10 Cool AppleScripts You Should Try

June 3rd, 2009

The scripting language built in to the Mac’s OS is referred to as AppleScript. It uses an English-based language to automate tasks on the Mac. AppleScripts are located in your Library/Scripts folder and the Script Editor can be launched by double-clicking a script where it describes what the script does and you can run it by clicking Run.

Here is a list of 10 cool AppleScripts that you should try.

1. Add to Folder Names

With Add To Folder Names you can add something at the beginning or end of all folder names on the front-most Finder window. Items on the desktop will be used by the script, if no Finder windows are open. This saves a lot of time as you don’t have to go through a large group of folders one by one just to add something to the folder name.

2. Add to File Names

Similarly, Add To File Names changes files in the front Finder window, instead of folders.

3. Trim Folder Names

The next two scripts are the opposite of the two mentioned above. Trim Folder Names lets one trim the text from the beginning or the end of a folder. This helps in altering the folder names that you want to change or shorten.

4. Trim File Names

Trim File Names is similar to Trim Folder Names, except that instead of folder names, this can cut the start or end of file names.

5. Finder Windows- Hide All

All the Finder windows that are open can be minimized into the dock by using the Finder Windows – Hide All script.

6. Finder Windows-Show All

Finder Windows – Show All will do the exact opposite, and bring all Finder windows that are in the Dock back out onto the Desktop.

7. Crazy Message Text

On running Crazy Message Text, a dialog asks the user to type the text to create the “crazy” mail message with. After entering text and on hitting OK, a Mail message is created, on which the text is pasted with each letter in a different size, font and colour.

8. Create New Message

The Create New Message Script is useful to browse the Web or RSS feeds. It lets you make a Mail message from whatever application you’re in at the moment. A small dialog asks the receiver’s name, address, the subject, content, signature, and the “from” address. After clicking OK, Mail opens and the message that you entered can be sent.

9. iTunes Remote Control

The iTunes Remote Control is the perfect substitute for an iTunes controller. On running the script, a dialog pops up and you can make iTunes “pause”, “play,” or “stop” among other commands.

10. Clipboard Viewer

The Clipboard Viewer script shows a dialog with whatever is on the clipboard. If you have a file copied, the filename will be displayed.

The Scripts folder contains tons of other cool Applescripts. And what’s more, You can even customize or even write your own AppleScripts!

For more Macintosh articles, resources, tools and downloads visit Macintosh Tools

Quick Tips to Secure Your Mac

May 27th, 2009

The Mac is a series of Personal Computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. One of the features of the Mac that gives it an edge over other computers is its safety and security, which far outstrips any of its competitors. Here are a few easy tips for the security of your Mac.

Update the OS with Security Patches

The simplest way to ensure the safety of your Mac is to update the Operating System with the latest Security Patches on the net by going to the Apple option on the menu bar and then selecting the Software Update option. The Mac can also be set to check for Software Updates automatically and it will check for these updates daily, weekly or monthly, as per the user’s preference. The URI Antivirus website gives free McAfee VirusScan downloads which can be updated regularly and automatically.

Password-protect your Mac

Password-protecting is another way of securing your Mac. Under the Apple option on the menu bar, in System Preferences there is an Account Preferences pane. Here the password can be changed and you can also generate one, if you can’t think of a strong one yourself, by clicking on the icon key. It is essential to have a strong password to prevent brute force attacks.

Customize the Physical security settings

In addition to all this, the user can further enhance the security of the Mac by availing of the physical security settings. Automatic login can be disabled and after sixty minutes of inactivity, the Mac can be set to log off automatically. Also, once the Mac is on sleep or screen saver mode, it can be set to ask for the password to log back in. All these features can be activated by going to the Apple option on the menu bar, and then selecting System Preferences and then clicking on the Security Preferences pane.

Activate your Firewall

Keeping the Mac’s Firewall turned on 24X7 also helps to keep it secure. This can be done by clicking on the System Preferences on the Apple option in the menu bar. In System Preferences, click on the Firewall tab and click Start to activate it.

Keep a backup of all data

Keeping a back up of all the data on the Mac is also advisable. This can be done in two ways. One is to copy all the files into a USB or a Firewire external storage device and the other way is to burn CD or DVD back ups of all the data on the Mac.

Turn off Bluetooth/Wireless Systems

Bluetooth and Wireless Systems are easy targets for local hackers. Hence, it is very important for the security of the Mac to turn off these features when they are not in use. This is a very simple procedure. By clicking in the Bluetooth or wireless logo on the top menu bar, the user can turn it on or off. So every time he/she wants to use the Bluetooth, it can be turned on and when he/she is finished with it, it can be turned off.

