Sunday, October 14, 2007

Observations of a Mac

Haven't had a lot of time to spend on the new Mac Mini with work and all, but I have been testing it out and did play around with iMovie 08 one night. A few things did come to mind...

I was surprised to see VLC be able to be controlled by the Apple Remote. Volume, play/pause, forward/backward tracks, were all controllable from the remote right out of the box. I had read that people had tweaked it so that VLC would work with the remote, but I didn't know it would work right away. Cool.

Front Row worked as advertised as well - much like an Apple TV. I think this machine will make an excellent DVD Player/Media Centre down the road when hooked to a TV. Have to do some more research on resolutions and sound out though.

The other surprise is that there was no PhotoBooth on the Mac Mini. Guess if the computer doesn't come with an iSight, there's no PhotoBooth either. That's just cheap there, Apple. Come on, include it - we can add our own webcam. Luckily, there's an easy way to get it as long as you know somebody with a Mac that has it...or there's always the 'net.

Made a clip in iMovie 08 just to play around with it. Seems a little limited in what it likes to import - from cameras mostly, or H.264 of course. Once imported though, it seems like really cool video editing software. When it came out, people seemed to love or hate it - those used to the 06 version seem to hate it the most. Instead of an upgrade, this new version of iMovie is a completely new program done from the ground up. Personally, I really like it - with one glaring exception. There is no video effects, namely slow motion. What?! Even the most basic video editor has that. However, that's about the only complaint I can come up with. Once the video is imported and iMovie breaks the video down into clips and sorts out the thumbnails, it is incredibly slick and easy to pick out your clips and arrange them in your project. Real time scanning (or scrubbing) through the clips to find what you want, and then highlight it like text and drag that segment to your timeline. By far and away the best and easiest clip selection process I've come across yet. People also complained about the audio editing of the video, but it seems the recent software update has solved that and it worked great for me. There's even a vast array of included sound effects you can add to your clips. You can see the thinking behind the software - it's obviously designed for the YouTube generation, not heavy duty video editing. But then it's not a Pro software package either. But it's also quite well designed and is different in its approach than most video editing software. It's also way better than Windows Movie Maker (otherwise known as Crash'nBurn). Hopefully, they add slow motion and some other video effects in a future update.

My major job to tackle is yet to come - migrating my email over. Seems the best approach is XP Thunderbird to Mac Thunderbird, then using something else to migrate into Mac Mail. Should be interesting. Have to bring my iTunes library over as well, but that should be easy.

Overall though, I'm liking it. Seems quick and stable and I've been able to do away with the Windows Reboot syndrome so far. We'll see how it goes once the migration is done.

Comments on "Observations of a Mac"


Anonymous Marina said ... (October 15, 2007 3:36 PM) : 

Does mac mail use the eml extension or msg extension?

Did you get Garage Band with the new toy? And if yes, have you played around with it? Any thoughts?


Blogger Eaglewing said ... (October 15, 2007 6:22 PM) : 

Mac Mail saves each message as it's own emlx file in an mbox folder. I think there's an import feature in Mac Mail, but it has some issues, so I've read. There's another program out there that does the import and saves the formatting I think. Just got to find it...

Yes, Garage Band came with. I haven't played around with it too much yet as I don't have a microphone or anything to plug in to record sounds to the Mini. I have played with it in stores and on a laptop that had a mic and I think it's a pretty cool audio editor. Looks like podcasts are easily done with it and multiple tracks and making your own music if you have a guitar or something to plug in. Or you can even use your keyboard as a piano to record notes. I'll have to try it some more once I get a mic or something.


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