Koolio

Thoughts & news on technology…well, mostly

Another PC user switches to the Mac


macbook.jpgWow, this week was an incredible week…my girlfriend (a PC user all her life) just decided to replace her Dell Latitude D620 (Core 2 Duo – 2.16Ghz) machine with the black MacBook (Core 2 Duo – 2.2Ghz). I think her experience speaks volumes about Mac OS X as well as the dedicated Mac applications…because it was a combination of the two that convinced her to switch.

Here’s the net of it, she needed to build a simple yoga website – Om Circle Yoga – (she’s a certified yoga instructor). I told her that I got this great web design software (RapidWeaver) from a MacUpdate promotional bundle back in December and that it would suite her needs perfectly. So, she gave it a shot and within a couple of hours, she learned how to use RapidWeaver, built her website, and launched it. Here’s the best part: after she launched her site, she commented on:

  1. How easy it was to learn and use RapidWeaver
  2. How easy and fun it was using Mac OS X (I’m running Tiger)

The interesting thing is that my girlfriend has used my Powerbook in the past for browsing the web and her impression was that it’s just another computer and does the same thing as a PC. The minute she did something on the Mac that was more than surfing the web or checking email she realized how much more productive she was on the Mac and began to appreciate what us Mac-heads/geeks have been raving about all these years.

So, big props goes to the folks at Realmac Software for making RapidWeaver such a great app and to the RapidWeaver community for building various add-ons…and, of course, to Apple, for making Mac OS X such a great operating system.

Advertisements

Filed under: Apple, Computers, Laptop, MacBook, MacOSX, Mobile Computing, Notebook, Software, Windows

Vista barely made a dent in Apple’s marketshare during Q1 2007


Research firm Gartner released a preliminary report saying that Apple’s marketshare has remained steady despite the release of Windows Vista in January.  In fact, Mac sales increased 30% year over year:

gartner-mac-shipments.gif

Like I’ve said before, Apple’s got the mojo.

To be honest, it *feels* like Apple’s marketshare is more than 5% because I see a lot of people using Apple laptops in Starbucks, Panera Bread, and all of the other places that offer free WiFi in the Boston/Cambridge/Somerville area.

Obviously, this isn’t scientific but I’m sure other people are feeling the same thing…and when PC users see more Macs out there, they’re more likely to consider switching.

[via AppleInsider]

Filed under: Apple, MacOSX, Microsoft, Technology, Vista, Windows

10 User-Friendly Windows Vista Tweaks


Laptop Magazine has a list of 10 Windows Vista tweaks that you may want to check out. The most interesting tweak is the ability to disable the annoying “allow/deny” pop-ups whenever an application is installed or needs to access the registry. However, doing so creates a security risk with IE 7.0.

Here’s the list:

  1. Turn Off User Account Control (this allows you to disable the ‘allow/deny’ pop-ups)
  2. Bring Back the File Menu
  3. Customize the Start Menu and Taskbars
  4. Create a Flip 3D Shortcut
  5. Activate Multi-file Tagging
  6. Automate Your Defragmentation Routine
  7. Expanded Right-Click Options
  8. Activate Three Clocks
  9. Activate Parental Controls
  10. Make Mobility Center Ever-Ready

Filed under: How-To, Microsoft, Vista, Windows

Windows DreamScene Preview: Initial Impressions


Since Microsoft won’t be releasing the final version of DreamScene until mid-2007, they decided to release a “preview” version. I noticed it in Windows Update back on February 16 and finally had the chance to check it out. For those of you who are not familiar with DreamScene, it allows you to replace your desktop wallpaper with a video (in .mpg or .wmv formats) that plays on your desktop.

