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Articles tagged with: Macintosh

This is probably about the Apple Macintosh (or Mac) and not about the Macintosh Apple.

Written By: Gary on March 31, 2012 One Comment

It’s World Backup Day! It’s not that you should only backup once a year, it’s an awareness day. So I guess it should be called “Backup Awareness Day”. But seriously, you should backup your important documents and photos all the time. Why? Because you’ll be very sad / upset / angry when you lose those files. Please notice, I said “when”, not “if”. Moving your photos to a different device (and deleting off the computer) is not a backup, it’s the only copy. Multiple copies is alwaysrecommended!!!

worldbackupday.png

If it’s an important document, save multiple copies. If it’s your resume (CV), save it as “Resume March 2012” so that you’ve got previous versions of the file if something happens. If you’ve made massive changes to that document, just e-mail a copy to yourself; the copy in your mail account is an off site backup. When I do new technology plans (100 page documents) I save new versions every few hours, I don’t want to think I moved those 10 pages from section 7 to section 5 and realize later I never pasted them, I can go back and get an earlier version of those pages later.

If it’s photos, don’t wait until your camera is full, that’s the only copy of those photos, if you lose the camera, it gets stolen, or something else weird happens, you lose all those photos!!! Even uploading them to a site like Walgreens, Costco, Kodak or wherever you might send your photos is a backup (it’ll cost to get your photos out, but at least they aren’t lost); these places don’t guarantee that they’ll keep your photos but they do want you to share them and print more copie$ of them, just be sure you’re uploading the largest possible size photos. Facebook is not good for this, they do not keep high quality versions of the photos, they will not be good for printing later.

Every so often back your documents and photos up to multiple DVD (standard DVD’s hold more than 4 GB) and make multiple copies; once you’ve got them sorted making five copies isn’t much harder than making one copy. Keep a copy at your Mom’s house or at your kids house or in your safe deposit box. You don’t want all the copies at the same place in case there is a fire and they all burn down. Then you can delete these photos from the cloud and you’ve got more space for more photos.

The last few versions of the Macintosh OS will back up to an external drive via Time Capsule and you can go back in time and look at what version was on the computer at a particular time (it’s very cool and easy).

There are off site services you can use (I use Dropbox).

Syncing your photo to your computer generally backs up the phone numbers, calendar, photos and more. The latest version of the iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) will back up automatically daily to the iCloud if you wish; the problem with this is it’s an all or nothing option when you want to restore.

All photos that you take with your iPhone or iPad get automatically backed up to the iCloud. These then show up on your computer in the iPhoto Photo Stream. If you import from a camera to iPhoto, it automatically puts those photos in the Photo Stream and you can see them on all the devices you’ve synced with the iCloud (including your AppleTV). It only keeps the last 1,000 photos and doesn’t keep any videos, but it’s a partial backup. So this is an automatic download that I get have in the cloud too.

Backing up is especially important if your main computer is a portable device. You can earlier drop or have stolen your laptop or tablet, you need those files backed up!

Written By: Gary on March 31, 2012 No Comment

One of the easiest services I use for backing up is Dropbox. They give me a folder to store documents in and it automatically pushes a copy of those documents into the cloud (be sure to use a great password) and syncs them with my other computer; so I’ve automatically got 3 copies of the file now. I can view these files from anywhere on the internet with a web browser or with my iPhone, iPad or an Android device. If I store photos from my iPhone to Dropbox it’s now in the cloud and on my two syncing computers (and on my iPhone).

DropBox will give you 2 GB (more than 3 CDs of storage) for free. dbox-logo.pngDropbox syncs that storage with your computers plus you can view with your Android and iOS devices. Are you always sharing certain documents with a co-worker or friend? You can have a shared synchronized folder between your computers. You can even share specific photo albums via the web with friends. If you’ve got your computer synced you don’t even need to be on the internet, those files are there on the computer, if you change, add or delete any files the next time you connect it will sync everything automatically for you.

