With Macworld 2011 slowly approaching, I thought it would be interesting to ask whether any of our readers have attended this conference previously (or are planning on going next year).
If you’re unaware of what Macworld is, essentially it’s a four day event that covers everything to do with the Mac. It includes user sessions focusing on teaching, an Expo floor for software exhibitors, various conference programmes, and generally lots of Mac-geekery! It’s based in San Francisco, running from the 26th-29th January.
Although Apple used to attend this event, the company pulled out prior to last year’s event. It seems that the 2010 conference was still a major success, despite their absence, and Macworld will be running once again next month.
The AppStorm team is going to be in attendance in January (a first for all of us!), and we’re really looking forward to meeting a few of you there. Let us know if you’ll be going in the comments!
Apple’s retail operation has been a huge success for the company, with over 300 stores worldwide, across 11 different countries. Rather than a dry retail experience, everything in an Apple Store is carefully thought about—right down to the type of wood used for the counters.
The model of “Come to shop. Return to learn.” works well, instilling a sense of creativity and education into an otherwise very commercial experience. Although the primary aim of an Apple store is obviously to sell Apple products, the commitment to having creative specialists and dedicated trainers is something rarely found elsewhere.
I have a couple of Apple Stores close by in Manchester, but have been finding that over the years they are becoming far more crowded, all the time. What used to be a fantastic browsing experience is now akin to fighting your way to the front of a packed concert venue.
Are you finding the same thing? And how often do you visit an Apple Store nearby? I’d be interested to know whether you still find it a great place to check out the latest Apple gadgets, or if the ever-increasing crowds make visiting more of a necessity than a pleasure.
Much has been written about Apple’s decision to no longer ship the MacBook Air with Flash pre-installed, and while there are plenty of arguments for and against this, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that uninstalling Flash can dramatically improve your browsing experience and battery life.
Apple themselves have stated that Flash is the number one cause of crashes in Safari, and—if you’ve ever watched a YouTube video on your MacBook—you’ll know that all the system fans kicking in can’t be good for your battery life.
Unless you spend a great deal of time designing or visiting Flash websites, you should definitely try uninstalling it for a few days. I have, and I won’t be going back in a hurry.
Fortunately, there are a few simple workarounds to make the transition easier and still allow you to use Flash when you really need to.
John Gruber posted a great article on this topic a few weeks ago, explaining that even after installing Flash system-wide, it’s still available in Google Chrome (as it has its own self-contained Flash plugin). For the few times I need Flash on a day-to-day basis, this workaround is more than reasonable for me.
I’ve noticed a far quicker browsing experience, and found that many sites actually serve alternative content when they discover you don’t have Flash installed. This is more notable than when you’re running ClickToFlash, and uninstalling Flash altogether is a more honest process than tricking websites into letting ClickToFlash handle this type of content.
Is this something you’ve tried on your own machine? If not, I’d strongly recommend giving it a go, even if just for a few days! Have your say in the poll above, and let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Office 2011 brings plenty of improvements over previous versions, but it’s still far from perfect. And despite the overwhelming dominance of Microsoft Office across Windows and Mac, it certainly isn’t the only suite of office-style tools available.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of the iWork suite. After a sluggish and frustrating first release, I think that it has improved in leaps and bounds. I use Pages and Numbers almost exclusively for all my word processing and spreadsheet work (though I prefer to write in something simpler most of the time).
Another alternative is the excellent OpenOffice, which recently celebrated its 10th birthday. This has really become a viable contender in recent years, and version 3 felt considerably more “at home” on OS X. If you’ve never used OpenOffice before, it’s definitely worth taking a look at.
So, which suite of “office” style applications do you use? Like me, are you an iWork fan? Or do you think that Microsoft Office still leads the way in this area? Share your thoughts in the comments – I’d love to hear what you think!
Skype is one of those programs that is used by almost everyone in one way or another. Whether you have it open all day, or just fire it up to chat with family when you’re away on holiday, most Mac users will have encountered it at some point.
Last week, Skype announced the release of a new Beta for Mac users – Skype 5.0. This new version takes a radical departure from the old Skype interface, in an effort to adopt a “one window” approach and make using the app much simpler.
Although I really like the thinking behind this new version – tighter OS X integration, and a simpler interface – I was really disappointed with a few aspects of the design. Most notably the spacing between elements, which quickly becomes a complete nightmare if you have a long list of contacts.
At the very least, I’d have expected an option to scale down the font size, or switch to a more compact view. At present, it feels like the “one window” approach uses up twice as much desktop space, while only showing half the information I’m used to.
