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Jewish World Review
Feb. 10, 2006
/ 12 Shevat, 5766
Apple polishes applications
If you have a chance, pop over to my Web site, www.kellner.us, won't you?
The point is to show off some of the potential of iWeb , a part of
the $79 iLife suite of software applications Apple Computer bowed
in January along with its new, Intel-based computers. iLife is a
touchstone of Mac applications, containing iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and Garage
Band, the latter a music-making, and now podcast-making, tool that
musicians and others will appreciate.
In short, you get five applications for around $16 each, or $20 each if
you buy the $99 "family pack" that lets you install the programs on up to
five computers. Either way, it's a huge bargain, even if you don't use all
the applications. In fact, if all you use is iWeb and iPhoto, you might
well imagine you've gotten your money's worth.
Let's start with iPhoto, perhaps the flagship component. This program can
be used to collect, import and catalogue your digital photos, as well as
do elementary and not-so-basic editing and enhancements. Now in its sixth
iteration, iPhoto will handle up to 250,000 photos without hiccupping.
Scrolling through that large collection, you will see a see-through panel,
which Apple calls a "Scroll Guide" to indicate which digital "roll" of
photos is onscreen.
Clicking on a given image enlarges it for examination, editing and export.
You can also group photos for what Apple is calling a "photocast," an
online album housed on the firm's .Mac service, a $99-per-year Web
host/e-mail/storage facility. The albums can be password protected, or
not, and the photos can be viewed, and downloaded, on other computers via
RSS readers or other users' iPhoto software. If that sounds a bit
esoteric, consider this: you now have a way to not only store certain
photos online, but also update and rearrange these online albums easily
and quickly. And, whoever "subscribes" to that album gets the news as soon
as you update the online album.
Other new iPhoto features include the ability to view photos in
full-screen mode, compare photos, make rather technical adjustments to
those pictures, as well as the standard ones, and create a range of
booklets and calendars which you can have professionally printed and sent
to friends and family.
I use iPhoto just about every day, and version 6 is well worth the
upgrade. It's fast faster still on the Intel-based iMac and it offers
enough flexibility for just about every task involving photos.
iWeb is equally impressive: there are plenty of templates ready for the
using, and photos can be dragged over from a media window, which
capitalizes on iPhoto's cataloging, to populate Web pages. Again, this is
easier than the description may sound: you can end up with rather
professional looking layouts without being a graphic designer.
Of course, there are limits, including a lack of being able to easily have
a page be subsidiary to another. This is not a program to use for a major
corporate site. But for the family user, or one who needs to put up a
small Web site for a business or organization, iWeb can be a lifesaver.
I'll cover other iLife components in a future column. For now, let me
suggest that the Mac user who picks up a copy of iLife '06 won't be
disappointed at all. Details at http://www.apple.com/ilife.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2006, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com