Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope
May 12, 2008 7:27 PM   Subscribe

Microsoft's much anticipated WorldWide Telescope was released today (in the past hour actually). Article in New York Times and TED speech.
posted by stbalbach (136 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hmm... I guess I'll wait until an OSX version comes out...
posted by nightwood at 7:31 PM on May 12, 2008


"Mac OSĀ® X version 10.2 (Jaguar) and Boot Camp; Mac OS X Leopard is recommended"
posted by stbalbach at 7:36 PM on May 12, 2008


That still requires XP or Vista to dual boot to, stalbach.

This looks slick, but I don't really feel like installing anything right now.
posted by IronLizard at 7:42 PM on May 12, 2008


I was kinda hoping that this would be a distributed computing project to help astronomers with CPU-intensive calculations. I want to feel like I'm helping to discover something rather than just visiting a museum.

Still, this looks pretty cool. Thanks!
posted by Avenger at 7:48 PM on May 12, 2008


They can make a piece of software that can go to the moon but they can't fix Vista.
posted by hal9k at 7:52 PM on May 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


so how is this different from Google Sky?

(seriously, not a snark)
posted by Merik at 7:57 PM on May 12, 2008


so how is this different from Google Sky?

Why do we need only one of everything? Competition encourages innovation yadda yadda yadda.
posted by Jimbob at 7:59 PM on May 12, 2008


(Non-snarky reply: I dunno, haven't tried it yet.)
posted by Jimbob at 8:00 PM on May 12, 2008


I've just downloaded it and the guided tours feature is great.
posted by Memo at 8:11 PM on May 12, 2008


With no native support for Macintosh, Google wins again when it comes to web software development.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:21 PM on May 12, 2008


So this is like Google Sky, except with the added feature that it can't run in anything but an MS operating system. That's so 90s.
posted by mullingitover at 8:24 PM on May 12, 2008 [5 favorites]


I read this thread and reflected on my own feelings about this application ("PC only? Eh.") And then I realized that Google has set the standard for what many of us here expect in an application. MS can't win this crowd over even when the application is free.

That's how far their brand has fallen. Amazing.
posted by zippy at 8:31 PM on May 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


F*ck this Windows-only garbage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:41 PM on May 12, 2008 [12 favorites]


So I downloaded and ran the installer and (drumroll) it installed Cygwin!
posted by bacteria at 8:42 PM on May 12, 2008 [5 favorites]


And yet, for some peculiar reason, I'm not half as impressed as I was when I first discovered I could watch a coffee-pot in some computing lab at Cambridge University.

Typical Microsoft really: always a day late and a dollar short when it comes to the internet.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:42 PM on May 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


hm, it seems a little strange to list Windows as a Mac requirement.
posted by bhnyc at 8:43 PM on May 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Loading.... 99%.... crash x3 times in three different browsers
Blah, nvm, guess I won't be back.
posted by gemmy at 8:44 PM on May 12, 2008


stbalbach, yes i saw that too.. other than the whole "mac" requirements being MS windows.

It seems to have been written by a mental patient. If anyone asks i'll be more than happy to dissect it fully:)
posted by MrLint at 8:51 PM on May 12, 2008


I downloaded it onto my PC, started it up, took a good look around, and I pronounce it "pretty cool". And I didn't have to have a Mac to do it!
posted by disclaimer at 8:53 PM on May 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Microsoft is claiming to support Mac OS X through by using Boot Camp? That's the biggest load of shit I've ever heard. That's like claiming your car run on diesel if you're willing to swap the engine.

Looks cool, though.
posted by patr1ck at 8:53 PM on May 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


different from Google Sky?

"From what we hear, WorldWide Telescope will be significantly better than Google Sky, which launched last August as part of Google Earth, and the open source Stellarium (which is hugely better than Google Sky already)." [1]
posted by stbalbach at 9:04 PM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mac with Intel Core 2 Duo (2.2 GHz or faster) processor recommended required.
posted by Camofrog at 9:06 PM on May 12, 2008


Unfortunately I downgraded from Vista to XP, using a rogue copy of XP, so I can't upgrade it to use all the crap this app will require (I did purchase a legal XP license key).
posted by mecran01 at 9:10 PM on May 12, 2008


Was it really necessary for them to use the dot Net framework? I used to be sick of installing VB programs that ended up requiring msvbvm60.dll or some such that mysteriously wasn't packaged... now it's all these programs requiring the latest dot Net. Whatever happened to the concept of "single executable"?
posted by crapmatic at 9:14 PM on May 12, 2008


With no native support for Macintosh, Google wins again when it comes to web software development.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:21 PM on May 12


If Mac users want this, they can ask Apple to code one for them. Its funny how in one sentence Microsoft is compared to Apple and Google, when those two companies can't be compared to each other in any way at all. Apple is non-existent on the internet aside from their web store, and google sucks at everything besides delivering ads. Why not toss in Sony and Nintendo while you're at it.

How is this different than Google Sky? Well, for starters, this isn't an actual Microsoft product. It's from their research division. In other words, Microsoft actually has a division that does nothing but pure research. Neither Google nor Apple have that. Microsoft's idea of R & D isn't simply sticking the label "beta" on their core products.

Furthermore, this is a platform for creating presentations. Not for zooming around. In that regard Google Sky is a pale imitator of Celestia. Celestia, by the way, is actually usied in schools, and has an educational add-on with, you guessed it, canned presentations. Google sky has no such thing.

