Apple iLife 08
- In iPhoto, Events organises photos for you; GarageBand gives you the ability to record multiple takes within a specific marked section of a song; iWeb '08 has the ability to add 'widgets' to your Web pages; iWeb '08 is both versatile and impressively easy to use
- iMovie looks more crowded and complicated than before; iMovie isn't user-friendly; there is nothing genuinely new about iDVD
On the whole, we have very few criticisms of iLife. As ever, it represents superb value for money and the new versions of iPhoto, GarageBand and even iWeb are impressive (barring a few iWeb glitches of which you need to be aware). Even the minor upgrade to iDVD is worth having. iMovie '08, however, sticks out like a sore thumb. It may indeed offer a new approach to video-editing, but that doesn't alter the fact that -- in its current form, at least -- it simply isn't ready to act as a replacement for iMovie '06. Hopefully future iterations of this program will bring it up to scratch -- and at least it doesn't erase the old version when you install it.
Price$ 99.00 (AUD)
The first version of iWeb was very easy to use -- as you'd expect from Apple. However, it was fairly limited in that it simply allowed you to create straightforward Web pages containing text, photos and maybe a bit of video. But the Web is changing rapidly, so previous upgrades have seen Apple adding new features such as blogs and podcasts to iWeb's armoury. That trend continues with iWeb '08, which allows you to add a variety of even more sophisticated content to your Web sites.
The most important new feature in iWeb '08 is the ability to add 'widgets' to your Web pages. The term 'widgets' is intentionally vague, as it can include anything from Google Maps to YouTube videos or newsfeeds taken from other Web sites. If, for instance, you find a video that you like on YouTube you'll notice that the YouTube page also displays a little 'snippet' of HTML -- the programming code used to design that particular page. You can now copy that snippet straight off the YouTube page and paste it onto a page in iWeb '08. That video clip will then play on your own Web page, and you can even preview the video playing within iWeb simply by double-clicking on the video clip on the page.
As we just mentioned, you can include features such as Google Maps on your iWeb pages as well, and there's also an option for using the Google AdSense system to earn some cash by running ads on your Web site.
A simple 'Set Up AdSense' command in the File menu helps you to quickly sign up for an AdSense account. Once that's done you just need to design an interesting Web site that will attract lots of visitors and let Google automatically feed the ads to your Web site (we suspect that this feature alone will sell quite a few copies of iLife '08).
Features such as these make it really easy to create exciting and professional (and hopefully lucrative) Web sites without any need to master HTML programming. Other new features include the ability to use your own personal domain names with your .Mac account. So your Web site can have an address such as www.macworld.com.au rather than www.mac.com/macworld. Previously you would have needed to pay for an account with a non-Apple web hosting company to use a personalised domain name like this.
iWeb '08 is both versatile and impressively easy to use, and can be recommended to anyone that wants to try and create their own personal Web site.
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First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
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