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

Mac Pros. Mac Users?

Mac Pro: 4, 8, or 12 Cores. WORTH IT?

The current Mac Pro update disappoints actual pro users. Image: Apple Computer

Apple recently released, after over a year in waiting, an update to their Mac Pro line of tower configuration computers. They introduced the Westmere line of the Xeon workstation processors and now a version with 12 computing cores is available. But for many Apple watchers, the update was a bit of a disappointment.

For openers, while Apple has been determinedly cutting edge on their new flagship mobile products, iPhones, iPads… were notably conservative on this update. New tech such as USB 3, Firewire 1600, Litghtbridge, or even established desirable standards as eSATA were skipped. Few expected Blu-Ray support, since Steve doesn’t like Blu-Ray. The video cards options offered by Apple are decent, but somewhat mediocre by contemporary standards. But all in all, commentary in the tech blogs has negative commentary edging out positive reviews. The general consensus seemed “meh,” with a lot of dissatisfaction centering on performance versus price issues compared to alternatives on the Windows and Linux side.
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About Those Ink Delivery Systems…

This time, takin on the wee beasties...

This time, takin' on the wee beasties...

Sorry I haven’t posted in some time. The Studio has been very busy with work and my personal life collided with the business. My wife suffered a dislocated and fractured shoulder at the beginning of October. So I have been taking care of her and doing a lot of housework along with trying to well… work. So not a lot of time for writing blog items. But do have a little something for you.

In early-December I posted this in my personal blog…. And to complete the Tech Fail Trifecta [ joining the failed washing machine and water heater]… My faithful Canon printer started to funk out last night. It began to print thin pale streaks in nice neat precise 3mm stripes. UH oh. After the many cycles of cleaning and test prints, and then a 40 min ride with Canon’s tech support, pretty much convinced me the print head was probably hosed. And a replacement head costs near the cost of replacing the same class printer. So will take a shot at trying to fix it N1NJ4 style before I stick a crowbar in the wallet.

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