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Anything related to computers, computing, PDAs, software, etc.

Written By: Gary on August 12, 2004 No Comment

So I’m in a hotel for an all day meeting. I ask at the hotel if they have a WiFi connection or a room where I can access the Internet. The reply — “We have dial-up”. Like’s it’s something they have, when in reality it’s something they don’t have. She just didn’t get it…

The problem with this is compounded by the fact that the new Mac OS X 10.3.5 update (from two days ago) broke the ability to connect my cell phone to dial out. I feel totally cut off from the world…

Written By: Gary on August 10, 2004 No Comment

Something has had been up with my e-mail the last few (Friday, Aug 6th-Tuesday, Aug 10th) days. If you sent anything important the last few days (or even not important) please resend it if you haven’t gotten a response (or at least don’t complain).

Technical support makes me crazy sometimes… If they read the problem the first time it’d really help solve the issue. I list the ten things I know they’ll ask, I bold the bizzaro answers that should point them in the right direction and I feel like they turn around and ask me to try the ten things I already told them the results.

Written By: Gary on July 17, 2004 No Comment

Quote of the Day (from my today info on the lower right of my page).

A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.
Grace Murray Hopper

I never knew she said that. She’s this wonderfully crazy Admiral in the Navy, had a lot to do with computing. She passed away in 1992 and I know I saw her on Letterman a time or two. She was great with analogies (which I love) when talking about technology. I remember seeing her on some show talking about the speed of computers and explaining it quite well with spaghetti and pepper.

The other thing that she’s attributed with (which I’m more certain she actually said) is:

The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.

She’s got her own entry in TV Tomb and I think there is a big computing conference with her name in the title.

Written By: Gary on June 8, 2004 No Comment
1. Do you prefer happy or sad endings, and why?
Happy! Umm.. because they are not sad. I’m assuming we’re talking about movies (and not my life). Movies as an escape, I need the happy ending, it can me sad along the way but I need a good ending. If it’s my life we’re talking about, we definitely need a happy (ever after) ending…
2. What is the most annoying thing about computers?
People! 99% of the time they work fine and give the right messages but only 1% of the time people use them correctly and pay attention to the messages. But hey, it keeps me employed.
3. Who has the biggest influence on the world now?
Bill Gates (unfortunately), not directly but it’s there. Office is great, but it’s cross platform (and some of the open source ones are just as good). It’s that Window’s thing that’s holding the world back.

From Wednesday Whatevers

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Written By: Gary on May 22, 2004 No Comment

Twenty years ago (maybe even fifteen) this would have been heaven. Imagine… Seven MB of removable storage…

I remember somewhere around that time some had hook a ten MB drive up to an Atari computer (via the joystick ports), I’m sure that was a $2,000.00 box at the time. We’ve come a long way since then. I’ve ten times that on my keychain and it’s a heck of a lot faster and smaller!

Written By: Gary on May 21, 2004 No Comment
1. What kind of computer do you have? Describe it for me! (Like how big is your hard drive, how much memory you have…)
My main G4 PowerBook is work’s actually, but it’s be come my main one everywhere. The 12 inch screen makes it so portable! One GHz, 60GB, 768MB RAM, CD/DVD-R/W, 802.11G. It’s nice. It’ll plug into my cell phone for Internet access too! The desktop is pretty much the same thing without the wireless and a few extra external drives with a 1.3GHz G4 upgrade card. Remember that 1.3 GHz on a G4 is faster then a P4 (probably more like 2.0 (or 2.5?). And I have an XP machine mostly so I can synchronize my Palm OS phone and go to web sites that people weren’t capable of making OS X compatible…
2. How long have you had your computer? Do you plan on getting a new one soon?
The laptop is new, so no. The desktop recently got that upgrade card so I’ll wait a while for that. The XP machine is fast enough to sync my palm so no. I’d like something faster to control the music for my stereo…
3. How many computers do you have in your home? Are they networked/firewalled?
Hmm… I’ve got another old one running Linux (just for fun) and another old one controlling the music on my stereo. Firewalled? Heck yeah, I’ve got two hardware firewalls. They’re cheap enough these days! Battery backups (on everything) and an alarm system to go with the rest of it.

