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YASIYDIY

Food for thought.


YASIYDIY - that's pronounced exactly how it looks: 'yass-ee-eye-dee-eye'. It means 'You're Always Safer If You Do It Yourself'.

Safari build 48; iTunes 2.0; and now Printer Setup Repair: all three suffered from fatal flaws. All three threatened to (or actually did) hose users' entire disks.

Safari build 48 - the first build ever - suffered from two fatal flaws. It hosed the symlink to the /private/tmp directory and it hosed the user's home directory. These flaws were brought about because of the Cocoa frameworks. The Cocoa frameworks made this possible when Apple decided to corrupt the original NeXTSTEP code to accommodate Finder.

There are workarounds for these inexcusable deficiencies, but Hyatt missed them on the first build.

iTunes 2.0 had an extra space character in its Unix install script. Instead of deleting the old iTunes at the path '/Applications', the script went after '/ Applications'. This was probably the result of Apple's 'smart copy and paste' which puts spaces around words from the clipboard.

The 'engineer' entrusted with this application never saw the mistake and never tested his installer; havoc was the result.

And now we have the redoubtable Fixamac with Printer Setup Repair, out to burn all those nasty people pirating this AppleScript gem. And instead of just going after the user's own preference file for Printer Setup Repair, the Unix script (and yes it's wrapped in AppleScript PUH-leeze) had a space too many in there (shades of iTunes 2.0 coming back again) and out went the entire Preferences directory.

[And some say it was even worse than that.]

In all three above cases a simple understandable human error was not caught before release - and that part of it is not understandable, and for those victimised, not easily forgivable.

And in the latter two cases it's a question of manipulation of Unix shell scripts. Something anyone should be able to do.

The irony of course is that the author of Printer Setup Repair John Goodchild wants people to believe 'Terminal' work is beyond them, something they shouldn't attempt.

From his self-congratulatory blurb about his Scroll Switcher, we read:

'Upon mentioning this to John Goodchild of Fixamac Software Inc, he offered to build her a simple application that would do just that without any worry about side effects to the OS.'

Sorry John, but there were a truck load of side effects in Printer Setup Repair.

It's all so very unnecessary when you realise the simplicity of the scripting they use behind the scenes in these monsters. The likes of Scroll Switcher make ordinary monsters like Cocktail and OnyX look like NASA Mars rockets. Five lines of code in any Unix shell.

But you can type them too. And if you type them, you can see if there's a mistake - and hopefully prevent it. But when you leave the driving to others, you won't know if there was a mistake until you run it - and by then your computer may be hosed.

Food for thought.

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