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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Apple iLife ’11 is Amazing

2011/04/02 Leave a comment

Every new Mac now comes with iLife ’11 which includes iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand amongst others. I remember looking at these apps particularly iPhoto and sort of dismissed them as entry-level app fillers.  In hindsight this was perhaps premature and I suspect it is because of us Windows users being so used to the over-the-top visual noise one is subjected to from Microsoft that unless the screen is filled with absolute nonsense that the app must be somehow sub-standard. This formula arguably shouldn’t be applied to a Mac. I’ve come to realise that Mac apps follow a no-nonsense style to UI design that Alan Cooper would arguably would be proud of.  Incidentally, running Microsoft Word on a Mac is a prime example of Sesame Street’s  “One of these kids is doing his own thing” that makes Word look so out of place just as a donkey would be in the Melbourne Cup.

iLife ’11

The reason for my change of heart was last nights viewing of the Apple Special Event, October 2010 New MacBook Air, Mac OS X Lion and iLife ’11.  In it, the demos of iMovie, GarageBand and iPhoto just blew me away.

Looking back, it’s quite clear that Windows Live Essentials is Microsoft’s very “version 1” attempt at trying to copy Apple.  I’ll leave it to you to determine the winner here.

Professional Productions Made Easy

Regardless of media – whether you are working on images, video or music, iLife can in a few mouse clicks allow you to make wonderful geographically-linked photo slideshows, hard-bound books; video trailers, facial recognition from video; and the brilliant “spell-checker for music” rhythm/groove fixer.

If you have not seen the above mentioned Apple Special Event video on iTunes, I highly recommend you check it out.

Golly…Macs Really Do “Just Work”!

2011/03/13 Leave a comment

I was recently lucky enough to grab myself an iMac; in that time it has solved more problems than the time I have spent trying to solve a single problem on Windows.

Computer Specs

Memory Windows= iMac =4GB
CPU Windows=Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad @ 3GHz,  iMac=2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
Video Windows=dual nVidia 8800 GTX,   iMac=ATI Radeon HD 5670


Before

Here is a list of my prior issues:

  • iTunes on PC and generation 1 Apple TV would “forget” their network connection
    • meaning my Apple TV could no longer sync/stream TV shows and movies from my PC
    • typically you buy on the Apple TV and after watching it is “archived” on your PC to make room for other purchases
    • I had lost a few purchases because of this.  Apple does not allow you to download to Apple TV again
  • Could not connect to a Canon MX850 printer via the network if it was connected to one PC via USB
    • basically allows you to share the printer over a single USB cable instead of a network cable
    • USB allows you to do certain things network cable cant
  • Lacie 4big Quadra 4TB RAID “big blue button” not recognized
    • allows for quick backup
    • Windows Backup is inefficient, slow and poorly designed
  • Access to Apple’s MobileMe email via Microsoft Outlook/Windows Live Essentials IMAP is incredibly slow – 5 seconds to delete a message
  • Opening the majority of any document takes considerable time on Windows
    • PDF
    • videos
    • Word/Excel documents
  • MSN Messenger takes considerable time to load; consumes excessive computer resources
  • Games such as the recent Civilization V consume excessive resources; takes considerable time to load considering nature of application – “its no Crysis!”
  • Windows Phone developer registration is more complex than applying for a home mortgage.  Took approximately 7 days to complete including various to and throw e-mails to Microsoft
  • Visual Studio has historically shown that with each new version requires a level of magnitude more computer memory and CPU resources.   VS is very expensive to buy for the Pro version. Express as a tool for serious development is questionable

After

  • Apple TV and iTunes on iMac just work; do not forget each other
  • Canon MX850 was automatically detected over wi-fi when plugged into Airport Extreme Base Station USB socket
  • Lacie 4big Quadra 4TB RAID was automatically detected and iMac kindly asked if I wished to use it for TimeMachine
    • Pressing big blue button on Lacie launched the brilliant TimeMachine app
    • TimeMachine is fast, intuitive, reliable
  • Apple’s iMail automatically configured e-mail server settings just by me typing in my @me.com address
    • iMail is fast
    • Like the central inbox
  • iMacs have a Preview application that very quickly opens a document for reading rather than loading bloatware Acrobat, Microsoft Word, Excel or similar
  • MS Messenger for iMac (via Office Mac) is much like pre-Windows Live Essentials meaning it doesn’t have the annoying ads but more importantly, uses less computer resources like memory and CPU in wlcomm.exe
  • Civilization V for iMac loads considerably quicker and exits to mac desktop much faster than Windows
  • Apple’s Mac Developer MacOS/iOS registration completed in 12 hours
  • Apple’s Xcode IDE is only $5.00 and uses minimal CPU and memory
  • Though Apple may make use of seemingly vertical standards such as Bonjour, historically it can be shown that Apple is more likely to adopt more popular standards with more realized use cases than say MS.  Calendering is a good example.

In summary, in only a short time does one really appreciate the high quality of the iMac, but also comes to the realization that pretty much everything PC is by way of poorly designed, badly integrating bloatware produced by capitalist-corporate-hugging software houses.   Take Microsoft Office 2010 is not only bloated but is also unintuitive and bloated; similarly for VS2010 as mentioned.

Windows Web Services, Now Low-fat and 200% Faster!

2009/12/05 Leave a comment

image A recent article in the November 2009 issue of MSDN Magazine describes a new Windows API for SOAP/XML Web Service developers with the highly original name of Windows Web Services (WWS).  With pre-existing choices such as the classic .NET API or even the rather elegantly designed and abstract WCF API (yet rather silly amounts of attribute usage) you may ask ‘Why do we need yet another API to realize our SOAP WS vision?’.

Class libraries such as WCF and XmlLite do implement perhaps all the requirements for XML WS but they do come at a cost:

  1. Memory usage can be a problem
  2. Dependencies on other systems or components
  3. XmlLite does not support UTF-8 encoded payloads
  4. Not designed for native code
  5. And the most important, compared to other systems are very slow

WWS addresses all these needs and is twice as fast as the above mentioned APIs.  However it does come with a con – it is a C-style API available to c/c++ developers by default.  Of course you could always make a hybrid c++.NET app and expose your library to the rest of your higher-level .NET system.  You would want to keep all mission-critical logic of course in c++  to reduce performance latency in the marshalling across c++-to-.NET boundaries.

This is a rather impressive accomplishment and is good to see that there are still c/c++ developers at Microsoft who have a reasonable understanding of ideal performance practices. 

Read more.

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