Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Working with Apples, Part 2

Software

Before we begin, here is a link to Part 1, if you missed it: Working with Apples, Part 1

Okay, so I got the iMac, and swapped out the keyboard and mouse for a set I was much more comfortable with, and it was time to start using it as my “main computer”. Which means, installing programs to actually get stuff done.

The iMac comes with iTunes, for managing music and videos; and iPhoto which gives me basic image editing. It has Safari for surfing the Web. Also Apple Mail, for managing my email; iChat for IM-ing/video conferencing (limited to other iChat users); a quite basic text editor; DVDMaker; and Garage Band.
Which is not a bad set of utilities for an operating system to come with.. but IMHO, the best is Time Machine (I’d sure like to see a Windows version of that!)(Well, Genie Timeline is very close..)

When I was in the gizmo and gadget Superstore looking at keyboards, I also went over to the software aisles — there were three.
One was dedicated to PC games (making it one of my preferred aisles.. ahem).
And a four foot long section, of four shelves, constituted the “Mac Software” section.

A pitifully small selection.. especially when you’re standing in the aisles.

software

This pie chart might be too generous.. to the Mac.

There were two antivirus titles; about three dozen game titles (of those, 12 were “real games”, and not Solitaire); Microsoft Office for Mac; a couple of PDF-related titles, Quicken, iLife and iWork, and the rest were too uninteresting for me to mentally note.
I guess you could call it a “bright spot” — they did have one Call of Duty title…

So, I didn’t buy any (software) programs for the iMac.

  • For Internet Safety, I downloaded Avast! for Mac (free)
  • For Productivity, I downloaded Open Office for Mac, which allows me to handle my Microsoft Office documents and spreadsheets. (free)
    [Some people prefer Libre Office, also free]
  • For notes/reminders/to do’s, I downloaded Evernote (free)
  • For real chat/video I downloaded Skype (free)
  • For HTML and blogging, I downloaded Komposer (free)
  • For Remote Desktop, I downloaded TeamViewer (free)

I will be browsing CNet’s Download.com Apple software section for more titles when time allows. I didn’t see anything too interesting in the Apple Store..

With those titles, and a few more, I have an actually productive machine.
But I’m kind of out of luck in the gaming department,, though, there’s plenty of Time-waster type games,

Please feel free to suggest other titles you’d like to recommend to me, as a Comment (below)

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

February 19, 2013 Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, free software, how to, Mac vs PC, software | , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Working with Apples, Part 1

Last week I mentioned that I had built an iMac, and would be trying to use it as my “main machine”. And I said that I would describe my “learning curve”, and other “impressions. (For example, I mentioned that I didn’t like the keyboard one itsy-bitsy little bit.)

I have been using Windows PC’s since there was such a thing; and more recently, using Android phones and tablets. I haven’t used Apple products since roughly 1988, when I dumped sold my Macintosh (512K).

First thing you notice about Apple products, I think, is — they are pretty.
Um.. “elegantly designed”, I think people prefer. And some have been evolution-ary.
But are they as “simple to use” – particularly for a Windows guy – as people say?

Generally speaking, here, I found my first week with the Mac to have a very shallow learning curve. Mainly, I had to “get used to” looking up when on Windows I’d look down, or visa versa. And learn where Menu items are placed.

And I had to “get used to” sticker shock. Jeeze does Apple gouge.

As I said above, I really hated the bluetooth (wireless) keyboard, and didn’t really care for the Apple mouse, either (years of right-clicking a 3-button mouse) so I went looking for replacements.

To lay the ‘baseline’ for what I’m talking about, the keyboard and the (gesture enabled) “magic mouse” shown in the picture retail for $70, each.
Yes. Each. $140. Plus tax.

apple-imacMy sticker shock at seeing that resulted in a spontaneous, embarrassing, LOL, that turned heads in the store.

