Create layouts on your Mac!

If you are using a Mac and are looking for a way to create layout plans for either model railroad or slot car sets, the RailModeller is just what you have been looking for. It has been around for a good while – since before OS X – and is constantly being upgraded and improved. Recently they even got together with the people at TrainPlayer to let you run the layouts you design. I don’t do slot cars at this time, though they are making a real comeback, so my experience is with the model rail side of things.

Rail Modeller SoftwareAs you can see by this screen shot, RailModeller gives you a lot of control when laying your track. Not only can you select from templates of most well known track gauges and makers, but if you can’t find what you are looking for you can use the track editor to create your own. Once you have the track you need, you can proceed to lay it out on a representation of you baseboard with all the correct dimensions calculated. When all is said and done, you can print out a inventory of all the track you have or need to create your masterpiece.

Of course this is greatly over simplified. While being very easy to use, RailModeller is also quite powerful. With it you can design model railway layouts of up to 3280ft x 3280ft. (I wish I had that much room!) You can also print your layout in arbitrary sizes a single sheet of paper up to 1:1 scale. Whats more, you can view your layout in 3D and get an even better impression of what the real thing will look! That is extremely cool.

So, as I am beginning to plan out my small shelf based layout, I am going to use RailModeller to do it. Not only will I be gaining experience with baseboard construction and track planning, but I will also be preparing myself for how best to layout larger and more complex designs when I get the space, time and money.

If you have used RailModeller or any other track planning software, I would love to hear your experiences. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Microsoft Office for Mac Deal

This is the Thanksgiving shopping deal that you don’t want to miss. If you have any need for Microsoft Office on the Macintosh at all, now is your chance to get it for a ridiculously low price. For a short time only MacMall has an instant rebate on the Special Media Edition. (Note: If you click the link early, the non-sale price will show.) $350 INSTANT REBATE! Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition NOW only $69.99! (was $429.99) from 11/27-11/28

I was personally debating whether I was going to put MS Office on the new MacBook I am buying. This answers that question. In addition to the normal Office features, including Entourage which is the basically Outlook for the Mac, this special media edition includes Microsoft Expression Media. Expression Media is the program that used to be known as iView Media Pro before Microsoft bought them. It is an excellent document and imaging cataloging and retrieval program. Think of it as iPhoto on steroids.

So, there you have it. So far our of all the Black Friday previews I have seen, this is the big winner. And, by the way, Happy Thanksgiving!

[Update: 12/01/08] Please note that this deal has now ended. Sorry!

Computers can make you nuts

I am a Macintosh fan, user, and evangelist. Gotta admit – I love them. On the other hand I earn my living on PCs and Windows machines, am Microsoft certified, and admire a lot of the software. And yes, I have used Linux too and continue to use it from time to time. But truth be told, they are all a pain at some point or another and each one has its positive points and drawbacks. You have got to admit it — no matter how fond you are of the machine you use, at times you just want to scream at it.

You need to take a look at this video from YouTube. Basically a Southpark style remake of the famous Mac / PC ads from Apple, it hits the nail dead on the head. And in the end I do mean dead.