Tag Archives: tech-tv

Macbook Pro – Parallels vs VMWare Fusion


Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

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Subscriber Michael Gutierrez is a long time Mac user. He asked if we could help him decide whether he should use Parallels to run Windows on his Mac, or wait until BootCamp is out of Beta. Personally, I prefer VMWare Fusion.

I did a blog post on my personal blog several months ago which discusses VMWare, Parallels, BootCamp and Crossover. Let’s see if we can’t go more in-depth this time, to try and help Michael.

Michael writes: “The ability to run Mac OS X 10 and Windows XP side by side is phenomenal. I now want to be able to run Windows Vista. I know Parallels supports Vista but I have read about some limited functionality like not being able to run Windows Aero. I am also concerned about the memory usage. I have 2 GB of RAM installed. Reading the requirements for Vista, I am assuming you would need at least 1 GB of RAM just for Vista to operate.

I have read about Apple’s Boot Camp being up to snuff with Windows Vista with providing full driver support for all hardware and it can even run Windows Aero. Although this would be a great solution to my problem, I do see some down sides:

  • Partitioning the HD for Vista Installation
  • Rebooting each time when needing to get into a particular operating system
  • No sharing of files.
  • Still in beta release.”

I have to agree with Michael as far as using Boot Camp at this point in time, mainly because it is still in a beta testing phase.

Parallels Virtual Machine software is an application which allows you to run any operating system inside of OS X. Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and even Solaris can be easily used on a Mac. You can switch between the different operating systems without having to reboot, and even drag and drop between them. Parallels has long been a staple for many Mac users who still need to make use of certain Windows functions or programs. However, it does have some performance issues, such as screen redraws related to video issues in the Coherence mode. Some users don’t like that there is no right click function, nor a delete key. There’s also no drag and drop support.

Personally, I use the newly released VMWare Fusion. You can do virtually all of the same things with Fusion that you can with Parallels, but Fusion blows its counterparts out of the water when it comes to performance. Installing Windows has never been easier, thanks to the Windows Easy Install feature in VMware Fusion. Just answer a few simple questions and insert your Windows installation disc—VMware Fusion will automatically create a Windows virtual machine that is optimized for your Mac. Fusion can use the full 16 GB of memory available with the Mac Pro, giving you the ability to run a large number of virtual machines at the same time.

For the most part, there are only minor advantages and differences when choosing either Parallels or VMWare Fusion. Both applications provide a free trial period, so I suggest trying them both to see which one works best for you. Interested in purchasing Parallels? Be sure to use this coupon code to receive a discount.

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iWork and iLife 08


Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Ponzi and I review the iWork and iLife 08 applications. iLife is a full on management system for your digital lifestyle, while iWork is geared towards graphical presentations

iWork is an amazingly well put together program for Mac. The Numbers program within iWork is a spreadsheet program similar to Microsoft Excel. However, Numbers is geared toward presenting your information using graphs, charts and tables, instead of just the actual… well, numbers. Pages is the word document program, and it also emphasizes design and layout. I can’t say enough positive things about the Keynote portion of this application. Keynote is very similar to Microsoft Powerpoint. However, Keynote is just much crisper and cleaner. You can move between slides with more finesse, and they simply look better.

iLife is used to help you with your home computing. There is a feature called Garage Band. This makes it insanely simple for you to podcast. All you have to do is click a button, record, and upload. Everything is loaded and done for you. It can’t get any easier than that. There are also components in iLife to help you organize and use your videos, photographs and anything else you would need to manipulate, edit or share.

iWork and iLife are very good alternatives to their Microsoft counterparts. They are less expensive, provide more functionality, and actually just work better. In my opinion, these two programs will sell more Macs.

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Static vs Dynamic IP


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Just like all working phones have a phone number assigned to them, all working devices connected to the Internet have an IP address assigned to them. There are two types of IP address: static, and dynamic.

A static IP is usually used for a business and/or corporate setting. These are assigned addresses that never change. A dynamic IP is one that always changes. For instance, if you *shudder* are using dial up, you know that every time you want to get online you have to connect through your modem. Every time you connect, you receive a different IP address. Dial up accounts use dynamic IP addresses within a range assigned to each provider and location. If you’re on DSL or cable, your IP address rarely changes. I am using a cable connection, and in over a year my IP address hasn’t changed. To me, that’s close enough to be called a static IP.

So which one is the better to have? If you want to be able to connect to a computer on your home network using a program from say a laptop in another country when traveling, you’ll need to know your IP address. This is basically impossible with a dynamic IP, since it changes virtually every day, or even every hour. What if you want to use a program I’ve raved about many times called SlingBox? Again, you’ll need to know your IP address.

If at all possible, I recommend having and using an assigned, static IP address. Know what it is, and use it wisely.

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Where Should I Blog?


Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Should a new blogger go it on their own, or should they join a blogging network? There is no right or wrong answer to this. The best option depends largely on your expectations, wants and needs..

