Leopard iChat Video Conferencing

I’ve done video chats with people using iChat on Tiger and it’s been mostly great. But I had never done a video *conference* chat, where you can video chat with two or more people at the same time until this morning when I tried it on iChat for Leopard.

I did a video chat with three other people, and the way iChat was able to handle it without a hiccup was pretty amazing. The UI is very impressive and the way you can still share photos and files and they way there is no lag when people are talking just puts it light years in front of anything else I’ve ever tried. 

HD, AVCHD, Hard Drives, SDHC Cards, Etc.

First, there’s the Sony HDR-SR5. I have a ten year old Sony Handycam that I like reasonably well, and I know Sony makes good stuff.

Second, there’s this Panasonic HDC-SD1. This is the one that records on to SDHC cards. They make 8 GB cards now, so I could probably get over 90 minutes of HD video on one card, but I’m not sure if SDHC is a good idea or not. They do have the benefit of being swappable, so if I run out of space I can just put a new one in. You can’t do that with a hard drive. But then again, the card only stores 90 minutes. The hard drive stores something like 20 hours.

I’m interested in opinions and guidance. It’s a big purchase. Does anyone have anything good or bad to say about these two cameras? Does anyone recommend a different camera? Is there something significant or worth having that I’m giving up by looking in this particular price range?

More Jeff Zucker Nonsense

A more detailed version of Jeff Zucker’s comments that I blogged about prior to this entry was released on a web site and one of Jeff’s comments was:

“We know that Apple has destroyed the music business — in terms of pricing — and if we don’t take control, they’ll do the same thing on the video side.”

Jeff, Jeff, Jeff. I pay 99 cents for a song on iTunes. Usually twelve songs make a CD. That’s a hair shy of $12 if I buy them one song at a time, or $9.99 if I buy the whole album on iTunes at once.

Wait a minute. $9.99 sounds familiar…

Oh, I know! That must be because Amazon charges $9.99 for lots of today’s popular CDs. I just happened to go to the iTunes music store first and clicked on one of the albums in the “New Releases” section of music. Then I looked up that same album on Amazon. Same exact price. I know this is just one example.

So let’s take another one.

Neil Young’s album sells for $10.99 on iTunes Music Store. It’s $11.99 on Amazon. $1 more. Now think about the printing, pressing, packaging, shipping, and manual labor it takes to get the physical CD created and into your hands. What do you think? Is a buck probably a reasonable price for all that? I think it is.

Jeff, your comments indicate to me (and for all I know, others) that you are one of the people who are unwilling to truly accept change. And this type of change is something that has been coming for literally YEARS. Everyone has had YEARS to position themselves for profitability in this new digital business model. You obviously failed, because you’re throwing tantrums and telling lies and working AGAINST consumers (your customers, I might add) and trying desperately to cling to a business model that has become outdated.

Maybe it’s time for Jeff to get a new job. One where there’s a lot less responsibility and a lot fewer key decisions to be made. I know that sounds harsh, but in today’s world – an entertainment company whining about *more* distribution via electronic means and *lower* COGS. Please.

What's the Deal with Zucker?

I read some quotes by Jeffrey Zucker, the president and CEO of NBC, regarding their deal to sell TV shows on iTunes and frankly I was just absolutely floored. Is this guy for real? How does someone with his level of short-sightedness rise to such a high position? Two of the things Zucker said, I think, are quite indicative of insanity.

First, Zucker indicated that he was upset that Apple wasn’t sharing the revenues from hardware sales – hardware that people would use to watch shows purchased from the iTunes Music Store. This seems like lunacy to me. Panasonic didn’t have to give some of the money I paid for my TV to NBC (or any other network, for that matter). Sony didn’t have to pay money to any studio when I bought my DVD player. And TiVo doesn’t have to give any of my money to the networks when I record shows and watch them later (skipping through all the commercials). Jeff. What are you smoking?

