Buy Mike Recommended
edit systems & gear
from Silverado Systems
Buy Books, Software, & More
at HD for Indies Amazon Store
Buy New Movies from
HD for Indies Amazon Store
Or, you can also support
HD4NDs by contributing
to the tip jar...
Help Support HD for Indies
Great HD Links
- HD For Indies Home Page
- HD For Indies FAQ
- HD 24
- Bare Feats
- 24p Entertainment
- Light Illusion (was Digital Praxis)
- OneRiver Codec Resource
- HighDef.org Info
- Understanding RAID
- Video Systems (Reviews)
- DV Film (DV=>Film)
- Plus 8 Digital (vendor)
- Digital Cinema Society
- Texas High Def (local F900 guy)
- Creative Cow (news & forums)
- Philadelphia FCP User Group
- Los Angeles FCP User Group
- Cinema Tech
- DV Info's forums
- HVX User
- Pro App Tips
- Bluesky Media - Instruction
- little frog in high def
- VideoMaker Learning Section
- Stu Maschwitz's ProLost
- March 2004
- April 2004
- May 2004
- June 2004
- July 2004
- August 2004
- September 2004
- October 2004
- November 2004
- December 2004
- January 2005
- February 2005
- March 2005
- April 2005
- May 2005
- June 2005
- July 2005
- August 2005
- September 2005
- October 2005
- November 2005
- December 2005
- January 2006
- February 2006
- March 2006
- April 2006
- May 2006
- June 2006
- July 2006
- August 2006
- September 2006
- October 2006
- November 2006
- December 2006
- January 2007
- February 2007
- March 2007
- April 2007
- May 2007
- June 2007
- July 2007
- August 2007
- September 2007
- October 2007
- November 2007
- December 2007
- January 2008
- February 2008
- March 2008
- April 2008
- May 2008
- June 2008
- July 2008
- August 2008
- September 2008
- November 2008
- December 2008
- January 2009
- March 2009
- April 2009
- May 2009
- June 2009
- July 2009
- August 2009
- September 2009
- October 2009
- November 2009
- December 2009
- January 2010
High Definition Video for Independent Filmmakers
A How To Guide for Digital Filmmakers
Welcome all! This is my blog to share my latest research,
thoughts, etc. on utilizing HD for independent filmmaking.
YES, I am available for consulting
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All content copyright 2004-2007 Mike Curtis.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
So I'll mess with that this weekend, as well as the new laptop drive arrived, as well as Parts For Mysterious Project You Don't Know About Yet. I'll shave my head & scrotum and go into serious Dr. Evil mode this weekend on that stuff. If my girlfriend will let me (and yes, I'm talking about the geeking out part, not the other).
I'm working this week with a truly hairy set of variables for a client. Suffice it to say I'm glad editing apps don't face these challenges.
...and just raw gossip:
I went to the 4th Annual Mommie Dearest Roast tonight to FINALLY see my friend Dianne who's been hiding, excuse me busy, for months. She runs events under the Ultra Ultra banner, and also runs the Foodies group in Austin, where she is known simply as "Kitty". Taglines in the running for Foodies:
"Women Who Love Women Who Love Food"
"I Found My Girlfriend At Foodies"
to which I proffered
"It's like Fight Club For Girls"
...but without all the hitting and bleeding.
Which was inspired by.....dammit, I can't say, since I have a girlfriend who reads this. But it was a worthy.
The guy who puts the show on (at Alamo Drafthouse, of course) showed up in an outfit from the movie - Joan Crawford's swimsuit and robe. The low cut of the suit showed off his hairy chest and prodigious girth. But his boyfriend had the best T-shirt I've seen in I don't know how long:
Dirty Gay Wrestling-
....and with that, I bid you adieu...
I like the idea of BlackMagic's soon-to-be-shipped Multibridge Extreme & Multibridge Studio - they are essentially an SD/HD capture card, HD/SD up/downconverter, HD-SDI-DVI converter all in one rackmount box that connects to your computer by a small, inexpensive PCI Express or PCI-X card that is simply a plug with no brains or guts (or minimal) on the card - all the real smarts live in the rackmount box. This is great for a number of reasons, including:
1.) You can upgrade from PCI-X to PCI Express by merely replacing the little stub card, not an expensive capture card
2.) If you want to be able to hook it up to another machine, you only need a second stub card (or whatever nice name they have for it is), and you can disconnect/reconnect a cable (don't know if it's hot or live swap capable thought) rather than having to open up two computers to deinstall/install cards. One minute changeover instead of 20 minute changeover. Want to be able to use it on any of 1, 2, 5, or 10 machines? Just buy more cheap stubs and keep the computers in cabling reach.
Since they are already promoting it as Mac and PC compatible, I'm pretty certain it should work in Apple's Intel based PowerMacs that will ship in 2007. Long life indeed!
Then I worried (because I do that a lot) that some cards purchased for G5 PowerMacs might not work in Intel based PowerMacs. I don't think there will be a hardware problem there - there are cards that work unmodified in Macs & Windows PCs already today, such as BlackMagic's video capture cards. The bigger challenge is whether the manufacturers will provide MacIntel drivers, and at what cost. This is a big maybe - I've had not one, but TWO multi-hundred dollar SCSI cards get orphaned because someone (Adaptec) didn't want to make drivers for the new version of the operating system.
This happens with products like printers and scanners all the time - new OS comes out, and they don't make a driver for their three year old printer. One would HOPE standards for $500-$2500 cards would be different from $50-$300 office grade computer equipment, but no promises.
Anyway, the point of all this is:
1.) bus agnostic devices (PCI-X or PCI Express) sound like a good idea, and all other things being equal, are probably a better idea than a card that only works on one type of bus.
2.) some cards will work on MacIntels in the future, provided the manufacturers make drivers for'em, so that'll be a good migration path too.
Also, been chatting with some folks about Final Touch HD - it isn't really real time, especially out the HD-SDI port. But when new Macs (G5 or Intel) ship with PCI Express (hopefully within a year), this situation should dramatically improve. Whether that will allow for the holy grail of 1080p24 RGB 4:4:4 footage displaying color corrected in real time out of dual link HD-SDI ports remains to be seen, and probably the developer doesn't even know for sure if that'll be possible (since that'll depend on unannounced PCI Express based HD-SDI cards that I haven't heard even rumors about yet). BUT it is a faster overall solution than Final Cut Pro for high quality color correction.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
-mike, pleased, done, and going to get a sammich
-but at what performance? probably 200 MB/sec or less sustained. Talking to another engineer, he said the fastest BURST (not sustained) speed he's seen has been 220 MB/sec on a single SATA II cable.
Anyway, single cable is convenient and a lot less to troubleshoot. Mac products using this...someday.
UPDATE: I had earlier posted that this used a port multiplier, that is incorrect. It uses an Infiniband connector.
Using Free Run Time Code as an External
Sync Substitute for XL2 Multi-Camera Shoots
an article by Chris Hurd
Kelly Dodds sent this in - thanks! Free run does create hassles when batch capturing, so you want to shoot with long handles - some meaningless footage before rolling, and don't cut until well after (5 secs or more) the action is finished.
Another option for enclosures. Good looking. Wiebetech has a good record for making high quality products.
OK, this one's REALLY for starving indies. I have zero experience with the tools, just thought it'd be good to link to these since I've gotten some flack for advocating what's perceived as expensive hardware and software.
Easier/more direct link to the article here
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Microsoft and Toshiba have reached an agreement under which they will explore ways to use Microsoft Windows CE technology in new high-definition optical disc players, top executives of both companies said in Tokyo on Monday.
...so much for being neutral! Based on Windows CE and VC-1 (a tweaked Windows Media 9 codec), this gives Toshiba a bigger partner to play with. As a reader pointed out, Sony, with it's competing Blu Ray standard, has perceived and real clout far beyond what Toshiba does with it's HD-DVD standard. With MS in it's court, that'll help. I believe Microsoft knows a thing or two about exerting force on markets...
16 parallel pipelines
memory bandwidth "up to" (most evil words in advertising) 34.6 GBps
-700 million vertices/8 billion textured pixels per second
SmartShader HD shader engine
Smoothvision HD with 3Dc (3D comb filter?)
this page on Apple's site has more info, including Halo & Motion performance stats
Also has de-artifacting for DV and HDV. $400 new, $100 upgrades ($150 if you want the box).
If you need the functionality this offers, this looks very promising. Keep in mind, however, that Magic Bullet for editors does NOT include the de-interlacing technology that's included with their other offerings.
Monday, June 27, 2005
a.) backing everything up to a disk image elsewhere, pulling old drive, installing new drive, installing a clean OS X onto the new drive in laptop, then FireWire booting....aw crap, this is getting complicated and may not work, or require LOTS of handholding..
b.) buy a 2.5" external bus powered drive case to put the old 60GB drive into and transfer data after OS X install onto newly installed 100GB drive in laptop. Most likely to work the most smoothly, and I'll have a portable 60GB drive once done.
OK, who has a suggestion now for their favorite bare (empty) 2.5" bus powered drive enclosure? FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 is all that's needed, I don't have FW800 on my 12" PowerBook.. User suggestions appreciated before, feel free to chip in if you have a favorite.
Hey all -
time to turn the tables - I need a new/bigger laptop drive - my current one has 3 GB available, and I want to get a 100GB replacement. I see several options. I'd like big (100GB plus), reasonably fast, but battery life is a higher priority than the last bit of power.
I see options from IBM/Hitachi, Fujitsu, Seagate, and Toshiba in varying rotational speeds.
Anyone have any suggestions, or links, or resources to recommend?
provides interface improvements to the HDLink Utility and includes all the latest features including: LUT%u2019s for Panasonic VariCam & Grass Valley/Thompson Viper cameras, 'Blue only' mode for video noise, Interlace Simulation Mode, optional viewing of illegal YUV values, change settings without a power-cycle, support for displays lacking valid EDID data.
This is needed and useful.
So I probably won't be posting as much or responding to emails as quickly for the next week or two (or however long this project lasts).
One who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright ... is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties using the device, regardless of the device's lawful uses.
This gets dangerous, and creates a seriously risky environment for people to make ANY kind of file distribution software since they'll be afraid of ENORMOUS liability at the hands of the content owners.
This is especially scary since it's the Supreme Court - there's nobody to appeal to. I'll need to read up more on this one.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Bunch of interesting articles on how Hollywood really works by Edward Jay Epstein:
Dumb Money - The madness of movie advertising. By Edward Jay Epstein
He explained that big opening-weekend numbers, even if they are expensively acquired, may pay off in later markets—specifically video, pay-TV, and foreign release.
The Midas Formula - How to create a billion-dollar movie franchise. By Edward Jay Epstein
Nicole Kidman's Knee - Or, how the insurance business runs Hollywood. By Edward Jay Epstein
Gross Misunderstanding - Forget about the box office. By Edward Jay Epstein
Concessions Are for Girlie Men - Arnold Schwarzenegger's absurdly advantageous contract for Terminator 3. By Edward Jay Epstein
Paranoia for Fun and Profit - How Disney and Michael Moore cleaned up on Fahrenheit 9/11. By Edward Jay Epstein
How To Finance a Hollywood Blockbuster - Start with a German tax shelter. By Edward Jay Epstein
How Did Michael Eisner Make Disney Profitable? - Not with cartoons. By Edward Jay Epstein
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Friday, June 24, 2005
I need to call Dell and have a very clear conversation with them about NOT sending me a refurb. While salespeople will swear up and down that refurbs are fine, they've been tested at the factory, DON'T EVER BUY REFURBS. This means that they passed the minimal tests at the factory. Why is it a refurb? Because it's a return. Why is/was it a return? Because somebody decided they didn't want it. And a goodly number of those are going to be folks that it didn't work for, or was unacceptable, for some reason. And a lot of those reasons might be things that would pass the minimal factory testing done. So it's inevitable that refurbs are more likely to have minor defects than new units.
In any case, if they won't promise to send me a new one, I'm returning the original. Whether I buy another one is a big fat maybe.
AppleInsider | Inside Apple's Intel-based Dev Transition Kit (Photos)
interesting to note that this unit has PCI Express already - a very useful feature for faster throughput for HD applications.
For instance, BlackMagic's as yet unreleased Multibridge Extreme will interface via PCI-X or PCI Express, but even better, the guys at Silicon Color (makers of Final Touch HD) implied that it'll take PCI Express to get truly realtime performance from the software out the HD-SDI tap of an HD card.
More interesting details for the geeks in the article, including pictures.
UPDATE - I didn't catch this before:
Sources so far have reported absolutely no luck in their attempts to boot the included copy of Mac OS X for Intel on other PC systems. In their attempts to do so, they have reportedly been met by error messages stating that the PC hardware configurations are not supported by Darwin -- the underlying UNIX-based foundation to Mac OS X.
...so it looks like those were false rumors about getting the OS to run, even on these early boxes. Shoulda known...although it would be interesting to see if someone built an identical machine (same motherboard, graphics card, drive, etc.) if it would work.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
This beta version adds: Full support for Final Cut Pro HD v5 and Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger), HDV playback via HD-SDI outputs, Multi-Cam editing, 12 channels of audio capture and playback, Dynamic RT Effects and VariCam, Gamma correction with custom lookup tables during RGB 4:4:4 capture. A bug causing sparkles during capture, with DeckLink HD Plus and DeckLink HD Pro cards, is fixed in this beta version.
Fixes a crashing bug when using JKL keys, too.
update - I installed this, but it said "the current version installed is more recent." So I installed anyway, and nothing worked. Harrumph. So I de-installed using the included utility, and re-installed, and now it works.
NOT an elegant solution! Needs to be fixed.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
a.) has a "dead spot" - doesn't look like a dead pixel usually does, it's softer than that. But it's dark no matter what, and
b.) Looks like a refurb anyway, not factory fresh.
I paid for a new, working monitor, they didn't send me one.
After an hour and a half on the phone, they send me a used, flawed one. Quite possibly one somebody else sent back because of the problems I'm seeing now. Or at least some of the parts in the box had clearly been used before.
So I need to get on the phone to Dell again....groan.
It's turning into not so great a deal. I may start looking into the similiar HP model.
In theory these monitors are great, in practice it's turning into a big PITA.
EVENING UPDATE -
on the phone with Dell notes:
NEXT ROUND, TUESDAY 6/21/05, STARTING AT ABOUT 6:18PM
-much clicking through menus until I get to "monitors and other products"
still on silent hold at 6:25pm...
line goes dead, 6:29pm....start over....
3-1-4-3-(ENTER NON-EXISTENT EXPRESS SERVICE CODE - MONITORS DON'T HAVE THEM) - 6-
6:39 - still on hold...
discussed and in process
new CASE # - mike hides it (for second monitor replacement)
dispatch # for new monitor - mike hides it
spoke to Carlo
finished around 6:50
this time it went much better - native English speaker, replacement on the way no problem or quibbles...
Barefeats takes a look at the top SATA drives from Hitachi, Seagate, and Maxtor. Their performance results and my own experiences lead me to recommend the Seagate 7200.8 drives as the preferable choice for digital video editing, even though they aren't the absolute fastest. I've had ongoing, unresolved problems with some early production run Maxtors, and I'm still trying to get their tech support rep to get back in touch with me...
