My new iMac rocks (and so does Windows 7)

Last night I bought the 27-inch iMac. Sitting next to it is a 24-inch screen. It is totally amazing how freeing this much screen real estate is.

The new iMac? You can’t even tell it’s not just a monitor. It is just barely thicker than my 24-inch monitor. It is faster than my MacBook and it automatically imported all my items from my MacBook. All without hooking up any wires. It’s nice to see how much better the setup process is on these new computers.

The engineering that’s gone into this is just totally amazing. It’s an “all in screen” computer and it sure makes my desk look cool and clean. It’ll be the centerpiece of my home studio as I build that out. The new mouse is actually my favorite thing. It has no buttons. You just touch it to scroll or click on things. It takes a few minutes to get used to it, the same way that it took a few minutes to get used to the iPhone but now I’m already tired of my old mouse on my Dell.

I also have a pretty new Dell laptop that I loaded Windows 7 on. Both computers are so much better than the previous generations it isn’t even funny. If you are running older Windows I HIGHLY recommend getting the new Windows. It is much nicer than either XP or Vista and runs faster and hasn’t crashed in two days, either (my Vista used to crash every few hours). Congrats to Microsoft.

Anyway, in previous years I wouldn’t have considered an all-in-one computer like the iMac but this one gets me totally over that fear. It’s fast, quiet, and looks ultra sexy.

One thing I’d recommend, though, for the iMac, is to get an Ergotron arm for it so you can position it higher on your desk. Or, do what we did at Microsoft: get a few reams of paper and put the monitor on those (the Ergotron arms look a lot nicer and free up your desk space).

I got the dual core version of the iMac. The quad core will be out in six weeks (my boss has ordered one of those). This one is pretty speedy, though.

The biggest difference between Twitter and Facebook

Facebook yesterday turned on a bunch of new features on its news feed (here is TechCrunch’s writeup of the new features). It looks a lot more like FriendFeed, even though Facebook claims that the FriendFeed team didn’t work on these new features.

What does it do? Now Facebook mostly displays items that got engagement. You know, comments. Likes. Tagging. Etc.

This makes Facebook much more useful because you only see the items that your friends have found important enough to comment on or “touch” in some way. Overnight my news feed went from something that looked pretty cold and lame to something that has tons of “warmth.”

I am SO GLAD I deleted most of the people I had friended on Facebook and went down to a core group of people because I’m getting some pretty good items there now.

But I notice it now has the thing that most of my friend’s hated about FriendFeed: there are people on my feed I didn’t invite all of a sudden.

Here’s how that happens. Let’s say I’m a friend of Maryam Scoble, my wife. I see all her items. That is cool. But it also displays me any of HER FRIENDS who comment on her items. I might not care to read her friends’ opinions on politics or whatever. But I can’t easily get rid of them.

Twitter, on the other hand, doesn’t have comments. So you can’t easily have a back and forth conversation about something like you can over on FriendFeed or Facebook. But it has a HUGE advantage: I only see items from people I invited to get on my home screen.

That is a HUGE advantage for controlling noise and for keeping yourself productive. Especially after you get Twitter’s new lists feature, which lets you split your contacts up into separate pages (I have a page of just Venture Capitalists, for instance, which is a completely different feed from my page of tech journalists).

This is the biggest difference now between Twitter and Facebook and is one that keeps rubbing in that on Twitter you should follow lots of people and brands that you care about, while on Facebook you should follow only people you REALLY care about because they will drag into your view all THEIR friends and that will make your feed noisier and less valuable. Hope your friends choose their friends carefully.