Archive for the 'Mentioned on the Air' Category

Santa’s Little Helper 2011

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Mentioned on the air

Here we are once again in the wonderful Christmas season where love and good cheer reign supreme… or maybe not so much as the news reports of violence and other mischief roll across the wire from early Black Friday sales… so as I make this years gift recommendations, remember that everything here can be commandeered online… perhaps not the safest place in the world, but safer indeed than your local Walmart. As always, we have one suggestion for those of you with a little more to spend… a second recommendation keeping things more middle-of-the-road… and then bringing up the rear are some stocking stuffers in the under $30 range.

Yamaha CP33 88-key Stage Piano ($1,000) • This year for the most expensive spot on my list I’m going considerably cheaper than the 10k Mac Pro tower I featured last year… but with good reason as this keyboard was one I’ve gotten to know over the last 9 months. Obviously a gift limited to those amongst us with musical tendencies, but if someone on your list fits this bill, this is one amazing instrument that can be used by professional stage performers all the way down to parents looking for a good alternative to the higher priced acoustic pianos for teaching their children how to play the piano. Having been the purchaser of literally dozens of keyboards over the last 3 decades, it boggles the mind what kind of quality you can get these days at such an affordable price… and yes, even though a thousand dollars may feel like a lot, you more than get your moneys worth with the CP33.

Yamaha CP33

The feature to note right off the top would be that this is an 88-key ‘graded hammer effect keyboard with authentic resistance’. In other words, this is as close as you can come to the feel of a real piano in an electronic instrument. I’ve really beaten the heck out of mine over the last three quarters of a year and it’s holding up just fine. If you find yourself with some interest here… check out the following video featuring Yamaha’s Tony Escueta demonstrating the sounds and features of the keyboard… and if you think you might want to hook this board up to a computer and get into some digital recording, continue reading below the video and I’ll show you what else you need…

MOTU Audio Express ($395) • So where I went a lot cheaper on my big ticket item this year, I’m going a little more expensive on my middle-of-the-road suggestion because that’s what I feel is necessary for this particular piece of technology as I stick with the musical theme. You’ve got the computer, you’ve got the keyboard controller, now you need a way for the two to talk to each other, this is where the audio interface comes in… now as far as audio interfaces go, you can find much cheaper than the Audio Express… in fact for the most basic of interfaces you could go as low as $70 or so… but the durability, versatility and reputation of the Audio Express makes it worth the extra money, particularly if you consider the recipient more than your basic tinkerer. I’ve owned and used the cheaper models and I now swear by the Audio Express which has been steadily working in my studio for over two years now meeting all my varying needs and desires for audio input/output along the way.

MOTU Audio Express

I use a CP33 along with an Audio Express to interface with a Mac running Logic Studio Pro, which is a software app that’s basically just a super-souped up version of Garageband which comes for free on all new Macs, in fact I’m guessing that many of you have messed around with it at some point… well now imagine you were controlling all those ‘virtual instruments’ within Garageband from the external keyboard… that’s the versatility and functionality this combined $1400 set-up would bring to the computer-owning musician on your Christmas list.

Stocking Stuffers Under $30

Lynda.com

1 month of Lynda.com ($25)  As their webpage states, “Give the gift of knowledge”… and knowledge is exactly what’s delivered at Lynda.com… What is it? Lynda.com is an online archive of technology training videos geared towards those looking towards teaching themselves software applications and techniques. Lessons are presented in pretty much the same format you’d expect from a book. There’s an overview and a table of contents for every title as the user consumes the content either as one continuous movie or as dozens of smaller more focused ‘chapter’ videos… as the website allows you to bookmark your progress through any given lesson, I’d guess that most users split the learning process over several days watching the smaller movies in sequence. Also noteworthy is that most every lesson comes with downloadable exercise files so that you can follow along at home using the same files as in the video.

For the person in your life passionate about making things with computers, you can’t go wrong with this gift… plus, if your recipient had never heard of Lynda.com, you’ll get the credit for turning them on to it for the rest of time… Courses in 3D, animation, audio, business, design, developer, home computing, photography, video, web and interactive software packages represented… and even some Garageband training sessions to keep the theme rolling here… five of ’em in fact… so have it.

