All posts by Mr. Peabody's Bloginator

Twitter versus Developers/Clients/Users

Thanks to Twitter most all of the fine third party twitter apps that are available to date, are losing many of the features they have been able to provide up to this point. In the end it seems evident that Twitter is preparing to implement a subscription paradigm – (Oh please no) – and they’re trying to chase developers away in such a way that no one is overly tempted to litigate.

Twitter has kind of developed a reputation for appealing to a more mature audience and I fit that model perfectly, but for those who really get some meaningful experience with Twitter, you soon discover that it can be a way to get customized “news” feeds that are beautifully blended with blogs, spontaneous comments and specific information about specific items, technology, support – and all of it as narrowly or broadly focused as a user chooses. And, it does it without being Facebook – praise be! It certainly can be more Instagram-like if a person wants to use it that way, and that’s cool too but, I’m just not an Instagram guy and Instagram really isn’t capable of meeting my professional and casual needs they way that Twitter can.

Thanks to Twitter getting more and more stingy with its tech, third-party developers of clients have their hands tied with no longer being able to provide the features that we’ve all become accustomed to. Personally I think Twitter is going to do less well with this strategy – as always time will tell. In the meantime I’m taking the opportunity to go through, and in some cases revisit, other clients just to make sure I’m not missing something. Here’s my take on a few of those apps – short and sweet:

Twitter’s own app, by itself or compared to the others I’ve tried – NO;

Echofon – Meh;

Twitterrific – Is elegant, but is also a nickel-and-dime trap;

Tweetbot by Tapbots @tweetbot – Has been my goto Twitter client for the better part of 10 years and inspite of Twitters BS I’m still going to stick with it after trying out some of the competition.

Some recent reviews on the App Store have complained that there hasn’t been much progress with Tweetbot, but consider this – It’s already very well developed and Twitter isn’t sharing their tech with developers in any meaningful way anymore. I’ve seen a few applications in my life that have actually been completely developed. Sure, you can always change things around, change colors, etc., but from a developmental standpoint there was no where else to go. Arguably, Tweetbot was arriving. My final and most starred praise for Tweetbot is for its virtue in remaining a non-subscription portal into the Twitter-verse. Thank you Tapbots and you never know, Twitter may come back to its senses before it’s too late.

Proper Handling of Trial App Versions In The App Store Is A Mutual Responsibility, Shared By The Store and The Developer

9to5Mac MarsEdit developer lists 8 problems with Apple’s approach to free trials of iOS apps

I certainly see some of the these points as valid – and apparantly licensing is always difficult – and I see this because I get to deal with really ridiculous licensing architectures like, iLOK. O M G! I’m compelled to use AVID’s ProTools, (as opposed to Apple’s Logic X), because Apple refuses to fix a fatal timecode flaw in that product, which would otherwise be a ProTools killer. But, I digress.

Digidesigns’ ProTools, even before they were scooped up by AVID, has always chosen the absolutely, most complicated licensing schemes they can get their hands on, and that alone kills what would otherwise be a perfectly adequate tool for audio professionals. (It’s like being kidnapped by outlaw bad guys and then being forced to dance around the campfire while they shoot at my feet.) I respect the right of all authors, whatever it is that’s being authored, to protect their work and to make sure there is proper compensation for all instances of it’s existence in the wild, but, what it all comes down to is, we, the end-users that actually shell out the $, are the ones that suffer. I think this article kind of gets to that point.

The word confusing pops up several times and that’s something that can turn users away. In the context of where the App Store is now, I see an interesting system where a developer will release a “lite” version and a “full”, or, “Pro” version. Sometimes the move from lite to Pro or Full can be made by an “In-App” purchase, or, the two installs are completely separate. For me this has generally worked very well, to the point that I really miss it when there’s a $10-$50 app that I think will be a useful tool, but, there’s no way to try it before I commit to it. Something else I miss on the App Store is the simple ability to download a trial version of an application that has a built-in time out feature. This allows me, the all important end-user, to try the app before I commit to it, and, gets me off of my butt to make a committment by the end of the trial period. All that being said, I’m glad there’s an attempt being made to provide trial versions.

