Mac Heads: Mac users are a LITTLE strange

I must admit, Mac users are a bit strange... or at least, some of them are. Here's the one hour documentary film, MacHeads, that covers the life and times of Mac users.

Apple's Magic Mouse: Ouch!!!

Apple's Magic Mouse garnered a lot of ooohs and ahhhs upon it's release. It's stunningly gorgeous to look at, as is most everything Apple releases, but is it really a great computing mouse?

I recently got to use one for a day of design work, web surfing, and general computing, and got my answer.

The Magic Mouse is compact, and glides smoothly on your desk. The cursor was very responsive, and not the least bit "jumpy" on any surface I tried it on, including my lap. But that's pretty much where the love affair ended for me.


With the exception of Apple's iMac hockey-puck mouse years ago, I can't recall ever using a more uncomfortable mouse in my 20-plus years of computing.

The very thing that makes it so stunning to look at also makes it so uncomfortable to use. After about an hour of working in Photoshop and InDesign, my hand was cramped from squeezing it. It's just too low-profile for long-term use. I felt like I had to work too hard to keep control of it.

While the touch clicking and scrolling was easy enough, using the limited gestures available was virtually impossible for me. I simply couldn't hold the mouse and swipe at the same time without contorting my hand to the point of causing more cramps in my fingers. The amount of time wasted trying to get the gestures to work could be accomplished the old-fashioned way.

Of course, nobody says you MUST use the Magic Mouse for your daily computing needs. Due to its compact size and Bluetooth connection, the Magic Mouse makes a great compliment to your MacBook Pro when you're on the road. It's also fine for users who may not require a lot of mousing around, such as writers or anyone who makes extensive use of the keyboard vs. the mouse. At $69 though, the Magic Mouse is awfully expensive for a "backup" mouse.

Apple's new pro Mac

com_no-MacPro.jpgHas Apple already released it's latest Mac for pros? The upper-end iMac can now be configured with an Intel Core i5 or i7 quad-core processor, a 2TB hard drive, and up to 16GB of RAM; and the mammoth 27" LED screen is nothing short of stunning. With all this power in Apple's supposed consumer-level desktop, one has to wonder if there's any need for a MacPro by anyone shy of George Lucas working on the next horrible sequel to StarWars.

As a designer, I've spent the last 20 years accepting the fact that I had to buy the most expensive model of Mac available in order to get the power I needed to edit large multi-layered Photoshop files and videos. Buying a G3, G4, G5, and even the early MacPros was the only way to get a Mac which would support enough RAM to accomplish my job without adding two days to the work week.

With Apple announcing the latest revision of the iMac to include a quad-core processor and plenty of room for more RAM, one has to wonder where that leaves the MacPro. Is Apple slowly warming us up to the fact that they're phasing out the MacPro? Or are they, more likely, preparing to release a MacPro that will leave power-users absolutely stunned and breathless?

Assuming Apple is not moving out of the tower market, I'm wondering what they could add to the MacPro line that would make my credit card leap from my wallet and slide through those little hand-held check-out devices at the Apple Store.

A beautiful case design and a relatively minor speed bump just isn't going to cut it anymore.

The new high-end iMac already includes a more than adequate LCD screen for print and Web designers. It already has a capable media drive, plenty of room for 8 to 12GB of RAM, and a roomy hard drive for storing large graphics and video files. All these things were formerly only available to MacPro buyers. Even if Apple were to include a BluRay drive internally, I doubt it would be enough to sway most buyers to spend the extra $500 or more for a tower. The internal drive bays in the MacPro are nice, but hardly enough to sway me one way or another. External hard drives are cheap, extremely small, and run nearly silent nowadays.


Now I know that high-end video editing requires every last ounce of power a Mac can offer. But just how large is that market for Apple? Is it enough to sustain the cost of developing such a machine? I don't have those answers.

The MacPro represents a very high profit margin for Apple, and I suspect that they've got something jaw-dropping in store for us in the near future. The new iMacs will surely steal quite a few customers from the MacPro camp, particularly high-end designers, photographers and all but the most high-end videographers. So the question is, are there enough people who require the power and extra expandability of the MacPro over the increasing market of iMac buyers.

