So, As It Turns Out, I Was Right, Sort Of

From Jan 31, 2010: Why the Mac OS X 10.7 UI Will be the iPad UI.

I didn't see the App Store coming, but the "virtuous circle" of iPhone -> iPad -> Mac OS, yes. The single-task interface, yes. Hiding the Finder, yes. Auto-save so you don't have to worry about file system hierarchies, yes.

Gizmodo has more details, and ends by stating that, yes, this is the future of the desktop UI, and not just on the Mac.

How My iPad Has Unexpectedly Replaced My Desktop. Sort Of.

I'm fortunate enough to have been given an iPad by my employer for R&D purposes. I certainly wasn't looking to buy one on my own. I have an iPhone, which I think is a fantastic mobile computing device (yes, even though most of my software development work is done using Adobe's tools — we're allowed to live in both camps, if we want, you know). I didn't see the point in the iPad.

I also happen to have a PowerMac G5 that I purchased in June 2004 as my primary desktop computer at home. It's a bit old and underpowered now, but it still does the job. I even play and raid in World of Warcraft using that box. That is, until the weekend before last. That Saturday was the day that my video card decided to completely blitz out, making any display rendering almost totally unusable. I can still perform certain tasks on the computer, but that's mostly through muscle memory and deep recognition of application windows. The display is largely illegible. I've cleaned the card, using pressurized air to blow off every spec of dust off the card, to no avail. Because the machine is so old and because replacing the card will set me back about $350-400 (because the machine and the cards for it are so old), there's no good reason not to replace the machine.

The iMac line (which I'd buy from to replace this desktop) is nearing the end of its current cycle and due for a refresh. I don't want to buy a new iMac only to find the line refreshed in the next 14 or 21 days. I can only go for so long without a desktop at home, so what to do?

My partner has been gracious enough to let me play WoW on his computer (in spite of the fact that he intensely dislikes the game and the years of late nights I've spent as a raid leader). That's one problem down. I don't do a lot of digital photography or video, so there's no urgency there. I can still buy music and apps via iTunes because I can kind of make things out on the screen on my desktop (though I'm sure I'll soon buy something I did not want because of this on-screen guesswork), so that's another problem that's handled. But what about my daily Web browsing activities, and shopping, and email?

Enter the iPad.

I've been remarkably surprised at how well the iPad takes care of my consumption activities on the Internet. Between regular old Web sites and specialized apps (like a news reader for my 150+ RSS feeds or LogMeIn Ignition for remote desktop control), I've not had to give up much in terms of going about my normal Web consumption activity on my iPad. I don't play Farmville (or any Flash games), and most movie trailers I watch are in QuickTime, so I don't miss Flash too terribly. It's easier on the eyes than my iPhone, and the increased physical space and gestural flexibility make it a better choice for my daily Web activities than the iPhone.

But I can't run Eclipse, so no development work for me. If I need to do some management in Adobe Connect (or teach using Connect, for that matter), I have to turn to my partner's desktop. If I ever get around to making a DVD of my family's videos from our 2009 African safari, it's not going to happen on the iPad. And I still need to connect to my desktop in order to sync my iPad (or iPhone). I can download music and apps over WiFi, but I'd like to have everything backed up so when I do move to a new machine it's all seamless and stuff. (That part of the process once again shows that Apple should cut the cord between their mobile devices and the desktop — in spite of the halo effect and the extra sales they get from it — and take a cue from Google's Android 2.2 OS and push cloud sync front and center.)

As many critics have pointed out, the iPad is not a good creation device on a number of fronts (software development being a big one), but it's a pretty damn fine device for consumption. No one complains that you can't develop desktop/mobile/Web apps on your XBox 360 or PlayStation, now do they?

Having used the iPad for a few weeks now, I can easily see how it will replace an extra computer in the house, or two. I can see how it will eventually grow in to a device for creation and consumption (though I think consumption will be its primary focus for a number of product iterations). It lacks the power and flexibility of my desktop, but like all things technological, isn't that just a matter of time?

Yes, Apple Really Is Out to Obviate Flash, But They Do Listen to Customers (Sometimes)

If you haven't heard, John Gruber at Daring Fireball has the lowdown on Apple's pointed attack on Adobe and Flash in particular in the iPhone 4.0 license agreement. The key point: Apple has basically banned the use of tools like the Flash -> iPhone packager that is a key piece of Adobe's flagship Creative Suite 5, set to launch on April 12. The bits are finalized, the discs are being burned and pressed as I write this, and a marquee feature of the suite has just been rendered null and void by a change in Apple's licensing agreement.

