Sunday, November 15, 2009

Apple Magic Mouse


I have finished my first week with the new Apple Magic Mouse.  I have to say after being a Mighty Mouse user for the last several years and being happy with the Mighty Mouse the Magic mouse is a step forward.  While it is slimmer than the Mighty Mouse it is heavier and great for people with small hands.  If you have a larger hand like I do it requires slightly different handling.

The mouse is attractive and smooth and looks like a piece of art sitting on your desk.  Using the whole surface to scroll up, down, left and right is convenient.  The swipe to move between pages isn't as easy to use as you have to hold the mouse between your fingers and use your middle to fingers to swipe.  It is nice to be able to do it but I find most of the time I just scroll to the next page.

The scroll speed is dependent on how fast you swipe and will keep going once you have taken your hand off the mouse until you put your finger down on the mouse to stop immediately or allow the scrolling to decelerate slowly on it's own, a handy feature if you are looking for things fast.

The right click worked as soon as I turned the mouse on.  The gestures required a software update which OS X will download and install as soon as you run Software Update after connecting the mouse.  The one odd thing I noticed is I had right click until I installed the Software Update then I had to go in the mouse settings and turn right click back on.  If you are on 10.6.2 the drivers are already included and you can just turn the mouse on pair it and go.  The mouse uses Bluetooth to connect to the computer so any Mac made in the last five years probably has Bluetooth built in and Macs older than that can have Bluetooth added via a USB Bluetooth adapter.  I have tested several models and have not had one fail to work yet.  So far Windows users do not have software to run the Magic Mouse on Windows with touch support.

The tracking on the desk is typical for Apple it moves kind of slow and you have to travel further across the desk to get around the screen.  Unless of course you install Mouse Zoom http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/12205   on your machine and then you can speed your mouse up as much as you want.

As a whole I think Apple did a better job with this mouse but they still have a way to go.  Magic Mouse lacks the pinch and stretch gestures that were introduced on the iPhone and later made their way into the entire Apple line of trackpads.  Hopefully we will see some software updates coming from Apple to make the Magic Mouse more useful and make me less tempted to move from my Magic Mouse back to the trackpad at the bottom of my keyboard.  The mouse is worth the $69.00 US for purchase if you are looking for a new mouse but I wouldn't rush out to replace the Mighty Mouse if you already have it and the new Magic Mouse comes with the new model iMacs giving users the opportunity to make a powerful computer also make a powerful statement as art.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Using iTunes U

One of the great secrets of iTunes seems to be the iTunes University. iTunes U is a huge selection of classes that are available from Universities all over the world. The classes are all free to download and are in Video or Audio format and some even include PDF's of the presentations.
The early classes were mostly technology related but now almost every topic is covered and available for download. If you are looking for something new to learn for the sake of learning or you are a student looking to get a jump on classes you are planning to take, or a little older and just want a refresher of classes you have taken before iTunes U is in amazing resource.

This has the ability to change the face of education. Imagine learning a
bout subjects from the leaders of their field no matter where you live. You just need a computer, an internet connection and iTunes.

So here is how you get to iTunes U in three easy steps.

1st download iTunes from www.apple.com/itunes


Now you are off and learning form the top teachers and some of the top schools in the country from the comfort of your own home and it is totally free. This is great for kids to discover new interests and get ahead in school.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is Apple Big Brother? Reality Check

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In an email this past week Jason Calicanis wrote a Case Against Apple in Five Parts detailing where Apple is going wrong as a closed platform and how their control of the platform can ultimately hurt them. This got a lot of email sent to Jason, some agreeing and others well let's just say vehemently disagreeing. I am a fan of Apple but folks there is no need to be ugly about it when someone expresses an opinion on how Apple might improve.

In addition to those emails Techcruch and The Daily Beast have both run stories about both Jason's email and the responses. So I thought this week I would wade into the discussion with a few thoughts of my own.

