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Geeky/Programming

iTunes DJ – iPhone, Remote App – Party!

Not sure when this came about, but I just realized that there is an “iTunes DJ” in iTunes now. It obviously lets you just play a random selection it picks. But what I didn’t know, is allowing anyone on your wifi network to connect with their iPhone and the Remote App. Once you connect with the Remote app, you can browse the library, and request a song. Multiple people can request a song, and vote it up. Totally awesome!!



I also pump out the output from my MacBook to the MacBook and AppleTV through iTunes so I get total surround sound.

So the Apple Remote app, iPhone, iTunes DJ = ultimate geek iPhone party! Who’s game?


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Geeky/Programming

One Year Ago Today…

One Year Ago Today, I bought my MacBook Pro. And guess what? It is still running, on the original config, original boot, no reformatting, no repaving, no major surgery, nothing. And it still runs great. I have a ton of apps installed, but just enough, just what I need.

What is funny though, is that using VMWare Fusion, I have reformatted or redone my Windows VM’s multiple times because of issues. Is that just how things are? I think so.

This is probably the longest time EVER that I have had a machine without reformatting it. I think back when I was eleven years old, like 1991, reformatting our 386 25Mhz Packard Bell every 6 or so months with Windows 3.11

I have to say, the MacBook Pro is an awesome machine. Every time I use it, I wish I could just run a Windows VM for work on it, off a USB drive, just take it back and forth, and that is one less physical machine I would have to worry about.. someday..

What is the longest you have went without reformatting, voluntary or involuntary?


Photo Courtesy of Alistair Israel


Categories
Geeky/Programming Life Product Reviews

Apple Time Capsule Rocks – Microsoft needs to make one.

Since I make a living and love working on Windows, SQL, Windows Server, Office, Exchange, etc, it is kind of weird I am a Mac guy. Never thought it would happen. iPhone, Mac, Macbook Pro, Apple TV, Time Capsule, accessories…

Anyways, since Ella was born, I have TONS of pics and videos of her, on my laptop. And it auto backs up to my Apple Time Capsule. Well, iMovie auto imports videos from iPhoto, and then removes them? I am not sure, but long story short, I was missing some videos from when we got home from the hospital.

So what do I do? Freak out? No.. just fire up the Time Machine on my Mac, go back to February, and there is my iPhoto Library, I restore it, and get the videos back.

Now, I just need to offload it offsite someone, there is MacMini Colo – Transport – http://www.macminicolo.net/transport/ which looks promising, just a little too much $$, but maybe my next step.

But really, Windows needs this. We have a few Windows machines here at home, and I just feel like, umm, stuff is volatile. Thank god for flickr..that is all I have to say. I know there is Windows Home Server, but that is another BOX and updates, and whatever. I just want a device, a dumb device. I know I can get NAS and whatever, but I just want simple. Where is the Microsoft Time Capsule?

Categories
Geeky/Programming Product Reviews

Browser Wars 08

Now that Google has released its browser, Chrome, that leaves us 4-5 big players in the browser wars.

1) Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (download)
2) Mozilla’s Firefox (download)
3) Apple’s Safari (download)
4) Opera’s Opera (Weird – their company name is the same as the browser name) (download)
5) Google’s Chrome (download)

Pretty much everyone has used IE, unless you are a main frame unix guy or something, you at least have probably used it to get Windows Updates. I think I started using it around IE3, then IE4, IE5, IE5.5, IE6, now IE7, and actually I am using IE8 Beta2 at work. IE works, but it has been plagued by security vulnerabilities, and stagnated from lack of innovation from the IE4 days till now, where they are finally picking up steam again. Although, you are kind of stuck to Windows if you want to use IE, one of the major factors I don’t use it as my main browser. IE has somewhere between 70% and 80% of the market share, so your site better work in IE. I do say death to IE6 though. MSFT should push IE7 as a mandatory update.

Firefox is multi-platform, a good thing. It also seems to have major releases more often, better auto update support, and of course, extensions, which really extend the browser to something way better than ever imagined. Firefox has security issues sometimes, but they are usually quick to fix, and they are also pushing the competition with every new release.

Safari, oh Safari. I did try to use this as my main browser when I picked up my MacBook Pro, but after about 2 weeks I had to switch to Firefox. It just lacks some key features that make me want to switch back to Firefox, little quirks. It does render fast and nice, and yeah, the iPhone version is much better than PocketIE – its not even a comparison. Safari works now on Windows and Mac, which is also a good thing, cross platform is always nice.

Opera – well, it has 1% or less of the market share, but it just won’t die. I only use it when I need to test a site that has to work on everything, other than that, not much. Seems that stuff renders different in Opera. They have made some strides in features, like mouse gesturing, and other things that other browsers have “stolen” if you will, but I just don’t see Opera being a big contender in the space. It is cross platform which is nice, but it just doesn’t have the steam the other browsers do.

