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Ok Apple – let’s rethink the Mac Pro…

So today the news broke that Apple is “completely rethinking” the Mac Pro. Phil Schiller gathered some members of the press together for an unusual meeting where he confessed Apple missed-the-boat for many professionals with the 2013 Mac Pro cylinder, and is now in the process of redesigning it.

This news comes just a day after I wrote a post comparing Apple both to an abusive spouse as well as a drug dealer preying on children. And I have to say, I feel my comparison is as accurate today as it was yesterday. You don’t get to treat a segment of customers with a pattern of neglect for YEARS and think you can wipe it all away with a single press release.

There’s more to this than simply improving the product. Over the last 7 years, Apple has steadily dismantled their entire system of support for professionals. What the consumers of Apple products may not realize, around the introduction of the iPad, Apple began to re-assign their Apple creative professionals away from the Mac channel and into unrelated iPad sales. The professional VAR channel was left with no representation inside Apple (who was busy prioritizing Apple stores) and the entire professional community built around Apple began to crumble.

Fixing the Mac Pro is simply one piece of a bigger puzzle Apple needs to reassemble. Regaining the trust of large creative customers in Hollywood and around the country that Apple who were left in the lurch holding on desperately to their discontinued Xsan systems and Final Cut 7 workflows is not easy, if not impossible.

But hey, I’ll play along out of nostalgia for the Apple I once knew and loved. Here’s a short list of things Apple should consider in their Mac Pro redesigned:

  1. Shape: make it rack mountable. A least design in the option for rack ears. Many professionals are on the road or on set and need to mount their Mac Pro alongside the rest of their gear.
  2. Make it customizable and upgradable – and that includes processor upgrades. Add plenty of expansion slots – Thunderbolt 3 is great, but daisy chaining critical components is not elegant and can be downright unprofessional.
  3. Keep it flexible for running multiple operating systems. If you want a walled-garden or your own OS – great. But don’t forget the need to run other environments. You aren’t the only game in town and professionals appreciate manufacturers who recognize the value of their competition.
  4. Prioritize internal storage and memory. Large internal RAIDs and maximum amounts of memory are a must.
  5. Plenty of ports – old and new. Connectivity is king.
  6. Build sharing into the design. Not only do professionals remotely log into their systems, but when they work on them locally, they often need to share storage via NAS and SAN. Why not innovate in this area?

I’m sure I’ll think of a few more features I’d like to see in the redesign, but I think this is a good start. I just wonder if Apple will still be relevant by the time their new Mac Pro arrives in 2018.

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Stop shooting (up) Apple ProRes!

I remember sitting in the audience at Apple’s NAB dealer meeting in 2007 when they announced ProRes to the public. It was an exciting time – a golden age for Final Cut users. But only a year later, Apple discontinued their Xserve RAID product, followed by the discontinuation of Xserve, and by 2011, Apple dealt the ultimate blow to video professionals with the launch of Final Cut Pro X.

Much like hanging around with a continually abusive spouse, it can be difficult to admit our relationship with Apple simply isn’t healthy for our long-term wellbeing. Apple has shown no signs of changing its ways, and last year killed QuickTime for Windows. Like a drug dealer preying on school children, it is clear now that Apple introduced ProRes into the video world for one purpose – addicting users and forcing them onto Apple’s hardware – no matter how out-of-date and under-powered current Macs have become.

Apple’s never supported encoding ProRes on Windows – only decoding for playback, that was certainly a sign of their intentions. Now they’ve removed decoding completely for Windows 10 users.

I simply can’t stand by and watch as Apple continues this pattern of abuse. So, as a former ProRes user and addict, I encourage you to stop shooting up Apple’s crack codec! “Apple user” has taken on an entirely new meaning for me.

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Tired of traveling for television interviews?

Are you an executive or subject matter expert that frequently travels for live television interviews? Are you fed up with the frustration and inconvenience of frequent travel, the time away from your home or office, and the strain this puts on your schedule?
What if you could do these live interviews from your home or office?
You can.
Contact Thunder Powered Solutions at sales@thunderpowered.com for a turn-key quote on your own personal live broadcast studio. No satellite required!