And if you get more friends to sign up (and install it) they’ll give you more free space (so please use my link for extra space). It runs on Macintosh and on Windows, the programs and apps are free! Not only do I get 500MB for free if you sign up if you follow my link, so do you (you get 500MB extra for following my link verses no bonus on your own!).

They make it incredibly easy to share photos with others, even just via their web site. You got a folder, you share the link and you’ve got a photo album shared. Super super easy.

3 GB of bonus space: After you sign up, they will then let you import directly from your camera and give you an extra 3 GB (that’s 5 GB total, about 8 CDs of back up!). This camera imports directly from you camera and from chips, it’ll also import automagically from your iPhone or other iOS device when you plug it into the computer. Even if you don’t want this feature, import in 3 GB of photos and video and then delete them, you’ll still have the space (as far as I can tell all this free space is for life). As far as I can tell, after getting the 3 GB free you can delete the photos, turn off the upload and keep the 3 GB of space…

Tip: To get more use out of all that storage, once you get a few GB of photos into the cloud, back them up to a DVD (standard DVD’s hold more than 4 GB) and make multiple copies. Keep a copy at your Mom’s house or at your kids house or in your safe deposit box. You don’t want all the copies at the same place in case there is a fire and they all burn down. Then you can delete these photos from the cloud and you’ve got more space for more photos.

Advanced features: You have options to not sync certain folders with dropbox, so if you don’t have the 5 GB of extra space on your laptop you don’t need to keep every folder synced with your netbook or MacBook Air. You could just sync your documents folder and recent photos and not worry about everything else.

Don’t like: The one thing I don’t like about the Dropbox photo import is they rename your photos with the date and time. I actually like the date and time part but I wish they just added that to the original file name, it’s hard to tell where the duplicates are with completely different filenames. But I can decide if that is important later, it’s the 3 GB of extra storage that I want for free, I can use it for anything I want later…

Another tip: Whenever I buy a new product, I try to go on-line and get the digital version of the manual for it, then I put all these documents in a folder in the cloud somewhere. Then no matter where I go, I have the manual for that computer, digital camera, car stereo, GPS unit or anything that I might be traveling with. On the other hand, I also have the manual for my stereo and stove with me too, I don’t really need those all the time, but it’s nice to have those manuals easily accessible when I need them.

Written By: Gary on April 2, 2011 3 Comments

If you don’t know by now, I’m a Macintosh fan as in: “Hi! My name is Gary and I’m a Mac User…”. This is from last week’s Friday Question, but I never got around to it.

I was a PC user before I used Mac and when I say PC, I mean DOS user, not Windows. Actually, I used Windows before that, but I wasn’t really a fan at the time, I think the last machine that I had was a laptop with floppy (no hard drive) that I had a crazy way set up to boot it and put some of Microsoft Works in the RAM drive and then I stuck in disc 2 with the dictionary and room for some documents (or something like that).

Apple MacBook MC516LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop Apple ComputerBut where I was doing work they were Macintosh so I was always converting my word processing files back and forth and couldn’t do any of the HyperCard* stuff at home, so I picked up a used MacPlus with an external hard drive and never looked back. That was probably nineteen years ago..?

Since then, I’ve owned (or work owned) a Mac Classic, IIcx, PowerPC 610, PowerPC 6100, MacBook Duo 280c (with a docking station at home and work) that I eventually converted to a Duo 2300, a monster PowerBook G3 (it was more lugable than a laptop), a tower PowerMac G4 (the first with a DVD burner), iBook 12 inch, PowerBook 12 inch (2 different models), MacBook 13.3 inch and for a few weeks a MacBook Air 10.6 inch (I returned it since it didn’t have enough storage for me (awesome machine though). I could ramble more about models and printers and stuff, but I did this in a Happy Twenty-Fifth Birthday Macintosh! post a few years ago.

Needless to say, I’m a huge fan. I’ve never been one to jump on their new things, but I do grow to love them. I waited until the color iPod before getting one. I waited until the third iPhone (the 3Gs) before getting one (and that was after specifically getting a iPod Touch to try out for a few months first since I didn’t really want to switch to AT&T at the time).