To both the App Store and the Developers: Don’t make it confusing; don’t make it frustrating; don’t make it complicated; and, remember where the actual money comes from. We the end-users are watching. (This could be a good thing – make it so.)

I Really Like Logic, But …

Response to 9to5 Review of Logic 10.4.x

First of all, thanks to 9to5 for this in-depth review of Logic, not just 3rd party plug-ins – yes, you’re making me eat my words, and in this case I’m happy to. Second, I really like Logic a lot. Third, [and this is very difficult and troubling for me, because I really like Logic], I used to use Logic as an on-set audio tracker and was beginning to use it as a ProTools Replacement for audio post, BUT: There are a couple of issues that Apple has refused to address, even in this latest release, (I’ve tried many times and currently have 3 open support tickets going back to the summer of 2017), and they are both related to Logic’s ability to manage linear time. Here they are:

1) The out point of a project cannot be stretched, after-the-fact if the incoming audio TC transits 21:00:00;00. So, I open a new project, import tracks with the project conforming to the TC of the income audio – here’s the kicker, if the project goes past 21:00:00;00, the outpoint of the project timeline cannot be stretched to include the audio that transits that bearer – even though you can see the grayed-out audio tracks on the timeline. 2) Locking Logic to incoming TC [which is crucial to audio tracking that is slated for audio post with lock-to-picture] mysteriously stops at about 13:00:00;00. I use a Steinberg Nuendo Syncstation to grab House TC and make it available to my audio NLE via the USB port. With Logic all of the setup is obvious [if you do this for a living] and FAST, and, it just works … right up until, 13:00:00;00. What happens next is, Logic stops the recording and will not Play or Record or Freewheel until I disengage the external TC source, in Logic settings.

Much like FCPX is for professions that want to get a lot of work done faster and more efficiently, so too is Logic to the professional in real-world workflows. ProTools is fine, but Logic kills it, and after decades of using ProTools and Avid workflows in general, I’m beyond tired of Avid’s licensing BS. FCPX and Logic, done. But, Apple has got to fix these core TC issues in Logic, and, Apple has got to make a true, out-of-box round-tripping workflow between FCPX and Logic. I really like Apple’s media production tools and they come so dang close to killing everything else out there. Original 9to5 article.

Apple Matters Audio FCPX Logic X Tech Blog Work

A “Pro” Post to My “Pro” Blog for Professionals

It’s kind of interesting to analyze the effect of the label, “Pro”, when I’m on the consumer side versus the professional side. As a consumer the term, “Pro”, makes me feel a bit more comfortable with how much I’m about to spend, and as a professional user, it makes me raise my eyebrows in unapologetic suspicion. (If it’s really a professional product, aimed at professionals, why does it need to be said with an obviously manipulating title like “Pro”?)

I’m going to try the car analogy, again: In terms of basic performance, I can turn a VW bug into a Porsche 911, (that used to be possible), but if I do that, in the end, I still have a VW Bug, but a lot faster one. And, up to a point, being faster counts, but it’s still a Bug. If I really want the complete, carefully balanced, actual Porsche experience, I must buy a Porsche 911.

