurge: http://www.booksurge.com

Fictionwise: http://www.fictionwise.com

The Spy's Laws collected: http://www.thenorthernspy.com/spyslaws.htm

Olive Tree:http://www.olivetree.com/store/


Sudoku Widget:http://bdeboer.blogspot.com/


This Arjay Enterprises page is Copyright 1983-2006.
The Northern Spy is registered at WebNameSource.com and is hosted by WebnameHost.net.
Last Updated: 2006 11 08