Tag Archives: Apple

And now for some obsessive behavior…

I thought that given that I had recently posted that Apple was the only company that cared about design (quoting Dieter Rams), and, well, because I can, I might do a little inventory of all the Macs that I have owned. I got my very first Mac (and very first computer!) in 1992 and it was a lovely little Classic II with 4 MB of RAM and and 80 MB hard drive (both of which were twice as much as the base version). It came with a SuperDrive (which, at that point, meant it could read 1.4 MB floppy disks and Windows formatted disks) and ran the very new System 7. This little Mac got me through seven years of graduate school. I still have it and it still works, although it makes a bizarre whooshing sound. The coolest thing is that it was able to do text-to-speech, so I had it read my dissertation data files out loud to me while I checked the paper forms. Excellent!

I also had two Apple StyleWriter printers (a I and and II, which were actually very pretty). And the Internet was a very new thing to regular people back in 1992; you could actually buy a Yellow Pages about 1″ thick that listed every website. I had to buy a giant external modem that ran at 9.6 kb/s, 2400 baud. (Talk about painfully slow….) I may have actually used AppleLink but I know I used AOL for a little while and then switched to Apple’s extra fancy eWorld (although I eventually let that go, too).

Next, in 1998, was a reconditioned, first-generation, Bondi Blue iMac, complete with the circular, “hockey puck” mouse (for which we had to buy an oblong cover so we could tell which way was up). Also, Steve Jobs decided floppies were dead, so there was only a CD-ROM drive. As such, we had to by an external, USB-driven floppy disk drive from Imation for what seemed an enormous amount of money. (We also bought a see-through Iomega Zip drive to sync with the next computer.)

After that, in 1999, I got an actual job where they actually bought me computers! My first professional Mac was a beige G3 PowerPC tower with a built-in Zip drive (thank you, BYU):

A couple of years later we inherited my sister’s iMac, a purple one with a slot-loading DVD drive, so we had two Macs on the desks at home. (Sadly, the Classic II was temporarily demoted to the closet.)

BYU then offered to get me a laptop, during my last year there, and this was the only time that I had a Windows PC in my possession. It was a dark, dark time. I think it looked something like this (but I can’t be sure — I’ve tried hard to put the whole thing out of my mind):

But then I got a job at lovely UVU, which has enthusiastically supported my Mac-centric way of being. My first Mac there was a titanium PowerBook. As far as I was concerned, that thing was so cool they might as well have made it out of solid diamond.

It was also when I moved to UVU that my Classic II came out of the closet and moved, along with the purple iMac, to the top of my filing cabinet at work. (Both of them still function.)

A few years later, UVU gave me a similar, aluminum PowerBook:

Around this time we got a nice, white MacBook for my wife, Jacque, to keep upstairs with us (as the two iMacs were in the basement office):

Then I traded in early for a smaller, 13″ MacBook (which works better on the bus, where it really is on your lap). This was during the 10 month period that the non-Pro MacBook wasn’t white but was aluminum. (Look closely and you’ll see there is no “Pro” on the bottom of the bezel.)

Then, when we moved from our house in Draper up to the Avenues in Salt Lake City, we gave away our Bondi Blue iMac (shed a tear or two…). Most recently, UVU replaced my non-Pro MacBook with a Pro 13″ (and they were kind enough to put an aftermarket 1 TB hard drive in it!). This is the one I have today:

And while we still have the white MacBook at home, it got bubble juice spilled on the keyboard (I’m waiting for a new top case from China so I can try fixing this) and, as it has only 1.5 GB of RAM, it can’t run Lion and, consequently, can’t use iCloud to sync our calendars and contacts. So, its days as a parental computer may be limited (but the kids will no doubt continue to play PBS Kids and Pirates Online with it, junking it up with all sorts of downloaded cruft). Jacque is actually the more technically spiffy of us at the exact moment, having a shiny new iPad 2 to essentially replace the white MacBook:

Also, Jacque and I have lovely new black and white iPhones (the 4S with Siri):

And, of course, there have been the iPods: A 30 GB third-generation (which died), a 60 GB fourth-generation iPod Photo (which we still use), a pink, 16 GB fifth-generation iPod Nano for Jacque, a first-gen Shuffle, a second-gen Shuffle, and a fourth-gen Shuffle (which the three kids use; no buttonless third-gen for us, thank you very much), and a first-gen iPod Touch. (Unfortunately I killed the screen on that one by dropping it in the water; however, it now lives permanently plugged into the iPod connector in our Honda Pilot, which lets us control it with the Navigation screen. Thank you, Honda, for making this a less-than-total disaster.)

And, as long as I’m being completely compulsive, a Mighty Mouse, two Magic Mice, and a wired keyboard.

And there you have it. We love our Apples and they love us. Thank you, Steve.

