The Boyce Blog: January 2009

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

iLife 09 report

I mean to try every part of iLife 09: iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb, and Garage Band. Hard to do it all in one sitting so we’ll take it a piece of a time. Tonight’s installment: iPhoto 09.

iPhoto 09 retains the familiar look of iPhoto 08 (and others) so if you’d used iPhoto before this new version won’t be hard to navigate. You’ll notice two new features right off the bat: Faces, and Places. Faces helps you organize your photos based on who is in them. Places helps you organize your photos based on where you took them.

Try this link for a video intro to iPhoto 09, courtesy of Apple. It covers everything you need to know. Click here for a list of video tutorials for iPhoto 09, also courtesy of Apple.

The installation of iLife 09 and the conversion of my existing iPhoto 08 database took over an hour. Not bad. I made sure I had a backup of my iPhoto database before I did the installation, of course. So should you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Apple's still in business

By now everyone’s written about Steve Jobs taking a little break for health reasons. Two themes have been repeated:

  1. Is Steve OK?
  2. Is there life for Apple after Steve Jobs?
The answer to number 1 is “we don’t know.” Rumors have him considering a liver transplant. No truth to the rumor that Apple is developing the “iLiver” in several colors.

The answer to number 2 is “yes, at least for now.” Apple is going great guns, selling more stuff than ever. Their earnings report for the first quarter of the fiscal year (which is the last quarter of the calendar year) impressed the socks off of the “analysts.” By the way, in case any of you are looking for the easy job of all time, be an “analyst.” I think I might try it myself.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Macworld Expo Report 2.0

Macworld Expo’s over-- hopefully, just for this year, but possibly forever. Rumors are swirling that Apple will go to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next year (which means that I might get to finally attend that show, since it’s always conflicted with Macworld). In fact, some sources say that Apple’s already paid for their booth. We’ll see about that.

Highlights of the show (at least for me):

  • A new iLife package from Apple, with an iPhoto that recognizes faces. You have to see it to believe it.
  • A new iWork package from Apple, improving an already very-nice-to-use alternative to Microsoft Office.
  • A nifty to-do list manager called “Things,” with an accompanying iPhone application.
  • Free samples of a new “smart drink” called BrainToniq, which I believe is still working for me.
  • Free coffee in Acura’s “coffee lounge,” decorated with their latest line of cars.

Memo to future Macworld Expo exhibitors: free drinks are good.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Macworld Expo Keynote

Well, it’s come and gone-- the 2009 Macworld Expo keynote speech. You can watch all 90 minutes of it, including a couple of songs by Tony Bennett-- here’s the link. I have to say that Phil Schiller did an admirable job, considering what he was up against.

Here’s the keynote in a nutshell:

There’s a new version of iLife coming out this month, which means updated iPhoto, Garage Band, iWeb, and iMovie.

The highlight of iLife: face-recognition in iPhoto. It can find a face in a photo and if you tell it who that face belongs to, iPhoto will search its database of photos and make an album of other pictures with that face in it. Neat. I can’t wait to try it. But I’ll have to wait until the end of January, same as everyone else. The new iMovie is pretty neat too (watch the first 40 minutes of the keynote speech and you’ll see iPhoto and iMovie demonstrated).

iWork is also getting an upgrade. I already liked iWork but I’m looking forward to seeing the new version.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro has been updated. Now it looks like the other MacBook Pro models (aluminum case, big-clicker trackpad). Its battery is supposed to give you 8 hours of use but you can’t take it out yourself. It’s all sealed up, like an iPhone’s.

I’ll be at Macworld Thursday to see it all in person, and if it’s super-groovy I will let you know all about it.

Meanwhile, here’s a link to the new iPhoto goodies, and another link to the new iMovie stuff.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Macworld Expo Report 1.0

Coming Soon (January 10th, 2009 at 10 AM): it’s the Christian Boyce Macworld Expo Report, live from San Francisco. I’ll tell you all about the groovy stuff I saw at Macworld and I’ll tell you what I found out about Steve Jobs and I’ll tell you whether there will be a Macworld Expo next year or not.

KPFK, 90.7 FM in Los Angeles at 10 AM January 10th, or streaming on the web via this link.

Website of the Day

If you have a Mac, you have a copy of Apple’s iCal calendar. It’s a nice little calendar, and it syncs with the iPhone, and there’s almost no reason not to use it. Especially when someone else types in the information! That’s where MarkThisDate comes in. MarkThisDate has zillions of calendars that are yours for the clicking-- they jump right into your iCal and you can easily turn them off by unchecking a checkbox, or delete them all at once with just a couple of clicks.

By the way, the calendars are free.

Here are a couple of handy calendars to get you started.

NFL Playoff Schedule (updated as the playoffs progress)
California Golden Bears Football Schedule (updated as games are added and changed)
Moon Phases

Note: when you click those links you’ll be taken to iCal, where a box will appear asking you some questions about this new calendar that you are about to add. The key: tell the calendar to REFRESH every day (or at some other interval). You want it to refresh because you want updated information. For example, the NFL Playoff calendar as of this writing shows that San Diego beat Indianapolis in overtime, and that Arizona beat Atlanta. Very nice.

iPhone idea of the Week

So brilliantly simple, today’s idea is this: use your iPhone to take a picture of where your car is parked. When you return, have a look at the picture, and that’s that. It’s a huge help in those huge parking structures-- just get a photo showing “B45” or whatever the sign is next to your car, and when you come back for your car you’ll have a visual reminder.

Happy New Year.