And then the new player, Chrome. Some are saying it already has 1, 2 maybe eve 3% of the market share. I installed it and used it for about a week as my main browser. It uses WebKit, the same rendering engine as Safari, so sites that work in Safari for the most part work in Chrome. (Firefox uses Gecko by the way). Chrome is the fastest out of the bunch, at least from my experience. The new concept of tabs on top is different. The process model is different, where each tab is a process (IE8 Beta2 has this as well), and there are other “new” features in Chrome – most of which are in IE8, FF 3.1, or available as extensions on FF 3.1. It isn’t cross platform yet, but they say it will be in time, fair enough.

So from the list above, you have Firefox and Opera (which is not used by many) being cross platform. Which means, if you want to use Windows flavors 2000, XP, Vista, or Mac 10.4, or 10.5, or many flavors of Linux, Firefox is pretty much the way to go, to get the consistent experience from OS to OS.

Most companies and corporations are STUCK on Internet Explorer 6. This just makes me cringe. At least get to IE7, it has been out for two years, IE8 is coming out next month!!

I see chrome gaining market share, but Google is walking a fine line on privacy it seems, they have already backpeddled a few of their policies since they released Chrome.

Safari is good for Apple users, or someone who wants the “Apple Experience”. I suppose IE gives you the “Microsoft Experience” the best. Chrome will give you the “Google Experience” the best. Firefox just gives you the “Best Experience” πŸ™‚

I would recommend every once in a while switching to a new browser for a week or two, just to keep up with the changes. I guess you should switch not just browsers, but everything if you can (OS, Media Players, etc, etc) – Try It!

Categories
Geeky/Programming Product Reviews

MobileMe's Mail – Glaring Omission

So we have MobileMe setup. I still use GAFYD for my main email, but I had Emily use MobileMe with my old iPhone. Today a glaring omission was pointed out. No rich text, formatting, coloring, smileys, font changing, italics, bold, underline, etc to be found.

mobile_me_compose

There are options to send, draft, spelling, and add contact. Also in the Mail preferences, there is a “Composing” tab, but no settings for formatting at all. For some people, this is the show stopper feature they want. You would expect any first rate email client to have these things. Of course, some people don’t want these settings, but if they are there, then you can turn them off, but if they aren’t there, you can do anything, and you go back to Hotmail so you can send smileys and 24 pt wingding font in red πŸ™‚

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Geeky/Programming

The Apple Fandom.. Continues

Woah, well it has been a while since I talked about my “Media Center” experience I am trying go for, but I will get into that later.

First, yes, I have the iPhone 3G. I was off Friday for other stuff and decided to “camp out” since I had the time, hoping I would get out early. I went to AT&T on the East Side at 4:30 AM with a chair and my laptop and waited until 8:00. I was 6th in line. It was a good time, Einstein Bagels opened at 5:30 so we had coffee and bagels, and just had fun talking with fellow iPhone geeks. I already had the 2.0 Firmware beta loaded because I am in the dev program, and I was running iTunes 7.7 Confidential Beta as well.

Anyways, getting the iPhone, they let the first 9 in, and out of the 9, 2 people got activated and went home. Mine wasn’t working so they just let me go, and since they upgraded my SIM, I left with 2 bricked iPhones. Ugh. Once home I connected it and let it sit and it finally went through. Cool! I like the GPS and the 3G, Exchange Sync, MobileMe sync, the apps, it is all good. Battery life could be better, and there are always ways to improve, but my biggest gripe with the iPhone (no SDK, etc) is now gone. I find myself using my computer less and less, since I can do most “personal computing” stuff on the iPhone (read feeds, facebook, etc)

In between getting my Mac Book Pro, and the new iPhone, I picked up two other things on my Apple wishlist. First, the Time Capsule. 1 TB and AirPort Express N – this thing is sweet. The best part is my MBP is backed up every hour on the hour to the Time Capsule. I feel way more “secure”

The other item is AppleTV. I used to be a HUGE fan of Netflix and would watch 10-12 movies a month. But once you get through all the ones you want to watch, it gets stale. Also, not being able to get all of them in Blu-Ray, it is kind of a downer. I still have Netflix, but I reduced my plan down to like 1 at a time, I might re-look at Netflix now that Xbox has native streaming, and also the plugins for using MCE as an extender, but for now I am good there. The PS3 announcing downloadable movies TONIGHT!!! and with the Xbox 360 streaming, and Netflix discs and streaming, PLUS the AppleTV, I am pretty much set.

What does AppleTV bring? Well first, the HD movies , downloaded direct, and other movies, which is nice. TV shows, Music, Photos and YouTube. I have found myself watching YouTube on the couch now for like an hour straight, crazy. I really like being able to get Flickr pix or MobileMe pix as a slideshow, and also syncing with my MBP iTunes, and even better, the iPhone 2.0 firmware has the iTunes Remote which rocks, and controls iTunes on your laptop or Apple TV.

My guess is I will be cutting back my Charter lineup (I wish I could just get the HD channels, that is all I watch anyways!)

So, finally , some iPhone apps that rock.