Second, Zucker said that NBC only made $15 million during the last year of their deal with Apple. Only fifteen MILLION dollars. Zucker followed up saying that he didn’t want to replace “dollars” in the analog world with “pennies” in the digital world. I think he’s just nuts. There WAS no paying digital world to speak of before Apple came along and did what they did with the iTunes Music Store. And it doesn’t even matter that it was Apple that did it. Microsoft could have done it, some third party could have done it – it just doesn’t matter. I would like to point out that this is NEW revenue. There was simply no way for a truly “average Joe” to legally buy an episode of a television show, download it, and watch it on their computer, phone, iPod, or TV. And poor NBC *only* made $15 million from this. On TOP of what they normally make for their shows to air them on broadcast, cable, and satellite.

Zucker: You need to wake up, man. You are shooting yourself in the foot. Actually, with digital distribution going the direction it is, you’re shooting yourself in the chest.

Zucker Article

A Comment on a Leopard / Vista Article

I read the article below and while I don’t necessarily share ALL of the writer’s expectations with regard to Leopard over Vista or Apple over Microsoft, he does indicate that Leopard will embarrass Microsoft (and specifically, Vista). 

I blogged recently about how I don’t believe Microsoft has to fail in order for Apple to win. Apple is already winning (just look at their products and look at their stock price – clearly a winning company). I’m not sure if the author of the article below feels the same way, but when he said that Leopard would embarrass Microsoft, I don’t agree. I think *Microsoft embarrassed itself* when it released Vista.

There are those who will say that Microsoft has sold 88 million copies of Vista and how huge those numbers are and how that makes Vista a success. But when I hear people say that, I think about how Microsoft forced Netscape and other browsers out of the market based on questionable business practices and loads of anti-trust cases and I really start to wonder what makes up that 88 million.

Clearly people are buying new computers at record rates. So that’s got something to do with the 88 million number, particularly when you stop to think about how Microsoft would not allow OEMs to ship a computer with anything BUT Vista. That was overturned, and now vendors like Dell will sell you a computer with XP, but it doesn’t take away from the point: Vista sold a lot of copies because vendors simply were not allowed to sell a computer with any other operating system (servers aside). Is this reminiscent of those old practices that got Microsoft in to so much trouble with the law? Who knows. But it’s one point that starts to make ME wonder.

CNET Blog Entry

Feeling Patriotic

The Fall of 2007 was the first year that I got in to football, and the team that got me interested was the New England Patriots. A friend of mine was a fan and I was curious as to what the hoopla was about, so I tuned in to the Patriots’ first game this season. I was hooked. I saw what I hadn’t seen yet – a team with precision. A team whose parts all worked together perfectly. And that made football interesting to me.  Up until this year I would watch parts of perhaps 5 games per year. Nothing got me interested. I actually found the sport frustrating. And I think I’ve recently (thanks to the Patriots) realized why. To watch a team (such as the Patriots with Tom Brady as QB) is quite an exciting thing. To watch mediocrity, such as many of the other quarterbacks in the NFL, is just not fun. It’s not exciting.The Patriots won today in a landslide 52-7 victory against the Redskins. That Patriots fan once told me that “they’re all tough games”, but honestly the last two (Dallas and Washington) haven’t seemed too tough to me, and the reason is not luck or chance. It’s skill. Tom Brady leads a team that (so far, in my first football season) is light-years beyond the other teams I’ve seen, who all seem disorganized, disconnected from each other, and all-around unremarkable. So the point of this post is that in my mid thirties I am finally getting in to football – and for good reason. My only regret is that I didn’t know enough to keep an eye on the Colts games because apparently the game next week is absolutely HUGE. 

First Impressions

I bought the family pack of Leopard this evening and only had to wait on line about 25 minutes. There were about 200 people ahead of me, but somehow they were able to move those people through the store very quickly. Interesting thing to note was that when I had made my way up through 75% of the line, I looked back and the back of the line was at the same point at which I started. This blog entry is called “First Impressions”, and with that in mind, I will keep this very short and say three things.

