Thursday, December 31, 2009

This pretty much sums up 2009...

Terence Curren from www.alphadogs.tv just sent these wishes out. I think it sums up 2009 very well.

As this year draws to a close, I am taking this opportunity to once again thank all of you who make this a group effort.

2009 will be remembered as a very tough year for most of us. Many changes in our industry, combined with a painful recession combined to create a challenging environment to say the least. Those who have survived, are stronger for it. And to those who have left this industry, I wish you well.

2010 promises to be another challenging year that will present both hardship and opportunity. I hope for all of you to find the latter and prosper in new and interesting ways.

It will be interesting to see what hardships and opportunities arise in 2010...

tl

The Pros I Know - Eric Maddox

Eric Maddox - awesome editor, motion gfx, shooter with a great eye: http://bit.ly/5A9qOe

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

CONFLICT ALERT! Autodesk Smoke and RED Rocket

Please make sure you're aware of the following conflict before installing Autodesk Smoke (demo or full version) on your RED Rocket system.

Smoke requires native 64-bit OS whereas RED Rocket drivers works in 32-bit space. So, if you install Smoke and boot in 64-bit, RED Rocket will not work since the drivers will be unable to load.

There is no solution to this for now besides using one or the other at a time.

Tip: if you want to boot in 32-bit, hold down 3+2 on your Mac when booting. If you need to boot in 64-bit, then hold down 6+4. Otherwise, your operating system will make the choice for you when you boot up--either 64 or 32.

If you've installed Smoke and now you can't see your Rocket, simply reboot holding down 3+2.

tl

(Hey Tyler, you can thank me later...)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SCRATCH 5.0 Released!!

This just in from the ASSIMILATE Team

SCRATCH v5.0 and SCRATCH CINE v5.0 are released! SCRATCH owners with access can visit the Assimilate support site for detailed documentation on this release.

As of v5.0, SCRATCH and SCRATCH CINE are released as native 64-bit applications only and will NOT run on a 32-bit operating system. The target OS for v5.0 is Windows 7 64-bit (any edition). Be aware that NOT all graphics cards are fully functional with Windows 7. Assimilate urge you to plan your upgrade to v 5.0 and READ CAREFULLY the article on the support site for ‘SCRATCH v5.0 Drivers and Installation issues’. This covers NVIDIA graphics card support, downloading a suitable driver for Windows 7 and additional hardware issues you need to be aware of.

What is new in SCRATCH v5.0? Here is a just a teaser of the exciting tools now available and more fixes and workflow improvements are detailed on the support site.
  • New 64 bit means more memory support and larger memory address space supported equals better support for 4k workflow and beyond!
  • New RED Rocket support
  • FAST playback of FULL resolution RED media!
  • New Implementation of NVIDIA’s CUDA Technology*
  • New Real time 32 bit Full Histogram*
  • New Real time32 bit Waveform Monitor*
  • New Real time32 bit Vector Scope*
  • New XML Scripting capabilities
(*only NVIDIA cards with CUDA – Compute Capability version 1.3 or higher, support all the new features.)

More information here:

Assimilate SCRATCH 5.0

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Raising money in 2009: Strike Two--Five Star Bank

This is a follow-up to this article about obtaining financing for expansion:

Raising money in 2009: Are banks lending to small business?

In the ongoing attempts to establish funding, we submitted an application to Five Star Bank...and it was turned down because the personal score for the submitter was not high enough.

That was it. That was the sole reason listed.

Folks--we're going on 8 years old as a company. Our expansion project will take us to three new metro areas and quadruple the size of our company. SBA is covering 90% of the risk on these new loans.

It doesn't matter--its exactly what I have said before: banks are not lending to small businesses. When you have a mature company--not a startup--with a significant growth initiative that can't get funding, the banks are just hoarding cash...

As I mentioned in the last blog post--we have three positions we could hire for immediately, but the funding for the growth project needs to be there first. Banks are squatting on billions in federal dollars and the government has otherwise failed to allocate funding to anything worthwhile, yet they are still pushing forward with "health care reform" and raising the debt limit to an amount so big, we couldn't pay it back for 100 years.

Do you know anyone who got an SBA loan lately?

I don't.

tl

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Raising money in 2009: My plan for cutting unemployment in half in 30 days

DISCLAIMER--please note I am a registered Independent. My point of view comes from being a small business owner--not the left or the right.

If you are angry at the way things are being handled by Washington--please read this over and sound off below.

President Obama's dispersal of stimulus funds has been a total joke so far. If you look at the actual jobs created, the expense of the program has been monstrous:

http://bit.ly/4qw9cB

American Prospect associate editor Ezra Klein wrote in November 2008 "The stimulus package cannot be understood as spending divided by jobs...The envisioned stimulus is much bigger than simple job creation. It's infrastructure construction and aid to states and the preservation of the safety net..."

Please--tell that to someone out of work who is about to lose their "safety net."

The dispersal of federal funds by the feds and the banks should end. Immediately. The banks aren't loaning to small businesses and the feds waste the money. Give it to small businesses instead with the requirement that the funds are used to hire the unemployed.

In November, the "official" unemployment numbers was 15.4 million people and the rate was 10%. Small business owners could right this ship overnight by implementing the following program:

1. Provide direct employment loans to small businesses who promise to hire 1-2 currently unemployed personnel
2. Defer repayment of this loan to 2011.
3. Cap the interest at 5%

If you hired 7,500,000 million people this way at $45,000 per year, the unemployment rate would go to 5%. The cost of this would be $337,500,000,000. I don't know what the default rate would be, but if you assumed 85% of businesses repaid the loan with 5% interest, the real federal cost would be $36,281,250,000. This is significantly lower than the untold hundreds of billions that are being wasted by Washington right now.

If you had a 95% repayment rate, there would be no net cost to the government and this would not require a cent in tax hikes.

As a small business owner, I can tell you right now I would hire three people overnight if this program was available. I already know who they are--the job offers would go out before the ink was dry on the loan paperwork.

But I'm not a politician, so what do I know...

Torrey
-----------------------------------------------
Torrey Loomis
President & CEO - Silverado Systems, Inc.
(916) 760-0032 • FAX (916) 404-5258
torrey@silverado.cc
Web http://www.Silverado.cc
Blog http://silveradosys.blogspot.com
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/silveradosys

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rack based Blackmagic UltraScope...

The picture below was correctly identified as a rack based Blackmagic UltraScope by Paul Conigliaro.

BMD created a gorgeous full featured product in the UltraScope. And they tried to make it as inexpensive as possible by making it a card you can drop into a spare system laying around.