WWT, in the context released here, is for astronomical presentations, with the added ability to add text to slides. So if you're a teacher in a school, you can put together your own astronomy lessons using the latest imagery, or you can crib someone else's. Big deal you say.

Except this really isn't limited to astronomy, or it doesn't have to be. Imagery is imagery. Remember that photosynth application? Combine the two and someone could put together an architecture presentation, and create slides using any building from any angle, assuming the library of photos is large enough. Because if the library is big enough, there is likely to be a shot of every famous landmark from every conceivable angle. Say, a library of photos like flickr. Which is owned by Yahoo, which Microsoft tried to buy.

Then you share these presentations with everyone else in the world, and very quickly you realize that presentations will be improved upon, updated, elaborated, etc. You then have a massive source of educational presentations available to you.

It's not the cure for cancer, but it is something new from an educational standpoint.

Now we can sit here and obsess over the development environment, but what would be the point? To prove what, that Vista sucks? I don't care. I have no dog in the fight, and I don't use Vista. What do I use? I use Word and Excel on Windows XP. I use Adobe Photoshop. I use Firefox and block all the Google ads, and I avoid iTunes like the plague in favor of a free open source audio player that is easier to use, has more features, and consumes fewer system resources.

So tell me again why I should hate Microsoft? Because their idea of R&D is actually building something new and releasing it for free instead of slapping the "beta" label on their flagship products?
posted by Pastabagel at 9:25 PM on May 12, 2008 [28 favorites]


No, seriously, I ran the installer and it installed Cygwin. And then exited cleanly. Now I have Cygwin installed.

But no Worldwide Telescope...
posted by bacteria at 9:31 PM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Probably, crapmatic, because your experience with VB is one of the driving reasons the .NET Framework was conceived. Its main purpose is to consolidate all the services (security and application development-oriented) that everyone presumes MS should provide and make them very easy to program against. A single executable, while possible, takes lots of resources spent making sure that all the bits and pieces you rely on, all the resources and any third-party tools you use get bundled in a way that each of them can recognize and work past... which is no small undertaking. Not to mention the licensing requirements of some code they may or may no use strictly forbids linking and only allows use as a library. Oh and single-executables have to carry a log of baggage to make sure they can handle the variety of tasks they need to perform - take a look at Skype's download size for an example of this.

Delphi (and the hellish C++ Builder0 are some of the only environments which ever managed the single-executable goal, and the guy who invented Delphi is the one who behind C# and most of the library model of the .NET Framework.

(Why not build it in Delphi you ask? Probably the variety of .NET tools and libraries available to leverage versus the increasingly niche set available for Delphi. Oh and the MS development tools are free like beer.)

So, in short, library availability, licensing, and trying to fulfill the orthogonal requirements of users and developers by building those requirements into a one-time download with shockingly few security issues, compatibility issues, or conflicted dependencies since it was released.

That'd be my guess.
posted by abulafa at 9:56 PM on May 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Brocktoon said "With no native support for Macintosh, Google wins again when it comes to web software development."

But wait: To my recollection, it took Google quite some time to release a Google Earth for Mac.

(I'm not exactly sure how long, because when it did come out it didn't support Panther so I've never been able to use it.)
posted by loiseau at 10:00 PM on May 12, 2008


No, seriously, I ran the installer and it installed Cygwin. And then exited cleanly. Now I have Cygwin installed.

I had a similar experience, but for me it was Active Sync. I think if you download it to a folder and run the installer, it's grabs whatever file it finds called setup.exe and runs it... running the installer from my browser, instead saving it locally got it to work for me.
posted by cosmonaught at 10:04 PM on May 12, 2008


Wow. Yeah. The MS Research kids have a sort of standard academic approach to building a customer install experience it seems... "Works for me."

It crashed the first time and is still installing.

Then again, as loiseau mentions, it took what two years to get a mac Google Earth? And all they did was buy Keyhole...
posted by abulafa at 10:09 PM on May 12, 2008


Can anyone explain how "Web 2.0" and "download" apply to the same product?
posted by yath at 10:15 PM on May 12, 2008 [7 favorites]


This looks slick, but I don't really feel like installing anything right now.
posted by IronLizard at 7:42 PM on May 12 [+] [!]


Exacles.
posted by dminor at 10:25 PM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


How come the progress bar (for the website) fills up at 93%, and then just sits there for the other 7%? Is that supposed to make it seem faster? Because it doesn't. Not in the slightest.
posted by decagon at 10:44 PM on May 12, 2008


Microsoft Research does a lot of interesting work. I was going to check this out, but unfortunately, it's OS-dependent, and available to their customers only. Disappointing, but not an unreasonable demand. It's normal for marketing to trump science.

Pastabagel: So tell me again why I should hate Microsoft?

Well, there's the OOXML debacle. This doesn't mean you have to hate them. It does make it more difficult to love them and love the free market at the same time.

FWIW, this Telescope thing sounds like a neat project. I hope it encourages people's interest in astronomy and leads to new exploration.
posted by Loudmax at 10:52 PM on May 12, 2008


hey bacteria, does the directory you're running the downloaded WWT installer from have a file called setup.exe left over from installing Cygwin? The installer extracts a file called setup.exe and tries to run it if I remember correctly (and somehow doesn't overwrite the one that is there if one exists).

I deleted the cygwin setup.exe, and magically I got the WWT installer the next time.

