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Posts Tagged 'mac'

WWDC Nerd Fest

Darth Trash CanWell Apple is in town this week for the World Wide Developer Conference and along with that comes the requisite keynote address. I’ve watched it a couple of times before writing this to let it sink in.

Not a single product was released. That means that there wasn’t a throng of Apple fans rushing to update their software right after the Apple love fest in an attempt to bring down the internet for the rest of the world. On the upside I think this keynote was Apple’s answer to everyone saying that Apple just isn’t as cool without Steve Jobs. Sure they had to pull out several people to cover for the missing omnipotent Steve, but I think they did a pretty good job. Here’s my breakdown of the speakers:

Tim Cook: He’s been seen as a bit milquetoast-like. He doesn’t offer the wow factor Jobs did, but he was always the voice of reason to come back to. I noticed a bit lispy precision in his voice making him sound a bit like a gay account as he was rattling off the numbers to us of how popular Apple has been in the past year.

Craig Federighi: This was the wow factor guy. He played the audience of balding 20 year old nerds quite well in such a way that he also made those who were watching that weren’t of the nerdish variety go weird. You know the type. Those people who think plugging in an appliance makes them technologically advanced. Craig played to the hecklers who tried to interrupt him without breaking a sweat and even through in a bit of self deprecation which always goes over well in my book.

Phil Schiller: He’s Phil. He’s always there and he’s got a sort of low brow, I’m not going to throw numbers at you, but big words that sound cool. Can’t innovate my ass was his best line of the show. Phil is the type of guy that you place a shot of 50 year old single malt scotch in front of and start to explain all the care and forethought that went into making it and when you turn your eyes back to him from the glass he’s downed it and ordered another couple of shots while pulling out his corporate card to pay for it. Phil to me represents the end user that just wants the box he sunk his money down on to do the job.

Eddy Cue: METALLICA! I was waiting for him to scream that out during his presentation of iRadio, but he went a little more subtle and chose Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin with a couple of required head bangs during the start of the song. Eddy Cue is like comedian Jim Breuer in that he took the stage looking like he had just finished off a few too many beers and can’t pronounce the big words Phil was throwing out. Oddly enough he did a pretty good job explaining iRadio. I’m going to use it when it’s available. Something tells me he has Nickelback on his playlist though.

All in all it was a pretty well thought out presentation. So much so that it wasn’t until afterwards that all the people who use Apple at home finally realized, They didn’t release a single product today!!!! The various people talking about how great Apple is was interspersed with shots of the audience to include Al Gore, Woz and Jony Ive just to add to the cool factor of the day.

From what they showed of  iOS7 looks like it was created by someone who watches far too much 80’s Japanese Anime, but after all the talk about flat, simple icons I could finally understand why when Craig started tilting an iPhone running iOS7 — the wallpaper looks like it sits about 6″ below the icons. I’m sure there’s someone at Apple who gets paid a lot of money who said the line during a meeting that 6” is enough for anyone. That was probably Jony Ive who used to be Jonathan Ive, but I guess that was a bit stuffy sounding for Apple. Then there was Darth Vader’s trash can™ or the new Mac Pro. It had a very slick look to it and it’s sleek black is something I welcome back. I’ve missed Apple’s black laptops because black will always be the new black. Black has always been cool and will always remain cool. Kind of like why we call the Yakuza the Japanese mafia and not the mafia the Italian Yakuza, because it was the first to come up with a cooler name for organized crime.

Looking cool seemed to be the focus of this keynote. Gone is the skeuomorphic design, replaced by flat icons that every designer has now redesigned in 15 minutes. Sure the new OSX Mavericks does some cool things, but it’s doing things it should have been doing a few years ago. Speed and functionality took a back seat in the presentation to showing off how tilting the screen lets you see more of the wallpaper or that animated thunderbolts accompany your weather prediction. It’s kind of like a new coat of paint on a old car with a few tricks thrown in. Yes Apple can still innovate, but at the same time they’re adding on features that other apps have been doing for awhile, so while they innovate they are also coming up to speed. San Francisco will be changed this week and hopefully the city can suck every last penny out of all the techies who’ve come to San Francisco and not live off the outside sponsored hipster buffets™ that no doubt will be going on all over the place.