Now, I know, some people will not think twice about paying $70 for a mouse, but I bought a very nice, non-Apple, wireless “multimedia” keyboard and laser (aka “optical”) mouse “desktop set” for less than $25. Including tax.
Or I could have bought a bluetooth keyboard for $20 (and up) and a bluetooth optical mouse for $12 (and up), but I really didn’t need to save the USB port, and wanted my “wireless desktop” set to be able to function with any machine, not just the bluetooth enabled. If I didn’t care about the cords, I could have saved even more. (A USB optical 3-button mouse can be had for $5)
No. The cheapies I selected are not as “elegantly designed” as the Apple devices. But the near-600% markup I didn’t pay will help me get over that.

And to be fair, not everything Apple is marked up that much (300% seems the average). And at least in one area, I was very pleasantly impressed with Apple’s pricing. I built my unit from wrecks and parts, and the OS I had was OS X 10.5 “Leopard” (rather outdated). I ordered a OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” disc from the Apple store, after calling for some information. They shipped me the order for $20. And the person I spoke to spoke real English and was very helpful in answering my questions. (a full-install [not “upgrade” edition] disc of Windows 7 retails for $199.)
Yes, that’s right, OS upgrades are $20 each.

Another area where I think Apple really shines is when you are covered by “Apple Care” (or “warranty”), and need tech support. In my experiences with them, they are almost as knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and easy to understand as I am. I consider Apple’s Customer Support to be the Industry’s “gold standard”, and the other manufacturers could really do well by following their example.

However, if you are not still covered by Apple Care, prepare to be gouged, (Or, call me.) and D-I-Y’ers can expect outrageous parts prices. So if you own an Apple product, you probably want to purchase ‘extended’ Apple Care for as long as you can.

Sorry, out of time for today. Have a great Monday everyone.

Oh, yes. One more thing. On my iMac, the label on the disc faces you (when you put a CD [or DVD] in the slot).

Today’s quote:Whenever science makes a discovery, the devil grabs it while the angels are debating the best way to use it.” ~ Alan Valentine

Silly Poll #3 (cont..) Does “clumping” cat litter save money in the long run?

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

February 18, 2013 Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, hardware, PC, software | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Beauty 115

This week’s “interesting image” is a bit different from my usual selections..

8479752564_95a1b27324_z

Click on image to see more by this artist

“Pen Pen investigates” by NHDutch, courtesy of Flickr Commons

Silly Poll #3 (cont..) Does “clumping” cat litter save money in the long run?

Today’s quote:We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness – and call it love – true love.” ~ Robert Fulghum

A little tech 4 U: 14 reasons why I love my smartphones (slideshow gallery)

Smartphones are very useful devices that have become an extension of our lives. As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun to show some of my favorite apps and functions.See more..

[Wonder how much he got paid.. {I mean.. I hope he got paid to produce that pablum..}]

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

February 16, 2013 Posted by | Digital Images | 2 Comments

Thick As A Brick (and some Friday Fun)

I guess you’re never too old to rock.

j_tullI heard on the Bone (107.7 FM) that tickets were going on sale for the World Tour’s local performance of a band that dates back to.. well, peace signs and flower power.

Yup. Jethro Tull.
Hadn’t heard that name in a long while.

Kinda made me laugh. I heard someone refer to such things as “dinosaur rock” (um.. or I read it in a Doonsbury strip) but, hey, if I could get tickets to see the Stones, or AC DC, (ancient bands still touring) I’d go in a heartbeat.

I’ll pass on the Tull, though. But I understand some people like flute music..

Friday Fun Video: Let’s start the weekend a bit early, shall we?

Silly poll #3

Does “clumping” cat litter save money in the long run?

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

February 15, 2013 Posted by | digital Video | 2 Comments

February 14th, 2013

As a dedicated grouchy old curmudgeon, I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day; nor any of the other artificial, invented solely to sell greeting cards, “holidays”. (I rather dislike “crass commercialism“.)

And, yes. I have had my turn being That Guy.

You know the one.
The poor SOB who forgot the flowers.
And had to sleep in the doghouse.

But I think maybe I am mellowing a bit in my dotage. I think this year, I’d like to ‘join the party’ a little bit and suggest to you, Dear Reader, that in today’s lightspeed-fast-paced life, “disposable society”, and the era of easy divorce, that if you do have a ‘significant other’ in your life, you might want to slow down, and acknowledge that person today.

