>> Postings for October 2008
Fri, 31 Oct 2008
I just wanted to write a short note to let my dear readers know that today's my last day looking after Macworld UK's online news.
What's happened is that over the near ten years I've been running things I've managed to develop RSI (very silly of me, I know). Now this means I just can't maintain the frequency of stories or the associated workload without causing permanent damage. I've had to reduce my commitment.
Jonny Evans | Read more...
Thu, 30 Oct 2008
I'll admit it: I'm a bit of a sci-fi geek. It started with The Tripods, took hold during Star Wars, and I grew up with Asimov. I know my Space Opera from my Soft Sci-Fi, and my Cyberpunk, from my Steampunk – I know the vaguely pornographic sounding Hard Sci-Fi is anything but.
I've given up on watching Star Trek repeats because there's not a single episode left that I haven't seen, although that doesn't stop me when I trundle home from the pub.
Mark Hattersley | Read more...
Mon, 27 Oct 2008
If your iPhone crashes more often than you would like, conventional wisdom typically attributes this to the proliferation of third-party apps on your phone, the ones you added via the App Store. However, this is likely a misconception, or at least an exaggeration.
Recently, I launched Console on my Mac and navigated to MobileDevice -> Ted's iPhone 3G (the name here will obviously be different for your iPhone). This is where you'll find a list of every recent iPhone crash, sorted by the name of each process that crashed (the list is updated each time your sync your iPhone).
Ted Landau, Macworld US | Read more...
Fri, 24 Oct 2008
If you haven't already, be sure to wrap your iPod in wool or copper foil – the substances that traditionally make up gifts given on the seventh wedding anniversary. (Today, y'see, marks exactly seven years since the iPod was first unveiled by Steve Jobs in Cupertino.) By way of tribute, I'd like to present a little history, pulled from my now out-of-print Secrets of the iPod (don't worry, my just-as-jam-packed-with-iPod-goodness iPod and iTunes Pocket Guide is still alive and well).
With all the wondrous devices to which Apple might have devoted its legendary creative power, why create yet another music player? To learn the answer to this question, you must look at a technology that has changed the way we use and share digital media: MP3.
Christopher Breen | Read more...
Thu, 23 Oct 2008
One of Steve Jobs' sound bites from his appearance on the quarterly conference call with financial analysts Tuesday has been repeated several times since then: "We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk."
Maybe Apple needs to take more of a look around at the rest of the industry, then, because there certainly are computers in the $500 and less category that aren't pieces of junk. And Apple could do better than the competition, I'm sure.
Peter Cohen, Macworld.com | Read more...
Wed, 22 Oct 2008
With the economy in trouble, job security has become a major fear for many people. As a result, the need to be in contact with your workplace 24/7 has led to a growing trend of email addiction, according to a report issued on Tuesday by Neverfail.
Though there are ways to help kick your e-mail habits, the problem is much worse and dangerous than we had originally thought, Neverfail says, describing some worrisome trends in how people manage their email off of work hours.
Scott Nichols, PC World US | Read more...
Tue, 21 Oct 2008
I've been using programs like Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, and Corel Paint Shop Pro for so many years that I sometimes have trouble remembering what photography was like before the digital age. But none of those programs have ever felt like a truly natural part of the photo process to me. When I see something I want to tweak, adjust, composite, or fix, I'll open a program like Photoshop, load the image, and do my work. When I'm done, I close Photoshop and move on. In that sense, my photo editor is sort of like an auto repair shop that I pull my car into; it gets the job done, but I don't leave my car there all the time.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom – particularly the new Lightroom 2 – feels more like my living room. I am happy to stay there all the time, viewing and organize my photos from within its comfortable and logical interface.
Dave Johnson, PC World (US) | Read more...
Mon, 20 Oct 2008
Whenever Apple Inc. releases newly designed products – meaning hardware offering more than just a speed bump – the greater question is, "What does it mean?" That is, are the new features mere anomalies, or are they something truly new that will set the shape, material and design of the future?
