Blog, posts for Category 'Software'
- 7 January 2009
So, what's new with iMovie 09?
Well, at first sight, not much: the interface is quite similar and you could be lulled into thinking it is a minor update.
But fear not, Apple has seriously revamped iMovie, after down-vamping it between iMovie HD and iMovie 08.
The first thing is that now you can activate "advanced features", and get many more fine tuning options.
Amongst the new features, let's mention a few.
Green screen: OK, this might be a bit "gadget" and we sort of saw it coming with iChat's "blue screen" feature, but it does work fine (although it seems it's not really easy to find how to use it, as the Apple staffer I was talking with could not find how to do it). I had a look at a greenscreened video and if it's not pro-quality, it certainly does the trick.
Precision editing: this allows you to do fine editing, going down all to way to the frame level.
And this is what people have been asking for since they simplified iMovieHD into 08.
Maps: seems like Apple loves geo-features, since after adding geotagging to iPhoto, they offer a tool in iMovie that allows you to mark a number of locations on a map, then iMovie will generate an animated "itinerary", just like one of the map sequences in the Indiana Jones movies. Maps can have various styles, and there even is a pseudo-3D globe. I'm not sure this is essential stuff, but it goes along with the iLife apps and is mostly done with taste.
Image stabilization: this is quite an impressive feature, especially if you shoot in HD. iMovie can detect and highlight clips that are too "shaky" and you can ask it to "stabilize them". What it does is zoom, rotate and crop the video frame by frame so that the final result is stable. The demo clip from a Safari in a Jeep was quite impressive, although the cropping means that if you shoot in SD, you could face significant pixellation. Oh, yes, the feature is real fast, like, live.
There is now the possibility to crop and rotate (by 90° steps) clips, which is really nice, and you can add chapter and comment markers for export to iDVD and H264 video.
Unfortunately, the tool that allowed you to fine-tune the volume of the soundtrack using anchor points is still missing.
Overall, this, like iPhoto, looks like a solid upgrade to the previous version, and I must say it is damn fast.
- 7 January 2009
So, with so little hardware news (if a 17" laptop can be considered "little"), the Apple booth was all about iLife and iWork.
I spent some quality time with iPhoto 09, alone and talking with an Apple staffer (who was a photo geek too), and here are my impressions.
For me, the main new feature is the integrated geotagging of pictures. Simply clicking on places in the source list shows a map displaying the world with pins indicating where you shot your pictures (in a very iPhone-ish style).
The feature uses Google Maps, and is really fast. There is a new "terrain" display mode that replaces the usual "map": it shows a topographic map including elevation, which looks absolutely gorgeous.
Clicking on a pin's arrow display images shot in this location.
Images can be geotagged directly if your images contain EXIF location data, or manually by using Google Maps, like you can do on flickr.com. To location data to a bunch of images, simply look for a "place" by typing in the search field, then simply drop a pin on the map.
A cool feature is that you can define a "size" for the place you select, which is basically a circle around the pin, for which you can change the radius, meaning that you can have an "area" instead of just a point (like "my district" rather than a couple of GPS coordinates).
Once you have selected a place, you can associate it to selected pictures, or bookmark it for future use (this is neat).
When a picture has been geotagged, you can view location details by simply clicking on it.
I asked an Apple staffer about the geo features of iPhoto, and after a long discussion slipped the $1,000,000 question: will these features make it under some form in Aperture. The answer was: "I can't say anything, except that the iPhoto software manager is also the Aperture manager, so... I'm really looking forward to it." Thats would be awesome (and please throw in GPS track log import).
The other "big" (although a tad unnecessary) new feature is the face detection tool. Basically, you select an image, ask iPhoto to detect the face, which it then displays within a frame (quite accurately), and you are asked to name the person.
Once this is done, you can search your library by people, and iPhoto will try and find all the pictures that contain a face similar to the one you defined for that person. It sort of works, pretty well for frontal shots of adults, quite randomly for action shots of kids.
Overall, this feels like an interesting feature, especially for family shots, but we'lll have to see how it handles real photos, and not selected demo shots.
Another new feature is the publishing of pictures directly form iPhoto to your flickr or facebook account, which works as it should, although you can only use one account at a time (too bad for people posting to flickr using multiple accounts, like a personal and a pro one).
Overall, this feels like a solid update to iPhoto, especially the geotagging features.
- 21 November 2008
So, iPhone OS has been updated to 2.2, and along with it came some changes in the Safari UI.
Am I the only one to find the new dual-field address bar rather inelegant?
Of course, it makes some sense in that it more closely resemble the UI of the desktop Safari, and it seems lots of people where not getting the meaning of the old "magnifying glass" icon, but gosh, this new UI looks busy and crammed.
- 20 November 2008
Apple Web Server notifications:
This article provides credit to people who have reported potential security issues in Apple's web servers.
Nice to see Apple giving credit to security experts, especially in a dedicated tech note...
- 8 November 2008
Daring Fireball: More Notes on Notes:What many Apple apps do is take a screenshot of the current display when you quit, and overwrite the default.png file inside the application bundle with that screenshot. Then when next you launch that app, you immediately see the entire contents of the screen from when you previously quit — but it’s still just a screenshot, a static image. It looks like the app has launched instantly, but in fact you’ve still got to wait a few seconds for the app to restore itself to the point where it’s actually ready to use.
This is an insanely clever trick. You have to give credit to Apple's developers to sweat out on tiny details... but it's all these tiny details that make a great user experience.