Tag Archives: os-x

Should I Get a Mac or PC?

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I had to chuckle when this particular caller tried to start the old war… Mac vs PC! *sigh* Do you know how often I hear that? However, this guy was a bit more specific. He’s starting college, and wanted to know whether I felt an HP TouchSmart computer would be better for him, or a MacBook Pro. I hate when someone asks my opinion on what is better for them! I really do!

I cannot begin to tell you what will work best for any of you. That’s something only you can decide, and it depends on any number of factors. How much do you have to spend? What will you need the device for? These are the kinds of things you need to think about. I have no way of knowing what will fit your particular needs. You have to do your homework.

That said, I do happen to have an HP TouchSmart. It’s an excellent machine, to be sure. It’s functional, but it’s not as responsive as the interface on the iPad is, largely due to the type of screen and the technology that was used to build it. Not all touch screens are made the same, just like all cars are not built alike.

I recommend you get what you want. Ultimately, there will be one killer feature for you. If touch is the killer feature, then the obvious choice is the HP. It may boil down to price or support for you, as well. You have to decide what features are important to you, and what will fit your lifestyle the best.

Don’t take my word for it. Choose wisely, young grasshoppers.

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Steam for Mac has Finally Hit Beta

Steam for Mac went into Beta today. The program appears to be similar to the Windows version. It retains the same dark color scheme of Valve. You can access all of your games in the Library, and browse the Store.

In early March the company said Portal 2 will be Valve’s first simultaneous release for Mac and Windows when it ships during the holidays this year. According to Portal 2 Project Lead Josh Weier: “We’re always playing a native version on the Mac right alongside the PC. This makes it very easy for us and for anyone using Source to do game development for the Mac.”

I know that many of you in our community are avid gamers, and a large majority of you have lamented over the fact that Steam wasn’t available for the Mac. Are you looking forward to this release?

Better yet, are any of you in the private beta testing group? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts so far on the new client.

Which is More Usable – a Mac or Windows PC?

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During live calls the other night, I had a guy ask me whether I felt that Macs are becoming more mainstream than Windows machines. He went on to say how he knew that in the past Macs weren’t very “user friendly,” and that he feels they are much more so now. The user interface on a Mac has certainly changed over the years, yes.

But you have to look at it like this: it’s still completely different than what Windows users are used to. Many long-time Windows power users give up when trying out a Mac. They feel they cannot find their way around. I’ve seen it happen many times. With that said, though, it all comes down to a matter of opinion and preference. I cannot possibly tell you which is better for you – or anyone else – to use. It depends what your likes and needs are.

I made a change to Mac as my primary system back when I was completely disgusted with Windows Vista. Vista had zero usability as far as I was concerned. The Mac operating system had what I needed, and works well for me. I don’t have a problem with Windows 7. In fact, I have a machine right in my office that runs it. For my needs, though, Apple builds a better system.

The only similarity between Microsoft and Apple is the fact that they both create an operating system. That’s where it begins – and where it ends. Apple makes a piece of hardware to go with that software and attempt to control it. Some people don’t like that. However, as consumers, we SHOULD like it. We know who manufactured each and every part inside of our Mac system. We know who to blame if it goes wrong. We know who to contact if things go awry.

Apple is pretty much the only company on the planet that controls everything from stem to stern… hardware, software and service. Don’t get all freaked out because you have to pay for Apple’s One Care. You have to pay for ANY extended warranty, right? It doesn’t fail me – ever. Every problem I’ve had was covered under the repair system. I don’t have to question “who is to blame for this problem?” It was all made by Apple, and it all goes back to Apple.

If I had to wager a guess, I’d say that HP will come the closest to being what Apple is as a company. Its problem, though, is that it currently has to support another company’s operating system.

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Top Ten Features of Safari on the iPad

Many of you have been using Safari on your Mac or PC for quite some time. You may love the way it looks and feels, or even adore the speed at which it runs. However, I have a feeling you’re going to love Safari even more on the iPad. There are several little quirks and tricks built in to the browser experience for use on the iPad that I think are going to be a huge hit across the board.

  • The larger screen will allow you to view entire web pages at once, unlike what you see on smaller mobile devices.
  • To open a link found on any page, simply tap it. In the case of a URL shortener or “disguised” link, you can tap and hold to see what the url is prior to actually opening it.
  • Rotate your iPad to change easily for Portrait to Landscape view, and Safari automatically adjusts itself to fit your entire screen.
  • Tap the + sign on any page to quickly add it to your bookmarks.
  • Flick your finger across the screen to scroll up or down a page.
  • Pinch your fingers on the page to zoom in or out.
  • The text will be large enough on the screen to actually see and read it easily.
  • The Thumbnail view allows you to see all of the pages you have open in a small grid pattern. This lets you quickly change from one site or page to another.
  • Safari on the iPad supports the latest video innovations found in HTML5. You can watch compatible videos from within the page, or double-tap them to watch full screen.
  • Sync your bookmarks from your Safari install on your Mac or PC. It only takes a moment. This ensures that you always have your favorite sites right at your fingertips.

Don’t get me wrong: Safari works great on other devices and machines. However, from the looks of things in this video, I think it’s going to be an even better browsing experience on the iPad when it gets here.

How to Set Your Main Screen on Mac OS X

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I know I had trouble trying to figure out how to do this initially, and I’m betting many of you have, as well. Jeff has created this screencast for the community to show us how to quickly and easily set your main screen on OS X. Who’d have ever guessed it’s not as difficult as it was trying to be?!