Hopefully this fixes it for you, I vaguely remember that this is how I dealt with *exactly* this problem a bit ago with the beta.
posted by AaronRaphael at 11:08 PM on May 12, 2008


I went to a MetaFilter FPP, and a Slashdot thread broke out.
posted by dw at 11:32 PM on May 12, 2008 [7 favorites]


This thing kicks the crap out of Google Sky. Sky looks absolutely cartoonish by comparison.

Of course, I'm not an astronomer, I don't own a telescope, and I'm running Vista, so my opinion is wholly unimportant and should be ignored.
posted by dw at 11:40 PM on May 12, 2008


Pastabagel writes "Remember that photosynth application? Combine the two and someone could put together an architecture presentation, and create slides using any building from any angle, assuming the library of photos is large enough. Because if the library is big enough, there is likely to be a shot of every famous landmark from every conceivable angle. Say, a library of photos like flickr."

Flickr doesn't own the photos in the library, their respective photographers do. Meanwhile, there are tons of creative commons-licensed photos at Flickr that MS could freely use. I don't understand what buying Yahoo has to do with anything here.

Meanwhile, if they're developing it in a *nix environment then it would be trivial to do an OS X build. Not making one seems either lazy or spiteful.
posted by mullingitover at 11:46 PM on May 12, 2008


I went to a MetaFilter FPP, and a Slashdot thread broke out.

In Metafilter FPP, Slashdot threads you!
posted by zippy at 11:46 PM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel really makes it sound interesting for me. I'd love to have a tool like that to help if I went into a school to talk about astronomy, and I bet loads of other astronomers would too. Not as many as Microsoft would like are going to use it though as Macs are very popular with astronomers compared to the average. It's a bit more important than the usual complaints from Mac owners about having picked a minority OS for their computer given the possible uses of this app.
posted by edd at 12:21 AM on May 13, 2008


"Worldwide Telescope does not detect an Internet connection".

I do not detect a product I want to invest even 2 minutes trying to get working.
posted by falcon at 3:40 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, I downloaded and played with it a bit. It's slow. But, as dw mentioned it is much better than Google Sky as a virtual telescope application. Mostly this is a question of focus: Google Sky is a "here's the whole sky in pictures" app, but isn't really meant to be used with a telescope. You cannot set your Earthly location in Google Sky to tell you what is in your sky at any moment in time, and you cannot hook up your telescope to Google Sky. This Microsoft offering is like Stellarium (or EquinoX on OS X) with Google Sky-like eye candy.

On the other hand, there is a half-baked virtual globe in this program too, and here Google Earth owns it for all kinds of reasons.

The panorama photos from the Mars Rovers are kind of neat, but interesting for only a short period of time.
posted by moonbiter at 4:20 AM on May 13, 2008


So tell me again why I should hate Microsoft? Because their idea of R&D is actually building something new and releasing it for free instead of slapping the "beta" label on their flagship products?

That's not why I hate them. I hate them because every time they build a functional product, they discontinue it just as I've had time to get used to it, and replace it with something that doesn't work half as well.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:37 AM on May 13, 2008


I have to say that the (unlinkable, it seems) minimum system requirements page is pretty damn funny! What great revenge on Mac users! (Though the Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing and scrolling device PC requirement has its own charms.) But yeah, they totally win on the count that now any of their software can be called 'Mac compatible.'
posted by troybob at 5:00 AM on May 13, 2008


In other words, Microsoft actually has a division that does nothing but pure research. Neither Google nor Apple have that.

I don't know about apple but Google Research seems to do research.
posted by octothorpe at 5:32 AM on May 13, 2008


No, seriously, I ran the installer and it installed Cygwin. And then exited cleanly. Now I have Cygwin installed.

When I ran the installer it installed Fraps, a screen-capture program. This happens to be the last program I installed on my computer, a 'setup.exe' file I downloaded yesterday. My first thought was the WWT installer had the wrong path and executed the wrong setup program. Then I looked at the version it was attempting to install-- Fraps 2.8 instead of the 2.9 I downloaded and installed yesterday.

I'm terribly confused. I think I'll take a flyer on this.
posted by F Mackenzie at 5:39 AM on May 13, 2008


My God, it's full of stars.
posted by chillmost at 6:02 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's amazing to hear all the whining about OS X support. Most people don't run Macintoshes. Why would anyone take the time to port their applications to OS X unless they were diehard apple supporters or looking to get into a market that was already dominated on the PC side? (Or if they'd written their app mostly Java, making porting trivial if not free)

Anyway, I don't particularly care about astronomy, so this doesn't excite me too much, but whining about how much it sucks is pretty lame.

The installer bug is pretty funny though.
posted by delmoi at 6:24 AM on May 13, 2008


It's amazing to hear all the whining about OS X support. Most people don't run Macintoshes.

So you are being deafened by the non-existent?
posted by DU at 6:29 AM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


You're doing it wrong! It's not "Microsoft" - it's "Micro$oft"... !

See? See?

God, seriously, shut the fuck up.
posted by kbanas at 6:39 AM on May 13, 2008


Oh darn. I just closed XP to return to my usual OS. I guess in some ways, I'm fortunate to have some devices for which the manufacturers have failed to support Linux or Apple, and the Linux community hasn't covered for them, either.
posted by Goofyy at 6:51 AM on May 13, 2008


moonbiter: "On the other hand, there is a half-baked virtual globe in this program too, and here Google Earth owns it for all kinds of reasons."

