The Promise of a Silicon Leap Forward

M1 iMacs

the M1 iMac, make no mistake, this is a Consumer Machine.

I have not been the most diligent blogger, but will drop something when the itch grows too much to bear and spills from my fevered brain. Of course the Pandemic has been nothing but interesting…, and now the household is finally vaccinated and we’re cautiously starting to get out of “The Box” and resume interacting with the local community again. Of course as the mischief of the gods would have it – barely a month after I dropped a chunk of cash on a “new” used upgraded Mac Pro – the lockdown hit. The subject of a previous blog post, if you’re interested. But the studio did get rather slow, and sadly, a couple of clients, and I think at least one vendor closed their doors. Others took their work in-house, and some went “radio silent.”

I suppose during more down time than I was entirely comfortable with I could have blogged more. But I devoted the the unexpected free time to learning about streaming, using Zoom, honing my skills with Video and Audio production, messing about with my drums, and of course all the house things. Domestic harmony while In The Box is a good thing.

But as we rolled into the back half of the year, something dropped that made a bit of a splash. Or rather, a tsunami in the tech universe. Apple announced Apple Silicon, in the form of the M1 chip. Then these chips were put into the iPad Pro, Mac Mini, the MacBook Air, 13” MacBook, and most recently, a new 24” iMac, with an … well, interesting new design. Thinner, of course, and colors, tho’ the white bezels esthetics are clearly not for everyone. Continue reading

On The New 2019 Mac Pro

Apple Mac Pro 2019 and Pro XDR Display – Photo: Slash Gear

Been a while, and I am back, since this issue is on my immediate horizon.

I make my way as a working Graphic and Web Designer in the green hills of West Virginia where I relocated from the NYC region in 2014. In that time, the Mac computing landscape has changed immensely – and not changed much. But you KNOW that the New Mac Pro would catch my eye, and appropriate pro kvetching. It’s design, it’s features, it’s engineering, and it’s blink-worthy pricing, all very worthy of discussion.

Am I going to get into it? As a mid-tier working-class Design Guy – Oh, Hell Yes.

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iCloud is Not for Everyone

Apple's iCloud - Documents in the Cloud

Apple’s iCloud – Documents in the Cloud promises “all your documents, with all your edits, on every device.” Image: Apple

In the most recent update of the Mac OS, Mountain Lion, the Apple branded cloud computing service iCloud was expanded to more fully embrace the Mac from it’s previous focus on iOS devices, the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.  After taking a look at in in reviews and a one friend’s somewhat exasperated experience with iCloud, I realize that the utility of iCloud will very much depend on what sort of user you are.

One of the enjoyable things I do, rather off to the side of the “day job” is serve as president of my local Mac User Group. Like many things in the tech world, Mac User Groups are not what they once were. Before the era of the internet, Applecare, the Apple Store, and the Genius Bar, Mac (and PC) User groups were often the only casual source of experienced to expert help and guidance for most users, especially non-professionals without their companies to provide IT support. And of course, mac’s were a markedly different species from PCs in those days, and were a lot more … well.. computer-y.

Apple’s arc in the last decade has been to cater to a vast underserved consumer computing market and to that end, has relentlessly pushed simplicity, elegance, design excellence and the appliance nature of their devices. Note that they almost never use the word “computer” any more, it’s even gone from the company name. It’s simply iMac, MacBook, iPhone, iPad… An iPhone is a more powerful and capable micro-sized computer that most of the Power PC line of Macintoshes, just one that happens to have a phone. And they’ve done away with most of the computer-y stuff that most folk associate with desktop computers, while still having it do all those THINGS, and typically very well. (Except Maps at the moment… opps) Using an iPhone, the focus is almost entirely on the apps, and what you’re doing, and not particularly on the device much at all.

Currently Apple is making an effort in it’s desktop computing operating system to bring that ideal to to their desktops and notebooks. And part of that effort is iCloud. But iCloud is not cloud storage as most of you who are power users already use and experience it, such as in Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon CloudDrive, Microsoft Skydrive. There are also cloud computing services as well like YouSendIt, Amazon Web Services, Google Apps and the like which actually provide computing services and apps remotely, and most of the cloud storage services also have some of this functionality. iCloud also provides some dedicated services for various iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac users, such as Music Syncing, iTunes matching, Mail and Calendar services, etc.

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Magical…

Magical. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." --Arthur C. Clarke

Click above for Large Image (900 x 600 px)

“Ook ook ack! Eeeeeek! OOOK!” [Trans: “My God, it’s full of apps… ” ]

I usually don’t repeat subjects, and I JUST reviewed the iPad2. But sometimes a marketing campaign can trod over the same raw nerve so many times before one has to spout off on it.

I don’t want to get off on a rant here but…

Apple’s overuse of the word “magical” when promoting the iPad just gets under my skin. Actually it annoys the poop out of me. Probably because it’s patently horseshit. It’s a piece of TECHNOLOGY, people, not the gorram Philosopher’s stone. We’re not a bunch of knuckle dragging homo habilis hominids howling and flinging rocks, sticks and poop at the frakkin’ monolith. Sometimes I wonder what Apple’s marketing people think of their audience. I do realize what they’re getting at, the idea of an information appliance so immediate and intuitive to use, that the actual interface disappears and you become immersed in just using the thing. Continue reading

A Look at The iPad2:

Apple iPad2 - In Black and White.

Apple iPad2 - in Black and White. Thinner. Lighter. Faster. FaceTime. Smart Covers. 10 Hour Battery. Original Image: Apple

Been A little while, I’ve been working, and that’s a good thing if you’re a self-employed designer. I also broke my ankle back in August while camping, so been recovering. So blogging a slightly lower priority lately, but here I am again.

I had occasion to be out and about and took the opportunity to visit my local Apple store and take a look at the just released iPad2 for my local Apple User Group. Just like it’s predecessor, it’s a very appealing little slab of electric crack. It’s also a more appealing experience than the original iPad. Apparently, a lot of people think so too, since Apple seems to have sold close to a million of the things in the first weekend of availability, selling out at most locations.

When Apple released the original iPad, they were diving out into uncharted territory. As of last year, no one had gotten a tablet computer out there that captured the public imagination till they completely redesigned the interface. Their success with the iPhone, turning the smartphone market in it’s side, suggested they were on to something. But it wasn’t till the first year of iPad, that the realized that they had something quite amazing on their hands. People are doing things with the iPad that Apple never expected. Continue reading