If you haven't looked at Google's beta update to their usenet interface, take a look. Pretty buggy right now, but a nice usenet client is definitely in the works there. Between gmail and this -- and I assume perhaps one day integrated Blogger as well -- Google is reinventing the web, and, strangely (though intelligently) doing it within the browser. I would've guessed for specialized thick clients to come next...

eWeek has a good Firefox review. One of their biggest issues with Firefox is the lack of enterprise management tools, which is (afaik) a good point. What's interesting is that *NIX-land apparently has never missed this sort of system-wide configuration util. What does that say about *NIX culture versus Windows? Reminds me a bit of the *NIX "RTFM/HOWTO Complex", where learning *NIX from the *NIX community (which really is the only way) often becomes a bit of a Catch-22. If Apple doesn't get too caught up in iPod-land, perhaps they'll fix the issue?

Their other eWeek complaint was essentially lack of ActiveX support, which isn't quite fair (I believe you can use a plug-in for ActiveX, though I doubt the integration is seemless), but that seems to be arguing that not having a structure that lends itself to security holes is a bad thing. They do have a point on the other half of the "it doesn't act like IE" complaint -- there are poorly written web apps that won't display/behave correctly out of IE (and by that I often mean IE on Windows), but this issue is as much that people learn to do html for IE only when it's barely more trouble to make xbrowser code.

And finally, been hacking this week. One good 4 hour chunk and two longer periods with frequent interruption. Have a good word-culler/index maker going. For the backend I'm using hsql. Not nearly as user friendly as MS-SQL Server and perhaps not even as friendly as Oracle in some resepects, but I've been able to kludge it enough to get everything I need going with JDBC and SQuirreL. Finally -- a good, xplat, open source, JDBC compliant, license-free rdbms. The sky's the proverbial limit.

Look -- let me editorialize this... If your app's development requires shooting for the latest and greatest libraries and OSes and you notice you have to lay out for new dev hardware to keep up every year or two, you're supporting the worst sort of consumerism. For full disclosure, I purchased another Apple computer within the last two months (month?), so I'm being somewhat hypocritical, but here's the point -- When I design software, I hope I don't require WinXP or Mac OS X 10.3. The best way I've found to provide client/GUI'd software to the widest range of OSes and hardware is to shoot for Java 1.1. There's no 16 bit vs. 32 bit issue like in VB; there's no xplat issue really to speak of. With Java, you can even write intelligently enough to relatively easily provide interfaces that scale and present different combinations of parts depending on the JRE a user has installed. The same app can be run on Mac OS 8.1 through Longhorn and Mad Hatter, and can take advantage of all the latest and greatest tricks where possible with smartly written, shared backend code and two GUIs (one AWT for "everyone" and one replacing some AWT objects with Swing/SWT, as needed, even combining the two if you'd like (which, surprisingly, doesn't even look that wacky in native LaF anymore)).

If you're using or are contributing to GNU software b/c you dislike Microsoft, embrace and extend that belief to include the software you write as much as possible. Do your best to write software that will truly run anywhere. Just because it seems the cycle of continual "hardware refresh" can't be broken doesn't mean you have to contribute to it.

(PS -- this is one reason Motif software, etc, really impresses me -- you can run some really old stuff even on my Mac through X11. Looks crappy, but runs nicely, and that's what it's all about. Now if someone could get My Mail Handler working for me...)