Archive for the 'Cult of Mac' Category

Dell finally gives in to Apple

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Dell: “OK Apple, you were right. You do design the best-looking laptops. So rather than trying to innovate, we’ll just copy yours (badly)!”

That has to be the ugliest-looking keyboard I’ve ever seen. And those Intel and Windows stickers plastered all over it really add to its sexy appeal. πŸ˜‰

They must really be getting desperate. Let’s hope Apple doesn’t sue them for copying their innovative style, eh?

[via Daring Fireball]

Ars reviews the Motorola Xoom

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Ars Technica’s in-depth review of the Motorola Xoom tablet includes this nugget:

Getting music onto the device wasn’t as straightforward as I had hoped. Most Android phones have limited internal storage capacity and are built with the assumption that the user will store media on a microSD card. The Xoom, however, has lots of internal storage and, at the present time, no working microSD slot.

This is an issue because Android typically doesn’t allow the user to mount the system’s internal flash memory as a conventional mass storage device. You can’t just plug the Xoom into a USB port to drag and drop your music onto the filesystem.

The Xoom uses the MTP protocol to expose the user-visible parts of the device’s internal storage to a desktop computer. MTP tends to work pretty well-out-of-the-box on Windows, but Mac OS X users will need to install the Android File Transfer program. Unfortunately, no such application is available for Linux users. If you want to access the Xoom’s internal storage through Linux, your best bet is to try mtpfs, a FUSE-based MTP protocol implementation.

And people moan about iTunes…

iPad Launch Roundup

Monday, April 5th, 2010

No doubt you’ve heard that the iPad was launched on the weekend. Naturally most Apple blogs have been falling over themselves to post hands-on reviews, opinions and pics. Here’s the cream of the crop:

Why some people will never buy an iPad

Even before the iPad went on sale, Cory Doctorow stirred things up with a debate about the closed nature of the iPad and its OS. Personally I agree more with John Gruber’s stance on the matter – the iPad is a tool, not something to hack on – although you have to respect Cory’s commitment to the principles of open computing.

Hands-on reviews of the iPad

Before the iPad was officially launched, Michael Arrington managed to get a first look at a chained-to-the-desk iPad via an app developer. Cheeky!

On launch day, Engadget breathlessly covered the frenzy at the New York Apple Store, and Joshua Topolsky gave us a nice thorough review of the iPad’s hardware, software and battery life, and also took a look at the official iPad accessories.

Now that the early adopters have their mucky paws on their iPads, more hands-on reviews are coming in. Leander posted his positive first impressions over at Cult of Mac, then followed it up later with a useful iPad review “for the rest of us”. John Biggs of CrunchGear gave his first impressions (“Groundbreaking or not, it’s still amazing“).


News Roundup: Cut-out Jobs, Odd Apple iPhone Film Ban, no WP7 Copy & Paste, & More

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Here are some interesting and fun Apple stories I’ve read in the last week or so:

  • Make a cut-out Steve Jobs: With a bit of work and lots of patience, you can create your very own turtlenecked Apple CEO cubee using nothing but paper, scissors and a scalpel. And if that whets your appetite, why not make your own Apple product launch, complete with baying Apple fans? Essential accessories for any desk. πŸ™‚
  • iPad apps: Looks like the iPad is going to hit the ground running app-wise when it launches next week. Mac Rumours revealed various apps from the yet-to-be-launched iPad app store, as well as Filemaker’s Bento for the iPad. Meanwhile, Boy Genius Report has a list – with screenshots – of 60 upcoming iPad apps. Can’t wait to see what other apps the iPad will have at launch.
  • Apple bans protective films from its stores: For some strange reason that no-one can fathom, Apple has banned all sales of films that protect the screens of iPhones, iPods and more from scratches. iLounge follows up this story with a selection of possible theories from readers.
  • Windows Phone 7 won’t have copy & paste: Engadget reports that WP7 won’t have the ability to select, cut, copy or paste text or other content. It appears Microsoft copies Apple in all things – not just when adding features, but even when it comes to leaving features out. πŸ˜‰ Talking of missing features, it sounds like a future version of the iPhone OS may finally bring us a unified mailbox.
  • Watching movies on your iPhone: James Cameron has opined on the stupidity of watching films on your iPhone (as did David Lynch in no uncertain terms a while back). However, if, after all that, you do fancy watching a movie or two then MoviePeg looks like a very handy iPhone accessory to have. Clever design too!
  • Opera Mini for iPhone coming soon: Here’s a video of it in action – looks super-fast (assuming you don’t mind Opera’s servers caching all of the sites you browse). The question is: Will Apple approve it?
  • The dangers of carrying a Mac Pro: Finally, if you’re 4ft 6in tall, don’t even think about carrying a 40-pound Mac Pro up a flight of stairs…

