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weeklypoll

Today’s poll is a fun walk down memory lane. I’m very interested to know how young or old our audience is in their Mac-using lives. Leave your answer in the poll on the right and let us know which was the first Mac operating system you really used extensively or owned yourself. Did you start when it was simply referred to as “System” software or are you a newbie who only just got your start on Snow Leopard?

After you vote, leave a comment below and tell us about your first Mac. I’ll start us off. Though I really began using Macs around OS 8, the first Mac I really owned was a Blueberry iMac running OS 9. I loved all the neat little sound effects the windows made and spent endless hours poking around the system to see what I could find.

The last Windows machine I owned ran Windows 3.1 and that’s honestly the last time I really used Windows on a daily basis! Once I switched to a Mac I never looked back. How about you? Do you own and use both operating systems regularly or are you a die-hard Mac-loving PC hater from way back?

We recently published an article titled “iCloud: What It Isn’t” that walked through what we all expected to see from iCloud and how that significantly differed from what we actually got.

Basically, the gist is that everyone expected a browser-based music player but Apple delivered a way to keep your music and data synced in a native environment. To some, the reality is actually way more useful than the expectation. Others may be disappointed that their music isn’t really being stored in the cloud for access from any device. I myself have a Google Music Beta account but can’t for the life of me think of when I’ll use it.

Today we want to know your opinion. With plenty of us toting around a MacBook, iPhone, iPod and/or iPad, is there really a reason to have a Google-Music-like cloud player for all your music? Are there significant amounts of time where you don’t have access to your music collection? Vote in the poll on the right and leave a comment below explaining your thoughts.

This week we’re focusing in on the Mac App Store quite heavily. Personally, I really love how easy it has become to find, download and update great new Mac Apps. However, I’m far from admitting that the system is perfect!

Later today we’ll have a roundup of awesome apps that you won’t find on the Mac App Store. Later this week we’ll take a deeper look into the general direction that Apple is guiding the software industry and whether or not its a good thing for users. For now, we want to know about your biggest beef with the Mac App Store. Are you frustrated with the pricing structure or unhappy with the current selection? Let us know in the poll!

After you vote, leave a comment below explaining your answers. Has your overall experience with the Mac App Store positive or negative? How often do you check in and see what new apps have arrived?

After my flatbed scanner died around a decade ago, I completely gave up with owning one. They were slow, clunky, and something that I only used half a dozen times a year. Besides, everything was going digital, and we’d soon stop receiving paper altogether, right?

Unfortunately, that never seemed to happen. And eight years later I had two filing cabinets and various files full of receipts, invoices, statements, and all manner of other correspondence. I decided that enough was enough, and picked up a ScanScap scanner to digitise all those documents.

Coupled with DevonThink Pro Office, everything has OCR performed on it (Evernote works just as well), and I’m now filing cabinet free! Scanning once again feels like a state of the art process to be doing, with a modern combination of hardware and software.

But is this something you do? I’m not sure whether a scanner is considered a necessary computer accessory any longer… Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

WWDC 2011 is just around the corner, and both developers and users have high expectations. This is the annual conference for Apple developers and, since they no longer exhibit at Macworld, is the one “official” platform that Apple uses each year for announcing software and hardware upgrades.

Although Apple has strongly implied that we won’t see any updated iPhone hardware, it’s difficult to be completely sure of what to expect.

It’s likely that the two main areas of focus will be iOS 5, and OS X Lion – two major software updates that Apple will be releasing this year. Both of these hold lots of promise, and we’re still not sure of the exact features that either will offer.

Although Lion has been available as a developer beta for a while, it’s not unheard of for Apple to announce extra features and functionality nearer the launch date.

Speculation surrounding “iCloud” is also rife, with some people hoping for a cloud music service (this seems likely), and others wanting an official Apple file-synchronisation system akin to Dropbox. We’ll have to wait and see!

I’d be interested to know which of these you are particularly looking forward to, and what you’ll be hoping to see announced. Of course, another big question is whether we’ll see Steve Jobs presenting. I certainly hope so.

