Aperture from App Store

It's easy to download full applications like Aperture from the Apple App Store.

This weekend, I broke down and bought a copy of Apple’s Aperture software. As a Mac user, I am typically very happy with the core software that comes with iLife, but I just needed something more powerful. And the Apple App Store has been daring me to purchase something from it.

As a published photographer with three photography books in Amazon and Barnes & Nobles, I figured that I needed something slightly more versatile for organizing images. iPhoto is okay, but it’s just not up for the task of organizing a huge library of pictures.

I’d dabbled with Adobe Bridge, which is part of the Adobe Creative Suite, but found it to be a bit slow and clunky. I’ve also tried out the Extensis Portfolio package, which was really quite good for $199. It allowed a lot of flexibility in storage and organizing. But as I moved from my old Mac G5 to my new iMac, I wanted something that would be a little more universal. That is, I’d never met another person who used Extensis Portfolio and I was concerned that, if I had a problem, I would have limited support options.

If I get a new computer, I don’t want to do what I am doing now, which is trying to upgrade multiple files and software packages.

Apple's App Store sells Mac software

Anyway, after doing entirely too much research, I downloaded Apple’s Aperture. In the stores, it costs $199. In the Apple App Store, it’s only $80. That’s the full version, not the upgrade.

The App Store was a pretty smooth and intuitive process. It just billed the purchase to my iTunes account and installed the Aperture application on my computer. I have no idea what will happen if I get a new computer, but for now, I feel pretty good about downloading software and not getting discs and a serial number.

Installing and using Aperture is a standard Apple experience. Everything works, and you feel good about your purchase. No wonder iPhones and iPads are flying off the shelves. People like a good user experience and simplicity goes a long way. Usability is important for end users, even power users and professionals.

Now comes the task of organizing and tagging 70,000 photos.

Additional links:

Apple’s 10 Billion…eBooks?

Apple iTunes Store Sells 10 Billion Songs

Ten billion. That’s how many songs have been legally downloaded from Apple’s iTunes Store.

This is what that looks like: 10,000,000,000

If it look impressive, that’s because it is. And it is significant because it may represent a small victory in the war over digital piracy. Apple has made it easy and affordable to buy music (something the record industry didn’t do themselves). As a result, people have paid money for stuff that they can easily steal.

If you own an iPod, iPhone or some other Apple device, you know that the Apple iTunes Store is really, really easy to use. Plus, they sell more than just music. You can get movies and TV shows as well.

As the iPad comes out, Apple will begin to roll out ebooks, newspapers, magazines, and other new media content. It’s going to be a broad range of materials, many of which will be purchased by the download. (Currently there is no subscription model.)

From a content perspective, this is a huge opportunity. People have grown used to getting content for free on websites. Few websites have managed to get money out of their visitors. Marvel Digital and Disney Digital have online subscription models, but those are premiere brands with highly exclusive content resources and characters.

As the iPad hits the streets, Apple is going to be working hard to get you to pay for content. Amazon already gets people to pay for ebooks and blogs on the Kindle, so there is a segment of the population prepared to pay for content.

No, don’t get me wrong. I am not looking forward to paying for stuff that I am getting free today, but that’s how it goes. Only so many websites and publishers can survive on the freemium model. Eventually someone is going to have to pay.

Sure, there will always be people who figure out a way to get stuff for free. In fact, many pirates don’t rip DVDs and MP3s because they want the media. They do it because they enjoy the challenge of cracking the code or beating the system. (And DRM doesn’t seem to work.)

With ereaders like the Kindle, Nook, and iPad, publishers are going to have to figure out a way to get people to buy digital books and magazines. Free is not a sustainable business model for most publishers. As the music industry will attest, it’s not going to be easy, but it is possible to get people to pay for media.

Price them right, make them easy to get, and maybe in a few years I’ll be blogging about how there were 10 billion ebooks sold on the Apple store.

LINKS – NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSEMENTS:

I Want to Hear Your Ads…Please

Each week, I listen to approximately four to ten individual podcasts per week. If you’re not familiar with the term, a podcast is a mash up of the words “iPods” and “broadcast.”

In a previous post, I blogged about Podcasting Your Brand Message. Check it out. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Basically, podcasts are highly specialized radio shows that people subscribe to on their computers. You can listen to podcasts on an iPod, burn it to a CD for the car, or just listen on the computer. Many podcasts are highly specialized, serving a niche audience. Check out the massive variety of shows at Podcast Alley.

And yet, I am amazed at how few podcasts include any advertising. Believe it or not, I want to hear ads for products that are relevant and important to me. I actually want to know more about…

New Technology Podcast
My favorite tech podcast is CNet’s Buzz Out Loud. Although the “podcast of indeterminate length” runs a little long, it is always interesting, always educational, and…always about new technology. The people who are listening to a one hour plus podcast about cutting-edge tech are probably receptive to…I dunno…an ad for a website that sells new technology at a great price.

