So after supporting and having my dear wife put up with a Pentium III-450
for a long while under various versions of Windows, I asked her what she
would like for a new computer. The iMac G5 was a bit pricey for current
budgets with school coming up for our boys and all. So after mulling it
over, we decided to go for the Mac mini. We did go with the SuperDrive
model to better complement our Canon DV video camera. I’d had a bit of fun
editing video together with it, and she figured it would be kind of cool.
So when it finally arrived, the look on everyone’s face at just how
small it really is was priceless. If you haven’t seen one of these
things, go find one at an Apple store or Apple reseller. Inside, a 1.42
Ghz G4, 512 MB RAM, 80 GB hard drive, 802.11g and bluetooth, and a DVD-R
drive. Now, it’s not top of the line as Apple product goes, but it’s got
all the power and space needed for a home user to have a whole lot of
fun with. But it’s small. And it looks cool. Oh yeah. And it’s pretty
much silent. The ambient noise in the room where it’s located has
dropped to almost silence, compared to a not-so-subtle flood of white
noise from fans and hard drives in the tower on the PC.
So that was all good. But that was, as it is with most computers, only a
small part of the story.
Enter iLife ‘05. And specifically iMovie. I had shown Trudy only one
title and a couple of transitions while editing some old video of her
winterguard. She had a few videos of rehearsals and she decided to edit
them. I gave her zero help on this. Within about a day, and by no means
continual work in that time, she showed me an edited 5 minute video of
sort of a promotional style for her winterguard, complete with
transitions, titling, an overlaid soundtrack and pretty good
composition. It really is that good a tool. No such chance with
Microsoft Movie Maker. And of course, free with the new Mac.
Then with one of her cousins and his boys coming into town for a visit,
she did a videographer number on them, and edited that down over the
visit of four days, and then added in chapters and mastered it onto a
DVD via iMovie and iDVD. Again, with overlaid soundtracks, and up a few
notches in appearance and composition. These things are enjoyable to
watch, not your general boring home video. IMHO of course. But these
tools truly do empower users.
And we even brought all the email and things over from the Windows box
intact with minimal fuss as well. This is really the way computers
should be for everyone. Including me. I may be an “expert” level user,
being a professional programmer and having development and sysadmin
experience spanning over 12 years on Unix, Linux, Windows and a bit on
the Mac for fun, but at times I want it to be a fun tool for creative
work, rather than a hobby unto itself. That’s why I love this platform,
and by the looks of it, that’s why the old Windows box hasn’t been
turned on in a couple of weeks.