While I'm more on the HTML5/JavaScript side of the fence than the Flash side of the fence when it comes to building rich internet applications, there's a lot of great stuff that Flash can do that HTML5/JavaScript simply cannot. It's not just about video. It's about the applications that can be built. For now and the foreseeable future, Flash makes it drop-dead easy to build multi-user, rich media applications. It's a shame that those apps won't be able to make it on to the iPhone, or the iPad.

While the change in the licensing agreement also affects Mono (.NET) -> Objective-C and other similar converters, it seems like the result of the will of one very powerful and very gifted individual who has exercised his power to reshape the landscape of the Web. It's feels mean, but that's business sometimes, isn't it? (See Gruber's most recent post on the issue for the business reasons (alas, logical) why Apple made this change.)

On that note, there was something that struck me in the iPhone 4.0 SDK announcements yesterday which I thought was interesting from a UI perspective: the inclusion of folders in the iPhone UI.

While Apple's products (and team) are extraordinarily opinionated, and those opinions are rigorously thought through, I found it surprising that an "old" desktop metaphor found its way back in to the iPhone/iPad UI. With Apple's very clear attempt to break from the desktop UI of files and folders in the iPad, and their reluctance to introduce any kind of hierarchical organizational system in to the iPhone SDK in previous iterations, the return of folders was surprising.

My guess is that folders returned for a very simple reason: it was the choice that made the most sense to their users. While Apple may appear arbitrary and capricious, they listen very, very carefully to their users when it comes to designing the experience. They probably iterated through a number of organizational ideas and most likely came back, time and again, to a simple, obvious, universally understood idea: the folder. Rather than forcing something new and unfamiliar to most (ie; stacks), they said "Simple and already understood, if not radical and new."

So Apple does listen to their customers. Sort of. Sometimes.

Why the Mac OS X 10.7 UI Will be the iPad UI

I don't work at Apple. I have absolutely no evidence for this. This is pure speculation, but after processing the iPad announcement and the vortex of commentary about the iPad, I had an idea, and wanted to write it out.

The next major version of the Mac OS (10.7, or maybe 11) will likely adopt the iPad UI as its default UI. Here's why:

First, if you haven't read Steven Frank's commentary about Old vs. New World Computing, you should. It strongly influenced my thought path. Steven makes some excellent points about customer expectations when it comes to "new world" computing.

Apple has made it very clear that they are becoming a mobile computing company. The company derives a majority of its revenue from iPods, iPhones, and laptops. Revenue from desktop sales accounts for less than a quarter of their overall revenue. The biggest area of growth they've had (and are going to have) is in the mobile sector. This is going to influence their overall direction, even when it comes to their "crown jewel": the Mac OS. Millions more people use iPods (including the Touch) and iPhones than Mac desktops and laptops. Millions of people have probably switched to the Mac due to their very positive experience with the iPod/Touch or iPhone (the "halo effect" as business analysts have called it), and that's the "Apple experience" that they are used to.

The iPhone OS was/is a variation on the Mac OS. It carried a similar design aesthetic and even some of the same basic iconography (Safari, Mail) that the desktop OS used. As the iPhone and its SDK have exploded on to the computing scene, I've heard many people say (or write, or tweet) that "it sure would be nice if you could [insert some iPhone capability] on the Mac too." Functionality may be a driver for iPhone -> Mac OS UI adoption, but I don't think that's it. I think it's about the experience.

The iPhone/Touch/iPad UI is super simple. You touch (essentially click) on something, and it responds. There are few, if any menus. You do one thing at a time and when you're done with one task, you move on to the next. It's hard to get lost in the iPhone UI. There are no files, no file structures, no antiquated, computing-device-from-1980-centric notions of how to get things done.

A small detour: the iPad isn't for you, Person in the Software/Hardware/Web Application Development industry. I think that's a huge point that most of the analysts, pundits and commentators on the iPad this week missed. It's not a device that's going to replace your desktop/laptop with your 200 programs that you switch between at any given time to build the next Facebook. It's a device built for my Mom. Or your Mom. It's a device built for a 12 year-old kid who wants to connect and communicate in the very simple ways that IM, Facebook and SMS allow us to communicate while they watch TV, or sit on the bus, or are hanging out with friends. It's for people who don't care about a multitasking OS, or that it doesn't support real 720/1080p video (do you think they know what that means?), or — here comes the big one — that it doesn't support Flash.

