Monday Mac Tweak #1

I am often asked about the many tools, tweaks, hacks and interface toys I use on my Mac. See, I am a Mac Tweaker. I am the sort of guy who believes that the most important word in the abbreviation PC is “Personal”. Therefore, for my amusement and that of others, I will post a new Mac Tweak every Monday. Heck, I may even post more or more often if the mood strikes. Today, for instance, I will mention two. Therefore, let us get started.

You Control: Desktops – I hate clutter. I can’t stand having windows on top of windows on on my computer desktop. I like to keep things nice, clean and simple. You Control: Desktops, from You Software, gives you multiple desktops and allows you to switch between them with a single click or key command. If you are familiar with the concept of multiple desktops in the Unix/Linux environment then you already understand the concept. You Control: Desktops takes that concept to all new, Mac only, levels. For those who are not familiar with the concept, the best way is to see it in action.

NewsFire – RSS Feeds with style! NewsFire is my favorite RSS news reader/aggregator for the Mac. Why? Well, first of all, it is very Mac like. Think of iTunes for Blogs. Secondly, it has amazing features like “Smart Feeds” that work like smart playlists in iTunes in that it can gather new items together on specific criteria. Give it a try and you will not regret it.

Original Mac Launch Video

And if you thought trying to get a stream of the MWSF 2005 Keynote was bad. Try getting to the recently unearthed video of the introduction of the original Macintosh. The original site has been Slashdotted to hell since the first post but it can be found at several mirrors including this one.
Insanely great!

Interesting Film Sound Info

Info on the three different digital audio systems in use in movie theaters

• DTS (Digital Theater Systems) has the 6 channels of audio on one or two CD ROMs synchronized to the film, 1.5 megabit bit stream. One channel is reserved for the subwoofer or LFE (low frequency effects) as it is called in the industry. DTS is the best system and uses the least amount of compression. DTS time code is printed between the picture and the analog track.

• SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound) has its bit stream printed outside of the sprocket holes. Both sides are identical but are staggered in time. SDDS usually hiccups at splices. It is a 7.1 staggered in time. SDDS usually hiccups at splices. It is a 7.1 channel system, 3 behind the screen, 2 surround channels on the left side of the seating area, and 2 more on the right side. Some theaters fold it down to 5.1, with one left and one right surround. The 0.1 channel is for the subwoofer.

• Dolby Digital is a 5.1 channel system over which there is much controversy due to its very low bit rate of only 320 kilobits/ sec and extreme compression. It uses “bit pooling” so that if only one or two channels are active at a given moment, it or they get most of the bits. But when all 5.1 channels are active you can hear it run into trouble. Dolby Digital bit stream is printed “between” the sprocket holes.

Related Additional Info

• Some movies are analog only, usually in stereo; some also have one of the digital systems on the print, some have two digital systems on them and the big budget movies have all three.
• If a theater has one type of digital equipment but the movie does not have that system, that movie is played in analog. All three digital systems can revert to the analog track in the event of trouble.

• Most theaters that have digital are equipped with DTS because DTS is the least expensive system for a theater owner to install. This is ironic when you consider it is the best system. DTS can also supply CDROMs in different languages. Currently DTS is the only system that can be put on 70 mm film but no movies are released on 70 mm anymore and very few theaters have 70 mm equipment.

• Dolby Digital at the slightly higher bit rate of 384 kb/sec has been selected as the mandatory audio format for digital HDTV. This has caused much controversy. Dolby Digital is also the mandatory audio format for DVD.

No Soup for You!!!

Apple is running low on almost all of its stock, leaving waits of months on G5 machines. Most Apple resellers are reporting 6 weeks wait in the channel and build to order units are getting expected ship dates 2 months out.

In addition, it should come as no surprise that iPod and iPod mini players are sold out almost nationwide.