A few things I’ve found worthy of pondering in the last couple of days:

Apple has a new two-button (or really more) mouse. I can only say it’s about time. One problem I have with Macs in general, is that while Apple is happy to innovate and do new things, they are loathe to imitate the successes of other companies. It’s very nice to be cool and different, but a computer is a machine, and practicalities must be paid attention to.

Of course, Apple does do its best to do everyone one better with the scroll ball and the touch-sensor buttons. The last seems technically interesting, as I’d think you could technically split up the area into any number of ‘buttons’ you wanted. The former probably won’t matter much to a lot of users, but should be very handy in graphics applications.

Unfortunately, they stuck with the bar-o-soap design. This is slightly more ergonomic than sticking your hand in a blender….

Apple has sent out developer boxes for the new Intel-based Macs. Apple originally promised that while they would not be trying to keep people from installing Windows or Linux on the machines they produced, they would keep people from running OS X on machines other than their’s. I thought that would be a pretty tall order….

However, it turns out that Apple is using a new style of security chip on the motherboard. The OS will refuse to install if it is not detected. Chips like this have been popular with manufacturers like Intel for some years, but are constantly rejected by informed users (i.e., the fanatics who follow the release of every new chipset and motherboard…) who don’t like the possibilities for tracing particular machines. So now Apple has them pissed off about going along with Intel. I can’t say I blame them.

It should be noted that this chip is not unique to Apple; Intel is already using it. I might presume there is some difference enabled so that the Intel-OS X won’t install on just any machine with a TPM chip. But I wonder if would be possible for someone to hack around that, or otherwise work around it (like how a $20 I/O card could be turned into a $100 RAID-controller by soldering on a 5¢ resistor). This would be far too much work to actually effect the market in any real way, but might still raise the hackles of the hardware-jealous god of Apple.

SquareEnix is considering going multi-platform. They have traditionally stuck with whatever console has the majority of the market (although, one could accuse them of a certain amount of king-making). The president of the company started by pointing out that the Xbox has been a lot more successful in the US than in Japan, and then pointed out that the numbers look like the Xbox and PlayStation2 are currently selling in equal numbers here.

He then hypothesized that the next generation consoles could easily: a) split the world into different regions of who is on top, or b) split into a dominant ‘high-end console’ and a dominant ‘low-end console’.

I’ve wondered for some time if Microsoft might manage ‘a’ for a while. It’s obvious they’ve targeted themselves at the market they know, and are more-or-less showing the flag in Japan. I can’t see Sony or Microsoft settling for a (b) result, they’ll battle each other for total marketshare with prices, features and games all the way down. Maybe Wata knows more about Nintendo’s plans for the Revolution than he can tell…