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The Only Company that Cares about Design

While I had my lunch in the lovely café space of the University of Utah’s Marriott Library, I watched a little of the film Objectified on my iPhone. (Living it up on the small screen!) I love this movie because it’s all about industrial design, a topic that I hold near and dear to my heart. Anyhow, in one part of the film, legendary designer Dieter Rams claims that there is only one company that truly cares about design. The answer? ………. Well, it’s Apple, of course. (Geez, did I really need to tell you that?) Anyhow, watch the film and you’ll see why he says that. And it’s something that I’ve long believed. You and me, Dieter, you and me.

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The Woeful Inadequacy of iTunes Match

I can’t believe it. I wait months for Apple’s much-anticipated put-all-your-music-in-the-cloud iTunes Match service… I even go out of my way to a manual download and install when neither my Mac’s “Software Update” nor iTunes’ “Check for Updates” can find iTunes 10.5.1 (not a real hassle but it shows that I was motivated)… I’m ready to subscribe… and what do I get? The following promise:

and then THIS:

AAAAARRRGGHHHHH!!! So I have 58,580 songs that were not purchased in the iTunes store — over twice the legal limit. I think Apple should be proud of me for still using iTunes instead of sending some little box out to brush me off. Argh!

Ah, well, as long as I can wait another six weeks, I can still upload EVERY SINGLE SONG to Amazon’s Cloud Drive, which will work nicely with the shiny new Kindle Fire that will show up on Thursday (and which I ordered six weeks ago on  the day that it was announced).

Update 1: MacWorld has already published a kludgy but tolerable solution to the 25,000 song limit in iTunes Match. It involves creating a sort of shell second library and syncing that (without affecting the complete, main library). It might be worth a try. Here’s a link to the article with full instructions.

Update 2: I waxed eloquent about my soon-to-arrive Kindle Fire just two paragraphs ago. Then I read actual, hands-on reviews of the device and, well, it doesn’t look so good. (Here’s Wired’s scathing review and a compilation of several others.) Well, zut, alors, as I learned to say in France. The estimated probability-of-return is high enough at this moment that I just ordered one of the other new Kindles, the wifi Kindle Touch, which will arrive next week. Wired was much kinder to this one. I have a little experience with another version of the Kindle and, just like they say, it weighs almost nothing, the battery lasts forever, and the e-ink is very easy on the eyes (especially in bright sunlight). Well, that may be the way I end up going. We’ll see.

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Goodbye Steve

I mentioned just a little while ago that Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computers and, in my estimation (and that of many others), the greatest living champion of quality design, had stepped down from his post at the head of Apple. Well, today he died and we have all lost a tremendous inspiration. As a lifelong Mac owner and Industrial Design follower, this is particularly poignant for me. We’ll all miss you, Steve.

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My Old Friend, Design

Today in FA3000, Design for the Web, we talked about general principles of design. It was nice to see references to research – know your audience, what they want, how they use computers and the web – and to functionalism – know the purpose of your web site and work to meet it for your intended audience. Both very refreshing. But what was really nice was having a quick (about 10 minutes each) overview of design, especially color theory and typography.

I took a color theory class back when I was an undergraduate Industrial Design student at BYU back in 1985. (That coincided with the time when I generally didn’t go to my classes, so things didn’t go quite as well as one would have hoped. Oops.) Nevertheless, I had my color cards and I could talk harmonies at least for a little while. I may not have my Pantone stack anymore, but I did have an interesting déjà vu experience last year while attending a conference on computer science, of all things. Actually, it wasn’t so shocking because it was VisWeek, the data visualization conference (which was, conveniently, in Salt Lake City last year) and so there was, in fact, a big turn out for the talk on color theory. I learned all about the differences between RGB and CMYK color systems (basically, screens vs. print) and the incompatibilities that exist between them. The speaker… oh, wait! I took the notes on my computer! Let me look them up… Ah, the speaker was Theresa-Marie Rhyne and her personal web page is called Theresa-Marie Rhyne’s Viewpoint (and it’s at http://web.me.com/tmrhyne/Theresa-Marie_Rhynes_Viewpoint/Welcome.html, at least until Apple shuts down MobileMe next year). She talked about RGB and CMYK, as well as the Munsell system (which I believe is the basis of the HSB – Hue, Saturation, and Brightness – model, although Munsell used the terms Hue, Value, and Chroma; and in which the color orange did not exist, just “red-yellow”), and the Pantone system. (I also just looked up Munsell in Wikipedia and found a huge number of color systems; more systematic coverage is at the article “List of color spaces and their uses“.)

Okay, so lots of color theory available. Here are several online color tools mentioned by Martin (my FA2000 and FA3000 teacher – Hi, Martin!), Theresa-Marie, or things I found on my own:

I also have some nifty color apps on my iPod Touch:

And there’s a lot to say about fonts, too, but it’s late and I’m getting tired. For right now, I’ll just mention a few other apps I have that are wonderful:

Lovely stuff. By the way, I just found out that Steve Jobs is stepping down as CEO of Apple (although he IS staying on as Chairman). Who knows what that will mean for the Apple faithful like me. We’ll see.

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