.:The Ideal Blog

Apple as “Software Government”?

With the advent of Apple’s App Store for the iOS platforms (iPhone & iPad), Apple has not only a monopoly, but also the right to dictate what software is available to consumers while collecting a 30% fee. This model has yielded billions for the company and enabled many small developers to be discovered in a virtual sea of applications. This idea of an App-store is so lucrative and popular on mobile devices that Apple is bringing it back to the Mac in their new Operating System “Lion”.

The direct downloads from the internet have proven a revolutionary distribution system, lowering the cost for packaging and shipping of physical software. Online distribution, however fragmented, still has a way to go to be perfected and needs a unified way of discovery, purchase and download. The following reviews the positives and negatives of this centralized App Store offered by Apple:

The Positives:

  • Eased distribution for developers and consumers
  • Potential for developer based software stores reduced and or eliminated
  • Centralized Software Updates
  • Software Discovery Model similar to Apple’s “Genius” feature
  • Unified login, payment, and download method
  • Better quality control of applications

The Negatives:

  • Apple control flow of apps, licensing, updating
  • Reduced developers control of retail
  • Potential Price Markup to cover 30% fee from Apple
  • Potentially inhibition of developers and software
  • BigBrother awareness of your installed applications

Apple, a company who has built its fortune on open technologies has a clear goal for a monolithic, closed, proprietary, centrally-controlled, environment of software and hardware. The future of development on the Mac platform is at a crossroads, and only the future holds the answer to the best course to travel.

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ExpanDrive vs Transmit 4

PastedGraphic2-2010-09-11-16-103.tiff vs PastedGraphic3-2010-09-11-16-103.tiff

Overview
Lots of programs do ftp, some cost and some don’t, some are feature packed and some are slimmed down, some are tied to an editor and some are independent. I always find it cumbersome to rely on built in ftp of programs like coda and dreamweaver since I edit in a variety of editors. I also hate going to a different program to make updates to a site I am working on in another program.

Enter ExpandDrive and Transmit 4 which offer the solution I have been looking for. How so you ask? These applications actually mount your ftp site like it is a drive on your computer and you can open the files in what ever you like. I have been able to do that for years with the finder you say? Well, the finder is slow, bogs down your computer while you interact with the ftp, and does not have the features to do a good job of ftp.

Features:

FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3, WebDav:
Both have the ability to mount ftp sites, sftp, amazon s3, and webdav as drives but Transmit 4 does this much faster and I mean much faster.

Interface:
Expand Drive and Transmit 4 both have a menu bar drop-down interface and mounted drives that show up in the finder, however their similarities end there. Transmit 4 has a fully featured ftp window showing local and remote locations, the ability to sync files(my favorite feature) various finder window type functions and much more. Transmit 4 is really a fully featured application that does not get in your way as opposed to a simple utility.

Transmit 4
PastedGraphic-2010-09-11-16-103.tiff
Expand Drive
PastedGraphic1-2010-09-11-16-103.tiff

Speed:
This was a virtual no contest as I found ExpanDrive to be sluggish not only to itself but to my entire computer. Transmit 4 came out with blazing speed and elegance that was just unmatched and I was able to get work done faster then using dreamweaver or coda without being tied to their editors.

Price
Transmit 4: $34.00
ExpanDrive: $19.95

Winner
Transmit 4 is our winner by its clean interface, super speed, ease of use and its great feature set. The guys at panic should be proud of what they created because they made my life a whole lot easier. Great try on the part of ExpanDrive and if it was not for the speed and lack of a true interface the guys at ExpanDrive could have given Transmit 4 a run for it’s money.

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Reason 5 and Record 1.5 Review

The release of the propellerhead Reason 5 and Record 1.5 has my head spinning with possibilities. I was uncertain how this combo would improve my recording life but it is a sure fire upgrade. Reason 4 and Record were already arguably the best digital workstation software to date but now with new modules it has been taken to the next level. This Article is intended for people who already use Reason and Record. If you would like to find out more, Propellerheads has some great videos on their site.

http://www.propellerheads.se/products/reason/index.cfm?fuseaction=get_article&article=micro-tutorials

My Favorite Features

Blocks: Record, Reason

Blocks introduce a new ways to organize your songs. You create sections/blocks into verse, chorus, bridge or anyway you see fit. You create instances of those Blocks and any change you make distributes to those instances. This Really helps cut down copy and pasting my chorus or hooks every time I make a change.

Live Sampling: Record, Reason

This brings me back to the old days of making my own samples. For along time if you did not have Recycle cutting up samples and mapping them to a device was a pain in the a$$ but now with live sampling it is an easy and creative was to make and manipulate your on samples in any sample loading device. This feature still has some ruff edges but is very useful. I still am waiting for the day I have recycle incorporated in to the program.

Dr. Octo REX Loop Player: Record, Reason

This new rex player is like having 8 rex players and allows you to do some awesome beat juggling. There is also more control over the slices which can be used to pan, reverse and filter.