And this my friends is yet another attempt to explain my near contempt for the the whole of the iMac product line. Apple takes their iVW, a very cool machine in its own right, puts a screaming fast engine in it, slaps the “Pro” moniker on it and once again evades having to actually make another, real, professional desktop computer. To a consumer the speed of this thing, alone, makes the initial experience surreal – in a good way, to a professional, the speed is thrilling for somewhere between one hour and a week, or so. After that, I start asking real-world questions like: how come I have to tear the screen off of the front in order to do a basic thing like upgrade or change RAM? Or, swap CPUs to upgrade or downgrade the number of cores I’m using? [Yes, I might want to do that because the fewer the cores, the faster each core goes – see?) Or, why can’t I add high-end video cards to the existing system – Oh wait, I can! But, oh wait, I want to add six video cards to my system so that I can scale how my professional software applications use them – like Windows users can – And, yay! Look mom, six video cards, but, what a freaking mess on my physical desktop. Sure wish I could just put those things inside of my computer. And, my OS is still optimized for only one kind of video card language? (I’m speaking here of CL vs. GL.) Yes I can use both, but only one is actually native to the OS. WTF! I really do not want to get stuck with Windows, again, but, I will. Well, I think you get the point.

And, where is Linux in all of this marketing obfuscation [BS]? Linux foundations have the potential to build highly customized machines on a wonderful plethora of UIs on very powerful hardware architectures … Why is it that all I can hear from the Linux side is crickets chirping? (There actually are a few open source products, but a very few, and to-date, nothing that can well replace software products from Avid, Apple and Adobe, maybe with the exception of Black Magic and their Linux-ready Fusion product.) Please get on the ball and save those of us who: 1) Actually do care about what we use, but; 2) Are beyond weary of having to argue for anything and everything that isn’t 1000% Microsoft; 3) Are sick and tired of having to slog through the cesspool of hardware and software that recklessly slaps the, “Pro” label on everything – to the point that even consumers, by now, are completely desensitized to it. If any Linux developers want to take a serious stab at creating a truly professional environment for high-end media production workflows, please feel free to give me a call, because I guarantee you, there is a huge market place of deluded, tired and disenfranchised media producers who, still have a passion for the work, want to know and trust that the hardware and software they’re using IS professional, and, who are beyond weary of the two-choice reality they [we, I] work in. I’m serious.

One last stab at the genericized “Pro” moniker: If all software and hardware developers provided a class of products that had the fully spelled out word, “Professional” on it, would that somehow produce a greater sense of responsibility to think beyond basic marketing strategy. Hmmm …

In the meantime, I’m getting ready to install new Windows machines for our Adobe Premiere”Pro”/After Effects post production peeps [formally Mac-based], and iMac”Pro”s for our Final Cut “Pro” X/Motion users. And the jury is still out for our “Pro” Tools and Logic “Pro” X camps. They’re all unified in not wanting to go back to Windows, but they’re not convinced they want to get stuck with the iVW either, because, by now, they’re all fully aware of the BS factor in the “Pro” moniker and how difficult it has become escaping from it. I’ll let you know how it goes. (Nix folks, call me, really.)

Is This The Year of Linux?

In a recent Twitter post Christine Hall [@BrideOfLinux] made the comment that, Is this going to be the year of Linux?, is getting to be a tired old question. My response was: From an end-user POV, an even more tired question/argument is: Mac vs. Windows. The world really needs Linux to come out of geekdom and into the mainstream. Now, we’re just minions of MS or Apple. SAVE US!! https://twitter.com/BrideOfLinux/status/954081071733313542

ApplePay Progress In My Area – Updated

In Southern IL not so much. One of the first places in my area was Panera, but the system at that particular store works sometimes and not at other times. Interestingly, I spent a month working in London last year and was able to use Apple Pay almost everywhere, even in the outlying areas of the city. And, in that city, the best exchange rate I could get was to use my Simple Bank card, with or without my iPhone, at most any ATM – even when including the service fee it beat anything I could get walking into a bank or exchange shop. Where I live won’t be much empowered with AP until/unless Sams, Walmart and Target get on the ball, which I’m guessing won’t be anytime soon.