However, most people who have a spare system like this don't realize the specs required. You need at least two PCIe slots--one of which needs to be a x16 PCIe slot for the graphics card. Spare systems might be an older system laying around from a previous system--and they may be PCI-X, not PCIe.

And there are few graphics cards that are officially supported, so now you are having to run out and but a new card to replace in that spare system.

AND...this would be very beneficial to all editors--Mac users included--since the system requires HD-SDI, but otherwise doesn't care about the type of platform where its coming from. However, many Mac users (not all of you...no flames please) wouldn't have a spare system like this laying around, nor would they know how to build one from the ground up (again...I know you people are smart...so no flames please...I am talking about those OTHER Mac-based editors...)

One more thing--who wants another tower on the ground? This system is in a low profile compact 2U rack which can be put on a shelf nearby, or away from the main editing system altogether in another room with a long SDI run.

So...we decided to build a companion product for the UltraScope. It will be a ready-to-use product--just rack it up, plug in a monitor, turn it on, and boot up the software. Aside from that, you don't have to tinker, install, configure or do anything else.

We've already tested it with the 24" Apple Cinema LED display. Its gorgeous. I'll post a picture later on REDuser and on this blog.

We'll have it up on the site for ordering with pricing tomorrow. The engineering is done--the product works fine, but we are recasing them since aesthetically the current 2U system looks...um...generic.

If you have a monitor that supports 1920 x 1200, you can buy it without a monitor. We'll also bundle it with a 24" display and the Gefen adapter for those who want that, too.

We still need a name for it. I was thinking about ColoRig, but I am open to suggestions. I don't think "The Mullet" will make the final list.

TL

What is this?


We're building up a new piece of technology at Silverado and we're giving you the chance to guess what it is...

If you are observant, you'll be able to get it pretty quick.

Post your guesses as comments below.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Free Blu-ray Authoring Classes at Silverado

UPDATE: Larry now has a sign-up form active on the page below.

Larry Applegate of Rivergate Software will teach an all-day Blu-ray Authoring Class at Silverado Systems, the premiere Apple VAR in Northern California, on Nov. 16, 2009.

In this class Larry will cover the three options for a Macintosh-only workflow for creating Blu-ray recordable media for playback, and how you can distribute or publish your work by duplication and replication.

Much of the material for these classes is taken from the book Fast Path to Blu-ray for Mac with the blessing of its author Bruce Nazarian, who is also President of the IDMA (International Digital Media Alliance). Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the classes.

Here is the class schedule:

10 a.m. Making Blu-ray in Final Cut Pro 7
11 a.m. Blu-ray Video with Toast 10.4
12 a.m. Lunch offsite nearby
1 p.m. Making Blu-ray in Adobe Encore CS4
2 p.m. Publishing Blu-ray with BluStreak Premaster
3 p.m. Wrap up and general discussion

More info:

http://blustreak.dvdafteredit.com/blu-ray-authoring-classes

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Raising money in 2009: SacStarts

Going to check-out the SacStarts group on Sunday night:

"SacStarts dinners are informal get-togethers where the best and brightest technologists and entrepreneurs connect. Grab a seat and some food and meet other locals involved in Sacramento’s technology community."

http://sacstarts.com/events/2009/11/01/november-dinner-jacks-urban-eats

Friday, October 23, 2009

Raising money in 2009: Strike One--Tri Counties Bank

I got a call yesterday from a rep at Tri Counties Bank. He had recently come in the week before and sat down with me regarding our needs. I sent him back with a full set of financials and an outline of our expansion plans. At the time, he seemed very positive on the outlook and indicated he would talk to his underwriting department as soon as possible.

I wasn't surprised when he called yesterday without positive news.

He said that the underwriter reviewed our information and that our expansion wasn't in line with "historical growth needs" but rather based on "accelerated needs" which the bank wasn't comfortable with. He indicated that our new opportunity for expansion was great for our business, but something that otherwise scares a lending institution because of the rapid and dramatic rise in the need for capital.

Rather than being open to $750-$850k in financing, he said the bank couldn't approach anything beyond $250k and that would have to be fully secured with collateral. He indicated even this would be a stretch for them. This was different than what he originally wrote in his email:

"We are often much more flexible than our larger counterparts. When we need outside guarantees we can turn to the SBA 504 program, or California Capital (like an SBA for the state of California)."

When I asked about these guarantees, none were volunteered or offered.

To be fair--he was very nice the entire time and I appreciated him coming to the office and sitting down with us the week prior.

I talked with an associate and she said she didn't think the story would be different with any of the other banks. "In this economy, you almost have to prove you don't need the money to actually get the money..."

We'll see...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Raising money in 2009: Are banks lending to small business?

I am going to start a new topic here on the blog along the lines of small business development and funding.

Its always hard to run a small business. Right now, it can be really hard. But that doesn't stop owners from still trying to take on new challenges, establish new markets, and continue the pursuit of growth for their companies.

We're an example of that. I've run Silverado since 2003 as a fairly organic organization--we've generally bootstrapped most of what we do from the very beginning. We do a number of very high-profile things--and we do them very well.

First, we design high-definition editing systems for film, media, broadcast, and independent editors using Apple and Assimilate technology. One of our largest projects included redesigning the TV editing facility at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center around Apple technology.

Another project includes high-end film finishing software. If you are planning to see Disney's "A Christmas Carol" in 3D later this year, that movie was finished on our editing systems using a product called SCRATCH from Assimilate.

Secondly, we've been at the forefront of helping to transform cinema production with the acquisition of two of the first RED ONE cameras in the world. The RED ONE can shoot in a format called 4K--which is akin to 35mm film grade material created digitally. It is actually a very green process since there is no film development, no chemicals, no processing, and no transporting material back and forth to labs.

We work on this 4K material in our new 5000 sq. foot Silverado Studios facility in Folsom which currently has one fully operational digital cinema editing suite along with two more edit suites and an advanced 4K digital cinema theater in development.

Did you see Lois Wolk's iPhone style-ad during the last election? Shot on our RED cameras and edited at Silverado.

Did you see Cathleen Galgiani's bullet train spots? Shot on our RED's and edited by Silverado personnel.

Our cameras and personnel have shot three full-length feature films including acting personnel such as Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jamie Kennedy, Robert Picardo, and Cybill Shepherd. Our studios also hosted the editorial of the critically acclaimed Timothy Hutton feature film "Broken Hill."

For better--and worse--we've worked pretty much with the existing cash flow of the business instead of taking venture capital, angel funding, or SBA loans. We've used our own resources plus those of a few family and friends along with a local bank for a small credit line which is no longer available.

