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Head like a hole

July 23, 2001

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As Ralph Nader, the producers of “Waterworld” and the Senate’s current G.O.P. minority can attest, the best-laid plans of mole rats and men are apt to crumble like gorgonzola when cold-cocked by the pizza paddle of circumstance.

Consider The Gay Blade’s recent efforts to discharge his journalistic duty at last week’s Macworld Expo/New York: A strategic gratuity extended to a Pennsylvania Station men’s-room attendant secured economical lodging and grooming facilities for the duration, a visit to the local CVS Pharmacy ensured an energizing stream of DayQuil, and his close personal relationship with a number of burly Teamsters servicing the Jacob K. Javits Center scored this utensil a backstage pass to Maximo Jefe Steve Jobs’ keynote presentation.

Sic semper tyrannus! While he distinctly recalls the lazy trajectory of a digital camera lobbed in a high, whistling arc from center stage directly toward his head, the remainder of the Blade’s Gotham sojourn passed in a feverish blur of painkillers; petit-mal seizures; and peripatetic peregrinations around Chelsea, muttering darkly to himself and lugging a grimy Creative Nomad loot bag filled with shag-carpet remnants, cold potato knishes and greasy Photoshop 7 build notes.

Sweet Dorothy Gale in a pool of cerebrospinal fluid! Can the Blade bruise the other lobe now?

Horse of a different color

And speaking of Technicolor head trips: The consumer software hits just keep on coming out of Apple, which continues to rack up a polychrome smorgasbord of nacreous eye candy calculated to unite neophytes with their data in new and interesting ways: burning DVDs and CDs, transforming digital photos into desktop patterns, or rolling their own homespun contributions to the fast-growing adult-film industry and distributing them via the Internet to like-minded individuals.

Now, Apple is preparing to bridge the gap between the image-capture and -distribution components folded into Mac OS X by equipping users of its nouvelle vague OS with a basic set of image-manipulation tools that echo the capabilities already built into Windows XP. According to the Blade’s satin-jacketed squadron of flying monkeys, the new package, tentatively dubbed iPhoto, will let Auntie Em and Uncle Henry modify and enhance their snaps with simple controls and create electronic greeting cards, calendars and other personalized cheesecake via an assortment of templates.

In short, while some ambitious souls in the loge have characterized iPhoto as a “Photoshop killer,” Apple’s crosshairs are actually trained on the space once occupied by PhotoDeluxe, the consumer-level Mini Me of Adobe’s image-editing family.

And considering that Adobe has essentially abandoned the Mac side of the consumer equation to focus on the Windows version of PhotoDeluxe, Apple’s efforts in this direction apparently won’t spark another contretemps of the sort that followed Apple’s decision to acquire the fixin’s of Final Cut Pro from Macromedia Inc., thus setting itself up as a direct competitor to Adobe and its Premiere video-editing suite.

The Blade may not be able to remember the name of that green vegetable with the leaves you peel off and dip in drawn butter, but he can still recognize a Mac industry tip when it’s chucked his way. Give him your best shot at The NMR Report, and a tranquilized lemon rattle could be urine!

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