UPDATE - Wellllllllllll, it's not quite so simple. Read the comments, and if that doesn't clarify, read the article.
My take now:
DV over DV is more accurate, but doesn't produce as smooth a results as post capture, rendered smoothed DV or capture over SDI. BUT, it's not as accurate generation to generation. Again, it matters to know what you're doing and choose accordingly.
The 1.1 Update delivers overall improved reliability for Xsan and is required for all systems running 10.4. It includes fixes for:
- using Xsan on computers running Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server version 10.4
- providing metadata controller services to 10.3.9 and 10.4 systems running Xsan 1.1
- accessing Xsan volumes larger than 16 terabyte in size
- greater server stability when resharing Xsan volumes via NFS
- handling quotas with no associated user or group name
- maintaining access to Xsan volumes when metadata controller failovers occur
- operating Xsan in environments with a mix of 10.3.9 and 10.4 systems
If any system in your SAN is running Xsan 1.1 on Mac OS X v10.4, then your metadata controllers must also run the same. You can’t use a metadata controller running on Mac OS X v10.3 if any client is running Xsan 1.1 on Mac OS X v10.4.
There's also Xsan 1.1 for 10.3.9 available online as well.
Blu-ray, HD DVD merger talks scrapped | The Register: Surprise, surprise. Comments from both parties during the period of the negotiations implied there was little chance of a compromise. To do so would require either party to abandon their preferred format. Supporters of each format have, in the past, made it clear that physically the two formats are incompatible. The only way around the problem was to adopt one format's physical structure and add support for the other's data structure.
This is pretty much what I thought was going on, and is a nice synopsis of where we stand. Thanks Luis for sending this one in!
Monday, June 20, 2005
The New York Times > Technology> Review> THE PHOTOJOURNALIST; Which Camera Does This Pro Use? It Depends on the Shot
THE PHOTOJOURNALIST; Which Camera Does This Pro Use? It Depends on the Shot
- read this and think about digital vs. film, craft vs. tech, art vs. science. What is it you're REALLY trying to shoot again?
...and yes, sometimes the blog is just my own memory hole.
Users can also bring up two different compressed movies and perform a subjective left/right comparision by watching (in sync). Such a feature is "remarkably useful for determining if compressing a movie with a reduced bitrate has significantly impacted picture quality." Users can even compare movies compressed with different codecs (such as HD-DVD H.264 and MPEG-2).
Useful for when you're trying to get serious about how much content can fit on a disk.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
So it's Sunday and I'm finally opening it up.
And dammit, it looks a refurb - VGA cable is already attached to monitor with no protective covering on either end, the extra cables and CD are stuffed in a plastic bag, the CD is in a paper sleeve that's clearly been opened & used, the packaging is different, there is no quick start sheet, etc. Clearly, this is repackaged and sent out again. Some emailer or commenter previously said that in the birdseed type that they can send out a refurb as a replacement, but I'm tempted to reject this on general principle.
I'm hooking it up now to see if it has the same component problem, and check for dead pixels.
I'll update later as I learn more.
6:45pm - no dead pixels, running component test now to see if I get those aberations. On the prior monitor they showed up in about 10 minutes; they shouldn't show up ever.
10pm - left it running for a while, but the screens went to sleep. Leaving an image up to see if it causes the wavy line/color bars problems again.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
At MWSF 2005, Kano said they were only offering these as pre-built arrays. Now they are offering as a standalone empty enclosure, apparently the same as the Sonnet product.
Both are the same price, $600.
Not having sat down with one, my first seat-of-the-pants comparison to the other options - the $405-480 MacGurus Burly Box 4 hotswap bays (price varies depending on options) and the $578 Granite Digital 4 bay hotswap - is that the Sonnet solution is smaller and better looking.
Haven't used any of'em, so that remains to be seen. In practice, they should all perform identically. As a practical matter, I'd want to be assured that all the drives mount every time. I note that the Sonnet trays appear to be of the direct connect type - the drive plugs directly in without additional cables. Skipping long geeky discussion, this is preferable for reliable connections and mounting, but does leave the drives more vulnerable to spills etc. when out of the enclosure.
Hotswap drives are nice so that you can pop out and put in another set to work on another project - a big advantage over fixed drives in a busy shop.
Friday, June 17, 2005
....so I spent a couple of hours with a client today here in Austin trying to resolve some workflow issues (this is what I think I'm best at).
-he wants to make a 15 minute sample video of the feature he wants to make.
-he wants it to be in HD, produced to highest possible quality standards
-he wants it to be a very motion graphics heavy piece - MOST of it is to be done in Motion, After Effects, or Maya
-he's got 3 Macs - a dual 2.0 for Maya work, a dual 2.7 for FCP (maybe he should switch those two - faster Maya/Motion/After Effects probably more useful than faster FCP), and a G4 to act as a server & data backup box.
This presents a bunch of challenges:
-should he build everything 1920x1080 uncompressed, so he can edit with final quality stuff?
-should he build everything at 1920x1080 and render to 1280x1080 DVCPRO HD for an HD offline?
-should he build his stuff and shoot his footage 60i or 24p? He'd like the option to go to film, but it's not likely. But he wants the option
-regardless of whether it's film bound or not, 24p or 60i? 24p can be "world mastered" to 25p PAL via a simple conform, and converted to 60i with 3:2 pulldown
-Motion projects don't play back full speed at HD res in FCP regardless
-Motion projects have to be built 1920x1080 if you want that as your final size, and if not, you have to use Export via Compressor to get a 1280x1080 DVCPRO HD 1080i60
-the 3 person team is going to spend 2-3 months putting this 15 minutes together. I'm debating whether they
-as my old creative director used to say, motion graphics and editing should be like an oil painting - first you sketch it out rough, doodle and play and change that, and as you get more sure about each part, lock it down and paint in the detail. Do NOT paint in detail right from the start, because you ARE going to change it. Putting too much detail, spending too much time polishing early versions is called "premature optimization" in software development - you've put too much effort into polishing a rough draft, burning time and resources on something that will never see the light of day. And do you WANT to ship a polished first draft? NO. You want to ship a polished 3rd or 4th draft. Drafts 1 & 2 got virtually no polish.
-this makes me wonder if it'll make sense for them to do even a DV rough of this thing - starting with a DV timeline to just sketch out the thing, then advancing to DVCPRO HD 1280x1080 to make sure things are working in HD, and then do a final re-render and online at uncompressed 10 bit 1920x1080. I dunno. Lots of work moving from one size to the next. Is it worth the effort or not? Depends on how much time they spend waiting around for stuff to re-render. If they can speed up their draft Maya renders 3 or 6 fold working in DV early on, why not? They'd just need to be checking HD renders to make sure they'll look OK, and not have funky aliasing or under-detailed 3D models etc., checking stills and short rendered HD movies as they go.
-1920x1080 Motion projects don't play back full speed. Consistently.
-neither do 1280x1080, even doing a simple scale of a still image
-if you have dropped a Motion project into FCP that has NOT been pre-rendered, EVERY change you make such as titling etc. requires a re-render in the FCP timeline. Time consuming!
-the goal is to render as little as possible, yet maintain as much creative control as possible. Since any change in FCP requires re-rendering on the FCP timeline, it seems like it is worth pre-rendering out of Motion to a .mov file is the faster overall solution
-whether to build full sized uncompressed on all assets or make offline res (either HD or SD) sized assets was debatable - if they have the drive space and realtime HD performance, why NOT work uncompressed the whole way through? But do they is the question.
-EXTREMELY TIGHT fling and naming conventions are required for this kind of project. I recommended a system that would let them track the scene, shot, draft vs. high quality (final quality) renders, source file version #, and render #, as well as track who worked on the file. All reducible to the filename so it could be determined at a glance. No, I'm not giving that away for free. : )
-filing conventions are important as well - I gave them a system to track and instantly navigate between source files and render files, and be able to back up all low bandwidth source files by dragging a single folder to a DVD. No, I'm not giving that away either.
-every project has it's own needs - we debated whether a SAN was necessary (it'd certainly be useful) rather than a dedicated file server on gigabit ethernet. Subtle changes in workflow and individual work characteristics made us veer between SAN, server, no server, RAID 0, RAID 5, etc. - THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL SOLUTION. The best I've seen this put recently was a guy complaining about being asked what was the best digital camera to buy - his retort: "What car should you buy? Who should you marry?" It varies depending on a LOT of variables.
I originally posted:
detailed, but I'd quibble/disagree with some of their testing methodology as it would apply to video editing purposes.
...but apparently that caused some confusion/apprehension.
Let me clarify that - I'd like to see some more video-specific testing to make sure it met the needs of a video audience (which, with the right drives, it looks like it does, I was a beta tester on this card). They have a link to the barefeats.com article which does to video specific testing. I'm not disagreeing with their findings nor methodologies. The AMUG review does a good job of performance analysis for general purpose computer stuff, just not as video specific as I'd like to see - BMD Disk Speed tester, end of disk performance, video capture, multi-stream testing, stuff like that.
Was thinking about some production issues earlier, and it struck me - technically, I don't see any reason why Sony couldn't make HDCAM decks and cameras with a FireWire 400 port for native HDCAM acquisition.
"Buh-whaaaaaa?" you say?
Presently, the only way to work with the native HDCAM codec (the compressed, 22 MB/sec version, not the uncompressed 130 MB/sec version) is to use the HD-SDTI (High Definition/Datarate Serial Digital Transport Interface) rather than the more usual uncompressed HD-SDI (High Defintion/Datarate Serial Digital Interface). The only software that supports this is Sony's proprietary XPRI hardware/software combo, and it's pricey.
IF Sony were to make the codec available to other vendors, and if Sony built a FireWire port into their cameras & decks, it should be possible to treat HDCAM as we presently treat DVCPRO HD - pull it in over FireWire in the same zeroes and ones format that it is recorded to tape with. Technically, this is possible - even FireWire 400 reliably can do 22 MB/sec, that's less than half of it's theoretical (which nothing ever reaches). FireWire 400 drives can readily achieve about 35 MB/sec, so 22 MB/sec shouldn't be a problem if it's the only device on the chain. If any problems, kick up to FireWire 800 and it'd work fine.
BUT, I don't think Sony's going to be doing that anytime soon. IF they did eventually put FireWire (or i.Link as they call it) ports on their decks and cameras, it's likely that they'd make it only work with their software (why give your competition the same advantages you have, unless you think that'll be more cost effective?). Sony also now owns the Vegas software, and has been beefing up it's capabilities, and reps talked about having more integration/feature sharing between Vegas and XPRI over time. I could see Sony enabling Vegas to edit HDCAM over FireWire, and some time (years) after that point, allowing the codec to be used by other vendors by licensing it to them.
So my guess? In 2-5 years Sony might add FireWire to HDCAM decks, and cameras some time well after that (HDCAM is a professional format, and usually you're not capturing to computer from a $80,000 camera!). If FireWire were on camera, it'd be for recording to a disk based recorder or connecting to a nearby deck. Anyway, with FireWire on decks, you'd be able to edit with Vegas without an expensive HD-SDI card, and only have to store, capture & play back a lowly 22 MB/sec, not 120 MB/sec (for 8 bit 1080i60)
How computing intensive is the HDCAM codec? How fast of a machine would be required to decode it in realtime? I don't know. But I can't imagine it's hugely more complicated than DVCPRO HD, which even a 1 GHz G4 can decompress in realtime.
So, while I wouldn't expect this to happen anytime soon, and Final Cut Pro would be one of the later NLE's to support it (although Sony & Apple have been having a luv fest lately), it might happen someday years from now. HDCAM cameras and decks would probably have to migrate down in price before this was worthwhile, as well.
But in the meantime, it's just another irritating example of market forces keeping something useful out of the hands of those that want it.
UPDATE - Reader sleagaer pointed out this link to a PDF file outlining native Sony HDCAM Software codec support from Discreet for their high end post equipment.
a deep geek tool, I might be messing with this
(found via Philadelphia Final Cut Pro User Group website)
There are a bunch of Asian market DVD players that can play back DivX content, but they haven't achieved a lot of market penetration in the US. I hear there are
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Three (perhaps four?) alcoholic beverages during the pre-show (Phillipino Batman movie, Batman cartoons, old government equal-pay-for-equal-work ad featuring Batgirl) and movie probably enhanced the overall Dudeness of my enjoyment of the flick, too.
I really, REALLY enjoyed it, SOOOOO much better than the ridiculous rubber nipple days. My favorite movie experience of the year so far, liked it better than Star Wars for sure.
I think they'll do really, really well with this one.
I liked that it had SOME grounding in reality - rich guy, military toys, lust for revenge.
I liked that his gadgets had some kind of technological validity to them, and were home-made at first.
I like that they explain where he comes from, that he's just a guy that has trained to fight, that he gets bruises and hurts all over like anyone would that took on six guys and got the crap pounded out of him.
The new Batmobile ROCKS - raw, brutal, powerful, no points for style, just a brutal weapon. As befits Batman. A big, scary, brutal thing. As a cop describes when asked what ran over his car "A black....tank."
I would have liked to have seen a bit more "struggle" in his struggle between vengance and justice. The line from The Dark Knight where Batman knows he's at the point where he's beat the guy, hears the guy screaming, knows he's about to break the guy's leg....and just goes ahead and breaks it. THAT kind of struggle would be cool to see, but America doesn't like it's film heroes to struggle like that. (That's a whoooole other blog to get into that).
I'm already wanting to go see this again.
The ending was nice, too, with a clear picture of who the next bad guy is to be, and why on earth his foes would be dressing up and acting out.
OK, enough geeking for now. Go see and enjoy. Put your "thee-yuh-tuh" mind in your back pocket, just go out and be a boy and enjoy the show.
Splodin' stuff RAWKS LIKE SLAYER!
mike does not actually endorse listening to Slayer, it's just a funny line Lexie said once and mike thought that was especially funny coming from such a Nice Girl as her
Sanyo plans to make a key part of the machines that reads the discs for both formats _ apparently hedging its bet, as the two groups pour resources into a technology that is expected to revolutionize Hollywood movies and consumer electronics.
Blackmagic Design: HDV support in Final Cut Pro 5 with BlackMagic cards
Blackmagic Design: How to achieve maximum quality with HDV cameras (I posted this one the other day, too)
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Final Cut Pro News (Phila FCP Users Group): Control Surfaces for FCP/Soundtrack pro
via Philadelphia Final Cut Pro User Group website
Monday, June 13, 2005
(can also be done using an AJA HD10A input device, but it only handles the video. For audio, have to figure out something else)
UPDATED: Mike Skibra from BlackMagic Design also pointed out that the HD10A presently lists for about $1500 for video only conversion, BlackMagic's Multibridge product line starts at $2000 and has additional functionality as well (audio input, up/down conversion, etc.)
If you look at the top right corner of the site, it's that first bold link under "Great HD Links" so you can always get to it.
If you started reading the site within the last year, these are worth reading if you missed them the first time around.
