Talkin' Smack: The God OS By Dave Nagel Is there a God? It's a question that might seem a bit out of place in this oft-jovial, sometimes sardonic editorial page, and I'm certainly not intending this to be in any way blasphemous by asking it here. After all, I'm as opposed to drowning in a lake of fire forever as the next guy. Nevertheless, the question is a relevant one for these pages, and, at the risk of exposing my own hubris, I intend to explain this relevance and answer the question in 1,500 words or fewer. ...Read More »
Prodigal Mac: Stranger in a Strange Land By Kevin Schmitt Since there are only a smattering of Apple-branded stores strewn across this great land of ours, I imagine that a good many of you out there have not had the opportunity to actually set foot inside of one. Oh, I'm sure you've seen pictures or heard stories, some of which have grown to mythic proportions. "Steve Jobs personally mans the cash register at every store!" "They have 400,000 software titles just for the Mac there!" "I heard that the employees can smell the rank stench of Windows on you, so be careful!" "My God, it's full of stars!" ...Read More »
Prodigal Mac: Excuse Me While I Pull My Hair out By Kevin Schmitt For those Prodigal Mac readers that go WAAAYY back with me to the column's humble beginnings, which was all of about four weeks ago, you've probably noticed my fondness for analogy. I wouldn't dare disappoint both of you by skimping on this installment, so let me take you back to an experience you've probably had (or may currently be having) in some form or another. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: Flash Is Back By Dave Nagel Not too long ago, I went on a bit of a tirade against Microsoft for failing to deliver the Flash plugin with the basic installation of Internet Explorer for Windows. After all, if it could happen on the Windows platform, the same fate couldn't be far off for the Mac platform either. But now (as of last week) Microsoft and Macromedia say Flash Player 5 will be distributed with the Microsoft Windows XP operating system, which is scheduled for worldwide availability Oct. 25. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: Who Educates the Educators? By Dave Nagel There are few things that affect your life as powerfully as your first child heading off to her first day of kindergarten. It's a time for reflecting upon one's own mortality, of envisioning one's child for the first time as a self-sufficient entity and of pondering the future in a completely new light. In short, it's a life-changing event. ...Read More »
Prodigal Mac: Find Balance, Grasshopper By Kevin Schmitt When I was little (and, admittedly, even today), I always looked forward to New Shoe Day!, a day so great, it must be capitalized and end with an exclamation point, even in the middle of a sentence. Picking out just the right shoe; the feel of the Brannock device against your sock-clad foot (yes, that metal thing they use to measure your shoe size does have a name); the agony of those rare times when they didn't have the right size; the ecstasy as you wore your spankin' new shoes out of the store, old ones already forgotten in the box under your mom's arm. There was nothing in the world like New Shoe Day! ...Read More »
Prodigal Mac: The One Where He Admits His Mac Envy By Kevin Schmitt One night recently, as I sat motionless and glassy-eyed on my couch, I came across one of the older episodes of Friends. It was the one where Ross was trying to decide which girl would be better suited for him: his current girlfriend, Julie, or his dream woman, Rachel. So he made a list of what was wrong with each woman in an effort to help him choose. Long story short, he picked Rachel, she found the list, read it, got mad at what he thought was wrong with her, hijinks ensued, roll credits. As I watched this episode for what seemed like the ten gazillionth time, it dawned on me that I, too, was approaching a crisis not unlike that of my television friend Ross. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: At It Again By Dave Nagel In some ways, it's reassuring to know that some things don't change. Even if it's a lame thing. Take Microsoft, for example. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: More Fun in the 3D World By Dave Nagel Before we get to the topic of this week's column?to wit, the SIGGRAPH convention?I'd like to revisit the topic of last week's?to wit, my birthday. You might recall that I had demanded of you, my beloved readers, some presents this year. Of course, not a single one of you sent me anything of any monetary value. I chalk this failure up to two factors?the lousy economy and the fact that I forgot to supply you with a shipping address. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: 20 Years of Innovation By Dave Nagel As most of you are aware, this week is my birthday. Last year at this time I published a wish list of my favorite technologies in the hopes that you would send some of these things along in gratitude for the fine service that all of you agree I provide to the industry. I don't mean to toot my own, you know, horn or anything; I just like getting free stuff. