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Archive for the ‘Mac OS X’ Category

I was watching someone use her computer at work the other day, and I was amazed to see that she was unaware of a simple way to minimize all her windows.  She went to each one, clicked on the minimize button – for like 5 windows.  That’s a waste of time.

There are 3 very fast ways to do this:

1.  Press your Windows key + M for minimize.  The fastest way.  The Windows key is between your Control and Alt keys on the lower left of your keyboard.

2.  Similarly, you can press Windows key + D (D for desktop).  This one is cool in that if you press the hotkey combo again, you’ll see all your windows maximized again.  Option 1 does not do this.

2.  If you insist in the mouse, you can do this – Right click on the toolbar on the bottom of your windows, you know, the one w/ the start button on the bottom left.  Select Toolbars > Quick Launch.  This will add some more icons to your toolbar.  Press the icon w/ the blue and white trapezoid to see your desktop.  You don’t have to do this whole thing every time. Next time, you can just press the icon, b/c it will always be there.

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Man, I have not written in awhile on this – anyways, I’ve been busy running another similar blog that’s internal to a specific audience.

Anyways, I’m doing some spring cleaning, and I’m selling my stuff on ebay.

Right now, I have my koolsink mac powerbook g4 12″ aluminum stand for sale.

koolsink.jpg

I used to have a 12″ powerbook, and I loved this stand. It’s aluminum to match the powerbook, and I used to use it when using my 17″ LCD hooked up to my powerbook g4. It really does cool your powerbook, and you can even check out more details on their site: www.koolsink.com

Anyways, since then I’ve upgraded to my MPB, core 2 duo, which I love – so no more need for this Koolsink stand.

It costs about $60 when including shipping, but I’m starting my bid at $15. Don’t let it get away!

I’m also selling my used video card, 128mb PCI express card. Bidding starts at only $1.

Good luck and happy bidding!

I’ll be posting more stuff later, but in the meantime, I want to give a plug for GarageSale, a mac software for posting ebay items. It’s awesome, and so easy! The templates are great! You should try it out – you can post up to 3 items for free as a trial.

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iphone.jpg

Sorry I haven’t written in awhile! I’ve been busy over the Christmas season – but anyways, I have time now for about a 10 minute quickie commentary on the new iPhone by Apple.

If you’ve been keeping up w/ the news, there’s a lot of hype surrounding this phone. Believe me, I love macs myself, and I’m typing on one now, but I try to be pretty objective. I saw apple’s site about this iPhone, and the demonstrations are impressive if not mindblowing. I couldn’t help thinking “now this is a true smartphone, what a phone SHOULD be!”

I’m not going to bother you with the tech specs of this phone, b/c a million other websites probably do that by now.

But here are some questions you should ask before you think about if you want to shell out $499 (for the 4gb) or $599 (8gb) for the iPhone. Ask yourself:

1.  What are the features I really need in a smartphone? It looks like to you that you might want to use every feature, but get realistic. Do you really schedule your appts in your Mac now? If not, the calendar feature won’t be of any use, b/c you probably won’t do it on your Mac to sync it over to your iPhone. How does it handle to do lists or memos (both of which exist in Palm)? I didn’t see any presentation on that. I’m a major to-do list guy, I get nothing done without a good to do list with alarms. Can I enter one on the fly into the iPhone? Does it even have a To Do list? What about reading/editting Word docs? Palm does that, so does Windows. But the word is, iPhone will not have it. I mean, will Microsoft make an iPhone version of Office for them? I doubt it. Do you read ebooks? I do – a lot. Will the iPhone have an ebook reader natively installed? I hope so, b/c you can’t download and use one. The word on the street is that it will not support 3rd party apps, at least for now, so don’t count on some company stepping up to the plate to fill some functional gaps. So if having mobile office is important to you, iPhone may not be for you, unless you want to carry a separate PDA with it.

2.  Do you have the money? Did you count the hidden costs? What I mean by this is that just b/c you have $499, it doesn’t mean that you’re set to bring this iPhone home. First of all, how much is Cingular going to charge you? You will probably need to buy a new plan that includes a data plan so that you can access the internet – otherwise, what’s the use of an iPhone? So I guess that will be around an extra $40 per month (just a guess). That will mean an extra $480/year. Also, if you already have a cell plan w/ another mobile carrier, say Verizon, you will have to pay a cancellation fee of $250. Then, on top of that, you will probably want to buy a new nice case to protect your baby. Another $20-30. Then for you really careful guys, you will want maybe insurance? (yes, there are insurance companies out there that cover electronics/computers for accidental coverage – search ‘insurance’ in my blog, I’m too lazy to look it up). That will be more $/year. Total that up, and that’s the real cost of ownership, you do the math.

3.  What if you accidentally drop it and don’t have insurance? or stolen? or plain lose it? Self-explanatory, call me a pessimist… then you’re out loads of cash.