Jason stated since the love affair was over he was going to buy a Zune. Here is my question to Jason. Isn't the Zune less open and ultimately more expensive than the iPod? First if you want to use the Zune you have to use the Zune 3.0 app to sync your Zune with your computer. The Zune software only works on Windows XP Sp2 and higher. No Macs, no Linux, are even welcome on the Zune without the use of Parallels, VMWare, or some other Virtual Machine Application and Windows. As iTunes runs on both Mac and Windows it seems as though the iPod is more open than the Zune.

Still most people just don't seem to care for the Zune even with the Social features it has that iPod doesn't. The iPod is still selling millions and the Zune is only about 3% of MP3 sales.

On the Mac OS the thing that has made the OS so stable and rock solid for years is the fact Apple has kept tight control over both the hardware and the software. By doing that software developers new pretty much what they were righting their software for and the OS developers new they only had a few types of hardware devices to worry about so making things integrate tightly and be stable was a fairly easy task.

Anyone who has worked on Windows knows that sometimes adding a sound card or other peripheral could cause unexpected results once the drivers were loaded. Microsoft is even starting to deal with that issue requiring drivers to be signed in Windows 7 and device manufactures have to pay to get their drivers signed. A great way for Microsoft to make more money and finally force manufactures into some sort of standard to reduce the number of issues they have with their operating system.

I argued in a blog post in 2002 that Apple should make an Intel version of OS X. Of course I didn't know then they already were in preparation for a transition to move their hardware to Intel. I thought they should be doing it and still controlling the experience by partnering with Dell, HP, and others allowing them to build their brand to an Apple spec and allow those machines to run OS X.

This would allow more people to use OS X and increase its market penetration and let the other manufactures benefit from Apple's design. People who are going to buy Macs aren't going to stop but their might be some lower end markets that are still untapped because they can't or won't spend $1000 on a laptop or desktop computer. Apple could still make money off the OS license and make it a little easier for people to make the leap to OS X. Plus pushing more OS X installs out their make for a larger install base for developers to write software too. It is a win/win for everyone.

But Apple is a hardware company that uses software as a value add to sell their hardware so I don't see them doing that any time soon. I wish they would but it just isn't likely to happen. Plus Atari made the mistake of opening up their platform to anyone who wanted to write a game for the platform and ended up with some low quality unreliable games and the console took the criticism for it. Ultimately Atari went away and every console manufacturer since has kept very tight control over who is allowed to distribute games to avoid the same fate as Atari. Apple by comparison has been very open allowing anyone to produce apps for the computer, but keeping a tighter control on the phone.

The iPhone while having a tightly controlled ecosystem of Apps it has the largest ecosystem of Apps of any smart phone. The device has gone from non-existent 3 1/2 years ago to a Gartner Group estimate of 13% of smart phones in just that time and still growing by leaps and bounds. Do we love everything that is being done? Of course not. We want Apple to end the exclusivity agreement with AT&T which has been a hallmark of the American cellphone market for more than a decade and allow users choice of network. Many European countries have been doing this for years and our own FCC is finally looking into the practice to determine if it is harmful to customers. The answer is in short yes it is. Handset manufactures have been largely forced to hobble their devices and stifle innovation because the carriers didn't want devices on their network that might tax it or force them to upgrade the network to keep up with changing demands.

Apple is getting a lot of heat over the rejection of the Google Voice Application which is what has touched off this firestorm. Apple has been fairly arbitrary in accepting and rejecting Apps on the App Store for some time and with no real good reasons ever given. It leaves one to wonder how much of the seemingly arbitrary decisions are Apple's and how much is it a contractual obligation with AT&T?

I would like to see Apple more open and continue their expanded market penetration. It is good for us that already use Mac OS and will push companies that only develop for Windows to start thinking about both. I have clients in Real Estate and Accounting that struggle with large companies not making websites or software that work on anything but older versions of Windows or older Internet Explorer Web Browsers. Larger market share will inevitably lead to these companies innovating and creating apps that will work on Windows or Mac and creating websites that are not hooked into a particular browser. Historically Microsoft has been the big brother anti-competitive company who has created methods to tie people into one browser, one OS and it is coming back to bite them and their customers. How many people are stuck running IE 6 because one website won't allow them to upgrade?