You can find many more security articles and resources at Macintosh Tools. We update daily and bring you everything related to Macs.

How To Recover From The Top 10 Crucial Mac Disasters

March 22nd, 2009

1. Mac Keyboard Gets Liquid Exposure

Immediately disconnect the power cord and remove the battery from your Mac. Turn your Mac upside down at an angle to allow the moisture to drain out. Do not lay the machine flat because we want to separate the machine from the moisture. Be sure to have a towel or cloth underneath the Mac to collect the dry liquid. Be sure to allow at least 3 days to pass before you reinstall the battery and power up the Mac. This will allow the moisture to dry completely.

DO NOT USE A HAIRDRYER! Hairdryers can burn the liquid onto important Mac components which can cause a application or software malfunction. If you are desperate and money isn’t a concern, you can contact a data recovery company such as Techserve or DriveSavers after you pull the plug from your Mac. Another option is to take your Mac in to an Apple Store but remember food and liquid damage is not covered by Apple Care.

If you computer starts up, and you are a self sufficient type of guy, you may be able to do the next step by yourself. You will have to disassemble your Mac and swab down the affected area with distilled water or denature alcohol which is available at hardware stores. If you aren’t confident in dissembling your Mac, take it to a local Apple Store for cleaning. Be sure to clean the affected area because if left, the liquid may corrode the Mac’s inwards overtime.

2. Mac Stuck in StartUp Mode

What do you do when your Mac stays stuck on the start up screen? First step is to reboot the Mac and hold down the Command and S key as the Mac is starting up. This will allow you to boot in single user mode and you will see white text appear on your screen. Once you see the # command prompt, type /sbin/fsck/-fy and hit return. The Mac will go into file system consistency check.

Be patient this process may take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on the problem that is plaguing the Mac. Don’t be alarmed when you see the message “File System was modified”. Repeat the command prompt step again and again until you see a message stating “no problems were found”. Once this message appears, type in reboot.

If this doesn’t work and your computer is still stuck in start up mode, insert your OS X install disc into the disc drive and reboot. As the Mac is starting up, hold down the C key. If you are running 10.4 or later go to ApplicationsUtilitiesDisk Utility, select your hard drive and click Repair Disk on the First Aid tab. If there aren’t any disk errors, click Repair Disk Permissions. When this process is complete, restart your Mac.

If you are running OS 10.2 you can do the same steps except you will go to the InstallerOpen Disk Utility. If all the above fails, you will probably need to take your Mac to the Apple Store for professional repairing.

3. Mac Will Not Power On

If you attempt to power up your Mac and there is no start up chime, sound from the hard drive or Mac’s fan, and the light on the power indicator isn’t on, unplug you power cord and remove your battery. Also remove any other peripherals that may be connected such as printers, displays, etc. Now after waiting about 2 minutes, reconnect the battery and power cord to check if your Mac will start up normally. If it does, you are safe and can plug back in all peripherals.

If this doesn’t work, unplug the power cord and disconnect the battery again. Now try to reset the System Management Controller. If the System Management Controller’s file has been corrupted the Mac may not recognize it’s power supply. If you have a Mac Book or Mac Book Pro, hold the power button down for 5 seconds, then reconnect the adapter and press power to hopefully start up the Mac.

If you have a Mac Book Air you will need to hold Shift-Control-Option on the left side of the keyboard and press power. If you use another model, check with Apple Support, or Google the model name of your Mac + SMC to learn how to reset the System Management Controller.

4. Mac is Running Slow

One reason your Mac may tend to run slow is because a lot of applications and toolbars we may not use may be utilizing a lot of the Mac processing memory. Its time to erase / consolidate some of those resources you do not need. Create a new folder and put all the icons and folders into the newly created folder.

We do this because desktop icons and folders also use processing memory. If you want to consolidate even more, turn off some of the features you don’t need like animations, effects, and scrolling bars. The simplest way to do this is to use TinkerTool a free app that lets you customize OS X.

5. Mac Application Crashes

One cause of application failures could be because of system updates, downloading or installing a new piece of software or editing or changing the preferences on your Mac. If you have did none of the above the problem may be the application’s preferences. Go to ACCOUNTS create a new account and log in as the new user. If the application works with the new user account, the problem may be with the application preferences.

If this is the case you could either reset application preferences by holding down command+option+shift keys when starting the application or you could go to Users/Library/Preferences folder and removing the crashed application’s preferences. If you still can’t figure out how to reset the application default preferences, you could go to the manufacturer’s website.