While I agree that in general Google Earth is much better, there are some things that made me really like Microsoft's attempt. For example, while I can't zoom in as close as Earth, it shows a lot more information in the map. It shows little towns that I had never heard about, and I actually live near them.
posted by Memo at 6:52 AM on May 13, 2008


Threads like these make me wonder what other internet tiffs than Mac vs. PC have been droning on ceaselessly since the early days of usenet. Don't see many DC vs. Marvel flamewars around.
posted by Kattullus at 6:57 AM on May 13, 2008


Watching a guided tour of the universe right now, and it seems plenty spiffy to me.
posted by muckster at 7:13 AM on May 13, 2008


Threads like these make me wonder what other internet tiffs than Mac vs. PC have been droning on ceaselessly since the early days of usenet. Don't see many DC vs. Marvel flamewars around.
posted by Kattullus at 9:57 AM on May 13


Well, there's a film vs. digital post a bit further down on the front page, and of course your classic vinyl vs. digital flamewars. And filmmakers love to argue over 35mm vs. digital. The common thread here is "whatever I learned when I started out" is better than computers which let too many new people into my field of choice.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:24 AM on May 13, 2008


why shouldn't Mac user complain? wouldn't XP users complain about something that only runs on Vista? or Windows users about something that only runs on OS X? Is it so strange to desire free software that runs on every OS? Or are you saying we should all just shut up and use Windows?
posted by sineater at 7:27 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you Mac fanatics? I've been sitting here at my freelance gig in front of a Mac (a Mac Pro w/16 gigs of RAM) for about 20 minutes now while it attempts to copy a 17 Meg file from one folder on the hard drive to another folder. 20 minutes. At home, on my Windows laptop running Vista, which by all standards should be a lot slower than this Mac, the same operation would take about 2 minutes. If that.
posted by porn in the woods at 7:33 AM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's amazing to hear all the whining about OS X support.

God, seriously, shut the fuck up.

Threads like these make me wonder what other internet tiffs than Mac vs. PC have been droning on ceaselessly since the early days of usenet

I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you Mac fanatics?

I'm sorry I started this thread with a joke - would a smiley have helped?
But honestly, I think the backlash against the couple of mac comments has been surprisingly overboard.
posted by nightwood at 7:41 AM on May 13, 2008


while it attempts to copy a 17 Meg file

Not sure if that's a troll, but I just copied a 19MB file in about 3-4 seconds on my relatively ancient G4 Mac. Either that machine has serious hardware problems or something else is going on.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:49 AM on May 13, 2008


Jeasus Christ people, way to hijack a thread. Grow up and look at the application itself instead of going all fanboy over Mac v. PC.

The application itself downloaded just fine for me. It's getting heavy traffic today, so we should expect some issues. This application is a nice photosynth type browser for the night sky. I would expect it to only become faster and better with time. Plus, it is free and educational. What's not to like?

Try some of the guided tours. They are a particularly nice way to get used to the visuals.
posted by Muddler at 7:55 AM on May 13, 2008


"I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you Mac fanatics?"

We like software to work on our equipment. I know, trivial, but it is what it is!

"I's amazing to hear all the whining about OS X support."

Amazing? Are you still in 1996?
posted by Brocktoon at 7:56 AM on May 13, 2008


I just spent the last 5 minutes examining the Martian dirt that the Spirit rover turned up with its locked front wheel. I also zoomed in on Seoul, Korea and Ottawa, Canada. And then there is space, Wow! The audio commentary really make the tours.

Well done Microsoft Research.

I don't blame the researchers for not branching out to the non Microsoft world. They care about the beautiful pictures and making them available and wouldn't have gotten support for other environments. I hope however that when I eventually drop MS from my comp that I still have access to this great repository of imagery and presentation.

For Microsoft this is about more than just space. As Pastabagel points out, this is about being able to present imagery. Microsoft and others are working to be able to bring in diverse data sets, images, graphics and create the new environments that we use to explore and function in. Microsoft seemed to be falling behind, with this program we see that they have not.
posted by restlessturtle at 8:00 AM on May 13, 2008


Amazing? Are you still in 1996?

Look, I love my MacBook Pro. I do. But at the same time, I realize that I own and use a product which has a staggering... wait for it... what.... 7% market share..? And that means, as consequence, that I may not always be first on the developer checklist.

I'm not going to have a fucking cow about it. I have Boot Camp. I have VM Fusion. I have options, and I'll happily use them. Microsoft makes a lot of cool stuff.
posted by kbanas at 8:10 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


That was cool for ten minutes. However, it was cool in a very similar way to when I found Celestia and the many similar virtual-planetarium products. The underlying work on photosynth is something closer to a tool that I could have conceivable use for.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 8:23 AM on May 13, 2008


The mac users are complaining because Microsoft are trolling in their system requirements, which to paraphrase are "For this app to run in your OS you need to first install our OS." Why even bother mentioning it? They don't mention it for Linux. In fact the distinction is even more rediculous because a Mac IS a PC except with a different OS, so why the hardware distinction? The Mac specs for screen size and video card are just what happens to be what a Mac with matching processor will have, and I don't see any reason why they still wouldn't be able to run it at 1024x786, it's just nobody with the necessary hardware would. Don't they realize anyone with bootcamp would be smart enough to install it that way anyhow? It's also a big joke because by following Microsoft's instructions, their "free" application actually costs $139.