Not complete, but lots of good info in there. New links to topics include:
How to shoot HD then post it with no HD equipment
The case for Do-It-Yourself HD post: total creative contorl, on your schedule and budget
Why has HD cost so damn much?
Advantages of creating digital masters
The Business Case for HD: Why it's a better sell than DV for your independent film -
the motion picture film industry lives at the behest of the consumer 35mm film industry
Some thoughts on LONG term digital archiving
Why no 1080p24 in HDV or DVCPRO-HD - (although this has changed with upcoming cameras due later this year)
Backup strategies & risk analysis for HD quantities of data - geeky headline, extremely important topic
Quick tidbit - backup blues - an adjunct to that one
Thoughts on mobile editing with FCP HD -- go lite or go HEAVY
article on HD monitoring
Some more thoughts on backups
Thoughts on RAID Level 0
Why Final Cut Pro HD is so important
some non-definitive thoughts on Avid vs. FCP HD
DIY HD posting idea: Can't afford to buy? Rent, or buy then sell
HD Labs Report #1: SATA storage for uncompressed HD
Niche Topic: Shooting stop motion? Forget video camera, use digital still camera - also applies to time lapse
YES, I should have made all of the above links. Sorry, would take too long. Maybe in the pay version. ; p
This is the kind of crap that makes me seethe. Dvorak basically postulates that Apple will promptly (well, in a year or two) release OS X for Intel for generic hardware, thinking that'll be a good idea. He then states that OS X on Intel will be victim to the same kinds of viruses/malware/spyware that Windows boxes are.
Insert the Charlie Brown yell when Lucy pulls away the football. Nah, that ain't right - because Charlie Brown was mad at getting duped, and that doesn't fit right now. More like the Sarge yelling at Gomer Pyle for his stupidity.
My response to Dvorak, as posted as a comment on the site:
I usually can't stand commenters that start off bashing the author, but I couldn't help myself with the message subject above.
1.) ALL existing viruses/spyware take advantage of the Microsoft operating system, NOT the Intel hardware. Macs will be JUST AS EXACTLY IMMUNE to existing spyware as the PowerPC current version. The only way spyware could become a problem on Intel based Macs is if Macs become popular enough that virus/spyware writers started authoring spyware/malware for OS X on Intel. Just because new OS X runs on Intel doesn't offer any new vulnerabilities.
2.) Technical possibility does not equal business opportunity. If (massive if) Apple were to release OS X for generic PC hardware, they'd have to support a much much wider user base - essentially the same hardware base as Microsoft does. Except that Apple would have to do so with it's much smaller QA budget. They'd have to sell it for MORE than Windows, since even with millions of sales, they'd have to cover hardware support issues for a much broader range of hardware. Keep in mind, they presently sell the current OS, for the very limited number of supported machines (a few dozen models going back a very few years, with it's very tightly controlled hardware support, right?) for $129 a copy.
3.) If they did sell 10 million copies for $100 apiece in the first year, that would be 10M*$100M = 1 billion dollars. Yes, that sounds like a lot of money...woops, that'd be 8 or 10% of Apple's annual income. How much money does Apple make from hardware sales, and how much of their anticipated $2.25B annual profit is represented in hardware sales? I don't know, but I don't think unbundling OS X for generic hardware is going to be the answer anytime soon.
I'd be very interested in seeing what the crossover point would have to be to make OS X worth switching over to software only. Y units of software only OS X vs. Z units of Macs sold with OS X installed. At the beginning, PC folks would be cautious, and the existing Mac folks would continue buying Mac hardware for the most part, and defecting to generic hardware in increasing numbers. I could see Apple branded Mac hardware sinking to 10-30% of overall OS X running hardware sold. How many software only OS X sales equals how many iMac/Mini/PowerMac sales in the overall sales mix? When Y factor greater than Z factor, then Apple will make the switch (or when they trust that it'll get there.) But NOT until.
4.) And if they did offer software only OS X, Apple would be losing two key advantages: control over hardware that is key to Apple's favorable ease of use & integration; and secondly if they looked to make OS X an OS for seriously widespread use, they'd be inviting the malware/spyware/virus crowd to start developing for OS X, since there would be numbers to justify it. Dvorak does have a point - Apple could sell the OS independently but won't until it makes sense (don't be OS/2!), and malware could be a problem in the future on OS X - but ONLY if new evil stuff gets written for OS X - NONE of the current Bad Things will run on OS X on Intel. From that perspective, it's useful for Apple to stay as a small percentage of the installed desktop - no incentive for evilware folks to develop for it - not to mention that the OS in general, with it's Unix basis, is not as vulnerable as Windows is.
Get your ducks in a row, Dvorak. They're scattered all over the pond.
From their site:
Automatic Duck has heard reports from some early adopters that at least some of our products have problems in Final Cut Pro 5.0. Turns out that if one of our plug-ins is installed in FCP 5, no other third-party plug-ins will appear in Final Cut. This appears to affect things like DeckLink and AJA cards too.
We are on the case and working closely with Apple to resolve the issue.
If you are not already on our mailing list, subcribe using the subscribe form on the right and we'll let you know when all of our plug-ins support FCP 5.
The show is a mix of hobbyist/pro info, but is a fun listen, good driving to work stuff if you have an iPod.
Final Cut Pro News (Phila FCP Users Group): Audio from Final Cut Pro 5 goes offline after processing in Soundtrack Pro: "Audio from Final Cut Pro 5 goes offline after processing in Soundtrack Pro: 'Audio sent from Final Cut Pro 5 to the Soundtrack Pro audio Waveform Editor may go offline in Final Cut Pro after you finish editing or processing the audio clip. If this happens, you will need to reconnect the media in Final Cut Pro. Please see the Final Cut Pro User's Guide for more information on reconnecting disconnected media.'"
Final Cut Pro News (Phila FCP Users Group): Final Cut Pro 5: About the Shift Fields filter: "Final Cut Pro 5: About the Shift Fields filter: 'Final Cut Pro 5 features a new filter called Shift Fields. You may have noticed that this filter sometimes gets applied to your clips automatically. This happens when you mix video from different sources into a sequence (known as a mixed-format sequence); the Shift Fields filter will automatically adjust the field dominance so that all clips are uniform.'"
Final Cut Pro News (Phila FCP Users Group): Apple Pro Training Final Cut Studio Tutorial overview: "Apple Pro Training Final Cut Studio Tutorial overview: 'Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro 5, DVD Studio Pro 4, Soundtrack Pro, and Motion 2 all come with two DVDs%u2014the Apple Pro Training Final Cut Studio DVD Tutorial and Apple Pro Training Final Cut Studio Tutorials%u2014that are filled with beginning and advanced tutorials and training lessons to help you learn more about the applications. Here's a look at what each DVD offers."
Final Cut Pro News (Phila FCP Users Group): Final Cut Pro 5 : Capturing HDV creates new clips at scene breaks: "Final Cut Pro 5 : Capturing HDV creates new clips at scene breaks: 'When you capture HDV footage, Final Cut Pro can automatically create new clips and corresponding media files each time it detects a scene or timecode break. This behavior is slightly different from the way it handles DV footage'"
Trailer Competition Winners will receive:
Screenings of their Trailer before films during the 2005 Austin Film Festival October 20-27
Four film passes for the 2005 Austin Film Festival
Their Trailer featured in the 2004 AFF Program Book
Four All-Access Producers Passes to the 2005 Austin Film Festival, which provide admission to all panels, October 20-23, all films October 20-27, invitations to the Opening Night Premiere and Reception at the historic Paramount Theatre, invitations to the Filmmakers Happy Hour, and invitations to the Governor's Mansion BBQ (total value: $2,600).
A release print of the trailer on 35mm film from DVFilm
A viewing film industry audience of more than 4,000 people
This is a perfect excuse/opportunity to make something fun with your new HD camera and Final Cut Pro. While submissions have to be delivered as a standard VHS or DVD, winners can submit an HD version on disk/DVD-R for the final filmout.
If you have a hankering to try a little test project in HD, why not make it one of these, and win something too?
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Good until Monday, so act quick. YES, this is the one I've been having trouble with, but it's still a good deal.
Because Metrowerks is owned by Freescale. Who are they? I've heard of them, right? Yeah - they're the microprocessor division of Motorola. And since Motorola was only making chips for eMacs, Minis, and portables until IBM could deliver cheap, low power versions of G5 chips for those applications, Motorola has zero incentive to stay in the Mac development game long term. So they won't, so Metrowerks is a dwindling development environment. They'll continue to sell it, and it'll be possible to develop PowerPC apps for some time with it, but in short they're out of the game for ALL of the kinds of high powered applications you (HD editing readership) are interested in.
Mr. Kutaragi (of Sony) tried to interest Mr. Jobs in adopting the Cell chip, which is being developed by I.B.M. for use in the coming PlayStation 3, in exchange for access to certain Sony technologies. Mr. Jobs rejected the idea, telling Mr. Kutaragi that he was disappointed with the Cell design, which he believes will be even less effective than the PowerPC.
Interesting read with some new tidbits.
Using spin coating rather than film coating, Pioneer & Mitsubishi say they've cut the price of BD-R (Blu-Ray Disc wRiteable) to 1/9th of the previous costs.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
I don't know if this is a new feature of v1.1 or if it's been there all along (I think it has), but that would allow 10 bit 4:4:4 work safely - my tests with single link fiber on an Apple card indicated performance was right on the edge at the top end.
Friday, June 10, 2005
Hope it comes to pass as they are claiming. Not for sale until end of 2006. But very, very cool. Forget P2 cards - do this in a P2 form factor and treat them as disposables!
Two years is an amazingly long time in the computer industry.
The vast majority of software will be updated to universal binaries within 2 years.
The vast majority of users update their important software within 2 years.
The users who need high performance have 2 years worth of new high-end G5s left.
The programs that need high performance G5s will be the first ones ported to get higher performance.
Non-critical software will, with very high likelihood, run acceptable as it is today.
Read the rest.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
OK, first off, go read the above link or this won't make sense. Cringely asks five questions and then drops the whopper that he thinks it's all about Intel hating Microsoft and wanting to eventually buy Apple and Rule The (Computer) World.
Here's his five questions, and below is the letter I just sent:
Question 1: What happened to the PowerPC's supposed performance advantage over Intel?
Question 2: What happened to Apple's 64-bit operating system?
Question 3: Where the heck is AMD?
Question 4: Why announce this chip swap a year before it will even begin for customers?
Question 5: Is this all really about Digital Rights Management?
...and then the Intel bit. Here's what I wrote in response:
Some feedback on today's column:
Question 1: What about Altivec, and how it was supposed to make things Better Than Pentiums?
Altivec is great for sound and video, but does nothing for office type apps. For the content creation crowd, it was possible to create carefully staged, optimized demos that showed Macs doing better. Remember, there are lies, damn lies, and benchmarks.
All that Altivec hype? Apple meant it, as best they could, that G4/G5 was better than Pentiums. But this isn't so much about G5 vs Pentium as it is G5+/G6 vs. Intel's New Stuff. It isn't about this year's competing chips, but next year's, and three years from now in my opinion.
Q2: 64 bit OS:
OS X isn't QUITE 64 bit - you can't have a GUI app that is 64 bit. You can have a 32 bit GUI app talking to a 64 bit behind-the-scenes app. I don't know that anyone has done this yet, I'm not enough of a programmer geek to say or know. But it's all about the future stuff on Intel. So OS X is sort of a 64 bit OS right now. It can take advantage of some aspects of 64 bitness, but not all. So not such a big deal.
Future chips are the focus. Not current ones from Intel.
Q3: Why not AMD?
I read somewhere else in a couple of places about what Intel plans with their "platform" approach, where it isn't just the chips, it's the chips and motherboard sets. Intel could offer volume and pricing advantages that AMD can't compete with. My first instinct was along with yours - that AMD has better tech. Perhaps Intel convinced Apple that their roadmap was preferable, especially with the platform approach, especially with the pricing they could do, and maybe Apple just wanted to, for once, have access to the big supplier and not fear supply constraints as they did last year with G5's. See the Ars Technica article about Apple's possible choices for chipsets and when they might come out.
But I wouldn't underestimate Apple's (read: Steve's) desire to just say "Bag it - if we're going to the dark side, just Go For It and get all the advantages we can. No more of this 'we can't do that for you.' crap anymore."
Q4: pre-announcing a year in advance:
Why announce so far in advance when it's cake to port? Because it's only cake if you're developing with Xcode. If you're still on CodeWarrior, you have to port to Xcode first, then recompile. And that's a HUGE undertaking, requiring lots of grunt programming effort, as well as tedious QA work. Man years, man decades, perhaps man centuries for larger projects. Apple put a happy spin on it, claiming that of their top 100 developers (top 100 by what, unit sales, dollar sales, what?), about 3/4 were using or switching to Xcode. But put another way: about half are NOT on Xcode right now, and will need to switch/continue to switch if they are going to continue to support OS X. A successful transition will REQUIRE that there be lots of software, as well as consumer confidence that there will be lots of software.
I think this was the smart play - let everybody know, way in advance, with plenty of time, to port their software. The OS 9/OS X switch felt painfully slow for me as a high end application power user, as did the 68k/PPC switch. By giving developers plenty of time, there will be apps at launch to take advantage of the new faster stuff. Hooray!
What about stalling sales? In reality, Apple's gonna take a hit as people wait, whether rational or not. Rationally, if you need a machine now, go ahead and buy one. There won't be a new Mac to buy for nearly a year. Do you need a machine in the next year? You still gotta buy somethin'. If you can wait, you may or may not want to. It's ALWAYS been a fact of life that something faster, perhaps substantially faster, might be a year away. It seems every 3 or 4 years there's a BIG jump - as we moved from 68K to 601 to 604 to G3 to G4 to G5, those were big jumps in performance. In general, waiting a year would get you a speed bump, and sometimes a Big Jump, but not always. This is STILL the case.
I think the biggest sales stalls will come during the first quarter of next year when the first new MacIntels are just around the corner. Will Apple tell us what's being updated when? Of course not. Early 2007 I'd also expect PowerMac sales to stall as folks await their update.
But unlike Osbourne (which died because of pre-announcing their Next Best Thing), Apple has the cash, and other sources of income, to weather this. It'll suck, the stock'll take a hit, but they'll survive. This is a LONG term gamble on Steve's part - we won't know for years whether this was provably wise or not.
Why did Apple feel it had to go public? Because it's better to say at a time when it doesn't make a direct, rational affect on sales. I fully expect PCI Express based, dual core G5's to ship in 2006. And if you need another, or an updated desktop Mac, it'll be great. This slow migration also helps because it means that different sectors of the buying public will be upgrading at different times - first consumers, then portable users, then finally pros and IT guys (I'm betting Xserves are last to upgrade). So consumer Mac sales will stall and then surge, replacing the lost sales; then the same will happen for laptops, desktops, and servers. Stall, regain, stall, regain, but each time in a different market sector. Your PowerMac users aren't going to consider an Intel Mini a valid replacement, nor even an Intel based iMac. While some/many will delay purchases until the Intel replacement comes along, and that'll hurt for 2006/2007, eventually they'll all buy the machines they needed. Just as many claimed they weren't going to buy a G5 until they could get a dual 3.0 GHz, I've seen most of these claimaints quietly buy a dual 2.5 or dual 2.7...because they needed/wanted a new box. And what is the alternative? If IBM had been unable to give us 3.0 GHz until next spring anyway (likely given the recent dual 2.7 launch), and maybe 3.3 or 3.5 a year later, is this any worse than the Intel switch?
