Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

Adobe InError

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

At this point, Adobe may as well make this InDesign CS3’s official quit dialogue box.

I can count on my hand the number of times in the last month I didn’t see a warning like this one when shutting down for the night. I gather the response to persistent problems like this one is:

“Well, CS4 is out now. Why not upgrade?”

That is not acceptable.

The Death of Music DRM?

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Apple announced today that 8 million songs on iTunes will be DRM-free, and by the end of this quarter all 10 million will be.

Between Apple and Amazon (who are already DRM-free), we may have just witnessed the beginning of the end of music DRM. No one offering DRM’ed music will be able to compete. I hope this trend continues as the savvier companies realize that DRM punishes lawful consumers far more than pirates.

Update: My mistake. It’s the iTunes Plus library that’ll be DRM-free. Well, it’s a start. I still think they’re idiots for clinging to DRM at all, even though I understand why they do.

4 Months with the iPod Touch

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

My iPod Touch in my hand, held above a black office chair.

On the eve of Apple’s expected announcement of the 2nd gen iPhone, the launch of the applications store, and a host of other rumored tidbits, I thought I’d address the iPhone’s less famous sister device. The gadget blogs and Apple rumor sites have been in a frenzy over this year’s iPhone-centric WWDC. Other companies would pay to have this kind of foaming, fanatical conjecture about single features of their devices. In addition to the better data capabilities of the new iPhone (3G), the rollout of true enterprise software support will make the iPhone a true player in the PDA phone market.

Unfortunately, the iPhone is AT&T-exclusive until 2012. This was the biggest roadblock for me even considering one. So when Apple announced the iPod Touch, designed for those who want an iPhone minus the phone, I was unable to resist. Well, actually, I did resist for a while. But once Blackbird was born, my need for a PDA to keep schedules straight became undeniable. After expressing my determination to Alisa and accepting the associated brownie point withdrawal, I gave in to the long-suppressed urge and bought the product I’d been longing for ever since I wrestled with my Palm Vx in OS 9: an Apple-centric PDA.

So, for those of you wondering about the Touch, here are some thoughts formed during my own experience with it over the last four months. There are a lot of reviews out there from critics and pundits, who had advance access, playing with the device (or the iPhone) for a week or so. But what really matters is how a device stands up to real life and real-world expectations. Hence my “late” review. There’s no question about whether I’m a big Apple fan or not, but in the end my preferences are all about my goals and whether a given device helps or hinders me in attaining them. Given all of the hype and silly fanboy arguing (mainly about iPhone vs. Blackberry), it’s hard to be objective, so consider this a statement made not from a seat of authority, but from a position of experience. Hopefully, this will give you a bit of clarity before the next Apple-yte PR frenzy over the next few weeks.

For context, it’s good to note that I sync my 8 GB Touch with a 15″ PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz), currently running Mac OS X (10.4.11). Many of the impressions here also apply to the iPhone, but I didn’t take the time to label each one. I recommend checking out tomorrow evening to get the latest news on each device.


Google Talking to Me

Thursday, September 8th, 2005

So, I had a brief back-and-forth on gmail with the Google Talk Team (no, I don’t know them, it was just an email to the support address) about a thing and I have to admit that when I got an email from Google on Gmail, I anticipated something really cool. Like, I’d click on the email and it would take me to Google Earth, then zoom in on Mountain View in Silicon Valley (Google’s headquarters) all the way through a skylight in their building, at which point I’d see a small memo on a support team member’s desk with the answer written on it, which would also be searchable using an online OCR application.

It was just an email. It was courteous, which was nice, but it was just an email.

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger: First Impressions

Sunday, May 8th, 2005

the Mac OS X Tiger boxSo, this year, I didn’t geek out completely and go to the ’Night of the Tiger’ at the local Apple Store (but I came close) for the release of Apple‘s latest OS upgrade: Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. I went to the Night of the Panther for Mac OS X 10.3, and it was fun, but the hassle didn’t seem worth it this year (I don’t work near the store anymore). But I did go the next day, so that counts for something, right? Well, now that I’ve been working with Tiger for about a week, and putting it through some of its paces, I believe I can confidently say: Tiger’s pretty damn cool in some particularly useful and immediate ways (Dashboard and Spotlight being the obvious ones), but much of it isn’t quite as glorious as I’d like, especially in contrast with my jump from Mac OS 9.2 to 10.3, which was like waking up on a sunny day after a week of rain.

A big part of this less-than-perfectly-happy feeling is Tiger’s addiction to RAM (and the apps I run). My machine meets the minimum RAM requirement for Tiger: 512 MB. The minimum requirement (Apple’s always forging ahead, for better or worse). I figure 1 GB is the only way to get truly smooth performance out of this OS’s fancier features. It’s not to say that my workflow has slowed or anything, it definitely hasn’t, but the prettier features have a slightly noticeable lag to them, rather than their intended immediacy. makes it not as snappy as I believe it was meant to be. Also, if you have and use Panther, much of the surface OS is functionally identical, so the difference isn’t as dramatic…kind of.