Screenwriting Podcast
The absolute best podcast on screenwriting is called “On the Page.” Each week, Pilar Alessandra offers smart, actionable advice to aspiring screenwriters. As a writer, I am also an avid reader, so I would like to know if an interesting new writing book becomes available. Yes, it would be very smart to advertise a the right book on a targeted podcast, especially if the show discusses topics relevant to writers.

These are just two examples of podcasts perfect for highly targeted advertising. It’s a lot like speciality magazine advertising.

That is, when I subscribe to Popular Photography magazine, I expect to see ads for photo equipment, services, and other cool photo stuff. I spend as much time drooling at the ads as I do on the reviews. Sometimes more.

Podcasts offer you an opportunity to connect your product with people who are passionate about the category.

With tough times ahead, advertisers want unique opportunities to connect with their customers. Many niche podcasts have a small staff, but a large, dedicated following.

This means a podcaster probably doesn’t have a sales force to come and woo your ad dollars. The Internet is reversing that model, and now you are going to have to find them.

The payoff could be huge for your brand. Instead of an apathetic audience, you could be tapping into passionate, motivated audience eager to buy your product or service.

In the meantime, I’ll just be listening to ad-free podcasts…and hearing nothing about your brand.

Free Music I Paid For

Ever since the dawn of cheap, recordable tapes, you really haven’t HAD to pay for music. If you knew someone with an album, you could buy a cassette tape and make a copy.

With the ‘Net, getting free music became even easier. Every song you could ever want. Free. No strings attached. Awesome!

That is, until the musicians pointed out that the music wasn’t actually “free.” It was kinda “stolen.” But most of us didn’t feel like thieves. Paying $18.99 for a new CD? THAT feels like robbery.

When iTunes added 99-cent downloads, it became easy to “do the right thing.” Affordable. Good for the environment. You actually feel good about buying music.

I won’t say that you should pay for music (you should) because it’s the right thing to do (it is). I won’t mention that you wouldn’t want your work stolen (you wouldn’t). Even though some of these musicians are nauseatingly rich (they are).

I’ll just say this…here are my:

Top 10 Best Songs that I Paid for This Year

  1. My Apocalypse – Metallica – Seriously, the finest headbanging masterpiece in a long time. Every track on this fast, furious album makes up for their last album (awful). It’s that good.
  2. On the Radio – Regina Spektor – I discovered this on Pandora. Offbeat and quirky. Catchy too.
  3. Chicks = Trouble – Motley Crue – The title says it all. Classic Crue.
  4. Woke Up This Morning – A3 – Yeah, that song from the Sopranos. It’s much longer than the version used on the show, but has the same groove.
  5. LDN – Lily Allen – Another song discovered on Pandora. It’s got a great video on YouTube.
  6. Distractions (Live) – Sia – That amazing singer from Zero 7. Her big break was on the last episode of Six Feet Under (clip on YouTube). This song showcases her amazing and unique voice.
  7. Love Song – Sara Bareilles – A good pop tune that I heard on the radio.
  8. End of the World – Great Big Sea – A much, much faster version of the song by REM. With fiddles.
  9. Woodchipper’s Ball – Hugo Montenegro – Unlike anything else on this list. If you don’t like it, don’t be surprised.
  10. Bad Girlfriend – Theory of a Deadman – Heard it on the radio. Didn’t like their other songs, so I didn’t have to buy the whole album. Perfect.

What’s on your list of favorite songs you paid for?

Podcasting Your Brand Message

Looking for a new way to spread the word about your business or service? Look no further than your iPod.

If you have an iPod (isn’t that a requirement for living in the USA?), you have iTunes.

There’s a button for “Podcasts,” which are audio programs. Like radio shows without the radio.

I download podcasts every time I plug in my iPod. It’s a free and legal service provided by Apple.

One of my favorites is the screenwriting podcast “On The Page,” hosted by Pilar Alessandra. As an educational and motivational resource, On The Page is nearly as good as having your personal writing cheerleader. (Note: If actual cheerleaders would like to cheer for me, please send photos.)

On the podcast, Pilar would talk about her Los Angeles screenwriting classes. These sounded great, but could be a long drive for me, since I live in New Jersey.

Then…she announced a New York class. And with the speed of Mercury and the riches of Midas, I sent her $125.

I sent my money because the podcast actually proved that Pilar knew how to teach screenwriting. Think about it. I sent a total stranger $125 over the Internet. Because I listened to her podcast every week, Pilar was not really a stranger. Her podcast proved that she was what she claimed: A professional who taught the craft and business of screenwriting.