6. Mac Makes a Mysterious Buzz Noise

If you hear a high pitched noise or weird buzz coming from your Mac’s hard drive that may be a warning sign it may be time to replace it. Another sign may be frequent application freezes or start up freezes. Also if files are starting up slowly or closing slowly that is another sign it may be time to replace the hard drive. Your Mac’s monitoring system may say the hard drive is o.k. but don’t take any chances! Back up the drive asap!

7. Macbook Gets a Scratch

Some people have tried the DIY approach to repairing scratches. I have heard stories of people taking their MAC in to jewelers to have the scratches buffed out. Other people have used put Vaseline into the scratch to mask it. You can try Apple Care but usually they won’t cover this.

One solution is TechRestore. TechRestore can replace a MacBook display anywhere from $350 to $500 depending on the display size of your MacBook’s screen. If you are handy and want to do it yourself, PowerBookMedic is a good source to purchase a new display.

8. Your Mac’s Fonts Are Going Exorcist

Small font files and corrupt files can cause application crashes and display issues. If you are running OS X (Tiger or Leopard) you can avoid by going into applications and launching Font Book. Once Font Book is open command click a group of fonts to check if they are corrupt and then select validate fonts. Bad files and corrupt fonts can enter your system from being downloaded from bad websites.

If a particular file is corrupt, you will see a round icon with an X on it. Click the box next to the bad font and then select Remove Checked to remove the file from your system. If there is a yellow warning sign next to the font, remove the font file from the Font folder, restart the system and hopefully this will resolve your issue.

If you are running an older OS system on your Mac I would suggest a font manager like Extensis Suitcase Fusion. This app is highly recommended and offer many ways to organize and work with your fonts.

9. SAFARI IS RUNNING SLOW ON YOUR MAC

If Safari is having performance issues try Resetting Safari (go to Safari>Reset Safari). Doing this will give you the option to delete stored login information, cache, favicons, history, and cookies. Before you delete everything try only deleting cache, favicons, and history first.

10. REMOVING SCRATCHES FROM YOUR IPOD OR IPHONE

Many people use toothpaste! Yes toothpastes can be used to remove the blemishes and scratches on your screen but I wouldn’t recommend it because certain brands of toothpaste may be more abrasive and could possibly add more scratches.

One solution I would suggest is Applesauce polish. Applesauce is simple to use, just follow the self explanatory directions.

Website: http://411macjunkie.com

Tweets: http://www.twitter.com/411macjunkie

Is an iPod the Best Mp3 Player Choice?

March 19th, 2009

Apple is incredibly dominant in the mp3 player market – it has over 80% of the US market for example. Why is this?

Firstly because iPod’s still lead the way for music playing capabilities – most independent reviews say they just sound great. Secondly, the iTunes is the best music management software. On top of that, the iTunes music store is the easiest to use and has the greatest choice.

And last but certainly not least iPod’s are just such amazingly sexy devices!

The iPod model range changes regularly.

iPod touch

The latest iPod is the iPod Touch. The iPod touch has the incredible touch screen user interface, plus it feels sexy in your hand, thanks to its amazingly thin, contoured enclosure made of polished stainless steel. The iPod touch provides up to 36 hours of audio playback or 6 hours of video playback (which is enough to watch three or four movies between charges).

It also has a built-in speaker so you can listen to the music, dialogue, and action without headphones, perfect for casual listening.

iPod Classic

The iPod classic comes with 120GB of internal disk storage, which equates to 30,000 songs, 150 hours of video, or 25,000 photos. It is available in silver or striking new black and now has an upgraded all-metal enclosure composed of anodized aluminum and polished stainless steel.

You can also use the new Apple Remote with an optional iPod Universal Dock to control your music, videos and slideshows. There is of course a huge range of third party accessories with similar capabilities to the Apple ones – sometimes even better than Apple’s and often at lower prices.

iPod nano

Apple’s tagline for the nano is “impossibly small” and it certainly is incredibly small and light. It is currently available in 8GB and 16GB sizes, which hold about 2,000 and 4,000 songs respectively.

The nano has a colour display, so you can view album art as you play your music. The sexy feature taken from the iPod touch – give your iPod nano a shake and it shuffles to another song in your library – thanks to the built-in accelerometer.

Because it is so small and light, Apple emphasises the nano’s wearability. You can easily wear it around your neck or keep it on an armband.

iPod shuffle

The shuffle is the entry level iPod model and is even smaller than the iPod nano – about the size of a pack of gum and weighs less than a car key.

