An Open Letter to Steve Jobs on Aperture

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 21st, 2005, 07:56
Category: Software

I am a Mac/Apple evangelist. A certified, grade A Mac zealot – and a photographer. Your marketing materials for Aperture had me so excited for yet another groundbreaking product from the greatest minds in the computer industry.
So far I have been reasonably satisfied with the output from Adobe Creative Suite 2, Bridge and the Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) format.
I really tried my best to make Aperture sing but the quirks, pauses, US$400 to upgrade my video card, and twice-a-day crashes drove me nuts. However, the output is where the rubber meets the road. Only one word can describe the output from Aperture: Atrocious.
You be the judge…
Read More for John’s images that back up his claim…


Ask PowerPage: Hi-Res Audio App for OS X

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 19th, 2005, 21:33
Category: Software

PowerPage reader Darren submits this “Ask PowerPage” question:

I’m a long time reader of the PowerPage and had a question I figured you (or your other readers) might be able to answer.
In the past year or so I’ve seen a decent amount of hi-res audio (24bit, multi-channel) sources pop up on (a community for sharing the live concert recordings of trade friendly artists). Do you know of an application for OS X that can make use of these sources to burn DVD-As? Thanks for the help & keep up the great work.

If you have any insight, please post it in the comments below.


RIP Mac Internet Explorer

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 19th, 2005, 00:00
Category: Software

Unfortunately, Snoop and Jamie Fox won’t be on hand to help IE-for-the-Mac find clemency. Microsoft gave us fair warning back in June 2003 saying that Internet Explorer for the Mac would “undergo no further development, and support would cease in 2005”. So, on December 31st, 2005 Microsoft is pulling the plug on IE, or administering the fluid, or whatever metaphor you wish to use.
You will still be able to download Internet Explorer from the Mactopia site, but only until the end of January. On a positive note for Mr. Jobs, Microsoft is encouraging users to migrate over to Apple’s Safari.


CoconutBattery 2.0 Available

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 13th, 2005, 08:17
Category: Software

coconutdec.pngOne of my favorite PowerBook applications is Christoph Sinai’s excellent CoconutBattery. Version 2.0 is a major update that adds a dashboard widget, preferences menu for custom values and it’s FREE.

coconutBattery is a tool that reads out the data of your notebook-battery (iBook/Powerbook). It gives you live feedback, what’s going on in your battery (not only a snapshot like other tools).
It shows the current charge of your battery as well as the current maximum capacity related to its original. If coconutBattery detects that you have connected the wrong charger (i.e. an ibook-charger plugged in a powerbook) it will warn you! That’s a cool feature!
Of course you are able to save the current maximum capacity of your battery – with just one click! coconutBattery uses Apple’s new and really powerful technology named “CoreData” to realize that.
Finally coconutBattery calculates the age of your Mac exactly! So you can derive the age of your battery. And last but not least: coconutBattery is Universal Binary (you can run it on Intel-Macs! – cool!) and it is complete localizable!


Makin' Copies

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 9th, 2005, 07:20
Category: Software

Here are four Macintosh backup solutions ranging in price from US$5 to US$100.
Carbon Copy Cloner is a tried an true solution for creating a clone of your hard drive. No frills, it gets the job done and for just $5.
If you need a truly elegant way to make a bootable backup, try SuperDuper!. This program has an easy intuitive interface and super simple scheduling. It excels at copying your boot volume and it only costs US$27.95. Backing up folders requires some scripting and is not so simple.
SynchronizeX Pro does it all, bootable backups along with an infinite variety of data backups. At US$99.95, it is a serious comprehensive backup solution. If you don’t need bootable backups, then Chronosync does a tremendous job of backing up your data for just US$30.
My backup strategy has gotten quite robust, yet quick and easy. I have a 120GB as well as a 160GB dive in my trusty Quicksilver G4. The 160 is partitioned 120GB and 40GB. I typically boot up from the 120GB partion. Every week, my 120GB partition is backed up to the 120GB drive. Every day, just my user data is backed up to the same drive. I have a clean OS install on the 40GB partition, so I have three bootable volumes. I also back up my user data to a TiBook over my wireless network on a regular basis, so I am able to keep working without missing a beat, even if my primary drive fails.
Contributed by Bob Snow.


