Hoping to be blown away

January 27, 2009 § Leave a comment

The TCEA conference is next week.

Last year, if you’ll recall, I was completely underwhelmed by the whole thing.  I’m hopeful that there will be something new there this year that will just blow me out of the water.  However, given the state of the economy, I won’t be surprised if vendors are just hedging their bets on the existing technology and honing their pitch about how it will raise your test scores!

I’m also hoping to see something new in the concurrent sessions besides the same old blogging and wiki-ing.  Show me something innovative.  Show me something that will spark a new idea for our district.  The whole point of going to TCEA is to learn something new.

So I’ll be looking, next week, for the next big thing.  I hope that I find it.

Apple keeps taking steps backward

January 26, 2009 § 3 Comments

Let me start off by saying that I’m a big fan of AppleWas a big fan of Apple.  But they’re quickly losing my business, and I’m wondering if I’m alone in thinking that they’re a bit out of touch with what’s going on in the world.

I bought a PowerBook 5 years ago, and loved it.  Used it for everything.   It was expensive, but I saw it as a tool I could use for a lot of tasks.  I stored and fixed all of my photos in iPhoto, did all of my video editing in iMovie (which almost every other video editing system tries to copy), and loved the fact that I was virutally immune from viruses.  I had a 10 gig iPod that held all of my music, and was ultra cool.  I was a complete Mac guy.

And then my iPod took a dump.  Actually, a lot of dumps.  Several times this past summer, it froze up while connected to my car interface and it would take hours, sometimes days, to get it back.  I chalked it up to the fact that it was 5 years old and I had just worn it out.

It finally started working again, but the buttons didn’t work anymore.  Any time I would press the select button, I’d get a high pitched squeak, and maybe I’d get music.  But it wasn’t the music I was asking for.  It still worked with my car interface, however, which is where I used it the most, so it was a flaw I could live with.

Recently, though, I started to think it would be nice if I could use my iPod outside of my car.  And put videos on it.  And pictures.  My little 10 gig was made before any of those features were available on iPods.  So I started researching the new iPods, and I found something very interesting.

The new iPods require iTunes 8.  iTunes 8 doesn’t run on OS 10.3, which I had on my PowerBook, hence the whole previous rant.

And while I was debating the whole should-I-get-a-mac-or-pc thing, I was waiting to see what Apple would do at MacWorld.

All they did was prove that they’re completely out of touch.

The economy is in the tank, and every computer manufacturer is scrambling to come out with affordable laptops, or netbooks.  And what was Apple’s big announcement?  A $2800, 17″ MacBook Pro.  Out.  Of.  Touch.

On top of all that, I was playing with the iMac we have in our office and trying to figure out the new version of iMovie.  What a huge disappointment.  It took me 30 minutes just to figure out how to drop audio out of a clip.  And I’m not the only one who thinks the new version of iMovie is a travesty.  Makes me glad I didn’t buy a new mac.

The final thing that I can’t understand is why in the world they wouldn’t offer the iPhone on more wireless carriers.  Pairing with the evil empire of AT & T will not make me buy an iPhone no matter how cool it is.  Let it work on any network, then maybe I’ll consider buying it.

Sorry, Apple, except for an iPod, you certainly are not making products that I want to spend my hard earned money on.  For the time being, you’ve lost my business.

Quick, someone talk me out of this…

January 8, 2009 § 1 Comment

I’m about to make a decision on a new computer.

I got some gift cards for Christmas (and hopefully a few more for my birthday next week) and I’ve been trying to decide what to get with them.

I’d really like a new iPod, since my 5 1/2 year old, 10 gig (not even photo capable) only works with my car interface – the center button doesn’t work anymore, so it’s useless for anything outside of the car.

Problem: my 5 year old Powerbook only has OS 10.3, and the new iPods require at least 10.4.

Sure, I could buy Leopard, and a new battery (since mine only goes about 45 minutes before it dies), but why spend $300 to keep a 5 year old computer running, when I could buy a brand new netbook for $350?  Or better yet, a brand new full sized PC laptop for about $500 (and have the same amount or more hard drive space, RAM, processing power,  etc. as a Mac).

I love my mac, but I’m having a really hard time justifying spending $1000 on a new one.  With the new features in Vista (which I still don’t like, but it’s growing on me), I can use Windows Photo Gallery instead of iPhoto, Movie Maker has some pretty good improvements, and combined with Photo Story it’s almost as good as iMovie, which I haven’t really used recently, anyway.

And iTunes…well, that’s the big kicker.  If I was using a Windows machine in the first place, none of this would be an issue.  You see, in order to use a new iPod, it really isn’t the OS that’s the problem.  It’s iTunes.  You need iTunes 8, but iTunes 8 won’t run on OS 10.3.  It will, however, run on XP AND Vista.  Now, I understand why Apple would make it run on XP, but it seems like they’ve abandoned their own users by making 10.3 obsolete.  I shouldn’t have to buy a brand new operating system (granted, at much less of a cost than a new PC OS) when PC users with 5 year old machines don’t have to.

So that’s my dilemma.  I’m on the verge of switching back to PC just because it costs too darn much money to own a mac.

Or am I just talking crazy?  Someone, please…set me on the right path.

Worst OS in the world?

January 5, 2009 § 1 Comment

This post by Tim gave me an idea.  I’m going to run an experiment.

My father won a “major prize” and just received it a few days ago.  A brand spaking new laptop, and none too soon, either.  His old HP laptop is 5 years old and on its last legs.  No USB 2.0 ports,  and slow as molasses in January.

Problem:  It came pre-loaded with Windows Vista.  Which I despise.

Now, my mom is perfectly happy using old, slow HP, and really only uses it for web apps.  I thought I’d try something out and load it up with Ubuntu to see if we can’t get it running a bit faster.  My Dad will be using the new laptop (which I also loaded with Office 07….this ought to be fun).

So the experiment is this.  For everyday laptop use, surfing, spreadsheets, etc., what is more likely to make someone over 55 pull their hair out – Windows Vista and Office 07, or Ubuntu Linux?

I’ll update you in a couple of weeks as to their comments and frustrations/successes with the laptops.

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