Events of the week (Jan. 5-11, 2009)

Last week was full of events, both in the real world and in my little world, where some news seems to arrive with uncanny lateness.


In that real-world fantasyland that’s better known as San Francisco it was Macworld week. I think the best summary of it was provided by my Berkeleyan friends, Sheila and Lloyd, in a recent e-mail:

This has been the quietest Macworld week ever. You weren’t there – Steve Jobs wasn’t there.

I’m flattered that my absence didn’t go totally unnoticed. On the other hand, Mr Jobs’s absence was highly publicized, so much that I don’t need to explore it any further. Despite him not delivering the keynote, and leaving it to Phil Schiller, I don’t think it was as underwhelming as a lot of people claim.

Sure, people expect great products (as in “hardware”) to be introduced at Macworld: it was the MacBook Air last year, the iPhone in 2007. Those would have been tough to match. Not to mention the fact that Apple had just announced it would back out of future Macworld Expos.

But the Mac is not just about the hardware. That hardware (including the iPhone) would be useless, or not quite as meaningful, without Mac OS X. Makes sense, no? And this year’s keynote was almost all about Mac-related software, and specifically the great improvements in the ‘09 versions of iLife and iWork.

I am intrigued by some of the new features in iPhoto, which is currently only the final part of my photography workflow (based mostly on Adobe Lightroom). In particular, the ability to sync between iPhoto albums and Flickr sets is very welcome. Also iMovie seems like something I will be using more, instead of trying to turn to Final Cut every time. (Not that I’m making a lot of video. I would like to, maybe, but one man can’t do everything.)

On the iWork side, all three applications have some nice new features, even if it’s just a matter of small, yet very welcome, details, like the ability to edit documents in full screen in Pages. Not a full screen that makes the document fill up the whole space, but one that highlights the document against a black background, to tune out all distractions. I was using Think to achieve that, I guess now I won’t need that anymore.

The last season of Scrubs

The time has come for Scrubs to start its eighth and last season. Considering the previous two, I’m almost saying “finally,” but I thought the first two episodes were quite good. Including the presence of Courteney Cox as a special guest star. After seeing her in part of the first season of Dirt (before it started grossing me out), I had forgotten that she can do comedy. And I still watch Friends, I do, but this looks like a new version of the old Courteney. And the new version is still funny. Although I still keep a soft spot for Monica Geller, I imagine how hard it must be for an actor (not in terms of her abilities but of the audience’s perception and acceptance) to get out of a role she has played for 10 years.

I don’t think the new Scrubs, now on ABC, looks very different from when it aired on NBC. Some viewers have reported possible variations in lighting and camera use. I think I might have to watch the two episodes again, or pay more attention next time. Considering how close an observer of Scrubs I have been, I think I should have noticed differences, if they were big enough, no? On a side note, I still have to decide whether or not I’m amused by the blooper tag at the end of the episodes.

Let’s kick ABC

Yes, everyone is grateful that ABC picked up Scrubs so that the show would have an actual ending. But the same ABC should be kicked for canceling Pushing Daisies just three episodes before the end of the programmed season. This is not news per se, but it was news to me. One would think I always keep an eye on what’s going on in the industry, right?

Somewhere else I wrote that the existence of Pushing Daisies meant the American public was ready for tragedy (yet in a kind, charming way), but maybe I was just wrong. I will have to remember that for my New Orleans paper.

I still have to process my grief, in a way. Maybe I should bake pie, but the holidays have been over for less than a week, and I really don’t feel like bringing more sweets into the world (not to mention my bloodstream).

I would like to mention Ugly Betty, but I won’t. Nothing new there. Except everything is new. Betty rocks. That was not deep or insightful, I know. I can’t always be academic about it.