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: The Broadband Fiasco By Dave Nagel Some time ago I started a rant about ISPs and, in particular, my cable modem service. The argument went something like this: With all the commerce and information at stake on the Internet and with such limited choices as to how we access the Internet at high speeds, it seems almost a crime that those few companies that control access should take such a cavalier approach to service and support. I used my former cable modem service provider as an example of the sorry state of high-speed access. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: The Big Conspiracy By Dave Nagel The topic of last week's Talkin' Smack seemed to arouse the full range of emotions in our readers, from "Dave, you're an idiot" to "Dave, your mom is an idiot for not committing infanticide when you were born." A few of you were a bit more level-headed about the whole thing, offering some practical suggestions for seeking help for my mental problems, while others offered some not so practical suggestions for where I could stuff my obviously impaired brain. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: The Macworld Letdown By Dave Nagel Following last Wednesday's announcements, I'm not sure what I can say that hasn't already been said a million times in forums all over the Internet?usually punctuated by a couple of asterisks between an f and a k. The blame can't be placed entirely on Apple though. After all, they're at the mercy of Motorola, which, at present, is far more concerned about its ever-declining cell phone market share than chip development for the Mac. Or maybe they're still too busy firing employees caught smoking in the parking lot to worry about such trivial matters as megaHertz. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: The Macworld Smack Down By Dave Nagel Most of you know that Macworld kicks off this week. While the East Coast show is typically more consumer-oriented than the West Coast one, it does nevertheless offer the hope of some goodies for professional users as well. Of course, as the single most powerful journalist in the world, I am privy to some of the secrets that will be revealed this year?some pretty tantalizing ones at that?but you're going to have to wait for those. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: The Security Scam By Dave Nagel So, is it just me, or does everyone hate rights management companies? You know, those guys who make the technology that other people use to keep consumers from copying their stuff. Take Macrovision, for example, since it's their technology that has annoyed me most recently. Macrovision is the company that makes that encoding technology to "prevent piracy." At least that's the claim. In practice, it's the technology that causes me to go out and buy more expensive equipment because I can't use my VCR as a media hub because Macrovision's technology doesn't understand the difference between passthrough and recording. In other words, I can't run my DVD player through my VCR and actually watch a DVD because Macrovision thinks I'm trying to pirate my DVD just by virtue of the fact that both my VCR and DVD player are turned on at the same time. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: Back in Black By Dave Nagel Less than a year ago, Corel Corp. seemed on the verge of ruin. Its profits were non-existent; it had just splurged on the acquisition of a number of creative products from the company formerly known as Metacreations; and its directors had released a statement saying that the company would be out of money unless it could merge with Inprise/Borland, another software company. The merger never happened. ...Read More »
Analysis: Is It Enough? By Dave Nagel At the Macworld Expo in New York this morning, Steve Jobs announced several significant developments in the Apple product lineup, many of them targeted toward creative professionals. Are the product announcements enough to satisfy users who have become frustrated over the apparent stall in chip development over at Motorola? Users have had mixed reactions to the announcements in forums all over the Internet. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: QuickTime, SRS, CineWave & ICE By Dave Nagel So guess where I went last week. Go on, guess. Give up? It was Streaming Media West out in Long Beach, home of my alma mater and some of the best bars in California. ...Read More »
Talkin' Smack: Would Somebody Please Service Me? By Dave Nagel We all have our gripes about customer service in the computer business. As Mac users, we probably have it a bit easier than those poor, unfortunate, pathetic creatures on the Windows side, since, on the whole, our problems are rather minor and can be fixed with a bit of educated troubleshooting, whereas their problems are rooted in their childhoods and are usually only fixed through hug therapy. ...Read More »
He Was Just This Guy, You Know? By Dave Nagel There are probably five or six people in the world who, in my mind, should be exempt from mortality (not counting family and friends and, of course, you, dear reader). They're all brilliant writers, creative geniuses and, not incidentally, Mac fanatics. I'm sure you all have a similar list (at least unconsciously) and, I'm sure as well, our lists have one name in common?Douglas Adams. Unfortunately, the universe doesn't yet accept our input when it comes to who lives and who dies, as evidenced by the boorish manner in which it put an end this weekend to the life of one of the most brilliant writers of our time. ...Read More »
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