The Great Escape Artist

Jane’s Addiction – The Great Escape Artist ($12) > Only their 4th album in 23 years, its been an 8 year wait for the Great Escape Artist… and although there’s a couple misses, by and large this is a sometimes textural, sometimes all out rocking album that may not be a repeat of the bands seminal works of the late 80’s, but instead a representation of where they are today as both individuals and as a band. The album begins with ‘Underground’, a brilliant choice to start the album as it rises from harmony over dissonance and quickly finds a groove… breaks loose at the two-thirds mark into a tribal beat that then gives ways to a volcanic Navarro solo just to let you know he’s still in the house. Other exceptional tracks include the tribal, harmonic ‘Irresistible Force’, the departure from the typical Jane’s sound that is ‘Twisted Tales’ and the step back into the classic Jane’s sound embodied by the albums closing track ‘Words Right Out of My Mouth’.

I’ll conclude this year with a sampling of ‘End to the Lies’, 1 of 3 songs you’d consider radio singles from the Great Escape Artist… be forewarned before clicking play that this is an R-Rated video to be sure… I usually save the racier content for theScroll but as this is such a great piece of film-making, I thought I’d make an exception ;-)

A Merry Christmas to all and a healthy and prosperous New Year!

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Gift Ideas for Christmas 2010

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Mentioned on the air

It seems like just yesterday that we were doing this last year… hopefully 2010 treated you all well to the point where at least some of the following can be realistic suggestions. As always, we have one suggestion for those of you that are lottery winners, inheritance benefactors or willing to take out an equity line on your house… a second recommendation keeping it functional and under $200 for some of those more special on your list… and then bringing up the rear are some stocking stuffers in the under $30 range.

Mac Pro G5

Mac Pro G5 Dual 2.66 (12 Cores) ($10,550) • State-of-the-art is a term you’ve heard often that has probably lost all meaning to you over the years, but in this case… this is the fastest personal computer available for you to purchase… in the world… and to the right people, speed helps to enable some wonderful things, open fantastic doors. Truthfully, this machine most likely falls under the category of a gift you might buy for yourself if so inclined and financially able. This much speed and its associated cost will only be attractive to a small percentage of the computer buying public… but if you’re a pro photographer, film maker, video editor, sound designer or a recording musician… the power this computer brings to the table allows all these professions a tool unsurpassed. When you’re a practitioner of an art that’s “processor intensive” as the phrase goes, this computer allows you to work as fast as is currently possible, which considerably frees the artist to focus on the art.

Inside the G5

As configured this machine sports 16gb of RAM (32gb is the max) and (4) 2TB Hard drives (the max)… dual Super Drives for simple disc-to-disc dupes and (2) 27” Apple Cinema Displays that feed off of an ATI Radeon HD 5870 video card that has 1gb of onboard memory and will support up to (3) 27” Displays with no outside assistance. Also worth noting is that any of the 2TB drive bays I’ve already mentioned can be swapped out for 512gb Solid State drives adding even more speed to the world’s quickest PC… although those are $1,250 each (as compared to $300 for the 2TB drive which has 3 times the capacity). And to round out the dream machine configuration would be the software, this one comes with Aperture (pro photography), Final Cut Express (pro video) and Logic Studio (pro audio) pre-installed… and these all run on top of the world-class OS X operating system which of course ships with the machine. Good Hunting!

Airport Extreme ($179) • The term WI-FI has become ubiquitous in our collective vernacular over the last half-decade or so. Connecting our laptops, tablets and smart phones to home, office and classroom networks, most of us use WI-FI daily… never having paused to find out how or why it works, and that’s fine, in the end we find ourselves concerned with two factors; how fast am I accessing the internet? and how far can I get from the source before quality begins to degrade? Speed and Range. Those are the two aspects where Apple’s Airport Extreme and Airport Express excel. Having just recently upgraded my use of the stock 2wire Wireless Router that ships with AT&T’s DSL package to a combination of Extreme/Express components… the upgrade has been astounding. I’m sure the results are pretty much the same on a PC network, but for the record I can only vouch for performance on an Apple network.

