MacMania: Ship of Geeks


Shawn King. (If you know Shawn, you know it’s hard to miss Shawn in a crowd.) Shawn’s wife and co-host, Lesa Snider King, was working furiously on her forthcoming book, Photoshop CS4: The Missing Manual while we waited to board. And waited. And waited. Imagine being at the gate for a plane that holds 2600 passengers. And multiply that by 3, because everything seems to be three times as complicated on a cruise. The first morning, Don McAllister did a great presentation called “Mastering Your Inbox.” I had to laugh at this dictum of his: “Don’t live in your inbox.” I know that I usually do, but being on this cruise will probably help cure this unhealthy obsession. We have internet access, but it is slow and not 100% reliable. I can’t live in my inbox now. (And no, it has nothing to do with being distracted by all the fun non-geek cruise activities…) Don talked about using TextExpander for speeding up the process of replying to emails and processing your inbox. He also showed off an interesting program called MailTemplate from MailTank, which lets you build very useful templates. I am going to definitely check it out, when I have the bandwidth to download anything. Lesa took a break from editing her manuscript to give a workshop on Digital Photo Workflow: How to Shoot and Edit Like A Pro. She’s great at pointing out simple things you can do to take better photos and at making the behemoth known as Photoshop into useful pointers for the amateur user. I love her tips on using grayscale and sepia filters to make otherwise blah photos into something really interesting. (I need to give a plug for Lesa’s book here. She is working so hard on this. It wasn’t part of her plan to be editing during the cruise, but book publisher schedules wait for no one. If you want to know everything worth knowing about Photoshop, be sure to pre-order a copy NOW and support the hardest-working person on the Geek Cruise.) The highlight of my day, aside from finding the perfect pizza in Naples, was David Pogue’s iPhone presentation. I am an unabashed Pogue Fan Girl. He’s been one of my favorite writers since I read Mac OS 9 for Dummies years ago. His columns and videos for the New York Times are not to be missed, especially when he draws on his background as a Broadway composer to spoof technology. Great speakers, like great performers, know how to improvise. David thought he’d discovered a device that would project his iPhone to the screen, but it only worked for video. He then tried to use the iSight camera to get the image up, but the iSight flips the video to be a mirror-image. He finally hit on the solution of using iMovie in iSight capture mode. iMovie does not flip the video. All David had to do was face his MacBook Air away from himself and hold the iPhone in front of the iSight, facing him. Check out the photo below. It was a great presentation. David is so enthusiastic about the iPhone on so many levels, it’s contagious. He showed off lots of iPhone Apps. Must have: “Fake Phone Call.” With it, your iPhone can simulate a phone call coming in. Great for those meetings or dates where you need an excuse to get away. It’s also apparently great for pranksters: David’s son even faked him out to think that Steve Jobs was on the line. The boat is just pulling into Messina, Sicily as I am typing this, so I’ll close here for today. (If it’s any consolation to those envying us on this cruise, just know that it has been pouring rain with lots of lightning all night and it looks like a lousy day to get off the boat.) Tomorrow we’ll be at sea all day en route to Alexandria, Egypt, so I hope to have lots more to share from all the great presentations that are scheduled for that day. Me, outside the Nike Store in Naples. A little piece of Oregon away from home…