Because of that, we've been restricted in growth to what we could accommodate on our own. In spite of those restrictions, we've been awarded the following accolades along the way:

2007 "100 Fastest Growing Companies in Sacramento" - Sacramento Business Journal
2008 "100 Fastest Growing Companies in Sacramento" - Sacramento Business Journal
2009 "100 Fastest Growing Companies in Sacramento" - Sacramento Business Journal

2008 "Top 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America" - Inc. Magazine
2009 "Top 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America" - Inc. Magazine

Presently, we're poised to take on a new project in the immediate future which will require outside funding for the first year. The details are under wraps right now (my competitors like to read my blog) but will come out fairly soon. The crux of the matter is that this project will take $850,000 in excess of what we currently have. This new operation will allow Silverado to become a $10M company in about 18 months.

With that in mind, I need a loan. But are banks lending?

My position is that they are not lending. But rather than hem-and-haw about the situation, I intend to determine for myself if banks aren't lending to small business.

The following banks will get a loan application from Silverado Systems, Inc. in the next two weeks:

Sierra Vista Bank
Folsom Lake Bank
First Northern Bank
IronStone Bank
Bank of America ($25,000,000,000 in TARP funding)
Wells Fargo Bank ($25,000,000,000 in TARP funding)
Five Star Bank
Umpqua Bank ($214,181,000 in TARP funding)
River City Bank
California Bank & Trust
California Federal Bank
Imperial Bank
Sacramento Commerce Bank
Sonoma National Bank
Western Sierra Bank
Mechanics Bank
Comerica Bank ($2,250,000,000 in TARP funding)
Tri Counties Bank
Stockmans Bank
American River Bank
Bridge Bank
First US Community Credit Union

Our criteria is the following:

1. We need a loan of $850,000 for a business expansion project that will significantly increase Silverado sales on a national basis.
2. We will move all deposit accounts to the loaning institution.
3. If such service is offered, we will move our credit card processing over to the loaning institution.

We will report the results from every single bank right here on this blog. Either "yay" or "nay."

This isn't designed to be antagonistic, but other business owners are in the same shoes as we are right now--trying to expand their business, but not having much luck getting funding. Plus, a lot of people want to know what is being done with their taxes. When a bank gets a bailout, are they loaning back to the community?

If there are any banks not listed that you think should get an app, please let me know. Our criteria for applying to a bank is whether they have a strong business loan track record.

Note--while this might be a noble experiment conducted for the benefit of ourselves and other Sacramento area small businesses, I am a businessman first. If a private investor walked in the door with $850,000, we'd proceed with our business project immediately. If you're in that position, I can always be reached at torrey@silverado.cc

However, private capital being in the condition that it is today--I don't know if that is plausible. So, we are proceeding with the traditional loan process.

If you are a lending institution that would like to be considered for an application, please contact us at (916) 760-0032.

Further--we'd love to accommodate a tour of our facility. Please call us and schedule a time to visit. We would love to show you around the studio and we can talk about our expansion plans in greater detail.

Stay tuned to this blog for the results.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Starting from SCRATCH: Building 4K editing & finishing systems how-to PDF

I get a lot of questions about how SCRATCH systems are configured, why some things are spec'd, and general costs of these items.

I thought I would answer all the questions in one doc. Its 28 pages long and I am pretty sure it covers everything--including equipping your system for 3D stereoscopic.

You can download it here:

http://bit.ly/2FEYkm

This is a 1.0 doc, so if you have suggestions I am happy to incorporate them into the next revision.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Silverado extending AppleCare to 5 years

In an industry first, Silverado will be extending AppleCare coverage to 5 years.

Effective on all sales after 1/1/09, Silverado is extending AppleCare benefits from three years to five years on the following professional Apple equipment:

Apple Mac Pro
Apple MacBook Pro
Apple Cinema Display
Apple Xserve

When purchased with an appropriate AppleCare plan, Silverado will extend coverage on these items from three years to five years.

During the first three years, customers will obtain service from Apple as normally specified in their AppleCare agreement. In years 4-5, clients needing service can contact Silverado at (916) 760-0032 for service coverage.

At its discretion, Silverado will do the following:
  • Replace items that have worn out due to normal use and repair items that no longer function such as ports, logic boards, and cables.
  • Alternatively, if a repair is not available then Silverado can opt to replace the system with a brand new equivalent system.
All AppleCare exclusions will apply. Systems cannot be repaired or replaced if systems are not functioning due to abuse, accidents, and non-standard usage (i.e. using a system outside normal operating parameters such as extreme temperatures, etc...)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

AJA first to support Final Cut Pro 7

New info from AJA on their support for Final Cut Pro 7:

New Features

• Closed captioning support for Final Cut Pro 7, MacCaption, VTR Xchange, and AJA TV via QuickTime Closed Captioning Tracks - The QuickTime Closed Captioning Track is Apple's defined standard for closed captioning support (all supported KONAs).
• Full VANC data capture and playback support on a per-frame basis for all Apple ProRes formats
• Support for new Apple ProRes formats (requires Final Cut Pro 7):
- All KONAs support new Apple ProRes 422 (LT), Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy), and Apple ProRes 4444
- In addition, KONA 3 supports 10bit RGB/Dual Link capture and playback path using Apple ProRes 4444
• Expanded KONA LHi support:
- Display of timecode in the Control Panel (near the LTC input icon)
- HDMI/DVI detection of colorspace/protocol
- Downstream Keyer added (DSK)
- LTC input implemented
- Analog audio output monitoring selection implemented
- HDMI audio input channel selection
- HDMI input/output auto-detection
- 8 Channel HDMI audio output
• Support for Avid DNxHD QuickTime file playback and video output (KONA 3, LHi and LHe)
• Support for AVC-Intra QuickTime file playback and video output (KONA 3, LHi and LHe)
• Support for Cineform 3D QuickTime file playback and video output (KONA 3)

Friday, July 24, 2009

PDF File on Apple's revised ProRes codec

Apple just posted up a new link to the ProRes codec revision in Final Cut Studio 3:

No more b.stock R-Series Sony Projectors...

For those interested, Sony is now completely OUT of the b.stock R-Series SXRD projectors...

Going forward, all projectors from Sony are the new T-Series T105 and T110 models.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Leasing a Sony 4K projector?

We got a lot of questions after the last edition about purchasing Sony 4K projection systems - one was "Can I lease them?"

The answer is yes. So what do those rates look like?

Here are example rates from a B-stock R-Series projector with lens, input boards, replacement lamp, and installation cage:

24 months - $4445
36 months - $3049
48 months - $2369
60 months - $1969

For comparison, here is a similar set of rates on the new T-Series projector.

