October 27, 2013

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Mac Roundtable 2013.10.27 Episode #221

Filed under: Podcast — take2 @ 9:49 pm

This week’s show was hosted by:
Chuck Joiner – MacVoices and @ChuckJoiner on Twitter
Katie Floyd – KatieFloyd.me and @KatieFloyd on Twitter
Bart Busschots – bartb.ie and Let’s Talk Apple at lets-talk.ie and @bbusschots on Twitter
Allison Sheridan – NosillaCast Mac Podcast at podfeet.com and @podfeet on Twitter

In this week’s show we talked about the new iPads (who’s buying?) and what advice we’d give to people on size and storage and even cellular data plans. We discussed whether the iPad lineup is getting too fragmented with all these different options and why the iPad 2 even exists any more.

We shifted gears to talk about the new MacBook Pros and whether processor speed even matters any more. We talked about the new versions of iWork and iLife and Mavericks and whether we’d recommend rapid upgrades for muggles.

Picks:
Allison – WaveJamr from radtech.us/products/wavejamr-bluetooth-music-receiver – turn your 30 pin speaker dock into a bluetooth device for $40
Katie – MILOFest milofest.com and MILO Google Group
Bart – Air Video HD – inmethod.com/airvideohd
Chuck – Burst mode on iPhone 5 and what you can do with it

Play

1 Comment »

  1. Re iPads:

    The iPad mini still has the advnatage of being the smallest iPad in terms of surface area, although the iPad Air is narrowing the gap. Still, the decreased surface area means that it is small enough to fit in my jacket’s breast pocket, which means I don’t have to carry around a separate case, ergo whenever I am out and about, I have the iPad mini with me a lot more often than I had my full-size iPad with me. Its smaller surface area also means it is easier to use in extremely cramped situations. There are periods where I have to regularly have to commute about 3+ hours per day by bus, and it is a lot easier to hold and view an iPad mini than a full-size iPad in those cramped seating conditions. This is also why I got an LTE iPad mini; having that “always-on” connection is just so darn handy, and there are many places I still go to that either have no WiFi, or very poor signal quality, or really expensive WiFi. I know I could tether it with my iPhone, but honestly, tethering is such a pain. You have to fish out the iPhone, tap into settings, turn on tethering, remember to turn it off when you’re done, etc. I’ll be the first to admit that this is definitely a first-world problem if there ever were one.

    They probably kept the iPad 2 in the lineup because, being the cheapest full-size iPad, they still sell a lot to large institutions (schools, corporations, etc.) and they want to keep a cheaper full-size iPad in the lineup for cost-conscious consumers as well. The iPad 2 is still plenty fast, even with iOS 7. It does sometimes gel a little bit when doing animations, but it’s still quite usable (and now that iOS 7.0.3 lets us turn off the animations, then that’ll make it even faster)

    I personally bought the 64 GB iPad mini, and if there were a 128 GB model available at the time, I would have bought it. I keep a LOT of media on my iPad, because of the commuting I do, as well as when I go on trips. I do keep a lot of movies and TV shows on my iPad, because I never know what I’m in the mood to watch at any given time. Maybe I’m in a sci-fi mood, or maybe I’m in the mood for an action flick, or maybe I want to watch a sitcom. Also maybe I want to watch something that I’ve already watched dozens of times – there are times when you are too tired to focus/concentrate on watching something new, but you want something on in the background that you’ve watched 1000 times before, that way you don’t really have to concentrate on it too much.

    Re CrashPlan and external drives:
    CrashPlan CAN in fact backup content stored on external drives. When I finally bit the bullet and got an SSD earlier this year, I ended up moving my media (photos, music, videos, etc.) onto an external drive because I just could not afford a large SSD. And I was worried that CrashPlan wouldn’t handle this very well. Turns out my worries were unfounded. You can tell CrashPlan to backup content from an external drive, and it will happily do so. When that drive is unmounted, however, CrashPlan will NOT “forget” its contents. Thus, when you reconnect the external drive, CrashPlan will remember that it was backing up stuff from that drive, and will only backup what’s changed.

    From their FAQ:

    “Q: I’m backing up data on an external drive. What happens to my backup data when it’s not connected? A: If your drive is unmounted, CrashPlan is smart enough to know the drive is unavailable. CrashPlan does not treat the files as de-selected.”

    Re processor speeds:
    Processor speeds, I’ve found, aren’t as crucial nowadays, unless you’re constantly doing some REALLY processor intensive tasks (video encoding, 3D rendering, etc.) in a “time is money” situation (i.e. you’re not willing to wait a bit longer for a slower processor to do the job slowly). Alot of what we (at least I) considered “slow” turned out to be memory- and disk-related. I have an older MacBook Pro (2009) that was starting to feel long in the tooth, but I couldn’t afford a whole new machine now. So I decided to upgrade the SSD. It feels like a totally new machine now. This year we got my girlfriend a MacBook Air (one of the new ones introduced at WWDC) as a group birthday present. We could only afford the base model with the 1.3 GHz processor (we did opt for the 8 GB memory, since you can’t user-replace the memory in an Air). I of course set the machine up for her, moved her data onto it, etc. I was surprised at how FREAKING FAST the thing was. It felt just as fast as my top of the line Mac mini.

    Re Air Video HD:
    Excellent pick, and one of my favorite apps (have been using it since version 1.0 of the original (non-HD) Air Video) Here’s a quick tip: Air Video now decodes advanced subtitles! There are some videos out there that include advanced subtitles (multiple fonts, different text sizes/positions, text effects, etc.) This is mostly seen in anime but some foreign films and other content uses it as well. Unfortunately Air Video HD’s default soft subtitle rendering can make mincemeat out of these subtitles: you’ll see really weird things like lines of text running into each other, or garbage interspersed with your text that looks like this: “m -736 -375 | 844 -371 | 857 405 | -761 363″ Fortunately Air Video can be configured to render these advanced subtitles properly. When you have selected the video you want to play, tap Settings, then turn Force Hard Subtitles ON. Unfortunately you have to do this for each and every video you want to play in this way. I understand that in the next version of Air Video, the developers will make this a global option.

    Re iPhone 5S burst mode:
    With iOS 7, iPhone 5 users can also take advantage of burst mode. (Maybe the iPhone 4S too, I’m not sure) It’s not as fancy as the iPhone 5s’s burst mode — for one thing, it’s slower (only about 2-3 frames per second), and it doesn’t do the “auto select the best photo” like the iPhone 5s does, but it is still quite usable for making stop-motion animation as Chuck suggested (great idea btw!)

    Comment by Donald Burr — October 30, 2013 @ 4:32 am

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