Okay, say you’re NOT an Idol fan, but you’re a Mac fan, Why should you care that the iTunes store is selling the performances from this years American Idol?
It means there are going to be about a bazillion PC users that are going to be installing iTunes and Quicktime on their PCs. And they will be setting up purchasing accounts in iTunes And after they’ve purchased and downloaded all their favorite performances. They are going to be buying a lot more music in iTunes. in other words Idol is going to be the Gateway drug to iTunes, iPods and eventually all things Apple.
It means the stock will go up and the reality distortion field will widen and we’ll have iTablets in no time.
It means that iTunes could become the Tivo in the Cloud, where people will drop their cable subscriptions and get all their TV shows ala carte on iTunes.
It means that rabid Idol fans are going to mob Apple stores demanding more Apple TVs, So they can keep the next Carrie Underwood’s performance immortalized in HD.
It means that Simon and Steve will be Kings of the world!
Okay, I’m blowing this out of proportion but isn’t that the stuff that dreams are made of, just like American Idol.
Maybe it it’s the geek in me, But I like dials, gauges, graphs, and blinking lights. Whether it’s my car or my computer I like to pretend I know what’s going on with it.
I like deciphering the blinking lights of my OBDII reader to learn that, yes, I am going to have to buy an O2 sensor for my car soon. That’s why I like The Activity Monitor on my Macs.
I’ve read in a few places how the “Xbox 360 Live Vision Camera” might be a good replacement for the no-longer-sold stand-alone iSight camera. With Leopard (and Tiger 10.4.9) you can now use a variety of standards-based Web cameras with Macs. Just plug-and-play. And at $33 at Amazon.com, this Xbox camera seems like a bargain, and people are reporting excellent quality.
But after getting one, I was very disappointed. First off, the camera is manual focus. That puts it down a step from most other Web cameras. It is 1600×1200, which is nice, but the resulting quality at 640×480 is poor compared to the built-in iSight in iMacs and MacBooks.
It does plug-and-play, but I couldn’t get it to work with iMovie or PhotoBooth, as it only wanted to use the built-in iSight. I did get it to work with WireCast and QuickTime Pro.
The big show-stopped for me was the color quality. Very poor. The color was way off and no amount of lighting seemed to fix it.
So, this might be a good, cheap Web camera for chatting or having fun, but not for making any video.
The Web browser market is starting to look like the stock market. Currently Firefox’s stock seems to be going down and Safari’s is going up. Opera seems to just hang in there and IE for Mac is trading as a penny stock.
It’s got to the point that I have both Safari and Firefox open most of the time, just so I can navigate sites that don’t support one or the other. Maybe, I’ll have to have yet another browser open now. Flock is a new web Browser whose raison d’être is to consolidate your Web 2.0 rock and roll lifestyle.
Flock uses tabs to keep tabs on your various social networking sites. Your Facebook ,Twitter , Flickr, and You Tube friends and timelines are all under the People tab and your Flickr, Photo Bucket and You Tube photos and videos are under the Media tab, and You can sort all of your RSS and other feeds under the Feeds tab. Other cool features in Flock are an accounts tab to keep track of all your web accounts and passwords, and you can post to your blogs and upload photos all within the browsers interface.
All this stuff is cool, but maybe it’s just shyness, but I’m not quite ready to make Flock my default Web browser… yet.
First, it takes about an hour just to configure the thing to work with all your sites and once you’re done with the ordeal, you kind of wonder if you could have done the same thing in Firefox with tabs and an add-on. Secondly, I’ve got to put it through it’s paces as a plain ol’ web browser to see how compatible and fast it is before I trust it as my main browser.
I have run into one snafu trying to get it to log onto my blogs to post, but I want to figure it out a bit before I declare it a bug.
If you are heavily social networked, Flock may be your new browser, Saving you time logging onto all those sites, so that you can waste more time networking.
Flock is available as a free download at flock.com.
Okay, I usually don’t blatantly promote software. Nor would I usually steer you to another Mac site. But this is too good of a deal to pass up, if you are at all interested in DJ software.
There are several good DJ mixing applications out there, the big three are Tracktor DJ Studio, Ultramixer and DJay. Of the three, Tracktor is the big-boy Pro app but at $280US list price, it’s definitely beyond the budget of the casual DJ. UltraMixer Pro has most of the features of Tracktor and goes for $230US and while I like UltraMixer’s interface better than Tracktor’s in most aspects, UltraMixer is obviously a cross platform port, There is nothing Mac-like about it’s interface or menus. Finally there is the little engine that could. If you like spinning with two turntables and a microphone DJay is the app for you! It has a cool two deck interface and all the controls are Mac-like and intuitive, and at $50 US its a bargain.