Much has been speculated over the idea of Apple creating a competing service to Dropbox – either under the MobileMe/iDisk banner, or through a completely new service. Some people think it would be great for competition, and others think that Dropbox already has the market sewn up.

I’d hazard a guess that the majority of AppStorm readers are Dropbox users in some form or another (if not, you should be!) It’s hands down one of the most useful applications I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.

Will Apple launch a competing service? My hunch is no – at least not directly. There’s little reason for them to create a like-for-like competitor that allows storage of all your files in the cloud.

There is, however, a good opportunity for them to create a better sync platform, so that developers don’t feel the need to use Dropbox as a central storage location for syncing between multiple Macs/iOS devices. This would be much better handled by the OS, and it’s an area where I’d love to see some innovation from Apple.

What do you think? Have your say in the comments, and let me know whether you think Apple has a plan to get into this market!

After opening Skype to have a conversation with a colleague this morning, I discovered that my trusty Logitech headset had completely stopped working. It’s served me well for four or five years, and is always useful to have on hand.

There’s something about using my in-built MacBook microphone that feels sub-par in terms of quality – especially when not using headphones, as you tend to hear quite a bit of feedback.

I also picked up a Samson Studio Condenser mic last year for recording screencasts and podcasting, and am incredibly happy with it. The quality is second to none, and it looks pretty stylish.

I thought it would be interesting in today’s poll to find out what type of microphone you use when on your Mac – whether it’s for chatting with a friend, screencasting, audio production, or gaming. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Since transitioning to an SSD earlier last year, I’ve become accustomed to dealing with a smaller amount of hard drive space in my MacBook Pro. Moving from 256GB down to 128GB felt like a risky thing to do at the time – the last thing I wanted was the constant headache of a hard drive that’s full to the brim.

The reality is that I absolutely haven’t noticed the decrease in size. I trimmed down my Applications directory, moved all my iMovie content off to an external drive, and started a new photo library in Lightroom (my old Aperture library was becoming an out of control nightmare to manage).

These few changes freed up over 100GB of space and, by being mindful of what I download, save, and store on my internal drive, this space is still more or less completely free.

Downsizing to a smaller drive hasn’t once caused me a problem – I’ve found that when it comes to internal drives, bigger isn’t necessarily better. But would you be happy to sacrifice all those extra gigabytes? Let us know in today’s poll, and share your thoughts in the comments.

I have something of a clutter-free desktop compulsion, and can never bear to have more than a couple of icons on my desktop at any time. There’s something about having icons, folders and files stored away – rather than on display – that offers a simpler and more enjoyable working environment.

But not everyone thinks this way. Every time I log on to my parents’ Mac, I’m greeted to countless swathes of icons cluttering the desktop – from old application volumes, to family photos.

Although this occasionally gives me a nervous OCD twitch, it’s a helpful reminder that what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.

I’d be interested to hear what you think about desktop clutter. Is it something that you’ll go to great lengths to avoid, or are you perfectly happy with using the desktop as a place to store current files and projects?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Earlier this week, while chatting to someone on Skype, I reached forward and knocked a full cup of coffee straight over my Apple Wireless Keyboard. This wasn’t a minor spillage – the whole keyboard was completed drenched (I don’t do things by halves!)

As quickly as I could, I followed the advice so wisely imparted by a fellow Envato colleague. I took out the batteries, and tipped it upside down to let the liquid drain out.

Two days later and it seems that, unfortunately, the keyboard isn’t going to recover from its coffee encounter. None of the keys work (something of a problem…), and the only key that does work remains depressed constantly! Thankfully it wasn’t my actual MacBook, and the replacement cost isn’t all that bad.

Spilling something on your Mac is everyone’s absolute worst nightmare, but it happens to most of us at some point. Or does it? Maybe I’m more clumsy than most…

Have you ever spilled something on your Mac or keyboard? What was it, and did your machine recover? Let us know in the comments!

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