24 months - $6668
36 months - $4583
48 months - $3574
60 months - $2963

Silverado Travel Reimbursement for Major Systems and Equipment/Facility Rental

Folks like to get out to NAB to see demos by major manufacturers before making purchasing decisions. Shows like this are a great way to check out gear prior to investing a lot of money in new workflows.


However, sometimes a shoot or edit session will come up and prior travel arrangements get tossed in deference to a job at hand.


We're going to solve this challenge once-and-for-all on high-end systems and rentals with the Silverado Demo Travel Program. Fly or drive to Silverado to see a demo on your own time and on your own schedule--and when you purchase or rent one of the following systems or services you'll receive a 100% reimbursement of your flight or fuel:


SYSTEMS:


Assimilate SCRATCH Systems

Silverado Blackpowder DI Systems

Cine-Tal Color Correction Displays

Sony 4K Projectors

RED Rocket-based Mac Pro Systems

Facilis Terrablock


RENTALS:


Edit Suite Rentals (multi-day)

4K theater rentals (multi-day)

RED ONE camera rentals (multi-day)


Essentially, just let us know what kind of system or rental you want and we'll provide a quote ahead of your trip. After you've made the trip out here to review for yourself, you'll be reimbursed 100% of your flight or fuel upon purchase of the quoted system or rental.


We want to make an investment in any of these systems or rentals as painless as possible--and for some folks getting to a demo like NAB is just not do-able sometimes. With the new reimbursement program, we're trying to take some of the uncertainty out of making these decisions.


There are a few guidelines we need to follow (no first class flights!) so for information on travel reimbursement contact us at info@silverado.cc for more details.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

RED Rocket starts shipping...

Jim Jannard mentioned that the RED Rockets started to ship today. Jarred added that the initial batch are in green, while future card PCB will be red.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Adobe CS4 Updates for May 2009

Just got this post from Adobe:

The new CS4 video updates will be available late tonight/Friday morning . These updates contain several new updates and several critical fixes for After Effects.

Some of the new features are:

Major Speed improvements for Media Encoder (new support for RED)
New RED R3D workflow & Raw setting panel
Avid Import & Export (We are currently testing FCP Export)
DVD/VOB support (edit directly off the DVD !)
Faster/smooth AVCHD playback
Faster project loading
New Frame Export
And more......

We also showed several things at NAB 2009 that we have cooking in the Adobe Labs and we are planning to beta test a few of these new features this summer. The plan is to make these available on the http://labs.adobe.com site:

AVCIntra
XDCAM Export
Finalcut Pro Export

You can catch a new video here which shows all of the new CS4 updates and features in action on Adobe TV.

http://tv.adobe.com/#vi+f1510v1005

The 3 updates are:
After Effects 9.02 
Premiere Pro 4.1
Media Encoder 4.1

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blackpowder Digital Cinema Systems released...

Our new digital cinema CPU's are up on the site:


We are very proud to have worked with Globalstor Data Corporation on these. In our opinion, they are among the best RED and DI systems in the world.

One already deployed to Korea and another to Walt Disney Company...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Want to optimize your DIT work on a RED shoot?

This just came via email: 

"Things have really ran quicker, smoother, better here than any show I've been on in the last year and a half and I've done well over fifty unique RED shows.  The gear you sent me out here with totally kicks ass and makes the process of data management, dailies creation a lot faster and tranparent allowing me to put more concentration on the creative editorial process and ultimately offering more to a production."

Want to know more? info@silverado.cc

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Want to raise $2.0M for your next movie?

You want to raise some money for your new film? Do this:

1. Go out and buy MovieMaker's most recent issue (#80)
2. Read pages 28-29

Fantastic article by Jeffrey Goodman--who was determined to raise $2,000,000 for his film. He actually did it and has a feature under his belt to show for it:


You can also follow his weekly blog "Adventures in Self-Releasing" [LINK]

Monday, May 18, 2009

Official Silverado Predictions for WWDC

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off Monday, June 9th 2009 at 10 AM.

Here is what I think is likely happening this year at WWDC:
  • Snow Leopard--released? I'd have to say no. But release date announced? Yes--I'd call this at 100%. Apple recently froze the API's for Snow Leopard, so there shouldn't be much more under-the-hood work to do there.
  • iPhone OS 3.0--I'd have to say this is 80% yes. Why not 100% There has been a lot of chatter about background apps--and whether the policies that will govern the behavior of those applications has been decided upon by Apple.
  • New iPhone hardware--I'd say 100% yes on announcement. 50/50 on shipping. If OS 3.0 is delayed, you can guarantee the new phone will be delayed as well.
  • New iTablet or iPad?--Maybe... I'd give this a 25% shot
Here is what I think is NOT happening at WWDC:
  • No new Pro Apps (no Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Server, Aperture, Logic, Color, etc...)
Why? There are a few reasons.

First--WWDC has never been a creative show--its a development show. Correct me if I am wrong, but no Apple Pro App has ever debuted at WWDC. This is totally the wrong crowd for this type of introduction.

Second, the most logical prior opportunity for Final Cut Studio to debut would have been NAB last month. However, that didn't happen. I think that is because the new pro software is based much more heavily on Snow Leopard than people think. And 10.6 hadn't deployed yet, so there is no use in hyping features based on other software that can't be discussed yet.

Finally, why do two major launches at the same time? Snow Leopard is big enough, why complicate the mix with doing two simultaneous introductions? Remember the Mobile Me launch? One fumbled product release was bad enough. However, doing two at the same time--one to a hypercritical professional audience and the other to dozens of millions of customers--is a potential PR blunder if one or the other should stumble.

Last--will Steve Jobs show up to do "one last thing." No clue one way or the other, but I'd like to think so.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Answers to 5/15 Twitter Contest

Our 5/15 Twitter challenge was tough. Here are the questions (and answers):

QUESTION Setup: About the new movie starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.

QUESTION 1 of 5 - Name of Jennifer Love Hewitt's current feature (Cafe)
QUESTION 2 of 5 - Name a co-star (Jamie Kennedy)
QUESTION 3 of 5 - City of shoot (Philadelphia)
QUESTION 4 of 5 - Name a producer (Chris Wyatt, Sean Covel, or J. Andrew Greenblatt)
QUESTION 5 of 5 - Name the famous movie the producers shot prior to this project

For #5 we were looking for "Napoleon Dynamite", but "Twelve" was submitted and that technically counts.

Winner is Tim Schultz! BTW...most of the answers for this could be found here [LINK]

Cafe is being shot on two RED ONE cameras from Silverado. We're also handling data wrangling, assembly editorial, and final color correction.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How black is black on an LCD? Try the iPhone Black Level Experiment...