Notable Features

The Neptune Pitch: Record

Call me old school but I hate the auto-tune sound in its current form, however that will not keep me from using this great tool. I already have found great ways to use it that don’t come off like this over produced candy sound that non singers use to get by. This can be used quite creatively as it can plug in to anything and can be driving by your midi controller. The manipulation of pitch opens many doors to creative performances and yes you can also sound like T-Pain.

Kong Drum Designer: Record, Reason

The Kong is a 16 pad and 16 drum synthesis, physical modeling, sampling, REX loops, beat machine. With this device you can get the exact sound your looking for and you can build your drum sounds based on any of the nine different drum modules. With it’s automation analog support sound generators, effects, flexible routing, multiple hit types you can spend all day playing with this thing.

If you already own Record and Reason you only have to upgrade to Reason 5 to get the Record 1.5 update which is great!

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My Top 5 2009 Mac Apps

2009 Was full of great mac apps and these are my Top 5.

Record:
For the recording industry, nothing changed the game quite like Propellerheads Record. Reason has been dominating professional music production for years now, but has missed one major component, Direct to Disk Audio. Record has not only solved this issue, it has also innovated on the idea, using a real world methodology towards audio. This application tops the list as a game changer in music recording, as a sequencer, recording, mixing, and mastering suite.

Daylite:
2009 was about getting organized and no one did that better then Market Circles Daylite. With its objective-oriented approach to projects, opportunities, and contacts, MCD makes it easy to integrate this program into what ever workflow you have. This program’s defaults also point you in the right direction when it comes to getting organized with its project workflows. One of MCD’s best features was its integration with the address book and calendar, simplifying the use of this application with other apps that utilize the same services. This program won many design awards in 2009, including the Apple Design Award. Market Circle also released an iphone application and server that brought this forward-thinking app even further into the future.

Billings:
Billings is another efficient Market Circle app, used exclusively for time-based billing and invoicing. Billings features a powerful design engine to create stunning looking invoices, and enables users to merge data in an elegant way. The application is a standalone product, and works well with the Daylite project management application. Billings also has nice integration features that work well with the address book and that give Daylite a more robust way of handling billing tasks. 
        

Mac Journal:
Packed with organizing features, Mac Journal is no mere word processor. It is also an excellent way to keep your thoughts and journal entries organized. The program for the most part is pretty straight forward with great drag and drop functionality of photos, movies, and sounds. Users can add html to their entries and post the data to multiple blogs. This program is an indispensable part of any bloggers arsenal that uses WordPress, Blogger, Joomla and or Drupal as a blogging platform. Offline journal-writing is available and safe, as you can encrypt and password protect your data.

Snow Leopard:
Speed, ease of use, and more disc space all-around, Snow Leopard packs a punch as an upgrade to Apples line of Operating Systems. I have seen as much as 20 gigabytes of space return to users who have install this purchased update to Leopard. One of the biggest features of Snow Leopard were the Microsoft Exchange support in Apples Mail, Address Book, and Calendar apps. This feature alone was worth the upgrade to mac users in PC environments. The improvements to the Dock, finder and Quicktime are some of the more noticeable changes.

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MacUpdate Promo

For all of you software-philes out there another software bundle has been released. www.mupromo.com

Great New Apps for Only $49.

63714.pngPath Finder: Hands down the best of the bunch!
295364.pngSocialite: This was formerly called Eventbox which I got in the last macheist but this has more features like multiple accounts so I can manage all my online lives
220224.pngYep: Not Yet Opened
317974.pngRadio Gaga: I have no use for this and I don’t like the name
160354.pngGarageSale: Not yet Opened but I will do a VS on this verses iSale
6334.pngDragThing: This is cool but I would rather use Path Finder
47104.pngSpeed Download: Love this
329374.pngHealthNut: Good Little Tracking app gave as a gift to a Health Nut
58704.pngPCalc: This app is Solid and way over my head
328734.pngMachinarium: The Best Puzzle Game I have played since Abes Odyssey
122134.pngiRip: Have not Opened but I will do a VS on this verses Phone View

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Free Fun Mac Software

PastedGraphic4.tiff

If you are looking for some fun free mac software check out voice candy on the Mac Heist website. In order to get the free version you must have a twitter account and tweet about Voice candy. Mac Heist will walk you through the easy steps to downloading your new wares. Voice Candy is a program that can change your voice to a Robot, Darth Vador, or even a Chipmunk. There is glorious amounts of time wasting to be done with this application. Normally Voice Candy cost around $12 so get it while it is free. Enjoy!

Here are some examples I created from Voice Candy:

Chipmunk:

Vador:

Robot:

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A Serious Case of Droid Envy

This is not a warning these are actual shots being fired and hitting the iPhone!