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Come See the Blackmagic 4K Production Truck @ SXSW 2017



When: Wednesday, March 15th from 2-6 PM
Where: Other World Computing, 44 East Ave, Austin, Texas 78701
(walking distance from the Austin Convention Center – see map below)

The complete line of Blackmagic Design products will be on display.
It’s like NAB on wheels!

See the new Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro!

Witness the Speed of the ThunderBay 4 RAID array!

Learn more about OWC’s scalable Jupiter storage solutions!

Register to win a Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Sponsored by:

Drawing to be held March 15, 2017 at 6PM during the event. (Must be present to win)

Can’t make this event?

You can still register for a chance to win a Blackmagic Video Assist!

When you register for the event below, you will also be entered into a drawing for a Blackmagic Video Assist. We will stream the drawings live at 6PM. You do not need to be present to win the Video Assist – but you have to register below:

[mc4wp_form id=”1787″]

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Come see the latest video technology at SXSW!

Thunder Powered Solutions will be demonstrating the latest video gear (and some items not yet released to the public) at SXSW.

You can catch Allan on Saturday, March 11th at 12:30 at the Dell Experience located in the Sunset Room on 3rd Street. He’ll be presenting a Thunderbolt 3 4K workflow with Dell’s upcoming Canvas tablet and the Blackmagic UltraStudio Extreme 3 all hosted from Dell’s upcoming Precision 7520 laptop!

You can also check out ALL of Blackmagic’s products in their mobile production van which Thunder Powered Solutions will be hosting in Austin during the week of SXSW. Check back right here for a date and time for this event!
Finally, you can find Allan hanging out in the Blackmagic booth at the SXSW trade show from Sunday, March 12th through Tuesday the 14th . If you have badge or pass for the show, you can come by and get a demo of the new camera and equipment anytime during trade show hours.

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Cool Tip: Magnifier in Windows 10

Did you know that Windows 10 has a built-in screen magnification tool that is only a keyboard shortcut away? Just hold down the Windows key and then hit the plus sign. Boom – you are magnifying your screen, and you can continue to zoom in using the Windows key and plus sign, or zoom out with the Windows key and minus sign. To exit the Magnifier, just hit the Windows key plus escape.

There are several modes available through the Magnifier control palette: Full screen (Ctrl+Alt+F), Lens (Ctrl+Alt+L), and Docked (Ctrl+Alt+D). Further settings are under the gear icon.

Thanks to Sarah Burkhart for sharing this tip with me!

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Texas sales tax exemption for film & video production equipment purchases

If you don’t already know, the State of Texas offers a sales tax exemption on items and services essential and used or consumed during the production of a motion picture, commercial, television project, corporate film, infomercial, or video game.

Thunder Powered Solutions accepts purchases claiming this exemption, but did you know that you can request a refund on qualifying purchases from the Texas Comptroller’s Office? That’s right – even if you are just learning about this exemption, you can file to get back the sales tax you already paid after the purchase.

To find out more information, check out the Sales Tax Exemptions page at the Texas Film Commission website here: http://gov.texas.gov/film/incentives/sales_tax_exemptions/

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Apple, Innovate or Get Off the Throne!

As any creative professional knows, Apple’s Macintosh dominates our industries. Video, design, publishing, music – most creative studios are Mac-based.

But the last seven years or so have not been very kind to creative pros. For the most part, they’ve been filled with seemingly endless waiting only to have hopes of renewed attention dashed when Apple finally announces disappointing product updates.

As I lamented this today with a client who recently decided to make the switch back to Windows after many years on the Mac, I was reminded of how Apple has managed to tie our hands simply because the thought of ending the relationship with Apple, which started with such passion and promise, is seemingly impossible due to their dominant market position. We’re such a loyal group we hang onto our beloved Mac systems far longer than is healthy for our business needs.

In that spirit, I issue this desperate plea: Apple, innovate or get off the throne!