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Launch Day... Pre-Game

It’s 10:45AM EST. In just an hour and fifteen minutes, we’ll “throw the switch” and The Digital Lifestyle channel will officially launch. There’s a lot to be done in the next hour or so, but I thought I would offer some pre-launch thoughts, which will probably be re-visited after today.

First, it is amazing to think about the technology that makes this site possible. While the design leaves something to be desired, the relatively quick nature in which everything has come together, would have been unthinkable five years ago. iWeb has allowed us to quickly build the site. The magic of podcasting has allowed us to find some of the best talent in the Mac universe to be part of the show. And most importantly, the technology from Mogulus that makes our 24-hour stream possible is a game changer. The ability for us to go live, at any minute, 24 hours a day is astonishing. While most of our program day will consist of pre-recorded shows, rest assured that we’re ready to go live whenever we need to.

Second, this is as good of time as any to talk about the goal of the website. First, it should be interactive. Not in the “social web, hey add me as a friend way,” but rather with meaningful video segments contributed by viewers. Next, this channel focuses on Apple and The Digital Lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean we will have blinders on to the rest of the tech industry (there’s a reason it’s not called “the Apple Lifestyle” channel). While we are quite enthusiastic about Apple products, we want to, at the same time, present a realistic, and when necessary, critical look at the business practices of the company. You can love the products and still be skeptical of the company behind them. And finally, I want this channel to set a precedent for a “third way” to broadcast. We want to shed the millions of dollars of overhead associated with traditional TV networks, while at the same time, bringing an aggregation of great content together in a way that thousands of individual podcasts cannot.

So there you have it. The Digital Lifestyle. Apple news, rumors, and lifestyle, 24 hours a day... Enjoy.


Adventures in iWeb

While there are plenty of people involved with the launch of The Digital Lifestyle, who know web layout and html,  I decided to put iWeb through its paces. Hey, if it’s billed as a simple web creation tool from Apple, we should be able to put our little network together, right? Well...

First things first: if you’re trying to use a version of iWeb prior to iWeb ’08, don’t. There are no customization options for adding html. I was reduced to creating text boxes, with the text “REMOVE TEXT” then uploaded the files, opened up the file in the fine Coda program from Panic Software, then inserted the code I wanted where the “REMOVE” note was left by myself. Since iWeb would overwrite the last file each time, this means I would have to repeat this process after each change. Not very practical.

Thankfully, iWeb ’08 includes a handy “html snippet” option, which makes it drop-dead easy to add your own code. There are even buttons for integrating Google adWords and maps. Be warned: If you’re using that handy adWords feature, Apple will be taking a cut of your revenue, according to the terms. Why, I’m not sure. You’ve paid $99 for .mac and $79 for iLife, you would think they could leave your pennies alone. That’s our Apple though.

The other frustrating part of iWeb has got to be the strange manner in which the files you’re working on are saved as one big xml document, that cannot be accessed from another computer: I couldn’t work on this page from my laptop across the network, despite the fact the original file was sitting in the same room on the tower.

This wasn’t intended to be a product review, but it looks like it’s just that. I’ll give the older version of iWeb a one out of five stars, while iWeb ’08 gets three out of five.


We are live... Sorta...

Today is the day. We’ve been working at a breakneck pace to get the site up and running.  We’re longtime Apple users, and while we enjoy their products, and probably border on, or are firmly in the fanboy department, but we’ re going to bring the good with the bad, and appeal to anyone using Apple products as part of The Digital Lifestyle. Yes, forums will come, and all kinds of site goodies. For now though, enjoy our video feed, bringing you continuous (and occasionally live!) Apple updates.

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