Two Must-Have Treo Applications: Ringo and Palmary Clock

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2005, 09:15
Category: Software

treo650-palmary.jpgAs I’ve reported here before, I’m a Treo 650 convert. The simple fact is that the Treo 650 is the best smartphone for the Macintosh platform. Period. One of the best things about Treo 650 is the amount of cool software that’s available for it. Two of my favorite Treo applications right now are:
- Electric Pocket’s Ringo (US$29.95) – allows you to use MP3 ringtones with the Treo and set personal ringtones and pictures for your friends and for address book groups. You can also compose new ringtones with a ringtone mixer. If you don’t want to upload your own MP3 ringtones to your SD card you can download free MP3 ringtones directly to your Treo or purchase polyphonic ringtones over the air (OTA). In addition to ringtones you can set personal SMS alert tones too.
- PalmaryClock Wireless (US$19.95) – Fills one of the major gaps in the Palm software included with the Treo 650, a repeating alarm clock. My Blackberry 7100t included a smart alarm clock which I could set to go off at 6:30 a.m. Monday to Friday. Sounds simple enough right? PalmaryClock adds a repeating alarm clock that does much more. Their “Wireless Edition” displays the current weather forecast, offers currency conversion and is completely skinnable.
What are your favorite Treo apps?


The Best way to Label Your CDs

Posted by:
Date: Sunday, December 4th, 2005, 23:58
Category: Software

disclabel 3.0 is a major update to SmileOnMyMac’s award-winning CD labeling software. This uber-labeling application features automatic design generation, folders, a visual design element selector, and more. disclabel 3.0 (30-day free demo, $29.95) requires Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or later. The free demo allows users to create and print CD labels of albums purchased through the iTunes Music Store without purchasing disclabel.
Updates in disclabel 3.0:
- Folders for organizing your designs
- Factory function, for fast, automatic generation of label designs
- Design Elements selector, to view & select from all the elements of your design together (CD label, Jewel case, DVD cases, and many others)
- Creates and prints CD label of purchased iTunes Music Store album from demo, without requiring disclabel purchase
- Media setup, so you can customize media choices to only those you use
- Enhanced media display for ease of matching labels with designs
- Many new text templates to select for your designs
- Improved UI look and feel
- Sepia image filter
- Text outlines, baseline adjustment, superscript & subscript


Firefox 1.5 No Worky With WordPress (Updated 2x)

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 1st, 2005, 12:45
Category: Software

Firefox-logo-150.jpgEveryone’s abuzz about the recent announcement of Firefox 1.5 but I can’t use it because it doesn’t work with WordPress, the blogging software behind my ZDnet blog The Apple Core. I’ve been using Firefox 1.0.x for quite a while now and I check the 1.5 beta releases every time they come out but I’ve had to go back to 1.0.x every time because of compatibilty problems. I was optimistic that the final version of Firefox 1.5 would work with WordPress, but alas, no dice. FF 1.5 betas had problems with Movable Type too, but I didn’t even get around to testing the 1.5 release with MT. Too bad, I really wanted to use some of Firefox’s new features too…
Click through for two updates on this strange bug…


Why iChat Sucks

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 1st, 2005, 11:10
Category: Software

Sorry to be a wet blanket on this one, but iChat sucks as an IM client. It’s good at video conferencing, but lousy as a day-to-day IM client for two simple reasons:
1. The stupid “Accept” button. Why-oh-why do I have to click on an “Accept” button every time someone IMs me? I could see maybe having a preference for this, or even requiring it for people not on my buddly list as a security precaution, but making me click on it every time? To make matters worse, when someone IMs me in iChat it opens a small window, which I have to click on, then I have to click the “Accept” button. Insanity I tell you.
2. The lack of tabs. When you IM a lot and have several simultanous conversations going at once iChat can quickly clutter up your desktop reminiscent of the days of the old AOL pop-ups (remember them?) or when you accidentally (ahem) click on a porn link. Other chat clients (like Adium) intelligently tab all your chat conversations in one window and inform you about each chat with icon changes.
I have pretty much switched to Adium full time because of these two most annoying issues in iChat although I still switch back to iChat for video conferencing and file transfers (which seems to break in Adium). What’s your chat client of choice these days? Please sound off in the comments below then IM me at PowerPage02.


Griffin radio SHARK 2.0 Software

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 18th, 2005, 09:19
Category: Software

radio-shark-dashboard.jpgI’m a real fan of Griffin’s radio SHARK (originally reviewed back in September 2004). The radio SHARK is a US$70 USB radio that comes with software that allows you to record any AM or FM radio broadcast in real time. What makes it cool is that the software allows you to schedule recordings and even pause live recordings – think of it as TiVo for broadcast radio. Radio SHARK is brilliant for fans of FM radio broadcasts like NPR or Howard Stern where you may not be able to listen to it all live.
Griffin has released a major update to the radio SHARK software including the following new features and enhancements:
- New compact, redesigned interface
- Improved scheduling
- Improved 10 band equalizer
- Expanded record/playback, tuning and appearance preferences
- Spectrum visualizer
- Selectable display color
- Dock icon displays station and record status
- AppleScript support
Included in the download is a radio SHARK widget that allows you to control the radio SHARK USB radio from Dashboard. The radio SHARK 2.0 software includes the radio SHARK Dashboard Widget and a PDF manual.