Thursday, April 30, 2009

Picked up a new mouse yesterday on my way home from work. The last one succumbed to gravity at the home show, and she is broken. Evidently, the demands of gravity have yet to be met by wireless devices. Perhaps Apple is working on it.

Switched back to the "wired" mouse, too, since the wireless mouse technology isn't there yet, IMO. Everyone persists, probably because of the **neat!** factor, but I plug this new one in with its old, perfected anti-gravity WIRE technology and the cursor flies across the screen with nary a hiccup. The whole computer seems faster! And there's no more accidentally clicking on the 'weather report' link when I meant 'bank account' (though the forecast is the same: May gray.)

I have exactly 33,073 photos in my iPhoto library, (doesn't everyone?) which is one of the reasons I coughed up the cash for the iLife version upgrade recently, too. iPhoto is the best photo-organizing software around, IMHO, and the new iPhoto program has a couple features that will file away all of your pics based on who is in them and where they were taken (**neat!**).

The "Places" function hooks your photo up to a Google map and puts a virtual pin on exactly the spot where you captured the moment. Of course, your camera must be equipped with a GPS locator mechanism. (Isn't everyone's?) So it seems that all my pictures were taken in that placeless ether, that non-geographical empty locale caught between dimensions -except for a few pics I have from the Harrington's fancy Nikon. (I have the exact coordinates, longitude and latitude, of where our kids were playing with the trash cans on a street corner during the Carlsbad 5K.) So, I have to get a new camera, otherwise years from now I'm going to be perusing my old photos from our vacation to Washington DC and have no idea where that fantastic place was. I'm not going to worry about it just yet, considering that 32,099 of my photos were taken at my home address, the earthly coordinates of which I know by heart.

The "Faces" function is more amusing, in that super-bowl-commercials-are-more-amusing way (they're still just commercials.) The computer initially spends a couple hours (I have a lot of pictures) going through all your photos and then asking you "Who is this?" as it paints a little square around their face. So you tell it, like you're introducing the Mac to all your friends and family, even though it's been coming to the party for years. Then the Mac gives you a page of a hundred pics of people it thinks this looks like. It's very amusing, as it takes a while for the computer to "learn" what we're talking about, here. For example: Is this "Dad"? [Shows picture of hula hoop on ground.] Answer: no. Is this "Dad"? [Shows picture of your brother.] Answer: no, but good guess! He does kind of look like him! And so forth. For a time, it's fun and addicting like that children's matching game where you flip over the cards, but now let me remind you: I have exactly 33,073 photos in my iPhoto library, so this game will never, ever end. It gets smarter the more you get into it, actually, and begins to learn the names of the people at the party, but you still have to confirm-or-deny for seemingly all eternity. Again: this tool will be invaluable when my Alzheimer's sets in.

I really bought the iLife upgrade because the new iWeb has a file transfer protocol that the previous version inexplicably lacked. I was using some third party software AND IT WAS UNHINGING ME! (I'm sure you find that utterly fascinating.) Anyway, I am disappointed in iWeb. The new ftp works fine but no flash slideshows. How dumb is that? (Also: no iDVD update in the pack. DUMB, Apple, just LAZY DUMB.)

But the new wired mouse works great! And cheaper than wireless! That old computer downstairs just could never get it together and play in tune on the Bluetooth bandwagon. The seven-year-old beast is pre-Bluetooth. I don't know why I even bothered trying.

All this to say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but sometimes the old tricks professionally executed are more impressive.