MacMania II sets sail from Hawaii

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MacMania II, sponsored by Macworld, officially kicked off on Monday as the Norwegian Star left Honolulu for Hilo, Hawaii on its way to Fanning Island. At the same time some of the most recognizable names in the Macintosh market took the stage onboard the cruise liner to teach and talk to participants about a variety of Mac related topics.

AppleScript Product Manager Sal Soghoian, author Bruce Fraser, Macworld editor Jason Snell, author Tom Negrino, author Bob LeVitus and this MacCentral editor all gave classes on Monday starting a week-long cruise of fun and learning for speakers and participants.

Most sessions that have to do with writing code are usually not very interesting for the average user, but then again, Apple's own Sal Soghoian not the average teacher. Soghoian is probably one of the most dedicated evangelists of a technology this writer has ever seen. Soghoian has a way of taking a difficult task and making the solution seem very simple, all the while teaching you things you never thought you could do.

There were many questions asked of Sal in his sessions on AppleScript Studio, and by the time Soghoian was finished, there were smiles and nods of appreciation from the attendees. Much like Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Soghoian has his own reality distortion field that students of his classes find mesmerizing.

Bruce Fraser tackled one of the most important applications for creative professionals, Adobe Photoshop, and one of the more important aspects of Photoshop, printing. Fraser's seminar covered the entire process of bringing images into Photoshop, enhancing them and reproducing them in hard copy on anything from a desktop inkjet printer to a printing press. The class looked at some of Photoshop's more obscure preferences and went through the Color Settings dialog, took an in-depth look at Curves, Levels and Hue/Saturation.

Fraser also touched on the trade-off between using Adjustment Layers and/or editing layers, as well as working with high-bit files, making arbitrary graduated selections, using blending modes to Dodge and Burn, painting with blending modes and other more.

Author Tom Negrino taught a class on one of the most popular Personal Information Management tools on the market, Microsoft Entourage. Negrino taught attendees how to get the most out of all aspects of Entourage, going over features that many Entourage users never take full advantage of, like Notes.

Negrino also touched on a topic that affects all Internet users: Spam. He talked about Entourage's built-in Junk filter and gave users advice on multiple strategies that he uses to combat spam and junk mail.

Bob LeVitus took a light-hearted approach to a variety of shareware applications and why he likes and uses so many utilities on his Macintosh. LeVitus talked about must-have products and cool utilities that will make your daily computing life much easier.

CopyPaste, Drag Thing, iCan, LaunchBar, Snapz Pro, Watson, textSOAP, URL Manager Pro, TinkerTool, MacReporter and many others filled LeVitus' hard drive as he explained their uses to an enthusiastic crowd. Some people surfed to the company's Web sites to purchase the products through the ship's wireless Internet connection as LeVitus spoke about the benefits of particular shareware applications.

Macworld editor Jason Snell took over with his intro to making the perfect DVD. Snell talk to attendees about converting analog video to digital and showed the crowd a few tricks to getting audio and video into an iDVD projects using QuickTime Pro.

The first day of MacMania ended with Snell and this editor opening the floor to attendees for a Q&A session. Discussions ranged from Apple's processor chip strategy to cell phone technology and integration of Apple applications to the ongoing debate of InDesign vs. QuarkXPress.

This story, "MacMania II sets sail from Hawaii" was originally published by PCWorld.

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