A detour from the detour: I miss Flash on my iPhone. I would like to see it on the iPad. But it's not going to happen. Ever. Apple has no business interest in making Flash run on the iPhone/Touch/iPad. John Gruber clearly explains why. And the average customer won't think that there's something wrong with the iPhone/Touch/iPad. They'll think there's something wrong with your Web site. More than a decade of using the Web has taught users that when something goes wrong on a Web site, or something doesn't work on a Web site, it's the Web site's fault, not their computer. Not their iPhone. Their iPhone just works.
Back to the topic at hand.

If you buy an iPhone (or iPad) and you decide to move to a Mac from Windows, you've got another UI to learn. You learned the Windows UI, then you learned how to use the iPhone (or iPod Touch) UI, and now you've got a third one to learn. And that can be scary, and an annoyance, and a big time sink, and maybe a reason that you won't switch to a Mac desktop or laptop.

But if the UI you see when you buy that Mac laptop or desktop looks a whole lot like the UI you already know (and probably really like) on the iPhone/Touch/iPad, switching suddenly seems a lot less scary.

But what about the desktop? The Finder (or file system)? What about the Dock? What about having iTunes and Mail and iPhoto and Safari and iChat all open at the same time and clicking on their respective windows to quickly switch between them?

One of the major areas of frustration for most users in modern desktop/laptop computing is the file system. I know this may sound absurd, but as someone who works directly with users in face-to-face training classes (and online doing the occasional support that anyone who has a job in computing technology eventually does), users still, after 20+ years, don't get how a file system works and they don't get how to organize files, and, most importantly, to find them once they've saved them somewhere. This isn't just a Mac OS thing. This applies to Windows as well (perhaps even more so in the Windows word, but that's just me being a Windows basher). Beyond storing everything in the default location provided by the OS (or on the Desktop, because that's where a user can "see" their files), most users are utterly baffled by the complexity of a file system. If the computer could just figure it out for them and find the file when they needed the file, they'd be so much happier. Why do people send and store everything via email? Because it's really simple to find what they need using their mail client's search functionality.

(Please note that I'm not saying that you, dear reader, aren't smart enough to figure out the file system. If you're reading this rather unknown blog that mostly focuses on Web application development in ColdFusion, then you probably know more than your average user about computers and file systems.)

Apple has already taken steps in the iPad (iPhone SDK) to mask the complexity of the file system by having documents for a given application stored in the installation directory for the application. According to the article in RoughlyDrafted Magazine: "Documents copied to the app's shared folder will be graphically presented by the app when it launches, sparing users from having to figure out where to look for their document files and avoiding any need to sort through different kinds of documents." Sounds like Apple has taken a giant step towards masking the complexity of the file system to me.

It would be easy for Apple to offer a real, separate, standalone Finder app (not the one that still acts as the Mac OS desktop) in an iPad UI-based desktop/laptop OS for those times that anyone needs to navigate the hierarchy of the file system. If you want to get under the hood, you still could via the Finder app or the Terminal app, just like you do now.

(If you reflect on it a bit, you can see the direct, clear line between the idea of the iPhone/Touch/iPad UI and the Simple Finder from Mac OS 8.)

OK, so what about multitasking then? One of the great things about computers is that you can be working in 7 different programs at once if you need to and you can switch between them super easily.

When was the last time you watched (not just assumed) how a non-computer/software development-centric user gets things done? Most people use their computers for one task at a time. I check my email. I search for this thing on Google. I write this in Word. I play WoW. Most users focus on a single task in a single interface and then move on to another task in another interface. There is little to no need to jump between applications to get their work done. Google is taking this idea to its logical end by making the Chrome OS run a single application: the Web browser. Everything you could/should need to do can be accomplished via the Web browser, so why have any other applications in the OS?

(And, again, as a side note for the software developers reading this: think about Eclipse. Part of the success of Eclipse as a platform is the ability to add plug-ins of myriad scale and functionality to Eclipse so that it can do just about anything you want from a single interface, in a perspective that helps you focus on the task at hand. Isn't that what tools like Mylyn are all about?)