The shuffle doesn’t have a display so its playlist control is fairly basic – play, pause, skip, repeat, hold and shuffle (random).

Like other iPod models the shuffle has been upgraded to use anodized aluminum and is available in blue, green, pink, red, and original silver

It is easy to hook up to a computer – just plug it directly into a USB 1.1 or 2.0 port, or use an optional Dock. You can sync a specific iTunes Playlist, or drag and drop individual songs or albums from iTunes into the iPod shuffle. The shuffle also automatically charges during syncing.

Summary

Apple still holds a clear lead over other mp3 music player vendors. The iPods sets the pace in most aspects – storage, packaging, sex appeal and now even price. There is a huge 3rd party add on market that gives the iPod owner a wide choice of accessories.

Really, from the position it now has, Apple has to make big mistakes or just get complacent to lose its #1 market position.

The author is a home theater enthusiast who likes to take his music with him wherever he goes. Get the facts about the LCD TVs for your home from http://www.lcdtvcenter.com

11 Ways to Market Your iPhone and iPod Touch App

March 17th, 2009

While there is no magic formula or single marketing action that may do the trick for you, these strategies can provide you with a framework to help you increase company exposure, sales and profit. Marketing your iPhone/Touch app is definitely a process that can take time.

I will let you know that we have not found price reductions to be the best strategy. We initially thought this might be very effective as the App store structure is set up to rank applications by the number of total downloads. Higher total sales and total downloads by price category are not currently recognized with Apple’s system.

Keep in mind for instance that if your app was $5 and you decided to lower it to $0.99, you’d have tell sell five times as many just to break even. Now you might temporarily increase exposure this way, but at the expense of maximizing your profit margins when you are most apt to do well at the beginning of your product life cycle. Customer support issues may increase by a factor of five as well.

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with adjusting your app’s price in the beginning to find its best market price (which might change over time).

There are 24,455 apps and counting, so let’s jump in and get started!

1. The World (iTunes App Store) Is Flat

Consider your potential international market right from the moment of conceptualization. There are people all over the planet eager to use and benefit from quality applications. Initially we intended to include the metric system and local currency in our app, but decided to push it back until version 1.1. We were so eager to start the submission process with Apple and this ended up negatively affected our sales without question. I recommend taking that extra time to make your app useful to the international community, or even a few key markets (China, Russia, Central and South America, Japan, and Germany come to mind).

What does this mean? If currencies are used, auto-detect the user’s local currency under their device’s general settings; and if applicable handle currency conversions. Make your website, instructions, and sales pages easy to understand and use images to support your text. Consider that for many people, English may be their second or third language. Make your software more intuitive by choosing symbols over text wherever possible. Reach out to bloggers for your niche market in Europe and Asia. Include a complimentary promo code in your correspondence. It can’t hurt.

Consider this: we received nearly $1,000 in sales from Italy because of a single online post written in Italian! Now you could go further with this and have your sales page and help instructions translated into major languages like Spanish or Chinese. Prices for quality work vary and you’ll need to get someone fluent in the language to double check their work.

Remember there are 65 different versions of iTunes around the world and counting. Single apps can be developed for use on the iPhone and the iPod Touch. How big is the market for both? Apple does not breakdown sales of individual product lines. A conservative estimate with 4.4 million iPhone sales and 22.7 million iPod sales for last quarter would be about 7 million in three months. That’s an average of 78,000 new devices coming online daily. Incredible and almost scary. It can’t last forever, but wow!

2. Create a Lite or Demo Version

Apple lets developers offer both a free and paid version of the same app, and a free sample is probably the most successful marketing strategy ever. People want to try things. There are plenty of CrApps (crappy apps) out there, so why should people risk money on an app they know nothing about from a company they know even less about? If you can give people a taste that is just enough, they’ll buy the whole meal from you! This way you take away much of the risk.

There are numerous strategies for this, but make sure the lite version sales page is clear in its limitations vs. the paid or full version. If you truncate the app too much, people may think it’s a complete dud and see no value in paying you anything for the premium release. Give people a clear idea of what they’re getting into and this strategy could make you rich. Developer Ethan Nicholas offers motivation to go this route in a recent Wired piece:

When iShoot launched in October, business was slow for a while. And then Nicholas found some spare time to code a free version of the app – iShoot Lite, which he released January. Here’s how that helped: Inside iShoot Lite he advertised the $3, full version of iShoot. Users downloaded the free version 2.4 million times. And that led 320,000 satisfied iShoot Lite players to pay for iShoot.