My MacBook is my main computer, my desktop is a little old, I think it’s ten years old and while it’s gotten a few processor upgrades, memory and hard drives, it’s more convenient to have everything on my laptop.

But my MacBook is getting a little old too, it’s just over three years old and I’m looking around. I’ll probably upgrade my MacBook this summer, if they come out with a new one (or else I’ll get the MacBook Pro)_, but I’m hoping they’ll do a new education promo with a free iPod touch again.

*Hypercard was one of the most amazing pieces of development software ever! You could learn how to do some pretty incredible programs without learning too much coding.

Written By: Gary on January 24, 2009 One Comment

So twenty-five years ago today, Apple released the Macintosh computer. And as far as I’m concerned, they changed the world.

oldmac.pngI was never an Apple II person, I was an Atari 800 guy. Then I used PCs for a while (DOS and Windows 3.1). For years I couldn’t understand why I should switch from my cheaper PC-Windows machine so it took me a few years (8) to get one (after using them in my graduate education program at MSU) but I’ve been a convert ever since. That’s not to say I don’t own a Windows machine (or two) but they’re usually doing mundane tasks, which my Macs are for creative tasks and what I want to use for my everyday stuff.

Here’s a YouTube vid of Steve Jobs demoing the Mac back in a 1984 keynote (wearing a bow-tie).

I think my first Mac was a used Macintosh Plus (with an add-on external hard drive), then a classic (same shape way more power), a PowerPC 6100 (pizza box shape), a tower PowerMac G4 (the first one with a DVD burner) and I owned a few used ones that I picked up here and there (a IIci and IIcx and a Quadra 605 that had been upgraded to a PPC). I paid way too much for the two PowerMac desktops, I did a few processor upgrades to get some more life out of them.

But I’ve also had a few Apple laptops: The PowerBook Duo 280c which in my opinion was the best laptop ever; more of a sub-notebook (1.5″ x 10.9″ x 8.5″) and you could get a dock you could stuck it into (like a big floppy) and it would use the monitor(s), keyboard, mouse and anything else plugged into the dock (hard drive, CD, etc.). I eventually upgraded the motherboard in that to turn it into a PowerPC 2300c and used that for a while. After that I had a PowerBook G3 luggable laptop, it was huge but had power, memory, storage and a beautiful 14 inch(?) display; fully loaded I think that was over $5,000 but it was a heavy beast to lug around. Since then I’ve stuck with smaller 12-inch models: an iBook (I got the iBook instead of the PowerBook because I wanted a smaller model), the first 12-inch PowerBook and the last 12-inch PowerBook (the 12-inch PowerBook is probably my second favorite after the Duo). My latest is a white 13.3-inch MacBook (the fastest plastic model from just before the uni-body models) and it seems like a monster compared to the 12-inch model but I love it, I don’t leave home without it.

Since the Macs were more expensive I generally did a few things to save money. I’d upgrade the memory myself from Other World Computing (they’ve always be notoriously expensive for memory upgrades). I usually used some other brand monitors (even though the Macs have traditionally been better). And I usually used non-Apple printers except for the Apple StyleWriter which was an excellent printer; my first was an old NEC 8023 dot matrix that I purchased an adaptor for, also some HP and Epson ink-jets, a used QMS laser, a used HP lasers and a new HP laser (my current).


To make sure you watched it, here’s a question:
What’s wrong with the above version of the ad?

I’ve also had an Apple Newton (it was way before it’s time) and two iPods. I’m craving an iPhone (or a Touch) and considering the plunge.

So that’s my personal Apple Macintosh computer history. I really didn’t realize I had so many different machines. Out of all of those I had two problem machines: the ultra expensive laptop (2 bad motherboards, but after the second replacement it was perfect) and the iBook (a lemon, multiple problems, eventually the agreed to give me a brand new one). The other laptops have been great and I’ve always beat the hell out of them (scratches, gauges and drops) but they’ve held up quite good.