If you haven’t tried it yet, download the beta and let us know what you think! Do you agree with me, or are you impressed with the new, roomier interface?
With Apple recently announcing the Gold Master release of their iOS 4.2 operating system, it isn’t going to be long before we have a chance to play around with the capabilities of AirPlay.
Simply put, this will be a way to stream content between all your different Apple devices. At the outset, you’ll be able to stream music from iTunes to AirPlay enabled devices (as you could previously with the previous iteration, “AirTunes”), and also wirelessly stream video and audio from your iOS device to a new Apple TV.
This new wireless video streaming is something I’m really looking forward to. I often have a video on my iPad that I’d love to watch on a larger screen – or vice versa – I’d like to stream a video from iTunes on my Mac down to my iPad to watch on the couch.
It isn’t really clear what will be possible with AirPlay just yet. Whether it will allow video streaming to/from your Mac seems to be an unknown factor. I really hope that this will be possible, but I guess we’ll find out soon!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you’ll be using AirPlay. Is it something you’re really looking forward to, or are you a little bit indifferent about the whole thing? Let us know using the poll above, and feel free to voice your opinion in the comments!
The announcement of the Mac App Store was something of a semi-surprise. We all considered it a future possibility, but there was a significant amount of doubt over whether Apple would actually flip the switch and implement the idea. As it turns out, in less than 90 days, we’ll have the Mac App Store sitting on our desktop!
For the majority of Mac users, this will be a great addition. It takes away the headache of a complicated installation process, removes the need to understand what a .DMG is, and gives them an easy way to find software they may not have otherwise.
Many people, myself included, take solace in the fact that this is “just one way” to install software on our Mac. We’re not tied to only installing software that has passed Apple’s approval process, and are free to tinker to our heart’s content. This isn’t a closed eco-system.
But will this always be the case? Today I’d like to ask what you think Apple’s future intention is with the Mac App Store. Will it always be “just one way” to install software, or will it one day be the only way to install new apps on your Mac? And would this be a good or bad thing?
Have your say in the comments!
There’s plenty of anticipation and hype surrounding Apple’s Mac event tomorrow, and I’m really excited to see which new features and functionality are announced. It’s about time that the Mac and OS X saw some love and attention from Apple.
So, what do I really want to see announced tomorrow? First and foremost, I’d love to see anything that helps to improve Apple’s support for cloud functionality and syncing. This has been a long time coming and, although it’s related to iOS as well, it might make an appearance as one of the new pieces of core functionality in OS X Lion.
Second, I’m excited about the potential that AirPlay has to stream content between devices in real-time. Being able to send a video wirelessly to my iPad or iPhone from my Mac would be fantastic, as would doing the same thing in reverse.
As for all the rumours surrounding tweaks to the OS X interface? I could take it or leave it. I’m a big fan of the look-and-feel of the current Snow Leopard UI and, short of adding iOS style scrolling (and “pull to refresh”), there isn’t much I’d change.
What are you hoping to see tomorrow? Let us know your favourite potential feature in the poll above, and give me a shout in the comments if what you’re excited about isn’t listed!
I’ve read a few interesting articles this week about whether apps that help you achieve better productivity or a “distraction free” environment are really a good thing (e.g. WriteRoom). On the face of it, this type of software does help you get more done and avoid a cluttered workflow. But is it that simple?
Another argument could be that the process of trying out all these new “productivity enhancing” applications is actually just a way of putting off work that needs to be done! Wouldn’t it be better if you just settled on a single app and got to work?
I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on this. How do you view this process of searching for and trying out new apps? Does it ultimately lead to the “ultimate” set of software for a productive workflow, or is it just another way of procrastinating?
As a side note; if you want to read something slightly more in-depth about this topic, try this recent article by Merlin Mann. Lengthy and detailed, but fascinating nonetheless.
Today’s question is a simple one, but I thought it would be really interesting to see where we all fall on the Mac lineup. I use a MacBook Pro personally, and have been thinking about upgrading at some point over the next six months or so. My dilemma is whether to stick with a notebook, or opt for one of the 27″ iMacs.
I really like the idea of a portable computer, but in reality I very rarely use it for that purpose. Maybe my investment would be better made into a Mac that also comes with a gorgeous screen.
While we’re at it, feel free to leave a comment and let us know what the very first Mac was that you ever bought. Mine was one of the first Mac Minis – the day they were announced, in fact! Up until then, Mac hardware had always been slightly too expensive for me to make the jump.
I’d love to hear when and how you switched to the OS X platform, as I expect many of you made the move long before I did. Big points go to any dedicated readers that were die-hard Apple fans right back in the 1980s!
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