If you are using an LCD, how black is black? Try this experiment.

If you have an iPhone, turn it off. Go into a pitch black room (I mean PITCH black--no light leaks--totally sealed).

Then, turn on your iPhone. The Apple logo comes up--you can just cover that with your thumb.

The bright gray glow you see emitting from your iPhone? That is "black" on an LCD. But it turns out its not really that black is it?

In fact, its such a bright gray, a fully "black" iPhone display can illuminate a dark room.

This is the problem with using generic LCD's for color correction. Their black level isn't black enough, so your colors get washed out and muddied.

Try it sometime...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

StudioBuilder 04.30.2009

Hope you had a good NAB week. We've got a few things cooking for this week--every one of which will save you time and money in production and post.

AJA KI PRO PRE-ORDERS

The AJA Ki Pro is a tapeless video recording device that records high-quality Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime files onto computer-friendly media. Because it features SD/HD-SDI, HDMI, and analog inputs, you can interface with virtually any type of camera you might own or rent.

AJA's new Ki Pro was a hit at NAB. If you haven't seen the Ki Pro in action yet, take a look at this video: http://www.aja.com/products/ki-pro/

This new device is definitely going to streamline the time from production-to-post. I think of some new application for the device on a daily basis.

The Ki Pro is $3995 and AJA is already accepting reseller orders for this unit to ship this summer. Like other vendors, we're accepting pre-orders, too. However, we're making a Silverado order a little more worth your while.

With every Ki Pro pre-order between now and 5/15/09, Silverado will add a 250 Gb Ki Module at no charge--a $265 value.

You can place your AJA Ki Pro pre-orders here:

http://silverado.cc/shop/product.php?productid=1120

GEARNEX GEARED HEADS A HIT AT NAB

You know you have an awesome product when Jarred Land walks up to it and says "This thing is badass..."

We showed the Gearnex Geared Head at NAB to rave reviews at FCPUG and REDUser. The units also got plenty of play at the AJA and Panasonic booths.

While the NAB special of $3995 is now over, we have a post-NAB window where the price is $4995. That is a $1000 savings over the $5995 retail price.

http://silverado.cc/shop/product.php?productid=1118

Use the code GEARNEXRED (in the checkout notes section) through 5/3/09 for a free swivel/tilt arm.

MOVE UP TO 800GB TAPE WITH CACHE-A PRIME-CACHE LTO-4

We showed the new Cache-A LTO-4 product at REDUser 2009 last week in Las Vegas to a lot of very interested data managers.

One of the neatest things about this product is backwards compatibility with current LTO-3A archives. If you have a library of LTO-3A material, then the new Cache-A LTO-4 is the perfect way to move up to 800 GB tape, while retaining compatibility with your existing archives.

Units ship in mid-May. Pre-order your Prime-Cache today and we'll throw in 4.0 Tb in free LTO-4 tapes and a Pelican travel case at no charge.

http://silverado.cc/shop/product.php?productid=1119

SILVERADO TWITTER CONTESTS

We'll be building up our Twitter followers over the next few months with some fun contests. When we get to 500 followers, we're going to give away a free Blackmagic UltraScope.

But! In the meantime, we'll be doing fun giveaways at random. We got a copy of Shake v4.0 that we're itching to give away. So, follow our tweets and you might just get lucky:

Silverado Twitter [Link]

SILVERADO PRODUCTION UPDATE

We think its more important than ever to stay involved in production and post. There are a lot of vendors you can buy from, but how many of them are just order takers?

At Silverado, we support projects as small as music videos all the way up to feature films. We recently completed editorial and color correction on a RED video that involved a Gulfstream jet, two Lamborghinis--all for a budget that would shock the senses.

We're scheduled as the RED rental house for a feature project in Philadelphia along with assembly editorial and color correction, and in June we have a feature starting work right here in Folsom which we are going to support with cameras and editorial.

What does this mean for you? If we sell it at Silverado, its generally because we've tested it in the field and feel confident about the products capabilities. If you ever wander through our webstore and wonder why we don't sell something--its because we aren't the Wal-Mart of professional video.

We don't want to sell everything--just the best products that work. We think that the best place to determine that is in actual use in the field and the edit suite doing real work.

If you ever want to stop by and see the suite and our reel, please let me know at torrey@silverado.cc and we be thrilled to accommodate a private showing.

NEXT TIME:

More updates on NAB releases--too much stuff there to put into one update.

Also--WWDC is around the corner so we should start to hear rumblings about Final Cut Studio 3 updates.

tl

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hardware Advisory - Replace your Xserve RAID's Immediately

When they were introduced a few years ago, the Apple Xserve RAID was a breakthrough in RAID price and performance. Most other RAID products of the time were significantly more expensive and nothing else even came close to the level of performance offered to Apple users.

Fast forward to today. Untold thousands of Apple Xserve RAID's have been deployed and are in use across the world today. And many facilities still rely on these machines to safely store their critical data and archives.

Its our opinion these devices should be replaced as soon as possible.

One of the most important aspects of using any RAID device is the ability to replace a failed hard drive and restore a RAID 5 volume to full status. You can lose one hard drive in a RAID 5 and have a degraded volume, but if you lose another you have lost all your data. It is not recoverable.

Our recent checks have determined there are no further Apple Drive Modules being manufactured. Further, there are essentially zero remaining drives available as "stock" within the distribution channel (meaning there are none sitting "on a shelf" which can be overnighted to clients...)

Additionally, anecdotal checks have also determined that stocks of Apple Drive Modules available for warranty replacement via AppleCare are fully depleted. If you have an Xserve RAID covered under an AppleCare agreement, there is no guarantee that you can get a replacement drive if you have a failure.

We've talked to a few clients that are still relying heavily on Xserve RAID's and have stocked up on Apple Drive Modules over the last year in order to extend the life of their direct-attached and Xsan-based systems. However, if you don't have multiple spare drives on hand, there will come a time when your drives will begin to fail and you won't have an option for data recovery.

One of our contacts has indicated they have seen failure rates of one drive per week in some of their oldest Xserve RAID systems. These folks are actively looking to migrate to a new storage platform.

What are the best options for replacing these older systems?

We really like the new Active Storage XRAID™ and XRAID™ ES platform. We've highlighted the XRAID platform before, but the XRAID ES is a new product recently released and it has some very compelling features.

The XRAID™ ES is available in 4TB and 16TB configurations, with the 16TB configuration offering $ .67 cents per GB cost. This new, affordable, high-performance storage solution is ideal for business-critical, science, and education use in Apple-based infrastructures, and complements Active’s existing product line with a really low entry cost with future expandability.