Is Apple Big Brother yet? No, they have the potential to someday maybe. However I hope by then they will not feel the need and allow users to tweak and customize their devices as much as they can their OS. OS X is very configurable to look and feel how a user wants to make it look and feel. Maybe once AT&T is just a player in the larger iPhone ecosystem we will see the iPhone move the same direction as OS X in terms of the variety of apps a user wants and the kind of experience a user wants. Does the user want the Apple preferred I don't have to think about my device and just use it experience or the hacker let me tweak, customize, and see what I can make it do experience?

One thing is for certain cellular networks will have to look at protecting their network from the network side and stop meddling in our handsets. Thanks to Apple that trend is starting slowly.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Apple Genius Support

Today I am going to tackle a tech topic that is frequently overlooked. Everyone has computer issues from time to time and need assistance from the vendor. The question is how well does the vendor respond?

My Airport Extreme base station stopped working preventing me from using AirDisk to backup my laptop. I first tried switching out the hard drive with another one and it wouldn't mount. Next I took the drive that was in the Airport and plugged it into my laptop and it did work. So I was able to determine it was likely the USB port.

I dropped by the Apple Store and asked if a Genius could take a look. Unfortunately that store was full for the day but they scheduled me an appointment later in the day at another Apple Store in town. So I returned later to the other store and explained to the Genius everything I had done on my own to diagnose and he said sounds like a dead USB port to us as well. I had already tried everything they would of tried.

So he took my Airport went to his computer and started processing the replacement request. The good news while I have had the Airport for a couple of years they were going to replace it free of charge. I fortunately have Apple Care on my laptop which extends coverage to all Apple Monitors and Apple peripherals while the laptop or desktop is covered.

The good news was Apple was replacing my hobbled Airport, the bad news they didn't have my model in stock and it would be a couple of days. I asked the Genius if there was anything he could do, without my Airport my phones at home don't work more than one laptop can't easily be connected to the network etc. He suggested buying a new unit and just return it in a couple of days when mine comes in. I told him I didn't care for the solution because it just felt wrong to me to do that. It costs me money up front and when I return it Apple has to refurbish it and sell it for less money. So he said he would see what else he can come up with.

A few minutes later after talking to the manager he came back and said he would just give me the newer model to replace my older model unit. He took one off the shelf unboxed it and traded me my old unit for a newer model unit.

This is not the first trip to the Apple Genius Bar where they have taken such good care of me. A few years ago my iPod died right before a trip out of town and it would be miserable to fly across country without my iPod to listen to on the trip. So the Genius saw I had a dead hard drive and that model was no longer stocked so they bummed me up to a newer model classic and sent me on my way.

I can't stress enough how beneficial the Apple Care warranties are to extend the warranty of any device you own from Apple and if you go in and stay calm and polite how willing the Apple staff is to make your experience as painless as possible and sometimes you only have to ask them to help you out and they can go that extra mile to make your experience a pleasant one.

The nicer you are to them the more likely they are to use that extra discretion Apple gives their employees to make you a happy customer.

I do recommend going on to http://www.apple.com/retail/geniusbar/ and schedule a reservation so you can reduce your wait time when you go to the store.

Will Microsoft be able to offer this sort of experience with its retail stores when they start opening around the country? Tell me what you think here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is Your Mac Ready for Snow Leopard?

So with Snow Leopard just over two months away is your Mac ready? Apple's guidelines for the new OS are fairly simple. Your Mac must have an Intel Processor, 1 Gigabyte of RAM, 5 Gigabytes of free disk space, and a DVD drive to install the disk.

All Intel Macs sold from May 2006 on are all able to run Snow Leopard. Depending on how old your machine is will determine the number new features which you can take advantage. For instance the first Macbooks, and iMacs sold from May - Nov of 2006 had Intel Core Duo Processors which had 32 bit CPU's. You can install and run Snow Leopard and you will get a performance gain but you will not get as dramatic a gain as you would on a 64 bit Mac sold after November 06 which was designated as a Intel Core 2 Duo. The Mac-mini was Intel Core Solo and Core Duo from May 2006 - August 2007.

