Why the Mac Ads are Really Bad

Ken Segall:

“Do you think Steve Jobs would have approved these ads?”

Now you’re making me mad. I will never answer a “What would Steve do” question and I hate it when people speculate like that. None of us can possibly know what Steve would do. Steve was a master marketer, but he was also perfectly capable of a lapse in judgment. It’s unfortunate that this campaign is appearing now, nine months after Steve passed away, because the timing only fuels the argument that everything will crumble now that Steve is gone. I don’t buy that.

The truth is, advertising is hard. A lot of really talented people at Chiat pour their hearts into creating the ads that we critique. As you know, Apple’s ads succeed far more often than they fail — just like Apple itself. Every one of us, Steve Jobs included, has experienced failure. It may sound trite, but it’s how one responds to failure and what one learns from the experience that defines character, whether you’re an individual or a corporation.

“So is the sky falling or not? You’re confusing me.”

The fact is, bad ads happen. And sometimes they happen to really good people. The tragedy would be if Apple acted like a politician and dug in its heels for the sake of appearances. I don’t think that will happen. Apple is good at fixing mistakes — and this is one that could use a major-league fixing.

Ken Segall has a unique opinion on Apple’s advertising because he for many years was at the top of Apple advertising from within. You should read the rest of his piece if the Genius ads still concern you. It’s the closest thing to a gin and tonic for the troubled Apple fan’s soul. 

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Replace Tweetbot’s Egg for Tweetbot’s Bird

I think Tweetbot’s use of the mechanical egg for the alpha and beta stage of the Mac app release is cleverly fun. But if you, like me, really want to know what’s inside the egg, and would like to know what the Tweetbot looks like from head to toe, there’s an icon for that.

Devin over at Coding Massacre shared this icon. It’s for anyone that wants to replace the egg with the bird in their Dock or Applications folder. Devin also provides the iOS Tweetbot icon if you would rather use it on your Mac. In either case, to change the egg icon to the robo-bird, watch these instructions. You may need this app to convert the image into a usable icon format too. 

Mountain Lion Improves Upon Lion

If you, like me, can’t concentrate on anything but Apple’s Mountain Lion release, then you will want to read some solid articles pertaining to the new Mac OS. The most notable I’ve read thus far is from Shawn Blanc.

In his article he points out many of the little tweaks in Mountain Lion that make it enjoyable and superior to the previous Mac OS called Lion. Here is my favorite of his remarks:

The keyboard shortcut for “Save As” is back, but it’s different. Apple says: Use Command-Shift-Option-S to save a document using a different name and location.

See? Apple fixes their mistakes. It’s the little things that add up to make Mountain Lion needful to everyday users. I’ve been looking for a good “Save As” shortcut since the day I installed Lion. 

Bing Struggles to Keep Up

Sebasteean De With:

Designing a search engine is a humongous task. What’s equally or even more humongous is the opportunity in reinventing an online experience we have taken for granted for so long. Bing’s current strategy seems to be simply following behind Google, copying them every move. It’s a perfect recipe for irrelevance.

You can say that again. For kicks, I gave Bing another try lately to see how they have come along. It’s better than it was a year ago, but it feels like it is stuck in the summer of 2011; it already seems dated in the recent redesign. I think I’ll stick with DuckDuckGo for now. 

A Quick Review of Squarespace 6

I’ve used Squarespace 5 for a few months now. If you don’t know what Squarespace is, it’s an excellent alternative to WordPress for blog sites and the like. Well, Squarespace 5 is a great alternative, but Squarespace 6, which was released last week, might not be ready for the big leagues.

I accepted Ss’s generous offer to open a free Ss 6 site with my other account on Ss 5. If you were a member of Ss before 6 was released you are entitled to start a new Ss 6 site for free. I appreciate Squarespace giving this to their loyal user base. And I’m glad I didn’t pay for my Ss 6 site. It’s nowhere near as good as my Ss 5 site is to me.

If you thought Ss 5 was limiting, like many web developers have, think again. 6 makes 5 look nerdy and advanced. 6 is so straight-forward and minimal that there isn’t one widget you can add to a site out-of-the-box without knowing some code. And it’s not just widgets that are missing.

The template themes are new and aesthetically appealing. You can customize them to a good extent. The editor offers a new and relaxing writing experience. Even so, most of the tools with Ss 5 by way of the admin structure and style modes are gone. In Ss 6, you have less than half the customizable parameters; even the WYSIWYG editor is missing various formatting controls. Honestly, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of little ways Ss 6 disappoints.

The most noticeable of the missing features for Ss 6 is support. Ss 5 has some of the best articles, video tutorials, and forums I’ve come by. Ss 6 is so new, however, that the developers haven’t managed much in the way of a support section. When I turned to the support for Ss 6 I found it helpful, but not able to solve most of my issues.

Though I have no official word from the developers, I suspect Ss 6 is stifling because it’s very new and a complete re-do of the Ss tools. In due time, hopefully the developers of Squarespace 6 will manage to include a great number of the Ss 5 features that are sorely missed. I have good faith in them because Ss 5 has been so rewarding and exemplary. If they don’t intend to make Ss 6 as capable as Ss 5 then they have lost their minds, which I highly doubt.

And even though I had higher hopes for Ss 6 out of the box, I think I will use this free site for a new project I have in the works that doesn’t require much in the way of site features. 

Become a Graphics Designer Using Pixelmator

As a professional Photoshop user, it can get tiresome to toy with the mouse and pixels all day. Seriously. Photoshop is a tank, and that tank is powerful, but it’s not always the right solution. Photoshop often times is overkill and difficult to master. I’ve overcome the challenges in Photoshop over the years, but as I find others in the office that are new to Photoshop, it’s very difficult to explain design tool concepts to them if they don’t have an artistic bone in their body.

This is where Pixelmator comes in. It’s one of the most thought-through tools for everyday Mac users. It strips down Photoshop to its simplest essence and potential users-freindliness. Pixelmator is powerful, but in an elegant way that is conducive to creativity 100% of the time.

The first thing you’ll notice as a professional working with Pixelmator is just how many features/tools there are in it today. The app has come a long way from its humble beginnings. If you used the app in the not-so recent past, look at it again. It’s not the same young whipper-snapper it used to be. There are blend modes—every last one you have come to know and love in Photoshop. This is just one example where Pixelmator packs in the necessities; the things designers return to most frequently.

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