Welcome to WordPress.com

Those of you who are kind enough to have subscribed to this humble blog may have noticed a few new posts suddenly appear. That’s because I have officially merged MacManX.com with my very short-lived MacManX on Music blog. After all, there really was no reason to divide my efforts like that. But, the merger wasn’t the big change.

MacManX.com is no longer a self-hosted WordPress blog under A Small Orange. It is now officially a WordPress.com blog. Don’t get me wrong, A Small Orange has been a terrific host, and I still have quite a few sites hosted with them. The decision to move was made for a few reasons:

  1. Having my blog on WordPress.com shows that I have entrusted my own blog to the very system that I support.
  2. Blogging on WordPress.com allows me to get a better feel for what I’m supporting every day.
  3. I was growing tired of updating plugins and finding replacements for abandoned plugins. WordPress.com has all the features that I need, and they are maintained on a constant basis.
  4. A Small Orange was a wonderful host, and the server that I was on was no exception, but it pales in comparison to WordPress.com’s multiple datacenters, could-powered system, multi-layer caching, and the fact that I know everyone here by name.

The only notable loss was my custom theme, courtesy of fellow Automattician Joen, but I’ll be leveraging our available themes and Custom CSS to make something truly unique over the next few months. If you’re curious, feel free to browse the gallery of past MacManX.com themes.

Thanks to the wonders of domain mapping, everything should be exactly as it was, which means you won’t need to resubscribe, but I do have a handy email subscription button in the sidebar now if that’s your thing.

So, how did I move? Well, it was a lot easier than I thought. The hardest part was editing all of my video posts to use our quick embed technique for YouTube and Vimeo, rather than their native embed codes, before exporting. After that, I simply exported MacManX.com, imported it to the former MacManX on Music, changed the name, deleted a few obsolete pages, and mapped my domain. Domain changes can take up to 72 hours (though usually much less) to propagate to your ISP, but thanks to OpenDNS, I was up in a matter of minutes.

I’ve been through big moves like this before, so I’m sure there may be a few broken links hiding in the corners. If you find any, please let me know!

P.S. With this blog post, I have now officially entered the Post a Day challenge. Let’s see how long that lasts. 😉

Wake up in New York

Craig Armstrong has an incredible gift for harmonic structure, and Wake up in New York (featuring vocalist Evan Dando) from his 2002 album As if to Nothing is no exception.

As a whole, the piece is rather simple, but that’s where the beauty simply shines through.

As if to Nothing is available from record stores, iTunes, and Amazon.

The Mac App Store

Apple launched the Mac App Store last week, and with over 1 million app downloads within just one day, it really is a game-changer no matter how you personally feel about it.

The Good:

  • The Layout Concept: The layout is familiar to anyone who has used the iOS App Store. It’s very clean-cut and should be easy to navigate (more on that later).
  • No Wasteful Media: Your software purchases are downloaded and installed immediately, with no wasteful boxes, paper manuals, or CDs.
  • Exposure: The App Store provides a one-stop-shop for some of the best Mac applications, both paid and free. Evernote has already doubled their new user signups since the App Store launched.
  • Purchase Ownership: You’re free to re-download your purchased applications on any computer simply by logging in to the App Store.
  • Automated Upgrades: Upgrades for your App Store downloads and purchases are handled automatically through the App Store, much like they are through iTunes.

The Bad:

  • The Layout Execution: Despite the clean-cut concept of the layout, it is somewhat clumsy to navigate. The App Store itself is really just a storefront for popular apps, and you’ll probably have to just search for what you’re looking for.
  • No Demos: Traditionally, many applications could be downloaded for free and require a purchased license key to continue to use them after a set time or to unlock additional features. This is no longer possible with the App Store. Users will have to either be confident enough with the application to purchase it outright or download a separate lite version, if available. It sounds like some applications could be made available for free with in-app purchases like many iOS apps have been, but I haven’t seen this in the Mac App Store yet.
  • No Association with Existing Purchases: This is more of an obvious problem, but still a bummer. There is no way to associate existing purchased applications with the Mac App Store, so some developers are now left splitting their efforts between two distribution channels until they can release their next paid upgrade exclusively on the App Store.
  • Piracy: For the most part, this should be relatively locked down, but some applications during the App Store’s premiere were vulnerable to a relatively simple piracy hack.

Overall, I think that the Mac App Store is the future of software distribution, but it will need time to grow, like iTunes did when it first premiered.

For those who are curious, I have so far downloaded the new Twitter app (like everyone else, apparently), purchased Horror Vacui 2 (because it’s awesome), and I’m seriously contemplating Pixelmator’s special transition offer (re-purchase 1.6 for a significantly reduced price and get 2.0 for free).

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Categorized as Technology

Shadow of the Unicorn

Those of you who followed this blog before I cleared out the three-year-old cobwebs may remember that it was called Shadow of the Unicorn. Well, that name was no random creation. It refers to one of my favorite songs from my father’s band, Polyhedra.

So, what better way to re-boot the blog formerly known as Shadow of the Unicorn than with a post featuring the original Shadow of the Unicorn from Polyhedra’s 1987 Iridescense album?

Yes, those are whale sounds on the guitar, and my father on saxophones.

Polyhedra albums are primarily sold in person at various gigs, but you can track down some copies of Technicolour (their second album) and even an original Iridescence LP at Amazon. Of course, considering my connection, I may be able to facilitate a sale if you so desire.

Update: Polyhedra’s albums are now available at your favorite online music venue!

MacManX on Music

It’s a new year, which means that it’s time for new things!

As part of my own “Eat Your Own Dog Food” initiative and WordPress.com’s Daily Post initiative, I have dusted the 3-year-old cobwebs off of my own WordPress.com blog to launch MacManX on Music, where I will be blogging at least once a week on the music that keeps me focused whenever I’m on duty as a Happiness Engineer.

Stay tuned to MacManX on Music for the first “official” post, which could appear as early as tomorrow!