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Thu 27 Mar 2003

Apple's Rendezvous

Category : Technology

What Mac users know about Rendezvous is that it's a technology that will supposedly make computers even easier to use when they're put on a network. In the last few months, it's become clearer to me how Rendezvous can actually help.

Just yesterday, when we were testing our new colour laser printer, we were pleasantly surprised that it supports AppleTalk, out of the box. Which means that, without loading any new stuff on our PowerBooks, and without even touching the printer besides turning it on, we can immediately "see" the printer as it gets hooked up to the network.

When you can "see" the printer, you can connnect to it. And when you can connect to it, you can print to it. And that's why you buy the printer, right? You get 80% of what you want, with zero effort. That's the way systems should work.

This is the kind of value we'll lose when we lose AppleTalk. AppleTalk, an Apple-only technology, will be left behind when Apple moves more of its technology on top of open Internet standards. Rendezvous is AppleTalk's replacement, designed to work on top of something drab like TCP/IP; yet meant to offer the same benefits to ease of use. Best of all, Rendezvous is Apple's contribution back to the well they have drunk from with open standards. Hopefully, more and more vendors will actually make products based on it.

At the moment, only Brother has shipped a Rendezvous-enabled printer, though Epson, HP, Lexmark and Canon have all announced plans to use Rendezvous.

My hope is that when people understand the benefits they can get from something like Rendezvous, they will start to ask for it by name. We've all got to help make technology easier for ourselves. It's not a spectator sport.

Posted at 5:16PM SGT | permalink


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