Oh, and before I forget: Happy 9th Birthday, Mac OS X! πŸ™‚

Should You Buy a Mac?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009


My esteemed colleague (and fellow Mac user) Simon Meek recently wrote a piece about why designers tend to use Macs. This got me thinking: Why did I buy a Mac? I’m more of a coder/”computer nerd” than a designer. And what sort of people (apart from designers) are Macs suited to?

Here are some handy guidelines to help you decide whether or not a Mac is right for you. First, some good reasons to buy a Mac…

You should buy a Mac if:
  • You’re a creative type. Macs are very well suited to designers (as already mentioned), musicians, artists, photographers, and folks in the film and TV industries. Pretty much all the best creative software is available for the Mac (some of it is Mac-only), and many creative studios run mainly Mac networks.
  • You want to edit your photos and movies. Macs come bundled with Apple’s iLife: a very nice, easy to use software suite that lets you edit photos and movies, and create slideshows and DVDs, right out of the box. No third party software to buy.
  • You want a computer for the living room. This is partly personal taste, but Macs simply look nicer in the living room than pretty much any PC. iMacs are also whisper quiet so there’s no annoying fan noise, and Apple makes an effort to reduce the amount of cables needed (and even makes the cables look relatively pleasant!). You can even wall-mount an iMac these days, and a 27-inch version has just come out. Front Row and the Apple Remote are also a great way to watch movies and view slideshows from the comfort of the sofa.
  • You want something that “just works”. Sure, Macs crash and burn just like any computer (sometimes quite spectacularly). On the whole, though, you’ll probably find a Mac to be easier to use and more trouble-free than the average Windows or Linux box. Apple pays a lot of attention to ease of use and stability; having control over both the hardware and the operating system really helps here too.
  • You’re used to Unix. If you’re a fan of Unix-derivatives such as Linux or FreeBSD (but are fed up with tinkering with your computer all the time) then you’ll be right at home with Mac OS X. You can mess about on the command line; compile stuff with gcc; get stuck into shell scripting, and so on.

Macs aren’t for everyone though. Here are some reasons to buy a PC instead… (more…)

The funniest Apple videos of all time

Friday, January 9th, 2009

There’s something about the cult of Apple and Steve Jobs that lends itself well to comedy and spoof videos. In no particular order, here are 15 of the funniest ever videos on an Apple or Mac theme – in my oh-so-humble opinion. πŸ˜‰

1. South Park Mac vs. PC …

Because, at the end of the day, all computers suck.

2. … and vs. Linux

“Batman’s nemesis?”

“Frank Sinatra?”

3. Feline Mac user

Macs are so simple, even kittens can use them…


10 ways that Windows is better than Mac OS

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Having used both Windows and Mac OS X over the years, there’s little doubt in my mind that my Mac is, overall, nicer to use than any Windows PC. And of course, this is a Mac blog, so many of my posts invariably end up singing the praises of Macs and all things Apple.

However, as it’s the season of goodwill and all, I thought it fitting to redress the balance and list 10 things that Windows does better than Mac OS

1. Windows is more customizable

Change the desktop theme – including wallpaper, taskbar, window styles and fonts – to anything you like. Try doing that on a Mac.

2. Windows is more compatible

Let’s face it – practically all software and peripherals out there support Windows. (Though the Mac is getting better all the time in this regard.)

3. Choose your own hardware

With Windows you’re not tied into one manufacturer with a limited product range like you are with Mac OS (Psystar notwithstanding). On a budget? Any cheap clone will run Windows. Want something that exactly matches your lifestyle or situation? The range of PC options is huge so you’re bound to find something that suits.

