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Mac OS Road Show: Emotions

Emotions: these are what Apple offers us every time we participate in one of the events it organizes. They are the ones that the speakers transmit to us, which like ancient priests of an esoteric cult, they transmit to the followers, kidnapped in the mystical ecstasy of possessing Power.

Computer and art. Possible binomial? Certainly yes, judging by the show of true "computer art", held on Thursday March 14 at the Milanofiori Congress Center in Assago, the second stage of the Italian Mac OS X RoadShow. "The state of the art" of the Operating Systems and the highly anticipated Photoshop 7, the main tool for those involved in graphics, were the undisputed protagonists of the meeting, surrounded by other excellent participants, the managers of Microsoft for Office v. X and the FileMaker 5 experts.

A great success with the public (as can be seen from the images published by us on this page) has rewarded this method of presenting the products, focusing on the software, in a Macintosh setting that ranged from Titanium to iBooks, to iPod, up to the new iMac LCD, which captured the eager glances of the participants like a true primadonna.

A series of excellent names has magnetized the attention of the vast audience that flocked to fill the congress hall, many to steal the secrets and news of the Italian Photoshop 7 presentation.

Giovanni Ferrari, Apple's Software Sales Manager South-Europe, introduces the lineup of topics alternating with Lorenzo Sangalli, in front of the crowded room, providing an overview of the characteristics of the "Operating System", highlighting the effort of not having wanted to create a fracture between the old and the new.

The "Classic" environment, the glue between the technologies of the last decade and those of the future described only superficially, placing instead the accent on the new "plus": the protected memory, a real multitasking, a concrete multiprocessor support, all interfaced by the modern input / output technologies (FireWire and USB), without forgetting the legendary "plug and play", always typical of Macintosh systems.

There was no lack of pride, in underlining the ability that the Cupertino house had, in being able to blend OpenSource elements together with proprietary solutions in an organic project.

The entire graphic structure was developed drawing on the best standards on the market: the Quartz system, derived from NeXTStep, for 2D, the Silicon Graphix OpenGL for 3D, as well as QuickTime, the jewel of the house. All components, integrated, such as never between them (of which the classic example of the three-dimensional cube is cited on whose faces a movie is projected), which is supported by the support of the Java2 language.

With such a backbone, it is no wonder that, in a short time, more than 2500 native applications have been made available, making the question, whether or not to embrace the new system, a mere formality.

Of course, the characteristics of the Mac OS X would already be sufficient in itself to entice you to use it, but Apple sends clear messages in this direction.

The applications of the "Digital Hub", the company's key strategy, are no longer all available for the old system: iPhoto, the most recent and spectacular of the group, the signal that we must stop weaving only the praises of X, but, instead, use it fully.

The lights come on again, we go into the details of the applications. Eliana Caputo, Product Manager of Office Microsoft for Mac, illustrates the peculiarities of this version, specially designed to take advantage of the features of OS X. Transparencies and effects in perfect Aqua style are the masters in the traditional components of the suite: Word and Excel, even in the management of images within documents. first, in particular, it has from its multiple selection tools and functions specific to the DTP, offering effects not obtainable with other simple word processors. It is also a pleasure to those who have already purchased the product or are thinking of doing it, that the incarnation of the ".doc" format unchanged, allowing effective exchange with documents from previous editions of Office 98, Office 2001 for Mac, as well as Office 2002 or XP for Windows.

PowerPoint, for its part, is enhanced by the ability to integrate QuickTime ".mov" movies, with all the appropriate effects: automatisms, fades, transparencies, which give the presentation a decidedly professional style. Finally, Entourage, expands the concept of traditional email client, proposing itself as a global assistant, promising a high integration between email and address book, appointments, deadlines.

The moment of the break arrives, and among the crowd, like an apparition, Enzo Biagini, President of Apple Italy, appears, whose presence, even if not among the speakers, shows once again, how important the event is.

Again the room sinks into darkness and gender changes. "Interoperability between your data" are the keywords with which, Roberto Mosca, of FileMaker Europe, describes the changing needs of modern users. As there is no longer a "fixed" location in which to carry out their work, "mobile users" must be able to draw at any time and virtually from any place (the concept of "virtual industry "), to their data. To do this, the choice is oriented on the use of the browser as a universal visualization tool, ideally independent of the hardware platform used and the operating system. Of course, viewing and editing data via browser, as one would do acting on the fields in a local machine, it cannot disregard having an eye for safety: in this sense it is possible to establish a system of limitations, associating passwords, if desired, to each sector of the database.

The problem of the ineffective use of Excel is exposed, as a data manipulator, paradoxically the most used system in the world, which, however, has the limitation of not being able to apply relational data.

The solution in the use of FileMaker 5, which allows the import of Excel worksheets, preserving their characteristics and structures. Already the automatic import process recognizes multiple sheets and work areas, generating a result of great similarity, although it must be considered a starting point in order to transform them into a larger database, perhaps adding formats by means of a special assistant, fields and also allowing a partial selection of the graphics with which it will be represented (XML formats). Design choice that can be integrated, by means of appropriate third-party plug-ins, dedicated to the management of the graphics.

It is joined by the renewed version 2.0 of Mobile Filemaker, for Palm OS and I-Mode handheld devices on the Japanese market. The package consists of two distinct parts: the plugin that is installed on the desktop version and the application for the PDA. The novelty lies in the greater extension of the manageable fields (50 instead of the previous 20), being able to perform most of the FileMaker operations. "Table". Selection of which and how many fields, synchronization to and from the machine, are just some of the software's capabilities, remembering that it is possible to insert large quantities of text, having made use of the known fields of the Palm in the program's text fields.

The audience starts to rumble, the Adobe demonstrator got on stage Photoshop 7, one wonders, with ill-concealed curiosity? Instantly, the interest is catalyzed by the unleashed character, who in flurry shows off his skill with the graphic tablet and skill in drawing, as well as in the excellent mastery of the instrument.The whole room is enchanted. A generation of pictorial effects like never before, variable and dynamic shapes of the brushes, parameterizable so that they can be reused, deformation tool with the possibility of seeing the underlying levels in transparency, a pyrotechnic pinwheel of effects, rewarded by thunderous applause.

Enthusiasm to experience the exceptional integration between InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, linked together by the glue of the Quartz engine of OS X, really exploited to the maximum. About one of the most sensational innovations: the "healing brush" stamp, escapes a joke (" we will not know how to translate it, perhaps "brush of health"), which would suggest the future localization in Italian for Photoshop 7. Of the rest we had already debated some time ago, always on the pages of Macity, but we will know more about it, after the presentation of the product reserved for the press.Only the clock hands stop, reluctantly, the performance of the virtuoso of Adobe, to leave room for a lively exchange of final questions, a confrontation in which he wandered on important topics, from piracy to the locations that are not there, passing through questions about prices and certifications. A mature public, therefore, who has shown that he understands and appreciates the efforts made by the companies in recent months. Who knows what the future holds …

Goodbye, Apple, and thank you. See you at the next dream.