Friday, 22 October 2010

Day 295, on which John reviews iLife [22.10.10]

Dag to hundrede femoghalvfems. I've started building again today, after a bit of a gap left by I-don't-know-what. It's a small modernist building, using similar shapes and in a similar presentation to the Ishøj House but it's not meant to be similar. It's on a baseplate, has grass, trees and decking like the Ishøj House, and in terms of structural elements it's similar, but it's still different. And I don't think it's as good as the Ishøj House, either, because it's not so much of a complete form. It's more of an experiment. We'll have to see how it pans out.

Also, I'm now off on half term. How did I forget to mention that? Guh, ah well. Should be fun. Lots of building, plus a freaking huge Bricklink order.

Since it's review season here on JOHNSPACE, I figured I'd complete my review of the latest Apple product releases by casting my ever-critical eye over iLife '11, the umpteenth version of Apple's iLife software package.

Looks 90s to me. Blurgh.
I've been an avid user of iLife for four years now, so ever since I got my MacBook Pro way back in 2006, when I was a very different kid. iLife '06 was a great package, and I really have appreciated every single feature of it. iLife always contains the same three applications: iMovie, iPhoto and GarageBand.

I've been using iMovie from '06 and I will happily say that it's the best movie editing application you can buy for under £80. It's got a timeline, a nice load of functions to allow you to have some control over your movie, plus it looks professional.

Then it took a turn for the worst in 2008, when iMovie '08 announced that it wouldn't actually be including a timeline. My exact words were "what the actual fuck, Apple?", for the timeline is the key piece of any non-liner video editing software. Even Windows Movie Maker has it, for God's sake. But no, Apple said "screw the timeline" and only used clip-by-clip individual editing. Sure, iMovie '08 looked purdy, but so does the Juicy Salif lemon juicer but that doesn't work for toffee. Luckily, Apple regained some of my respect for them in 2009 when iMovie '09 brought in a timeline. However, due to the moronic screen layout of iMovie, it has to cross several lines, like text. Which defeats the whole point of the timeline, but I'll leave that alone for now.

Smells like fail.
The most notable change in iMovie '11 is that it's now become "video editing for sentimental morons who have no taste", and I suppose the only thing preventing Apple from renaming it so is because the name may be too long to fit on the packaging. Even still, that's what it should be called. Look, mom, you can make your own trailer credits. Oh, of course, that's not corny in any way. Not clichéd. No, in fact that's very classy and only the poshest, most professional dickheads use it in their videos. You can even have a title sequence in the style of Indiana Jones.

iMovie '11 is a sorry excuse for iMovie. What was a once-great entry-level video editing application is now a poor man's Movie Maker. There, I said it. It's Movie Maker, but with better-made titles. You can even apply an effect which overlays sports channel graphics! Sure, sentimental American 'soccer moms' will love this to ruin the videos of their family's summer holidays. Their friends, when the video is forced into their faces via hand and/or round robin email, will smile and say "that's clever," but their souls are burning inside because they secretly know it's shit.

So basically iMovie has reached new lows. Moving on...

iPhoto has always been a big favourite of mine, and is the only iLife application I have which is more up-to-date than the iLife '06 package. I managed to get iPhoto '08 off my friend, and Events make it so useful. Since then, iPhoto has been going from strength to strength. A slick interface, easy management of photos and clear ties to MobileMe internet services have made it a winner for me.

Now we have iPhoto '11, and there's a couple of new features I must address. Firstly, you can view your photos in full-screen. Big woop. Then there's the ties with Facebook, which I am very excited to see 'cause it means you can tie in your Faces (which is when you organise photos by who's in them) to your friends on the ol' Book of Faces (see below). Plus you can browse Facebook photo albums like iPhoto Events. Which is all swell. I'm not a big fan of the new, simplistic application layour, but it's taking iPhoto in a bit of a different direction - more towards it being a button-based iPhone app, rather than a traditional gallery management software. The fullscreen function seems a bit too much for me.

Demented woman in the middle (because Apple needs to show a wide range of retarded and non-retarded people using their software) and that Chinese biologist from Sunshine on the right. A star-studded cast.

Then there's some email options, yada yada yada, and all seems goody goody. Until we get to the new way of customising photo albums, which you design on iPhoto and send off to be printed out and mailed to you. HAH. I say design there, but it's anything but. It's about as much designing as if you had an interior designer, called Nicole for the sake of detail, round your house and she offers you a selection of three swatches. ie., it's going to look the same no matter what you do. Even if you deliberately try to pick garish colours, it'll come out all stone-washed and spiffy. Basically, it'll look how Apple wants it to look. Screw you for thinking you had any choice.

Note the 'happy' photos of the family on the front of the album, when in fact there's a lot of family issues, domestic violence and a possible divorce via dad-in-drag looming over the horizon.
This here is the new photo album builder environment. Now come on lads, this is poor. Do you think we're so thick as to need the swatches arranged in 3D as if on a shelf? Arranged so you could 'believe' it's actually on a shelf put there lovingly by your interior designer Nicole so you, the tasteless consumer, can pick any one and feel classy. Fuck feeling classy, is what I say. How about more customisation and not patronising the user? All this 3D stuff makes me feel sick.

So apart from that pretty awful low point, iPhoto is looking good. I'm all for more Facebook integration in the future. Consider it, Mr. Jobs.

I won't review GarageBand '11 because I very rarely use my version, GarageBand '06 so it'd be a waste of time for me to act like I know something about it. I'll leave the criticisms to people who can criticise with reason.

See you dudes tomorrow.
~John

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