The new Active Storage XRAID™ ES employs the same level of per-port performance, reliability and ease of management (using the native Mac OS X storage management suite found in the original Active Storage XRAID™), yet offers a lower-cost configuration taking advantage of a single high-throughput RAID controller and business-class hard drives with smaller read/write cache.

Performance of the Active Storage XRAID™ ES is also impressive — offering up to 744MB/s in a RAID 5 configuration. The Active Storage XRAID™ ES provides redundant power, triple-redundant cooling and redundant Fibre Channel connections and is managed using the same powerful, yet easy to use management tools of the original Active Storage XRAID™. The ES differs from the original Active Storage XRAID™ by utilizing a single high throughput RAID controller and business-class hard drives using a smaller cache size. These changes result in a very cost-effective and robust RAID solution ideal for business-class applications starting at a ground-breaking $6,999 US MSRP.

The Active Storage XRAID™ ES is also available in 16TB configuration providing unmatched value at $9,999 US MSRP.

You can get Active Storage XRAID™ and XRAID™ ES products at Silverado's store here:

Active Storage XRAID™ and XRAID™ ES at Silverado [LINK]

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Government do-gooders strike again: California to consider ban on large TV's

California politicians are crazy. Just mad stupid.

In the midst of an economic crisis, they are simultaneously raising people's taxes while proposing to take away some of the best tools of a retailers livelihood:

California to consider ban on large TV's [LINK]

What does the consumer get in return? Less choice and poorer quality.

Sales of high-end products such as large sets drive revenue. Revenue pays taxes. Taxes fund projects. However, I don't think that politicians see this equation very clearly.

It should be mandatory that these people spend a modicum of time in some sort of business entity before being elected. Lack of understanding about where revenue comes from is currently destroying California state government.

tl

Everything is so quiet...

Is it just me? Or is the silence before NAB positively deafening?

What do you think?

tl

Friday, April 3, 2009

2009 Update for Apple Pro Apps 4-Seat

I mentioned this first one in my last blog post. Its been out for a while, but for workgroups using Xsan--the 2006 Apple Pro Apps 4-seat Xsan document is still a fantastic primer for building a small Xsan workgroup:

Apple Pro Apps 4-Seat Xsan [PDF]

However, the tech is pretty old, so we thought we'd take a stab at adding some new tech and including a few things that weren't available when the 2006 doc was released:

Pro Apps 4-Seat Update for 2009 [PDF]

Curious to what else you might want to see in a system like this...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Original 2006 Apple Pro Apps 4-Seat Xsan Doc

We're updating the 2006 Apple Pro Apps 4-Seat Xsan document. For reference, you can get the original document here:


Its still an amazing document--even if its a little crusty in terms of old technology. In terms of building your own 4-seat Xsan, you can do no better than this free document.

Stay tuned for our next post.  I'll take the components of this doc and fully update them for equipment available now in 2009. There are also a few holes to plug in terms of available support, training, and other items like VPN routers--we'll plug those with the best available gear available today.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Free NAB pass...provided by Panasonic

Our friends at Panasonic would like you to attend their booth at NAB--and they'll spring for the pass:

http://www.nabshow.com/2009/attendee/packagesFees.asp
Exhibitor ID: 524
Pass Code:LV2174

tl

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

SSD's in the Real World...or how I plan to save $2000 a year on three minutes a day

Solid-state drives (or SSD for short) are becoming the new rage in computing. You can get a good read on the background of the SSD here:

Wikipedia entry on solid-state drives

Over the last year or so, the capacity of drives has gone way up and the price has come down significantly. They've come down so much that we obtained three of the 80 GB Intel X-25M drives and tossed them into a Mac Pro as an experiment to see how fast they worked.

We were fairly shocked. I've never seen a single internal boot volume working at over 700 MB/s (not megabits...megaBYTES). Ever.

I was so impressed that I set out to conduct another experiment. This would be a real-world experiment: moving my entire MacBook Pro from a regular 2.5" SATA hard drive to an SSD.

Would it be worth the trouble in time and money to make the move? Could someone justify the expense of an SSD now versus waiting till later when the prices fell more?

I had to wait a little while until the 160 Gb SSD's came out from Intel. There was just too much stuff I kept on my laptop to pare down to less than 130 Gb of critical info--so in the meantime I read up on my friend Lloyd Chambers' excellent technical primer on using Intel SSD's in both MacBook Pro and Mac Pro.

I received my 160 Gb Intel SSD earlier this week. I copied off the boot drive to the SSD with Mike Bombich's fantastic tool Carbon Copy Cloner. Then I set about conducting tests with the primary drive before I moved over the the SSD.

Rather than re-invent the wheel with Lloyd's technical analysis, these are my anecdotal thoughts on my own experience with running an Intel SSD in a MacBook Pro.

The test system is my 2.5 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo-equipped MacBook Pro with 2 Gb of RAM running Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.6.

I was tempted to do the tests from a clean installation, but this is a real world test. I didn't have time to un-license and deauthorize all my apps and then reauthorize fresh builds on the new system. I figured most other folks wouldn't have the time to do that either--so I opted to do a clone of my hard drive.

These were essentially boot-time tests. I didn't want to make any major file changes to docs or anything else on the old drive since I was going to start using the SSD permanently--so I only tested the boot times along with conducting some other interesting tests. Here are the apps I booted:

Apple iCal
Apple Numbers
Apple Pages
Apple iPhoto
Apple iTunes
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
Apple Final Cut Pro
Microsoft Word
Apple Safari
Apple Mail

I also tested system boot time and shutdown. Finally, I ran AJA System Test to determine drive performance.

Here is the chart of the raw performance I got between my old hard drive and the new SSD. Time is in seconds.

To say that this workflow is fast is a complete understatement. Everything is fast--my Mac finally feels like it works as fast as I think.

Response is instantaneous. Boot times on some of these applications is nothing short of ridiculous (Booting iCal and Numbers in 1-2 seconds?)

However, what really surprised me was the performance tests I ran with the help of AJA System Test.

With the hard drive installed, I ran System Test on a standard 1.0 Gb test using SD sized frames. With nothing else running. I got writes of 43.6 MB/s and reads of 52.2 MB/s. Very respectable all around. I then loaded up iTunes and let it start playing a track. I reran the tests with results of 38.9 MB/s and 41.2 MB/s. A drop of around 20% in performance, but still not horrible.

However, I then started Safari and did a 15-tab load--then I ran the same AJA test. On the hard drive the writes plummeted to 12 MB/s and the reads went to 12.8 MB/s. I thought I did the test wrong because an 80% performance hit didn't sound right. I reran the test--with the same results.

