Mac OS X Leopard: A perfect 10?

Leopard BoxApple’s new operating system and its massive new feature set challenge users and developers to explore new and better ways of working. I don’t think Leopard is a perfect 10, but the author, Tom Yager, opines that Leopard’s many new features and underlying capabilities allow Leopard to “stay out of the user’s way while being a microsecond away from answering any user demand, and to make sure that the user never has to do anything twice.” This article is worth a read.

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Leopard: Infinite Desktop Sharing ;)

So I installed Leopard and have been playing around with several of the new features. One feature that is of particular interest to many of us that provide technical support for family and friends is the new “Desktop Sharing” capability.

Here’s a clip from Apple’s guided tour
http://youtube.com/watch?v=wf_NPeO3As8

 

It appears Apple has re-purposed the open-source VNC client/server to enable screen sharing from the finder. It is a great feature and the Apple implementation is excellent.

Well, tonight I wondered what would happen if I shared screens between my iMac and MacBook Pro. So I connected from my MacBook Pro to my iMac and could see the iMac desktop. I then walked over to my iMac and connected back to my MacBook Pro. Here are the results captured by the Grab utility.

Infinite Desktop Sharing small

Click the image to see a larger version (hosted on Flickr).

Just like being between two mirrors (without actually being in between and partially blocking the image).

I don’t believe these are the results that Apple desires, but other than a few issues gaining control of my mouse (had to walk over to the iMac and use the locally connected mouse), there weren’t any runaway processes or freezes. I did not have VNC handy to test to see if it produces similar results. I don’t recall ever trying this with VNC. Enjoy!

HDR Photography

HDR is short for High Dynamic Range. It is a software technique of taking either one image or a series of images, combining them, and adjusting the contrast ratios to do things that are virtually impossible with a single aperture and shutter speed. Although not for every photograph, I think you will agree that the results are stunning.

There is an awesome tutorial at stuckincustoms.com on how to generate HDR images from the picture you take with your digital camera. Although the results are far more impressive with multiple RAW source images (you’ll need an auto-bracketing capability and a tripod), the technique can be applied to single JPG images shot with a point-and-shoot digital camera. I have included some sample images (courtesy stuckincustoms.com), but I would encourage you to go to that site or to the author’s HDR gallery on Flickr to see some truly amazing images.

Chicago at night HDR

Boats HDR

Gullfoss Iceland HDR

Hong Kong HDR

Images courtesy stuckincustoms.com

The Map Just Changed

Green apple logoToday, Apple’s market cap exceeded that of IBM. Apple finished the day at $186.16 giving it a market cap of $161.89B (IBM’s market cap is at $156.01B). Makes you wonder about Apple’s 1984 Ad.

Over at bbum’s weblog-o-mat he has created a graph showing the relative market caps for the leading computer hardware companies. Over at SilliconValley.com, they point out,

And while Google-watchers go gaga over its soaring share price (see “A six-letter word for bubble? Try gasbag“), note that an investor who bought Apple on the same day Google stock debuted in 2004 would have, as of the close of market yesterday, made 40 percent more than if the same money had been put into the search sovereign’s shares.

Congratulation to Mr. Jobs and the entire Apple team on this truly amazing occasion!

SanDisk’s Video Salvo

If your home is like mine, then you have a multi-megabit broadband connection, one or more HD capable TV sets, a wired or wireless home network and one or more PCs (ok mine aren’t all PCs–6 of them are Macs, and one PC running FreeBSD).

While having 7 computers, takes my home out of the norm (is it the number of computers or the fact that 6 of them are Macs?), my home suffers the same dilemma as the average consumer’s home. There is a gaping digital chasm between the personal computer and the television set.

There are several ways to watch downloaded programs and movies on the living room TV. Methods typically involve the transfer of video files over a home network from a computer to some gadget (I have an Apple TV, does that count as another computer?) connected to the TV. But few of them are easy, trust me I have tried them all.

The maker of the Sansa, a distant No. 2 to the iPod, has a new way to view downloaded content on a TV. It could turn up the heat on Apple.

SanDisk CEO Eli Harari says launching Fanfare has less to do with attacking Apple in a potentially tender spot than about establishing a toehold in an incipient market. “The video market right now is just embryonic,” he says. “Media companies have spent a great deal of money creating their content and they don’t want anyone to tell them how to sell it. And we agree with them.”

For David Poltrack, president of CBS Vision, the TV broadcaster’s research division, it’s a matter of getting the networks’ programming in places that consumers will use it. “When we tested the SanDisk product it clearly resonated with consumers,” Poltrack says. “There are other ways to do this with more sophisticated products, but because of cost and complexity they’re not as attractive. This is going to be selling at Wal-Mart (WMT).”

Combining the TakeTV device with the Fanfare service creates the means of tracking ads, he says. “When you plug in that device to the computer and sign in to the service it knows who you are,” he says. “Having people say these are the categories of ads they’re interested in—that opens up a lot of ways for advertisers to use this medium creatively.”

Taking a low-tech approach on PC-to-TV transfers could make a big difference to consumers weary of technical complexity, says Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. “We know consumers want to watch downloaded video on their TVs. But the biggest weakness is the complexity of the home network,” he says. “This takes the maddening complexity of the home network out of the equation.”

Sounds like a hit to me.

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10 Cutting Edge Projects, 8 Inovators, 8 Bold Ideas

3D PrinterAt the Popular Mechanics website, they have compiled a list of 8 inventors and 10 great new projects.  My favorites are the “make anything” machine (pictured on right), the “hands on computer” which forms the basis for Apple’s multi-touch technology in the iPhone and iTouch iPod and Microsoft’s Surface Computing initiative mocked earlier here on Xlog.

More on the 10 cutting-edge projects and 8 bold ideas @ Popular Mechanics.

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