Tag Archives: macintosh

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.)

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

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.

Who “Dislikes” Windows More Than Mac Users?

There are others who dislike Windows more than dedicated Macintosh users. As a long-time, old-fart Mac user, I used to think I was the biggest Windows-hater in the world – And then I started following Unix/Linux [nix] admins. Yikes! I almost pity MSWindows … Almost, but, not. And amidst all of this disliking, let’s not forget that Microsoft is an excellent application developer. I just think their OS needs to go away. Cheers!

Apple Ancient Gold

 This tweet reminds me that, about eight years ago I finally decided to sell several old Macs I had been hanging on to just because I couldn’t bring myself to let them go. I sold a MacPlus, an SE30 with an upgraded video board and a Color Classic. Remember that one? The sales went through eBay and I figured if I cleared $10 or $15 after expenses I’d be able to live with that. Long story short I reaped the following returns per machine, (headsup, nowhere near as dramatic as the Apple I).

Macplus: $1900.00

SE30: $1500.00

ColorClassic: $2000.00

Just FYI, each machine was fully functional and sold with its original boxes.

Well, that went so well that ten months later I decided to gather up all of my softeware and see if I could make a couple of bucks on that. It’s software right, old software, albeit with original manuals, floppy discs, etc. Still, it was software and I figured I’d be lucky if I broke even. I ended up with a couple of 40lb. boxes worth of software and related material and prepared my eBay add. It was a seven day run and for the first three days nada, zippo, notta thing – which is what I figured was going to happen, but again, I just couldn’t bring myself to simply throw it in the trash. Day four – a bite … Day five – another bite. As often happens with eBay bidding processes nothing else happened until the wee hours of the morning of Day seven and then all hell – uh – heaven, broke lose. During the last three hours bidding often would go $20 and $30 dollars at a single jump right up until the closing bell went off. The winning bid went to a lady from Martha’s Vineyard who apparently ran a vintage computer museum with lots of Macintosh memorabilia. My net profit on those two boxes of ancient software was $500.00!

So, between the hardware and software sales I easily made more than I origianlly paid for any single item. No, it wasn’t 1/2 a million or a million, but it still made my year, and reminded me that I have rarely been sorry that I’ve purchased any Apple product, even to this day. Apple is a good long-term investment whether you do it through direct purchases, or Wall Street investing.

How Deep Does Your Browser Go?

 
I have long been suspicious that web browsers go deep when installed on any OS, and I beleive that the article at the head of this post is only the tip of the iceberg. It makes me wonder how we can be so cavalier about installing web browsers. Many users have multiple installations of various web browsers installed and it’s not unusual for a single user to use different web browsers to get things done. I draw the analogy that, using web browsers to get everything done is a lot like using a public restroom, where, we also eat, wash our clothes, have afternoon tea with friends, scrawl bank account passwords on the walls and stalls, and etc. I know that web browsers are not the only illegitimate way into a pc, but I have to wonder, of all of the break-ins that happen, how many are accomplished and/or initiated through launching of a web browser. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t get a pop-up of somekind that is just downright creepy – and that’s with all blocking and saftey switches fully engaged.
 
My suspicion is also why I am absolutlely not on-board with the notion of web apps. I know for a fact that web apps can save a company money, and can provide freedom from an OS App store distribution system, but I don’t think it’s worh it. I’ve been burned a few times on the web, most notably when I was more heavily into being an eBay reseller, and, before there weren’t many/any non-webb apps dedicated to buying and selling with a more closed front end. In the name of more discloser, let me say that, in retrospect, the hack [theft of login info] could have easily been avoided if had just kept mental track of how many times the convincing-looking eBay login page kept poping up. I was very busy preparing purchases and just figured that I had been logged off because of a prolonged period of inactivity, and was therefore being prompted to re-login. Thankfully the outcome of that, while bad enough, was not the end of my financial world, but it could’ve been. As it was, the hacker(s) got enough info from me that they used my account to spam thousands of other eBay users and for a few days I got many angry emails from fellow eBayers. EBay doesn’t get high marks from me for the help that they proferd after the fact, but they did help enough that I was able to make ammends to my brothers and sisters in eBay land in a fairly short time. All of that from having to use a web interface to get the job done. Yes, it could’ve happened using a non-web app, but it would have been much less likely.
 
My two personal favorite browsers are Firefox and Safar – in that order; but in the real world I will have nothing to do with Firefox, because, of all the browsers I’m convinced that it goes the very deepest into the OS. In years past, and in more recent years, major performance improvements have been yielded by completely removing Firefox from an OS – I have even won a couple of low yield bets, that, removing Firefox from a given desktop system would immedately improve performance to a greater or lesser degree, but to a measurable degree in any case – and I won both times.
 
