Over at patentlyapple.com, there’s talk of a new patent Apple has applied for what the site calls a “Breakthrough Platform Independent Word Processor,” one that could operate in the browser. This is the problem Apple wants to solve:
The recent proliferation of web browsers and computer networks has made it easy to display the same document on different computing platforms. However, inconsistencies in the way fonts are rendered across different computing platforms could cause the same document to be rendered differently for users of different computing platforms. More specifically, for a given font, the way in which metrics for various font features are interpreted, such as character height, width, leading and white space, can differ between computing platforms. These differences in interpretation could cause individual characters in a document to be rendered at different locations, which could ultimately cause the words in a document to be positioned differently between lines and pages on different computing platforms.
This inconsistent rendering could be a problem for people who are collaborating on a document. For example, if one collaborator points out an error on a specific line of a specific page, another collaborator viewing the same document on a different computing platform may have to first locate the error on a different line of a different page.
Hence, what is needed is a technique for providing consistent rendering for documents across different computer systems and computing platforms.
This is the solution:
Some embodiments presented in Apple’s patent application describe a system that typesets and renders a document in a platform-independent manner. During operation, the system first obtains the document, wherein the document includes text content and associated style information including one or more fonts. The system also generates platform-independent font metrics for the one or more fonts, wherein the platform-independent font metrics include information that could be used to determine the positions of individual characters in a rendering of the document. Next, the system uses the platform-independent font metrics to determine how the document is divided into line fragments and pages. Finally, the system uses the determined division while rendering the document, so that the division of the document into line fragments and pages is the same across different computing platforms.
Now, call me senile, but a consistent cross-platform experience is something that seems right up Flash’s alley. A swf on PC looks the same on a Mac, or Linux. They’ve been doing this for over a decade. But you’re probably thinking wait, Walt, you senile old bastard — I’m in your head — a consistent cross-browser experience that’s already built and already used by 99% of everyone online isn’t a word processor. True, it isn’t, but aside from the fact that Adobe purchased a product called Buzzword — a Flash-based wordprocessor — years ago and integrated it into Acrobat.com, there was also Virtual Ubiquity, which doesn’t seem to exist anymore, but did.
So, you know, prior art, and all that.
I love how moist Patently Apple is getting at the idea of this, talking about how Apple, if they put out a cross-platform word processor, will change the landscape again. Look, I’m no Apple hater, but they’re clearly trying to patent something that’s existed for several years.
Is Patently Apple going to get all excited at Apple’s upcoming plans to replace the horse and buggy with an automated, mechanical machine? I hear it’s going to be goddamn huge.
If you’ve got someone you need to insult, but you aren’t sure how, ask me how! Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll tell you how to give your nemesis a verbal butt-whupping.
After Gruber dismissed Ed Bott’s warning about Mac Malware as being “Crying Wolf,” Bott responds with a potential nuclear bomb: he’s got an interview with an AppleCare call center employee, who reports that Mac malware infections are going through the goddamn roof, and lets slip with an astonishing bombshell: if AppleCare employees help customers remove malware from their compromised systems, they could be fired.
I assume Gruber won’t respond for a few days, as he’ll need some time to learn how to be a journalist.
I put this rugged external hard drive through its paces, and it’s glorious! My review is, I mean; the drive’s pretty good, too.
Thrill to my poetic review of Superbrothers’ Sword & Sworcery EP.
Gruber put up a post titled “Wolf!” the other day, wherein he quoted a bunch of folks, from 2004 onward, stating that Apple’s era of relative freedom from security threats would soon be over. The implication moptop’s going for is that people have been gleefully calling for the end of the Mac’s freedom for years, and been wrong, so they will continue to be wrong forever.
First, if you’ve read any of Gruber’s posting, him poking fun at someone else trying to rub a person’s nose in anything is ironic in the extreme; Daring Fireball is nothing if not an exercise in the cult member angrily trumpeting his superiority at having picked the one true faith. It’s an angry blog.
Second, Gruber’s wrong. Shockingly. SHOCKINGLY. Yes, the threat of Malware on Mac has been one that hasn’t, to date, materialized in a large way. But so what? The quotes he provides from these articles aren’t wrong; people ARE making more attempts to crack into the Mac as it gains popularity, and Malware IS becoming more of a threat for the thing. And Mac users DO act all superior about the fact that they don’t have to worry about viruses and other threats. And his own predictions about not just the continued marketshare increase for the Mac, but the continued decrease of marketshare and prominence of Windows means that now, more than ever, people will be using these mobile devices, and it’s not like these malware producers, whose livelihood is based on building malware for either themselves, or organized crime, are going to change their profession because iOS has such a wonderful polish to it.
The Mac isn’t some perfectly secure thing. Nor is Safari. Mac is easily hackable, and every year at the PwnToOwn contest, where hackers crack into browsers for money, Safari — used quite a lot on the Mac — is always the first to fall. And Safari’s on iOS. And is crackable. And Apple has sold 100 million of the devices. And hackers go where the money is. And Mac users are sold security as a benefit of the platform, meaning they’re less on the lookout for threats than PC users are.
Here’s the thing: Gruber is saying that these folks have been calling for the end of Mac safety for years and are wrong because they’ve been wrong so far. This is a logical fallacy, as past performance isn’t a guarantee of future performance, but what kind of Mac devotee — which is what Gruber is — can’t appreciate the value of being forward thinking? Gruber, like so many others, spent YEARS in the wilderness saying “The Mac is superior and one day, ONE DAY YOU WILL ALL SEE.” He’s spent a sizeable chunk of his life spreading that message, and is now able to say “SEE, I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG, YOU PC-LOVING TWATS!” How, exactly, is that different from security experts saying “The Mac is insecure and one day, ONE DAY YOU WILL ALL SEE?”
Is Gruber too drunk on imagined power to see his own inconsistencies?
When OS Lion ships, it will be free if you download it via the Mac App store. It’ll cost $29, just like Snow Leopard, if you buy a boxed version in a retail store. Why will it cost more? It’ll be a convenience fee, basically, so you don’t have to burn your own disc. And when I say disc, I mean that Lion will come exclusively on a small USB thumb drive.
Believe that shit.
This week I review Grove’s beautiful iPhone 4 case. It’s made of bamboo and it smells like lemon!
On June 1, I’ll be giving one FOR FREE to one of the people who’ve kindly donated to the show. So, you know. Hint, hint.