I'm really curious to see this app, as I also fall into the crowd that finds Google Sky rather disappointing (it should at the very least tell me what's in the sky today for my area).
posted by furtive at 8:24 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's also worth pointing out, as much as I might complain about an inability for me to run this software, Microsoft's research department has really contributed a huge amount to astronomers working with big databases. I'll voice my desire for a Mac version and continue pointing out that the professional astronomy community is going to suffer much more than 7% of us not being able to run it on our laptops (think more like 70%), but there's certainly no Microsoft hate. Astronomy is a lot better off for Microsoft's contributions, and there's no doubt benefits in all sorts of other areas of science as a result, and you certainly can't complain about them helping more people find out about all this research as a result of this application.
posted by edd at 8:29 AM on May 13, 2008


Come on, guys. I have no love for Microsoft, I work for one of their competitors, I don't even have a PC so I can't see this, but why the sniping? I don't see people complaining that iPhoto doesn't run on the PC?

Why shouldn't they be writing quality free tools to convince people to use Windows? Seems utterly fair to me.

(And I'm definitely biased against MS; they've caused me infinite trouble in the past with shoddy software. But this and that image synth are clever and exciting apps...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:40 AM on May 13, 2008


That telescope ain't that wide.
posted by Mister_A at 9:06 AM on May 13, 2008


I'm sorry I started this thread with a joke - would a smiley have helped?
But honestly, I think the backlash against the couple of mac comments has been surprisingly overboard.


the backlash against the mac comments is more civil and well reasoned than the mac comments have been, and I'm saying this as a predominantly mac person. (I have an old PC from back before I switched sides which I use primarily to play gametap games, and i use a windows mobile phone because I can't afford an iphone. i mention this for disclosure's sake.)

the first 20 comments of this thread are overwhelmingly centered around windows hatred in favor of some imaginary celestial apple/google relationship, and contain such gems as "F*ck this Windows-only garbage." and it's the backlash you're surprised at?

I mean, don't get me wrong, my personal philosophy for a lot of things is "cross-platform whenever possible." But for fuck's sake, should I have gone into this thread and complained about how the band sucks because they're from England and therefore performed and released their video in England?

We get that it's not especially relevant to mac or linux users, so if you all decided not to participate in the thread we'd understand. the rest of us were hoping to talk about what a remarkable little bit of tech this is, even if google made a similar thing a little while ago. In fact, we might have managed to have an interesting civil and intelligent discussion of the relative merits of these applications if it weren't for the frothing MS hatred that completely derailed the discussion from the very first comment.
posted by shmegegge at 9:24 AM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Planet Mandelbrot? Seriously?
posted by arialblack at 9:36 AM on May 13, 2008


I don't see people complaining that iPhoto doesn't run on the PC?

That's because Apple don't list "buy a mac" under a "PC System Requirements" heading.
posted by influx at 9:37 AM on May 13, 2008


That's because Apple don't list "buy a mac" under a "PC System Requirements" heading.

That's because you can't run OSX on anything but an apple manufactured system (barring some serious homebrew work that may exist out there). You know, since we're all busy bitching about proprietary software.
posted by shmegegge at 9:48 AM on May 13, 2008


kbanas: "
Look, I love my MacBook Pro. I do. But at the same time, I realize that I own and use a product which has a staggering... wait for it... what.... 7% market share..?
"

Actually 20% these days.
posted by octothorpe at 10:03 AM on May 13, 2008


Microsoft is claiming to support Mac OS X through by using Boot Camp?

To be fair, that's how Mac owners claim to "have games".
posted by Artw at 10:37 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmmmm. Disappointing. I tried to look in my neighbor's bedroom window.
posted by Samizdata at 10:56 AM on May 13, 2008


Call me when it runs in emacs.
posted by bonaldi at 11:26 AM on May 13, 2008


shmegegge: you're missing his point. MS is saying that the "Mac requirements" are "run Windows", which has been a sneaking fear of lots of people since Boot Camp was launched -- they fear things like Adobe stopping trying to keep up with Apple's abrupt policy shifts and just saying Mac requirements for Photoshop are "run in Windows".

This is like saying "iPhoto runs on PC! Just buy a Mac first".
posted by bonaldi at 11:28 AM on May 13, 2008


So, to narrow things down shmegegge:

MeFi Mac user: "I can't use this on my computer, and I'd really like to! What's up with that?"

shmegegge: "STFU Microsoft hater!"

That about right?
posted by Brocktoon at 11:29 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


(which is actually what it said in the instructions for the C64 game Rockstar Ate My Hamster: "If you have a Cray, go and buy a commodore 64").

strike 3 and I'm out.
posted by bonaldi at 11:29 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


To be fair, that's how Mac owners claim to "have games".

Really?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:34 AM on May 13, 2008


Seriously, your going to play those? Or run bootcamp?
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on May 13, 2008


If MS hadn't listed 'Mac Requirements' at all, nobody would be complaining; obviously, as there is no mac version. Why bother with listing Mac requirements for a PC-only app, other than to troll? Why is there not a 'Linux Requirements' heading with 'dunno, give Wine a go' underneath?
posted by influx at 11:36 AM on May 13, 2008


Possibly it won't run well under bootcamp on machines that don't meet the requirements?
posted by Artw at 11:38 AM on May 13, 2008


That's because Apple don't list "buy a mac" under a "PC System Requirements" heading.

More like they don't list "buy OS X" under PC System Requirements. But that's only because they don't sell it. What's more cross-platform? An OS I can install on Macs and PCs or an OS that I can only install on Apple approved hardware (even though it's made of the same off-the shelf components, but at a higher price and enclosed in shinier plastic)?