Question 5: Is this all really about Digital Rights Management?
I'm betting it's not - there are plenty of other reasons to switch, and I think the simple fact that Apple couldn't make viable laptops was on top of the list. Just this month it was announced that laptops outsold desktops for the first time ever. If in fact Hollywood wants Apple to use Intel DRM in order to have an online movie store or distribute digital films, that's gravy, not meat, for Apple.
Cringely then goes on to say this is all about Intel wanting control of the computer industry over Microsoft, and will eventually buy Apple to control the desktop and license it out. Hmm. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I don't think (at this point) that's what's driving it. If it is, it's a gradual thing. And if that's Intel's secret desire, Apple doesn't even have to be in on it at this point for it to still be a good idea for Apple to do this.
Of course, as Dennis used to say, this is all just my opinion and I could be wrong.
And I mean all this as a respectful exchange of ideas - Bob's a smart interesting guy.
The chip, code-named 'Yonah,' is due to begin showing up in Windows-based systems in the first quarter of 2006 -- a few months before Apple is expected to roll-out its first Intel-based Macs.
Initially, dual-core versions Yonah will be available in four flavors, ranging from 1.66GHz to 2.16GHz, each with a 667MHz front side bus. A single core 1.66GHz version of Yonah is also reportedly in the works.
Another major feature of Yonah is Digital Media Boost, a dual-part update delivering improvements the chips SSE instructions for multimedia and Floating Point unit. Together, Intel says the updates will improve everything from digital photo manipulation to video editing, gaming, and music.
Yonah will also sport a new shared memory 2MB level 2 cache, dubbed "Smart Cache," which will keep data in close proximity to the processor cores for faster access. This feature is a prime component of Yonah's enhanced power management because it allows a single core to access the chip's entire memory cache when the other core is switched off.
It's believed that 32-bit Yonah chip will also be used in compact Apple desktop design, like the Mac mini.
This update is recommended for Final Cut Pro HD 4.5 and Final Cut Express HD 3.0 customers.
Short version - after nearly an hour and a half on the phone including some frustration and shuffling, a replacement unit is on the way. Thanks especially go to those who emailed & commented online to help me resolve this issue. Also, it looks like the Small Business Group answers their calls in America, and consumers get shunted to India. I'd rather deal with the Small Business group.
The frustrating part: this should have taken 5 minutes to get to the appropriate department, 2 minutes to explain the problem, then 5 minutes tops to get the new one on the way. It took more than an hour longer than that, including multiple "I can't help you's" and one disconnection during tranfer, with the attendent Restarting Of The Process.
Long bloggy all-my-notes version:
If anybody cares, he's my notes on getting this done:
Call shortly after 2pm: Dell: today is OK to get a replacement (last day!)
case # (Mike omits)
1-800-624-9896 is the consumer tech support line
the small biz guys spoke good English, clearly I'm speaking to someone in India now (I've heard this is where they've outsourced their tech support for home stuff)
put on hold for tech support at 2:07pm, told I may have to wait for more than 10 minutes...have to gut this one out, since this is THE LAST DAY to get an exchange - they count 21 days from SHIPPED, apparently, not 21 days from ARRIVAL. Not sure if this is consistent, but what one person told me. In any case, under any definition, I'm OK.
I tried to do the Live Chat support option, but since I don't have a Service Tag (a freestanding monitor doesn't get one, only a computer), it is LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE to use their chat service, as this is required to go to the chat section
2:26 answered phone (so on hold for 20 minutes)
by 2:30 I have the guy understanding that the problem is not a computer problem, it is a video problem. He's not sure he can help me and he's got me on hold while he tries to figure out what to do.
My prepared answer for when he gets back:
I've done extensive online research about this before calling tech support, reading a lot of info about those who've dealt with tech support. There does not appear to be a group that deals with this particular problem, so it just gets shuffled around. I know video, tested two sources, etc., please just OK the exchange and let's move on.
That didn't work - he transfers me to the other group
Dimension desktop group is his group
being transferred to Dell Monitor group
1-800-624-9896, option 1, x26112
2:35 on hold waiting for the monitor group...
2:37pm - many clicks and beeps later, I get disconnected...
Fortunately, he DID give me the # & extension, so I called that...DAMMIT! Apparently, I didn't get the full extension number (the second guy's accent was verrrrrrrrry thick Indian English accent, hard to understand). I even repeated it back to him and he said yes.
Since I didn't have an extension right, got dumped to operator line, spoke to attendant, said I needed to speak to Dell Monitor Support Group...she dumps me into the generic main menu. Do not pass Go, do not collect any help whatsoever...
2:42 pm - call the generic line again, essentially starting over, eventually find a support option....it asks for an Express Service Code, which of course a freestanding monitor does not have....
2:45pm - I'm back to the "your tech support wait may exceed 10 minutes...."
"you are currently waiting to speak to a Dell Dimension service support rep" even though I definitely, positively, absolutely, clicked on Monitor Support.
2:50 - the wait queue voice keeps telling me about spyware issues....even though I'm trying to address an issue with the video inputs of a monitor. No, I don't expect them to be able to fix this, just another example of the frustration of dealing with these kinds of things...
2:56 - Earl
Explained I got disconnected from the monitor group, he wants to walk through it all again.
Got to the part about it being a video display malfunction, not a computer display malfunction, and he puts me on hold (at 3:02pm)
3:05 - he's back and trying to walk through all this
documenting everything, sounds like this is going to work....3:15pm
He's working his end, putting me on hold, says it should take 2 or 3 minutes (I wonder if that's a term they are taught to say as the acceptable hold time?) - it's 3:19pm
asking for my address...so this is getting better (3:22pm)
mentions dispatch information....
dispatch #: (mike omits)
case # (mike omits)
part will reach me in a few days
supervisor comes on the line and asks about service today, I tell him about the disconnects and shuffles.
DONE - 3:26pm, about an hour after I first had somebody understanding what the problem was.
Dell's problem is holistic, not particular with their tech support group. The whole thing is a mess.
I don't know that I would have done much better with Apple, except that the bigger the company, usually the harder it is to deal with. When I had trouble with my first Apple 23" LCD, there was a particular person at a retail store I was able to deal with on a personal level and get it all resolved (I saw him in line at Star Wars, he's been promoted since then - good for him!)
Tougher Days, Bolder Apple - BusinessWeek chimes in on the financial prospects for the next near or two.
Wired News: Tiger Tweaks Could Kill Folders - see what my old boss (Mark Rolston) and others at frogdesign (the last company I worked for that I didn't own) have to say about Spotlight killing the need for the Finder in OS X. I agree with Rolston - Spotlight helps, but it's not up to the hype level that the Wired article postulates.
How Apple's Intel switch will affect users : The usually humorous Andy Ihnatko chimes in on the Apple/Intel switch: "Does this mean that you'll be able to install Mac OS X on any Intel-based Windows PC? Nope. That'd be suicide; Apple needs to sell you a $2,000 Pentium iMac with the OS pre-installed, not a $129 disc to stick inside the Dell you've already got. " He also mentions what I've been thinking - there will be some way to run Windows apps on this box.
Personal Technology -- Personal Technology from The Wall Street Journal.:Walt Mossberg chimes in on the Apple/Intel stuff, including a Q&A with this new tidbit - "Unofficially, however, the company says people won't be able to just buy a copy of Windows XP and install it on an Intel-based Mac. That's because Apple is unlikely to build in all the standard under-the-hood hardware pieces that Windows is designed to mate with. And it won't supply any special software called 'drivers' to help Windows use the unique under-the-hood hardware Apple will use.
However, I expect some third-party company to supply the missing drivers and otherwise make it possible to run Windows on an Intel-based Mac. Microsoft itself might even do this. That would allow Mac users to run Windows programs that lack Mac equivalents at speeds comparable to a Windows computer's."
MacNN | Apple Intel Mac prototype specs, performance numbers: "Very little information is available on performance of native Mac OS X Intel applications, because few exist. However, those who have used the Developer Transition Kit report performance equal to or exceeding a G5 Mac....The Intel Mac scored well in both the Quartz graphics and OpenGL graphics tests -- matching or exceeding dual-2.5GHz G5 score."
This last is interesting because I think I read somewhere that the Dev Kit uses a PCI graphics card as opposed to the much faster AGP
Macworld: Editors' Notes: The speed's the thing - why the Intel transition won't matter for users/consumers.
Mike's Comments: I see the problem as a much bigger issue - even if there were PLENTY of media for portable media players, portable video is NOT the same kind of "enjoy in the background while I do other stuff" as audio is. You can listen to music in the car, while you run/bike/exercise, while you work. You CANNOT effective watch a video while you're doing these things. Or if you can, your efficacy at the primary task drops massively. In other words, you can't drive a car or get work done for sh*t while watching a video.
This is why I don't think portable video is going to be a Big Huge Thing. I think it might eventually offer the possibility of being an adjunct to kids' portable gaming systems. But they have all kinds of spare time adults don't. Whereas everybody likes music, kids and adults as well.
Another related thought: while kids/young folks might buy tons more music, and might be the focus of the music industry, this is almost a moot point for portable music players - adults that don't buy music as often still want a portable music player (iPod). And even if they are listening to their old fart music (my Mom listens to Anne Murray and Broadway soundtracks on the iPod I gave her), adults have more money to spend on iPod type devices, and will just keep listening to their older music on their expensive toys.
My CD buying habits have massively changed in the last 10 years. I haven't bought a new CD, in, well, I'd be embarassed to admit publicly. But I've bought more iPods than albums in the last year, I can say that much (for me and family).
Some have advocated the PSP as a great way to get your short films out there. Well, maybe. And only to a certain demographic - how many studio execs or other decision makers carry around a PSP? In the meantime, however, it'd be fun to port short movies to that format, or make some for that format. But it's going to take YEARS for that kind of market to build to a point where it might be financially viable to try that.
-more formats supported
-Tiger & QT 7 support
-Flash video support
-FULL QuickTime video integration.
This last is the biggie - if I'm understanding this correctly, perhaps they will finally be able to read & write to any installed QuickTime codec. In the past, they had to hand code each codec into the application to work.
Why does this matter? Because Compression Master has really nice scaling and de-interlacing capabilities, better than what Final Cut Pro 4.5 had. Better than Final Cut Pro 5? Dunno, need to play with'em side by side.
1.) A new optical head product that can read ALL the formats - CD, DVD, HD-DVD, & Blu Ray by adjusting it's wavelength and optical spot size. This means it'd be cheaper than expected to make a "universal" player
2.) Toshiba & Sony are sooooo not in the compromising mood. Talks are off. Way off. Totally off. As of this point, without change, Beta/VHS 2.0, here we go!
3.) As I mentioned the other day, Toshiba is working on recordable HD-DVD with a 15GB capacity, available next spring.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
It's $400, and is purely a transitional device. It's NOT something that you could author a disc with DVD Studio Pro 4 with from what I can tell.
It "comes with AveL Link Server software for use with Windows or MacOS X10.3" but that isn't exactly clear about how you'd author for it.
It's useful for kiosk/retail/presentation type applications, and might be an interim inexpensive means of watching high def content (but compressed). Note NO H.264 support. Bummer.
Sony DSR-PD150 camera
Three spare batteries and charger
Century Optics 16:9 Widescreen Adapter
Kenko KRW 065 wide-angle lens
Oversized eyecup for viewfinder
Hoodman H-200 LCD shade
Tiffen Polarizer and UV filters
Bogen 4442 tripod with 501 head
Sennheiser EW-100 wireless mic
Sony MDR-7509 headphones
Flexfill foldable reflector
Kodak Q-14 color separation chart
PortaBrace CS-DV3 camera case
PortaBrace RS-DP150 rain slicker
Miscellaneous audio adapters
A few things struck me, looking at the universal binary documentation. It only discusses 32 bit Intel CPUs, not 64 bit CPUs or AMD. Also note that Darwin does not currently handle more than one x86 CPU, and as far as I know it doesn't run on 64 bit x86 either. It is to be hoped that Apple will fix this during the next year, or else there will be another transition to 64 bits after the transition to Intel.
I assume that Apple wants to make the transition as simple as possible, and of course they can control the architecture to a much larger degree than the typical x86 OS. That may be why AMD isn't in the picture. AMD CPUs require a different chipset, bus specification, etc., and Apple still wants to do its own motherboards. Mactel machines don't need to have a BIOS, a memory hole at 640K, A20 assertion magic, or a CPU booting the OS in 8086 compatible "real mode".
[...] The OS is getting further into 64bit plans and major developers are moving towards 64bit. Will this be a retrograde step in this respect? Or is Intel likely to have good enough 64bit processors available in 18 months time?
1) What [chip are] we likely see in Macs?
2) So what about 64 bit support? That was a big deal with the G5, and my limited understanding is that Intel has been late to that party.
3) Should we be accustomed to multiprocessor PowerMacs, or will the high end desktops go to single processors (with multiple cores)?
So clearly folks are worried about Apple's plans for Intel's 64 bit architecture. We've already got dual processor 64 bit support (well, sort of - no GUI apps) in OS X for G5's, but it's a little fuzzy (from my limited, non-programmer understanding) as to how we'll get multi-processor support on Intel.
Also, I read somewhere that SSE code (Intel version of Altivec in general) will be somewhat copy/paste-able between development environments. Hmm. Don't know about that, but certainly there's got to be some truth to it - so Adobe's (and other cross platform developers) development efforts might be simplified over time once everything is on Intel.
"Steve was showing iPhoto when he was discussing Rosetta - therefore it's still PPC, unless they wanted to hide the native Intel based iPhoto for some reason (which I doubt)."
An astute reader pointed out:
if you look again, iphoto was part of the "mac os x on intel demo" (keynote qt 29:06), rosetta came later and the apps demoed were word, excel, quicken and photoshop (40:27)...
So I was wrong - and that's a good thing in this case. The demo included iPhoto, Safari, QuickTime, etc. All the "built-in" apps look like they are working OK under Intel.
But the for pay apps? Perhaps Apple's been keeping those up to date as well - I don't know. But this makes me feel MUCH more optimistic about Apple having Universal Binary versions when the new Macs ship.
Just watched the Apple WWDC Keynote by Steve Jobs.
After all the hyperbole leading up to this, it starts to make some sense. Apple wants and needs viable, low heat processors for portables - the G4/G5 line wasn't going to get there. They also need to continue to scale up the G5 processor's performance, and keep thermal issues relatively in check, which seems to be a problem (who ELSE has liquid cooling in their mainstream desktops? I mean, really?) There were probably some issues with multiple dual core systems as well - how would IBM feel to be placing iSeries and pSeries systems up against PowerMacs and XServes at a fraction of the price based on very similar silicon?
