March 6
The Next Mac Revolution
Desktop video comes to the masses

by David Nagel
Senior Producer

Last week a comrade of mine (Rod Ammons, producer of Digital Animators) and I were treated to a FireWire demonstration up at Apple's Design Center in Santa Monica, Calif. We grabbed a quick bite (and by "quick" I mean waiting a half hour for a chicken Philly and some fries down in the food court) and steeled ourselves for a lengthy sales pitch to be followed up three hours later by a drive home through the worst traffic on God's green earth. What we got instead was a three-hour presentation that indoctrinated me into the cult of DV: I saw the light faster than a drunken hillbilly at a revival meeting.

Now, I'm a publishing guy. I have been since the first time I got my hands on a Mac Plus. I didn't start off in that direction by any means, but the Macintosh sucked me in. I was all set to spend the next 10 years in college to get a Ph.D. in English and go off and teach somewhere. But the Mac literally changed the direction of my life. Essentially, going into professional publishing gave me an excuse to play around on a Mac all day. Laying out type, dropping in graphics and seeing the results immediately through the magic of a LaserWriter IINT got my juices flowing like few things could.

I felt the same level of excitement at Apple's Design Center when I got a demonstration of Final Cut Pro running on a G4. It's not the most expensive, the most feature-rich editing software in the world. Yes, it is amazing, absolutely. A solid piece of software. But, more importantly, it was the first look at a DV product I've ever had that truly portended the advent of desktop video. As I sat watching the presentation, I was changing inside. I was moved.


 

February 28
Thus Spake Macathrustra

Bow down before the glory of the Power Mac, O ye unbelievers!

by David Nagel
Senior Producer

Some say Macintosh loyalists are nothing but cultists worshipping at the altar of Steve Jobs. But that's just heresy and sacrilege. No, we Mac folk are a more secular breed—level-headed, reasonable people just trying to get by in a world destroyed by non-Mac people. (But they'll get theirs on the appointed day when Steve Jobs cleanses the earth through fire, and the streets run like rivers of blood.)

The point is that we're not just fanatics on some kind of holy crusade. (Those are the Linux people.) If we sacrifice the occasional chicken or goat to our Macs, does that make us fanatics? Of course not. We Macists simply appreciate what we have, and we revel in the technologies that make our lives better, those that enrich our existences and bring us closer to God.


 

February 21
The Luckiest Boy in the World

A magical story of love and hope fulfilled for one special person

by David Nagel
Senior Producer

For many people, buying a new computer isn't exactly a dream come true. They see it as a necessary expense—for work, taxes, banking and the like. For them, there is no pleasure in owning a computer just for the sake of owning a computer. I call these people PC users.

For the rest of us, though, each new capital outlay for a new Apple-monickered box of joy brings a sense of excitement that can only be likened unto the excitement a kid feels when he gets a new toy sword or a teenager when he gets his first real gun. There's a sense of adventure to it, the optimistic certainty that this new thing will change everything, reveal hidden truths, bring unto the wielder total power—that it will add new purpose to the totality of his being.

And so it is that I enter this week with renewed vigor and hope for the future. For I, this week, shall be receiving my new G4, courtesy of Airborne Express. Not only this, but there's a chance I'll be getting a new G4 at work as well! O, the bliss! Everything's finally falling into place.

"Now, Dave," you say, "are you sure you're not getting a little too ... I don't know ... giddy over this whole thing? I mean, you're smart and handsome and everything, but are you sure you know what you're doing? You haven't even tried out one of these new machines."


 

February 14
Kiss My Shiny, Graphite Mac
By David Nagel
Senior Producer

A few of you may have read an article posted on this site last week entitled "The Mac Sucks," by Charlie White. Mssr. White, an employee of Digital Media Online Inc., the parent company of this Web site, argued against the Mac as a viable platform for digital video production and editing, criticizing the lack of horsepower underneath the shiny exterior, the ancientness of the OS and the scarcity of hardware options. In short, he opined, the Mac sucks. Judging from your eloquent, level-headed responses to Mssr. White's column, I've gathered that you may have taken exception to some of the points made by the author. If I may summarize, I believe some of your more salient arguments included:

  • No, you suck
  • You're bald and stupid
  • Shut up before I kill you
  • That's not what your mom said last night
  • OS X is fancy
  • Mac good have video
  • Britney Spears stole my song
  • I like cheese

And so forth. Well, as the new senior producer of Creative Mac, I have to say that I agree with all of your points whole-heartedly.

Readers Talk Smack

G3 Upgrade Review

I want to thank you.for such a good, focussed and readable review. This is a model of what tech reviews for a wide audience should be: brief but thorough, informative but not overly techy.

As it happens I'm still happily slaving away at my PowerCentre Pro 180 and have considered an upgrade like this many times. But I've come to similar conclusions as your reviewer.