WorldWide Telescope looks really cool though, FWIW.
posted by reformedjerk at 11:46 AM on May 13, 2008


I'm not a fanboi for either OS. I'm using a windows machine right now, in fact, and I prefer certain aspects of Windows over OS X. That being said, I just think it's a little ridiculous to develop the software in a *nix environment (hence the need to bootstrap the install with cygwin) and then make it windows only. The hard part is already done; also, this software is likely to be used in schools, which are often Mac-heavy environments, and thus they're shutting out a large number of students. It almost seems like at some level the decision was made to punish schools which didn't use Windows in their computer labs.
posted by mullingitover at 11:52 AM on May 13, 2008


Seriously, your going to play those? Or run bootcamp?

Seriously? I'll play with my Wii. Seriously.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:55 AM on May 13, 2008


Damnit it Microsoft! I am going to run parallels to try this and then stab you in the face and then go home and try it on my Vista machine. Thank you. :)

I am not a fanboi either, I run Mac OS X, XP, and Vista, each has their own purpose but I prefer to develop on OS X, mostly because of TextMate.
posted by sir_rubixalot at 11:57 AM on May 13, 2008


No dice on Parallels... damn, guess I'll check it out later.

Can anyone compare it to Stellarium? I know I've spent hours just playing around in there, comparing constellations to my current location and using it to view planets/constellations in the future. Looks like WWT has more and different imagery, which could be exciting.
posted by sir_rubixalot at 12:14 PM on May 13, 2008


sir_rubixalot writes "Can anyone compare it to Stellarium?"

One thing that struck me right off the bat was that Stellarium had obvious [<>][>>] buttons which could helpfully adjust (and stop) the rotation of the earth. In WWT they were buried in a menu that took me five minutes to find as I watched Mars jerking around fitfully on my screen. Overall Stellarium rocked, it wasn't perhaps as polished as WWT but it's certainly in the same class.
posted by mullingitover at 12:32 PM on May 13, 2008


Wait, Microsoft has a research division? I thought they just wrote code and sold software. Go figure.
posted by slogger at 12:39 PM on May 13, 2008


Red herring, mullingitover, I think you'll see above they don't install cygwin but rather their installer launches anything called "setup.exe" in the folder in which you download the WWT installer. If your folder had cygwin's setup.exe, you get cygwin instead of WWT. Stupid installer design (on both MS and Cygwin's part, actually) but not part of the product.

It is not developed in a *nix environment, Cygwin was not bootstrapped, installed or launched when I installed WWT.
posted by abulafa at 12:49 PM on May 13, 2008


So, to narrow things down shmegegge:

MeFi Mac user: "I can't use this on my computer, and I'd really like to! What's up with that?"

shmegegge: "STFU Microsoft hater!"

That about right?


no, it's completely wrong. but since you will no doubt continue to ignore comments like these, no one can really expect you rabid fanboys to actually see the discussion reasonably.

shmegegge: you're missing his point.

no, I'm not. I'm addressing it.

MS is saying that the "Mac requirements" are "run Windows", which has been a sneaking fear of lots of people since Boot Camp was launched -- they fear things like Adobe stopping trying to keep up with Apple's abrupt policy shifts and just saying Mac requirements for Photoshop are "run in Windows".

Boot Camp launched with a giant maniacal cackle from the apple community. don't pretend like Apple creating bootcamp and switching over to Intel procs is somehow Microsoft's fault, or that them mentioning running the app in bootcamp is indicative of some new trend. If it weren't for bootcamp, there simply wouldn't have been any requirements listed for mac at all. Microsoft not giving two shits about mac compatibility isn't news, and building software to work in one's own OS is no different than, as I pointed out, building an OS to work exclusively with one's own hardware.

This is like saying "iPhoto runs on PC! Just buy a Mac first".

No it's not, but even if it were: so what? you guys are flipping out, as i said, over nothing. So they mentioned that it can be run, as apple intended, on an apple computer using the software that apple created in order to allow mac owners to run windows. you're not pointing out some massive crime against mac users, you're just being ridiculous.
posted by shmegegge at 12:58 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dude, really, you are the one flipping out. You're almost single handedly prolonging the derail.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:08 PM on May 13, 2008


Jeasus Christ people, way to hijack a thread. Grow up and look at the application itself instead of going all fanboy over Mac v. PC.

Well, I WOULD look at the application itself, except for one small problem....
posted by dersins at 1:16 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


whatever. I count between 7 and 10 people who have posted in this thread since my original comment, in over 20 comments, and the derail has continued without my input. I don't know what your problem is, but if my comments bother you enough that you feel the need to repeatedly mischaracterize them, then I won't judge you if you decide to stop participating in the thread.
posted by shmegegge at 1:19 PM on May 13, 2008


Back on topic:

When I was six years old, my dad got a job in American Samoa working as the hospital's chief laboratory technologist. Two of my neighbors were avid amateur astronomers, and I just happened to be there in time for the appearance of Halley's Comet. The neighbors had really great reflecting telescopes and I spent many nights out in a field with them looking at different things, many not visible in the northern hemisphere. One of my neighbors convinced my parents to buy me an Apple ][e, teaching me to write BASIC and hack at the code that ran my games, thus sealing my fate as a computer scientist 4 lyfe. He went on to run the Near Earth Object Foundation. So astronomy and computers have always shared a special place in my childhood memories, and every once in a while I'm still taken back to being awakened at 3 AM to see Halley's Comet hanging in the sky. Thanks for the post, stalbach.
posted by mullingitover at 1:44 PM on May 13, 2008


Anyone else finding it odd that the download page is built with Flash?
posted by brundlefly at 2:00 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


meta
posted by Artw at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2008


other internet tiffs than Mac vs. PC

It is an incontrovertible fact that vi is in every way superior to emacs, just as vi users are superior to emacs users.

