iMovie (and all of the iLife applications) are more difficult to learn than Apple probably believes they are.

There’s little documentation. There are no tool-tips. There are no printed manuals. There are on-line docs available for each application, but they are not only inadequate, they’re also difficult to search.

If one wants to learn how to use, for example, the Ken Burns effects in iMovie, it’s a frustrating beat-your-head-against the wall plow-through-it kind of experience. I hate it.

I’ve had to puzzle over the interface several times: Why does iMovie keep resetting the zoom I just set? I rotated this photograph in iPhoto, why doesn’t the change appear in iMovie? Why do I lose time when I add this transition? How do I keep from losing time? How come the updates don’t take effect when I try to alter the slide transitions between frames? Why doesn’t the export command display the estimated file size (and time to export) so that one doesn’t start a high-quality Quicktime export if it’s too big? Etc.

Yes, I know it’s a free product.

Apple markets its applications as easy-to-use. They may be, but they’re not always easy-to-learn. I know that Apple’s marketing machine should be ignored because it’s prone to hyperbole and little white lies, but I expected the iLife applications to be easier to learn. (I’ve had terrible trouble with iTunes, also — a clumsy, clumsy application.)

Despite my complaints, once learned how to use iMovie, I was able to work efficiently. Once I learned to use iTunes, I was pleased, too. My complaints are with the initial ease-of-use, the lack of documentation, and the poorly designed interfaces, not the power and usability of the applications for experienced users.

Last night was the final session of our photography class. Seven die-hards attended (of the eighteen who started the class) and shared slide shows and enlargements.

Only three of us completed the “What a Wonderful World” slide show. Warren confessed that he hadn’t expected anyone to complete it — it was time-consuming and required a lot of effort, and he had given the assignment just to see what we might accomplish.

The three of us that completed the task each took a slightly different approach. Sue used 70+ traditional slides (all of them brilliant). Larry captured ~30 digital images (many of them brilliant) and converted the project to digital video tape and played it on the television. I used ~40 images (few of them brilliant), displaying my slide show in iMovie on my iBook.

Though I’m satisfied with my completed project, it’s not nearly as good as it could be. I know more about scanning negatives now, know more about iMovie, know more photography in general. If I were to undertake the project again, I’d have a better idea of what to do.

Here is my slide show (6.08mb, Quicktime file): What a Wonderful World (click to view in your browser or right-click to download)

After viewing the slide shows, we displayed our enlargements. Five of us brought a total of 33 photographs. The results were impressive. Nearly every photograph adhered to Warren’s tenets: get closer, eliminate extraneous elements, etc.

We voted on our favorites. Sue’s gorgeous photograph of a lighthouse silhouetted against fiery clouds at sunset took first place. Larry’s lovely pastoral image (white fence, plum trees in bloom, rolling hills) was voted second place. Two of my images tied for third:

[Little white flowers]  [Simon climbs a ladder]

The cat climbing the ladder won the run-off. The class knew before-hand that this photograph was not taken during class, but they liked it enough to keep it in the pool from which we voted. The prize for third place was a roll of 3200-speed (!!!) black-and-white film. (The prize for first place was an old box-camera from Warren’s collection.)

It was a great class session. Several of us exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses, and discussed plans for future photography courses.

Now I’ve discovered this site’s raw log files. What fun!

Google search terms that led people here yesterday (in chronological order):

  • fun house JD Roth downloads
  • she’s come undone
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  • earth below us drifting falling
  • crack total club manager
  • where the gin is cold and the
  • Plot summary a thousand acres
  • Wgpoadmn.dl_
  • scrabout download
  • john krakauer
  • oregon crime lay layoffs
  • Geraldine Brooks
  • mac copy bubbler
  • scrabout
  • chatwin songlines criticism
  • geek love dunn
  • amy sherrard
  • ulrich midwife commentary
  • Ken Kesey Sometimes a Great Notion
  • Bagel dog facts
  • Bagel dog facts
  • photography neon signs
  • blueberry candy “blueberry candy” -daylily
  • timothy ferris milky way
  • literary review for snow falling on cedars
  • sienkiewicz original sale
  • tender is the night by f. scott fitzgerald
  • pronounce sinead o’connor
  • Warcraft III Access Violation
  • Contextual selectors
  • The rapture of canaan information
  • natural history of the senses touch ackerman
  • suskind perfume
  • suskind perfume
  • Dialect Survey
  • interesting quotes from Into Thin Air
  • new arrival…congratulations mom rest
  • Quotes from Into Thin Air
  • holding pattern response
  • robert pirsig
  • Jon Krakauer quotes
  • discussion of perfume patrick suskind
  • all the pretty horses symbolism
  • Ursula Leguin Biography
  • the power of one bryce
  • U Penn Off the Beat sheet music
  • a thousand acres book summary
  • F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
  • How do I know what I think until I see what I say
  • power of one bryce courtenay
  • best clam chowder

Holy cats! All of that info can be found on this side, to some extent. My favorite search is: blueberry candy “blueberry candy” -daylilies. And note: nobody searched for milky women. Also note that there were no hits for Helms Deep — my review of Peter Jackson’s Helms Deep shuffled off Google’s front page a few days ago, so I’m not longer getting hits on that page. Google has a strong influence on page popularity.


On 14 March 2003 (07:42 PM),
Paul said:


I really liked your final project. It was fun to see how the photos we’ve seen over the past few weeks (months?) were used for the song. I hope I’m not over-stating it but I think that you’ve started to yank that song back over to the pleasant side where it belongs after the damning treatment it got int “Good Morning Vietnam”. (Can you do one for the song “Blue Velvet”?)


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