Tag Archives: apple

Where I Come From They Call ‘Em Painters

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I was going to tell you all about the forthcoming OS X Mountain Lion release, but this is way better.

I wonder how many more mammals we’ll get before Apple goes to birds?  What with the cloud and all.

I’m already using the Messages beta.  It’s clearly a work in progress, but it is very nice to have iMessages on my Mac.

Brats Behaving Hilariously

One of my favorite things about the internet is the way it allows creative people to compile examples of people behaving badly and simultaneously embarrass them into (hopefully) being a little more self-aware and create clever social commentary.

Like this hilarious indictment of both the ungrateful and the banality of social networking in general, and Twitter in particular.

Awesome.

Confessions of an Ex-Windows User

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It’s been almost two months since I dumped my last Windows computer, and returned to full-time Apple fan boy status.  It’s been great.  Almost perfect, in fact.

Here are my observations, two months in.

1. Macs are beautiful.  Period.  That may seem a little silly to those who are still beating away on their dusty, loud and aesthetically challenged Windows computers.  But think about it.  Many of us spend large parts of our day tethered to a computer for one purpose or another.   There’s something really Zen-like about sitting down in front of my cordless, contained iMac, compared to the mess of gear and cables that used to percolate on and under my desk.

All I have to do is sit down there, queue up All Things Must Pass (buy @ Amazon), and I am good with the world.

2. With only one exception, I don’t miss any of the software that isn’t available on Macs.  For one, the cloud has made much installed software irrelevant.  I only use 5-6 local programs regularly, and all but one of them have Mac versions.  As Macs continue to gain market share, we’ll see less and less Windows-only applications.

3. Much of the core Mac software is wonderful.  I absolutely love iPhoto.  Love, love, love it.  iMovie is not as powerful as Video Studio Pro, but it is incredibly easy to use.  And not owned by Corel.  I expect Final Cut Pro is plenty powerful, but I haven’t tried to tackle it yet.

I can’t really talk about video without mentioning… the Guy on a Buffalo.  I’ve watched those videos teens of times, and they are still hilarious.

4. The Magic Trackpad  lives up to its name.  I was such a fan of Microsoft’s Trackball Explorer that I bought a bunch of extras when they stopped making them.  But after a week or so with the Magic Trackpad, I can’t imagine using anything else, by choice.  I still have to use a 5 year old, dusty, crash-prone Dell box at work.  My morning buzz-kill-of-a routine consists of booting up that dinosaur, and waiting for it to crash when I try to email a big attachment.  If I had my way (sadly, I don’t with the IT folks at my company), I’d bring my own iMac up there, install Parallels, let them put all the corporate bloatware in there, and otherwise maintain my computing efficiency and karma.

5. The day to day experience is, well, just better.  I added iOS 5 to three iPhones and two iPads this week, which also required updating iTunes and other computer programs.  The process was really easy on Macs.  But on the one remaining Windows computer in our house- my daughter’s laptop- it was kludgy and hard.  The Windows navigation system seems cluttered, and the laptop touchpad is almost painful to use.  I really hate having to add software to that computer.

But it’s not all perfect in Apple land.

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Anyone who believes that Macs never lock-up or crash, hasn’t used one very much.  They do.  Not as often as Windows machines, but it happens.  I have had a few moments where I wanted to find every beach ball in the world, and rip them to shreds.

But, all things considered, I can’t imagine ever going back to Windows.  That just doesn’t seem, you know, fun.

Sadness

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Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

MacAge: iPhoto Hates the Cloud

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I’m now well into my latest Mac era, and things are generally going well.  I adore my iMac.  I like iMovie.  And I love iPhoto.  With one exception.  iPhoto does not play well with the Cloud.

Once I took my Windows computers and my Windows Home Server offline, I decided on a two-part, redundant back-up plan.  First, I replaced my wireless access points with two Airport Extremes and a Time Capsule.  This did four important things for me.  One, it allowed me to attach some external hard drives to that equipment to replace the network storage (not backup; just regular storage for raw video production files, music production files, etc.) I had on the Windows Home Server.  Two, it allowed me to create a roaming wireless network, since all of the gear is Apple.  With a roaming network, you connect at one location, and then your connection automatically switches to other access points as you move around the house.  Three, it allowed me to install a mobile Airport Express that I can use to stream my music to other places in and around the house.  And four, it allowed the Time Capsule to back up the various computers.  Time Capsules make backing up your Mac about as easy as possible.

