Snow Leopard Coming

Last night I saw on Twitter that Amazon has Snow Leopard available for Pre-Order, both the individual and family pack. This is excellent news as it means that we will see Snow Leopard in September, maybe as early as the first week of September. That's only a guess though. Apple makes no reference to being able to pre-order the latest version of their operating system yet, but then they never do. What is Snow Leopard? It is Macintosh OS 10.6, or the 6th version of what is commonly referred to as Mac OS X. For you windows users out there, it's kinda our Windows 7. Mac users won't be getting any major new features, but what we will be getting is dramatically faster speed, smaller foot print (install) and developers gets lots of new tools to make lots of new and really cool software that will be Mac only.

If you are a Mac user and have an Intel Macintosh, then don't ponder - just go to Amazon and order Snow Leopard. The cost, well, less than taking your family to a movie. For an individual copy good for one computer, it's $29. For a family pack good for up to 5 computers it's only $49. So even if you have only two Macs, you might as well get the Family Pack and save $10.

Amazon Snow Leopard 10.6

Great Mac Applications

If you are new to the Mac or just researching buying a Mac, one big question on your mind is SOFTWARE. The story you hear is that there isn't any software for the Mac; and what software there is, just really isn't that good. Well, I'm hear to tell you that if you have hear that awful story, rest assured it is a total lie.

Are their more software titles for Windows? Are there some great software titles for Windows? While both of these questions are answered with "yes," it doesn't hold that there aren't many apps for the Mac. Truth be told, there are many GREAT applications for Mac OS X. Many are only available on the Mac. Many will make you wonder why you didn't switch sooner.

All that being said, the hardest thing about moving to a new platform is knowing what applications you just have to try. Below is a list of software that I consider essential, or at least worth trying. This list, long though it is, doesn't come close to showing the shear volume of software available.

Here is a List of Great Mac OS X Applications:

  • Mail - Apple's mail client. You won't find an easier mail client to use anywhere. It isn't light on features. It is easy to use and best of all, it's included in every copy of Mac OS X. If you own a Mac, you have Mail. (Apple - FREE) - Upgrade Coming In October Mail for Mac OS X 10.5
  • - Apple's calendar program. For me this was the most underused program. It isn't perfect and has its quirks, but you can't beat the price and in reality, it does 100% of what most folks need out of a calendar application. If you have .Mac though, it becomes even more useful. (
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    - Upgrade Coming In October Mail for Mac OS X 10.

  • - Apple's web browser. There are sites that don't play friendly with it; but not many. While it isn't perfect, you won't find a better browsing experience. Best of all, it too is included with every copy of Mac OS X. It's true most browsers are free, but not every browser is built from the ground-up to work on a Mac.
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    ) - Upgrade Coming In October
    (The beta is already available)
  • - You might know this program by another name, Firefox. Camino is based on the exact same code base as Firefox; the major difference between the two is that Camino was developed for the Mac using that code base. There is a version of Firefox for Mac, it's even on this list, but it isn't optimized to run on the Mac like Camino. The drawback to this is simply updates to Camino don't occur as often as they do with Firefox. The upside is that Camino is more Mac compatible, not just running on a Mac, but thriving on a Mac giving Mac users all of the internal tools they expect. For example, built-in spell checking. Because it uses the same code as Firefox, any sites that works with Firefox will work with Camino.
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  • for OS X - Many PC users have left Internet Explorer for Firefox. Simply put, it's better. If you used Firefox on a PC, then the Mac version is 100% identical. Most plugins will work on both versions. It isn't 100% Mac like, but works like a dream on a Mac and nearly 100% of all sites will display great on Firefox.
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  • - Simply the easiest web creation program I have ever used. With its simple WYSIWYG design and use of themes you can have websites up in minutes. Many programers and designers have created plug-ins as well as themes. If you are going to create a website on a Mac, you have a few choices, but this by far is my choice. (
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  • - Here is a tool that has no counterpart that i know of on the PC. Let's say Safari is your broswer of choice, but occasionally you need to use Caminio, Firefox or even Omniweb. While you are using that browser you don't have access to your regular bookmarks. What's a boy to do? Use Bookdog. This program will sync your bookmarks across all of your browsers, and now does it across user profiles. Even better, it sorts your bookmarks and even verifies they still work!
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  • - The best music management software on Mac or PC. If you haven't heard of iTunes, then you have been living under a rock for the past few years. If you own an iPod you use iTunes. If you use iTunes, you may want an iPod. If you are buying music on-line, you are probably using iTunes and probably want an iPod. What Apple was shooting for? -
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  • If you have bought a Mac in the past 10 years, you have iPhoto. The most recent version was just released and is part of iLife. If you have used photo catalog software on a PC, you are in for a treat. Only Picasa 2.0 comes close to iPhoto, and it isn't a close 2nd. -
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  • - When you use this program you will think Apple thought it up; and they should have. iTunes can play videos and store them in its database, but doesn't do it increadibly well. iVideo on the other hand plays all videos and does do it very well. I think it should be closer to $14.95, but who's going to argue over $5. -
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  • - They call it an application launcher, but this program has more secrets than the Nixon administration. The author created the software, but it's up to the community to figure out how it works. There is little this program can't do and launching programs is on the simple end. Basically, it was designed to talk to just about every database on your Mac: photos, music, videos, addresses, files, folders and so much more. Quickly becoming one of the most talked about applications in Mac "Geekdom" -
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  • - While Apple computers are easy touse, they aren't "As Seen on TV" simple "Set It & Forget It" appliances. They are extremely sophisticated computers that do require some software maintenance. That being said, it isn't difficult and there are a host of free programs out there that do the jobs quite nicely. Any of them will work but this one sits in your menu and requires only that you click and choose the maintenance action you want to run: daily, weekly, monthly. It will do lots of little things for you that will keep your Mac running efficiently. -
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  • - This program serves to useful purposes. 1) keeps track of your website logons and passwords, auto entering if you prefer 2) keeps track of all kinds of other data like credit cards, bank accounts, frequent flyer numbers and just about anything else. - (
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  • - If you are looking for a great and simple way to manage your recipe collection, then this is a great way to go. Using the iLife look and feel, you can enter your recipes, pull them off of the internet and even go full screen in the kitchen to make reading the recipes easier. (
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  • - A great program for the student or the professional. By mimicking a notebook in every way, as well as giving you the ability to index that notebook on the fly, this program becomes an indispensable note-taking tool. (
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  • - Apple's answer to a productivity suite. Over the past few years Apple has been upgrading it and making the suite better and better. The original apps were Pages and Keynote. Pages has been a work in progress, but Keynote has been a stellar presentation program since day one rivaling PowerPoint. In the programs latest iteration, they have updated both and added a spreadsheet application. If you get this suite, you probably won't need Office which costs $300 more. - (
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Flickr Vs. Picasa

