Deadly Web Sins
I disagree that long text should be broken into screen-sized chunks. That makes the whole process read a bit, stop, click, wait, wait some more, read a bit, stop, click, etc. I always think that people break articles up so more banner ads can be served.
Please! Let the whole article load! Even if it’s long. We can start reading while the rest gets downloaded. Reading further in the article is a simple page down, not the click, wait, wait, read process.
I agree that some Web sites are guilty of breaking down articles into unusably small parts. Who wants to have to load a new page after reading every paragraph anyway?
When writing that piece, I was referring to those Web sites that have pages that scroll on for miles and miles, particularly those with lots of images. These can take some time to load, and if a visitor doesn’t see the page load up in a few seconds they are inclined to click back to another site.
Remember: if a visitor has found your page via a search engine, your site may be one of many with similar content. If your page doesn’t load swiftly, there are many others that could.
Your comments are entirely valid. If an article is split over several pages, it would be certainly nicer to have an option to “see whole article,” especially for printing purposes. There’s nothing worse than having to do lots of cutting and pasting, just to get a printout. —Grant Osborne
A Worm in the Apple
I was just reading the responses to A Worm in the Apple and felt I had to respond. I am, I guess, an “average” Mac user—fairly intelligent, fairly educated, and also fairly results-oriented. The Mac is designed to let the customer do what he wants, and isn’t that the main motivation to buy a computer in the first place?
I always have to laugh when I buy dual-platform software, because I know I’ll have been using it for half an hour before the Wintel user has managed to get it installed. I don’t have to learn a lot of stuff I don’t want (or need) to with the Mac. I just start doing what I wanted or needed to do with it.
I knew nothing about HTML or JPEG or any of that Web design stuff, but, after buying Adobe GoLive and a how-to book, I had a Web site online in four days. This was only possible because the hardware didn’t get in my way. My seven-year-old son mastered the basics of working with the Mac in two days, even though there were problems with the printer driver that continually caused the computer to freeze. This was a blessing in disguise, for my son learned one of the most important rules of working with computers—save your work, often!
And all of this hullabaloo over chip speeds—c’mon guys, how many users even notice the difference, really (a faster download doesn’t mean you can read your e-mails any faster)? I’ll stack my iBook SE against anything the Wintel world has to offer; for speed, simplicity, and value-for-money, the Mac simply cannot be beaten.
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I am one of those “Please don’t let Apple die” people. I love my Macs and hate the thought of being reliant on PCs. I have one of those PCs here on my desk next to my Mac (heresy!) to remind me of how much more efficient the Mac is than the PC.
Apple seems to always find a way to screw up its advantage and find another once they get close to the bottom of existence. Why does this happen? I seldom hear moans from PC makers. Why must Apple always provide the doom and gloom scenes for the computer world? They have by far the best machine. If you don’t believe me, then buy a PC and compare regular functions with a Mac.
Are we (Apple) in danger of “going broke” again? If so, then I want to buy enough Apple equipment to last me for the rest of my life!
Digitizing Audio from Vinyl
Can you suggest where I can find Mac software for converting vinyl audio recordings to digital? I know you guys aren’t a music audio magazine, so I was reluctant to approach you. It is a last resort.
—Jim Brunswick, Toronto
Assuming that you have your stereo plugged into your computer, any audio recording software will do the trick. I personally like SoundEdit 16 from Macromedia because it is very powerful and has a lot of filters for cleaning up sounds. Adaptec Toast also has some utilities for tidying up the clicks and pops in vinyl before burning them out to CD. —Evan Trent
In the November 2000 issue of ATPM, in a letter about RealAudio files, David Kettlewell wrote:
“The files are a bit quiet and I would have liked to normalize them in my sound editor…”
This would be a big mistake with RealAudio files. RealAudio uses a lossy compression format; in other words it “throws away” lots and lots of information that it decides is not necessary, in order to get all the information in the audio through the extremely thin pipe available when streaming audio over the Internet. One of the downsides of lossy compression is that any digital manipulation of the audio, such as normalizing or equalizing needs all that other information that is no longer present in the .ra file, and will completely destroy any faint resemblance to audio quality still left in the RealAudio. Evan Trent properly advised amplifying the sound in the analog realm, but I wanted to mention why that was important.