I received Apple’s iLife ’06 software suite the other day, and I’ve put up a sample web site at http://web.mac.com/tydavison so you can see some of the fruits of my labor. It’s a little web site done in iWeb, and while it’s nothing to get all that excited about, it was about as easy to put together as one could possibly imagine. If you’ve ever wanted to do your own web site—complete with blog, podcast, and photos—you must investigate iWeb. It is a seriously easy (and fun).

[And since Dave asked: Yes, you can publish to sites other than .Mac. You lose three things: (1) the ability to password protect web pages, (2) a ready-made hit counter, and (3) a slideshow with viewing controls. Otherwise, it’s all good.]

The latest version of iPhoto rocks as well. It’s a lot faster than previous versions, and its Photocasting (subscribe to a Photocast of my latest Davison Gallery Photo Album) and integration with iWeb really make it a worthwhile upgrade. I’ve been quite impressed.

GarageBand 3 is essentially GarageBand 2 with excellent podcast production support. If you’ve wanted to podcasting, GarageBand 3 makes it a snap. In fact, I’m thinking that I’ll probably use GarageBand and iPhoto to put together my podcasts then I’ll dump them onto an iWeb page and publish the whole thing (with RSS) to my .Mac account. It’s a convenient, slick workflow, and I’m eager to give it a shot.

I’ve not played with iDVD or iMovie yet, since I’ve not had a need for either, but those two programs could be an absolute disaster and iLife ’06 is worth the $79 based on iWeb, iPhoto, and GarageBand alone. Consider them bonuses or don’t consider them at all: iLife 06 from Apple is winner either way.