About eight months ago, your faithful chronicler reported IBM, developers of the POWER architecture from which PowerPC descended, was trying to exit the x86 server business and sell it to Lenovo. As I mentioned in that article, margins are thinning on x86 servers, especially as companies like Google and Facebook build their own bespoke devices (Google has even looked at designing its own POWER and ARM processors), and IBM has never liked being in low-margin markets just as Apple doesn't. Well, looks like that foundered and IBM is shopping the business to Dell. Either way, IBM really wants out and I think you'll see the bottom fall out of the commodity x86 rackmount market, leaving the low-margin no-name companies to struggle for that money while the big corporations like Oracle and IBM continue to produce their proprietary RISC lines. (That must alarm Hewlett-Packard, which is stuck on Itanium with its clouded roadmap having jettisoned PA-RISC long ago. I have a fondness for PA-RISC since my first job out of college was working on a HP 9000 K-Class.) As I mentioned in the previous article, it's good news for POWER in general, since this makes it a bigger proportion of IBM's product portfolio and ensures its continued evolution even if it is gradually disappearing from the mass consumer market.
I've been playing with the next release of the MacTubes Enabler, which a number of you are already using. Since YouTube pages are only getting heavier and our computers aren't getting any faster, my current idea is to completely avoid making the browser do the work of loading the page so that you can labouriously click through the context menu to start MacTubes -- it should just hand the URL right off and halt the load so you can go back to what you're doing. And that's what it does: when a YouTube video URL is detected, it automatically fires up MacTubes and then either backs up to the previous page or closes the tab if it was a new tab like a program passing your browser a URL. In fact, if you visit any YouTube video page, the switchover occurs automatically, though things like the YouTube search are still within the browser (I figure you're doing that on purpose if you're not using MacTubes for the actual search portion). Embedded videos can be played if they properly include the embed code that has a link to the video -- you click the link and MacTubes starts, easy as that. You can still play an embedded video in WebM directly in the browser. If you use the QuickTime Player mode in MacTubes, you should be able to get HD videos and download them directly from the client.
So far this approach seems to be working well and it's nice that it's totally automatic. Please note that I haven't tested this with any tab-management addons, but this is using Mozilla's Add-on SDK for tab control, so it's not doing anything it shouldn't be. If anyone has objections, voice them in the comments; if people like how the idea sounds, I'll release that as the next version of the MTE in a couple of weeks.
In other news, the morons at Google Code has shut down new downloads as threatened. Please extend your middle fingers in salute to this policy. All further uploads, including localization packs, will be on SourceForge; historical downloads will remain on Google Code "while they last." The transition to SourceForge is complete for file hosting, and we'll see what happens with the rest of it.
Finally, for you classic Mac OS gamers, I had some friends over for a good-old-fashioned LAN party so we could kill each other in Quake. We chose the original Quake because it has little network demand (particularly on modern networks), the same protocol works on Mac OS 9 and I have many OS 9 machines (this was a problem with Quake III Arena, where ioquake3 and the official id software Mac OS 9 compatible version use different network protocols), and you can get it hardware-accelerated with GLQuake for both OS X and OS 9. Our initial idea was to have the G5 be the Quake server, but GLQuake X crashed randomly and repeatedly during game play, greatly preventing me from firing rockets into my beloved friends' visceral cavities. So, just to see what would happen, I assigned server duties to the Power Mac 7300 running OS 9.1 (with 1GB RAM, a G4/800 Sonnet upgrade card and an ATI Rage Orion 3D accelerator). It never crashed for the hours of game play after that. Maybe GLQuake X is glitchy on 10.4, maybe it was some process on the G5, but if you want a solid Quake (or probably even Quake II) server, a reasonably-specced OS 9 machine did the trick for us. Go Classic go!