Lately, I’ve been using the laptops more than the desktops, my last desktop was from 2001 (I’ve boosted memory, hard drives and processor since then) but the last few laptops have been faster than the older desktop so I’ve neglected the desktop. I’d like a new one, I just haven’t been able to justify the dollar$ for a new tower desktop and the MacMini just hasn’t had enough juice (it’s more like a fast laptop) and the Mini really needs a refresh/upgrade from Apple.

So (like the guy in the ad) I can say “I’m a Mac”.

Written By: Gary on October 1, 2008 One Comment

 Xhtml Images Icons 48 48 ReaderI just haven’t been able to keep up with all the blogs and web sites I read. I’ve never gotten into using the RSS feed readers very much. I like using the sites the way people have decorated their layout, what they chose to do tells me something about the person, not seeing it makes me feel like I’m missing something. But if I’m not actually getting to their site and reading, I’m really missing something, right?

So I thought I’d try Google Reader out, I choose Google for several reasons:

  • It’s all via the web so it’s multi-platform; most web readers are multi-platform, but Google apps are pretty Macintosh friendly.
  • If I’m in need of a fix they’ve got a mobile interface for mobile phone browsing (actually you can do most things Google on your phone at http://m.google.com/.
  • No matter where I read the feeds it coordinates them all so you know which feeds have been read.
  • They’ve got an off-line version using Google Gears, this is what motivated me to do do this with Google. This means if I plan before I don’t have a internet connection I can sync my feeds to the computer and read the feeds off line but when I sync the computer back up, it marks the feeds as read (or stars them or what ever other things I do to the feeds).
  • I thought there was a Java version of Google Reader that I could put on my Palm Treo 755p phone, but I can’t find it. That would make this even more useful. Does this exist? Can someone point me to it if it does?
  • ADDED LATER: I guess it doesn’t cache the images for off-line viewing(?), disappointing, but I can live with it.

    So I took an hour or two the other day and put all my sites in my blog roll into Google Reader. This took some time, but I think it was worth it. I think I’ll add some of my news sites in there also (those weren’t in my BlogRoll). There were several thousand posts marked as unread since it doesn’t know what I actually have looked at, so I had to bite the bullet and mark them all as read. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to mark “all posts older than 1 week as read” (or something like that) so I had to mark them all.

    WOW! I can can get through all my feeds pretty quickly now. It’s so easy it almost makes me feel like I’m rushing, I need to slow down and chew my food enjoy the reading. Read the help for the key shortcuts! I’ve got it so when the reader starts up, it defaults to all the posts I haven’t read and I can just hit the space bar to scroll through them all, as I space through them it marks them as read and scrolls through them.

    Downsides:

  • I really miss the feel of the site though. Sometimes I’m reading something and I’m like who the heck is this? and I check and realize that I know the person but it’s out of context so it’s hard to tell. Makes me want to figure out a way to brand my feed.
  • They have feed recommendations, but they could be a little better and a few more of them.

    They’ve got some other features like “Shared Items” and “notes” but I haven’t used them yet. Any tips?

  • Written By: Gary on June 16, 2006 One Comment

    Here’s a mini-review of HoudahSpot it’s a piece of software to help you find files on your computer. First I have to ask: have I mentioned MacZOT.com before? They have a different piece of software way on sale every day with different marketing schemes. Today, a Mac OS X Tiger search program drops a nickel in price for every blog that mentions it. So it could be be free today if enough people mention it…

    THEY’VE EXTENDED OFFER THIS THROUGH SATURDAY. It’s down to $4 and if you blog a mini-review it’s free.


    houdaspot venn pngI’ve complained before about the “find’ options in Tiger so I had to give this search software a try. It’s got options for and and not and or and Venn diagrams to help you choose. It’s got previews for audio, video and photos (with all sorts of info on the files). Try it out, it’ll be cheap or free (actually, I think it’s free just for blogging about it).

    NOTE: If you’re seeing this on June 16 or 17, 2006 or head over to MacZOT, you might be able to get a Free copy of HoudahSpot. Search easily in Tiger, Mac OS X, with HoudahSpot

    Written By: Gary on April 5, 2006 2 Comments

    BootcampSo Apple just released a beta of their new program called Boot Camp that lets you put Windows on a Macintosh! This software allows you to put Windows and the Mac OS on new Intel Macintosh computers and you choose which one that you want to boot. No emulation! How cool is that?!?

