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CalendarDecember 20, 2014

Review: Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display

Review: Apple iMac with Retina 5K DisplayAbout two months ago, I published an article about Apple's new iMac with a 5K display, alluding to the possibility that I might get one. Well, I did. There were two reasons why I made the decision: 1) A Mac specialist at my local Apple Store demonstrated the 5K iMac could handle two external Thunderbolt displays, and 2) I've learned from past experience to NEVER wait for Apple to release a new Mac Pro.

While I would have preferred a Mac Pro, the new iMac is pretty sweet. I upgraded every single component possible, which means my new iMac has a 4.0 GHz i7 processor, 32 GB of RAM, a 1 TB SSD, and an AMD Radeon M295X GPU with 4 GB of memory. I would have preferred 64 GB of RAM and more video memory, but overall, I'm pretty happy with the specs.

The 5K Retina Display

Of course, the most notable spec of the new iMac is the display. It supports full 5K resolution (5120 x 2880), which totals 14,745,600 pixels. If you add my two Thunderbolt displays (2560 x 1440 each), I have 22,118,400 pixels between the three displays. That means the GPU is rendering 22 megapixels in real-time, or 60 times per second, assuming a 60 Hz refresh rate. 22,118,400 pixels x 60 Hz = 1,327,104,000 pixels per second. That means my new iMac is processing over 1.3 billion pixels every second.

While that math is impressive, what's more important is how the 5K looks. Some visitors might remember that when I began using the iPhone 4 with a retina display, my computer monitor started looking blurry. I knew that one day high-res displays would make it to desktop computers, and that day has finally come. The iMac's 5K display is awesome. The text is crystal clear and the photo detail is incredible. The colors are especially vibrant on this new iMac and maximum brightness level is higher than what I need.

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CalendarDecember 4, 2014

Goodbye Adobe

Goodbye AdobeIn 2012, I wrote an article titled, "Adobe: Down Two Strikes." I had two back-to-back frustrating experiences with Adobe, and was on the verge of moving away from Adobe products completely. I toughed it out for two more years, but last week I noticed my Creative Cloud subscription had increased from $20 to $50 per month without any notification from Adobe. That's 150% more than I was paying before. Three strikes. I canceled my Adobe Creative Cloud membership.

$50/mo is a reasonable price if you use most of the Creative Cloud apps. I only use three: Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Acrobat, but it doesn't matter – I still have to pay $50/mo. Adobe offers individual application pricing of $20/mo per app, but based on that model, I would pay $60/mo for three apps. It's pretty clear Adobe doesn't want anyone using the individual app option.

I make a lot of decisions based on principle and canceling my Creative Cloud subscription was one of them. While I can afford $50/mo, I feel it's too much to pay for three apps, some of which I don't even use that often. I'm frustrated that Adobe doesn't offer industry-specific packages like they used to with Creative Suite. Remember the CS Web, Design, and Production options for web, print, and video? Now Adobe forces everyone to get the equivalent of the old Master Collection.

What annoys me is that Adobe markets Creative Cloud like it's such a good deal since you get so much for only $50/mo. I know a lot of people in the digital content creation industry and not one of them uses all the Creative Cloud apps or even most of them. The value of Creative Cloud is only as good as how many apps you use. For me, three apps for fifty dollars a month is not a good value.

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CalendarNovember 26, 2014

An Examination of Consciousness: Recognizing Goodness

PC.net Thanksgiving Turkey 2014

"What do I dwell upon throughout the course of each day? To what am I giving my attention, my life, my concern, my thought, my energy? Where is my heart throughout each day? What are the emotions I most commonly experience? What am I dwelling on?"

I came across these questions in studying St. Ignatius' "Examination of Consciousness" during my annual retreat a few weeks ago. They are great questions to ask ourselves. The goal, according to St. Ignatius, is to reorient and even retrain ourselves to be grateful.

Daily life often leads us to get frustrated with things that are imperfect and undone. By recognizing and holding onto experiences of goodness, we become more aware of the positive things in life. This provides us with a disposition of thankfulness. As we become more thankful, our attitudes improve, and so do our relationships with others and with God.

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CalendarNovember 12, 2014

Review: Apple iPhone 6

It's only been about two months since Apple released the iPhone 6, so I'm pretty sure I am the first one to write a review. OK, this might be the 15,367th review of the iPhone 6, but hopefully I can provide some helpful insight based on my personal experience with the phone over the past six weeks.

Front of the iPhone 6

As I mentioned in a previous article, I chose the regular iPhone 6 instead of the Plus since it just felt like the right size. Maybe one day we'll all be using oversized phones, but for now, the standard 6 feels perfect. After using the phone for the past several weeks, I am confident I made the right decision. The screen is large enough that it's noticeably bigger than the iPhone 5, but I don't need two hands or an external handle to hold it like the 6 Plus.

While I'm not a fan of watching TV shows or movies on portable devices, the iPhone 6 screen is big enough that you can actually watch videos without straining your eyes. I especially enjoy watching StarCraft 2 replays on my new iPhone since it's easier to see individual units in the game. My favorite part of the larger screen, however, is that it is easier to type! Since the keyboard is larger on the iPhone 6, I find myself making less typing errors, which increases my productivity and lessens my frustration. It's a win-win.

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CalendarOctober 16, 2014

Apple Introduces the 5K iMac with a Retina Display

Apple Introduces the 5K iMac with a Retina DisplayToday, Apple announced the "iMac with Retina 5K Display." The desktop version of my December 2011 prediction has finally become a reality.

It's been more than two years since Apple introduced the Retina MacBook Pro, but the company finally released its first desktop display with a high-resolution "retina display." Perhaps 4K wasn't enough to reach "retina" status, so Apple decided to create a 27" display with over 5,000 (5K) horizontal lines of resolution.

The resolution of the new iMac is 5120 x 2880 pixels, to be exact. That is 14,745,600 total pixels. In other words, the screen can display a 14 megapixel full screen image with no scaling. Wow. I suppose many photographers and video editors are already lining up to buy this impressive new machine, which started shipping today.

The display of the new iMac is awesome. I suppose it will be even more awesome when I see it in real life. However, it puts me in a difficult position since I was waiting for a standalone display that I could use with a new Mac Pro. For some reason (probably based on sales volume), Apple decided to put their new display technology into the 27" iMac rather than a new Thunderbolt monitor.

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