It would be trivial, in an iPad-based UI, for Apple to allow for multiple processes so that you could listen to iTunes while you surfed the Web in Safari, or receive incoming IMs or Facebook notifications while you read your email. That's not a problem and wouldn't be an issue in an iPad-based Mac OS 10.7 UI. Apple can keep the multitasking nature of the OS while masking the complexity of a multitasking environment behind a simple, one-app-at-a-time view.

Does the idea a single, full-screen view of a single application at any given time sound familiar? An operating system made by a company based in Redmond, Washington, adopted this model of computing years ago. When an application opens in Windows, the default view is for the application to expand to fill the screen. You can switch to other applications as needed (or even make them smaller so you can see multiple applications at once, like you can on the Mac OS). You are, however, focusing on a single application at any given time if you go with all of the defaults. Yes, the Start menu, like all menus, is an exception. But this is the desktop window UI that a majority of users have come to learn and expect.

One of the things I see switchers from Windows to the Mac struggle with is the concept of multiple application windows being open and visible at once. If you've used Windows for a long time, you expect that when you open Word, it's going to fill the screen. Not so on the Mac. Most windows don't fill the screen (iMovie and other non-linear video editors being an exception). There are floating palettes. There's a whole bunch of stuff that quickly piles up in a single window and it's easy to accidentally click on the wrong window and bring up an application that you don't want to work with at the moment.

Apple isn't shy about stealing from Redmond when it needs to. If it would make it easier for switchers to actually make that switch if the single-application-visible approach taken by default by Windows became the standard, out-of-box experience on Windows, that's a compelling argument for making that change. And that's how the iPad UI works.

Apple has a business interest in updating the Mac OS (and the iPhone SDK) on a regular basis. It sells. It sells hardware. It helps them to remain competitive and gives them yet another opportunity to dance circles around the folks in Redmond. OS additions like 64-bit computing and offloading computing power to the GPU sure sound nice if you know what they mean, but it's the UI changes that are the big ticket items, the big showpieces, and the big drivers for most consumers of an OS. Saying that "we've left the UI from 1984 behind and have made a true OS for the mobile Internet era" would be a big ticket item for Apple. (If it was actually, deeply tied to the Internet and cloud storage.)

Apple is, at its core, a company about the user experience. From the original Macintosh (making the arcane art of the command line go away in favor of a GUI) to the genius of using your finger as the primary interaction point between you and your computing device, Apple is about making the user experience simple and elegant. Apple doesn't care about offering 5,437 features in a single device. They care about offering 10 things that really matter, are core to getting the primary tasks of the device completed, and making those 10 things work flawlessly. If you've used the iPhone or iPod Touch, it's definitely simple and elegant. It just works. It's a really nice experience. It's the epitome of the "New World" computing that Steven Frank writes about. Why wouldn't Apple want to capitalize on that to make a simple, elegant, seamless experience from one of their devices to another?

I've left out just a few minor details, like how file storage would work in an OS that masks the file system and directory heirarchy as much as possible, and how cloud integration might allow the OS to become a true "OS for the Internet" (see Apple's acquisition of Lala, their new billion dollar data center in North Carolina, and our eternal hopes for a revamped MobileMe service as indicators), but this covers the basics of my hypothesis. Enjoy!

What the Hell Were They Thinking?

If you're not a tech news junkie, you may not know that Microsoft has embarked on a 300 million dollar ad campaign to counter the perception that Windows Vista is a terrible operating system and simply not worth your time. This is the first broadcast commercial in that effort.

What the hell were they thinking? This isn't selling Vista, this is wasting our time.

I usually DVR stuff and skip through the commercials, but I wanted to see what MS and their advertising partners would do to counter Apple's highly effective and very popular Mac vs PCs ads. They haven't done anything. Vista is like a delicious cake? Is that what we're supposed to take away from this? That statement is supposed to make us think that we can do more with less frustration with their flagship OS?

I think the ad is actually very typical of what Microsoft produces for the consumer: react to current trends, make a pale copy of the current leader, and blanket consumers with the product promotion so they think that maybe they should go out and buy it. Except they aren't buying it. There's no compelling reason to buy.

Apple's ads are exceptional in how they humanize not only the simplicity and goal focus of the Mac, but how they humanize the very common frustrations of the Windows user. Having Bill Gates shop at a discount shoe shop doesn't make him like you and me. It makes him look silly and makes the ad waste our time.