So here’s the deal For today only (February 20, 2008) Djay is available as promo deal on MacUdate.com for $24.99.
Even if don’t catch today’s deal, if you have any interest in DJ software you should check out the trial download of DJay at the DJay website.
It seemed like “never” was when Neverwinter Nights 2 for Mac would be released. First it was November, then December, then January, then March. But now it looks like we’ll get it a bit earlier than March as Feb. 26 has been set as the date.
Neverwinter Nights is the successor to the Baldur’s Gate series of games and both are directly related to real Dungeons and Dragons, which means a little nostalgia thrown in with good RPG play. You can also create your own adventures, which for some RPG-obsessed people like me, is even more fun than playing.
I loved the Baldur’s Gate games on Mac years ago. I couldn’t wait for the original Neverwinter Nights to come out on Mac, so I bought it for Windows. I regretted that decision, since my main computers are Macs it meant that it was too much of a bother to switch to a PC to play. So I didn’t get my money’s worth out of it. Now with Boot Camp and Parallels, it was tempting to get the Windows version of Neverwinter Nights 2 many months ago, but I’ve been holding out as to not make the same mistake.
You might think that the staff of a big Mac site like MacMost would get all the new Apple products for free. I only wish it were so. So in the grand scheme of the tech ecosystem, I have to decide how much of my paycheck I’m going to recycle into Apple products and I have to decide which product I should be saving my pennies for next. Here is my current thinking.
I’m not much of a cell phone guy, but I do like the idea of the internet in my pocket, so the iPod Touch seems like it would be a really cool thing that I would use all the time, and I could even pretend I had an iPhone, and look cool, without the monthly commitment. On the down side is that it only has WiFi access (read, no driving and surfing) and my wife would probably take it and then I’d have to buy another one.
Our G3 iceBook is all but dead, it gets a case of the blue screen about a minute after booting, So it’s time to replace the iBook with a MacBook. I’m not much of a traveler, but when I do, I need my computer. Or rather, my wife needs my computer. This is because the entire social network of Second Life will falter if my wife is away from it for more than 24 hours. So iPod internet will not do, we need to be able to run Second Life. Downside to buying an MacBook? First is I know the day I buy one, the NEW MacBooks will be released, Actually that’s why the new ones aren’t out, Steve is waiting to see my purchase order for the current model before he releases the new one. Oh, and if I buy the MacBook, that blows my budget for the year and my wife would probably take it and then I’d have to buy another one.
Finally There is the Logic Studio, Logic studio had half the features, was harder to use and cost twice as much a year ago. Now it’s half the price, has tons of new features, includes Soundtrack Pro 2, a bazillion new Appleloops, and most of all, it got a new intuitive interface that mortal musicians can understand. The downside is that my wife can’t use it and therefore probably wont approve the purchase.
And finally I could just buy my wife the new iMac to replace her G5 and bask in the warmth of a happy wife and wait till next year for the next version of Logic studio.
Apple announced that they had dropped the price of the 1 Gig iPod Shuffle to $49. $50 is the price point that technology essentially becomes affordable to anyone. That means that kids are going to get real iPods for their birthdays instead of cheap knockoffs from companies like Creative and SanDisk. That in itself is going to be a huge market.
Adobe announced Director 11, which is the software that allows developers to make Shockwave content. Shockwave is the browser plug-in that is used in multimedia and gaming. It is considered more powerful than Flash, mostly because of its 3D engine that uses OpenGL on the Mac to present real 3D — the type you see in big games.
But for a while, Shockwave really hasn’t been available on the Mac. Shockwave 10, the current version, was released in 2004 and does not work on Intel machines. You could get it to work by setting either Safari or Firefox into Rosetta mode, forcing them to work like PowerPC applications on Intel machines. But most people didn’t bother.
With the release of Director 11 in March should come Shockwave 11, which will work on Intel Macs. So Shockwave will be back. You can see lots of example of Shockwave content at the free online games site GameScene.com.
So I’ve got Leopard and so I have Boot camp, and I bought a copy of Parallels to run Windows on my Mac Mini. The only thing I haven’t bought is the Windows OS. I want to get XP Pro But I’m having a hard time finding a boxed copy for less than $130, the same price as Leopard. Vista Ultimate is more like $250 new. Hmm… only one flavor of Leopard, which is pretty much ultimate by nature. Since Microsoft has announced that they will end production of XP on June 30, I’m faced with the choice of buying a soon to be obsolete (in Microsoft’s own words) OS or one that is rather buggy and tends to break hardware (hence it’s nickname Hasta La Vista).
