A “Pandora’s” Box indeed

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: News

aopen cloneIt looks like a Mac Mini, but wait. Is that an Intel inside? Is this the new Intel/Apple computer we have heard about? No, it is AOpen’s new mini CPU based on the reference designs from Intel. It is aptly codenamed “Pandora” and uses an Intel Pentium M chip designed for laptops. It is scheduled for a September release date and I believe Apple’s lawyers have already marked their calanders.

MacCast 05.27.2005

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Podcast

Listen to today’s show here! podcast-mini2.gif
MC20050527.mp3 [20.98mb 45:47 64kbps]

A podcast about Macs done by a Mac geek for Mac geeks. Show 63. ABC and NBC to start podcasting, Sirius Satellite in talks with Apple on iPod, Intel’s CEO says consider Apple if you want security, iPodder X 3.0 launched, IBM to develop 45nm chip process, next generation ATI cards will feature H.264 acceleration, Apple updates Pages and Keynote, new Apple magazine ads for Tiger, Apple tablet computer rumors continue, bigger iPod Shuffles may be on the way, Apple will open three more retail stores in June, ProToolsHD adds Tiger support and Mac OS 10.4.2 update already underway. Optimizing your Mac, listeners response to Keychain syncing, creating secure backups with your iPod, international keyboard settings, auto hiding apps at startup, help menus continue to multiply, how I archive the MacCast, buy Dan’s podcasting book and get an iPed discount at Thought-out. New music, Enniscorthy in a Bottle by The Bloody Irish Boys. I’m not bad I just sound that way.

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MacCast listeners get 20% iPed Products from Thoughtout

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: News

iPed 2Hey gang. MacCast listener and supporter Mike Talmadge has come through once again. He has set up a special area on his site, http://www.thoughtout.biz/maccast, and for the next 10 days is offering a 20% discount on iPed products for MacCast listeners. To get this discount use the link and login below:

offer: 20% off iPed products for MacCast listeners
link: http://www.thoughtout.biz/maccast
username: maccast
password: macgeek

Thanks Mike!

PDF Desktops in Tiger

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Feedback

Listener Jeff just discovered that Tiger now supports PDFs as desktop pictures.

I ran across a feature of Tiger that I thought your listeners might like.

When changing the Desktop background on Mac OS 10.4.1 you can now select .pdf files and Tiger will set your desktop background to the first page in the .pdf document.

Turn your iLife into Comics

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Reviews

By Gabe

You’ve got a digital camera and take hundreds, maybe thousands, of photos of friends, family, pets and places. Every so often you send them out by email, put them on a CD, post them to Flickr or to your own web page, or print out a selection. Maybe you’ve even tried iPhoto’s book feature. Well, here’s something else you can do with those photos. Make a comic strip!!

Your comic lifeThis remarkably intuitive program will let a complete beginner make a professional looking comic strip in about 15 minutes flat from an existing stock of iPhoto images. Open the program and you are greeted by a blank page. Drag on a comic strip template of your choice. Meanwhile… your iPhoto library loads on the right hand side. Then… drag and drop your photos into place. Move and resize the photos if necessary. This takes a little practice but is simple once you realise that double-clicking within a pane selects an image. Finally… drag on captions and speech bubbles, and fill with your own witticisms. Pow!! It really couldn’t be simpler…

The finished product looks very professional because the templates are so well designed. If you want to add more pages to your comic you can, and as you get to know the program you can fiddle around with many of the controls, such as border widths and lettering.

The simplest use of Comic Life is to make a photo story, adding thought bubbles to pictures of your pre-verbal infant reaching for the phone, for example. And I guess that’s what most people will use it for. It’s ideal for making humorous birthday cards for friends or even a my-life-so-far book for an 18 year old. There’s also potential for creating how-to manuals. But this is such a well-rounded program I don’t see why it couldn’t be used to put together a semi-pro comic strip or graphic novel. It would be ideal for story-boarding a film or may even be used by those with a creative bent to make more abstract creations. It just depends on how much time and effort you want to put into the project. If you are prepared to go the extra step of staging photos with the intention of adding captions later, you may be likely to produce more interesting and coherent comics than if you just try to add balloons to pre-existing photos, amusing though that is.

There are many additional features which make Comic Life fun to use. Comic sound effects, for example, accompany drag and drop actions. I guess these will appeal to kids. I find them fun and not at all irritating, probably because I’m pretty immature, but if you don’t like them you can always turn them off. If you’ve got an iSight camera you can use that to import pictures. You can publish to a .Mac account if you have one. You can export or print to a range of formats. People are already sharing their comics on Flickr with the “comiclife” tag. Follow this link to get a taste of the output. In Tiger OSX 10.4, new iPhoto features for applying filters to photos are also integrated into Comic Life. However, I’m still running Panther OSX 10.3.9 so I have yet to check out these new features.

The developers of Comic Life at Plasq are very helpful, which bodes well for future enhancements. I posted a bug (to do with stuck layers) on their message board and within 24 hours I had a reply saying they were working on the problem and then a fix – version 1.1.1 – was emailed to me! One or two people have reported bugs that the Plasq team are still working on. For example, slowness in loading the iPhoto library (which may be connected with file sizes in the iPhoto library). However, on my aging G3 Pismo 500Mhz PowerBook with 1Gb of memory, I have no slowness at all.

