Tinderbox is billed as a “personal content assistant,” which gave us happy visions of a devoted digital concierge at our beck and call. It’s a tool for recording, organizing, and connecting bits of information called notes--snippets of text about which you can record copious amounts of metadata. Options are vast, but Tinderbox can feel more like a chore than an assistant.
Unison would be perfect if we found ourselves time traveling to the ’80s and needing to look up job listings, download software, or pose questions to an online community. That’s because Unison browses Usenet, the text-based precursor to the modern internet. Once the cutting edge of online interactivity, Usenet is now the domain of niche topics and downloads of varying degrees of legality. Unison makes it easy to grab video files, music, and other media, and its interface lets you smoothly navigate Usenet’s bulletin-board depths. Unfortunately, the web, the iTunes Store, streaming Netflix, email groups, and other, better services now limit Usenet’s appeal. Time travel remains elusive, so there’s little reason for others to get started on Usenet now, but Unison makes a great browser for Usenet regulars.
When Apple revealed the newly redesigned MacBook Air at a press event in Cupertino, Steve skipped the theatrics of pulling one out of a manila envelope or any other “gee whiz, that’s thin!” gimmicks. But once the new machines arrived at the office (one of each size, hooray!), their improvements--both in design and performance--made a bigger impression than any Steve stunts could’ve.
The other day I was working on my laptop at home while my wife was browsing the web from hers. Our son was in the living room chatting with his buddies and listening to something catchy I’d never heard before. When I asked him for a copy, it took him a while to locate a flash drive, search his library for the tune, load the file onto the drive, and hand it to me so I could add it to my iTunes library. A few minutes later, we had to repeat the process for my wife. I thought “Isn’t this 2010? Shouldn’t there be a better solution to this problem?”
Tacking “Magic” onto the name of this new external trackpad is grandiose in that typical Apple way, but we have a feeling that this nifty device actually is performing one genuine feat of magic: peering into the future. At least a little, anyway. Between the proliferation of touch-based iOS devices and Apple’s patents for touchscreen iMacs surfacing recently on the web, it’s reasonable to speculate that Mac OS is going to want you to reach out and touch it someday soon. If that’s even a little true, we can see why Apple might hope that the Magic Trackpad will help us get a little more accustomed to “touching” iMacs, minis, and Mac Pros--not just MacBooks.
Once upon a time, only the fastest computers--and the wealthy Mac users who owned them--could afford to edit video on their machines. The rest of us had to do manual edits with two VCRs and twitchy fingers on the pause button. Those were dark times indeed. Fast-forward a decade, and there are more video-editing programs than you can shake a Media 100 at. Adobe’s Premiere Elements is aimed at advanced consumers looking to elevate their edits beyond iMovie’s capabilities, borrowing some firepower from more advanced editors.
Photoshop Elements is the perfect image-editing program if you’ve outgrown iPhoto but aren’t quite ready to take on the complexity (and cost) of Photoshop. It offers a great blend of beginner-friendly guidance and sophisticated manual adjustments for the more experienced user. In fact, when you get down to it, there’s not that much you can do in Photoshop that you can’t also do in Elements.