New Workstation (or Colophon 2012)

June 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Apple, Tech, Uncategorized 

New Desktop (April 2012)

For those of you who are geeky enough to be interested, I thought I’d share my new workstation set-up now that I’ve finally gotten everything somewhat in working order. For extra-credit, if you click on the Flickr-linked image above, it will take you to a page that has everything highlighted and called-out in rollovers.

See after the jump for all the glorious (or was it goriest?) details of my new system, my old system, and most of the software that I use (hence the “colophon” title)…


Android vs. iOS: Going Into 2012

December 31, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Apple, Tech 

Apple iOS vs. Android

Just read an intriguing article (Android’s hollow revolution and hope for 2012) by a writer who is actually pro-Android but is realizing what a mess the Android platform is—and its not just about device fragmentation, it’s also about carrier intrusion and the creation of a system more closed than what Apple’s iOS is frequently accused of being. Personally, I have found it baffling when Android users bash iPhones for not being “open” because I haven’t found one person able to explain why that’s any sort of an advantage other than confusion for the average user and an opportunity for Android geeks to spend a lot of time hacking a phone to be able to do what you want it to do when an iPhone does that out of the box.

Also, MacObserver had a good article (iPhone Crushes Android at AT&T Corporate Stores in December) where they shared how AT&T moved 981,000 iPhones compared to only 126,000 Android devices. Ouch. (clarification: that is AT&T corporate stores only—but still impressive).

I don’t even try to really debate these things too much, with user experience being so subjective and in these matters, so incredibly biased (including yours truly), but I really think you are going to begin seeing the Android reality distortion field begin to wear off as the numbers will begin reflecting what the public has begun to realize after a few years of real-life comparisons between the two platforms and for the first full-year, the ability to purchase the iPhone from your preferred carrier (apologies to T-Mobile customers).

And if all that weren’t enough, just wait until Apple announces the (real) iPhone 5 and and the iPad 3 (sooner rather than later) in 2012.


Getting Windows Keyboards To Work on Mac Systems

November 30, 2011 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Apple, Design, Tech 

Logitech Desktop MK710

Just thought I’d post a quick little help for any of those out there that want to take advantage of a good keyboard deal but wondering if it will work on your Mac system. One little caveat before I go further, this tip is for OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and earlier and I haven’t seen how this works on OS X 10.7 Lion yet. Personally, I’m waiting a little longer to upgrade my main workstation, but that’s another story.

While OS X does a pretty decent job of supporting the basic typing ability of almost any keyboard or mouse out there, there is the one nagging reality that if you have gotten into the habit of keyboard combo shortcuts, that the Command and Option key functions are basically switched and can drive you batty when you get an unexpected result from key command. To solve that, the utility that I use is a kernel extension that you can set from your System Preferences called DoubleCommand which allows you to easily and quickly remap your basic system keys that make up the main difference between Macs and Windows operating systems–notably the Command and Option keys. Basically, I only use it to swap those two keys, as you can see in the screen grab below, but you can use it set many other possible key remapping combinations as needed.

DoubleCommand Pref Screen

While OS X won’t support all the extra bells and whistles that may have been designed into your Windows keyboard like opening up Office apps or Mail or pretty much anything else that is extra whizbang–but surprisingly, the only extra-curricular activity that I really care for my keyboard to perform besides basic typing and F key operations, are iTunes controls. Starting a song; volume control; skipping; pausing–all those functions are supported. So, if you don’t mind missing all the additional functionality, than this is the tool for you. For those that want more control and need better Lion support, there is also a link to another utility, which I have NOT tried myself, called KeyRemap4MacBook that you may find more useful.

What I find ironic in all this, is actually how well Microsoft supports OS X with ALL of their keyboards and mice but Logitech seems to be dragging their feet as slowly and half-heartedly as possible in supporting Macs. This is a great tool to be able to use some of the cooler Logitech keyboards that don’t support Macs with your Mac and not drive you crazy with the Command and Option keys in the wrong place.

On last thing to remember is if you are using this for a laptop environment, when you disconnect your keyboard and go to use your built-in keyboard, your keys remain remapped and now they are swapped again. You will need to launch your System Preferences and turn off the the changes you made. The good news is that the DoubleCommand allows you to save it as a preferred setting in User Preferences so that when you reboot, it will default to whichever setting you prefer. Enjoy.


Heptacular!: Seventh MacbookPro Bake Today

August 30, 2011 by · 27 Comments
Filed under: Apple, Tech 

A question I see asked often is, “how many times can a logic board be baked and still be successfully revived?”. One very qualified answer is “at least seven.” The other question usually asked is, “for how long does the bake last?” and to answer that, “at least six months.” At least that’s been my experience. Hopefully, that experience will be coming to an end very shortly. You’ll have to find someone else to provide you with your vicarious techniculinary fixes.

Just as I had been bragging to several people both online and off about how my system has been up and running now for “over” six months (5 days over to be exact), my system decided to not wake up this morning. Bummer. The good news is tear down and bake and rebuild went pretty quick. This time I timed it and it took me almost exactly an hour for the whole process (your time may vary), but I think that’s fairly good. And no screws missing after all these tear-downs and rebuilds too!

This time however, I won’t be pushing my luck anymore. After taking the “hepto-baked” MBP back to the Spokane Apple Store yet again and, yet again, failing to produce the now-coveted Nvidia error code (after I lost count how many attempts the Genius™ tried to produce it [thanks Jason!]), the best they could offer me, yet again, is the $310 repair offer that will hopefully cover anything that might happen to need replacing on my MBP. Other than the fact that it will be like it has been preserved for 3+ years and with 3-year old chip designs and technology, it will be just like having a new MBP and should (hopefully) be good for another 3-5 years.

So, I will be taking it back tomorrow to the Apple Store to submit it to the “depot”. I decided to bring it back home because I’m going to remove the upgraded 500GB drive and put the original 250GB back in it for the service. Even though I have a back-up of the drive, I would have to purchase another drive to restore to–so its easier just putting the 500GB in an enclosure and working from it until I get the system back.

My main concern now, is what replacement system will I be getting. This one will most likely be handed down to my daughter and hopefully its baking days will finally be over.

Stay tuned.


68 Tips +1 for Google+ N00bies

July 11, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Tech 

Google+ Guru

Reposted from my Google+ post here: but with the addition of one extra tip:

I’ve been on Google+ for over 4 days now. I officially proclaim myself a Google+ Guru!

Here’s my 68 tips for Google+ N00bies:

1. Post on Facebook that you don’t yet have a Google+ invite

2. Post on Twitter that you don’t yet have a Google+ invite

3. Beg for Google+ invite from a guru (like me) on either Facebook or Twitter

4. Recieve Google+ invite

5. Join Google+

6. Post on Facebook

7. Stay on for at least 4 days.

8. Proclaim yourself a Google+ Guru

9. Post in Facebook profile

10. Post in Twitter profile

11. Post on Facebook that you’re a Google+ Guru

12. Post on Twitter that you’re now a Google+ Guru

13. Post on Facebook that Google+ is the demise of Facebook

14. Post on Twitter that Google+ is the demise of Facebook

15.-67. Keep alternately and repeatedly posting on Tweetdeck to Twitter and Facebook accounts simultaneously.

68. Occasionally post to your Google+ account when you remember

*extra tip 69. Re-post Google+ post on your blog.

Oh, and don’t forget to +1 this article!


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