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Steve is F*cking Great! [Recollections]

Steve is F*cking Great! [Recollections]

In part 9 of “My Close Encounters With Steve Jobs,” Macworld founder David Bunnell tells how he shouted “Steve Jobs is a fucking genius!” in front of a bunch of kids at a Super Bowl party.

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Hello, Customers – Are You Still There? Musings of an Apple Consultant

Hello, Customers – Are You Still There? Musings of an Apple Consultant

Note: This is a guest column by David Yoken, founder of Macuity, a Boston Apple consultancy, who discusses the joys of providing IT and repair services to machines that “just work.”

Just got off a call with an architectural firm for whom we set up a brand new server last week. The typical conversation I have with clients is amusingly formulaic, and this one was much of the same:

Me: How’s everything going with your new server?

Customer: It’s really wonderful. We haven’t had any problems, and the transition has been nearly seamless.

Me: Super! I’m glad things are working out. I suppose now would be a good time to talk about a service and maintenance contract and schedule for your new equipment.

Customer: Well, we probably can handle most everything on our own. Apple makes it so easy, so we’ll be fine!

Me: Oh, umm…, absolutely! How about remote monitoring or help desk services?

Customer: Yeah, sure, but you probably won’t hear from us much on that end either. I think we can take it from here, but thanks!

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WTF!: World’s Most Advanced Music AI Runs On Ancient Power Mac 7500

WTF!: World’s Most Advanced Music AI Runs On Ancient Power Mac 7500

Music Professor David Cope with Emily Howell, a music AI that runs on a Power Mac 7500. Photo courtesy of Catherine Karnow.

The world’s most advanced music AI runs on a rickety old Power Mac 7500.

Called Emily Howell by its creator, music professor David Cope, the program just released “her” first album, From Darkness, Light, in January.

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The poetry of Charles Bukowski: Made on a Mac

The poetry of Charles Bukowski: Made on a Mac

On Friday, Pete called our attention to a lovely poem by Beat poet Gary Snyder called “Why I Take Good Care of My Macitosh,” which features lovely stanzas like:

And puts word-heaps in hoards for me, dozens of pockets of gold under boulders in streambeds, identical seedpods strong on a vine, or it stores bins of bolts;

And I lose them and find them,

Because whole worlds of writing can be boldly laid out and then highlighted and vanish in a flash at “delete,” so it teaches of impermanence and pain;

And because my computer and me are both brief in this world, both foolish, and we have earthly fates,

Based on Snyder’s poem, you might be tempted to conclude that the Apple experience is synonymous with the zen and jazz inspired wanderlust of the Beat Generation as a whole. You might be right.

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Legendary advertising man behind Apple’s “1984” commercial dies

Legendary advertising man behind Apple’s “1984” commercial dies

Although Guy Day is, as pictured, about as far away from the har- boozing, womanizing, red-meat-eating Don Draper type as a 70s-style pompadour will get you, he was one of the country’s quintessential ad men for decades.

Everyone reading this blog knows his work: as the president of the acclaimed Chiat / Day advertising agency, Day was responsible for bringing together the team that created the hyper-Orwellian 1984 Super Bowl Macintosh ad.

Sadly, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Day on Saturday, died in his sleep of natural causes. The timing is particularly depressing: a self-described “life-long agency ad man” who revolutionized Apple’s advertising strategies, Day, of all people, would be delighted by the marketing possibilities of the forthcoming Tablet.

Rest in peace, Mr. Day. You’ll always be remembered by this Mac fan for your art and for your work.

iPhone Could Be First Smartphone in Space

If astronaut Leroy Chiao has anything to say about it, Apple’s iPhone may be the first smartphone in space.

The former NASA astronaut, who has four missions in space under his belt, including a six and a half month stint on the international space station, has been a Mac nut since 1985. Today he is the Executive Vice President of Excalibur Almaz, a commercial venture that hopes to be putting space tourists into true space journeys by sometime in the next few years.

Chiao was disappointed to have to abandon his preference for Macs during his time as a NASA employee (because NASA was a PC-only shop) but says his first purchase after leaving the US government space program was a new Mac.

He’s an iPhone user, too — although he relies mostly on his 3 year-old twins for app selection so far — but he’s confident Mac and iPhone both have roles in his company’s plans — as long as they “play well with the systems on board.”

Cult Favorite: BumpTop Re-Imagines Your Mac Desktop in 3D


What it is: BumpTop for Mac is OS X software that gives you a whole new way of looking at and using your desktop, one that brings your computer screen into the realm of 3D imaging and instantly grows your monitor’s real estate – no matter how large or small – into a more productive palette than anything you’ve seen before.

