Chicago CS3 Event – Live!

I’m here presenting at the Adobe CS3: Creative License Tour in Chicago. Part of my presentation involves doing a live post to my blog using Adobe Contribute CS3. The audience here has been great and we are having a blast learning about all the new CS3 products. We have over 550 people here at the beautiful Navy Pier in Chicago. I hope to see you in the upcoming cities.

We had to bring in more chairs! What a great response to CS3.

The Navy Pier location was great for this type of event, although finding the correct room/hall was challenging for some.

I couldn’t resist taking the opportunity for a few shots right outside our presentation area of this rustic looking lighthouse.

The Bean Bag is back in style

I love my Garmin Nuvi GPS however, I’m not a fan of windshield suction cups. While they work for the most part, I primarily use my Nuvi in rental cars and therefore have to move the mount from car to car each time I travel. I’ve had the Nuvi literally fall off the window on more than one occasion while driving. While the Nuvi has survived the fall each time, it was a pain in the butt (and a hazard to my fellow motorists) to get it back on the windshield. So I started looking for other mounting solutions when I came across this “Portable Friction Mount – ie. Bean Bag” on Garmin’s site. In order to use this mount you also need the Automotive Mount. The Automotive Mount is designed to stick permanently on your dashboard as some states don’t allow anything to be mounted to the windshield (probably for the reasons above). However, it does slide neatly and not permanently into the Bean Bag mount. So in theory you could use the base that comes with the Automotive Mount in your car and still travel with the Bean Bag mount and the part that attaches to the Nuvi for other/rental cars. This isn’t a concern for me as my personal vehicles all have factory navigation in them already.

I took the Bean Bag mount for a test drive and it stayed in place even on those Indy 500 style turns that I’m known for. It’s also neat to just pickup the whole thing when you arrive and go inside. If you find that suction mounts “suck (or don’t suck)”, then I highly recommend this solution!

Apple & AT&T give me drivers please!

Now that Apple and AT&T are a couple and they’re about to give birth to their first offspring (the iPhone), it’s time that Apple stepped up to the plate and supported AT&T’s other kids. Namely the new Option GT Max 3.6 Express Card and the Sierra Wireless Aircard 875u (USB solution) Granted they are not as cute as the iPhone, however they shouldn’t be treated as step children. Apple had no problem supporting Verizon’s EVDO kids (v640 & v740 in the WWAN 1.0 Driver Update) so it should do the same here. Sure I know that Option supposedly offers Mac drivers directly, but that kind of child support should come directly from the father of the Mac. So how about it Apple? How about the WWAN 2.0 Driver Update? It’s embarrassing that AT&T has to list these cards as being supported by Windows only (isn’t that like welfare or something?).

I love my Verizon v640 card. It works great! However, the Cingular solution is a 3g (HSDPA) world solution that would work outside the US and it’s theoretically faster than EVDO. I don’t travel outside the US often, but when I do I hate that I have to leave the v640 parked in my bag until I return. Since Apple is more open to providing drivers for wireless cards right in the OS, I don’t want to have to go installing 3rd party drivers if I don’t have to. Apple either needs to support this card quickly or AT&T needs to ship the Novatel Merlin XU870 ExpressCard that Apple already supports. My Verizon contract is over and Apple I’m just waiting on you to do the right thing.

Learning a few lighting tips from the guru

Scott Kelby showing Terry White the Spiderlite

It’s not often that I get the chance to spend some quality 1-on-1 time with my buddy Scott Kelby. So I jumped at the chance to do a photo shoot with him this week in Tampa. I learned a lot and will be placing my order for a Westcott Spiderlite kit as soon as I get home. These lights do a phenomonal job of providing continuous light and basically giving you a what-you-see-is-what-you get situation. It also doesn’t hurt to shoot a beautiful subject either.

Ashley Gellar - photo by Terry White

This shot of Ashley Gellar taken with my Nikon D80 and lit with the Westcott Spiderlite T5 and a reflector.

Did I mention how much I love digital photography?

CS3: The Creative License Conference

I’m about to hit the road on a major tour and hopefully when I come to your city I’ll see you there! Register now for this momentous event. Be one of the first to learn new features and techniques available only in Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 that will change the way you work and create.

The Conference cities include: Chicago, Austin, San Jose, Toronto, Boston, Seattle Los Angeles and New York. We have an action packed agenda and there will certainly be a lot to learn. If you do make it to one of the stops on the tour be sure to say hi!

Great SATA external drive enclosure

I recently had to move some computers around and transfer some data from one drive to another. The easiest way was going to be to put the New 750GB SATA drive in an external case. Since I didn’t own any SATA to Fir wire cases, I went looking for one. My search lead me to CoolDrives.com. They had this SATA to Firewire/USB2/eSATA enclosure on sale for $99. Although that still seems like a lot for just an enclosure, it was one of the lowest prices I found. I bought two of them (I will need them in the future) and temporarily installed my new drive to do the transfer. The transfer of 365GB’s went without a hitch (7.5 hours later at Firewire 400 speeds). I was floored to see that they included not only the power cable, but a Firewire 800 to 800 cable, USB 2 cable, and Firewire 800 to 400 cable. Although most users will only need one of these, it was a nice touch to not have to go out and buy them separately. Installation of the drive in the case was a piece of cake. Remove 3 small screws and you’re inside. Plug in two cables and secure the drive  to the bracket. This case is whisper quiet and works as advertised.

New Get a Mac ad – Vista Drivers

I love these ads and based upon the amount of activity I see at Apple Retail stores and the influx of new members at my Macintosh Users Group, they must be working. It’s very cool to "Get a Mac" these days!