DreamScene comes with one video, which is an animated version of the standard ‘Vista wallpaper’ but you can change it to any .mpg or .wmv video file. Here’s how to download and enable DreamScene:

  1. Click the Windows start button
  2. In the search box, enter “windows ultimate extras”
  3. In the search results, click “Windows Ultimate Extras.” This will open the Windows Update window.
  4. You should see DreamScene listed in the “Windows Ultimate Extras available for download” section. If not, you probably already installed it (you can verify if it was installed by clicking the “View update history” link).
  5. Install DreamScene.
  6. After installation, right-click on your desktop and choose “Personalize.”
  7. When the Personalization window opens, click “Desktop Background.”
  8. In the Location drop-down list, choose “Windows DreamScene Content” (see image).
  9. After choosing this option, you’ll be able to choose which video you’d like to play. After choosing the video, click “OK.”

Once you have DreamScene enabled, there are shortcuts to 1.) pause the video and 2.) to choose a different video file:

To pause the video, right-click on your Desktop and choose “Pause DreamScene.” See below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Microsoft, Reviews, Technology, Video, Vista, Vista Ultimate Extras, Windows

Another PC vs. Mac Commercial


Here’s another funny Apple commercial…actually, a lot funnier than the previous ‘Vista Allow or Deny’ one I posted. Enjoy!

Filed under: Apple, MacOSX, Microsoft, Video, Vista, Windows, YouTube

Daylight Savings Time for Windows, Windows Mobile 5, and Mac OS X


In case you haven’t heard, the U.S. Government changed when we change our clocks for Daylight Savings Time (DST). Here are the deets of the change: (I copied it from Sun Microsystem’s Sun Developer Network)

“The United States has planned a change to its DST observance beginning in 2007. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandates that DST will start on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November. In 2007, the start and stop dates will be March 11 and November 4, respectively. These dates are different from previous DST start and stop dates. In 2006, the dates were the first Sunday in April (April 2, 2006) and the last Sunday in October (October 29, 2006).”

Due to this change, everyone with a computer, smartphone, PDA, etc. will have to install a software patch to account for the change. Yeah, it’s a pain in the ass and Microsoft doesn’t make it easy for you to determine if you need to patch your system (Apple auto-includes it in the Software Update). So, I thought I’d make it easy for you all and just tell you what you need to do:

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Daylight Savings Time, How-To, MacOSX, Mobile Software, Software, Vista, Windows, Windows Mobile

Tagging Photos in Windows Vista Destroys Metadata


If you’re using Windows Vista do NOT use Vista to tag your photos. Apparently, Vista destroys a photo’s metadata if you tag the photo. Microsoft hasn’t said if or when they will fix this but I’m sure they will.

“A bit of bad news about Vista if you’re a photographer. Apparently if you tag a photo’s metadata in Vista, it destroys other important metadata used by image editing apps such as Photoshop. Microsoft’s gotten reports of RAW files generated by Nikon cameras being unreadable after being tagged with Vista or Microsoft’s Photo Info tool.”

Good thing I’ve only used Windows Photo Gallery to view photos.

Filed under: Digital Photos, Microsoft, Software, Vista, Windows

Vista vs. Mac Commercial


This Apple commercial is pretty freakin’ funny – especially, if you’ve used Vista because there’s some truth to it. Here’s the skinny: in Vista, every time an application needs to access or write to the registry, a pop-up window is displayed asking if you will allow or deny the request (the goal is to provide better security). This can get annoying because you can’t configure Vista to always allow ABC application to read/write to the registry. Thus, every time ABC app attempts to do so, the ‘allow/deny’ window pops-up.

Filed under: Apple, MacOSX, Microsoft, Video, Vista, Windows, YouTube

Windows Vista Sidebar Wish List


Vista Sidebar Screenshot

I’ve been using Windows Vista Ultimate for about a month now and have had a chance to use Sidebar a little bit. Overall, Sidebar is nice but there are a couple of things that can be improved upon:

  • Sidebar is limited to a fixed width column on your desktop – it would be nice if I could widen this column since I have a 20″ widescreen LCD monitor (Dell 2007WFP).
  • It would also be nice if I could change the size of the gadgets so, for example, I can read more of the headlines in my RSS gadgets.
  • Sidebar allows for multiple ‘pages’ (or columns, if you will) of gadgets but the only way you can view the second, third, etc. ‘pages’ is by clicking on the left or right arrows at the top of the Sidebar column – it would be nice if I could customize Sidebar to cycle through my ‘pages’ every x seconds/minutes. I will rarely cycle through these ‘pages’ on my own.