picasaweb.google.com

I'm testing out two different photo sharing services. I've used both and recently started using Flickr again; but thought I would take a look at Picasa Web again and have been pleasently suprised. The sites do the exact same thing, but no surprise Google has done a great job with Picasa;

www.flickr.com

although as with all Google sites it does lack a certain "splash" quality; but the same is true of Flickr.

I have the same sets of photos on both sites. Take a look at the public galleries of Carlos jr and tell me what you think. You can e-mail me at my primary address.

Picasa - Carlos Jr. Flickr - Carlos Jr.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and if you would suggest some other service. One of the main reasons for looking at either one of these sites is that there are plugins for Aperture 1.5 that allow me to post directly to their sites without the use of a secondary program or doing web-uploads.

Cool Software Application for Students - Mac Based Of Course

SchoolHouse 2 for Mac

In browsing the web today at lunch, I came across this cool little app that is designed for students. It isn't supper complicated but would have been a blessing to me when I was in school. Sure you can use Outlook or several other programs to help keep track of lessons and research, but having it all handy in a specialized application can be a godsend. The application is called Schoolhouse 2 - The Homework Manager for Mac.

The program keeps track of your class notes, class documents (you can attach documents to a topic), class tasks and research projects as well as keep track of grades. I haven't used it but the features it has could be very useful. It is also true "Donation-Ware." Meaning that you use it and if you like it you donate what you feel it is worth.

If you are interested or have a friend or student that is, I think it is worth checking out at: Loganscollins.com/schoolhouse.

Mac OS 10.5 Coming Sooner Than Later

Leopard Mac OS 10.5

Those that know me, know that I've once again become a Mac Head. I love my PowerBook and really do believe that Apple continues to create some of the best hardware and software in the industry today; and is doing a kick butt job with consumer devices as well. Anyway, their much anticipated competitor to Windows Vista is Mac OS 10.5; code name Leopard, is apparently on track to get released in early Spring instead of late Sprint or Early summer. The later time frame has been given by Apple for some time now, but it seems things are going better than anticipated.

Macrumors is reporting that this news is currently "unconfirmed," but their confidence must be at least somewhat strong or they would have put the news on what they call "Page 2," their stories that are very much rumor with no credible source. Apparently they have recieved their information from a Financialwire.net report. Could be true, might not be... who knows...

Though unconfirmed, Financialwire.net claims that Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard will be shipping by the end of March "according to sources."This date corresponds to an earlier report from ThinkSecret that Leopard development was "wrapping up faster than many at Apple even anticipated". Based on this earlier report, the new versions of iLife '07 and iWork '07 are expected alongside Leopard. Even after many false rumors about potential Apple media events, buzz continues about the possibility of a future Apple release event.