So as far as the local network goes, I’m all set.

Then, the cloud.

I have a ton of SugarSync space (get additional free space by signing up via that link), and have used it happily for many years as my primary cloud backup service.  As I’ve noted before, it’s a pain to switch computers in SugarSync, because you have to re-upload all the stuff you’ve already uploaded.  If you have hundreds of Gigabytes, that can take a while.  So I decided to put all of my previously uploaded photos in a SugarSync storage folder, and only back up my iPhoto Library, where all of my current and future photos will reside.  In other words, all of my existing photos will stay right where they are, and only the new ones will get uploaded from my iMac.

Great plan, right?

Nope.  Because SugarSync cannot sync or adequately backup the iPhoto Library.

iPhoto imports your photos into a file bundle, which shows up as “iPhoto Library” on your computer.

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That’s fine and dandy, but it makes it impossible to sync your photos via SugarSync or another cloud-based service.  Even worse, it makes it very hard to back up your photos in the cloud.  In fact, to prevent users from corrupting their libraries by trying to sync their iPhoto Libraries, the iPhoto Library doesn’t even show up in the SugarSync file manager.

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This is what those of us in the know call a BFP.

There is a work-around that will let you back up the original photos, which iPhoto stores in a “Masters” folder within the iPhoto file bundle.  But that’s not what I want.  I want to backup my entire iPhoto Library, so I can download it and restore everything in the event of a catastrophic data loss.

Some will claim that the forthcoming iCloud will be the answer.  Maybe, but if 50 Gigabytes of space costs $100 a year and your iPhoto Library is triple Gigabytes, it looks like you’re out of luck.

There’s a newish service called Dolly Drive, that let’s you back up data to the cloud using Time Machine.  That sounds like a perfect solution, but I don’t want to pay for yet another cloud, and am not willing to trust my data to just anyone.

So…

I dig my Mac.  But I am frustrated by the inability to set up an automated, incremental, cloud based backup for my photos.

Mars Edit Update: I’m trying.  Really.  But after using Live Writer for so long, Mars Edit feels like writing in quicksand.  Or concrete. Need a small example, of many?  There is no way to set link targets, so links open in a separate page.  Really.

The Mac Age

I warned you.

And now, it has happened.

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Look for a slew of posts as a guy who started on a Mac in the 80s and moved to Windows in the 90s re-enters the Mac Age.

I’m In Love with My Air

Queue the Queen song (Spotify link) and change a couple of letters.

So here’s how it went down.  First, Delaney made all A’s for the entire school year, thereby earning herself a MacBook Air.  She loved it from the first minute.

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Then Raina killed her 30th or so computer via some combination of misuse, her weird electrical charges and bad luck.  I talked her into getting a MacBook Air.  My thought was that it would be harder to kill than her 31st Windows desktop.  She loved it from the first minute.  It’s still alive after a couple of weeks, so it’s already outlived several of its predecessors.

Then I realized that I couldn’t really travel for more than a day or two without a laptop.  I love my iPad, but I have to have the ability to edit Word documents and whatnot.  I looked at my old, massive, HP laptop.  And said “hell no.”  No way I’m lugging that thing around.

So I bought my own MacBook Air.  And I loved it from the first minute.  The trackpad takes some getting used to at first, but after a day or two, you realize how well it is made and how logically it works.  I like it heaps.

In fact, after finally figuring out how to get video files from my camcorder into iMovie (the secret is to plug the entire camera into the computer, and not just try to import the stripped out video files; which is an annoyance, but by no means a deal stopper), I started thinking about going all-in.  I probably will, when my aging HP desktop bites the dust.  I see an iMac in my future- maybe.

I do miss Live Writer, though.  Not enough to install Parallels, but a lot.  It’s too bad there isn’t a Mac equivalent, but there isn’t.  And yes, I’ve looked at the available options.

So, I am now fully Apple where mobile technology is concerned.  MacBook Air, iPad and iPhone.  All that’s standing between me and complete Apple capitulation is a shiny new iMac.  Somehow I think resistance is futile.

Earl is going to tell me he told me so.  And he did.