Apple's ads are focused on one point in each ad. What was the focus of this?

Apple's ads are visually striking. What made this ad stand out? What made it memorable? Is Microsoft throwing $300 million down the drain? Not like they don't have the money, but c'mon!

Why I Was, Now Won't, Be Buying a New iPhone on July 11

Being caught up in the Reality Distortion Field (tm) as projected from live bloggers at Macworld yesterday, I'm mighty impressed that the new 3G iPhone will sell for $199. I currently own an iPhone and I love, love, love it. I've never cared much for cell phones, rarely using mine and seeing them as intrusive devices that people use because they can, not because they should. The iPhone has made me appreciate SMS messaging, geolocation, and the true power of a mobile device. The one thing I hate about my iPhone is the "EDGE" network that provides wireless Internet access. It's painfully slow. It takes me back to 1994 when most of us had 56k connections and we'd gouge our eyeballs out waiting for pages to load.

The 3G iPhone rectifies that major shortcoming. And it has real GPS. And it sells for $199 for the 8GB model (the kind I have now). I'd be a fool not to buy it, right?

That's what I thought, until last night when I read two incredibly annoying facts about the new phone's launch.

  1. AT&T will be charging $30/month per iPhone data plan (which is required to use the iPhone), up from the current $20/month.
  2. AT&T is not allowing home activation of 3G iPhones via iTunes. All 3G iPhones must be activated in-store. AT&T estimates that this process will take "10-12" minutes per phone.

I can only imagine the utter cluster**** that will be the AT&T stores on July 11 and the days following.

I'm also annoyed that I'm going to now have to shell out $130/month for my and my partner's iPhones — that's the minimum you can pay using the cheapest base plans from AT&T. I'm lucky that I can afford this, but it's an annoyance and reeks of old-school cell phone company fleecing that somehow is OK here in the U.S. but is illegal in the rest of the world.

So maybe I should have titled this post "I'll Be Buying a New iPhone around July 20," because I'll probably still get one. But the asinine decisions made by AT&T about activation and the increase in prices really got my goat. Apple was so careful about controlling the launch of the original iPhone, it's disappointing to see that they ceded so much to AT&T (specifically with the nightmare that will be in-store activation) this time around.

Could Apple's iPhone SDK = Adobe's AIR?

So this is pure conjecture, but it struck me this evening: Could Apple's much-anticipated iPhone SDK in fact be Adobe's AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime)?

The arguments in favor of this possibility:

  • Apple wants an SDK that will protect the core iPhone runtime. Jobs made a very specific point during his announcement of the iPhone SDK that Apple has to make very sure that whatever SDK they release isn't going to allow third-party applications to crash the iPhone. AIR provides a separate runtime for applications that function very much like (at least on a Mac or PC) desktop applications: there's support for file system access, drag and drop from the host operating system, a simple, local database, and more. You can make rich, desktop applications using AIR with a very low likelihood of crashing the host OS.
  • Consumers and developers alike have been demanding support for Flash on the iPhone since it launched last year. AIR is built on top of the Flash player (and brings PDF reading support to the table as well), so if AIR is the solution that's chosen, Flash becomes possible/enabled within Safari on the iPhone. That would make a whole lot of people happy.
  • The iPhone OS is not the same as Mac OS X. It's not clear that you could compile applications in Objective-C and get them running on the iPhone. AIR lets you write applications in Flex, Flash, or HTML/JavaScript. This is a path that Apple has already begun to push developers down with the initial release of the iPhone, claiming that developers should write Web-based applications.
  • Safari is based on WebKit. AIR uses WebKit as its HTML rendering engine.
  • Apple has gotten consumers used to taking "Web pages" from Safari in the iPhone and turning them in to icons on the main iPhone screen. They could easily customize Safari on the iPhone to offer the same option when AIR installation badges are discovered on Web pages that users surf to using Safari on the iPhone.
  • It's unlikely that Apple would allow third-party developers to tap in to phone functionality even if their SDK isn't based on AIR. That's the domain of AT&T and AT&T, I'm sure, will do everything in their power to control the data and services that relate to phone activity. Of course, if Apple's iPhone SDK is AIR, then third-party developers could write VoIP applications, even those using libraries like Ribbit. I don't think Apple cares about that. AT&T does, but Apple just wants to sell more devices and get people using the Internet with their devices. AT&T ultimately needs Apple and Apple's exclusive agreement with them than Apple needs AT&T.
  • Apple will want a secure, controlled way of delivering third-party applications to the iPhone. AIR allows for certificates and digital signing. Adobe plans to have a marketplace for AIR applications, and Apple could use iTunes to do the same thing.
  • Just a coincidence: Apple's iPhone SDK is due at the end of February. Adobe have made it quite clear that they're winding down Flex 3 and AIR 1.0 development right now. The timing is interesting.