To check which Processor you have in your computer Click on your Apple Menu, go to About This Mac, and look at the Processor line. If you have PowerPC you can not upgrade to 10.6 Snow Leopard. If you have an Intel Core Duo or Core Solo you can run the upgrade but can't take full advantage of the new 64 bit system.

Also on the next line down it will tell you how much RAM you have in your system remember 1 gig is the minimum. RAM is cheap now and upgrades are fairly simple on most Macs. I would recommend putting in as much RAM as your system can support and you can afford. You can never have too much RAM.

Hard Drive space is important. You need to have at least 5 Gigabytes free to do the installation but once the installation is done you will recover some space on your hard drive. According to Apple’s Specs possibly as much as 6 Gigabytes. Once this is done you can also use a program like Drive Genius 2 to remove the PowerPC code from your Applications and save more space.

Hard Drives are not that expensive anymore and hard drive upgrades on the Mac are fairly straight forward. The newer Macbooks and Macbook Pros pre Uni-body model have a lot of screws to remove to get to the hard drive so be careful and make sure you keep track of the screws. I will cover hard drive replacement in a future post.

For those with Macs that are pre Uni-body it seems the only feature we don't get with Snow Leopard is hardware H.264 decoding. The CPU can handle the decoding but hardware decoders are always more efficient and free up your CPU for other tasks.

For all Intel users this is going to be a good upgrade for improving performance in virtually every area of the system and making small visual enhancements. This is a bargain for the $29.00 price tag as well as getting us ready for whatever Apple has in store for us next with 10.7. in the next 18-24 months after Snow Leopard ships.

If you are on a PowerPC system and are starting to think about an upgrade of your Macbook, Macbook Pro, or Mac-Mini, or PowerMac computer now is the time! The Snow Leopard upgrade will only cost you 9.95 and you can start enjoying the added performance from the newer video cards, faster CPU's, and larger Hard Drives.

If you are on an PowerPC iMac I would wait until after October to upgrade. The rumor is new iMacs will be coming soon and then your machine will ship with Snow Leopard.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mac OS X Under the Hood

Mac OS X Snow Leopard as a mentioned in a previous post (see New Features In Mac OS X 10.6 Coming Soon) we talked about a few of the new features of OS X 10.6 that users will be able to see. Today we are going to talk about what you will not see. Those tweaks and changes under the hood that will make OS X easier to use and faster.

First I should mention in the MWDC 2009 Keynote Phil Schiller noted that the new Snow Leopard would take up less space. With the upgrade the average user should recover about 6 Gigabytes of disk space. I think this is the first Operating System upgrade that actually makes the OS smaller. Due to the lack of Power PC support in this version only Intel machines built in the last few years will be able to run the upgrade and large chunk of the space saved probably comes from removing the old Power PC code from the Operating System.

First and foremost on the behind the scenes changes is Finder is completely rewritten in Cocoa and 64 bit. This means the Finder the first app that launches and gives you access to your files is going to be much faster and more stable. Some of the early indications from Apple indicates it will be on average twice as fast if not a little faster than that.

Making Time Machines twice a fast, for those of you not using Time Machine for backup yet I can't stress enough what a great job it can do of saving you from hardware failures or from accidental deletions or overwrites of files. I have used Time Machine a lot in the past couple of years to recover documents or rebuild whole systems and it has never failed me.

Snow Leopard is also promising faster wake up from sleep, faster shutdown and faster to join networks. This saves time at the beginning and end of your work time with your Mac.

Snow Leopard is also adding a great feature for travelers. The computer can now determine what time zone it is located in and update it's clock automatically using the Internet and Geo Location technologies. Now when you are flying across country your computer can know the local time when you arrive.

Better support for selecting text in PDF's has now been added so if you have a two column document the computer can select the left column first and the right column after making it easier to copy information from one document to another.

Disk Eject now will tell you if a disk can't be ejected what Application is using the disk so you can close it and then eject your disk.

iChat now allows higher resolution video conferencing with reduced bandwidth cost, a 33% reduction in bandwidth requirements makes it easier to use higher resolutions and continue to do other things on the Internet at the same time.