3. Go Free

Now this is something that can be considered for different reasons. Right now “in app” advertising lacks sophistication. When I say that, I mean we don’t have Google AdSense yet. I’m sure it’s coming, but embedded advertising that does not relate to the content in any manner is really intrusive in my personal opinion. I still read about certain developers making tons of money with embedded app advertising, but it’s hard enough to get people to click on ads if they’re relevant. When they’re not, the click-through rate is pretty low. If your app is something that people use again and again, advertising can still work. We personally did not find it successful as it’s much easier to make about 70 cents off of a 99 cent app than to earn the same amount with ads. You could also add a PayPal donation button as AppCubby did, but this probably won’t work for you unless you have a large pre-existing customer or fan base.

You could also introduce your app for free. Get people using it, talking about it, and receive positive feedback. Then start charging people. Perfectly acceptable with Apple.

Looking at it from a long-term perspective, you might completely give away the first app to get people talking, create a base and build your brand. After all, nothing spreads like free (especially good free). You can use this to gather contact info and feedback from your initial users and turn them into customers for your next app or product. Be sure to include a “share” feature inside your free app (inside all of your apps!). Make sharing as easy as possible.

4. Send Out a Press Release

PRMac, a free (or almost free) press release distribution service, and the MacNN (Macintosh News Network) syndicate (free to submit) are definitely worth the price of submission. Competing services can charge over $600 for distribution within the United States alone, so these are valuable and less costly alternatives. They say the press release is dead, but these offerings directly targeted your potential customers. You never know who you might reach; and it’s vital to provide a press release when soliciting all forms of media.

5. Contact the Top 100 Blogs

Technorati can provide you with the current list. Use a conversational style, get right to the point and include a promo code. Figure out what could sell them on your company. If there’s an interesting angle or story around your app, this could increase your chances. Ask them if you could do a guest post. Who knows? When you have sites like Gizmodo that get 3 million page views per day, this can absolutely turbocharge sales!

6. Constantly Improve Your Sales Page

This one is pretty basic, but often overlooked. Look at the sales pages of other top apps. What are they doing? Emulate what works and keep researching to spark ideas. You can display up to five images as of this writing, so use them! Use the images that sell your product best. Ask other people what grabs their attention. Use quotes from reviewers; share benefits first and foremost. Customers are not always logical, so don’t bore them with statistics. How will your application make their lives better?

7. Use Customer Feedback to Build a Better Product

This is two parts. First, timely respond to customer emails and realize that every interaction with customers, whether good or bad, is a marketing opportunity. When you get feedback via email or through your customer reviews, consider and incorporate these improvements. You can’t please everyone all of the time, and you may have limited resources, so you won’t be able to add everything. Some great ideas are bound to come your way. First-time users can also let you see how your software is being used from a beginner’s perspective.

The second way to receive customer feedback is to embed analytics code in your application. Flurry Analytics and Pinch Media both offer tracking software that will provide insight into how customers are interacting with your application, including real-time download information, all for free. This can be especially useful if 90% of your customers are not using a particular feature. Maybe they don’t know it’s even there!

8. Continually Update Your Application

Here’s a great feature of the App Store. New versions move back to the top of what’s new in your category. Incorporating features your customers want, thereby making your product better, coupled with maintaining visibility, can help increase or at least maintain steady sales. Don’t abuse this by changing a few words in your help section and then resubmitting or you could ruin this for everybody. If you are working hard to make your product better, the distribution channel can reward you with increased exposure, because you are renewing.

9. Advertise

Google AdWords and AdMob are possible options. I believe we’re not there yet, but we’re pretty close. AdWords does offer the ability to advertise on mobile devices with a full internet browser, but that doesn’t just include the iPhone and Touch. You’ll get Androids and more depending on which territory you advertise. Right now they haven’t developed conversion tracking for apps either, and without this you can just burn through cash with little results to show for your efforts. You won’t know which keywords are working or aren’t working. There is one way to track sales using this method: become an iTunes affiliate by joining LinkShare. You can create a link to your sales page in the App store and receive a 5% commission on qualifying purchases.

AdMob has app advertising down better than Google so far. You are able to track your conversions and target relevant Apple devices. You can even target those that are either on or off the WiFi network, which is pretty cool. The downside to this is that you are paying at least 10 cents a click to send someone to your App store sales page. No guarantee of sales here and depending on the price of your application, this leaves very little margin to spend on advertising. It can take a hundred clicks just to get an actual sale, so keep that in mind. Also, since AdMob doesn’t target your ads very well, the people clicking are not actually seeking what you’re offering as they would on a Google search.