PhotoReviewer - Little Program, Does a Big Job

photoreviewerL8

Do you use a Mac? Do you shoot tons of photos? Then you need to take a look at PhotoReviewer. This application has only one real job, digital photo selection. What does that mean? Well, let's say you are on say your honeymoon and taking some 200 photos every day. You know that not all of those photos are keepers, do you really want to import them all into iPhoto? Probably not since iPhoto doesn't really handle choosing which photos you want to keep. It's a perfect shoebox, but not great for getting them into the shoebox with any kind of eye to storage limitations. At 1 to 3 megs per photo when you shoot at 5 megapixles, 200 photos can take up a great deal of space and if you are shooting as you should, there will be photos that you don't want to keep. PhotoReviewer will take care of you, and do so for only $15!

When you first look at PhotoReviewer you might think that is is a knockoff of iPhoto, basically doing the same thing. After a few minutes you will realize that iPhoto's purpose is totally different than PhotoReviewer. The quick description of both is this: PhotoReviewer is your first stop for your photos. It will take the photos off of your camera and allow you to Approve or Veto each and every photo. Approval means you keep it, veto means you either move it off to a secondary location or just delete the photo. iPhoto is you every day stop for reviewing your photos, printing your photos, sharing your photos with other applications as well as minor edits and cropping.

Here's how you can use it...

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After you download your photos into PhotoReviewer you can review each photo individually in near full screen view, even using a loop to see the full detail of your photo. The loop allows you to see if everything was actually in focus as you had intended. You can also view a histogram to aid you in photo selection. To the left you will see thumbnails of your photos as well as the data collected by your camera when it took the photo. Your camera may collect more data than is available to be seen and you can choose what you want to see of what is available.

windowshot2SIf you want to see more photos at a time, you have two options (three if you count the thumbnail view to the left). Your first option is to display your photos in a very iPhoto like way. Lots of thumbnails together. You can sort your photos in various ways to fit how you shoot. You can select multiple photos and once for processing, or just do them one at a time. There is a quick key to go from single photo view to multiple photo view. This all works very quickly as all of the photos are stored in memory. This also means that the more photos you try an import, the more memory your computer will need to process them all at once. Once you hit your memory wall, you can still see that you have the photo, just not the thumbnail of the photo.

windowshot3S

If you take multiple shots of the same subject in the hopes of getting the perfect photo, you ended up with more photos than you need and photos that look nearly identical. Figuring out which you want to keep can be difficult, but keeping them all just doesn't make sense. You may want ot keep various versions, but not each photo you took. To help you compare them there is a way to view selected photos next to each other and even use the loop to look at the exact same spot on all the photos. This way you can find the photos with imperfections and "Veto" them before you ever have to import them into iPhoto. You can also use this took as a means to review similar photos or photos of a series.

At any time during the process, you can easily Approve or Veto any particular photo. As you Approve and Veto photos they are tagged to be moved and disappear from the "No Vote" selection tag. There are three tags, No Vote, Approved & Vetoed. You can view the tags alone or together. Think of them as pre-categories. The voting is easy. You can use your mouse or the keyboard. In fact, nearly every aspect of the selection process is keystroke based. This makes the review process very fast.

Once you have made your selections you can move right to the end of the process or you can review your approvals and your vetos. You can also rename photos to something more descriptive. This is the first and only time the program will make changes to your files. iPhotos imports photos with the file name given to them by your camera, while this helps to insure there are no duplicate photos; it makes file review very messy outside of iPhoto. The choice is yours to rename, and if you do it will do them in sequence; just like iPhoto does only iPhoto never actually changes the name of your file, just what it shows in iPhoto. By renaming your photos you can give them shoot names, dates in the file name or any other system you prefer; or do nothing and let iPhoto do what it does so well, organize your photos.

Take a look at the PhotoReviewer site. They have a lot more information as well as a free trial. If you shoot hundreds and hundreds of photos, it is worth taking a look at this little program that does a big job.

Microsoft Office 12 - Beta (First Look)

CNet was one of the lucky groups, I guess they were lucky, to get their hands on the very first public beta of Microsoft Office 12. From what I am reading, this upgrade won't be like the last two upgrades that really didn't offer substantial change or new features; this upgrade will be more like the Office 97 upgrade after Office 95, big changes.

In several of the programs say good-bye to the standard file menu and hello to what they call ribbons. There will be lots of other "visual" changes and one would assume some deeper ones as well. Of course, will this software be worth getting on day 1, or even day 456? The verdict won't be out until probably day 120 of its release.

I will say that it looks like the Windows version of Office may finally get some of the pizazz the Mac versions of Office have had for a few years now, as well as the easier user interface. One can hope anyway.

Check out the review and the slideshow.