Airport Extreme

In a nutshell, the Airport Extreme is the Base Station. If you currently use a DSL or Cable modem that also generates wireless, the Extreme, not a modem itself, would be connected to your current modem via ethernet cable and take over all functionality short of actually receiving the signal. The Airport Extreme supports 802.11 A, B, G and top-of-the-line N specifications. It also operates simultaneously on two different wireless bands to behave well with all sorts of devices… the slower 2.4GHz band used by iPod Touches and iPhones as well as the faster 5GHz band used by newer Macs as well as the AppleTV, a device where you especially want the fastest wireless speeds possible. Another cool feature of the Extreme is a USB port for the connection of a hard drive that can then be shared by all devices present on your network. If you have a MobileMe account you can even access this drive over the internet remotely. There’s a plethora of security options associated with the Extreme as well… if you’re interested, read about them here.

Airport Express

Airport Express ($99) • The second, smaller component that can be used to thoroughly enhance your Extreme-based wireless network would be the Airport Express. The Express is a much smaller wireless node that plugs directly into an electrical outlet, no cord. For me its most significant use is in conjunction with an Extreme as a wireless “repeater”. If your Extreme is set up in the basement let’s say… you can place an Express on the 1st and 2nd floors of your house to blanket the interior with a strong wireless signal… really handy if you’re using iPhone’s, iPad’s and Laptops as well. Another great feature is the analog/optical audio jack for connecting a stereo receiver or a pair of powered speakers. Once you’ve done that you can remotely play music from your iTunes library to any room in the house where you’ve set up an Express… and you can even remote control it wirelessly with a free app on your iPhone or Touch, beats tearing up the drywall… and rounding things out is a USB port. Connect a USB printer and then print to it from any device in the house, wirelessly.

Stocking Stuffers Under $30

Netflix

3-months of Netflix ($30) > I wrote about it last year, I’ll do so again as I believe it’s still a really great, economical idea that would really be appreciated by the uninitiated within your clan. The thing to consider is the ever-growing number of Netflix-enabled devices that are making their way into so many homes… Video game consoles, Apple TV’s, iPhones and Touches… just about every television monitor and DVD Player in production… how many of those on your list have the Netflix capability but are just unfamiliar with the Netflix service? Once you’ve found those folks on your list, a 3-month trial membership will be all that’s needed to prove its worth, especially at $10 a month… what price would you pay to watch Up In Smoke on your iPhone while falling asleep in bed? Sometimes I really love the times we live in.

The Lady Killer

Cee-Lo Green – The Lady Killer ($11) > At the end of a post this size, you wouldn’t think that picking a single album to recommend would be that big of a deal… but picking just one, that’s always next to impossible. But considering what the listeners to our particular show might enjoy… The Lady Killer is this years winner. Feeling on first pass as what you might label retro-R&B, repeated spins reveal the emergence of modern musical vernaculars that didn’t exist back in the Motown days. A big part of what makes this record great is that Cee-Lo has a phenomenal voice that gives you that righteous feeling, right up there with Luther Vandross and Al Green. “Love Gun” I can’t get out of my head… bits of Prince, Duffy, even Parliament… part Philly soul, part ghetto blaster anthem… and “The Lady Killer Theme” brings surf guitar and propulsion to the mix, sometimes reminding me of the English Beat before quick transitions to more of a Duane Eddy thing… this album covers a lot of ground and comes highly recommended for bringing a little warmth to an otherwise very cold winter.

A Merry Christmas to all!

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Gift Ideas For Christmas Time 2009.

