The Null Device
Scifi author Orson Scott Card on why it's more than about time that Star Trek was scrapped. The gist of his argument is that Star Trek is really a very poor excuse for science fiction, shapes up poorly next to both scifi literature and more recent film and television productions, and has only been kept alive thanks to a lot of rather sad people in pointy ears who don't know any better:
The original "Star Trek," created by Gene Roddenberry, was, with a few exceptions, bad in every way that a science fiction television show could be bad. Nimoy was the only charismatic actor in the cast and, ironically, he played the only character not allowed to register emotion.
Here's what I think: Most people weren't reading all that brilliant science fiction. Most people weren't reading at all. So when they saw "Star Trek," primitive as it was, it was their first glimpse of science fiction. It was grade school for those who had let the whole science fiction revolution pass them by.
Ars Technica has a review of MacOS X 10.4, and, as you might expect, it goes into a staggering amount of detail, from changes in the kernel APIs to the quiet addition of arbitrary file metadata (only a few releases after Jobs consigned resource forks to the dustbin of history and told Mac users to and make do with Windows-style file extensions) and Apple's new hierarchical file-typing system, from internal improvements in Quartz to how Spotlight hooks into the kernel:
Any file i/o that goes through the Tiger kernel will trigger the appropriate metadata importer. This kernel-level integration ensures that the Spotlight indexes are always up to date.
A smart folder could be a normal directory that is specially tagged using an extended attribute (in the "system." namespace, masked-out just like the extended attributes used for ACLs). The actual Spotlight query for the smart folder would also be saved in an extended attribute. The contents of the smart folder would be generated on the fly in response to file i/o system calls (opendir(), readdir(), etc.) and would appear to be a series of read-only hard links to the actual files.