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Keeping Up

by Kerry Dawson

As a starting point for the beginning of this blog and in keeping with the overall theme I intend to pursue in the Daily Mac View, I thought a good topic to begin with would be Keeping Up. That is, an awful lot is going on and has gone on in the Apple world. With everything that has occurred and is happening, one has to wonder how do we stay on top of things or do we even want to. The answer to the latter is, at least, to some degree or else its impossible to enjoy the benefits of what’s now available to us Apple folks.

The rapidly evolving face of change that encompasses the Apple environment has always been a highly dynamic and exciting one. No much more so than in the last ten years. Apple revolutionized the computing world when it first brought the Mac to market with not only its highly intuitive and friendly interface but one that made computers approachable to everyone. Yet, all this aside, the last ten years has been nothing less than dramatic.

Ten years ago we started off with the Mac having both its desktop and portable computers. There was an unfortunate dearth of software available at the time and as such, many users felt compelled to stay in the Windows world which provided a much broader array of software and solutions that just could not be met by the Mac. Microsoft Office continued to reign supreme not only for Windows but the Mac too. It was commonly thought that if Microsoft were to abandon the Mac, that would have been its death knell and to a large degree that was true then.

No longer is that the case. The Apple universe, in a very short period of time, has once again become a vibrant and in some ways a more robust environment than it ever has been. The Mac continued to evolve with some amazing hardware designs and OSX moved forward with every release with yet more stunning and profound changes based on an extremely reliable operating system. Software and solutions were returning to this once spirited ecosystem.

However, a real turning point in Apple’s fortunes occurred with the release of the iPhone and its OS IOS. At first, software innovation was stifled on the platform just as Apple was gaining its footing. However, early adopters of the platform were amazed by both its power and simplicity and to some degree the fun of just using it. Once Apple opened this environment up so that third party software developers could build for it, exciting software, both mainstay and novel exploded for IOS. The iPhone flourished followed by yet another entirely new breed of product the iPad which cemented Apple’s fortunes. Users were delighted by these new, cool products.

At the same time, although it had been said for years that the network was the computer, it, the web and cloud computing began to intermingle and it too has taken off. Ten years ago, Steve Jobs said that the Mac was the centre of the Apple universe and from it all things would be controlled and delivered. Shortly before his untimely demise, he said that now and in the future cloud computing would take over as that centre. Although it made sense that ten years prior the Mac would be that centre due to the limitations of technology and infrastructure those limitations have and are rapidly disappearing. Cloud computing and the service it brings to the table is where its at.

In many ways, this was not only fortunate for the future of IOS and the Mac but essential. As software flourished on the IOS platform, there was a desire if not a demand that the software talk or sync, so to speak, with its counterpart on the Mac. Although WIFI networks could initially handle this it was far less efficient than was needed. Software between the platforms had to talk to each other else data would become isolated in each platform and this would have led to a form of chaos if not at a minimum utter inefficiency. The world was no longer willing to enter the same data in multiple places. Sync in its early incarnations and sync via the cloud ensured this would not happen.

Finally, with the advent of IOS and the inventiveness of the software developers there, new and fascinating software started making its way to the Mac. Steve jobs, in one of his final strategic visions outlined an approach in which they were taking what was learned in IOS back to the Mac and its benefitting all of us. No longer is Microsoft Office the deal it once used to be and no longer is there a lack of software to choose from. There’s the good old standby’s that have made their way to IOS and there’s all this new software available that originated in IOS that has made its way and is making its way to the Mac.

One under positioned product in Apple’s lineup of products now that inherently relies on the network and the cloud is the AppleTV. It would seem that the days of the DVD rental store is probably numbered. Just as the music industry was inherently changed by iTunes and the network delivery of music, so too will be the whole mechanism in which content is delivered to us. Happily though, everything in the Apple lineup conveniently talks to everything else making our lives enriched and simpler, at least at a surface level. Its kind of awe inspiring what all these products can do for us now.

In fact, so much so, its a wonder we can keep up to all this change or can we. That’s what the focus of my next post will be about. There are numerous reasons its important to keep up the least of which is not to miss out on anything that you could find useful. Although there are still the standard ways of doing things, such as through magazines at the book store or the magazine store and of course word of mouth, which remains still one of the most effective, there are other tools that can be employed to keep on top of all of that is happening. It depends on one’s level of interest but it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the information that you can become bombarded with so management of that information to avert information overload is essential. Finally, you want to make the most of what’s available whilst having fun and not being at the mercy of a rapidly changing environment.

To this end, I will be blogging about a variety of things most of which should assist you in Keeping Up in some fashion or another. I’ll be outlining some of the various tools that are used for Keeping Up from the traditional, through to the new and the novel. I’ll also look at various solutions to things you might want to do or know about and their value. Granted, most of this will be software oriented as software is the enabler of functions that might be important to your everyday life from that of assisting with the management of a busy schedule using such things as David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” (GTD) model and the software that can effectively support those goals through to the fun, little stuff that makes things simpler.

Please feel free to comment on my various musings, reflections and analysis and further still do not hesitate to ask me to delve further into a subject that might interest you. I look forward to this journey.

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