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    Written By: Gary on August 31, 2005 5 Comments

    I absolutely hate the new find in OS X Tiger. I didn’t think I’d like it when I saw it, I didn’t like it when I got it, now it’s a few months later and I still hate it.

    When I want to search for a file name it automatically searches inside the files too, so I get a million more hits than there are just files. And you can’t easily separate from the two (filenames or contents). Plus you can’t easily sort by date or filename, it breaks it down by category.

    And Spotlight should allow me to control/right-click on a name to open the folder, not the item. If it’s a zip or sit file and you just want to find it, it uncompresses it if you click it…

    For being this huge new “feature” it’s not very friendly. I looked to see if the old find was still there but I don’t see it anywhere. :(


    I say “easily” in that I don’t know how, so I really mean I can’t do it at all. But I thought I got it to do it once, but maybe that was the other computer…

    We’re talking basic stuff here. A drop down (or radio buttons to pick filename/contents/both). Click on a column to sort it how hard is that? There are a variety of shortcuts related to it (buried in the help) but they need a button in the find window to easily get you to them. That searching inside every file has got to be great for my battery life…

    If you use the spotlight icon (upper right corner) and pick “show all” you can get close to what I’m looking for related to the sorting but it’s not a normal user interface.

    Like I said, I’ve been testing it out and it’s never made me feel it’s an improvement, I feel like it’s devolved. It’s got good brains behind it but a lousy user interface…

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    Written By: Gary on May 27, 2005 No Comment

    Since I’ve got a high-speed internet connection I’ve always got programs (processes) in the background that are downloading (syncing) files (iSync, iDisk, podcasts) for me. This is great except when I’ve got a slow connection. Slow generally means a cable hooked to my cell phone or dial-in or sometimes it just means an extra slow connection.

    Here’s the problem: I just want to connect via some slow method for a minute and the computer wants to start downloading stuff via iSync, iDisk, podcasts and probably something else I can’t think of. All I want to do is very quickly check my mail or the movie listings and it starts synchronizing megabytes of data which is really detrimental as to why I logged on. I need a way to easily turn this stuff off temporarily. I see several ways to do this:

  • If my (network) Location has the word “slow” in it’s description a process won’t do stuff like that in the background (it would be “location aware”.
  • A utility that will do the blocking for me (I pick the apps to not do unless I specifically turn them on) that would hopefully be “location aware”.
  • Maybe one of the internet security security applications could do something like this for me. Although this would be a pricey solution for something that could really be a feature.
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    Written By: Gary on October 2, 2004 No Comment

    He says:

    After working with OS X for a few hours, switching back to Windows is like partying with Charlize Theron then coming home to Kathy Bates.

    His entry is a little longer, but I liked the analogy (especially since I think Macs are way the hell sexier than most other tech other there)…

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    Written By: Gary on February 27, 2004 One Comment

    I’ve been in computers for a long time now. Back before The Apple Macintosh has been around for most of that time. I do not understand how it has not dominated the market. It always reminds me of Sony and Beta (you do remember Beta don’t you?). Beta was the superior competitor to VHS but look what happened to that…

    It’s just some of the software and how much easier they make it. Anyone can figure out how to convert and store photos from their digital camera, create a jukebox, edit movies and burn it all to an impressive looking looking DVD. Of course it’s the iLife applications that I’m talking about, they come free with any Macintosh these days.

    I thought Macs were a little easier to use even when iLife didn’t exist. It’s always been it little be easier to me. It’s not that I have any problem learning, I’ve programed computers from assembly code to fortran any used operating systems from Atari to pSystem to Linux. Macs are definitely a little bit more money but I always think it’s worth it.

    I just got the new version of iLife but haven’t had much time to play with it but it even has a few more features that makes you DVDs even look more professional. The iPhoto program is supposed to be a lot faster and store more photos, but I don’t use it for much other than red-eye reduction. They also have a new program called Garage Band to create your own music.

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