Midomi – I use this to tag songs and buy on iTunes

GuitarToolkit – must have for any guitarist

iTunes Remote – I already talked about this, it rocks

Tuner, VisuaRadio, AOL Radio, Pandora, Last.FM – all your music needs, taken care of (check out Tuner… they have a Beatles Radio station – lovely!!!)

Loopt, Whrrl, iFob – pretty cool LBS based social networking

Others? Pownce (ok), Twitterifc (I am not impressed)

Facebook, Myspace – meh iphone.facebook.com is better than the Facebook app!

MonkeyBall – hard, but fun

I am sure there will be more, but right now I am surrounded by Apple, never would have thought (although I am writing this post on Vista on my Dell Laptop, which I fixed the Hard Drive on :))

Categories
Geeky/Programming Life

Dell Dies, And In Its Place..

A MacBook Pro. Yes, and it is awesome.

So the story, my Dell laptop was humming along fine, but then recently I heard some clicking, and was like WTF? Asked Emily “Did this fall on the ground or something”… “No… but I dropped a glass on it”… Oh man, and you know, one month after the warranty expires, as usual.

So this weekend I went to the Apple store and spec’d out a sweet MacBook Pro. 4 GB ram, High Res, everything. Picked up .Mac cheaper since I was getting a machine (soon to be MobileMe).

Right now I am running Vista in a virtual machine, giving it 2 GB, and it flys. This is probably the sweetest machine I have ever used πŸ™‚ I am using VMWare Fusion instead of Parallels like by MacBook, figured Fransen said it was good, so I would try it. I like it.

I really like the light up keyboard. What else? Like they say, everything just works. Take for example my Verizon EVDO card. In XP or Vista, you have to install the connection manager, hope it works, hope all the drivers install, and then hope it launches. You run into admin issues, and just a ton of other stuff. In the MacBook? I plugged in the card, 2 seconds later, connected. No install, nothing. Just worked. God send.

So I think I am an Apple Guy now. iPhone, MacBook, MacBook Pro. Mighty Mouse (wired and bluetooth) and a bluetooth Keyboard. And on the 11th, I will get the 3G iPhone. When I think about it, all I need Windows for is Visual Studio 2005, 2008 and SQL Server stuff. Everything else I can do on the Mac, and with Virtualization, it is almost seamless. I like it.

What’s next? AirPort Extreme, AppleTV, Time Capsule…

I don’t think I will go back, unless something totally changes with the machines and the OS…

Categories
Geeky/Programming

My Current iPhone Setup – Lots of Cool Apps Out Lately

In the last couple of weeks, many cool new iPhone native apps have come out, so I have been tricking out my iPhone lately.

First, Aqwoah Battery is really cool. It changes the generic battery screen to what you see here. The percent that your battery is charged, a no brainer!

iPhone Screen 0

Next, my first screen, you can see I have custom theme (I am currently running Aqwoah theme). The generic apps, SMS Through Settings are there, then I added the “Contacts” button. Reader and Facebook are web clips, and then Twinkle is a cool new twitter client that just came out

iPhone Screen 1

On the second screen, I have iFlickr (to upload directly to flickr while taking a pic), Installer (a must have – this is how you get all the native apps!), iTunes (blech), VNSea client, Meebo (web clip), MobileScrobbler (Last.FM Client, streams music), Services -(to shut off/on wifi, bluetooth, ssh), iFlix (netflix client), ShowTime (record video), Pownce, Twitter, Leaflets, LinkedIn, Plaxo Pulse, Wikipedia (all web clips) and then Wallpaper (lets you see shared wallpaper and download it, and share your own)

iPhone Screen 2

And here is screen 3, Flickr (web clip), iXboxLive (lets me see my xbox 360 friends status, etc), delicious (web clip), TimeCapsule (backup apps), Snapture (totally cool camera app), MyExample (my app I made!, my sandbox), fring (voip/IM client), SMBPrefs (SummerBoard – lets you theme everything).

iPhone Screen 3

And at the bottom you can see the 4 default icons that are there, phone, mail, safari, iPod.

I dont have too many apps installed, but some good ones, and it seems that it just keeps getting better. Now that I can make apps for this, it opens up doors as well. Hopefully the official SDK makes this even better

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Geeky/Programming

Updated to Leopard

Yesterday I picked up Apple’s latest OS, Leopard OS X 10.5. What is really cool is the boot camp feature. I am now dual booting Windows Vista and OSX on my little 13 inch MacBook. If I had the cash I would have gotten a MacBook pro, but it is just so expensive. I have 37 GB partitions for each OS, so not huge, but it works.

I do have a USB hard drive (250) that I use for OSX, and then I have one for Windows, so it is all good. Installing OSX was easy, few clicks, done. Did the updates, etc. Then ran Boot Camp assistant, rebooted, installed Vista, put in OSX DVD, installed the rest of the drivers needed, and then did the Windows updates.

Pretty slick setup. I might get some more RAM for this laptop, since it only has 1 GB, but it is performing OK.

I don’t think I will ever buy any new laptop that isn’t a MacBook (preferably a MacBook Pro). There just isn’t any other way to go IMHO.