Tag Archives: mac

Installing Snow Leopard and the Mac Heist Bundle

snowleopard_1So I finally installed Snow Leopard on my relatively new iMac.  I had bought the 24” beast back in June so I could ship it to Israel with my stuff in early July.  Of course this was a few weeks before Snow Leopard hit the street in August (Mom, if you’re reading this, Snow Leopard is an upgrade to Apple computer).  There was a promotion that Apple ran for purchasers of a new Mac within a certain time frame, which allowed you to get an upgrade disc for $9.99 (rather than $29.99), but you had to be in the U.S. to get it.  On my latest trip to the States I picked it up and only installed today.  Don’t really notice that much of a difference yet, guess it’s maybe subtle things like stack.  What have been the noticeable benefits you have gotten from Snow Leopard?  Leave a comment below.

The other news today is that MacHeist (one of the coolest things on the web) is giving away a new bundle for the next 4-days.  It includes the following applications:

Shove Box a handy little app that lets you put snippets of information and notes to yourself in a top-bar interface.  There is a sorting window that looks a lot like most Mac mail or to-do list managers that lets you quickly process things.  Speaking of “things” while on my Mac the program known as Things is usually what I use for this type of stuff so we’ll see how Shove Box improves on that.  My problem is I have too many task organizing tools between Things, Toodledo, Outlook tasks, and pen and paper that I can get bogged down in deciding which to use rather than just getting things done.  Perhaps another post about this soon?

 

 

Write RoomBilled as a “distraction free” writing environment, this is really just a simple text editor.  Nothing more.  Not sure how this will help me, but willing to give it a shot …

 

 

Twitterific again, a streamlined application that is based on the minimalist concept.  Not sure why I’d use this over Tweet Deck, which has become my monitoring station on Twitter.  The main thing it boasts is ease of use and speed of tweet, enough to make me check it out, but not sure if it is enough to sell me on it.

 

Tiny Grab – now this looks promising.  It functions a lot like a PC program Snaggit that I use all the time at work.  Allows you to grab images (doesn’t seem to do it for video) from your screen and easily create a tiny URL for them.  Could be very useful for blogging.  The interface requires you to hit COMMAND + SHIFT + 4 to grab the image.  Looking forward to trying this one.

 

Hoards of Orcs – billed as a “tower defense game” (yes, a game … on MAC!) you have to defend your village against, well, hoards of orcs coming out of a portal.  I’ll download this one just to have a Mac game for once that doesn’t require Cross Over Games.  Looks very basic though so not sure how much I’ll really get out of it.

 

Mariner Write – a MS Word alternative, this seems to be the Holy Grail of this bundle (Mac Heist is only releasing the registration code after 500K downloads of the bundle happen – we’re about half way there today).  This software provides a simple, word processing interface that can open and output to MS Word.  If I didn’t already love and use NeoOffice this may be really exciting.

 

 

All in all this bundle is a bit underwhelming, but hey, it’s free!  And as an old friend from college used to say, “the beauty of free stuff is you can always throw it away if you don’t want it” (or in this case delete it).

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Synergy – My New Holy Grail

So I’ve got this sick set up in my office right?  24” iMac, Dell laptop going into dual screens through a docking station, and a nice new desk to sit it all on (no more card table for me!).  One problem though (make that two), I’m sitting here with two sets of peripherals (keyboards and mice). This is just entirely too much clutter for a minimalist like myself.

Enter Synergy, my saving grace.  It is a program from Sourceforge that made a big splash in 2006 for its ability to allow a single mouse and keyboard to run across multiple operating systems.  If I could get this to work, then I could just keep my slick mac keyboard and mighty mouse, and move between all three screens.  The tutorials and videos out there all touted how easy setup would be (see below).

Yet here it is, two weeks later and I still can’t get it to work.  Well, that’s not entirely true; today I managed to get the mighty mouse on all three screens.  One problem though, I can only do this when I am not connected to my VPN.  Since I live and work in Jerusalem, VPN is my lifeline to making a living and it is the only way I can access a lot of my tools for community management.

Synergy does not work with VPN.  At least that’s the general consensus out there.  One possible solution I found involved a bit of work:

Since I don’t have a static IP for my DSL connection, I 1st had to setup dyndns so that my IP is findable via DNS. I then had to set up a port forward for synergy on my router to always send the synergy port to my PC that acts as the server. Then my VPN’d box is a client of the server, and uses the dyndns host name to reach it.

