There's little documentation. There are no tool-tips. There are no printed manuals. There are on-line docs available for each application, but they are not only inadequate, they're also difficult to search.
If one wants to learn how to use, for example, the Ken Burns effects in iMovie, it's a frustrating beat-your-head-against the wall plow-through-it kind of experience. I hate it.
I've had to puzzle over the interface several times: Why does iMovie keep resetting the zoom I just set? I rotated this photograph in iPhoto, why doesn't the change appear in iMovie? Why do I lose time when I add this transition? How do I keep from losing time? How come the updates don't take effect when I try to alter the slide transitions between frames? Why doesn't the export command display the estimated file size (and time to export) so that one doesn't start a high-quality Quicktime export if it's too big? Etc.
Yes, I know it's a free product.
Apple markets its applications as easy-to-use. They may be, but they're not always easy-to-learn. I know that Apple's marketing machine should be ignored because it's prone to hyperbole and little white lies, but I expected the iLife applications to be easier to learn. (I've had terrible trouble with iTunes, also -- a clumsy, clumsy application.)
Despite my complaints, once learned how to use iMovie, I was able to work efficiently. Once I learned to use iTunes, I was pleased, too. My complaints are with the initial ease-of-use, the lack of documentation, and the poorly designed interfaces, not the power and usability of the applications for experienced users.
Last night was the final session of our photography class. Seven die-hards attended (of the eighteen who started the class) and shared slide shows and enlargements.
Only three of us completed the "What a Wonderful World" slide show. Warren confessed that he hadn't expected anyone to complete it -- it was time-consuming and required a lot of effort, and he had given the assignment just to see what we might accomplish.
The three of us that completed the task each took a slightly different approach. Sue used 70+ traditional slides (all of them brilliant). Larry captured ~30 digital images (many of them brilliant) and converted the project to digital video tape and played it on the television. I used ~40 images (few of them brilliant), displaying my slide show in iMovie on my iBook.
Though I'm satisfied with my completed project, it's not nearly as good as it could be. I know more about scanning negatives now, know more about iMovie, know more photography in general. If I were to undertake the project again, I'd have a better idea of what to do.
Here is my slide show (6.08mb, Quicktime file): What a Wonderful World (click to view in your browser or right-click to download)
After viewing the slide shows, we displayed our enlargements. Five of us brought a total of 33 photographs. The results were impressive. Nearly every photograph adhered to Warren's tenets: get closer, eliminate extraneous elements, etc.
We voted on our favorites. Sue's gorgeous photograph of a lighthouse silhouetted against fiery clouds at sunset took first place. Larry's lovely pastoral image (white fence, plum trees in bloom, rolling hills) was voted second place. Two of my images tied for third:
The cat climbing the ladder won the run-off. The class knew before-hand that this photograph was not taken during class, but they liked it enough to keep it in the pool from which we voted. The prize for third place was a roll of 3200-speed (!!!) black-and-white film. (The prize for first place was an old box-camera from Warren's collection.)
It was a great class session. Several of us exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses, and discussed plans for future photography courses.
Now I've discovered this site's raw log files. What fun!
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On this day at foldedspace.org
2007 — Amazing Video of the Moon Transiting the Sun In which I share a gorgeous stereoscopic video of the moon crossing in front of the sun.
2006 — Chore Cloud: One Difference Between Men and Women In which I hypothesize that women operate with a list of chores, and that men operate with a chore cloud.
2005 — Neighbors and Dreamtime In which I describe the people we've met in our new neighborhood. In which I have a strange dream.
2004 — Host Hunt In which I research web hosts in preparation to moving foldedspace.
2002 — In the Bedroom In which Kris and I enjoy a fine meal at the Veritable Quandary. In which we see In the Bedroom. In which it may snow on St. Patrick's Day.