Tag Archives: os-x

Cross Platform Parental Controls

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

http://live.pirillo.com/ – What? You want ONE piece of software that will work as a parental control on EVERY operating system?? Sorry… not gonna happen. YOU are hands down the best parental control you can find.

OS X Tiger has an excellent built in parental control. “When setting up your child’s user account, Mac OS X Tiger lets you specify any account as a managed account and limit the changes a child can make to your system. For example, you can lock all System Preferences. Save paper and sanity by granting or limiting printer access. Enable or disable CD and DVD burning, installation of new programs and more — however you see fit.”

Windows Vista also has a very good parental control included. “These controls help parents determine which games their children can play, which programs they can use, and which websites they can visit—and when. Parents can restrict computer use to specific times and trust that Windows Vista will enforce those restrictions, even when they’re away from home.”

There is no end to the number of parental control software titles. Wikipedia has compiled a long list of them for you to check out.

However, I have to say this. I may not be a parent yet… other than to my dogs. I am an adult, and I happen to be technologically minded. Parental control boils down to one thing: PARENTS. Take an active interest in what your child is doing on the computer. Communicate with them about your expectations, and whether they are meeting them. Parental controls should be less about software, and more about people. NO software can ever trump your abililty to parent your child. Software can only control so much. Take that control back!

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OS X Dock in Windows

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – RudyPB wondered if I’ve ever used a Dock program for Windows, and what I think of them.

A Dock on a Mac is that little bar at the bottom of the screen on OS X. It shows you what programs are running, which windows you have open, and even has the little trash can on it. Some people hate it, while others love it. I feel it’s not as useful as the Windows Start Menu, and not quite as in depth as I’d like it to be.

Stardock is a program that allows you to replace or enhance your Windows Start Menu. It lets you organize your shortcuts, programs and running tasks into an attractive and fun animated Dock. Likewise, RocketDock does virtually the same thing. It provides a nice clean interface to drop shortcuts on for easy access and organization.

There are an unlimited number of cloned programs for Windows. While the Windows clones tend to be somewhat too complicated, some of the original Apple programs they are based on tend to be too simple. The key is to find what you are comfortable with by experimenting with programs.

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Is a Mac a PC?

I get this question far too often…

Dear Chris, I’m in the market for a new computer and I can’t seem to decide between Mac and Windows. I myself am gamer and I’m kinda leaning towards Windows because I know PC’s can run waaaaaaaayy more games than Mac can. I know that Mac can run other OS’s, although I heard a rumor that the emulator software used to do this somewhat limits the Mac’s hardware while running Windows. Is this True? If I were doing this, would these limitations effect higher-end games? Is there any other way to run Windows on a Mac that does not involve an emulator (or erasing OS 10 altogether)?

Let’s try to clarify a few things here, Edward – you’re not the only person who is beyond confused with a situation that’s only getting more confusing:

  • Your computer needs two things to be functional: hardware and software.
  • PC stands for “personal computer,” but has become interchangeable / synonymous with “Computer that comes with Microsoft Windows.”
  • Microsoft licenses its operating system software (Windows) to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers, like Dell or HP). Microsoft has been doing this since the dawn of DOS. Microsoft doesn’t actually build computer hardware, and likely never will.
  • Unlike Microsoft, Apple designs both the computer hardware and the software experience (operating system). They control the entire ecosystem.
  • Apple doesn’t license its operating system software (OS X) to anybody, nor does it allow OEMs to build computers with OS X. You can only run OS X is on a Mac computer.
  • Newer Macs can run Microsoft Windows natively, outside of OS X, thanks to Apple’s “Boot Camp” product and recent shift to Intel hardware. Boot Camp is NOT emulation software – it turns a Mac into a full-on “Windows computer.”
  • Virtual machine software will let you run a full-blown installation of Windows on either Windows itself or OS X. This is how I fixed my problems in Windows Vista with VMware. While you can run virtual machines on OS X, you can’t run OS X inside a virtual machine.
  • Emulation software is NOT virtual machine software. Emulation software merely imitates hardware in a software layer (so it can be EXTREMELY slow). Virtual machine software taps directly into your hardware (though performance varies from vendor to vendor, it’s largely faster than emulation software).
  • You should be able to play your “Windows games” fine on a Mac, so long as you’ve installed Windows through Boot Camp. Playing “Windows games” through virtual machine software is going to be hit-or-miss.
  • You can buy a Mac and never run OS X at all (as many of my friends have done, choosing instead to use it as a Vista machine).

Start thinking of Macs as PCs – because they pretty much already are, and then some.