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Mentioned on the air

Considering some of the discussion on the show of late… I’m going to kick off this seasons holiday gift suggestions with a disclaimer, which is; None of the companies whose products are mentioned below have sent me anything in the form of compensation… no cash payouts, no evaluation models, no bikini-clad supermodels (are you listening Go Daddy? I write one of these posts once a year and next December is right around the corner)… Actually, and I can almost guarantee this fact… none of these companies have the slightest inkling I’m writing about their products at all… this is all stuff I either own or use myself or have friends that have turned me on to… Also worth noting is that many of this years offerings will work on a Mac or a PC… but as you all know by now, everything is sweeter on a Mac…

As is the custom, I’ll start low and then go high with stocking stuffers at the end… I’ve dialed things back just a bit from last season when we were all flushed with disposable income right? That said, I’m a classic champagne taste with a beer pocketbook… I like to dream about gadgets I crave… and at the end of the day, cool stuff costs what cool stuff costs…

jBuds

1-Year MobileMe Subscription ($99) • I led off with this last year… and after some consideration, I’m gonna stick with it again this year because it’s still a great suggestion for someone you may know with a relatively current Mac that hasn’t yet tried MobileMe… The value really starts to kick in if the recipient has at least (2) devices… an iPhone or an iPod Touch and an iMac for example. MobileMe allows you to seamlessly keep all your devices in perfect sync… Bookmarks, Contacts, Calendars, Email, etc. MobileMe also allows you 20gb of remote storage space, like having a hard drive on the web… and all of your info is available to you from any web-connected computer in the world via me.com wrapped in the stunning Apple look & feel that we all so love… Posting your pictures to a pro feeling web slideshow only takes 3-clicks… and new this year (for the 3G devices) is the ability to locate a lost iPhone or iPod Touch on a Google map, lock the phone remotely, post a message to the device that will show up even if the device is locked and if worse comes to worst… remotely wipe the lost device of all data… pretty neat… and remember, all this functionality for about a quarter a day.

FLIP Ultra

Flip Ultra ($150) • It’s a YouTube world and we’re all just livin’ in it… and the product line of compact video recorders from Flip offer the most streamlined way of getting video from the street to the web… Now this isn’t a recommendation I’m making for everybody on your list… It’s best suited I believe for teens and folks in their 20’s where the main objective will simply be the posting of videos they’ve taken directly to the web… whether it’s YouTube, Facebook, TwitVid or the like… not that you can’t edit video taken with the Flip in a 3rd-party video editing app… but you can actually get much better raw video quality in hand-held camcorders that are cheaper than the Flip Ultra. The Flip’s claim to fame is its portability… no harder to tote around with you than your phone or iPod… Flip is currently offering (5) different models in its product line… I recommend the Flip Ultra mainly because it’s the most lenient for Mac system requirements (works back to Tiger on non-Intel Macs) as well as it featuring the extended 120-minute recording time and compatibility with the optional rechargeable battery pack that gives the device up to 4-1/2 hours of continuous operation. Ultra video is composite 960 x 240, which isn’t the best… but it’s definitely more than suitable for delivery on the web. You interface with your computer via a telescoping USB connector on the top of the device or can view your video directly on a television monitor using the supplied cables… Oh, and it will surprise you in low light situations… I used a friends in a dark gallery space recently and was blown away by the results… Not for everyone, but if you have one of those Web 2.0 birds on your list that you like to the tune of $150… look no further.

Autodesk Maya 3d Modeling & Animation Software ($3,495) • Just like last year in my ‘most expensive’ category… a product that’s definitely not for everyone… but if you know that special kid that’s interested in movie-making, special effects, architecture or set design… and most certainly your inventor types… this is the kind of software that can break an imagination wide open and set the user free in terms of being able to visualize what’s in their mind’s eye.

Maya 2010

Although you’ve most likely never heard of Maya, it’s a product with a long and storied history… the probable inception of what is now called Maya likely dates back to 1995 when Silicon Graphics purchased both Alias and Wavefront, two companies that offered software focused on differing aspects of 3d modeling and animation. Their source code was combined to market a product simply called Alias|Wavefront. As coders from the two merging companies began to work together… a new engine emerged that the developers codenamed Maya (sanskrit for “illusion”). In 1998 it was decided to roll all the code into one all-encompassing interface and the software was formally re-named Maya. Sold by SGI in 2003, the software was surprisingly owned briefly by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan before landing in its current, far more appropriate home with AutoDesk, the makers of AutoCAD, who purchased the company formerly known as Alias in October of 2005. Since then the software has continually been improved with Maya 2010, the third AutoDesk upgrade, having just recently hit store shelves.