I have finally come to the point where I only use a browser when there’s no other way, and furthermore, when a company or individual provides a product or service that forces me to use a web browser or a web app, I move on to other vendors and service providers. And, that includes the likes of mint.com and intuit.com, based on the way they used to provide their various online services only a few years ago. I think that they now provide mobile and/or dedicated desktop apps for their products and services, ultimately furthering my point. Comeing back to the realm of media production, there are a couple of companies offering some very promising video sharing and production collaboration services – guess what their interfaces are? But, if they do well, I beleive that, in the long run, they will end up developing dedicated, non-web, apps.

@JCalMN New Apple Music Commercials, and no … No more subscriptions for me.

No subscriptions for me. Looks good though, and I think Apple’s approach, implied in the new commercials, will go a long way to getting new artists discovered. … I’m simply not going to do yet another $10/month subscription … to anything, and I’m beginning to clean out the few that I have. The day I completely lose access to Apple media content because I’m forced to have a subscription … well, it’s going to be a sad day indeed.

Allowing Comments and Reviews While Beta Testing

As I get ready to start a new week there’s something I remain troubled by. Early last week I began to notice on certain support web sites, which will remain nameless, rather severe reactions from developers toward some of its users who are using beta versions of the upcoming iOS or Mac OS, who merely attempted to notify fellow users that the beta versions of these OSes render the developer’s application unuseable. In several of these cases I noted that the user attempting to post the notice made it perfectly clear that the notification was not a review or a criticism, only a notification to those who may be contemplating trying the beta versions of Apple’s OS(es). The barely polite chastisment by the development company’s moderator, of the enlightened user, was surprising to me and it has continued to trouble me off and on throughout the last week.

Apple itself has disabled their Review function on their app stores if the store senses you’re using a beta version of the OS. (I don’t remember if this was the case during the OS 8 beta.) In short, I get it. Prior to last week I found myself endlessly frustrated with individuals who were running beta versions of one or more of Apple’s OSes and proceeded to give soaring criticisms of how bad the OS was, or the app, or both. I’m reminded of the scene from the first Jurassic Park movie where the nefarious genetic engineer comes face to face with a smallish dinasour, and while holding a stick in his hand says something like, “… see the stick … it’s a stick, stupid.” Well, if my admittedly rough analogy holds any water at all, then I’ll leave you to make the final connection. If I were a software developer this kind of thing would be frustrating, at least.

So heres the “but”: I wanted to give the current public beta of iOS 9 a go, but, there are one or two iOS apps that are fairly important to my daily life and I didn’t feel I could afford to lose their functionality, so I went looking for information that might tell me if these apps were going to break if I installed the beta iOS. Ultimately, the virtual censorship that is going on by Apple and by app developers disallowed anyone from openly sharing that information. I find this disappointing, even irkesome. I totally get that no one in their right mind should judge an OS or an app in its beta phases – that’s easy, but I believe there needs to be some appropriate culpability by the developers toward users of their products. I’m not referring to a developer just sayng their product won’t work under the beta OS, whether or not they’ve actually tried it, just to cover their hides, I’m talking about developers at least opening their app with each beta iteration and posting the results for all to see, so that users can gauge for themselves how much of a risk they’re willing to take.

Personally, I like being able to take part in public betas, but, it has become hard to assess reasonable risk, because from where I sit, app developers are unwilling to cooperate with users who wish to do so. I don’t believe it would cost developers anything in time and effort to use their support pages to post a simple set of results along with the obligitory and inevitable reminder that, users always use their products at the user’s own risk, and all the more so if you’re using a public beta of the OS.

Rather than censorship maybe there needs to be some basic public education about what a beta version of any software really is, combined with examples of what reasonable expectiations might be. There also needs to be voluntary and full disclosure by developers as to whether or not their product is going to be unuseable with a public beta version of an OS. This whole concept can still be really good, but there’s clearly a communication gap between app developers, Apple and end users.

Apple’s Video (Pro) Application Priorities

Apple’s video application priorities – Alex4D http://t.co/g1X1geua76

 

Sometimes I think that Apple is so torn between providing professional solutions, using their hardware, and competing in the consumer market place, that I think they should either farm out their pro software solutions or create a professional corporate branch. Maybe this will happen with some of the things I’ve been hearing about the Apple/IBM collusion, but something tells me that IBM is not going to jump into the media production market place. They’ll sell Macs with software to the accounting departments of these institutions, but probably are not going to sell FCPX along with network management solutions for that product.

 

Reading Alex’s take on Apple’s job openings just leaves me with more questions about whether or not Apple is ever going to take its professional users seriously, permanently.