From Weekend Wonderings

Written By: Gary on May 5, 2004 No Comment

What is the biggest problem in today’s society? 1) People need to Smile more! 2) I’m going to give a semi-political answer to this (and yet avoid the war). The government confusing governing with personal matters/morals. They also need to give more money to education! The reason they don’t is tied a little into the first statement. The government doesn’t get money doesn’t from corporations, the government gets taxes; politicians get money from corporations.
How does algebra relate to daily life? How doesn’t it? How do I know if it’s a better deal to get a six-pack of 20 oz. Coke or a dozen cans for the same price? How can I figure out how long it’s going to take to pay off that car? Or if I have enough to get 5 candy bars or 6? Algebra is daily life!
What do you use the computer for most? Lately reading and writing blogs. Other wise looking up movies, sales, a little e-mail, digital photos and such, listening to music and more. I use it at work all the time for research, providing information to others, e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets, powerpoint, training, scanning, etc.

From Wednesday Whatevers

Written By: Gary on April 20, 2004 No Comment

If you didn’t know it already many of the Panera resturant/stores now have free WiFi!

Guess where I am right now?!?

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Written By: Gary on April 13, 2004 5 Comments

The story goes –

A few years ago, I was chatting with a stranger in a bar. When I told him I was an economist, he said, “Ah. So… what are the Two Things about economics?”

“Huh?” I cleverly replied.

“You know, the Two Things. For every subject, there are really only two things you really need to know. Everything else is the application of those two things, or just not important.”

“Oh,” I said. “Okay, here are the Two Things about economics. One: Incentives matter. Two: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

For computers I’d say:

  1. Reboot if it acts up.
  2. Backup your files.

From http://www.kegz.net/blog/eggz/ who got it from here.

To save readers some money I’ll include two bonus items:

  1. Don’t buy the best unless you have cash to burn (or really intense games to play / processes to run). In another 12-18 months that machine will be 25%-%50 less or the new model will be 50% faster.
  2. Make sure it’s got a good return policy (unless you know it’s exactly what you want).

What’s your two things?

Written By: Gary on April 9, 2004 No Comment
  1. What do you do for a living? I’m the Director of Technology for a school district, which means if it plugs in (unless it cooks food or heats/cools the building) it’s the problem of my department.
  2. What do you like most about your job? Getting people excited about using tech in their day. Getting some tool put together for someone to use that makes their life easier.
  3. What do you like least about your job? When I tell someone “I don’t know” and they reword the question a dozen different ways because the seem to thin I don’t. Telling someone the right answer (“I do know”) and them not believing that it is the way to go.
  4. When you have a bad day at work it’s usually because _____… There just isn’t enough time to get everything fixed.
  5. What other career(s) are you interested in? I love seeing the kids at school. I’d love to just do day care but I don’t think that would a good job to help me with my technology habit. Dream job would be to teach kindergarten in the morning and advance computers at the high school in the afternoon or be an astronaut.

From the Friday Five.

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Written By: Gary on April 5, 2004 No Comment
    If time and money were infinite, what are the five things you’d love to learn how to do?

  1. Learn how to raise a child (via doing it).
  2. Travel into outer space.
  3. Write a book.
  4. Program my own computer operating system.
  5. Learn to Paint.
    Which of these do you think you’ll do anyway, no matter what the economic and temporal restraints are?

  1. Raise a child.
  2. Write a book.
  3. Travel to outer space (if they ever open up public travel.)

I’m not sure if this is my ‘regular’ Friday Five or a different one. It’s delayed since I couldn’t find it on Friday.

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Written By: Gary on March 25, 2004 No Comment

Remember a few days ago I mentioned the downloadable paper (cardboard) cradles for the Clie’s? Well, here is an example of one!

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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.

Written By: Gary on February 22, 2004 No Comment

So I’ve been messing around with changing the CSS (background) for this blog. There should now be some space between each of the 3 boxes that make up the screen. That’s not all I was trying to do but CSS is such a pain. I’d get it working and then check it out on six different browsers on three different platforms (OS X, Windows and Linux) and it always looked funny on one of them (generally IE on Mac or Win).

So if it doesn’t look very good, please let me know…

If anyone geeky out there can tell me why I shouldn’t switch to tables for this instead of CSS columns, please let me know. It seems like with tables I’d just have two boxes and the browser would keep everything even and wrap nicely…

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Written By: Gary on February 16, 2004 No Comment

It looks like Apple might be finally entering the PDA market! This is a good thing since Palm OS 6 doesn’t plan to support the Macintosh.