Having been used on hundreds of Hollywood movies… most notably “Spider Man”, “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy”, “The Matrix”, “The Hulk” and “Terminator 3 : The Rise of the Machines”… make no mistake about the complexity of this software… Maya is to Google SketchUp what Word is to a post-it note… I’ve spent hundreds of hours inside of Maya and still feel as though I’ve merely cracked the surface. Photoshop is a program that allows beginners to ease in to being functional with the software and then reveals far more complex functionality for those who need it or choose to seek it out… Maya is not such a program… instead, it’s pretty complex right from jumpstreet… but for the right person, the cost of the software is balanced by the shear power of what you can make.

Stocking Stuffers Under $30

Netflix

3-months of Netflix ($27) > Admittedly, I’m a johnny-come-lately to the Netflix bandwagon… I spent at least a couple years saying ‘why would I want that?’ But then one night early last Summer I headed over to the local Blockbuster looking for a title that I wouldn’t really call obscure… and struck out completely… a closer look revealed that the local video store seems to be heading down the road of the local record store… large quantities of only the most popular titles… so I went home and dialed up Netflix on the web… read about it briefly and signed up… fast forward here a few months and I’ve seen every episode ever of “Rescue Me” and “Sons of Anarchy”… and I’m now two seasons into “The Shield”… all of this and I’ve still never physically tuned in to the FX cable network… pretty sweet… I’m sold… and as I watch DVD’s on the computer while I work, I’ve been pretty diligent about getting them back in the mail the day after I receive them which has equated to (2) discs a week on average or about $1 per rental (Blockbuster=$4.42). It’s also worth noting that Netflix allows you to stream hundreds of movies directly to your (Intel-based) Mac to keep you busy while you’re waiting on your next disc… So if you know someone on your list that hasn’t yet tried Netflix… this could end up a really cool gift on the cheap… All you need to know right here.

Ghosts I-IV

Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I-IV ($10 or free) > This 2-disc set, although not released in 2009, has made the list for a couple of reasons. First, it has really grown on me over the last year and a half as great music to have playing (on the computer) when you’re focused on some task other than listening to music… 36 instrumental tracks that span many different moods and tempos while always remaining a great backing track… part of the reason I believe Reznor will be doing a lot more soundtrack work now that he has disbanded NIN… and the second reason is the price. Free to download in high-quality mp3 format and only $10 for the physical 2-disc set by mail… the fact that this is cheaper than the latest Britney Spears offering is just another in a long line of music industry ironies.

So that’s what I’ve got for this holiday season… if you’d like to leave some suggestions of your own… please click the Comments link just below and tap ’em in…

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Back to School Gear.

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Apple Culture

It’s odd for me to write on the subject of a “back to school” computer because when I was in school that would have been a thousands of dollars proposition. We got ’em when it was possible, sometimes borrowed one, pooled ’em together from time to time… and in a pinch, headed to the schools computer labs which mostly sucked as 3 years old was the newest machine you’d ever find… but those days are behind us… these days you can go as low as $700 for a competent personal laptop on the PC side of things. That’s what I’m told at least by my PC brethren… I wouldn’t know as I’ve always spent a bit more for a Mac…

Lemons Icon

Once all is said and done, it’s a question of price vs. user-experience… what’s more important to you? I would argue that no matter which of these two choices describe you… the answer is still to buy a Mac… and here’s why…

If its the user-experience you choose… a Mac is the hands-down winner… Macs run OS X, the slickest most fluid operating system out there, about to get even leaner and meaner with the release of Snow Leopard next month. Out of the box, a Macintosh includes software to manage your pictures in iPhoto… to import, edit and release your video with iMovie… Core Audio coupled with Garageband is a great start on a digital audio studio… Integrated .ZIP compression, .PDF and .DOC recognition. A world-class browser in Safari, mail client in Apple Mail and contacts database with Address Book… etc, etc… all of which can be sync’d and backed up to the cloud at Apple.com. Macs can open Word, Excel and Powerpoint files, so bust that myth… and any peripheral you want to connect to your machine over time will do so seamlessly… and then that one last big time saver… you won’t get any viruses. You won’t have to spend your time combatting them either… How much is that worth?

