Culture

Mac and Java don't mix, yet

Oscar Wilde said that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. For Macintosh users, that statement is especially true.

Oscar Wilde said that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. For Macintosh users, that statement is especially true. Since I've been accused of virtually ignoring Macolytes' favorite company, I decided to shake the Apple tree this week to see what fruit fell off.

Users have blitzed me with email about rotten Java support in Netscape Navigator. This week, Java superstar Marimba bemoaned the sorry state of Java on the Mac in a press release. The company promised a Mac version of its Bongo product only when there is "a stable Java Virtual Machine for the Macintosh." Ouch.

There's more bad news in the offing for Java on the Mac. My snoops tell me that Natural Intelligence, makers of Roaster Java development tool for Mac, is getting cold feet about being in the Java business. The company has lost some key Java engineers to the Evil Empire, Microsoft, which has a growing Mac Internet team in San Jose, California, consisting largely of former Claris and Apple employees.

Oddly, Microsoft may be the one to give both Apple and Netscape a kick in the pants with Explorer 3.0 for the Mac. Last May, the company licensed a JVM and super fast JIT compiler from Metrowerks and is racing to incorporate the two in a soon-to-be-released IE 3 for Macs. The skinny is that Explorer will take up a much smaller memory footprint on the Mac than the more RAM-hungry Navigator. Hallelujah!

If you're sick of Macs and PCs, buy something simpler, like a Newton. Stories have been circulating for weeks about a new clamshell-shaped Newton, code-named Shay, that will show up before the end of the year. Now, my tipsters tell me that the device has an official, though rather unappealing name: E-Mate. Apparently, dissatisfaction about the name among the rank and file at Apple is so high that the troops have created a clever anagram for it: Eat Me. It's catchy, but I don't think Eat Me will play in Peoria.

One company that knows how to play--audio that is--is Progressive Networks. I hear the company is ramping up it efforts to expand beyond its trademark audio products into video streaming. Progressive is considering licensing a video codec from Iterated Systems for use in a future product, according to my spies.

Progressive has also put a help wanted sign on its Web site for video engineers and has registered the domain name for an obvious name for its product: Real-video.com. You can't see a full screen video of me on the Net quite yet. Thank your luck stars for that. Send me a rumor or I'll post a video of me.