Watch Monday Part 3: Seiko Sports 100

Computers for Everybody

When it comes to computing gear, I’ve been an Apple fan since college. I love my Macs, iPhone, and iPad and wouldn’t trade them for anything. They’re reliable, beautiful, work great, and hold their resale value very well.

But I admit that when it comes to price (as opposed to value), Apple has never been the cheapest option. That’s why growing up in a working-class family, I never owned an Apple computer. We just couldn’t afford them.

But we could afford (barely) a succession of Commodore 64s and, eventually, an Amiga — all of which I got great use out of. So while I may have grown up envying my friends’ Apple IIs and Macs, I didn’t miss out on the benefits of computing. Commodore truly made computers for the masses, which I’ll always be grateful for.

Given this, I was especially happy to see these old hallmarks of my computing youth during a recent visit to the Computer History Museum. I also liked that the Commodores sat on the top shelf of their affordable early microcomputers display. For those of us who loved computers but didn’t have much to spend on them, they truly were top shelf items.

(Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA)


Recently, I visited XFR STN at the New Museum with a group of archivists. The folks behind the exhibit gave us a brief but very thorough overview into their data recovery workflow.

I totally geeked out seeing their workstation of old drives for reading obsolete digital media like floppies (3.5/5.25/SD/HD/SS/DS), Zip disks, Jaz drives, and (soon) optical. I got nostalgic for the Commodore 64s and Amigas I owned during childhood. I also got a little sad thinking about all the data lost forever on the floppy disks I threw away.

I’m glad exhibits like XFR STN exist, because I don’t think there’s nearly enough awareness of the digital dark age we’re potentially living in. I made Digital Antiquities a few years back in an attempt to bring attention to this issue and I have a feeling I’ll revisit these ideas in future work. I hope this is a topic that becomes part of the cultural conversation in a bigger way, soon.

Today’s FCPX Updates and News

Apple just updated Final Cut Pro X to 10.0.8, which includes, among other tweaks, support for the Sony XAVC codecs up to 4K in the new F5/F55 cameras. Compressor and Motion got updates also. Sweet.

I don’t have an XAVC camera so I couldn’t test the new codec, but the rest of 10.0.8 has been stable on my Macs so far. If you’re not the middle of a project, I’d advise upgrading. (Never upgrade anything during a project, unless you’re absolutely sure the new stuff will solve whatever problems you’re having with your current stuff.)

Probably not coincidentally, there’s also an interesting L.A. Times piece today about Apple’s new push to win back pro editors, including case studies with FCPX users like Tsui Hark.

I love FCPX and I’m very glad I made the jump from FCP7 a year-and-a-half ago. But I’m definitely in the minority among the filmmakers I know in embracing the software.

I don’t believe, as some do, that Apple has abandoned pros. I just think they’ve been a bit distracted by iOS. The updates to FCPX are a great sign that they still care about their professional users. But of course, an awesome new Mac Pro would be an even better sign.

Change Your Passwords. Really.

From “How I became a password cracker” at Ars Technica:

Watching your own password fall in less than a second is the sort of online security lesson everyone should learn at least onceā€”and it provides a free education in how to build a better password.

It seems like every week there’s a new totally terrifying story about how widespread hacking has become and how even tech-savvy folks have found themselves victims.

I admit it: I used to practice the lazy habit of re-using weak passwords on multiple sites. Then I read too many stories like these and got religion. Read them for yourself and then consider whether turning on two-factor authentication and using an app like 1Password is worth the hassle.

For the longest time, precautions like these weren’t worth my time and effort. But now they seem like very cheap insurance.

We Still Need (Mac) Trucks

John Siracusa writes:

On paper, the Mac Pro may no longer be a viable product, but it would be a mistake for Apple to abandon the concept that it embodies. Like the Power Mac before it, the Mac Pro was designed to be the most powerful personal computer Apple knows how to make. That goal should be maintained, even as the individual products that aim to achieve it evolve.

I completely agree with Steve Jobs: tablets are like cars, PCs are like trucks. And most of us don’t need to own trucks.

But some of us rely on trucks for a living and we’re willing to pay for the things that only a truck can do. At both my day and night jobs, I rely on five year-old 8-core Mac Pro workstations to do my work. Originally released in early 2008, these Macs are still fast and rock-solid reliable. The initial sticker price was high, but these machines have paid for themselves many, many times over in every metric you can measure.

If you need a truck and you love Macs, there’s no other machine that’ll do. That’s why I hope that the “really great” Mac Pro revamp that Tim Cook promised us last year doesn’t disappoint. Here’s to hoping that the new truck is, er, a monster.

(Hat Tip to Daring Fireball for the link to Siracusa’s post.)

Hidden Camera

I’ve very cleverly hidden a Sony FS100 camera somewhere in this photo — I bet you can’t find it!

Take Charge!

There’s battery chargers, and then there’s the ANSMANN ENERGY 16.

Yes, I am bragging.

Fatal Errors

The biggest surprise is that it’s a Mac. Usually when I see these public errors it’s a Windows machine. Dude, you’re letting us Apple fanboys down…

(Chelsea Market, Manhattan)


A very subtle bit of street art. Nice work, dude.

(Apple Store Upper West Side, 67 St & Broadway, Manhattan)

122365 Bytes Free

I’ve been collecting pre-2000 electronics of all kinds for an upcoming movie shoot and snagged this gem in my sister’s garage, complete with floppy drive. Woohoo!

(Houston, TX)


My 2004 12″ PowerBook 1.33 is one of my favorite Macs ever, but it was finally time to replace it. The 2010 MacBook Pro 13″ 2.4 is a worthy successor, even if it’s not quite as compact as the PowerBook. I guess if I ever want a Mac as small as the 12″, I’ll have to buy an iPad.