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First Impressions: 5K iMac (Spoiler: Wow!)

I got my 5K iMac early this morning, and immediately migrated my data from my Mac Pro. My first impressions of this Mac are simply this: Wow!

I haven’t done much yet; nothing that taxes the processors to be able to see how fast it is. I did get the faster processor and better video card, though; I want this Mac to be future-proof for a few years.

About imac

What really stands out – and the reason I wanted this iMac – is the retina display. I’ve been using retina MacBook Pros for a couple of years, and I always missed the crisp display when I came back to my 27″ Thunderbolt display.

This display is simply amazing. If you’re thinking of getting this iMac for the display, you have to see it; it will blow you away. Finally, with a display like this, computing is moving to a new level. When you work on a computer all day long, as I do, especially with text, it should look like this.

I’m a bit perplexed about the number of pixels in the display. The Displays preferences say it has the same relative number of pixels as the 27″ Thunderbolt display, but when I fired it up, after transferring all my data from the Mac Pro, all the windows show more than before.

One thing I’ve had to do is up the size of the sidebar icons (System Preferences > General > Sidebar Icon Size) and the iTunes list font (iTunes > Preferences > General > List Size). It seems that everything, at the default resolution, is smaller than before, even though the Displays preferences says the relative resolution is 256 x 1440. On the other hand, I haven’t changed my font sizes in Mail; they look fine, perhaps because they are so crisp.

The display is also very bright. With my Thunderbolt display, I usually had the brightness at the highest setting (during the day); with the iMac, I’ve got it about two thirds of the way up.

I’ll do some real-world testing later, when I get the additional RAM I’ve ordered (I’m adding another 16 GB, though, so far, even with 8 GB, everything seems to run just fine; I could probably have settled with only adding another 8 GB, but I’m thinking ahead.) For now, if you have a chanced to see this Mac, go take a gander at the display. It’s amazing!

Martin Scorsese to Produce Grateful Dead Documentary for Band’s 50th Anniversary

The Grateful Dead will celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary with an authorized feature documentary that will be directed by Amir Bar-Lev, helmer of the superb films The Tillman Story and most recently the Penn State football scandal Happy Valley. Martin Scorsese, whose own rock docus have provided the template for how to make these kinds of movies, will be executive producer along with Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Andrew Heller, Sanford Heller, and Rick Yorn. Longtime Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux will serve as the film’s music supervisor.

The makers say their as-yet-untitled film will include never-before-seen footage of performances and backstage stuff involving the band, as well as new interviews with surviving members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir, as well as many other characters and pranksters from the Dead universe. This goes back to the band’s formation in the Bay Area amid the rise of the psychedelic counterculture of the ’60s. 


Grateful Dead Documentary: Martin Scorsese & Amir Bar-Lev Behind Movie | Deadline.

Display the Old-Fashioned Info Window in iTunes 12

I’ve complained about the new Info windows in iTunes; they’re ugly and hard to read. But there’s a way to use the old-fashioned Info windows. It’s well hidden though.

Select one or more tracks, press the Option key, then right-click and choose Get Info. You’ll see this window, the one familiar to iTunes users for many years, in the colors of Yosemite:


I’m told this works on Windows if you press the Shift key, then choose the contextual menu.

So, if you hate the new tagging window, you can still use the old one. I’d have expected this to also work if you press Command-Option-I, but it doesn’t; it only seems to work when you hold the Option key and use the contextual menu.

It’s interesting that Apple has kept this in iTunes, even if it’s hidden. It suggests that maybe, just maybe, the new window is tentative, and there might be a return to the older window.

H/t to Doug Adams, who passed this on from Paul J.

Update: as a commenter says below, you can apply a keyboard shortcut to this. In System Preferences, go to Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts, then click +. In the Applications menu, choose iTunes; for Menu Title, enter Get info; and for the Keyboard Shortcut, press Command-Option-I (or another shortcut, if you wish).


One extra key to press, but you can display the old Info window as before without even using the contextual menu.

Amazon Fire TV: First Impressions (Spoiler: They’re Not Good)

I got an Amazon Fire TV today. It’s finally started shipping in the UK. (, Amazon UK) I have to say, my first experience with the device isn’t very positive. After plugging it in, I saw a screen asking me to choose my language, then I saw this:


The progress bar moved, slowly, for about ten minutes, then I got a message that the update had failed, and I should unplug and replug the device. I did that, and the progress bar is moving very, very slowly. I called Amazon, wondering if there was something wrong, or whether it was just a Very Large Update, and the support person didn’t know. And there’s no way to reset the device to factory settings.

This isn’t a very good customer experience. To have a device that simply isn’t ready to work out of the box, and to have to download what may be several gigabytes of software to get it to work, is just wrong. The device should work, using its current software, and let you set it up and see how to use it. It should then tell you that there’s an update, and, perhaps, give you an idea of how long it will take to download the update.

Compare this with setting up a new iPad, which I did yesterday. Through every step of the process, the iPad tells you what’s happening, and shows you what you need to do.

That’s the difference between Amazon and Apple. Amazon doesn’t care very much about the customer experience; for Apple, it’s the key to keeping customers. From the packaging to setup to usage, Apple devices make you feel comfortable. Amazon, they just flog the stuff and let you deal with it.

How Will Apple Implement Touch ID on Macs?

Last year, after I had had my iPhone 5s for a while, I wrote about how I want Touch ID everywhere. I have a new iPad Air 2, which has Touch ID, so the two mobile devices I use most let me unlock them with my fingerprints. It’s not as big a deal on the iPad, because I don’t use it anywhere near as much as my iPhone, but it’s nice to have.

But I want Touch ID everywhere (at least on all my Apple products).

I’ve been wondering how Apple can implement Touch ID on Macs. The sensor is very small; the size of a home button on an iOS device, so it would fit on the corner of a trackpad; I can imagine Apple release the Magic Trackpad Touch with this feature.

Some have suggested using an iPhone to unlock an Mac. While this is an interesting idea, I think I could do it faster by typing my password on my Mac. Using the phone, you would have to a) unlock the phone with Touch ID, then b) activate something that lets you then choose to unlock the Mac. With the Handoff technology built into iOs 8 and OS X Yosemite, this is certainly possible, but I wonder if it would save any time.

I can imagine that future Mac laptops may have a Touch ID sensor built into a power button; it’s about the same size as the old power buttons on MacBooks Pro of years past. But that wouldn’t work with desktop Macs.

I hope Apple does something in that direction. It would make life easier, saving just a bit of annoyance when I want to access my Mac.

The Committed Podcast Discusses iOS Keyboards, Yosemite and More

The Committed Podcast Icon 1400x1400 01On this week’s episode of The Committed podcast, Ian Schray, Rob Griffiths and I welcome Greg Scown of Smile, and we discuss iOS Keyboards (Smile makes the essential Mac utility TextExpander, whose iOS version is a custom keyboard), OS X Yosemite, and much more.

Listen to The Committed, Episode 55: “This Show Costs Me Money”.

Tag Items in Your iTunes Library in a Single Window

iTunes 12 has made a mess of tagging media files; the new Info windows are hard to navigate, and, depending on the type of content you’re editing, the tags you see change.

Doug Adams, purveyor of the wonderful Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes came up with an AppleScript-based applet that lets you edit all the tags in a single window. Using this, you not only can avoid the hard-to-manage iTunes 12 Info window, but also not have to switch tabs to edit multiple tags.

The $2 Multi-Item Edit gives you a single window where you can edit most of iTunes’ tags. (Album Artwork is one that’s not available.)


Check out Multi-Item Edit. It’ll definitely save you time tagging your iTunes library.

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