Why it’s cool: BumpTop represents a total re-thinking of the 20 year-old design artifact that is the standard desktop UI.

Now you can view your computer screen as a real desk, or more accurately perhaps, as the floor of a four walled room – and use all the space to put your stuff in piles, tack important things on the walls and slap sticky notes on everything – just like in real life.

Desktop minimalists are hereby free to skip the rest of this post.

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Cult Favorite: MemoryMiner 2.0 Realizes Potential of Your iLife

Cult Favorite: MemoryMiner 2.0 Realizes Potential of Your iLife

We take pictures to remember our own lives better and tell stories about the people who matter most to us. In older days, we had photo albums. These days, we have gigantic digital libraries on our computers, and a lot of the time it’s pretty disorganized. Sure, the most important photos are grouped into albums and what-not, but little else is. The meaning behind the pictures isn’t obvious.

Apple has taken steps to address this in iPhoto 09, adding in face detection and the ability to take people in pictures for searching by participant and searching by geography via GPS data, but these elements aren’t well-intertwined — and it does a bad job of considering the long view. That’s where MemoryMiner, a very nice piece of shareware from GroupSmarts, steps in.

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Apple Saw 24% Growth In Q4 2009 As Computer Market Bounces Back

Preliminary United States PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q09 (Thousands of Units)

Company4Q09 Shipments4Q09 Market Share (%)4Q08 Shipments4Q08 Market Share (%)4Q09-4Q08 Growth (%)
Dell Inc.4,483.122.64,248.827.15.5

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs and X86 servers.

Apple’s Mac shipments grew 24% in Q4 2009, riding the industry’s strongest growth period in seven years, according to new numbers from research firm Gartner.

Worldwide, the computer market bounced back in a big way at the end of 2009, Gartner says, largely on the back of low-cost netbooks and consumer laptops, which were heavily-discounted for the holidays.

“These preliminary results indicate the recovery of the PC market on a global level,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner in a statement.

Worldwide computer shipments grew 22.1%  in Q4 (numbering 90 million units).

Hewlett-Packard displaced Dell as the biggest PC maker in the U.S., and Acer established itself as the low-price leader.

In the U.S., Apple saw gains of 23.2% compared to Q4 2008 (which was dismal). However, competitors like Toshiba led the PC pack with 70.7% growth, trailed by Acer (48.4%) and HP (45.9%). Dell lagged with only 5.5% growth, largely because it didn’t discount for the holidays. “Dell was not as aggressive on pricing as its competitors in order to protect profits,” Gartner said.

Growth was driven by the consumer market — not the business market — and the Windows 7 was did not create additional PC demand, although Gartner said “the launch was a good market tool during holiday sales.”

“It was the strongest quarter over quarter growth rate the worldwide PC market has experienced in the last seven years,” Gartner said in a statement.

Full release after the jump.

  • Source Gartner (January 2010

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Apple Gear Shines in Fight Against Global Poverty

When Shawn Ahmed travels to places such as Bangladesh to fight poverty he counts on iPhones and Macs to help him do battle.

Ahmed is the founder of a one-man global relief effort he calls the Uncultured Project and is using technology and social media in inventive ways to engage people across the globe in their common humanity.

In partnership with the Save the Children Foundation and USAID, Ahmed went last summer to a cyclone devastated village in Galachipa, Bangladesh to distribute non-food relief items to victims of the disaster. He provided individual donors to Uncultured Project real-time receipts for their generosity using his iPhone and TwitPic.

As seen in the clip above, Ahmed used his iPhone to show villagers in another Bangladeshi community videos made by the people in the west who helped bring safe, clean drinking water to their lives. “This is not a charity,” Ahmed said, “it’s an experiment in community.”

The 28 year-old native of Toronto, Canada quit his scholarship graduate studies at Notre Dame University after being inspired by Dr. Jeffery Sachs (author of The End of Poverty) to try and make the world a better place — one meaningful difference at a time.

“I’ve also been using the iPhone to report real-time in the field,” Ahmed said in an email. He makes extensive use of Twitter and YouTube to break down the distance between his supporters and the communities they support. Connecting to them with his iPhone, Ahmed said, “I hold votes on how I should help people in Bangladesh. Voting has led [to] school supply distributions to orphans and much more. And, of course, all my videos are edited on a MacBook.”

The Uncultured Project’s YouTube channel just went over 10,000 subscribers and Ahmed is hopeful for the prospects of his unpaid, unemployed, uncultured journey to help the poorest of the poor: “It’s about inspiring others to believe that we can be the generation that ends extreme poverty.”