The arguments against this possibility:

  • The more developers who write in Objective-C for the iPhone, the more developers who know Objective-C, and the more developers who could then write for the Mac OS (and any device that runs the Mac OS, including the AppleTV).
  • Apple will want a secure, controlled way of delivering third-party applications to the iPhone. Apple will probably use iTunes for this. They wouldn't want anyone else delivering applications to users of the iPhone, as control of the whole experience (from opening the box to making your first call) is critical to their corporate culture. Letting people install applications from any Web page with an AIR install badge would probably not sit too well with them.
  • Putting Flash on the iPhone helps bolster the supremacy of Flash Video. Apple has a lot invested in QuickTime, and uses QuickTime to deliver its audio and video content (including anything that plays on an iPod). Apple is banking on broadband connections to deliver HD content anywhere, using MP4 codecs played back within QuickTime. I'm not so sure they're willing to cede that to Adobe by putting Flash on the iPhone.

  • The Flash player may be too power consumptive for good performance on the iPhone. I doubt this, because QuickTime decodes video just fine on the iPhone, but it's possible.

I'm sure there are more arguments against this, but it's an interesting possibility.

Comments?

Better Blog Design

Smashing MagazineOnce again, the good folks at Smashing Magazine have come up with a whole mess o' ideas to make the design of Web apps better. This time, they focus on 45 Excellent Blog Designs. There isn't as much context for each design I would like, but they do have some great examples and push one key idea: it's the attention to small details that makes great design.

It's the same argument that could be made for a lot of things (not just software), but the one technology company that seems to nail this principle (and has done so over and over again for a very long time now) is Apple. One of the things I hear people say when asked why they love their Mac or their iPod is "It's the little things that are nice."

But back to me (and when isn't it about me? After all this is a blog...), maybe it's time to spruce up the old blog design.

Would Adobe Get In to the Office Suite War?

So Wired is speculating that Adobe is going to get in to the office productivity suite market. While Adobe's AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) application is allowing developers to build rich media applications that run on the desktop but use common Web technologies like Flash, JavaScript and HTML, I'm not sure Adobe will build something themselves. Sliderocket is a really cool PowerPoint for the Web, and Buzzword is a nice looking (if simple) Word for the Web. There's Google Spreadsheets, of course, but Adobe doesn't have quite enough money to buy Google. They do, however, have the cash to buy both Sliderocket and Buzzword.

Adobe has built a couple of really nice online photo and video editors in Flash/Flex that meet the needs of many, many casual photo and video editors. But an office suite? Here's what's missing:

  • A spreadsheet app: I haven't seen any built in Flex. Does anyone know of one?
  • A mail/calendar/task management app: A couple have been built in Flex that are used by corporations on their intranets, but there's nothing big and public that I know of. It wouldn't be too hard to do (especially with Flex as the front end, and ColdFusion 8 with its new Exchange integration on the back end), but it would need to compete on some level with Outlook, and not be feature-minimal.
  • A database application: Now this one may not matter. How many people who use Microsoft Office use Access? Not a whole lot.

While I don't think that Adobe would build a competitor to the full version of Office, they may get in to the "Office"-lite area, where Apple recently made a serious challenge to Office with iWork 08. Some people have complained that iWork isn't a real replacement for Office because it doesn't do everything Word does, or crunch huge spreadsheets like Excel. But that's not the market that Apple is going after. They're going after the pretty big part of the office application market (and home user market) that types some letters, needs limited spreadsheet capability, and wants things to look nice. If you need pivot tables, then get Excel. Otherwise, Numbers might just work for you.

This is the space that Adobe could get in to, with fully online apps. Again, I'm not convinced that Adobe will do this, especially as they're all about the Acrobat. A hosted document collaboration and versioning application? Yes.

BlogCFC was created by Raymond Camden.

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