Archive for February, 2011

Is The Beta Mindset Killing Business?

Comments Off on Is The Beta Mindset Killing Business?

Beta is fine. I love stuff that’s almost done but may still have some minor kinks to work out, as long as I get to test drive it free and can be sure us beta testers can provide feedback that actually gets acted upon. Windows 7’s beta was pretty fab.

This Beta Mindset has become an ugly trend

It’s one thing for Mozilla to release a free Firefox beta to play around with. But releasing some half baked crap that *should* be called beta but instead selling it at full price to the masses while pretending everything is a-ok, is just bad business. Beta used to be for the nerds, the ones that are cool with messing around with stuff that’s not ready. But now it seems everything is released in beta. But whether you actually call it beta or not doesn’t matter though.Things need to work, or it’s in beta.

This goes for electronics, phones, operating systems, software, web sites, content...Everything.

Often times “beta” really just means half-assed.

When a electronics manufacturer, or software firm, or a services firm, or a web site hypes and sells something they damn well know is not ready for prime time, that’s a form of the Beta Mindset.

Apple does well in part because it does not have a Beta Mindset. When they release hardware or software, it works. If there’s a limitation (Flash, anyone?), Apple doesn’t hide that fact. When you buy an Apple product you normally know very well what you’re getting in to.

And this coming from someone who isn’t exactly an Apple fanboy. But considering the utter junk many firms are pushing out these days, I’m starting to become one.


Comments Off on Light Peak Thunderbolt on Macbook Pro – Why?

I’ve been excited about Intel’s Light Peak (now named Thunderbolt) development since reading about it some time ago. This transfer technology provides up to 10Gbps of transfer speed (dual channel!) which, needless to say beats the pants off even USB 3.0.

You can connect several Light Peak enabled devices at the same time (daisy chaining), and it hooks up to monitors with DisplayPort. Yeah it’s a bit weird to visualize this, so for a better demo check out Engadget’s great write-ups on this technology.

In one stunning example, Engadget demonstrates playing 4 simultaneous streams of 1080p footage pulled from an attached RAID enclosure, while streaming everything back real time to the DisplayPort based monitor in real time. Very cool stuff.

However I find Thunderbolt’s debut device to be a rather odd choice: the newly released Apple Macbook Pro. This transfer technology is so powerful, most consumers won’t have a need for this for now, but folks such as professional editors are going to benefit from it. If you have a bunch of RED files you have to work with, Light Peak  Thunderbolt is going to be a godsend (provided you have the RAID setups necessary as well, otherwise there’s no point in using Thunderbolt since just a regular ol’ hard drive or two can’t saturate these speeds anyhow.)

But how many professional editors – the kind that actually works with footage that requires these kinds of transfer speeds – do their regular work on a Macbook Pro? Sure, the occasional rough cut (maybe even while still on set) I can see. But as a regular start-to-finish HD workflow? I mean, it’s cool you can hook up those RAID enclosures (hopefully more devices soon) as well as your DisplayPort-based monitor, but that still leaves the fact that the MBP’s processors might just not be powerful enough to comfortably edit (and by that I include color correction, and other processor heavy manipulation) the kind of footage that would justify using Thunderbolt technology. From my own experience and from what I gather from Final Cut Pro/MBP users online, editing those big league HD files just isn’t fun on a Macbook Pro. So really, who is Thunderbolt for then? Bragging rights?

It would have been beyond awesome if Adobe CS5’s Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) could be used on those new Macbook Pros – but ya can’t. Apple ditched NVIDIA and uses ATI (okay, now AMD) graphic cards now..which don’t work with MPE at all. Of course MPE didn’t work with the previous Macbook Pro models either because of the type of mobile GPUs used, but at least one could’ve hoped Adobe (or a clever hacker) would find a way to make those mobile GPUs work with MPE.  Now that’s just not going to happen with AMD. So Final Cut Pro it is.

I would have loved to see Intel work with Apple and other partners to put Light Peak into proper workstations first. Or heck, even just offer motherboards with this technology. I hope this is coming soon.

So let’s hear it – you full time Final Cut Pro users, how many of you are doing all your work on a Macbook Pro? Do you think Thunderbolt is going change your life (provided you run out and buy them new MBPs, and those RAID enclosures), or are you going to wait until this technology gets into real workstations?

Popular Posts