The most obvious negative example remains the loved-by-some, hated-by-more Cube, a compact desktop Mac with a sexy Lucite skin that, unfortunately, cracked and scratched easily. That plus expandability issues, a vertical optical drive and problematic ports pushed this undeniably unique design onto the scrap heap of history.
Dan Turner, Computerworld US | Read more...
Mon, 20 Oct 2008
As our first look at Apple's new laptops suggests, there's plenty to talk about with the new laptops introduced this week. But it's what's not there in the revamped MacBook product line that has people talking – yelling in some cases. And that's Apple's as-of-yet unexplained decision to drop FireWire connectivity from its consumer-focused laptops. Some users are saying point-blank that they're not going to order the new hardware without FireWire.
The absence of FireWire ports is certainly an inconvenience for some users. But it shouldn't be considered a deal-breaker for most of us, anyway.
FireWire – IEEE 1394, as it's known in techie circles – is the peripheral interface that Apple has made a part of almost each and every Mac since the Blue & White Power Mac G3 debuted in 1999. It was originally developed to give computers a way to talk quickly and reliably to storage devices – FireWire has long been the preferred interface for some Mac users who want to hook up an external hard disk drive. It also caught on with camcorder makers, and that's really why most people are upset. A lot of standard-definition (SD) video cameras have relied on FireWire for the past few years.
Peter Cohen, Macworld.com | Read more...
Mon, 20 Oct 2008
Apple's new MacBooks are finally here, and the upgrades they feature are more than modest. The new Apple laptops sport slimmer designs, brighter and more power-efficient LED-backlit screens, new graphics systems, buttonless trackpads, and more. The updates have led some people to wonder whether now is the time to switch from a PC to a Mac.
But as cool as the updates are, Apple has not achieved MacBook perfection. Here's a look at what Apple got right and what I would have liked to see.
Nick Mediati, PC World.com | Read more...
Sun, 19 Oct 2008
Greenpeace is pretty happy with Apple for phasing out toxic materials in its new products, but has the company gone far enough.
Was it not the case that Apple planned to eliminate polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from ALL Apple products by the end of 2008, and to remove mercury and arsenic from its displays. Read A Greener Applee for a reminder of what Apple said at the time.
Wed, 15 Oct 2008
No longer content to extol the virtues of Vista to customers in its "I'm a PC" campaign, Microsoft has now raised the spectre of an "Apple Tax". This coincides with Apple's announcement of new notebooks Tuesday, with lower prices.
Interviewed by Cnet news, Brad Brooks, Microsoft vice president of Windows consumer product marketing had this comment:
"But, we're also looking at the different things that you can get with Windows, and understanding what is really involved with what we call the "Apple tax."
Larry Borsato, Industry Standard | Read more...
Tue, 14 Oct 2008
As I write it is scant hours before another Apple event and the rumour mill has been grinding in its usual fashion. Amongst the myriad of myth, hearsay and misguided ideas is this little gem: "Apple is working on a networked HDTV". This, allegedly, comes from Jason Calacanis, Mahalo chief and former editor and reporter of the Silicon Alley Reporter.
Jason is spreading the rumour far and wide. And he's a person with known Apple contacts.
Mark Hattersley | Read more...
Fri, 10 Oct 2008
In a recent Mac OS X Hints blog entry, I explained how to prevent iTunes from changing filenames (in the Finder) when adding items to your iTunes library. As this is something I don't normally pay any attention to myself, I included a disclaimer, to let everyone know that I don't use this hint myself, and as such, may not be able to answer many questions about it. I wrote:
Now, I'll admit that this particular preference change was meaningless to me - I really don't care, nor do I even know, what iTunes names my songs when it imports them. I use iTunes to make listening to music easier, and not having to care about filenames is a key part of the "making it easier" bit.
Rob Griffiths, Macworld.com | Read more...
Thu, 09 Oct 2008
Try as it might, Microsoft just can’t catch up with Apple. It may be streets ahead in terms of market share and value but it clearly rankles the company that while it pioneers many technologies and dominates most computing sectors it’s seen as the boring, smug, semi-thug to Apple’s hip, chummy cool kid/smartarse.
