July 10

The Mac Wish List
A good thing can always be made better

by David Nagel
Executive Producer

It's been quite a while now since the G4s were introduced, and it's about time that even a hard-boiled Mac psychofanatic like me should step back and reflect critically upon our platform—how it's changed and where it ought to go in the interim between OS 9 and OS X.

Before I do so, I should state, for the record, that it's undebatable that the Mac platform is infinitely better off today than it was just two years ago. I'm incredibly thankful for al the good fortune that's befallen Mac users since the restoration of Steve Jobs. A directionless company held alive by only the most die-hard loyalists has transformed itself into the premiere computing platform, not just in fact, as in days past, but also in the minds of an increasing number of consumers, developers and retailers.

Thanks to advertising, something utterly neglected during the dark years of the mid-'90s, kids are now asking their PC-using parents for iMacs for Christmas. And, thanks to the efforts of Apple's developer relations people, I can still get the software I want for my Mac, including, thanks to the sweet mercy of the Lord, Blizzard's Diablo II by the end of this month—only one month later than the PC platform.

And in terms of engineering, there hasn't been a better Mac since the IIci. Why, when I open up my Power Mac 7300, I'm embarrassed that I ever spent that much money on such a piece of flimsy hardware.

Yet there are always ways to make a good thing better. So, without further ado, I offer you my wish list. You can add your own suggestions to the list by visiting our user forum.

Better USB implementation. I've gone on at length in the past on the weaknesses of USB on the Mac. Audio suffers tremendously under the current implementation, and, of course, you can barely connect up USB peripherals without freezing up your system. It's just a bus, for Pete's sake, and it ought to work flawlessly and universally—out of the box.

Better audio support. Virtual Memory is supposed to enhance the performance of applications on the Mac. And, for the most part, it does. Yet, when it comes to audio, Virtual Memory is a killer, causing all kinds of problems, and even adding a lag during playthrough. It's not just the OS, either. I have OS 9 running on a Power Mac 7300 that runs audio apps just fine in playthrough mode. But on my G4, I get a 0.3 second delay. (If it makes you feel any better, the same is true of Windows 2000.)

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Hey! We Have New Sections!

In our ongoing effort to provide you, the beloved reader, with better information, we've launched four new sections for specific users.

Mac Audio Pro is designed for users of Mac audio hardware and software. It includes content from the editors and writers of Mix Magazine, as well as original content written by our staff and freelancers.

Mac Video Pro is for digital video professionals, animators and those involved in streaming video on the Web. It includes content from our staff, as well as Millimeter Magazine and Video Systems Magazine.

Mac Interactive Pro is for Web developers who work in Flash, Director, LiveMotion and VR, as well as Web designers and professionals who work in HTML.

Creative Mac Print Pro is tailored for those working in the print medium and includes news and tips about design and page layout.

Post a message in the Creative Mac World Wide User Group.

Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, DCC Designer, DCC Workstation, Digital DTP, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Hollywood Industry, Presentation Master, ProAudio.net and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.

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