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.

Logitech Harmony Link

I have always wanted to control my media devices from my Android device or my iPad, and usually for my universal remote needs I use the Logitech Harmony One. This time around they have come up with the perfect little device and you don’t have to attach anything to your Android or Apple device to make it work, The Logitech Harmony Link ($100) is the solution. This sleek system consists of a small black transmitter that connects to your home network via Wi-Fi, letting you control your entire system from your Android or iOS device without the need for any dongles or other attachments. The hardware can be hidden in the cabinet and you can still control it, in my case I don’t have any TV guides to use but I do have all my different Activities that I have. If you have use any Logitech device before then this is very familiar to setup. There seems to be some negative reviews regarding its limitations but still its pretty good to get some activities going, I might get it to try it out.

Link: Logitech

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

Review: Synology 1511+

I have gone through several storage devices over the years and now I have been using the Synology 1511+ and loving it. I still have my Netgear which has been operating fantastically, but I needed some more storage in another location and less expensive, Synology fit the bill perfectly. One thing to note I really am not a fan of Drobo after trying it out, its speed is always questionable and it has problems sometimes dealing with different drives, and its can’t be attached to the network easily.

Pros

  • Very well built
  • A long list of features
  • Amazing Web Based & PC/Mac Manageorgeous, PC and web-based management software
  • Works with 3TB Drives
  • Expandle with DX510 Expansion Unit
  • Hot-Swappable Drives

Cons

  • Its a bit on the expensive side

Synology builds a solid piece of hardware with useful things like 4 USB, 2 eSATA, and 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports. What makes their products truly great is their fantastic software. The feature set is too long to list here, but it’s basically a file/backup/web/email server, media streamer, and download manager jammed into a cubic foot box. You can have it up in running in 10 minutes thanks to its amazing software.

The same software can be used with different machines, so you can have several Synology Storage Units on your network controlled from the same panel. Its a very highly featured software and your able to configure your storage device in any way possible, and its still simple enough to set it up in about 10 mins. I am running it at 5 x 3TB Hitachi Drives for the past few months without any headaches at all, this is a very high performing machine and the best part is that it can be expanded up to 45 TB with two more additional units which just hook right up to the back of the 1511+.

I highly recommend any Synology model, and espeically this one is fantastic this one is awesome!

Price: $866
Link: Amazon

Rating:
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Wizard Magainze Has Come To An End

For some of the nerdier people in the crowd Wizard Magazine had a special spot for those who loved comic from the early 90s. Wizard World has just announced the end of this niche magazine which has developed over the years. Its honestly sad to see print magazines not able to make it in this market, but they have just announced it will turn into a digital magazine. I remember Wizard Magazine when I used to check comic releases and prices of comic, collectibles, and other releases. I thought that it was doing relatively well for its niche market but it didn’t survive the digital age. I just hope the digital version is just as good as the nerdy original magazine.

Link: ToplessRobot

Minutes @ KNCC

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After watching the last movie, Repo Man, at cinescape I wanted to check the online runtime compared to the KNCC runtime and they were identical. It looks like KNCC caught on to people comparing times and telling if the movie is butchered or not. People walked out of Date Time with Steve Carrel and Tina Fey saying that 50% of the movie was missing, it was probably an hour and five minutes no more then that.

Again I go back to my simple rule, if there is a movie you want to see try watching it else where, except if its an animated movie there would be little to cut then you can watch it in Kuwait. These movies were butchered to the point one lost you and the other was a jump between images with 50% of it gone.

No 3D Glasses

3D Glasses

TVs have made huge jumps in the last 20 years, even the last 5 years have been fantastic, but manufacturers think they milk the most they can out of normal TVs that they want to go 3D for the next big thing. My next purchase won’t be a 3D TV, I will be picking up the best TV which high contrast, large screen, thin depth and best High Definition possible. 3D is something I want to avoid for now but its the buzz word that is flying around from every manufacturer and media company, every movie being redone for 3D. I might see a 3D movie and enjoy it but 3D where I have to wear those bulky glasses the whole day or whenever I’m watching something on TV is just ridiculous. I can bear to wear those glasses for a few hours but it has to be a movie I really want to see not any movie as I get annoyed by those glasses. But now they are moving into PC gaming as well as production TVs are those 3D TVs, everyone is talking about being 3D compatible, A/V Receivers and more, I refuse for now to get on board, those things will give me a headache.

Codecs & Players

There are quite a few players out there and the best being VLC, but sometimes you want a the right set of codecs to play the audio and video perfectly with your computer or home theater system. The problem being faced with some machines is that the hardware can’t playback 720p or 1080p, but that also has to do with the codecs and how they process the high definition video.

Usually the best for any PC is usually VLC since its free and works perfectly, and if I have any issues I then download the K-Lite Codec Pack which covers it perfectly. Then there is the introduction of the netbooks, they work perfectly except for video playback of high definition video being 720p or 1080p. Some mentioned they playback 720p but were still choppy, after going through so many forums and testing out all the different kinds of players and the best two are VLC & Media Player Classic (K-Lite Codec Pack), best the codec for any of these two players is Core AVC even with their own Codecs. After installing it on my HP 5101 it started to play 720p video perfectly, but you can’t really multitask with the netbook with 720p playback taking on. Even after trying it on different machines Core AVC seemed to be the only recurring solution across all forums and different machines, it works even better with Nvidia powered notebooks.

Codecs(Some Players Included):

Best Codec: