Applecentric

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This post has been a long time coming, and at this point I think it is somewhat appropriate. I have been a Windows user for a very long time, some Linux and Solaris thrown into the mix for a little while but never really Apple. So over the past few years I got introduced to Apple, the first one being the Mac Mini from last year which was an impressive little guy. If you asked me back in 2006 if I would be using a Mac I would say that is blasphemy but now I will happily admit it. Over the years I think that Apple’s hardware has improved drastically and you get the better hardware for a better price unlike before, and OS X and higher is much better then its previous versions with better compatibility. Still I’m really annoyed that they don’t have NTFS built into OS X but I think its just Apple being their usual stubborn self so people can’t use the same external USB/Hard Drive between Apple & Windows Machines. I have been using my iPod for a while now, pretty much since the iPod Touch came out and the useful applications and games. So a few years later I got into my first apple, and it was as if I was walking into an unknown zone. Overall I think Apple does have a winning product but you can’t knock Windows just yet, it does have its good uses and I know you Apple fans do get crazy but it wouldn’t be dominating in the market if it didn’t do something right. A lot of you know how much I love Android products but I do love my iPad, I will admit which platform is better for which application, and Apple knows how to integrate all their products but its annoying how much they lock out other companies from innovating on their platforms. I prefer my Android over iOS by far but I wouldn’t mind it syncing with iTunes so I can get my music, of course there are ways to get around it but I’m too lazy to go through the hassle. Luckily for me I started using Spotify to a large extent and so I depended less on iTunes but still on an Apple device iTunes is worlds better then on Windows, for one thing it works.

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What I really think which is better in which:

Mac:

  • Graphical Items
  • Doesn’t Crash As Much, And Yes It Does Crash Under My Abuse
  • Very Smooth Interface, Very Nice Design Of Their Machines

Windows:

  • Network Management
  • Larger Software Compatibility
  • More Games, Alot More Games
  • Larger Variety of Manufacturers to Choose From

I haven’t really jumped into any video editing yet so I can’t compare between the machines, but most probably I will be trying it out on the Mac for sure. If you ask me which do I use more I would say its 70% Windows 30% Apple, and for work I can only use Windows. Apple can be used in Advertising or Media companies but everything else its Windows, too many work applications just aren’t compatible with Macs.

Moved My iTunes Library

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Took me a while but thanks to Spotify I had time to ignore my damn iTunes since I really hated it and it was basically killing my machine. And thankfully a lot of syncing is done wirelessly and you don’t have to sync new devices to iTunes to get them working like you had to previously, so I ignored this as long as possible. But at this stage my machine was literally on its last leg so I had to move my iTunes to a different machine.

The Steps:

  • Before the move, choose “Keep iTunes Media folder Organized” & “Copy files to iTunes Media folder”
  • Then chose a new location, on the network storage device. In my case the Synology unit I use for my Media
  • Then click “Consolidate Library” under “Library”, give it about a day for the whole move to be done and let it settle
  • The move is done
  • On the new machine make sure your iTunes library is pointed to the same folder on the network which in my case is in the Synology Unit
  • Copy the iTuneLibrary.itl file from inside the iTunes folder in my machine to the iTunes Folder in the new machine but be sure iTunes is off on the new machine
  • Then when you start the machine it will have the same counts and details on the new machine, and test everything out. The Music Videos took a minute to find since it didn’t find it the first place, then it started finding them automatically
  • The move is done and the old machine is gone

Live Drive – Your Online Hard Drive

Everyone at this point has heard or is using DropBox, its so convenient and very simple to use with a lot of options, also its one of the least complicated sharing solutions. For a while I have been checking out LiveDrive since they have almost the same features but with a more bells and whistles, you get the option of 2TB or 5TB, and the back ups from your machine doesn’t count against your quote. The interesting thing is that the space loads up on your computer as a hard drive and you can do that across several machines Windows or Mac which is pretty cool. Currently I’m paying for the extra DropBox storage and I’m around 80% capacity, they other day I realized that I store a lot on DropBox and rarely take it off since I’m accessing it a lot from different machines. I would go with one of the home solutions which doesn’t have file restriction sizes like Box, and provides a lot more space then DropBox. For now DropBox is the best on the go solution and fantastic, but LiveDrive is when you need something for those huge files and flexibility to do what you want with them across multiple machines.

LiveDrive App Available For:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android

For Home Services (Yearly Price)

  • 2 TB – $150
  • 5 TB – $250

For Business Services (Yearly Price)

  • 5TB – $500
  • 10TB – $1500

Link: LiveDrive

Organizing Your Books

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At some point in time I used to know a large amount of the books I have, but now I have piles of them sitting on different parts of the room and some of them getting dangerously high. When I go through a few piles, I realize there were some books I wanted to read and follow up on at a later stage. I know the books that I read but the ones that go unread sometimes disappear and I forget to follow up on them, until I find them later hidden inside a cabinet or the back of a shelf. So to organize this large mess of items there are two softwares that I have been looking at, one is the usually awesome Delicious Library which has advanced greatly but there is one other very viable option which is Collectorz Home Library, two options to choose from.

Delicious Library 2
Price: $35

Pros:

  • Can categorize anything: Books, Movies, Music, Electronics, Toys, Tools, & Video Games
  • Scanning through the computer Camera
  • Smart Shelf to Organize your Items

Cons:

  • Mac Only
  • No App for the iPad, iPhone, or Android, Just exporting to the iPhone

Collectorz Home Library
Price: $49
Pros:

  • Works on Both Mac & Windows
  • App for iPad, iPhone, & Android
  • Very good categorizing

Cons:

  • Only for Books (If you just want it for books then this doesn’t matter to you)
  • You have to enter the ISBN number or enter it through a scanner, not through the computer camera
  • There are other versions from Collectorz but have to be purchased individually

PhotoRec – Photo Recovery From Every Type of Media

The worst possible thing that could happen with the memory stick of your camera is for it go south and you would lose all your photographs, that includes a memory that could go corrupt in a phone. After doing a little research I found PhotoRec which is freeware photo recovery that works with all forms of media.

PhotoRec is file data recovery software designed to recover lost files including video, documents and archives from hard disks, CD-ROMs, and lost pictures (thus the Photo Recovery name) from digital camera memory. PhotoRec ignores the file system and goes after the underlying data, so it will still work even if your media’s file system has been severely damaged or reformatted.

I had to work on a Micro-SD card that went corrupt from a phone and a corrupt SD card from a camera. I plugged into the card reader on my PC and it couldn’t read the volume and asked me to format it but I cancelled that. I ran the program and pops up on command line window, keep mind this is a freeware program that is meant to do a job and doesn’t look pretty. You pick the lost MiniSD card that the program can see then you choose a location for it to deposit the recovered files, there are a few technical steps in between like what type of file system was used for the card, I managed to pick the right one. As things progressed it too about 10 minutes to finish all the choices and then the program starts, it said approximately 57 minutes to recover 16 GB worth of pictures. I came back an hour later it recovered everything that was on there even things that I didn’t know was on there. Overall about 70-80% of the pictures were recovered, the rest were either text files or disturbed black images. The program does what you need it to do even though its a bit on the rugged side, I think its a fantastic program.

Link: PhotoRec

IOGEAR DCS1644 Dual Screen DVI KVM

For those of you who have more PCs then screens a KVM is always the best option. A few years ago their weren’t too many options, especially if you are looking for multiple screens and multiple machines. If you want a three screen setup on one machine your best bet is to stick to one machine and not use a kvm but if you have multiple machines then this is the way to go.