Closed MacBook Pro

Which is why I believe that a Mac is the price winner as well… how much is your time worth that you’re spending doing battle with all this invasive crap that’s trying to fight its way into your PC? How many additional dollars will you have to spend to equip your $700 PC with the sort of software functionality a Mac has right out of the box? And how time-consuming will the trial and error be as you fight your way towards a system where everything is working together?

That’s why Macintoshes cost more… and I don’t mind that they do… never have. I’ve always been able to see the difference in what I was getting for my money… appreciative most of the time just for the fact that an Apple Computer exists… and let’s not forget about the Apple Store… don’t believe me? Go to your local Apple Store and test drive all this for yourself… it’s free, what have you got to lose?

Open MacBook Pro

So let’s say I’ve made my point… you’re sold and want to know which Mac to buy… well here’s what I’ll tell you… balance what you can afford with the increased speed, memory and storage a more expensive model offers.

At the extreme entry level, Apple currently sells one MacBook that doesn’t include the “Pro” designation. This MacBook sells for $999 and includes a 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 megs of RAM and a 160GB hard drive… I couldn’t really recommend this computer to anyone other than a grade schooler or for a new computer user that’s truly starting from scratch. From there you move to the MacBook Pros…

Apple currently offers two flavors of 13″ MacBook Pro starting at $1199, three flavors of 15″ starting at $1699 and the sole 17″ offering priced at $2499… Bigger monitors, more cash… more RAM and hard drive space, larger video cache… more money… pretty standard in the electronics biz… the more you pay, the more you get. Click here to compare the six Apple MacBook Pros side by side…

And if budget is simply too strong of an issue but you still want to rustle that Mac… then the refurbished market might be a good place to go… get your search started here in the Apple Store as Apple offers the 1-year warranty as well as free shipping… Other options are here at PowerMax or here at Refurbished MacBook Deals…

And one last thing to put out there… in 2009 it seems odd to recommend a desktop computer in a “back to school” themed post… but for some this might end up making the most sense as you get more bang for your buck on the desktop side… and for those that need to do image manipulation, video or audio work at a more complex level… a desktop could seriously be the way to go… especially if the need for mobility isn’t that great… something to think about at least…

Happy shopping.

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18 Random Things That Stink About Facebook.

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

On the Air Icon

As the world continues the Facebook love fest… I thought I’d explore the other side of things… those things that get under your skin about Facebook… not necessarily something wrong with Facebook itself… but rather in how people choose to use it…

fblogo

And as there’s a lot of ways to experience Facebook beyond the way I do… I thought I’d leave some room for everyone else to add to my list… I’ve seeded you with the first 15… read ’em, and if you have one that I haven’t covered… post it to the comments… I’ll grab the best ones and add ’em to the list.

The disclaimer here is that much of the following is written with tongue-in-cheek (I’m laying it on thick with the wise-crackin’)… so keep the hate mail to a minimum… especially if you find yourself falling under more than a couple of the following categories…

badpic

1 > It’s called Facebook. So why use an underexposed, poorly focused picture taken from across the room of you with 4 of your BFF’s? In this age of a free digital camera when you open a new checking account, is it really that hard to produce a decent picture of yourself? If someone searches for you, they need to have a reasonable chance of recognizing you from the photo you’ve posted… That’s the point right? Maybe it’s just me…

2 > And continuing that theme… posting a picture of something “not” your face… although sometimes funny and perhaps descriptive of your existence in some meaningful way… is still NOT your face… and to the next person who thinks how clever the ubiquitous Che Guevara icon would be for their picture… know that you’re about the 2 millionth person to have this thought… There should be a Facebook Group of Che’s…

3 > Virtual swag… flowers, chocolate boxes, easter eggs… what good is this stuff going to do me in tough economic times? Feel free to use that donation button though… My PayPal creds are available upon request.