Auntie April’s Chicken & Waffles

Auntie April's Chicken and Waffles

I’ve had a thing with soul food over the years. It’s the one type of food that was always hard to find for me growing up in San Francisco. I had heard tell of this thing called grits, but never had a chance to try it. Sure there was polenta, but while it’s the same, it’s different. Then I found myself one night out in the Bayview and got introduced to Auntie April’s Chicken and Waffles.

Everyone I think has heard of chicken and waffles which started in Harlem when the jazz musicians would get off work somewhere around 4am. It was too late for dinner and too early for breakfast so they sort of did both, hence chicken and waffles. I happened to be with some musicians that night from the band Drivin and Cryin who while from Atlanta didn’t seem to be able to understand the concept of chicken and waffles. They understood them separately, but not together. Well we all had a good experience that night.

I grabbed a two piece wing and thigh with the waffles [you can also get belgian waffles for an interesting twist] that were drowning in butter, which in my opinion is the way waffles should be. Then you pour syrup on the waffles and lots of hot sauce on the chicken. The two kind of mix together a bit and waffles with hot sauce or chicken with syrup isn’t too bad actually. I could see if I was in a drunken haze at 4am and it would taste pretty damn good actually. Well, I wasn’t drunk, but it still tasted good. I had to sample some more so I got sides of grits, collard greens and mac & cheese. I had to try the mac & cheese to find out what made this soul food. I grew up on the stuff as a kid, but every soul food place I’ve read about always served it and there was just something crunchy about the top that gave a good blend to the creaminess underneath.

I was pretty full after that and I noticed that they had some interesting looking breakfasts so I decided I had to go back. When you go for breakfast and see a sandwich called a fat neck jones you just have to try it. It’s eggs, cheese and bacon or sausage on a bun that was the soul food equivalent of a fast food breakfast sandwich, but it was better, bigger and a hell of a lot tastier. I also tried the Rev. James Leach which is 3 eggs with green onions and six strips of bacon. With that much bacon you can’t go wrong plus you also get grits and toast with it [my take on grits? They’s grits, there’s not much more you can say about them].

I’ll have to go back again and try the catfish. While I can eat a lot I just couldn’t add the catfish in either time I went. Auntie April’s is cash only so be sure to have some money on you. It’s an inexpensive place to eat and you will not leave there hungry ever. They’re at 3rd and Newcomb so give them a try.

Steve Jobs R.I.P.

Yesterday evening I happened to take a look at twitter and got hit by a ton of bricks. Steve Jobs died, October 5th 2011. I kind of felt like I lost my breath for a second or two, but then I realized I had seen it coming, we all did. I’m almost certain that Steve took his last medical leave because he knew he didn’t have much time.

It’s odd that sometimes you learn more about people after they die than when they’re alive. Steve Jobs and Cupertino were coupled together like Brangelina, yet Steve was born in San Francisco. I didn’t know that until I read that after the fact. He was always the big keynote speaker at the MacWorld’s at Moscone Center. My funniest memory of MacWorld was getting an hour off work to go to MacWorld and because it was so big way back then I found myself stuck behind some slowly meandering idiot in front of me talking to a woman. To myself I’m thinking, get out of my way moron, I’ve only got an hour to see the whole place and then the moron turned his head…It was Steve Jobs. I had heard some pretty bad things about him such his dismissive behavior of fans yet I still blurted out, Mr. Jobs! and he turned around. I just said Thank you and extended my hand thinking for a second that he might possible give me a smirk and turn and walk away. He extended his hand shook it and smiled at me.

That was my entire extent of meeting Steve Jobs. I quickly walked around him and continued on with the rest of MacWorld. I figure I got my 15 seconds of Steve Jobs and that was much more than most people got. I have always been a Mac evangelist even though I’ve never worked for Apple. If you think back to the year 2000 and how life was you may remember things were a little different. Mp3 were just coming on the scene, but there wasn’t any way to organize them. There was no iTunes or iPods. There was no super fast gigaflop G4 computers yet. No iPhones, iPads or Apple TV. Airport were around to offer WiFi, but wouldn’t get extreme for another three years. We did have the sleek all black powerbook that had a clock speed of 400Mhz that was fast for the time, but it didn’t have the power anywhere near my iPhone 4 does today. By comparison, my stove was purchased in the late 70’s and if we were to purchase a new one today it wouldn’t be too much different.

