Mac App Review: Sleep Monitor

Sleep Study

Does your MacBook snore? Do Macs … dream?

OK, so it’s not that kind of study. If you suspect that your MacBook has Sleep Apnea, this review won’t help you. (Just for the record I think my Mac Pro suffers from Apnea. It keeps waking up after it’s been put to sleep, but don’t get me started.)

This review covers an application from DssW called Sleep Monitor. If you guessed that Sleep Monitor keeps tabs on your Mac’s energy usage and battery drain, you’d have guessed correctly. DssW bills Sleep Monitor 3 as an app that audits your Mac’s energy usage. To this extent, the app, now in its third version, is very simple and utilizes straight-forward graphics to display battery drainage (and charging) when awake or asleep. [Read more...]

App Review: iMovie for iOS

Along with its iPad 2 launch, Apple also released a new version of iMovie for iOS. iMovie is $4.99 from the App Store, or a free update if you already own the iPhone version that debuted alongside iPhone 4 last summer.

As for iMovie, I think I’ve used just about every version of iMovie from iMovie 3 on a 2002 iMac to the latest iMovie ‘11 as well as the iPhone version, so I was eager to get my hands on the new iPad version. However, Apple states you must have an iPad 2 to run iMovie. iMovie for the iPad is not available for the original iPad, but I have read several reports of people successfully installing and using iMovie on an original iPad. Nonetheless, I have an iPad 2. If you’re thinking you’d like to use the iPad version of iMovie, but don’t want to shell out the dough for a new iPad, you can go here for instructions to install iMovie on your original iPad, but please note the cautions regarding the installation of additional apps. Also keep in mind, my experience with iMovie (as you’ll read below) says it is a very resource intensive app (obviously, right) and I wouldn’t make any guarantees. It started to get bogged down during heavy editing sessions with the iPad 2’s dual core A5, faster graphics chip and supposed 512 MB of RAM. So consider yourself warned.

Since the announcement of the first iPad — iPhone really — I have been waiting to see what touchscreen computing would do for the non-linear editor (NLE). The gestures of swiping and pinching with your fingers to manipulate footage seemed to me to be a perfect fit for an NLE. Final Cut Pro is Apple’s professional NLE, whereas iMovie is for the consumer. As if to put an exclamation point on this, Apple rebuilt iMovie from the ground up in 2008 taking what was a capable consumer level NLE and stripping it down into something much simpler. The past few releases and updates has seen iMovie get back much of it’s original functionality. The latest version is really quite good and can take on some fairly serious editing tasks, but make no mistake with iMovie, Apple’s goal is to make editing movies fun. Final Cut Pro is an incredible editor, but to use it for “fun” and to edit my home movies with it isn’t what I think of when I think “Final Cut”.

iMovie for the iPad is no different in this regard. iMovie for the iPad is a stripped down version of it’s older bother on the Mac although it’s far more capable than its iPhone counterpart.
[Read more...]

TiddlyWiki: A Personal Non-Linear Web Notebook

Wiki Wiki

Your what hurts? A personal non-Tiddly, what? Look, buddy we don’t need any of that Communist dogma here.

Okay, it’s not what you think, I’m not stealing secrets. The name and tag line are a little different, but what is this tiddler…tattler…whatever? Well, before describing it, let me first state how I discovered it. It started a few years ago while looking for a specific kind of productivity software that ran on Windows. Like many of you, possibly, I use a Mac at home, but am stuck on a PC at work. For researching and writing at home, I would use any number of tools on my Mac, from OmniOutliner, to Scrivener, to Notebook. On OS X and now iOS, there seems to be no end to these types of tools. When I found that, at work, I needed some of the same software I used at home. I thought it would be easy. After all, there’s so much more software for Windows than there is for Mac, right? What I found though is, if there is a deluge of research storing, note-taking, and outlining software for the Mac, then there is a dearth for Windows. At least there was several years ago. I haven’t looked recently, and things may have changed since. Needless to say, I didn’t find what I was really looking for when it came to a native Windows app. In my hunt, though, I did stumble upon a great tool that I have found useful, not only on my PC at work, but on my Mac at home.

TiddlyWiki's Home Page

What I discovered was a little tool called TiddlyWiki.
[Read more...]

iPad 2: Early Impressions

Mixing up titles right away: The Good, The Bad, The Bold and The Beautiful

But it’s not so simple.

If you followed my article about “The Wait and The Line,” you know I proceeded to a restaurant right away to start using, testing and playing with the iPad 2.

