Saturday, June 30, 2007

iPhone Stupidity

Although I suppose we should be happy that sites like Engadget and TUAW are giving iPhone free feeds... The shit they do cover is really pathetic.



the stupid crap going on in the lines for the iPhones!!!

Absolute nonsense. Why hype this crap any more than it needs to be? 

I can understand live-blogging a keynote. But live-blogging the lines for the iPhone? WTF?

Give us a break MacSheep blogs and provide some useful news about something else - OK?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

iPhone Smarminess

This is very funny - from the Onion. Picked it up from TUAW.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Printer Predicament Over

This is a follow-up I didn't get around to until a couple folks asked me about what I bought. I was trying to choose between the HP5180 and the Canon MP600 multifunction printers.

I chose the MP600, mostly for the reasons I indicated here. My wife picked up the printer for me from Yodobashi Camera, a major electronics retailer in Japan that sells much more than just cameras. They had a 'points' campaign and were giving 20% value in points for various printers. [Usually it is 5-10%. With 20%, I get ¥4000 I can use towards a future purchase or this one.] I was surprised when she called me from the shop and asked if I sure I wanted the Pixus and not the Pixma. This confused me, as I thought I had told her the wrong printer. The sales person told her that the Japanese version is Pixus (export model is Pixma), apparently because they use a different kind of ink. So, I have to buy all my ink from Japanese retailers - no biggie. Apparently there aren't any other differences between the Pixma/Pixus MP-600, at least functionally. The only differences I could see was that they did include the CDROM tray, for printing on CDROM disks, as well as a USB cable. My understanding is that both of these are absent from export models of the MP-600. The other difference is that the bundled OCR software only has Japanese menus (no other install options). Otherwise, the print drivers are in English, and you can use English on the LED menu.

Set up was fairly easy, thought the MP-600 has a rather large footprint. You can put paper in two different feeders: the vertical sheet feeder and the horizontal paper cassette. You can switch between the two with the click of a button on the printer itself. Or you can select from within the print dialog box. This is handy, as we need to print in both US Letter and A4 size paper. However, my guess is that most folks will put some sort of photo paper in the cassette. Scanner function works well, and calls up an app called "MP-Navigator" which saves it to file on your hard drive or opens it, depending on the option you choose.

Print speed is actually so-so. It takes a few seconds to wake up the printer, so if its your first print in a while - this slows the process down. You can choose 'duplex' mode from the print dialog box. I like this, but duplex printing is even slower. Quality of printed pages is good, though I didn't make a lot of comparisons. Although I can easily connect the printer to my AirPort Express, you can only print via airport and cannot use the other functions like scanning to the computer, or downloading photos from a memory card. With an airport connection, you also cannot access the printer utility from your computer. However, these functions can be accessed easily from the printer's LED menu itself.

We had a bit of a scare when printing our first photograph on photo paper. I loaded the cassette with some Epson 4x6 glossy photo paper and gave it a shot. [Loading the cassette was a bitch, so I may try by feeder next time.] The first photo we printed looked.... awful. I began to wonder if ignoring the directions to use only Canon paper broke my printer. My wife noticed that I had printed on the wrong side, and began to berate me. I wondered how this could be, and we discovered that you had to load the cassette with the printing side of your media face down. WTF! That seems bass-ackwards to me. However, once we printed on the correct side of the paper - we were both very impressed with the results. [And Epson paper works just fine...].

Another nicety we noticed is that if the front door from the printer is up, the printer will open the door automatically so that the output has some place to go. Nice touch! We also like that we can close the LED flap to save space, and that the printer puts the LED and other functions into a sleep mode. I'll take the trade-off for warm up time if we can save energy.

I haven't had the chance to try photocopy function, card slots, pict bridge, or even direct download from camera yet. My guess is that we won't use these much - but we will see.

In any case, we are quite happy with the new printer. Having everything networkable would be great, but the slow file transfer speeds via ethernet (or heaven forbid airport) would be a drag. Now I have to figure out if I have an open USB port on my iMac or whether I should just leave it as an Airport printer.

So, the Canon MP-600 gets a MacKenchi "Thumbs Up" for now. Let's see if it stands the test of time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WWDC 07 Keynote - more detailed comments

Like many, I was very disappointed in Jobs keynote address, and not surprised that Apple's stock prices dropped. The lack of hardware was depressing.

But Jobs did introduce many 'amazing' features for Leopard, and announced a competing browser for Windoze users. I'll briefly comment on what he presented.

Leopard Overall
I have to say that most of what was demo'd was visually appealing, but not particularly practical. It gave me the impression that Leopard will be the OS for people "who don't care about getting things done". I also suspect much of the animations in folders, docks, and file sorting will mean alot of demand on your processor, RAM, and maybe HD space. It wouldn't surprise me at all if you had to have an Intel Mac to use Leopard. Waiting until October makes this more digestible for Mac users. By that time, the number of Intel machines used by consumers may exceed PowerPCs in use. Furthermore, PowerPC Macs may have started to reach their EOL by that time.