Here are a few examples of Google AdWords ads below from companies with money to burn; this luxury is not something everyone can afford and it may not be worthwhile anyway.

GOOGLE ADWORDS ADS:

EXAMPLE #1

Kraft iPhone Application

No-Hassle Cooking w/Recipes And

Shopping Lists At Your Fingertips.

www.Apple.com/Kraft

EXAMPLE #2

Free iPhone Download

Get Local Search Power On Your

iPhone Today! Find. Map. Save. Go.

YellowPages.com/iPhone

One last consideration: even if you break even from your advertising, you could increase your ranking in the store, and thereby receive more sales from the increased exposure. If you are popular, sales can feed off themselves. iTunes is a distribution channel, but so is Walmart. If you are featured next to the register, you’re gonna get more sales. If you’re at the bottom of the shelf on aisle 34, good luck!

10. Use Social Networks

Facebook Fan pages, online forums, and quality comments on top blogs and news sites can help you get conversations started about your company. Comments are even crawled and tracked by the major search engines. Be part of the discussion and actually share something relevant or this could work against you. You could quickly end up being considered spam (and despised or banished by your fellow netizens). Subtlety here will carry you far. Also create profiles to further your cause.

11. Get Featured in the App Store

This one is tricky obviously because how do you make it a part of your marketing plan? You do not choose, but are chosen. I will say this for what it’s worth. I contacted iTunes about a month ago and asked to be featured Today we are. It never hurts to ask and it can be worth quite a bundle! You never know who you’re going to reach. Someone may say something to someone else. That’s how it happens.

Thus far, we’ve increased our average daily sales almost tenfold. We are currently (2/23/09-3/9/09) featured on the front page of the App Store in iTunes under “New And Noteworthy” and #7 in “What’s New” on the iPhone/Touch.

Every time I contact media, even if nothing comes of it, I’m sharing my company and my product with powerful people (or people in contact with powerful people) and I never know directly or indirectly where this can lead.

Keep plugging away and please share your ideas and experiences with me. I’d love to hear about them. I wish you the greatest success!

John R. Haigh recently collaborated on the interior design book, “What Would You Do With This Room? My 10 Foolproof Commandments to Great Interior Design” by Mark Lewison and written by Sherri Houtz. He also co-developed the iPhone and iPod Touch virtual interior designer app, “Mark On Call”. He shares the latest beneficial and intriguing information from a variety of sectors (i.e. arts & entertainment, business, science and technology to name a few) on his personal “Friends With Strangers” blog.

PC Or Mac – Take the Plunge!

March 5th, 2009

I am sure we have all been overwhelmed with the PC-Mac wars, but what is all the fuss about? Let me tell you, I have been an avid PC user for the past 10 years or so, and have even started to make a little money on the side using all the knowledge I have retained from all those Microsoft classes. Computer repair is something that I enjoy, and something that I will continue to enjoy, but the thought of me giving the Mac a whirl never dawned on me.

I found myself in a local AAFES (yes I am in the military) looking at their various laptops. I skipped the Mac’s like always and began to look at the Vista based PC’s. I am not sure what I was thinking, but I decided to see what the Mac had to offer (I quickly skipped the PC’s – unusual for me). Mac’s can be a little pricey, but I was ready to give them a shot. The lowest priced Mac book (that is a Mac laptop of course) came in at a whopping $999. This is fairly expensive compared to the lower end Laptops that HP and Acer manufacture. In the end I found myself sitting in my room with a Mac book that I have never used before or knew very little about. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Up until this point, I have always been pro Microsoft. To this day I don’t find anything wrong with Microsoft, it’s just that I am wondering why I waited so long to experience something new. I think this is society’s problem. We are all too worried about change. If you know something, why learn something else? That is the methodology that many American’s live by, but every American should know that the incentives could potentially outweigh living as a person refusing change. The truth of the matter is that a Macintosh is very simple to use (very user friendly), easy to learn, and in my opinion runs much smoother than previous Microsoft platforms. The Mac runs on the Leopard Operating System, and does not demand the resources that Microsoft’s Vista requires (if you own a Mac you probably have no more than 2 GB’s of RAM and are happy with it). I remember asking the clerk why the Mac book only came with 2 GB of RAM. Now I know why. This type of computer does not run inane services in the background thus giving the user a clean and smooth experience. The applications are a whole other story that I will save for another time. To be short, applications will give you the ability to turn your Mac into a personal assistant. There are thousands of applications that are available, and to me these help simplify life.

