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The New Leader in the “Busy Mac” Contest

The New Leader in the “Busy Mac” Contest

Cult reader James moves to the head of the pack in the incredible contest to see how many apps can be running on your Mac and displayed on your desktop in all their juicy, chaotic goodness by Exposé.

James’ machine is Mac Pro 8 core, with 10GB RAM, 30’ NEC 3090 monitor, and 2 1TB Samsung drives raided together. He has a lot of high end apps running, including all of Final Cut Studio, all of Adobe Creative Suite CS 3 Design Premium, all of Office 2008, all of iWork 08, Google Earth, Windows XP and Crunch Bang Linux in virtual box , Sling Player, Filemaker xcode and mmaannyyy more.

“I got to the point where it started giving an error code and would not launch any more apps,” he told us. “When I tried to screen shot it refused, so I had to quit an app before I could make a screen shot.”

Click on the image to see the original size and find he’s also got Open Office, Think Free Office, Eclipse IDE, a 22 mega pixel image from a Canon 5K Mark II (the ship), Proxi, Sketch Up, Sketch Book education, Skype, Gizmo, Gridiron Flow beta, eBay desktop, Acquisition, Adium, Firefox, Safari, iPhone Simulator…

He thinks there are about 240 apps running in all, but says, “I reckon the Pro could take another 100 if the OS would allow it — maybe snow leopard.”

Follow afer the jump for screen shots of James’ Activity Monitor.

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Art History 101: Google Earth Takes Users to the Prado

Proving it really is the coolest company on the web, Google unveiled this week the Prado layer in Google Earth, an amazing bit of functionality that lets users zoom into almost any spot on the planet for a detailed view of what’s to be found there using the company’s earth mapping product.

The Google Earth Prado layer also includes 3D models which allow you to fly around the Prado buildings to experience the museum as if you were actually there. The paintings have been photographed in very high resolution and contain as many as 14,000 million pixels (14 gigapixels).

The iPhone version of Google Earth is not yet updated to support this feature, so you’ll have to use your desktop earth to get there.

Art History 101: Google Earth Takes Users to the Prado

Steampunk Takes Technology Back to the Future

Steampunk Takes Technology Back to the Future“Steampunk lies at the intersection of science and romance,” says one of its foremost practitioners, Jake Von Slatt. “It embraces technology but demands technology return the favor.”

We came across Von Slatt while checking in with our friend Bob Eckstein, whose recently completed project, The History of the Snowman is now out in the world after six years of grueling research.

One of Eckstein’s next projects is producing a graphic novel out of a nautical explorer’s diary from 1850. A full-immersion writer, Eckstein has gotten himself in the mood for the work by transforming his office space into a 19th century Captain’s Quarters. He refitted his computers and office equipment into old ship instruments to lend verité to his efforts, and secured vintage trappings to serve up authenticity to his muse.

Hence, my introduction to Steampunk.

Click on pics in the gallery below and follow after the jump for more of the story.

Low-Tide Double Monitor iMac Set-up iMac Close-up Captain's Quarters
Steampunk LCD Monitor Detail Seampunk LCD Monitor Detail Steampunk LCD Monitor
Steampunk Mac Mini Mod Steampunk Mac Mini Set-up #2 Steampunk Mac Mini Set-up

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Holiday Gift Idea: VladStudio’s Beautiful, Whimsical Wallpaper Clocks

This post has been corrected to accurately reflect its subject’s nationality. The post author was originally directed to the Italian version of the designer’s website, resulting in a misunderstanding as to his national origin.

Vlad Gerasimov is one busy guy. Proprietor of the outstanding design shop VladStudio, this Russian designer has created hundreds and hundreds of wallpapers, backgrounds and wallpaper clocks, a sampling of which is displayed in the gallery below.

Vlad has also created a few dozen PhotoShop tutorials that can have you designing like a pro in no time.

You can purchase a lifetime registration good for receiving higher quality, signature free downloads and Adobe source files until December 31st for $19.99, $10 off his regular registration fee.

This is great stuff and well worth checking out, a fine holiday gift idea for the artist or designer on your gifting list.