I can’t offer a true comparison between Sidebar and Mac OS X’s Dashboard because Dashboard is only available on Tiger (OS X 10.4) and I’m running 10.3.9 (Panther). However, I have used Dashboard on other Macs and Sidebar has a leg-up on it: Sidebar gadgets/widgets are displayed on your desktop – with Dashboard you have to hit a button to view the widgets. Since Sidebar gadgets are displayed right on the desktop, they will be viewed more often…after all, isn’t that the point of these things? Anyway, I’m (wishfully) hoping Microsoft will include these improvements in Q4 2007 with Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

Filed under: MacOSX, Microsoft, Sidebar, Sidebar Gadgets, Software, Vista, Windows

Want more Vista Sidebar Gadgets?


Engadget Sidebar

Intelligroup, based in the U.K., has created 12 free Vista Sidebar gadgets (most are for U.K. websites). These are the ones I would recommend checking out:

  • Amazon search
  • eBay search
  • Engagdet headlines
  • Kotaku headlines

I’ve downloaded the Engadget and Kotaku gadgets and they’re pretty cool. The Engadget one is very nice but the Kotaku gadget is practically impossible to read because of the red text on a yellow background.

After downloading the gadgets, just double-click it and it will automatically be added to your Sidebar library. Speaking of, you can find more gadgets on Microsoft’s Windows Live Gallery website.

Update (2/27/2007) I provided some feedback, to Intelligroup, requesting the ability to customize the color scheme of the Kotaku gadget and just heard back from them: they are planning on adding this feature in the next release. Nice.

Filed under: Microsoft, Sidebar Gadgets, Technology, Vista, Windows

New Windows Vista Ultimate “Extras”


Microsoft has released 2 new Vista Ultimate Extras: Windows Bitlocker & Texas Hold’Em. If interested, you download them via the Ultimate Extra control panel. In fact, the Ultimate Extra control panel should automatically notify you that these new extras are available. The deets:

  • Texas Hold’em: Pretty obvious.
  • Windows BitLocker & Online Key Storage: Allows you to encrypt all data on your hard drive and to store your BitLocker recovery key/password and Encrypting File System certificate on Microsoft’s website (Windows Marketplace Digital Locker) for access to the key anytime, anyplace, and from any computer that has an Internet connection.

There’s also a third Extra but it hasn’t been released, yet: Windows DreamScene, which allows you to play videos on your desktop instead of a static image.

For those of you who don’t know, one of the marketed benefits of Vista Ultimate is the ability to download “extras” for free. All of these “extras” are exclusive to Vista Ultimate – in other words, if you don’t have Vista Ultimate, you can’t get the “extras.”

I haven’t downloaded these, yet, but am planning to download only Texas Hold’Em. When I do, I’ll let you know what I think. I’m not planning on using BitLocker since I don’t like the idea that if I lose the key, I will never be able to access my data, again. Yeah, I know, the key is stored on Microsoft’s website but I’m a bit weary of storing my keys/passwords on a server which can be compromised.

For screenshots of these Extras, checkout Engadget and WindowsUltimate.com.

Update: I just installed Texas Hold’Em and played it for about 15 minutes – it’s a great free game. The design of the game is very nicely done and there are 3 different difficulty levels. I chose the intermediate level and noticed the computer plays somewhat loosely.

Update 2: Looks like DreamScene won’t be released until mid-2007.

Filed under: Microsoft, Storage, Technology, Vista, Vista Ultimate Extras, Windows