October 10, 2007

Back in business

I’ve once again got my MacBook Pro, now with a brand new screen. I’ve done an eyeball scan of the screen and there doesn’t appear to be any obvious dead pixels, so I’m pretty happy. The Mac guys must have replaced the whole screen half of the system, as it doesn’t have the light scratches it had when I bought it. The only negative is that I think it doesn’t close quite as tight as it used do, but that’s too minor for me to care about.

The guy in the store was being very nice with me over the whole repair incident, so I decided to buy a few things I’ve had my eye on for a while. I’m getting a RAM increase for my laptop to bring it up to 2 GB; memory is pretty cheap these days and the apps are getting very greedy for it.

I also plonked down the cash to buy Logic Express 8, the music composition and mixing software that’s the cheaper version of Logic Pro. I’ve been looking at improving my music making ability, and Logic Express seemed the logical choice. I also had it flagged as the last piece of production software I needed to make quality games; I’ve now got premium quality art, music and programming software loaded into my MacBook Pro, and enough hardware to properly get use out of them. The only thing holding me back is my own personal limitations (lack of time being number one at the moment).

I’ve only had a brief spin of Logic Express 8; loading up a couple of GarageBand tracks I’ve been toying around with and seeing what Logic had to offer. So far I like what I see; the music notation view seems to be pretty useful, and from my quick scan of the interface it also looks like a fine tool for making MIDI, which would be great for importing back into making tracker files if I want to save file space. I’ll need more time to really get to grips with it though, which will have to wait until the weekend.

The only fly in the ointment I’ve seen with Logic Express 8 is what appears to be a totally boneheaded bug with the file dialog. It might be that I’m overlooking something, but it appears that in its current form Logic Express 8’s File Open dialog doesn’t actually have the ability to open files. You can see them in the directory listing and you can go into folders, but every file is shaded grey and unopenable including those of compatible formats (such as Logic’s own .logic format, or the project you just saved). It’s not a show-stopper bug as you can still open files by double clicking on them in Finder (and you can open project with Open Recent if you’ve just been working on them), but a few QA people should have their knuckles rapped over such a blatant testing oversight.

Still, I’m keen to see what this puppy can do. There’s an electronic manual as thick as my arm (or it would be if it had a physical presence), so I’m sure it’ll take some practice to figure out how to fully use it. And there’s Flash and Illustrator to get back into too.

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