4 > Those of you who are linking your Twitter feeds to your Facebook status updates… perhaps the original ‘tweet’ is serviceable… but then your replies to friends who comment on your tweet (which also post to your Facebook status) are just clogging up my news feed. Consider yourself a ‘see less of this person’

beerbong

5 > Parents that set up a Facebook account just so they can see what their kids are doing… sounds noble… but I’m connected to some of your kids and can tell you with very little hesitation that you don’t want to see what they’re up to… Now I’m talking about college-aged kids here and I need you to just take my word for it on this one…

6 > Don’t “Rank” your friends… nothing good can come of this.

7 > Those that make their home address a part of their profile… believe it or not it’s a much scarier world outside your quaint suburban enclave… and they all have the internet too. Posting pictures of your adorable 5 and 7 year old’s right next to your home address is a recipe for disaster dont’cha think?

8 > Publicizing the ends of relationships… all that will do is open the flood gates for condolences posted to your wall… these are as public as if someone spray-painted them onto your actual wall. A quiet, simple change to your relationship status is all that is necessary.

9 > Write a small ‘personal message’ when making a friend request… how hard is that? If I haven’t seen you in 25 years and your maiden name has vanished… maybe I need a little jog of the memory to remember we were tight in Freshman year homeroom… plus, would you walk up to someone in a bar, nudge ’em and grunt “be my friend?” Conversation is a dying art… Facebook is still a community. Communicate like your Momma taught you.

whopper

10 > If you de-friended me for 1/10th of a Whopper Sandwich… don’t be offended when I won’t take your dumb-ass back.

11 > If you’re on Facebook… never again complain about, or use the term “big brother” negatively… you’re likely more a part of the problem than the solution… but don’t worry about it… the world let that cat out of the bag quite some time ago….

12 > Those that post their phone numbers on their Facebook profiles… nothing good can come of this either… Believe me when I say that Facebook could care less about your privacy… post only your email address… and preferably not your primary email address… use an off-shore gmail or hotmail account that’s easily jettisoned if you ever get in too deep… that way, if someone needs to call you they can drop you an email for your cell number… seems like a reasonable filter in our mad, mad world.

13 > I agree that mobile updating is a pretty cool feature… but does the world really need to know that you’re stuck at an unusually long stop light? Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should

14 > And on the same topic of status updates… if communicating the minutae of your day is what interests you… “I sooo wish work/school was over…” Isn’t Twitter the more appropriate tool for that? At least then I’d only see it if I subscribed to it (you)… The Facebook What’s on your mind? should have a higher calling I think… share something of value to the community with a link or a picture… or at least offer an observation or write something cryptic or clever… it’s not possible all the time I know… but I’m also not interested in the fact that your kids have been bickering all day.

narcissism

15 > And in an ode to the title of this post… if something is making the rounds on Facebook that appears a bit narcissistic… it probably is… as my friend Patrick Crispen’s Dad taught him… if you don’t want to see it on the cover of the New York Times… don’t ever write it down… words to live by sho’nuff.

16 > From Badger > What’s that, friend? You’re throwing a party? Your band is playing a show? Here’s a thought…HOW ABOUT A PHONE CALL?!? Even an email would suffice… If you have an event you hope for me to attend, I recommend you make me aware in a manner more direct than bundling a FB invite in with myriad Lil’Green Patch requests that I already am bitter about having to constantly ignore.

17 > It sucks when you read a friends status update… think of a clever, witty comment… only to scroll down and realize that 7 other people have beat you to it.

18 > How about when you post a new status update or comment on one of your friends updates… you read it over once or twice before submitting… then you post it just to realize you misspelled a word or made a grammatical error.

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Live From MacWorld.

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

On the Air Icon

Today I walked the floor at MacWorld… and walked and walked… my dogs are barking sho’nuff… For the uninitiated, MacWorld occurs early every January at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Two huge halls filled with nothing but companies making Mac-related products of one sort or another… Everything from controlling your toaster with your iPhone… to 60 terabyte RAID arrays for when that home movie project goes awry.

MacWorld Logo

If you read newspapers or watch television you’re no doubt aware that Apple has been the anchor tenant at MacWorld since its inception. They have also recently announced that this will be their last year in attendance citing the success of their growing web of Apple Stores serving the purpose of a hundred MacWorld’s (in the words of Apple VP Philip Schiller).

