CMXtraneous: Mac

Right on the edge of useful

The New iMac: Whoo Hoo! or Ho Hum?

Posted Tuesday, August 31, 2004 6:35:07 PM by Kim


Apple introduced their new iMac today with a minimum of hype (by Apple standards anyway) and you have to wonder if they aren't a little less than enthused over the new design. Sure, it looks pretty cool, but it's certainly not in the ground-breaking think outside the box mode of the previous two versions of the iMac.

There's plenty of opinions to find on the new model. Over at Wired's Cult of Mac you can read how the chief designer of the iMac is returning to his original design that he had envisioned for the last model. The all-in-one flat panel display with all the hardware on the back was rejected by Steve Jobs in 2000 for something more organic.

Meanwhile, The New York Times (subscription required, sorry) reports that some financial analysts are disappointed with the $1,299 starting point for the new machine. Seems like a reasonable price to me, especially if you compare the price of a quality PC with an excellent flat panel monitor and a rocking processor. But I digress.

C|Net News continues in the "It's cool, but we're disappointed" mode by pointing out that, yes, it looks great, is priced well, but notes some things that Apple might have done better, including building-in an Airport WiFi card or a TV tuner.

Me? I love my 2 year old iMac and have no plans to upgrade anytime soon. That's one of the beautiful things about owning a Mac. While a 2 year old PC would be coming to the end of its useable life my little iMac is still humming along quite happily and meets all my needs. Besides, two more years or so with this machine will let me build up a good case of geek-lust for the new machine.

Category tags: Mac

Upgrading to Panther before Tiger is Released?

Posted Thursday, August 26, 2004 3:27:51 PM by Stephanie


Maybe some of you are as slow as I am to update your Operating System -- maybe not. It always scares me to death ... I just can't afford any down time at all with the rate of speed I work at. So yes, I'm just getting ready to upgrade from Jaguar (OS 10.2.8) to Panther. And yes, Tiger is coming. But it will be a while before I adopt that kitty. I like to let other people work out the bugs and find out which programs don't yet work.

Here's my plan. With Studio MX 2004's product activation scheme, I have to transfer my program licenses before reinstalling or upgrading my operating system. Activation has gone pretty smoothly for most people. But to avoid any problems, I'm going to complete the following steps I found a while back (I will be brave...I will be brave...):

  • In Dreamweaver MX 2004, choose Help > Activation > Transfer License and deactivate the license on your computer. (In Flash MX 2004 or Fireworks MX 2004, choose Help > Transfer Your Software License.)
  • Install Panther.
  • Relaunch your Studio MX 2004 applications and reactivate them.

Generally, activation and deactivation require about 30 seconds or less. Wish me luck!

Category tags: Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, Mac

Nouveau Niche

Posted Tuesday, August 10, 2004 10:03:57 PM by Tom Pletcher

Tom Pletcher

Why do the "OS wars" persist? Everyone knows they ended a long time ago, somewhere back in the mid-90s. We are a Windows world, and despite Microsoft's endlessly scrutinized business practices and spectacular security problems, that's not entirely a bad thing.

But it's not entirely a good thing, either, which I suppose is why the skirmishes continue.

I myself am a Mac guy. I do most of my work in Windows, but I think I must have contrarian genes--I just prefer the Mac. Just because.

"Just because" was all the rationale I could muster in the bad old days of OS 9. My Mac had all the stability of a feather and I still ... just preferred it.

But things are different now. OS X, the whole range of Big Cat variants, is a completely different animal, and operating system. Smooth, sleek and stable. Superb uptime. As I said, I do most of my work in Windows--don't ask why just now--and I favor W2K because it's pretty stable and doesn't have a lot of XP gunk to get in the way. But I have to reboot my W2K machines every few days to keep them humming. Panther, though, just keeps purring along, whatever I throw at it.

All of this is by way of preface to an article that's making the rounds on Mac sites, and Open Source sites like Slashdot. It's on John Gruber's Mac blog site Daring Fireball, and it's titled "The Art of the Parlay, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Platform Licensing and Market Share".

Gruber's thesis is that the conventional wisdom about Apple blowing a chance to become the monopoly platform is false. He contends that whatever decisions Apple might have made back in the 80s, Microsoft would still have prevailed. I don't know whether I agree, or whether it even matters anymore.

My own take on Apple's market share is simple: I don't care. Is the Mac a niche platform? Sure--it's a luxurious little enclave, well-designed and sophisticated, that's free of bugs and worms. It's the high-style, high-performance, high-rent district.

This may seem an elitist stance, but hey--the Mac has become an elitist platform. OS X is luxury computing, folks. Think about it: where else can you run mainstream apps like Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and also run renegade open source apps like Open Office and the GIMP side-by-side? Not to mention thousands of other Linux/Unix apps. And all of this capability is wrapped up in what is hands-down the handsomest GUI on the planet, and an OS that, I would contend, is among the most powerful.

I'm willing to pay more for this experience, and to savor it. So market share be damned. I am one of the Nouveau Niche, and I like it.

Category tags: Mac