4. Better keyboard shortcuts

You can access any menu option in a Windows app with 2 or 3 keystrokes, and they’re the same standard keystrokes on any Windows PC. With Mac apps you’re limited to the shortcuts chosen by the app developer. (You can add your own shortcuts on a per-app basis, but then you have to remember which shortcuts you’ve added for each app. And what happens if you get a new Mac, or use a friend’s? You have to redo all your shortcuts again!)

Furthermore, you can access pretty much all controls in any Windows dialog or window via the keyboard. Mac OS lets you turn on so-called “full keyboard access”, but there are still many things you can’t do with the keyboard (try moving from the Calendars pane to the Day/Week/Month View pane in iCal, for example, or activating the all-important Scan button in Image Capture). (more…)

iTunes movie rentals: Are they worth it?

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

This is probably old news if you’re Stateside (or Europe-side, for that matter), but recently Apple launched iTunes Store movie rentals over here in Australia. I thought I’d give it a spin.

Now, generally I don’t touch DRM-encumbered content – if I buy something, I should be able to do what I like with it, right? – but I figured that movie rentals are a different ball game. Obviously, without some sort of DRM, the concept of renting a movie online wouldn’t work. So, fair enough I guess. And the movies on the iTunes Store are only AUD $3.99 to rent, which ain’t too bad.

However, the range of movies available is tiny, weighing in at around 700 movies last time I checked. There’s also a lot of crap on there; I can’t see myself renting Uptown Girls or Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine any time soon. (Are the movie choices as bad in other iTunes Store countries?)

We decided to rent Groundhog Day, which is one of the better movies available. The process of renting the movie was pretty much as straightforward as buying an album, though it did ask me to authorize my Mac twice. The download weighed in at 1.2GB, which took a couple of hours to download over my ADSL line. (more…)

Insider mentions “The Brick”, Apple blogs go crazy

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Earlier this month the 9to5Mac blog dropped a hint of a future Apple product known as The Brick, alleged to be unveiled at an Apple event on 14th October. Since then, the Apple rumour mill has been in full effect, with all sorts of wild speculation on various Apple blogs as to what The Brick could be. We have the following gems on offer:

  • iPhone Savior kicked off by speculating that it’s a sub-notebook of some sort. Let’s hope it’s lighter than a real brick. A few days later they hedged their bets by suggesting The Brick is actually the bastard son of the Mac Pro and Mac Mini – A Mac Mini Pro, in fact.
  • Computerworld has a nice theory: The Brick is a kind of wireless docking station that features a USB hub, allowing you to wirelessly connect your MacBook to the peripherals on your desktop. I like this one.
  • Meanwhile, over on the MacRumors forums there have been some interesting ideas from the punters, including a squarer, sharper MacBook; a MacBook without the accompanying “brick” power adapter; a tablet Mac; and a MacBook power brick that doubles up as SuperDrive, ethernet port etc.
  • Finally, Macenstein claims to have solved the riddle: “The Brick” refers to a product that will beat Microsoft Windows to a pulp. You know – a brick through a window and all that? Sounds a bit tenuous to me personally. But we’ll see.

Sheesh – two small words are leaked and the bloggers start spreading the rumours like wildfire. Erm… including me. Ah well, never mind! πŸ™‚

Have a Mac UI gripe? Tell the world!

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Here’s an interesting new site: Aqua Taskforce. Launched last month, it’s the Mac version of the Aero Taskforce website for Windows users, which has been around for a few months.

Essentially, Aqua Taskforce is a bug tracking site that’s confined to OS X user interface quirks and annoyances, rather than full-on bugs. You register and login, then you can post your Mac gripes for all to see, vote for/against, and comment on. Sometimes the discussions get quite lively, as one person’s meat is often another’s poison (as evidenced by the comments in my recent 10 usability lows of Mac OS X post).

My favourites include List the apps that prevents unmounting (how nice would that be!), Dialog windows lack keyboard shortcuts and tabbing (by default), and the old classic, No Cut option in the Finder. πŸ™‚

On the one hand, the idea seems rather pointless as presumably no Apple engineers are seriously looking at the site for bugs to fix (though the site’s creator reckons that various Microsoft types are scanning Aero Taskforce, so you never know). Then again, because Apple isn’t the most open of companies when it comes to feedback, it’s nice for people to be able to publicly share their Mac UI grievances and feel a bit of love from like-minded users. It’ll be interesting to see if the site pans out over the coming months.