iLife ’08 – is it really an upgrade?

Posted: October 25, 2007 in Apple, Mac OSX, software
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Why change? i liked the old iLife suite of apps, they may not be perfect but they got the job done. I guess you could say i was accustomed to them, like an old friend or colleague, or an old pairs of slippers – you know what to expect, how things work, how they fit, sure they may be a little long in the tooth, worn around the edges, dog chewed, – okay i admit i’m mixing my metaphors a little too much but you get the idea.
Sometimes change is good – but change for the sake of change, hmmm.., well…, why bother. iLife falls into the space in the middle between the two extremes.

iPhoto continues to impress me. As with any change there is a bit of a learning curve but this one is short, it works very similar to the old iPhoto only with events being created whenever you add photos to your library. I like it. At first i thought “great another bunch of stuff i won’t use” but as soon i realized how handy it was to see a few thumbnails of an event and how much easier it is to scroll through events than an entire library, i wanted to give the apple coders a pat on the back.

iDVD, is well, iDVD. There were a few changes but mostly it just seems like a general cleaning up of an existing app without too many new features or changes. Much the same with Garageband. The quick look i took at it made me wonder if i had upgraded it or not, on the surface it’s very similar, only it seems to have a few more buttons and bells and whistles built in. I’m not a musician in any way shape or form, but i do like to play around with this kind of app to see what i can up with – mostly just to get used as background in an iMovie, which is a perfect segue into…

iMovie ’08. Huh?!?! What happened? Did Apple decide we didn’t need to have control over our movies and just wanted to make it very simple for us to make a really stripped down plain-jane movie? Or did they decide we were bright enough to play with the inner workings of iMovie so they removed a lot of the features and abilities we used to have in the old iMovie ’06? “Nothing to see here. Move along. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”. I for one was outraged. Not only did old movies that i had not finished lose their music and titles, and have all their transitions changed to cross dissolve, they also took away the timeline viewer! What kind of an editing program does not have the ability to see your clips in a timeline viewer? Well obviously, this one, but i’m not liking it. I did a little searching on the web and found out i was not the only one which is why Apple has posted iMovie ’06 on their website for owners of iLife ’08 to download and use. One good thing about the new iMovie is the fact the editing has become non-destructive, so you can reedit as much as you want and play around with clips from your library without bringing them back into your movie after you screw them up and blow away a bit you actually needed. I’ll continue to use the latest iMovie but will keep the old one around as well, in my opinion it was better.

Last but not least, iWeb. One thing that jumps out is the ability to add HTML code to your iWeb pages. This will kill the need for a handy little app i was using called iWeb Enhancer, which basically allowed me to cut and paste HTML into the old iWeb pages. Handy for hiding email address from bots. One problem i had was that it did not import my old iWeb files very well, the formatting got all screwed up in the navigation bar and the header and footer. It was not a tough fix, but meant recreating most of the pages with a header and footer that worked and copy-clipping content into them. I’m using the latest and greatest iWeb right now for this blog and find it is stable and just as intuitive as before with a few more features, such as the “web widgets” and the ability to change the theme with ease. That will come in handy when the format of your web pages gets tired looking and you want a change.

All in all, i’ll give iLife ’08 a 4 out of 5, mainly because iMovie is not really an upgrade but an entirely new product, and should have been called something different, possibly iVideo would have been better.

– TCG
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