My blog has moved! Redirecting…

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Friday, February 23, 2007

You Control: Tunes, Control iTunes From The Menu Bar

I've slowly been trying to rate a bunch of my mp3's in iTunes. Its a real pain to be constantly switching to iTunes when each new song begins to rate it. I knew there had to be a better way. Google to the rescue. I initially found Synergy, but it wasn't free so I kept looking. My next search yeilded You Control: Tunes, which to my delight was free and fit the bill!

You Control: Tunes has a wide variety of features. Using You Control: Tunes you can navigate through your music via small back, forward, play, and pause buttons located in your menu bar (previously I used Bytecontroller for this). You can also rate the song that is currently playing by clicking on the star ratings next to the navigation buttons. Another neat aspect of this little application is that when a new track begins a small window pops up showing you the artist, song name, album art and other configurable information.

This helpful application has allowed me to easily rate my music while keeping most of my concentration focused at the task at hand. I'd recommend that you at least give You Control: Tunes a shot. Since its free, there's no loss if you don't like it. But, I doubt you'll be uninstalling this puppy!

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My First Mac Convert!

Today was pretty exciting. My Aunt stopped by and said that she wanted to get a new laptop. Her 7+ year old HP portable with Windows ME (yuck!) is finally almost dead. Being the computer guru of the family she wanted my opinion. Of course, the new Mac fanatic in me reccomended that she check out the MacBook and MacBook Pro computers. She said that she had read some reviews that said that Apple produces some phenominal laptops. So she was a bit interested in Macs to begin with.

Since she had never really used a Mac I let her take my MacBook Pro for a spin. I showed her iTunes, iPhoto, Photo Booth, the Dashboard, and a few other things. She was pretty impressed at how easily I manuvered between the programs and commented on how easy everything seemed. I assured her that everything on a Mac is super simple and she'd be using it like a pro in no time.

Like most computer users she mostly surfs the internet, checks her email, writes documents with Office, and uses QuickBooks. I told her that she could easily do all that and more with a Mac. She had heard that you could use Windows programs on a Mac and wanted to know a bit about it. I filled her in on Parallels and BootCamp. I told her that I had installed Parallels thinking that I would use it all the time. But, it turns out that I only used Parallels when I first installed it to check it out. I've since had no reason to use it. I doubt she'll need it either, but said I'd install it for her if she thought it would make her feel better about the switch.

At the end of the conversation she was ready to buy a MacBook Black edition! She's my first Mac convert since becoming a switcher myself. Not only does it excite me that I'm helping spread the word about the best OS on the planet, but I'm confidant that she'll be 100% satisfied with her switch. Since she's never really used a Mac I'm sure she'll have a bit of learning to do, which I'm more than happy to help her with. Maybe I can get her to write a short series of articles about her switch for the site : )

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Apple Portables From 1989 To Present

This article written by The Apple Gazette has been floating around the internet lately. I found it rather interesting. The author took the time to rehash the evolution of Apple portable computers. Beginning with the inception of the Macintosh Portable and finishing with the MacBook/Pro you'll get a feel for how Apple has continually tried to push the envelope.

Apple has routinely made market firsts with their laptops, all of which took place in the 90's. Here are some of the most notable firsts.
  • 1991 - PowerBook 100: The keyboard was placed close to the display, leaving room for palm rests and the trackball.
  • 1994 - PowerBook 500: Built in Ethernet, and a trackpad.
  • 1996 - PowerBook 1400: Built-in: CD-Rom drive.
  • 1997 - PowerBook 3400: PCI architecture, EDO memory, and a 64-bit wide internal bus.
  • 1999 - iBook "Clamshell": Designed and sold with internal wireless networking.
1989 to 1991 is considered to be the first 'Golden Days' of apple, which was coined by MacAddict magazine. Following the 'Golden Days' was a big slump between 1991 and 1997. During this slump Apple was not profitable and wouldn't be until Steve Jobs revived the company in 1998 with the iMac.

That being said, I'm really surprised that nearly all of Apples market firsts in the mobile sector took place during the companies slump. Where as the original 'Golden Days' and Apple's current success has produced nearly no notable portable computing market firsts. Maybe, coming to market later with new technology is better? It definitely worked with the iPod and time will tell how it comes into play with the iPhone and iTV. As we all know, Apples recent success with consumer electronics has been due to 'reinventing' current technologies.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Marware Sportfolio Laptop Sleeve/Case Review

My journey began 10 days ago when I began looking for a case/sleeve for my MacBook Pro. What's kind of funny is that I kinda thought I knew what I wanted when I made that post. In the following four days I kept researching. After reading a bunch of recommendations and some hands on reviews I decided on the Marware Sportfolio.

The postman dropped off the box this afternoon and I immediately tore it open. I was really stoked to see how awesome this sleeve was. My first reaction was... wow, this sleeve looks amazing! Not only does it look sleek and stylish, but its well constructed.

