Archive for the 'Links' Category

Mac & Stuff ~ Picks of 2007

There’s an old saying “the more things change the more they stay the same” and when it comes to technology where the “next big thing” seems to defy that saying, it comes down to a few basic principals. For years we have heard a steady stream of rhetoric regarding the “endless possibilities ” of our technologies. In fact though, we only need them to do what is required to get our work done. It is true that the possibilities are endless but that can be part of the problem because most people don’t explore those endless possibilities, it’s a little daunting and possibly not fruitful, so people want stuff that works.

I’ve bookmarked an awful lot of those simplify your life, unclutter your life kind of sites this past year and with good reason, beyond the fact that I have a big family. Clutter invades every area of our life and that includes our Computers, Cell Phones, and other electronic gadgets. While we have access to so many good pieces of hardware and software, we simply don’t need all of it. In fact we don’t need most of it. CUT TO THE CHASE: there are too many options and we need a way to simplify our digital life to the essential tools necessary to get work done. To do this we must develop a plan to deal with all the other “infinitely possible and totally cool stuff” that comes our way via ads, email and the web. Before you download it, clip it, snip it or buy it plan how you will use, read or otherwise benefit from it. This of course leads to the larger plan of how you spend your time, energy, money, and so on.

Not the complete list but here are a few picks from 2007 that you might find useful; of course your milage may vary. There are exceptions to every rule and if you are a Macgyver with a geek factor of ten you may well assemble your own kit of parts that will melt silicon for a half mile radius but for us mere mortals my recommendations are in the safe zone.

Apple Inc. – Although not without it’s problems, the company and it’s hardware and software continue to provide the best user experience via OSX 10.4.xx and beyond. Pound for pound they put more points on the board than any other system out there, in my opinion of course.

Cameras – Lots of fine makers of digital cameras but you will be hard pressed to go wrong with Canon or Nikon. I own both and use both; if I take a bad shot it’s usually because I flubbed the shot.

Photo EditingPhotoshop CS3 and Elements again are both solid and the ones that most people refer to when the subject of photo editing comes up. I’ve tried other editors but they all have their own quirks and tutorials are not as plentiful as with PS. CS3 is expensive but you can get much of the same functionality with PS Elements for about a hundred dollars. If you are looking for tips, how-to’s and training, hop on over to Photoshopusertv.com and that will link you into many good resources for both photography and Photoshop.

Photo ManagementAperture [Apple] or Lightroom [Adobe]. Aperture is a complete suite of tools for managing your photos with an eye mostly to the professional photographer. Lightroom is faster and geared more to the Photo Enthusiast and since it comes from Adobe plays nice with Photoshop for any round trip editing.

Text Editing – There are many good ones and you may find one that suits your style better than another one, however I use Textmate and is apt for just about anything you want to throw at it, from blog posts to coding or websites Textmate is quite extensible and should meet your needs.

Wiki Creation – Creating a wiki in an easy straightforward manner I use Voodoo Pad; funny name but it does what it’s supposed to do, create a wiki. If you aren’t familiar with Wikis then click over to what else, wikipedia.com for all the details.

Google – It’s hard to imagine how much this company has grown and in the areas it has pursued. Beside being the No. 1 search engine the online giant hosts many other services including email all for the price of setting up an account. If you haven’t taken the full tour I suggest you take a closer look; features such as Google Docs and Gmail can be a great tool if you are on the go and not always with your computer.

Graphic Design – Lots of great sites of design nature out there, some broad and meandering and other highly specialized. My favorite, can count on every time to have great content presented in the most clear way is Chuck Green’s ideabook.com His books tips and tutorials reveal the process of design better than anyone I know of.

More Picks of 2007 to come; stay tuned!! Also look for my Macworld Keynote predictions in the next few days.

Batteries Not Included… [ Found On Web ]

#3 —One fact of life these days is that so many of the toys for young and old rely on batteries. This will become even more apparent when those gadgets get unwrapped during the upcoming holiday season. I am no battery expert but a company called Eneloop has some great features and might be worth consideration. Read the review and see if it works for you! In my “Found On Web” series please note that I do not have any relationship with these companies nor do I receive any compensation. Hope you find the information useful and if you do please leave a comment.

Found On Web #1

First in a series, —links of interest. Yummy Soup is a great little Application for tracking your recipes, whether your own or directly importing them from other websites. Only 20 dollars US and they provide a demo for your evaluation purposes. It’s called Yummy Soup from Hungry Seacow Software. Requires 10.4 Tiger, Mac OS.

Apple News Review and Pre WWDC Musings

It would seem I’ve fallen off the pace with my posts but without excuse making here’s the news from my latest travels.

Scoble has taken a shot at the iPod in his blog recently [what’s a Microsoft guy supposed to do?] and voiced with many others how the iPod locks you into the iTunes. People prefer the ipod player to the other ones and in fact they put more music on the iPod ripped from CDs than they do from the iTunes store. You only have to use one of the other brands to get the difference. It also helps that Apple has created a certain cachet identity for their products.

iPhone News: A few more insights are coming in from the wild and if what they say is true the iPhone should be a huge hit. At one point I thought this phone is just too much in a small package but in final analysis anything less than the three in one might not have been sufficient to shake the market and become the new “iPod” setting the numbers aside of course. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a iPhone nano at some point if the market demands. Steve says third party apps may be forthcoming if they can manage the security issues.

WWDC: What they roll out at WWDC this year is hard to tell. If last year is any indication then we may see less hardware and more software. Apple is sending even more coding headstarts to whet the appetite of developers for this years roll out of Leopard [beta]. This bodes well for the need to rewrite or tweak a lot of code to take advantage of the “secret” features in Leopard. Should be a busy year for programmers. If we see hardware at WWDC I am guessing it won’t be a tablet mac; more likely would be a new iMac and maybe some displays. The high order gear I think will be left for the usual January rollout. The ilife apps will be revamped to take advantage of the new features in Leopard with the other details left up the missing manual’s trade.

New Software: Look for a new image editor on the block called Pixelmator, beautiful UI wrapped around some of the familar tools in photoshop but sporting new image editing tricks and features. Check them out online and sign up for a notification email; only 59.00 USD. If you aren’t using iGTD then stop on over and give it a try; it’s free [support couldn’t hurt though]. More to follow….

Mac Gems – Find What You Need

Looking for some great software? Can’t remember where you saw that awesome review or what the name was? Read on!

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One of the best features of Macworld [online] is their regular column called Mac Gems. Great pieces of software reviewed and rated by the editors at Macworld Magazine and you can find the whole list right here.