Apple is going to do a gradual, easy transition for developers and users. My earlier concerns about panicked developers and confused buyers aren't as bad as I thought. Rather than announce "We're switching, here's the new machines for sale (consumers), start developing today (programmers)!" they are going to take a couple of years to do it, and new hardware won't even ship until the second year (or almost that point).
Developers are getting plenty of heads up warning to port their code, even if they need to port from Metrowerks' CodeWarrior over to Xcode. Consumers are being told in plenty of time that new hardware is coming, but your current hardware and near-term purchases won't be affected. For high end users, even their medium term purchases (in a year or more) won't be affected. With universal binaries and Rosetta, developers won't be panicked to get their code working smoothly on Intel hardware, unless they develop with Metrowerks CodeWarrior, and/or have a lot of G4/G5/Altivec specific code. For developers with a lot of Altivec enabled, G4/G5 code done in CodeWarrior, they had better get to work porting to Xcode 2.1 sooner rather than later, as the first "MacIntel" (Intel based Macs) are likely to ship in a little under a year from now. Fortunately, since the high end machines are rumored to be last to be switched to Intel architecture, heavy performance apps (those most likely to be G4/G5/Altivec specific code laden, and possibly developed with CodeWarrior) will have about two years to port their products - plenty of time, IF they are willing to dedicate the manpower to it. Or they may bail on the Mac platform due to this requirement. Wait and see, wait and see. It'll be interesting to hear developer reports in 3-4 months as they get into their porting efforts, and we see how hard it is to port from Altivec laden CodeWarrior to Xcode 2.1 for MacIntel systems.
Universal binaries will allow a single, double clickable application to run on either Intel or PowerPC based systems, so developer support efforts are kept as simple as possible under the circumstances, above caveats aside.
The transparent Rosetta technology will allow existing, PowerPC based applications to run on Intel based Macs without too much difficulty, but with some caveats - I read that G4 and G5 specific code, as well as Altivec specific code, will not run under Rosetta - thus endangering current versions of Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, and perhaps Motion and Soundtrack Pro from running as is successfully under this new "MacIntel" hardware.
The soon-to-be-available Developer Kits will be a boon for those wanting to port their code - they'll have until the end of 2006 to use the Intel processor based Power Mac cased hardware to develop their code on at $1000 apiece.
From a consumer side, nothing will happen for nearly a year - in the meantime, I expect dual core G5, PCI Express based Macs to ship in 2006 as we await the upgrade for the high end desktop machines to be Intel based sometime in 2007. I would also expect faster G4 based PowerBooks to ship later this year or early next year.
Considering that it'll take time for apps to get ported to Intel (although Apple seems to be making excellent strides to aid in porting efforts, witness Mathematica's two hour port to get a running version), the first Macs to use Intel chips will be the Macs typically used for non-performance critical applications - and I'm betting that'll be iMacs, Minis, eMacs (if that line continues), iBooks, and PowerBooks (and that's the order I'd do it in). PowerMacs and XServes would be last, sometime in the latter portion of 2007 is my guess. For users merely needing MS Office, web, email, photo & simple iPod/audio needs, these new "MacIntel" machines will be fine for their needs. The higher end machines will ship as/when the new software will be ready for them, hopefully. Again, a well thought out strategy.
Apple will have their hands full developing new hardware to work with new processors - what will happen to the high speed bus (HyperTransport) that the G5 brought us? I think it'll go away, even though AMD was going to support it with their procesors (in fact they licensed it to Apple, as a reader informed me).
It's interesting that Apple went with Intel over AMD. AMD is the hungry upstart, and uses HyperTransport as well (that high speed bus the G5 uses), which would have aided in their hardware transition by using similar technology. But AMD is also the lesser player; and perhaps it was because Apple has grown weary of being a minor client to second tier vendors that they just decided Bag It, Go With The Big Guy and Be Done With It. By partnering with Intel, they know that they'll have leading edge tech at bulk pricing discounts. Perhaps IBM's excitement to make volume deals with Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo played into this and burned Steve's ego overmuch; we'll never know.
So again, for the HD For Indies crowd, it's likely that a PowerBook would be their first relevant machine to be ported. And that's not likely to be any sooner than April of 2006, circa NAB. As Apple usually launches new versions of Final Cut Pro at NAB, I wouldn't expect them to launch a "MacIntel" compatible version at that time, but they might. More likely they'd do it at NAB 2007, when Intel powered Power Mac towers would be likely to be not too far off. Wait and see, wait and see. One the one hand, if porting is as easy as they make it out to be, NAB 2006 seems likely. On the other hand, FCP (and other portions of Final Cut Studio) lean so heavily on Altivec code it might be a substantial porting project to achieve performance parity on the new hardware.
One of the biggest concerns about the future of HD editing on Mac has to do with Altivec - Apple's vector processing unit that does exceptionally well at pixel and audio types of processing. Altivec has been responsible for a goodly bit of Apple's realtime capable heavy lifting in recent versions of Final Cut Pro, and without it, there will be some ground that has to be made up. Intel doesn't have a (truly) matching technology (and the portable stuff won't have the SSE3 functions anyway), so one of the inherent advantages of the OS X/PowerPC architecture will be removed. It'll be interesting to see what changes are made, or what progress doesn't happen, or what differences might occur between PowerPC and Intel, in a Universal Binary version Final Cut Pro 7 (or whatever it is to be called in 2007). (See here for some further info on where Final Cut Pro 5 stands for porting to Intel.)
But in the meantime, for HD editing, these new announcements won't possibly change anything for at least a year. If you think you'll need a machine for editing in the next 10 months, a PowerPC is 98% likely to be your choice if you want to edit with Final Cut Pro. It won't be until spring of 2007 that I predict it'll be worth pausing in your purchasing decision to decide whether PowerPC or Intel is the way to go, even if those Intel based high end desktop Macs aren't available yet.
Keep in mind, you can plan for the future all you want, but if you need to edit next week (or next year, or possibly even up to mid 2007) Final Cut Pro will run, and probably run best, on a PowerPC based Mac. And even after the "MacIntel" based machines ship, it's guaranteed that Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Motion, and the rest of Apple's professional tools, as well as Adobe's (After Effects, Photoshop, etc.) will ship their latest versions for YEARS TO COME in Universal Binaries, capable of executing on both Intel and PowerPC (G3/G4/G5 based) hardware. And since the "on the front lines" lifespan of a high end desktop is usually only a couple of years, I take this to mean that if you're purchasing this summer, Monday's announcement DOES NOT AFFECT your near and medium term purchasing plans.
So while it's nice to plan for the future, if you need to work in the here and now, and even in the medium term future, a G5 and Final Cut Pro 5 will work as they do now, and will be viable and software upgradable for years to come. I wouldn't even anticipate the possibility of not being able to upgrade a G5 based Mac to the lastest version of Final Cut Pro until at least version 8 or even later. So don't sweat it. Buy whatever you were going to buy this year.
There is also the outside possibility that, using Intel's forthcoming paired motherboards and processors, that one might be able to run multiple simultaneous operating systems on a single machine. Thus WinXP/Longhorn in one memory partition, and Tiger "OS X86"/Leopard in another, allowing switching users to keep using their existing software on this new Apple "MacIntel" hardware. But that's a maybe, and quite likely not an up-front supported feature. If ever, likely to be a Leopard/Longhorn combo down the road. But a fun idea, and not entirely impossible. Wait and see, wait and see.
OK, that's as much after-three-beers analysis as I'm up for tonight. What a day!
UPDATE, written the next morning - as a commenter pointed out, supposedly not just the OS, but all PROJECTS have been dual platform for the last several years. This would imply the possibility that there is a Final Cut Pro existant in the dark corners of Apple that already runs on MacIntels (Intel based Macs - just cuz I like the word I made up).
So it's a matter of what Steve defines as a project - is it chunks of OS code, like QuickTime 7 or Spotlight? Or does it also imply other software products as well? In the end, I think not. Steve was showing iPhoto when he was discussing Rosetta - therefore it's still PPC, unless they wanted to hide the native Intel based iPhoto for some reason (which I doubt). If they had some of their apps already converted to Intel, they would have shown us. Definitely. Even for something like Mail, that has no funky Altivec code. So I'd interpret this to mean that by "projects" he meant operating system parts, not "products" which would imply other software as well. Correction: a sharp reader pointed out that iPhoto was in the general demo, and it was Photoshop and Word demonstrating Rosetta. So it could well be that Apple's applications have been kept running on Intel. So disregard the above
As for the difficulty of porting, Apple made it seem as if it would be fairly easy to port to OS X86 (Intel based OS X, again using my phrase just for fun), so perhaps we'll see an Intel optimized Final Cut Pro at next NAB after all. It doesn't seem entirely unreasonable, and Apple would be incentivized to "lead the pack" by having it's apps out native first. The timeline is right - so I hereby predict FCP 6 will ship as a Universal Binary. I'm just not saying when it'll ship. ; )
The good news is that we know for a fact that the Big Apps we use - Final Cut Suite, Adobe's toolset (CS & After Effects) will positively, definitively be available for G4/G5 Macs for YEARS TO COME, and the Intel optimized versions will be available promptly, or at least in a reasonable timeframe.
The biggest concern I have is that there might be some defections from smaller companies that make plugins and tools that aren't using Xcode (the tool to make universal binaries) and will decide it's too much effort to port their code and support two hardware platforms. One of the good things about this move, however, is that eventually, developers will only have to support one hardware platform between Macs & WinTel boxes - they'll only have to optimize their code for one processor in 5 or more years.
As for processor costs, I've read that PPC chips are cheaper than equivalent Pentium chips. Apple will just have to bite the bullet on that one. But hopefully SOME of that increased cost will be defrayed by the use of yet more standardized parts that are available from plenty of vendors at reduced costs. Macs are already using standardized ports, memory, drives, etc., but some motherboard level stuff might cost less. Not enough to entirely defray the higher chip costs, but some. More important than the chip costs, however, will be the satisfaction and comfort on knowing that they'll be on par with whatever the other PC manufacturers can offer in terms of speed, utilizing the latest Pentium chips.
The current G5 holds up pretty well against Xeons - close enough to make Macs a valid choice. But the chips that IBM and Intel are expected to have in a couple of years were looking like there would be a significant difference - Intel's roadmap lifts away from IBM's in terms of performance. And that, I think, is one of the biggest things driving this change, especially for portables and low end machines.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
I have followed your Blog for a while and thoroughly enjoy the stories you choose to cover and write, not least because they generally go much further than the 'mainstream' production articles, reviews and 'news bites'.
Anyway, enough praising :-) I received my Final Cut Studio upgrade recently and I was very keen to have a good dig around the inside to see just what they had really been up to. I can't dispute that the new features are all welcome additions, but I was left with an overwhelming feeling that the Pro apps team where only keeping up with appearances with this release; i.e. they wanted to put a new version out with the other new apps which have received much more attention, but at the same time, FCP still stands out like a sore thumb due to its clear interface differences and the fact that a flagship Apple app is not cocoa based and using the ProKit UI framework.
With the old version of FCP 4.5, going into the app 'Contents' and looking around revealed that the app its self was still identified as a Classic app.
The only frameworks included were for profiling, registration, the audio mix engine and motion interchange.
There were no nib files and no interface images to be found as you would expect with a cocoa app such as Compressor.
Now with FCP 5.0, there a number of very interesting changes which suggest a little more what I had thought; this is a stop gap release and the Pro Apps guys are working feverishly to move FCP to a modern, Mac OS X code base built around cocoa. We have been given a number of new features but I think these have simply been brought down from a future WIP version to keep the app going until they are ready to announce a major, major new version.
Firstly the app inside the contents is no longer a Classic app, but is a Unix executable. There are now 13 frameworks included in the app, all of which appear to have been built in XCode or at least using more modern Mac OS X code - the header files reveal some feverish work since NAB last year!
Most of the new features come with modern Interface builder GUI's, such as the HDV capture and the various 'Send To' command pop ups. The Cinema Tools bundle is another example. Up until now, new feature additions have not been built on these modern standards, but rather it seems been built in the 'old' carbon way.
The new frameworks appear to herald something much more interesting for the future. My guess is that the whole app is being moved in this direction and it may mean they are able to build in many new enhancements under the hood, which would be very good. It seems the various tools of FCP are being slowly re-written as modern framework plugins. This might mean it would be possible for 3rd party devs to write their own framework additions to extend the app.
- Of course this is all mostly speculation!
- I am not a developer and am therefore making plenty of guesses.
- Its perhaps common sense to think that they are moving FCP to the same modern code as the other Pro Apps.
I was interested to know what your opinions were on this with regard to the future of the app, maybe you have a better understanding of what it could mean to move to this new code (scripting and extensibility and SDK's for example).
All the best
This implies to me that this publicly shipping version of Final Cut Pro 5 will require some pretty beefy retooling in order to run on OS X86 (what I'm calling, until there's a better official name, the OS X on Intel operating system). Between Altivec and non-Cocoa portions, even to get the current feature set running stably, at full native speed on Intel hardware, with comparable performance and stability compared to a dual G5, will be a goodly chunk of work. Adding new features and getting them to work fast & stably on both platforms will be yet another goodly chunk of work. If Final Cut Pro 6 is announced and/or ships in a timely fashion after NAB 2006 with MacIntel (Intel on Mac) support, I'll be duly impressed and satisfied.
There are so many articles out today, I didn't want to have a zillion little posts, so I grouped them all together here:
MacNN | Intel transition to help Apple in long term - I disagree with a few points, though. Apple moving to Intel processors won't lure developers because it is Intel based - they'll still be developing OS X apps, not WinXP or Longhorn apps. If Apple's develop base grows, it will be based in confidence in the platform, NOT because it will be easier to develop for OS X on Intel rather than OS X on PowerPC.
MacSlash | Intel Overload: My Take - from the MacSlash guy. He talks about how Steve focused on "processing per watt" and how Steve probably is driving to make computers much, much smaller than they are today. He also talks about the possibility of running Windows apps on these new MacIntels (Intel based Macs) within Leopard, no reboot needed, and the benefit this would hold for potential switchers.
Forbes: 'Intel Deal To Strengthen Apple's Position' | MacMinute News: "On the whole, we believe this is a net positive for Apple's positioning for the next five years, as the transition will allow it to provide improved performance, better heat and power management, and lower price points, especially for mobile platforms. Further, we have always believed that Apple's value has rested with its software development (for its OS and applications), rather than the hardware."
MacInTouch Home Page - commentary on the switch.
-makes points about instability - Jobs is more about bleeding edge tech than reliable tech
-switch will cost money for new hardware and updated/new software, but also time to get used to the new stuff.
-no new arguments to switch to Windows
- and an interesting closing comment: "Apple's doing a U-turn out of a dead-end road, and we expect a bumpy, but interesting, ride ahead."
John Dvorak's Second Opinion: Linux is likely the big loser in Apple's Intel shift - Computer Hardware - Computer Software - Software - Opinion ....and I thoroughly disagree with him.