For Pilar Alessandra’s screenwriting classes, podcasting turned out to be an effective marketing tool.

Is something you’re doing worth talking about? Consider speaking about your brand message through a podcast.

Pilar ALESSANDRA & Buddy Scalera in NY

Pilar ALESSANDRA & Buddy Scalera in NY

Hulu & Pandora Got Me Through Book 3

Well, I finally got the “all clear” signal from my editor Amy. She told me today that all of my deliverables have been accepted and my book is moving to final production. Whoo hooo!

She gave the editorial thumbs up to the final pages and the CD-ROM on my third photo reference book “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Men & Boys.” I did this book at the same time as I was doing the last book “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Women & Girls.”Men & Boys

It was, I now admit, a lot harder to complete two books at the same time than I’d originally thought. My day job is busy, but I managed to juggle both and keep everything going. However, I did NOT account for was how much work kids are as they get older. Sports, parties, and staying up later means less time for freelance. I do my work on the weekends and that’s when the kids need me most.

BUT…! It all got done. I am exhausted, but satisfied. I’m looking forward to a short mental break, but I am also excited about getting started again.

These things kept me sane during the last two books:

Pandora.com – The best personalized-music station ever. Wow. Make a playlist and Pandora makes it better. I discovered a bunch of new music through Pandora.

Amazon.com – There’s a good alternative for buying music. I love iTunes, but I hate the DRM restrictions. Amazon sells complete albums for under $9.00 and there are no DRM roadblocks. I can listen at home or at work. Music I discovered on Pandora I bought on Amazon….if it was available. Amazon doesn’t have nearly as many songs as iTunes, but I that’s already starting to change.

Hulu.com – While I work, I keep Hulu.com playing in the corner. They have tons of shows from NBC and their affiliates. I caught up great shows, including 30 Rock, The Office, SNL, Family Guy, and Cops. I even discovered a genuinely scary webisode show called Devil’s Trade. It’s one freaky, creepy show.

iTunes – I still love my iTunes. I can’t live without my podcasts. They keep me going as I grind through 1000+ Photoshop files. My favorites include: KCRW: The Business, CBC: Search Engine, KCRW: Martini Shot, On the Page: Screenwriting, PC Mag Radio, NYT Science Times, Secret Identity, The Grim Reader’s Screenwriting Advice, the 60 Minutes Podcast, and the awesome Vodcast Tiki Bar TV.

So, I’m excited to be done, but I’m already looking forward to taking more pictures.

Now…sleep.

Hulu & Pandora Got Me Through Book 3

Well, I finally got the “all clear” signal from my editor Amy. She told me today that all of my deliverables have been accepted and my book is moving to final production. Whoo hooo!

She gave the editorial thumbs up to the final pages and the CD-ROM on my third photo reference book “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Men & Boys.” I did this book at the same time as I was doing the last book “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Women & Girls.”Men & Boys

It was, I now admit, a lot harder to complete two books at the same time than I’d originally thought. My day job is busy, but I managed to juggle both and keep everything going. However, I did NOT account for was how much work kids are as they get older. Sports, parties, and staying up later means less time for freelance. I do my work on the weekends and that’s when the kids need me most.

BUT…! It all got done. I am exhausted, but satisfied. I’m looking forward to a short mental break, but I am also excited about getting started again.

These things kept me sane during the last two books:

Pandora.com – The best personalized-music station ever. Wow. Make a playlist and Pandora makes it better. I discovered a bunch of new music through Pandora.

Amazon.com – There’s a good alternative for buying music. I love iTunes, but I hate the DRM restrictions. Amazon sells complete albums for under $9.00 and there are no DRM roadblocks. I can listen at home or at work. Music I discovered on Pandora I bought on Amazon….if it was available. Amazon doesn’t have nearly as many songs as iTunes, but I that’s already starting to change.

Hulu.com – While I work, I keep Hulu.com playing in the corner. They have tons of shows from NBC and their affiliates. I caught up great shows, including 30 Rock, The Office, SNL, Family Guy, and Cops. I even discovered a genuinely scary webisode show called Devil’s Trade. It’s one freaky, creepy show.

iTunes – I still love my iTunes. I can’t live without my podcasts. They keep me going as I grind through 1000+ Photoshop files. My favorites include: KCRW: The Business, CBC: Search Engine, KCRW: Martini Shot, On the Page: Screenwriting, PC Mag Radio, NYT Science Times, Secret Identity, The Grim Reader’s Screenwriting Advice, the 60 Minutes Podcast, and the awesome Vodcast Tiki Bar TV.

So, I’m excited to be done, but I’m already looking forward to taking more pictures.

Now…sleep.