To add to the dismay of the faithful, Steve Jobs did not deliver his annual keynote this year… the customary spotlight every January where he announces Apple’s game-changing product debuting in the coming months… the original iMac, the iPod, the iTunes Store and the iPhone were all debuted by Steve Jobs at MacWorld in years past… So whether it was his health, no “bombshell” product to announce, the long drive up to San Francisco from Cupertino… whatever it was that kept him away… those who attended last year and saw Jobs keynote where he announced the MacBook Air… they saw the end of an era. Sort of went out on a whimper… but if you’re a long time Mac person, Jobs at MacWorld always came with a little anticipation before the fact… like the eccentric, hip Uncle who stops by once a year and gives you something cool that you’ve never seen before.

Steve Jobs giving MacWorld keynote

But that’s that with that. All over now… on to an Appleless MacWorld future. My best guess is that IDG, the company that owns and runs MacWorld, simply irritated Steve Jobs. In such a way as to be fatal within the world view that Steve holds. He simply told IDG and their silly conference to beat it. Don’t be surprised if as his last act as commander-in-chief of Apple Computer… Steve Jobs (with consulting by Steve Wozniak of US Festival fame) conceptualizes and builds AppleWorld, doing for the annual Mac Summit what toasters did for bread. Take that IDG. I’ll go on the record predicting one maybe two more MacWorlds tops before it’s no longer profitable and dies. First we lost Adobe (a big deal to many of us) and now Apple has bowed out… That would be the whole shooting match as they say.

Apple at MacWorld

Anyhow… Apple’s presence at this, their final MacWorld, was fine… Massive exhibit right inside the North Hall doors with a row of a hundred iMacs creating the outer border around the AppleSphere… stocked with all the Apple software and manned by about fifty, always knowledgeable people wearing Apple shirts… sort of like the Disney World of Apple Store’s. I spent a good half hour talking about USB powered external audio interfaces with the first Apple rep that spoke to me… and he definitely knew his stuff… left me wishing I had about 3 grand burning a hole in my pocket. Que sera.

One thing I’ve got to say is a good 25% of the exhibitors were selling nothing more than cases. Cases for the iPods, the iPhones, the iBooks… Definitely some case overkill going on… How many cases do we need? A lot apparently… But I digress.

Some of my highlights…

iMac stand by Rain

A company called Rain that I had never heard of before is making some of the coolest iMac stands you can imagine. I’m not an iMac kind of guy but I caught myself standing there seriously contemplating what I might be able to use one for just so I could own this stand… check it out.

Ambrosia Software, a long-time supplier of cool, cost-effective tools for my own projects… are out with an updated version of WireTap Studio. For any of you who’d like to record audio that’s coming out of your Mac… like internet radio, or DRM protected songs from iTunes (you didn’t hear that here)… this is your tool. It’s also great for podcasting and a lot of other audio activities… check it out here.

TurboMouse Exhibit

The TurboMouse museum at the Kensington exhibit was slicker than grease. I’ve owned every TurboMouse since the very first one came out and they had every last one of them in a single museum like display. A very nostalgic moment for me… so thanks Kensington… and for anyone with any interest in trackballs… check out there new SlimBlade which they were debuting at MacWorld… having tried it though, it’s not beefy enough for my tastes… I’m sticking with my ExpertMouse… cheaper, completely programmable and BEEFIER!

And on a cynical note… having a long time hate/hate relationship with Quark Express… it was my great pleasure to see that their booth has shrunk to the point where it’s on the verge of falling off the face of the earth. Which goes to show you… treat your customers as though they’re vermin that are privileged to be using your software… customers that you try to nickel and dime with Gold and Platinum “support packages” when all they want is a simple answer to a question on the $1000 software they just bought from you… eventually all those customers will leave you like rats from a sinking ship for the new cool kid on the block (Can I get an InDesign? Thanks for the help Adobe).

All for now. Maybe another post tomorrow, maybe not… I’m sort of Mac’d out if you know what I mean.

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