January 15, 2007

Taking a bite from the Apple

Posted in Commentary, OSX Software, OSX Technical at 9:17 pm by Michael Sweeney Media

I am weak, I’ve said before and I’ll say it again.. I’m weak. I see a shiny new widget with the Apple logo and I get weak in the knees, the lust factor kicks in and before I know it, I have to touch it, feel it and take it home. Yep, this time I didnt even touch and feel it but I have my order in for a new AppleTV. The N Extreme access point will have to wait till next month. I’ve done far enough damage this month with the AppleTV unit, a refurbed PowerMac Dual G5 and a refurbed 23 inch monitor.

Why you might ask would anyone in their right mind buy a dual G5 with the Xeons out and kicking ass all over town? Because dear reader, my eldest film school student got a nasty surprise with that Chapman College using AVID Media Composer in film school, not Final Cut Pro. And I am here to tell that AVID sucks on several levels, least of all with the antiquated hardware requirements. Their software will not run at all on the Intel platform and they JUST released their first beta for the Intel chips. They historically run late with their releases so I expect this will be no different which means by 08 we might see the software released. But anyways, in order to get a video editing station put together required a Dual G5 or a Windoze machine and not just any Windoze, it had to be a very specific configuration. So by the time I worked the numbers, the Mac was the better deal. Even a rental of a dual G5 was going to cost as much as buying the refurb so I bought and within 6 months it might be up for sale if the editing thing at school doesn’t pan out the way eldest daughter is thinking. The Avid software uses a USB key that has to be licensed before it will work. So I did that but hit a snag and found out that there is not any tech support after 5PM, before 9am M-F. So like most working stiffs trying to squeeze this sort of thing in on the weekend, you are pretty well screwed till Monday. In my case non of the docs (which are pretty poor to start with) mentioned that version 2.5 is not compatible with OSX 10.4.8. You have to download a 899Meg “patch” so it will work with 10.4.8 plus you have to uninstall the 2.5 first. My FCP took all of an hour to install, one serial number to key in and 10 minutes of patches.. bam.. good to go. Hopefully in a year or so, Chapman will see the light and move to FCP instead of this crap from Avid that is so damn temperamental and requires a stupid hardware dongle. My last dongle was on my Commodore 64 with PaperClip work processor. And that dongle I hacked a working copy from with my digital logic probe and my TTL chip guide book. So dongles are not the end all copy protection scheme. They are just one more thing to go wrong or to lose and both happen with regularity according to the bulletin boards at Avid.

Treasures that I found this week are SuperSync for synronizing iTune libraries between systems over the network, Synck Backup which has replaced SuperDuper as my favorite back up tool and Cha-Ching which is a replacement for Quicken to manage your finances. My other treasure is the beta code called “Dashcode” from Apple. This is a new feature tool with Leopard which makes the task of building widgets completely painless. It is a very visual based tool and integrates the graphics and the coding into a nice front end. If you are not part the dev team with Apple, join and be part of the dev effort so you too can play with some of these very cool toys coming down the pipeline.

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