And I will wish you all, even those flying solo, a truly marvelous day

(And, dude. You really do not want to forget the flowers.)

Today’s quote:I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.” ~ Unknown

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

February 14, 2013 Posted by | advice | Leave a comment

A few items of interest

Sorry for the absence, folks. Here is a brief list of the latest interesting items I think worthy of your attention.

* Adobe Patches Flash; Windows, Mac Users Under Attack

 “Adobe patched two critical security flaws in Flash Player, both of which were under active attack. If you don’t have automatic updates enabled, you need to download the latest version and install it immediately.” Read more..

* Electromagnetic Sniffing An Emerging Security Threat

While we talk a lot about the dangers of digital intrusion, some security experts and governments are becoming increasingly concerned about electromagnetic sniffing, where information is lifted as it moves through electronics by a nearby observer.Read more..

* Microsoft patch fixes critical IE flaws

On Tuesday, Microsoft released 12 bulletins for 57 vulnerabilities, including patches that addressed five critical flaws that could allow an attacker to remotely execute malicious code against users.” Read more..

* Hackers hijack Bit9 to target its customers with malware

Hackers have breached the security company Bit9 and accessed its code-signing certificates, enabling intruders to digitally sign malware to appear as legitimate files, the vendor announced Friday.Read more..

* X-Rated Valentine’s Day Tech Toys for Adults

We’re all adults here, right? Okay, maybe not, so I’ll try to keep this all as PG-13 as possible. Truth is, some grown-ups have certain adult needs, and those adult needs are frequently satisfied by two things..” Read more..

* There was an interesting question posted on one of my articles recently.. If you have two minutes, you might want to read the thread.

* Increase BYOD productivity by adding five apps to your devices (slideshow)

To some, bring your own device (BYOD) and the consumerization of IT has arrived and is already presenting a few challenges. Beyond the security and connectivity to work data – how do you manage to remain productive when you’re using your own devices at your place of business?View slideshow

Okay. Out of time. Yes, the Internet’s a marvelous thing, isn’t it?

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

February 13, 2013 Posted by | advice, computers, consumer electronics, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, News, security | , | 2 Comments

Sunday Beauty #114 (and, yes, a Sunday Ugly, too)

Folks, another interesting image for your Sunday.

image winter day

Click on image to see more by this artist

“A winter morning” by NSPaul, courtesy of Flickr Commons

(Brrr! I’m going to have to turn up the furnace after looking at that!)

Ever since I bought my Kindle Fire HD tablet, and used my Amazon account to sign in and download ebooks and apps for it, I have been receiving more than my usual boatload of Amazon promotional emails. Today the email’s Subject line read “Kindle Fire Apps: New Releases and More”.

So I took a look. And it sure seemed to me that all the (promoted) “apps” were timewaster ‘games’.
Aimed at 10 year-olds (and kids of all ages).

One caught my eye, and I think it qualifies as a Sunday Ugly. It’s the icon for a game called “Subway Surfers”, which is supposed to be as “fun” and as “addicting” as something called “Temple Run”. (As denoted by this Amazon Customer reviewer: “this game was the best i ever played. it is very addicting and fun to play with your free time.THIS GAME IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!“)

I mean… does anyone else see anything wrong here?

subway_game

Yes, that’s a can of spraypaint…

But, hey. What do I know? It’s a “best seller”.

BTW.. I was looking at Google Play’s list of Android apps last night, and their “Editor’s Picks” seemed to all be pre-adolescent timewaster items as well.

Angry Birds Star Wars?

Maybe I should just go back to being 10 again. I wasn’t so grouchy then. Have a great day everybody. Stay warm if you can.

Today’s quote:A man doesn’t automatically get my respect. He has to get down in the dirt and beg for it.” ~ Jack Handey

If you didn’t get your fill…

spam2_9_13

If it has an “!” in it, I think I’ll pass…

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

February 10, 2013 Posted by | Digital Images | 4 Comments