13 , 2000
Mail Bag 2: Some Like it Cool
Bonus points for mocking me, Dave, who shows himself to be a true Road Hog. Gotta love it. But you didn't paint the wood black to match the PowerBook?
Lumber also fails to address the swiveling feature that CoolBack offers, especially handy for presentations. The other cool tool for presentations is one that I mentioned in the first edition of Road Hog, the KeySpan Digital Remote. It has preset maps for use with QuickTime; Apple DVD, CD and audio players; SoundJam,; RealPlayer; the Finder; and PowerPoint ... although I'd prefer if all you stayed away from PowerPoint. Use Director or QT Player instead. A utility is provided that allows users to define key maps for additional applications.
Dave Blancas from Redondo Beach, Calif.yo, people with names other than Dave are welcome to write, toosent me a press release from KeySpan dated last week that announces a major price reduction, from $79 to $49. There's now not one reason under the sun not to grab this thing ... although I couldn't find anything on Keyspan's Web site or at any of the usual sales sites indicating this lower price yet.
Hogs on ACID
There's no question that Windows users are better at wasting time, which is the heart of my explanation for a booming economy with so many people still in trouble.
My boss here at Road Hog, also named Dave, is a noted Libertarian who might blame this torpor on the stalemate derived from our one party political system that uses the illusion of two parties as an excuse for making politicians rich at our expense without actually accomplishing anything that helps anyone but themselves and their buddies, and I mostly agree with him. But no explanation of the nation's ills is complete without laying a significant portion of the blame at the feet of Windows.
I just don't think it's any accident that the one part of Windows that kicks Mac's ass is the productivity killing Solitaire and, worse, the Microsoft Hearts Network. See? It's not enough for them to just include Hearts. They're warning you that they're trying to suck every bit of productivity that they possibly can out of you by putting their own name on it!
But there are occasions when you need to run Windows software, which is why I so heartily recommended Connectix's Virtual PC in an earlier column. It gives you the best of both worlds, enabling you to run that bogus OS in a little window on your Mac desktop, where it can't do any real harm, and allows you to run it on a real computera Mac.
Last week I discovered an extremely powerful creative application that runs only on Windows, a loop-based music composition program called ACID from Sonic Foundry. The reason why I mention it in this context is that it kicks the ass of anything on the Mac, and once you install it into Virtual PC, you can kiss your productivity goodbye.
I could go on at considerable length about all the details of this program and its multi-genre library of professionally recorded loops, about things like unlimited tracks, realtime playback, tempo matching, adjustable pitch and generating and chasing MIDI timecode. It's fast; it's easy; and it's so much fun that you'll want to spend all your time playing with it. You can see it here (much reduced) living inside Windows, living inside a window on my Mac desktop.
The loops that you can see pictured were provided free on Sonic's Web site, and they're by Butch Vig of Garbage and New York underground legend Bill Laswell. If techno's not your flavah, you can also download loops in jazz, rock, hip hop and other genres. If all this isn't bad enough, they've actually got a 100 percent free version, limited to only eight tracks, but otherwise outrageous fun.
So a Road Hog doesn't have to lie, there really are a couple of fun things you can do with WIndows. It's just that all of them are more fun if you do them on a PowerBook.
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