Category Archives: Mac

Why iOS Devices are Popular

I’ve probably seen that Samsung commercial a dozen times over the last few days. The one that makes a pretty good mockery of people waiting in line for the iPhone 5. The one that makes a really good point about all the things that still, STILL, aren’t available for iPhone users, that we could have on the Galaxy S3.

The commercial makes perfectly valid points, and yet Apple will still sell a bajillion iPhones over the next few weeks. Is it because it’s a better phone that the Galaxy or other Andriod devices? No, not really. Is it because people are just completely under Steve Jobs’ charismatic influence, even from the grave? Well, maybe. ;-)

Or is it because no matter the limitations of the iPhone, when I turn it on, everything just works. When I install an app, 90% of the time, it will just work, and it will do the one thing I want that app to do on my phone.

Let me tell you a story. Today, I spent more time than I care to admit trying to scan some documents. I have a multifunction device in my home office. It’s wireless. My laptop can print to it all day long without ever losing any connection to it. I could not, however, use it to scan. The scan function did not see any computer to save the file to on the wireless network. Likewise, my laptop could not connect to a scanner, yes the very same device that it could print to easily. I had to find a USB cable and connect it to my laptop and install it as a new device before I could scan the 5 pages I needed to scan. This is not how people want to work.

This would be the antithesis of an iPhone or iPad. When I open up one of those devices, I can immediately start doing what I want to do with it, and if I can’t, I take it to the Apple store and let them figure it out. So yeah, it has limitations, but users never have to spend as much time getting it to do what they want to do as they do with other devices. Thus, the appeal.

When technology gets in the way of us doing what we need to do, it loses favor, regardless of how much “better” that technology might be. Apple has been successful in the past because their technology didn’t get in the way. Let’s see if that holds true for the iPhone 5, or other new devices. If the Maps on iOS6 are any indication, they may be in for some rough days.

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Google Drive Changing the iPad

The latest update to the Google Drive iOS app will give users the ability to edit and create documents within Google Drive on the iPad and iPhone.

As a newer iPad user, and long time iPhone user, this is a pretty big deal. The iOS devices have always been more about consumption than creation. Sure it’s gotten better over the years and lots of apps have been created to assist with doing more content creation than consumption. In my experience they’ve been a bit hit and miss so far though. Some apps have helped me do more creating, I say as I type this in the WordPress app for example, but none have really allowed me to create a new document and store it in the same app, using a service many of us are already using. That seems like a nice addition to my iPad app collection.

How have you been creating documents on iOS devices? Will this announcement by Google change your current plans?

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Apple Hardware Tax Strikes Again

I’ve always known that Apple’s monopoly on the hardware side of things accounted for the higher price of Mac computers when compared to Windows. Today I got a real glimpse into what that actually means long-term.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that earlier in the week, the display on my Macbook Pro went dead. As it turns out this was a known issue with Nvidia faulty display adapters, and therefore I was due a new logic board at no charge, in order to fix my problem. When I went in this after noon to pick up my laptop, the Genius was kind enough to point out on my paperwork how much the repair would have cost had it not been a faulty adapter.

The cost to have the logic board replaced, and nothing else done to the laptop at all, was over $1200. I chuckled when he showed it to me and said, I wouldn’t have paid that, I could buy a whole new Windows laptop cheaper. Gee, it’s no wonder you need Applecare for all of your Apple products, you can’t afford to get anything repaired, and you can’t really repair it yourself. (Where would one get a logic board for a Macbook? Exactly, you can’t exactly run into your local computer show and pick one up.)

Seems to me that $1200 is a lot to replace one part, even something as important as a logic board. As I said, I wouldn’t, I’d replace the laptop before I sunk that much in to a repair. Given the choice between paying for Applecare forever, or running the risk of this type of repair bill, my next purchase might just be to opt out of Apple. I like my Macbook, and love having a Mac to learn on, and give me some variety in my work, but that isn’t worth this kind of risk. Not when you consider that I could easily buy a Windows laptop for much less, and fix just about anything in it myself.

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Upgrade to VMWare Fusion 3 for Ten Bucks

Actually, I’ve been pretty happy with version 2, an haven’t really wanted to spend the money, or time, upgrading, but if they’re going to offer the upgrade for $9.99 for a limited time, I might have to take them up on that.

I don’t fire up my Windows VM on the Macbook very often. I’ve kind of migrated away from using it aside from testing out Lit Support tools that I have personal licenses for through my certifications. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with just using the Macbook and software I’ve found for it, but every once in awhile I need Outlook, or some Windows freeware tool that I haven’t yet found a Mac replacement for. Who knows, maybe the new version of Fusion will inspire me to experiment more with virtual machines?

