A lot has been said lately about the state of gaming on Mac OS X. Most recently, a lot of noise has been made about the amount of time it took EA to ship some games for the Mac platform even though they had pledged to release the games at the same time as the Windows versions. They have finally shipped four of the six games with the other two coming later in the year.
I personally have very little interest in gaming on my Mac or any other PC because I am too busy with work and family. The time I do spend on the computer is usually spent creating and consuming content for the Internet, and as a Mac user, I am not alone as you may have read earlier this year. Mac users are just more likely to be engaged in other activities with their computers that it is no surprise that EA and other game makers tend to keep the platform on the back burner. There are so many other interesting things that you can do with a Mac that it seems a waste to spend time playing games on one.
With that said, I do enjoy playing games from time to time, but it’s not on my Mac or other PCs. I prefer gaming machines because the experience is so much better. Machines like the Playstation and Xbox are specifically designed for gaming, and they have the horsepower to make the games come to life. Why play games on a computer that was designed to do something else when you can use a gaming machine and have the best user experience? Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Well, my Cubbies have moved into first place in the NL Central again with a half game lead over the Brewers. The Cardinals have also managed to get back into the race and are only four games back with a little over a month to go in the season. The Cubs are playing really well going into the last month of the season, and they have a great chance to win the division. They just need to keep focusing on one game at a time, and everything will work out. Besides the last two games of the current Cardinal series, the Cubs will have another shot at both the Cards and Brewers in September. If they can play well in those important series and take care of business in a majority of their other games, they should be pretty tough to overtake. It should be fun (and stressful) to watch to see what happens next.
If you’re a long time reader of Probstisms, you have probably noticed the new look of the site. I had been using the default theme in WordPress which was a very nice, clean design, but I wanted something that would stand out a little more. I also wanted to move to a three column theme so I could have more content towards the top of the page. I’ve admired the themes created by the designers over at Wpdesigner.com, and I finally decided to make the move to Pride created by Small Potato.Â I think it’s a great theme, and I hope you like it too.
You’ve also probably noticed that there are two new sections in the sidebar of my blog.Â I have added the latest content from DocBuilder.com by Scott Driza and Lazy Revolution by Terry Brown.Â Scott and Terry are two of my closest friends, and I really enjoy reading their posts.Â I think you’ll find them entertaining and informative too.
Thanks again to Small Potato over at Wpdesigner.com for making such an awesome theme!
I keep going back to my Flickr account to look at this picture of the Saint Louis Gateway Arch that I took while we were listening to Ani DiFranco at Live on the Levee. We pretty much had the perfect spot for this picture and the concert.
Live on the Levee is a fantastic free event that happens every Friday and Saturday night throughout the summer. We had planned to go to several concerts this summer, but we only made it to see Ani. With the Arch in the background, you couldn’t ask for a better setting. Other artists that appeared this summer were Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Los Lonely Boys, and G. Love & Special Sauce.
I was actually surprised by how manageable the crowd was that night. Back in Chicago, the free concerts in Grant Park were always very crowded, but Live on the Levee was much more enjoyable because of the smaller crowd. I suppose that comes with living in a smaller city, but I think it’s something I can get used to.
For all of you St. Louisans that didn’t make the trip downtown this summer, you really missed out. Get out next summer and enjoy the events that make this city unique and great.
So, I’m reading through my email last night, and I come across this week’s edition of Circuits from the New York Times. David Pogue wrote what was basically a huge rant about the new version of iMovie from Apple. iMovie has been completely re-written and re-positioned as an application to quickly create and share movies. This is quite a change from the intent of the previous versions of iMovie, but it also goes along with today’s YouTube-crazed world. Pogue wants his iMovie back so he can make professional movies at a bargain price. Someone in his position should really be using at least Final Cut Express anyway, and I’m sure the New York Times can afford to buy a copy for him.
Fake Steve Jobs has a theory about why Pogue is so upset.Â The iPhone was so perfect that Pogue had no chance to give any negative feedback.Â Of course, it was in his contract to only say wonderful, positive things about Apple’s latest creation.
I will reserve judgment on the new version of iMovie until I’ve had a chance to create a few movies, but it can’t be nearly as terrible as Pogue makes it sound.
