Dream Machines, part 3: Software

A machine isn’t the only needed thing…

In the first article, we explored mostly new machines, and in the second, I explored what I’d do with the old machines. Unfortunately, I left the specifics on software at a generics. Time to pick up where I left off on that.

What goes on all machines:

  • RealBasic 2005
  • AppleScript (Mac)
  • Firefox 1.5
  • Thunderbird 1.5
  • Adium (Mac)
  • Ecto
  • iTunes
  • QuickTime

Without a doubt, these are the apps I can’t get through the day without. Most of these make sense: cross-platform tools they are, with a few exceptions for what I found works best for my machine. Most of them are internet apps, meaning there’s there’s very few of these that wouldn’t connect to the internet. (I may forgo it on my two heavy hitters, though…)

Which brings me to the oddity: RealBasic, which is mainly a development tool. After all, I could get by just on the free tools for mac and Windows, so why do I need another multi-platform compiler?

The answer is simpler than you think. First, the fact that it is multi-platform makes it the perfect tool for creating smaller apps, such as for scripting and basic uses. Second, the GUI is very user friendly (In spite of the fact that many bitch about it’s Mac-unfriendliness – grow up!) and easy to use for app creation. Third, transferring an app between 3 types of machine, such as for scripting module for Photoshop, is easily sped up by this, as I only need to change certain things within the code to make it platform-specifc. Finaally, if I wanted to create an app that communicated across all three, this is the best way, since it would be relatively faster to do than to try to communicate with separate compilers.

Creative:

  • Adobe Creative Suite Premium Edition (Would only use Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign)
  • MacroMedia Studio (Would only use DreamWeaver, Fireworks, Flash)
  • MicroSoft Office (Would only use Word, PowerPoint)
  • iWork
  • iLife
  • Aperture
  • BeLight Swift Publisher
  • Freeway Pro
  • Transmit
  • IconBuilder

Obviously, all of the tools are pretty obvious: most of the stuff I want to do involves print and web. Hence, the first six: all of the pro tools I will need for this stuff.

The bigger question might be why so many duplicates. Why do I need Fireworks, for example, when I have Photoshop? The best answer I have is that I want to keep tools that work well with each other working with each other. So, while it may not make sense to use Word when I have Pages, should I download or receive something done in Word (or – worse – if I ended up hating Pages, one of the few apps I haven’t used), I want to be sure I can open it, not be forced to convert it to something else and either add or remove something from the original content. Some will wear away over time, but starting out it’s best to have all of the tools I need.

So why another desktop publisher and HTML editor, when I already have 2 other tools for each (InDesign and Word, though Word’s a turd for DP; and Dreamweaver and iWeb for HTML Editing)? because I have tried – and like – both of these very much that I will probably buy these before I buy the pro Apps. Although Swift Publisher is light work when compared to InDesign, it’s much better (IMHO) than Word, and very good for a $40 app. It’s design capabilities are more than adequate for even the most simple of published stuff, and I’d want to save InDesign for more automated and complex print tasks.

FreeWay Pro, from what software I’ve tested so far, is simpler and easier than Dreamweaver, yet allows for the complexity and capabilities that Dreamweaver has. Although I’d be learning Dreamweaver out of necessity, I’d much rather use this tool for my design instead. Plus, it’s much cheaper than Dreamweaver is, so it’ll be purchased before Dreamweaver as well.

Transmit should be the only obvious shareware software of the bunch: it’s FTP capabilities are unsurpassed by anything else I have used. When I transfer something, I want it transferred and done with, not spending 10 minutes trying to figure out where the F to put the damn ftp address in.

IconBuilder, from IconFactory, is an excellent tool for creating icons. While most of the icons I’d create are directed towards programming, there may be projects that might require the tool as well.

Programming

  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • XCode

Should be self explanotory: with RB on every machine and IconBuilder with the creative machines, these are the only tools I would need for full on programming.

Audio

  • Apple Logic Pro
  • Digidesign ProTools (With ICON Integrated console Enviroment)
  • Full compliment of guitars, keyboard, drums and effects, along with Microphones and sound-proofed stage – a studio

Video

  • Final Cut Studio
  • Shake

To me, the only reason not to have both types on the same machine is if you need to have two people working on the same project. Disk space can be handled with RAID Servers and adequate Hardware.

The only reason for the apple stuff – Final Cut Pro, Shake and Logic – is that all of my video/audio projects will be starting on a Mac, most likely using iLife to get the ball rolling. While using Avid would be more industry-standard, I feel a change is just around the corner for them.

Three-D

  • SoftImage|XSI
  • Maya
  • all compatible plugins for both.

I don’t plan on having much time to do model building myself, and should I have the money, much of what I do will be created by other people. I do, however, plan to manipulate and and do the final renders from one machine, for consistency’s sake, and this is where it will happen. Unless, of course, a cheaper, faster, and better looking means comes along.

Entertainment Center and Car Controls

As I stated before, the software would have to be custom. The biggest reason why I wouldn’t use Front Row, Windows MCE or anything published by major companies is because of this, and nothing, how pretty or how easy it works, how much it can get online or do this or that trick, will change this. Allowing these companies to continue to dominate what we should, by right, be allowed to have and use to our liking, is complete and utter BS. Yes, I agree we shouldn’t be allowed to pirate software, movies and music; after all, only the creator of said project should be allowed to make money from it. That said, when I buy a book, I don’t plan on making a million copies to give to my friends, nor do I plan on someone telling me that I can’t read that book. That goes for any book, be it something illegal like the __________________, or something perfectly harmless like a child’s first ABC book, that I have legally bought. If I pay for it once, unless that copy of the book is destroyed, I should be able to read it when I want , however many times I want, even be able to loan it to a friend if I want. That’s what I think DRM is taking away, and I won’t stand for it.

If I ever have the money, the first thing I will do is to make my own software for specifically this purpose. The second thing I will do is to join every group suing these companies trying to protect our rights as consumers. I don’t do anything illegal, have no desire to make money off of someone else illegally, and I refuse to be treated like a criminal as such.

(Just to cover my own butt, I only bootleg stuff that is unavailable to me in any form, such as old concerts that said bands haven’t put out a live album for. I won’t, knowingly, buy movies, TV shows or music that is bootlegged. I won’t bother with anything illegal, in print or other forms, unless there is good reason for doing this.)

Maybe in a future article I will deal with what I would have in this type of software.

Hardware: Servers

One uncovered area on the hardware side was the servers The reason behind this is that I am very much undecided on these. Yes, most of my stuff is Mac-Based, and as such, most of my server farm would be dedicated to XServes and XServe Raids, as both for storage and specific software speed ups.

The undecided area comes from the PC Hardware needed to build a render farm adequate of getting Real-Time builds for video creation. Sure, I could probably go the cheap route and be done with it, but if I had the money, why would I need to?

(After all, I did say these were dream machines, after all.)

These were all fun, but…

The one problem with all of these machines, hardware and software-wise, is that these are all off-the-shelf systems that, with money and time, could be built and set-up easily. These are all available now, and reflect nothing of where we could go.

My final segment for this half of this year deals specifically with this topic. See you soon.

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