They are offering the upgrade price for users of Parallels as well. Not a bad little ploy on their part!

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Last Three Days for MacUpdate Bundle

Ten of the top Mac Utilities, bundled together and selling for $49.99. How could I resist? Actually, there are a couple of tools in there, like WebSnapper and Timeline3d that may come in quite handy for work or personal projects, and when you throw in things I’d like to experiment with, like Hyperspaces, Parallels and MacScan, it really makes this a great deal for me.

Check it out yourself and see if it catches your interest.

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Upgraded to Snow Leopard

Apple StoreImage by mikemac29 via Flickr

There I was, in the Apple store picking up a couple of gifts for Christmas, when my eyes wandered over to the Snow Leopard upgrade. I hadn’t given it too much thought before this, mostly I hadn’t seen anything that I really felt was an earth-shattering improvement and worth making the effort to upgrade. Yet, the magic of the Apple Store made me pick it up, and seeing that it was “only” $29, and since I was in the distortion field, of course I bought it! ;-)

Anyway, I upgraded in place, and found some problems. Oh wait, seems there’s another 500MB of updates available from the Software Update servers, probably should have checked that before I started running programs, eh? OK, that seems to have taken care of any issues I was having, and things do seem to be back to normal.

So now that I have Snow Leopard, and am outside the distortion field, what are the “highlights” of Snow Leopard that I haven’t found yet? What’s your favorite thing about OS 10.6, your problems, etc.? Do share with the Snow Leopard newbie.

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Outlook for the Mac coming

MS Office for Mac is finally just going to go ahead and replace Entourage with Outlook.

For the e-discovery folks, there is just one question. Does that mean Office for Mac users will have a PST that is easily transferable to Windows? Does anyone know? Getting email from a Mac into a form we can work with tends to be one of our complaints, and anything that gives us one less complaint can only be good, right? ;)

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VMWare Fusion 2.0 Bug?

I installed the upgrade to version 2.0 of VMWare Fusion a few weeks ago, and it seemed like there were no problems. Today, I realized there is one problem. Seems that whenever I let the VM go into a suspended state, and then restore it from that suspended state, the video slows down dramatically.

Now, let’s be honest here, I didn’t notice this because I don’t generally use that Vista VM enough to have it go into a suspended state. Generally, I start it up, use Windows for what I need it for, and shut it back down. If I need to do extensive work in Windows, I’ll wait until I’m home and use my desktop for that, unless I’m traveling or there’s some other reason why I’d use my laptop instead.

So it doesn’t really impact me all that much, and it wasn’t until today that I thought to actually see if I could repeat the slow down. Indeed, I can. Start up Vista, suspend the VM state, restore it, and then start a game of Free Cell, which shows me right away how slow the graphics are, as it slowly deals out the cards from the deck.

Of course, like any good Windows machine, virtual or otherwise, simply restarting the guest, fixes the problem. ;)

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VMWare Fusion Small Complaint

Rob Fahrni’s post wherein he lists one small complaint about Fusion reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write about my own, small, complaint.

As much as I love Fusion, and I love being able to flip back and forth between OSX and Windows on my Macbook, I have discovered one area where, on a laptop especially, VMWare Fusion has a bit of a hiccup.

It’s in the area of moving between networks.

Typically, I can go from home, to a coffee shop, and leave the Macbook in stand-by mode with the programs that I’m going to be using open. (Especially useful when meeting someone for lunch to share some information.) Upon being roused, Airport will find the new network and connect, and I can continue right where I left off.

However, if I’m using Windows to show off some stuff that has links in it, the bridged networking in the VM doesn’t pick up any change in the network. It bridges the network connection with the host machine when it starts, and seemingly, not again. In order to get it Internet access, I have to disable and enable the network adapter and I’ve found in some cases, even that doesn’t get me connected, I have to shut down the VM and start over after connecting to the new network in OS X.

Like I said, it’s a small complaint, simply because it’s not something I’d run into very often, but it is annoying. Since network-switching on the fly works on a Windows laptop pretty well, most of the time, and it works on OSX, I can only assume the catch here is bridging the new connection to the VM is problematic. It’d be nice if it wasn’t. 

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Little Mac Help?

Can anyone point me to a tutorial on using a projector with a Macbook Pro? I’ve done it a couple of times, and have managed to get what I need each time, but I suspect it’s been a lot more aggravating than it should have been. I haven’t found anything like the Fn-F8 toggle on our Dell laptops at work, which is simple enough. The Mac hasn’t been that simple for me, so I’d like to do some research and figure out what I am missing.

Surely I AM missing something, right?

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