Update

All three Aldis that are within driving distance now take Apple Pay, sort of. Before I get into what that looks like – Target and Sam’s Club also allow you to check out using your iOS device, but, not Apple Pay specifically. Target really doesn’t work out well since all you get to do is scan your discount barcode from your phone, but you still are compelled to use cash or plastic to complete your transaction. Sam’s Club takes this one step farther and actually does allow you to checkout using your phone, but they’ve circumvented Apple Pay by having customers scan their own shopping cart items so that when you get to the register you, again, scan a barcode, but, this time the app is directly connected to a qualified card so you can, in fact, complete your check out with nothing but your phone, assuming you’ve got the app set up correctly BEFORE going into the store. It takes a little practice, but it really speeds up getting through checkout.

Now back to Aldis. I live in southern IL, so if you’re familiar with the area you’ll know the cities I’m going to refer to. Harrisburg: This is my least favorite Aldis because they just don’t have the selection that the other two stores in my area have, and significantly fewer organic choices across the board, but, Apply Pay in that store is the most reliable of the three. Marion: The hands-down best of the three stores for overall selection and certified organic meats and fresh produce, (still needs more improvement along these lines, but the best of the three to date). Apple Pay is spotty and the cashiers are not very friendly to helping the process along if Apple doesn’t connect properly the first time. Carbondale: Has an overall decent selection of food products, but has some catching up to do to match what the Marion store offers in the way of organics. Apple Pay is very spotty and the cashiers very unfriendly to assisting customers if the Apple Pay connection doesn’t succeed the first time. Unfriendly to the point where, if they see me whip out my phone to pay they will literally star off into the distance behind me, and if I ask for assistance they will not move a muscle to tear their eyes away from the distant object while mumbling that they don’t know anything about that. I’ve had that experience just about every time I’ve walked into that store – the Apple Pay fail followed by the attitude.

An additional store that now takes Apple Pay without prejudice is, Staples, where about 80% of my Apple Pay transactions succeed and if they don’t the cashier are generally about as attentive to the customer’s situation as if you are using plastic. There may be other stores in my area that are now taking Apple Pay, but I’m unaware of them if they are. Whenever I go to a store for the first time, or that I have not visited in awhile, I will almost always ask they take Apple Pay and I do it as an awareness campaign for those that don’t. Oh yeah, and all of the Subways in the region are also taking Apple Pay and it seems pretty reliable at the two stores I frequent.

I really appreciate not having to shell out cash, which tends to get onlookers more interested in my wallet than I’m comfortable with, and I really don’t miss having to use plastic where I put myself at risk twice with every transaction in a checkout line – Once when I pull the card out and expose the card number and the second time is when I often have to enter a four-digit security code. (I’ve actually been scammed this way before and was aware that the person behind was paying too close attention to the card I was holding in my hand even as I was doing my level best to keep it tucked in my palm and held up agains my stomach while I waited for the cashier to complete the scanning process of my purchase. I almost have instant recall for long strings of numbers so I know this is easily possible. If it doesn’t come naturally a person can train themselves to remember long strings of numbers almost instantly.)

For me, Apple Pay is not only cool, but mostly, it’s just more secure for paying when shopping in the corporeal world.

It’s Not A Bug, It’s An Oopsy

I appreciate 9to5 NOT calling this App Store preferences goof, a “bug”, it’s pure mistake, oversight, a big oopsy. And, it comes at a very unfortunate time for Apple, and, gets added to the sudden heap of Shiite the entire computing industry finds itself in as we try to get the new year started. I’m perfectly fine with corps being in the game to make money, it can be a pure, clean and straightforward motivation … but, let’s not forget that, to continue to succeed you will have to continue to put out the best that your capable of. Unfortunately I think Apple has gone where many of us feared it would go if/when it ever began to really compete with MS. Now, it makes lots of money [GOOD! YES! YAY!], but it’s getting too close to becoming what many nay-sayers used to accuse it of being – all glitz and no guts. I’ve been using Macs and other Apple product since 1985, (and a lot of it, personally and corporately), and I find myself having to back away from being at the level of Apple advocacy I once was perfectly justified being at. (And please give me a break with Steve vs. Tim … it really isn’t so if you’ve been following along, all along.) And the biggest specter of all? If not Apple then what …? Windows … … …? Sorry, but all I can think of here is bad words, so I’ll sign off for now.