With more apps running, I got the performance down to around 4.2 MB/s sec for reads and writes.

Yuck. No more hard drives for me--that kind of performance sucks.

I swapped the HD for the SSD and performed the same tests.

With nothing loaded, we got writes of 62.2 MB/s and reads of 120.8 MB/s. With this test alone, we had already increased writes by 20% and doubled the read performance. The next test took me by surprise and I had to run it three times.

Performance went up when I did the iTunes test! I expected a performance hit when I launched and played iTunes, but the writes went to 68.7 MB/s and the reads went to 122.1 MB/s. I tried it three times--the reads and writes were all higher while iTunes was running versus when there were absolutely no apps running in the background.

I can't explain it--and I doubt it has anything to do with iTunes--but it was very strange to see drive performance actually increase when placed under increased load.

Finally, I ran the 15-tab Safari test and expected performance to fall apart. It didn't.

While iTunes was playing and Safari was loading 15 tabs, SSD writes were at 63.2 MB/s and reads pegged 121 MB/s. If there is an engineer out there who can explain why the SSD works faster when under load, I am all ears...

I figured all those time savings netted me an additional 3-4 minutes daily. At our lowest hourly bill rate, I figure on recouping nearly $2000 per year on the time I reclaimed.

Okay...okay...that is kind of ridiculous, isn't it?

It would be if the time savings was just from booting apps. However, the kind of performance achieved with this new SSD has added a level of productivity that I haven't had before. I can switch back-and-forth between windows and apps with zero lag time. Opening files is nearly instantaneous. Accessing websites is about twice as fast since the disk caching is way faster. Reading my mail and synchronizing my mailbox between the laptop and my SMTP servers is much faster than it was before.

And the dreaded Spinning Beach Ball has totally vanished.

I conservatively estimate I'll be working 10-20% faster than I was before. That alone is worth the price of the drive for me. Is the speed worth it to you? You have to be the judge of that.

Here are my new recommendations for the fastest possible system (either MacBook Pro or Mac Pro)

1. Get as much RAM as your budget will allow
2. Get the fastest processor possible, too.
3. Equip your system with an SSD-based boot drive (make sure its an Intel X-25...) If you can afford to, put in two or three in the Mac Pro.

These three recommendations will get you the fastest available Mac.

One more note--you can't get it from Apple. They don't have the Intel X-25 drives in their systems. If you want yours X-25 equipped, let me know at info@silverado.cc

tl

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

50% off Sony 4k projectors...

Sony Digital Cinema Systems has an abundance of SXRD® ultra-high resolution 4k projection equipment now available at a tremendous discount - 50% off MSRP.

Each model is fully refurbished, and carries the full Sony warranty and service options available with new A-stock models. B-stock accessories are also available to configure full 4K systems at a great value -- now priced at 10% below MSRP.

If you have considered purchasing a Sony 4K projection system, now's the time. Systems can be purchased outright or leased over time. Here are the available models:

Sony SRX-R105 SXRD 4k Projector
5,000 Lumen
MSRP $68,000.00
Sale Price $34,000.00
Lease as low as $789 over 60 mos.

Sony SRX-R110 SXRD 4k Projector
10,000 Lumen
MSRP $98,550.00
Sale Price $49,275.00
Lease as low as $1145 over 60 mos.

Sony SRX-S105 SXRD 4k Projector
5,000 Lumen W/DVI
MSRP $78,000.00
Sale Price $39,000.00
Lease as low as $905 over 60 mos.

Sony SRX-S110 SXRD 4k Projector
10,000 Lumen W/DVI
MSRP $102,000.00
Sale Price $51,000.00
Lease as low as $1160 over 60 mos.

Members of Silverado's StudioBuilder list are also eligible for the following rebates when ordered before February 13th.

Sony SRX-R105: $1,000
Sony SRX-R110: $2,000
Sony SRX-S105: $1,500
Sony SRX-S110: $2,500

We are able to provide a free replacement Xenon lamp ($1675 for 5,000 lumens and $2100 for 10,000 lumens) for the first two projectors ordered.

These systems require accessories like lamps and lenses which are based on your facility. We'll need to determine which items are needed for your installation, but the discounts on those items are huge, too.

Please contact us directly at orders@silverado.cc for ordering information. More details on each machine can be found below:

Sony SXRD projectors at Silverado

We've been told by Sony that all projectors in this class will be gone by March. There may never again be another opportunity to own Sony 4k gear at such reduced cost.

Torrey
----------------------------
Torrey Loomis
President & CEO - Silverado Systems, Inc.
Outfitter to the World's Foremost Apple Professionals
2600 East Bidwell Street, Suite 280
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 760-0032 • FAX (916) 404-5258
torrey@silverado.cc
http://www.Silverado.cc

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What do you want to see in the new Final Cut Studio 3?

Apple is on a new rotation with their product releases now that they have purged tradeshows from their calendar with the termination of their presence at Macworld.

With that in mind, its reasonable to think that Final Cut Studio 3 could be released any time between now and NAB. I think it would be silly for them to release it after NAB, but Apple definitely doesn't play by anyone else's rulebook...

So...with that in mind--what do you want to see in the new Final Cut Studio 3?

Please opine gratuitously in the comments below.

tl

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Amazing new Panasonic monitor...


Folks,

Check out this awesome new monitor from Panasonic: the BT-LH2550

Panasonic BT-LH2550 25.5 Multi-Format Color LCD Production Monitor with native 1920 x 1200 IPS Panel

Its got a color gamut larger than 709, so its going to be awesome for HD-color work. Plus, native 1920 x 1200 resolution for 1:1 reproduction of detail without scaling.

