Grace gave me an advance 60th birthday present just before I left for Macworld. She is taking me to Tanzania to see hippos in the wild. After watching the keynote with the new version of iMovie, we have decided to bring along a digicam, too!
Our friend Chet Newbold from Olympus is going to loan me one of their ultra zoom cameras, too, so I hope to bring back some great photos and video from this trip. I am so excited about fulfilling this dream and spending my 60th birthday in Africa!
I think we are going to see a lot of new products coming out of Apple this year. When they are ready on schedule, I am much more optimistic than most about 2009. I think that Apple is well-suited to innovate its way through this economic downturn.
Thank you so much for reading this issue of Kibbles & Bytes!
Your Kibbles & Bytes Team
_Don, Kali & Ed_

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For several weeks we’ve known that AT&T would finally be introducing the iPhone in Vermont mid-January. The time is almost here. We’ve heard from various AT&T affiliates that the iPhone will be launched in Vermont next week. To commemorate this long overdue occasion, we’ve put all “iPhone 3G”:http://www.smalldog.com/category/x/x/x/iPhone_Accessories|Cases
cases on sale. Every single one. They’re $5 – $10 off, or with a free FM transmitter.
“You can see all iPhone cases by clicking here.”:http://www.smalldog.com/category/x/x/x/iPhone_Accessories|Cases
We offer dozens of iPhone-compatible speakers, clocks, chargers, and FM transmitters as well. Most of these are listed “in the iPod Accessories category.”:http://www.smalldog.com/category/x/x/x/iPod_Accessories
Regarding iPhone 3G cases, I like the “Contour HardSkin in black.”:http://www.smalldog.com/wag18611/ It makes the phone easier to grip, gives a shock protection, and is relatively low-profile.

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On Monday, Google finally released a public beta of Picasa for the Mac. Picasa is a free desktop app for importing, editing, organizing and sharing digital images–particularly digital photos.
Picasa for Macs is a free download from “Picasa.google.com/mac/”:http://picasa.google.com/mac/. You need an Intel Mac running OS 10.4 or later.
Picasa has been a popular photo app on the Windows side for years. It shares some features with iPhoto, and adds some unique killer features. These include the ability to sync your Picasa desktop and Picasa Web Albums edits, screen captures, create and edit movies within Picasa, add text/watermarks to photos, manage folders on your computer, a collage creation, screensaver creation, and Facial-recognition technology. Privacy and sharing settings can be adjusted for individual photos, collections or for your entire library.
Preliminary tests show Picasa to be as fast or faster than iPhoto and easy and elegant to use. We’ll test further and review Picasa in detail in the future.
Google also offers Picasa Web Albums, which is an excellent web service for sharing and organizing photos. This has been Mac-compatible for years. There is an iPhoto plugin if you want to use Picasa Web Albums without necessarily using the desktop version of Picasa. “Click here to download this.”:http://picasa.google.com/mac_tools.html
Also, the new version of iPhoto ’09 looks amazing. News about Picasa for Mac has been swept under the rug with the announcement of iPhoto ’09.
Picasa Web Albums integrates tightly with Google’s Blogger service, along with many other blog platforms and web services. Picasa Web Albums is very easy to use, uploading is a breeze, and photos are nicely displayed online. Picasa Web Albums offers up to 1GB (“enough space for 4,000 wallpaper-size photos”) of photo hosting for free.
Flickr is still more popular and has deeper social network components then Picasa Web Albums. Again, we’ll do a detailed comparison in the near future.

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iLife ’09 looks like an awesome upgrade. Too bad it won’t be released until the need of the month. Fortunately, Apple has an iLife ’09 up-to-date program. If you’ve purchased a qualifying computer on or after January 6, 2009 that does not include iLife ’09, you can upgrade to iLife ’09 for US $9.95 plus tax.
*Apple will administer this program, including collecting the $9.95 and shipping the iLife ’09 DVD.*
More information about this is forthcoming. Please check “our blog”:http://blog.smalldog.com on or after Monday, January 12 for additional details!