The outer neoprene feels rugged get fairly pliable. The interior is very soft and reassures me that my MacBook Pro is safe. The zipper protection is impressive. I wasn't sure what to expect since I've never used a case that offered it. The zipper protection consists of an extra lip of neoprene that sits between the zipper and the laptop. I half expected the extra neoprene to get in the way of zipping and be more of a hassle that its worth. However, the zipper zips with ease and the extra neoprene offers the protection that is advertised. The bottom edge of the case is wrapped in very thin rubber. Behind the rubber is a fairly hard plastic insert. The insert is unobtrusive and sewn into the case to do its duty to serve and protect.

I was hoping to be able to fit my digital camera in the front pocket of the case. Its just a bit small for that though. It should hold anything the same size or smaller than an iPod Video. I have yet to figure out what I'll store it it, but I'm sure I'll be able to find something :)

In my opinion the fit is one of the most important aspects of a case. Without the correct fit its hard for a case to do what its designed to do, protect your computer. When I slipped my MacBook Pro into the Sportfolio I was happy to find that it fit perfectly. The case wasn't so loose that the MBP shook around inside. Nor was it so tight that getting the zippers zipped around the corners a pain in the butt. The Marware Sportfolio is made specifically for the MacBook Pro computer. If you order a case online and it doesn't say that its crafted for a certain computer you're taking a gamble and it may end up fitting incorrectly.

Now I just need to go on vacation so I can use the case :)

So if you are looking for a case for your MacBook Pro I recommend the Marware Sportfolio with 100% confidence. If fit and style are important to you I promise that you won't be disappointed. You can purchase the Sportfolio on Marware's website for $29.95.

Labels: , , ,

New Site Design Preview

I have just a few more CSS issues to work, but other than that I've got most of the design done. I just wanted to give you all a sneak peak at what I've been working on. You'll find that its a lot more functional and looks tons better than the lame default blogger theme, hahah.

Labels: ,

Monday, February 19, 2007

Bandwagon Plug,,, Get Your Free Account

Bandwagon is for music geeks that use Macs. If you have a huge music library that you never back up, then it may be time to look Bandwagon. The service officially launches February 22nd, 2007. Essentially But, I've got some great news. They have a neat promotion going on right now. Post their logo on your blog and you get a free account for 1 year... hence the shameless plug, lol.

I probably wouldn't normally try out their service, but if I get a free account out of this then I'll give it a shot. Of course, if I get a free account you can all expect a review :)

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Apple Tattoo Photomontage

Ever thought about getting a tattoo? How about an Apple logo tattoo. The idea had never crossed my mind, but I saw someone walking down the street with one today. It got me thinking... Is that common? When I got home I did a quick search on Google and found that it was more common that I thought! Flickr turned up a bunch of results as well. I even found sites dedicated to people with Apple tattoos.
I don't know why or how, but it inspired me a bit. After an hour or so I had created this!

Small: 400 x 480
Medium: 625 x 750
Large: 2000 x 2400

Neat eh? I still don't think that I could permanently inscribe my love for Apple in my skin. A big high five to those that have. Your devotion to your brand of choice is amazing!

The tattoos in the image are mostly Apple logo's with power button icons, sad face macs, and one startup screen image mixed in. I tried to only include one image from each person in the picture, but after a while one black Apple logo started to look the same as another :)

One neat trick I learned tonight was that if you type shift+option+k in a text editor most standard fonts will display an Apple logo. By using that trick and pumping the font size up to 1200 I was able to get my high res Apple logo.

If you found this interesting and you own/use a mac check out the 100 Apple Users/Switchers Collage thats still in the wroks.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 17, 2007

My MacBook Pro Airport Connection Problem And Solution

Out of the middle of nowhere today my MacBook Pro wouldn't reconnect to my WiFi connection. This happened after I awoke the computer from sleep. It took a restart to get it working again. A few hours later the same thing happened when I woke the computer up again, but this time it wasn't fixed after a restart. I connected to my Linksys wrt54g wireless router with a manual IP address and snooped around. I ended up clearing the DHCP clients table and then trying to reconnect with DHCP. The router assigned my computer a new IP address in the clients table, but the computer itself didn't get the address. This seemed kinda strange.

After a bit of reading on the internet it seems that there are quite a few people who's Mac's won't reconnect their WiFi after sleeping. I attempted some of the most common fixes.
  • Turning AirPort on and off
  • Reconnecting to the access point
  • Deleting the following files
None of this worked. So I gave up for an hour or so. When I returned, as randomly as it stopped connecting to the internet it started working again. Maybe it was a delayed reaction from one of the above fixes. However, this was only a temporary fix.

Whenever I would put the computer to sleep it would loose its connection with the access point. However, unlike before, I could reconnect by turning AirPort off and then back on again. This is less than optimal though. It was really a pain in the butt to do all the time. Especially since I have the computer set to go to sleep after 5 minutes of inactivity.

I set out to eliminate this problem. I must have created a new 'Location' in the Network System Preferences when I first got my computer before I knew what I was doing. So I deleted that. Then I clicked the options button and set 'Keep looking for recent networks' when a preferred network is not found. Next, I removed all the 'Preferred Networks'. Followed by opening the Keychain Access application and removing all keys related to those preferred networks.

