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Talkin' Smack: The Days of Wine and OSes

How this year's DV Expo kicked off the Golden Age of the Mac By Dave Nagel
Leave it to me to skip out on the most significant event of the year. But who would have thunk it? Last year's DV Expo, to put it mildly, was a drag. And every single expo of 2001--including Macworld--was an equal drag. Nothing really great coming out. No tremendous leaps in technology. Basically, nothing of interest. So I decided to sit out this year's DV Expo, expecting much of the same. And then--BAM--everything changed.

I don't consider myself the greatest oracle in history. In fact, I might be one of the worst, which is why I gave up playing the stock market after the second company I invested in went bankrupt. But I thought I had this one nailed. Aside from the events in September and the lousy economy in general, trade shows themselves have been in decline, and our industry in particular has taken some major beatings--at least from the vendors' point of view. So why would they haul out the big guns in the last quarter of the crappiest year in memory? I figured everyone would try for a fresh start in January, kicking off all the new gear at the upcoming Macworld convention.

Needless to say, the industry didn't see things my way. Instead, the event that had all the potential in the world to be a complete dud suddenly and without warning sprouted up as the high point in the year. Not just for the industry, but for the Macintosh in particular--and it wasn't even a Mac event.

But, without a doubt, this year's DV Expo has marked the turning point for Mac OS X as a viable platform for video professionals. Mark it on your calendars; this is when it all started to happen.

I can recap, if you'd like. In the last week, we've seen Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Commotion, Combustion and a whole host of supporting software running on OS X. Just the most important software for the digital video market. Add to this all of the most important pieces of animation software, both 2D and 3D, along with several of the more important illustration and graphics programs, and you have a platform that's starting to fulfill the promise of OS X as the premiere creative platform.

Without a doubt, there are still some hurdles. Photoshop is one. Full commitment from third-party hardware makers is another. But these will be resolved over time, sooner rather than later.

Why does it even matter? It's OS X, that's why. Most of you video people out there haven't even begun to migrate over to OS X. There was literally no reason. Nevertheless, you've been missing out. Without a doubt, Mac OS X is the most stable Mac platform available to creative professionals. It's the most robust. It's the most pleasant to work with. It is, in short, the best. But you've been excluded from using it from the very beginning just because of the lack of applications that you need. Well, now you're getting them. And they'll be here in short order. Granted, there's still no Photoshop, but it's not that far off either, and Photoshop 6 works fine in Classic mode. (I use it almost every day).

So now you have not only the benefit of the Mac, you have the best Mac platform ever with an OS as stable as anything out there. I've told you before that, to date, I've managed to crash OS X just twice, and both time were related to the installation of beta software. I've received letter from people saying that Solaris is more stable, but try running another OS on top of it, along with a ton of software written for that other OS, along with a ton of native software, some of which is in beta. Then let me know how many times you crash. I mean it. Running an Apache server is nothing. You run two image editors, two compositing applications, three browsers, three multimedia applications, a mail client, two text editors and some miscellaneous graphics and publishing applications every day, all day, all at the same time, and then get back to me about how stable your other OS is. Two crashes in a year. Beat that.

We are heading for a great era on the Mac platform. With the power, stability and stunning interface of OS X now coupled with the applications you need to get your work done, you are about to see fulfilled what digital technology has been leading to all along.

Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at dnagel@digitalmedianet.com.

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