To move your main screen to any other screen within your system, you’ll first need to head into the Apple Menu, and then into System Preferences. Once there, choose the Displays icon. Now you’ll see the Arrangement button. Click that. The little white bar at the top of the screen on the right represents your menu bar. You can drag that to different screens and just drop it where you want it.

That’s all there is to it. That’s how you move your menu bar to other screens. Thanks for the tip, Jeff! I’m sure you just saved a lot of new Mac users a LOT of headaches!

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Monitor Your Macs With iStat Menus

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Billy has done several screencasts in the past for our channels, and has received some pretty good feedback. Today, he’s going to show you how to monitor your system if you’re using OS X, using an application called iStat Menus. Remember, if you want to submit a screencast for possible use on our channels, see the information in the link at the beginning of this description.

iStat Menus can monitor many different things on your system, including:

  • CPU – Realtime CPU graphs and a list of the top 5 CPU resource hogs. CPU usage can be tracked by individual cores or with all cores combined, to save menubar space.
  • Disk Usage – See used or free space for multiple disks in your menubar. More detail for all your disks is only a click away.
  • Memory – Memory stats for your menubar, shown as used and free memory or wired, active, inactive and free. The memory dropdown menu shows a list of the top 5 memory hogs, as well as other useful info.
  • Disk Activity – Detailed disk I/O in your menubar, including a variety of different read and write indicators.
  • Network – The realtime graph will keep your finger on the pulse of what data’s being sent and received for all network connections.

iStat Menus is fully customizable, and each menu extra comes with many different display modes, each featuring customizable colours, font sizes and widths.

Thanks for an excellent screencast, Billy! This little application is sure to come in handy for many Mac users!

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2010 Winter Olympics Opening Clouded By Athlete Death

The 2010 Winter Olympics is now officially off and running, albeit under a cloud of sadness. While the opening ceremony was indeed a spectacular event, it was also touching to see the support for fallen Georgian athlete, luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. The remaining members of the Georgia delegation waved a flag with a black ribbon attached to the top, as well as wearing black armbands. Athletes from other countries were seen with the armbands in a show of fellowship and support, as well.

Kumaritashvili was killed during a practice run earlier today when he flew off the luge sled and out of the track into a steel beam. At one point during the day, Georgian officials were pondering pulling the remaining team members out of the Olympics. However, they have thankfully decided (as of now) to compete. These people have trained for years, some their entire lives, for this moment. While their hearts are heavy, it would be a shame for them to not have the opportunity to reach their ultimate goal.

Despite the pall cast over the night, the festivities were beautiful, and the crowd of thousands roared their approval throughout the event. Whether or not you’re a sports fan, the Olympics hold special appeal for many. I certainly hope you’ll be watching, and cheering on your home teams!

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How to Unlock Secrets in OS X

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Steven has created an excellent screencast for all of you Mac users out there. I know – those of you on Windows are having a conniption right now. All I can say is that if you want to see more Windows screencasts, create them! I’ll gladly feature any that follow the few rules that I have. As for this particular video, though, Steven is going to show you how to use a free utility called Secrets in order to unlock some pretty cool added features in OS X.

Once you’ve installed Secrets, you’ll just need to head into your System Preferences. You’ll find Secrets located at the bottom, under the “Other” category. As soon as you open Secrets, you’ll find a ton of different things you can do to your OS X install. Don’t worry that you’ll mess something up. If you aren’t sure what a particular Secret may do, you can always click the “Revert” button to put things back the way you had them. You’ll also find buttons for more help and information, as well as to update the client with new Secrets.

There are Secrets that will help you customize your dock, your folders, your widgets, and more. One of Steven’s favorite Secrets is the one where you can turn all of your folders to X-ray view. What this will do is make your folders in OS X appear to be transparent, so that you can see what’s inside!

Thanks, Steven, for an excellent screencast! For anyone who is now installing and using Secrets, leave us a reply and let us know your favorite one!

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Do We Take Technology Advances Too Far?

In the name of being the best, technology manufacturers are constantly pushing out new product, along with updates to older generation devices. Often, these new gadgets boast something new and improved, making our lives better in some way. Once in awhile, though, we get a product that makes us scratch our collective heads and wonder what on Earth the company in question was thinking of.

Are companies pushing themselves TOO hard to create the next big thing? Are they sometimes sacrificing quality – and sometimes pushing things out too quickly – in the name of beating their competitors to the punch? I happen to think this is absolutely the case, and cannot help but wonder why it’s so all-fire important to hurry? What’s the rush? Where’s the fire? Why don’t these companies take their time to create something truly unique? In my mind, they’d sell far more units – thus making more money – were they to take the time to truly think things through prior to production and rollout.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with me, or do you think I’ve lost my mind (again!)?

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Capture Your Screen with Skitch

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Kathy Gill was a Gnomedex attendee this past August. During open share time, she decided to show off her favorite OS X application, Skitch. Kathy says that if you’re a Mac person and not already using Skitch, you need to get it faster than immediately. Skitch is a fabulous screen-capturing software that works flawlessly, every time.

I might note that you can also sign up for the Skitch web service. It works hand in hand with the Skitch application to give you 1-click
uploading of images for fast and fun image sharing.

There are any number of things you can do with Skitch, including taking a screenshot on a website or instant message, iSight snap pictures of yourself, tap into your iPhoto library and even re-open images in your Skitch history.

Using the website, you can add annotations or text, scribble something onto your screen capture, resize or crop the image by just dragging a rocner, and then just drag the file to wherever you want it to reside. You don’t have to actually save anything – it’s automagic

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