Archive for October, 2007

Old Yeller

Words cannot adequately convey how much I hate the Microsoft Search Companion, which is enabled by default on XP, so I have attempted to express my feelings with images instead.

The mere fact that I went to the trouble of doing this will hopefully indicate just how I feel inside when this adorable pooch saunters onto my screen and obstructs my ability to find a file quickly by trying to force me to decide what kind of file it is that I’m looking for first. Or maybe I’d like to search the internet instead…?

Q: Can I use the iPod touch as a Wifi phone?

There are so many articles out there that I’m having trouble finding a definitive answer to this. Does the hardware support it, ie does it have a built in mic and speaker? This page implies it’s possible to use Skype on the iTouch (via Safari), but maybe it requires headphones, external mic still…?

iShite ’08

I’ve been pretty positive in previous posts about OS X and my Apple experience in general… but now let me point out that the new iLife suite, specifically iMovie and iPhoto, is so broken as to be nearly useless to me. iMovie’s new skimming [scrubbing] feature is great but, er, not worth discarding almost every other feature expected in a video editor (even a free one). iPhoto has a similar skimmy feature which does make it easier to quickly browse for things visually, but iPhoto still runs so badly that I avoid using it wherever possible.

Also, considering that Apple is usually seen as the industry leader in modern GUI design, it can be pretty frustrating discovering what doesn’t work. A case in point, I recently shot some video on my Canon IXUS and wanted to edit in in iMovie, and this is pretty much how it went:

  1. Connect camera to MacBook
  2. Wait patiently for iPhoto to go take a shit and a shower
  3. Select "Import all"
  4. Study the activity monitor and wonder why each photo/short video seems to take minutes to import
  5. Bravely select "delete all from camera" once import is done
  6. Open iMovie
  7. Ponder how the hell you’re going to get that movie from iPhoto into iMovie
  8. Notice a button with an icon shaped like a still camera, and realize that this opens a browser into the iPhoto library
  9. Browse to the "event" recently imported, to discover that only still photos are showing up, not the videos
  10. Sigh in exasperation
  11. Note that in the collections pane there is an icon marked "iPhoto videos" and click that
  12. It says there are no items
  13. see 10
  14. Switch to iPhoto and drag the clip from iPhoto onto iMovie
  15. Movie clip sproings harmlessly back whence it came
  16. see 10
  17. Repeat steps 14-16 several times choosing different target panes to no avail, until swearing occurs
  18. Select "import movies" in iMovie file menu
  19. Browse to iPhoto library in home folder, to discover that it is not browseable/expandable from within iMovie
  20. see 10
  21. Close both iMovie and iPhoto
  22. Run Parallels, launch WindowsXP
  23. Run Windows Movie Maker, of all things
  24. Select import movies, browse to shared OSX home folder, into [now browsable] iPhoto library and find the avi you imported in step 3
  25. Perform minimal editing task and export compressed movie for upload

On top of this frustration of accessing videos from iPhoto, iMovie ’08 dispenses with all video effects except for color adjustment and cropping. This means you can’t mirror or change speed of playback of a clip. Without the ability to control frame rate/playback of a clip a video editor is useless to me, since I shoot at 15/30/60fps a lot and need to be able to manipulate this for playback. No distortion effects, no cheap fog and rain effects, no nothing! To make up for this obvious deficiency you can now go to Apple and download iMovie 06 for free… but what kind of solution is that? Can you imagine how much people would trash Microsoft if they released a sexified version of Word which actually removed half the standard features, then told people it was ok they could just use the old version when they needed those…?

In my day to day computing I’m surprised to find myself drifting back towards Windows, even for web browsing, so it’s lucky that Macs can run both OS’s now. OSes. OSs. Oh-Esses. Windows apps are always less sexy but they are often more general purpose. Mac apps are great for helping Steve Jobs show off but they don’t necessarily make your life easier.

And no, I am not interested in trying Feisty Fawn Ubuntu or whatever it’s called… I don’t need yet another operating system.

Apostryphal

I always thought the use of the apostrophe in the relational it’s vs possessive its was some kind of special case in English, but in fact it is quite consistent with other pronouns. I wish I had the following table when I was at school– it would have made things a lot clearer.

Subject
Object
Reflexive
Relational
Genitive
Oblique
Genitive(?)
he
him
himself
he’s
his
his
she
her
herself
she’s
her
hers
they
them
themselves
they’re
their
theirs
it
it
itself
it’s
its
its
we
us
ourselves
we’re
our
ours
I
me
myself
I’m
my
mine
you
you
yourself
yourselves
you’re
your
yours
one
one
oneself
one’s
one’s*
one’s*
who
whom
themselves
who’s
whose
whose

* Note the exception to the rule with the genitive one’s– although I’m not sure that one is considered a pronoun in the regular sense.

Posting this reminds me just how much I hate the popular SMS word ur. When sounded out it becomes "you are" which is bearable if that is the sense in which it is intended, as in ur gonna die! but if anything it seems that it is used more commonly in the genitive sense, as in ur death will be slow! which is such a poke in the eye for anyone who gives a rat’s arse about clarity.