4.  Will another smartphone do the job for me for cheaper? For example, windows smartphones can do pretty much all that the iPhone can do in terms of functionality (minus the easy gestures w/ your fingers on the iPhone). Read about it here. I don’t know much about windows mobile, but I’m not sure if windows mobile can multitask, so that’s something to consider. Palm on the other hand, can’t multitask at all! They are so behind (yes, I own a palm myself) but they are banking on the Linux platform to save them, but no news about them in awhile, so I’m not sure how the development is going on that. I need to stop, I’m geeking out, not helping the average joe.

5.  Will the first edition of iPhone be stable enough? If you’ve followed the MacBook, or any new invention or major release software, you’ll know that the first release is always a bit buggy. MacBook and the MacBook Pro had some heating issues and other minor glitches (just google “macbook problems”). Also, the second edition of the MacBook Pro is much better, and less buggier – problems fixed. Problems that they probably knew about upon the first release. I’m not bashing Apple on this, it’s just expected for the first release of anything.

6.  Can this multifeatured iPhone not fall to early obsolescence? What I mean is, with all its bells and whistles, how long will it last? The rule of thumb for mechanical/electrical devices is that the more features it has, the more it’s prone to break down. For ex., how long will that nifty touch screen last? Will it be just as sensitive and responsive after 2 years? Something to think about. It’s made in China by the way (I heard), but then so are their laptops.

7.  Lastly, how long is the battery life? How long do I need it to be and how will it impact my routine? My guess is about 4-5 hours. But if you plan to use it a lot to watch movies and surf the web, I expect significantly less, perhaps 2 to 3? Is the battery replaceable? (I heard that it’s not, at least not unless you want to take it apart!). What if you don’t have your charger, and you need to make that crucial phone call? Even if you have your charger, uh, what if you are in a place with no outlet? It happens to me and my Palm at times.

    I hope this brings you down to earth before it comes out in May/June ’07 so that you don’t just shell out $$ because you just found yourself drooling for it.

    Whew, this was long, I think I might take another month long break!

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    With the proliferation of different software out there, one thing that becomes a problem for the average joe is that there are different file formats to deal with, and quite honestly, the average joe doesn’t understand the many formats out there too well. What in the world is the difference between jpeg and bitmap anyways, and how do I save one as the other or vice versa?

    Also, now there are different audio and video formats. There is .mov which is used by quicktime (belongs to Apple) and then the more generic .mpg. And now you don’t know what software players you need for all of them, or just don’t want to deal with it.

    You can do various file conversion for free at the following website!

    www.zamzar.com

    I’m not sure what the name means, but it sure is a nifty idea (esp. that it’s free).

    You just upload your file that you want to convert (sorry, just one at a time), and then you select the type you want to convert it into. For example, you can convert a video file in .mov to .mpg or vice versa. A nifty feature is that you can download a google video (.gvi) playable only on their google video player to a regular .mpg type that you can play on any typical video players (such as your windows media player). Then it emails you a link to where you can download the converted file.

    Anyways, try it out. I just converted a .pdf (adobe) to a generic word document (.doc) for free! It was 5mbs and over 700 pages, but now my .pdf file, I can edit in Microsoft Word! Took only about 10 mins total. Pretty amazing.

    Give it a try.

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    If you’re a coffee drinker, or just want to be extra careful, I highly recommend the following keyboard cover:

    iSkin

    It’s a silicone-based keyboard cover, which you do not have to remove to type. It will protect your keyboard from dust, liquid, hair, etc. I use it myself and I’m going over a year strong, and I have no regrets. Did I mention that it’s washable?

    They also have a variety of other protectors for your iPod as well. You should check it out, before the coffee spills on your Mac!

    FYI, you can also try to look for their products on ebay, and you might find some of them to be slightly cheaper – but not by much.

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    If you’re like me, you’ve already grown a little irked at how Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger)’s Spotlight search feature works. Of course, when it does, it’s pretty cool, but I always found it quite odd that you can’t do an exact search, and that it’s searching as you’re typing, making it a little hard to type fully what you’re looking for. It begins searching right away, so the more you type, the more you feel like you’re on one of those old computers with not enough memory to run Word.

    Anyways, I’m not the only one that thinks this way, and a guy by the alias of ‘mattneub’ has created a new search tool that uses the same Spotlight engine: NotLight

    NotLight
    I used it a few times, and I like it! Precise searches – you can search by extension name or by content and you can save your searches as well. And it’s free! You should really save some time and start using it today!

    Download NotLight

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    I didn’t know too much about mind mapping until I read this book about photoreading. Photoreading – I won’t go into that today, because I’m not sure if it works. Anyways, then a friend told me about mindmapping software. Basically mind mapping is just creating bubbles that represent ideas and then linking them together with other ideas, so that you can visually see the relationships between them. It looks something like this:

    Mind Mapping

    I have tried it once myself for a presentation, and believe it or not, it really did help me. It’s more useful than an outline b/c it’s not linear.

    The problem is that the mind mapping software is usually pretty expensive. Mind Manager comes to mind.

    But there is a free, open-source one out there you might want to try, called FreeMind (available for windows, Mac and Linux). Give it a whirl for yourself. You might find yourself being a clearer thinking and presenter.

    Check out FreeMind

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