Verizon-Motorola-Droid-Android-Phone-15.jpg

The release of the Droid phone has this seasoned and loyal apple user in question if the iphone will continue to hold space in his pocket. I think Apple has gotten to comfortable in its smug little position. Who cares that you reinvented the smart phone if you let your core customers down. I feel I am pretty hard to displease but if you cross me to many times I will never indorse you again so tread lightly apple. Until now no one has come close to touching this phone because to the sheer number of apps, utility and sexiness. But as an iPhone 3G user I have slowly escalated to disdain its short comings. I actually find the phone to be dangerous while driving with its lack of voice dialing and real GPS and thought there may be an app for that it won’t run in the background for me to use at will. Some will argue the 3GS has voice dialing, but why do I have to buy a new phone when this is a software issue. Apple is notorious for putting our crippled hardware features when you know they know how to do it (“The infamous right click button comes to mind”). So I am going to list some features needed soon with no new purchase of hardware if Apple wants to keep my business.

  1. Drop AT&T or add more networks like Verizon
  2. Voice Dialing on all your phones
  3. Bluetooth wireless sync
  4. Internet Tethering
  5. Real GPS and is integrated with the Address Book
  6. MovieSupport on all your phones(I know you can do this because of the jail break apps)
  7. Add Flash for crying out loud, No excuses

iphone_home5.gif
Closing Thoughts:

The big google advantage is the Android operating system that more phones will have in the future. This and this alone posses the biggest treat to the iPhone dominance. This means there will be more and more developers clamoring to get over to Android based phones because there app will be more accessible and who knows maybe even easier to develop for. Look out Apple!

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New Mac heist Bundle

A FREE Machiest Bundle! No Way! I love free so I would not pass this up but I must say that honestly I really only found 2 useful apps in this bundle. I will spare you my talking about the others so here it is.
ShoveBox and Twitteriffic are the only apps worth Mentioning and here is why.

ShoveBox:
Give you and easy menubar way to create and organize information snippets on your computer. I find this to be far superior to using Stickies because it is alway in my upper right hand corner and I can assign quick keys to it. It is also light weight and fast

Twitteriffic:
Simple easy to use menubar interface that keeps me from using a web browser to tweet.

Now for my random rant
My biggest friction point with the web is the browser. I hate it!!! Any desktop app that reaches out to the web for one single purpose already has one points with me.

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PayPal Just Gave out free net books

OMG just got a free netbook at the PayPal conference

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Record vs Protools LE

When considering this article I had to consider some bias’s I have on the software described. First I must let you know that I was an “Avid” no pun intended user of Protools. I believed it to be the industry standard and holy grail of direct to disk audio recording. I bought the Digi 001 (Which is no longer Supported) in 2000 and loved the freedom and flexibility of recording on my desktop for many years. I was introduced to reason 1 about year after and was blown away by it use and application of midi which was far more advanced then the Protools implementation. I began from that point on to do all my midi work in reason and my audio work in Protools. My first problems arrived when OSX was first released and I have to pay for and upgrade to Protools but it seemed to make sense at the time. As each update and upgrade apple made to the OS, I would be charge and charged again for software with no improvement and no new features. I have worked in software for many years now and I describe and update and an upgrade like this.

Update: Fixes to bugs, compatibility fixes, improvements to existing features, FREE

Upgrade: Added Features, Added Value proposition to the software, PAID

Due to this Upgrade/Update issues I began to become frustrated with Protools. I always said if reason could record I would never use protools again. That did not come soon enough for me. I gave up on waiting for protools and started to use Apples Sound Track to record audio. Then enter record and I was compelled to compare the two.

With that said my friend who used to work at DigiDesign still try to convince me that Protools is justified in all the extra charges because of the total rewrites they would have to do to fix what Apple broke in the update. Personally as an end user I don’t care, I paid for something to work and if you wrote it fix it!

Record Pros

  1. When I updated to Snow Leopard it still worked (No Paid Update required)
  2. Record has the best Live audio processing I have ever used
  3. Works with any audio interface
  4. Record has the most awesome mixer
  5. No need for rewire to use reason
  6. Resembles Real Audio Gear
  7. 299.00 USD full version
  8. Offering a 64-bit summing bus, the mixer is modeled on the legendary SSL 9000K large-format console.
  9. mix-bus compressor to polish your mix before your mastering chain.
  10. Built-in audio time stretch
  11. Unlimited Audio Tracks
  12. World Class FX, Mixing and Mastering Gear
  13. Large number of Software instruments

Record Cons

  1. Hard to set up multiple audio interfaces
  2. locked to a hardware key

Protools Pros

  1. Lots of plugins
  2. $279.00 lowest end version with hardware
  3. 48 simultaneous stereo audio tracks
  4. A complete award-winning songwriting, multi tracking, mixing, and production environment
  5. 7 vintage analog emulation processing plug-ins, including Moogerfooger effects
  6. 7 virtual instruments including drums, piano, organ, synths, and samplers
  7. Full MIDI recording and editing, including control of virtual instruments

Protools Cons

  1. If Protools breaks as a result of a system update DigiDesign will charge you
  2. Years of horrible midi implementation
  3. Works only to DigiDesign or M-Audio Hardware
  4. Non reliable Rewire Implementation
  1. Cumbersome Audio and FX implementation
  2. Don’t have to use rewire to have good midi
  3. Protools Midi Sucks
  4. Record

Record Wins!

I will keep adding to this list as I learn how much better the program is

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