His main points:
1.) Linux will take a hit now that Apple is on Intel hardware
2.) People will buy these new MacIntel boxes to run Windows on
3.) Microsoft potentially takes a hit with this decision
I disagree with all three.
Linux MIGHT take a hit...IF Apple were going to sell this OS to run on generic Intel PC hardware. But Apple isn't and won't, and has definitively stated so. (Some hackers might get it sorta working, but it won't affect the market is my bet). The only thing that's changing from a user's perspective is that a different processor will be inside the Macintosh. You'll probably be able to install and run Windows on the box if you want to. But who will? A small number of people who like Apple's elegant industrial design will pay the premium for the Apple/Intel systems. But Linux developers are motivated by the free, open OS of Linux, and the possibility of running it on cheap generic hardware. If this theory were valid, folks would be clamoring all over OpenSolaris. Oh, but they're not. Microsoft will be threatened potentially two ways: one, that folks might be able to run Windows and Apple on the same box, and be lured to Macs in some mediocre numbers; and two, that Apple will be on equal footing with Windows in terms of available hardware (in theory...Apple will probably not be able to afford to offer as much variety at as many price points as the WinTel field does - especially high performance stuff like ATI's and NVidia's motherboards for maximum graphics performance). BUT Microsoft doesn't take a hit the way he suggests, that developers will come to Mac now. Developing for OS X86 on MacIntel will be pretty much like developing for OS X on PowerPC, and not any easier than it was before, as compared to the Windows development tools that developers were using before for their WinXP apps.
Macworld UK - WWDC: Mac on Intel - analysts response begins: "While we can see why moving to a dual architecture approach may bring some benefits, a wholesale move away from the IBM chips would be extremely foolish. Intel is not the 'de-facto leader in processor design' that it was a few years ago; in the recent past Intel has been out-innovated by both AMD (with a better approach to 64-bit computing) and IBM (with a better long-term strategy around multicore chips),' wrote Gary Barnett, Ovum research director in a research note sent by e-mail. Steve Fortuna, senior IT hardware analyst at Prudential Equity Group LLC, said his firm believes that 'by switching to a more mass- market processor, Apple likely risks diluting its value proposition as it has less control over the product road map. Apple also likely risks alienating its core loyalist base."
Macworld UK - WWDC: Apple-to-Intel project's five-year history revealed
Wired News: Jobs Drops Da Intel Bomb
Macworld UK - WWDC: Intel move no threat to Linux
Macworld UK - WWDC: Apple's 'Leopard' OS to battle laggard Longhorn not mentioned is that Leopard will be the first major release written knowing that it'll have to run on both Intel and PowerPC based Macs. There is already a working (but not shippable) version of 10.4.1 for Intel hardware; but Leopard will be a major new thing. Next year's WWDC will be where the significant new capabilities will be rolled out. My wild guesses: the ability to dual boot between Mac OS X and another OS like Windows (XP or Longhorn), perhaps also the ability for Rosetta to run Windows applications at decent speed in emulation within/alongside Leopard somehow - either running two operating systems concurrently via partitioned memory and multiple boot drives (or at least partitions), or some kind of Windows within Leopard capability. Dual boot seems obvious, dual simultaneous OS's would be tricky but doable if Intel's hardware supports it (which it may well do), but Windows apps within Leopard would be extremely tricky - if it ever worked, perhaps well after Leopard.
Macworld UK - WWDC: Analysts react to Intel bombshell
Accelerate Your Macintosh! News Page - 6/7/05: they're quoting an Apple PDF document: "Developers who use AltiVec instructions in their code or who intentionally exploit architectural differences for optimization or other purposes,will need to make the most code adjustments.These developers will probably want to consult the rest of this document before building a universal binary.
AltiVec programmers should read 'Preparing Vector-Based Code' (page 53) and consult 'x86 Equivalent Instructions for AltiVec Instructions' (page 73)..."
...and this is why video applications (such as Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, After Effects, combustion, etc.) will need more hand holding to rebuild, not just recompile, for Intel hardware.
MacNN | Recap of WWDC announcements nice, link laden recap of WWDC announcements
Macs on Intel lengthy and interesting user commentary about Apple's move to Intel chipsets, asking good questions like Which Chips To Be Used Where? etc.
MacNN | Real Software pledges support for OS X on Intel
Apple joins Intel in seismic shift - Yahoo! News - a more mainstream press view -
AppleInsider | Extremely powerful Pentium system used to demo Mac OS X on IntelIt's believed Apple required an extra boost in the quad-pentium system to highlight Rosetta, a dynamic binary translator used to convert existing PowerPC binaries to run on the Intel platform transparently to the user and in real-time. - now it looks like Apple might have been demo-ing on a quad processor system after all. I don't trust that this is right, but it's worth finding out the truth.
Picking up the pieces: John Siracusa mourns the Power PC : Page 1: The headline of Apple's press release reads, 'Apple to Use Intel Microprocessors Beginning in 2006.' How did it come to this? What's it all mean? Here's how I feel as a Mac enthusiast since 1984, an engineer by education, a programmer by profession, and an all-around Apple geek. - understatement - Siracusa knows his shiznit. What happened, why it happened, what's next, what's unknown.
Apple shifts to Intel: what is all the fuss about? | The Register
We were talking about writing books on this stuff, and I mentioned that I had discussed writing a book with a publisher who wanted a book with a two to three year shelf life. Egads! That's waaaaaaaay too long for this fast moving HD stuff! I mentioned that what people seem to like best about what I do is my "beignets" - fresh, flavorful, but best enjoyed promptly after creation. Wait too long, it's not useful/enjoyable/RELEVANT. A Twinkie, on the other hand, tastes decent but not outstanding, but has a shelf life like a hunk of lead. I feel I'm much better at making Beignets than Twinkies, and frankly enjoy that process better. But a book is time consuming to produce, and in this niche area, I wasn't optimistic about the profit potential.
She suggested that I do some training/educational DVDs (comment if you think that's a good idea below - what should I cover? I have some ideas, but I want to hear what you folks think).
Monday, June 06, 2005
Well, even more than I guessed earlier, Final Cut Pro won't run on the new Intel based Macs without a new version.
Final Cut Pro 5 flat out won't run under Rosetta on the new Intel based Macs due in 1-2 years. This will also apply to DVD Studio Pro and Motion as well I'd bet (haven't double checked the specs) until they get new Intel specific versions released.
300-400 kbits/sec (circa 45 KB/sec) H.264 stream - wow it looks good, 30 fps source
OK, so the Bizzarro Factor is for real: Apple is moving to Intel.
1.) WHAT: YES, Apple plans on eventually moving everything to Intel chips.
2.) WHEN: starting next summer, done end of 2007
3.) YES - there will be an emulation layer for unaltered current PPC applications called Rosetta
4.) WHY are they doing this? I see this whole thing as being driven more by "IBM's roadmap sucks, we gotta bail!" rather than "Intel is great, let's go there!" Intel is offering a better roadmap, IBM's was apparently petering out.
What chips will be supported & shipped?
No answer given, and this will be important. Obviously, there will be laptop chips and low end (new Minis), but for the HD For Indies crowd, the high end desktops will be most important. The good news is that there will DEFINITELY be some kind of dual core processor, and quite likely multiple dual core processors. Media reports have conflictingly reported Pentium 4 based processors vs four (quad) Pentium based processors in the 3.6 GHz machine Steve Jobs was demonstrating on today.
What Macs get converted when?
The CNET article stated low end Macs starting 2006, high end in 2007 - so your dual G5 has some legs - there won't be anything (substantially) better until 2007 except for products already under development. Hmm....that means we still might see PCI Express based 3.0 GHz Macs next spring...
What's the future for new G5 PowerMacs?
Not defined. Let's assume the really really fast new Intel Power Mac desktops ship in mid 2007. Apple obviously has to ship something better than a dual 2.7 GHz G5 between now and then - that's TWO YEARS away, and would normally be 2 if not 3 speed bumps away.
IBM has no motivation to excel over the next two years, other than to ship what they are required to. They make a very, very tiny profit from Apple as compared to their other divisions. So maybe, MAYBE we'll see 3.0 GHz next year? In general, I expect a stall in high end Mac performance until the new Intel based hardware ships. If we see dual core G5 PCI Express based stuff launched in January, I'd be pleasantly surprised. Then again, Apple spends years prepping for hardware rollouts, so if this was already in the pipe, it's still coming. But sales on those boxes won't be as impressive as they would've been without the announcement today.
This is going to be a sucky interval I'm betting for high end Mac users. Software development will slow as developers dig into the port, slowing their efforts on formerly purely PPC apps. They may also delay to time releases with launch of new products. This is a big, fat bitter pill for Apple to swallow, and this kind of disruption and discontinuity is EXACTLY what can kill businesses. If Apple didn't have all the happy glowing buzz about iPods and iTunes, they'd be dead meat (such as if they'd needed to make this move 2-3 years ago, before iPod mania).
For our demographic, this will probably mean that Apple will need a really, REALLY convincing upgrade to Final Cut Pro next year that runs on current software. Uh oh, that also means that those same engineers will need to be porting the fast Altivec code to so the equivalent Intel instructions, and I doubt that'll be anywhere near as easy as a recompile.
The challenge is clearly for Apple to have a viable bridge from here until the Intel boxes are here, have good software, and deliver meaningful performance increases.
Can I run Leopard (next gen Mac OS) on my Dell/HP/generic PC box?
It wasn't explicitly stated, but I'm 99.99% purely certain NO. Apple makes it's money on hardware, not software. They'd have to drastically increase the OS cost to make up for this. And then they'd have to charge even more to certify it on the bogglingly wide variety of PC hardware that exists out there. SO NO.
As a side note, if I understood the press release (see article below) correctly, there will be a $1000 developer kit that includes a 3.6 GHz P4. Did Apple make these? Or did some subcontractor most likely? How odd would it be if the development box for the next Mac was made by Dell or somesuch under subcontract? About as odd as Microsoft demonstrating XBox 360 on PowerMac G5s, perhaps?
Will my current software run on the new Macs (MacIntels?)
YES, but under emulation with Rosetta (their new emulation layer/software). How WELL it runs, and how FAST, however, remains to be seen. Will all the features work is another big question. What with FireWire support, lots of Altivec code, etc. I'm not optimistic you'll be able to have a happy editing experience with FCP 5 (or 6 if ships next NAB) with the Intel based boxes.
I'm sure this will lead many Mac purists to dub Leopard (OS X 10.5) Leper.
BUT there will definitely be a version of Tiger (OS X 10.4) that runs Intel hardware, since Leopard isn't scheduled to ship until late 2006/early 2007. And if it slips (as these things often do) to Spring 2007, when Apple should've been shipping Intel based systems for 6-9 months.
What does this mean if I'm looking to upgrade to a new Mac?
Lots of folks were already lamenting their Mac resale is plummetting. Fret not - it's not nearly so bad. Look at it this way - if you need or are ready for a new Mac, what's announced today doesn't change anything that you'd be buying until 2007 (for high end Macs)...which is about when you'd be looking to get your NEXT Mac anyway (if you're in a production environment).
The Mac you'd buy, and the software you'd run on it, still keep working once Intel based hardware ships. Apple has already trotted out Adobe and Microsoft to say they'll ship dual binaries (runs on x86 and G3/G4/G5) for the new stuff. There is such a large user base of G3/G4/G5 owners out there that software will still be written for years to come. Think of it this way - how long did it take after OS X shipped for Adobe and Microsoft to not include OS 9 versions in their new apps? YEARS. If your going to be doing HD, you'll be upgrading before your PPC Mac is obsolete. Fret not.
I do expect this to have a negative impact on Mac unit sales over the next couple of years due to this "fear of" syndrome. But the upswing due to switchers may overcompensate for this fear. Wait and see.
The only people that this should negatively affect are those who buy new Macs only every 3 or 4 years.
As for when to buy a new MacIntel (or whatever they're going to call the Intel based Macs), once they've shipped the apps you care about - Final Cut, DVD Studio Pro, Motion, After Effects, etc., and they work reliably according to field reports for the stuff you want to do, THAT is when to buy.
Some folks are saying this is going to kill the resale value of PowerMacs. Maybe, but only due to irrational fears. If you can buy software that works well on it for the next 5 years, why sweat it? That's about as far as you can reliably predict anything tech, anyways.
Since it's still going to be the SAME OS in terms of functionality, I seriously doubt Apple would allow any significant interoperability problems to interfere with a mixed MacIntel & traditional Macintosh environment.
How fast will the new stuff be?
Dunno, but I'd imagine Apple will be a few months behind the Dells & HPs in their ability to get the fastest processors out the door. Whether they take advantage of specialized ATI & NVidia motherboards for high end systems with their faster graphics capabilities will be a very, very interesting question.
Therefore almost as fast as equivalent PC models from other major vendors in terms of raw hardware capabilities, but it'll be VERY interesting to see how efficient the OS and compilers are at making similar software run. I'd LOVE to see a Photoshop OS X86 vs. WinXP shootout.
However, I'd also expect the WinXP system to be faster - Adobe has spent a LOT of time optimizing for that hardware and that OS. Once even on the same hardware, Apple (especially Apple running on Intel) will represent a TINY FRACTION of the user base for Adobe (or any other vendor)
Will this be the death/ascendancy of Apple?
Again, dunno. If Apple blows the transition for a variety of reasons:
-bad PR/marketing leading to market/user/developer uncertainty and loss of sales
-consumer confusion over the transition
-backlash from traditional Mac users
-suddenly more expensive hardware (Intel chips cost more than PPC chips)
-simply taking too long to transition from PPC to Intel, leaving users in the lurch with no significantly faster Macs for too long
-low adoption rates on ALL systems due to fear or obsolesence/low performance on new systems
-low adoption rates due to the need of users to upgrade ALL their software for native performance
-gets spread too thin trying to support existing user base while fostering new one
-developers abandon the Mac platform as too difficult to support, so all that burgeoning creativeness goes away - developing for Mac has long been a thin business, developing for Mac PPC and Mac Intel may be too thin in practice - even though Apple is saying it'll be a recompile for most apps (see articles below)
-or any of a zillion other business transition reasons that have destroyed countless other companies
-what if, in the end, now that you're buying an Apple branded Intel box with an Apple branded OS, buyers just don't feel there's enough difference in performance or experience to justify the expense?
This could be a long term win for Apple, because they'll be on equal footing (finally!) in terms of hardware with their Wintel counterparts, and will have a roadmap for on-par performance with their main competitors, instead of constantly living in fear of Being Too Slow or Not Keeping Up. But that's the only real upside to the switch. Ouch.
I see this whole thing as being driven more by "IBM's roadmap sucks" rather than "Intel is great."
How does this affect the HD For Indies crowd?
It doesn't yet. It won't even need to enter into your purchasing decisions for projects for AT LEAST a year and a half, and more likely 2+ years. So fret not. It's something down the road. There may be potholes and wrecks and disasters along the way, but it's a road. Many may choose to avoid the potential risks and just go with a Wintel solution since it's a proven highway, lumpy as it may be. I'd say judge your CURRENT purchasing needs based on what is shipping CURRENTLY - what was announced today will NOT affect Final Cut Pro for nearly two years I suspect.