When Steve returned to Apple in 1996 things changed. He became an iconic figure to the company that was parodied on numerous television shows, Saturday Night Live being one of the funniest where he was shown giving a keynote speech as if he were a God.We have to remember something though, while Steve built the first Apple computer along with Woz, he wasn’t building and designing so much as time went on at Apple. He may have inspired others to come up with the designs and if you look now Apple has people like Jon Ive and Phil Shiller and Tim Cook who will inspire those at Apple to continue when Steve left off. Apple will continue in the manner Steve intended it to because he picked the right people to lead the company.

Oh, and I last thing…

I’m sure we’ll all warm up to Tim Cook almost as much Steve, we just need to give it some time.

The day I knew I was in the music business…

I went over to my friend’s recording studio in the Richmond District one day a few years ago to help him fix some problems he was having with his mac. We were upstairs and and he was running all about and he came to me and asked me if I could take over for him in the sound check downstairs because he had to run out to the store and pick up a few things for the two guys he was recording downstairs. I didn’t think anything of it because I knew my recording skills were good and my friend Pete had taught me a lot.

So we go downstairs and I start looking at where he was so far and and I hear him say, “Arlo, Jack, this is Eric he’ll be getting you set up.” I turned around from the recording console to be staring in the face, Arlo Guthrie and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. I believe I should have been wearing diapers at the time. The first thing that hit me, other than shaking a little bit were the words, “You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant.”

Shit, Fuck, OMG. I was being asked to do a sound check for Arlo Guthrie and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. I wasn’t too big on folk music and at the time I looked like your typical metalhead, but still, these guys were famous musicians and I freaked a little bit. Would they think I totally sucked? Would they yell at my friend Pete for giving the sound check and prep for two folk singers over to a METAL HEAD!?!?!

I took a breath. They could see I knew who they were were and kind of laughed at the fact that a metal head would feel nervous around them. Thinking back that was kind of a funny moment all in all. I sucked it up and sat down at the console and checked the levels and adjusted the mics. Pete had a heater running in the studio to keep their bones warm and that was something I had to make a few adjustments for but the studio was practically air tight so we could turn it off once they got their end together along with me.

What seemed like hours, but was probably only about thirty minutes Pete came back and took over and I went upstairs to fix his computer. A couple of hours later they took a break and invited me down to have a beer in the backyard with them. So there I was a metal head sitting with two folk legends and a man who was in the rock and roll hall of fame for producing the UK’s first psychedelic song [that was Pete, if you can’t make the connection] drinking beer and just talking. It was just one of those experiences that make you realize that people are people no matter how famous they are and most of the time you can just walk up and crack a beer with them and chat.

No I will not yell “Freebird!” and hold up a lighter. Ya’ll don’t pay me enough to do that.

If you have an apple TV you’ll LOVE this

OK, this doesn’t really have anything to do with San Francisco other than the fact that I’m a computer geek and there’s lots of us in SF, but I have to share this because it had a pretty big wow factor for me. It’s a program called Boxee. This is a little hack that you load onto your apple TV with a thumb drive and it adds a boxee category to your apple tv that lets you watch streaming video from the internet. Why is this cool? Because now I can watch TV shows and movies for free on demand from hulu.com. I can also view on demand shows from Comedy Central, CNN, CBS, plus Netflix the list goes on and on. 

The authors of Boxee also stay on top of things and offer regular updates which you can update from your apple TV. The hitch? It’s in alpha stages right now and you can only get the software by getting an invite from the boxee crew. I found the quickest way was to follow them on Twitter then just send them a direct tweet asking for an invite. It also has companion software for your computer, but currently only works on intel macs and linux machines. Windows is in the works.

The installation now is much easier and doesn’t involve using the terminal interface. There is a third party that wrote a program called the ATV USB Creator. This program downloads and installs on a thumb drive all the software needed to install boxee on your Apple TV. Just run the program then take out your newly created patchstick and plug it into the back of your Apple TV and unplug it then plug it back in. You Apple TV will boot from the stick and load the software at which point you unplug your apple TV again, remove the stick and plug it back in and follow the process of logging into your boxee account. Apparently you can download the software to the patchstick even if you haven’t received an invite, but once you have it loaded you’ll need to log into your account to use boxee so I wouldn’t bother doing this until you have the account.


quick intro to boxee from boxee on Vimeo.