A Small Gift Booben Christmas Clock Christmas Lights
Eos 1 Jeans World Map Ladybug & Chameleon Letter Eater
Sparks Square Elephant Tenere Tree Underwater

AppleTV Update Adds an “Off” Switch

AppleTV Update Adds an “Off” SwitchApple published the 2.2 update for Apple TV users last night and the biggest news may be that users will now be able to turn the device off from within the control panel.

A major complaint about Apple TV has been that the thing runs extremely hot, in addition to the fact that even when not in use, it sits there burning kilowatts of energy, very much at odds with the company’s aspirations to environmental friendliness.

Now, finally, users may put the device into “Standby” mode by pressing the “Play/Pause” button for about 3 seconds from the Main menu. There is also a “Standby” option accessible from an interior menu that I can’t mention here because WordPress doesn’t like the word. But it rhymes with vettings.

As expected, US Apple TV users can now buy HD TV shows directly from iTunes. The latest update also lets users make music video playlists from their favorite songs and Genius can be used with Apple TV, as long as users activate Genius in iTunes and sync with their device.

See all the update features here.

The art of failure

Asraf Sani's dead Mac

One common problem I’ve noticed is that recent switchers from Windows to OS X don’t expect to encounter problems. At all. In many cases, they’ve heard so much good stuff about OS X that they expect it to be good stuff all the way through.

I make a point, these days, of saying to potential switchers: “Macs can break, you know. They do break. They can drive you crazy.” And the potential switchers look at me like I’m mad and say: “So why switch then?” And I reply: “Because it will happen far less frequently than it does with Windows, and most of the time recovery will be quicker and easier.” Note that: most of the time.

Anyway, Asraf Sani has a disappointed tone in his voice when he writes about the artistically interesting graphics failure that hit his iMac running Leopard last Friday. The colourful light show made it unusable, but at least the screenshot controls were still working, enabling Asraf to grab a few snaps for his Flickr stream.

Should we celebrate graphic failures on our Macs? I think we should. Every cloud, silver lining, all that.

Picture used with Asraf’s permission

Drawings Hint at New iPod Nano, Touch


Apparent dimensional drawings for both the fourth-generation iPod nano and second-generation iPod touch have appeared, suggesting the devices will have familiar measurements but with interesting new shapes and features, according to a report at iLounge.

With all eyes looking toward Apple’s “Big Event” scheduled for next Tuesday in San Francisco, rumors of what might be announced are sure to come fast and furious over the next several days.


Hard-To-Find The Hills Screensaver — Get It Here


The Hills screensaver is about the coolest screensaver I’ve seen for Mac OS X, but it’s not easy to get.

The screensaver shows beautifully rendered rolling green hills covered in perfectly-manicured grass. You fly over them as though gliding in a silent helicopter. It’s utterly hypnotic — and very relaxing, especially on a big display.

The developer, Chris Kent, was hosting it on a .mac account, but he exceeded bandwidth limits and it’s now gone.

Searching for it in Google brings up a bunch of old links — it’s very frustrating.

So we’re hosting the file here. Download The Hills version 1.1: hills-1-1.dmg.

Deal of the Day

Photo by John Pettit

Software retailer MacHeist, well-known among software buyers for its bundle deals, says it is offering Parallels for the “lowest price ever,” at $49 or $39 for previous MacHeist customers.

Parallels Desktop software for Mac is a Mac System Utility that allows users to run Windows and Linux side by side on Mac OS X without rebooting.

Dell Brings Dock, Color to New Laptops


Dell is launching a new mid-range line of portable computers called Studio Laptops with a Mac-like “Dock” designed to give Vista users an illusion of the OS X experience.

Studio Laptops’ desktop GUI takes Windows’ traditional application icon layout and organizes it into a “Dock” similar to the one familiar to Mac users, though questions remain as to whether users will be able to customize the Dock layout and place it on either side or at the bottom of the desktop.

In an additional concession to the proposition that Apple may be winning the OS war, Dell will offer cases in seven colors, a significant change to the company’s predominantly industrial look.

Gizmodo has nice before and after screenshots of the desktop.