Friday, January 9, 2009

Coming to Macworld it does't mean you are Mac addict

Do you need to own Apple product to come to Macworld? Nups, I can say that. But I felt a sin -sort of guilty feeling when I was carrying cheap phone Centro instead show off shiny iPhone or iPod. Going to Macworld somehow like going to Apple shrine with thousand people flocked in to pray. Mac is cult, someone called a zealous rather fanatical.

One guy approached me when he saw my Macbook skin. Where did you get that? How much? Another half aged man pointed the hat to others asking where did he get the Macworld merchandise. Two blokes hissed in fascination when they were trying new Macbook Pro 17' that will be shipping in the end of this month. The price is hitting $2799 (not including tax), still incredible expensive in this recession era. Do my consumerism manner different with those Apple addicts? Should I buy a product to make Apple survive?

The Macworld 2009 will be the last one with Apple. The decision to pull from the event followed by Steve Jobs absent to deliver long waited speech in the opening Conference was a business matter. Apple is worldwide brand now, they are successfully building the Mac church created millions of devotee fans. That doesn't mean Apple stop to produce great products. They are still but they will not find any problem to market it anymore.

I asked Mr. C about his feeling of 'modern' Apple. He owned Apple IIe in 1980's about 26 years ago (he kept the machine for the love of great hardware). He is not Apple devotee or anything like Apple mad. He is probably the most critical about Mac's now on. Well, people translate 'love' can be pouring with compliments or giving the pro/cons in balances. Nothing is perfect he said. I agreed.

So what's on that shout out at Macworld 2009. There are the list :

They having the biggest booth, more offer to consumer. Launched newline Macbook, cut the iTunes and DRMs, iWork09 and iLife09 sounded promising. No new iPod or Mac Mini issues which make some people disappointing.
They are probably coming in full force at Macworld09. Lynda is the online source for video education anything from Programming, Graphic Design to Web Design. I am monthly subscriber and enjoyed the way they created the program. I learned Lightroom and Photoshop from their source (I loves Deke' One on One and Chris Orwig).

FileMaker and Bento
They are the databases creator on Mac platform. File Maker Pro 10 released with more abilities. I haven't got those two (think about get it last year) but I sat down to listen the free class. Good products, but not for me yet.

Microsoft for Mac 2008
I pop into their impressive booth because I want to know more. I gave question to Microsoft guy to convince me to upgrade my 2004's version. Surprisingly, he did really good job by mentions some of weakness Windows for Mac 2008 (imagine you sell product but telling not so good aspect on it..Interrestingly honest!). He said three things. One is the new file format that would have to compromise if you are doing file exchange. The newest came with 'x' (docx, xlcx, pptx) which will not be read by Windows user. Eventhough you can reset or downgrade files if send to Windows computer or Mac without 2008 version on it. Yes he said it will be annoying.
Two, the Windows 2008 will slow the Intel based Macs machine. Well this is a good information since lots people using Intel Mac to bootcamp with Windows. So guys, you have to be decisive. The three, is pricing. Yes it's quite expensive. But he pointed his finger to third party Mac reseller booth who sell at knock down price.

Most annoying about Windows 2008 is Entourage (Email) backup and decision to remove Visual Basic and Macros at Excel. Well, since I did not use those two, I felt irrelevant to ask Microsoft guy. Full review of Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 can be seen at Ars Technica.

They are having good application for iPhone such Google Map and Google Earth Mobile. Their booth even though quite modest for the most influential company in Silicon Valley but Google give sneak peak of next product. Oh yeah, not Mac based but lot more fun than that. It's Nintendo Wii enable for Google Earth. It's not new since some people reported they hacked surfing board at Wii played on GEarth. This is COOL man! The guy at Google said they will launch anythime next week. At the moment they showed crazy truck wandering along hills and city. Quite impresive. So worth to check this out!
Psst..they not mention the G1 Phone (aka Android) and they guy who showed me Picasa on iPhone pretty hopeless anyway. They built red phone booth (resemble London's phone) to upload at Youtube. Awesome..

VMware Fusion 2
This is probably the most reliable and easy to cross platform between Mac and Windows. I was thinking to try but always convinced that Mac would be enough.

Axiotron's Modbook
This is tablet computer design for illustrator and artist. It so easy and natural to work as it looked like a paper. I am jealous.

Another interesting software and stuff :
Project X -a project management software similar wit Projects Windows.
GarageSale -impressive program to create shop or garage sale on Ebay with Mac

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I am falling in love again with Picasa

Today it's Macworld 2009 without Steve Jobs. Is that a big deal? No obviously. I will not spend thousands of dollar sitting in the Moscone Convention Centre San Francisco but yes I spent $45 to go to Expo this Thursday. Call me cheapy bastard, but I just want to hear a good news.

Well actually it' is a good news. Google announced that Mac user will having Picasa on their system. But's a beta and required only at Intel machine. Yea yea yea...whatever but I will make a point that I really really missed Picasa.

My first encounter with Picasa was in the early development in late 2005 (I guess). It was brilliant to scourge any graphics files on my old Toshiba. Compared with the capability now, Picasa was merely file management software with 'cute' basic editing photos. It's not design for brainy people but enough to satisfy the needs of demanding blog posting (I started blog intensively on those days).

It blended nicely with Blogger (aka Blogspot which I am still on now whatever you wordpress guys out there called it old skoll) and the ability to resize and edit in minutes sending photos to friends and family or even online albums just amazing.

But the most helpful function of Picasa is digging the files. It's got keywords or tags to organise files. The small thumbnails just help me lots as my memories based on pictures and graphs. It helped me with pdf or tiff, png, jpeg, nef (oh yes Picasa can read RAW file). It convinced me to abandon Photoshop Elements 2.0 as my major filing photos editing.

Now with new version I am just playing around and still amuse by its changing. It's got Filters and special filter that recognized faces. The last one turned out to be copied by iPhoto'09 that Phil Schiller introduced today. The faces recognation is not NEW. Apple only 'borrowed' the idea from Picasa guys. That's why I wonder why Picasa for Mac released a day before Macworld'09. You can guess then.

What I see on 'new' Picasa that make me falling love again is so much funtionality. It's got Movie Creation (kinda sideshow in movie), backup on CD (they called it Create a gift CD) and ability to sync with the album online (whoaa...).

The Share tabs give you freedom to resize photo, make it movie, and even added watermark (I am not sure it can deterrent the photo theft away). And the one and only function that I missed is creating collage. It's getting lots fun now. The collage sample from my visit to Madame Liberté last month showed how easy to do in less than 5 minutes (reminded you that even though I have been play with Picasa before but never touch it again since 2006).

The editing was Basic fixes and Tuning with adding more contrast (Picasa did not say contrast but rather going to Tuning which added shadow and light). It did not have histogram though but for well trained photo snapper you will see the effect straight away. And the conectivity to blog also seamless.

I will suggest that Picasa will open up more ability to sync directly to social networking (aka Facebook). And give freedom to pull over more from iPhoto and use it diligently without neglected the other part. In my opinion, you will not need iPhoto'09 since you've having the easy to use Picasa. It does have capability plug in into iPhoto but hey...I am not using iPhoto anyway. Somehow restricted me to dedicate my web and blog into what so called Mobile Me (another disaster product from Apple).

Picasa also maintained the Picasa Album that store photos of your Blogger or just the sake for free storage. So yeah why spend more money for free photos storage out there? You can name it!

I am still in love with Picasa. Although it crashed easily (it's Macbook fault anyway).

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