Jawbone Bluetooth Headset

I’m always looking for the “best” bluetooth headset. Until now the best one for me was the Jabra BT500. Why? Because it was the most comfortable and worked well with my Treo 650. Then I caught wind of this New Jawbone Headset and I was intrigued by the “military grade” noise reduction that it sports. So after doing a quick search on eBay and a “Buy It Now” link, the Jawbone was on the way. I must admit that I was also digging the modern cheese grater/Mac Pro design. I also liked that it doesn’t have any visible buttons. However, I was a little concerned about comfort. After all I’m not a fan of over-the-ear headsets.

I gave the Jawbone a workout this weekend and unlike other over-the-ear headsets, this one actually feels much better on my ear. However, the fit is not as snug as I would like (no headset is a perfect fit on me). Jawbone measures the ambient noise and adjusts the incoming and outgoing audio accordingly via its “noise shield.” The sound quality is better than average. I’ll have to continue testing it in noisy environments. I’m really curious as to how it will perform with the top down on a convertible on the highway which is one of my worse case scenarios.

Jawbone redThe Jawbone comes with a set of different sized ear buds and ear clips to attempt to fit most people. The default “round” ear bud was not a good fit for me at all. Luckily there was an elongated choice that fit much better. It also comes with an AC adapter for charging and the cable between the AC adapter and the headset has USB on one end. So you could just travel with the cable and headset to charge via the USB port on your laptop. I wish that it used a standard USB cable though. Although it’s USB on one end, it’s a proprietary connection on the other. This means that you have to use their cable. The Jawbone comes in Silver, Black or Red. I got the silver version as red was just going to clash too much with my wardrobe.

I can’t say that I Love the Jawbone just yet. I’ll have to use it more and take it on the road. However, my first impressions are better than any other headset I’ve tried so far. I need to give it a full day’s use to see if it is comfortable enough for all day use.

Jawbone offers 6 hours of talk time and 200 hours of standby time. It goes for about $110 on eBay. Cingular sells them too at a slightly higher price.

Contribute CS3 is an Excellent Blogging Tool

The New Adobe Contribute CS3 is an EXCELLENT way to update your blog! I’m now a believer. Although I’ve been doing this blog since February 2006, I still feel relatively new to blogging. I only started my blog because Apple had come out with iWeb and it seemed like an easy way to get started with a graphical tool (see my original iWeb blog here). However, after a few months I started to feel like iWeb just wasn’t powerful or flexible enough for some of the things I wanted to do. Even simple things like post dating a blog entry didn’t seem possible with iWeb. Sure you could change the post date and time, however the minute you posted the entry it was live on your site regardless of what time and date you set it for. It wouldn’t even allow me to chose a different template for my site without starting over again.

Then Adobe Photoshop product manager John Nack turned me on to Contribute and I kept it in the back of my mind until about a month ago. I started experimenting with Contribute also because my web hosting company made WordPress blogging available at no additional cost. Contribute is compatible with many of the popular blogging engines such as Blogger and WordPress. I like Contribute for blogging because it lets me create blog entries offline and post date them to appear at the exact time and day that I specify. It lets me work in a WYSIWYG environment. It also doesn’t restrict me to only use Contribute. I can still post entries if I’m out and about (away from my computer) from any web browser. I can much more easily use tables, insert images, add video including Flash Video, audio and format my text. Not to mention easy bullets, numbering and indents.

No software product is perfect and I do have a few wishes for the next version. I would like to have interactive spelling. While Contribute does have spell check, you run it after you’ve typed all your text. That seems so 1995. Grammar checking also would be nice. However, even with these minor omissions, Contribute CS3 is a solid tool for Blogging and for Web Designers to allow their clients to update their own web sites (it’s original mission). It even lets Mac users update their .Mac hosted web sites. Contribute CS3 is available as a stand alone product or as a part of the Web suites.

What the iPod hi-fi should have been

Apple made a lot of noise initially around the iPod hi-fi stereo system for the iPod. They clearly spent the majority of their time on sound quality for this product. I’m not knocking it as it is a great sounding system with lots of volume, but it entered a crowded market at the high end of the price range. At $350, there are lots of speaker system to choose from at that price and less. Even the Bose Sound Dock is only $299 (It’s hard to say Bose and "only" in the same sentence). I own both of these systems and they both have their advantages over each other. Even to my non-audiophile ear, the Bose SoundDock sounds a bit better in my unscientific side-by-side test in a big open room. It also doesn’t have that storm trooper look like the iPod hi-fi.

But like I said, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. The SoundDock is smaller and takes up less space. The iPod hi-fi can run on batteries and has audio-in. Therefore it can be used as a speaker system for other sources such as streaming from your AirPort Express or directly connected to your notebook for presentations.

Now it’s 2007 and there is a new kid on the block. Check out the New Altec Lansing iMV712 (what a catchy name). The new iMV712 comes in at the same $350 price as the iPod hi-fi, but offers an 8" LCD screen so that you can actually watch content on your iPod video without having to hold it right up to your face (exaggeration alert). While 8" is not all that big, it’s big enough for comfortable personal viewing from a reasonable distance.

The minute the iPod hi-fi came out, people (critics) started saying it should have had this and that. One of those things that people said it should have is a screen. Sure not everyone has an iPod video. However, since it would have come from Apple the screen could have had the iTunes visualizer built-in. It could have displayed the Album art nice and big while you were just listening to music whether it was an iPod video or not.

I don’t have the new iMV712 and have no plans to buy one. I’m pretty set between the speakers I already have and my Apple TV’s. However, if I were in the market for a higher end speaker system, this is the one that I would start my research with.

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