Other things that users will not see is Grand Central Dispatch and Open CL. These two technologies allow programmers to write apps to take better advantage of the modern multi-core processors in the entire Intel Mac line and Open CL allows programmers to use powerful Graphics Processors to do regular CPU tasks. This allows the Operating System to better utilize the powerful hardware we already have.

Also to make Snow Leopard a better corporate citizen they are now including Exchange Support in Mail, Address Book, and iCal. Now we can use the apps we have known and loved for years with Exchange servers. Allowing users to keep all of our email, contacts, and calendars in one place regardless if the data lives on our Mobile Me or Exchange accounts.

The best news for users of OS X 10.5 Leopard the upgrade is only going to cost $29 and if you bought a Mac after Jun 11th the cost of upgrade is only $10. This is great bargain for everything that is coming with the new version of OS X. Come the end of September Mac users will certainly be seeing a Leopard of another color.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hard Drive Performance

In the last couple of weeks I have installed a few replacement hard drives. While doing so I thought I would take the opportunity to do some performance testing on those drives. The first drive in the line up is my Seagate 140 Gig 7200 RPM SATA drive that came with my MacBook Pro. The Second drive is a Western Digital 7200 RPM 320 GB SATA Drive that I installed into a friends Mac Book Pro. The third is the latest 7200 RPM 500 GB SATA drive from Seagate that I just installed in my MacBook Pro.

First I have to say having more than 300 GB free on my laptop is great. I am not worried about running out of space anytime soon at least. That being said what about performance? I used Xbench for my testing and my test results were a little surprising. The Seagate 140 being the oldest drive it is not surprising it is also the slowest by far. The two newer drives the results are not quiet so clear.

While some of the early reports of performance on this drive indicate it should be faster than the 320 GB hard drive my testing is indicating that is not the case. The extra storage is beneficial and the performance is fairly close. Hopefully there is something that can be changed or configured to get additional performance out of the hard drive.

I would say the 500 GB is worth the price and the performance increase is good enough if you are using a hard drive that is more than a year old you will get a performance gain. If I find a way to increase performance I will make sure I post it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Features in Mac OS X 10.6 coming soon!


For those Mac fans out there that have been eagerly anticipating the new release of OS X 10.6 and dying to see what is coming soon the wait is almost over. While Apple told us the changes to 10.6 would be performance and under the hood changes and no new features we knew the people at Apple couldn't resist giving us new features and making our user experience just a little bit better.

In a recent YouTube posting LeopardOctober put up a video showing off some of the new features that are coming to Snow Leopard. Some of the new features that are coming to 10.6 include expanded data detectors, The Put Back Feature, Slider to adjust icon size right on the Finder, Stacks support Scrolling and drill down, Videos are playable right in the thumbnail icon, Click and drag screen shots with time date stamps in the file names, Services now alphabetized by type, plus expanded keyboard shortcut options. These are a few of the leaked cosmetic changes that are on top of the under the hood stuff that the user won't see but will definitely feel.

The Data Detectors were added in 10.5 and allow you to click on a phone number or a date and add it to your phone book or your calendar depending on the data type. It is an easy way to move appointments or other data from Mail into other apps and not have to retype information.

The Put Back Feature will allow you to go to your Trash Can and move files back to where they came from.

The Slider to adjust icon size while minor is a convenience that works well with playing Quicktime movies right in the thumbnail.

Stacks Drill Down makes this new feature in 10.5 much easier to use and creates a nice 3D effect to let you know where you are and let you navigate around without having to open another Finder Window.

Services which has been around Mac OS for decades and has always been an under utilized feature in the Apple menu has been alphabetized by function to make it easier to use. It is a quick access to common functions right in the Apple Menu.

In 10.5 we got Quick Look to allow us to preview documents and videos by pressing the space bar. In 10.6 we can actually play videos right off the thumbnail icon and not even have to open Quick Look. While I wouldn't recommend watching your favorite movie that way it is a quick way to find something you are looking for in your library.

Under the hood 10.6 is getting quiet a makeover with a whole slew of new features and tighter code I will take a look at next week.

