posts tagged with the keyword ‘computers’

2011.08.24

Does Not Compute!

“What did the working computer say to the non-working computer?”

“Does Not Compute!”

“That doesn’t make any sense…”

“Who cares!?”

2011.01.30

Three Apples

Milwaukee-based developer Josh Dean wonders what Apple product he should get?

Well, I’ve got two of the Apple product he’s considering, so I thought I’d share my opinion…

iPad
I’ve only had an iPad about two months now, and for me, it’s a consuming device. I do very little creating with it. That said, it’s an amazing consuming device. I use it for reading, mainly with Google Reader, for which there are many good clients. I also use it around the house as it’s often much more convenient to grab it for quick searches than any full-fledged computer. If you took away my iPad, there would be a hole in the way I access information around the house. That “around the house” bit is key to my usage. I rarely take it out of the house, but that’s just me. I could live without an iPad and still get all of my work done. For me, the iPad is much more about enjoyment and fun than it is about work.

MacBook Pro
I have a MacBook Pro, and before that, I had an iBook, and before that, a PowerBook… A laptop, for me, is a supplemental device to get more work done, or be able to work anywhere. I tend to do probably 80% of my work on desktop machines, but having a laptop lets me take the show on the road, and also lets me do two things at once. As a sidenote, the iPad has filled in much of what I used to use the MacBook Pro for around the house. As for work, the MacBook lets me do (almost) any work I need to do away from the office. It’s got FireWire, USB ports, an SD Card reader, video out, etc… The MacBook Pro is a full-fledged computing device for creating anything I need to create.

MacBook Air
I do not have a MacBook Air, and I don’t think I’d get one. It looks like an awesome netbook (though Apple will never call it that.) I used to use an Asus Eee PC 701, the first real netbook to hit the market. I loved the small size and light weight of the device, but it left a lot to be desired (not running Mac OS X was one thing.) The netbook was limited, but I learned to live within those limitations. I think the MacBook Air would be a little limiting for me, but then, I tend to want to do hardware as well as software stuff, and I need FireWire. If was just a developer writing code and didn’t need to worry about interfacing with certain hardware or having an optical drive available, the MacBook Air would probably be fine. Still, I tend to prefer the extra features a MacBook Pro affords, but again… that’s just me.

I don’t know if this will help Josh, or anyone else, make a decision, but I figured I’d share my opinion.

Here’s a few previous blog posts that may also be helpful:

2010.11.07

New Office Setup

I recently replaced my iMac with a Mac Pro, so I figured it was time to rip the entire desk apart and redo it all. I’m still not at the level of those “ultra-clean keyboard, mouse, display and nothing else” desks, but that’s OK, I don’t really want that… those are too damn clean.

So in the photo above you’ll see the Samsung 22″ display, and to the right an Apple 20″ display. I’m still not sure on the placement, and I may swap them. I’d also like to raise them up just a little bit, as I’m used to my displays being slightly higher. I’ve also moved most of the external drives and cabling underneath the desk. (There is a 7 port USB hub behind the monitors, but it’s fairly unobtrusive.)

Also, if you want to compare, here’s the details of my last desk remodel (2009), and the one before that (2008), and before that was the embarrassing cable nightmare of 2007. I’d say things are improving.

2010.10.21

I think I first heard the phrase “The network is the computer” in the late 1990s. It was Sun Microsystems who wanted to convince us of this. I worked at a creative agency at the time, where we had pretty powerful Macs on every desk. We thought, sure, a dumb terminal or “network computer” was fine for office drones doing their menial tasks, but creatives needed more power than that… we needed to connect scanners, and color calibration devices, and weird disk drives, and work on ginormous Photoshop files, and things that required more than the VAX terminals we also used at the time.

Fast forward 15 years and what Apple has effectively given us is… a computer that looks like it’s nearly useless without a network. Hello MacBook Air. Don’t get me wrong… it’s a well designed piece of computer. The fact that it weight almost the same as an Eee PC I bought 3 years ago is not lost on me… nor is the fact that the user experience is probably 10 times better. But I still worry about where we are headed…

The MacBook Air has it’s place. But I just can’t help but feel like while hacker/maker culture is moving in one direction, Apple sometimes seems to be moving in the other… creating these sealed boxes that are definitely easy to use, but harder to open. Steve Wozniak must be turning in his grave. The Apple ][ was like the ultimate hacking machine when it came out… and now you can’t even connect a FireWire video camera to the MacBook Air.

In all this I hope Apple doesn’t forget it’s core creative audience. The ones who need Mac Pros, and need to install dedicated cards, and more drives, and tons of memory… The content creators. While the iLife suite gets these great improvements, many of us worry that the Pro Apps are being neglected. Does Apple take us for granted? Knowing that we’ll upgrade Final Cut Studio no matter what?

In the old days you could actually upgrade your computer instead of just getting rid of it and getting a new one. (You could even upgrade the processor!) I’ve been a fan/customer of Other World Computing for many years, and upon reading their write-up of Apple’s “Back to the Mac” event, it saddened me a bit:

Apple seems to be making things easier and more intuitive as well, but seems to be more enabling rather than empowering lately. We want to email our photos, Apple makes it drag and drop easy to put together one of four pre-made collages from our photos and pick an address to send them to. We ask for better tools to make videos, they hand us pre-built effects rather than tools to adjust them ourselves. We want to share our photos with our friends on Facebook, Apple automates and organizes it all for us. Are we as consumers going to gradually lose our ability to do traditional computing (using and upgrading) for ourselves as we conform our computing lifestyles to Apple’s one size fits all templates … and, as a result, is 1984 coming full circle?

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