Microsoft’s poor public image is so ingrained that it has become its brand. While people think of Apple products as cutting edge, innovative and trendy (if a little expensive), Microsoft’s stuff is buggy, insecure and dreadfully dull (and expensive). It must hurt horribly, because every now and again Microsoft tries very hard to persuade everyone otherwise.
Simon Jary | Read more...
Thu, 09 Oct 2008
More bad news for fans of the "I bought it, I own it, I can do what I want with it" approach to living.
Late Tuesday afternoon, federal judge Marilyn Patel extended a temporary restraining order against RealNetworks, until she can hold a formal hearing on the lawsuits between Real and the Hollywood 8. So if you want to get RealDVD software and make copies of movies you legally own, you'll have to borrow a friend's copy or find a pirated one. According to a report in Wired News, RealDVD is unlikely to return before the holidays.
Robert X. Cringely | Read more...
Wed, 08 Oct 2008
I still have not bought an iPhone. I expect I will do so soon though now that there is at least one good SSH client available through the Apple App Store. But I will say that I've been put off by reports about the poor quality of AT&T's wireless network and, to some degree, by the apparent capriciousness of Apple's decision-making process regarding what applications can be made available through the App Store.
For me, these issues have delayed my purchase. But I expect that they have been a deal killer for quite a few people.
At first the lock-in deal with AT&T made sense to me. Apple's agreement with AT&T includes Apple receiving a share of the revenue the carrier gets from iPhone subscribers - a nice deal indeed. But Apple does not have any such deal about iPods and seems to be doing just fine selling a much cheaper device. Now I'm not so sure that the iPhone lock-in is a good thing for Apple - it clearly is not a good thing for anyone else: Customers cannot chose the carrier that provides the best service, and AT&T's competitors cannot sell the iPhone.
Is Apple guilty under the Sharman Act? | Read more...
Tue, 07 Oct 2008
Online video is in a crisis. It's not a crisis of creativity - the amount of content being uploaded every day, and the range of quality programming are truly astounding. Rather, the crisis lies in revenue. Making a profitable business out of online video is extremely difficult.
Liz Gannes' analysis on GigaOm touches upon a few important issues. She notes that CPMs are decreasing amid increasing inventory levels, and advertisers are reluctant to put their messages next to user-generated content. But there's more to the picture than that.
Ian Lamont | Read more...
Mon, 06 Oct 2008
So for a whole bunch of reasons far too random to detail here, I ended up sitting in a restaurant attached to a Bay Area ice rink last week, watching skaters slip and fall while chatting with longtime Apple evangelist and Mac columnist, and current venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki.
If you've never heard of Kawasaki, I'd like to explain, but as Inigo Montoya might say, there is too much. Let me sum up. He pioneered the concept of product evangelism, whipping up enthusiasm among users and developers for Apple's products. Later he wrote columns for first MacUser and then Macworld for years (more on that in a bit). And now he's got investments in a bunch of interesting companies.
Jason Snell, Macworld.com | Read more...
Thu, 02 Oct 2008
The past few days have seen Apple make two incredibly positive strides when it comes to iPhone development. If you haven't heard, last weekend the company limited App Store reviews to those who had downloaded the product in question. And Wednesday the company announced that the blanket secrecy agreement on iPhone development was being lifted.
Last week I was critical of Apple's App Store filtering policies. So it's only fair that I respond to these two positive moves by Apple with some praise: Thank you, Apple, for making both of these changes and responding to the concerns of your third-party iPhone developers.
Jason Snell, Macworld US | Read more...
Wed, 01 Oct 2008
"It's not about pretty icons, Apple fanboys, and its not about business use, Windows Mobile Nerds: its about giving people the true tools to build whatever they want without lame App Store limitations and OS handcuffs. It's about giving phone makers shackled to Symbian and Microsoft's phone OS the chance to build with something different and better and free. And who's going to complain about that?"
At least that's what John Maloney at Gizmodo thinks.
Larry Borsato, The Industry Standard | Read more...