After all these changes my MBP now reconnects upon waking up from sleep again. It took me a few hours to figure out what was going on and find a fix for it. I can't say for sure exactly what the ended up being the solution since I was trying multiple things. I do know however, that one of the things listed above took care of the problem. At least now if it happens again I'll be able to hopefully fix the problem quickly!

Labels: ,

Friday, February 16, 2007

RadTech BT600 Bluetooth Mouse Review

RadTech has pulled out all the stops when it comes to the BT600. Its offers everything anyone could want in a Bluetooth mouse. We're talking 5 buttons, all functional in OS X, unlike many other Bluetooth mice... An on/off button to help conserve battery power and to keep the mouse from waking the laptop up while traveling... No Bluetooth dongle required... Rechargeable through a USB cable... Its almost as if the list never ends. These features are what initially led me to the BT600 while searching for a BlueTooth mouse.

Before purchasing the BT600 I was a little skeptical. I didn't think that a mouse from a company that I had never heard of could produce a product with these features that would not only work, but work well. After receiving the mouse it wasn't long before my skepticism was washed away.

The mouse comes in a well made package without that impossible to cut/tear plastic stuff, which is nice. Included in the box was a small instruction sheet about how to pair the mouse with the Bluetooth on a Mac and PC, two AA sized NiMH batteries, a short USB cable for charging, and the mouse. I was surprised to find that there was no driver CD. The BT600 paired quickly with OS X without a hiccup. I quickly found that a driver is not needed for the BT600 to work with OS X. However, if you want to customize the functionality of the 5 buttons you'll want to download RadTech's RadMouse driver for OS X.

The 800dpi sensor is no slouch. I found the mouse to responsive and accurate. While doing precise selections with the lasso tool in Photoshop I had no problems. The mouse also works great with World Of Warcraft which is good, because I was having a hell of a time trying to play with the trackpad before.

I'm pretty impressed with the power consumption of the BT600. I was half expecting to half to charge the mouse every night, or at least every few days. This is the reason its taken me so long to write this review. I've been trying to gauge how long the batteries will last. So far I've logged 12+ hours on the mouse and have yet to have to charge the BT600. The only time I've gotten to use the neat charge by USB feature was the first day I got the mouse. While the mouse was plugged in and charging I was taking the mouse for a test drive! I really loved being able to charge on the fly and use the mouse at the same time. This is probably one of my favorite features of the mouse.

When researching the BT600 I was a bit worried about the on/off button located on the top of the mouse. I thought that I may accidentally turn the mouse off while using it. But, after purposely trying to do so I was unable to succeed. The button needs to be pushed down quite a bit to power off the mouse and it is simply not possible to do so with your palm. I had also read a few comments online about how the buttons of the mouse felt cheap. This is not the case. The right/left buttons and the scroll wheel click and feel exactly as my Logitech MX500 does. The back/forward buttons located on the side near my thumb are a little stiffer than what I'm used to. Its not a big deal and I'm sure that as I use the mouse more they will loosen up a bit.

Something I found odd while using the mouse was the default functions of the forward/back buttons. The button I was expecting to be the back button was the forward button and vise versa. Swapping the functionality was a quick fix in the System Preferences via the RadMouse software.

I only have one gripe about the mouse and I've already adapted so its not an issue. Its a bit tough to explain, but when you lift the mouse off the mouse pad it keeps tracking slightly. This only happens if you keep the mouse very close to the surface of the mouse pad. By lifting the mouse a little higher than normal I've been able to completely eliminate the rogue movement.

I'm thoroughly happy with my RadTech BT600 Bluetooth mouse. It not only has a bucket load of features, but all of them work exceptionally well. I'd recommend this product to anyone who's in the market for a Bluetooth mouse. Hell, I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a mouse period, its that cool :)

The RadTech BT600 Bluetooth mouse can be purchased here if you are interested.

Labels: , , , , ,

Random Rambelings For the Day

With all the work on the new site that I've been doing its been difficult balancing time between writing new articles and the design on the new site. I suppose that the content for the last few days has been lacking because of this. With any luck I'll be rolling out the new design shortly and it'll be worth it! In the mean time I plan on getting my RadTech BT600 mouse review finished up and posted tomorrow. I know I've been promising this for a few days now. Honestly, whats holding me back is that I'm trying to run the batteries all the way out so I can judge how long they will last. But, after about a week and 12+ hours of use its still running strong.

February 15, 1997: The Tiger is Unleashed…For the Apple II?
That's right... only 10 years ago! I remember a few of these Apple II computers sitting in my high schools computer lab when I was a freshman in high school. They seem so primitive by today's standards! Its hard to believe how far we've come in such a short amount of time.

If your in need for a good laugh watch the following video. A spoof of Apples get a Mac commercials starring Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. There are a few sware words in the video, so if you are at work its probably best to wait till you get home.

The Valentines Day edition of Full Frontal Nerdity is worth a read. From what I can tell this web comic doesn't normally do Mac related humor. My favorite line... "The resulting ANGER, if harnessed, could power Los Angeles for a MONTH!" This is of course referring to the heated debates that spring up about Mac's Vs PC's.

Labels: , , , , , ,