A blog is a platform to communicate ideas, whether personal or professional (or anything in between). There are advantages and disadvantages to both going out on your own as a blogger, and becoming part of a blogging network such as Lockergnome.com. Let’s take a look at the various aspects of each type:

Advantages of going your own route:

  • You can buy a domain name of your choosing, using a service such as GoDaddy. Be sure and use the coupon code chris1 at checkout to receive a discount!
  • You can choose your own blogging software and templates. There are many types available for free use.
  • You can change the look/feel/direction of your blog on a whim. You are the “boss” so to speak, so you can do whatever you like with your blog at any given moment.

Disadvantages of going your own route:

  • Your blog and content needs to stand out, but can easily get lost. If you’re wanting to write about something specific, chances are someone else already is, as well.
  • In order to be noticed, you have to be fresh, unique, and different. This can become difficult very quickly to an inexperienced blogger.
  • It’s not an easy task to learn how to properly use key words, catergories and even meta tags to get your blog indexed by the various search engine spiders.

Advantages of becoming part of a blogging network:

  • You are reliant on someone else when it comes to blog promotion, cross-promotion, and the like. This completely removes the task of getting your word “out there” from your hands.

Disadvantages of becoming part of a blogging network:

  • You may or may not own your content
  • You may or may not have a url that you can actually share

As you can see, there truly is no “right way” to blog. When you are ready to joing the blogging world, decide what your goals are, and then make your blog type choice based on your personal needs.

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What is a Macro?


Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – A macro is a series of events that can be recorded and played back at a later date. This can come in handy with many applications, not just a spreadsheet.

A Macro is an abbreviation for a set of commands, so instead of typing a complicated sequence of commands you can simply type the macro’s name. Most people who are familiar with macros have worked with them in spreadsheet programs, such as Microsoft Excel. Instead of manually doing the same functions over and over, you can simply do them once, record the macro, and use one click to have the macro perform for you from that point forward.

A good free program to try is AutoIT. This handy little program is a freeware Windows automation language. It can be used to script most simple Windows-based tasks.

If you use Mac OS X, you’re lucky to have the Automator built right in. You can do a search for the Automator robot, and then use it to record a set of commands you wish to use often.

Macros aren’t difficult to use or understand, and they can make your computing life a whole lot easier.

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LCD Brightness


Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Chris discusses LCD screen brightness, and ways to preserve the life of your screen. Apparently, he’s also had too much Peet’s coffee.

One of our chatters in the live.pirillo.com channel asked about the differences in LCD screen brightness. The question was whether it’s normal for their 15″ screen to be brighter than their friends’ 17″ screen. There really isn’t a concrete answer for this. The brightness level is determined by many factors: age of laptop, lamp used in manufacturing, settings enabled by the user, etc. Even though I can’t manage to spit out what I wanted to say tonight, I think you’ll understand what I MEANT when you watch the video.

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Backup and File Management


Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Before there was the Internet, my Dad Joe had two computers. One was at work. One was at home. He would carry work home with him on a floppy disc. Dad feels that the floppy discs served an excellent purpose… extra backup of data.

Dad wants to make things simple. He wants to have a program on his computer that opens. Once open, he wants to click buttons to tell the program which folders or applications to back up, then click “GO” and have it just back it all up for him. He’s not a fan of online storage. Dad believes, along with millions of other people, that any information put online is a target to be accessed by outsiders. Online storage is only as secure as the weakest link. Unfortunately, the weakest link is usually a human… not a computer.

The easiest way to backup your information is to use a removable drive. Simply plug it in to a USB port on your computer. Drag and drop any folders you want saved into the removable drive in your “my computer” window. Voila! The information is now backed up. If you have a lot of free space on your removable drive, you can do incremental backups. On the removable drive, right click your new file and choose to rename it. Add the date to the end of the file name and save. Now the next time you backup, add the date to that file name, as well. This gives you a comprehensive backup, where you can go and restore any document or file to a previous date if needed.

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Accounting Software


Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – My parents are visiting because they attended our Gnomedex conference. Dad is an Accountant, and I thought it would be a fun twist to get his take on some technical issues… beginning with accounting software.

The first computer we had at home was an old Imsai. It was a huge machine, with two floppy drives. We had to install a program disc into one drive to run Dad’s accounting programs for work, and a data disc into the other drive. This machine, complete with software, cost around $20,000.00 back then.

The first spreadsheet program Dad remembers using was called Multiplan. Multiplan was developed by Microsoft, and was the basis for Microsoft Excel. Dad then used Lotus 1-2-3 for several years. Even though he’s used Excel many times, he just is more comfortable with Lotus. He finds that it is easy for him to write a macro for Lotus to perform functions for him… but not easy in Excel. Excel is not as user friendly, and Microsoft makes it hard to find proper help for basic tasks.

QuickBooks is not a program that Dad recommends. You should be very careful when using this software. If you make a change to a transaction that is a few years old, it will change everything up until the present, and not necessarily correctly. Quicken, on the other hand, is a very user friendly software for home users. It works well with Turbo Tax. The advent of programs like Turbo Tax has made people essentially lazy, much as the calculator made people forget how to do basic math.

Dad and I played around a bit with Apple’s Numbers 08. This is a spreadsheet program for Macs. The templates are good. You can find mortgage calculators, invoice creators, and even expense reports. Without delving too deeply as of yet, Numbers appears to be an excellent alternative to Microsoft Excel. Apple offers free video tutorials to help you figure out advanced functions.

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