Infoworld is circulating a petition for Microsoft to continue XP production, but what Microsoft needs to do is make a smarter, leaner single flavor of Vista that is the same price as Leopard (Yeah Right!)
While the Vista sucking issue is bringing users to Mac OSX and various flavors of Linux in droves, I need to get Windows just to run some obscure Windows only shareware apps. In fact, come to think of it I might even be able to get by with XP Home edition, that should cost less than Leopard.
I must admit I did a spit take when my 9 year old granddaughter looked over my shoulder while I was doing some work in GarageBand and said “That what we use to make our podcast, Pa-Jay, do you want to see my Podcast?”
“Actually, it’s a Vodcast. Go to my school’s website and I’ll show you,,” she continued. Sure enough when I went to the Fox Hollow elementary school’s website, There was the third grade Podcast page, and there was my grand-daughter showing how to make cookies for all the interwebs to see. Her classmate and best friend, Maddy shows how to make chocolate ice cream from vanilla with a bit of alchemy involving cocoa powder. Phillip shows us how to get a girlfriend. Apparently the trick is to buy a potential girlfriend a ring for exactly $114, But first you have to look cool by wearing a long-sleeve button shirt and don’t tuck it in.
Technically the students are using Apple’s GarageBand to make “enhanced” Podcasts. All of the podcast have a title and a series of still images with a voice-over by the students and background music from the royalty-free music included with the iLife suite. And then thy are publishing the Podcasts to the school’s website using the iWeb application.
Apple is making a serious impact in higher education with it’s iTunesU initiative. It’s nice to see that podcasting is being used in primary education as well.
As a person that makes podcasts for a living it’s nice to know that at least my grand-daughter knows what I do, even if the rest of the family hasn’t quite figured it out.
Rumors of blu-ray drives on Macs starting way back in mid-2006, but so far nothing official from Apple. You can get a 3rd-party blu-ray drive for your Mac, and Toast already supports Blu-ray drives. Also, look to Steve Jobs’ other company, Disney, to see that they have been all into Blu-ray for some time. Plus, Apple has been on the
So I went to rent my second movie on Apple TV. This time sticking with a standard definition movie. But as I went to purchase it, I got an error message stating that I needed a valid address to purchase a movie with store credit. Weird, since I purchased a movie a few days ago without issue. Of course there is no way to enter an address at all in the Apple TV interface, so I assumed I needed to log on to my iTunes account on my computer. But there, the address was correct as it has always been.
A little research in the Apple forums showed that a lot of people were having this issue. The solution was to re-select your state from the drop-down list in the iTunes store account information page. When you do so, your two-letter abbreviation for a state (“CO”) is replaced with the longer “CO – Colorado”. But then the funny thing is if you save and return to the account screen, it shows “CO” again. The result was that I was immediately able to complete the movie rental.
This is a really stupid software bug that should have been fixed in minutes of the first occurrence, or have never happened in the first place.
This highlighted an interesting issue. Apple TV is different than its competitors. If I was renting a movie from a cable company like Comcast, or a satellite provider like DirecTV or Dish Network, I would have a customer support number I could call. I’m sure even NetFlixs has phone support. But when this issue happened, I was forced to go to the online support forums. What if the solution wasn’t there? Or, what if I was a more typical user who wouldn’t think to search online? This might be an indicator that Apple has a lot to learn before it is ready to compete in this space.
I’ve been coming across this term “predam iPhone” recently. If you do a Google search for Predam iPhone you quickly get this idea that it is an unlocked iPhone. Sometimes it is spelled “prodam iPhone.” It is a strange word, at any rate.
Apparently you can buy them on eBay, or from all sorts of weird sources. They even come in huge quantities, like I’ve seen pictures of a whole palette filled with these things. I found one source that says that predam means “break” or “unlocked” and I’m guessing that these are found in a lot of black markets in countries that don’t have the iPhone yet.
This did get me thinking as to why Apple still only sells iPhones in Apple and AT&T stores. Why not on Amazon.com, Best Buy and those multi-brand mobile phone stores? After all, Apple needs to reach that 10 million goal by the end of the year. More stores can only help.
I was recently in an Apple store and I overheard people who were not Mac fanboys like me talking about “Have you seen the iPhone? It is so cool! I think I need to get one. Me too!” etc. I think that salesfolk at mobile phone stores and electronics stores would love to push a $400-$500 device that practically sells itself.
Now, the reasoning I thought that Apple was going with to not sell in other stores was the unlocking problem. They wanted to keep close tabs on each iPhone that goes out the door. But obviously that is not working if there are so many unlocked iPhones floating around, and pages of “predam iPhones” are clogging the net.