I'm going for a G4 real soon and maybe a slower G3 upgrade to turn this baby into a work station or server .

Cheers

 

Fun with Mao

Dave, I think that your "maofun" image is great - but what about making Steve Jobs the Mac Soldier? Also, it'd be great if you could provide it as a desktop image and place it on www.macdesktops.com

Again, I think that your maofun is really creative and captures the spirit of the Mac at the start of the new millenium.

Greetings from Vienna, Peter Klopf

 

Rock On, Dave!

The caption "Kiss my shiny Graphite Mac" caught my eye. I usually dont even open these newsletters any more. Sick of all the PC crapola. This one however was BRILLIANT!

I started my MacAddiction with LISA. 1982. ahhhhh, a great year! I have used a Mac to colorize movies, make videos, music videos, print ready graphics, Web graphics. Charts, multimedia presentations......need I go on???? Guess you could say "once you go MAC you NEVER go back"!!!!

Keep em on their toes dude!

Michelle K. Owens
Owner
rtv gr'FX and the S.N.A.I.L. center of Las Vegas

Jaguar Versus Ferrari

Dear Sir,

I try to keep away from these 'discussion' about the relative virtues of different computer platforms as, often, both sides are not interested in debate but in winning an argument. However, I did want to respond to your article with a few quick points:

  • Thank you for your tone, I believe you reworked the all to often used arguments to be the basis of your much more reasoned arguments and this was an excellent move;
  • Let us try not to lose what we are actually trying to do. We are not computer salesmen, we are artists, musicians, engineers, etc. who want to achieve a result. Our computer(s) is a tool to assist us in that quest. When it fails us in that this is not good. If one tool works better than another in a given situation that is good. If, for OUR purposes, one tool does more of what we want in a way that works for us then we perceive that as better than a tool that does not fit us so well. This does not mean that the other tool is not more suitable for someone else.
  • If I owned a Jaguar XJ220 and you owned a Ferrari Testarossa we could have a similar argument as the computer one but with a similar lack of result. They are both good at what they do but they are just different in character. Neither is better than the other
  • If our attachment to a computer system is so great that we will actually consider defending the computer more important than respect and kindness to another person then we are in serious spiritual trouble. If this carried on ... could you imagine the bizarre conclusion? The Mac Crusades? The PC Inquisition?
  • With the unreliability point from both sides: If both sides start with a well set up machine with all the software loaded as required and tested and fully configured to be working, and then JUST USE IT, then both platforms are reasonably reliable. However, if the user keeps adding extra software, installing updates and little utilities from the Internet to make it more fun or... then the computer will become less reliable.

This is a different problem. With the Macs generally, the system starts with good hardware, adds what is needed for the job required and then stays like that. This is the most common situation. PCs, because of their more modular nature, give the user who may not be expert the chance to delve under the hood and fiddle. Say, in our cars, we both decided to add a supercharger (or another one - I can't remember if we have them!). You take your Ferrari to your trusted mechanic who installs it. It works beautifully. I decide to do ti myself with a "Jaguar-compatible" supercharger retro fit kit. I have problems. I might not but that is unlikely. However, if I get my expert mechanic to fit the right kit then I will probably still be on par with you.

I work as a sound engineer using Macs for the sequencers and some hard disk recording and also an NT LAN administrator and PC support person. Why are there more PC support people than Mac ones? I would say:

1. there are more PCs in general business use out there;

2. most support in PC areas where they have the right machines for the right task, is actually installing and upgrading systems, dealing with user's changing needs especially with software eg installing etc. If a machine is repeatedly crashing there is a good reason for that. E.g. being pushed beyond it's limits. This is why the other chap was disappointed with his Mac and some of the others have been disappointed with PCs.

3. many companies do not buy a PC that is built with the same quality assurance and checking systems that Apple use. Many clones are atrocious. However, many PCs are extremely reliable. If you don't change things, keep using it for what it was designed to do and do a bit of housekeeping every so often then it will continue fine. Usually.

I am afraid that I have gone on too long but this discussion saddens me a bit. Nowadays, most software is available on both platforms, so it is more a question of which style do you like. But when Mac defenders start campaigning so vigorously, it is enough to turn others away. "If I own a Mac, people might think I am someone like that".

God bless,
Duncan Whitcombe

Thanks for Your Article

Hey you- Thanks for responding to the ridiculous "Mac Sucks". I like both the Mac and the PC platform for different functions, but I must confess that only the Mac makes me drool. In fact, OS X makes me salivate so much that I might drown soon until I actually own it...but that's another story, & perhaps a separate column... But the purpose of my email is to welcome your writing contributions and and adulations for the Mac!!!!

:) :) :) arlene (: (: (: