Tag Archives: Mac

Live Looping Is Live!

Woo hoo! It’s a tiny step but an important one, as this is our first successful experiment with live video looping, which will be central to our Dance Loops project at Utah Valley University. This video is based on motion sensitive recording and processing in Max/MSP/Jitter via my Mac’s iSight camera. You’ll notice that the movement from the first half persists during the second half, in which additional movement is layered. The looped videos for Dance Loops will be filmed with a Kinect video/depth camera and will probably be played back in a very different way, but this represents the first step in that direction.


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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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Oh, the Things You Can Do in Preview

Most of us know that Macs are handy for working with images. However, you don’t have to have Photoshop installed to do a lot of basic (and not-so-basic) image manipulation. Instead, the Preview program that comes with Macs and that most people associate with simply viewing PDFs or images, can do a whole lot more than that. For example, here are a few screenshots from when I was working on a photo of chicken legs (whose purpose will become apparent at a later date).

In the first shot, you can see the palette for color adjustments. (You get it by going in the menu bar to Tools > Adjust Color…)

Cool! Next, you can adjust the size and resolution of photos by going to Tools > Adjust Size…, like this:

That brings up the following dialog box, which lets you do all sorts of nifty things:

Quick and easy and no extra software required! Preview has other lovely features, too, like letting you add or delete pages from PDFs, crop pages, annotate, or even add your signature. Very nice!

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