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Showing posts from October, 2008

How to lose an AirPort Express in under a minute

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A couple of friends mentioned the Apple Airport Express to me and it sounded compelling; a super compact 802.11n Wi-Fi base station that could not only serve as a wireless USB print server but could also be used to play my iTunes music on my stereo.

I have long wanted a clean solution for accessing my iTunes collection from my stereo without a big hassle and this sounded perfect. I bought one on Amazon.com for $96 and used my Amazon Prime account to get it here in two days.

The AirPort Express itself is extremely small; about the size of a standard MacBook power adapter. There were instructions inside and a CD containing the AirPort Utility but since I had already installed a Time Capsule I had all of the software ready to go. I simply plugged the AirPort Express into a power outlet inside of our stereo cabinet and ran a mini-stereo to RCA cable from it into one of the inputs on our main stereo receiver. A small green light started to flash so I went over to my MacBook Pro and fired up…

Quick tip - save your MacBook's hard drive

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Recently I've gotten a couple of e-mails from folks that have had problems with hard drive failures in their MacBooks. While hard drive failures are a fact of life with nearly any computer it can be exacerbated in laptops and portable machines where the risk of drops while the drive is spinning is significantly higher.

One of the features I really love about my MacBooks (both my original MacBook and my MacBook Pro) is how reliable the sleep function is; close the lid and the MacBook's screen goes dark and you are ready to run off. The reality is that by default the machine does not immediately go into sleep mode but starts the process of writing the contents of your memory to your hard drive.

This means that when you think the machine is inert, the reality is that one of the more sensitive moving parts (hard drive) is writing to disk. Depending on the amount of memory you have in your machine this may take a while to do; in my case with a MacBook Pro and 4GB of RAM it takes a li…

Time Capsule creates a challenge

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I was thinking something was not right with my wife's MacBook. It wasn't because she was complaining about anything; to the contrary over the last week she didn't say anything about the machine. It was quiet. Too quiet.

Last night while I was sitting down watching TV with Allison she finally let it out:

"That new Mac is really slow. My Windows machine was faster."

Wonderful I said to myself, let me see what's up. I grabbed her white MacBook and saw by the dock bar that she didn't have anything running so I started up Firefox. Sure enough, there was a very long delay before the application window appeared.

"See?" she said "It's really slow! It's not just me!"

Apparently I have some deep technical gift, an ability to approach any technology problem in the house and by simply laying hands on the offending device the problem is immediately solved without me doing anything. At least, that's the way Allison sees it and it's just o…

My wife and her switch to Mac

I had anticipated that I would be writing a lot about my wife's experiences using her "new" MacBook. After all, it's been two weeks since I got her the machine, yet she has barely touched it by my standards. The reality is that computers are just not that important to her. She's an experienced teacher with 8 years at the same school under her belt and for the last two weeks has had to do little more than e-mail and web based activities from home. She averages just under an hour a day on the machine right now.

She is also becoming mildly amused by my regular queries about how she likes her MacBook. Her standard response?

"It's great. I love it."

There have been moments where she has struggled with the machine however. She did offer up that she doesn't like the Delete key. Why? Well, she's used to using a Windows based delete key that deletes forward, not backwards. Backspace is what she expects that key to do. I assumed that she simply had a pro…

Playing with iPhone pictures - Juxtaposer

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One of the cooler aspects of writing this blog has been the people that have come around to not only give advice but tell me about some of the cool stuff they are working on. Hendrik Kueck has been commenting on this blog for a long time now. Hendrik is a software developer and when he told me about an iPhone application he was working on I became very interested in checking it out.

His product, Juxtaposer, is a fun little application for mashing two pictures together quickly and easily. Hendrik has done an outstanding job creating an easy to use interface, one that feels very natural for the task. You can take a picture directly with the camera and start mashing away or you can grab a photo from your library.

Basically you set a base image and a top image, then start hacking away at the top image. The tools included are very basic but are perfect for doing the task at hand. It literally takes a minutes or two to put together images. If for example you wanted to see what your brother wo…

8 months after switching here are my favorite applications

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As I've now crossed the 8 month time frame since I got my first Mac it's time to update the applications that I use regularly. When I made my switch I made a real effort to find native Mac replacement applications for everything I use and for the most part I have been successful in that.

I'll list these applications in the order in which I find myself using them and will include internal OS X applications as well. Many of these applications are related to the way I am using my Macs now, which is starting up a new company. I am doing lots of development, marketing messaging and content creation, building spreadsheets, etc. and am in front of my Macs anywhere between 12 and 16 hours a day.

This my friends is the life of an entrepreneur in start up mode.

LaunchBar
I am completely addicted to the Spotlight / QuickSilver / LaunchBar model of activating applications and documents and more importantly tying them together in helpful ways. Virtually everything I do starts up with Comma…