Jaddie Dodd Consulting & Design
Atlanta Macintosh Users Group
National Association of Photoshop Professionals
2010 Archive
2009 Archive
2008 Archive
2007 Archive
2006 Archive
2005 Archive
2004 Archive
2003 Archive
2002 Archive
2001 Archive
2000 Archive
1999 Archive

November 11, 2003

Time Magazine named Apple’s iTunes Music Store as 2003’s Invention of the Year. In case you didn’t know, iTunes is now available for Windows.

October 27, 2003

Apple’s iBooks finally get a G4 processor and start at just US$1099. The sizes and enclosures remain mostly unchanged from the previous models. This is great news for people who want a relatively inexpensive—though feature-rich—notebook computer. I haven’t been able to recommend the iBook for nearly a year because it didn’t have the G4 processor. The G4 made its debut in September of 1999 and the iBook went too long without it. The chief advantage of the G4 over the G3 is what Apple calls its “Velocity Engine,” which speeds up certain processor-level instructions by ten fold or more. Mac applications have had over four years to take advantage of the G4’s strengths, so it’s good that the iBooks are now based on the much better processor.

According to MacNN, Adobe is now shipping its Creative Suite, a collection of professional design and publishing software that includes upgraded versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, GoLive, and Acrobat Professional. Upgrades of the individual applications are supposed to ship later this week. I hope this news means that I’ll receive my copy next week.

I’ve upgraded my Power Mac and PowerBook G4s with Panther (Mac OS X 10.3), which was released on Friday. Installing the upgrade over OS X 10.2.8 took a little over an hour and required that three items be updated—Default Folder to version 1.9.1, StuffIt Deluxe 8 (reinstalled), and Spamfire to version 1.4. Panther ditched the newer StuffIt Engine that was already installed on these machines, so I had to reinstall StuffIt to regain use of the newer version. TLA Systems released the Panther-savvy DragThing 5 last week. DragThing is my favorite file- and folder-opening utility and sports new features that work with Panther. Rainmaker Research is hard at work to make Spell Catcher as compatible as possible with Panther, but I’ve had no problems so far with any of Spell Catcher’s functions. Whether Panther is worth its US$129 price is something I can’t determine yet. The new OS looks better and seems a little bit snappier than Jaguar, but I’ve only been using it for about three days, so it’s too early for me to be able to conclude. One small, neat feature is the Panther’s clock’s ability to speak on the hour. For instance, the computer says “It’s ten o’clock.” Cute.

October 18, 2003

Don’t buy the initial release of Dreamweaver MX 2004, as I’ve already done. At least for the Mac, it’s just too slow to be useful. Dreamweaver MX 2004 is a retarded program. Surely it doesn’t run so slowly on a PC.

October 14, 2003

I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I last wrote something here. A lot has happened since August 20. Apple shipped its new dual-processor Power Mac G5, which even Wintel fans concede is faster than anything they’ve ever seen. Macromedia shipped new versions of Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Flash and released an update for FreeHand. I’ve been using the new versions of Dreamweaver and Fireworks and haven’t noticed a tremendous difference between the new versions and the versions they replaced. Dreamweaver supports cascading stylesheets much, much better now but is a much slower program. Dreamweaver was already slow, so the problem is worse with Dreamweaver MX 2004. Fireworks seems about as fast as the previous version and now exports XHTML-compliant code, though the code is still based on tables. I haven’t yet toiled with the new Flash, which is supposed to sport new behaviors and many performance optimizations.

Adobe announced the next major versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and GoLive at PhotoshopWorld Miami, which I attended. The new Adobe programs are tagged with the CS designation, which stands for “Creative Suite,” so it’s not Photoshop 8—it’s Photoshop CS. After reading extensively about the new Photoshop and using a recent beta version of the program, I’ll say that the new Photoshop isn’t nearly as big an upgrade as Photoshop 7 was over Photoshop 6. Still, I believe Photoshop 7 is easily worth the US$170 upgrade price. Photoshop CS finally features text on a path and now offers a slick new Lens Blur filter for creating more realistic depth-of-field effects, an improved File Browser, full 16-bit support, a more effective tool for working with highlights and shadows, and support for raw image formats from many of the more popular digital cameras. There’s also a new Histogram Palette that gives feedback as the image is manipulated, which should be quite useful when using Curves.

August 20, 2003

Canon released two new digital cameras today. One is the the consumer-oriented point-and-shoot PowerShot A80, a four-megapixel camera that will retail for US$499 when it becomes available in October. The much bigger deal is the 300D “Digital Rebel” (press release). The Digital Rebel is the first digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera to retail for less than US$1000. The new camera uses the same 6.3-megapixel CMOS sensor that serves the well-reviewed EOS 10D and EOS D60. But the biggest feature, in my opinion, is perhaps the camera’s most basic—the fact that it accepts Canon’s extensive line of lenses.