This definitely dampens my ardor for the prospects of great Mac products for the next two years, but beyond that things should get better, if not rockin'. But that's certainly not stunning advocacy.
How will Apple keep Mac OS X from running on non-Apple computers?
...because it will only run on Apple hardware. Will hackers figure out a way to make it run on something else? To be generous, probably, but like all hacker activities, it probably won't matter much - such a small number (if any) of potential lost sales to the hard core geeks won't affect the bottom line.
If Macs are running on Intel based hardware, won't I be vulnerable to all the virus stuff that affects WinTel hardware?
Categorically not - and I was appalled that mainstream press asked this question. You'll still be running OS X, it just executes on a different processor. The vulnerabilities of WinTel all come from Microsoft's OS, not the Intel chips.
Will I be able to run Windows on this new box?
Interestingly, this hasn't been explicitly defined. Apple did say that they won't do anything to keep people from installing Windows on it (on a second drive perhaps? Or a partition of the boot drive if they get very fancy?) so this is a possibility, but not a guaranteed thing.
Honestly, I think this would be one of the biggest benefits for Apple if they successfully transition to Intel hardware - if you can install WinXP on a new Apple box, and be able to run OS X and Windows on it, you'll be able to run any software you'd want to on this box (possibly even a Linux variant). Forget Mac vs. PC - run BOTH on one box.
For the HD crowd, imagine having one MacIntel box that is dual boot - run Premiere Pro or Final Cut on that box just by rebooting. With some vendors, like BlackMagic Designs, making cards that work the same under either OS, this dual boot capability with FireWire, SDI, and HD-SDI input/output capabilities suddenly becomes very interesting.
How often would you want/need that particular option? I dunno. But the ability to do things like run 3D Studio Max under Windows, render your footage, then reboot to edit it in FCP will certainly have appeal. And it would ease the transition pain of Switchers coming to Macs - they could bring their software with them (if they can get the OS on the box).
This also opens the possibility of being able to run multiple simultaneous operating systems - I linked to something the other day about new Intel motherboards and chipsets that could run multiple operating systems at the same time - wouldn't THAT be nice! Hit a key on the keyboard to switch between OS X and WinXP back and forth - that'd be a VERY slick solution! Apple wouldn't advocate or be pleased with that, but it'd be handy for those PC only apps.
Macworld: News: WWDC 2005 Keynote Live Update
-Xcode 2.1 ships today, enables specifying PPC or INtel architecture, to build a unversal binary (runs on both), so can ship one CD that supports both.
-Rosetta - to run PPC apps on Intel platform
-Steve said: "we’ve got a lot of great PowerPC products in the pipeline" - so those dual core PCI Express Macs may still be on the way - this is all about new Macs shipping 1-2 years from now (or more)
-Leopard due end of 2006, circa Microsoft's Lnghorn release
Think Secret - WWDC: Jobs discusses Intel, more on CNBC
-Steve said the move is "not as dramatic as you're characterizing it" - Macs will have Intel inside rather than IBM inside
-gradual transition not a sudden snap
-refused to comment on future products
-rock solid clarification on Mac on generic Intel hardware and XP on Macs:
After Jobs' presentation, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller addressed the issue of running Windows on Macs, saying there are no plans to sell or support Windows on an Intel-based Mac. "That doesn't preclude someone from running it on a Mac. They probably will," he said. "We won't do anything to preclude that."
However, Schiller said the company does not plan to let people run Mac OS X on other computer makers' hardware. "We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac."
-from MacinTouch's coverage
a tidbit from somebody's coverage (woops, closed the window, don't know who's now):
Developers can lease a G5 Tower with Intel inside for $999 that can be kept until launch... 3.6ghz p4.
-AppleInsider | Apple confirms switch to Intel - AppleInsider's coverage - they point out the 3.6 GHz P4 dev kit will start shipping in about 2 weeks. Widgets, scripts, and Java will work unmodified on Apple's Intel based hardware. Theo Gray from Wolfram said took 2 hours to port Mathematica to Apple Intel hardware - 20 lines out of millions were changed. "This is nothing like Carbonizing."
-Microsoft, Adobe to support PPC and Intel processors | MacMinute News: "
%u201CWe plan to create future versions of Microsoft Office for the Mac that support both PowerPC and Intel processors,%u201D said Roz Ho, general manager of Microsoft%u2019s Macintosh Business Unit. %u201CWe have a strong relationship with Apple and will work closely with them to continue our long tradition of making great applications for a great platform.%u201D Adobe had this to say: %u201CWe think this is a really smart move on Apple%u2019s part and plan to create future versions of our Creative Suite for Macintosh that support both PowerPC and Intel processors,%u201D said Bruce Chizen, CEO of Adobe."
-Apple Developer Connection - download Xcode 2.1, order your Developer Transition Kit (the 3.6 Ghz P4 with Intel based 10.4.1, you get to lease it until Intel Mac hardware launches).
-Developer Transition Kit - direct link with more details
-Apple's Deal With Intel Won't Rattle IBM - Yahoo! News
QT for Windows. Unfortunately, the system requirements for HD trailers page hasn't been updated to include WinXP specs. But the general specs for playback are:
Minimum System Requirements
233 MHz Intel Pentium class or better processor
At least 128 MB of RAM
Windows 2000 or XP
Recommended System Configuration
For viewing 640x480 standard definition (SD) H.264 video:
1.8 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or faster processor
At least 256 MB of RAM
64 MB or greater video card
Windows 2000 or XP
2006 and 2007, "transition is mostly complete 2 years after that"
So all of my list of complaints seem to be true - we'll have to buy new Macs to take advantage of the (eventually) faster hardware, we'll need software crossgrades (won't be cheap), etc.
Wow - they're going to lose a lot of developers and customers doing this.
This could be the death of Apple if they don't pull it off well. Then again, this could lead to new growth. Wait and see, wait and see...
I'll keep updating this same article as I learn more.
My poor little PowerBook 12" couldn't believe it - Safari crashed while I was updating this article! : )
As for apps (this gleaned from chat)
cocoa: small tweak, recompile, works.
carbon + xcode: tweak, recompile, works.
carbon + metroworks: move to xcode, tweak, recompile
"a few days for cocoa"
this means no emulator
"a few weeks for carbon/xcode"
....plus time to optimize code.
XCode 2.1 will be key to developing for Intel chips
"Universal binaries" - one app that'll run on either Intel or PPC
Man, what will the performance be like? And what about our Altivec enabled apps? Will they hold up on Intel? For our demographic (video stuff) there's some great goodies that we might lose.
Apparently, Ars Technica's IRC is/was the best feed, I just didn't get set up for it in time.
From the MacCentral coverage:, Steve said:
We are going to make the transition from PowerPC to Intel processors, and we are going to do it for you now, and for our customers next year. Why? Because we want to be making the best computer for our customers looking forward.
I stood up here two years ago and promised you 3.0 GHz. I think a lot of you would like a G5 in your PowerBook, and we haven't been able to deliver that to you," said Jobs. "But as we look ahead, and though we've got great products now, and great PowerPC products still to come, we can envision great products we want to build, and we can't envision how to build them with the current PowerPC roadmap," said Jobs.
Apparently, both processors are to be supported "for some time." - more work for developers!
Looks like it'll be Macintoshes with Intel Inside (MacIntel boxes?) rather than allowning this Leopard (OS X86?) to run on generic PC hardware.
-transition complete by end of 2007
-showed running PPC MS Office on the Intel box - very fast (some kind of emulation?)
-no Classic (if you're missing Classic, get off the boat)
-OH, I MIGHT HAVE MISSPOKEN EARLIER - a 3.6 Pentium 4 box, or a 4 Pentium box?
-Leopard OS - end of 2006, early 2007 (so some other OS will ship before then for Intel hardware)
-projects built using Metrowerks' CodeWarrior need to be moved to Xcode (from MacCentral that bit)
-$1000 developer kit to port stuff
-Adobe on board to keep making their (current) apps to run on both x86 & PPC
-MS to continue Office
I'll keep updating this
from MacCentral's coverage:
Jobs also discussed a new technology called Rosetta, that he described as "a dynamic binary translator." It runs existing PowerPC applications on the Intel platform, he said. Jobs described Rosetta as "lightweight," and said "it's nothing like Classic."
Jobs demonstrated Rosetta by running Microsoft Office applications, Quicken and Photoshop CS 2 -- all versions unmodified, unlike Mathematica -- on the new Intel-based hardware.
Perhaps that is the Transitive stuff we've heard of?
Boy, this is a wierd month - Microsoft announces it's using a PPC chip to power their next gen hardware device, and Apple announces they are moving to Intel. Both sides saying they are doing it to get better performance. If you'd bet a year ago that was going to happen, within the same month, what kind of collossal odds could you have gotten, and how much green could you have hoovered up?
%u201CWe think this is a really smart move on Apple%u2019s part and plan to create future versions of our Creative Suite for Macintosh that support both PowerPC and Intel processors,%u201D said Bruce Chizen, CEO of Adobe.
The Developer Transition Kit is available starting today for $999 to all Apple Developer Connection Select and Premier members."
Note Adobe and MS on board for Intel apps. $1000 software kit to port.
OK, Last one, I swear. The gist of this one is that IBM's Enterprise group feels threatened by Apple's inroads into the server market, and the dual core chips Apple wants/needs to grow it's desktop and server market would compete with the much much higher margin products from IBM. IBM makes tons more money from iSeries & pSeries servers than they ever will from Apple.
So perhaps the terms that IBM is insisting on for dual core chip sales for future possible 4 & 8 processor Macs means would be too competitive with IBM's offerings.
This article doesn't address what it means to bail to Intel - higher chip costs, huge effort for developers & customers, etc.
I still think this'll be a WiMax and/or PCI Express thing in the end. And I hope somebody gets fired for all this hype and hyperbole.
Link from a reader, thanks (in Norway no less!).
In the end, if this was just a planned PR leak to get lots and lots of media attention, it worked, but I'm annoyed.
Geek humor, but the spirit is there.
-can create startup DVDs with Tiger
-Tiger includes a SoftRAID driver
-4 Petabyte volume capability (THAT ought to hold you for awhile...)
-faster mirror rebuilding (better mirroring capabilities that stock OS X is one of SoftRAID's strong points)
-Case Sensitive HFS support under Tiger
Demo version download URL: http://www.softraid.com/demo.html
Press Release URL: http://www.softraid.com/news.html
User Testimonials: http://www.softraid.com/testimonials.html
Sunday, June 05, 2005
All the scary possibilities of the next gen DRM - the ability to have a "known bad" list of either discs or players that can be updated AFTER you buy a disc, AFTER you buy a player. The DRM under consideration allows this. Will it be done? Unknown. But the possibility is there.
Of course, all kinds of consumer lawsuits would follow, and the issue of whether and to what extent a studio could protect it's content would get very, very interesting.
This is not fearmongering, it's all just interesting stuff.
(found via HDblog.net)
Reasonable voices in the jungle.
Wonderfully it has a great listing of many, many video editing/utilities all in one place."
This is a straight lift from the Philadelphia Final Cut Pro User Group website. I'm just passing it on, but they found it.
More on the Apple going Intel stuff, as well as here.
[from 2002]: Apple Keeps x86 Torch Lit with 'Marklar': "As Apple Computer Inc. draws up its game plan for the CPUs that will power its future generations of Mac hardware, the company is holding an ace in the hole: a feature-complete version of Mac OS X running atop the x86 architecture."
Macworld: Editors' Notes: Apple on Intel?
MacInTouch's extensive background on all of this MacIntel action
The most interesting tidbits I've gleaned since my last post:
-BOTH the Wall Street Journal and CNET are reporting this as a DONE DEAL, not a maybe. They're putting their journalistic integrity at stake, stating definitively that it will be announced tomorrow by Steve. But what if they got the details wrong but the gist right?
-Somebody earlier said what about just migrating X-Serve? That was interesting.
-I still think the more likely possibility is Intel manufacturing PowerPC processors, such as dual core tech licensed from IBM (as I said yesterday)
-What if this is not just porting X to x86 ("OS X86" as I dubbed it yesterday), but part of a wider plot to get more switchers and adopters? The hidden costs of switching is software - you can't take your existing software with you. If you are a casual home user, and just want email/web/photo/video capabilities, but you have existing PC software? What if you still want to be able to run games, for instance? What if this is a drive to use Intel's new platform intiative, which would allow for multiple operating systems to be run simultaneously? It seems to depend on using both Intel motherboards and processors, but that would be the final killer deal for Apple - if you have a WinXP license and software, you can install it on this machine. Makes for an interesting licensing issue - if you got a license of WinXP with your PC, can you de-authorize and install on this Intel Macintosh? What'll that be called? The MacIntel box? (dibs on that one).
I think this is going to happen after all, and is a huge, risky shift for Apple.
This could kill'em if it doesn't go well.
It certainly implies I'm not buying any more G5 Macs unless I absolutely categoricaly need them.
The burden on developers may not be so huge - they may get nice dual binary (or two separate binary) compilers with their development tools. They may have a cakewalk for development. But they'd still have two very, very different hardware platforms to support.
But this further subdivision of the Mac culture might sink Apple, even though they've been riding high otherwise.
As the Daring Fireball article linked at top mentions, "how will Apple avoid the Osborne effect, wherein by pre-announcing future hardware, sales of current hardware evaporate?"
He further states:
It’s not performance — sure, G5 processor speeds haven’t progressed as quickly as Apple had hoped (and as Jobs had predicted publicly at WWDC two years ago), but that’s a problem that has stricken the entire semiconductor industry. As reported in the 30 May 2005 issue of MDJ, since the day of the G5 introduction at WWDC 2003, the top-of-the-line G5 has seen a larger percentage increase in clock rate (2.0 to 2.7 GHz) than Intel’s Pentium 4 (3.2 to 3.7 GHz).
Some argue that it’s about cost, but I have yet to see a single such argument backed by actual numbers — the cost per unit Apple would save after switching.
Of all the possibilities here, I think the Intel manufacturing PPC processors is the most likely scenario.
Switching to Intel hardware is a real possibility, but a scary one. We'll see.
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Apple to ditch IBM, switch to Intel chips | CNET News.com
Well, Monday should be truly interesting at WWDC then. Stay tuned, this oughta be GOOD. Either it's a huge sea change for Apple (with cratering sales until the Intel boxes ship), or CNET will have egg on it's face.
From the article:
Apple plans to move lower-end computers such as the Mac Mini to Intel chips in mid-2006 and higher-end models such as the Power Mac in mid-2007, sources said.
That skepticism remains. "If they actually do that, I will be surprised, amazed and concerned," said Insight 64 analyst Nathan Brookwood. "I don't know that Apple's market share can survive another architecture shift. Every time they do this, they lose more customers" and more software partners, he said.
The article discusses this like it's a done deal, but I'm not convinced. I still stand by my long list of problems we'd have to deal with that I posted the other day here. One thing I didn't mention was Marklar (South Park reference), the build of OS X that runs on Intel hardware that Apple supposedly keeps relatively up to date.