Connect to iTunes image

Connect to iTunes

My wife and I went upstairs and sat down at a nice large table. We quickly pulled out our iPads and turned them on. First issue: upon start up, the iPad asks to be connected to iTunes. Rats! I forgot about this requirement, which is one reason that saying that the iPad is “Post PC” is not entirely true. You have to have a PC to activate the device. Yes, I could have had it set up at the store, but that’s not the point. This ‘requirement’ at some point needs to be removed. I suspect it’s in Apple’s long-range roadmap where everything is somehow synchronized with MobileMe, therefore not requiring a hard cable to a Mac or Windows computer.

What to do? Fortunately I had my MacBook Air with me from my travels. I went to the car to retrieve it, headed back to the restaurant, and connected. Voilà! Activated and ready to use. [Read more...]

Review: JAMBOX (by Jawbone)

Seems the ALL CAPS naming convention of the JAMBOX was meant to convey a message: these portable speakers are LOUD. Jawbone has released a line of Bluetooth enabled portable speakers entitled the JAMBOX.

As I travel a fair amount, a good pair of speakers has become a necessity to enhance life on the road. I have tried a fair number of solutions: Internal speakers, headphones, USB and line-out-based portable speakers, even headphone out to a TV. Each of these are adequate, and in some cases can be fine.

However, I don’t live in the world of ‘fine’ (or I would be running Windows).

I needed something that produced excellent sound, could be loud and was as portable as possible. [Read more...]

Review: ÜberMask for OS X

I recently had the opportunity to look at ÜberMask, a new application from German software company, nova media which purports to help you hide your files from “curious eyes.” With so much of computer security employing encryption, this application’s different approach caught my eye, so I was curious to check it out.
[Read more...]

FMEO.TV – “A First Look at Apple’s Magic Mouse”

FMEO.TV Episode #001

In this episode of FMEO.TV, Mike compares the new Apple Magic Mouse to the Mighty Mouse, takes a look at the options available for the new mouse, and steps through a few quick demos to show you what it can do for you as well as what it can’t.

Subscribe to our Podcast Feed or
Download the episode here!

Running Time: 25:08

Review: Toon Boom Studio 4.5

For as long as I can remember, one of my “life’s goals” has been to write, direct and produce my own animated short. No doubt countless hours plopped in front of the television every Saturday morning as a young boy watching cartoons directed by the all time greats in animation such as Ollie Johnston, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Walter Lantz, William Hanna and Joseph Barbara, and Tex Avery contributed in no small way to my dreams. These men could take an ordinary pencil sketch and make you believe it’s a living, breathing, creature by painstakingly creating anywhere from 12-24 individual drawings for every second of animation the audience would see on screen. And, at each step along the way, these drawings would be further brought to life by teams of in-betweeners, inkers, painters, background artists, editors . . . to say it was painstaking work would be an understatement.

But there’s a lot more to producing an animated short than simply understanding the physical challenges in doing so. There’s also this little thing called “talent” that comes into play, and I’m afraid without it, the best most of us can do is a stick-figure flip book. Now “Talent” is one of those umbrella words that encompasses a wide range of aptitudes such as an innate sense of comic timing, a natural artistic bent, an eye for staging and choreography and, of course, years of schooling. And while a package such as Toon Boom Studio can’t help foster the Super Genius within you, it can take away the need to worry about the technical side of things as you work to hone your other skills. [Read more...]

For Mac Eyes Only Reviews and Views – "WeatherCal"

Review #006

This week Gary and Mike review WeatherCal by Bare Bones Software.

WeatherCal 1.0 – $10

> http://www.barebones.com/products/weathercal/

System Requirements:
OS X 10.5+, Universal application

Mike’s Rating: 4 Macs

Gary’s Rating: 3 Macs

FMEO Overall Rating:

Links to Know:
> Organized Dashboard Widget by iSlayer
> Weather Underground

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Download the show here!

Play Now:

FMEO-RAV006-052509 (28’44, 26.4MB, 64kbps)

For Mac Eyes Only Reviews and Views – "Vector Tanks"

Review #005

This week Gary brings us back to his early pub days when he takes a look at Peter Hirschberg’s BattleZone inspired, Vector Tanks for the iPhone or iPod Touch.

Vector Tanks – $2.99

> http://www.vectortanks.com/
> iTunes Store: Link

System Requirements:
iPhone or iPod Touch with iPhone 2.2 Software Update

FMEO Rating:

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Download the show here!

Play Now:

FMEO-RAV005-041009 (6’46, 3.2MB, 64kbps)