live electronic music

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve gotten back into producing music again, this time electronic music under the moniker “Iterate” (also spelled in the geek fashion as “i++”). There’s an Iterate website (not much there yet — mostly just a link to my myspace.com page) and also the group of like-minded (sort of!) musicians at cloudwave.network (website, designed by me, here).

Four of us are playing live next Wednesday (June 7th) at the Dart Room, in Fayetteville. No cover. Should be at least mildly interesting. My set for this show is mostly instrumental synthpop, though I’ve been working in other (sub)genres lately, too.

The Apple Mighty Mouse

A. Cool name. B. MUST HAVE IT.

Oh, I need to say more?

Here are the things about the Mighty Mouse:

  1. They surprised the hell out of everybody. It’s fun to see Apple occasionally staying one step ahead of the rumor sites. I mean, sure, everyone knew Apple had to be working on some sort of advanced mouse device.
  2. In typical Apple fashion, they took the concept (two-button scroll mouse) and completely Apple-ized it: touch sensitive “buttons”, “squeeze buttons”, and “scroll ball” thingy. Plus, completely programmable.
  3. Great price: $49
  4. I wonder why no Bluetooth. Of course, being an owner of an Apple Bluetooth Mouse, I know that they suck batteries down like Homer on cheap beer. A Bluetooth Mighty Mouse would likely be ten times worse.

Plus, I’m a total slut for Apple.

UPDATE 2005.08.15

Got the Mighty Mouse on Friday. Still tweaking it and my mousing style. I know, I know. If a mouse makes you re-examine and/or change how you mouse, it’s probably not a good thing. But, I have sort of a freaky mousing style (left-handed, but use the right-handed left/right click mapping). If I DIDN’T do that, I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE the Mighty Mouse. But, because of how the click detection works and how the Primary click overrides the Secondary click, I sometimes left click (primary) when I mean to right click (Secondary). So, I’m still working out the kinks. Otherwise, I really like the scroll ball and the general feel of the mouse.

No Emmys for Battlestar Galactica

Well, the Emmy nominations are out and Battlestar Galactica got rooked. I love SciFi. But, even if you don’t, BG is an incredibly well-done series. Great characters, great character development, a very intriguingly-put-together “sci fi” universe, great acting. Great, great, great. Really. Give it a shot. Season 2 starts Friday night (7/15) on the SciFi Network. Watch it, then watch Monk on USA Network. Monk’s star, Tony Shaloub, DID get an Emmy nomination this year (he’s won at least once for that role), and this week’s episode marks the return of guest star John Turturro as Monk’s equally-oddball brother, Ambrose Monk, whose first appearance a couple of seasons ago was maybe the best single episode of the series to date. Friday on cable is the real “Must See TV.”

iWork '05 initial impressions

I received my copy of Apple’s new iWork bundle today. I haven’t checked out Keynote 2, yet, but other initial reviews speak highly of it. I use presentation software so rarely that I doubt I’ll do more than skim it for the foreseeable future. Pages, on the other hand, is the whole reason I bought the package.

While most of my work is done via email or blogging (ha!) or publishing websites or other web-related tools, I occasionally have a need to do some print work (so does my wife). I hate Word with a passion (so does she), and I don’t want to spend the big $$$ to get Adobe InDesign for a simple newsletter or other small print job. So, I was very interested in the advanced rumors surrounding Pages.

First impression: it’s like iMovie for print. That’s a good thing. It allows someone to easily make great-looking print documents. You can also use it as a basic word processor a la Word, too, though it falls short of Word’s huge feature set. Of course, I have need for about 1% of that feature set, so that’s okay with me.

I see Pages getting used in the following ways at our house:

  • letters and other correspondence
  • viewing Word attachments people send us
  • tests and quizzes (for Wife, who’s a teacher)
  • Brochures and correspondence for my consulting business
  • Invitations (for parties, etc.)
  • Newsletters (for clubs we help with)

I’ll update this post when I’ve done some more work with it. So far, though, color me impressed.

UPDATE (2004.01.25): Okay, so I’ve spent more time with Pages now. I still think it’s a cool app, but it’s got some issues. Because it’s both a word processor and a page layout app, you get some weird overlaps that cause problems. You add pages like a page layout app, but you remove them like a wordprocessor (i.e., by removing content). It’s VERY awkward. I expect to see this change soon. The export functionality is not great, either. The Word export works as long as it’s a simple word processing app (memo, letter, etc.). It breaks horribly on complex documents, including nearly any of the stock templates. Also, the HTML export is terrible, especially on complex stuff, again, like the stock templates. I plan on using it mostly for print stuff and opening Word attachments that people send me. It should be great for that (plus all the things I mentioned above), but anyone who’s wanting more/different things from it will likely be somewhat disappointed.

UPDATE 2 (2004.01.27): The good stuff: Pages is a perfectly good word processor for fairly simple stuff. This week, I’ve written an 8-page report (with lots of styles, etc.) and a few 3-4 page documents, and I really like it. The auto TOC feature is pretty slick, and I really like the way the Styles drawer works. I’d prefer having a style creation dialog, but creating styles from examples is okay, too. I’ve already set up a few templates for regular reports and correspondence that I write. There’s a LOT of power in the templates. I’ve barely scratched the surface of them.

UPDATE 3 (2004.01.28): Still working with Pages on a daily basis. I think it’s pretty much going to supplant Word for daily use. I don’t need revision tracking or any of Word’s other features 99% of the time, and — not surprisingly — Pages loads TONS faster and performs better on both the computers I’m using it on (400MHz PowerBook G4, 1 GHz iMac G4). I can only imagine how fast it’ll be on the new iMac G5 soon to grace my work desk!

UPDATE 4 (2004.01.29): Did I somehow miss this in the factsheets and hype and whatnot? Pages has non-contiguous selection! I love that. I found it accidentally in the Styles pane. If you select a style and then click on the down arrow next to the style name, you’ll find “select all uses of <stylename>”. After seeing that, I figured I could manually do it, too. And so can you: just select some text then cmd-select some more. Voila! Non-contiguous selection. Cool.