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iWeb also received minor updates for Macworld. In iWeb, it’s now easier to upload websites and website changes to MobileMe or to your own server via FTP with a single click. Like iWeb ’08, iWeb ’09 uploads only your changes when you publish, so you’ll enjoy quick site updates.
iWeb will now notify your Facebook friends when you update your site. Simply link any iWeb site to your Facebook account. Following an update, iWeb adds the changes to your profile, alerting your friends and providing them with a handy link. It’s now also easier to add web widgets to your site that update automatically.
iDVD didn’t appear to get any new features beyond performance and stability improvements. iMovie once again supports DVD chapter makers and titles for use with iDVD ’09, which is very welcome news.
“Learn more and pre-order iLife ’09 here.”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/72885

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At Macworld, Phil Schiller introduced a new version of GarageBand. The biggest new feature is called “Learn to Play.” It is designed to teach people to play instruments such as guitar and keyboards. You see the a representation of the instrument on the screen with a video of the instructor facing you.
Celebrity instructors include Sting, Sarah McLachlan, John Fogerty, and more. Apple says “learn to play a hit song from the artist who made it famous,” which I think sounds pretty cool. Additional video lessons can be purchased from the new GarageBand store for $4.99.

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Apple has updated iMovie ’08 to iMovie ’09 as part of iLife ’09. iMovie ’09 was introduced with the statement that iMovie ’08 “didn’t have all the features that older customers wanted.” Apple has added “a bunch of features that should please everyone.” Phil Schiller continued to say that Apple has added “depth and power” to iMovie ’09.
Some of the new features include:
* Precision editor with expanded timeline for advanced users. Improved drag and drop of video clips and audio clips. Easier to insert, overlay, replace, and add audio straight from clips. Sound can now be extended from the first clip over audio from the second clip to give pro continuity to edits. Also now easier to skim and see edits before and after cuts.
* Automatic video stabilization. The software identifies jittery/bumpy motion and reduces it by comparing frames of video to subsequent and previous frames. Video stabilization along with image stabilization in camcorders can practically create still photos. Two-step process. The first-pass is processor intensive.
* Now possible to integrate maps into iMovie projects, including an option for Indiana Jones-style flyovers with a beginning and end point.
* iMovie once again supports DVD chapter makers and titles for use with iDVD ’09, which is very welcome news.
Other features include new themes complete with titles, transitions and credits. “Clip adjustment” includes a slider to speed up or slow down video clips (which was mystifyingly absent in iMovie ’08). A new Project Library shows you all your film clips. New video effects have been added with instant previewing; no rendering is necessary. Read all new changes “by clicking here.”:http://www.apple.com/ilife/imovie/new-features.html
Personally, the announcement of iMovie ’09 was the most exciting event at this Macworld. I can’t wait to try it out. It sounds like creating engaging, attractive videos will be more fun than ever.
“Learn more and pre-order iLife ’09 here.”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/72885

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iPhoto has gotten many updates in the iLife ’09 edition. iPhoto is arguably the most-used application in the iLife suite, behind iTunes.
For starters, there are now three ways to sort your photos:
* Events
* Faces
* Places
Events was a new way to view and sort photos with the last iLife release, but both Faces and Places are new.
Faces relies on face recognition, and assists in tagging photos. Amazingly, it will find a face and ask in other photos if it is the same person… I guess we’ll see! There’s also integration with Facebook and Flickr.
Places works with Google Maps to zoom in on a location. It uses latitude and longitude, and will automatically add a location to your photos. This is great because you’ll be able to ‘geotag’ your entire set of photos. Phil uses the example of “Yosemite” in that if you have just taken a vacation there, it will geotag all of your photos from the trip!
I’m really excited to check iPhoto ’09 out, especially the tagging and face recognition features. As Don mused, “will it be able to recognize dog’s faces, too?” Unfortunately, apparently not, but we’ll be reporting more on iPhoto’s features in future issues of Kibbles & Bytes!
“Learn more and pre-order iLife ’09 here.”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/72885

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Millions of cheers were heard ’round the world when Phil Schiller announced some of the changes coming to the iTunes Store. The main one: all DRM-free music, meaning that songs can be played and burned without restriction. The four major record companies (Sony, Universal, Warner and EMI) are all now on board with the change, which was crucial to feature songs without the “DRM”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management encoding.
Beginning today, over 8 million songs in the iTunes Store feature:
* No DRM restrictions
* Higher-quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio quality virtually unchanged from the original
* Same price for song downloads onto iPhone 3G over their 3G network
The remaining 2 million songs in the 10 million+ iTunes library will be available without the DRM restrictions by the end of March. According to Apple, they will offer a “simple, one-click option to easily upgrade their entire library of previously purchased songs to the higher quality DRM-free iTunes Plus format” for 30 cents per song or 30 percent of the album price. Sounds intriguing, but it could get expensive… I say choose your favorites wisely!
In April, songs will be available at three price points: 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29. This will be dictated by what the music labels charge Apple for the above licensing.
“Read Apple’s entire press release here.”:http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/01/06itunes.html

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