Mike's Comments: If Apple DOES go down this path, I'm going to need a LOT of convincing from them to go that route. I'm supposed to buy new hardware, buy new software, and still say it's the same? This will be akin to getting Wintel folks to switching to Linux - OK, it's supposed to be better, but it feels risky and ill defined.
I think the LESS important aspect is whether Apple CAN do this. The MORE important aspect is whether Apple SHOULD.
If Apple switches to Intel based stuff, it offers the opportunity to get faster machines, at lower costs out to clients. BUT at the cost of a massive shift required from BOTH the user base and the developers, and I fear it'll take years for the transition to be successful. If Apple felt the Power line of IBM processors was truly limiting their future growth, this move makes sense, but it'll be a painful transition.
And if Apple allows their OS, eventually, to run on more generic Intel based hardware, what price will they have to charge? Remember the whole thing with licensed Mac clones? I did a lot of work with Power Computing, the leading Mac clone manufacturer, on their marketing materials. I knew all the key players over there - engineers, marketing, sales, lots of folks. I heard it bandied about that Apple would have to charge about $500 per Mac OS 9 license to make it worth their while to license the OS, to make up for the difference in sales loss as compared to selling their own boxes. I don't know how different the economics are now, but testing and supporting the LITERALLY exponentially larger hardware base of generic PC hardware would be a huge undertaking, with massive increases in costs and manhours required. So to run on generic PC hardware is NOT going to be anything they do for awhile - it'll be on Apple built boxes for at least a year or two I would imagine. Or the generic PC version would need to cost a LOT more, unless Apple was willing to eat it to build market share. But, with all the security woes of WinXP, and Longhorn looking like late 2006 (I think, right?) to ship, maybe this is the time to make this move?
A phased ramp, starting with low end (Mini) in mid-06 and high end (Power Mac) by mid-2007, makes a bit more sense. That implies that Apple will be telling developers to start thinking about dual binaries (versions of software for G3/G4/G5 as well as x86) this year for next year's deployment. Again, this will be messy for developers - they'll have to support dual code bases for several years, and inevitably some developers will feel this isn't worth pursuing and will drop out as their development and QA costs go up. See the above linked comments that I had about the difficulties involved.
If Apple pursues this on their own hardware only, their hope to increase their user base only comes from lowered prices of commodity hardware. If you can't run OS X86 (lets call it that for now, I get dibs) on your generic PC hardware, how is Apple on Intel a win for consumers? Only if it's faster and cheaper than a PowerPC chip. Otherwise, a consumer isn't going to care.
But for the high end folks like me, it'll be great- I could see Apple going to an ATI or NVidia dual graphics controller motherboard, or other high performance hardware, to finally let Mac users catch up in terms of hardware performance, which has always lagged behind the similarly priced PC stuff.
They must obviously be planning to roll out (or at least announce) new developer tools to author once and compile for either platform. But what of performance critical applications, like Final Cut Pro or Motion, that require substantial optimization? A simple recompile is not going to deliver optimal performance.
This seems striking as IBM' Power line of chips has been selected by ALL THREE of the next generation gaming consoles from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. At first blush I would have thought that there'd be some useful spillover from this renewed commitment to the Power line. But perhaps that move is what is pushing Apple away? Perhaps key engineers are getting moved over to the console chip development away from Apple's lower unit, lower overall profit desktop processors? Perhaps Apple felt they weren't Getting The Luv from IBM in terms of vigorous efforts to
Or is this bold move just the result of Steve getting pissed at IBM? More emotion than substance?
If the Power line is truly hamstrung and not going to grow in line with Apple's needs (hulllloooooo, 3GHz? Last year?), this may be the painful breakup required for future Mac happiness.
This is pretty much a planned divorce, then, between Apple & IBM.
Further coverage at the follwing locations:
Mac Megasite - who I think get it wrong when they suggest that Apple might run low end boxes on Intel and high end on Power - if Apple's gonna switch, they CANNOT sit on the fence. The article suggests Apple might play Intel off AMD, or go back to IBM. WRONG - once they switch, they need to stay there. They couldn't come back to IBM, because that would mean that the OS and hardware would have to all be switched BACK, and users and developers would never stand for that. One interesting twist they suggested would be for Intel to manufacture PowerPC chips - this seems the more likely scenario than complete OS X86 conversion - but IBM owns the Power architecture; they wouldn't license someone else to build their profitable chips unless they didn't want to mess with it, right? Unless they wanted those manufacturing lines freed up for console chip production...all interesting stuff.
Yahoo News has some good points:
The move would be highly complicated, expensive and could cost Apple some of its less than 2 percent share of the global PC market, said Kevin Krewell, editor in chief of the Microprocessor Report, a chip industry publication.
"It's going to be a horrendous challenge for the software developers who just completed the transition to OS X from OS 9," Krewell said, referring to the latest version of Apple's operating system software.
Not only would it be expensive for the software developers who create programs that run on the Mac, it could stall sales of the Mac PCs.
"If word gets out that Apple is changing platforms, why would they buy a PowerPC?" Krewell said, adding that he expects a negative reaction from developers at Apple's conference. "They'd wait for two to three years to get an Intel platform."
"Every time they go and they change their architecture, a bunch of people who had been with them go, 'This is too much trouble. The PC world has been pretty consistent, and Apple keeps changing."'
Then there's this article, in which the CEO of Intel suggests "running something else" if worried about security. Mac heads of course interpreted this as a nod in their direction, but I don't see anybody in the press mentioning that he could have just been thinking about Linux, instead of the proposed "platform" stuff the article mentions.
-end of line-
Friday, June 03, 2005
On Jun 3, 2005, at 12:29 PM, viper0066 wrote:
I see your tip for installing Compressor 2 on a G3, but I'm not sure anyone would want to, given Compressor 2's dramatically-slower processing times. Others have also posted on this.
"Compressor 2 is indeed slower - a big disappointement given almost everything else in Tiger (so far) is faster.
As a new version, Compressor 2 was expected to have intrinsic performance improvements over Compressor 1.x. Additionally, these performance improvements should have been further increased by Tiger's performance increases.
Compressor 1.x used to take about twice the real-playing time of any sequence to Compress it in 2-Pass VBR MPEG 2 (highest Average and Minimum bit rates I could use, given the sequence's length). This included a given 47 minute-long sequence taking almost exactly 90 minutes to encode.
Compressor 2 just finished compressing the same 47 minute-long sequence. Compressor 2 took 3 hours and 40 minutes. I picked the MPEG 2 Best Quality 90 min 4x3 2-Pass.
This 47 minute-long sequence exported to QT Pro Self-Contained Movie with All Markers took almost exactly 10 minutes to QT encode under FCPro 4.x-to-QT Pro 6.x.
The same procedure with FCPro 5-to-QT Pro 7 took 12 minutes - not a big difference, but still no performance increase, and a small performance deficit.
Compressor 1.x toook just over 1 hour to compress the QT Pro 6-encoded Self-Contained Movie. Compressor 2 took 3 hours and 27 minutes to compress the QT Pro 7-encoded Self-Contained Movie taken from the exact same 47 minute sequence as that which was used in the FCPro 4.x and QT Pro 6 scenario quoted here.
Tiger was installed after a Zero Data reformat of the drive, and Final Cut Studio was installed fresh, without any Pro software existing on the drive prior to the Final Cut Studio install.
Hopefully Apple will address this performance shortcoming. Compressor 2 is far too slow, and a truly unexpected disappointment as part of the new Final Cut Studio."
This is dissapointing. I followed up and asked:
Interesting. A few things:
1.) Is the quality any better?
2.) To QT encode to what? The same codec as the timeline? Please define your 10 minute export example.
3.) Mind if I share this letter on the blog?
1. Nope. Which is another slight disappointment. Some expected the quality to also improve with Compressor 2 - but at least the quality didn't degrade as did the speed.
2. QT encode through Default Settings to Self-Contained Movie, that SC-Movie input into Compressor 2 for compression. The 10 minute export *is* this FCPro-to-QT Pro export, exported via Default Settings, and as a Self-Contained Movie. The FCPro-to-QT Pro process took 10 minutes (under FCPro 4.x and QT Pro 6.x) while it took 12 minutes (from FCPro 5 and QT Pro 7). Both tests used the exact same 47-minute sequence.
3. Nope. From what I've been reading I'm not alone. Also, it might work as a partial warning to those who still have access to Compressor 1.x to use that until Apple 'gets-around-to' addressing the truly disappointing Compressor 2 performance
Check out these two demos - super cool! Watch the second one, and think how fast/fun/cool Final Cut (or any editing environment) would be with this kind of interface refinement.
...and it's so not going to happen. While this Tactapad represents the kind of forward thinking that Apple used to be famous for, I don't see them making this big of a leap. Especially since it requires a big honkin' pad right where you'd want the keyboard. Not to mention you'd have to recode the software to work with more than one simultaneous mouse click.
But this is SLICK. Too bad it's utterly not going to get anywhere.
(found via slashdot.org)
: Scroll down to "LaCie Update Tool v1.3.2 for Mac OS X (March 16, 2005)" and install. I'm about to.
This is cool - I've been thinking about taking a roadtrip, and wanted GPS and Internet-Anywhere (OK, anywhere with cell coverage) and this would be a way to do it.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
I'm not the only one that it's occured to that if a dual 2.0 GHz G5 is required to play back 1080p content, that means that EVERYTHING else can't play back H.264 encoded high definition DVDs on their laptops, iMacs, etc.
So ATI demo'd hardware based H.264 decoding.
This is basically taking us back to the days of when MPEG-2 decoding required a card that accelerated that function - the CPU couldn't do it on it's own.
So same thing all over again - most computers (PC & Mac) probably will not be fast enough to decode H.264 at large sizes via software, and will likely rely on a graphics card with that capability. Over time, it'll migrate to a software only implementation as the CPU gets fast enough - same as MPEG-2 did.
I need to do some more research on VC-1 (Microsoft's HD codec) to see what the system requirements are for that - are they similarly high? My ghostly recollection of the specs makes me think not.
I surfed into your site from technorati.com
I'm the developer behind MegaPEG.X and MPressionist.X for the Macintosh,now
both supporting HD.
I'm looking for trailers for independent features shot on HD to encode and put
on our web site as an example of the quality our HD encoder is capable of.
The source material can be HDV, DVCPROHD or a HD telecine transfer of
regular film. The submission format must be QuickTime readable.
I see it as a cross-promotional activity for an independent and ourselves.
Perhaps you could post this message to your readership.
So if you have something of interest, email him at email@example.com
Wired News: Broadcast Flag at Half Mast? - fight ain't over yet. Note Texan legislator holds it up (yee-haw! Go Texas!)
NATIVE INSTRUMENTS: Reaktor 5 - new version of audio app. I don't know diddly about working with this stuff, but I've heard it's a cool app in the past.
Macworld: Review: Reason 3 new version of Reason, another cool music/audio app
MacNN | Fast DVD Copy 4 brings new interface, new copy modes - can this be legal? Or let me rephrase that - will the MPAA let this live? It purportedly lets you remove CSS/Macrovision and dupe DVDs, even recompress dual layer discs onto single layer DVD-R's.
Also, reading up on SATA card support in Tiger: Sonnet SATA/eSATA cards seem to be working fine, some Seritek 1S2 cards may require firmware upgrades, Highpoint 1820A has issues launching their setup/monitoring application in Tiger so you can't set up a new array but can run (blind) an existing array. Don't know about Netcell's SyncRAID, my mind is saying "no" but I have no hard evidence about that and could be completely wrong.
I've decided to try to get a replacement Dell monitor, that should be fun/brutal/painful/interesting, I'll keep you posted.
Features at a glance:
• Easy-to-use intuitive UI
• Converts 2 or 4 audio channels
• Transfers directly from the VTR
• Shows thumbnails of the clips
• Clips can be used directly in FCP
• DVCam data is preserved as it is
MXF Converter is an easy-to-use native MacOS X application that will both transfer and convert clips on-the-fly from any Ethernet-equipped XDCam VTR into Final Cut Pro.
Simply connect the VTR into your Ethernet network, set the IP address of the VTR and you will be able to preview and transfer video clips directly from its XDCam Disk.
You will be able to select only specific clips or every clip in the list before importing.
The converted Final Cut Pro movie will contain a separate audio track and a timecode track for easy reference.
Gives thumbnail previews, a network version is available at 3 times the price.
-pricier than MXF Importer
-offers thumbnails, which is nice, which MXF Importer doesn't
-standalone app, NOT an FCP plug-in - so you are running an app in parallel with FCP. Import with this, THEN import into FCP. Two part process. My LIMITED understanding of MXF Importer is that is a more direct, one step process to import (or fewer steps, anyway)
-seems to be a smaller company - they don't have an online store set up, have to download a PDF from ftp site to find the pricing
-don't know which one is preferable
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
I had been confused by the press release from Flip4Mac about their new product - I had seen Final Cut Pro 5 attached to Sony eVTR decks working with IMX footage on XDCAM disc cartridges, and didn't understand why this added software was necessary.
OK, now I get it - I emailed Flip4Mac and Barbara filled me in - apparently, at NAB Apple was using a pre-release version of Flip4Mac's MXF Import stuff to pull IMX footage into Final Cut Pro 5. Here's the catch:
-Final Cut Pro 5 can EDIT footage in the IMX format, but CANNOT import over Ethernet
-Flip4Mac's MXF Import can bring in IMX & DV over Ethernet on the Sony eVTR stuff, and add a wrapper to make the MXF files a .mov file
So if you want to work with the XDCAM eVTR, you need BOTH Final Cut Pro 5 (to edit) and then add the Flip4Mac MXF Import software ($495) to be able to connect & control the deck to import via Ethernet the files. So it's essentially $500 for deck support for the eVTR, and also fulfills the requirement to put a QuickTime wrapper around it so it hands off as a QuickTime file to Final Cut Pro 5 so FCP can handle it correctly and edit it natively.
So Flip4Mac is plugging a gaping hole in Final Cut Pro 5. I don't know why Apple announced support for the format in this fashion - clearly this is something that should (eventually) be included in Final Cut Pro. But to say they support the format, without an asterix, feels a bit disengenuous - like saying "We support DV! Oh, but without deck control or import." It's half a solution. Or feels like less than half, since you can edit it once in, but getting it in requires the purchase of something that costs half as much as the editing software did in the first place.
Perhaps Apple was counting on Flip4Mac to fill this hole, and didn't want it's own engineers spending time trying to solve this problem. Perhaps Apple will (should) buy/license the code at some point.
Then again, XDCAM isn't nearly so popular as many of the other formats FCP supports - DV, uncompressed NTSC/PAL, HDV (I expect HDV users to vastly outnumber IMX users, based solely on camera price), etc. Relying on a third party to plug the hole isn't such a big deal - AJA and Blackmagic do this for uncompressed HD with their hardware. And if you have an XDCAM deck (already a $15,000ish purchase if I recall correctly), an extra $500 for hardware support isn't that big of a deal. Price you pay to deal with professional gear.
And yeah, here I am blogging some more. This stuff is interesting. I'll see if I can get my Happy Knob off the far end of the scale (pessimistic).