The overall feel of a Mac is something that I would have never imagined. I took pride in being pro Microsoft/anti Apple in the past, but now I feel as though I am one in a thousand that will actually take the plunge. Do yourself a favor and experience something new. I am not endorsing Apple in any way shape or form; I am simply stating my opinion. I look forward to exploring deeper into the Mac realm, so that I will someday be able to understand the operating system the way I understand Microsoft’s. So far so good for Mac; two thumbs up!

shawn.kowalczyk@yahoo.com

Transferring Music From IPod to PC

February 24th, 2009

Did your computer crash and all your music is only on your iPod? Do you want to transfer all of your MP3′s from your iPod to a new PC, or use your iPod to transfer some songs to your work computer? You don’t need to purchase special software as some people will lead you to believe. If you have Microsoft Windows, iTunes, and an iPod (set to show up as a removable drive); That’s all you need! I’m going to walk you through the steps needed to do this.

Set Windows to show hidden files

Right click on your [START] button and select “explore”. Click on [Tools] at the top, then “Folder Options…”. This will bring you to a windows with customizable folder options. At the top, click the “View” Tab then scroll down halfway. Click on “Show hidden files and folders” and uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types”.

Find songs hidden on your iPod

Plug your iPod into your PC via the USB cable. The iPod should show up as a removable drive (for example purposes, we’ll call it the E: drive). Go to “My Computer” and then press your F3 key to pull up a search sub-window. Choose “All files and folders” if a little dog asks you any questions. Then, fill out the form as shown in Figure3 and click “Search”… This will show you all the MP3′s that are on your iPod. Yes, they have weird names, but the song tags (Title, Artist, Genre, etc) are all still there. iTunes will rename them with their tag information when you import them.

When it is done searching, select them all by pressing “CTRL %2B A” and copy them (right click -> copy) all into a new folder on your desktop (right click on your desktop and select New -> Folder). Copying may take a while depending on how many songs you are moving around. Once they are done copying, go to the next step.

Import the songs using iTunes

Install the latest iTunes if you don’t already have it (refer to the apple documentation), then open iTunes. Immediately, click on [Edit] at the top, then click on Preferences. Once the window pops up, click on the Advanced tab and make sure “Keep iTunes Music folder organized” and “Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library” are selected (VERY IMPORTANT). Then click Ok.

Now you will import all the music you copied. Click on [File] at the top and select “Add Folder to Library”. It will ask you which folder to add. Navigate to your desktop and select the New Folder you created that contains all your music, then click OK.

Relax and let iTunes work

Thats it! As it imports, iTunes will use the tags to rename the songs to the correct information. Don’t forget to delete the New Folder on your desktop when you are done. You no longer need these because iTunes copied them all to its own internal folder in your My Documents -> My Music folder.

Sincerely,
Chris Tolson
CTOLSON1978@tGMAIL.COM

Review: iPod Classic 120 GB Black

January 30th, 2009
Apple iPod classic 120 GB Black

Apple iPod classic 120 GB Black

The only reason I give it 4 stars is because of the iTunes software, which doesn’t get the album cover from music you already had saved on your PC, which is basically the case for most users who buy an mp3 player, so if you have a zillion mp3 files already saved, be prepared to spend some time saving all the covers to all your files (painful, believe me). Nevertheless, the result is worth it: this little device has a software upgrade that allows it to show cover flow (like the newer touch devices), and once you select a song, it displays the cover in perspective with a nice mirrorlike surface under it, instead of square and frontally, which looks really cool.

Overlooking the album artwork flaw, I have to say this device is perfect for you if, like me, you are looking for a device which allows you to put all your music in it. I can see people having a lot of video content having something to say about its size (120GB) but I’m guessing people who fill up this device would fill up any drive given to them (even the ones ranging into the terabyte sizes, LOL) So, if you’re the regular guy who has a lot of music and even a bunch of audiobooks, for whom the biggest iPod touch is still too small (32 GB) and still too pricey to be worth it, then this is the perfect device for you. It’s compact, gorgeous, and you can easily connect it to pretty much almost anything with speakers without spending too much money other than a couple of bucks on adapter cables, so you can listen to it in your car, take it to a party, to every trip you make, and at home you can connect it easily to your PC speakers or to your home stereo.