1. I had hoped that doing an upgrade on my Mac Pro from Tiger to Leopard would be sweet. When I was a Windows user, I had upgraded time and time again, through virtually all versions of Windows, and each time the system was extremely sluggish and very disappointing in performance. I therefore formed the opinion that no one with any kind of technical know-how should EVER do an upgrade of their operating system. It’s just too big of a deal. I was of the frame of mind that whenever you were going to install a new OS, you needed to reformat your drive and start from scratch.

Apple wasn’t able to sway me from that opinion. While my Mac Pro performs acceptably, it most certainly doesn’t perform like a quad-core 3.0 GHz system with 5 gigs of RAM. I will therefore be doing a reformat and reinstall on this box as soon as I have the time. Meanwhile, I will enjoy the GREAT features of Leopard, such as Spaces (discussed in item 3).


2. A fresh install of Leopard is quite literally amazing. My MacBook Pro (which I think is the first-generation 15″ unit with 2 gigs of RAM) performs (I swear) BETTER under Leopard than it did under Tiger. And that’s something I absolutely NEVER could have said about any Windows OS upgrade. My MacBook Pro is extremely responsive and I’m just loving the experience. This is a far cry from when I first tried out two other major releases this year: Vista and Office 2007. I spent so much time trying to figure out how to do things I already knew how to do that I became very sour on those products and just stopped using them.

3. Spaces is just freakin’ awesome. This concept of having multiple desktops that you can switch between is by no means new to either Mac OS or Windows, but in Mac OS the implementation is just SWEET. The performance is amazing, the user experience is nothing short of what you’d expect from Apple, and I’ve already found Spaces super-useful even though I’ve only had it installed for a couple of hours. I plan to get in to Time Machine when I get a new external hard drive. I’ll also blog about various other Leopard findings. But I feel it is important to make one final point.

I first installed Vista Beta 2 when I was a devout Microsoft Fan Boy and I was both disappointed and surprised at what the public was to come to expect as the next “major release” of Windows.  Similarly, I installed Leopard as a devout Apple Fan Boy almost two years later and contrary to my Vista experience,  Leopard feels like an extension of all the goodness, reliability, and strength that I already had at my disposal in Tiger – not a replacement of things merely for the purpose of change.

More to come! 

A Market Share Surprise (To Me)

I read the following paragraph today and I couldn’t believe it:

“The increase for Apple puts it over 6.3 percent market share in the United States, behind Dell (28 percent) and HP (24.3 percent). Toshiba (5.2 percent) and Gateway (5.2 percent) round out the top five.”*

Macs have higher market share that Toshiba and Gateway? When you think of it in those terms, it’s pretty eye-opening. I’ve heard about Mac market share numbers being in the 6% range but I never knew that Toshiba and Gateway were actually LOWER than that.

* http://news.yahoo.com/s/macworld/20071017/tc_macworld/appleship20071017

October 26th: Leopard

I was delighted to finally read that the official release date for Mac OS X Leopard is Friday October 26th. The Engadget story mentions the pricing: $129 for a single license, $199 for a 5-license family pack. It then goes on (in a bit of sarcasm) and mentions how there is no upgrade pricing. Well let’s just think about that for a second.

While I too would love to get it cheaper, I think it’s important to note here that the $129 full retail price (for the version that has everything – the only version they sell) is $30 cheaper than the upgrade for Windows Vista Home Premium. I might also add that the Home Premium edition doesn’t even have all the features that Leopard does. If you want to come closer to Leopard, you’d need the Ultimate edition, whose upgrade price is a whopping $249. Almost twice as much as a full license to Leopard.

While people can (and will) always complain about pricing (even as I have done in the past regarding an Apple product), I just have to say that $129 is a pittance for a product like OS X. It’s a price that makes it an option for millions and millions of people. The family pack, which allows me to install it on up to five machines in my home is a steal at $199.

I’ve gotten free versions of Windows for the past seven or eight years because of the MSDN subscriptions that I’ve had, so I never had to look at pricing. It wasn’t until I had to buy a friend a copy of Windows Ultimate from the company store that I found out how much it was and I just couldn’t believe it. A retail price of $399.95. I was floored. That wasn’t for a family pack, mind you. That was just ONE license.