To take a look at the You Tube Video of these new features visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEGVFArP9yU

Monday, March 9, 2009

The promise of MobileMe


While many in the media have complained about MobileMe's new Back To My Mac feature as not working or unusable I say it is great step in the right direction. Don't get me wrong there are a lot of things still lacking in MobileMe I would love to see happen to give me more seamless access to my data.

First the Back To My Mac feature has worked very well in networks where outgoing ports are not blocked. UDP 4500 and TCP 443 need to be available for Back To My Mac to work on OS X 10.5 Leopard. Currently I have a G4 Tower, Macbook Pro, and an account on Mom's Powerbook G4. All of these machines show up in my network list in most places I go and I can easily access my G4's hard drives or use Screen Sharing to access the desktop.

Now with the latest update to my Airport Extreme base station I can now access my file share on that device wen I am away from home. The limit being it only supports one Mobile Me account and our family has two Mobile Me accounts. So only one of us gets access to the Airport Extreme while away from home but it is a step in the right direction.

Since I have an account on Mom's laptop since I used it while mine was being serviced last year I can Screen Share here computer where ever I am with a network connection and remote control her computer and help her with issues she might have or answer questions about her Mac.

To make this work well. The first thing I did was plug my Airport Extreme WAN port into my cable modem. My Vonage router plugs into the LAN port on my Airport Extreme and works great. If you are using a Linksys or Netgear device then look at NAT-PMP (Network Address Translation - Port Mapping Protocol) or UPNP (Universal Plug n Play), or open the TCP 443 and UDP 4500 and point them at your Mac. As long as there is nothing preventing outbound traffic while you are away from home and your computer doesn't go to sleep you should have access to your Mobile Me.

If you have questions or issue with your Mobile Me drop me an email or comment and I will take a look at it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Safari 4 Public Beta A First Look

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I always get excited at the prospect of trying out new software. What new features or innovations are we getting this time to make our lives a little easier and a little more productive is the questions I ask myself as I install the new software and eagerly await my first opportunity to take it for a test drive.

Well, this time Apple has really outdone themselves with Safari 4 Public Beta. Everything we wanted in a browser and more. First the browser chrome is totally minimized so your focus is on the webpage not everything around it. You can now drag your tabs out of your browser and move them into a new window or collapse multiple windows into a single window with tabs. It just makes it easier to organize your work flow to whatever works best for you the user. Also to minimize the chrome the tabs have been moved out of their own area above the bookmark bar and given their own space at the top of the window itself.

The rendering speed in Java thanks to the Nitro engine makes this the hands down fastest browser I have ever used! I use Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari on a daily basis both on Windows and Mac. Now there is nothing that comes close to the speed of Safari it is like the whole Internet just got a Turbo Boost! Safari also sports a new predictive loading feature so your browser can start loading pages before you even ask for them making load times even shorter.

The visuals of the new browser are just amazing as well. When you grab the right edge of a tab and pull it off the Window you get a thumbnail of the tab and when you release it it blows up into a full window ready to use.

New Developer tools lets you view pages as different browser types, view site elements, Resources, Scripts, and profile websites to show you where the performance issues lie. I can't wait to spend some real time digging into these features. It really gives developers an opportunity to make sites better and faster.

On opening your browser you can choose to be presented with a grid of your top sites you visit. Small, medium, or large you choose the amount of updated pages you see in this panorama. Click a site and it flies into the full window and you are off and surfing.

Even browsing bookmarks was rethought with the addition of Cover Flow. On first access it is a little slow while the browser goes and gets a thumbnail of each page. After that it is like surfing Cover Flow in your iTunes Library, or your data in the Cover Flow View is Leopards Finder. It is just so well thought out. You can even search for bookmarks based on keywords. You don't have to remember the site name just type in some things you remember and let Safari do the rest. Even your browser history is available in Cover Flow to find things fast and easy.

So far in my attempts to stress test the browser I opened over 85 tabs in one window and moved between them while downloading files, pulling tabs out to their own window and pushing other back into the first window. If you have multiple windows open you can even click Window / Merge All Windows and all of your browser windows consolidate down to one Window with multiple tabs instantly.

