Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Reaction to KeyNote 2007

Ok, so the iPhone and appletv have been announced but what impact will they have?

Well, I think the short answer is alot for the first and limited for the second.

The iPhone looks damn impressive - I have just checked out the Apple website and it's features do look very cool. However, it is not without caveats. The iPhone has, on paper, everything needed to kick the ass off of everything on the market. It has a touch screen, bluetooth, wi-fi, an iPod and OS X. Wicked? Well it is, but I am worried as to whether Apple will be able to make the European deals with providers to make this gadget affordable. I like the idea of an OS X phone but is it actually a streamlined UNIX distribution? This will be important because much of the third-part apps that could make this phone king will benefit greatly from an actual distro of Darwin. Think of it - a machine in your pocket capable of running all your fav OS X progs. If not, it could mean that you will be limited (for a while, at least) to what Apple has provided. 'That isn't a problem?' you say? Well, it isn't for a lot of things. Apple make darn good software and I'm sure this phone will be able to provide a better musical interface to anything else on the market. Equally, I imagine the iPhoto functions will be grand too. The basic phone functionality looks very sexy but I want to know whether I will be able to run TomTom? I use a Pocket PC for just about everything except for music (my 60gb iPod handles that) and I will need to be able to use an iPhone as a GPS navigator as well. In relatino to my iPod, I won't be replacing it for an iPhone - it is too small. I like having my record collection in my pocket at all times and I won't be able to do that with this device, sexy as it is. I also want to see how this new phoen handles a stylus - while Steve says that we won't need one anymore, I would find life very difficult without a stylus now. I am VERY excited about this device but I want to know more before I put money down (not that that will be a problem, there is a wait until the end of the year for the European release)

Now, I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed with appletv - it is a wicked idea and it looks great but I just wish they had put a TV decoder card in. In it's current state, the appletv can not replace my Media Center - I need to be able to record live TV, get at emails etc. I don't want to be restricted to view what it on the Apple Store (neither do I want to have to pay the quite high prices). It is a nice idea, but I think it won't suit my needs.

I was hoping for some more info on Leopard but it can be wait - there are enough things to get our teeth into for the moment :)

MacWorld KeyNote 2007

Before my introduction into the cult of Apple, I never quite understood the salivation that followed Steve Jobs' Keynote speeches. However, over the last year I have found myself going further down the rabbit hole of Mac fandom and now find myself, like many others of the Apple Legion, waiting with baited breath for Mr. Jobs' announcement. It still amazes me how well Apple plays these things - as consumers, we are just dying to know about the new toys Apple are going to offer us - I can't say I've felt that way about Microsoft since I was 11 and Windows 95 was just on the Horizon.

Anyway, I thought I'd give my 2 cents about this years coming Keynote speech. I am in two minds as to the rumored iPhone - it could be the greatest gizmo since Bread with Bluetooth functionality or it could be just an iPod Nano with a GSM chip. As a Pocket PC user, I would like to see Apple produce a PDA phone with a touch screen, a streamlined UNIX based OS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPs functionality (ideally with TomTom producing a port of their software for it). However, this is a lot to ask of an item on release 1.0. While it is possible that an iDA (or something of a similar name) will appear later today, I think it is far more likely that we will see an iPod Nano with GSM functionality. Most phone on the market at the moment are aimed at 'flash & trash' with very little movement on the functional technology front since 2004. The iPod has since become the killer item to own and I think that mixing up a non-smartphone with a Nano and giving it a GUI similar to that of the iPod would hit it off with the majority of consumers.

Leopard is another item we are all awaiting. I have to say though, I don't see there being an enormous amount for me in it. I'm sure I will upgrade but it isn't an enormous leap forward for OS X (the server functionality does look VERY good though - wiki's and ZFS on the horizon).

iTV could be a big deal depending on what is inside the package. I have spent a lot of time and money on my Windows Media Center so I don't know if I will be upgrading anytime soon, but if it comes with a Hard Disk and a free EPG then I can see Microsoft being booted out of my Living Room within the next 3-4 years.

Finally, iWork and iLife. I don't use iWork so I can't really comment on it - from what I've seen of it, it is a good package but I live in an MS Office-based world so I don't see my picking up a new suite any time soon (unless it has seemless integration with the new version of Office (think: new Office XML formats). In terms of iLife, I am waiting with baited breath for the new version of my favourite program, GarageBand. It would be very cool if we could be given time/key changes in the new version.

Anyway, the keynote starts in 2 hours, 2 minutes and 36 seconds (time courtesy of a dashboard widget another cultist put together :D) - we'll know the toys of tomorrow soon!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Hash key on a UK Mac Keyboard

This is for all Mac users in the UK, if you are having trouble finding the hash key on your Mac keyboard, I'll put you out of your misery, it isn't there. For some reason it was seen as expendable. However, hash signs can be written in abundance by holding the Alt key down and then pressing the number 3. #enjoy!

CSS Heaven on a Mac

First off, Happy New Year. I hope you had a great time at the holidays. This is just a quick blog to bring your attention to a cool little app I found in my travels. It is called 'Style Master' and it is a WYSIWYG CSS editor for the Mac and PC. It is available free for 30 days and then costs 60 bucks there after. If you work with CSS on a Mac, it's worth checking out - I found it made amending one of my CSS sheets a doodle.

The link is: http://www.westciv.com/style_master/index.html