New Desktop
Meh. I don't use the dock much. It stays hidden. So all of these tricks and gimmicks on the dock seem like wasted processor cycles. I look forward to minimizing my mouse use in my computer experience, not increasing it. 

And, I actually like brushed metal looks.

These are sets of files you make for certain tasks. I like the idea of putting all my image processing apps in one stack, and molecular biology apps in another stack. This seem better than trying to remember the name of little used apps or what you have available. The problem I have with the Stacks concept is the need to use a mouse to browse them. Maybe Quicksilver can be integrated with this. But maybe QS can already do this.

Network View/Back to My Mac
I'm all for making my files available to me everywhere and having fast network browsing. But I have two problems with this idea. First, you need to keep your freaking machines ON all the time to take advantage of this. Maybe you can't even let them sleep. What a waste of electricity! The second problem is that it seems you'll need a .Mac account to make use of it. Is this a way for Apple to push its much maligned internet service? I think we need to get away from .Mac, not become more dependent on it.

Coverflow for File Browsing
Yuck! I don't use coverflow now with iTunes. Seeing an Album's cover doesn't make me want to play a song from it. So why would I want to use coverflow with the finder? Flipping through file icons or previews isn't really an efficient way to get at my files. Sure, their may be times I want to browse stuff, but mostly I know what I want.

Quick Look
Sounds like a nice way to browse the content of files you browse with coverflow. And certainly for images it could be very useful if you don't want to look through a host of thumbnails. But I would bet not all apps will be adequately supported for QuickLook.

64 Bit
So... will this work on all Macs? I somehow think you'll need a fast Intel machine to really take advantage of it. We'll have to see how it actually works.

C'mon Steve. The rest of the world (>93%) is using either Skype or MSN for chatting, particularly video chats. That's a lot of 'heartwarming' opportunity lost by iChat users. This means despite how nice iChat is, I can't use it to do vid chats with my Mom or most of my family. So, despite the holograms and so forth - the focus needs to be on true interoperability - not features.

WebClip and Dashboard
Again, I rarely use Dashboard. It's a memory hog and doesn't sit on my desktop unless I install some doodad that lets me do so. In fact the most common Widget I use is "Stop Dashboard".
How about fixing the problems with processor load before bloating this feature? The ability to clip part of a web page and have it dynamically update as a widget sounds nice. But I can't imagine it would be useful to me during the work day.

Boot Camp
Wow - having Boot Camp built in sounds nice. But I didn't really understand the part about how Parallels and vmWare are both excellent alternatives. Seems like Apple's move puts them in a spot. What we really need is a BootCamp for Windows laptops so I can use MacOS on them.


We saw this the last time, and it looks very useful. I still question the HD and RAM assets you'll need to have available to use it effectively.

Also saw this last time - a 'Virtual Desktops' ability for OSX. If you didn't use the shareware/freeware versions of this now, you won't use Spaces later.

Safari on Windows
Ummm... why? Apple can't even make Safari work effectively on a Mac. I mean, I can't blog on Blogger with Safari now, or use our university's online content services (e.g., Moodle, WebTycho). Why would porting this experience to Windows users be a selling point? This kind of pisses me off, as Apple hasn't taken care of its own flock yet. Yes, Safari is great for many things and has fantastic feature. I really like the way it handles RSS feeds. But if it can't handle secure access points now,  I don't want to see Apple waste time on making it available for Windows users. Pointless exercise.

OK - there's my slant. Hopefully I've spurred folks to look differently at Steve's reality distortion event. 

WWDC Wrap Up

Dear Steve Jobs...


Lots of eye candy for Leopard, but no meat.

Thanks for yet another disappointing KeyNote.

WWDC Crystal Ball

This is a bit late, but let's give the old Magic Eight Ball a shake and see what comes up.

What we need

1. iPods - the current full-sized models are horribly out of date with screens not worthy of any movie viewing.

2. Mini - this line needs to be revamped or cancelled. The minis are great machines, but overpriced for what you get.

3. UltraPortable MacBooks - The Japan market is falling through the floor, because Apple can't or won't do what every Windows laptop maker does - sell a small Intel-based portable at 4lbs or under.

4. iLife '07 - Can't understand why this is delayed any further, unless it's Leopard specific.

5. iPhone - for the rest of the world. Apple's focus on the US market is boring to use overseas. And it's shocking that they would release a state of the art phone without 3G.

What I want

1. Ultraportable MacBook - My hip needs to be replaced, and lugging 5lb computers on the train doesn't cut it. And my 12" G4 isn't cutting it very well either these days.

2. Real Video iPod - Frankly, my PSP does video better than any iPod on the market. I don't have to squint at the screen. There's no reason Apple can't come through on this.

What we'll get

1. Previews of Leopard (ho-hum... Xmas now?)

2. iPhone hype - let's hope for more Google stuff and less Yahoo junk.

3. iTV Add-ons - Apple needs to prop up this listing ship soon before the rest of us are bored out of our minds.

In Closing

I don't anticipate much here, but hope that Apple will finally do something to keep me in the fold. Let's hope I can stay awake long enough.