Woe Is Us

There is so much dissatisfaction in the world today. It turns out at that, just like the first eighty-five episodes, the eighty-sixth episode of The Sopranos didn’t transform the lives of its viewers or grant them a definitive insight into the wisdom to which so many seem to assume that David Chase has some unique access. It didn’t resolve the guilt born of eight years of empathizing with a sociopath and rooting for his success. It didn’t finally punish that sociopath for warranting our sympathy, or redeem him to justify our sympathy. It didn’t tell us, even obliquely, what it all meant. It didn’t fill the hole in their lives that so many seemed to hope could be filled by a television show. Though the passionate and aggressive howling of the disappointed suggests that Chase’s willingness to live within his own fallibility might indicate a unique access to wisdom after all. Chase chose truth over truthiness, and that’s just un-American.

And if the last five minutes of an episode of a television show won’t redeem us, it looks like the next release of Mac OS X won’t either. Ah, the humanity. But in the realm of what can be expected from an operating system, Leopard, as the next release of Mac OS X will be called, looks pretty promising. I really wasn’t looking for anything paradigm-shifting from this version, and probably would have recoiled if changes of that magnitude were announced. I use OS X for hours a day, and I rarely think about it. I tend, instead, to think longingly about it when I’m using Windows XP at work, and I find myself having to devote attention to things that should be intuitive. I’m relieved to learn that, for the most part, I won’t have to devote attention to Leopard while I’m using it, and that in the few cases where I will have to devote some attention to it, it will be to learn how to do those things that have been made easier (including especially the desktop and the finder) as they become intuitive.

More surprising (though apparently equally disappointing to observers) is the news that Safari, OS X’s Web browser, is being released for Windows. From the time Apple first released iTunes for Windows, I’ve wondered if they’ve been planning to build their own media-focused platform that would run on top of Windows in such a way that you would never really have to interact with Windows. But I don’t think this release of Safari is another step in that direction–I think it really is simply tied to the planned release of the iPhone later this month. But what’s interesting about it is its text display. All text (menu text and page text) in the Windows version of Safari is anti-aliased, unlike any other application I’ve seen in Windows XP, as seen here in this side-by-side comparison with text from Firefox:

Anti-aliased page text

I don’t know how Apple managed this without any apparent performance penalty. It’s something they couldn’t even manage in iTunes:

Anti-aliased menu text

3 Replies to “Woe Is Us”

  1. I can’t read tech sites any more; the knee-jerk whining makes me crazy.

    Like magic, the day Safari for Windows was released, people are experts in typography and font rendering. Amazing.


  2. I’m not surprised that many people didn’t “get” why Chase ended it the way he did. I thought it was brilliant.


  3. I am a little surprised–not so much that a mass audience has difficulty accepting complexity and ambiguity, but that the fanatical audience for this particular show has that difficulty. To be as attached to this show as the more vocal critics of its ending obviously were and then to feel betrayed or confused by the ending seems contradictory to me. What could you have been so attached to if it wasn’t that the show, unlike pretty much anything else on television, would end this way?


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