The odd part of this is that even though Macintosh has a small percentage of the computer market, many of the Palm OS people that I know are Mac-users. The question to me is what percentage of their sales go to Mac-users? The only reason I put Windows back into my house after 20 years was to get better synchronization with my Macintosh. I wanted some of the geekier conduits and they just didn’t exist for the Mac. Some third party company (the Missing-sync folks) will write a Mac-driver if the market is there…

But I digress:
It’ll probably have a hard drive (ala mini-iPod) and Firewire, USB and BlueTooth. The second article mentions WiFi and cell phone. There were hints of it playing music (actually downloading music while in the waiting room). Of course it’ll support QuickTime and sync with all of the iApps. And (wait for it…) it’ll support Windows. Maybe not the first week, but soon. You can’t tell me that all the Windows people who bought iPods (and considered iPods) won’t at least consider this device. I’m assuming it’s share files in a variety of ways (like target disk mode and such). The only thing I haven’t seen mentioned is a camera and GPS. I’d subscribe to .mac I think if this tied into it…

One of the articles I read said something like ‘people spend more time deciding on a phone or a PDA than any other electronic device’. I know I do, if I’m going to carry it everywhere, I’m going to be fussy about it. My 2 cents: No mini-keyboard/thumbboard. Let me use grafitti or something similar. Let it support a regular USB keyboard (or mouse) thought the USB port (or via WiFi?)

You can check out this article from MacNet2.com and part 2.

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Written By: Gary on January 28, 2004 No Comment

I got digital cookies today! I’d been feeling a little down so Kelly sent them to me! They were cookies in the shape of computers, mice, CDs and a PDA. My favorite was the PDA cookie. They were huge, about the size of 2 or 3 regular big cookies.

Written By: Gary on January 9, 2004 One Comment

How’s this: “The OQO computer has all the functionality of a ultraportable notebook computer, with a 1GHz processor, a 20GB hard drive, 256MB of RAM, color transflective display (for easy indoor and outdoor viewing), 802.11b wireless, a removable lithium-polymer battery, and FireWire™ and USB 1.1 ports. For input and navigation it includes thumb keyboard with TrackStik™ and mouse buttons as well as digital pen and thumbwheel.” It even has more than that! All in a handheld computer which fits in your pocket (I can’t find size specs on the web site).

CES and he showed it on TV a minute ago. It comes with a funky connector that has usb, firewire, svga and all the other ports you need (you can use this as a docking connector) It has a USB port built in so you can take a full size keyboard with you! I’ve been asking for this on palms for years!

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Written By: Gary on December 26, 2003 No Comment

I’m off to see friends (Heather, Nan and the rest of the Allegan crew and whomever is visiting) and I’m on the train from Dearborn to K’zoo and I’m loving it. It’s so easy and you get the landscape (if you can call it that) floating by the window and I can blog/read/computer/etc. It’s pretty full (and left a little late) and I’m sitting next to this really quiet woman (reading Steven King) with my coke, my blog and I’m ready to watch a movie or something…

The Dearborn train station is a mile from my house and has free parking that’s right next to the police station which makes this extra convenient for me!

Written By: Gary on December 24, 2003 No Comment

There seems to be some issues with editing Movable Type posts on a Macintosh, it doesn’t show you the formatting tools (bold, italics, underline, links). Well even if it did, you’d still want this software tool, it’s called Ecto (formerly Kung-Log) (for OS X) and it lets you do all that and more. Create thumbnails, different blogs, categoris, post drafts, customize your own HTML commands, save drafts on the hard drive (if not on-line) and edit (yes, I said edit) previous posts and it has a spell check.

This version requires MacOS 10.2 or higher and either a MovableType installation of version 2.6 or higher, Nucleus 1.55 or higher, or any weblog system supporting the MovableType, MetaWeblog and/or Blogger API.

Written By: Gary on December 16, 2003 No Comment

Gave a demonstration/class today on a new system (I sure hope this works!) we’re running at work and everyone was pretty happy about it. Usually change isn’t good!

Helped someone get a really good price on a Dell computer. I really like helping people buy technology! Especially with their money!

The other was a network issue that we never exactly figured out, but it was interesting and educational still trying to figure out what the person was doing and they were doing something but were they doing something “wrong”? We were highly entertained during the chase.

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Written By: Gary on December 15, 2003 No Comment

I’m so excited!!! I can post wirelessly to my blog via the cell phone. I don’t know how often I’ll use this feature but it’s nice to know that it’s an option. I just love technology!

It’d probably be just as easy to hook the phone up to my laptop, but I’ll sleep better knowing that I can. ;)

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