I read on TechCrunch this morning that Sun’s StarOffice is now included in Google’s Google Pack software package. While I agree with Duncan Riley that Google will help add some credibility by association, I really don’t think it matters all that much in the grand scheme of things. StarOffice, OpenOffice, and other products like it seem incredibly clunky to me, and I have never had a positive experience with a product that uses Java (Documentum, Business Objects, etc.). Now, I have to admit that I have developed some insanely cool document automation products using Microsoft Word, but I am a Mac user at heart so I have no love for Microsoft. With that said, there are other quality alternatives to Microsoft Office like Apple’s iWork and Google’s own Google Docs and Spreadsheets that I would use before even bothering to download StarOffice or OpenOffice.Â You can bet that as soon as Google figures out how to incorporate the presentation product they bought and make it possible to use Google Docs and Spreadsheets offline, StarOffice will come off of the list of products available in the Google Pack.Â Sun will have to enjoy the extra attention while they can.
I read in the Oakville Call last night that some residents of south Saint Louis County are so upset about a proposal to establish trash districts that they are considering breaking away from the county and forming a new county. The big fuss is that individuals will no longer have the ability to contract with any waste hauler they want. I’m not sure about you, but forming a new county over something like this seems a bit extreme to me.
I have never lived in an area where I was responsible for picking my own trash company which is why I don’t really see this as a big deal. Establishing trash districts in the unincorporated areas of Saint Louis County actually sounds like a great idea to me. The trash companies will have to adhere to standards of service and will have to bid for the business. The companies will compete with each other to get the business which will drive down prices. In the process, some mom and pop waste haulers may lose residential business because they cannot meet the demands of an entire district, but that does not mean they will go out of business. They will have to adjust and focus on other business that they can compete for and win. I know that in the Aurora, Illinois area where I grew up, there are a ton of successful small waste haulers even though the city contracts with a large firm to collect the residential waste from its 170,000 plus residents. There is no reason the same thing can’t happen here.
If the proposal does go through, I would like the County to institute some requirements for recycling, and those requirements are that the waste hauler will provide recycling bins for each house and that they will pick it up for free. The money they make from recycling will help offset the cost of collecting the materials, and it is the right thing to do for the environment. All the cities in which I have lived in Illinois and California have always had recycling programs, and Saint Louis County needs to do its fair share. Perhaps the County can also require that the waste haulers must provide standard trash and recycling bins for every house in each district. That way, they can use automated trucks to collect the waste. This works incredibly well in San Diego, and it made trash day so much easier.
My vote is for the trash districts to be established so we can all benefit from standards and economies of scale.
There was some great news from the iTunes Store yesterday. John Lennon’s solo catalog is now available for download from the iTunes Store. You can choose between the normal tracks with DRM or the new iTunes Plus files without DRM at a higher bit rate. I personally buy albums most of the time so I always buy the iTunes Plus songs because the album prices are the same regardless of file type. Plus, they sound better.
Now that Paul McCartney and John Lennon both have their music on the iTunes Store, it is only a matter of time before the Beatles’ catalog is available. I have some of their albums on CD, but there are others that I would love to buy through iTunes. I’ve read that the recordings are being remastered for their digital release so the music should sound better than ever. I can’t wait to see what kind of exclusive albums and tracks Steve Jobs talks EMI into releasing on iTunes first.
It’s been a long, long time, but the real Van Halen is back!Â After 22 years of pretending that they didn’t need or want each other, the Van Halen brothers and David Lee Roth are getting back together to rock the world.Â The band has announced twenty-five dates so far for what promises to be the biggest tour this fall.Â In their press conference, they seemed to be together for the long haul, and it will be awesome to hear new songs from one of the greatest bands of all time.Â What’s sweet is that Eddie’s son, Wolfgang, is the new bass player for the band.Â Michael Anthony was a decent bass player, but I always found him a bit annoying.Â Really, nobody listens to Van Halen to hear the bass lines.Â It’s all about Diamond Dave and Eddie Van Halen.Â Alex Van Halen is no slouch either.Â Wolfgang should bring new life to the band and bring a younger perspective.Â I’m sure he’ll learn a few things on tour with his dad, uncle, and DLR.Â It should be a great show to watch!
For all of us that have been telling our friends and co-workers to save their Microsoft Office 2007 files using the Office 2003 formats, we can finally stop worrying about it. Apple’s recently released iWork ’08 supports Microsoft’s Open XML formats that are the default files formats for Office 2007. While iWork can only read these formats at this time, I fully expect Apple to add the ability to write to these formats in an update soon. What’s funny about the whole situation is that Apple actually beat Microsoft to the punch with this release because Microsoft has yet to release a non-beta file converter for Office 2004. Full support for the Open XML formats is not expected in Office for Mac until the 2008 version that will be released in early 2008. If Apple can provide full read/write support for the Open XML formats in iWork by then, they have the chance to really increase their market share. There’s also another great reason for Mac users to switch from Office to iWork. iWork costs only $79 compared to the hundreds of dollars that Microsoft charges for Office. How can you beat that?