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December Meeting Hilights

By Monte Ferguson

Apple gave us an early Christmas present in the form of an iLife update. The group received our review copy of iLife 11 in time for the December meeting.

Our presenters, Monte Ferguson and Nick Gillim, remarked that not all of the apps in the iLife suite were updated with this release. In fact only three apps: iPhoto, iMovie, and Garage Band received an update. The other apps received minor updates for compatibility. We then looked at what the new features of each program were. This time around there is not one must have feature that you can really fixate on. This is an update that incorporates a lot of improvements and fixes to existing features. The overall effect being that you get an improved, and somewhat expanded feature set.

The easiest way to cover the changes to all three programs was to visit Apple's web site and view the overview movie. Seeing the features in action really brings home the idea of how these improvements all work. Monte mentioned that he has particularly enjoyed the improved social networking integration features. The new detailed Get Info window is also very handy. The new full screen mode is also quite easy to get used to. The feature that looks like the most fun is the new Movie Trailer feature. It sounds corny but the way they put together face recognition, and templates really is a lot of fun. One step effects let you add a special effect and NOT have to wait for it to render. Last, but not least, the much improved audio editing feature is bound to make many folks very happy. GarageBand was the last program we covered. Monte and Nick deferred to Duane Weller for his input on the program. Duane said that some of the features previously found in Logic Studio or Logic Express had trickled down to Garage Band. He cited the new Flex Time, which lets you adjust the timing of notes or sequences, and Groove Matching, which allows you to pick one music track as the rhythm/groove track and the other tracks match its rhythm. These are very powerful tools that have been made very user friendly in Garage Band. The last feature we looked at was "How Did I Play?" It records your performance as you play along with a lesson. You could see how this could be turned into a game or a challenge among friends, much like the video game Rock Star.

As we wrapped up the meeting Monte and Nick summed up there impressions of the new iLife. While there was not a single feature that really stood out as a Must Have item, the consensus was that this was a solid upgrade. Apple seems to be acknowledging that this is not a major release by only charging $49 for it. At that price it is a pretty good bargain. The fellas did note that this release does seem to bring up the spinning beach ball more often than in iLife '09. Hopefully that will be addressed with updates shortly.

Posted: Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

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