Not really sure if this will solve it b/c the guy had a physical KM switch (hardware that manages the keyboard mouse switch) for Synergy failures, but it may be worth a try.  It’s driving me nuts to have to switch back and forth between peripherals all the time.  Does anyone have a solution for me out there?

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Iphone & Mac Solutions

It took me two minutes to type that title. No, not two minutes to think of it, but two minutes to actually type it. If you are blogging from an iPhone for the first time like me, your fingers have some training to do. It can take getting used to punching out jumpi g letters on a touchscreen keyboard before it feels natural. But I am persistant and it feels good to post to my blog sitting in the Clifton Commons parking lot at 12:34am while I wait for my 6-month old to finally fall asleep, (he’s just about there now). In any case, here’s to posting on the road; it’s nice to have finally arrived.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell how we came to own iPhones and a brand new iMac.

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Bings

If you love technology as much as I do then I will assume you are no stranger to the most excellent site Life Hacker, (sorry: this isn’t a post about MS’s new search engine Bing; “bings” just fit the Sound of Music omage better than “hacks”).  My favorite thing that they issue each year is their Life Hacker Pack: List of Essential Downloads (Mac & PC).  As a bi-computator (PC by day and Mac by choice) this comprehensive little list of life-hacks is true a blessing.  The nugget from this pile of gold that has been my savior as I begin my role as community manager of Martindale Hubbell Connected, “the global network for legal professionals,” has been Drop Box.

The way it works is simple:

  1. Register for Drop Box through the link above (this will make me eligible for a space upgrade, another sweet perk of this site – free space for getting friends to join!)
  2. Basic idea: an online storage space that can synchronize folder on whatever computer you are using
  3. 2GB of storage are free, but you can earn an extra free 1GB through referrals, or purchase more space (up to 100GB for $20 per month or $200 per year)
  4. Save files in the Drop Box folder on your computer and when you log in from another computer, such as your trusty Mac, the folders will update with your changes from the other machine (no more confusing USB keys or emailing yourself files)

Check out all of the other life hacks posted, but this one is by far my favorite.

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Ex-Videogame Junky Says: “OnLive Cloud Gaming’s gonna make me relapse…”

My name is Mike and I am an ex-videogame junky.  I have been “game-free” since February 2008.  The main reason I quit video games cold turkey was for my kids – I couldn’t justify the time suck with an 8-month old at the time and another on the way.   My game console of choice was the XBox 360, which I reluctantly sold with 15 games on Ebay for about $400, and my “gamer tag” on XBox Live was Fragmintz, a name which I still use on the web today.  I thought selling my 360 would be the end of it – at least until the kids were old enough to ask for a console, but now OnLive Cloud Gaming may just make me relapse.

The term “cloud computing” refers to an online service structure that end-users acces for various tasks without needing to download a 3rd party client.  Think of it like a grid of applications, like our electricity grid but without all those pesky high tension wires, that can be plugged right into by the consumer.  Some of the best examples are the Google suite of tools, Zoho, and Amazon – each providing their own services within the cloud which can be scaled and accessed according to the needs of each user.

Now enter OnLive to the forefront.  Traditionally, gamers divided themselves according to consoles.  In the next-gen console wars of 2005-6, the breakdown went a bit like this:

  • Xbox 360 = hardcore gamers, FPS (first person shooters) & Halo nuts
  • Wii = kids, Zelda nuts, and basically anyone with a pulse
  • PS3 = RPG (role playing gamers), Sony elitists
  • PS2 = economy class players
  • PC = mouse and keyboard nuts, MMORG (massive multiplayer online role playing gamers – basically World of Warcraft people)
  • Mac = does anyone game on a Mac?

We were a house divided, which did not stand (unless you were playing a Wii – then you kind of had to stand).  But now, it won’t matter what console you prefer b/c we’ll all just be playing the same game OnLive, (counterpoint: can it incorporate the Wii-mote?).

As a true “cloud gaming service” it proposes to play on any screen (TV, PC, Mac, etc.) and offers the games directly from the publishers.  Unlike XBox Live, where you downloaded the game to the console for storage and play, you play the games right on the OnLive server – which means that you also get a chock full of other services like social network: you can watch a buddy play their game, comment, update status, watch videos, etc.  From the sound of it, OnLive may free us from our silos of console-isolation and connect our online lives like never before.  Will I ever leave my computer again?

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