Here is all the nitty gritty:

* 1920 x 1200 resolution (WUXGA)
* Six color space settings for use in print to digital graphics to HD video: SMPTE, EBU, ITU-R BT.709, Adobe 2.2, Adobe 1.8, D-Cinema
* Wider color space than CRT models with two new color space modes Adobe gamma 1.8, Adobe gamma 2.2 and D-Cinema gamma 2.6
* Wide 178 horizontal and vertical viewing angles
* New split-screen function plays dual live pictures (1 each: SDI, DVI, Component or Video)
* Calibration hardware interface for chroma and luma (with built-in Application Software)
* Built-in waveform monitor and vectorscope functions from SDI (HD/SD) input (representing all picture lines)
* Exceptionally accurate color reproduction and improved contrast and black levels
* Three-dimensional 10-bit 3D LUT offering virtually the same color
* Offers a variety of professional functions including split-screen/freeze frame (live input vs. freeze frame), marker and blue-only, and cross hatch overlay display
* Time code and closed caption capable (closed caption on video input only)
* Embedded audio decoder on board (via Headphone Jack)
* 8 Channel audio level meters
* Cine-gamma Film-Rec compensation function for use with cameras such as the Panasonic AJ-HDC27 VariCam HD Cinema Camera and the new AJ-HPX3700 and
AJ-HPX2700 P2 HD VariCam camcorders
* Inputs/outputs include: DVI-D input and two HD-SDI/SDI Auto switching inputs with switched output, component video (Y/Pb/Pr), RGB, PC RGB, external sync, RS-232C/GPI remote control terminals, speaker and headphone jack
* Five programmable user buttons for easy access to functions
* Desk stand included; compatible with VESA mounts (100mm x 100mm or 200mm)
* Separate 24 Volt AC Adapter supplied; AC cord (5.58 ft.) and 4-pin XLR DC cord (6.56 ft.) included
* One-year warranty (parts & labor)

tl

Silverado Expansion in 2009--WE NEED YOU

A little history about Silverado. We are now in our 7th year of operations. Every year we seem to grow more and more.

However, in 2009 we're going to take the growth to a completely new level. We've defined a massive core market--the professional broadcast and digital cinema industry--and our vendor relationships are second-to-none. We're going to take that momentum and redouble our growth efforts over the next 18 months.

We're going to be expanding our local presence to upwards of 25 different markets across the country. To do that, we'll need a lot of help. We aren't looking for employees, but people who want to run an entire wing of Silverado in their market.

This will take someone who--by profession--is a broadcast or digital cinema pro. You'll not only need experience, but you'll need to be a savvy marketer and be able to effectively network with the media community in your region.

If you are that type of person--and you are looking for a change of pace from production and editorial to trusted advisor--we want to talk to you. It will be your shop and your territory.

Here are the markets we are working towards in our initial roll-out:

New York
Los Angeles
Chicago
Philadelphia
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
Dallas-Ft. Worth
Boston-Manchester
Washington DC
Atlanta
Houston
Detroit
Tampa
Phoenix-Prescott
Seattle-Tacoma
Minneapolis-St. Paul
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
Cleveland-Akron
Denver
Orlando-Daytona Beach
Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto
St. Louis
Pittsburgh
Portland
Baltimore
Indianapolis

If you are interested in joining Silverado not as an employee--but as a partner--please send me a note to torrey@silverado.cc and I'll forward more information your way.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

CFAA tonight...

Important advocacy meeting tonight at Capital Film Arts:

Please join local filmmakers and friends or an important meeting of the Capital Film Arts Alliance
ADVOCACY AND INCENTIVES FOR THE FILMMAKING INDUSTRY

Tuesday, January 20th at 7:00 PM
Art Institute of Sacramento

2850 Gateway Oaks Dr.
Sacramento (I-5 to west El Camino)
Free for all

Capital Film Arts Alliance

Friday, January 9, 2009

Got one thing right...the rest wrong...

I got one thing right about Macworld. Steve Jobs was a no-show.

I was pretty sure that if he looked anywhere near the way he did at the last WWDC, the stock would fall 5% just for spite.

So, I think I was right on that count. I was wrong on everything else.

No new displays, Mac Pros, no iPhone anything...

Nada. Zip. Zilch. The announcements were total buzz kill.

I will say this--Phil Schiller did an excellent job at taking the keynote helm. He had very hard shoes to fill and I think he did a fine job.

That said--two software announcements and a laptop speed bump? Ouch...

But then again...I have to take that back, too. Those were my first impressions when I read about the announcements, but when I watched them being demonstrated I was really impressed.

It was appropriate to show the software. The demo of the new iMovie '09 had me saying a few times "gee, I wish that was a feature in Final Cut..."

And iWork.com is great! The kind of collaboration that product will enable is huge--its a fantastic way to share and work on docs.

So, a mixed bag in all. Neat products were released, but nothing over-the-top and it was definitely a let-down to see Apple leave Macworld with a whimper, not a bang.

tl

Monday, January 5, 2009

Business analysis of Steve Jobs latest health info...

Not that I am a callous person in any way, but I don't really pay much attention to other people's health matters unless they are a close friend or family.

My health is private, so yours should be private, too. In the Internet age, there are way too many things for snoops to pry on these days--and your health should be the last of them.

So, its with business in mind that I comment about Steve Jobs current state:


The letter flat out states Jobs isn't leaving Apple as CEO. Regardless of his weight loss, he probably feels fine.

So, if he feels OK then why did he drop out of Macworld 09? Simple--he probably doesn't look good.

If he has been losing the kind of weight he mentioned, his figure is probably fairly gaunt--so why bother with a repeat of the rampant speculation ala WWDC 2008?

Tons of flacks mentioned that Jobs' cancer looked like it had returned, but Apple attributed his appearance to a "common bug." However, the precedent had been set--if Jobs shows up looking bad, comments will be made. And the stock price may suffer.

Easy solution is to have Phil Schiller take over this year's keynote while Jobs gets his weight back.

But...without Jobs--people simply think Apple doesn't have anything to show. And while that may have been true in the past at a couple of keynotes, it doesn't seem likely for this one. Here are some of the possibilities:

New iMac
New Mac Mini
New LED Display
New 17" MacBook Pro
New Mac Pro
Updates on Snow Leopard

Plus one that Andy Ihnatko is talking about:


So where is Steve Jobs in all the product-release madness? Again, its simple--he's not there and he won't be there.

Times are changing. Apple is not doing trade shows anymore--they see WAY more people in a week at their retail stores than they see at Macworld. Plus, with access to the Internet--even people who can't make it to an Apple Store have access to way more information than anyone could have by making it to a Macworld show.

Jobs can't run Apple forever--this is just part of the separation process for the Apple community. Even if he is there for another 10 years, the community has to accept that it won't be business as usual at Apple going forward. Best to get used to it now.

While Apple is Steve Jobs, and vice versa--it can't always be that way. Part of the mystique that is Apple is the mysteriousness of Mr. Jobs. But while there may have been a time when it was flattering, the cult of personality which has been built up around him can't be a pleasant way to live.

And now this obsession with All Things Steve is so bad that when he gets sick, it affects the stock price?

The board of directors can't allow a company like Apple to externally manipulated by forces outside their control. Apple has to be bigger than one man.

So, MWSF 2009 is Apple taking the leap to show that its more than Steve Jobs. The Keynote? Performed by others. The One Last Thing? Done by someone else.

My educated guess: Phil Schiller will do a great job on the keynote. And Steve Jobs will not make an appearance at all.