The Digital Rebel with no lens will retail for US$899. A kit that includes the camera and an 18–55mm (f/3.5–5.6) lens will retail for US$999. The Digital Rebel is slated for a September release.

Canon didn’t tip off any of the popular digital camera Web sites before announcing these two new cameras today. (Usually, a manufacturer such as Canon will inform such media outlets before official announcements are made. In exchange, the media outlets agree not to divulge any of the information until a certain date or event. This is called an embargo.) This results in there being no reviews available today. There are previews and speculative opinions, though. Check out Steve’s Digicams, Digital Photography Review, and Digital Camera Resource for more information on Canon’s newest digital cameras.

The introduction of the Digital Rebel begs another question: what’s going to happen to the EOS 10D? If the Digital Rebel uses the same sensor as the 10D, what is it about the 10D that justifies its US$600 premium over the Digital Rebel? It seems as if the Digital Rebel has caused the 10D to be less valuable. I expect that Canon will answer this question with another new digital SLR in the next couple of months.

August 18, 2003

The first Power Mac G5s shipped today. The fastest G5, the dual-2GHz model, will ship later this month. This is hardly the place folks will learn this news; the news is available at all of the regular Mac-centric sites, but I wanted to put it here for posterity’s sake.

Roxio announced Toast 6 today, too. Toast 6 is recording software for optical media, more popularly known as “disc-burning” software. The two coolest features of the new Toast is the ability to burn discs over the Internet, a feature Roxio calls “ToastAnywhere,” and a new contextual menu that allows us to burn files and folders from the Finder.

July 18, 2003

“The Mac is clearly the operating system of choice for design and production firms, with eighty-two percent of all respondents naming the Mac as their primary OS.” This quote comes from a Spring 2003 poll by IDG World Expo and Trend Watch Graphic Arts (and from MacNN, which is how I found the article).

July 14, 2003

If you’ve never tried TLA Systems’s DragThing, go ahead and give it a try. DragThing is one of the utilities I count on every single day. (The other two are SpellCatcher and CopyPaste.) Think of DragThing as Mac OS X’s dock in heaven. Why do I mention DragThing? Because the whole Macintosh experience is complete only when one uses DragThing.

Apple’s offering a new “Easy On Your Budget” finance promotion in which you can get new Apple products on a six-month same-as-cash plan. Fooey! If Apple wants to compete in personal computer financing, it’d better offer the same deals that computer retailers such as BestBuy, Circuit City, and CompUSA, which are twelve- to twenty-four-month same-as-cash options. You know, if you want the fastest Mac and Apple’s best display, you’re going to shell out at least US$5000. What home user wants US$833.34-per-month computer payments?

July 8, 2003

MacNN reports that NASA has benchmarked the new Power Mac G5 and found it to outperform the Pentium 4 in “scalar floating point performance” by thirty-two percent per clock cycle. The study also found the G5 outperforming the G4 by twenty-two percent per clock cycle.

ThinkSecret offers many screenshots (Part 1, Part 2) from Apple’s next major operating system upgrade.

MacMercury posts a few screenshots from Adobe’s next version of Photoshop.

Canon has rolled out the PowerShot G5, a five-megapixel camera that promises to be an excellent choice for those who want exceptional image quality without going to a digital SLR camera. Steve’s Digicams offers a good review of and sample images from the new G5.

I bought the four-megapixel PowerShot G2 back in October 2001 and have taken more than four thousand photos with it. My G2 is a phenomenal camera and I’ve heard nothing less than that from other Canon G-series owners and reviewers.

Adobe just announced Premiere Pro, a professional video editing application, but it’s not available for the Mac. Adobe cites Apple’s line of video editing applications as crowding an already narrow market. Two weeks ago Microsoft announced that it’s discontinuing development of Internet Explorer for the Mac because Apple has things pretty sewn up with Safari. I’m unsure of whether Apple’s doing a good thing by going head to head with those who write software for its platform.

July 3, 2003

Today Casady & Greene closes its doors. I really hate to see Casady & Greene go. Some of the first software I ever bought, a Fluent Laser Fonts Library, I bought from Casady & Greene back in 1990. Casady & Greene really didn’t write software but was a publisher of software. People such as Evan Gross would write software and get Casady & Greene to handle the business details of packaging, marketing, and supporting the the product. In Evan’s case, it was my all-time favorite utility, Spell Catcher. Conflict Catcher, an extension and control panel manager, was Casady & Greene’s biggest title and was once considered essential software for Macs prior to OS X. In Casady & Greene’s last newsletter, tough economic conditions were cited as the reason for Casady & Greene’s departure from the the Mac landscape. The software that Casady & Greene sold isn’t disappearing, or at least not all of it. The titles are going back to their respective owners for the time being. In Evan’s case this means Spell Catcher goes home to Rainmaker Research, where it will be sold and supported by Evan himself.

