For those of you using Mac software for publishing, we’re sure you’ve seen the advert’s from Apple prompting you to trade up to the latest version of iLife ’11 for $49 (cheaper if you just bought your computer recently). For those of you not in the Mac world, iLife is a suite of tools that has iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb and GarageBand. We haven’t begun to explore the cool stuff in GarageBand although we’ve sat through the demo at the MOA Apple store a couple of times.
Anyway, we’ve used the other tools in this suite quite a lot and I’m not sure if it’s worth the $49 upgrade, but we’ll probably pay anyway and try it out. If you’ve upgraded, we’d love to hear your thoughts on why you think it’s worth it…or not.
We’ve paid for the full family MobileMe account and besides our own accounts, we’ve got mom and dad up and running too. They don’t make as much use out of the MobileMe as Lisa and I do. However, I keep teaching my parents a little more every time we visit, so eventually I hope to be able to share content and create some nice family memories using these tools and then sharing them as gifts.
Our latest adventure with the iWeb software was our annual Christmas letter. We created a more static web page using our MobileMe accounts and decided to organize it to contain our annual Christmas updates. It’s our “green” contribution. No stamps, no cards, no trash for the landfill. Really, how many of you hang onto Christmas cards from your family and friends after February 1st? The only ones that tend to literally hang around past MLK Day or President’s Day are the photo cards of somebody’s kids. Those actually are stuck to your refrigerator right now…aren’t they?! I don’t mind seeing photos of kids, but sometimes the Christmas greeting is the only communication I get from some folks for the whole year. And instead of sending us a family picture, I get one of the kids and the dog/cat. Usually accompanied by a couple of lines written in a red ink pen saying “Miss you! Thinking of you guys at this special time of the year! Let’s get together soon! Love The so & so’s”. Was that really worth the $25-$50 and postage? We’re not convinced.
So instead we played around with iWeb and leveraged one of their templates. My old version of iWeb has 28 themes and 6 templates. Does anyone know if there are more in the iLife ’11 version? One of the templates is a “blog” template.
Am I ever glad we didn’t discover this and try to use it for this blog. We think it works great for the annual Christmas letter though. The nice thing is that folks can comment back on your Christmas letter and you can actually answer them (although we only convinced 4 people to make comments…I guess we’ll see if we get more next year.) But hey, already an improvement over a couple of silly lines in red ink!
Here’s a link to our Christmas Letter using Apple’s blogging template in iWeb.
But what surprised us was that the blogging template in iWeb is seriously lacking key functionality. WordPress and Blogger have Apple beat hands down here. When we discovered the blogging template in iWeb, I thought, “Wow, did we miss out on a really simple solution to our blogging by not knowing that iWeb offered something?” We all spend time learning and improving on our sites in WordPress and there are things I really like and some that are a little harder to figure out. But I guess we have this expectation that because it’s Apple and a Mac product, it’ll be slick, eye popping, easy to use and learn. If you go to the Apple store and sit through the GarageBand demo, you realize that you literally have way more than you need to do some serious sound editing and publishing in a great tool. iPhoto is okay, but we use Photoshop for the serious stuff. iMovie and iDVD have been useful for creating some easy to share family media, but the tools themselves aren’t overly intuitive. Nevertheless, our expectations were high when we noticed the blogging template in iWeb.
That is NOT the case. It was a huge disappointment. Apple is really getting their butts kicked as far as blogging software in iWeb; and that’s a surprise to us. We sort of thought Apple would offer something over the top, a slick blogging tool as part of iLife.
Basically, all you get is:
– choose one of their 28 themes
– select the “blog” template
– drag and drop photos and video from anywhere on your desktop or iPhoto
– Type your text directly into their WYSIWYG page
– Publish directly from iWeb to MobileMe
No appearance options or controls, no polls, no ratings or feedback mechanisms (other than comments), no blogroll, no categories, no tags, no trackbacks….you get the drift. It’s not worth listing everything they don’t have.
Are you surprised Apple doesn’t offer better blogging publishing via iWeb? Maybe they have improved it in iLife ’11 and we just don’t know it. If you have iLife ’11, please comment and let us know if it’s improved.