Thursday, November 15, 2007

Update, update, read all about it

'Pro Apps Update 2007-2' has appeared in this morning's software update window - this is Applespeak for the next point upgrade to Final Cut Studio, with some 300MB+ of updated software to download.

There are .2 versions of FCP, Compressor, Motion, DVDSP, Color, Cinema Tools, STrack Pro - the works, in other words.

First off, FCP 6.0.2 is now Leopard compatible (though - hint of caution - the first point upgrade to Leopard is probably due any day now).

The Apple doc here has the full details. Apart from Leopard compatibility, and a whole load of more video standards to work with (XDCAM, AVC-Intra and other various timecode/frame rate combinations), the main headlines for me are:

- 'lost render' bug squashed (mostly). Closing and re-opening a sequence should no longer cause previously rendered material to require a re-render.

- new feature:

New Playhead-Centered Zooming Commands in the Timeline

Final Cut Pro 6.0.2 includes three commands for playhead-centered zooming and navigation in the Timeline:

  • Zoom In on Playhead in Timeline: Keeps the Timeline playhead centered while zooming in (regardless of the selection in the Timeline).
  • Zoom Out on Playhead in Timeline: Keeps the Timeline playhead centered while zooming out (regardless of the selection in the Timeline).
  • Scroll to Playhead: Horizontally scrolls the Timeline so that the playhead is centered in the window.

These commands can be mapped to keyboard shortcuts using the Keyboard Layout window (choose Tools > Keyboard Layout > Customize).

Final note of caution - projects opened & saved in 6.0.2 format won't open in 6.0.1 (or of course earlier versions).

Nearly forgot - there's a .11 upgrade to Tiger (aka Mac 10.4.11) for those keeping clear of the Leopard for the moment.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Gone Missing in Leopard

The spots on the Leopard?? It's the little things that take time... updates from the Leopard front line, as promised.

On the whole I'm (still) pleased with Leopard, which seems more stable on this particular MacBook Pro (an early dual 1.8): there have been a couple of freezes on my wifi connection, but to date, for the most part, it seems the system copes better with misbehaving apps or routines (or whatever is messing up).

But I've found - or rather not found - a couple of little touches that have gone missing from previous versions, both of which were rather useful. To save you the time that I spent trying to find things that aren't there, here's the current list:

Desktop clock - it's no longer possible to have a big, translucent clock on the desktop, that option has gone from the Date/Time settings.

Bluetooth support in Address Book: this is really annoying. Previously it was possible to pair with a mobile through Bluetooth, so incoming call information came on screen and SMS texts could be sent from the Mac. Both have gone, as has the ability to text through Skype from the Address Book (maybe this will reinstall with a reinstallation of Skype). The only snag with sending the SMS was the lack of any feedback, so you were never really sure it had actually been delivered to the phone, but the advantage of texting from the keyboard (for this touch-typist, anyway) overweighed the disadvantage.

So, two more requests for the .1 update!

Further to the previous posting - as Ian mentioned at the meeting, there's a free Flip4Mac update for Leopard compatibility.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What you missed - November's meet

If you didn't make the meeting, or (quite understandably) fell asleep during the Unix-y bits, here are the headlines from last night's meet of the wefcpug.

Leaping into Leopard

Without much qualification, a 'thumbs-up' from me for Leopard on the MBPro I run. Due to operator inattention (I've got the builders in - see below) this turned into an 'update' rather then the intended 'Archive & Install', but went pretty well, with the job done in 1hr30 or so.

Good points: inter-Mac networking much improved over Tiger. Finder remembers login details for remote machines, presents them automatically on discovery (as Paul reminded me last night, just as Apple networking used to work in OS 9 days!). Wi-fi seems stabler than previous: especially with the problematic router (a Wanadoo/Inventel box) that I use. Quicklook surprisingly useful from the Finder.

Problem Areas: 'APE' (application program extender) if not updated will cause Leopard Update to crash. Commonly this program is installed by Audio Hijack Pro (for 'Instant Hijack'). Clean install or Archive/Install would not be affected.

X11 is now a default installation with Leopard, not an optional (although it can be de-selected). There seem to be several issues with the current Leopard X11 implementation: especially running X11 from the Dock, which is 'deprecated' by Apple. Their instructions are t0 allow any programs requiring X11 to cause it to run automatically. Note in passing that the Gimp is reported to be non-functional. There is advice on the web to remove the Leopard X11 and replace it with the previous (Tiger) version. More reports needed....

PPMulator problems - the app doesn't work anymore, because there's currently no way of routing system audio out to it. Previously this was done by Soundflower - we await a new version. Note the plug-in PPMulator still works fine inside Soundtrack Pro.

Updated versions were needed of: Epson software for my scanner (free download); Parallels (paid upgrade for v3.0 - problems here in running previous win98 virtual machines. Research is ongoing); Freeway Express (free download I believe -TBC); Snapz Pro (free download).

Very Good Point: Time Machine works very well, and especially during the intended test to 'Reinstall System' that I conducted when an electricity failure (plus some fiddling at the time with Parallels/Win98 virtual drives) broke an ongoing connection to the Firewire Drive, which in turn led to a non-bootable MBPro.

Note in Passing: Spotlight and Time Machine need plenty of time and processor cycles to establish indexes and system backup - I suggest not trying to do much else with your Mac after the first boot - and ideally not enabling TM until Spotlight has done its stuff.

Disappointments: There is a lower limit of proc speed and Mac model, below which Leopard won't install. The G4/400 falls below this. Workrounds are being investigated around the web.
The preview of Leopard's iChat showed some of the fancy effects in iChat video. It's shipped with most of the chroma-key effects they showed but without the Star Wars 'hologram' effect.

Also at the wefcpug

we saw the cut versions of the commercials that Aardman had in progress when we visited in September.

we answered (or at least talked about) queries to do with Display Imaging, NTSC conversion, and other matters - all of which you will soon be able to read about in more detail on the wefcpug site thanks to this month's scribe, Matt Wenner.

Next Meeting

will be Monday 10th December - that's the 2nd Monday in the month for a change.