How Good Is This Machine, Really?

I’m a fanboy, but I’m also pretty hard on Apple Inc when it comes to their “Pro” products, and up to now I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the direction they’ve gone. I still maintane that, if Apple is serious about supporting professional media production, they would get back to delivering more traditionally open hardware platforms and forget about looking cool.

They really should deliver iMac Pro in a multi-slotted box with the most up-to-date busses and the ability to natively handle both GL and CL graphics languages. Saying all of that, I still cling to Randi Altman’s review of the newly released machine, and as always, I want to believe.

For our workflows that 10GBe port along with the USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports are what we’ll be paying for if it’s decided to continue to go with the Mac platform. For us it will come down to being willing to pay $$$$ for those updated and built-in items, and get a free iMac with them. Thanks very much for the perspective. There have been rumors that rendering h.264 files is significantly faster than previous iMac or MacPro hardware versions, but so far, I’m not able to find any reliable numbers.

Here’s a link to Randi’s initial thoughts on the new iMacPro: Altman’s iMacPro review

FCPX Logic X Mac Posted Tech Blog

Will The Real Logic Pro X Please Stand Up

Is there somewhere “real” Logic users can discuss all aspects of this fantastic ProTools Replacement … (With one exception.) All of the latest plug-ins, instruments and etc. are completely cool, but Logic is a full featured audio post production tool that needs to be talked about in that context. I seriously wonder how many audio-house post pros are actually aware of that. I cannot remember 9to5 once reviewing Logic, only 3rd party stuff, and rarely anything except instruments. Logic is a serious and complete audio production tool and once that’s realized, maybe Apple will be inspired to do more than just “fix” things, but to also continue to develop it as a truely audio postproduction/production tool set.

Final thought: I so want to get excited about FCPX 10.4’s new Logic plug-ins updates, I really do. And of course this isn’t the first update to FCPX’s audio tool kit – a very good one I might add. But, I can only get to, meh … Why? Because, by now we should’ve been well on our way to a full blown round-trip workflow between FCPX and Logic Pro X.

Audio FCPX Logic X Tech Blog

Has Apple Lost Its Design Mojo – or – Where’s The Real MacPro?

I really do not believe or see that Apple has lost its design mojo for the consumer marketplace, but, the high-end, pro media space keeps getting worse rather than better. (Yes, I know all about the new iMac.) By industry standards the new iMac, while an amazing machine in its own right, still falls short of being a true, top-of-the-line workstation, and that’s before we even get into the ever-frustrating closed hardware that we’re all stuck with now. (And yes again, I’m keenly aware of some vague apologies by top Apple dogs regarding lack of MacPro hardware updates, followed by even more vague promises of some mystery machine that’s supposed to be oderable in 2018 – for delivery in 2019.)

At home, Apple’s a beautiful thing, at work, a lot less so. One thing Apple has always fallen on its face with is, if we love to use Macs at home, we’re going to want to use them at work and not just for photoshoping, but high-end video, film and delivery systems too. I sure wish they’d wake up to this need. Lot’s of us requiring the fastest, most open and workflow-oriented tech would probably pay almost anything to make it happen on a Mac – Still, all I hear from Apple’s back yard is crickets chirping … nada. Oh and, let’s not forget that, Apple makes one of the finest editing suites available to the human race to-date – I speak of course of, Final Cut Pro X, Compressor and Motion. Motion is a potential After Effects killer, but few in industrial-strength workflows will utilize it because the hardware workflows are not there to support it above and beyond what a home power-user would require. Frustrating in the extreme. As a final word for perspective’s sake, this is not about Tim Cook, Apple’s lack of commitment to enterprise customers has always been an issue for those of us that want and need to be able to have consistent UIs across working and personal computing environments.