Safari has just moved way ahead of the pack in the browser wars and it seems everyone in this space is leaving Microsoft in the dust. With this browser a completely standards compliant platform it is sure to pick up a huge market share in the future and will be the browser that Windows and Mac users alike are sure to fall in love with.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reverse Switching?

In my years of working on Macs I have never known of anyone who was willing to switch back to a Windows PC after using a Mac. However after years of helping people make the transition I may have found the first one.

What motivates someone who has switched to a platform that frees them from Virus, Spyware, and unending security problems and hack attempts to go back to constant patching and the need to be distrusting and vigilant? Worried about Rootkits, botnets, and other dangers lurking on the Internet?

I am not saying the Mac will be safe from all of this forever at some point someone may come up with a way to infect a Mac on the Internet but for now it is very difficult to do and requires a user to actually install a program on the machine with Admin privileges to be infected. We saw the first two in the wild this year. One claiming to be Photoshop CS4 and the other claiming to be iWork 09. So as long as you are not downloading illegal software from the Internet you are fairly safe from the dangers lurking on the Internet.

Some users are still trapped on the Windows platform to a degree by companies like Intuit who keep promising Mac users versions of their software that will work on the Mac or websites that will work with browsers other than IE 6. At least design websites that work with Firefox and we will be set. Also companies like MLXchange the company that produces MLS for Real Estate Agents the end user portion works on any browser but the part the Real Estate Agent uses only works on Internet Explorer 6.

When will companies learn there are millions of users out there who want a choice? Who wants to make their computing life simple? We as Mac users do not really want to be forced into running Internet Explorer in an emulator or run Boot Camp or Parallels to do our daily work. Users forced to do this day in and day out can become frustrated and make them want to go back to Windows. Apple and Mac developers need to take a stand and start giving us real alternatives to the Windows domination we have lived with for years. While the Apple has become more compatible and things like VMWare, Parallels, and xVM Virtual Box from Sun have given Mac users the ability to run Windows the reality is we would like to stay in OS X, stay safe, and still run all of our programs.

Dealing with the heaviness of Virtual Machines and not one but two very complex Operating Systems exacts a heavy toll on the average user creating more frustration. It is time to make the computing experience easier and safer for business users as well as home users. Make the computer experience something they look forward to and don't have to fight with all the time.

It doesn't matter if you use Mac, Windows, or Linux. They are all very complex and unexpected things happen and not everything is as intuitive as we might like them to be. Not everyone wants to be a computer expert. Sometimes people just want to get their work done. Let's create an environment they can do just that.

Apple has the easiest to use of all the Operating Systems out there. So let's start getting software on Mac OS X so users don't have to switch back and forth all the time. Let's remove some of the complexity from end users computing lives. Let's help those that are thinking about switching back to Windows why they don't want to go back down that path.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MacHeads

The new movie MacHeads is now available on iTunes and Amazon.  It started out as a film talking about the most fanatical of devoted Mac fans.  What other computer could create such a devoted following?  It is interesting to see some of the examples of Mac devotees that make me look moderate.  I love my Mac and using a PC often feels like a punishment every time I have to sit down and work on one.  But some of these guys are really passionate about their computers.

Later in the film the focus shifts on to what Jobs has done for the company and nearly deifies him.  I like Jobs and wish him well in his recovery and hope he does return to Apple to lead the company into creating some more insanely great products and keeping Apple growing while he grooms a replacement that will be as capable as Steve Jobs.

The films most important point is the feeling the Mac community is falling to the wayside as Apple becomes more mainstream and as a company Apple is starting to ignore the Mac User Groups (MUGS).  

While Apple is focusing more on their retail stores and providing access to their Genius' to answer questions I don't think the Mac User Group will ever go away.  In the 21st Century Mac User Groups will just have to market themselves differently.  This will be a future blog topic I am sure.  When the Las Vegas Mac Users Group (LVMUG) contacts our local Apple Store they are always happy to send someone to talk to us about new products that have shipped or existing products  that may be of interest to our users.  

Overall with a runtime of just over 50 minutes it is an interesting film that all Mac lovers are sure to enjoy.