Pros:

  • Easily handles dual screen mode on 2560+ resolution with movies and games without an issue
  • Very clean and sleek design
  • Came with all the cables to connect 4 machines with dual screens
  • Keeps the resolution of the PC even when it restarts and it isn’t the machine actively on the screen

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work with the latest wireless mice
  • A bit expensive but most Dual DVI KVMs are around that price if not more

Overall: Love the KVM and it works with any operating system, but I can’t believe it doesn’t recognize my wireless mouse, for something that expensive you would think they could have taken care of something such as this especially since its been around for a while.

Link: Amazon
Price: $475
Rating:
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Tech News – Apple & Delicious

MacAppStore

Mac News:

  • Mac will be launching their App Store this coming January 6, which is the same start of CES in Las Vegas which Apple doesn’t attend. Now its going to be interesting to see the type of Applications that will be sold and at what price.

Delicious

  • The social bookmarking website will be shutting down soon, I know some of us have been using it for all your bookmarking needs but it seems that Yahoo is shutting it down since its not performing as they hoped it would, so they are dropping it. You can export your bookmarks to HTML and use another service.

Best Antivirus

Kaspersky

I’m surprised how many machines I see without antivirus, the first thing I take a look at is for any installed software and usually I find nothing. It’s one of those initial preventative steps to protect your system from any damage at a later point.

Kaspersky

It was the best for a long time, so good that it from being a free antivirus to one you had to pay for. It seems to always keep your machine updated and on top of most of the little bugs that bother your machine. I have seen it block out quite a few viruses that come through outlook or downloading attachments. They do have a good internet suite which also protects you fro malware and other problems as well. So if your going with the paying option then Kaspersky is your best option.

AVG

AVG

AVG is the best free antivirus software out there period, I have tried a few it’s always updated and works lightly on your system. It works stabely without bothering your system at all, and it always automatically scans your USB and many time I have plugged other people’s USB’s to find malware and virus, it cleans them out and makes them accessible which is great. Every system must have it installed if you don’t have one in the first place.

I would avoid any McAfee or Norton Symantec software out there, it messes with your machine’s registery and always becomes slower. Some how the machine never recovers from an install of McAfee or Symantec install, if you try pulling it out it seems like it trys to do as much damage as possible before leaving your system.

iPad Usage

The iPad mania is still going on in Kuwait and all over the world, and I have to say that Apple has a breakthrough product. There are a few drawbacks that would make this the best product period, but right now it doesn’t have any competition. I use my iPad daily, it has gotten me hooked with several applications. The only biggest flaw is that you can’t move data inside applications to and from your main PC, so your iPad gets filled up with data from inside applications, you can’t back-up or move, you can just delete. The battery lasts a decent time but it takes so damn long to charge, if you kill the battery completely it takes over 4 hours to charge fully which is insane. But I can’t stop using it, its so easy to take around and I can carry so much content with it.

Best Applications:

  • AirVideo – Streaming Videos
  • Marvel Comics – A selection of Marvel Comics
  • NewsRack – RSSFeed
  • Sorted – To Do list
  • Dropbox – Extention of the online application
  • GoodReader – Enables you to read all types of documents & spreadsheets
  • AngryBirds HD – Addictive online game
  • Scrabble – The old school board game
  • Shazam – Gives you the name of any song by listening to a clip

iPad Usage:

  • Reading Comics – 40%
  • Surfing The Net – 22%
  • Playing Games – 12%
  • Watching Shows/Anime – 18%
  • Other Applications – 8%

HyperMac

Now this is an amazing product, there have a been alot of different companies providing alternate battery power sources for different products but none as thorough as the HyperMac for Apple Laptops & iPads. Giving you from 19-34 Hours for the MacBook Pros, and 30 to 92 Hours for the iPad. Thats a lot of hours, and pretty damn good in my opinion. Thats just a ridiculous amount of power that you can use while traveling or in the car, on a train, or stuck in a airport for a really long time. Prices range from $200 up to $500, which isn’t cheap but its a very solid product for a specific purpose.

Link: Gizmodo