In my view Comic Life is one of those rare programs that does something useful that nobody else has thought of and does it very well indeed. It adds a whole new dimension to iPhoto, but is not limited to that. It’s so easy to use that you could add a caption to a photo of your boss and have it circulating round the office faster than he could say “You’re fired Simpson!!” But if you’re really serious about comics, you can put together something very professional looking while eliminating much of the tedium of creating borders, lettering and captions. For professional comic strip illustrators, I imagine this program could be a great help in story-boarding at the very least.

You can download Comic Life from Plasq for a 30-day no-restrictions try out. After 30 days output is watermarked. Comic Life 1.1.1 costs $24.95, in the currency of your choice, from the Plasq website. It used to be $40, I believe, and I think the new price is very good value. When my 30 day testing period is up I fully expect to buy it (and that don’t happen too often round here!). For the moment Comic Life is Mac only although the Plasq crew do have plans for a Windows version. It’s fun, elegant and user friendly, just what you’d expect on a Mac!

Say Hello to iGuy

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: News

iGuy A friend sent me a link to the iGuy a new iPod protector with bendable arms. Their slogan is “Enjoy Playtime with your iPod”. This thing, although a bit pricey, looks like fun. It even sits down, so you can use your iPod dock. Very nice design. Check it out on the Speck Products web site.

Carbon Copy Cloner not quite ready for Tiger

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Podcast

In light of our discusssions on doing backups in OS X, listener Marty wanted to caution Tiger users on using Carbon Copy Cloner under Tiger

Hi Adam. Regarding the MacCast podcast from 5/23 and the user question about backup solutions. I used Carbon Copy Cloner with 10.3 (Panther) to perform an automated daily bootable backup to an external firewire drive every month. I used the “synchronization” option so that after the initial backup each daily backup synchronized the external hard drive with my iMac hard drive. It was a great solution, but I wanted to add a caution about Carbon Copy Cloner and Tiger. A visit to the developer’s website at http://www.bombich.com/software/ccc.html indicates that the developer needs to do some work to make Carbon Copy Cloner Tiger compatible. While versiontracker indicates Carbon Copy Cloner can be made to work with Tiger, it involves some efforts the average user may not be comfortable doing so I think its important to note that as far as the CCC developer is concerned the solution is not at this point Tiger compatible. Hopefully CCC will be upgraded for Tiger compatibility soon because it was an effective, powerful and inexpensive backup solution

Thanks for the update Marty.

MacCast 05.23.2005

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Podcast

Listen to today’s show here! podcast-mini2.gif
MC20050523.mp3 [20.8mb 45:19 64kbps]

A podcast about Macs done by a Mac geek for Mac geeks. Show 62. Steve says next version of iTunes to support Podcasting, Apple in talks with Intel? Russian iTunes Music store, a former Apple employee sues and alleges discrimination, malicious Widgets still an issue some say and another new iTunes ad debuts on SNL and it’s not the same old stuff. The MacCast blooper, an apology. I announce the Top 10 Reasons to switch winner, finally. My 2 Cents #3, iPod vs. Cel Phone. Keychains and Mac Backup. Reviews without pity, the Kensington WiFi Finder. Tiger printing, order supplies, feature or bug? You decide. Our community grows with IRC and Jabber. New music, We Gotta Go by David Henderson. Shama, lamb, lamb, lamba, ring, ding, dong.
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Show links:
Tiger Unleashed from SAMS on Amazon.com
iPed Stands from Thoughtout.biz
Podthreads.com – MacCast Gear and Apparel
The A.D.D. Cast
Kensington WiFi Finder
Jabbermac.com – MacCast jabber server and free account
iPodderX – My favorite iPodder
We Gotta Go by David Henderson – Featured music

Run Widget on Desktop Under Panther (and Tiger Too)

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Feedback

On the Saturday cast I mentioned a new product, Amnesty Widget Browser from Mesa Dynamics. This software allows you to run 3rd party (non-Apple) Tiger Dashboard widgets on the desktop under Panther. Well I just received an update directly from the developers (they are apparently MacCast listeners) and it will also work under Tiger!

Just for your further information: Amnesty Widget Browser also runs on Tiger (and on Tiger it does run Apple’s default widgets) for users who want to run widgets outside of their dashboard directly on their desktops with extra abilities (e.g. choosing the window layer to run in, setting opacity, etc.). We are trying to provide the same experience for Panther users, but due to legal issues, cannot support Apple’s default widgets under Panther.

MacCast 05.21.2005

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Podcast

Listen to today’s show here! podcast-mini2.gif
MC20050521.mp3 [16.8mb 36:40 64kbps]

A podcast about Macs done by a Mac geek for Mac geeks. Show 61. Utility available to run Dashboard Widgets under Panther, Mac OS X Server 10.4.1 update released, Canadian retailers concerned over Apple Store, Apple announces battery recall, Motorola says iTunes phone is not being shunned and Apple has a new head of AppleCare. Comments on a possible Mac tablet, Spotlight indexing of network drives, a fix for the M-Audio MBox under Tiger, Spotlight initialization and open searches, where to find resources for Mac developers, Apple’s CD exchange leaves much to be desired, iLife burning to external DVD drives and DVD Backup issues under Tiger. New music, Show Me by Ripped. If a CD is ripped in the forest and no one is around, does the RIAA file suit? Shownotes in HTML or OPML

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