Apple iPod classic 120 GB Black (6th Generation)

Technical Details

  • 120 GB capacity for 30,000 songs, 25,000 photos, or 150 hours of video
  • Up to 36 hours of music playback or 6 hours of video playback when fully charged
  • 2.5-inch color LCD with LED backlight and 320-by-240-pixel resolution
  • Supported audio formats: AAC, Protected AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible, Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
  • Supported video formats: H.264, MPEG-4; Supported image file types: JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PSD (Mac only), and PNG

– Cesar Garcia

Apple iPhone – A Consumer Product Review

January 30th, 2009

The iPhone is firmly established as one of the very top smartphones available. The 3G version has been available since June 2008 and offered several improvements over the original. These included a real GPS locator and 3G connectivity. At the same time Apple also introduced the ability to download applications onto the device. But does it all live up to the hype? This is a consumer product review on the iPhone.

Alongside the iPhone 3G, Apple released version 2.0 of the operating software. This was unfortunately quite buggy and made things such as writing text texts quite hard, as the virtual keyboard would really lag behind what you were typing. However, Apple soon updated the software and many of the issues became history. Owners could look forward to making the most of their iPhone.

Now there are over 15,000 applications available for the iPhone and over 500 million downloads have been made. That is a pretty staggering statistic and clearly the iPhone has changed the game for mobile phone handset makers, but do these really add value to the iPhone experience? There are several free apps that do help out. One is the Google application which has a very good voice activated search. Other than that many people download games, a great deal of which are free. Most iPhone users would agree that the games are far superior to those available on other handsets. If your iPhone has battery then you will never be forced to endure a moment of boredom.

So the games are great, but what else? The web browser is excellent for such a small device. You tend to click on links by accident too much, but I doubt this can be helped. The key issue with the web browser is that it doesn’t support flash, so film clips, on the whole, are inaccessible. If you are used to using plug-ins in your browser, you may also find yourself missing these. However, the key issue is the lack of MMS (picture) messaging. You can only send photos via email, which isn’t always ideal.

The key is to review your current handset and ascertain what features you really use. Then check out the iPhone and see if they are available. You might find a few surprises, but on the whole the iPhone experience is good.

More Consumer Product Reviews can be found at Consumer Review UK. A great site for UK product reviews and to discover the best products.

10 Top Reasons Why I Love My Mac Computer!

January 13th, 2009

Are you a PC user running windows? If so, you will readily identify with all the problems that face a PC user – new devices have to be configured, drivers need to be updated, you get visits from the dreaded Blue Screen of Death every so often, you have to install anti-virus, firewalls, and a myriad other packages just to keep your PC running and stable.

PC users spend most of their time troubleshooting and tweaking their PCs to improve performance and maintain them. But life is not like that with a Mac. As Mac users are fond of saying ‘The Mac just works’! Here are the reasons why I love my Mac:

1. Synergy of Hardware and Software – Unlike a PC where one company makes the hardware and other companies make the software and you are the one who struggles to integrate both, Apple makes both the software and hardware for the Mac which ensures you don’t have any compatibility issues.

2. Truly Plug and Play – When you buy a device for the Mac, you plug it in and that’s it – 99% of the time, you are ready to go. The Mac has drivers for practically all the devices compatible with the Mac and the Operating System (OS) does all the work

3. Great Look and Feel – The look and feel of the Graphic User Interface (GUI) used in the Mac is great – that figures, since Macs were the first computers to have GUI-based interaction using a mouse.

4. Aesthetics – The Macs look good! If this reason seems trivial to you, just look at the clunky computers littering the marketplace and you’ll immediately begin to appreciate the design effort that has gone into making the Mac look good.

5. Mac OSX – The Mac OSX is one of the most advanced Operating Systems available and is based on UNIX. The Mac OS is one of the major reasons why people who switchover to the Mac, Stick to it. The OS just about takes care of itself with updates and most of the housekeeping performed automatically in the background.

6. State of the Art CPU – Mac uses the same Pentium CPU that powers your PC and the speed and other parameters are as good as any PC

7. Intelligent Device Management – Macs are good at detecting the device you connect to them and automatically open the software to be used with the device without any user intervention, even if the device is being connected for the first time.

8. Hassle-free Networking – The Mac can automatically detect wireless networks, freeing you from configuring Wi-fi networks yourself. You can connect the Mac easily to a Local area Network just like any PC.

9. Microsoft Office – If you are comfortable with Microsoft Office and don’t want to change over to another office suite, the Mac can run all components of the MS-Office.

10. Missing Windows? If you like the Mac hardware but still hanker after Windows, you could install windows on the Mac – In fact, like a PC you could run any or multiple OS on the Mac.

Ms. Pinky is a Computer Support Specialist for more than 25 years. Has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering, MS Research work in Systems Engineering.

Get more free computer tips on her blog at http://www.computerhelpdeskandsupport.com/


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