*runs away*
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:10 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


*fires up Virtualbox on Ubuntu Linux, boots WinXP in a window, enjoys Worldwide Telescope*
posted by quonsar at 2:22 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I played with it last night till about 2:30am. I just wish there was more guided tours, and the cache system needs to be reworked, after running several tours the zooms won't be replaced with high-resolution images and you just start at a giant blog that should be a binary star system. And for some odd reason, when you flush WWT cache, it quits without warning. However I found it tons of fun, I quite enjoyed looking at heavenly bodies through every type of telescope (High UV is freaky).

The program splash does have "Spring Beta" on it, lets hope the next release works out the kinks.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:22 PM on May 13, 2008


Metafilter: a giant blog that should be a binary star system
posted by emelenjr at 2:38 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Excuse me for butting in, but I have a Macintosh, and I have just noticed that this program will not run on it. Thank you for your time.
posted by Kwine at 2:40 PM on May 13, 2008


No it's not, but even if it were: so what? you guys are flipping out, as i said, over nothing.
If it were, it would be retarded and open to mockery. Hello, he we are.

I'm not flipping out, btw. I've complained about lack of Mac support here before, from people like Google. Expecting Microsoft to support the Mac is basically stupid.
posted by bonaldi at 3:05 PM on May 13, 2008


Expecting Microsoft to support the Mac is basically stupid.

Sales Of Office For Mac Highest In Nearly 20 Years.
posted by ericb at 3:14 PM on May 13, 2008


So what is this anyway? A map of the night sky? Try going outside at night at looking up. That's so open-source it doesn't even require Ubuntu.

If this keeps up we're not even going to know what all those...funny-coloured things are...in the clear plastic drawers at the bottom of our fridge without an app like Google Vegetables.

Query String: "Green and long."
Response: Your search query "green and long" has resulted in over 300 hits. Please refine your query.

Query String: "Green and long and tastes like toilet paper soaked in grass juice."
Response: Zucchini!
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:14 PM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thanks, mullingitover.

I somehow imagine myself using (playing with) both.
posted by sir_rubixalot at 3:15 PM on May 13, 2008


Sales Of Office For Mac Highest In Nearly 20 Years.

To be fair, Office for the Mac is (deliberately) crippled by Microsoft.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:16 PM on May 13, 2008


Not only that, they've just performed the most massive U-turn on VBA. And Word sucks ass. As does Excel. There's still no OneNote for Mac. Nor is there Windows Media with DRM. In fact, the only WMV support is via a third-party they did a deal with. You can't get proper Exchange support -- shortly, the iPhone will have better Exchange support than the Mac.

I could go on, but why bother? They have a shitty imitation of Office for the Mac, and that's about it.
posted by bonaldi at 3:20 PM on May 13, 2008


It's amazing to hear all the whining about OS X support. Most people don't run Macintoshes.

Operating System Market Share: April 2008
91.64% -- Windows
7.38% -- Mac
.63% -- Linux
posted by ericb at 3:21 PM on May 13, 2008


quonsar: "*fires up Virtualbox on Ubuntu Linux, boots WinXP in a window, enjoys Worldwide Telescope*"

Nice.
posted by stbalbach at 3:26 PM on May 13, 2008


If it were, it would be retarded and open to mockery.

that your professional opinion, doctor?

look, we're going around in circles. I mentioned already that it's not what they said. but, to be clearer, if that WERE what they said, all they would have done is to tell people with apple hardware how to run it on their hardware using the tools that apple has given them to do so. it's not retarded, and I suppose anything is open to mockery, but it's kind of a shitty reason to threadshit.

elsewhere:

You can't get proper Exchange support

Hey, I've only just started getting used to exchange servers and stuff with work. I've been using entourage. is there something screwed up with entourage that I don't know? I'm honestly asking.

Otherwise, though, christ I wish openoffice would get their shit together with the mac port. I hate using Office on the mac, but not as much as I hate waiting 5 minutes for openoffice to open xterm for me so that it can run a linux binary in emulation or whatever the hell it's doing. it's incredibly frustrating, and I normally love OpenOffice on the pc and linux.
posted by shmegegge at 3:29 PM on May 13, 2008


Can we take all Mac-vs-PC discussions to the meta thread which is already open? Cheers.
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on May 13, 2008


I'm not a fanboi for either OS.

Likewise. I have both (XP Pro and Leopard).
posted by ericb at 3:37 PM on May 13, 2008


Hey, I've only just started getting used to exchange servers and stuff with work. I've been using entourage. is there something screwed up with entourage that I don't know? I'm honestly asking.
Even in the latest version of Entourage, it doesn't talk to Exchange natively, it uses their new API. Which doesn't do everything that Outlook does. So you can't sync notes, you can't manage server rules, you can't use Categories properly, or handle PSTs and lots of other stuff you'd expect. The things it does do do work, but it's not a patch on Outlook, and it basically doesn't work right if you're also using Outlook or the web client.