June 23, 2003

Power Mac G5 Or Cheesegrater?
Is this the next-generation Power Mac or a cheesegrater? Whichever it is, it kicks major Intel booty.

June 13, 2003

Adobe’s line of Acrobat 6 products is now shipping. Acrobat Reader has been renamed “Adobe Reader.” I guess that means the zillions of linked Acrobat Reader graphics will have to change, too. New features in the free reader that I’ve noticed so far include an eBook feature and the ability to have your PDFs read to you aloud.

Apple issued an iTunes update. The new iTunes 4.0.1 improves Advanced Audio Coding playback and disables music sharing over the Internet. Streaming can still be enjoyed, though, over your own local network as long as the sharing is done on the same subnet.

More than 39,000 Consumer Reports readers say Apple produces the most reliable personal computers.

May 22, 2003

MacCentral says that the next major version of Adobe Photoshop will not run under Mac OS 9. The system requirements of Photoshop 8 will include Mac OS X 10.2 or later, according to MacCentral’s article. Photoshop 8 is expected to ship in the fall.

May 15, 2003

Apple has sold more than two million songs in sixteen days of operation from its new iTunes Music Store. Over half of the songs have been a part of full album purchases.

That kind of sales volume is miraculous when one considers that all Mac users comprise just three to four percent of the total personal computer market. And of that three to four percent, only the users who are using iTunes 4 can purchase from the iTunes Music Store. In order to run iTunes 4, the user must be running Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later. I seriously doubt that even twenty-five percent of all Mac users are using Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later, and of those who are running Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later, not all of those people will have downloaded iTunes 4. So when you consider that maybe up to five percent of the three to four percent of the total number of personal computer users are purchasing from the iTunes Music Store, there can be just one conclusion: there is a relatively small number of people who are purchasing a lot of music.

What would be really neat is to have a copy of the actual audio CD shipped to one’s home when one purchases a full CD. That way, the purchaser of the music would have a permanent backup of the music he or she purchased. Plus, there’d be nothing missed from a traditional CD purchase. I wouldn’t care if Apple were to charge an extra US$5–7 dollars for this service.

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of songs that Apple doesn’t have. For instance, I can’t find any music from AC/DC, The Foo Fighters, Evanescence, The Offspring, or KC & The Sunshine Band.

It’s about time for new windows to stop opening in the top-left of one’s monitor. Monitors are much larger than they used to be and I constantly find myself staring up and away at my work. New windows should open in the center of one’s screen. One of the things on my to-do list is to change the JavaScript on my photos page so that new windows open in the center of visitors’ screens.

Alsoft has finally released DiskWarrior 3, an OS X-native version of one of the best disk maintenance utilities a Mac user can have. The new DiskWarrior comes with a Mac OS X-bootable CD. DiskWarrior’s forte is rebuilding one’s disk directory from scratch. Most utilities just try to repair the existing directory. Upgrades from previous versions cost US$40 and new purchases cost US$80.

The best combination of tools a serious Mac user can have to keep his or her Macs running smoothly—and to resurrect the occasional comatose machine—is Symantec’s Norton Disk Doctor and Speed Disk and Alsoft’s DiskWarrior. I recall that Bob LeVitus, the most prolific Mac author on the planet, shares this opinion.

May 2, 2003

Georgia College & State University in Macon, Georgia, gets a few iPods from Apple as part of an experimental project to highlight creative uses for the ultra-compact personal jukebox.

Thanks to Macintosh Network News for pointing me to the original British article.

April 28, 2003

Apple’s new iTunes Music Store—and its integration with iTunes 4—look absolutely awesome! And those new iPods look mighty cool, too.

Ironically, the only way I could view today’s event announcing Apple’s new online music service, iTunes 4, and the new iPod was through Windows Media Player. And if it weren’t for a tip offered by Jack Rosenzweig on the MacJournals talk mailing list, I wouldn’t have seen it at all. Thanks, Jack!

April 22, 2003

Apple updated its iBook line of consumer-oriented notebook computers today, but they all still feature PowerPC G3 processors, which means that I won’t be recommending these updated machines to my any of my clients. There’s quite a difference in the speed of a G3-based Mac versus a G4-based Mac. I’m looking forward to the G4’s successor, which, by every account of the rumor grapevine, will arrive before fall.

April 21, 2003

The Iconfactory announced its 2003 Pixelpalooza winners today. If you want the best-looking OS X icons on the planet, check ’em out!