Macbook Pro – Parallels vs VMWare Fusion

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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

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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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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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Tiger vs Leopard vs Microsoft Service Packs

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

http://live.pirillo.com/ – There is a fundamental difference between a “service pack” and an Apple update. When Microsoft rolls out its free Service Packs, it generally only addresses security flaws, which were the fault of Microsoft anyway. When Apple releases an update, it costs money. However, these updates are major upgrades to the system’s functionality and features.

While Microsoft issues its Service Packs on a regular basis, it can take quite a while before Apple releases an update to its operating system, OS X. The current version is called Tiger. The new version, due in October, is called Leopard.

Microsoft’s Service Packs are free, yes. As I said above, they pretty much only fix security holes that should have been fixed to begin with. Any major upgrades on a Microsoft O/S are generally left until an entire new operating system is released. Vista – in my mind – still feels very Beta. Will a Service Pack address some of that? I guess we’ll hope for the best, and wait to see.

With Leopard, Apple is unveiling a lot of new features and functionality. It has totally revamped how you find files within the system. It now will work more like iTunes, and have a better interface. There is a very cool new feature called Time Machine. This will allow you to go back to any previous version of a file and re-save it if need be. Let’s say you made some changes to a picture, and saved it with the same name. Two days later, you realize you don’t LIKE those changes. Good news! With the Time Machine, you can access that previous version of the picture. Leopard will also have better parental controls, an integrated virtual desktop, and nifty new ways of organizing your desktop. I’m not going to give everything away here. You can read about them on Apple’s site. I’m definitely looking forward to the new version myself.

What’s your opinion on the differences? Do you like OS X? Are you looking forward to Leopard, or are you happy with Tiger? Do you prefer Vista, and the way Microsoft handles its updates? We always want to hear from you.

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Mac OS X: the Light or Dark Side?

Guess what?

Chris has five Macs in his house: Ponzi’s white MacBook, a Mac Mini that drives the live video stream, a 15″ LED-backlit MacBook Pro (sponsored by Lijit for Gnomedex), a 17″ 1920×1200 MacBook Pro (sponsored by Blue Sky Factory for Gnomedex), and an iMac G5 that he’d likely be willing to sell to the highest bidder.

That’s the response you receive from Pixie (bot) in our chat room – although it seems as though I’ll have to remove the iMac G5 from the list (as we’re giving it to Ponzi’s uncle as a gift for his inner geek). I’ve been scrambling around the Internet, looking for interesting and useful software for OS X again. It’s been a while since I’ve pimped out a Mac, to tell you the truth. I’m gonna have to keep my eye out for specials, discounts, review copies, etc.

The 15″ is really damn nice, as expected. The 17″ has awesome resolution, but its screen clutch doesn’t seem to be as tight as it should be (given its weight). Seems to get quite hot when under duress, but iStat Pro isn’t reporting anything out of the ordinary at the moment. I’ve gotta find some killer Dashboard widgets. Might even install the beta of Leopard on it, too (yes, I’m a member of ADC).

I really didn’t want to have to install iTunes on Windows just to get contacts and calendars synced on the iPhone, but seems there’s no other way. I’m publishing my calendar to a private (not visible?!) URL through Outlook and Microsoft Office online, but there’s no simple way to push it through a qualified iCal client. Hosted Exchange, here I come!

Mac Learning Curve

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Does OS X have a learning curve? Can you really get used to OS X after being a diehard Windows user for so many years?

Chris thinks it's very possible. In fact, he's thinking of converting to OS X for his daily computer use, for several reasons:

Apple has paid attention to the overall user experience: it's much more user friendly than Windows has ever been.

A lot of the programs on OS X just work better than similar ones on Windows.

Windows and OS X really are not as different as you may think. While the user experience might be very different, getting work done is basically the same on both platforms.

The little things – like getting used to used to the menu system – can be overcome by just using the operating system more often.

What do you think? Can you make the switch?

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OS X vs Windows

http://live.pirillo.com/ – One of our YouTube subscribers wants to know what's better for photography: OS X or Windows.

In terms of what looks better: this may be a case of hardware comparison rather than comparing operating systems. If the PC has a better monitor than the Mac then you'll probably see the windows machine as having better graphics. Unless you're comparing similar hardware you're going to get different results – results you shouldn't blame on the operating system.

The good thing about hardware is that it's generally operating system neutral (assuming drivers are written for the system in question).

Does Windows really have more/better software than OS X? These days anything you can do on Windows you can do on a Mac. The old argument "Macs have no software" is really not a valid complaint today.

What do you guys think? Is photography better on a Mac than on a PC?

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