ArtW: your other thread is a disaster of lulz and no place for discussion either.
posted by bonaldi at 3:40 PM on May 13, 2008


Anyone try it under wine?
posted by Skorgu at 5:47 PM on May 13, 2008


Is this something I'd need to have a Mac to not understand?
posted by brundlefly at 6:00 PM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Astronomy types - Is Callisto in front of Jupiter right now? (If so that's quite cool)
posted by Artw at 8:34 PM on May 13, 2008


Artw,

Yes, it's true right now, and will be for the next 2 minutes!
posted by lukemeister at 9:17 PM on May 13, 2008


... information from Sky and Telescope's Jupiter moon tracker
(Difficulty: Requires computer and web browser with Javascript enabled)
posted by lukemeister at 9:19 PM on May 13, 2008


Well it works then I guess.
posted by Artw at 9:24 PM on May 13, 2008


The WWT is complete bullshit anyway: the real truth is SPACE MIRROR. You are educated stupid!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:00 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: you guys are flipping out over nothing
posted by Grangousier at 11:22 PM on May 13, 2008


I installed WW T on a school workstation to try it out, and it couldn't detect an internet connection. I can't find any part of the GUI that lets me tell it about our web proxy server, authenticating or otherwise. The proxy server settings in IE are correct, as are those for Automatic Updates. Hope me, MS fanbois.
posted by flabdablet at 5:15 AM on May 14, 2008


Kattullus: "Threads like these make me wonder what other internet tiffs than Mac vs. PC have been droning on ceaselessly since the early days of usenet."

There used to be more variety. Originally it was a 3.5-way fight, with the MS vs Apple people arguing back and forth while Amiga people *knew* they were simply the best, indisputably. There were also some Atari people bringing up the rear. but they were easily ignored.
posted by meehawl at 4:50 PM on May 14, 2008


man, Amigas really were the best. It should have been against the law not to own one.
posted by shmegegge at 6:08 PM on May 14, 2008


Ah, first love...

Zombie Amiga is evil though.
posted by Artw at 9:26 PM on May 14, 2008


Mac user, though stuck on a PC right now, and I'm trying really hard to give it the benefit of the doubt.

But it doesn't work. Probably because of proxy issues. And there's no "preferences" for it where you can enter a proxy address. And their 'how to fix proxy issues' page is just abysmal, poorly written, with missing words and a blurry image of the text you need to enter. Not confident editing XML? Find someone who is!

Is it a beta?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 11:21 PM on May 14, 2008


I am confident that I've edited the XML file according to the instructions given, and it still behaves the same way. I notice that this thing identifies itself as a "Spring beta"... I guess I'll wait for the summer beta.
posted by flabdablet at 3:19 AM on May 15, 2008


Unless I went to the wrong page, it looks like they removed the Mac System Requirements
posted by nightwood at 4:57 AM on May 15, 2008


Hurrah! Mac users are saved from having an indication of whether it might work in their particular Boot Camp set up.
posted by Artw at 10:03 AM on May 15, 2008


Sales Of Office For Mac Highest In Nearly 20 Years.

The key words being "sales" and "Office", one of which makes the company money, and the other which might just be the current de-facto standard on millions of corporate machines that run Windows.

I wonder what the appeal is to Mac users and the motives of Microsoft to make Office for the Mac?

I wonder what the appeal is to Mac users and the motives of Apple to make something like BootCamp available for the Mac? I wonder why Fusion and Parallels ever found traction and popularity? I wonder if any one of these three applications have helped sell more Macs?

I wonder why Apple killed off Logic for Windows (which made up 30% of it's market share) when they bought eMagic, or kill off Shake when they bought Nothing Real and charge twice as much for the Linux version, or kill of Final Cut for Windows when they bought it before release from Macromedia?

Fucking angels I guess.
posted by juiceCake at 7:08 PM on May 15, 2008


Anyway, this is a really, really nice piece of software that also supports the ASCOM platform and drivers for vendor-independent device control, which presumably means your can run your physical telescope with it. I found navigation a breeze with mouse-drag and ctrl-mouse-drag as well as the convenient "go to" thumbnails. You can make your own collection of destinations. The interface is attractive and very usable.

Thank you, Microsoft Research.

I do miss the Southern-France country skyline of Stellarium, though.
posted by psyche7 at 8:00 PM on May 15, 2008


Er, I'm not following along with this "fucking angels" idea. What's that all about, then?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:39 PM on May 15, 2008


One company is being cast as preposterous for not making a free application available for the Mac and yet Apple has cut off Logic and Shake, and makes intrusionware called QuickTime and iTunes, so really, what's so different or surprising or preposterous about a company releasing an application that is not multiplatform? We see it all the time. Motives for such can be similar. We see examples of a company cutting off potential sources of revenue by killing of software for a said platform.

Platformism is rather unfortunate.

END PLATFORMISM NOW!
posted by juiceCake at 7:01 AM on May 16, 2008


Platformism sucks, but Microsoft blow me away in how inept they are, and I wonder that they still exist. I try not to be silly about it. I'm 45 and not likely to dangle my allegiance on anyone's flag lightly, but every single thing MS do seems to suck hard. In the case of the WWT, I was particularly put off by the inspirational TED crap, where I usually find good stuff. After that, to discover something that seems to be a web thing, no its a MS down load, but hang on it already made me update something in my browser, and only now is telling me there is not a flying hope in hell I could ever use this shit. Jesus crack smokin' christ. Only yesterday, I had to return a new game to the shop because my brand new XBox 360 has an undocumented (but well known) fault in that it eats disks if you change it from flat to standing or some such. AAARR(F)RGGHHHHHHH
posted by fcummins at 1:23 PM on May 25, 2008


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