April 2, 2003

Apple PowerBooks are employed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

April 1, 2003

Today Apple Computer, Inc., is twenty-seven years old. It was on this date in 1976 that the two Steves—Jobs and Wozniak—founded Apple. During this time the creative geniuses at Apple have pushed the personal computer through several eons of product development.

March 20, 2003

Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore joins Apple’s board of directors. According the the MacCentral article, Mr Gore believes Apple offers the “very best” personal computers, is impressed with Mac OS X, and does his own video editing with Final Cut Pro.

March 11, 2003

Want a Dell? Of course you don’t, but if you were to browse the DellHost Web site, you’d see what is actually an Apple PowerBook in the background. Gateway did the same thing a couple of months ago. Did you know that Apple actually sold more computers than Gateway last quarter? ’Tis true.

March 6, 2003

The Associated Press reports on a possible future online music service to be offered by Apple Computer. Major record labels reportedly are onboard with the project.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports on George Doughty, a local bar owner, who’d had enough of his Dell notebook computer. Doughty shot the computer four times. Criminal charges are pending. Surely it’s no crime to shoot a Dell.

January 11, 2003

I’m both pleased and perturbed by Apple’s announcements from last Tuesday’s Macworld keynote in San Francisco. I’m perturbed because I just bought the GHz PowerBook G4 with SuperDrive in December and Apple introduced the ultra-cool 17" PowerBook G4 during Tuesday’s keynote. I’m not going to bash Apple, though. If Apple has readied a product that’ll raise the bar in personal computing, I’m not going to complain—well, at least not too much.

I will say that I’m very surprised by the introduction of an all-new PowerBook. You see, the 15" GHz PowerBook with SuperDrive was just introduced on November 6, 2002, though the basic 15" PowerBook G4 has been available for two years. I ordered my PowerBook on November 19 and received it on December 16, and already it’s yesterday’s technology.

On the positive side, the 17" PowerBook G4 will be a boon to graphic artists, designers, photographers, videographers, producers, and many more creatives. The new 17" ’Book uses the same screen as the 17" flat panel iMac, whose native resolution is 1440 x 900 pixels. That’s an ultra-sweet workspace for a portable personal computer.

During the Macworld keynote Apple also introduced a 12.1" PowerBook G4 that will more than satisfy those who long for an ultra-compact, portable Mac, especially those Mac fans who wanted to see the return of the Duo. In fact, according to Jobs, the 12.1" PowerBook G4 is even smaller than the Duos. If you want to view a really funny new television ad for the new 17" and 12.1" PowerBooks, visit this page.

Adding value to these new PowerBooks is a new wireless networking technology dubbed “AirPort Extreme.” AirPort Extreme is based on the 802.11g standard and is capable of magically transmitting data through the air at 54Mbps. The older AirPort standard, 802.11b, is what I just bought in December and is capable of speeds of up to 11Mbps. The AirPort Extreme base station also features a built-in USB port, which means that you can now print to your USB printer right through the air. And not only is the new AirPort Extreme nearly five times faster than the wireless technology it replaces, but it’s less expensive to boot!

Apple also released its own Web browser, Safari, which quickly became my primary browser. Safari is currently in beta but is already a solid browser. The only things that Internet Explorer has that Safari doesn’t are automatic completion of forms and an Internet Scrapbook. I found both of these features indispensable in Internet Explorer 5 and hope to see these again in a future version of Safari. Safari’s bookmarking system has Internet Explorer’s favorites system completely whipped. Safari’s bookmarking system is an elaborate database system that makes handling my 1600-plus bookmarks simple. Safari’s chief feature over Internet Explorer is speed. Safari uses a completely different rendering engine called “KHTML” that’s much snappier than Internet Explorer’s rendering engine. I must concede that Internet Explorer for Windows seems no slower than Apple’s new browser. Safari also supports the little bookmark icons that Windows users have enjoyed for a while.

Apple used the keynote deliver Keynote, an all-new professional presentation package that raises the bar for future versions of PowerPoint. Keynote takes full advantage of OS X’s Quartz rendering to produce sharp-looking graphics and transitions. Keynote is available now as a standalone package for US$99.

Apple also introduced iPhoto 2, iMovie 3, and iDVD 3. These three new products are offered with iTunes 3 in a suite called iLife that costs US$49. iTunes, iPhoto, and iMovie are all freely downloadable; it’s the gargantuan iDVD that warrants the US$49 admission price. iLife will be available on January 25.

Further great news from Macworld includes a price drop on Apple’s DVD-Rs. Originally costing US$10 each, the new cost is just US$3 each.

Everything is easier on a Mac. See for yourself.