Rant: Internet @$$holes and how to spot one

The Expert:


The number one way to spot an Internet @$$hole (referred to in the rest of this article as I.A.s) is to look on the potential turd-burglar's Twitter page in the Bio section. If you see the word "expert" or "S.E.O." or my favorite "S.E.O. Expert," you have struck gold. You've come across the highest order of I.A. there is. If you follow them, drop them. If they follow you, block them. But for cryin' out loud, don't engage them - you're just feeding wild animals that will eventually knock over your trash can and spill your garbage all over the driveway!

Keep reading. There's plenty more I.A.s out there to learn about.

Avoiding daily distractions

com_distraction-1.jpgBeing a designer requires more knowledge, experience and dedication than ever. Gone are the days of "specializing" in one area of design or the other; you have to work in print, Web and multi-media - all demanding more of your valuable time. Freelancers in particular generally have enough work to fill their day without figuring in time for distractions.

I spent the last nine months freelancing, and was lucky enough to have enough work to fill my day. I was also spending some of my time each day searching for a full-time gig, so my time had to be managed well.

It took a while, but I found a decent balance after about a month of trying different things. Below are a few of those things that gave me more time to focus on my design and writing, job searching, and even a bit of time for me to sit back and relax a little each day, go for a bike ride, or leisurely surf the Web. Read on to see what worked for me.

Mac Web Browsers: Are We There Yet?

com_mac-browser-dock.jpgLong-time Mac users probably remember the day when Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator were the only games in town. With Mac OS 9 and the early days of Mac OS X, IE was the lean, mean, speed-machine; while Navigator was continuing its fast slide to irrelevance.

But with OS X’s Unix underpinnings, and its sleek new GUI, it wasn’t long until developers started porting old browsers, or releasing all new ones to run on Apple’s shiny new OS.

One of the earliest non-MS/Mozilla browsers was OmniWeb. It was easily faster than most anything out there, had a slick interface, and boasted features few other browsers offered at the time, such as tabs on the side, per-site preferences, built-in ad-blocking, and more. Due to Microsoft’s barely-an-effort port of IE to OS X, and Netscape Navigator suffering from never-ending software bloat, the time was right for other vendors to make their move. OmniWeb’s popularity exploded, and with it came a (welcome) blistering onslaught of Web browsers available for the Mac.

Office 2010: The Movie

Can't say much about the apps, but this promo is really kinda cool!

Republican candidate Otten is a bold-faced thief

This is the most stunning, blatant, and outright "amazing he's getting away with it" case of artistic theft I've ever witnessed.

Les Otten, Republican candidate for Governor of Main, has the nerve to claim that his Web site is completely original, and not a copy of President Obama's site, because "some local guys designed it."

A picture is worth a thousand words:

Thoughts on an Apple Netbook

com_imacnetbook.jpgApple Announces Netbook! That’s the headline you wanted to see, right? That’s the headline that industry analysts and so-called experts believe Apple must have in order to remain relevant in today’s economic climate. That’s also the headline you’re not likely to come across unless it happens to be April 1st.

The truth is, Apple already has a netbook on the market, which they’ve been selling for quite a while now. It’s called the MacBook Air.

In MacBook Air is the Apple Netbook, I discuss why I believe Apple isn't offering a netbook, and why we're not likely to see one any time soon.

Apple Retail Store Success: It Ain’t Rocket Science

apple-retail-stores.jpgIn May of 2001, Apple opened its first retail outlet store in Tysons Corner, Va. It was immediately met by critics and the typical roster of Apple-haters with predictions of doom and massive financial losses.

Eight years later, Apple has more than 255 retail stores worldwide, and are the darling of the retail computer industry. So what makes them so successful?

While the Mac, iPod, and iPhone are what makes Apple successful, the formula for the retail stores’ success isn’t so obvious until you actually visit an Apple store. Sure, great products sell themselves, but Apple has made sure that its products have the best opportunity to do so by creating an environment that offers virtually no reason for a buyer to go elsewhere.

I've listed several reasons why I think Apple is so successful with their retail stores in my article at TheAppleBlog.